Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Garden Note

On patrolling my garden yesterday, I came upon a worrisome sight. A spiderweb had wrapped around my lovely little tomato plant, far away to the north of the garden. I hadn't seen it there before, I hadn't even thought of spiders for quite a few weeks! Yet there is was, sticking to the not-yet-ripened fruit. I started toward it, hesitant for any sign of the intruder, intent on removing any temptation for which the spider would cast down her net.

I shouted out a warning to a passing butterfly, scooped up the little nats from Mrs. Fly's preschool, and hurried along a dawdling catterpiller. Once all evidence of food for the lurking spider was gone, I cautiously approached the invader's web.

Nervous thoughts held me back, a memory surfacing of a bright afternoon, nearly two months back. On that day, I'd approached a web, much larger than this one and soon found myself at the mercy of a Spider and her followers. Suddenly frightened, I'd jerked back, my feet tangling in the sticky stuff. Ungracefully, I toppled over, web wrapped around me, legs struggling into the air. They closed in, unafraid, fangs dripping for the kill. In a desperate, last maneuver, I rolled to the side, my legs caught leaf, strength found me, and I flew away home to save myself.

Shaking off the horrid memory, I glanced around once more, no evidence, nothing to cause that web to fall upon me. Then I looked up in clarity, knowing now what I'd forgotten then, I eat spiders.

Subtlties and double-talk, that's what freedom of speech has become. For those who know me, hopefully, you can understand the story.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Another British Invasion?

A few recent events have made me wonder if the British are trying to invade the U.S.!

Exhibit A: Former lab mate and good friend; Scottish
Exhibit B: Former boss; English
Exhibit C: Many former colleges; English
Exhibit D: Good friend in Memphis; English
Exhibit E: Two running partners; English
Exhibit F: Boss to be; English
Exhibit G: Brother's former roommate; English
Exhibit H: Member of best-friend's wedding party; English
Exhibit I: Three young ladies working here in Helena to earn money for University, moving into my parents house today. Apparently my parents ran into them in the neighborhood during their evening walk yesterday and the girls were asking around for cheap rooms to rent. Being parents, they were naturally worried about them and offered our house (plenty of room) for $100/wk for all three for the summer. Of course, these girls don't know what they're in for. Once I'm gone, the parental instinct will kick in to any young person around so these kids are going to get free, home cooked meals, baked cookies, tours of Yellowstone, the Gates, and maybe Glacier Park. My parents are already planning so the kids will have a great time. The girls?; you guessed it, English

So, what else can I conclude except the British are cunningly planning an invasion! And we've always been worried about our neighbors to the north. Actually, that last bit's not a joke, during WWI, the U.S. under president Woodrow Wilson, planned an invasion of Canada just in case they got too uppity! silly, silly, oh, and by the way, Saturday, the 1st of July is Canada day! We're having a party, Canadian flag togas and flannels are part of the costume;)

Monday, June 26, 2006


Well, these pictures are not from my camera, but they are from the Gates to the Mountains. The first is of the tour boat in the Gates, the second is the sleeping giant (can be seen from the city) a famous mountain feature that backs up to the Missouri river just north of the final picture. The final picture is of the entrance to the Gates. Lewis and Clark, two famous American explorers, found this gate to the Rocky Mountains in 1803. They came up the Missouri river looking for a water passage to the Pacific ocean. The river was smaller then, now it has a dam which makes it wider for boat passage and gives us all the electricity for the city.

Lewis and Clark were led by a Shoshoni girl Sacagawea (a Sioux captive) into the west and came upon this site near dusk. Exhausted from paddling upriver, and in the near dark, they thought they had come to the end of the river as it appeared a rock wall (on the left) blocked any further passage. As they pushed forward around the bend, however, the wall seemed to open revealing a passageway into the Rockies, hence the name, Gates to the Mountains.

My parents have a small boat out there at the marina and my friends and I headed out there yesterday afternoon. We skied, tubed, swam, and knee boarded. The water takes your breath away (literally, IT'S COLD), and the sun burns fairly quickly since we're pretty high up but that's all part of the fun! I haven't been in awhile, 5 years, and the boat doesn't speed up very quickly since it's old and we had 6 adults on board, so my arms are dead. Took four tries to get up on the ski (I wanted to see if I could still slalom), three head first plants into the water, and a fourth loonnggg struggle until the boat finally got up to speed and I could stand up straight without the lake launching itself into any open facial orifice! But I got up, and now I'm paying for it. Oh, well, was a great Sunday afternoon...think we're all going to heal up this week and head out again this weekend!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

There's a meadow at the top of the world

So, unfortunately, the connector between my computer and my camera is still awall which leaves me with the undesired option to purchase another one. Until I do, however, I'll just have to show Montana through words instead of pictures.

A couple of old high school friends, their significant others, and I went camping this past weekend. Unsure of the road conditions, I borrowed my father's old, four wheel drive wagon, and followed my friends up into the mountains. Thirty minutes later we were fish-tailing up a roughly 90 degree slope heading toward the top of the world.

With one hand on the wheel, the other draped out the window, I watched the thin, logdepole pines creep ever closer to the road, and stared in amazement at the snow glittering off the leeward side of the slope. We continued up, jerked to the left, a sharp enough turn to require a couple attempts by each vehicle, and pulled into a small, tree sheltered enclave.

Our campsite sat solidly within the boundaries of Arian's father's land bordering forest land to the north, safely secreted away from the human race. An old firepit filled with wildflowers and mountain grasses, awaited our attention while the wind sang a promise of a frigid night.

Montanan's to the core, we quickly scouted the best ground for tenting and each laid claim to our site. In all of a half hour, we had dug out the old firepit, rocks and all, set up our tents and sleeping gear, put up a portable table, brought out the food, ice chests, and chairs, and began creating our entertainment for the evening. While the boys took off for a quick ride on the fourwheelers, the three of us left took control of the beer and set out to create our "tolfing" course.

Tolfing is a sport invented by the Adam's family (no, not from the TV or movie), long enough ago that Arian couldn't remember who in her family first started the trend. Basically, tolfing is a camping game that involves tennis balls (preferably of a color that doesn't blend into the green undergrowth, a lesson we learned fairly quickly and remedied with a fair amount of fluorescent orange duct tape), and old, discarded golf clubs. I think the rest is fairly self-explanatory, the goal of the game is to desperately attempt to hit the now orange taped ball into shallow holes, marked by wooden, orange tapped pegs, dug at various points throughout the forest. For best results, place the corresponding holes out of sight range from one another with plenty of trees, brush, and other fun obstacles in between. For even more fun, stay within range of the campsite in order to retrieve beer as needed. Any added enjoyment such as aiming for your friends is entirely optional.

Back to the story, Arian and Scott took us to the site they plan to build their cabin. A meadow sloping gently down into the precariously slender lodegpoles, their green branches deepening in color until light fails to penetrate. Those forests rise again even further away, now a dark blue streaching ever upward to uneven, sharp peaks. They fall away again, this time swelling in a pale blue/purple tinge. Reaching even higher, scraping the belly of the sky with gleaming, white frosted tips.

To break the spell, stanzas of the song "the hills are alive" echoed from one person to the other, as we jokingly trotted about the meadow.

When the sun finally set around 10:30pm, at 7000 feet we huddled around our fire, knees scorched, backs frozen, and pointed out satellites and shooting stars to one another in the perfectly clear, moonless night sky. Every star sang that night, and the milky way shown brighter than any city lamplight ever could.

I think now I'm lucky I have a job waiting for me in New York, because otherwise, I'd never leave. In this city I'm a hero, in those mountains I feel at home. I think I've found the place I'll belong, one day, when I've finished my travels. Just a few more years, Montana, then I'm coming home to stay.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Cat, Camping, and Roommates

Good news! I found a place and a roommate in Brooklyn, NY about a 10-15min subway ride to lower Manhattan (where I'll be working). I'm getting soooo excited about this internship. I get to help launch a new journal and get to live in a great city..albeit a city I can't afford, but at least I'll be able to look around at the people having fun and live vicariously through them:)

My roommate-to-be is another intern, and she sounds a lot like me. We only met the one time at the interviews, but we hit it off. When I contacted her about if she needed a roommate, her comments were "I'm not the neatest person, but can confine it to my room, I have a love affair with the snooze button, I kinda laugh loud, and I'm a bit of an old lady" giggle, sounds perfect to me. I do the same with the snooze, I can just see us now running each other down to get out of the apartment and catch the train to work, late as usual;)

And they take cats! So, good, my boy can come with me. Speaking of cats, poor little Stormy has an infection. It started in his toes and he got it on his nose and ears. The vet suspects it started as a fungal thing since those are common in the south and now it's a bacterial infection. I've got him pumped up on antibacterials and antifungal medications so hopefully he'll be his beautiful self soon...expensive though, but I feel it's just training for having a kid someday!

Finally, I'm heading out camping for the first time in years, soooo excited. I'll be the fifth wheel, but I'm going anyway, haven't seen these high shool buddies in a long time. It's a beautiful day outside, about 70-75 degrees F, mostly blue, and I mean blue skies, and the world smells like wildflowers and pine. Probably going to get a bit drunk tonight, stumble through the forest, stare at the stars...I'll report soon!

Oh, and Tidy and Lefty, you guys are the experts in drunk dialing! Was good to hear my Memphis friends, you kept me giggling till three in the morning, four your time!! :-)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Home Again

Well I’ve been out of the loop for a bit, mostly because I’ve been driving, and driving, and driving! I just moved back to Montana from Memphis, and yup, that’s right, I drove. I drove a car packed to the hilt with a cat crammed into the passenger seat, almost 2000 miles to get here. That’s about four days of constant driving at 70-80 miles per hour, at least 8 hours a day. That’s a lot of driving and though I complain, I have to admit, flying doesn’t do justice to the vastness of this country. In one day the temperature dropped 20˚F from St. Louis, MO, to Sioux City, SD. I drove from deciduous, steaming forests, through wet flat lands, through dry, golden planes, into the black hills, skirting the Wind River mountain range, across the Crow reservation, into the bluffs and, finally, climbing into the Rocky Mountains. In four days everything changed. I moved from magnolia trees to pine, from crawfish and catfish, to buffalo burgers and rainbow trout. I left the stinking, muddy deltas for the artic blue clear mountain waters. These waters, by the way, are very, very cold. We went out on the boat today, and I decided to knee-board a little since I haven’t in awhile. Ok, water so freezing you can’t catch your breath, but once you’re numb, it’s not too bad. Oh, and I can still jump the wake and turn a 360, good times were had by all. I have pictures of the Gates to the Mountains, (where the boat is docked) but I can’t find the connector to the computer, so I’ll have to work on unpacking the car tomorrow since I know it’s in there…somewhere! Well, I’m going to join my dad on the deck and listen to the last innings of the A’s vs Marlins baseball game. Maybe I’ll have a homemade cookie (my mom’s recipe) and some milk too. Ah, yes, it’s good to be home.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The big apple..

Rolling over I began to cough, damn cold waking me up, and glanced at the clock. 11:38am…11:38AM!!!! nononononono…..NOOOOOOOO!! It CAN’T be ELEVEN in the morning!!! I jump out of bed alternatively mumbling and yelling “no.” How can it be 11:38am. Never in my life, no matter how sick, how hung-over, have I slept clean through two, yes two alarms. My flight left at 10am, the plane is gone, gone, there goes New York, there goes the interview for the internship, my career…wait…it’s New York City. Planes have to go there all the time! Frantically I dial 411 and get the number to Airtran. Oh, God bless Airtran, the best, and I mean the best airline in the U.S. Pacing I press the numbers for English, for flight information…for oh, hell, just connect to..
“hello?” A wonderful young man on the other end of the line.
“Hello? Oh, God, hello, I need (coughing) so sorry to cough in your ear, got a bit of a cold”
“No problem. How can I help you?” He patiently waits as a lung pleasantly tries to remove itself from my body.
“I need to get to New York, I had a reservation for this morning, and I missed it, God, how could I have missed it..” I mumble a near frantic rant.
“Ok, well, do you have a confirmation number?” Still patient, calm, a god among men.
“Yes, umm (more hacking) it’s DOZVCX.”
“Ok, B..”
“no, D, as in dog (coughing) sorry”
“That’s fine Ok, got, it but I’m not seeing a reservation.”
“Right, well it was through a travel company so maybe try my name..” I spell my name out to him while pulling on a clean shirt.
“Ok, got it, you need to get to New York”
“Yes, I have an interview tomorrow..can’t believe I slept through two alarms.” Choking back another cough, stepping over the cat, I struggle to pull on my black pants, socks and boots.
“you live in New York?”
“oh, no, well, I’d like to but I have to make my interview. I’ve been sick..” I blush at the half truth. Ok, I have been sick, mornings are the worst, sore throat, congestion, this damn cough. Of course I’m not going to mention to him that I managed to drink, despite the cold, until close to 4 in the morning thanks to my last Saturday in Memphis and a poker game at tidy’s..
“I can tell, you sound sick., well can I put you on hold?”
“Sure.” I brush my hair, my teeth, through both brushes into my bag.
“Ok, there’s a flight at 2:15pm which will get you to New York by 8 tonight.”
“great, that’s fine, thank-you.” So relieved I stop filling the cat bowl with way too much food.
“And I’ve taken off the ‘no show’ so that will be $50 for a change of flight time.” So calm, he waits through another round of coughing.
“Ok, I’ll pay anything, I have a credit card here…” only $50? Did I hear that right? $50? No new flight costs, just $50?????
“well you’re all set.” I push the cat inside shoulder my bag and close the door, keys, them.
“Thank-you so much” Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you.
“And drink some hot tea, with lemon for that cough, and this sounds weird, but my mom always put a small bit of voldka in the tea, it’ll clear you right up and help that cough.” Oh bless you airtran and your employees, and their lovely moms.
“Thank-you, that sounds perfect, and thank-you for saving my life!”
“No problem, good luck on the interview!” Thank-you thank-you, thank-you

Saturday, June 03, 2006


So, as some of you may know, I just spent a week in Chicago with my best friend (since the third grade) and her husband, well, yeah, known him now for 9 years! damn, I'm getting old;) anyway, wanted to share with you guys two things; the fav of the art museum and the receive to the best spaghetti (from Josh) EVER!!!! oh and by the way, my favorite painting is the first, the rape of the sabines, saw the sculpture in Italy, man, amazing...

Ok best spaghetti ever: brown ground beef, 85% lean, at nearly brown, add garlic, onion and approximately 2 TBS of extra virgin olive oil. When beef done, set aside. Add approximately 30 small cherry tomatoes to pot with heated 1/4 cup olive oil. Add two tsp of salt, and 4-5 tsp of ground pepper. Sautee' tomatoes for 10 to 15 min. Add basil and/or Italian seasoning to taste then add to food processor or blender. Combine until of same consistency. Add tomato mixture to browned and flavored beef. Add pepper to taste. Spaghetti noodles should be cooked al dente in olive oil and salt. Man, the best, best, randomly thrown together sauce in the world!!!!!

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I just got my computer!!!!! I still can't figure out how to load the power point system still, however, I'll figure it out, the rest is already loaded!!! Anyway, I'm sittin in my little appartment with boxes all around, clothes to send to the salvation army, books, books, books that I'm having a heart ache about which to leave and which to keep:( I love my books, and I LOVE THIS COMPUTER!!!!! So I'm online now FOREVER!!! Hope to hear from you guys tonight!!!

waiting and waiting and waiting

well, I've been waiting almost two weeks to get my new computer so I can get back to posting, but it's still not here..or rather, it's here in Memphis, but not here at the appartment. I've tracked it and it's just sitting, somewhere in this stupid city. Well, hopefully it'll get here tomorrow because.....I got a job interview! In New York! On Monday! Ahhhhhhhh! It all happened so fast! I've been packing up my appartment to leave for Montana on Monday, then I get a call that Nature wants to fly me to New York on Sunday for interviews on Monday. Well, guess I have to put off the Montana move a few days. I'm still really looking forward to getting out of Memphis so no matter how the interview goes I'll be leaving next week, maybe Wednesday. It's going to be a longggggg drive, but it's for the best. Save a little rent money, food money, and I won't be going out much since I don't even know where to go there. Plus I need to get my act together and get some writing done, done, done. My excuse thus far is that I'm waiting for my new computer, the old one likes to quit on me mid-sentence. I'm at the appartment building office right now, but looks like I'm getting kicked out of here soon. I only get one hour, and it's nearly up. A lady even came in to check on how long I've been here...oh well. Hope everyone is doing well, I'll quickly check in. I'll probably be in the lab this evening to write up a presentation I have to do for the interview so I'll make some more rounds then. NEW YORK!!! that damn song keeps playing in my head!