Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Looking Forward To The Next Few Weeks

Sunset at Mineral Hill Wildlife Refuge
"Reflections" at Mineral Hill Wildlife Refuge.
The construction and regular fall allergies finally did me in and I stayed home from work to recoup. I feel much better today, better than I have in a few weeks. I have to say it is nice to be able to breathe normally again!
This past weekend Joe and I helped Jeff and Barb with their move... yeah, same as last weekend, but Deer Lodge does have its charm and there is much history to learn there. It looks like one more major trip with the truck and trailer and we will be done. We will do that trip in two weeks as this weekend we will be heading up into the mountains to see Albert.
Our last trip to see Albert was over the first weekend of September. The weather was nice, but a little rainy... then on Sept. 1st we woke up to about 5 inches of snow! It was pretty much gone by late afternoon when we headed back to civilization. Exactly one month later, and the weather this week has been in the low 80's and high 70's and will continue for the next few days...BUT Albert just e-mailed a warning that snow may be coming in. He is blaming us and I almost think he has a right to! If it does snow this Saturday, that will be the third time that Joe and I "brought" a snow storm in with us.
Albert's place is on the west side (barely) of the Continental Divide on an 1894 mining road. He lives "off the grid" meaning he is not connected to any power company. He is nearly self-sufficient, by producing his own electricity with a water generator and a wind generator. He utilizes a spring that flows year round for water, and cuts nearby trees for heat. His cabin is a cozy two story modern log home with a large sun room that encompasses the entire back side of the house. Even though he lives off the grid, he still enjoys many of the creature comforts many of us have come to take for granted. He has satellite TV to veg in front of, and satellite internet to stay in touch with all his friends and family. The wood stove keeps the entire house toasty while creating a relaxing, almost sleepy, atmosphere reminiscent of years gone by. At the other side of the cabin is a fully modern kitchen with a butcher block style two person bar. Zach (his dog) and Zoey (his cat) complete his tiny mountain family.
I am looking forward to spending a weekend hidden away in the mountains, coupled with the excellent company of very good friends, and a glass or two of distilled spirits. The conversation is always engaging and lively. The three of us (me, Albert, and Joe) all come from different backgrounds so there is always a new view on a subject, or a new story to share.
It looks like I will be able to head up to Kalispell in three weeks to see Heather and her family. I haven't seen Lucas since July and I don't want him to forget me! At a year and a half, I'm sure he will be a handful. Its a fun age, and I don't want to miss it. That weekend is also my mothers 65th birthday, and it is her wish for all of us to get together. It was her idea that we all meet for a birthday dinner in Kalispell. I only hope dad behaves himself with Harry (my ex-husband) and Joe behaves himself with Mike (Heathers husband). Ya' Gotta Love Family! hahaha

Friday, September 26, 2008

Allergic to construction?

How are we supposed to get customers when this is where they park?! 9th Street in front of Action Wireless, Sept. 2008.
Business has been slow these past few weeks, and from the look of the road in front of the store, will continue to be slow for a while longer. The city worker my co-worker Joe spoke to said "Mid-October, sometime." Nice! Now, being slow isn't the real problem because we do have things we can do, like cleaning the store, office, and work room; doing research on the newest cell phones; looking on e-bay for great bargains; re-furbishing some of the not-so-great-looking phones we do have.
The big problem is ever since the city began this project, my health has been on a steady decline. Do you think this unearthing of 40+ years of allergens may have something to do with me feeling like crap? Today, so far, is the worst. My head is stuffy and my nose runny... yeah, and oxymoron, but I'm telling ya how it is. Breathing is a chore with barely any oxygen able to pass the sinuses, and the heaviness in my lungs. I have become a "mouth breather" for the time being causing dry mouth and sore throat. My body is itchy all over, and a general feeling of malaise has fallen upon me. I feel a good shot of Royal Crown may help clear out the crap draining down my throat, but I am at work and partaking in that sort of thing is frowned upon -- although I don't think Joe would tell the boss man if I did. In Joe's defense, a good "belt" may improve my disposition, too! A few more and I may not even care that I don't feel well! Since the good cure of alcohol is out of the question, I have taken Sudafed for the congestion, an antihistamine for the runny nose and itchiness, and Tylenol for everything else. Now, I feel like a sick zombie. Maybe I'll pretend to be cleaning under my work bench, but in reality take a quick nap....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My commute

I live in Helena, but work 83 miles away in Great Falls. Invariably, people ask "Why don't I just move to Great Falls to avoid the drive?" To answer this simply, because I don't WANT to avoid the drive. There are many people who have an hour commute, but never see scenery like I do. This photo is taken along my drive. I follow the Missouri River most of the way, and when I'm not, I follow the Little Prickly Pear canyon. It's an awesome drive! Not one trip goes by that I don't see some form of wildlife. One day last spring as I was driving past a wheat field outside of Cascade, a baby antelope began to run along beside me. He was about 75 yards in, behind the fence, so I wasn't worried about hitting him. I just slowed a bit so I could watch his form, and laughed out loud with sheer delight. His mama must have called him back in whatever way they do, because he stopped suddenly and ran back to the herd.
I have seen foxes, deer, blue herons, eagles and ospreys. Flocks of geese and swans fly overhead during the seasonal migrations. I even spy the occasional human waist deep in the river waters, or floating along with the current in various shaped boats.
No, I don't want to give up this little communion with Mother Nature. I don't think of my drive as a commute either... more of a daily mini-vacation. This is how I prepare for the day, then how I unwind after work. What do YOU do?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Some of my Photos

Bridge to nowhere at the Boulder Hot Springs Resort, Boulder, MT.
Old barn with the Elkhorn Mountains in background. Boulder, MT
Dandelion Fuzz. Taken at the Helena holding reservoir, Helena, MT

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Begining!

Running Eagle Falls, Glacier National Park

Montana is known as the Big Sky Country, the Treasure State, Land where the deer and the antelope play, and yes, we do have roaming buffalo, too! I have lived in Montana for most of my life and never plan to live anywhere else, if I can help it. I do love to travel, but Montana will always be home. I have lived all over the western half, in the towns of Bozeman, Helena, Great Falls, Kalispell, and even a brief jaunt in Butte. Each place has its own charm, unique people, and culture. My favorite towns were Bozeman and Kalispell, because they are the most scenic. As an amateur photographer, the nearby mountains, lakes, and waterfalls of both of these towns gave me inspiration. Kalispell is also very close to my favorite place in the entire state... Glacier National Park. The towering mountains capped with snow and clouds; the streams and rivers that thunder through the valleys in the spring becoming mere trickles or burbling brooks by September's end; the singing birds, feeding deer, or occasional bear that appear along Going To The Sun Highway; the miles and miles of trails that transport you to another reality.... all this and more are the reasons I love Glacier Park. Although many people believe Glacier is a summertime park, I have been inside its borders at least once during each of the 12 months. The same place you see in May looks different in September or December. The lakes change colors, different flowers bloom throughout the summer, and the snow brings an ethereal peace that I haven't found matched anywhere else. If I could live in or very near Glacier Park I would be a very happy and blessed soul.