Monday, July 27, 2009

The Wonders of the Blog-O-Sphere

Like many other folks out there, I follow quite a few blogs.
Some of the owners write daily, or near daily.
Some once a month, or less.
Most are like me, writing only when they have something to say or share, which may be daily or only once a week.
Of course, there are a few that are written by people that I do know on a close personal level and had been friends with long before that first photograph and intro words were written and posted onto this blog. The majority, though, are the writings of strangers.

They all have a unique story to tell. Each post gives me a tiny insight into the writer, and consequently, a peek into their lives. The happiness or the challenges they face. Anger and sadness that must be vented before acceptance or forgiveness can ease their minds. I follow along, a voyeur of sorts I suppose, crying or cheering them on. I laugh when they share something funny. I add a comment or two if inspired. I've noticed I only follow the blogs of the people who I think I would have befriended had I the chance to meet them face to face. Regular people, but with something to share. People who type words onto a computer screen not knowing who will come across them and find something useful. Real people sharing real stories. I don't follow any that are blatantly political, pushy on the religion, or trying to sell me something. Yes, a couple have an agenda, but they also have a heart and a soul. I like to think of these fellow writers as friends, or at least acquaintances, that I check in with periodically. Many also have added me to their reading lists, and we often comment back and forth giving advice, encouragement, or a laugh when needed.

Let me tell you a little about them. (I am not going to put links here. You know you can find them on my profile page, or by clicking on their photo in the right hand sidebar.) I will start with the two young men I have just stumbled upon. Chris and Todd. Two good looking young men (well, they ARE younger than me!) who decided to travel around the U.S. by hitch hiking, leaving all their possessions behind except what they could carry on their backs. They both had their reasons, and their ideologies were similar, so they decided to travel together this summer. As of the latest postings, there has been a bit of a fallout and each has gone their own way for now. I can't wait to read more of the past postings and look at more of their photos. I have just started following them, so I don't have the whole story, BUT they both write intelligent thought provoking posts. I have figured out they both love nature and people watching. Ahhh... I think I will enjoy these two bloggers immensely! I feel I have picked up a new novel and can't wait to dive into their travel stories.

Keeping with the Adventurous types-- Roz Savage is a woman who is rowing solo across the Pacific. She posts daily as long as she has a signal on her satellite phone. Sure, she does have an environmental platform, but most of her writings are about her voyage. Very interesting, and I get a daily glimpse of the ocean, which I haven't seen in much too long!

Suleo is a bit on the outside of my "comfort level". He is a college graduate who chose to live without money, and has done so for a number of years. He lives in a cave, getting all his possessions from charity or dumpster diving. Yeah, food too. He will not accept money. This is a religious thing for him. His writing is brainy and insightful, even if it does have quite a bit of religious fervor thrown in. I read for his experiences; and the people in his life are colorful. He gives his readers a chance to see life from the homeless persons point of view. His last post pretty much summed things up by saying most of Americans are rude, selfish, S.O.B's (although he took five paragraphs to say it!).

Jenna is a young (mid-20's) gal who decided the homestead life is her calling. She works for corporate America during the day; while raising chickens, sheep, a goat, angora rabbits, two pack / sled dogs, and bees the rest of the time. She also has successful gardens and taught herself to bake, knit, sew, and play the fiddle. I "found" her after reading her first (so far, only) book Made From Scratch where she posted her blog address near the end. She is vivacious and loves everything life can give her. I have never heard anyone talk of chicken shit and sheep manure with such humor! She is single, but she seems to have picked up a number of suitable male followers. Hopefully one will eventually come along that sweeps her off her feet.

Pepe' is a fellow Montanan who's passion is climbing mountains. Another blog I live vicariously through! When he isn't climbing, he posts about sports and anti-smoking legislation. Occasionally he will throw in a movie review, too. Some day I hope he and I will meet, if just to say we did. Hell, he is only a few hours away and I do go to Missoula fairly often. I'll be sure to let you know if we do!

Sandra is a stay at home mom of two, a wife to an Air Force man, awesome cook, and story teller. She came to the U.S. from South Africa, after growing up in Portugal. Her writing is fresh and from the heart. I wish she were my neighbor!

Rock Chef is just a joy to read! He lives in Cantebury, Kent; UK. He and his wife are very much in love, and he shares their banter from time to time. He also plays guitar (has posted a few vid's) and has a bit of a whacked out sense of humor. Not many postings go by where I am not laughing out loud. Really! I look forward to his posts more than all the others. The comments section of his posts are a Do Not Miss item, too. He is truly One in a Million.

Only Half Nuts, or OHN as her readers have dubbed her, is the mother of three sons- two of whom are out of the nest and on their own. Her and I have shared many of the same "what should I do about ____" quandaries. She is the wife of a police man who last year had a cancer scare. That is when I first started to read. All is good now, but I enjoyed her writing style so much I just kept following. She is straight forward and pulls no punches. We'd get along great, I think. I wish she were my OTHER neighbor!

Joe and Albert are talked about often in my own writing, but Joe's photos are much better than mine! Albert was a lucky find at a writers conference and I am blessed to have become his friend. His blog is about his daily life living off the grid. He is living my dream!

Andrea (who I have met once, but is a good Facebook friend) writes about geocaching and life in Great Falls.

AND, all the others. A mixture of my other interests. Garden advice, living on a budget, recipes, movie or restaurant reviews, and writing. Some have personal anecdotes and family life intertwined. I read about life in Alaska and many of the lower states, as well as three Providences of Canada.

I thank everyone who has shared a bit of themselves, whether they know I was there or not.
I also thank everyone who has happened by my little piece of the Blog-O-Sphere. Over 2000 visits so far! I hope those visitors had a pleasant experience.
I especially thank all my regular visitors who stop by often, and my cyber friends who comment. You are the ones that let me know at least SOME of my posts are being read!

Now that you made it through all of THAT, my next post will be a lighthearted update on the garden and confessions of my murderous behavior.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

In the words of a fellow Blogger

I have spent the better part of this evening perusing some other blogs. Jenna at Cold Antler Farm (one of the blogs I follow daily- and have for many months) put out a request for her followers to speak up and say "Hello". The last time I looked, she had something like 134 comments! Woo Hoo! Way to go, Jenna!
Most of the posters wrote a little about themselves, and I decided to check out a few that sounded interesting. I saw photos of farm animals, gardens, flowers, pets, people, handicrafts, and landscapes. Most posts were of daily life and observations.
One post actually gave me pause.
I stopped.
Re-read it, slower this time. WOW! Talk about hitting home. I decided I needed to share some of it here.

The following is the words of FruGal, from her blog Living Well and Living Cheaply:
... a list of life experiences people had that made them realize how poor they were. There are some things I can directly relate to, and some things I could add to the list like the time I was 5 days away from a paycheck with 5 dollars to feed myself and deciding how to make one package of raman stretch for a full day, then receiving a letter with a couple of $20 bills in it from a friend with the simple command, “Please buy some food to eat,” and spending an hour crying before I could pull myself together enough to go get real food for the first time in a couple weeks. I have obsessively recounted a handful of change for fear that I miscalculated what the tax would be on an item worth less than a dollar knowing if I was short a penny I’d have to suffer the embarrassment of putting the item back. Real poverty isn’t just about how much money you don’t have, it’s about a lack of dignity. It’s not just stressful, it’s humiliating, degrading, and poison to the soul. When you’re in a situation where you’re trying to decide between paying the cable bill and paying the cell phone bill, you’re not as poor as someone trying to decide between basic needs like food or shelter.
I’ve brushed up against poverty a couple of times in my life, but never stayed there for long. When people criticize my frugal lifestyle now and say I shouldn’t deprive myself of things like take-out teriyaki or clothes that weren’t worn by anyone else but me, I just have to shake my head. What I’m doing is a choice and as long as I’m not making that choice between one basic need or another I’m not really poor. ....... Living in a first-world country as a middle class citizen, people think they’re poor when they can’t afford luxuries. In the same country there are people who die of curable diseases because they can’t afford treatment. When someone says to me they’re really upset that they had to cancel remodeling their kitchen due to the economy and I’m wondering how long it’ll be before the pain gets so bad I can’t work and whether I’ll be able to the afford the surgery I need by then, it makes me think that this country is sadly lacking in clarity. ...... I pay more in a day for the handful of pills I take than for the food I eat. One doctor’s visit is a months worth of groceries and for it I get 10 minutes of face time with a doctor who asks me to schedule a follow-up appointment right after I told them I don’t have health insurance. I really hope someone out there with a loud enough voice has the guts to stand up and point out how ridiculous it is for doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies to continue to pad their pockets with over priced goods and services while people are dying of things we cured 50 years ago.

She put into words so many of the things I have been thinking about lately, but unable to put into a tangible sentence. I did remove some political and some personal sentences, but for the most part, this was her post.
It is very personal to me, after being to the same point of "being poor" she relates to, AND the situation with doctors and medications. I never had a friend send me cash, but I have had a local church send a couple to my home when my kids were very small bearing Christmas gifts for our family. I remember getting kitchen and bath towels, my ex received a robe and a small tool set, but the girls? They received many, many packages of handmade doll furniture, store bought dolls, stuffed toys, bedding, and craft sets. A large food basket with everything needed for a Christmas brunch and dinner was left as well. I never had asked for this. I don't know who told them that our holiday was limited to one gift for each of the girls, nothing for the two of us adults. These folks weren't even of my religious choice! I cried that night, and again on Christmas when the packages were opened and we saw what was so freely given to us strangers. Someday I will be able to repay that gift to another young, needy family.
Before I can do that, though, I have to struggle through the broken U.S. healthcare system and try to get my body back into a semblance of working order... without health insurance.
Wish me luck!
Having seen and experienced "poor", I learned how to live in a very simple way. Sure I buy most of my clothing second hand, and watch the grocery ads. I don't think going out to the movies is worth the money, but do like the experience once in a while. I save and budget for anything "extra". I don't make a ton of money, but I am not in need of any of the basics either. I have learned to live frugally out of neccessity long before it was the "in thing". I have removed most of the stress out of my life, and I am able to say I am happy and content with the way my life has become.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Estrogen Moment (Guys, you should sit this one out!)


What the Hell? Is this a joke that God placed on all women just to get back at us for tempting Adam with that apple Oh So Long Ago? Talk about holding a grudge!

We all hear about the things "The Change" may make our bodies do. Things like hot flashes, mood swings, crying jags. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! Those I can deal with. The thing that is really annoying me is being off the regular cycle of events. Aw, c'mon, you know what I mean.... Aunt Flo, The Monthly Gift (hahahaha!), my little visitor, on the rag, my period. Why does everyone beat around the bush instead of just calling it what it is-- menstruating? ( Pun was NOT intended, but so funny I have to leave it in!)

I was never a strict 21 or 28 day gal; but I knew it would start within a certain three day time frame, and always right when I woke. Now, I never know when or where my cycle will start. Nor do I know if it will be light on day one like it had for nearly 30 years, or if I will be running to the toilet every hour and a half. Is it going to last three days or seven, or my standard five?

I remember this is how it all began. Not sure when IT would happen each month. It sucked then, and it sucks now.

I don't think it should be this way. I think the female system should run regular, then stop, Just like that. One month Aunt Flo visits, then she is gone forever. Not this little game of "Surprise! I know it has only been 19 days, but I thought I would drop in a bit early! And you thought it was safe to wear your new undies!"
Or, just as bad-- the waiting game of "OK, body, it has been 30 days... I've been wearing liners for the last 10, dammit. Just show up so we can get this over with, already!"

I'm ready for it all to be done with. Sure, passing through menopause is that first stage to "getting old",a rite of passage that turns us middle aged women into old ladies.... but for Me? I am just looking forward to the freedom.
Freedom of not spending money on Kotex, or Tampex, or Stayfree.
Freedom to wear white or light colors whenever I feel like it.
Freedom to know my new pair of expensive panties are not going to be ruined.
Freedom to sleep soundly on my new 1000 count linen sheets (not that I have them, but should I ever have the desire to go buy some....!)
Freedom from the ups and downs of PMS.

Well, you get the idea.

Sooooo, if any of you men DID read this, and I seem a bit cranky these past few months, now you know why. I don't know how long this will be gong on, so I guess you all should just get used to for the time being! Don't even think of patting me on the back and telling me you understand.... there is no way in Hell that you do (unless you had a sex change).
Just smile and pretend nothing is wrong.
I'll know you are pretending, but I won't have to kill you and bury you out back in the field! *evil grin*

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Minor Blogging Milestone!

This is my 100th post! Yea Me! I think I will go treat myself to something sweet and full of calories! OK, it doesn't take much to give me an excuse to treat myself. Just getting up in the morning can be reason enough. LOL

This is going to be a "Catch Up" post. It will be a long one, so I made a batch of Iced Tea and pulled some of my home made cinnamon rolls out of the freezer! Make yourself at home, and lets chat for a bit.

The last we really talked, I was in the middle of telling you about my trip to Newport, WA. In order to keep the story shorter, I will tell it mostly with photos.
Saturday, June 27th, dawned bright and sunny. We had been told there was to be a parade to coincide with the local rodeo and it would be passing right in front of the motel we stayed at. Harry (the ex-husband) and I were up much earlier than "the kids", so we went to a local cafe' for a very good breakfast. By the time we finished eating and returned to the motel, Heather was up and about to leave on a coffee run. I gave her a few bucks and my order... a double shot Almond Mocha Latte'. Yummm!

The parade was to start at 11am, but like most small town productions, it really didn't get started until about noon. The motel was nice enough to allow us a late check out since the road in front of their place was closed anyway. Here is the family just relaxing while waiting for the parade to begin:

Talia, Lucas, (my grandkids); Harry (the ex), Heather (my oldest daughter), and Mike (My son in law).

Talia and Lucas mugging for the camera!

The parade began, and it was like any other small town America parade! There were school bands, civic groups, majorettes, classic cars, the Shriner's:

Shriner giving "High Fives" to all the kids!

There were many floats of all shapes and sizes, most of which had participants throwing candy to the kids lining the streets:

Adding to the candy spoils! I'm glad I wasn't going to have the kids in MY car for hours on end after this much sugar!

There were fire trucks with sirens blaring, police cars of all shapes and sizes, even inmates from the local jail who volunteered to follow the horses picking up poop! Smokey The Bear made an appearance, too! He was shaking the hands of all the kids... but Lucas was afraid of him!

After the parade, we went to Don and Murial's home for another visit before we all headed out in different directions. Talia, Lucas, and Heather took advantage of the cool river water while playing with Don and Murial's dog. Lucas thought it was the funniest thing when the dog would bring back every stick he threw into the river. There is no sound more precious than a small child's innocent laughter!
When he tired of the water, Lucas discovered how much fun sand can be:

I was the first to leave, right about 3pm Pacific time. I wanted to take my time and see the sights. Harry is all about getting to the destination as soon as possible, so over the years we had been married we had never stopped along the way. Heather, Mike, and the kids were the next to leave. They were meeting a good friend in Coeur d'Alene, ID; and staying with him that evening. Harry was just heading back to his home in Kalispell, so he hung around the longest.

Less than 10 miles from Don's home, I made my first touristy stop here:

The waterfalls have been dammed creating a source of electricity for the area. With the dam to my back, I took this photo of a railroad trestle crossing the river:It was also where I first noticed a large amount of wild daisies blooming:

I drove across the Idaho panhandle, once again passing through the picturesque cities of Sandpoint and Bonner's Ferry. I will be back to explore these towns! Not far from Bonner's Ferry I stopped to read this sign (click on the image to enlarge it enough to read): OK, so aparently you CAN'T expand. I guess if you move the photos after importing them you loose that feature. In order to keep that feature, you have to import all photos, then type around them.(Thanks Albert for letting me know they weren't working).

... after crossing this bridge:

Before I knew it, I was back in Montana! Instead of going back to Kalispell, I was heading home to Helena. I needed to head south, and the turn off I took was just on the other side of Troy.

After passing through the tiny town of Troy, MT; I was looking for my turn. Right at the junction was this welcome sight:

Yep! A Rest Area! This was one of the nicer ones I have seen. It is surrounded by forested land, but the grounds are park-like and landscaped beautifully. I "did my business", ate a snack from my cooler, and walked around stretching the legs for awhile.

Highway 56, the road I was on, took me through forests, crossed many tiny streams, and skirted Bull Lake. It was a beautiful drive! I didn't stop for photos, but just took in all in and saved the scenes in a special place in my head. On the map I had seen a marker for Ross Creek Cedar Trail. I was intrigued, so planned a stop there. It was getting to be late in the afternoon (early evening), so I also planned to eat my supper there. Once I actually got there, the sun was hidden and evening was darkening quickly, as it happens deep in the forest. I chose to hike the short trail first, then eat afterwards.

The trailhead sign.

As soon as I left my vehicle, I knew this was not going to be a "normal" Montana hike. The ground was fairly swampy except in the parking area, picnic areas, and a few parts of the trail. The trail was actually elevated in many places in order to keep human impact to a minimum. I made my hike quickly, stopping only to read the information signs along the trail. The mosquitoes were out in droves! I think I donated two pints of blood to the tiny vampires and I was only out of the car for about half an hour! Here are a few pics of the trail:

The Start.

Ross Creek.

Into the deep, dark forest!

I ate a small supper of a tuna sandwich, strawberries, cheese crackers, and a soda. For dessert I ate a tiny bag (one of those 100 calorie packs) of chocolate cookies. I didn't even try to eat at one of the picnic tables, opting instead to eat in my car in order to keep what little blood I had left!
Once I left the narrow valley and heavy cedar forest, I was once again in sunlight! The trailhead was on a tiny forest service road about 5 miles from the highway. On my way back to the highway I was greeted by this vista:

At the point where the forest service road met the highway, there was a small open area. The entire place was covered with wildflowers:

A few miles down the Highway, I stopped to read some informative signs and take in the view of the setting sun over the Cabinet Mountains:

Information sign #1

Information sign #2.

The Cabinet Mountains and Bull River Basin.

A little farther down the road, I stopped to stretch at this roadside wildflower filled meadow:

At the junction of Highway 56 and Highway 200 was this little business. It had just closed. It looks fun, so my next trip through I'll make plans to be here when it is open. The sign says "Unique birdhouses and Made in Montana gifts".

I drove along highway 200, thoroughly enjoying the sights of the Clark Fork River valley. I passed Noxin Reservoir and drove through a number of quaint small towns. As the evening light was fading past the point of picture taking, I stopped at a fishing access near Thompson Falls to pee and stretch. There is a very touching memorial there:

Memorial and old park bench.

Plaque and poem on the memorial stone. Very sweet!

I took one last look up the Clark Fork River:

And, down the Clark Fork River:

before heading back on my way. It was about 9pm by now. The evening light lasted for about another hour and I really enjoyed watching the sunset colors on the river as I continued to follow it. I got to Saint Regis and the junction with the Interstate about 11pm, arriving in Missoula about midnight. I had thought I would travel into Missoula and stay the night there, but the night was mild, the moon bright and my spirits were high. I decided to just gas up, drink some coffee and drive the rest of the way home. Driving at night doesn't bother me. Sometimes I actually prefer it as there isn't as much traffic to deal with! I got home without incident, pulling into my driveway about 2:15am. It had been a great day!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Yep. I'm having one of THOSE nights! Just took some pain killers. . . Hopefully sleep will come soon.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Playing tag OR A writing exercise, Either way, it's fun!

I was just tagged by Jamie Debree at The Variety Pages blog. The best tool a writer can have is the ability to lie, to create a great story that is totally un-true. Isn't that what the entire Fiction section of the book store is full of? This meme looked like it would be really fun!

‘Sometimes you can learn more about a person by what they don’t tell you. Sometimes you can learn a lot from the things they just make up. If you are tagged with this Meme, lie to me. Then tag 7 other folks (one for each deadly sin) and hope they can lie.’

Pride: What is your biggest contribution to the world? Madonna learned her 1980's style of dress from ME. Yep, I was the one who told her that fingerless gloves, stirrup pants worn under a fluffy mini-skirt, old Converse tennies, and tee-shirts torn to Hell would look AWESOME together. Was I right, or was I right??

Envy: What do your co-workers wish they had which is yours? Oh, I just know Joe (my only co-worker) just longs for my 8 year old Compaq Armads E500 laptop. The things he could do with it.....!

Gluttony: What did you eat last night? An entire Australian Lobster drenched in butter, and a HUGE fillet Mignon steak, covered with sauteed mushrooms. For dessert, I had a piece of Lemon Drop cheesecake. Of course, an entire bottle of wine to wash it all down.

Lust: What really lights your fire? Men who have long stringy, greasy hair and tattoos ALL Over their bodies! Ya Know, the asshole types who like to push you around. They really know how to get their gal to do whatever they want. Mmmmm.... I'd love to get together with one of those "Bad Boy" types! Just thinking of them make me all quivery inside.

Anger: What is the last thing that really pissed you off? When I woke up and the sun was shining. What the hell? Why can't it be rainy all the time? Rainy and cold. I think I am moving to Seattle or England. Sun! It just RUINED my day!

Greed: Name something you keep from others. Everything! I refuse to share anything. If I have it, I'll be G*dd**ned if I'll even let you borrow it. I worked hard for my stuff... so NO, you cannot use it!!

Sloth: What’s the laziest thing you’ve ever done? Stayed in my jammies for three days in a row watching movies and eating junk food. No cleaning, no shower, just DVD's, microwave popcorn, ice cream, sodas, and cold cereal! I never even left the house to go into the yard... YAWN! I think I will go take a nap now......

I hereby tag MontanaScarecrow, MountainMan, OHN, Pepe, CRC (aka Hot Stuff), Colorado Girl, and Zen Panda. Of course, anyone else can participate if they want to! Please leave a note in the comments section if you post to your own blog, or you can just put your answers into the comments section.

The best laid plans....

I was planning on writing part two of my Washington trip, and adding some more photos last night, but Mother Nature had another idea for me.
We have been having some pretty severe weather passing through the Helena area and last night was no exception.
Like many of natures shows, this one was beautiful! The sun was setting through the rain storm making the west glow orange with the occasional lightning strike for punctuation. As the storm quickly moved to the east my home was in it's path, causing some power flickers, so I shut down all the electronic stuff. I did look out the window and saw a full double rainbow, but the rain was coming down too hard to take my digital camera (or cell phone) outside. I love rain storms so I stood at my front door and watched.
The storm moved on, the clouds reflecting the sunset, which made them a brilliant mixture of pinks and oranges.
As the sun set, and the weather cleared, I once again turned on the home computer to write a post.... then I heard sirens in the distance. One, no big deal. Two, must have been an accident. But by the time I registered there were four or five emergency vehicles I just had to look! I could see some smoke rising from a forested hill about four miles from my house and a stream of flashing red lights heading towards it. One of those lightning strikes had started a fire.
With Brooke (my dog) "singing" along with the sirens, and the curiosity that is human nature... I abandoned the blog post and sat on my porch watching until it was full dark.
I will finish "part 2", and also "What I did on the 4th" this weekend. I promise! I have tons of photos to share!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Playing Catch-up!

I promised to write about my short trip to Newport, Washington that I took two weekends ago, so here I am fulfilling that promise.

Sometime near the middle of May I was asked to attend a friends surprise 60th birthday party. This is a friend that I haven't seen in fifteen years (or more!). I was happy to be invited and Joe, my boss, allowed me to take the day off. As the day approached, I became more and more apprehensive about attending. I didn't know anyone that was attending except my own family and the birthday boy and his wife.
When I start to feel this way, many times I chicken out and make some lame excuse as to why I suddenly cannot attend. I have to admit, I was very close to that! But, I did want to see Don and his wife so I packed up the Rav-4 and had an adventure!

I worked a full day on Thursday, then headed north from Great Falls to Kalispell. I had packed a cooler with easy meals so I wouldn't have to eat fast food and I had plenty of cold drinks, too, so I didn't have to stop at the convenience stores. I am not used to eating my supper until about 8pm, so I didn't eat before leaving town at 6pm. By the time I was passing through the tiny town of Valier, I was feeling a little hungry, so I stopped at a picnic area next to Lake Francis. Here is where I ate:
After eating a quick meal consisting of some crackers, cheese, ham, and tuna salad... followed by a dessert of fresh strawberries (thanks, Albert!), I got back on the highway. The drive from Great Falls to Kalispell takes you from the Plains of Central Montana, along the Rocky Mountain Front, and finally into the heart of the Rocky Mountains. About 50 miles of the trip you are in the Blackfoot Indian Reservation. At each boundary line on the major highways the Indians have placed sculptures like these:
This one is at East Glacier, where I left the Reservation. I forgot to take a photo of the sculptures when I entered the Reservation just out of Valier while the sun was still up! Silly me! It was about 9:30pm when I stopped here, and the sun was behind the mountains casting everything in early evening shadows. These sculptures are life sized warriors mounted on horses. They are made completely out of old car parts and the three I have seen are all different! Oh yeah, for all you fellow Geocachers... there is a cache hidden here, too!
After leaving the Blackfoot Reservation and passing through the tiny tourist trap town of East Glacier, the highway enters the mountains. The Great Bear wilderness is to the left, while the towering peaks of Glacier National Park flank the right. Although the light was not good enough for photos, I could see the scenery quite well as I travelled along. The beargrass was in bloom everywhere! I also stopped at a place called Goat Lick and watched mountain goat nannys and kids playing on a steep hillside. The mountain goats like this particular place because salts and minerals seep out of the rocks here.
I finished the drive to Kalispell without another stop, arriving at my daughters home at about 11:15pm. She had already gone to bed, but had left blankets and a pillow for me on the couch. I don't care what anyone says... I personally think a couch at a loved one's home is far better than an impersonal hotel room! I settled in, and a few moments later I was befriended by one of the cats, Socks, who decided I needed company. He slept on my hip, or behind my legs all night. It has been years since I owned a cat, so I thoroughly enjoyed his company.
Friday dawned bright and early. I was awake for about half an hour before Heather and the grandkids, so I quietly enjoyed the morning. I had thought we were going to be leaving Kalispell for Newport, WA fairly early... only to find out my Mike ( my SIL) didn't get off of work until 10am, then they had a few errands to run before leaving town. That meant we weren't going to be on the road until about noon or so. After showering, I had nothing to do so I accompanied my ex-husband on a few errands. He and I had an early lunch at a local taco joint (Taco John's) before I left him to finish his packing while I filled my gas tank and washed the previous nights bugs off the car. Had I known we weren't leaving until noon, I could have left Great Falls early Friday morning instead of driving so late at night. *sigh!* Kids! Oh well...
I had told everyone that I was stopping at Kootenai Falls just outside the town of Libby, no matter what time we left. Everyone else thought that was a great idea, so we planned to all meet there. By everyone, I mean Heather, Mike, and their kids in one car, Harry (my ex) in his car, and me in mine. We were all heading different directions on Saturday after the party, so sharing rides was out of the question. Besides, I didn't want to ride with Harry because although we get along OK, that many hours in a small space, the fact he smokes and I don't, and the crazy way he drives would have combined to push me over the proverbial edge and I would have had to strangle him.
U.S. Highway 2 from Kalispell to Newport, WA is a beautiful drive. Had I been on my own and not part of a caravan, I would have stopped and taken many photos. The only stop we made was at the waterfalls. The photo does not do them justice!
Not too far from the Kootenai Falls is a suspension foot bridge across the river. Harry and I hiked to it since we knew Heather and Mike were at least half an hour behind us leaving Kalispell. They had stopped at McDonald's Drive-Thru for their lunch on the way out of town. The bridge was awesome! I would have loved to have been able to spend more time in the area exploring, so I know I will return! Here are a couple of photos of the bridge:
See the people? I don't know who they are, but I wanted them in the photo to show scale. It's a pretty wide river! Here is one from the "far side" looking back the way I had just came. I snapped the photo, then went back across and hiked the half mile back to the parking lot.
I am glad I insisted on stopping at the falls. It is a beautiful place that I will return to. Next time I will be sure to have more time. I have a goal of taking better pictures of the falls themselves.
We didn't stop the rest of the trip, driving through Libby, MT; then across the Idaho panhandle through Bonner's Ferry, ID; and Sandpoint, ID. Bonner's Ferry and Sandpoint are beautiful towns and appear to be rich in history. I will return there, too!
The state line between Idaho and Washington runs through the middle of what looks like one town, but the Idaho side is named Old Town, while the Washington side is Newport. We had arrived at our destination!
It was 4:15pm Pacific time, and Don's surprise party was to be at 5pm. We checked into our hotel rooms and headed to the restaurant / bar where everyone was to gather before Don showed up. He thought he was meeting his wife and two grown boys for a quiet dinner. His friends and family were so good at keeping the secret that he was truly surprised. His wife had even managed to fly his sister and brother in from California, picking them up from the airport only hours before the party!
The party went well, but I did end up sitting on the sidelines the majority of the evening. I wasn't alone, though. Mike, my SIL, didn't know anyone either, so we drank our bar drinks and "people watched" together. Heather was mingling with some of the guests she had met after Harry and I had divorced while her kids had found other kids to play with. After Heather said her hello's, she joined us, with Harry coming and going as he saw old friends from his past.
I was thankful the party began breaking up early, and was pretty much over by 8:30. Heather and Mike had found out about a carnival that was in town, so they took the kids to that while Harry and I drove out to Don's home to spend some more time with them. I had never been to this house, so I was given "The Tour". Their home is right on the banks of the Pend Oreille River (pronounced Ponderay). While out on the boat dock, I took a photo of the last rays of the evenings sunset:

We visited with Don and his family until about 11:30pm, then returned to the motel. Heather and Mike were just returning also, so after the kids were put in bed all the adults fixed their drink of choice and we sat outside enjoying the summer night. It had been a good day.

(To Be Continued: Saturdays Adventure!)

The first food from the garden!

Baby lettuce. There would have been more if the grasshoppers would have left my tiny garden alone.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Storm on the divide

Cool storm cloud over the Helena valley as seen from the Continental Divide friday evening while on the way to Alberts cabin.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy July 4th, American Independance Day!

I have been back from Idaho/Washington for six days now. I have some photos I'd love to share, too, but here is how things went for me:
When I was out of state, for some reason while roaming off of AT&T cellular service, I could not send photos from my cell phone to my blog. Heck, about half the time I couldn't even get a call to go through! I don't know what was up with that, but it was irritating, to say the least.
I have downloaded the photos onto my home computer, and posted some to Facebook, but that is about as far as I got.
I usually use the slow periods at work to write my posts, but this week my lap top here at work is not working very well. I know I really need to just buckle down and buy a new one, and I have been budgeting for one, but that is quite a bit of cash to save up! It takes about five minutes to just log into an Internet page, and about half the time the page crashes the computer. I just don't think this little baby can compete with the newest technology. Her processor is too slow, her hard drive too small.... but she has been good to me and I seem to have a strange attachment to her!
I was planning to write a post about my trip on my home computer, but that hasn't happened, either. Lately, When I get home (Helena) I am just SO tired. I try to not let my physical troubles get in my way, but this week I just couldn't help it. I have been very run down, fatigued, and in a bit of pain. Today (Friday) has been especially bad. I was able to rest up all day on Sunday, so I don't think the road trip is the cause. We have been having some strange weather passing through, so maybe the barometric pressure changes are messing with me... or those pesky hormones? Whatever is the cause, I can't wait till I feel better.
Other items to catch up on:
The garden is doing great... well, it was! On Sunday I had a row of peppers about half an inch tall, and a whole row of onions about 4 inches tall. Last night, as I was watering, I noticed all my peppers are gone, and half the row of onion tops. Also, many of my carrot tops are half gone, my lettuce is looking munched on, as well as the tops of the radishes. A closer look revealed why-- GRASSHOPPERS! UGH! I made a little tent out of nylon mesh to keep the buggers out, and sprayed Sevin onto the plants that were left to kill the 'hoppers that managed to get trapped inside. I did try to get them all out, but some insisted on jumping back into the garden area. Hopefully, all the plants will send up some new leaves. I'd really like to get at least one or two of those pepper plants to grow.
The trip last weekend was awesome! I will post about it in the near future. I promise! If you want a preview of the photos, check them out HERE.
This weekend Joe and I are heading up to our friends mountain home. He lives off the grid high up in the Helena National Forest. If you want to know more about him, check out my followers and click on MountainManAlbert. We are going just to relax, with BBQ'd steaks to celebrate the 4th. Just peace and quiet. No fireworks, no yelling kids, no crowds. Sounds like a perfect holiday weekend.
Hope everyone has a great weekend! Stay safe!