Tuesday, June 26, 2007


This gives a whole new meaning to Moose kisses! Aren't they adorable? Supposedly this is a 12 hour old baby moose and it's mommy in the front yard of someone's house in Anchorage, Alaska. Hopefully they were able to let the pair wander out of town on their own.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Whirlwind Weekend Montana Style

It was a surprise trip to Montana for my best friend Heather. Os and Rachel, Heather's parents, and the Matron of Honor knew. I've had my tickets for months. I told Heather I couldn't afford to come and that I couldn't get the time off work. I actually booked my ticket the week after the date of the shower was agreed upon. I've been stringing her along since late March/early April.

Remember the cute little baby squatting in the wading pool last summer? Well, she's grown up enough to be the flower girl. As the shower on Saturday she found herself a little nook near the fountain while we were all chatting. Isn't she precious? She's practicing wearing dresses...she's not so sure about a dress at the wedding.

Heather is looking beautiful and glowing. That's here standing with her hand on her chin. I've never seen her hair so long. And for a month from her wedding this girl has her shit together and is completely calm. Man, I love her. The groomsmen took the groom to Missoula for his bachelor's party on Friday night so I was able to spend the night at Heather's house and we hung out just like old times (minus the pizza sticks and movies because we went to dinner at the Windbag instead). I'm so happy for her.

The other surprise of the weekend was that our friend's Ben and Laura also came to Helena for the shower. They live in Spokane. I hadn't seen them since the fall I moved to Rochester when I spent a week with them prior to getting the job in Minnesota. I still remember their first date...poor laura got dragged to Star Wars with 6 or 7 other guys. It's a match made in heaven and last night we got to spend a few hours catching up.

Since Heather was in the dark about my arrival I had to make sure I had somewhere to stay. Os would have had to spend weeks cleaning his bathroom for me to stay with him. I've used it in it's "unclean" state but can't say I would do it again. Rachel was kind enough to not only allow me to crash at her place but chauffeur me around too. Last night we had a blast at the Brewhouse until we could hardly keep our eyes open.

We got Os drunk too! Any guesses on how much beer it takes to get the Great and Powerful Os drunk? At least 6 or 7 quaffs full! We bought him one, the bar bought him one or two and he bought a lot more. He kept bringing up his damn tooth though and by the end of the night I was sick of the stories. Also, when Os is "happy" he sometimes like to pick a fight. Likes to push people's buttons.

He pushed mine enough, I had to put him in his place. I think I won :)

After a quick right he straightened up and even remembered to pick me up to take me to the airport this morning. He was early, my departure was a half hour late though. I've made it home though, had a nice nap and an evening with the gals from the church. Now I'm trying to will myself to stay awake at least until midnight so I don't get my sleeping schedule completely messed up. The earliest I went to bed this weekend was 1:30 am (did I mention I passed on Thursday night?!?!)

So to Os, Rachel, Heather, Ben and Laura...thank you for a wonderful weekend at HOME! It was a quick trip but you people mean the world to me and with just a hug can set even the greatest unease to rest. I love you all...we need to do this again!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Home Again HNT

I'm home again. At 10:44 PM MDT, I touched down in Helena, my adopted hometown. There's nothing quite like it. Os, of course, picked me up at the airport, and it took us all of 5 minutes to get to our favorite hangout, The Brewhouse. I had my Miner's Gold. Os had Northern Light. It's a surprise that I'm in town--I'll give more details later. Just suffice it to say--I'm home!

The shirt is green.  Really!

Good to the last drop!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Grandma's Again

This past weekend was the 31st running of Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. My sister and I again converged on my aunt's house and the three of us volunteered to work in the medical tent for the racers. What a weekend to run a marathon!

I don't have any photos yet from my sister but once she shares them I'll post a few. On Friday we sat along the North Shore of Lake Superior watching the lake fog sweep upwards into the sky to form huge storm clouds. As they accumulated and drifted over land we were repeatedly hit with an onslaught of heavy rain. In spite of the rain though the land temp stayed in the high 70's and low 80's making for a sauna of a day. The sweltering heat and downpours were no match for the "Kahl" girls...we successively shopped are way through Duluth and feasted at Olive Garden at the request of the youngest.

Race day dawned bright and early but still sweltering. The temperature was already in the 70's by the start of the race. It was also my little sister's birthday that day so once we wished her a happy 26th we split up to work the day. My aunt and sister worked mile marker 19 and I worked the finish line tent. It was a long, hot race for a lot of runners. Even the elites were slow. My aunt and sister came to the finish tent around 2:30 in the afternoon and things were starting to slow a bit so I said my good-byes and we went to Grandma's Restaurant so the birthday girl could have her Full Monty (A Grandma's special...a three decker house club sandwich dipped in beer batter and deep fat fried). The next task was a LONG nap.

All in all it was a very good weekend. In the midst of the weekend I over half completed a 1000 piece puzzle of my aunt's and I also expanded my book collection. You'd a thunk it!

The best purchase of the stack was Agate: What Good is a Moose? Agate is a children's book written and illustrated by a Duluth authors. The watercolors are beautiful and it's a story about accepting who you are. I'll post pictures of it too.

I picked up two of Thomas Sparrow's books as well, another Northern. I added Suite Francoise since I finished The Things We Remember and enjoyed the WWII theme. My aunt bought me a novel with a big awkward moose on the cover about a small town in Alaska (the title escapes me). I finished listening to The Thirteenth Tale and The Cat Who Dropped A Bombshell too. I am now reading Eye Contact by Cammie McGovern and listened to the first CD of some Faye Kellerman novel. Good thing I have a few long weekends coming up to relax with a good book!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

HNT...they're naked!

Sand volleyball did in my toe nails. Tonight I had to take the remaining nail polish off my Hobbit feet; I just couldn't bear the scratches and rough edges of color. My toe nails haven't been naked in forever! If you look really close, you can see how my toes and nails are stained from the sand too. But man, feeling all sweaty, diving in the sand, winning...it's all worth it!

Happy HNT

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Spring flowers

This morning the neighbors and I got together to clean up our bushes and such. Earlier this month, my immediate neighbor and I both planted some new flowers too. I don't have pictures yet of the one's we did ourselves but thought I would post these. I have a huge white hydragea already and after clearing out a few dying shrubs and a lot of old mulch I had room for two more. They aren't nearly as tall as my white one but they are quickly catching up. The new hydragea are colored "endless summer". The color of the blooms change based on the pH of the soil. So far mine are staying blue.

Two truck loads of dead branches and evergreen trimmings as well as one truck full of bagged grass and leaves all went to the recycling center today. Amazing how fall leaves can accumulate and survive the winter without disintegrating. The evergreen shrubs look much more controlled and less haphazard for sure! It felt good to be outside for a while and it was a beautiful morning.

I've been a bit bummed with our spring weather this year. Everything is beautifully green and the flowers are doing well but that's because we seem to have had endless rains. And the trigger for all the rain...me leaving work! Every day this week that I had a chance to leave early or had noticed a nice day developing it turned to rain, wind or grayness. The only benefit of it all was on Wednesday curling up with a blanket and a good book. I had started reading it on Sunday and only had about 40 pages done. I finished the rest of it that day in the rain and the rain cleared up in time for volleyball.

The rest of my weekends this month are full. I've been running since this morning and the next weekend's to come aren't going to get any better. The weekends will be filled with fun, friends, travel, the river, and a few surprises. I'm looking forward to it all!


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

HNT...Once bitten

Any creative explanations for work for me? I could wear a collared shirt today, Thursday I'm stuck in scrubs. First time since the hair cut I've missed the long locks. But what a good night.

Happy HNT!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Non-fiction five challenge--The Children's Blizzard.

This was the second of five books I am reading for the Non-fiction Five Challenge. It took me nearly all of May to get to my first book and this one took me 2.5 days to finish. The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin occurred on January 12, 1888 and roared across the country from Montana across to Bismarck, ND and then south-southeast across eastern South Dakota, western Minnesota, northeastern Nebraska and ultimately hitting Galveston, TX and dropping temperatures there to the high 30 degree mark.

High 30's would have been a God-send for the poor children of southern Dakota Territory, northern Nebraska and western Minnesota. The morning dawned with temperatures unexpectedly above zero. Parents finally let their kids head off to their one-room schoolhouses that morning and many left their coats and heavy winter wear at home in this welcomed break from the typical subzero January temperatures. By 3:30 pm temperatures had dropped 40 degrees or more with a driving, blinding wind so strong snow and ice were reduced to a powder. By dawn the next day hundreds of people were frozen to death, the majority of them school children overtaken by the storm while trying to find their houses.

At the time the storm blew through the Midwest was in it's infancy. The author often included the modern day references so the reader could locate themselves geographically. What made this so interesting to me is I grew up west of the area and am very familiar with the landscape in the book. I have friends and family who grew up in some of the towns most strongly affected by the blizzard. I also grew up in my own "Dakota Territory" blizzards and know exactly what a "snow day" meant for us...usually the snow came in the night but the wind howled across the treeless flatness relentlessly dropping temps to the 40 below or lower point easily; snow days were actually COLD days. These kids and teachers didn't have the prediction nor the communication instruments that now make planning things so much easier.

I was fascinated reading this story because I could literally picture the landscape in my mind. I could also picture these strong, independent frontiersmen doing what they knew to do...protect the children, the livestock, and only then yourself. Their were heroes, their were fools, their were near misses that cost lives, their were miracles that others survived. The children of the blizzard are still remembered today. A lot of the towns and homesteads so devastated by that storm are their today and are still fighting each season against the harshness of the Dakota weather.