Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A little bit of catch up

There are pictures , stories, and slideshows to come but this is what you get tonight. Yes, Heather and Kevin got married. Yes, my boyfriend made it and I think even liked it a bit here. Yes, Rachel and I survived another Glacier National Park trip. We spent two nights at Avalanche Campground and finished off the trip with huckleberry ice cream at Lake MacDonald. More to come.

There were plenty of Big Horn Sheep at the half way mark from the Hidden Lake Lookout to Logan Pass.

We are going to hike to where? That's right. From the look out to Hidden lake is 1.5 miles but we dropped 750 feet. It was well worth the trek though.

How can you not love these views? I'm proud to be an "Outdoor Chick" and I'm even more proud that I successfully made the hike back up.

It isn't a hike to the Hidden Lake Lookout without a few mountain goats.

Queen of the World!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

HNT...special spa edition

The morning started beautifully then filled quickly with smoke as the fire north of town flared. But by the time we were done with our spa day it was blue big skies again. Joslyn, Heather, and I were joined by Joslyn's mom at the spa and had a wonderful afternoon.

Chocolate coffee, water with lemon, and a great robe...what more can a girl ask for?

The bride was a bit vegged out at this point. And she still looks radiant!

These pretty toes kicked over the bottle of nail polish after she got a full pedi with a flavored scrub and everything. Silly girl!

Joslyn, Heather, and I half way through the afternoon.

I moved out of the pedi room so Joslyn's mom could start soaking. That little settee was wonderful and I was nearly asleep.

A finished product for all of us :)

I couldn't just do a plain pink and white mani...I did pink on pink. Now that this is posted, I'm taking a quick nap before another pre-wedding function.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

HNT...a not so bashful bride

This week I'm posting a picture of my best friend Heather. This young lady is tying the knot this Saturday and she's ready to take on the world. Can't ya tell? Please wish her all the best in the world, she means the world to me and seeing her this calm and collected just days before her big day makes me so proud.

The gals got together for a nice dinner and then hit some of our old stomping grounds (actually made it to the first bar after dinner and that's where we stayed). A good time was had by all, the bride is tired now and we are all home safely.

Have a wonderful HNT!...the wedding chaos has begun!

Always an adventure

There is always an adventure when I head out west. This time the heat was just too much for my car. As I mentioned yesterday, my car overheated as I drove over McDonald Pass on my way to Deer Lodge. I made it over fine but then the car got hot and hot fast. Well, I got the radiator flushed and all seemed well. Last night the light came back on and this morning it was still on. I took it in again, it was low again and they recommended I have a radiator shop take a peek. They took a peek...there's a crack in one of the tank portions of the system at the point where the water is the hottest. I could replace just the tank but it's cheaper to replace the whole system. I'll be spending $380 to fix my sick car.

Last night I did have a wonderful time at York though. Os let me borrow this picture. This young woman is getting married in 3 days! 3 days! The celebration starts tonight with a girls only dinner. Should be a good time for all of us. Gosh, I'm so excited for here! I love ya Heather!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dinner and a View

I eat when I travel. There aren't very many places where I have lived nor visited that I don't have a "favorite" place to eat at. You know...the crab at the Wharf in San Francisco, the Cuban place in Norfolk VA, City Cafe in Rochester. In Montana I always stop at Miles City's 4B's restaurant for a cup of tomato soup. In Helena, York burgers are always on the list. This trip is no exception.

Tonight Rachel, Os, Heather and I made the annual trip. This place is an old cabin moved to it's current spot. They serve burgers. That's it. Burgers. They have a few appetizers too if you want. They have a full bar, keno machines, and a pool table. Dollar bills cover the walls, you've all seen mine from my going away party four years ago in past posts.

Tonight was no exception to my usual. See the grease on the bun. It's delicious. You can see the big slab of onion hiding under the burger. This is the mushroom and swiss; yes, the whole piece of onion when on that baby. Just mayo and a touch of ketchup. Pure heaven. "MY" drink when I have a burger at York is a Caeser. Vodka, Worchestorshire sauce, Pepperchini pepper juice, fresh pepper, and homemade Clamato Juice. It's a "lighter" version of a bloody mary. I have ordered this drink in numerous states and none of them taste right. I even had some place ask me if I wanted a beer chaser to go with it. UH? I had four of them tonight and won't have another one until I come back next year.

Dinner, of course, was with a view. It finally cooled off a bit today (didn't get to 90 degrees here) but you can still see the forest fire haze in the first picture. But talk about "Big Sky". No matter where you look it's amazingly majestic.

Another beautiful Montana sunset in the books on this great trip. The only hitch in my day was a bone dry radiator on my way to Deer Lodge but two nice young gentleman having lunch at the Avon cafe helped me out with a jug of water and a half jug of coolant to get me home. Cars fine and I'm grateful for Jon and Brian today. Another example of why I miss Montana.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sweet Home Montana

1251.7 miles in 2.5 days, 18 hours worth of the new Harry Potter on CD, 4 stops for gas, a few extra stops for potty breaks, 100 degree temps, one dead pheasant, and a pleasant conversation with a hottie South Dakota high patrolman and I’m back in MONTANA! It’s wedding week! My best friend Heather will be saying her “I do’s” this coming Saturday and I’m in town for the next 10 days.

First things first, no spilling the beans on Potter. I have three hours left to listen to. Tomorrow I’m driving over the mountains to meet a friend for lunch so I’ll have at least 1.5 hours more to listen. My boyfriend is flying in on Friday for the wedding and I have to drive up to Great Falls to get him so if I haven’t finished it by then I should be able to. It’s pretty darn good so far but I definitely wouldn’t read it to a small child. This one’s completely dark.

Saturday evening about 70 miles from my parent’s house I got pulled over by a South Dakota Highway Patrolman. He was very polite, asked me if the car I was driving was mine, gave me a verbal warning and sent me on my way. Very nice man. I rolled into Montana then Sunday evening after a night in my old bedroom. The skies are blue without a cloud to be seen and the temps just kept rising as I moved westward. A pleasant 75 degrees when I left Rochester, MN to a dry dusty 107 at lunch time yesterday. Now I’m in Helena and it’s not quite a 100 degrees out but the skies are filled with a haze of forest fire smoke from a fire north of town.

No exciting pictures yet, it was too darn hot to get out and take any a long the way yesterday. I'll see what I can catch maybe for a sunset tonight with the smoke in the air, usually gives some pretty colors. In spite of the heat though I'm grinning from ear to ear and tonight Rachel, Os, Heather, and I are going to devour a grease dripping Howard's Pizza at home with a cold Kokanee.

Monday, July 16, 2007

July Non-Fiction Review

Title and author of book? If You Lived Here, I Would Know Your Name by Heather Lende

What led you to pick up this book? The big awkward MOOSE on the cover of course! My aunt wanted to buy me something when I was in Duluth for Grandma's Marathon so I let her get me this book.

Summarize the plot, but don’t give away the ending!
The author is a local journalist in Haines, Alaska. The book chapters begin with excerpts from her column "Duly Noted". The chapters tell the story of life in this small Alaskan town. The topics of life, death, friends, the outdoors, children, pets...and how they are all related make this a down to earth story sat in a beautiful land.

What did you like most about the book?
Finding my friend Andrew Friske's name in one of the Duly Noted sections! We went to college together. But I also have always had a fascination with Alaska and Heather's story make you feel like you really "know" the locals. The stories she tells about the locals touched my heart and made them seem like friends too.

What did you think of the main character?
There wasn't really a "main" character to this story other than the author who is sharing the stories of the community. Heather's love for this community as an adopted Alaskan stirred the feelings I have as an adopted Montanan. She moved to this community and now is one with it and it's people. Heather embraces life and takes on the challenges of living in remote Alaska as an adventure not a burden.

Share a favorite scene from the book.
As staff of the local newspaper, Heather also writes the obituaries for the paper. She doesn't write just any obituary, she takes the time to tell the story of the individual. I think the most touching story she told was of a friend of her children's who was killed on his fishing boat at a very tender age. Just the way she honored him not only in her obituary but in the chapter in the book was very moving. It captured the spirit of the community.

What about the ending?
The ending made me smile a content smile while silent tears fell down my cheeks. I wanted to hear more stories of this little community and I'm ready to book a flight to go visit.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Rockin' Girl Bloggers

Lime and Kelly nominated me as a "Rockin' Girl Blogger". The honor of recognition from such Rockin' gals themselves made me smile this week. Now it's my turn to give a shout out to a few other Rockin' Girl Bloggers but not before I give a few kudos to these two.

Lime caught my attention first with her love of life but now I value her for her genuine love of people. This woman has a heart purer than gold and a spirit as big as the heavens. From her tie dyed "happy" socks to her beautiful wild locks, this gal is one Rockin' Chick! She has lived life and is kind enough to share it with us all while she continues on new adventures wither Mr. Lime and the Limelettes. Thanks for being a friend!

I found My Utopia through Lime and this is one blog I can judge by it's cover. One quick glance down her sidebar and you know Kelly has a true love of books. She works some long hard hours but finds escape and a solid ground in the books she reads and so openly shares with her readers. Through Kelly I found the Non-Fiction Five Challenge and am expanding my own reading library. She's had some tough times too and was there for her husband's family staying strong herself as well. We continue to swap reviews of books but I think the reason she's so Rockin' is she's a Northern with those quality Northern characters of honesty and loyalty.

Boobs, Injuries, and Dr Pepper is my comic relief. This woman is brutally honest about life and isn't afraid to share even the craziest mishaps with her readers. Her audience is quite large but it hasn't gone to her head. Her satire about work, her kids, and life down South have made me laugh until I cried on days I wanted to cry myself into oblivion. Crystal's stories aren't all peaches and cream but even the ones which tug at your heart strings will still make you laugh. She has recently found the love of her life and I'm happy for her. They have a beautiful new baby too! She Rocks!

Leesa actively contributes to my Peace of Mind on a daily basis. I left Montana for my job in Minnesota 3 and a half years ago. Through the pictures and stories of her Montana escape, Leesa keeps me sane. The mountains of Montana bring a peace all their own to any own who takes the time to listen to them. This fellow adopted Montanan has listened well. She is a rockin' independent woman in touch with her surroundings. She recently found new digs in Seattle as well so now she has the perks of her mountain retreat and the conveniences of the city with it's own culture to explore. Her cats are by her side as she begins another adventure. Thanks for bringing Montana back to me every day!

This last gal literally rocks! Robyn took an immense amount of time this past year to organize a series of benefit rock concerts to help a friend. This was all on top of so bravely and openly going through the lose of her mom. My own mom is dying of cancer and having watched this young, strong woman care so lovingly and whole heartedly for her mom through the very end has given me my own strength. This young woman is a loving wife and mother who rocks what ever she sets her mind too!

There are many, many other rockin' gals out there too! For all the ones I read and have become friends with, I'm grateful! To Lime and Kelly for the nod...thanks for making me smile!

Another weekend adventure

This weekend I pailed on work early again (I've been gone every single weekend in June) and headed north with the boys to Eagle River, WI. Our friend's family has a cottage which is a great retreat and his dad lets us borrow the boat. It was a great escape into the woods for me and this big gal was the highlight of my weekend. I might not be in Montana any more but I can still get my wildlife on occasion!

Momma bear was foraging along the road on the way back to the main highway. She could not have had less interest in us, she had food on the brain. Never did get her to look up just right for a head shot.

Remember the pretty lab I have dog sat for in the past? She got to have a family reunion this weekend. That's her on the left, her full sister Niki in the middle, and her half sister Maddy on the right. The boyfriend and the girls had a blast with their nearly torn apart tennis ball. They were a blast and Kenzie crashed with me in the backseat on the way home last night. She was a tuckered out pooch.

Of course, the guys had to show off their sporting skills on the water skies and wake board. I was the official spotter and photographer. Something about being pulled at high speeds across open water on skis just doesn't appeal to me.

On Friday we didn't feel very adventurous. The day consisted of breakfast, naps, sun, a canoe ride and mini-golf. The 18th hole was a toilet. I was the "ringer" getting my ball into the throne and thus winning myself a free game the next time we go. We had a blast and afterwards hit the grocery store for the makin's of a brat dinner. After gorging ourselves on brats, corn on the cob, salad, and beans we curled up in our blankets to watch The Goonies! Man, I forget what a great movie that is.

The guys proved to be better all around golfers than I. As you can see Dave teeing off, Tim's taking a picture of my ball's fine resting point. But doesn't it make a great picture?

"What do you think, Tiger?"