Friday, February 29, 2008


Tomorrow morning I am presenting a Lenten retreat based on the concept of change. More specifically, the potential for change followed by the acceptance of change ending with the ultimate process of change. As I sit tonight reviewing my notes, I realize how relevant the material is to my own life right now.

I try to keep this site fairly positive but the challenges of the past 6 months of my life have been well outlined. The past two years have been very focused on my mother's health and required frequent trips home, lots of hours of worrying, and ultimately the process of grief. I have also been coping with the loss of a long term relationship which I valued dearly. Along with the loss of the romantic relationship comes the associated loss of a companion/partner/sounding board. Change in life is inevitable. In the past, I relied on school or work to get me through the changes in my life and the bridges I had to cross.

My bridge has been taken away as well. I am no longer mentally challenged or satisfied at work. I came into my job with a lot of uncertainties. I was the first PA ever on the Ortho Trauma Service. The Ortho Trauma Service itself was new and evolving. During my time in this position we have made three major organizational transitions leading to changes in my roles with each shift. The program is now much better for patient care and runs much more efficiently than that first day I arrived. Mid-levels played a large roll in that. However, as the system got more and more structured, so did my role.

I'm at a crossroads in my life and ever since my high school graduation my motto has been "to take the road less traveled". I'm starting to look for a new path. There is plenty of possibility for change. That isn't the issue. With all the changes in my life recently and hence the multiple stepping off points I now have, I have chosen to seek the aid of a skilled professional counselor to help me wade through both the grief and the acceptance of the changes.

While wandering through the woods with Rachel I told her what I think I needed to hear myself say to fully begin to accept the possibility of change. As we trekked our way through the woods filled with the fresh pine across an undisturbed trail, I had an "aha" moment. I need a path not yet traveled or I'm not happy. I get stagnant. I need the challenge and the uncertainty common to change.

So with all this in mind, I am actively working on accepting the possibility of change and exploring the process of change in my own life. I need to find the right path for me. Potential options are currently revealing themselves to me. The fear and uncertainty is definitely present. There is a twitter of excitement too though. At least I have help to see me through as the winds of change blow by.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bogged Down

Ugh...that sums up the last four days. Friday night I came down with a sinus/ear infection. I know why little kids scream and want to curl up in their mommy's arms. My ears are killing me. Never mind the three big presentations I have!

I want my mommy!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Tale of My Moose-ness

With the recent addition of "Max" to my family, many of you have asked for an explanation of my nickname and subsequent affiliation with moose. The most common response I get when people ask me my nickname and I answer with "Moose" is "What? You? Your nickname is Moose?" I'm not the stereotypical, no-neck, muscle head "Moose" most people picture.

It all started with my grandmother. As a child, I traveled a great deal with my grandparents during the summers. A town of 300 people does not offer much in the lines of entertainment. So if they were going somewhere I often went with...most often to Duluth, MN to see my aunt or to Nebraska to see my grandpa's family. However, there was always one trip I never got to make with them. My parents had this "thing" about me missing school.

Every September my grandparents would drive to Maine to see the fall colors and visit my grandmother's family. Mom and Dad would not let me accompany my grandparent's on this trip because it typically fell within the first couple weeks of the school year. SO, grandma and grandpa would leave town without me and grandma would return with some stuffed moose or sweatshirt with a moose on it for me when they returned.

I made a last minute decision about college and ended up in Montana. Moose are a big deal in the mountains there as well. Rarely seen, a treat when you do see them, and fierce as all get out if you surprise them. My college roommate had a thing for cows, and a long week of studying before finals led to another friend getting a lion associated nickname. My moose collection and my desire to see a real moose led to my nickname.

My maiden name was pronounced "call" so when I made up my first email address I decided on what is pronounced "moose call". That stuck pretty good. Then on another long night durinig college some joke got make about Moose kisses. That stuck too. My collection of moose "things" continued to expand. I also began to develop a "relationship" with the moose. They are a bit awkward in appearance, one would not expect them to be as fast or as graceful as they are. They can be very allusive and aloft but make them mad and you are going to get it in the end. There was something about their personality which I found in myself.

All my summers in Duluth exposed me to an artist who has a gallery in Canal Park. It is from her work that I found my inspiration for Max. This is one of her pieces entitled, "Hind Sight". The blues and greens underneath his chin are what I drew my color scheme from. This past Christmas my aunt also bought me one of her prints, "Every where that Morey went..."

The remainder of the tattoo is a tribute to my mother. Her name was Maxine and this October she lost a 6 and a half year battle with ovarian cancer. Her nicknames were "Max" or "Maxie". I didn't quite know how to put "Maxie" into a tattoo and explain it so I went with "Max" since that was her more common nickname.

Why fly all the way to Montana to get the ink? A few year's back Os told me about his friend Chris. A few year's after that I got to meet her. Now she has her own tattoo shop and I knew I wanted her to do it in a place where I feel at home and surrounded by my friends. Hence my appointment last week Saturday at Ms. B's Island Ink.

There, you have the story of my Moose-ness.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Chunkster Book Review

  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Pub. Date: January 2005
  • ISBN-13: 9780786890750
  • Sales Rank: 11,623
  • 512pp
  • Edition Description: Reissue
I put off reading this particular book, thanks to modern media. The previews for the movie starring Hilary Swank made this story out to be a sappy, gooshy love story. Sappy and gooshy are two things I do NOT need of late. So even though a friend dropped this off on my doorstep a few weeks ago it wasn't until this trip to Montana that I began turning the pages.

Once I started turning, I fell in love with Holly. I could see ME in Holly and that scared me a bit. In my young 30 years I have gone through a divorce, watched my mother slowly lose a battle to cancer, had a three plus year relationship end, and have questioned my job. Poor Holly had her load of crap too....leading off with the death of her husband. Her husband knew her so well though, that with his passing he prepared the steps for his wife to heal.

As Holly reads each of the notes left by her husband to be delivered to her at the time of his death, I remembered the struggles and heartache of healing a broken heart. I remembered my own friends who helped me through as I laughed at Holly's friends Sharon and Denise. I remembered the anxiety as I walked into a job interview I desperately needed. Wish I had had Holly's footsteps to walk in a few times in the past.

This enduring story of healing and recovery is just what I needed. It gave me a bit of encouragement. Yes, there is some "love" it the tail, but it's not a twitterpated love. The love is between family, friends, and those who have gone before us as they all recover from loss. Truly touching.

I haven't seen the movie, I don't think I will see the movie. Those who have gone say it's all sap and goosh...not this time.

Check out everyone else's chunky reads here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

HNT...Getting inked

Okay, I have to admit I didn't take this picture and I'm borrowing it from Rachel. But I was sitting quite still as instructed and not taking pictures. I relied on her to "update" me as my Moose came to life. What an amazing process...

Happy HNT!

Monday, February 18, 2008

A memory redone...

I always stop on campus at Carroll College when I head home to Montana. If it wasn't for Carroll I wouldn't have all the friends I got to visit there.

This is a grotto on campus dedicated to Mary, The Mother of Jesus. I have shared my faith and my companionship with Mary with you all before. Just recently, this space got redone. It had started to be a bit neglected but it remained a special place. Unfortunately, a Carroll College student was killed in a car accident on his return from fighting summer wild fires to begin the year at Carroll. In his memory, his family donated two new benches and Mary got a bath. A dedication of the space was held earlier this week.

Os and I made a stop after a night of beers and friendship at The Brewhouse across the street. It was snowing gently and campus was quiet. Brought back memories of stopping here on my way back from the boys' dorm when I was a student. I'm Catholic, we do "guilt" well, but having Mary to stop and visit with on the sneaky walk back to the girls' made me feel "better". We stood for a while and I snapped a few shots. Isn't it pretty?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

All good things...

Must come to an end...

Like any trail in the woods, there is always an end. Sometimes the view is spectacular, sometimes you just have to turn around and go back the way you came, sometimes you just stay put and ponder.

I did a bit of all of that this weekend. But first thing in the morning I get on a plane to take me back to Minnesota. Until the next time, i will say farewell to my clean air, mountain views, and quiet moments...


Lake McDonald: February 15th, 2008

This trip has been full of memories, surprises, and a bit of disappointment but lots of time for reflection. Only a day and a morning left, I'll see what it becomes.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

There are tracks in the snow...

Did anyone see that moose walk by? I think he left some fresh tracks.

Ladies and Max the Moose.

More about his creation and debut to follow.

Are you sure they were closed?

Do bears shit in the woods?

Our cozy winter we found them. That's the main office and then the "road" to our little cabin...can you see it under the snow?

Friday, February 15, 2008

So in heaven...

How can you not be happy and let your worries melt away when you are in the middle of all of this? Seriously! Best damn therapy in the world.

There are a lot of pictures to be sorted through, a few stories to tell, but right now I need a nap, then some food, then a glass of wine. I'll post more after all that. In the meantime...enjoy the angels in the woods...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

He's Back.....

Ever get that feeling somewhere that things just aren't right? A little creepy? As though you might not want to be there? Sort of that same feeling Jack felt at the Stanley Hotel that long cold winter with just his family to keep him company.

Rachel and I had THAT feeling just a bit ago. I made reservations for our quaint little cabin in the woods on January 2nd through the National Parks Service. It is absolutely beautiful up here today; sunny skies, a ton of snow, a little wind. It's going to be a fabulous snow-filled winter wonderland.

Until we pull up to the Stanton Creek Lodge. It was snowed in, the porch into the check-in building/restaurant had snow up and over it almost to the roof. No lights were on. The cabins were deserted. The only thing missing was the background music from the Twilight Zone.

We drove back up the canyon 10 miles to get a cell signal and called the National Parks Service. I knew it was bad when the young operator told me she was putting me on hold to speak to a supervisor. Yeah, a supervisor! She called the owner...he is in FLORIDA! Florida! Someone is suppose to be taking "care" of the place.

Long story short, the place is shut up tightier than tight! We are now at a Super 8 in Columbia Falls, MT without the quaint little cabin feeling and internet instead of a fireplace. Uhm...this trip is doomed! We may have a 100% comp'd stay this summer though. But should see all the snow.

Off to the west entrance of Glacier to hike in tomorrow.

HNT from Montana!

Hello all!  This is Os.  Posting for Moose because the pictures are on my camera, not hers!  After a fairly short weather delay, she landed here around 11:15, which means we needed to immediately head to one of the few drinking establishments in town that are open late on a school night.  We had our Beltian Whites, just like she wanted!  Rachel couldn't join us because she's still a bit under the weather (I think I poisoned her), and she wanted to be sure to save her strength for the rest of the week.  They leave for the Park sometime today.  Probably won't hear from them again until Saturday.  Have fun girls!

So here we are, sporting our red for HNT!  One-third of the original founding members of HNT!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

On my way...

In just over 24 hours I will be on my way "home". I depart for Montana via Minneapolis tomorrow night at 9 pm. There will be friends waiting to whisk me a way for a coveted Beltian White. The next morning (when our heads have cleared), Rachel and I will head to my escape. This will be my first official winter trip to Glacier. I'm hoping it's crisp, winter beauty will bring some clarity to my thoughts. Leesa is proving there is plenty of snow for us to enjoy. The storms have calmed so the roads should be fine.

I have a tattoo appointment with Chris at 11 am on Saturday and hopefully my girls will be by my side. Then a lunch to follow and time to catch up. I'm sure there will be pictures to share.

Ahhhhh...I can't wait!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Okay, time to pass it on...

I have time to sit and reflect today after a very busy week so it's time to pass on the award I received earlier this week from Kelly. I started my blog as a way to keep my friends back in Montana informed of what was "up" without having to call or email the same message to a lot of people. After a few months, I went "public". The result has been a vast assortment of friends I have never met in person who have provided support, laughter and courage to me when I needed it and provided thoughts to reflect on and mindless games to make me smile when needed too. Now it's time to give props to a few who have "made my day".

My friend Lime has provided smiles, hugs, socks, and an education as I have read her. Trini-Tuesday's, lessons about her Dutch surroundings, advice on life, silly responses to meme's, you name it. This woman has an amazing blog. But this week's "you make my day" award is going to one of the Limelets...Isaac! On January 28th Lime posted a video of her offspring writhing on the floor in a "death by locust' exhibit. I had tears rolling down my face. I wasn't very cheery that week but Isaac made my name (Lime's laugh in the back ground helped too!). So to Isaac...thank you!

The other individual I am going to recognize has one of "those" eyes. Her camera is in hand at all times. Lately she's been a bit overwhelmed with massive amounts of snow but she has still provided views of her environment. On days when I miss Montana, miss my mountains, or just need a visual escape, Leesa's photos get me through the day. She lives in paradise in my books. The fact she so willing shares her neck of the woods with us via her blog makes me grateful for her presence. So Leesa...thank you for the visual escape on days I just NEED it.

Take the time to check out the locust ravaged Isaac and the snowed in Leesa this will both laugh until you pee your pants and sigh at the wanders in front of your eyes!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

an honor...

Kelly honored me with this award today..."you make my day". Things haven't been the happiest on the home front and having her "grant" me this little surprise put a smile on my face. I'll have to think a bit and see who I can pass it on to. But Kelly...THANK YOU!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Groovin' Monday

I saw this at Lime's and had to steal it. It's snowing like crazy out, plows aren't really out yet and I'm home from work. I'm NOT going back out today so might as well do something like this.

1. What song lyric taken completely out of context has become important to you?

Thanks to The Clintons I no longer sing the appropriate words to Sweet Home Alabama. It will forever and always be "Sweet Home MONTANA". So sweet it is...

2. What was the last stupid lyric to catch in your head and not let go?
Hot, Hot, Hot from the Hawaiian Luau birthday party on Saturday night...then Lime included it in her "warm" songs list. It's stuck!

3. Have you ever bought a record / CD for the cover art alone - what, and why?
Nope. Like Lime though there are certain albums I buy simply because of the artist. The most recent one I did that with was Alison Kraus and Robert Plant with their new duo CD. Alison, Martina, Harry Connick Jr, Bon Jovi...they are all instant purchases.

4. What is the LAST CD you bought / downloaded, and why?
Eyes Open by Snow Patrol. I won an iTunes gift card as part of a playoff packer's football party and wanted to add something new to my list. I listened to three or four songs on the album and I really liked it so I bought the whole thing.

5. What CD do you own that you think would make your friends shake their heads in either pity, or a total lack of comprehension?
I have a collection of Barry Manilow CD's. Start shakin' that head!

6. From Cooper's place I am adding....5 songs to chase away the winter blues.
Summer Time by Kenny Chesney
Six Pack Summer by Phil Vassar
Margaritaville by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet
So I can only come up with three...maybe it's because I'm so damn cold right now!

7. Final bonus question: What are you listening to right now?
CMT music videos. Last one was I wanna feel something by Trace Atkins.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

At Peace

Charlie's dad passed away today. Please give her your love and keep her family in your prayers.

See...I should move

Last night we began dreaming about what we would do or where we would go if we landed the lottery. It was just above zero here but a group of us were at a Luau themed birthday party for a friend so we were trying to think warm.

My plans would be to buy a house in Italy and then I could alternate weekends in New Zealand and Ireland. I would still work, I get bored easily. I found this in my files though so maybe I better plan a weekend to London as well...if I went I would visit
Charlie and giver her a big hug right now.

You Belong in London

A little old fashioned, and a little modern.
A little traditional, and a little bit punk rock.
A unique soul like you needs a city that offers everything.
No wonder you and London will get along so well.

This pretty much sums things up. I would need an old fashioned house but I want my quiant little coffee shop handy too. I'm not a lot punk rock but I appreciate the city scene. Unique is a perfect word to describe me and I like having options available to me. If I win that lottery, I would probably get myself a cottage outside of London so I can have some piece and quiet but have the conveniences of the city not too far away!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Stamp Camp...

I have a Stamp Camp tomorrow. Two other Stampin' Up Demonstrators are joining me and we are expecting 35 people! That means I had to cut out enough pieces of each of these two cards, which I designed, for 35 people to make on their own. Got all the cutting finished and made a door hanger for a door prize. Now I'm going to watch repeats for a bit longer and then settle in with a book for the night.

PS: Anyone need a few handmade cards? I would like to start making more and selling more pre-made cards with envelopes.