June 30, 2012

Wilco, Missoula, 2012

June 28, 2012

Tonight, we rock

Today's forecast: 84 degrees, cloud-free, and melody-filled.

So excited to see Wilco in concert tonight out at the Big Sky Brewing Amphitheater.

Here's a song to get you excited. I've posted the lyrics below so you can sing along with the video or you can print them out and put 'em by your desk or other creative space for inspiration.

If you feel like singing a song
And you want other people to sing along
Just sing what you feel
Don't let anyone say it's wrong

And if you're trying to paint a picture
But you're not sure which colors belong
Just paint what you see
Don't let anyone say it's wrong

And if you're strung out like a kite
Or stung awake in the night
It's alright to be frightened

When there's a light (what light)
There's a light (one light)
There's a light (white light)
Inside of you

If you think you might need somebody
To pick you up when you drag
Don't lose sight of yourself
Don't let anyone change your bag

And if the whole world's singing your songs
And all of your paintings have been hung
Just remember what was yours
Is everyone's from now on

And that's not wrong or right
But you can struggle with it all you like
You'll only get uptight

Because there's a light (what light)
There's a light (one light)
There's a light (white light)
There's a light (what light)
There's a light (one light)
There's a light (white light)
There's a light (what light)
There's a light (one light)
There's a light (white light)
There's a light (what light)
There's a light (one light)
There's a light (white light)
Inside of you

June 27, 2012

Friend :: Flotation Device

Aren't friends life savers? I met with one of my dearest this morning for "coffee" (actually we both opted for a refreshing Diet Coke) and we compared notes on our summers. Mine's felt random and discombobulated so far and I'm feeling some strange things lately: attention-deficit, disorganized, forgetful, generally unenthusiastic, and always tripping through my days only to discover each evening that I haven't accomplished much of the stuff I'd hoped I would.  Imagine my surprise to find that she's feeling the same things! We compared notes, blamed hormones, and both felt better when we left (there's nothing as satisfying as knowing your not alone).

After we parted my day returned to my new normal – disorganized (a quick errand turned into a fiasco), I forgot to get some key items at the grocery store, my brain feels fuzzy, and now it's after 5 p.m. and I have barely a thing to show for my day. But now I can just think of my girlfriend across town and know that she's probably having that kind of day too and I feel a little better, or at least I smile with one side of my mouth. And hopefully, if things aren't going so great at her house either, she'll find a little solace in thinking of me.

June 25, 2012

Simple Goodness

Ahhh. Smell those lilacs. There's nothing like them, is there? 

When I was in first grade I lived in Utah. The walk to school took me down a gravel road lined with huge purple lilac bushes. Even now, 30-something years later, that fragrance takes me right back to childhood and that road. I had a bob haircut, wore dresses and had a metal lunch box shaped like a school bus with Disney characters peeking out of all the windows. Isn't it funny how a smell can transport you through time? 


My garden is not great this year. Actually it's never that great. I always start off with gusto and then life gets in the way and the next thing I know it's the end of June and I haven't planted half of it yet and I keep forgetting to water stuff. But I do have a nice batch of different herbs going right now. Two kinds of basil, some cilantro, rosemary, and a TON of oregano. I'm rather pleased with myself when I make a meal and add some of my very own fresh herbs. Yay me!


Oh, look at this. I just found a photo of my exact lunch box. So sweet. I hated those old thermoses though – they always leaked milk all over the inside of your lunch box. So nasty.

June 22, 2012

Village Bakery

I love this piece of artwork called "Village Bakery" that I discovered on Etsy this morning. The artist is Kelsey Garrity Riley and her shop can be found here.

Isn't that little pretzel/wheat sprigs design on top so sweet? And I love the people and the window boxes and the shingles.

Today we plan to head up to the cabin in Philipsburg for the weekend. We'll take swimsuits and whatnot this time since it's supposed to be hot and Georgetown Lake is just a ten minute drive from town. I also need to work on the flower bed there, the grass is encroaching and choking out the roses, iris and bachelor buttons left by the previous owners. Gary and I are also plotting to make the girls go on a hike with us. There will be much whining and protesting to combat initially, but usually they settle down once we're on the trail and end up having a fun time, despite themselves.

Kate had a friend sleepover last night and I awoke at 3 a.m. to find them still awake! Yikes! So that means she'll be in rare form – somewhat dramatic and over-reactive – by the time we get set to drive around 5 p.m. Hopefully she'll sleep in the car. If not, hopefully I will.

June 21, 2012

Suddenly Summer

With a sigh of relief, summer is all around us. Sunny and breezy. The cottonwood trees are going crazy this week – the fluff is everywhere, floating through the air like light snow and drifting into piles all along the edges of the sidewalks and in the garden beds. (See all the white stuff in that top photo of the sun coming through the trees? That's all cotton!).
The hummers are keeping our two feeders busy. And to add a little icing to the summer sweetness this little fawn decided to be born right in the neighbors yard! I spotted him on my evening walk last night. Isn't he precious. I couldn't see the mom but I'm sure she was close by, giving me the evil eye. (Don't worry, I used the zoom on my camera, I wasn't really this close).

Happy Summer, dear readers. Thank you for stopping by.

June 20, 2012

Blackbird House

I don't know what it is about summer that makes me feel like reading an Alice Hoffman novel, but I just love picking up one of her many great books when the season hits. While at the library the other day I got a hankering to reread one of my favorites of hers and found it waiting for me on the shelf. Yay! 

The book is Blackbird House.

Alice Hoffman's books are different from those I usually read. Though her stories are character-driven and often sentimental and moving, there is always a bit of magic present or an undercurrent of fate, mingled with supernatural. Her writing is beautiful and often haunting. When I read her books it's almost as if I'm in a captivating dream.

In the book Blackbird House Alice Hoffman weaves a web of tales, all set on a small farm on the outer reaches of Cape Cod (lots of her books are on the Cape or in New England, which means I give them bonus points for a setting that makes me swoon).  Over a span of 200 years we meet complex and moving characters: Violet, a brilliant girl who is in love with books and with a man destined to betray her; Lysander Wynn, attacked by a halibut as big as a horse, certain that his life is ruined until a boarder wearing red boots arrives and changes everything; Maya Cooper, who doesn't understand the true meaning of the love between her mother and father until it is nearly too late. From the time of the British occupation of Massachusetts to our own modern world, family after family’s lives are changed, not only by the people they love but by the lives they lead while living at Blackbird House.

Amazon says: These interconnected narratives are as intelligent as they are haunting, as luminous as they are unusual. Inside Blackbird House more than a dozen men and women learn how love transforms us and how it is the one lasting element in our lives. The past both dissipates and remains contained inside the rooms of Blackbird House, where there are terrible secrets, inspired beauty, and, above all else, a spirit of coming home.

So, if you're looking for a novel to take to the pool or the beach or out on the porch swing – give Alice a try. Some of my other favorites of hers include: Illumination Night, Seventh Heaven, and Practical Magic (Yes, there was a movie based on the book but the movie stunk and didn't do the book justice at all so pretend you never saw it).

June 19, 2012

Can't Hardly Wait

I simply cannot wait for this movie to come to Missoula. Wes Anderson is brilliant.

New Color, Same Old Life

Lots of new flowers in the yard this week, which is happy. I'm especially glad to FINALLY have blossoms on my Lilac. It's a dwarf variety (Miss Kim) and seems to bloom about 2-3 weeks behind the larger varieties. There's nothing like the smell of Lilacs to lift my spirits. 

It's been a long few days. Some tense dealings with a few people have left me in a funk. I just hate conflict, so when it squirms its pesky way in to my life I get very anxious and overwhelmed. And just when I thought things were looking up the rain came back and soaked everything in a dreary light. I'm done with rain now. I really need sun, and lots of it or I fear I may mold. Plus the kids are feeling a little lumpy as well, doing lots of sighing and prone to turn on the TV if I don't keep my eye on them. I thought we might hit the theaters for a movie this afternoon but there's just nothing worth seeing out right now. So, now it's close to dinner time and I'm at a loss as to what to cook, which is always a very discouraging feeling. A few overripe bananas are staring at me from the fruit bowl so I'm thinking about Banana Pancakes. Emma isn't a fan of breakfast foods for dinner, but hey – you can't please everyone all the time. right? 

June 15, 2012

A Bird Love Story

In the tree outside Emma's window. The white fluffy nest lining is my dog Piper's fur, which is coming off of her in clumps and is downy soft.


A Bird Love Story

Long before you were here there were yellow birds in the tree
They wore gray shawls and built a house from
the Elkhound’s dust-bunny hair
The pair spawned a trio of demanding children,
which they tended diligently for just more than a week before
the three were gone,
catching a ride on a sudden short breeze, never to be seen again
And the two split then, since they had nothing left –
unless you count that time, before the eggs hatched,
when they hunkered together in a nasty Spring hailstorm.

– Jenny Scheuch

June 14, 2012

Creekside & Captain Hook

"Please, please please!" Kate begged. She and her friends wanted to go to the creek behind our house to work on the swimming hole they're building. Although I now let Emma go alone with friends I still require an adult to be with Kate and her friends. The water, especially this time of year, is just too high and those little ones are all so small. Plus I worry the mountain lions will see Kate's lanky limbs flapping as she runs along the path and mistake her for an appetizer. So I cancelled my afternoon plans and off we went – down the path through the woods to the spot they've scouted out to be the best for a new swimming hole. There's a deep sandy part and a beachy area and they're working on a rock retaining wall that will keep the water in once the levels drop later in the summer. Ahhh, to be eleven in the summer. Carrying big rocks around in your bikini swimsuit without an ounce of self-consciousness. I wish she could stay like that forever.

As we walked home "Captain Hook's Ice Cream" truck came slowly up our street, jangly tunes piping from the speaker. The man who owns it comes about once a week during the summer, accompanied by his young son who helps hand out the frozen treats (he must be six-years-old or so). He's a really nice guy and actually does have a hook for a hand, since he lost his in a farming accident as a teen. 

As soon as we got in the door the girls grabbed their money and raced outside to wait for him to come by our house.

Drumstick anyone?

June 13, 2012

This morning in my inbox

Thank you to my friend Lisa for sending me this quote. Beautiful, gentle, poetic.

I thought you would enjoy it too.

 . . . in the end, whether people know how small a portion of time is given to the butterfly, how large a portion to the caterpillar, does not matter. For they can never infect the caterpillar with their anxious urges to "Become!" A small apple-green caterpillar who climbs a toadflax plant, who somehow loses a foothold while walking across a stem to get to a leaf, slips and is hanging on by only its two front crochet-hook feet, the wind swinging it back and forth over the creek, is not thinking, "Alack! I shall fall into the icy water! I shall be swallowed by a fish! I will never, now, wrap myself in silk and wake up with powdery, iridescent blue-and-green wings, fly away with them to fields of cornflower, and mate, and feed on the tears of wild buffalo! My life, my eating, my climbing--it has all been meaningless!"
    Rather, it thinks, "I'm swinging, I'm swinging, I'm swinging."

-- Amy Leach, "You Are Going to Fly," from Things That Are: Essays

June 12, 2012

Pillow Disease?

Seems my initial pillowy successes have sparked some sort of insane pillow-making obsession. I would write more but it's hard to type while I'm feeding cloth into the sewing machine.

More later . . .

June 11, 2012

Summertime Begins

Lots of fun and activity over the weekend. Both girls were busy with end-of-year sleepover parties, the state soccer tournament and all the good things that kick off this season of warm, relaxing days.

As for me, I finally tried my hand at stitching up a few of those pillows I learned to make this spring. They are quite easy and use an envelope type closure in the back. I started with the green print, then made the tan one, and then got brave and tackled the ticking pillow, which is actually three thin remnants sewn together to create the front. I really love how they all turned out! I haven't done much sewing and it's been several years since I made anything at all, so I was amazed with the results and congratulated myself several times.

Today is all blue skies and busy birds (I can hear the babies peeping up in the treetops). 

June 7, 2012

Sun in Montana & Monet in New York

The sun has returned and we are all busy as bees this week, the closing week of school for Emma & Kate. There are Track & Field Days and Rootbeer Float Parties, Field Trips, yearbook signings, and stacks of papers coming home in their backpacks each day. Whew! I'm struggling to keep in step with it all.

This morning Kate forget a bag of popcorn she wanted to take to school for "Movie Morning." She called home tearful, begging for me to bring it and I told her I'd try but I was trying to get a little work done for a client this morning. But after hanging up I decided to be a good mom and I raced out to the school, corn in tow.

The school is bustling and there's a hum of excitement – just one day until Summer Vacation! You can feel the electricity in the air. All that pent up childhood energy, forced into desks for nine months is about to bust into the warm air and grassy hillsides.

I was glad I had my camera with me. I stopped to snap a few pics of the school and the views that the children enjoy as they swing and run on the playground. They don't know how lucky they are to have views like this every day.

It's a beautiful time of year in Montana. The green of the low areas screaming Summer while the mountains are still just coming into Spring. When it rains in the valley, the evergreens in the mountains receive fresh blankets of light, Spring snow. The contrast is breathtaking.

As I drove home I heard a bit on NPR about a new exhibit at the New York Botanical Gardens. They have recreated Monet's horticultural work for an exhibit that includes photographs, videos, rare documents and two of the impressionist's paintings. The exhibit is meant to show visitors how Monet's love of gardening served as a huge inspiration for his work as an artist. 

You enter by stepping through a facade of Monet's house, with its salmon walls and green shutters, and out into a long corridor of flowers. All of the flowers, more than 150 species, will change as the exhibit runs through three seasons, now through late October. They've all been grown from seed by the conservatory's gardening team. 

You can read about it and see photos from the exhibit here. (Whoa - those delphiniums and the water lilies, and little old man Monet - adorable - painting on those really large canvases!)

Doesn't that sound DREAMY! I so wish I could see this in person (if not the real place in Giverny, France). *big sigh*

June 5, 2012

Song of the Day

A little Gillian Welch & David Rollins for your listening pleasure. I played this over and over in my car today while I ran errands. It went nicely with the rain and the gray.

June 4, 2012

Paper Fettish: A Confession

I've often wondered if I should be Catholic. Why? Because I LOVE to confess. It makes me feel so much better. Something about laying all my dirty laundry out there in front of someone does wonders for my sanity. I bet a priest would either proclaim me his best pupil or he'd start complaining to the other priests about the looney woman who comes in twice daily to confess every neurotic thought or odd thing she's done. He'd probably sit down at his weekly 'Meeting of the Priests' and say "Okay guys, I'm at a loss. This woman is making me doubt my priesthood. I just don't have the patience for people like her."

Alas - I am not Catholic, so I'll just have to confess to you guys when I do something I'm not proud of. Today I am confessing that I think I am addicted to paper. Actually, I KNOW I'm addicted. It's been years since I gave in to that notion. But now I'm trying to rein in the paper monster. I've been knee-deep in the stacks, cleaning up my office/craft space and the more I sort through piles the more I realize the depth of my problem. Let's just say that I have a LOT of paper – scrapbook paper, wallpaper, notebook paper, empty notebooks full of paper, notepads, printer paper sample books, pretty stationery, more scrapbook paper, origami paper. And each piece is so beautiful! So pretty, in fact, that I'm a little hesitant to use it. Oftentimes I'll decide to make something but refuse to use the prettiest of my papers because I can't stand to mar their crisp perfection.


So, my confession here is two-fold. Not only am I telling you that I have a paper hoarding problem but there's a second part. This weekend, in the midst of trying to sort and get rid of some paper in my office, I . . . um,
I . . . bought some paper?

I know! I know! It's terrible! But it was rainy and I was alone in the craft store (if my daughters are with me they will stop me, they're aware of my issue) and they had two entire aisles of the most fantastic new papers. I just couldn't stop myself.

I promise I'm going to try to be better and not buy any more paper for the rest of June. 

For now, please enjoy viewing my new papers. See, I told you they were beautiful.

June 3, 2012

Flower Power

I took a trip to the nursery to pick up some annuals and more veggie starts for the garden. I was so glad to have my camera along because I knew all of you would love to see these pretty blossoms. Aren't the pink dahlias amazing?! And those little pink things in the top pic too – I can't remember what they're called, but they are such a bright pink. I've never seen the yellow flower before. Anyone know what it's called?

This is now the safe time to plant outdoors here, so I was hoping to get lots of stuff in the ground this weekend. Sadly, the weather was a bit damp for my style. I'm a fair-weather gardener. So my new plants are still awaiting their transplantings. Tomorrow sounds like a perfect day though so I'm hoping to some planting done in between edits on a design project I'm working on.

I did manage to bring a little color indoors when I found this broom at Pier One. Isn't it cheerful! I'm hoping it will make my kitchen sweeping chore a little more pleasant. I'll let you know.