July 31, 2012

Hoping It's Contagious

Today I rode my shopping cart across the parking lot.

Yes, I'm talking jump-on-the-back-of-the-cart-like-a-kid-and-ride kind of riding. I love doing it. Wanna know why?

1. Because it reminds me to take life a little less seriously.

2. Because it always makes other people smile and sometimes they even laugh! Can you imagine the craziness of this middle-aged lady hopping on the back of her cart like a five-year-old! (It actually is a little harder than it used to be when I was young. I think my stomach muscles were compromised during pregnancy).

In my mind I like to envision that cart-riding might be contagious. Maybe all those people going into the store as I come riding my cart out of the store feel inspired to try riding their carts out of the store too. Who knows!?

I love spreading a little random cheer - it makes me feel a teeny bit like Amelie Poulain . . . please tell me you've seen the movie "Amelie" because it is seriously a beautiful, inspiring, fun movie and it's one of my all-time favorite flicks EVER! (Oh, and the soundtrack is great too.)

July 30, 2012

Crocheted Round Pillow ~ Ta Da!


Well, it's about time I showed off a creation. It's been quite a while since I stitched up my throw pillow covers and I needed one last pillow to round out the look in the living room, so I pondered and stewed, then settled on a basic round crocheted pillow. I would have loved to tried my hand at this one but I don't feel ready for that yet. Just looking at the instructions makes my palms sweat. I'm putting it on my "someday" list though. 

Because she's my crocheting hero, I used Lucy's (Attic24) directions for crocheting a flat circle. She changes yarn color throughout but I just stuck with the single yarn. Surprisingly things went quite smoothly and quickly. I completed the multi-colored front side in just two evenings and the back side in just one evening. I used Sugar-n-Cream Twist yarn in Cottage Twist for the front and a cream Sugar-n-Cream variety for the back side, then attached the two sides with some of the colored yarn and a large needle. Sugar-n-Cream yarns come in the yummiest colors. I just love that brand!

Here's the finished product sitting nestled among her pillow friends on the couch. I think the cream side is cool and calming for these hot Summer days but I know I'll love flipping it to the colored side when Fall blows in and the holidays arrive. It feels warm and festive, don't you think? I must say, I'm very pleased with myself. I know it is a bit wobbly and I probably should've stuffed it a little fuller, but hey - it was my first round pillow so I'm cutting myself a little slack.

So hot here in Montana (95 degrees). The dogs are all laying on their side in the shade. Even the bunnies are panting. (Did you even know that bunnies panted? I didn't until we got these)

Is it hot where you are?

July 29, 2012

A River Runs Through It

On my adventure into the woods the other day I took this photo of Grant Creek as it rolled over rock and stone. Last night I got to thinking of Norman Maclean's novella "A River Runs Through It," which reads a bit like poetry in many places. The photo reminded me of one of my favorite excerpts from the book, so I created this printable quote to tack on the fridge or frame up for the season. It may only be special to me, or to a few local readers who have dipped their toes in the Blackfoot River or cast a fly rod over its eddies, but if it speaks to you please feel free to download and print as well. 

Here is the full quote:

“Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters.”

*I made mention of Norman Maclean here in an earlier post.

July 28, 2012

Heart-Shaped Leaves

July 27, 2012

Summer Magic

The woods behind our house is dappled in Summer sunlight. The wild roses are about to bust wide open. The forest animals move a little slower in the heat. Even the water is a little lazier. 

Wishing you a soft Summer weekend filled with all the things that make you happy.

July 26, 2012

Knee Deep

Well folks. My iMac is quickly slipping down the slope toward that big computer graveyard. I try to do what I can to patch and medicate wounds but it seems that I am definitely no internal medicine guru and I think it's on the brink of inevitable death.

Of course this is all happening while I'm knee deep in two design projects for a couple clients. Both are on tight deadlines and one requires lots of Photoshop work, which means I'm pushing my Mac to get off its sickbed and do things that make it want to throw in the towel even more.

It's such a desperate feeling, isn't it? These crazy machines have our happiness/despair in their clutches. Every time the computer freezes (yes, my Mac is freezing - who ever heard of THAT!) I hold my breath and cry a little while I reboot. Then I pray. "Dear God, please keep this machine alive a little longer. Please bring back that document I was working on and let all the recent edits be saved." Then it powers back up and I cheer loudly and sip my Diet Coke and believe in all things good.

Five minutes later, I do it all again.

So here is my post for tonight. I have no photos to show you because when I try to edit them to the right size for the blog my computer coughs and goes black. Curses!

Just an FYI (because I like to confess things I feel a tad guilty about): I'm secretly a little excited that I might need a new iMac. Even though I really don't want to fork out the money, it sure would be fun to have a shiny new computer with lots of new graphics and junk.

July 23, 2012


Riverfront walk. 
Watching the kayakers on the Clark Fork. 
Neighborhood kids playing in the backyard. 
Gelato from here
Movie at the historic Wilma theater downtown.

I love living here.

July 22, 2012

Heads Up

See my new hats. I bought them because I'm trying to be adventurous.

I've never been a hat person. Growing up I did everything I could to avoid wearing them. Of course it was the 80's and hats could really mess up those big hairdos. By the time I was in my 20's I'd never worn hats so I just didn't feel like I would know how to rock one.

But now I've decided: "I'd like to be a hat person." People in hats seem like cool people, they seem brave and they always look so happy and fun. I'd like to be all those things.

I like the woven one with the orange-ish band because it's so Audrey Hepburnish, don't you think? And the conductor hat is very Scout Finchy - spunky, tomboyish, ready for anything.

My goal is to force myself the wear them until I get over my weird hesitations and begin to feel naturally "hatty."

Sometimes when I ramble on about such trivial stuff like his I feel like an idiot. For pity's sake, there are people starving and countries on the brink of civil war and here I am fussing over hats. Oh dear.

July 21, 2012

They're home!

My children are home from camp! They are oh-so-tired, but happy and tanned, and telling lots of fun stories about their time away. I missed them soooo much.

(Top photo - Kate's cabin mates - Kate in pink : Bottom photo - Emma and her besties at camp - Emma in Nike shirt)

July 18, 2012

'Taters & Turbines

On our drive through Southern Idaho I took these photos.

I've never seen so many potato fields in my life. Just huge bright green expanses of potatoes. Row, upon row, upon row. Mmmmm – french fries. Mashed, baked, double baked. I love potatoes. As the sun began to set all the sprinklers came on to water the fields. It was an unreal amount of sprinkling and the cool water on the hot fields turned the air sweet and rich.

There was a large crop of wind turbines, which I also love. I know some people think they're an eyesore, but I get absolutely giddy when I can see them slowly turning in the distance. They make me feel so HOFEFUL – like we really are going to save this planet after all. Plus they remind me a lot of those ominous 'At-At Walkers' from The Empire Strikes Back. Remember those huge walking things in one of the early sequences of the movie? They were so freaky! Well the wind turbines are like that too, a little. They appear suddenly in a large group on the horizon and then as you get closer you realize just how massive they are and you feel very small and kind of in awe of them (see the tiny house next to them in that second pic). They stand silently turning in the wind, creating energy for all of us so we can blow-dry our hair and read by lamplight in the evenings. Thank you wind turbines!

July 17, 2012

All is Quiet

It's eerily quiet here this week with the girls off to camp. When Gary got home from work last night we sat on the couch and watched an annoying show on TV because we couldn't figure out what to do with ourselves. Where was all the commotion – the girls and their friends crashing the kitchen for snacks, clamoring out the back door to go jump on the trampoline or blasting Justin Bieber in their rooms? 

We discussed the option of finally looking over our life insurance plan, which has been on our "to do" list for something like an entire year, but then we thought that sounded boring. So we watched the dumb show and then went to bed. It was hotter than heck in our room. I crocheted a bit on a blanket I'm making for Emma until it finally cooled off enough to sleep, sometime close to 1 a.m.

I popped into a local bookstore today, browsed a bit and ended up bringing home this book. Have you read it? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts. It's a more modern take on Jane Eyre, which is on my list of favorite books, so I'm looking forward to seeing what the author does with the story.

Speaking of Jane, this simple, beautiful painting of Jane Eyre is available here on Etsy. I'm in love with it!

July 16, 2012

Vacationing with the Fam

See that sweet little face? That's my nephew, Cooper. He's three-years-old and he's such a dear thing. His father Daniel (my brother) was born on a hot August day when I was 10-years-old. I used to carry him around on my hip when he was little. He looked JUST like Cooper looks now. It's like seeing my brother all little again. So sweet.

What a fun week we had in Tahoe, catching up with family. My father and his wife rented a large house within walking distance from a beautiful little beach. In attendance were three of my four brothers, two sisters-in-law (each carrying a future niece/nephew in utero!), my nephew Cooper (age 3), two step-brothers and my step-sister. Missing: one of my brothers and his wife, and my sister. What a group, huh?

My daughters were in heaven. Cooper had been looking forward to "cousin time" and followed the girls around like a loyal groupie. 

We all swarmed the kitchen to make meals and lounged in the deck to chat. Some played guitars and sang. Some went on long walks together. We played family games. We laughed so hard one night I almost peed my pants. We swam in the lake (cold!) and biked along the Truckee River. We rented kayaks and paddle boards. The lake was so clear you could see boulders below you (75-foot visibility, I think). We stayed up too late. We celebrated a couple birthdays. It hovered around 85 degrees every day and cooled at night. There was a hammock and a hot tub and lots of bats flew over the house every evening.

It was wonderful.

July 14, 2012

Be it ever so humble . . .

We're home! Ahhh, and there really is no place like home, is there?

We arrived in Missoula this afternoon, a little haggard and road weary, but happy from a great visit with our faraway family members.

Tomorrow we drive the girls to sleep-away camp up at Flathead Lake. They both have several friends going too and excitement is high. We're doing laundry, gathering assorted necessities (Emma has convinced her father to take her to Target for a much-needed candy stash?!) and repacking their duffles for the week ahead. Meanwhile I'm trying to put away the junk from this trip too. Whew!

I can't wait to tell you about our travels and time at Lake Tahoe, and show you some of my favorite photos (sample of Lake Tahoe beauty in above photo).

It's good to be back! 


July 6, 2012

Day 1 : Missoula to Twin Falls

Whew! We made it to Twin Falls, Idaho in one piece and no one threw up or stepped in any dog poo (although a young family next to us at a rest stop had both of those things happen in their car, poor things).

Izzy went to the kennels this morning (boo hoo) but she's safe and that's what counts. The big dogs will stay home and Gary's mom will come take care of them twice a day (she just lives down the road from us). I think I turned off the stove, unplugged things that might self-ignite, and closed the garage door. That dang garage door, it's always a sorce of worry, isn't it? I'll be getting on the freeway and suddenly ask Gary "Oh! Did we shut the garage door?" He assures me we did but I still fret for another five miles or so and then I open my Diet Coke and everything is fine.

Highlights so far:

1. Miles of green potato fields

2. Driving through Spencer, Idaho, the Opal Capitol of the World (I never even knew an Opal capitol existed!)

3. Eating Taco Bell in Idaho Falls

4. Two seperate hysterical family convos that made me laugh so hard I cackled

5. Hot tea in the lobby of the hotel

On the downside:
My butt feel flat and achy. Also the roof of my mouth is sore from eating too many caramel ricecakes. They were really addictive and I couldn't stop, even when I started feeling completely grossed-out by them.

The word we're getting is that there is no internet at the house in Tahoe, which has sent everyone into a bit of a panic. How did we ever live without it? But I'm hoping to find a way to touch base at least once this week. We'll see. Needless to say I'll document all the fun of the trip and report in detail when I get home.

Have a great week my dears! I miss you already!

July 5, 2012

Holiday Road

Time to vacuum out the ol' family truckster, load up the suitcases and pack the cooler – tomorrow we're hitting America's freeways and making our way to a family gathering at Lake Tahoe, California.

It will take us two full days of driving to get to Tahoe. We'll leave Missoula tomorrow around noon and head south on Hwy 93 through Idaho, through the top half of Nevada, then cut over to Cali. The girls are already dreading the long ride. Little do they know that thirty years from now they'll laugh and reminisce together about family roadtrips. It's a rite of passage I wouldn't dare deny them.

Besides, my kids don't know how good they've got it. Rear air conditioning vents, iPods, prepackaged snacks. In my day it was a steamy hell (pardon my french) in the back of our mini-van. As the oldest of six kids I was always in the way back. The air conditioning never even reached that area. You could cook a 20-pound turkey back there. I clung to my walkman (trying to keep those cheap headphones perched on my head) and dined on sweaty cheese sandwiches (you know how cheese gets when it's warm). As a matter of fact, that is one of my most vivid childhood memories – eating sweaty cheese sandwiches from a lukewarm cooler on family vacations. My parents (bless their hearts) in an effort to keep us healthy and grow our little bodies to the fullest potential, were part of the health food movement of the 1970s. We ate the grainiest of breads, with chunks of cheddar, or spread with oil-on-top peanut butter and a swath of honey (which soaked into the bread for a soggy/sticky effect). It was during one of those childhood trips that I said quietly to myself "my children will never know the warm, squishy taste of sweaty cheese." I think I've upheld that commitment mostly for my own sake though. The mere thought of those sandwiches makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

Oh! Just so you know I'm planning to take you all along with me as we journey. I've got my laptop, my camera and I'm ready to report to you from the road. I'm hoping to have Wi-Fi along the way and at our house in Tahoe but of course there are no guarantees. So if I disappear for a few days do not assume the worst. We're fine, and I'll fill you in when I hit a "hot spot." (Worst case scenario I will be back home to my iMac next Saturday.)


Here's some music to get you excited!

July 4, 2012

These United States

Today Americans celebrate this wonderful country we call home. Fly your flag, throw a barbeque, run through the sprinkler, wear something red, white & blue, watch the fireworks display, remember someone who made a difference for this country, think about the Declaration of Independence (how we are called to respect all people as equals) and the Bill of Rights – the freedoms we enjoy (and should always let others enjoy - religion, speech).  When I think of these documents and the truths that lie at the core of our country I am honored to call myself an American.

Happy Independence Day!

July 3, 2012

DIY Magnet Board

Isn't my new magnet board cute? I made it in exactly 3 minutes. Honest! And you can too. Here's what you do:

1. Next time you're at Lowe's or Home Depot swing by the roofing section where they sell 8" x 14" aluminum "shingles" for less than $1 (they have larger and smaller sizes too)

2. Grab that old 8"x10" picture frame out of the closet (you know, the one you don't have a photo for and it doesn't really match the other frames on your wall? That one.)

3. Lay the frame's glass on the shingle and mark the dimensions with a pencil.

4. Use tin snips to cut the aluminum shingle to the correct size.

5. Put the shingle in the frame, secure the back and 'voila,' you have a cute magnetic board. Hang it on the wall or set it on a table top. Stick stuff on it! Brag about it!

July 2, 2012

Sunken Cake Blues

My dear husband turned 46 so I whipped up one of my special cakes for him. When I say "special" I really mean more like "special needs." Honestly, I really shouldn't bake things.

Despite the fact that this cake appears to be fine it's actually completely sunken-in in the middle of each layer. I covered the sunkenness with the frosting and blueberries. My baking is so predictably disastrous that I've gotten quite creative in my salvage techniques.

~ Once I made a cake that never rose and came out of the over looking like a large pancake.

~ Once I made a cake that collapsed into an enormous crumb pile as soon as you touched it with your fork. 

~ Several times I've made a cake that completely adhesed to the sides of the pan with barnacle-like strength.

In each of these cases I was using a BOX CAKE and I followed the directions. Is used to cry, now I just laugh and shake my head. The kids shake their heads too and say "Wow, Mom. You've done it again."

July 1, 2012

Very Bad Dog

Tule is in big trouble and my "alreadyabitpathetic" garden now looks like a pile of dirt. 

I went out to water the garden boxes this afternoon to find she had somehow opened the gate (okay, it was probably left unlatched, but still...) and was busy helping herself to a berry and herb salad. She consumed every single one of my lovely strawberry plants! My first strawberry patch, gone – and just yesterday I'd been admiring the delicate little white blooms and tiny pink berries forming. And when I say she consumed them I mean she ate every single leaf, stem, bud, root (yes, not a root to be seen!). There was one lone sprig left in the dirt.

Plus she snacked on my thyme, basil and rosemary, leaving a mess of tattered roots. Apparently she's not a fan of cilantro, as those plants were standing in perky pristine condition. 

Grrrrr. Dogs. Hmmmpf.

So much for my small move towards sustainability. (I love it when I try to kid myself that growing a few veggies makes me part of the sustainability movement.)