Trip ahoy! (The holy wow 8 weeks til Em+Kate take Europe post)

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I’m biting my nails and already stressing out about all the film, rain jackets, hiking boots, and things I need to acquire to get ready for this.

I cannot wait to get on that plane, with my passport safely tucked in a pocket, and take off and see the ocean far beneath me. I have not left this solid continent in 4 years, and it has been 4 years too long. I cannot wait to smell and hear and taste different air and sleep in unfamiliar places and have sore feet from poor footwear decisions. I cannot wait to see my beautiful sister experience these things for the first time, to see her face puzzle when all the different languages permeate around us, to see her realize that we are in a building from 900 years ago, and the stone floors of a church we are in has been walked on for centuries, and that there are people resting forever underneath the foundation. That the echo we hear in the hallways of buildings was heard by people back when the world was a dark place lit by candles, when most lives were short little blips, when plagues were real, when most people couldn’t read. We will see paintings made from eggs and look at things dead men left behind for us and walk around streets that are older than the nation we come from and we will also be silly and eat herring and odd dishes that fill our mouths with question marks and simultaneous delight. We will try out foreign words and mess them up but be better for trying, and we will meet people from all ends of the earth and revel with them for a time and remember that the world is indeed a small place, and that traveling is a renewal of ones faith in humanity.

I cannot wait. I am an anxious soul already and knowing that soon I’ll be somewhere else saturates my dreams and my days.

Raspberry pie!

This is the amazing all-butter crust pie I made on Sunday night.

It set perfectly overnight and it’s already almost gone…and only two people are eating it. So yeah, I’d say it was a pretty good raspberry pie.

If you don’t like your raspberries super sour, add in vanilla or more sugar. For every 4/5 cups of raspberries I only add in about 1/3 cup of sugar and a bit of lemon juice and some corn starch but taste test yours to where you like it. I love sour pies, especially with a heavy whipped cream.

What’s your favorite kind of pie?

 

Hawthorn Bottle Shop & Tasting Room

Helena finally got a worthy place to take all my money!

The Hawthorn is just what we all needed here. They serve wine, have cheese boards, and the interior is dim but not overly so. They have some really interesting beers on tap, and this place in general exudes a vibe that says casual cool.

The tables are a bit odd, as some are just blocks of wood and  you have to be pretty petite to squeeze around them, but so far I haven’t cared. Nor have I yet knocked a glass off of a table, although that is inevitable. So far they’re off to a great start and I’m so glad a place like this exists. While they don’t have a glass of wine that’s under $5, what you get in return is the right atmosphere.

They’ve done a beautiful job creating lovely nooks and crannies to sit in, and have an awesome community table in the center of things that you can reserve for events/gatherings. Everybody that works there has been very friendly and is more than happy to help you try something new. Whether you’re seated at the bar, at a counter, or nestled around a table, you’re going to enjoy it.

I haven’t eaten enough of their food to have any feedback about it, but the wine itself is wonderful. This place is so energetic and feels really well thought out, and that consideration comes through in the decor, the insulated ceiling so that noise doesn’t bounce around, and the way the space is arranged. Plus, they immediately provide you with a wonderful bottle of water to share so nobody has to ask.

I will be back!

You shall not pass!

Went on a lovely hike with Kristin this morning, but it ended at an odd point because apparently we were on private land (or so a sign said…) and turned around so as not to raise a ruckus/be shot at (yeah that’s a thing in the Wild West of Montana).

Life has been…choatic, to say the last. It’s been a whirlwind of me staying out far too late, loathing my horrendous job more than ever, getting excited to move to Victoria in August, and other little things that seem to always add up.

I’m so sorry I haven’t been posting regularly, I swear this is something I am going to improve upon! I’ve been still getting used to my DSLR and I’m trying to get it to do what I want…we’re working on it.

Anyway, I need to shower and get my life together this Sunday, which most likely involves me really just taking a nap. OOPS. Have a great rest of your weekends everybody!

 

 

Graduate school application updates!

Applying to graduate schools was a lesson in stress I didn’t think I needed.

I ended up successfully applying to 6 different programs, and so far I have heard from three!

1 rejection, 2 acceptances!

I have been accepted to University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and University of Victoria in British Columbia! WOO!

I’m so relieved/ecstatic/excited because I stressed myself out to the point that I dreamt of rejection letters and made myself almost sick worrying. I have to hear back from 3 more programs, which is full of its own anticipatory feelings, but I got into two so far so I know that in August I’ll be headed somewhere.

PHEW.

Superfund, or super fun? The Butte day.

Yesterday I got into our trusty Subaru and headed south. I drove over mountains, through canyons, and into a storm. I don’t like driving in the Montana winters because conditions can turn treacherous quickly, but I had good reason to brave this one: at the end would be a good soak.

My drive was beautiful if scary at times. Semi trucks shouldn’t pass others in windy canyons and cut you off but they do. However, I saw ice-filled creeks, frozen waterfalls, snow-dusted trees, and the beautiful pattern very cold dry snow makes when it’s being blown all over the dark asphalt. The sun broke everything into beautiful patterns and made the canyon walls and forested hills absolutely gorgeous.

I got to Fairmont and soaked in the outdoor pool with my sunglasses on. I felt anonymous and loved it. I picked up Luke from a conference and we drove through the now bluebird day to Butte, Montana.

I love Butte. There’s a sturdy resilience about it, and if there’s one thing Butte folks know about, it’s eating and drinking. We ate at the Hummingbird Cafe and I loved every bite of my sandwich and sip of soup. I had an amazing mint tea and the lighting and interior were fun. We walked with a crisp breeze driving us to peek into random buildings.

We ended up at the Quarry Brewery at random, and descended the stairs to it’s semi-subterranean digs. I had a Gneiss IPA while Luke had the Open Pit Porter. I loved my IPA, it wasn’t too hoppy but it was awesome to enjoy after lunch. The Open Pit Porter was delicious and super smooth- it had a definite coffee flavor to it, which I loved. I really loved just finding them and going through the door- it was very unassuming and everybody was extremely friendly.

Afterwards we drove to see if the Berkeley Pit was open. The Berkeley Pit is a….ahem…unique Butte attraction. It’s essentially mine sludge in an open pit mine that’s sitting there. It’s very basic (in the chemistry sense…it’s not acidic, ya dig?) and it’s 800 feet deep. It’s slowly filling with heavy metal-laced water, to the point that the water can be mined. You pay $2 and you get to stare at one of the US’s largest Superfund sites and the fact that men did this for copper and by extension money.

The Berkeley Pit was not open. So Luke didn’t get to stare at the glory of men’s accomplishments.

We then drove up and down Butte’s steep, very steep, and randomly built roads. I cannot imagine trying to get up some of those roads in the winter if there was snow on the ground. After not successfully navigating the streets to get to Pork Chop John’s for a milkshake we got onto the highway and headed north, to home.

The drive was beautiful and clear. Purple and pink light tinged the mountain tops, and the creeks were in shadow in the canyons. We had the route mostly to ourselves and I thoroughly enjoyed driving through the twisty pass home.

 

Little moments

Life has been odd lately. Odd is a vague word that doesn’t even begin to describe things but I’ll leave it.

Yesterday I went on a hike. It was crisp outside and cloudy, and walking along the trail was interesting. My hiking partner walked slowly compared to my usually quick pace, and I had time to appreciate my surroundings  a bit more.

The top of the mountain was chilly and windy. My hands became stiff and cold but the view was incredible and my hair whipped around my face. The wind was blowing clouds full of snow everywhere, and watching them move all over the valley and in the surrounding mountains was really wonderful. I don’t usually sit on the top of the mountain after I hike it. At one point large fluffy flakes were falling all around us and my hair was full of snow and I wish I’d gotten a picture because I imagine it looked pretty neat, with my curls full of snowflakes.

I’ve finished all my applications for graduate school. Now the waiting begins. I don’t know what to do now, besides write thank you letters to all my wonderful professors who helped me out.

Work has been hellish. I’ve cried and stressed myself out so much about it but I’m trying to rectify my situation and make it so that I don’t despise waking up. I literally don’t want to go to sleep because that means I have to admit I’ll wake up and go to work. That’s not healthy and I know that- I don’t think that I was sick for over 4 weeks just simply because of a little infection. I think that work has made me stressed out to the point that I literally couldn’t handle a standard sinus infection.

Anyway, I’m just trying to make it a day at a time. Wish me luck all! I’m sure that soon I’ll have a more positive tone to things.