“You’re out of your element”

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I’ve got 5 rolls of film from our trip to Minneapolis. We were in the actual city for less than 48 hours, and somehow Logan, Everett, and I survived 36 hours in a Prius together. (Real talk: those two are  quality co-pilots. We all traded driving, DJ, and napping shifts like bosses and killed it. Thanks you two for being quality humans to spend a lot of time in a tiny space with).

Minneapolis was gorgeous. Warm, sunny, with a light breeze fluttering in the streets. Seeing Mary, I had to give her a long hug- this marvelous woman is killing it in law school, dresses like she’s always ready to settle a lawsuit, and also seamlessly transitions into the punk goddess she is. Gina, wearing gorgeous red lipstick, greeted us, and we all went to eat. We spent the afternoon eating, getting stoked to see Savages (OH MY GOD) and catching up.

Honestly, spending so much time with so many good souls is replenishing in a way that lets you inwardly smile and realize that the world, while indifferent, is populated by people who care, even if their version of caring is tossing insults from The Big Lebowski your way.

Seeing Savages was incredible. When I get film back I’ll make a post about the concert. I was pretty damn tempted to just press pause on my life and follow Savages around on their tours and stop being a productive human and just absorb their power that they send into the audience in epic waves.

Ahem…anyway. We ate. We drank. We laughed and sat on Mary’s massive front porch and grilled breakfast sausages and listened to music. We wove ourselves into each other’s lives  again for the briefest of times. It was the best sort of weekend.

Bucket hats and flowers

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Hiking right on the edge of town and then rewarding yourself with a beer cannot be beat. Mount Helena lays on the edge of town with 70+ miles of Forest Service and city trails, and you can get great views.

My bucket hat adorned, long legged companion and I climbed higher and higher, seeing the Capitol building dome, the campus of Carroll College, and my old, swastika shaped high school (Oh, Capital). Going down, our knees quietly screamed at us, and we immediately went to the Blackfoot to celebrate our exercise attempt.

 

Eat everything and regret nothing: A pizza story

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I pushed the oven temperature button until the oven was as hot as it would go. Apparently I did this aggressively and unnecessarily, as Logan raised his eyebrows and said, “Really?” I responded the oven needed to be as hot as possible or else. It ended up getting turned down by 75 degrees in the end. Sigh.

Sticking a pizza stone in the oven, we began rolling and spreading the pizza dough out, chopping garlic, and getting the odds and ends ready to assemble 5 mini pizzas together for friends and ourselves. I’m about 87% sure that my stomach was making monster noises while all of this was happening. I am 100% sure that I ate some mozzarella chunks and just wanted to eat all of the cheese and skip everything everything else.

Garlic and basil stems simmered with olive oil, then boxed tomatoes, salt, and pepper went in. It smelled incredible. Food strokes multiple senses in beautiful ways and my nose, eyes, ears, and taste buds were all humming as new smells, new noises, and new colorful arrangements were put together.

Each pizza that came out was delivered to the small table where we all consumed slices with zest. We made a favorite pizza of sardines, which I was smitten with (the Dutch pickled herring lover in me knew sardines would be up my alley).

In the end we all gathered around a small table, eating and chatting and admiring the fruits of our labor. These delicious creations linger in my memories (Logan let’s make another sardine pizza allora per favore).

Quietly learning

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My grandfather is not the most verbose individual. But, he gave me boxes and boxes of his Ektachrome and Kodachrome slides covering the early 1960’s all the way into the late 1980’s. As I scan in the slides, 12 at a time, I see what he saw. I see who he photographed. I don’t know why or how or even sometimes where, but I get to see the world through his eyes.

My grandfather has a wealth of knowledge about almost everything. He doesn’t talk about it too often, though. One thing I love is to see how he frames his wife, his children, and his friends. My grandfather is careful. He is not reckless with his photographs. I love finding these very blatantly sensitive, conscious thoughts coming through his photographs. My intimidating, often quiet grandfather makes gorgeous photographs. I’ll post more soon.

These are from Maine in 1975, and the gloom and blue hues make me want to head East.

Home again, iPhone POV

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My beloved, ancient iPhone4 is still functioning. While I wait for 35mm film to be developed in a town 100 miles away, and while I wait to find time to scan it in, here are digital bits of evidence of what I have been up to. Dry Bordeaux wine, evening hikes with friends, ducking inside echoing kilns, drinking coffee at the Parrot Confectionery, looking out the window in Gardiner, and quietly existing.

A weekend around Yellowstone

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Logan and I decided a few weeks ago to head to the Boiling River for a weekend. It being not quite tourist season, May seemed like one of the best times to go! We booked a stay at the Gardiner Guest House on the recommendation of a friend, and packed swim suits, towels, and comfortable clothes.

The Gardiner Guest House was the best decision ever. It was affordable, clean, full of character, and the proprietor, Nancy, was the friendliest, most welcoming, and yet not intrusive host! She welcomed us in, showed us where everything was, and told us to settle in. She was attentive, funny, and warm. We got hugs upon departing. (We’re going back for sure). The only thing we had to do: make sure to shut the gate so deer wouldn’t eat her gorgeous flora.

Yellowstone was blessedly quiet. The masses of ridiculously large RV’s and hordes of tightly packed tour groups were not yet present. We sat in the river, saw cow elk (some no doubt pregnant with babies), bison, eagles, hawks, deer, and breathed in the smells of sulfur and sage. It was chilly but not freezing.

Gardiner at night was eerie- there was almost nobody out on a Saturday evening, and we had a quiet beer in a bar on the main drag. I sipped a Bent Nail (Red Lodge Brewing Company I missed you!) and we ate a delicious, cheap pizza at Yellowstone Pizza Company. We walked in the middle of the streets, peeked in alleyways, but didn’t stay out too long- we were chilled from the river.

The next day we had breakfast at the Guest House- a ridiculously delicious affair! French toast with banana and pecan praline sauce, yogurt, fruit, cereal, coffee, tea, and sausages. Sharing breakfast with our hosts Richard and Nancy, we chatted and got the best start to a glorious day. After soaking still more in the river, the Mammoth Terraces called and we admired bacteria mats, terraces, and the gorgeous colors of the thermal pools. Stairs, stairs, and more stairs.

As we drove out of Gardiner and Yellowstone we decided to stop in Livingston. We headed to Katabatic Brewing, which whips up some seriously delicious beer. I had only heard good things from friends and upon entering I saw why- the space is welcoming and the beer awesome. Logan got a flight and the first beer, a Kolsch, was gone immediately. A growler of it came home and it was indeed delicious. We then headed to The Murray Bar, a historic and awesome bar that serves up incredible burgers. We walked around Livingston for a bit, but a toe I hurt badly on the rocks in the Boiling River and the wind drove us to the car pretty quickly (wear sturdy shoes in the Gardiner River y’all!).

Driving home, we were satiated, happy, hot spring river soaked creatures. I could not have had a better foray into Yellowstone and its surrounding area.

 

First year of grad school: DONE

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My first year of grad school has been over for a month now.

I turned in my final papers and breathed, but also couldn’t stop being stressed out. I worked harder this year than I think I ever have. My mind was constantly being bent, twisted, guided into places it hadn’t ever been. My curiosity, which knows no bounds already, was unleashed in ferocious ways. I questioned verbally and mentally. I reasoned and debated and held my ground and changed my opinions and was, in general, constantly feeling alive in an exhausted, electric way.

It has been a month since I posted on here. My sincere apologies. I have been home looking for employment, catching up on reality, being with people I love, and eating good food. I have been catching up with humanity, politics, and the outside world. My life is stressful in different ways now.

The photographs above are from the History program’s end of semester trip to a cabin on Lake Cowichan. We all gather and sleep in a simple cabin. We drink and eat and ponder. Aimless conversations, still beneficial, sporadically pop up. We learn bits and pieces about each other that we didn’t before, though we have spent dozens of hours together. I have been a bit of a recluse in some ways so coming to gatherings like this are wonderful. I realize that even though in some ways this degree is isolating it is also cohesive, and that these humans I work with are in this with me.