An ideal location

The rehearsal dinner for our son’s wedding was held in the backyard of friends outside of Helena. The grounds are surrounded by huge, old willows. There was abundant shade for a party and lots of space for the kids to run. Just a few weeks prior their lawn and basement had been flooded by high creek run-off. The week of the wedding there had been multiple downpours but it was dry enough Friday night to host the dinner. It was not a place for high heels since the ground was very soft. It was causal wear and time for a BBQ picnic! Yum!  Everyone had a good time, I think. We fed about 34 people.

We certainly appreciated all the hard work it took to host the party. Thank you, thank you!


There might have been a slight case of wedding nerves that evening. Ian Caitlin were pretty cool, but  I certainly was feeling it! Everyone got enough to eat and drink and it didn’t rain! I’d say it was a success. The food, catered by best man # 2 – Nik’s parents, was delicious.


The grounds were so lovely. Here the trampoline is empty but a few minutes prior it was a very popular spot for the children.

Merry Christmas to all

The peace of Christmas, which passes all  understanding, I wish for you all tonight.

A corner of sky

an ancient angel hangout

hear the Gloria


Photo taken by Aly’s Sara last evening at sunset on Christmas Eve, 2009.  We were all standing at the window watching the light and Sara luckily happened to be on the front porch with the big lens – awesome Sara!

Canyon Ferry

The photo I took this afternoon on the road between Bozeman and Helena north of Townsend, MT.  Canyon Ferry Lake is off in the distance and was covered with white caps since there was a stiff wind blowing.  We were driving back with the cargo trailer full of our son’s belongings which we packed up as his SSEL  internship in Bozeman is now complete.  The sky was randomly scattered here and there with rain clouds which have moved into the northwest region dispelling the hot weather.  We were happy to have the cool temperatures while packing and then driving back again.

Ian’s brain has literally been in the upper atmosphere for weeks now working on two different satellite projects connected with NASA.  I believe he is happy to have a little break now before Fall semester begins on the 24th of this month.  This shot of the sky outside of Townsend is in honor of his hard work the last 10 weeks!  Here’s to special springs, drag and added mass, Ian!  Always keep looking up; you’ll never know what will happen.


Potpourri on the sea

waves Rialto

Yes, I intended the title to be a play on words. Maybe it should be: Potpuree. I am alluding to the crazy mixture of events during the past couple of weeks causing waves in our day to day existence – tossing my family about like so many aromatic dried herbs in the surf. Oh, right. That’s called life. I forgot. Anyway, things are smoothing out on the sandy shore of this weekend. It turns out that we have three days off due to a snow day at the school which was never taken during the winter. I asked my husband: “What about that day we went skiing and just about didn’t make it up there because of the gigantic snow storm, which had all those 50 trucks stranded at the side of the road? What about that SNOW day?” Well, I won’t complain now nor try to decipher the logic of how snow days are evaluated by the school administration. It will probably snow Monday anyway just to spite everyone. I’m serious, it’s in the forecast.

To follow up on previous posts concerning my Mom: she is back home and is attending cardio-rehab three times a week. They have to travel 25 miles to do that, but my Dad is faithfully driving her into town. She is making improvements but it feels slow to her. My brother and I are trying to press patience and encouragement. At 85, she probably is going to need some time. My Mom was nearly 40 when she had me. I don’t know how she did it; I cannot imagine having a 6 year old right now at my age. So, I know my Mom is made of sturdy stuff and hopefully will be able to enjoy Spring and her flower garden with a newly healthy heart.

Speaking of children, our son informed us a couple days ago that he and his significant girl are staying at the College this summer to work. They have both landed jobs and won’t have to suffer another summer of being apart. I am happy for them but now I am suffering from a few pangs of 50% empty nest syndrome. Matthew and I are already checking out all the available kayaking over there near their area. We have always wanted to paddle to the Gates of the Mountains, where Lewis and Clark explored, and there are quite a few camping opportunities too. Like David Bowie once wrote in a song: “CHa-changes…” I’m sure some of you know exactly what I’m talkin’ about.

And, just a reminder that tomorrow morning we are going to try and upgrade Word Press, but it shouldn’t be a big deal and we hopefully won’t be down too long – we’re anticipating a couple hours. Word Press says you can do it in five minutes but we need to test out a new back up as well.

Finally, heartfelt thanks for all your wonderful notes and messages. You are all just amazing people.

(Photo above by Ian 6/07)

Sky Watcher

Camas Light

Here is perhaps one of the most lonesome, two-lane roads on the western side of the Great Divide. Matthew shot this view on the Camas Prairie road on our way back from the small town of Hot Springs. I always experience a singular, isolated feeling when I travel this narrow ribbon of a road. It is a sensation that isn’t completely pleasant but not entirely unpleasant either. I imagine myself living here, trying to scrape a living; wholly surrounded by wind and the mountains. There isn’t much to stop the wind in this slender little valley and the dried grasses and clouds speak endlessly in a strange language. “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G. K. Chesterton

Please take time to visit more Sky Watchers here.

Door of bronze & gold leaf

mary and Jesus door

This is a close-up of one of the panels of the ceremonial door leading into the newly remodeled St. Ann’s Cathedral in Great Falls. We were there a few days ago last week on a whirlwind trip to visit family. We happened to have lunch in downtown Great Falls and were only a couple blocks from the Cathedral, so we decided to take a peek into see their new construction job. I noticed their budget for this project hadn’t quite met the 2 million dollar mark. That’s a lot of money. However, the art and decor’ is beautiful. These doors were made by a woman artist but I failed to copy down her name and the St. Ann’s website doesn’t mention her. The doors have matching panels inside and outside. Here is a shot of the other door panel – click on the photo to enlarge the view.  As I wrote above, these doors are not used daily but only on special occasions.  I wonder how heavy they are?  Are they only intended for weighty dignitaries?

St. Anne’s Door