Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Yummy Breakfast

This poor magpie had the pleasure of me snapping away as he tried to have a nice peaceful leisurely breakfast. I just hope I didn't give him heartburn.

You can click on the images below to enlarge them. That is if you want a better view of this magpie's grasshopper breakfast.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mostly Creepy Part 2

Is it me or do museums always put together the creepiest hospital exhibits? Like they think that old Vincent Price movie House of Wax is something to aspire to.

Look closely: the bad fitting wig on the male mannequin. And the way he's positioned in the shadows. The gleeful expression on the middle mannequin.  Why is she missing a thumb and little finger?  And then there's little miss no arms.  What in the world is going on at this hospital anyway?

Mostly Creepy Part 1

This is an exhibit on mining masks at the World Museum of Mining in Butte, Montana. They remind me of that creature in Hellboy that was filled with sand.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rob Thomas is Haunting Me

Ugh! I was kind of hoping I could put the video for Someday in this post, but the embedding's been disabled. I'm not much surprised, and I don't blame an artist for protecting his creation. I do it all the time.

I digress. I'm surprised how much I like the couple of songs I've heard from Cradlesong. The only reason I said he's haunting me is because his presence has been all encompassing during a couple of tough times recently.

Last March, after we had returned from Pat's, an old family friend of my husband's, memorial I heard Her Diamond's for the first time. I sat in my car and cried. That's a tough song to listen to when you've recently lost someone.

And of course one would think it can't get much worse than that. Wrong! The first song I heard after my mom passed was Someday. Darn it dude. I'm trying to be all heroic here and hold it together for my dad and aunts. Stop making me cry!

I was actually set to write about how I was going to forget about Someday and vote for now, so I listened to the song again. I had forgotten about the middle - is bridge the technical term for that? In any case, I still cried.

I suppose it's just as well. Otherwise I might hold this grief in until I get some sort of weird cancer. So I guess I should say thank you.(?)

Sunday in My City - My Hometown

For this week's Sunday in My City post, I'm breaking with tradition again and featuring a city besides Bozeman. As before, it is my hometown of Charles City, Iowa. This is a view of Main Street looking downtown from the top of the hill.

Main Street, Charles City, Iowa

For more hometowns from around the world visit Unknown Mami.

Friday, August 27, 2010

It's Been Two Weeks...

which beats an eternity.  I miss my son and my husband very much.  I wouldn't be exaggerating to say that I ache for them.  Yet, I rejoice at the same time.  For tomorrow, I will be reunited with them.  I will definitely have a deeper appreciation for their presence. 

This is because my Dad just lost his wife.  My mother.  While I will miss her like a daughter, my dad will miss the woman he had been in love with for 46 years.  I can't imagine that sense of loss.  The emptiness.  I can see it in the blank stare on his face and hear it in the way he shuffles down the hall.  I swear he's dusting the floor as he walks.

Not crying about that is difficult at best, and so I hold onto the fact, that I have not suffered that deep a loss yet.  I look forward to my joyous reunion while simultaneously hoping my father will be able to weather his loss. 

Only time will tell.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Most Precious Lesson

For You Mom

One time when I was 8 or 9 years old my good friend who lived next door had to move. Apparently this turn of events was a bit much for me to take.  At that age, my response to experiences that I didn't wish to have, involved a temper tantrum that would verge on histrionics. "It's not fair."  I would whine. "They should not leave. They should just stay."  I would demand.

I imagine my Mother's response to such fits was the standard phrase: Life is not fair. What I do remember her telling me very clearly is sometimes we just have to say goodbye. That I would make new friends. Yes, it's tough, but it will be OK. I don't remember that bit of wisdom being much comfort. However, we all know that the best lessons in life have little to do with our own comfort.

What my mom did not realize that day is she was teaching me The Most Precious Lesson - How to say goodbye.

As a strange twist in fate would have it, we recently spoke of the idea of goodbyes again. I had told her that Dad had said,  "I imagine Hawk misses you."  Hawk is my 9 year old son in case Mom missed her bragging rights. My mother's reply was, "Sometimes it's good to miss people."  I came back with an agreeable, "Yeah, sometimes it is."  Of course I had no idea at that time I was gearing up for the Great Goodbye. The one I Miss You that can't be fixed - at least not here on Earth.

I will miss you Mom in a good way.  I will treasure and pass on the most precious lesson that you have taught me - How to Say Goodbye.

Goodbye, Mom. Godspeed.
PS - I had asked to speak at my mom's funeral.  Apparently I am the only one brave enough to do so.  I didn't even have a clue what to say.  I just felt I needed to do it.  I promised the minister that I would write something down so that I would not go off on a tangent and take too much time.  I woke up at 2:30 in the morning and wrote out the rough draft.  What you read above is like the 6th draft if you count each time I've changed it.  I think it's polished and good to go.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I'll Take the Time

I was sitting on the garage floor tonight helping my dad tie newspapers together so they can go with the recycling pile tomorrow. Suddenly it hit me that there are so many people whose parents have passed on that would give their fortune just to have one more moment with their parents. Just to sit and do something as simple as prepare papers for recycling. I realized just how lucky I have been to have my dad live so long. Does he remember everything so well? No. Is he the young good looking guy in this photo? Not so much. Does he boss me around a bit? Well, not like he used to. But I am so grateful to have this precious time with him, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. So when my dad takes forever to get from point a to point b, I won't mind so much (not that I really do anyway) because I'll take the time. I'll take all the time I have left to share with him.

Friday, August 13, 2010

You Have Reached the Maximum Amount of Time

It's been a long couple of days. My mom's health has taken a turn for the worse, and has forced me to start dealing with issues I was hoping to put off for another 10 or so years. This becomes doubly frustrating when you take into account, that my dad is also starting to fade although at this point, my mom is the worse of the two. Who would have guessed? It's my dad who's been having strokes for who knows how many years. Well, I'm in the middle of trying to figure out what type of care they require at this point which involves calling my husband while he's at Boy Scout Camp. As you can well imagine, you can't boil all this drama / frustration / planning down to a quick five minute message. I had to listen to the following message on my husband's cell phone 3 times:

You have reached the maximum amount of time

You think?!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Say Hello to My Little Friend

While out hiking on the Grotto Falls Trail in Hyalite Canyon, I stopped to take pictures of a beetle that I found on a flower. Unfortunately, none of those shots turned out. It was quite a breezy day, and wind is definitely the arch enemy of the macro photographer. In the process, I felt a light touch on my skin. Fortunately, I nixed the instinct to do what I usually do which is to blow on the spot and send the little critter flying. Apparently while photographing the beetle, I had brushed against the tall grass and picked up this little hitch hiker. What amazed me was how gently I was able to return him to his natural habitat once the photo shoot was done. I'm not exactly known for my grace.

To view the images in full size, simply click on them.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Am Humbled - Beautiful Blogger, Me?

I am truly humbled and couldn't believe my eyes. Doreen at They Say Everyone Has a Story..This is Mine.. has given me the Beautiful Blogger Award.

In order to be worthy of this award I must state 7 beautiful things around me:

1) My family - without them I am nothing.

2) My friends - both blog and real world. I have some of the best friends a person could hope for. And I so appreciate they're having my back in the coming days.

3) The subjects of my photography. I realize not everyone loves insects, but it constantly amazes me how well designed they are for their niche. And at times so brightly colored and beautifully adorned.

4) The mess my house is. It reminds me that I have loved ones that I share my house with. (The guys went to Boy Scout camp this morning. Can you guess that I miss them?)

5) The kids that I work with at my son's school. I love their energy and how everything is so brand new and exciting to them.

6) The teachers at my son's school. They're an awesome bunch. I wish my teachers had been so lovely when I was growing up. They truly care for kids and dedicate their lives to instilling knowledge in future generations.

7) My wrinkles and gray hairs. I don't have a lot yet. But I look forward to it. I see it this way: I'm only getting wiser.

I have chosen the following seven blogs to receive the Beautiful Blogger Award:

Sassy Pants Freckle Face

Mamma Still Wears Gucci

Howls Moving Castle and Roadschool

Jillsy Girl

The Fifty Factor

Unknown Mami

The Smitten Image

Please drop by and give a big hello. All of these women have helped make my world a more beautiful place in their own special way.

Recepients of the above award, it's your turn to list 7 things beautiful around you and choose 7 to pass the award on to!

Monday, August 9, 2010

How to Spot a Moose

1.)Stare out the window half mesmerized by the gorgeous scenery between Butte and Whitehall on Highway 2.

2.)Start yelling: OMG is that a moose? It is! Turn around, turn around, turn around.

3.)Be patient while husband waits for ringing in his ears to stop and finds a safe spot to make a U turn on a semi-busy winding road.

4.)Snap away as people drive by staring at you like what's so darned interesting.

(I think a few people were actually quick enough to figure it out and saw it as they drove past.)

5.)Get going before you upset the huge animal and it comes over to show it's displeasure with your paparazzi self by preceding to stomp on your car until it resembles a crushed soda can.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sweet Pea Festival 2010

For this week's, Sundays in My City post, I focused on a traditional event here in Bozeman.

Yesterday we went over to the Sweet Pea Festival for a short while. We got there too late to do any of the kid things, so we hung out at the playground for a bit and then went wandering through the arts and crafts area. The photos below are just a few random shots I stuck into a collage. Besides the crowd, these sum up our Sweet Pea experiences.

The sign below seems to state the obvious. Of course, that's when my husband said, "Look, someone made a sign for me." Sigh.

Stop by Unknown Mami's and check out what makes other cities unique.

Click on the above image to see a larger version.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Bite of Bozeman

Ever try to capture the essence of something just to realize it's too large to be encompassed in something so insignificant as a photo? I rarely feel that way. However, Bite of Bozeman is so many things at once, it is hard to narrow it down to a singular photograph. Even with the collage I put together, I don't believe I have done it justice.

Bite of Bozeman is an event that takes place every year the Wednesday before the Sweet Pea Festival. Basically, the city blocks off main street for maybe a mile and then some of the best food around hits the streets. During this time, there are bands playing some awesome music. And earlier in the day, chalk on the walk is held, so the sidewalk is decorated with all this amazing art. Hard to roll into one tiny package, but I gave it my best shot. (Pun intended.)

Simply click on the above image to see it full size. Enjoy!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Skywatch Friday - Sweet Pea Style

This week's Skywatch Friday post is in honor of the Sweet Pea Festival. This is a big celebration in Bozeman this time of year. There's a parade and events in Lindley Park. Lots of music and lots of art. There are a variety of activities for the kids as well.

This year the library lined up something special to coincide with the Sweet Pea Festival. They brought Nomkoo the Elephant to town. I thought that his trunk framing the sky and the grain elevator made a striking photograph.

This is a shot I took earlier in the day from the top level of the parking garage. It's so rare to get such views in Bozeman since we don't have many tall buildings in town. I couldn't resist the photo op of these pigeons on the roof.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Welcome Nomkoo

Nomkoo comes to Bozeman.

I was fortunate enough to be driving out of town via Main Street just in time to see them bringing in Nomkoo the elephant by crane. I couldn't resist stopping for this splendorific photo op. (I've been making up words - mashing them, lately. I came up with flustration - flustered + frustration.) I of course took a lot of photos, so I decided the best way to present the event was to put them into a couple of collages. (You can click on the images to see them full size.) It's so hard to pack something this cool into just one small web-sized photo.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fifteen Minutes From Montana

I have an acquaintance who likes to refer to Bozeman as 15 minutes from Montana. Unfortunately, I tend to forget this as I usually run into friendly people no matter where I am in Montana. Today was an exception, and I will take responsibility for my part in the whole mess.

Today, I decided to go to Humbug Spires. Well, I had some directions that brought me in around the back way along a bunch of forest roads, but I thought I'd get lost doing that, so I decided to take the more direct route. (It'd help if our topo map was a little easier to read.) Well, I got lost doing that. I should have gone with my first instinct and scrapped it for Maiden Rock. I went by the road to it 6 times trying to find the other spot.

When I finally figured out what I was doing wrong, I was met with a road closed sign. One of those huge barricades with the sign in the middle, striped orange and white. Normally this would deter me, but I was frustrated by having driven an hour and half for nothing. The sign wasn't completely blocking the road, so I decided to see what the brown sign behind it said. You can read that below.

Had I been thinking, I'd have realized that the brown sign meant exactly what the semi-polite gravel truck driver told me. The road is closed for the next 3.5 miles which is all of it. There is no more. I looked at my map and thought, oh, they've closed the road past the parking lot for the hiking trail. Granted it didn't show much road beyond that point, but what do I know.

Like an idiot I started driving up. Only to be met by the previously mentioned gravel truck clearly parked to block my way. The semi-polite driver stepped out and wanted to know if I saw the road closed sign. I said I did but I read the other sign to mean that the road wasn't closed until 3.5 miles ahead which meant I could reach the trail. No, that means the first 3.5 miles are closed. Um, OK. Well, you can't really argue with a gravel truck, so I turned around and headed back down. On the way there, I decided I wanted a picture. I just wanted to make sure I had read it wrong. I got one off, but it's no good, all washed out. Nothing, but I can feel him back there getting antsy. I adjusted my lighting (grumbling under my breath) and took another. He yelled Get Outa Here! So I did.

Click on the above photo to read what's written on the duct tape.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sundays in My City - My Duck's Are in a Row

This Sundays in My City post is a follow up to last weeks.

My husband noticed this week that they had refilled the duck pond on MSU's campus. We decided to go by and check it out. Finally success! The pond was full and the ducks were hungry.

To see slices of life from other cities around the world check out Unknown Mami's Sundays in My City.