Wednesday, September 29, 2010

One Word Wednesday - An Enchanting Place

Jillsy at Jillsy Girl hosts One Word Wednesday. The word for today is Enchanting, and I am thrilled to have some photos that fit. Because I couldn't choose one photo, I put a bit of a twist on the assignment and chose one place: Reptile Gardens in Rapid City, South Dakota. Enjoy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ever Feel Like Lucy?

Scene: Dinner time at Mr. and Mrs. VM's. Mr. VM sits down to a lovely meal and suddenly remembers that Mrs. VM did not get him something to drink. He heads into the kitchen.

Mrs VM heading him off: Can I help you honey?

Mr. VM: No, just getting something to drink.

Mrs. VM: Don't trouble yourself dear. Let me get that for you.

Mr. VM hesitantly sitting down. Looking at Mrs. VM as if she's lost it.

Mrs. VM disappears for a second and returns with a nice refreshing drink.

Mrs. VM: There you are dear. Sitting the glass on the table.

Mr. VM really looking at his wife closely. Inspecting her for any seams. Possibly turned into a Stepford wife without his permission.

All is well for a few seconds.

Mr. VM: Darn, there's no ice in this drink. Gets up again and heads for the kitchen.

Mrs. VM heads him off at the door doing the 4 foot sprint in 5 nano seconds.

Mrs. VM: No, really dear. Let me get that.

Mr. VM: It's OK. What is wrong with you really. He pushes past her into the kitchen.

Door swings shut.

Door swings open again and we hear.

Mrs VM!

Mrs VM: Really dear it's not what it looks like. I can explain. See, I thought...

Mr VM exasperated: Mrs VM! What did you do to our dishwasher?

Mrs. VM: Oh, darn it. Really I thought I could fix it. Big pout on her face.

Cut to commercial.

I swear sometimes I feel like I live in an old episode of the Lucille Ball show. The cap came off by one of the fill markers for our jet dry dispenser, so every little crumb falls down in there and shoots up into my glasses. They hardly ever come out clean. And the dryer just bakes all those crumbs onto the glasses permanently. I could save myself a lot of time by simply handwashing the glasses to begin with. So I got this bright idea to fill that hole with Dawn dishwashing liquid. A, it would shoot cleaning gel into my glasses and B, it would keep any crumbs from falling into that hole. That's when the dishwasher started to make some sort of strange sound that sounded like something between grinding gears while shifting a car and an angry grizzly bear. I kid you not. When I opened it up, it looked like the photos below. And as Mr. VM pointed out later, when you put Dawn into a dishwasher and it suds up like that, it won't drain. Mrs. VM, ie me, did manage to make it all OK by bailing the water out and running the dishwasher on a quick mode. Fortunately it came out dry the second time. I'm just hoping that weird gear / bear sound passes. It was such a nice quiet dishwasher before.

What is your most memorable "Lucy" moment?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sundays in My City - Fall Brilliance

First of all I'd like to send a big Thank You to Unknown Mami who hosts Sundays in My City. She gives everyone a chance to show off the town they live in.

My particular town, Bozeman, MT is awash in fall colors. Unfortunately, I had to stick a bit close to home today. One, I have this lousy cold. Two, my son is selling Boy Scout popcorn and has been out hitting the pavement.

To make up for it, I went over to the meadow (some call it a ditch) and snapped a few quick pictures of fall. It was an interesting trek. Apparently no one has been over there in quite some time because the trails are starting to grow over. So part of the adventure involved tromping down tansy bushes. Easier said than done. And picking off all those lovely burrs. Not the big kind either. These are the size of a pea. And I swear there were millions of them, all over my shorts. However, I'd like to think it was worth it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Skywatch Friday - Reptile Gardens Style

My son and husband went to South Dakota on vacation. While there, they stopped at Reptile Gardens. My husband shot this photo of a display case reflecting the sky above it. For more surreal skies check out Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tussok Moth Caterpillar

This is a Tussok Moth Caterpillar. My husband and son found it while at Boy Scout Camp on Melitas Island.

I need a little help. I know in general what type of caterpillar it is, I just don't know the specifics. So does anyone out there know what kind of moth this particular caterpillar will turn into?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

DC Booth Fish Hatchery - The VM Sehy Pity Party Tour Part II

More photos from the guys' vacation to South Dakota.

So come join me on the pity party tour yet again. While exploring the area a little more thoroughly this time around, my husband and son discovered the town of Spearfish. Looking at the photos, it seems like a pretty awesome place.

Some of that awesomeness comes from the DC Booth Fish Hatchery. Of course, that could just be me. Apparently I'm a sucker for large artificial congregations of fish. Probably because it's so easy to get a good shot.

I thought the photo of the fish mortuary was informational. Never occurred to me what you'd do with diseased fish. You can click on the photo to read the sign better.

View Larger Map

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Taximdermy and Convenience Stores - Only in South Dakota

While on vacation in South Dakota, the guys got to see the coolest thing: a taxidermy museum inside a convenience store. Yes, I am holding a pity party for myself. It's near Rapid City, so I imagine they'll want to go again.

Check out the newspaper article below to see how this all came together:

La Grand Station - Call of the Wild

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sundays in My City - I Admit It, I'm a Chicken

First off, a shout out to Unknown Mami and her meme Sundays in My City. Check it out to go visit all kinds of cool places around the world.

I would like to think that I put the wild into wildlife photography, but I'm afraid today I am going to have to admit I have a somewhat inflated image of myself. For instance, the photo of the bear below was indeed taken in Yellowstone National Park: with about 200 other people around, from a paved road that was about 20-25 feet away from the bear, with a ranger clapping at it so it wouldn't come any closer. Not exactly hiking into the back country / dropping my pack to slow the bear down type of image I like to build up. Still, it is a cool shot especially since the ranger said bears are hardly seen in Yellowstone anymore.

That's because they're in our neighborhood. Oh, yeah. That's right. See the photo of the trash below. That's the second time this week the darn bear has spread trash all over our lawn. And are we bright enough to put the trashcan in the garage? No. In fact, I'll admit it, I'm not even brave enough to go out and sit in the car at 9 o'clock at night waiting for Mr. Trashcan tipper. Nope. Not even will all that metal around me will I be out to get a shot of this bear. (He is a black bear like the one in Yellowstone. One of neighbors has a video of this bear digging through his trash. He wants to keep it private, so I can't share the link.) However, my husband, bless his soul, came up with the most brialliant idea. He thought we could get a webcam and set up an infrared beam and videotape the bear when he trips the beam. So now we're trying to decide if we should go into hock for this camera. Eat for a month or buy a camera. See what tough decisions I'm left with in these hard times.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Skywatch Friday - A Montana Sunset

This shot for Skywatch Friday comes from the beautiful sunset we had last night. My husband and I had to attend a school function, so I had the good fortune of being in the passenger's seat. I took advantage of this opportunity and started shooting the sky.

To visit other skies from around the world drop by Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Welcome and Thanks

I just wanted to say welcome to all of my new followers. I appreciate you taking the plunge with me as I find all kinds of cool places and things to explore in Montana. Also, I would like to say thank you to my followers who have been with me for awhile. I appreciate all the kind comments that you leave.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Paper, Dam, Rock: Rock Crushes Dam

About three weeks ago a boulder the size of a school bus fell onto the Madison Dam near Ennis Lake. Now most sane people would say cool, but I think I'll stay out of a canyon that's dropping boulders the size of school buses. You know. So I don't end up finding out what it's like to be in a car that's been thrown into the junk yard crushing machine.

However, I gave up any semblance of sanity and apparently sense a long time ago. So shortly thereafter, we headed up the canyon to check out the damage for ourselves. (In case anyone is really worried, I had heard on the radio that the road by the dam had been opened back up to traffic and the engineers believed the remaining rockcliff to be stable.)

All I can say is I wish I'd known about this area before the boulder gave the dam a knock down because it has to be one of the most beautiful places I've seen around here.

(To check out the damage in greater detail, click on the photos to enlarge them.)

Check Out My Post on World's Worst Moms

I'd like to give a big thank you to Tammy Soong over at World's Worst Moms. She was brave enough to post my story about how I screwed up and nearly turned my son into a black clothes from head to toe, writing depressing poetry, Goth kid way before his time.

Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. So drop on by World's Worst Moms, and if you're feeling brave, perhaps you'll have a story that you'd like to share.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sundays in My City - A Hyalite Canyon Evening

This evening we decided to head up Hyalite Canyon and do some hiking. The hope was to make it to Grotto Falls. No such luck. Once up there, it became dark quickly. We stopped along the stream for some shots and then headed back down. I say none too quick as we encountered a bear driving back down the canyon. Just ran across the road right in front of our car. Wish I could say I had a shot of it, but I was looking at the photo I had just taken and adjusting my settings. It was gone when I looked back up. I'm hoping my camera mojo will turn around soon.

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

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Am Grateful Believe It Or Not

I was not pleased when a card from my Aunt Linda sent showed up like this. I was all prepared to declare outright war with the post office through my blog. I had my sarcasm sharpened. Little quips like this kept coming to mind: I hate to see what happens when you don't care. In fact, that was going to be the title of this blog post.

However, before I did any of the above thus never seeing mail again in my lifetime, I took care to gently put the card back together. After taking a moment to read the beautiful message inside the card, I quickly changed my mind. I would rather have received this in the shredded condition it is than never to have gotten it at all.

So I say thank you to the United States Postal Service for delivering my mail even if it isn't in the most perfect condition.

I tried speculating about what exactly happened to this letter. My husband said it's not from machinery. He thinks it met the edge of a table. I really hate to think someone went out of their way to purposely tear this up. There's no money in it. Duh. And if you're that upset - some might say postal - perhaps you need to get a different job. Just saying. While I am mostly humbled by the written words in this card, I am still a bit perturbed. I sure do wish the post office would actually solve the issues some their employees have. I said some Aunt Shirley:)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Skywatch Friday - Ennis Veteran's Memorial

For my Skywatch Friday post, I decided to join a lot of my blog friends and make it a 9-11 theme. Last Sunday, we decided to go explore the area around Ennis, Montana. We came across the Veteran's Memorial, and the sky made the perfect backdrop for our flag. So I offer up this photo as a way of saying thank you to those who are currently serving and thank you to those who have served. Especially you, Dad.

Be sure to drop by Skywatch Friday and check out more skies from around the world.

I Tat I Taw a Puddytat. I Tat I Taw a Puddytat. I Did, I Did!

Next time I take a picture. Because if you're going to be famous for 15 minutes, you ought to have some proof to back up your claim.

In the meantime, check out the link below for a photo of what I saw. I'll wait to begin my tale until you get back.

Bobcat Photo

Driving my usual route to school, consists of gorgeous views of the mountains and maybe driving carefully through a few joggers here and there. Well, as some of you know, the most exciting thing that has ever happened along this route is the eagle spottings that come every winter.

That is until today. I was minding my own driving carefully past the Jr. High when I happened to see what I thought was a shaggy dog in the ditch. As I drove by, I began to notice the fur pattern and the pointed ears. I finally realized I was looking right at a bobcat when I saw the classic hunting pose of the pre-pounce feline.

I was late to work and I had someone stuck to my back bumper, so stopping was out of the question. I know. See the top of the post. (To quote one of my co-workers, "That must be frustrating." It is. Perhaps this will be a good motivation to leave five minutes early for work.)

I ended up being famous for about 15 minutes because I was either bright enough or dense enough, depending upon your point of view, to tell the staff that I'd seen it. Shortly after pulling into work, it occurred to me that we may need to keep our eye out for the cat in case it comes anywhere near the playground. Sometimes I need my vest on before I start to think like an aide. My only previous worry til then circled around the concern that someone may have a pet in the back yard that was about to be Mr. Bobcat's lunch. Well, the staff already knows me as a wildlife photographer, and so they had me tell the Principal. He then called the Jr. High Principal, and they decided to bring the kids in and call Wildlife Control.

Once we told the fifth graders to come in, all havoc broke loose. We're talking an emotional reaction short of panic. Sigh. To make matters worse, this decision was quickly reversed when Wildlife Control assured us that the cat would be too afraid of all the noise the kids were making to come anywhere near the playground. This left us with a playground full of hyper / half panic striken 10 and 11 year olds. Oh fun. (Wildlife Control did come out and do a search. There are kids in that neighborhood, and I wouldn't want them to get hurt.) The emotional level lent itself to rumours turning the bobcat into a cougar. By this time, I have some kids asking questions, and I was very clear about the situation. I told them I had seen it. Where it was. I also was very explicit about the size of the cat. To close, I reiterated that it will more than likely avoid the playground due to the noise. Consequently, my cool quotient went up about 10 fold, however, I felt that the famous quotient offset that. I'd probably skip the whole experience if I had to do it over again. I'd rather the kids' enjoy their recess.

So next time I take a picture. At least that way, the boys who were cougar spotting out by the fence, will have a photo to use as a visual guide.

PS - Reassuring boys that a bobcat will not be visiting their playground anytime soon only leads to severe disappointment.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fish Sculptures in Ennis

This past weekend we went to Ennis, MT. The main purpose was to go out by the lake and see the dam that had recently been damaged by a boulder. I'll be posting about that in the future. Today, I just wanted to do a quick post about these fish sculptures in Ennis. They are all over town. Usually as a dedication to someone. My favorite is the first one.

View Larger Map

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The World's Smallest Gas Pump Attendant

I would like to say thank you to Hilary at The Smitten Image for including this post in her Posts of the Week. Stop by and visit her blog to see some of the most spectacular nature photography around.

My husband is kind enough to let me borrow his photos from time to time. He took this one while on vacation in South Dakota this summer.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Beauty in Grief

I know that it's hard to find beauty in the middle of a funeral. Still in some ways, it is a beautiful process. Which makes it all the sadder that the one whose honor this event is being held in can not be there.

 I found it very touching that so many people joined in the motorcade out to the cemetary.  My mom meant so much to so many people, and this will always be a beautiful memory for me.  A testament to the life my mom led.  The kind of life that touched so many others.

The roses that my dad and my brother held in their hands.  Roses were one of her favorite flowers.  To me these two roses symbolize the fragility and preciousness of life.  Held so dearly like the memory of my mom will be held so dearly by so many.

Finally, I didn't want to miss the chance to get a shot of the casket spray.  The florist did such a lovely job.  She would have loved this bouquet had she been able to see it. 

Sunday in My City - Rainy Days and Sundays

This Sunday in My City post is made possible by Unknown Mami. Please drop by her blog and check out other, hopefully sunnier, cities.

Today was one of those gray drizzly days, so we didn't go on our planned trip. Hopefully tomorrow. So my son got out his toy insects. My husband put together some bookcases for his Ebay inventory. And I went shopping. At least I can have some tasty warm bread on this chilly dull day.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I Love a Surprise!

Especially if its a bonus creature in my photos. When I shot the bee, I did not see the little green beetle on the leaf. He really lends scale to the photo. When I shot the berries on the bottom, I did not see the fly in the upper right hand corner. (You may have to click on the image to view it larger so that you can see him.) I have no idea what kind of fly it is. Wish I had seen him, so I had some better shots. At least then, I might stand half a chance of identifying him.