Sunday, December 30, 2007


Some of you know that my cousins and I have a house in Billings. The 4 kid-cousins, Eric, Marissa, Sadie Rose and Luke live there along with my cousins Kay and Sharon. I visit often.

The house is really nice. The neighborhood is a good one; it's mostly families and there is a park across the street with playground equipment and picnic tables.

The house has a lot of room for the kids, the rooms are of a good size and it is well lit and functional. The bathrooms are a nice size and the fixtures are all nearly new.

The appliances aren't top of the line, but we will upgrade them as needed in the future.

There is one appliance we feel very blessed to have. It's top of the line and has extra features that I believe make it better, by far, than other appliances of its type.

I hope we never have to replace it.

Please pardon the poor quality photo, I didn't have time to get the real camera and had to take this shot with my cell phone.

I hope you all have a fabulous New Year's Eve and that all your hopes and dreams come true in 2008.

I love you all.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Naughty or nice?

At the request of someone near and very, very dear to me, I am updating my blog. In honor of this person, the topic today is love.

There are many different kinds of love. All of them are portrayed here, photographically, in random order because I didn’t have the time to sort through.

There’s love of nature, love of a pet, or pets, there’s familial love, there's friend love and there’s the other kind of love; that of a man for a woman, or a man for a man or woman for a woman for that matter. It’s the kind of love that takes your breath away and makes you want to be a better person.

It’s the kind of love that comes only once in a lifetime, it makes you melt and when you are with that person, you are complete and whole for the first time in your life.

It makes you weak and strong at the same time and makes you wonder how you could be so lucky as to have them in your life.

Taken in Paradise Valley, MT.

Emmy, one of the cats that owns me.

Bobbi, my co-worker and dear friend.

My brother and his dog, may she rest in peace.

They "eye of the needle" one of my favorite oddities of nature.

Sadie Rose, after her knee surgery

My brother, Mike, playing Santa at the nursing home.

"I love you Santa"

My son and kid-cousin Eric ready for the concert.

Shasta, the Disasta, in her beloved pickup truck.

Our friend Danny at his birthday party at the nursing home.

The cake, lovingly made by a friend of mine.

Christmas, 2007, spent with the cousins. A good time was had by all!

Dale, gone from this plane of existence, but never ever forgotten.

The brat pack cats, trying to help me pack for yet another road trip.

Cousin Kay, who was "thrilled" to receive numerous pairs of thong panties for Christmas, because a girl needs sexy underwear...dammit!


Apparently someone thinks I've been naughty...can't imagine who!

Merry Christmas all and I hope you have a happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Shop til ya drop!

Tomorrow, kid cousin Sadie Rose has surgery on her knee. She has had an infection behind the knee cap for some time and they decided the time has come to go in and remove whatever is causing it. It's out-patient surgery and she will be home by 2 pm tomorrow, so it isn't anything dangerous or horrible, but kind of scary to a 9 year old (and to a certain 51 year old).

Being typical women we decided some retail therapy was in order and we hit the mall with a vengeance. We left the house at 3:30 pm and only returned when they shut the doors behind us at 9 pm (yes it's Montana...the sidewalks roll up early here, even at Christmas time). The only time we stopped our shopping extravaganza was to use the rest room and haul bags to the car when our arms got too tired to haul them around any more.

We finally arrived home around 9:30 and unloaded some of our bounty. We were giggling and laughing on the way up the walk. I turned around to use the remote to lock the car and somehow managed to hit the alarm button. I had so many bags in my hands that I couldn't free a finger to push the cancel alarm button and when I finally did I accidentally opened the trunk instead. By now Sadie Rose was practically ill with laughter and I had to admit, it was probably quite the scene. The car lights were flashing, the alarm was...alarming and the trunk was wide open.

I looked around to see if anyone was watching and noticed the new neighbors to the west were staring out their living room window. The lights of the house to the east suddenly turned on and I hoped they weren't calling the police to report a theft next door.

I finally managed to extricate myself from the bags, push the proper button(s) and the ruckus stopped. Sadie was giggling hysterically but we finally got the car locked, the trunk shut and staggered into the house.

Six hours of walking, shopping and hysterical laughter later, we are both in our jammies, tired but content. Everything is going to turn out just fine for Sadie...that much we know. It does, however, remain to be seen if I survive the opening of my next credit card bill.

UPDATE: Sadie sailed through the surgery and is doing just fine. She's already home and set up like a princess in the family room, remote in one hand, bon-bon's in the other. We will be waiting on her until she heals. Life IS good!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

B-B-B-bad to the bone...

Yes, you heard it here folks, I'm a bad blogger (as if you didn't already know that)! It has been many weeks since my last blog post and at least a week since I read anyone else's. I can't remember the last time I left a pertinent comment on any of your blogs (maybe never) and I do apologize for that.

I guess I've just been too busy living life to the fullest to take the time to write about it. Between my crazy work schedule and my fun-filled personal life, I've got little time left over for sleeping, let alone blogging. I wish I did, because some very interesting and fun things have happened since I last updated and I even have the pictures to prove it if only I had time to download them and organize them into files.

For example; my brother and I threw a birthday party for one of the men at the nursing home where dad stays. Danny turned 65 on December 5 and Mike and I both took vacation to be there for him. He doesn't have much family and they don't visit often. Danny enjoyed the birthday party we threw for dad so much that we decided he needed one too. Danny's favorite activity is bingo so I had a friend make him a huge bingo cake. We brought gifts and balloons and nearly everyone at the nursing home came. It was a fun-filled, joyous occasion for all of us.

Another example; I had not been to a movie in a theater since Austin Powers (the first one) came out, and in the last 6 weeks I have been to 4 of them! I saw "The Bee Movie", "Hairspray", "Across the Universe" and "The Golden Compass"!

I had not been to a house party in literally decades and I have been to two of them in the recent past! I had a blast both times!

I've made new friends, gotten reacquainted with old ones and spent more time with my family than ever before.

It has been a wild ride, but a fun one. And to be honest, it's only beginning. I am happier than I ever thought I'd be and all because I'm letting go, living in the moment and opening myself up to life and love.

I highly recommend it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Zen of Shoes...

As some of you know, I spent Thanksgiving with my son in Denver. My co-worker, Bobbi, went along, as did Eric, the kid cousin from Billings, and a friend from Forsyth, who tagged along to see his son in Erie, CO for the holiday.

We decided to leave Forsyth at 6 am, hoping that we'd get to Denver before dark. The plan was to pick up Eric in Billings and drive on from there. We figured the drive would take around 9 hours with the extra stop.

I awoke at 4:30 am, showered and finished packing. As I stepped outside to load the car, I realized that it had rained the night before and then the rain had frozen. Over the ice was a nice layer of snow.


I picked up Bobbi and then our friend from Forsyth. The car was loaded to the max (two women going to the big city for almost a week--you can imagine) and we weren't sure how we were going to get Eric's things in, but we headed for Billings. It was still dark so Bobbi offered to drive. We figured it would be slow going because of the road situation. We were so right. A hundred miles and two and a half hours later, we arrived in Billings.

We picked up Eric. Fortunately he was traveling light so most of his stuff fit in...except the airbed, which Cousin Kay had tried, unsuccessfully, to deflate. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn't get it into the trunk of the car so we finally gave up in mock disgust and stuffed it between Eric and I in the back seat of the car.

We were back on the road again. After a quick stop at the coffee kiosk, we were off to Denver. Almost...

Just as we were about to leave the city limits, Cousin Kay called to tell me I'd forgotten "Marcia" my gps navigator cell phone, which had been on loan to the kid cousins. We flipped a bitch (as Bobbi says) and headed back across town to the cousin's house.

Marcia in hand we , once again waved goodbye to Billings.

Many hours and a several minor adventures later, we arrived in Colorado. The trip took
almost 12 hours, but it was definitely worth it!

My son and his friends playing Rock Band (or something like that) on their X-Box 360 (I think).

Bobbi cooked for 2 days and I did dishes and cleaned up. We are a pretty good team.

And best of all, no one had to go to the E.R.

On Friday we braved the crowds and went downtown. We toured the new "green" EPA building, but weren't allowed to take pictures. It was very cool though and I'll blog about it later when there are pictures of it on the EPA website.

This photo is of downtown Denver. It was kind of snowy and very cold, but also very beautiful.

We went shopping at one of my son's favorite stores "Oh My Goth". It's a fun store, full of "interesting" articles of clothing, jewelry and other fun things. Bobbi and i had a blast trying on clothing and sunglasses. A later blog will probably feature our choices in eyewear. This interesting building was next door to the store.

On Sunday my son and kid cousin Eric were scheduled to go to an Evanescense Concert, but it was canceled at the last moment. It is one of Eric's favorite bands, so he was disappointed, but like the amazing kid he is, he took it all in stride. It didn't stop the boys from posing in their concert garb anyway.

Of course Bobbi and I had to shop. The choices in Billings are limited to say the least, so when we were faced with malls and shops, we went rather nuts. We spent hours and hours and hours trying on dresses and designer clothes and going from shop to shop looking at lingerie and shoes. Oh my, the zen of shoes. I could shoe shop for days in Denver, some (my poor son who had to drive dozens of miles in day-after-Thanksgiving traffic looking for just the right pair of brown shoes to go with my brown slacks) might even say I did.

This last picture was taken at the Cherry Creek Mall. We drove clear across town to go see the movie "Across the Universe". We arrived several hours early and shopped until the show started. The movie was wonderful. If you haven't seen it, and like musicals at all, I encourage you to do so. It's full of Beatles music and wonderful young actors. We took this picture with my cell phone as we were leaving to go back to the boy's house. We drove around and around and around the parking lot to get just the right angle.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Big Montana Thank You!

I would really like to thank those of you that sent in postcards! So far (do you catch the hint people?) I have cards from Texas (x 2), Montana, Florida, North Dakota and North Carolina.

If anyone would care to send one from a different state, I will gladly forward it to the fifth grade class that is hoping to get cards from all 50 states.

The address is:

Rosebud Conservation District

attn: Peter Russell

PO Box 1200

Forsyth, MT 59327

Thanks again, all. I'll post something more interesting soon. I promise. Really. OK, maybe not.

But I'll try!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Just say no!!

Note to self: don't throw sheets on the chaise after washing...

How on earth has life gotten so busy? Between running to see dad in Columbus, babysitting the kid-cousins in Billings, going to convention in Bozeman for a week and now trying to catch up my work, I haven't had enough spare time to take my Canon camera out of its case. The photo (such as it is) above was taken with my cell phone. How has my life come down to cell phone photos and 2 hour catnaps?

I guess part of my problem is that I can't say no.

At convention our state employee organization elected new officers. When my name was offered for nomination as the new secretary I didn't think anyone in their right mind would vote for me, after all, I am always silly and usually giggle my way through the meetings.

In fact, I was one of the three people who brought alcohol to this evening meeting. My co-worker Bobbi and I both brought gigantic Margarita's in and while everyone else was politely sipping water, she and I were passing goofy notes back and forth to each other, slugging down tequila.

Maybe they figured I'd settle down if they gave me an office because sure enough...I'm the new secretary of the Montana Association of Conservation District's Employee's organization. Gads! Why didn't I say no? Better yet NO! Even better yet...HELL NO!!!

We returned from Bozeman Friday evening and I have been putting together the district newsletter and getting ready for a board meeting which will be held right after Thanksgiving. I worked pretty much non-stop throughout the weekend, taking only a few hours off to sleep and go to The Bee Movie with friends. It's hilarious, by the way, and I enjoyed every minute. I'll bee thinking about a few lines of that movie for a long while...

Anyway, life has been crazy lately and I'm about to go mad (not really...I usually just get really silly when I'm overworked and overtired-but I might drive those around me mad heh-heh), so I'm working hard to get everything done so I can...drum roll please...GO TO DENVER TO SEE MY SON!!!!!!!! Yes, folks, I'm gonna do it. Come h*ck or high water, I'm leaving Tuesday for Colorado!

So if I don't see you before then (and I do hope to get to all of your blogs sometime in the next 24 hours--I'll sleep when I'm dead don't ya know), have a happy, fantastic Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a wonderful time and are able to enjoy time with your family and loved ones. I love you all!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The life of

The birthday pie. When we asked Marissa what she wanted for her birthday, the only thing she could think of was one of my brother's "famous" chocolate silk pies. He made her 3 of them!

Today we celebrated kidcousin Marissa's 14th birthday. She's a beautiful girl with a big, huge heart and it was a pleasure to spend this day with her and the rest of the cousins.

We went to dinner at her favorite restaurant where she ate her fill of barbecued ribs and was seranaded by the servers. Of course she was beyond embarrassed, but it tickled us all to see her in the limelight like that.

As we prepared to return home to open presents and eat the birthday pie, I started to get into the kid's grandma's car to ride home with her and her daughter. Eric, the 15 year old, grabbed me by the arm and begged me to ride with him and the rest of the kids. He said, "you can't go with the adults, you're the life of the car!". Of course I couldn't argue with that, so I got in and we rocked out to the soundtrack of "Hairspray" (which we had all gone to see the weekend before) all the way home.

Once we arrived at the house, it was time to open presents. Rissa was thrilled (though you can't tell by this picture--she hates having her photo taken) with her digital camera, clothes, new computer gadget and her new jammies. She looked like the cat that ate the canary and it reminded me how much I loved these kids. They take nothing for granted and are thankful for every thing they get. Some kids expect laptop computers and new cars for their birthdays and she was thrilled with pajamas and a cheap digital camera.

The birthday bounty and my "bling" purse on the table. I really AM a girl these days.

When she had opened all her gifts, she gathered them together and lovingly took them to her room. I have to admit it really choked me up in part because today isn't Marissa's birthday...her birthday is tomorrow, but tomorrow is the day of her grandma's open heart surgery and she wanted to be able to share this special day with her only living grandparent.

So if I've been busy, distracted or just plain absent, that's the reason why. I'm scared sh*tless about the outcome of this very difficult operation and most especially worried about the children. They are wonderful kids and they've been through hell, literally, during their lifetimes. Despite that, or maybe because of it, they are wonderful, caring, moral, incredible human beings and losing the grandmother (who has been one of the two stable people in their lives) could be a blow they won't recover from.

So please, if you are a praying kind of person, say one for Sharon. Even if you aren't, please send a happy, healing thought this way around 11 am Monday. What I'd really love to see is her make it through the surgery and then she can take over my job as "the life of".

I'll try to keep you posted on Sharon's condition. I love you all, be safe, happy and healthy.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Life is precious

Sorry I've not been around much, either to update my blog or to visit yours. I have been a very busy girl lately.

Most recently I've been taking care of the two precious little ones you see pictured above and the my cousin's three older children. Luke was the youngest until we inherited little Gabby. She's a border collie, full of love and full of fun. She adores little Luke, who is 5 1/2 and has Cerebral Palsy.

Some day things will calm down and I will be able to visit the blogs I love so much and maybe even post a few more photos, but until then I wish you all a splendid November. I love you all.

"How simple it is to see that all the worry in the world cannot control the future. How simple it is to see that we can only be happy now. And that there will never be a time when it is not now."
~ Gerald Jampolsky


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wanton Woman

Seems like I'm always "wanton" something and today is no exception.

My son emailed me today to ask for my help. One of his friends has a son in the 5th grade. Their class project this year is the 50 U.S. States. Their goal is to receive postcards from every state. They would like the postcards to be state-specific and postmarked in that state.

I am going to participate and I hope that you will too. I don't really want to put his address online, so I'm giving you his name and my work address. I will forward the cards you send to him as soon as I receive them.

Rosebud Conservation District

Attn: Peter Russell

PO Box 1200

Forsyth, MT 59327

Thanks in advance for your participation.

I'd also like to thank those of you who sent birthday cards to my dad. It means so much that you chose to honor him in that way.

And on a final note, I wonder what kind of google searches are going to bring up today's blog post?

Friday, October 19, 2007

And I'm off...

...probably in more ways than one!

This weekend is my birthday. I will be 51 years young! My son is, as I type, driving in from Colorado to spend a long weekend. I am about to hit the road to go to Billings to meet him. We will then go to visit my dad in the nursing home, travel back to Billings for dinner with the cousins and kid cousins.

Saturday, the actual day of my birth, we will spend with dad, my brother, Shasta, the cousins and kid cousins and Sunday we will probably go to a movie or have a picnic by the river if it isn't snowing.
Monday, my son goes back to Colorado and I will come back to Forsyth.

Life's a whirlwind these days and I am loving it.

What are you all doing this weekend?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

And they call her the streak....

In the grand scheme of things, I'm sure there's some humor in the story I am about to tell. I personally didn't find it...but my son certainly did when I shared it with him this afternoon. As a matter of fact, he laughed so hard he dropped his cell phone.

I worked from home today. There are a lot of perks to doing that. You can drink coffee with your keyboard on your lap, wearing your favorite pair of sweats. You can listen to whatever station you want on XM radio and play fetch with the cats for hours.

You don't have to shower, or wear shoes, or even brush your teeth if you aren't so inclined. It's really the best of the best, if you know what I mean.

About 3 pm I took a break and worked out, and afterward, even though I was waiting for an important call, I decided I needed to i slipped in for a quick one.

Well wouldn't you know it, I had left my cell phone in by the computer and just as I had the shampoo in my hair and shaving cream on my leg, i hear "Girls just Wanna have Fun" by Cindi Lauper, which is my cell phone ringer, thanks to my son the techno boy.

Knowing full well that this was probably the important phone call I had been waiting all day for for...I flew out of the shower, bypassing the rack of towels and ran nekkid into the living room to grab the phone.

I flipped it open only to realize that it wasn't my phone ringer, it was Cindy Lauper playing on XM radio.

Just as I turned around to go back to finish my shower I looked out the window. The drapes were slightly open thanks to my cats who push them aside to enjoy the benefits of the sun and there was our next door neighbor pulling weeds in the rose garden right outside the window...

Thinking that perhaps he had not noticed me I turned to flee back to the safety of the bathroom...and he waved.

If he suddenly decides to bat for the other team, I will certainly understand

So how was YOUR day?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

There is a light at the end of the tunnel

And I don't think it's a train!

I've been busier than a one-legged woman in a butt kicking contest. Between work and family obligations I have had no time at all to blog or more importantly visit your blogs. You've all been so kind, stopping by and leaving comments, emailing and checking up on me...I feel badly that I've not been able to keep up with what is going on in all of your lives.

My hope is that I will have more time to do so in the future. After I get my work website updated this weekend, I plan to visit each and every one of you and catch up on what is happening in your lives. Until then, I will leave you with a few photos.

My dear friend took me fly fishing on the Yellowstone River for a few hours last week. The river is very near where dad is now.

Just a cool rock I found, it reminded me of a heart. What do you think?

The clouds were really something that day.

A little different view of the Yellowstone River...

"Yes I know the weather is cold and your friend is fishing, but I am the boss and I am going swimming!"

"This stick tastes delicious!"

"It's all mine..."

"...And I'm spent!"

Monday, October 01, 2007

Celebrating Life

My friend from Forysth made this cake for my dad. She knew he had been in construction most of his life and made the cake accordingly. I am usually a fairly adept party planner, but I was confused as to who was going to bring the ice cream, so had to place a last minute call to my cousins to pick it up on their way.

Unfortunately they were late, so the guests had to wait for awhile for their treats. I was running out of (bad) jokes to tell and about to start juggling when they arrived!

Several of dad's lifelong friends came to the party, which really thrilled us all.

All of the surviving cousins came to the party. Dad was so glad to see them all.

In all about 45 people attended...including a lot of the residents.

My cousin guilted me into letting her take this picture. "Don't you think Wolf will WANT to see a family picture since he couldn't be here?"