Thursday, August 20, 2009


I woke up yesterday, Wednesday, all ready to go into town and find me some internet access, so I could blog about the beginnings of our stay here at Flathead Lake with Mark’s family. I was in the perfect blog-post mood – and then I had a brief “difficult moment” with my mother in law, which made me sad and a bit sick at the stomach – I don’t deal well with confrontation. So the mood to blog passed and I just sat here sorting photographs, cropping, rubbing out red eyes, etc.
When my amazing mother in law came to me within an hour to apologize, all turned right again with my world. Life as I know and enjoy and appreciate it … was restored. No matter how often I try to convince you all that I am not as overly-sensitive as I used to be … don’t believe me! I am, I am.

So here’s how it’s been so far:

We left San Diego at 7:20 am on Sunday morning on a cute LITTLE plane that operates for Delta. Oh my! When we looked out the terminal window to see our “ride”, we simultaneously gasped (quietly). I had to take a picture, ‘cause nobody would believe how small our little plane was … the man standing next to the nose will give you a clue.

After one of the smoothest plane rides we’ve ever experienced, we landed (softly) in Salt Lake City. We claimed our carry-on bags, which, as it turned out, were TOO LARGE for such a small craft! We moved on to the gate quite a walk away, where we took off for Missoula, Montana within the hour.

We arrived in Missoula to Marion & Gene (mark’s folks) and Jerry, Marion’s brother / Mark’s uncle. What a nice welcoming committee! As all of us were rather hungry, we drove until I spied an IHOP and we lunched there; most of us on breakfast fare.

After the longer-than-usual drive to the Flathead (due to a whole lot of road construction), we arrived at the Cabin. I have not been here since the summer of 2004. Five years is a long time to be away from a place that had already become quite dear to my heart. I’m glad I took the leap of faith to return this summer. It’s been near-perfect.

Sister in law Stacey and her children, Lauren & Sean & Jonathan had spent the day at Glacier, with Jerry’s daughter Joy, her son Nick, and Jerry’s granddaughter CJ (named for Jerry’s beautiful and belove late wife, Clarice Joy). What a beautiful family! We met them for dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Bigfork, and it was great to see again those who I’d just met last year (Joy and Nick) and to meet little CJ.

Night One: Mark and I slept on the pullout couch with an added foam pad. Boy, were we sore on Monday morning!

Day Two (Monday): Marion treated us to Banana-Walnut-Huckleberry pancakes made with Krusteaz whole wheat flour. DELISH. We opted to hang loose most of the day, spending as much time as we could with Jerry, Joy, and the kids. They pulled out around 3 in the afternoon, headed for Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore on their way back to Minnesota. Then we made our mid afternoon run into Bigfork to visit the Library, so we could have internet access. We were somewhat thwarted by the fact that the Library is not open on Mondays … however, we could get access by sitting on the little benches out front. Mark caught up with some office work, while I shopped across the street and Lauren-Sean-Jonathan used their own laptop to go online. They were not to be denied! We then walked the main street of downtown Bigfork all together, stopping in for ice cream cones to get us by until dinner. Isn’t that what aunties and uncles are for? Spoiling a kids’ meal?! And Monday night, Mark and I returned to our old at-the-cabin sleeping habit of setting up in sleeping bags out under the stars, on the grass, near the firepit and the entrance to the cherry orchard. A beautiful, crisp, clear night – plenty of stars, just about no moon, nice and dark and quiet.

Day Three (Tuesday): There just isn’t anything like waking up next to an orchard … the birds, the squirrels that resemble chipmunks, the clean air. Dew on the grass. Oh my! We had agreed to pick cherries first thing this morning, so we could pit them and dehydrate them to get us through the winter. Mark says those dried cherries are going to get him all the way to Nationals next summer, but all I can picture are cherry scones, cherry muffins, cherry cookies, cherry pancakes, and cherries in the granola. We picked … we pitted … and with the help of my father in law, Gene and our nephew Jonathan, we got them onto the trays and into the dehydrator. A bountiful crop to bring home next Tuesday.

Plenty of time Tuesday for doing LIAV-37 days “homework”, and a frustrating time of it, trying to reach my peer call buddy, Rosalie – which indicated to me that without reliable cell service here, I could not make today’s WILD & PRECIOUS LIFE conference call. I was quite disappointed, but it did open up time for me to journal quite a bit and to make new discoveries. I can’t wait to share it all with Mark!

Another gorgeous night under the stars and life goes on quite swimmingly.

Day Four (Wednesday): Another beautiful morning, albeit a smidgen marred by a little “discussion” with Marion about life and friends and being careful to not make judgment until one has the facts …. Which we resolved quite beautifully, as I noted earlier in this post. Mark and I soon welcomed our friend Robin, and her children, Skylar, Hans and Ava … it was so good to see them all again. Mark sees them each summer; since I had not come for 5 years, I was long overdue. Just hugging my very dear friend Robin, who has been a rock in my life since we met in 1987 or so, did me a world of good. We got the kids into the orchard, picking cherries with Mark, and Robin and I set out for The Raven, a bar / restaurant right on the water, close to Bigfork, to have a nice catch-up visit. A beer and a diet coke later and we realized that 2 hours had passed and we had to get back to the kids, since Skylar had soccer practice in the afternoon.

We spent the rest of the day reading, watching birds, napping … relaxing … and I spent more time on my next attempt at drawing a “goddess” girl face, a la Suzi Blu. It’s becoming less frightening for me to pick up the pencil – so long as there’s an eraser at hand, I am less fearful. I actually made a lot of progress, and even began adding color with colored pencils … she’ll have to wait for me to get home for some paint and glimmer and embellishments! ANN, I am really beginning to adore this journey … I hope you are, too.

Wednesday evening we had a nice impromptu visit from cousins Mark and Rachel St. Sauver, who live just up the road. As always, Marion and Rachel and I got into a discussion of books we have read and are about to read … books are such a wonderful conduit for friendships when one doesn’t get to see the other for long stretches of time (remember, I haven’t seen Rachel in 5 years – and how is it that she just doesn’t age?! Must be this Montana living!) So … the other random topic that came up? Rheumatological disorders; believe it or not, Rachel was diagnosed with RA a week ago, and I was tentatively diagnosed with Palindromic Rheumatism three weeks or so ago … and we are within a year in age of each other. I have always felt a kinship with Rachel … now it’s been cemented, I think.

BIRDS WE’RE SEEING UP HERE: a pileated woodpecker; evening grosbeaks; robins; nuthatches; chickadees; house finches; some kind of sparrow; oh, and although it’s not a bird – plenty of bats in the twilight. It’s way cool.

BOOKS I HAVE READ UP HERE: I started OLIVE KITTERIDGE on the airplane, and finished “her” on Tuesday. I started A THOUSAND DAYS IN VENICE on Tuesday evening, and finished “her” up this morning as I lay in my sleeping bag out on the grass. What’s next? I have a book called INTERIOR OF THE CASTLE: St Teresa of Avila – that I think I will pick up next. I have to say - I wasn't crazy about OK, but I sure fell hard for VENICE.

On the calendar for today (Thursday): a run into town so I can cut & paste this VERY LONG POST into my blog site … and then, Mark and I are heading out to explore, to poke around some thrift and antique shops, and to visit Gatiss Gardens near Kalispell.

And oh my, Stacey just read aloud to us DESIDERATA, in its entirety. First composed by Max Ehrmann in 1927, and “renewed” in 1954 by Bertha K. Ehrmann … this was a magnificent accompaniment to my morning coffee. If you haven’t (ever/lately) read DESIDERATA, here is a link:
Do visit, do take your time, do savor each separate “concept”.

That’s enough for today … we have plans to go to the RODEO on Friday evening, and you can be darn tootin’ sure I’ll be taking the camera along for that.

FORGIVE ME for this suuuuuuper long blog post, friends. The thing is, this is my “travelers” blog, and so every once in awhile … I feel I “get” to wax poetic and on & on & on, ad infinitum. Going forward, I promise to try and give you the Reader’s Digest version. {and sadly, speaking of Reader’s Digest – I heard last night that RD has filed for bankruptcy. What a loss to an icon of Americana …}

AFTER WAITING 15 MINUTES FOR FIVE PHOTOS TO "UPLOAD", I got a message saying - whatever. It just didn't work. Drat, but now I'm heading out.

Your –

1 comment:

ann said...

soo glad to get the news. i think of you everyday.
sounds like things are going smoothly.

i was going great guns on suzi, but then got a COMMISSION (can you believe it???) for 24 coffee sleeves bearing the Pannikin label, so am busy with that.

anxious for you to come home, but not really if you're having such a good time!