03 November 2012

Not Japanese Maple, Missoula, Montana

Here I've been admiring this bush every workday on my way into the building with the thought that it was a dwarf weeping Japanese maple. A google search for a link disabused me of this notion. So, if you happen to know what it really is, comment & give us the 4-1-1.

02 November 2012

Blue Sky Smiling At Me, Missoula, Montana

"Blue skies smiling at me, nothing but blue skies do I see...." - and you'll be hard pressed to find a bluer, bigger display than in Montana.
Here's a peppy 1927 version of Irving Kaufman singing Irving Berlin's classic. Ella Fitzgerald's rendition is smooth like the best kind of chocolate truffle. And old Blue Eyes lends his own charm to the song - plus this recording includes killer horn solos. And finally, to honour my hubby's favourite hair inspiration, here's a live 2005 benefit performance by Rod Stewart.

01 November 2012

Voluptuous Violet, Missoula, Montana

From what I've seen, African Violets are like bamboo in that they will thrive indoors with little to no natural light.  Note the caveat, "From what I've seen", because there is a catch: you must have the gift of not killing foliage "they" say anyone can grow. I do not have this gift, which is why I no longer have any houseplants, save the one hardy jungle plant my husband keeps alive. The Lorax speaks for the trees and he told me to leave their smaller cousins alone.

31 October 2012

I'm No Scaredy Cat, Missoula, Montana

Hallowe'en has never been a particularly interesting event for me, other than as an excuse to convincingly re-create myself as someone else. (In Octobers past, I've shown up at work as Einstein, Dorothy, a lost alien, and Audrey Hepburn.)
While I've never stooped to handing out dental floss, I have been that neighbor who avoids trick-or-treaters by turning out all the lights and hiding in the back room - with a good book, of course.
Perhaps it's the sugar factor - I can say no to candy all day long. But carbs are a vastly different story. If people habitually handed out croissants and pain au chocolate and really good potato chips, I'd be the first one knocking at doors, pillowcases at the ready.
Conversely, The Best Husband Ever looooves candy, and anticipates Hallowe'en only for that reason. In the guise of planning, he buys sale candy early in October - and later buys more because the stash has mysteriously dwindled....
In TBHE's youth, Hallowe'en was all about strategy - he mapped out the most lucrative candy collection routes, then literally ran the whole time his parents allowed him out. This was not an event to foster cameraderie - unless you could keep up. Upon returning home, the sorting began - apples and homemade popcorn balls were off-loaded to the garbage, less desirable candy was designated for sibling trades. The remainder provided about three consecutive weeks of sugar-high bliss. Thankfully, time has coerced TBHE toward balance in his diet - this week, he actually bought apples, and even ate one for a snack - presumably as a palate cleanser after the last round of Whoppers pilfered from the candy bowl. (Did I say "pilfered"? Sorry, I really meant "tasted as a precaution in quality control". And he's still TBHE.)

30 October 2012

Bridle Party, Missoula, Montana

Barns have an honest smell. Clean, but real. The smell of work and time well spent. No attempts to pretty it up with Spring Rain or Crisp Linen aerosol. Entering a barn provokes you to be in the moment, to ignore your cell phone and anything or anyone else not immediately present. Even if you're just visiting, the effect is there. So, if you get invited to a hayride or some such, R.S.V.P. with a definitive "yes", and be sure to fully participate - and try to visit the barn.

29 October 2012

Summer Memories, Hamilton, Montana

While visiting the Bitterroot Valley this summer, my sisters enjoyed a small-town neighborhood ramble, during which they espied the enormous dahlia blossom pictured here. (Thanks, sis, for the guest photo!)
Knowing my sisters, if there was anyone in the yard, they also enjoyed a spontaneous over-the-fence chat. It's a gift we inherited - the rarity to ever encounter a stranger. In the hospital waiting room at 6 a.m. last Thursday morning, I said to my husband, sotto voce, "Don't look, but don't we know those people from somewhere?"  He didn't come up with anything, but it kept bugging me. So, once the nurse hustled him off for pre-surgery prep, I introduced myself to begin the conversation. Well, after running through possibilities, sure enough, we hit upon a work-related commonality!
While I can strike up a conversation with most anyone, I'll never aspire to the 6-degree mastery my mother had. An Alberta license plate in our Montana town was always irresistable. And inevitably, she uncovered a mutual connection. Even at 6 billion plus inhabitants, it's still a small world, after all.

28 October 2012

Ranch Rooster, Missoula, Montana

Hallowe'en is a favourite time of year for chickens, what with the extra pumpkins lurking about. I wonder if his favourite part was the seeds, or the squash-y goodness? Choices, choices....too many good things.