Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring? No, Not Yet

It snowed. Again. Five dusty, cold, annoying inches dropped out of the sky last night. Meh. I am SO over winter...

On the upside I did have a lovely day at the office. No, really--I did. I worked a normal, happy 9-5 day complete with coffee breaks and a trudge through the snow to the mailbox. It was so nice to be able to settle in get things off that to do list of mine.

And now I need to roll over and go to sleep. Good night!


Sunday, March 30, 2008


Courtney will be moving from Oregon to Montana in the next couple months and because her little red Honda can't handle more than a few boxes, most of her possessions are being mailed here. The conversation I had with her about said boxes went something like this:

"Oh by the way--I can't fit everything in my car so I mailed some boxes that will be showing up next week."
"Okay, no worries. I'll put them downstairs in the spare room if it's okay with Tom."
"Yeah, I think that should work. It's mostly books and clothes."
"Sure. I'll ask him about it. He might want some things in the garage."
"Yeah...but don't put my clothes in there, okay? I don't want them getting ruined."
"No worries."
"And I'm mailing a raft."
"Excuse me?"
"A raft."
"Yep. It was on sale at Costco so I bought it. It's really heavy though so don't try to move it by yourself. It will be there Tuesday."
"Uh huh...How heavy?"
"Oh...96 pounds. Ask Tom to help you lift it when he gets back from his trip."
"How much did it cost to mail 96 pounds?"
"A bit..."
"Why did you buy a raft?"
"Because it was on sale and I needed one."
"And you mailed it to Montana?"
"Well, yeah!"


Saturday, March 29, 2008


Okay. So it's been a fairly stressful and busy month. We could go into the gritty, gross and icky (yes, I'm aware of the redundancy, but I don't care) details, buy frankly I don't want to. I'm sick of the details, the drama and the not fun parts of being human. I'm not saying that the difficult bits should be completely ignored, but I am saying that we should all get breaks from dealing with them. Agreed?

I recently read It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh. It's a fun, fluffy little book about organization and living happily with less stuff. Basically it's a case against mass consumption, buying things just because they're on sale, and holding on to worthless junk just because you 'might need it someday'. And while the book did at times feel like it was trying too hard to be cool it did get me thinking about my own collection of stuff.

I will easily admit that I have been guilty of "collecting" things I don't need. The book calls this hoarding, but I think it's such a negative way to say it. It's sort of like saying "I'm on an eating plan" as opposed to "I'm on a diet". So much nicer. Anyway, I've taken steps this last year to be kinder to my wallet, the planet and my closet by just not "collecting" so much junk. However, I will say that when I left Oregon I couldn't part with it all so whatever I didn't sell when straight to the storage unit. Into it I crammed furniture, a fair amount of clothing, every paper I wrote in college, cat toys, shoes I have never worn, photos of people from college whose names I can't recall, pop-culture kitchen items and books I have never read and do not intend to read in addition to an astonishing collection of what can only be referred to as "useless shit". The important things are there too, it's just hard to locate them among all the other stuff.

Most of my stuff is there, while very few things made it into my car when I left. I wanted to lighten up my life, be free, carry less stuff, live more with less, blah, blah, blah... But I am glad I left with so little because it has made it easy to be mobile and it's been kind of fun to know that I really can be okay with less. Clothes, gear, a small box of books, a moderately sized box of shoes, a collection of CDs, some bedding and my laptop are the main things that followed me when I left Oregon on that day in June.

But somehow my collection has grown over the last few months. Books, shoes, clothes, gear--it's all multiplied, exploding out of the shelves and boxes that have been trying to contain it all. It's been a bit overwhelming, for lack of a better term. So since I was preoccupied with worrying about taxes, friends, relationships, the price of gas, my jobs, my writing, my family, US politics and how I was going to get that stain out of my sweater, I decided to take that nervous energy and put it to good use. I headed to my room, opened a box and began to toss things out.

First it was a pair of light hiking shoes that I never wear because they give me blisters. Throwing them out was simple enough. Then I sorted all of my work out/rafting/hiking clothing on the bed and decided just how many tank tops, shorts and cotton tee shirts I really needed, then threw the ones I didn't want/need into a pile to go to donation. Then, just for kicks, I went through my bag of gear and paired that back down. Then it was the sock and underwear drawer, the office box, the camping/kitchen box and finally that mysterious none-of-the-above box. When it was over, two cardboard boxes were full in addition to two grocery sacks of trash. I purged and it felt great. Fabulous even.

And what's more, my problems seemed to sort themselves out, too, letting go of what didn't matter and reorganizing what did. Purging, as it turns out, is very therapeutic.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Not All Is Lost

I had a bit of stressful afternoon today. It was the kind of afternoon where I found myself leaning over the laptop with my head in my hands breathlessly counting to ten. Lovely. But then five o'clock rolled around and I decided to put it behind me till tomorrow and go have a refreshing dinner of sushi with a coworker and her roommate. I left the restaurant floating on a sushi high, not even the least bit annoyed that the forecast tonight calls for lows somewhere around, oh, 13 degrees. But who cares? I'm fat and happy off sushi and possibilities. I guess it really is all about finding balance.


Song of the day: Whatever it Takes by Lifehouse

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Because I Can

Last month my dear friend, Courtney (and by dear friend, I mean that she's my partner in crime, drinking buddy, and go-to gal for stealing horses and hiding bodies) came for a little visit. While she was here she became smitten with more than a few things/people and will soon be relocating to the great state of Montana this May, or sooner depending on how she feels about it. With all this talk of her loading up her little red Honda and driving east to live in the west, I started going through all those photos from when she was here. With permission, which was only obtained after I begged and pleaded, I have posted a few here. Think of it as a preview to spring.

Trading mutual funds, drinking beer and getting to the know the cat on her first day in Montana.

The Conversation: This is Courtney and Ike, the oldest male of the three dogs. We call this photo "The Conversation" because it is very reminiscent of how us girls talk to boys who like us in bars. Hmmm...
Ike Hat: The love affair continues...On the way to a short walk, Ike decided that the best place for his head was directly on top of Courtney's. He kept in there for a good five minutes, too. It was like, "Hey, you! Yeah, you. The cute blond. Guess what? I like you. A lot."

A day with the ponies. On the last day she was here, my roommate was kind enough to take us for a ride near Sheridan on his horses. From left to right: Gabby and I, Courtney and Star.


Song of the day: Love is Free by Sheryl Crow AND The Brightside by the Killers. It's been a good day ;-)

Rock on, dude...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Apparently, I Need A Social Life

It was recently pointed out to me that after spending a total of three months in Bozeman I have yet to accumulate a social life. I mean it when I say that I was surprised by this. The conversation with person X went something like this:

"How are you liking Bozeman?" (I hate this question.)
"'s not so bad...well...spring will be here soon, right?"
*Awkward pause*
"Well what about friends? What do you do when you're not at work?"
"Not at work?"
"Well, what do you do with your friends?"
"You do have friends, don't you? You know--people you see when you're not at work?"
"Uh...well...I have the one friend. We see each other sometimes."
"One friend?"
"Outside of work?"
"Well there are my roommates dogs, and I see my roommate when I come home...and at my other job there are lots of coworkers I like."
*Doubtful blinking from person X*
"I read a lot."
*More blinking*
"And spring is coming soon."
*Awkward silence*
"You don't have friends, do you?"
"In other states I do."
"But not here?"
"I guess not. To be honest, I hadn't really noticed until now."

Yep. The fact that I hadn't noticed let alone been at all concerned by the fact that I've become a reclusive-workaholic-loner-bitch is a VERY BAD SIGN. And now, after having just worked a 12 hour day, I'm going to finish my beer and go to bed. So there.


Song of the day: Say by John Mayer

New Digs!

Whew! Yesterday I helped move the office across town. Yep. Lots of boxes, dust, car loads and schlepping up and down stairs. Duct tape, mud, bruises, blood, sweat and tears--the whole bit. BUT the new place is so worth the effort. The old office was located in the industrial district in a warehouse literally on the other side of the tracks and conveniently located to what we suspect was/is a meth lab. Yay. The new offices are in an office park on the nicer end of of town and come complete with carpet, new paint, offices with doors that close (for a writer who has been known to work with ear plugs this is fantastic!), a lovely kitchenette, windows, beautiful landscaping and boys and girls bathrooms. In short, I love it!

K...time to run off to my other job at the shoe store.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Having a Sunday

I had a great day today. In involved pj's, walking the dog, drinking coffee, talking to friends and family on the phone, cleaning my room, changing the sheets, getting the groceries, answering emails and making dinner. I didn't even get dressed until 3pm. It was normal, calm and overdue. I realized how much I actually like and value my solitude, which is something that took me a little bit by surprise. Not that I'm saying I want to be alone all the time. I like being around people and socializing with friends, but I also need the down time to recharge and be healthy.

I've got another busy week ahead of me. We're moving the offices tomorrow and I'm excited to get a move on with that. I get to inventory and number all the boxes coming out of the upstairs AND put it into an excel spread sheet. Hehehe... I mean it when I say it will be fun. In fact my boss said that my enthusiasm for such a project was "spooky".

So yeah. Apparently solitude and organization that borders on obsession makes me happy. Who knew?


Song of the day: Shadow of the Day by Linkin Park

Friday, March 21, 2008


The warehouse got on a truck and left for California this morning. Woohoo! But where was I? I was at my second job at the shoe store wondering why it is I love shoes so much. I still have yet to find out.

Anyway, my point is that I'm all farted out. I need sleep. I need solitude. I need fresh air. In short, I need a day in my pj's. But that isn't going to happen until Sunday when I will blithely emerge from my bed sometime around noon, stumble to the coffee pot, grab the lap top and then commit myself to a day of writing all while muttering to myself about the cruelty of March and it's fickle weather.

I have never claimed to be normal...


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Little Bits

Here and there, there are beautiful acts of kindness. Little things. A hello, a phone call, a smile, a bunch of flowers. Just little things that in truth, are huge. Those are the best pieces of life. The ones you scoop up and put in a box where you won't forget them. It's the beauty of the little bits that hold up everything else. And I am so grateful for those ribbons of life.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Taking Five Minutes

I'm camped out at the coffee house with a triple latte before going into work this morning. The view is pretty awesome with the still snow-covered hills starting to glow in the early morning light. And this, right here, is my last little moment of calm before launching into my day. And my reminder why I'm in Bozeman at all.

This week is kind of crazy with the moving of the warehouse to San Francisco and relocating the offices across town. I'm really psyched to be working with my coworkers a bit more today (yay! Face to face contact with real live people!) since I spend most of my time quietly tapping away at the computer. Not that I'm complaining--I LOVE being a writer and the work I get to do for the magazine, but every once in a while it's nice to interact with others. I'd like to think it's healthy... Anyway, it's a busy week but I'm excited for it.

Spring is also peeking around the corner here in Montana. It snowed a bit again last night, and we might be getting more tonight as well. For the most part the big heavy piles and drifts that have been permanent since I moved here in December seem to have retreated for the time being. Maybe I'll take a quick day hike on Sunday. Get out, enjoy some fresh air and play a little. Ahhhhh spring...


Song of the day: Hey There Delilah by the Plain White T's

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Little Reminder to Myself...

Okay. So sometimes I get going on tangents, flying off the handle, spouting off any number of grievances that just don't make sense. Typically this happens when it all becomes just a bit too much and I don't know what else to do. And since I like to fix things and try to achieve unobtainable perfection and lack patients, ranting just becomes the only avenue available to me. And yes, I do know that ranting is simply a waste of time, and that it is only time itself that will fix things.

As of late I've tried to let up on the ranting to others and keep it more self-contained. Healthier behavior, right? It seems to be working, but because I don't have someone to rant to, I lack seeing that opposite person start to cringe, avert their eyes and/or hand me ice cream and then slowly back away. This is my usual indicator that it's time for me to calm down and let things be. But since I am my own ranting buddy now I've had to keep myself in check with a short list I keep on my computer:

1. Slow down
2. Do one thing at a time
3. No bitching
4. Be grateful

It's short, maybe too short, but it works for me. Life can be so good if you let it.


Song of the day: If I Had Eyes by Jack Johnson

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Back to Work

I had a fabulous lazy day today. Lots of loafing around, hanging out with a friend and not so much as peeking at my work email. It was great. Tomorrow I start back to my usual, normal work week and I'll be happy to head off to the office, coffee in hand, to get back to the usual.

Sleep has been a bit of scrooge lately. I've never had problems falling asleep but it seems that I've become a night owl as of late. Even the thick metaphors that Garbiel Garci Marquez dishes up can't convince my mind to give in to sleep. Oh well. Tonight's another night so I'll give it a go.


Song of the Day: That Girl by O.A.R.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Montana Bound

Damn. It's been a long couple of weeks. I'm sitting in the Starbucks at the Columbus International Airport in Columbus, Ohio waiting to board my flight. This morning my friend Scott picked me up at my parent's house and drove me here. We laughed and joked the whole way, giving me the curious sensation of being so glad to see him, but missing him at the same time. I wish I'd had more time here to see my friends from high school that I still miss (which reminds me, HI JEFF!!!!!!), but it's not like those were the plans when I came out here. Taking care of Ma and Pa was a full time gig, and I was happy to do it. Not coming home to help them would have been a mistake.

But this place, Ohio, is such a weird state. It's the land of Styrofoam cups, fried macaroni and cheese, shopping malls, and freeways as far as the eye can see. It's fast food, SUV's, sweater sets, and lawn figurines. People here dress, talk and act so differently than anywhere else I've ever lived. There is a sort of Ohio look about the people here. It's hard to describe, but it's definite. The highlights in their hair, the gold jewelry, the nail polish, the khakis and the white Nike shoes just seem to exude a certain Ohio brand. It's commercial. It's bizarre. I have to think that when foreigners think of Americans, it's the humble Ohioan that comes to mind.

Seeing the town I left behind nearly seven years ago is also a jolt. It's changed a lot, but in so many ways it's the same place. At least it's the same people, only older. Even my parent's dogs are sporting more gray in their hair. Either way, time certainly is marching on in this part of the world.

I am just so glad that I was here to help my parents out. I'm grateful to my employers for not only letting me go, but being so supportive about it. When I asked for the time to go, there was no hesitation on their part. It was just, "Go. You have our full support". It's bewildering to find an employer like that. Refreshing, too. I'll have to thank them when I get back with a round of corn dogs and ice cream (my bosses favorites--not sure about those corn dogs though).

The weather has also been of interest while I was here. When I arrived on March 2, it was a balmy 45 degrees outside. The next day we got on ice storm, and a few days later a blizzard came through and dropped a whopping 20 inches on us. Now, as I wait to leave, it's back in the 50's and all the snow has melted. Strange place.

What the ice storm left behind...

And then the blizzard...

Yep. And now it's back to Montana. Yeehaw.


Song of the day: Knockin' on Heaven's Door by Bob Dylan

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Back at Home

Dad finally got to come home from the hospital yesterday afternoon. The roads were fine and the ride was happily uneventful. My parent's two golden retrievers were thrilled to have him back, and promptly brought him their favorite toys. Dad had a shower, a sandwich and then quickly dozed off. And now while Dad sleeps and Ma naps, I'm going to dive into a bit of work and get caught up on some emails.

In other news, you can see one of my articles on the main page of It's a small review of a website and really doesn't qualify as hard-hitting journalism, but I'm happy about it nonetheless. I've also done a review of a book that will soon be up on the site in addition to some other projects. I've been really grateful to have writing projects and things to do for work while being here in Ohio with my parents. And while my first priority has been to take care of them, it's been nice to be able to curl up at night with the laptop and tick things off my work to do list.

And on that note, back to it.


Song of the day: All at Once by The Fray

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Ma and I saw dad today. He had a rough night but seemed to be doing much better this afternoon. I think we'll all be relieved when he comes home.

Other than that, there isn't a whole lot more to say. I've been working and writing when I can, which is keeping me grounded. I'm also reading a fantastic book called The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. It's a fictional novel that is so beautifully written that I find myself rereading passages just because the beauty of the words demand to be given more than just the once-over. In a word, it's enchanting. to bed.


Friday, March 7, 2008

Day Five

Ma and I visited Dad on Tuesday and he seemed like he was doing really well. Then on Wednesday he had a bad day, and was feeling fairly gross on Thursday as well. The internet went out on Wednesday because the ice storm managed to rip a few cables down somewhere and it didn't come back on until this morning. A snow storm then decided to blow through (don't you just love Ohio?) and so Ma and I have been stuck in the house all day today and couldn't go see dad. They're even saying we're in some sort of blizzard watch thing. Seriously? Yeah. Seriously. So instead of seeing dad (which is what Ma and I really wanted to do) we got caught up on work, checked emails, called relatives and watched the weather blow through. Fun day. At least the dogs were happy we were home.

On the upside, I did get work done which felt really good and really normal. I figured I'd make the most of it and get some of that out of the way. Other than that, things are as good as they can be. Ma has switched over to feed everyone mode, which is also a sign that things are on the mend. A sample: "Have you eaten? You haven't had a decent meal since you got here. That's what you need--three meals a day. All this noshing and no real eating...why aren't you saying, 'yes, Ma'? Just say 'yes, Ma' and let me do my thing."

Ah normalcy...


Song of the day: How Far We've Come by Matchbox Twenty

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

In Ohio...

As I write this I have my feet propped up on the coffee table with a dog at my feet and a cup of tea at my side. It's almost the same set up I have where I live in Montana, except that I'm in my parent's house in Ohio. Dad's surgery went really well. He had five arteries and veins bypassed (I think that's how you say it) and is doing really great today. The surgery was about four hours long but he was able to speak later that night. Today Ma and I spent a couple hours in his room while he did his best to gag down orange Jello and broth.

Ma and I are doing fine. We're holed up in the house tonight while an ice storm blows through. She had foot surgery last month and still has her foot in a cast where it will stay for another six to eight weeks. Today she had it replaced because the one they put on her yesterday was too uncomfortable. This new cast is a walking cast, though it hurts to put weight on it so she's zipping around in a little red scooter with flame stickers and a handlebar basket. It's actually been kind of nice to be able to walk quickly with her, though she has run over my toes a couple times. The dogs also look especially nervous when she throws it in reverse.

The hospital where dad is staying is a huge complex and is insanely busy. Every time we walk into the main lobby I can't help but think that it's a strange combo of nursing home, airport and college campus. It's also fairly multi-cultural. So far dad's nurses have been from the Philippines, Germany, Ghana and Haiti. I'm sure there are a few other countries represented on his floor that I've forgotten, but he'll just have to fill us in later.

Okay...back to work for me.


Song of the day: The Lucky One by Alison Krauss

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Leaving On a Jet Plane

Tomorrow afternoon I'll be flying to Ohio to be with my parents for a couple weeks. My dad is having bypass surgery on Monday (is that even how you say it? "bypass surgery?" Why does this so not sound like the pretty people on Grey's Anatomy?) so I'll be there to help with mom and play dominoes with dad as he gets better. Will I be posting every day? Hopefully. Will I promise this? No. But I will try.

Okay. Time to pack, eat the perishables in the fridge (does that include the beer?) and go to bed.

Good night,