As Promised

Since outgrowing my Dusty Rose bike, which I loved and rode constantly until I entered middle school, I have wanted a beach cruiser. Last month, a few days prior to Kelli and Joy's visit I perused the selection at a local bike shop. Although there were several bikes I loved, in the end, I decided on the very feminine yellow bike with a dainty red tulip chain. (Thanks Jeff for your patience! You were a sweetheart.) It is everything I have ever wanted in a bike, minus the basket, which will come later, with Jeff's help, of course.
Due to construction on Beach Boulevard, I ride in the cemetery adjacent to my condo complex. Some may find this a little morbid but any historian will immediately recall that cemeteries were originally designed for recreational purposes and my decision to ride through a cemetery, which is really just a garden with headstones, is not strange at all. In fact, there are few places in the surrounding area that have a collection of mature oak trees that provide shade like "my" cemetery does. With the large oaks and the view of the Gulf opposite of Beach Boulevard it's the perfect spot.
Because I am positive my father will read this sooner or later, let me assure you, I never ride unsupervised. Jennifer, our security guard, insists that I only ride where she can see me and that I only do so the evenings she is on duty. I am perfectly safe and sensible about the whole thing and there is nothing to worry about Daddy.
Don't you love my bike?


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My Main Gay

Getting old sucks, but lucky for me, I have Ben to help me through the pain.
Wow! This could be a commercial.

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Tips for Dating a Preservationist

My colleague, Amanda, shared these with me last week. I have bolded the points I particularly agree with. If you are interested in dating a Historic Preservationist or Architectural Historian, read below:
Preservation is not just about old buildings. Learn this very, very quickly.

Buying anything in Wal-Mart or any other chain store is wholly unacceptable. If anything can be bought via "mom and pop," it's best to do so and not complain about the thirty cents you would have saved on each item. The stress you'll spare yourself is worth much more.
The coffee found in local coffee shops is much better than Starbucks. The same can be said about the food at local restaurants as opposed to chains.
Vacation destinations, more often than not are determined by the age of the building to be found there or something that happened in that location several decades earlier. This is not as limiting as it sounds; beaches can be historic places too.
Be prepared to stop the car often, and with little notice-especially along particularly lonely expanses of highway.

You'll use the term "middle of nowhere" past the point of comfort. You should also invest in a map.
Take the back roads. They're much more interesting and the extra time you spend on them would only be wasted in traffic. Preservationists hate interstates.

Buildings have human characteristics. Don't question it, you'll only upset them (the buildings and the preservationists).

Always have a camera with you. You won't, however, be in very many pictures unless you are a stationary object and of historic consequence.

You will, at some point in your life trespass, I sincerely hope you don't get arrested (or shot).

When renting an apartment or buying a house, anything even remotely modern is not a consideration. Such housing lacks character. This piece of advice is of course contingent on you buying into that thing about buildings being people too.

Suburbia is a four letter word.

Flamingos are in style. Always. Get used to the sight of them.

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God is such a sneeky guy!!

I had a not great weekend as document on my solo blog. It was an ickfest. And the today I woke up to the first day of fall. And I wanted to climb back in bed until early April. And then, I remembered.

Ladies and Gentlemen, HEROS! Is back on! Tonight!

I feel a swoon coming on.

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Crazy

Ever been imprisoned by wind? It's enough to drive one crazy. I hate Hurricane Ike and long for someone to reach out their hand and command, "Peace! Be still." Until then, my heart and prayers go out to those who are in the storm's path. May God protect you and fortify your hearts. May you have the strength to accept and endure the storm's results. My sympathies to all who are or may be affected. God be with you.

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Happy 60th Birthday Daddy!

Here's to being sixty-years young! I love you!




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Recap-ation

Thursday I left Missoula, after a fantastic breakfast at Paul's Pancake Parlor with my new friend C., for Glacier. I've been planning for about two months to take a massive camping trip--to Banff. All things considered (read: fuel costs) I decided that it would be fun to stop at Glacier and do some hiking there. Scanning Craigslist--oh, CL, how I love thee--I managed to find most everything I needed second-hand and cheap! Best way to build the armory of things you'll use to play in the dirt, I say.

So, breakfast finished I head over to Derek & Beth's to pick up some firewood. I reach back into the pile and get one good piece, reach in again and get STUNG BY A WASP on my ring finger. Not a happy experience. When there is any type of insect venom in my system my body says, "HEY! I chance to be huge and red! We'll take it!" (see picture below--remember that all comments should be directed to woe not debunking of my pain) and off it goes. This time was no exception. After swearing and moving my CTR ring, I thought, "Fine! I'll *buy* wood, freaks!" and off I went.



The drive to Glacier isn't a bad one, you spend most of the time around the shores of Flathead Lake and on interesting roads. The drive through Glacier is even better--even with this...



The work on Going To The Sun road is extensive and the first trip over took me about three times longer than it usually does. Really, I don't mind. After all, you're looking at this...



I camped at Rising Sun for the three nights I stay and it was the most perfect little spot! My site had a secluded little spot for my tent, nestled in some trees and great underbrush--perfectly private. I was right against the mountain, not a soul but me near that end of the campground. Which was amazing and perfect! And then the ranger came by and said, "We haven't had any bears in camp for a day or so but be really sure to secure your food properly when you're this near the hills, ok?" I thought, "Ok! I can do that." But, as it turns out, it gets dark at night too! Bears! And the dark! Good lord.

I have to be the only girl in the world who goes camping and forgets that she's deathly afraid of the dark. Sheesh.

Luckily, I live through the night for this sunrise.



The next morning was filled with the un-photoed fun of fixing my tire. Yes, that's right, I managed to rip a hole in the sidewall of my tire on the first day of my trip. On the up side, I managed to change it myself, call my own tow truck and get it all fixed! Between that and making fire, I was feeling damn proud of my skillz. With my fixed tire, Friday was spent on a series of tiny hikes that people who are 90-years-old with oxygen frequent. Like this one...





It was also an exciting day because on my way back over to camp I saw my first grizzly! The bear was fantastically majestic, running up the side of a very steep mountain just off GTTS road. I tried to catch him but instead I got a picture of this...



Saturday was my big hiking day. Since I worked in the park ages ago, I've wanted to hike the Highline Trail. Generally if one was to do that, you'd have to hitchhike back to Logan Pass--I was not about to do that. Last year, however, Glacier implemented a shuttle service so you can take advantage of these great hikes and still get back to your car safely. Love it! Eventually I'd like to do the full trail, including dropping over into Grinnell Glacier but when you're hauling the equivalent of a full-grown male walrus on your posterior (read: my fat bum!) it's a miracle just to do the 11.6 miles.



To say that every mile is breathtaking would be lying. It's just the first eight or so. The last four are mainly groves and illustrative of how a forest heals after fire. I chose the trail specifically for the busy, popular nature of it. The last thing you should be doing as a novice hiker in bear country is hiking alone on mostly unused trails. At all points there were people in front of and behind me albeit usually out of sight. Or like this...



I saw big-horned sheep, mountain goats, marmots, deer and tons of other little creatures. I was satisfied with my lack of predatory animal sightings. I think a couple of my favorite animal moments were these...





That mom and baby were only feet off the trail! The little man before them caused quite a traffic back-up because he wouldn't leave the trail and his grazing until the full jam of us (eight or ten people) clapped and asked vocally. Then he just sauntered off the trail a few feet and waited for us to pass.



The last four miles of this hike were brutal--all downhill and on sore legs. Not fun. I think the most unnerving part of the hike was in the middle of my descent to the road--I saw my first bear scat, four piles of it actually. Then I looked up and discovered that I was hiking alone in wide, amazing fields of berries. There's no areobic exercise that will raise your heart rate like that! I spent the next mile or so singing and clapping, wondering where in the hell the rest of the hikers I'd been seeing all day were. Nearing the end of the hike I was truly spent and came close to laying down on the trail and telling God to send in a mule or lose my potential forever. Luckily I pushed through that and got back to the road. I was so proud of myself!



All told, I hike just over 20 miles in two days--not bad for a softie! Saturday night my friend C. came to camp for a visit and lucky it was. It rained that night and C. was nice enough to let me crawl into the back of the SUV to sleep since I have a talent for choosing tent sites that are in the middle of massive puddles. Sunday morning we had some breakfast in the rain and then decided it was probably better for me to break camp and head home--after all, who wants to camp in the rain? Not me. So my very sore body and I got everything packed away in the car and called it a trip.

I could go on for hours about this park and how much I love it. It was the best weekend I've had in months and I can't wait until next summer! Better shape means better hikes--ones that require bear spray--and I can't wait to get started on seeing more of my favorite place on Earth.

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