Back from the wilds

It has been far too long since I last posted and no doubt my readers are wondering if this blog is dead. Good news, it isn’t! It’s just been a tad out of commission as I’ve been quite the traveler lately. But, never fear, a recounting of those travels is soon to come. More photos and tales of England, photos from the trip to California and photos, like the one above, of a visit from a friend (and her husband) who has been a friend for a very long time. Also to come is an update on the garden and other news.

I’m working on those blog posts now (they’re long, so they’re taking a lot of time), so please enjoy the above photo of the ever-photogenic Livingston Range in the North Fork of the Flathead snapped last week.

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Lovely London

And already I am behind in loading photos! I blame it on having too much fun. 🙂

Thursday we went to the British Museum. I’d been there before, but because I went with the group doing the quilting depth report during a study abroad, I didn’t get the opportunity to wander around and look at many exhibits. This time, we looked at Assyrian art, Greek/Roman art and artifacts from medieval Europe. The latter was my favorite.

The Parthenon pediment. Pretty dang cool since it obviously wasn’t at the Parthenon when I visited it in Greece!

On of my favorite parts of the museum was the room filled with clocks. Why don’t we make clocks and pocket watches this way anymore? I wish this sort of craftsmanship was still common. One of the clocks had a rolling ball that went back and forth every 30 seconds and evidently travels 2,500 miles a year. Calculating for the clock’s age, the ball has traveled something like 507,000 miles at this point!

This galleon clock has little tiny soldiers on the deck and a bellows inside that used to play a regal tune marking the hour.

This is what my sister is like in the morning. No joke.

Isn’t this lovely? It was outside a florist down the street from the flat we’re staying in. I love how clearly the sky and buildings across the street are reflected in the plate glass windows.

I’m a sucker for blue doors.

This is the apartment building we’re staying in! We’re on the third floor.

More later, folks!

Cheers from England!

Hello friends! Again I find myself apologizing for a lack of posts over the past few weeks. This time my excuse is getting ready for and now taking a trip to the UK with my dad and sister. We’ve been prepping for the trip for a few weeks and even though it included a very tense week of wondering whether or not my new passport would make it back to me (I had to get a new one since I changed my name when I got married), we’re here in England now!

We’re staying in Fitzrovia, a swanky part of London near the Euston Underground station.

Though I got a little sleep on the plane ride over, I’m pretty tuckered out from a long day of travel yesterday. A good night’s sleep will do me good, though, and I’ll have this jet lag easily licked.

So what’s on our agenda? We’ve all been to London before, that won’t stop us from exploring! We’re planning to hit up a few museums (British Museum, Victoria and Albert, perhaps the Portrait Gallery), visit the Tower of London, gorge ourselves on delicious Indian food at every possible avenue, do lots of walking and wandering and visit Charlton Musgrove in Somerset, the town where my family hails from (well, where my family hailed from in 1635 … we’ve been in the U.S. since then … I’m something like a 12th-generation American!)

Anywho, I’m going to wrap this up because I’ve got to get up and get moving or I’m going to fall asleep and that would wreck the lick-my-jet-lag plan (it’s important to sleep on the plane going east, then stay up all day and get to bed early, around 9 p.m. or so). Here’s the one photo I’ve taken so far:

More photos to follow soon!

To the good life and back again

The Hubs and I went to Nebraska to visit family this past week and had a great time, though it sped by and I’m certainly not ready to be back at work! We stopped and spent time with my grandparents, then went on to his parents. The highlight of the trip for me was bottle feeding a calf I affectionately called “Burger” (a little morbid, I know). Burger’s mom had twins and rejected the poor little guy, so he’s getting raised on a bottle. He’s a greedy little pig and sucks down the bottle twice a day as fast as he can. Don’t think he even tastes it. Then he tries to suck off your fingers.

We’re buds. Can you tell?

We also visited Shawn’s sister and family about an hour away from where Shawn’s folks live. Had a great time bouncing around on a trampoline with my niece and nephew.

But it was a short trip and we didn’t even think to shoot many photos, so the vast majority are from the drive back.

Sunrise in western Nebraska, framed by a pivot.

Traffic jam in Lander, Wyoming.

I-80 was closed just outside Rawlins because of a nasty wreck, we think (saw lots of emergency vehicles and smoke, didn’t see the actual cause of the closure), so we had to take the long way home through Lander, Jackson and down into Idaho. But the upshot was getting to see some pretty country neither the Hubs nor I had ever seen.

The strange part for us was that around Lander it seemed like summer time and vaguely Arizona-like. By the time we reached Jackson, though, we were back to winter (even though it was the first day of spring yesterday!).

We wished there hadn’t been such a low cloud ceiling so we could see more of the Tetons as we drove past, but the view was still beautiful.

Oh, and we hit a major milestone yesterday in Darth Truffle, the mighty Honda Civic.

I’ve put 127,000 miles on my little car in the past 8 years. Yikes.

Also, I would like to note that as I was writing this post, four deer went tearing past the window. I’m in a building at the busiest intersection in town. Oh, Montana.

Remember that post I promised? Here it is.

OK, OK, I know I’ve been a delinquent blogger for the last week or so. I blame it on boys basketball. I spent the weekend covering the state championship in Bozeman (my town’s team won — Yay! Go Wildcats!). When not covering the game (which, dare I admit, has increased my interest in basketball from zero to that of mild entertainment — what can I say, we’re a football family!), the Hubs and I had a fabulous time hitting up Bozeman’s darling Main Street. We did window shopping since we’re hanging on to our two pennies to rub them together, but had a great time nonetheless.

But moving on… a few weeks ago now I had the opportunity to go on a snowshoe hike on the Apgar Lookout trail in Glacier National Park with Ryan Alford, publisher of Snowshoe Magazine.

Here are some gals we met on the trail. They came over from Browning (though they have scads of snow in East Glacier) for a day hike. We also saw another couple. And, sssshhh, don’t tell, but we didn’t make it to the top. Neither did anybody else we saw that day. I’ll blame it on the “considerable avalanche danger” and just plain wussing out (hey! the snow was like waist deep even with snowshoes!). But enough about me, let’s talk about some snowshoes.

I was handed a pair of snowshoes by the lovely Hilary at Outside Media (She said “test drive?”.  I said “yes, please!”). Easton Artica Hike snowshoes to be exact, a pair that won’t hit the market until 2012.

First of all, I’ve noticed a trend. Women’s snowshoes are pink. Metallic magenta to be exact. Not that I have a problem with that, nope not at all. But I guess pink is the new… pink? Anyway, I traded my Atlas Elektra 11 Series snowshoes (you guessed it… also pink) for a date with the Artica pair.

The first thing I noticed (besides the color) was the articulating frame. Is it just me, or are you wondering why no one else thought of this sooner? Pretty dang bright whoever thought that up. The frame of each snowshoe is actually two pieces held together in the front and back, which allows the snowshoe a little more “give” and “twist,” easing up the pressure on knees and ankles.

I also noticed (especially when we were descending a 45-degree ridge) the crampon under the heel for that “aggressive rear traction” Easton Mountain Products touts. Worked like a dream on some slippery snow (soft powdery snow on top of a slick layer… hence the “considerable avalanche danger” warning) and got me down the hill way faster than I would have otherwise been comfortable (yes, I’m poky). The flotation on the Artica shoes was great.

I had no trouble with the decking, but Ryan did. He wore a pair of men’s Artica Hike snowshoes and his decking actually tore on the test run. Not a terrible tear, but something I’d be hopping mad about if it happened to me and I’d paid for the ‘shoes.

I loved the binding. My feet didn’t move at all, letting the snowshoes do the work for me and saving me energy. That’s my big gripe with my Elektras — my feet are always coming loose. I think the fact that the cinch is made from fabric and not plastic really helps. It doesn’t slide on itself so easily.

A bell/whistle of the snowshoes were the front crampons. Instead of just one single crampon, each ‘shoe has a split crampon that pivots, allowing more traction on one side of the ‘shoe than the other. Nifty, but I didn’t notice a difference from my regular M1-A1 crampons. Perhaps if we’d had more sloped terrain to walk along instead of up and down I would have noticed.

Did I mention that the snowshoes are 80 percent recyclable? As a person who considers herself very eco-conscious and “green,” it’s important to me that what waste I produce doesn’t sit in a dump for half-life of uranium (which is like 4 billion years if you’re wondering). Although I don’t know why exactly you’d want to recycle your snowshoes — in my experience they last a long time. Or if they wear out, you toss ’em in the garage for 50 years, then take ’em to an antique store and make more money on ’em than you paid in the first place!

Really, I had just three problems with the Artica snowshoes.

1.) Didn’t solve my “snowshoe hip” problem. By about five miles into the nine-mile hike my hips were definitely starting to smart. My Elektra snowshoes don’t solve this problem either. I’d be tempted to say it’s just me, but I know lots of women with “snowshoe hip” issues. Easton attempts to solve this problem with snowshoes that curve in, becoming thinner, in the back. This keeps the shoes from knocking together and helps prevent a person from walking like they just got off a 10-mile trail ride on a fat horse. However, my “snowshoe hip” issues persist.

2.) Weight. The 7075 aluminum frame was a bit on the heavy side. Definitely felt heavier than my Elektras and that made a lot of difference when we were going up a 45-degree hill.

3.) My biggest problem? Giving them back. Wish I could’ve kept ’em forever! I tried to tell Hilary they were going to a good home, but no, Backpacker Magazine or some such rooks had to take ’em next.

Alright, this post is getting near epically long, so I’ll keep it brief. Just one more shout-out to this baby:

(This photo either screams “product placement!” or it’s nifty and artsy… you choose.)

I took my brand new Hydro Flask water bottle with me on the snowshoe hike. I’ve always been a Nalgene fan, but I’ve got to hand it to my bright orange buddy here, Hydro Flask has got me converted. While Nalgene holds more water (and it went on the hike too, holding water), the orange water bottle above got filled with steaming hot chocolate at 8 a.m. And was still mostly warm at noon. Did I mention it was -7 degrees outside? So cold my Nalgene’s lid froze shut. And started forming ice cubes. The Hydro Flask kept the hot chocolate not hot, but at least warm until lunch time when I appreciated the sugar rush and the warmth. And I like that it’s orange. For someone as clumsy as me, it’s good to know that if I dropped it in a snowdrift, I’d be able to find it!

Oh, and MAJOR props to Hydro Flask for its fivepercentback.org initiative. Hydro Flask donates 5 percent of every sale to the non-profit of your choice when you enter the code on the sticker on the bottom of the water bottle. My choice? Well, I vacillated between NPR (since Congress seems hell-bent on getting rid of it and everything else good in life) and the American Hiking Society. But since I recently donated to NPR, I chose the Hiking Society. Got to support the good things in life!

All-in-all, a day well spent. The snow was luscious and powdery, the skies brilliantly blue, the company good.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perk’d for testing the snowshoes or water bottle and writing this blog post. Just my honest-to-goodness opinions in the name of awesome snowshoeing!

Good luck, Cairo

Wrote this column for the Hungry Horse News this week. I’m reading the news about Egypt obsessively and I’m elated that the Obama administration has withdrawn support for Hosni Mubarak. I just hope Egypt can maintain its excitement for democracy and elect someone who will help them get there.

Watching the protests in Egypt over the past week has been a unique experience for me. Why? Because I lived there.

I spent the summer of 2007 living on Zamalek, the island in the middle of the Nile in Cairo where the majority of the embassies are (the American embassy is not). I was there on a Fulbright trip learning about what it means to be a foreign correspondent.

While there, the group I was with — other young journalists — met with a number of different people, ranging from journalists to political leaders. Including a man jailed because in the election several years before he’d had the audacity to win a mere 11 percent of the vote.

In our free time, we roamed the city, learning about Egyptian culture and digging up stories. We smoked hookah in crowded restaurants. We ate falafel and street food. We got sick, we got better. We took terrifying taxi rides in cabs driven by manic, chain-smoking drivers. We went to the mall, to the museums, to mosques, to churches. We took sunset falucca rides on the Nile. We sat on bridges over the river with thousands of other people on Friday and Saturday nights, enjoying the cool breeze in the sickening heat.

Feluccas on the Nile at sunset.

We took Arabic classes several days a week. We stood in the sweltering visa-issuing office for hours, waiting to renew our visas, pitying the women in their heavy, dark clothes and veils, and thankful for our T-shirts and shorts. We listened to the call to prayer rise above the city like smoke five times a day, echoing off the concrete.

We made friends with other foreigners we met in “foreigners only” bars. The bars and liquor stores restrict their clientele to non-Egyptians. Even the Egyptian Christians — Copts — are not allowed to even procure wine for religious ceremonies.

We made friends with well-educated Egyptians who spoke English and often worked as our “fixers,” the people who translate and procure tickets and a myriad of other tasks.

We visited Alexandria and toured the famous library there. We went to Luxor and visited the Valley of the Kings. We learned about the slaves that built the temples and the pyramids (we visited those too). We went to the Red Sea and snorkeled the turquoise waters. We stared across the Bay of Aqaba toward the brown smudge of Saudi Arabia. We spent a night around a fire in the desert with the Beduin, sipping strong, sweet tea and jabbering back and forth in our respective languages, not caring we couldn’t understand what the other was saying.

Sunrise from Mount Sinai (where Moses received the Ten Commandments).

It was a fascinating trip both from the eyes of a tourist and from the eyes of a journalist. I wrote articles about the election process (very corrupt) and articles about the Zabaleen, the trash collectors. I wrote about non-governmental organizations providing education opportunities to some of Cairo’s poorest residents.

So now, nearly four years later, reading about the Egyptian protests is a strange experience. Journalists whose bylines I recognize, and with whom I sat on a beach and drank cheap Greek beer, are covering the protests. One was recently interviewed on ABC. Of them, I’m jealous. They’re living the foreign correspondent dream. They’re in the action. And all journalists are action junkies.

And I scan Facebook daily, checking the status updates of my few Egyptian friends. One is a wife and mother. The other is a journalist for an English-language newspaper. I want to make sure they’re OK as the protests turn violent.

Here in the safety of my cush American newspaper office, I’m voicing my opinion. President Hosni Mubarak is a man who has no interest in democracy (he’s been in office for 30 years and there’s fears he plans to pass the “presidency” onto his son). Egyptians loathe and fear Mubarak. I know because many told me themselves. President Barack Obama said in his state of the union address that the U.S. supports democracies globally and now is the chance for the administration to back up its claims. Obama has urged Mubarak not to seek reelection this fall, effectively withdrawing American support for his regime. Now America needs to make sure it backs a person interested in practicing true democracy.

Inside the Alabaster Mosque (of Mohammed Ali).

It is vitally important that Egypt remain a democratic nation. Egypt is America’s foothold in the Middle East, our somewhat moderate partner at an otherwise hostile table. It’s vitally important that the U.S. continue to send aid to Egypt, to foster Western programs.

The Saudis are infiltrating the country, radicalizing it. Twenty years ago, very few women wore the veil. Now burkas are common (if a woman doesn’t at least cover her hair, she’s considered a slut). And though we journalists joked about the BMOs — black moving objects — it’s vitally important the U.S. maintains a presence in Egypt to protect women’s rights there and in the region. The U.S. should not back the Muslim Brotherhood, which would see the spread of draconian Sharia law.

Looking at pictures of the protests in Tahrir Square, my heart goes out to Egypt, to its people. They want freedom, the same rights that you and I enjoy daily. The right to read newspapers that aren’t mouthpieces of the government. The right to vote without fear of retribution because they made the “wrong” choice. Looking at pictures of those familiar places filled with protestors and smoke, I can close my eyes and I’m back, watching the sun set orange over the Nile. Good luck, Cairo. I hope you succeed.

Peace out, 2010

OK, so 2010 roundups are all the rage and I wouldn’t want to miss out! The ever lovely Tiff posted on her blog her favorite things from the past year, so here’s my favorite memories from 2010:

• Making a name for myself in the community I live in as a fair, impartial journalist. I’ve also made some great friends with community members this year!
• Visits from various friends and family. We had a great summer with tons of visitors (we’re hoping even more people come visit us in 2011 *hint hint*). We spent a great week with Shawn’s folks camping in Two Medicine and exploring the east side of Glacier National Park, where neither Shawn nor I had ever been. It was a great hiking summer, period. We went camping with Michelle, hung out with my mom and sister and saw Shawn’s cousins.
• Parties with our Montana buddies. Hubs and I have a great time with our Flathead County friends. Jasmine and Nate sure know how to throw parties, Tiff makes unbelievable cupcakes, Kristi always has wry, funny observations, Dillon is always good for a laugh (and if he’s not careful, a spilled drink!), Sydney is the most cheerful person I know (I need some lessons, Lil’ Miss Red!), Eric has jumped on the “Go Big Red” bandwagon with us, Britanni has a great artistic talent and generosity I am insanely jealous of and Jordan makes me laugh so hard with her stories I practically pee my pants every time we talk. Shawn and I are really looking forward to the Snob party in just a few weeks!

• Starting to write a novel. I’ve got a great idea, I just know I do. Now it’s just the getting down to work part that’s hard!
• Visits to Nebraska for Whitney and Nathan’s wedding and Kristin and Nate’s wedding (have I told you about how we have FIVE friends named Nate/Nathan? At least we don’t have to learn new names!). It was so good to get back to “The Good Life” and spend time with our friends. I was a bridesmaid in Whitney’s wedding and had a great time with my fellow ladies in the line.
• Discovering the North Fork and the Polebridge Mercantile. We spent many happy hours up the North Fork this past summer and ate many mouth-watering huckleberry turnovers. Alas, the Merc is closed ’til spring. Counting down the days until we cross the threshold into the Merc again.
• Our mini-moon trip to Seattle. Hubs and I fell fast and hard for “our future city,” and we’re already making plans for that delightful town to be our next stop in life. Visiting Pike Place Market, the Seattle Art Museum, ogling at the buildings, spending time with Molly and taking in a Husker game at a Nebraska bar in Kirkland made our trip fantastic!
• Getting married to the love of my life and my best friend, Shawn, in October. We had a beautiful wedding day and one heck of a party afterward. Going with Famous Dave’s as our caterer was a huge hit. The centerpieces I envisioned became a beautiful reality (sunflowers in mason jars) and a fun moment was watching my sister learn how to fold napkins in neat ways using her iPhone. We had a fabulous time with our guests (the party ended much too soon!) and will treasure Oct. 23, 2010 forever!

There were parts of the year that were difficult, however. The plane crash that killed Melissa and Erika, two friends and local journalists, was hard on us all. Their lives were ended much too soon, but I’m glad those two lovely ladies were having a fabulous adventure when they died. And I know I’ll see them again someday.

Shawn and I are adjusting to living apart again. Each goodbye is as hard as the last and we hate being so far apart. But I’m happy that Hubs is pursuing his desire for an engineering degree and I know in the long run our separation will seem brief. Can’t wait for it to end, though!

Here’s a few things I’m looking forward to in 2011:

• Chili cookoff with the Outside Media people in a few weeks. Let the best chili win! We’re sure our “Afterburn” chili will be a hit.

• Taking a master gardener class through the Montana State University extension office.

• Snob party with the Montana friends. There better be Jarlsberg, dah-ling.

• Seattle/Tacoma trip in March. Got to keep the love affair going. And we’re looking forward to a visit with the Gregorys.

• The launching of the Columbia Falls Community Garden.

• Hiking and camping in Glacier National Park and in the forests around Butte.

• Honeymoon trip to California. We’re hitting up San Francisco and wine country with the Knisleys. SO EXCITED.

• Meagan and Jeff’s “Junebug”. I can’t believe my friends are starting to pop out babies. But it’s a good thing and I’m so looking forward to watching my friends’ families grow over the coming years.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Frosty fenceposts

Hubs and I went back to Denver and Lodgepole, Nebraska, this past week for Christmas. We had a wonderful time seeing friends and family. It was great to re-connect with an old friend from middle and high school and meet her lovely new man. We laughed and joked with one of my bridesmaids and her boyfriend, and had a great meal with another friend from middle and high school and her husband in their new (well, not so new to them, but new to us!) house. We had Christmas with all different parts of the family and enjoyed a Christmas party on Christmas Eve. Then we headed to Nebraska for Christmas Day, and awoke to a crystalline landscape:

A hard frost coated everything in ice, from barbed wire to grass to trees. A hoarfrost, right?

It was a beautiful morning and I’m glad I took the pictures when I did because the frost burned off about an hour later. We had wonderful weather for our trip home. Northwest Montana is rather dreary and gray these days, but Denver and Lodgepole were sunny and warm! One thing we both noticed was how much earlier the sun comes up there. We leave at the 48th parallel, and these days the sun doesn’t come up until 8:30 or 9 a.m.!

This tree was the most beautiful of all. I love how the frost contrasts with the green pines to the right and the grass to the left. I think that reddish-brown grass is so beautiful, especially in the winter.

Christmas Day we enjoyed spending time with Shawn’s family. The highlight of the day was the three-hour game of Liverpool Rummy that got quite intense!

All in all, a fabulous trip home.

“…And clouds their storms discharge/Upon the airy towers”

Drove up the North Fork with a local last week and enjoyed not only breath-taking views of snow-capped peaks in the Livingston Range, but also North Forker hospitality. Every house we stopped by had hosts falling over themselves to offer us tea, coffee and holiday goodies. Let’s just say I had to use the bathroom a lot after drinking many, many cups of tea. By the last house, Bonnie, our hostess, who knows a little something about North Forker hospitality, asked, “Can I offer you coffee or tea or are you coffee and tea-ed out?” We shared a good laugh over that.

The photo above was shot at Trail Creek.

Livingston Range covered in snow.

Here’s a snowy riddle by John Parton:

From Heaven I fall, though from earth I begin.
No lady alive can show such a skin.
I’m bright as an angel, and light as a feather,
But heavy and dark, when you squeeze me together.
Though candor and truth in my aspect I bear,
Yet many poor creatures I help to insnare.
Though so much of Heaven appears in my make,
The foulest impressions I easily take.
My parent and I produce one another,
The mother the daughter, the daughter the mother.

And here’s an excerpt from a poem, because this is just amusing: From “A Severe Lack of Holiday Spirit” by Amy Gerstler.

… People hit
the sauce in a big way all winter.
Amidst blizzards they wrestle
unsuccessfully with the dark comedy
of their lives, laughter trapped
in their frigid gizzards. Meanwhile,
the mercury just plummets,
like a migrating duck blasted
out of the sky by some hunter
in a cap with fur earflaps.

It would appear I’ve got snow on the brain, wouldn’t it?

*Blog title quote from “Now winter nights enlarge” by Thomas Campion.

Thankful

A very happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

This year, a number of friends have kept “thankfulness diaries” throughout the month of November, to remind themselves how blessed they are even when family and friends are unemployed, they are far from home and it’s cold outside. Despite our woes, personal and national, we as Americans have much to be thankful for.

So here’s my thankfulness diary. I hope your diary is as rich as mine!

Nov. 1 – I’m thankful for my God-given ability to write. I started writing a novel today.

Nov. 2 – I’m thankful that I live in a country where I can safely go to a polling place, cast my vote and know that no matter how small it seems, my vote matters.

Nov. 3 – I’m thankful for lectures at Glacier Discovery Square that inform me and others about community gardening. It helps us focus our plans.

Nov. 4 – I’m thankful for teachers in this community. The students in School District 6 are getting a great education despite budget cuts.

Nov. 5 – I’m thankful for people like Elly Jones, who commits her time to making beautiful quilts for people in need. Love and beauty are powerful healers.

Nov. 6 – I’m thankful I can enjoy breakfast with my husband in Butte at Great Harvest. Their biscuits and gravy are unequaled!

Nov. 7 – I’m thankful for quality time with my husband, who lives far away.

Nov. 8 – I’m thankful for people who attend school board meetings and speak their minds in defense of their children. I’m hopeful that those people will petition their elected officials to properly fund Montana schools and continue improving education.

Nov. 9 – I’m thankful for a thriving business community in Columbia Falls.

Nov. 10 – I’m thankful for lunch with a very good friend with whom I can talk about work, good books and good food.

Nov. 11 – I’m thankful for veterans like Jesse Mann, who served his country in Iraq and sacrificed watching one of his daughters change from a baby into a little person so that I can write these words without fear.

Nov. 12 – I’m thankful for sunset over the Columbia River in Washington.

Nov. 13 – I’m thankful for a friend’s hospitality and the chance to visit Seattle for the first time. I’m thankful for the color and excitement of Pike Place Market, for thought-provoking art at the Seattle Art Museum and for a Nebraska Cornhusker bar in a Seattle suburb.

Nov. 14 – I’m thankful for hot coffee and a long drive with my husband. We love driving together because we spend the time chatting, enjoying the scenery and reading to each other from our favorite magazines.

Nov. 15 – I’m thankful for early birthday wishes from old friends.

Nov. 16 – I’m thankful for 25 wonderful years on this earth. Here’s to many more!

Nov. 17 – I’m thankful for a church that trusts me with its junior high youth. I can’t wait for many more fun youth group gatherings to come.

Nov. 18 – I’m thankful for the kindness of people in this community. I’m thankful for churchwomen who make me a quilt for a wedding present. I’m thankful for a guided snowshoe trip and “winter getaway” trip from a West Glacier resort as a wedding present.

Nov. 19 – I’m thankful for a husband who cooks me a delicious birthday dinner of deer filet, from a deer he shot himself.

Nov. 20 – I’m thankful for a fabulous group of friends who I can join for dinner, drinks and conversation, followed by a celebration of November birthdays.

Nov. 21 – I’m thankful for a church community committed to the wellbeing of its members.

Nov. 22 – I’m thankful for a warm apartment filled with the smells of a good supper and the company of two lovely kitties.

Nov. 23 – I’m thankful for my brother Josh, who turns 10 years old today! I’m also thankful for one month of being happily married.

Nov. 24 – I’m thankful for the anticipation of a potluck Thanksgiving with friends tomorrow.

(Thanks Pottery Barn for the image … I wish I could spend lots of money at your store!)