A Day In the Park

Last Thursday was filled up with nature. Bill and Dagny went floating on the Yellowstone River with Dagny’s Uncle Mike, who is a professional fly fishing guide. Dagny caught and released an 18 inch trout, and Bill enjoyed the beauty and watching his granddaughter become a master angler…..

While they fished, a Julie and Maggie Faith and I drove to Yellowstone National Park and went animal watching. We saw elk and many, many buffalo. We saw a mama eagle up in her gigantic nest with a few babies. Best of all, we saw a black bear so close, we had to be careful to not startle her…..

We met up with the anglers, and went back to Julie’s where Chef Dagny prepared us a divine dinner. The classic line was when she learned she had used the last of her Aunt Julie’s olive oil and would have to substitute vegetable oil: “Well, I guess we’re in the slums.”

A very good Montana day.

Friday Book Whimsy: The Book of Longings

I have always wished that I knew more about the human life of Jesus. Between his birth and when he addressed his elders in the Temple, we know nothing. And after that, until he begins his public life, again, crickets. I wonder what kind of kid he was. Did he get along with Joseph? Did he understand his role in the history of the world? Did he know he would die a violent death?

The Book of Longings, by Sue Monk Kidd, gives us her ideas of the human side of Jesus, at least as a young adult. I was somewhat reluctant to begin this book. As a believing Christian, I didn’t want to read a Jesus-bashing book. Reviews led me to think the novel wouldn’t make me uncomfortable, so I dove in. It didn’t.

In her acknowledgments, Kidd addresses the liberties she takes on what we know about the life of Jesus. That’s why her book is called a novel, she says. The book, in fact, offers Jesus as a secondary figure. The Book of Longings is about the role of women in the Middle East during those times.

Ana comes from a wealthy family in Jerusalem. Her father works for King Herod. Her parents want nothing more than for Ana to do as other girls do: marry and bear sons. Ana, however, has different ideas. She wants to be a scholar. She is spirited and intelligent and independent. When her first betrothal to a much-older man falls apart, she isn’t unhappy, partly because she didn’t want to marry an older man, but mostly because she was mesmerized by a young man named Jesus. He was equally interested in Ana.

Eventually, Ana and Jesus marry, and have a daughter. But Jesus feels a calling to lead the people of Israel. In the novel, at least, he doesn’t know what he’s really supposed to do; he just feels as though God is telling him to lead. He and Ana depart, they think temporarily. Ana’s brother, a rapid anti-Roman named Judas, follows his brother-in-law Jesus.

Ana, along with her aunt travel to Alexandria where she awaits word to join Jesus when things have settled down. In the meantime, they live in a commune of sorts with other women, and are able to do things they would never have been able to do in Israel. Three years after they separate, Ana learns that Jesus is about to be crucified. She goes to him, but only has time for a quick goodbye. And we all know what happens to Judas….

The story of Jesus and Ana is told gently and in a lovely way. Mostly, however, the reader cheers for Ana and her “sisters” who are about to make what they hope is a difference in their society.

I really enjoyed The Book of Longings.

Here is a link to the book.



A Bozeman Wednesday

Wow. We packed a lot into our half day on Tuesday. Yesterday, however, was the first full day of our Bozeman vacation, and we used it well.

Bill loves a good pastry shop, and could literally think of nothing better for breakfast than a pain au chocolate. That’s a chocolate croissant to you and me. So lucky for him, Julie dropped us off at Wild Crumbs, which is a wonderful bakery not too far from the pretty downtown Bozeman. We waited in line, abiding faithfully to the social distancing recommendations. Unlike the people of Wyoming, Montanans don’t laugh at people in face masks…..

After enjoying our pastries, we set off on one of our favorite activities — GEOCACHING. And when I say “our” I really mean Dagny and Maggie Faith and mine, because Bill could live forever without geocaching. But those girls go to all extremes for the cache…..

We went two for four, but one of the two was pretty tricky, involving figuring out a code to open the box. I go along for the ride.

Dagny headed off to her job at Little Star Diner at 1, and we relaxed until Maggie took off for her job at 4 o’clock.

Maggie was finished babysitting at 6:30, and off we went to eat dinner at the Little Star Diner where we ate delicious food and had the chance to spy on the cutest prep chef you’ve ever seen in your life…..

It was a day to remember….

A “Grands” Day

Yesterday’s trip from Buffalo, WY, to Bozeman was uneventful and altogether pleasant. Our air conditioner worked like a champ. We arrived just in time to hug Maggie Faith before she took off for her babysitting job, and ate lunch with Dagny and Julie…..

We spent the remainder of the day getting a tour of Bozeman’s pretty downtown with a stop for ice cream. We walked home, taking the route that Dagny takes when she rides her bike back to Julie’s from work. “I like it because of the creek,” she said…..

We finished our day with dinner at the farmers’ market…..

…and a sit around the fire pit.

A very good day.

Longmire Country, or the Road to Hell

I will admit that I had a bad first impression of Wyoming. I wanted to be picturing Park Ranger Joe Pickett and County Sheriff Walt Longmire (two of my favorite fictional detectives and Wyoming residents) as we drove through Cheyenne heading towards our stop for the night, Buffalo, WY. I was optimistic, and then our car’s air conditioning went kaput. It was 85 degrees.

We faked light-heartedness. How bad could it get? We drove and drove, with our windows cracked and this as our scenery….

There was a lot of “what did you say?” And “I can’t hear you.” At one point there was a bee in our car. I am happy to tell you neither of us are allergic to bee stings, nor did either of us get stung. As far as I know, the bee is still in the car, awaiting today’s adventures and sharpening his stinger.

We arrived at our hotel in Buffalo, WY, put on our masks, and went to reception. The receptionist looked at us as though we were robbing the place. I’m pretty sure she pushed the silent alarm. Apparently Wyoming is mask-free. But they aren’t snickering-free as a total of three people laughed at OUR COVERED UP FACES as we made our way to the room. They were blissfully unaware that we had just spent four hours in a car with no air conditioner and a bee and this as our scenery…..

 I’m happy to tell you that in his Bill-like way, he fixed our air conditioner…..

And then we went to dinner where I had a delicious ribeye steak and a terrible martini — but it was a martini. And our air conditioning was fixed. Next to the restaurant was this…..

So the meat was probably freshly slaughtered. Hmmm.

I leave you with this:

Two happy travelers…..

….and this menu item at the restaurant at which we ate…..

The Bomber Mountain Burger is what makes America great.

On the Road Again

Bill and I are leaving today to travel to Bozeman, Montana. Though it appears to be a fairly easy all-interstate-all-the-way drive, we are going to take our time. We will spend tonight in the wild and crazy town of Buffalo, Wyoming. I wonder if the Buffaloites know that there are no buffaloes in the United States; only bison. I’m not going to tell them, because I’m anticipating that the town is small enough that when we walk into whatever restaurant we choose, the crowd will get quiet. And then one man wearing boots and a huge cowboy hat will approach us and say, “You ain’t from around these parts, are ya?”

We are going to Bozeman for a number of reasons. First, we are going stir-crazy. Montana has been pretty Covid-safe, so we are happy to be going someplace where we don’t have to worry too much. Second, we will be visiting our daughter-in-law Jll’s sister, who lives in Bozeman, and we are looking forward to seeing her. Third, our trip will include a visit to Yellowstone National Park, where I’m hoping to run into Yogi Bear. Fourth, and most important, we will get to see our granddaughters Dagny Tess and Maggie Faith who have spent the summer with their Aunt Julie, and are making no noises about coming home. If they won’t come to us, we will come to them.

Over this week, my blogging might be hit-or-miss. I hope to at least post some photos of our trip.

We will be back in town on Sunday. Enjoy your week.

Saturday Smile: I Can’t Find It Anywhere

You know the old tale about the old person who can’t find their glasses only to realize they are either wearing them or they are on the top of their heads. Actually, if you’re a Baby Boomer, you know it’s not a tale, but instead, it’s reality.

The other day, Bill and I were walking into Walmart. I began rooting in my purse for my face mask. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I stopped and began seriously looking. Bill kept walking, until he realized I wasn’t following him.

“What’s the matter”? he asked me.

“%&*^%((&$$*A),”I responded. “I can’t find my damn mask.”

He paused for a moment. “Do you mean the one that’s on your face?” he asked.

Yep. That’d be the one. Just one more sign that the mask is becoming like second skin. Yuck…..

Have a great weekend.


Friday Book Whimsy: The Sweeney Sisters

I am one of three sisters, and trite as it might seem, my sisters are also my best friends. There is something about that family bond that brings people close even with personality differences.

The Sweeney Sisters, by Lian Dolan, is a story about three sisters who feel that same family bond. They all have red hair, inherited from their late mother, but that is the only thing about the three that is similar. Their differences don’t impact their love for one another.

When their father suddenly dies, the three women must come together to prepare for his funeral and handle his affairs. This is no easy task as he is a famous author, and he had committed to another novel, which is finished but missing. The situation is massively complicated when they suddenly learn that they have another sister, the result of an affair their father had with a neighbor.

Liza, Maggie, and Tricia Sweeney must suddenly accept the fact that their father was no angel. They must try to understand how their father could have been unfaithful to their mother. And their new half sister Serena must try to find a place within this tight family circle.

Dolan’s characters are flawed, and sometimes predictable. But because of my relationship with my own sisters, I loved seeing these three — then four — girls come together to accept the new twists and turns in their lives. And I loved the way they all accepted each other despite their differences.

I enjoyed this book very much. And the fact that their house was ocean-front didn’t hurt things a bit.

Here is a link to the book.

Thursday Thoughts

Baby You Can Drive My Car 
I’ve had it up to HERE with boredom lately. I’ve spent a little bit of time with my grands, and that has been a refreshing change. But yesterday morning, when Bill awoke, I let him drink a cup of coffee, and then told him I wanted to go for a drive. I wouldn’t even had to have waited for the coffee, because he was game on. We didn’t go far, about a half hour south of our house to a place called Daniels Park. I hadn’t visited Daniels Park for probably 40 years. Ridiculous, of course, because it’s so close. It’s kind of an urban park as they have sort of developed around it, but it’s still quite beautiful and quiet. Lots of trails that I want to try soon because they don’t look too difficult. And spectacular views. It was so nice to get out amidst nature for a bit, and to get out of our house!…..


Heeeeere Comes Ralphie… 
One of the most interesting things we saw at Daniels Park was a rather large herd of bison. The park, while part of the Denver Parks System, is surrounded by homes on one side, but by privately-owned ranches around the rest of it. And one of the ranches apparently raises bison. By the way, I looked up the difference between bison and buffaloes, and was surprised to learn there are no buffaloes roaming around the United States. Africa has water buffalo. USA has bison. Tell that to the University of Colorado Buffaloes. Go Buffs! Anyhoo, the bison are massive, and there were a lot of calves. I told the calves if they behave themselves, they might grow up to be CU’s mascot Ralphie!…..

When we were driving home, I asked Bill if he wanted to go to Ted’s Montana Grill and have a bison burger!

He’ll Never Be Jimmy Hendrix
The toys I have for my grandkids are old, and and purchased mostly when they were babies. I haven’t bought a single toy (aside from Play Doh) for the kids in six years. The other day, Mylee and Cole and I went downstairs to look for something, and the kids got in the toy chest. They began rooting through the toys and came up with some treasures, including a Little Kitty baby guitar. Mylee began pretending she was playing guitar, and carried it upstairs. The next morning, it was still laying where she had put it — where Bill sits in the morning to have coffee. “Hmmm,” I heard him say. “I think I could tune this thing.” He pulled up some tuning program from the internet and began attempting to tune the 10-year-old Little Kitty guitar. He wasn’t very successful, but he made me laugh…..

Happy Birthday 
As it happens, today is Mylee’s birthday. She reached double digits — 10 years old. It seems like yesterday that she was just a bitty baby. This photo, taken and posted six years ago, showed up on my Facebook feed yesterday. It made me smile…..

The girl has always liked the frosting best.