Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

When I was first learning to ski, there was a day when I was riding the chairlift alone. As I took in the scenery a thought occurred to me "Oh this is why people want to live here and do this". Skiing is an exciting, invigorating sport but it's punctuated by moments of stillness and quiet. Even if I spend the day skiing with friends, there's still an independent, solitary element to the activity. There's nothing else quite like it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Messy Pets

        A long time ago, I resigned myself to the belief that I would either have nice things or pets but not both. I don't believe this is true for everyone but it has been for me. I wouldn't say my house is a pig sty by any means but it definitely isn't a neat, tidy place all the time. "Lived in" is what I like to call the look.

       We currently have five pets, which I will admit puts us a bit above my comfortable maximum. Some days are definitely more challenging than others, but I truly believe animals find us for a reason and these creatures all need to be with us right now. Between work and life, sometimes it's hard to find the energy to sweep the floor again immediately after the dogs drag in dead grass, and I often avoid sitting on the floor while wearing dark pants.

       How would my life be different if my car seats weren't covered in dog hair but I'd taken all my road trips alone? Sure the couch wouldn't have dents but it'd probably be a pretty lonely boring house most of the time. For me, it's more than a fair trade.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life

I've often joked that in my next life, I want to come back as a dog with a life as sweet as the one Ritz has. This photo was taken on an afternoon when I was asking "Where's the dog?" and finally found him sound asleep like this.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far

This spring was the second time I've run the same 5K race that takes place just outside the borders of Yellowstone National Park. It's a challenging course but I enjoy running it because the views are amazing and quite honestly it makes me feel strong and very proud of myself. I love this photo because it places something sweet and simple, my boyfriend pinning my number on to help me prepare for the race, against the historic Roosevelt Arch in the background. It's ordinary yet scenic at the same time. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Free Spirit

This is one of my favorite photos of myself. It was taken a few years ago at the Columbia River in Washington state, when I took a trip to see Dave Matthews Band at The Gorge. It's fitting for this challenge because it represents to me a time when I did something sheerly for my own enjoyment. At the moment this photo was taken, I was feeling pure joy, far free from my day to day life & obligations.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Weekly Writing Challenge: A Few Of My Favorite Things

     I have a large tattoo of a goldfish on my left arm, an oranda goldfish to be exact. People often ask me "Why a goldfish?" and my answer is always the same "Because I really like goldfish". I've liked them as long as I can remember and had many as a kid. For the past 12 years, I've had a tank of goldfish at all times, in every place I've lived, sometimes a small 10 gallon tank in a studio apartment, currently a 75 gallon in my living room. Watching the fish swim often provided me with more entertainment than prime time TV. They've been a constant in my life and a source of joy.

 I've loved rainbows ever since learning about ROY G BIV in grade school. I think it was one of the first times I realized that I enjoy science. I'm sure I've seen more rainbows in the years I've lived in Montana than I have in the rest of my life combined. Each one is amazing and beautiful, no matter how faint or small. I almost always run outside to look and usually take a picture.

I remember having strep throat at Easter as a kid and being devastated because my throat was so painful I couldn't even eat one single jelly bean. I'm convinced I have a chemical addiction to sugar but I've never been motivated to do anything about it because I enjoy candy so much. All through high school and college, classmates would whisper "Pssst...Ramona, do you have any candy?" because they knew I'd have something stashed away in my bag. Same goes for my desk drawer at work now. My boss' three year old daughter is even wise to me "Mommy, I want some candy" she says when she's in my office. We're pals. I've definitely scaled back as I've gotten older. If I'm consuming the extra calories, I want to be sure it's worth it. That means no yellow or orange candies and no dark chocolate.
This is me eating the "world's longest gummy worm" in Las Vegas a few years ago.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Seriously, where's the fire?

        Our most recent winter here in Montana was unusually mild and we all knew what that meant. We talked about it everywhere; with clients at work, with strangers in line at the grocery store “We really need more snow or we’re going to have horrible fires this summer”. Now here we are at the beginning of September, still experiencing one of our worst fire seasons in recent years. I certainly haven’t seen anything like this in the five years I’ve lived here.  I know there are other places that have had much worse fires than ours this year but really when it's the area that you live in and love and people your know being displaced, it's always terrible.  Thankfully the towns where I live and work haven’t been touched by fire but many people who live outside of the towns have been evacuated along with many poplar recreational areas. For the last couple weeks, I’ve gone about my regular routine while the air smells like a campfire and the smoke is so thick I can’t see the Bridger Mountains from my house one some days. There have been warnings that it isn’t safe to exercise outside and school children are being kept indoors for recess. Some days it’s hard to go about my normal business knowing how much damage is occurring and thinking of all the firefighters who are working around the clock to keep our towns safe. And even though I know my home is safe, it’s still a bit unnerving to be driving home and see something like this

Or to get of the interstate, look back toward Bozeman and see this

        I know that wildfires are a part of nature's cycle and a part of living in Montana. Other parts of the country have their own risks like tornadoes or earthquakes. I lived in the south for many years and experienced hurricanes but this is a little different. With a hurricane you have warning and then not much to do but get ready and wait it out. Here, it's a little different. Often I'll we'll arrive at work in the morning literally asking each other "Where's the fire?" and determining whether or not we have anything to worry about. Then we just wait, keep informed and hope for rain (without lightning).