- We had visitors in mid-September for several days: Jeff and Kezia from Portland! Wow, was that fun. Kezia and I can usually chat non-stinkin'-stop about psychology and paradigms of thought and personal growth, but now with babies on the way (!!) we can also think about application to our very own offspring. We took it easy while the boys climbed around on mountains, shot the bow and arrows, rode horses, and so forth. Kezia is quite a woman just doing life things, but for work she's a play therapist for kids with emotional and behavioral maladies, and is a long-time nanny, which make her an incredible resource for understanding babies and other humankind. We're getting to know Jeff better via political discussions, shared ideas for living more sustainably, being passengers in his car, and picking his engineering brain for how the Hungry Horse Dam works exactly. That's a dam up the road, and I'll tell you, it's one thing to look it over as a garden variety citizen and simply be amazed. It's another to have someone who knows what's up tell you about the concrete that's still curing in the bottom of it after decades of time. Dam straight.
Little Pink Riding Hood eating an apple and simultaneously making an excellent pointobserving the dam over huckleberry milkshakes
- Jason's summer job in Glacier Park also ended in mid-September, and that evening, we moved all our crud from the Park apartment to our new home - the basement apartment of my folks' place. As we moved in, Jason said, "So what? Lots of our friends live with their parents. So what. This is no big deal." Funny thing, people in many cultures wouldn't understand that reference, because they wouldn't blink at living multi-generationally. But in our ridiculously individualistic culture, it takes some getting used to.
- The next day, Jason left with my dad, brother-in-law Cameron, two other guys, and a string of horses for a one-week elk hunting trip in the Scapegoat Wilderness. Here they are packing up and weighing each box.
- Meanwhile, I got to see two of my old high school buddies who were briefly in town, Nate and Gabe, and their families. I miss those characters. They are the ones I've blogged about before - always planning or carrying out shenanigans in their youth like train-hopping (which Gabe succeeded at), small airplane building and wrecking (which Nate succeeded at), sneaking into the chip mill by dark of night and rolling down chip mountains (which we all succeeded at) and crawling through the air vents at school to pop into an unsuspecting classroom (which Gabe succeeded at to a degree, but the ultimate and unlived plan involved wearing sombreros and popping into Spanish class). Here some of us are - me, Nate, his wife Nicole, and Gabe. Gabe's wife, Lori, had already left to get their kiddo to bed.
- That weekend, my cousin's husband, Brad, passed away in Anchorage. His death wasn't a complete shock, as he'd battled cancer for four years, but the manner of it was: he simply didn't recover from a surgery meant to prop up his remaining good lung. None of my immediate family could go up for the service (including Jason and Dad, who were in the boondocks out of phone contact). We scraped enough mileage together from Mom's and Jason's mileage plan accounts for me to go, and I'm so glad. The Alaska wing of my extended family means a great deal to me, and it hurts to see them lose someone. Brad's service was the kind we'd all wish for - very personal, with warm words spoken by his strong wife, three handsome sons, and all manner of family and longtime friends. He was a cowboy of the old style: traditional, not too wordy, a hard worker, a man concerned about doing the right thing.
Brad and Lonita's three boys, Caleb, Levi, and Dakota
- On the way up, I'd had a long layover in Seattle, and it just happened that my aunt and uncle and grandparents from my mom's side were coming to the airport anyway to pick up my cousin, Connor, arriving from a moose hunt in Alaska. Weird timing. They drove in early so that we could dine and chat and pass the time together. Here I am with Aunt Melody and Grandma Louise.
- Though it was a hard reason to be back in Anchorage, I so enjoyed getting to spend a couple days with friends and take in the crisp, colorful autumn that hasn't hit Montana yet. I struggled with guilt over not getting to see everyone, and those I did see, I hardly shot pics of, which is weird for me. I guess I was just soaking in their presence. Elisha sent me home with lots of clothes for later spregnancy and adorable baby sockies (and tried to send more, the crazy lady, but I had no space). Jess sent me with a bunch of canned stuff like jam, smoked salmon, and honey straight from their new bee hives. Only days after I got home, she shot a moose, so they're set on winter meat too. Jason says our new definition of subsistence is "living at Kevin and Jess's house."
me at 30 weeks, Sonya at 23, and Jess at 12
Chloe looking for ducks at the Potter Marsh boardwalkLilli in new boots caring for her baby
a freshly engaged-to-be-married Jannell Nic and Autumn being lovebirds
- The day I flew back to Montana was quite possibly the longest day on my life's record. Flying isn't too comfortable at seven months pregnant, and having a five-hour layover in the Seattle airport is even less so. To pass the layover time, I stretched shamelessly across three seats in a boarding area for a nap (it was nearly empty anyway), ate an amazing fish taco, read the latest Mother Earth News magazine, and eavesdropped into some delicious conversations. My fave conversation was the guy whose friend offered him M&Ms. "No thanks," he said. "I'd have some if they were dark chocolate M&Ms. I just LOVE dark chocolate M&Ms. I don't eat M&Ms ever, unless they're dark chocolate. You know, you can get those in dark chocolate." I about stood up and said, "Buddy, either stop talking about dark chocolate M&Ms, or get off your picky ass and go find me some. By now, they're all I can think about. Jimminy crickets!"
- I had a slight fatigue and hormone induced emotional breakdown when Jason picked me up at the airport and got me home around 1 am the next day. It's pretty pathetic; I don't know how I'd make it as a military wife, or as a sloper wife, whose husband works up on the oil fields of Alaska. I know people who do each, and they must be made of steel. I just really like Jason, and I really like me and Jason together in the same location. It's not so much fun being apart, although admittedly I accomplish more tasks when he's gone. But tasks are totally over-rated.
- We had a week of getting settled, making morning fires in the wood stove, Jason hunting for meat and hunting for work, and things being relatively calm. Here's Jason shoeing a horse, and then my Pops and him leading everybody back to the corral one morning when the whole herd had gotten out of the fences the night before and wound up in someone's field 1/2 mile away.
- And finally, toward the end of last week, we got a phone call asking if Jason would come up to Anchorage and help remodel some burned up apartment units. So, as of yesterday, that's where he is and is slated to be there for a couple of weeks at least.
Otherwise, aint much going on here...