Tuesday, November 4, 2008

History...

has been made. It started as an idea for
It became a message of And by the grace of God, it is
I could not be more proud to be an American than I am right now.

God Bless America!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Well, Hello There, Old Friend.

Its been a long time since I wrote a blog and I have absolutely no excuse. Ok. Maybe a little bit of an excuse....

This is my first weekend at home in....two weeks? Does that sound right? As per my MO for blogs this summer, I better write a long one to get you up to speed.

The weekend of August 15th:
We took a tiny trip to the Black Hills. The trip served three major purposes.
1. To spend one last day with Jerry before he had to go back to Oklahoma. R and Jerry drove the 4 hours in his car, while I followed in my car, listening to my music and talking on the phone whenever I had service.

2. To celebrate R and I's 3rd Anniversary, since our anniversary landed in the middle of the week, and we had company. R and I did some shopping (!!!) in the afternoon, stayed at a really fancy historic hotel called the Alex Johnson, and spent the evening hanging out at the pubs in the historic district. Here are a few pictures from the evening. If you look carefully, you'll see my new haircut that I was scolded about for not showing you earlier!
And my new favorite of R.3. To see Lizzie and her husband, who happened to be in the Black Hills area for their Geojourney trip! We got to spend the whole day Sunday driving around the Spearfish-Rushmore-Deadwood-Sturgis-Rapid City area. Ironically, R had just done the whole thing with Jerry the week before. He was tour guide for the day. Here we all are in Spearfish Canyon, on the way to Mt. Rushmore.And here we are as the Presidents of the United States. The statue ones, not the band or the real ones. Which picture do you think is the best?

And one of me and Lizzie hanging out in someone else's tipi. That's very rude, so I've heard.And a very original picture of R attempting to pick Washington's nose, but missing entirely and just tickling his chin.Don't worry, I showed him the right way to do it.
We then went to this awesome maze outside of Rapid City. It took Lizzie and I about 45 minutes to complete it, but the boys got REALLY lost and took about an hour and 15 minutes. There was no cheese or beer at the end, which might explain why it took them FOREVER.
The very next day back in Miles City, R and I participated in the 1st Annual Golf Scramble for our office. We had a lot of fun, especially because we got to play on the same team.
The Weekend of August 22nd was extremely busy. It started with the Eastern Montana Fair. I entered several items: An Apron, A Purse, A Knitted Scarf, A Knitted Hat for Me, and A Knitted Hat for my niece Sophie. Here is everything ready to go to the fair.
Judging took place on Thursday and Friday. I won $11 dollars! Three 2nd places and one 1st place. The first place came with a ribbon - Honorable Mention for the entire category! R and I went to the rodeo on Friday night. It was our first one, and pretty exciting. I have only seen bull riding on television. It wasn't terribly impressive, since all but one of the riders made it for 8 seconds. We rode the ferris wheel afterward. Can you believe it cost 8 bucks to ride? At least we got a nice picture.On Saturday and Sunday, I went the opposite direction from the weekend before to meet up with Lizzie again. This time she was outside of Yellowstone in Gardiner, Montana. We camped on Saturday, and then spent the day in Bozeman on Sunday. Lizzie helped me pick some light fixtures for the house, which will be the topic of another blog. It was really great to see her again, but I am a little sad that I won't get to see her again until November...or so. Sad faces all around.

This weekend, Labor Day...
We've been up to a whole lot of nothing. And by nothing, I mean working. R started teaching last week and has been working on his lectures. I have actually be writing. We did get to go to a BBQ at some new friends' house, played 2 sets of tennis, and made phone calls for the Obama Campaign (a very unpleasant task in this state). Today I have made bread and blogged. And now you are totally up to speed!

I will leave you with a really great picture of Chris and Gab with our niece, Sophie.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ketchup...Catsup...Catch up

And mustard.

Three weeks since my last blog means this is going to be a long one. And trust me, we've been up to plenty.

Before I recount the past 20 some days, I better let you know that we finally finished the bathroom. I say "we," but R actually did all the work. If you will recall, the upstairs bathroom was pretty hideous. The tile around the tub was pink, the linoleum floor was coming up, the giant sink crowded the toilet (the one Dad helped rip out), and the walls looked like someone had a bad night of drinking with Regan MacNeil and Jackson Pollack. We aren't sure who won that battle, because if you will remember from the mud room, a similar atrocity was performed.

Observe the before.

For a mere $25 at the Billings Lowe's, R and I purchased the supplies necessary to replace the floors. It seems that the prior inhabitants had a similar idea, and instead of pulling up the original linoleum from the 1950's, just added theirs right on top. It took R two solid days to get the linoleums and all the associated glue off the floor. While he was waiting for the solvent to dry completely, he went ahead and painted the walls a lovely sage green. And since there was no shower, figured out an ingenious way to install one over the bathtub. We are quite happy with the results, but as soon as we get the money for a claw foot tub, we'll probably start all over again.

Here are some pictures of R putting down the linoleum.
Apparently it is a hard and messy job - he got glue in his hair and all over the dogs. As you can see from the bottom left hand corner of the above picture, Ellie was pretty curious about the whole event.
I arrived home from my Wednesday night knitting group in time to help weigh down the floor with all of our school books. I think this was the most useful they have been in a while.
And here is the finished product, once the toilet, sink, and pictures were replaced.


Pretty cozy, huh? Sort of makes you want to...sit down and think for a while. The circular shower curtain hides the pink tile and makes a nice little cave for enjoying a hot bath and a glass of wine.

So now back to the last few weeks.

The weekend of July 11, Mom flew into Billings from Vegas to stay with us for a week. It was great!

We started out her visit by taking her to our favorite coffee shop in town, Caffe Utza, for homemade pastries and a rousing game of Scrabble.Then she and I went to the most amazing fabric store in Eastern Montana called "The Enchanted Room." It is actually 3 towns over in Glendive, about an hour and a half from here. I didn't take any pictures of us at the store, but here is all the fabric I got. I have some big plans for them, and if you are interested, you can see what they will be here.
We made "fun-du" for dinner on Saturday night. Nothing makes you crave melty cheese like a long day of fabric shopping.
On Sunday, we all took the dogs to Spotted Eagle Lake so they could get some exercise. We've found that our dogs are very misbehaved when people are around, but behave better if we let them play outside really hard. Plus its kind of fun to watch them retrieve and swim, like they were bred to do.On Sunday afternoon, we put Mom to work. Here we are FINALLY painting the parlor.
Since everyone else got to help us do something with our house, we saved painting this room until she got here. I'll post more pictures when we finally get all of the furniture in there.

We managed to keep Mom uber-busy while she was here, only letting her have one day to herself while we were at work. On Monday, we took her out to the field to give her an idea of what our jobs are like. We drove for about 3 hours, only to make her walk A LOT. We also took her out to see some more dinosaurs on Thursday, but it turns out that the only one who got any pictures of that...was Mom! And she didn't let me see them so I can post them on my blog! Oh well, here are some of us at the "Moose Crossing" site overlooking the badlands where the dinosaurs were found.
Throughout the week we taught Mom some new skills, like how to read a compass, spot artifacts, and pee outside. I think she'll make a great archaeologist if she ever decides to leave the 2nd Grade!We left Mom in Billings on Friday and flew to San Diego for our friend Lauren's wedding. Here's a beautiful picture of the bride and her father. It was such a fun filled weekend that I am going to have to save that for a whole other blog.
Thanks for coming to see us, Mom....and send us your pictures soon!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Grrr, baby, grrrrrr

So there seems to be a common misconception out there that archaeologists study dinosaurs.

While it is true that archaeologists study old things, and there are some really special ones who like to look at animal bones, the scientific field that actually studies dinosaurs is called paleontology. Think of it this way:Indiana Jones - archaeologist.
Ross Geller - paleontologist.

It is okay if you didn't know before now that there was a difference - I won't hold it against you, especially now that I have discovered the greatest irony of my new job. As an archaeologist.

I have to study dinosaurs.

Well, maybe not "study" them in the same way that I am trained in archaeology (i.e. taking things back to the lab/office to examine more closely and identify types, uses, etc. of human made artifacts). As I walk around in the field looking for the human made artifacts like stone tools and pots, I have to also keep my eyes open for dinosaur bones.

All fine and good - R and I are up for the challenge. Unfortunately, dinosaur bones sort of look a lot like...rocks. And unless you really know what you are looking at, it is sort of hard to tell the difference.

Luckily, our boss decided to take us out in the field to visit some of the paleontological excavations happening in our area this summer.

We drove way out in the middle of nowhere to an area with some really, really, really old geology. Like millions of years old. And we got to see this!

It is a triceratops! The bones on the left side of the picture are part of the sacrum (the very lowest part of your backbone) and the bones on the right are different vertebrae. The white stuff is called a "winter jacket" that the paleontologists put over the bones to protect them during the off season. A lot of the dino has already been removed and they are hoping to find a few more parts to it - like the head - by the time they finish the excavation in a couple of years.

We had to take a picture with it, just to prove that we really were there...
We also went to a museum in the northern part of the state to look at some of the complete skeletons that they have on display. I'll post those just as soon as I remember to get them off my work computer. I will also email them to the nephews of certain friends.

Its kind of cool seeing such huge bones. Especially because I study animal bones from archaeological sites. There are differences, but the shape and features of the bones are the same as on little bity tiny birds and lizards.

Pretty cool, huh?



Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Things we've done so far...

Despite what it may seem like from my other blogs, R and I have actually been doing other things in Miles City besides remodeling the house.

The first weekend we were here, this man came to town.
Though we are obviously not Hillary fans, neither one of us had ever seen a president - unless the Lincoln Memorial counts - and there was no way we were going to miss seeing one who came all the way out to Miles City. To show our unyielding support for Barack, we only stayed to take this picture, hear him say hello, and note how tan he looks.

The Monday after Memorial Day, I started my job. Here I am ready for grown-up work. Coffee and all.
If you will observe, I am wearing a skirt in this photo. No one wears skirts in my office. In fact, I am not sure if I have seen any one wear anything but jeans and other field-y clothes. Strange, but I guess Casual Everyday is a good thing. There aren't many (read: any) places to shop in Miles City and it would be difficult to have enough professional clothes in ones wardrobe unless you shopped online or went to Billings a lot.

R got himself a fancy new lawnmower. He likes that he can keep the yard looking lovely, and do good things for the environment. Plus gas is too expensive, and let's be honest....if we had to choose, we would rather have money to put gas in our car rather than have a nicely manicured yard.I have been psuedo-gardening. The person who lived here before put in a lot of really beautiful plants. I am still trying to decide what they all are, so in the meantime...I just cut off the dead flowers and wait for something else to bloom.
I joined two softball teams - the BLM coed team, which plays every Friday night, and the BLM women's team, which plays every Monday night. I am just as bad at softball now as I was way back in the 6th grade when Amber Kay and I got benched every game so girls like Callie Behmer could keep playing. The one good thing about being a token member (we have to have 3 women on the coed team in order to play) of a softball team is that at least I get to be in the field. Right field to be more precise. My years of tennis have paid off though - I haven't struck out once so far! Here I am looking slightly awkward at bat.In all fairness, the entire team kinda stinks. Most of them are there to drink...Capri Suns and Juice boxes...and aren't too upset when we lose. I can't say that much about the teams in our league, who are all very aggressive. And burly. R is using the opportunity to coach me from the sidelines, drink his own...Capri Suns and Juice boxes...and meet the other spouses who are also required to attend the games on Monday nights.

R joined a bowling league that meets on Tuesday nights. The guy who asked him to be part of his league is pretty good, which in turn challenges R to bowl better. I won't pretend to know what R's average is, but I know that its over 220. Perhaps we'll join a league together in the winter so I can get better. I think gutter balls should count for something at least.
Sorry, action bowling shots are blurry.

On Wednesday nights, I am going to a knitting group. I am currently working on a project for my niece-phew (Sex to be determined in a few weeks). I want it to be somewhat of a surprise, so I am not going to show you any pictures just yet. Though if you are on Ravelry, you might get to see it.

And finally, we've started making some friends with a few people in the office. We've been to a couple of barbeques and even had some folks over for dinner last night.

R starts work on Monday, so it looks like home improvement projects will start slowing down. He did finish the upstairs bathroom, which I will post about shortly.

Oh, and if you are wondering about the dogs...they are doing just fine. Ellie is really enjoying the fact that she can smell the flowers without getting stickers in her nose.