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?