I just discovered the function in Typepad (yes, the service I've used for 12 years) that allows a search of drafted but not published posts... goodness, I have a lot of them. A Loaf of Bread is still one of my favorite shorts.
April 14, 2008
While looking for something else, I found this, which may well be one of my top ten favorite Sesame Street memories from childhood.
November 23, 2009
A post titled "Montie Montana" with NO FURTHER CONTEXT OR WRITING. What??? (I had to google this, and I came up with a cowboy who died in 1998. I have no idea why I might have started but not finished writing about a cowboy I don't remember.)
November 4, 2009
Oh, but I missed this! A partially started Ten on Tuesday post that totally explains who Montie Montana was and why he was on my brain. Among some other random, funny stories. I still hate goats.
1. On two separate occasions in the past two months we've spotted what can only be described as a roving goat mob on Dell Range Blvd., one of the main drags through Cheyenne. The first time it was kind of dusk-like light, but while stopped at a stoplight we saw what looked like 50+ GOATS in the little gully-like backyard of an apartment complex. We all saw it, so we know it wasn't a trick of the fading light. And then yesterday, Bridget and I saw the roving goat mob in a different apartment complex on Dell Range. In broad daylight. More than 50, definitely. Matt's theory is that someone is renting out goats as an environmentally-friendly way to cut the grass at local apartment complexes. I say that the minute any landlord of mine plunks 50+ goats down in my backyard just feet away from my backdoor, I AM OUT OF THERE. The only thing creepier than one goat is 50 of them, all eyeing you blankly while plotting to eat your shoes.
2. On this same trip down Dell Range we stopped at the drive-through pharmacy (!!) at Walgreen's. I remember being fascinated by the magic send-you-your-stuff system at drive-through banks when I was little, and this drive-through pharmacy worked the same way. On the magic send-you-your-stuff machinery, a town called Maineville in Ohio was imprinted as the manufacturer. I am constantly amazed at how many towns in Ohio I've never heard of, even after living there for 22 years. Ohio: state of 8 million small towns. Maineville is northeast of Cincinnati, I already looked it up for you.
3. On this very same driving adventure, I was brought to tears by a set on the Morning Music show on Wyoming Public Radio (which is one of my very favorite things about Wyoming). A singer named V-The Gypsy Cowbell (!!) sang a song her father had written about a famous (but not to me) cowboy named Monte Montana; her father had seen him perform (he was, among other things, a trick horse rider) at his elementary school when he was little. That experience made a huge impression on him, and when this Montie Montana cowboy died, her father wrote a song about him. Years later and after her father died, she heard that Montie Montana Jr. was performing at some cowboy poetry reading in Pinedale, Wyoming, not far from where she was living, so she worked up the song and came down from the mountains to find him and sing it to him in the middle of downtown Pinedale.
Despite the fact that I don't understand Ms. V's name, it was a touching story.
4. I spend more time driving from one location to the next and then back again in a week in Cheyenne than I did in an entire month or more in Arlington.*
April 15, 2010
A post titled "First Sign of Spring: Catkins"
Apparently I used to know what catkins meant but don't anymore because I just now had to look it up. Here's the picture that went with that post (catkins!)
January 25, 2012
Ten on Tuesday—I bet $10 this is the post that I was writing when the computer crashed and I lost part of my soul. Either that, or I have a short attention span and regularly stop lists at four things.
1. Matt and I just finished watching our first DVR-ed episode of Portlandia, which apparently is already in the second season... it was laugh-out-loud funny. I first learned of Portlandia by stumbling across the "Put a Bird On It" sketch somewhere online. Also laugh-out-loud funny. Especially if you are a scrapbooker/crafty type.
2. Juliette is four years old today!
3. The county spelling bee is tomorrow.
4. I ran out of time to get my unblogged stories blogged before Chinese New Year. Ah well. Here's a quick one: in October, I finally, at long last, became a giddy owner of an iPhone. We paid off the van in November (condition) and I also ran five miles** (condition, though it was a few weeks after the purchase vs. before). I love it : )
January 30, 2013
Aw, a never-finished post titled "Missing" about how much I miss these friends of mine. I get to stay with the one on the right this weekend in New Mexico! 🎉 For the record, I still miss them all very much.
July 22, 2013
An unfinished Ten on Tuesday post in which I made it to five things!
New Things We've Done/Seen/Experienced in Louisiana in the last three weeks
1. Purple hull peas. We bought a batch at the Shreveport farmers' market two weekends ago, and cooked them up as directed by the man who sold them to us. They taste a lot like black-eyed peas to us. We missed the Purple Hull Pea festival, sadly, which was a little bit north of here during the last week of June. There is nothing quite like a local food festival.
2. Mayhaw jelly. We bought some at this small gourmet grocery we went to check out last weekend. We were hoping it would be a glorious fish market (it wasn't exactly) but it had some interesting finds. We are fans of oddball berries.
3. Driving in Shreveport. I have driven back and forth to Shreveport 39 times in the last 10 days, not counting the farmers' markets. If you want to learn a new place quickly, register one of your children for a camp on the other side of the town next door from where you're living, or all of your children at a gym on another side of the town next door from where you're living. (More on that soon)
4. Chiggers. Bridget and I were attacked by chiggers last week while we were poking around the lakes on base. I will spare you the horrifying details. Just know this: if you haven't been bitten by upwards of 30 chiggers in one fell swoop, consider yourself VERY VERY LUCKY.
5. Beignets. We ate three orders of fresh mini-beignets at the farmers' market the second time we went. They were very good. Maddie thought they tasted like bananas.
Incidentally, I turned this incomplete post into two scrapbook pages for Design Challenges III.
The chigger nightmare remains among the most nightmarish things we have nightmares about.
August 22, 2014
A post titled "Things My 20th Century Childhood that my 21st Century Children Will (Most Likely) Never Experience"
+ carrying a comb in their back pocket
+ cassette tapes
+ Kasey Kasem's Top 40 on Sunday afternoon
+ rotary phones
+ school rollerskating parties
+ writing notes to friends
+ folding said notes in various forms of note origami
+ being dropped off to shop at the mall (Lerner's, Express, Limited, etc.)
Indeed. I heard The Limited closed all its stores earlier this year, too. End of an era.
*I still pine for the days of living in Arlington and barely driving a car... three times as much driving now as Cheyenne II, if that's even possible.
**I have not run five miles in a row since.
I've never done a winter poem with pictures before—about time!
The Snow Man
by Wallace Stevens, 1879—1955
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
I have told the story here before about how I was invited by my uncle and aunt to spend the summer in Casper with my cousins when I was about 10, and how I made a big old deal about how I would not be spending my summer in that ghost state.
Tomorrow I will go to Casper YET AGAIN, for YET ANOTHER REASON: gymnastics. I was trying to remember all the reasons I have been to Casper since I turned that invitation down. Here is what I came up with, even though I feel like I might still be missing something:
+ chaperoning a Delphian choir trip from Great Falls, MT to Colorado Springs, CO with a stop for a music workshop at Casper College
+ stopping at the Skillmans' house (Jill's aunt/uncle) for a visit on the way to Cheyenne from Great Falls (I think I did this more than once)
+ attending a Wyoming Library Association conference
+ earning half a master's degree (ugh) from University of Wyoming with classes that met at UW-Casper
+ driving up to have lunch with Carroll College debaters
+ coaching the Central HS Speech & Debate team at a meet
+ spending a week on top of Casper Mountain with Maddie's 5/6 grade class
And tomorrow, for gymnastics. Seriously. I get it, universe... it's not polite to scoff.
from In Summer
by Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1872-1906
You can read the entire poem here.
p.s. giveaway for a copy of Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal is still open!
This week marks the fourth first day of school in a row in a different school/state for these girls—but it's also the least "new kid" first day of school any of them have ever had. Between teachers that know them, friends they met during the summer, friends they're back in class with, or being the younger sibilings of older sibilngs who know each other, this has been a pretty easy transition back to school in Cheyenne. HALLELUJAH.
First up: Maddie!
Maddie who is starting HIGH SCHOOL. (For nostalgia's sake, I looked up first day of school posts in my archives and got all weepy from this one.) There are still teachers and one administrator who remember when I was teaching and pregnant with her at this school, and it freaked them all right out when she showed up. It also freaked out a whole bunch of Montana-born millennials when they had to come to terms with the fact that their old childless high school teacher now has a freshmen in high school. Maddie has a few old friends to spot in classes/lunch/hallways, which makes everything just a tiny bit less intimidating. She lucked out and gets to be in a morning carpool, and didn't have a single bad thing to say about any of her teachers after the first day. I think that's a victory.
Gracie lucked out because she gets to spend an extra year in elementary school, which was a big relief to her—the last three places we've lived have sixth graders in middle school. We made the difficult decision not to send her back to her old elementary school here, but instead to the school where Maddie went for four years; it's a good fit for her and will be just the thing she needs before starting 7th grade. She sits across from an old preschool classmate, which is funny to us. They are both alphas and haven't changed a bit. They were good friends back then with only occasional outbursts of annoyance with each other, and hopefully they'll strike a good balance again this year : )
Bridget has had the hardest time over the last three years of bouncing from school to school, with only 1/3 of those school years working well for her. But this year... this year she has our Fairy Godteacher, same as Maddie had in third and fourth grades and we couldn't be more excited. My mama has always said my third grade teacher was "good for me" (hmph)(my third grade teacher was a structured, organized, rigid woman) but without a doubt, Mrs. Dixon will be good for Bridget. It is possible that Bridget takes after her mama and needs some structure and organization... heh. Good thing Mrs. Dixon is also lovely, patient, and kind. Miss Payerle may have been many things, but I struggle to remember lovely, patient, and kind. I may have been too distracted by the effort it took me to be less flaky and scatter-brained, though : ) Aside: Bridget wins the award for Most Changed since last year.
Ellie was ready to go upon my return from the bus stop. The first day of school is Dog New Year to her, and she and her bad heart were very ready to go on the first proper long walk of the school year. She is the best dog.
I spent yesterday drawing up a list of All the Things That Will Be Done this school year and it is giant. Wish us all good luck!
This is Miss Vi.
She is an expert horsewoman and a true cowgirl.
She was inducted into the Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame in 2013.
She is 81 years old, and had an elbow replacement not long ago so is taking the season off from barrel racing. She'll be back next year.
On July 3, she was assigned the task of teaching Matt how to ride a horse so he could survive a month of horseback riding (beginning on July 4 in the Greeley Stampede parade) without incident or injury. When he showed up for his first concentrated lesson, she told him she wasn't going to take any of his colonel #%*! and that he had better pay attention to her because she knew what she was talking about. Matt was all ears, obviously, and by the end of the lesson she gave him an A. I have seen her around many times through the years but had never met her until this weekend. She is awesome, is all one can say.
If you see her around say hi and thank you for her service to Cheyenne, the rodeo, and horse-ignorant military types everywhere.
Four years ago on this blog I wrote this: "the thing that is choking out my blog is ultimately going to revive it." [You can read that post here.]
Four years later, the exact same thing on the exact same date is true. It's such a long story, but somehow we've found our way back to Cheyenne Frontier Days (or rather, Cheyenne Frontier Days found us again). The bottom line is that Matt is once again serving as the chairman of the Military Committee, which means all the things we were doing four years ago are pretty much the exact same things we're doing now. Except we aren't really all the way moved in yet. And we know how much stuff is on the horizon vs. being vaguely oblivious like last time. Also, remember the laundry fairy? We know him by name now! He's the new chairman of the Parades Committee, and he is great—he even has a sense of humor about that laundry fairy story, which I decided I absolutely had to share after officially meeting him. HA.
I'm already sitting on a large amount of photos, and I'm going to make the same good faith effort to share the rodeo and all that goes with it : ) Just for fun, we still have a List of Things Currently In Our Posession That Do Not Belong To Us this year, too. It includes:
two sets of keys
20+ library books
four period costumes from the Frontier Closet
one Central High School marching band uniform
one Dodge Ram truck
one copy of The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (not particularly CFD related but still)
So there you have it. With my pit pass as my witness....
When I was working for Ella Publishing Co., I was invited to participate in a project to promote the release of a wonderful book titled Dear Photograph by Taylor Jones. I was looking for my submission last night since we're moving back to F.E. Warren AFB, and I wanted to remember what I had written back in 2012:
I stood here on the hotel steps on a house hunting trip to Cheyenne in April 2000, wishing like anything that I could live in one of these beautiful historic old houses (but knowing the two year waiting list made that impossible). I never could have imagined that 12 years later, my home would be the house with the side porch peeking out from behind the cottonwood trees on the most beautiful circle imaginable. Even though it's only temporary until the Air Force sends us somewhere else, I am grateful.
I now have a p.s. to add:
p.s. 16 years later, we're moving into that house next door. (!!)
Seriously—the odds of me taking a photo of not just one but TWO places we'd be living in the future? That's pretty far-fetched. And yet, there you have it.
You can check out the many wonderful submissions to Dear Photograph here, and follow along on Instagram, too. I am excited for the many opportunities to run around and take some new Dear Photograph photos since we'll be living in a place where we have an actual history again : )
Two nights ago my friend Megan texted me this photo...
...I actually gasped with delight when I read her text. She found one of my secretly stashed InstaLibrary bookmarks while at work!
The backstory: while I was developing content for the first Phone Photography Project workshop at Big Picture Classes, I created a category of projects for the "Do Something More" section that had a very "random act of kindness and/or creativity" feel to them. I've long had a little personal tradition of secretly stashing small gifts in public places where people might find them around Christmastime, so for my own take on this one I designed a bookmark that could be stashed all over my favorite library, randomly and secretly. I had my bookmarks printed at the lab I use for client photos, so they were really high-quality press printed ones; I planted about 40 of them in non-fiction, children's books, reference materials, large print—pretty much on every floor and in every section at the library. It made for a fun day of sneaking around the library (I wasn't exactly an unknown character there). Ironically, Megan was the only person I told that I had done this; I didn't ask permission because a.) it was a pretty harmless little project and b.) the whole point of guerilla creativity is to remain anonymous. I immediately texted her back to ask which book she found it in (a biography of Dizzy Gillespie) and walked around with a giant smile on my face the rest of the night. It was a much needed dose of happy news.
It's been a tough week (month) for Big Picture Classes. If you're not aware, Studio Calico purchased the company this past summer, and lots of changes are in the works. A new website will be introduced in 2015, and only some of the classes in the Big Picture Classes catalog will be transferred. The announcement can be read here. Only a couple of the classes I've taught or contributed to since I first started working for Big Picture back in 2006 will be archived on the new platform, so if you want to save the materials from those classes you've taken over the years you have until July 2015 to do so (it's proving to be a lot of work, so don't put it off). I'm happy to answer any questions or provide whatever assistance I'm able to provide, so just let me know if there is something I can do to help!
It's been a wonderful, wonderful run with Big Picture Classes. I've been given so many opportunities to develop meaningful creative content and have connected with so many wonderful students over the past eight years; however, in light of all the changes, the time seems right for me to explore some new options for teaching and sharing creative classes and projects. I'd love to hear what you'd be interested in the most content-wise if you have a minute to connect. The link to send me a message is up there on the top right.
I don't know how many other bookmarks have been discovered at the library, but I do know that creativity matters, no matter how small a gesture.