Saturday, April 26, 2014

National Park Week

In the spirit of this celebratory week (now coming to a close), below are a few of my favorite shots from visits to national parks.  Hope you enjoy them.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - a lava flow that overtook a road

Kolob Canyon in Zion National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Death Valley National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Sapphire Pool in Biscuit Basin, Yellowstone National Park

Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon National Park
Capitol Reef National Park

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Back in 2003, my friend Barbara sent me a copy of All Creatures Great and Small.  It wasn't until last fall that I finally began reading it, and this was after reading James Herriot's other books (borrowed from the same Barbara).  I love his books.  I love his stories, his descriptions, his sense of humor.  I thoroughly enjoy the anecdotes about singular animals and their owners as well as the challenges of a country vet in rural England.  I have books in line to read after this one, but I keep putting it down and picking it back up, sometimes weeks later, to make it last longer. 

I have always enjoyed reading.  I prided myself as a kid when one of the librarians at school gave me permission to choose from any section of the library I wanted, not just from the books deemed age appropriate for my grade.  I read classic children's books and nature manuals about things like sharks and raccoons repeatedly.  As I got older, I moved on to novels, poetry and short story anthologies.  Now I'll read pretty much any genre, but too often I can't seem to find the time to delve into the pages of a new book or finish a half read one.  

One of my supervisors asked a woman at work some weeks back what she would do if she won the lottery and no longer had to work.  She replied that she would read books.  Wouldn't it be nice to have all the time you needed to devour novel after novel, biography after biography, anthology after anthology and so on if you could?  With no worries about a sleep schedule or grocery shopping or laundry or getting to work on time?  It's a nice little fantasy perhaps, but the bottom line is that I would like to find time to read more than magazines, on-line articles and bead books.  They have their value, but they're not nearly as pleasurable as a book in your hands that is so good you're willing to draw it out for weeks or forgo enough sleep over a few nights to finish it!

Next on my list to read:
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley
The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Interesting weekend so far.....

Tim and I had plans to go to Yellowstone for the weekend, but they were upended by our kitten cat.  I came home from work on Friday to find a half-cooked dinner and food at various points of preparation spread throughout the kitchen...but no Tim or Penny.  Turns out she literally jumped into the frying pan.  When it was filled with oil and tofu - in the process of cooking.  So it was hot.  And she now has first degree burns on her front paw pads.  In reading this, it should be understood why we call her loco katze.  She truly is lovable and a great furry friend and we adore her, but she is also a crazy little daredevil.  Thankfully she seems to be fine, doing her usual kitten things like chattering at the chickadees and scaling the kitchen cabinets.  She is apparently quite resilient.  

Instead of driving south into the park, we shopped some garage sales, bought ingredients for Easter dinner, went for a long walk, and took a drive along a dirt road to sit by a river and skip some rocks.  We've also been pampering our kitten moreso than usual and giving her oral syringes full of pain meds.  This evening we will watch a movie and eat a delicious dinner.  

Today has been a gorgeous spring day.  Violets and daffodils are in bloom.  The weather is warm.  The sun is shining.  So you see, despite our worry over kitten injuries, life is still rather good here in Montana.

Nice view of the Absarokas while skipping rocks
I hope everyone has a happy Easter.  Whatever importance you personally put on this day and however you plan to spend it, may you have a peaceful, relaxing Sunday.  In part, I will be missing my grandmother's holiday cooking and avoiding the giant box filled with candy sent by Tim's parents.  Hopefully there will be an adventure of sorts in the mix too.  Nothing to do with paws on hot surfaces, however.

Easter Market eggs Tim brought home from Vienna

Monday, April 14, 2014

Our Kitten Cat

That's what we call her - Kitten Cat.  She has several names, actually.  Penny.  Miss Penny.  Pen Pen.  Loco Katze.  Pretty Girl.  Little One.  Not that she really answers to any of them, but she knows we are talking to her when we use that sticky sweet voice to get her attention.  I adopted Penny for Tim while in Vienna last June.  I thought he might want a companion for his months living solo in a foreign land.  They were and are smitten with one another.   Here's a photo from the first night our friend Alex brought her home to us.

Tim and Penny - instant love!
Here is a photo of her now, just a few days past her first birthday, perched on high to survey the world below her.  She is still a bit skittish about living in a new house in a new country, but she is getting used to the birds and horses outside the living room windows.  Love that kitty!
On top of a rather tall cabinet

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Entertaining thoughts about a road trip...

Feeling the desire to travel these days.  There are no plans to skedaddle anywhere soon so I've been looking at old travel photos instead.  You might guess from the images below that I am drawn to water -- oceans, rivers, lakes and creeks.  There is something pacifying about a sea breeze, soothing about water rushing over rocks in a river, calming about the repetitive sound of small waves on a lake.  I just might find myself walking along the Yellowstone later today or tomorrow to reconcile my desire to hit the road.  

Pismo Beach, California

The view from Ecola State Park, Oregon

Waterfall on the island of Kauai

Sunset on the Pacific in Florence, Oregon
Waterfall in Arthur's Pass National Park, New Zealand

The Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand
Muckross Lake, Killarney National Park, Ireland
“Life in us is like the water in a river.” -- Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Daydreaming about Vienna

I have been spending an inordinate amount of time daydreaming about spring in Vienna, Austria these last few days.  My partner has been living and working there for just over a year now, and he tells me daily via email how lovely the weather has been of late.  Trees budding, early spring flowers coming up, warm breezes blowing, sun shining.  It was about this time last year that Tim and I flew to Austria for him to begin his new job.  It was still winter when we arrived, but soon the last snowfall melted and the city began to show its vivid natural colors, especially in the many city parks.  Green grass every where, tulips in every shade imaginable, flowering trees showering the ground with papery pink flowers, rose bushes just beginning to show the tight little buds that would turn into stunning displays as the weather warmed.  The Easter markets were going on then as well, and I stood next to the displays of decorated eggs, stunned by their fragility and beauty.  This was also around the time we first visited the Naschmarkt and saw rows upon rows of buckets of tulips for sale.  It was rather extraordinary when you combine all of this with a city steeped in rich history and culture along with gorgeous architecture to boot.
Batik eggs

Easter Bunny eggs

Tulips at the Naschmarkt
Bird's view of a tree on the Donauinsel

Ducklings in Stadtpark
Tim will be coming home to the states in a few short days to focus on the next big step on his path.  I know I miss Vienna quite a bit - the city itself and the friends I have there - and I only stayed for six months in total.  I imagine it will be more difficult for him to say goodbye.  Although....the anxiety of flying with our kitten might be currently outweighing any regret he might be feeling about leaving Austria!  She will be in the cabin with him on all three flights.  I am guessing he is imagining various scenarios of how she might react badly to flying while wondering how many times he might have to apologize to his seatmates for any feline shenanigans.  They will both be getting a giant hug upon arrival in Montana.  A much deserved one, I am sure.

Miss Penny a.k.a. loco katze