Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Highs and Lows of 2013 - The Highs

Like last year, I found that this past year was pretty good.  But I didn't win the lottery or anything like that. Be sure to read the post below this one first!! It's my "Lows" list. Makes the "Highs" list much better.
"The 10 High Points of 2013"(from less high to highest of the high)

10. Symphony - This was on last year's list too.  Either I'm getting older, or things are finally running the way they should, but this past year was really good for us.  Good audiences, great programs, no real hassles--who'da thunk it?

9. HNT Continues - It started as a one-time celebration of the first year without HNT.  People sort of liked it, so it was extended to once every three months.  People still liked it, but it just didn't have the same feel.  So this Thursday will be the absolute final HNT.  You can check it out here.

8. Twinkies - I wept a little bit when Hostess shut down.  In my diabetic state, it's something I parted ways with long ago.  But when the new company brought them back, I bought a box of them.  Just to show my approval!

7. iPhone 5s - I hadn't planned on getting the new iPhone, but Verizon emailed me two days before it came out to offer me $200 for my old iPhone.  Which conveniently was the same price as the cheapest version of the new phone.  Well played, Verizon.  Well played!

6. New FB Friends - For whatever reason, I picked up quite a few new friends on Facebook over the past few months.  Lots of former students, lots of people I'd lost touch with over the last 4-5 years.  I have lots of gripes about FB, but it really is a great way to keep in touch!

5. Football - Last year, my three 'local' football teams were quite a letdown, with the Griz and the Saints missing the playoffs for the first time in years.  And my old high school missed them as well.  Fast forward to this year...the Griz made the playoffs (and more importantly, beat the Cats and kept them OUT of the playoffs!!!), the Saints lost in the semifinals in overtime, and the high school team made the playoffs (with my nephew almost setting a single game receiving record in their loss!).  So things are back to normal around here on that front!

4. Knight Sisters - Way back in the earliest days of HNT, a very sweet Canadian joined in, and quickly became a favorite.  I believe she was my first official MG, too.  Eight years later, she and her sister embarked on a massive road trip through the Midwest/West.  Knowing that she'd most likely have to pass by Helena on her way home, I imposed upon them to stop by for lunch, and they did!  This would have gone higher on the list, but we had far too little time together!

3. Symphony Under the Stars - Our 10th summer concert went off without a hitch under my second year as production manager.  Sure, there were minor things here and there, but you can't put on a huge production like this without an irritation or two.  The theme was "Fiesta Latina", and we heard from the grounds crew at the college that they'd never seen so many empty tequila bottles!  Ah, the joys of an outdoor concert!  At my side for her second year was my assistant Libby.  All I can say about her is that I wish I could clone her!  Unquestionably the hardest working kid I know.  I just had lunch with her this afternoon, and she's definitely on board for next summer's concert!!

2. OsTour '13 - I didn't really plan on any OsTour this summer, but then I remembered that Margaret had planned a 40th bday party for her hubby (over a year in the planning), so I checked the calendar and saw that that particular weekend would be the last chance for me to get away before the big summer concert.  So on a Friday morning, I head towards Sacramento.  A full 1000 miles through all that northern Nevada had to offer (ick).  As I noted in the "lows" list, I handed over $1500 to a tire shop for new tires on the way down.  That's what kept this from being #1 on the list.  In spite of that, I had a great time, though I'll never drive to Sacramento and back in just three days!  While I was at the party, I got to see Margaret, of course, but also Sam, from Sam's Stories!  Then I joined MissCrystal (from Miss' Budoir) and her family for dinner!  The trip was really too short for the occasion, but we packed in as much fun as we could!  

1. Portland/Diva - OsTour '13, Part II happened unexpectedly.  Also as mentioned in the "lows", I sold my car, at a loss, to my step-niece.  Part of the deal was to drive it out to her in Portland, then flying back home (thanks to my sister's miles!).  Knowing I wouldn't have access to a car, and with the short notice, I knew I couldn't meet up with the same crew as last year, other than Bipolar Diva.  She was able to meet up for lunch, and we had a great time!  The trip was nice because I was able to spend time with my sister, which doesn't happen much, as well as one of my nieces who lives there now.  But the highlight of the trip was our lunch.  I can't wait to get back out there again!!!
And thus ends this year's list. My "Highs" for 2013.

Many of you are probably already at parties as I'm posting this. I'm staying home and watching "The Walking Dead" all night. I hope that everyone is having a safe but fun NYE! Looking forward to a great 2014!!

The Highs and Lows of 2013 - The Lows

In spite of the inactivity here and in other parts of blogland, I figure I should still do this .  Even if just for my own future perusal!  This is year #9 of doing this, and it's been interesting to go back and see how different things have been, yet how similar they've remained.  I had to really scrape to come up with a total of ten "low" things.  So some of them might seem a bit petty.  Tough.  It's my list!  And as in the past, some of these will appear on the "highs" list too!  These are what make my "lows" list (the "highs" list can be seen above...):

"The 10 Low Points of 2013"
(from least low to lowest of the low)
10. Facebook pulls Halloween picture - I changed my cover photo quite a bit in the last three months of the year, namely to catch all the holidays.  I had posted a couple of scenes from "The Shining" for Halloween, and as part of that, I posted the shot of the creepy twin sisters.  Not the one of them holding hands in the hallway, but the brief shot of them after they'd just been murdered.  Lots of blood on the carpet and walls, and the girls.  That brought a few disapproving comments from people who were not familiar with the movie, and after a few hours, I switched it out.  But not before someone flagged the picture as "inappropriate"!  Hmph...

9. HNT absolute finale - HNT continued this past year, running once every three months on the OHNT site.  People seemed to like it, and there was no problem getting pictures for it, but after a full year of it, it's absolutely the time to pull the plug.  We'll have one last shot on Thursday, and then it's officially going inactive.  I'm glad we had the extra year, but it occupied a time online that I don't think will ever be duplicated again...

8. Health - Actually, my health is pretty good, for being a diabetic.  I just had a checkup last week, and my doctor was pleased with my numbers.  But there's so much more to do.  My focus is now primarily on my arthritic knees, who constantly let me know they're in distress.  I'm not a cripple or anything like that, but standing for any length of time sets me back for days.  As I said last year, I wish I'd taken better care of myself as I was growing up...

7. Decline of English language - There's a whole plethora of things that we can blame on the internet.  Basic English grammar, punctuation and spelling have taken it in the shorts.  I understand the need for Twitter abbreviations, but that's where they should stay.  Not in real life.  And there's the whole they're/their/there or too/two/to thing, along with all the other homophones, but a couple of weeks ago I saw at least 4 people use the word breaks referring to the things that slow a car.  Whatever happened to teaching this stuff in school...?

6. Cher - Another young woman died in April.  One of "us".  She was active in HNT for awhile, as well as being the MG and contributing to OHNT.  She died in her sleep at the age of 27, leaving behind two young children.  As I said a the time, no one told me that becoming online friends with you guys might also having to deal with deaths.  She's the third HNTer that has left us.  That I know of...

5. Social media/loss of community - Social media has really let me down over the past year.  Blogging has basically become non-existent.  Facebook use is actually on the decline, especially among the young.  Others have taken to using FB post some really nasty stuff.  Twitter is even worse in that regard.  Nastiness, negativity and name-calling are the norm (alliteration!).  And the loss of community?  We had a tight knit group a few years ago.  It's not there now.  The connectivity is gone.  Friends have started ignoring each other.  Sure, they might consider each other as friends, but they only interact on a sporadic basis.  Not the way we used to.  I understand that life evolves and things change.  Doesn't mean I have to like it...

4. O'Toole's closure - My favorite Irish bar in town, O'Toole's, unceremoniously closed their doors earlier this month.  As documented over the years, I had a ritual of meeting up at O'Toole's with friends at 8AM on St. Patrick's Day for green beer and shots of Jameson.  And then see how the rest of the day panned out...  The closure had been rumored on a number of occasions over the years, but this year the matriarch of the family died, and the writing was somewhat on the wall.  Adding to the stress was a charge that bartenders knowingly served an intoxicated young woman, who then was involved in a fatal car accident that night.  O'Toole's is being sued as well, though the remaining family says that didn't affect their decision to close.  It was announced that the doors would close after New Year's Eve (tonight), but their insurance policy expired, and they couldn't find anyone else to cover them for their last few weeks.  So without notice, the doors were locked.  There are no longer any Irish bars in town.  St. Patrick's Day will never be the same...

3. The neighbors - The neighbors came in at #7 last year.  It's gotten worse.  The white trash ghetto that this place has become is now overrun by even more irresponsible renters.  The kicker came this summer, when one or possibly two apartments were overrun with totally undisciplined kids.  The ones who play in the mud then track it through the hallways and along the walls.  The ones who leave half-eaten food wherever they drop it.  The ones whose toys were scattered from one end of the complex to the other, inside and out.  And especially the ones with boys.  Who decided to pee in the dryers.  They fucking peed in the driers.  All of them.  Someone in the complex finally wrote a letter and taped it up at every exit, suggesting that these people move out.  And others in the complex added their thoughts to it.  It must have worked, because those families are gone.  The only kids left now are the ones who live above me.  Running from corner to corner.  Over and over.  At midnight or later...
2. Politics - I would normally avoid putting this on the list, as I try to avoid it as much as possible.  But this past year was remarkably bad.  I do not understand why anyone would want to be a politician.  Unfortunately, thanks to the internet, way too many people voiced their thoughts.  Often without a clue about what they were talking about.  I don't have a problem with people who are strong about their convictions, as long as they know what they're talking about.  Sage comes to mind.  And Gucci Mama.  I cannot stand those who only argue their point from their gut.  Emotions make for bad politics...

1. Car repairs/tires - I spent WAY too much money on car repairs.  I sold my old car to my step-niece in Portland.  This is the car that hadn't been driven in over 2 years.  Unbeknownst to me, a cute little bunny had taken up residence under the car during that time, and had nibbled its way around the engine area.  Short story--it cost me more to get the hoses and wiring fixed than I got for selling the car.  But it was for family...  The other big unexpected expense was for 4 new tires, one of which blew in Wells, NV, while on my way to the Sacramento area.  Being stuck between a rock and a hard place, I had to fork over more than $1500 that I didn't have for pricey tires that I had to have.  Loved the trip--hated the surprise...
So, that's the downer list for 2013.  Mostly not so bad. Fortunately, there were lots of good things that happened too! You can check those out in the "Highs" post above this one. Go. Now!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Really. This is the end...

It's time to give HNT a final farewell.  With that in mind, there will be one last blow-out at the old OHNT site on Thursday, Jan. 2.  Many have already sent submissions, and I expect quite a few more.  If you're a former HNTer, you're more than welcome to join in this last time!

This past year that we ran it as a quarterly thing seemed to be a nice alternative to the weekly posts, but more and more people are abandoning their blogs, or letting them gather cobwebs.  As an example--of the 62 people over there in my sidebar whom I've actually met, less than a dozen have blogs that are even remotely active.  Meaning they maybe post twice a month.  At best.  Blogging just ain't what it used to be.  And I really don't think that Facebook people would be interested in keeping it on...  (HA!  Can you imagine???)

I'm not going to close that site, as there is still some decent traffic to it.  And I suppose that if someone sent something in to post, I'd do it.  But after this week, HNT will no longer be active.

Thanks for memories!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Oh, yeah...

I would hate to have the record show that I completely skipped the month of November here.

I suspect that, come January, I'm going to let this place go silent.  Not that it hasn't been that way already, but at least make it official.  Perhaps wait until my blogaversary date, which happens sometime in mid-Jan.  Nine years.  Yikes!  I doubt I'll go dark, and I might even come back from time to time, as some of you have.  Then again, maybe I'll get ambitious and start posting again.  We'll see....

Nothing earth-shattering to report.  My Griz beat the Bobcats a week ago, so life is good.  Earned them a #8 seed in the playoffs (and its accompanying bye week), while also knocking the Cats out of post-season play.  It's known now that they'll be hosting Coastal Carolina next Saturday.  Temps for the game might warm up to the mid-teens by that time.  Hope they'll enjoy their trip up north!  GO GRIZ!!!

Longtime readers will remember Sam from Sam's Stories.  She's #60 over there in my list of bloggers whom I've met.  She contacted me a few weeks ago to tell me that her hubby might be accepting a new job offer in Billings!  Since then, he's accepted, they've been up to Billings and have bought a house, and will be moving up in January!  I suspect I'll be heading over there more frequently now (I'll come to see you too, No One Special!).

December will be kicking my ass as far as music is concerned.  Starting this week, there's four performances, more rehearsals than I can count, and five different rehearsal/performance locations, with the appropriate transport of equipment.  And as is normal, the temps will be falling below zero in the next few days.  Can you just smell the excitement?!?

Speaking of FB...I'm laid back enough to let the opinions of my friends roll off me like water off a duck.  I have no desire to get into any online "debates" with anyone based on emotion, bad facts and lack of intelligence.  I've never deleted anyone for their views/opinions, and I won't anytime soon.  But damn, I've got some really screwed up friends!!  Bless their hearts!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

A bunny, the rain, and a date...

Remember my old car?  A Ford Taurus wagon?

And how Mom gave me Dad's car after he died?

Since July of 2011, the Taurus has sat, uninterrupted, in this exact spot.  That's over two years of rain, sun, hail, snow, ice, leaves, bugs, and a cute little bunny who could be found behind the rear wheels on just about every morning.  I made a couple of attempts to sell it, with one or two nibbles.  But no takers.  So the tires all went flat, the battery went dead, and it was going to take a little work to get it into running condition.  And that's exactly what I needed to do, since I sold it to my step-niece!

S1 and her step-daughter's mom split the cost, which was about half of what I was hoping to get out of it when I quit driving it.  I put in a new battery and filled up the tires (which, fortunately didn't need to be replaced).  I took it to the Ford dealership here, just to be sure that I could drive it out to Portland.  That's when the dollar signs started to add up.  While it was in pretty good shape for a 17-y.o. car, my cute little bunny decided to start using the engine area as a smorgasbord.  Wiring was nibbled upon, the serpentine belt was gnawed through, and a hose had a hole chewed through it.  All simple fixes, but requiring the whole engine to be taken apart.  Lots of hours of labor.  Really expensive labor.  So much so that the owner of the Ford dealership took 20% off the final bill because the estimate was so incredibly underestimated.  Still, when all was said and done, I didn't make a penny on the car sale.  In fact, when you total everything put into getting this car to Portland, I contributed a significant part to my step-niece's birthday present.  But actually, I'm OK with that.

So the next step was to take a road trip to deliver my newly refurbished, soon-to-be-transferred car.  Since it was a spontaneous trip, I couldn't really make any plans to meet up with anyone.  Except for one--more on that in a minute.  While I knew it was supposed to rain while I was there, I was not prepared for what I ran into!  I've been in Portland in wet weather.  And some nasty rain.  But nothing like this!  To be fair, the rain all day wasn't too terribly bad.  I was even able to take the obligatory picture of Multnomah Falls from the parking lot--expecting that it would all be hidden in the low clouds.

However, the last 20 miles into Portland saw the most intense driving I have ever done.  Wipers on the fastest speed did nothing to clear the windshield.  There was a point where the rain dumped down harder than in a carwash.  This was the same point when I wanted to stop in the middle of eight lanes of traffic and wait it out.  I tailed the guy in front of me, praying that he knew what the hell he was doing.  And highway signs letting me know where to exit, or which lanes to be in???...forget it!  Couldn't see them!  Obviously, I made it, and lived to tell about it.  Whew!

I did get to schedule a lunch date with the Bipolar Diva!  The first couple of places we went to hadn't opened yet, so we ended up in some neighborhood sports bar.  Sort of a dive, but we didn't care.  We talked for a couple of hours about you, politics, iPhones, secrets, the rain, and snuck in a bite to eat too!  Of course, we had to fit in time for some pics!  She looks great!  I still need to work on my iPhone look...

On a different note...the fall edition of HNT is up!!  Go check it out!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

HNT Reminder!

Hey there!  Just a reminder that the next installment of our quarterly HNTs goes up next week on Oct. 3rd!  I'll be taking a trip to Portland over the weekend and won't have a great deal of time to work on it, so if you can get me your pics ASAP, that would certainly help...  Thanks to those who already have! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

So much easier when they come to me...

Way back in 2005, a young Canadian girl (lots of Canadians back in the day) joined in on HNT.  She was from Calgary, which is just over 400 miles due north of me.  She was a "Self professed music snob...artist, and art consumer...pop culture admirer...free spirit."  What she brought to HNT was a lot of Photoshop.  Always experimenting.  This developed into her current business as a photographer!  She was The Melody Censor

As time went on, she dropped out of HNT (she was the Mystery Guest once, and might have been seen over at OHNT a couple of times...), but was quite active on Flickr.  To this day, she continues to stretch her imagination with her photography.  Many of her self-portraits aren't even recognizable as her!

Like most of the world, she got hooked up with Facebook, where we're friends.  She posted a map of a massive road trip that she and her sister were going to take to Oklahoma (!!!???!?!?!), and spending two weeks checking out most of the western US.  The last leg of the journey appeared to be passing right past Helena, so I got in touch with her and conned her into stopping for lunch.  Woohoo!  My first foreign blogger!

As is the norm, we talked about a lot of you guys.  Mostly the old-timers, which was a lot of fun!  I even found out who the hell Tony Angel is!  Far too much talking, not enough time.  One of my planned road trips for the future will be through central Canada, so I'm sure we'll see each other again.  Thanks for the visit, Susan and Marjorie!

It's been over a month since my last post.  Our first concert of the season was Saturday, with the governor of MT as our guest narrator for Copland's "Lincoln Portrait".  He did well, and the crowd loved him.  The whole concert was a success, as has become the norm.  Ah, such a change from ten years ago!

Football has come back with a vengeance this season too!  Remember how I posted how well my three favorite teams were doing over there in the sidebar?  Not going to do it anymore, since hardly anyone stops by.  But it would get me here each week....maybe I will.  But not tonight.  Anyhoo...all three of my teams (HS alma mater, the local college, and the UM Grizzlies) were a disappointment last season.  This year is drastically different, and they all seem to have regained the glory that they've been accustomed to.  All three are undefeated against strong opponents, and look like they're serious about the post season again.  Yay!

The soul band is in a bit of limbo.  We want to play, and we're going to be marketing ourselves, but the opportunities are few and far between.  Still, when we DO play, all we get are positive comments, so hopefully some things will line up in our favor (we're a bit pricey...).

I know I'll have to do some FB recruiting, but for those who read it here...the fourth of our quarterly HNTs is coming up on Thursday, October 3rd!  Again, I'll post them on the OHNT site.  Many of you missed out on the summer version in July, but that was over the Fourth, so you're forgiven!  I've already gotten one submission, but I'll take as many as I can get!  Spread the word yourselves too, if you could!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Montana Avenue

This is the view from the north end of Montana Avenue.  The zoom shot gives you a better idea of how far the street goes up into the South Hills (where most of Helena actually sits).  In between is the Helena Valley (it might actually be the Prickly Pear Valley, officially, but I'm not sure...)  Be sure to click 'em to big 'em!

Then, after 10 traffic lights, 4 stop signs, 3 railroad tracks, 1 creek (pronounced "crick", thankyouverymuch), 1 irrigation canal, 5 fast food joints, and the state capitol building, one finds themselves at the top of the South Hills.  Eleven and a half miles away.

Just thought you'd like to see.

And oh, the next HNT is scheduled for Oct. 3rd.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

HNT, and Happy Independence Day!!

Hey!  HNT is riding high tonight!  Go check out the patriotism from your friends!!

For my yearly public service, I once again offer a video of a guy shooting a bottle rocket out of his ass. And in the sense of gender equality, one of a girl doing the same thing. (NSFW--language) These are two of my favorite ones, but was surprised at how many more similar ones are on YouTube than there were last year. Lots of drunk white rednecks out there! And absolutely no respect for the danger of explosives... I hope none of you do this over the weekend, but if you do, be sure to take videos, or at least some pictures!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

#59, 60 & 61!

Wow!  There's some impatient people here!  I like it.

So I went on a road trip.  Probably not the wisest road trip to attempt--far too long in far too short amount of time.  However, it was a tremendous trip, and I'd probably do it again, in spite of the craziness of it all.  There were some really big 'ups', and really big 'downs'.  So I'll do this all in bullet points (it's been awhile since I've done that!)...
  • Friday morning - I'm on the road to the Sacramento area at 4AM.  1001 miles to my destination.  I figure I'll pull into town at around 7PM local time (16 hrs.).
  • Stopped in Idaho Falls for a fine McDonald's breakfast, and find that SOMEONE forgot to pack his insulin needles...
  • Stopped in Pocatello's Walmart to pick up said needles.  Expected a hassle, but it was quite easy. 
  • Got a phone call while going through Twin Falls.  A good news/bad news call.  I asked for the bad news first.  A gentleman that we'd been trying to get money from for the summer concert was not going to give us $5K.  The good news--he's giving us $10K!
  • As I was pulling into Wells, NV for gas, I blew a tire.  Upon further inspection, all tires needed to be replaced.  Of course, I drive a car that takes a special sized tire.  Left Wells on four new tires, and $1,550 lighter in my bottom line.  Ouch.
  • The rest of the trip was uneventful, along those lines.  Lots of time to think, lots of time to not think!
The occasion for the trip was the 40th bday party for Margaret's hubby.  Remember Margaret?  Monkey?  Mylifepartdos?  She set up this party months ago, and since I'd never been to California, I figured, why not?  She had people in from all over the place, and as she admitted herself, she was looking forward to it more than he was!  So I headed over at around noon (after sleeping most of the morning due to the long drive from the day before).  Met lots of his friends and her friends and played with all the kids around.  And then Sam, from Sam's Stories, showed up with hubby and kids in tow.  All the way up from the bottom of California!  Lots of talk and gossip and stuff, as these meets tend to be.  I was duly chastised from both Sam and Margaret for not being current with their blogs (oops!), and they both tried to talk me into Twitter (NEVER!).

Margaret (#59) and me
Sam (#60) and me

And then, all of a sudden, I had to leave.  I had a dinner date waiting with another HNTer, MissCrystal!

MissCrystal (#61), her hubby, son and I went to a great new Mexican place for dinner.  I'd have done dinner with them on Friday, but it was their 10th anniversary, and I didn't think they'd need me around as a third wheel...  Again, there was discussion and gossip, and since I had another 16-hour drive ahead of me, an early evening.

MissCrystal (#61) and me
The trip back was uneventful, other than the time or two that I briefly nodded off.  Yes, I pulled over twice to grab a quick nap!  Other things I thought about over the weekend...
  • God didn't paint Nevada with the ugly paint (like WY or SD), but he didn't waste any of the pretty paint on it either!
  • God also decided to make all the mountains nekkid.  Seriously--miles upon miles of mountains, and not a single tree in site!  Not.a.single.one!  The mountains certainly helped the boredom compared to the flat states, but still...absolutely no trees!
  • And barely minimal agriculture.  No cows.  No crops.  No sprinklers or irrigation.  But plenty of sagebrush.  Gives me a new appreciation for the pioneers and the Natives that traveled through here.  It must have been hell...
  • Mock me if you must, but blaring John Denver and Jim Croce and singing along at the top of your lungs is a great way to road trip!
  • On the other hand, classical music doesn't quite allow oneself to do a good pee-pee dance while driving.  And there was plenty of that needed.  I swear, as soon as my bladder sensed a rest area or a bathroom nearby, I had to go!
  • Margaret had an electric fly swatter in her house.  This is my must-have toy of the summer.  I'll be able to have hours of fun with it!  If you're a fan of bug zappers, you'll LOVE this thing!
  • Lots of billboards throughout Nevada for ranches.  Made no sense to me until I thought, "Oh, yeah.  I'm in Nevada!" (think about it...)
And to end this long overdue post, some more pics!

Sunrise on first day of Summer! - Dillon, MT
My car!  About 20 miles north of Idaho
Jackpot, NV - Immediately cross the state line and you have your choice of casinos
I got mixed signals on the way...

Neither place looked terribly inviting.
Late afternoon skies in eastern Idaho

Monday, June 24, 2013


I've been away on a road trip.  A post is coming.  I promise!  With pictures, even!

But I'm spent.  How can sitting on one's ass all day be so exhausting?  And having no down time today didn't help.

So...be patient!  And don't forget that there's only 2 weeks before the next HNT!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Weekend

Father's Day weekend has always been one of those weekends when we all got together.  It was usually the first weekend together after school got out for everyone.  And it always fell within a few days of my dad's birthday, so it was always a double celebration.  We all drank lots of beer, spent time outdoing each other with stories, sneaking into the kitchen and "testing" the potato salad, and soaking in the smell of the grill as the burgers or steaks were sizzling.  Earlier in the day, there was sure to be some golf played, and all was right in the world.

Then it wasn't...

The year was 2010.  Not the best of years for this family, as we'd learn by the end of December.  BIL2 had died unexpectedly earlier in the month.  Dad was having issues with post-op complications.  Nothing life-threatening, but he just wasn't up to any sort of gathering. And to tell the truth, none of us were.  Ray's death really threw us for a loop, and even though we'd all put on a pretty brave face, the thought of getting together to celebrate for Father's Day just didn't sit right.  So we passed on the weekend.  Little did we know that we'd never have the chance again.  Ray's dad died in October, and my dad died in November.

All of a sudden, Father's Day meant nothing for the family.  At least in the way we'd celebrated in the past.  And we haven't done anything for it since.  I'm sure that BIL3 is getting his share of loving from my sister and her kids, but that's it.  Today would have been a special day, too, since Dad's 80th birthday was yesterday, and my baby sis and BIL3's wedding anniversary is tomorrow.  But we're doing nothing.

I think that because of the bday/Father's Day convergence this weekend, I've been a bit down.  Reading everyone's FB posts about their dad, or their husbands as dads, sort of hit hard this year.  I don't mope around or anything like that--it just hit me harder yesterday that he's not around.  I spent most of the day in the office (post on that coming soon!) keeping busy.  Then my mind would wander to various memories of me and Dad.

Then it dawned on me--I HAVE those memories.  Because I had a great relationship with my dad.  And so many don't.  I have difficulty comprehending what it would be like not having it.  Having to deal with an alcoholic father, or a father who spent more time in jail than out, or worst of all--an absentee father (which I think would be the worst).  So, while I still find myself a little sensitive that I don't have the opportunity to buy my dad another tie (which I NEVER bought for him!), I'm finding that the constant "dad" things have made me spend more time than usual reliving memories.  And you know what?  That's not such a bad thing!

So Happy Father's Day to my dad, to BIL3, and to all fathers reading this.  I shall drink a beer at some point today in your honor and memory!

Time is getting near to the next HNT!  Remember--July 4th!!  I'm busier than a a one-armed trombone player these days so I might not get the reminders out like some of you expect.  Though I imagine that for half-nekkidness, I'll find the time...  Don't wait until the last minute though!  Send your pics to me so I can post them on the OHNT site!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Letting go of the old...

I didn't make note of it last month.  At least not here.  May 18th was the 33rd anniversary of Mt. St. Helens (which I find impossible!), and May 19th was the 8th anniversary of HNT.

I think that every year prior to this one, I posted a picture of the volcano, and linked up my story about Volcano Girl, and waxed poetic about the one that got away, or about how every moment of that time in my life still lives vividly in my mind.  This year, I thought about it, and just didn't feel it.

I get nostalgic about my past, and I've finally figured out that the phases of my life have followed the decades.  High school and college in the 70s, my teaching years and grad school in the 80s, life in a daze and total uncertainty through the 90's, rediscovery and purpose and relationships since 2000.  While 1980 was an incredibly good year in my life, and a great start to a great decade, that's over half my life ago.  A great thing to look back on from time to time, but not something I have to write about here every year.

On the other hand, I purposely didn't say anything about HNT when the anniversary rolled around.  Not here, at least.  I sort of mentioned it on FB, without really saying anything about it.  But in such a way that anyone who did HNT would catch the drift.  And many of them commented about it.

I still believe that the greatest thing that happened because of HNT was the community, and the number of friendships that developed.  I am constantly reminded of that when I see some of the comments on my friend's statuses.  Not so much the recent ones, but the old-timers from 7 or 8 years ago.  When I see others' comments, I know that they wouldn't be connected if it weren't for HNT.  As I said when I put HNT into retirement in 2011, when I arrive at the pearly gates of Heaven, and a list of my life's accomplishments is read, HNT will be somewhere in the top five. And you know what? That's not such a bad thing. But if I end up at the fiery gates of Hell, I have an inkling that HNT will be on that top five list as well!

Speaking of HNT, don't forget that we'll be doing HNT again in its new form on July 4th!  So do your patriotic best and join in!  Remember, you don't post it on your site anymore (though, I suppose you could...).  Send it to me to post on the OHNT site!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013


This has been bugging me since I saw the new Star Trek movie on opening day.  First off--let me say that I was quite satisfied.  A good, and somewhat familiar story, great special effects, some new tricks, and a lot of "in" jokes and dialog for a longtime Trek fan (noticed how I avoided the word "Trekkie"?).  But there's two anomalies that I haven't been able to justify in my mind.  And I'm disappointed that others haven't mentioned them either...

WARNING:  Plot lines and spoilers coming!  If you haven't seen the movie yet, or don't care about this post, leave now!

OK, the first one concerns the Tribbles.  A basic premise of this movie is that the Enterprise has not yet left on it's five-year mission to explore new galaxies, yadda, yadda, yadda...  Even continuing with the "new" timeline story, Tribbles had not yet been discovered by the Federation.  Therefore, McCoy couldn't be experimenting with one, am I right???

The other anomaly also involves McCoy.  When he and Dr. Marcus are disarming the bomb on the planet's surface, he makes the comment that he once helped a Gorn give birth.  In the original timeline, on their five-year mission, the Gorn was such an alien that the universal translator didn't even work.  How could McCoy have delivered baby Gorns when the two species had never met yet?

These have been weighing heavily on me since I saw the movie.  Forgive me.  I'm a geek.

Don't forget to prepare something for HNT on July 4th!!!

Monday, June 03, 2013

Whereas, ...

Whereas, in an effort to spread out my posts, rather than puke them up all at once, and

Whereas, it was apparent that my last post was less than spectacular, and

Whereas, I'm busier than hell,

I'll post single subject posts, for better or worse, for the next few posts.  Well maybe two subjects per post...

The HNT experiment of posting them quarterly throughout the year worked well, so be advised that the next HNT will be on the first Thursday of July.  Which also happens to be the Fourth of July!  So do your patriotic duty and send something in!  All HNTs will be posted on the OHNT site like the last time.  Be sure to let others know too, since many of them won't see that here.  Looking forward to it!

My real post--the lilacs have been out for a little bit.  Lilacs are usually a little late in blooming around here compared to much of the rest of the state, but when they do, they do it with wild abandon.  Interestingly, the blooming seems to be different within the city, as the west side lilacs bloom much earlier that the east side lilacs.  Not sure why.  Regardless though, I love the smell as it unexpectedly smacks me in the face when I leave work.  Puts me in a happy mood for the rest of the afternoon!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Knick of time!

I couldn't allow myself to let a full calendar month go by without posting, so here I am. 

I've got lots to write about, so I promise to get to that soon.  Road trip, summer concert, gig, and plenty of pontificating to be done!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Another one...

October 23, 1985 - April 23, 2013

She blogged.  She Facebooked.  She did HNT.  She was the Mystery Guest once.  She did a handful of OHNTs.

She turned 27 last October.  She was the mother to a handsome boy and a cute little girl.  She raised them in southern California.

She was a cancer survivor.  She still had numerous surgeries over the past year or so.  But she was winning.

I had talked to her a couple of times on the phone since the new year.  She had found a new boyfriend who treated her like a princess.  She was completely happy. 

You may remember her either as "~c~" or as "Cher".  She died unexpectedly this morning in her sleep.

When I started my online life, I didn't plan on having to deal with the deaths of people with whom I would form some sort of friendship.  She's the third.  I'm tired of it.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Just thought I'd mention that my birthday is on Monday.  In case any of you might have forgotten.

You probably have a good idea of what I'm hoping to get from you...

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Monday, April 01, 2013

HNT Reminder

I know it's still April Fool's Day, but this is on the level...  Remember that HNT is this week!  And in it's different format.  You don't post on your own site these days--you send them to me to post to the OHNT site.  It'll go up on Wednesday night at 9:30 PM (just like the old days).  I've got a handful of pics already, and expect a few more in the next day or two.  You should join in.  Really.

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but a certain individual (*ahem) who is near and dear to your hearts celebrates his birthday in two weeks. Just thought you should know.

Facebook has all sorts of problems, as we all know, but when it works right, it's quite an impressive social tool. I just got back in touch with a blogger/HNTer who sort of disappeared on us about six years ago. I love social media!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

HNT Reminder and stuff

Don't forget!  The great HNT experiment is next Thursday (April 4th).  If you've missed what it's all about--we won't do HNT on our own sites, but send everything in to the OHNT site.  Email your pics to hntanon@gmail.com no later than next Wednesday afternoon.  We'll see if there's any interest in keeping HNT going every three months...

I know that not all of you follow me on FB, but I put my 2¢ there about the same-sex marriage debate and the blossoming of the red/pink equality image that everyone adopted as their profile pic.  I tried to write something profound, but ran into mental blocks. So I kept it short and sweet:
SCOTUS--Find that same-sex marriages are legal. They don't really hurt anyone/anything. But keep your nose out of decreeing that churches must allow them (that whole separation of church/state thing).
CHURCHES--If your denomination accepts such things, go marry a bunch of same-sex couples. If it doesn't, then don't. But keep your nose out of the others that do.
GOVERNMENT--Fix the government. Same-sex marriage should be low on anyone's radar. It should be a non-issue.
FB--I'll be happy when I don't have to be bombarded daily with gay-positive posts. It should be a non-issue.
PERSONAL--I'm not going to change my profile pic to the red equal sign. And I'm not ever going to join Twitter.

Easter is almost here!!! In spite of my delicate condition, I might have snuck in a Cadbury's egg or two over the past couple of weeks...

Speaking of Easter, it's a weird family situation this year. Normally, it's one of those "meet at Mom's for dinner" things that almost the entire family gathers for. This year though, no one's in town. S3 and her family are in San Diego (I think) for spring break, and I'm not even sure if N3 is with them. She might still have classes in Missoula. S2 will be here, but N1 has to work in Billings, and N2 is in Philly for some sort of training. S1 and her hubby are in Portland. So it's just me, Mom, and S2. We're going to go out for dinner. But it's so weird with just the three of us!

In case I don't make it back here (which is entirely probable), I hope you all have a Happy Easter!!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

She'd have been 35 today...

Ya know...she sort of faded away from us for a spell.  And she was sort of forgotten.

I'll be damned if I'm gonna let that happen anymore...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

It always happens this way...

I had a routine doctor's appointment this morning.  The results of which were a bit on the disappointing side (I blame winter and a change in meds). 

Knowing that I needed to fast and hydrate so they could take blood easily, I didn't eat anything after dinner last night, and only drank water until bedtime.  When I woke up, I opted out of the first thing I do when I get out of bed (peeing, for those who have a different routine), since I knew I'd be asked for a urine sample.  I even sucked down two more glasses of water before heading to the appointment.

The results of my fasting/hydrating?  They still had to bring in three different people in an attempt to find a cooperative vein to draw blood from.  That finally worked.  Then when the pressure came to pee in a cup, it took me about ten minutes to piddle out maybe half a cup.  That's half a pee cup.  Not four ounces.  I was pathetic.

Of course, I've had to pee three times since getting to work...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

HNT n' Stuff

To start out...a reminder about HNT!  After hearing from some of you, I'm going to experiment with doing HNT once every three months.  BUT, rather than bothering with your individual blogs (many of which no longer exist), you'll send them in to me and I'll post them all on the OHNT site.  That seemed to work pretty well in Dec.  We'll see how that works.  SO...plan on April 4th as being the next time we try.  And spread the word!!  That gives you a couple of weeks to come up with something!

Lots of change happening--Pope Francis made his first appearance this afternoon.  I had the 'Chimney Cam' open on the side of my window at work, and happened to catch the first wisps of white smoke come out, so I was hooked to watch the coverage for the next 90 minutes.  We'll see what the future brings for the Church...

I am SO jacked about the daylight staying later!  The mornings aren't too dark, and there's plenty of light after dinner.  Add to the mix that the temps have been in the mid-60s this week (what?? in Montana in March?)  What's not to like?  Bring on Spring and Easter!!!

Symphony stuff is plodding along.  We have two more concerts left in the season.  It hardly seems like any work at all compared to the last couple of years.  Which isn't to say that the concerts won't be spectacular!  Just that I'm much less stressed about the production end of things.  Then I jump in with both feet working on the summer concert in July.  The feet have gotten wet already, but the real work starts towards the end of April.

Apparently, Facebook is in the midst of ramping up a new format that no one has requested.  And Google is getting rid of its Reader.  Why do these internet companies keep messing with things that aren't broken???

Where have all the people gone??

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Almost Missed February!

I was informed that it's been over 4 weeks since my last post, and that I'd better get crackin'.  And lord knows I can't skip a whole month, even a short one, so here's my February post.  Hold on, it's going to go all over the place...
  • Super Bowl--Didn't really care one way or the other who won.  Was just glad it was a good game!
  • Paperwork--I despise paperwork.  Intensely.  I was brought up on the idea that a handshake was good enough for a contract.  Maybe that's more of a Montana thing.  But there are those who thrive on it.  Like lawyers.  And two people that have made my life much easier.  I mentioned on Facebook that I had a minor accident with the U-Haul before our January concert.  Short story--a gentleman by the name of Robert, who works for the insurance company for U-Haul called me the next day, asked me a couple of questions, and has apparently taken care of the entire matter.  Thanks, Robert!  The other person is Dawn, a social worker at the clinic where I get my insulin from.  Reams of paperwork, but all she requires from me is a signature.  Thanks, Dawn!
  • Valentine's Day--Nothing to report.
  • Father/Daughter Events--Or mother/son events.  I don't recall ever having anything like that when I was growing up.  Dad was involved with Scouting with me, and we all did a lot as a family, but I don't remember any one-on-one time with Mom.  Or my sisters with my dad.  I wonder how much we missed out on.  We all had one-on-one time with my grandfather though...
  • Parents At School--I don't remember anything like this, either.  I would have been horrified if one of my parents (Mom, probably) would have shown up at school just to observe or something.  And as a teacher, I never had anyone just show up.  Again, I wonder how much we missed out on.
  • Popular FB postings--I secretly snicker at some of my FB friends who post a popular meme or a picture or a video that is actually months old.  Makes me wonder where they were when it made the rounds the first time.
  • Speed Talkers--How does one learn to speed talk in the radio commercials where they whip through the fine print and/or disclaimers?  I suspect there's some sort of digital way of speeding it up these days so it doesn't sound like Alvin & the Chipmunks, but before then...how did they do that? 
  • Classic Radio--Speaking of radio, one of the stations in town changed formats from a satellite-fed pop station to a locally produced "classics" station.  Not "classic rock", or "classical".  Music from the late 50s, 60s and 70s.  Dare I say...easy listening?  Not quite.  But lots of the crooners, doo-wop, soft rock, even harder rock. As a musician, I go through phases to cleanse my musical palette.  I can't listen to symphonic music all the time, so I will listen to a lot of country, then jazz, then some Motown, etc.  No rap or hip-hop or what passes as "music" these days.  That's like cleansing with drain cleaner.  But this new station is a breath of fresh air for me.  We didn't listen to a lot of music when I was growing up, but what we did listen to was Mom's.  And it was the whitest music you could imagine.  And this station is playing it all again.  I love it!
  • Pope Benedict--In less than 24 hours, his resignation kicks in.  As a Catholic, it's a weird time.  It's hard to read all the speculation as to why he's resigning, especially from non-Catholics.   Personally, I didn't get the warm fuzzies from him as I did from John Paul II.  I don't think anyone did.  He doesn't seem to be a great 'people' person.  But it'll be fascinating to follow the election of a new pope.  This will be the seventh pope in my lifetime.
  • Concerts--The end of February was jam-packed full of concerts and stuff.  Five rehearsals and 2 different concerts in the span of six days last week.  And the fun is now just getting started for me.  Planning has started for the big summer concert in July, and I was hired as project manager again.  Based on the near-flawless event last summer, I penciled in a 50% increase to my salary (which was eagerly approved), so things are looking up!  I'm certain I'll have lots more to write about this one later!
  • HNT--After hearing from some of you, I'm going to experiment with doing HNT once every three months.  BUT, rather than bothering with your individual blogs, you'll send them in to me and I'll post them all on the OHNT site.  That seemed to work pretty well.  We'll see how that works.  SO...plan on April 4th as being the next time we try.  That gives you a month to come up with something!
So there you go!  Hopefully I'll post a bit in March.  I sort of miss the sound of my own posts!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Happy Blogaversary to Me!!

Jumping in with both feet!

Yep, it's happening! After having lurked around a number of blogs, and hearing from others who are trying it themselves, I figured I'd better give it a shot myself! No promises here. Maybe alot, maybe a little. We'll see where it goes from here....

That was it.  My very first post I ever wrote.  Eight long years ago.  I missed the actual blogaversary, which was Saturday, but it's given me time to think about what's transpired in eight years. 

Lots and lots of new friends made.  More travels than in the previous 47 years combined.  Two deaths within the immediate family.  Two deaths within my online friends.  Lots of births.  Lots of graduations.  Some divorces.  Some weddings.  Lots of kids growing up in front of my eyes!!  Too much cancer.  Too many hospital visits.  Lots of eye-opening.  Lots of mind-opening.  An incredible amount of good. 

Oh, and boobies.  Lots of boobies.

Yes, it's been a good eight years!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Things That Irk

 Just some things that have gotten under my skin over the past few weeks...
  • Stick Figure Families - cute idea when they first came out.  not so much anymore.
  • Magnetic Ribbons on Cars - yellow ribbons, cancer ribbons, save-the-spotted-owl ribbons...
  • Convenient Patriotism - particularly after 9/11, but on occasion since then.  why such a rush to buy flags?  if you were truly patriotic, you'd have already owned at least one.  patriotism shouldn't be similar to following your current favorite sports team.
  • Political Ads/Signs - pretty much ineffective, in my mind.  the money spent on political advertising could be so much better spent in other ways...
  • Commercials Using Covers of Rock Songs - biggest offenders at the moment are really bad versions of "Footloose" (Chase Bank) and "Old Time Rock & Roll" (Shark Pro Steam Pocket--really???).  Kenny and Bob will spin in their graves for a long time (I know, they're not dead yet...).
  • National Rifle Association - this once well-respected organization is now being led by nutjobs.
  • Montana Senate Republicans - even though they hold the majority in the MT Senate, they have had a very public split between nutjobs and "Reagan Republicans".  unfortunately, the nutjobs are in the majority in that party, so be sure to check back to see what they try to get passed.  on the other hand, maybe the minority Republicans will side with the Dems on the really wacko stuff...

Friday, January 11, 2013


It's been brought to my attention by those around me that "jackass" has become my new favorite word.  I can live with that.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


This is my first post of 2013.  It should be an inspirational one.

But it's not.