31 May 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Although it was cloudy and drizzly today, I didn't mind the weather at al.  Maybe I am getting used to it.  Or maybe it is just that I know, eventually, it will become summer here and I will get more sunshine than I ever have had before!  After breakfast, I decided to walk downtown to school, to see how long it would take me.  According to mapquest, it is 2.15 miles each way from my house.  I easily walk that in a day, if not more.  So I set out on my minor adventure with my rain jacket on, just in case.  It was a nice walk and I stopped several times to take photos, peek in shops and read the menues on the outside of restaurant windows.  I am not sure how often I will walk to school, but it is nice to now that I can do so.  

Here is my day in photos:

Tomorrow is the big day!  Wish me luck & courage!

30 May 2010

a beautiful day

The sun came out and the clouds were full & puffy.  It was glorious.  I went on a long hike with Roxanne today, back to the waterworks hill.  It is a marvelous place to hike, and so close to town too.  It was great re-connecting with Roxie and knowing that she will also be in SI is comforting. A fellow traveler on this summer journey.

I was thinking about how, in one way, I am putting my life "on hold" while I attend SI.  That is not actually accurate.  I may have put my California life on pause for the next 3 moths, but I certainly not put my life on hold.  Quite the contrary.  I feel as if I am jumping forward and have no idea where I am going to land.  I will land wherever I am meant to, of that I am sure.

One more "free" day before school begins and SI takes over my days & nights.  I am excited, scared, apprehensive, willing to be open to it all.  I hope to enjoy the ride-wherever it leads me.



29 May 2010

big blue dog appears to me

I was talking to a man last night who, through his provocative language, was clearly trying to provoke a heated debate with me.  He was talking about illegal immigrants and said that the best way to handle the entire situation was to station military snipers along the border and shoot people as they attempt to cross over into the United States.  Also, have them fly around in helicopters and pick them off from the air (sounds like Sarah Palin's hunting methods, doesn't it?).  I  have learned that sometimes it is better to ignore than to argue, because it was clear to me that there was nothing I could have said that would change his mind.  
I must remember that I am in Montana, although the man's sentiment could have easily come from anywhere in the United States.  We live in a bubble on the coast, and it is clear to me that, even in liberal Missoula, there are plenty of people who think like this man does.

Today was a wonderful day.  I had my first reiki session, a remarkable & mysterious form of energy body work.  Something remarkable happened during my session-I had a vision of a blue dog-it was as clear as if it had been physically in front of me.  My reiki therapist said that he felt a lot of energy in my throat charka (the color blue) which has to do with communication and creativity.  My big blue dog showed herself.  

Blue chakra color meanings:

The fifth, throat chakra. Continuing the epic adventure through the chakras, we've moved through the filtering train station of the heart and now we're asked to take what we learned on a pulmonary level and express it into our surroundings. We've dreamed the dream of creation, now we are on the path to expressing that dream outwardly. Swimming in these beautiful blue seas we find new connections, and discover true joy is in sharing and communicating our discoveries. When blue hues fill our visions it indicates our willingness to see solutions in everything. Our resources are made known, our expression are clarified like crystals, and we convey ourselves with a mix of playfulness and natural authority.

The secret art of inviting happiness,
The miraculous medicine for all diseases.
At least for today:
Do not be angry,
Do not worry,
Be grateful,
Work with diligence,
Be kind to people.
Every morning and evening, join your hands in meditation and pray with your heart. State in your mind and chant with your mouth.
For improvement of mind and body. Usui Reiki Ryōhō.

After reiki, I went on a hike which starts close to downtown Missoula.  The trail is called the the waterworks hill-randolph hill-cherry gulch loop and reminds me of Montara Mountain, but is much more open.  It was a nice way to get in a good 90 minute hike without having to drive more than a couple of miles.

2 more days before classes begin. What will it be like?  Who will be in my group? More questions than answers.  Let it all go...

28 May 2010

Missoula is a special place

The people in Missoula are friendly & welcoming to strangers.  There is a sense of politeness  and willingness to help here that seems to have disappeared in California, particularly among young people. I decided to take a break from the rain, and have a sandwich at a cafe.  There weren't any tables,  so a family with 2 small kids asked me if I wanted to sit with them.  They said that they were leaving shortly and wanted me to have the table.
I sat down, had lunch and was working on my laptop, when a young couple came into the cafe.  Again, there were no seats so I offered to share me table with them.  They were engaging and delightful.  

Missoula is a special place:

Those who know me well know that, as a group, I do not like children.  Individually, it is another matter.  I have a new friend, whom I will call J.  He is smart, funny, articulate, well mannered and is about to loose a tooth.  He is five years old.

27 May 2010

looking for lolo montana

It was raining (again) today, so I decided that it might be fun to check out one of the local hot springs around missoula.  After a hardy breakfast & with directions in hand, I set out to find lolo hot springs.  Lolo is located less than 50 miles west of missoula.  I thought that it would be an easy and beautiful drive-which it would have been except that I drove 50 miles in the wrong direction.

I got to talking to Judy on the phone, and before I realized it, I was seeing signs that read "Philipsburg"-no where in sight was a sign saying "lolo".  It was a nice drive east, but since I had just made that drive a few days before, I decided to try to get going in the right direction. By this time I really needed to soak in a hot springs!  So I turned around, drove all the way back to Missoula and caught highway 12 west for lolo.

It was worth the drive.  Lolo is a funky place, but the price is right ($7 for the use of the springs and the pool) ad the water as warm and silky as I had hoped.  There are interesting rock formations around the hot springs and I even found a new little friend there.
I ended the day with a 75 minute yoga class.  It was challenging, but I loved it.

26 May 2010

A hike, a trip to Costco & a chicken dinner

T, Max and I hiked a portion of the Blue Mountain Recreational Area this morning.  It was beautiful up there, and much different than anything we have locally.  The trails are well marked and offer anything from a leisurely walk to a serious hike.  It felt great to be able to stretch my legs and get some moderate exercise-I am used to at least 5 miles a day.  I hope to do another portion of the mountain again before school begins.

A sign downtown:

We were lucky to get in a hike when we did because the afternoon was muggy and rainy.  I pray that the weather warms up and that the sun starts to come, and stay out, fairly soon.  I need the sun for my health!

I love Costco, and when my landlady said that she was going there this afternoon, I decided to tag along with her.  It was lucky, because I was able to stock up on all of my favorite foods:  raw almonds, raisons,  artichoke hearts & soy trail mix!  Now I am ready for school.

My first home-cooked meal since I left California and it tasted delicious!  My new little family welcomed me to the table with bar-b-qued chicken, salad, potatoes, and strawberries.  It was very sweet and I am starting to feel less lonely.

25 May 2010

A quiet day here.  I had a wonderful lunch with Neil & am now getting excited about school.  I wish it were starting tomorrow and not next week.  June 1 will be here before I know it, and I will look back on these quiet few days with fondness.   

Missoula has great second hand clothing shops and I found another one just wandering around this afternoon while taking photos.

24 May 2010

Rainy & cold day in missoula

When I woke up, it was 43 degrees, so I wasn't in too much of a hurry to rush out & greet the day.  That was fine with me!  It gave me time to try and track down an old classmate of Aunty Betty's, someone she went to school with over 60 years ago.  I love mysteries,!  After all, I did work for a private investigation firm for a few months, so was ready to tackle this assignment on for my dear Aunty.  Her friend's last known address was  "senior home" in Missoula, and I called all of them.  No luck.  I decided to go to the web, where with some time and patience, you can find almost everyone.  Eureka! Her friend has moved to another state and I have her address to give to Betty.  All in a mornings work.

The rest of the day I did errands (just like at home):  thrift stores for warm sweatshirts  (COLD here right now) and a pair of sweatpants,  a space heater for my downstairs room (it's a bit cave like) and a tour of the YMCA.  The Y is nice.  It has a pool, sauna, steam room and, the best part, I can join on a monthly basis.  After I get a feel for my summer school schedule, I'll see if a Y membership makes sense.  It sure is tempting.

Tomorrow-lunch with Neil!

23 May 2010

Missoula, my first day

I can't believe that I am really here.  The dream becomes a reality.  I was having all kinds of emotions today: 
home-sickness for Peter and the dogs; anxiety about the start of school; doubt (have I made the right decision to come here and embark on this intensive & life-changing path?  what if...I am not...) &, of course, the big one, FEAR.  All normal I suspect.  It has been years since I have shook up my world to any extent (like quitting work 11 years ago) and it is nerve-wracking.  I know that I will feel better once school starts and I get into the flow of the summer.

Inner Harmony Yoga, on East Main in Missoula, will be one of my anchors this summer.  I went to my first class today and it all felt right.  The studio is light and airy, the class was a workout but the environment there is gentle and supportive.  I bought 12 classes for $85 and plan to use them up quickly and go back for more!  The Missoula library is fabulous and I already have my card.  It has a large selection of books on CD, DVDs and a wonderful music selection.

I am starting to get settled in and feel a bit more connected to the community.  Missoula is a friendly, green & enlightened town-I think that I will be fine here.

Friday night in Anaconda, MT & Saturday night in MISSOULA!

Saturday- The Hickory House B&B in Anaconda was the last place on earth where I would have imaged that I would meet the Bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church, The Right Reverend Nikolai (his grace) and his charming Deacon.  But there they were, having breakfast with us and educating & amusing us with their stories of traveling the world.  The bishop was funny, engaging and interesting.  He talked about the scriptures (of which I know nothing) and how reading and interpreting them is a personal experience, not one that can be dictated to you by the church.  It is clear that this man is a progressive theological thinker.  His Grace is working on his memoirs, which I may read. I am sure that it will be fascinating.

my "drive-bys"

The ANACONDA-PINTLER SCENIC HIGHWAY is a wonderful drive and well worth the few extra miles it tacked on to the trip. It was snowing when I left Anaconda (although the snow melted before it hit the ground) and continued to do so off and on until I got off Highway 1 and got onto 90.  I stopped for a few minutes in Philipsburg, which is a beautiful town nestled up on a hill.  Again, it was cold and the 40 degrees didn't make me want to walk around and take photographs.  I think that I will come back sometime this summer, when it warms up!

Before I left, I found some great stuff to shoot:

and then...on to Missoula

I am now here-in my new home for the next few weeks.  Tomorrow's blog will be from and about Missoula.

Friday- my last day in Idaho.  I had an interesting conversation with an older couple while having breakfast at the lovely Best Western in Idaho Falls (located on the Snake River).  It really was a nice place.  My room had a huge jacuzzi tub in tub which was so large that I was actually floating around in it.  I digress.  At breakfast, this couple was telling me all about there grown children, of which they have 6.  One of there daughters has 16 children, all single births, by the same husband.  They live in a tiny town in Northern PA, up in Amish Country, although they are not Amish.  I was astonished.  What could I say, particularly with my opinions about overpopulation and planned parenthood?  I made the only comment that I thought wouldn't offend, which was  "she must be a very tired woman."  The grandmother said that her daughter just felt that it was God's will to continue to have as many children as she could handle-so she did.  Apparently, the daughter found another family who have 23 children, and they are now communicating.  I wonder what their conversations are like?
Before I left Idaho Falls, I dropped into the Museum in town.  It was having a large exhibit called "Wolf to Woof", the story to the domestication of dogs.  It was fun, mainly set up for school kids, and it seemed as if all of the children in Idaho were at the museum with me.  It is good for them to learn the history of dogs and to learn all about their endangered brothers, the wolves and fox.  

There was also an exhibit of the last 100 years of history as it relates to the town, and I found a few interesting objects to photograph:

A few shots of downtown Idaho Falls:

The drive north from Idaho Falls on Highway 15 is beautiful and I crossed the Continental Divide twice, which means that I was traversing the mountains at the highest points.  I wanted to stop and take a photo of the sign, but there was no shoulder and it was not safe for me to do a drive-by image.  However, I did get some interesting shots on the drive:

I stopped in Butte to take a break and get some food about 4pm.  I was shocked when I got out of the car-it was very cold and I immediately felt the elevation (5530).  I learned a great deal about this area while talking to the 2 girls who work at the Hummingbird Cafe (an organic and groovy place in this hard core minung town).  The town has a long and colorful mining history and the rough & tumble attitude has permeated the culture and the people.  It is not uncommon for people to actually get into physical fights-just like in the old days.  It may also be the weather that makes people so tough.  I bet that it is brutal in winter, and probably late fall and spring as well.  I feel like a lightweight here, and am thrilled to be spending the summer in Missoula and not Butte!