Monthly Archives: November 2009

New Paintings by Andy Cline

On top of working full time as an electrician apprentice, studying for his journeyman’s license, being an incredibly supportive partner and fabulous papa, Andy prioritizes painting nearly every day. Sometimes he wakes before 5 to get in there. Sometimes he spends full 12 hour Saturdays holed up with his very-few-haired brush. He’s amazing and I am so so proud of him. Oh Deer (Somewhere between Bonner and Seeley Lake on Hwy 200, Montana), oil on board, 13 x 10 inches Modern Pioneers (Outside Melrose, Montana on I-15), oil on board, 20 x 36 inches At Least We’ll Have a Ski Resort in Our Backyard (Below the Bitterroot Resort Carlton, Montana), oil on board, 20 x 36 inches Forest on Wheels (I-90, Heading East in Eastern Washington), oil on board, 21.5 x 48 inches His 10 new paintings are on view right now at the Dana Gallery in downtown Missoula. There is a public reception this Friday, December 4, 5-8pm. We’ll be there. I am the one with the tiny baby and the giant boobs. Seriously, girls need their own zip code. Anyway, if you come on Friday night, I’d love to meet you! And, of course, a little peak at our newly minted life. It is going really well. The challenges all revolve around sharing…of attention, blankets, car seats, Alice, hats, you name it. And while that stuff, Margot’s occasional tantrums, are at times exhausting and annoying, for the most part, it all feels so normal and like this is how it was always meant to be. We let Margot “wear” Ruby’s socks and I “burp” Margot after she eats. We just fell into what the universe had planned for us all along. Since last Monday we have mostly been in these positions: Ruby wrapped snugly around my body, breastfeeding while Andy and Margot play on the adjacent couch. It was a perfectly simple way to spend a week. And I find it amazing that my heart can accommodate another kid and not only that, but, a new love I didn’t yet know: my LOVE of bug’s love of her sister. Oh my. See you Friday? Good. Read more on New Paintings by Andy Cline…
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one very lovable nugget called Ruby Jane

All is very well in our chilly western Montana world. Our life is bursting with new found love because of the very cool girl who exited my body Monday morning. I didn’t realize anything was missing from my life until I met her. Our birth experience at home was amazing and we are spending our time at home staring at each other, thankfully receiving food and hugs from dear friends and swirling around in a new daze of a new life. Thank you all so much for your well wishes. I felt all of your positive energy a few days ago as I rocked and swayed and did the perfectly impossible feat of pushing a kid into the world at 10:08am. Happy birthday, Ruby Jane. We’re super glad to meet you. Birth story to follow. Read more on one very lovable nugget called Ruby Jane…
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today my life changes forever

I was sewing yesterday afternoon when the labor bracelet my friends made me flew off my wrist. It just snapped and beads pinged and bounced and rolled all over my studio. Several hours later, I went to bed and then decided to go back to Andy to lay spoons on the couch and I said, when do you think this baby is coming? and he said, a week and, a few minutes later, I said, my water just broke. We laughed and scurried about our home. Andy moved furniture and inflated the birth tub. I gathered candles and checked on Margot every ten minutes. I swept her hair from her eyes and kissed her cheeks. Her last night as My Only Child. I cried….feeling excited and afraid. And now, with a dusting of this morning’s snow out there in the black black night, my household sleeps and I drink tea, breathing easy through these first dull contractions. Soon. Soon the abstract movement in my swollen belly will become the fourth person in my family. Soon I will push a human out of my body. Soon I will meet my daughter. Read more on today my life changes forever…
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hump day nuggets: Don’t cry over spilled milk. In fact, it’s best to laugh.

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and (few) words about the last week :: Still pregnant. And, feeling really great about what appears to be a happy outcome for my midwife at Community Medical Center. It was a bit overwhelming for me to be featured in the newspaper…this whole story is bigger than me and getting where we are took a heck of a lot of a lot of people writing letters and demanding change. But, ultimately (after a day or two of whoa that’s my big ole belly in ink there), I am proud to be in the paper and proud that our efforts paid off. We the people! Click here to read the article. :: Can’t wait for Andy’s exhibit, opening this Friday, November 20, at the Dana Gallery. Regular ol‘ gallery hours starting that day with the public reception on Friday, December 4, 5-8pm. I promise to post images of all of his paintings after it opens! :: Every morning for a week, we’d wake to Ida strutting about the yard, bragging to her hen honeys. The crazy part is that, after many many investigative attempts, we couldn’t figure out how she was accomplishing this so we settled on magic. But then, last weekend, Andy nancy drewed his way to discover a teeny gap in the corner of the run that was Ida’s Secret. Sorry, girl, you are smart and all but those raccoons are pretty tough round here. :: omg I tweet. A friend convinced me twitter is a good thing for my business. And now I am supposed to write things like omg, btw. I don’t know much but my thingie is @chickdigs cause some other dig this chick took my name. mmmmm hmmm. :: Monday morning I knocked the half and and in my attempt to catch it, I slapped it hard and hurled it across the kitchen. Just then, Margot climbed up on the kitchen table, knocked over her grape juice and announced desperately that she had to poop again mama (which just means use the toilet). And then she peed in her monkey jammies. :: Margot has grown a bit indifferent (only a bit. still rockin’ the obsession with elmo panties.) to elmo and has been toting around this bowling pin-shaped duck for more than a month. It is from her daycare and it was finally gifted to her because none of the other kids had a chance to hold it anyway, nor were they interested. And, then, we lost the duck and I thought, eh, she’ll be fine. And I was wrong. Click here to read the rest of this essay at Read more on hump day nuggets: Don’t cry over spilled milk. In fact, it’s best to laugh….
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I made a really good cake

Andy and I are in a bistro club. There are 14 of us, who like each other a whole lot and get together every so often and swoon over incredible food and wine. We always have a theme and last weekend’s meal was locavore. In November in Montana, that means lots of meat, cheese, root vegetables and squash. And, yo, it was spectacular. I made a plum upside down cake, which I entirely followed an actual recipe for and that I didn’t entirely mess up. It is remarkable what you can do with *mostly* local-ish food. Meat and veggies are easy, Lifeline Farm for everything dairy, Wheat Montana for flour, backyard chickens for eggs. For the plum upside down cake, I used non-local sugar, baking powder, vanilla and salt. Otherwise, it’s a Montana Plum Upside Down Cake Yo. And with all the steps of adding in batches alternating with milk and separating eggs and whipping to firm peaks and perfectly arranging once-frozen plum slices, I am proud to report that I did it all as the recipe called for (except a few ingredient substitutions) and it was worth it. Turns out, steps like that are there for a reason and not to induce craziness in a nine month pregnant person with a toddler assistant. Maybe I’ll even start sifting. Margot and I had the most fun baking together. The recipe adapted from Mary Jo Thoresen, published in Food & Wine 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened3/4 cup light brown sugar2 pounds Italian plums, pitted and quartered1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour2 teaspoons baking powder1/2 teaspoon salt1 cup granulated sugar2 large eggs, separated1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract1/2 cup whole milk Preheat the oven to 350°. In a 12-inch ovenproof skillet (or if you don’t have an giant, ovenproof skillet, improvise with what you have and a homespun double-boiler) melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly in the dish. Turn off the heat and arrange the plum wedges in the dish in several concentric circles. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. It was at this point that Margot reached in the bowl and carefully scooped out the lump of baking powder resting atop the flour and ate it. No no Margot I said as the ingredient passed her lips. Yummy mama! she said through a chalky grin. In a medium bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the remaining stick of butter with the granulated sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, 1 at a time, until incorporated, then beat in the vanilla. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the milk. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, stir one-third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining whites. Spread the batter over the plums and bake for about 55 (it only took me 47 minutes), or until a butter knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a plate. Cut the cake into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature. It’s really excellent and all that jumping through hoops while juggling regarding adding stuff in the right order with the right prep yields a moist, fluffy but hearty cake. Make it. I tried to take photos of the gorgeous finished cake but they all turned out looking like an organ. So, instead, the most telling photograph. And, it is amazingly fabulous served chilled for breakfast with thick coffee. Or, for little ones, a sliver served with tea. We have several toasting occasions per meal as instigated by Margot. She proclaims CHEERS! This is a Holt trait. I come from a family of prolific toasters. the bistro club menu: fried pumpkin ravioli with sage cream sauceempanadascreamy squash soupbaked lake troutoven roasted squash and apples with fennelbeef stroganoffpotatoey cheesy heaven with baconchocolate peanut cake (not remotely local but it was Anne’s birthday and she is local)plum upside down cake Read more on I made a really good cake…
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