Monthly Archives: July 2011

hump day nuggets: Family

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last weekWe’ve been on the road. In fact, we are, right this minute, driving the stretch of I-90 whose path I know like my kids’ freckle patterns. It’s been a long haul, from Missoula to Helena to Proctor to Billings, all the while surrounded by hoards of loved ones from all branches of the family tree and all corners of the country. We gathered to love and support and celebrate. I am choosing my words carefully, painfully and don’t quite know how to choose the words because the last nine days have been so full of happiness and sadness. My heart expanded with the richest joy and the deepest grief, all the while buoyed by my people. Really, nothing else matters. My people. We started out with family and friends arriving in heartening bunches to celebrate Andy’s art opening last week and then off to my family reunion and then back across the state for a funeral, the most devastating funeral I’ve ever been to for it was the death of a child we mourned. And, during that time we received news of another tragic death of a friend of ours who left her family and newborn baby. There is no making sense of these horrible, soul-buckling occurrences that feel so unfair, that make my stomach twist and chest heave. There are, however, a few tidy truths that snap into the clearest focus: to love my family and friends wholeheartedly, to make choices in the spirit of support, honesty and betterment, to understand that this inhale is the amazing gift and this exhale could be my last, to live my best self this minute. nuggets, now. :: I was so overwhelmed with pride, thankfulness and love at Andy’s art opening. We’ve had a full year, with some big accomplishments. *This one* was huge, his first solo museum exhibition featuring six years of painting. Each piece takes hours and hours and those hours were put in after 10-hour work days, shoehorned into slivers of time around having and raising two kids among busy lives. And there he was in a room full of his heart on view for everyone to experience, our kids weaving around the legs of onlookers. It was an excellent night. I am amazed by my husband. :: And it got better because everyone stayed a night or two to run in grass, swim in hotel pools and talk with eye-contact over pizza. :: The affirmation of generations, the kinship of creatures. :: The wonder of a caterpillar. Margot and her cousin decided this guy’s brother and mom were in a nearby tree waiting for him. Charlotte had a hard time saying goodbye and Margot stroked her hair, told her it was the right thing to do. My cousin and I didn’t intervene. They worked through it, shed a few tears and we went home, the young hopeful caterpillar safely placed on a leaf, off to find his family. :: I smiled for a good two hours after my first four-wheeler excursion into Nowhere Montana. Andy and his sister, my soul sister, Neysa, rode next to us :: The week was unscheduled and unruly: naps on backs, in car seats, in random corners of hotel rooms and friend’s homes or not at all. My little road warriors impressed me. :: Cousins are cool.   :: There’s something electrifying and revealing about watching my parents with my kids. Like, I get how much they love me, how much I love them. How much. :: I am thrilled an honored to welcome new sponsor, Families First Montana. This incredible organization “strengthens our community by empowering families with parent education and learning through play.” My family has benefited tremendously from their services. We are members of the museum and have used their resources to better our parenting. I seriously cannot recommend the programs and mission of Families First Montana enough. And I feel like we have only scratched the surface! It is a wonderful, invaluable resource for Montana families. Their annual family-friendly fundraiser is on August 20, a concert featuring Nigel Smith of the PBS kids show Between The Lions. And! Families First is giving away a Family Membership to one lucky duck commenter. Winner selected at random on Wednesday, August 3. Winner: MT Goddess said…First of all that was one of your most beautifully, raw, honest and flowing posts yet, well that is my opinion. tradegy comes in all forms and at always the worst times. ps I hope I win the membership!! Its my birthday this wed!! Congrats!  Thanks, Families First! :: Be still my once-vegetarian heart, we ate a lot of fabulously grilled meat. :: I feel like making a pledge: I will jump in a cold mountain lake once a week between the months of July and September for the rest of my life. :: Also, I think people should bathe in coolers and jump on beds until they can’t fit. :: And, I think I will hide gold every chance I get. :: The photo below is worth hundreds of dollars because it caused my sister-in-law to miss her flight. By 30 seconds. Literally. She says it’s totally worth it. I agree. :: Really, I can’t imagine a better way to spend a week when absorbing the pain and cruelty of untimely death. Surrounded by kin, nature and space to reflect. Time to focus on omnipresent beauty. The ever-changing, embracing sky comforted sorrow. It always frames the earth we are born on, die on. It houses people’s faith, understanding, questions and answers. Inhale. Exhale. happy (a few days after) hump day out there Nugget it up and share. If you’d like, link to your nuggets in the comments! :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on hump day nuggets: Family…
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good morning

I am sitting in a small cabin and I hear birds, the occasional fill of a bucket from the well, good morning and are you going fishing today? as feet stroll lazily down the old gravel path. People say good morning until 2pm. It’s my kind of vacation: nothing to do except be with those you love; to just feel, exist. No gadgets, no frill, this place is exactly how I remember it from my childhood. We used to meet up with family here on this small northern Montana lake. I fished with my uncle, mom and grandpa, played hours of pinochle and folf. Swam in the take-your-breath-away cold lake with a perfect combination of divine comfort (a dozen family members within sight) and exhilarating fear (long weeds that feel like fish nibbling at toes). evenings: popcorn and marshmallows over the campfire accompanied by piano music and bubbles It’s wonderful. Cousins running up and down the gravel path, parents within earshot or not. It doesn’t really matter because someone’s parents are within earshot. And most everyone has known each other or of each other for decades. The camp is what I imagine neighborhoods to be like before computers and cellphones, before school shootings and TSA. Everything ambles and makes eye contact. There is frequent talk of a bike ride or hike. Sometimes it happens, sometimes we jump in the lake or make a gin and tonic instead. the next generationquickie hail storm during dinner I saw a bald eagle or golden eagle about every 20 minutes. I wondered if I would always see them this frequently if I were so present and focused on my surroundings or if it is just one more piece of the magic here. In the mornings, one guest, who has visited for years, peppers the property with gold nuggets and sea shells. Before breakfast, with a chill still in the air, kids pour out to the gravel road to find the treasures left by the lake leprechauns the night before. These leprechauns left a fist-sized piece of gold on our porch one morning. And the next, a conch shell. Magic. The night we arrived I was giddy to see my family, including Margot who had left with my parents more than 24 hours before. My ‘plans’ didn’t unfold as I had hoped and then I realized it was all perfect. Read about it this week’s mama digs: exquisite opportunity. the general store ps Mama digs is a few days late, nuggets too. xo. Read more on good morning…
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hump day nuggets: uunh

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last week I like rap and hip hop music a lot. It’s what I play when I am in The Zone to clean, write or make stuff. I like the bass line, I like the predictable rhythm that makes me sharply move my hips. And I like how nearly every singer inserts a groaning, passionate uunh when they are feeling it. It’s like they encouraging themselves. Uunh usually happens after music begins, just before it really gets going. Today, I feel uunh. My pandora station is tuned to Kid Cudi, Kanye, Eminem, Outkast. And I am cruisin’. We have family coming in waves over the next week, we travel to Helena for Andy’s art opening where we’ll meet up with dozens of loved ones. And then the fun rolls into a family reunion on a lake. It all feels a bit like a wedding, that lovely anticipation for a big deal, when those you love all gather to celebrate, smile and hug. It also feels like a wedding because our to-do lists are unreasonable and instead of crossing stuff off of the list, I do irresponsible things like make myself a skirt at midnight. (Friends who helped with my wedding will remember how we relaxed for a while over cocktails in my kitchen the night before my wedding and I excitedly toasted to all the food made, all the flowers picked, everything done! and then remembering we had forgotten to pick up 200 salmon fillets and steaks from two different butchers across town from each other and it was 4:55pm on Friday.) Uunh.  The music has begun and I can’t wait for it to really get going. It’s a big week! :: Water is beginning to really go down, although still big. Way too big to swim with kids. Soon. Kootenai Creek :: “Mama! Come here and check out Ruby’s tattoo!” I took a deep breath and entered the art room to find Ruby smiling with forest green nostrils. Margot meticulously colored the entire inside of Ruby’s nose. dang, no photo of the dark nostrils; Ruby is way into painting right now :: We’ve harvested four tomatoes, Stupice and Sun Gold. Uunh. Stupice tomatoes :: Margot peeled all the potatoes for dinner. Oh, my big kid. One of our best friends and amazing cook, Laura. Margot called her Warla. Warla was one of her first words and remains one of her only mispronounced words. I hope she always calls her Warla. :: My cousins cruised through town last week. On a walk in my eclectic neighborhood, we came upon a carefully arranged free pile. I snagged that plant, which messed up the lovely street corner-living  room-office aesthetic.  :: There must be a magnetic alignment between small children and puddles. Whatever the force, it is strong and wonderful. This photo makes it look very careful and mellow. I assure each child was drenched seven seconds later. :: A magnetisim also exists with kids and bugs. We will be biking down the sidewalk at a good clip and Margot will scream, “STOP! I see something!” and sure enough I had whizzed right by a ladybug larva. :: We fetched hay from our friend’s barn. And finally mulched our garden. :: The bee fear is slowly waning. :: The squash are going bananas. :: Remember the window screen I scored for the sandbox cover? Doubles as the perfect spot for garlic curing. :: Peas are finally outpacing my kids’ consumption of them. Barely. :: After our spontaneous adventure last week, the girls and I went for a little hike up a canyon I used to regularly run up, rock climb in. I haven’t been there in a few years and it prompted all this nostalgia. It felt good to share this space with my kids. Kootenai Canyon :: Sorry to overwhelm you with garden porn, but I can’t help myself. our saucer sled doubles as the perfect harvest basket :: This kid. :: Post-storm sunshine/rainbow hunt These nuggets brought to you in small windows of time around preparing the guest bathroom and room (still can’t figure out how I could possibly have lost a queen-sized flat sheet?), taking laundry off the line, sewing clothes, scraping oatmeal off of many surfaces and cleaning the coop while my kids nap. Uunh. happy hump day out there Nugget it up and share. If you’d like, please link to your nuggets in the comments! :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on hump day nuggets: uunh…
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cruise control

This week Margot, Ruby and I will stand in a room of white walls and bright lights. Lots of people will be there studying over 30 meticulously, lovingly crafted paintings* made by the hands of my husband. It feels a bit like a birth. So much thought and energy and planning, working toward this day when it OPENS. And then. Then, whatever comes next. Crazy Intersection, oil on board Andy and I both have art degrees. We graduated and wondered what now? Would we fall into a rhythm that didn’t include making stuff? Or, would we find ways to cultivate this piece of ourselves that we spent years and money getting comfy with? I remember early conversations, vowing to each other that we’d be true to our creative impulses. I always wondered, silently in my brain, if it would happen. I don’t think Andy ever wondered. Because making is akin to skiing is akin to breathing for my man. Necessary and important. At Least We’ll Have a Ski Resort in Our Backyard, oil on board A whole lot has happened in our lives these last few years. We had kids, changed jobs, grew ideas. Amidst the change, we regularly met in our studio to make stuff. He’d paint his impossibly accurate marks while I kicked up dust at the sewing machine or some other messy thing. I have always been inspired by and envious of Andy’s drive and dedication to art-making, squirreling away 10 minutes here and there to paint the bumper of a car; for him, it doesn’t matter whether his work is seen or not, bought or not, liked or not. He paints. He is 100% motivated by his heart. I love that. Riding the Range, oil on board So, this week, a posse of family and friends will fly and drive to the city of Helena, Montana to celebrate my awesome, talented, generous, sexy husband, Andy Cline, for the opening of Cruise Control. And I can’t wait. His work left our home last weekend, crates and crates of himself. To celebrate we spontaneously popped up to a friend’s cabin with pals and he fished the whole next day, ambling down the Bitterroot with childhood friends. Read about our adventure and how Margot gave me the nudge I needed in this week’s mama digs: chasing rainbow. Truly, I have always believed that, one day, Andy would make art full time. It’s coming. And this wife is PROUD and honored to witness his brilliance. In addition to being a rockin’ artist, dude is an incredible dad to our kids.  Yep, love him. *Of the 30 works on view, six are for sale. The rest have already been purchased. If interested (you should TOTALLY be interested), contact the Holter Museum. Read more on cruise control…
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a mama’s skirt

billows and folds twirls and puckers comfort swallows small hands like kneading dough the hem never far the lap a vacant lot of tall grass begs for wild play or blissed-out recline an endless basket made with a grab holding treasures eggs doll shoesberries clothes pin toes grip the waistband until they don’t because they swim away in skirts of their own :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on a mama’s skirt…
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