Friday, July 27, 2007

Class reunion.

There was a way bigger turnout than I was expecting, and it was more fun than I would've guessed it would be.

So much fun, in fact, that I forgot to take many pictures. D'oh! Oh well--next time, I'll do better.
Jill, me, and Janna.
Jill Grehn (living in Minneapolis, teaching music at a private school), me, and Janna (Ollanketo) Levings (living in Grantsburg with her husband Jake, where they're both teachers).

Me and Dave.
With the inimitable David Hymans (freshly married off the weekend before, living in Portland, Oregon, and still with the impeccable dance moves).

Friday, July 20, 2007

The "I've peaked and I'm kidding myself" party.

Class of '97.
So my ten-year high school reunion's tomorrow night.

That's a little hard to wrap my head around.

Pomp and/or circumstance.

Marcella: You know, when you started getting invited to your ten year high school reunion, time is catching up.Martin Blank: Are you talking about a sense of my own mortality or a fear of death?
: Well, I never really thought about it quite like that.
Martin Blank
: Did you go to yours?
: Yes, I did. It was just as if everyone had swelled.

Breaking news.

Bush to have colonoscopy
Spokesman says that he will temporarily transfer power to Cheney

MSNBC staff and news service reports
Updated: 3 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - President Bush will undergo a routine colonoscopy Saturday, his spokesman said, revealing that Bush will hand over presidential powers to Vice President Dick Cheney while he is under anesthesia.

White House press secretary Tony Snow told reporters that Bush would have the procedure at his Camp David, Md., mountaintop retreat.

Please check back for more on this developing story.

Okay, this is all a little TMI for me. I know colonoscopies are important, yadda-yadda, but seriously, I would've been perfectly happy not ever knowing about this.

And since when has the Bush administration been concerned with telling us when Dick Cheney's calling the shots, anyway?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Maybe he's just sending mixed signals?

So there's this brouhaha in town about the high school principal resigning his position (mostly because the middle school principal just resigned about two weeks ago amidst allegations of sexual harassment -- two leaving at once is kind of weird)...this bit in the Daily Press yesterday made me chuckle:

"Board Clerk Carl Smith questioned why the board wasn't informed earlier about Gromala's plans to resign, when rumors had already been circulating around the community.
'Has anybody known he was going to resign?' Smith asked. 'I understand it's been going all over town.'
Board President Larry Nelson said he'd been aware that Gromala was interviewing elsewhere. Other board members said they'd started to suspect Gromala might be leaving when they'd seen a for-sale sign in front of his house."

Oh, Ashland.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Objectionable material.

Things I object to:

1. Fake plant leaves, framed, for sale. Chintz-o-rama!
Chintzy plants.

2. Green Bay bugs all over everything. Blech.
The Green Bay bugs have descended upon Ashland.

3. Halloween merchandise being on sale. IN JULY. (July 8th at Michael's in Duluth, to be precise.)
Halloween in July.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Montana, Pt. 3 of 2.

Yeah, I know I said there'd be two parts. But now there's three parts. Deal with it.

Mission Mountains.

The day after the wedding, I left from Missoula and began the drive northwest to Kalispell...I'd missed my old VISTA chum Joyce up there the last few times I passed through the area, and thought this would be a great time to make the trek.

Mission Mountains.

One of the great pleasures of driving up Hwy 93 is having the Mission Mountains staring at you from the east.

It's considerably less enjoyable to note all the white crosses along the roadside, however.

Flathead Lake.

There's lots of distractions along the way--the road winds around the western shore of Flathead Lake for much of the drive. I loved coming up here when I lived in Montana--it isn't as big as Lake Superior by a long shot, but hey, it's something.

Cafe by Ronan.

There's also a lot of towns on the way (a lot by Montana standards, anyway), including Ronan and Polson, where I spent a bit of time with VISTAs back in the day. My friend Robin (she's from Sheboygan!) and I used to go to this cafe near Ronan when I visited her...I know it doesn't look like much, but it's the tastiest dang place on Hwy 93, I think.

Driving south into Polson on Hwy 93.

Road looking south, toward Polson and the Mission Mountains.

There's a lot of fancypants out-of-state rich folks buying up land around here, leading to fun driving games like "spot the most ridiculous house." Ooh, ooh, I think I found it!

Ridiculous house.

West Glacier.

Map of the park at Lake Macdonald Lodge.

I made it up to Joyce's place in Kalispell, and we took off for a day in Glacier National Park with the company of her "gentleman caller" (as I think she should refer to him
), Doug.

At Lake Macdonald Lodge, enjoying some root beer.

Here are Doug and Joyce at a stop at Lake Macdonald Lodge, relatively near the West Glacier entrance to the park.

Lake Macdonald Lodge lobby.

Light fixtures in the lobby of the lodge.

Lake Macdonald Lodge.

Lodge exterior.

By a Jammer.

Me, by a

Logo on a Jammer.

Jammer root beer.

Enjoying official Jammer Root Beer on the shores of Lake Macdonald.

At Lake Macdonald.

We drove further into the park, but sadly, due to the heaps of snow still at the top, Going-to-the-Sun Road wasn't open all the way across (or to Logan Pass) yet. Oh well--gives me all the more reason to go back out again next summer and try again, right?

Danger knows no stranger.


Joyce and Doug.

Hungry Horse, Montana.
We headed back toward Whitefish, and passed one of my favorite motels ever, the Hungry Horse Motel in Hungry Horse, MT. I've never been inside it, but I
love that sign.

Then they took me to see the zebras.


Really. Zebras.

With a horse.

And a camel, too.


Here's the house of the people who own the zebras and camel. Kind of a study in contrasts when you compare it to, say, the Hungry Horse Motel.

Fountain and stable.

We headed back into Whitefish.

Downtown Whitefish.

We drove up to Big Mountain. (Cleverest mountain name
Big Mountain.

Whitefish Lake.

(View of Whitefish Lake from the road to Big Mountain.)

Just around the time you get to feeling humble, what with all the fancypants schwag on display all around you, you spot something like this and realize that just because somebody's fancier than you sure as heck doesn't mean they're smarter than you.


Count the typos, it's fun!!!

We enjoyed some libations... (I had the huckletini, and it
was huckle-tastic!)
A tasty drink after a long day's drive.

...and by then it was about time to call it a day. We headed back to Doug's farm on the edge of Whitefish, and fed his leftovers to Blackie the cat.

Joyce pets Blackie the cat.

Blackie was pretty happy about that.

Blackie the cat.

It was a long day of driving, but a good day--hope I can get back out there again next summer, and make it all the way across the pass again, to boot.

Joyce and Doug.

Field near Whitefish.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Montana, Pt. 2 of 2.

My primary reason for heading out to Montana last month was for my friends Ryan and Kim's wedding in Missoula.

Ryan and Kim, dancing.

Ryan and I joined AmeriCorps at the same time (July '01), and both served in Helena that year. When I went on to serve my 2nd year, I worked at the
Prevention Resource Center--where Ryan had served his VISTA year, and where he'd gone on to procure a "real job" after the fact.

Bozeman, 2002.
(Ryan poses with a bunch of his VISTA cohorts after his run with the Olympic torch in Bozeman, January 2002.)

Anyway, Ryan and I spent a
lot of time hanging out together in Helena, and a heckuva lot of time on the road doing VISTA site visits together for work (including our epic journeys to Libby and Glasgow, wherein we took state vehicles on unauthorized trips to dams and national parks and cranked up the radio to unsafe volume levels and surely, unsafe Kylie Minogue levels as well). I met Kim shortly after they started dating, and we spent many delightful evenings out with the group, patronizing local watering holes and playing as many Cher songs as possible on local jukeboxes. (Hey, if they didn't want to hear Cher, they wouldn't have kept her albums on the jukeboxes, right? And seriously, there was a lot of Cher available, considering the high cowboy quotient around there...always thought that was a little weird.)

So when he and Kimmie invited me to their wedding, how could I possibly say no?
Ryan is hands-down one of the greatest people I've ever met, and I'd say there's a lot of people who hold him in the same high regard, judging by the number of former/current PRC VISTAs/staffers who showed up for the shindig.

With Ryan at the reception.
From the left--Jan (she was a staffer when Ryan was a VISTA), LaNette (she was a VISTA with us), Ry, Vicki (PRC mastermind and guru), a goofy-looking girl in polka dots, and Guylaine (a staffer at the PRC when Ryan was there and for part of my time there, too).

Here you can see that Bonnand is as he has always been. Only now he's got his girlfriend Susan to put up with him. (Bless her heart.) (Oh, I kid!)

Yep, he's pretty much the same.

I only wish I'd had more time to hang out with those guys...but ah, such are weddings. They come & go so quickly.


And I wish I'd had more time to hang out with Heather, my lovely hostess, while I was there--especially since now she's heading off to Macedonia with the Peace Corps come September. Heather, I'd say I'd come visit you in Macedonia, but let's face it, I have a hard enough time getting one lousy time zone to the west--so maybe we'll catch each other in person again in two years' time, which is probably about how long it'll take me to get back to Missoula, anyway.

It's times like these that I'm so glad & grateful that I joined AmeriCorps, moved to Montana, and met all these funky, awesome people.
They've made my life infinitely more colorful.