Now that I have been back at school for two weeks, I'm looking back at the summer and it seems like such an expanse of time, this luxurious three month vacation. I went to Florida for an inspiring teaching conference at the start of the vacation. It was Darwin-hot there. From the air conditioned coach on the way to conference centre, I looked out over the swamps and wondered about alligators. Some other time, when Kelly and I go on our "World Tour of 'Merica", we'll check them out. Sinead gave me a wonderful book, "Their Eyes Were Watching God" set in the Everglades around 1900 and it got me dreaming of Florida - not Disneyland and touristy beaches, but warm wilderness and southern food Florida.
At the end of the holidays I went to another conference to upgrade my tech skills, so now I'm creating my first website (gotta love google for dummies) and loving google docs. As a delightful contrast, when I was leaving Skyview High School, the location, three proghorn antelope were lazing on the lawn. Nice!
Anyhow! It's been delightful to have Mum living with us. She's made herself a routine consisting of, amongst other things, aquarobics, walking the dog, unloading the dishwasher and familiarizing herself with the plethora of pharmaceutical advertisements on cable tv :) We've taken a couple of trips, but it's been pretty laid back, which is how we like it.
|Walking Cinnamon in Pioneer Park|
|Looking for directions|
|Mum, Cinnamon and I|
The wild horse herd was broken into small family groups, with little foals in most groups. Kelly noticed that the stallions were pretty bruised and beat up, each one having fought for his 'ladies'.
|Bighorn Canyon from the Pryors|
As a result of my infatuation with the "Mamma Mia" movie, I decreed last year that our back yard would turn into a paved courtyard festooned with coloured lanterns, ready for dancing parties and ABBA lip-syncing. See how that works? I have a vision. Kelly gets a plan ... and several weekends of strenuous labour. Montana's weather condition and quarry supplies differ slightly from those of the Greek Islands, so there have been some compromises. So far Kelly, his brother, Dad, and friend Kenny have achieved a pergola (to be draped with grape vines next year), two garden boxes made of wood rather than stone (to be filled with herbs, aforementioned grape vines and anything else that catches our fancy) and the removal of all the weed ridden lawn/soil in an area of 800 square feet. I have undertaken the arduous task of shopping for coloured paper lanterns. You're welcome.
Stay tuned for completed photos of the Mamma Mia courtyard.
Back to that trip to Flathead Lake and Glacier where we bought an annual supply of cherries ... We really wanted to take Mum to Glacier National Park since she loved Yellowstone so much when she came over during the fall in our first year living here. Sinead and her boyfriend Jacob were able to come with us, which added to the fun. Kelly got us a cabin on Flathead Lake for a couple of nights, which is a marvel in itself. It is home country to the Salish and Kootenai tribes who have the Flathead Reservation. Also it's famous cherry growing country. In the afternoons when we were down at the Lake for a swim, we saw Mexican farm workers there having a swim, and the next morning they were all at work selling us cherries. Grandma on the cash register, mums sorting the cherries, dads and uncles picking and carting.
While staying at the cabin, we drank a special toast to our dear departed friend, Ronny Reinhardt. On the same weekend in Melbourne, Australia, a gig was happening to launch a final cd of music Ronny worked on in the last year of his life. Cheers, Ronny.
|I love the exponential spelling of the Salish and Kootenai|
|Mum at McDonald Creek in Glacier National Park.|
|Sinead and I|
|Old Jackson, one of the last remaining glaciers|
|A big horned sheep confronts a mountain goat|
The last hoorah for Mum and I before school was going out to Crow Fair at Crow Agency on the reservation. It's only an hour away, and we made two trips out there, one for the parade on Friday and one for the powwow dancing on Saturday. Crow Fair goes for most of a week and is promoted as the biggest gathering of Northern Plains Indians. I can believe it. It's also known at the teepee capital of the world.
|There are hundreds of teepees set up along the river and winding streets/paths of the camp.|
|In the backgound is the honor guard including all the military and veterans in uniform. They carry the US flag and their tribal flags as proud warriors.|
|I have a lot to learn about the different types of dancers. Some of them wear fluffy, round hats made of feathers.|
The dancing and gift giving goes for hours. Dancers are numbered, as winners are judged in each category. The last dance Mum and I saw was a father - daughter dance. Old chiefs danced with their grown daughters, young men with their tiny princesses. It was so beautiful. Mum confessed on the way home that the whole thing made her a bit teary. I wasn't surprised at all; it does that to me too.