Wednesday, July 31, 2013



The road less traveled
Sunday we slipped out of town and went up to our family cabin. The narrow road was washed out earlier this spring. So Frank's brother "B" sent a crew to make magic and now the repaired road is amazing! Wider, graded, and most important accessible!
Nature's power.
It's amazing what thousands of gallons of rushing water can do! The entire area in front of the cabin was washed away. There's some sort of natural phenomena going on. Call it global warming or whatever. Suddenly nature seems to be taking back control.
In the swim
Out of good can come bad. While the crew was up there, "B" had them dig out a major new swimming hole in the creek above the cabin. At it's deepest it's about five feet. What could be more refreshing than a dip in the a crystal clear creek? Dipping into sixty degree water will certainly leave you refreshed! What's most refreshing is the untouched purity of everything up there. However I have to wonder if our sylvan pond will survive next spring's melt.
Friends along the way
On the ride up a large wood chuck bid us hello. He stood and listened as Frank whistled. We also saw two large water snakes. After eighteen years, they were the first I ever saw up there. Proof that this summer is much wetter than years prior.
It's a family affair
When we arrived, Frank's brother "B",
his wife "S", and two of their children
"J", and "J" were enjoying their last
moments of a weekend at the cabin.
"B" has put his heart and soul into the
place, transforming it into a wonderful
home away from home. Somehow when
we're all up there, something magical
occurs. The silence and beauty simply
transport you to a better place. You can
feel the love in every nook and cranny
Change is inevitable
Since meeting Frank, the cabin has been a cherished part of my life in Montana. Over the last several years, the terrain around the cabin has changed. Part of me can't see the new beauty. However... I'm certain that as time passes I'll come to love it.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013



While I may be in Montana,
my body is on Manhattan time. That means I'm up before dawn. Our condo is in a very quiet building. The majority of our fellow residents are aged above seventy. Therefore nothing really happens here except the display of questionable crafts adjacent to front doors.
The other morning at five a.m. I heard
a very loud voice coming from out in the hallway. Peering through my door peephole, I saw the paper man talking on his cell. Agitated, he was calling the
police to report "vandalism". He asked them to come over immediately. Given the early hour, I opted to defer further investigation until after the cops arrived at the "crime scene".

Shortly after the police arrived.
I continued to listen from behind
the door. Whatever the issue was,
it lay within our elevator. There
was lots of pointing at whatever
was within. Finally, I had to see for
myself. Upon opening my door
I greeted the patient officer and
queried what was wrong. Looking
inside the elevator I figured it out.
The entire elevator interior was covered with a fine layer of talc like dust. Sitting at the front of the enclosure was an obviously spent fire extinguisher. It quickly became apparent that some young person enjoyed some fun very early that morning. Given nobody young lives in our building the question was, who and how did they get in?
It had to be kids. Most probably very drunk kids who had only one thing in mind, mischief. Further investigation indicated the perpetrators had entered through a rarely used unlocked doorway. It had been propped open with a flower pot. They obviously slipped in, snuck around, found a fire extinguisher, and went for a ride! Who knows what motivates kids to do such things beyond too much booze in their bellies.
Case closed. Within a few hours our dusty elevator was all squeaky clean as if nothing had happened. And that's exactly what usually happens here in Lewistown... nothing. So when something silly like this occurs, it's surprising. But not to worry, I foresee no future of rampant gang violence. Kids are kids and as far as I know, they'll continue to randomly act out if given the chance to. So next time, please do me a favor and remember to lock the door!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Organization 101


Put it there.
Many ask me how we can renovate
a 7,000 square foot house via long
distance. The answer is simple -
make a decision then document it!
I've spent my entire career doing just
that. The only way to avoid confusion
is communication via LISTS! Anytime
I think of anything, it's added to
my many lists. All the facts in one
place so we're all on the same page!
Sock it to me!
I constantly maintain a room-by-room Punch List of "to do's". This massive missive details every aspect of electrical, heating, trim, hardware, etc. With and ever changing plethora of decisions, having all the facts in one place just makes sense!
Climbing the walls.
Early on we selected our wall, ceiling, and trim paint colors.
I documented them in another room-by-room recap. Plus notes on wall finish, patching, etc. Don't worry, only the Powder Room will be papered!
A total turn on.
A house this big needs lots of illumination. I trolled e-bay for months for unique lighting.
My Murano phase ended after Frank said "basta". We'll also repurpose fixtures we own and love. Now all that's left is a chandelier for the Master Bath.
The hoarder it gets.
Our Dallas apartment contents (plus a few newbies) are stored in the MP Living Room. As we near completion, the pile must dispersed. Hence another room-by-room list that tells you where to put what!  Why purge?!
Dream along with me.
Renovating and furnishing our dream home long distance has been challenging. Hopefully before Christmas we'll be moved in. While that seems a million years away, it's really only a few lists within reach. Without this project, whatever will we do? LANDSCAPING!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

7th Day Surprise: Dogged devotion


Big or small, 
it's a dog eat dog world.

Go ahead, 
take a bite...

Saturday, July 27, 2013



Eat Locally
Today is our Farmers Market. While we live in the center of an agricultural area, Montana is a tough place to raise vegetables. We have an extremely limited growing season and a frost can hit the fields almost any summer evening. That means that some varieties like tomatoes are best cultivated inside a green house.
Mother Lode
There are locals who know how to raise productive crops in this climate. Mrs. "N" is raising her large family on a farm just outside Grass Range. To pay the bills, she rides into town every day to sell her yield on a shady sidewalk across from the Yogo Inn. She's known for her "O's" - tomatoes and potatoes. At our Saturday Market, she and her kids also sell home baked goodies and preserves.
The Garlic Man
There was a man who grew garlic down on some land near Spring Creek. He had at least six varieties. Some were hot, some were sweet, some better for pickling, some optimal for cooking. Every summer we loaded up on his home grown garlic as it lasted almost a year. Then... he just disappeared and so did his treasure.
The Hutterites are a religious sect of German Anabaptists similar to the Amish or Mennonites. They live communally on large ranches and share everything. We have several colonies nearby and their booths maintain the majority at our Farmer's market. They grow, bake, sew, and can in massive quantities.
Go for broke
To earn extra cash, Hutterite ladies will do almost anything. Many locals have them clean their homes. A bit rough, most accept that the price for not having to vacuum and dust is
at least one broken treasure. When the Money Pit is move in ready, we'll hire a swarm to clean every nook and cranny!
No Bull
One can buy organic meat at the Union Square Farmer's Market, but not here! Obviously we have no shortage of beef, lamb, pork, elk, venison, and antelope. If you grow (or catch) it yourself, you then "process" your meat at a local butcher or plant. One can buy local at our butcher but most prefer to shop at Albertsons.
Store "boughten"
Yes, most locals prefer to purchase at the grocery store. That could be due to years of living on a farm. Organic is not a fully embraced concept here. Rather our farmers and ranchers are doing everything and anything to simply survive. Maybe they know what's really in their crop and therefore prefer to eat someone elses... food for thought!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Who nose?


Ah Wilderness
My apologies dear readers for
today's tardy entry. After a long
journey to Montana, I slept in!
I awoke late this morning to
pure fifty degree air pouring
through our open windows.
Talk about an invigorating
Breathe it in
What's better than mountain air?
It's so fresh, crisp, light, and
unadulterated! Just breathing
makes one feel alive. As a boy
we camped in New Hampshire.
My mother loved nothing more
than waking to fragrant balsams.
The Great Escape
New York summers are beyond
unbearable. Our forbearers loved
a Pocono or Adirondack respite.
Since air conditioning, most
now prefer a shorter ride to the
Hamptons or Bedford rather
that taking a private railroad car
up to Newport or Bar Harbor.
High Five!
Sitting here in Lewistown,
I prefer the mountains to beach. While I love to sun these tired bones on the sand, my heart is in the higher altitudes where my outlook is always positive. HAPPY FRIDAY!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Giddy up!


Oh give me a home...
After weeks of a heat wave and high
humidity, I 'm ready to go HOME.
While I adore city life, every little task
seems to require every ounce of my
energy. Between the traffic, crowds,
and congestion, I need some time out
where the buffalo roam! Somehow
there's something amazing about being
in a place far away from the hub bub.
But more important, being with those
you love and care about. Especially my
better half who I miss every day we're
Herding fat cats
Manhattan used to be a vast waste land during the summer. Anybody who could stayed out of town! Now our streets are crowded with a sea of sweaty people in shorts getting their pictures taken in front of Trump Tower. I need to take a vacation far away from the vacationers!
Those tumbling tumbleweeds...
Why can't some of that cash come west to Lewistown? Not many have to visit our burg, just the really cool (rich) ones who appreciate the beauty and isolation of central Montana. We need some of their money to spread around our wide open spaces. Think of what an injection of bucks would do to our local economy? Rather than wasting your time in muggy Manhattan, mosey on down cowboy and set a spell with the locals! YEE HAW!
Just visiting?
It's been a month since I was last
home. I can't wait to see what's
new! In a rural community that's
challenged, many struggle in a
tough economy. While we've
poured a ton of dough into the
Money Pit, it's not enough.
Someday I hope to be there full
time and focus on helping
Lewistown flourish. Until then,
I guess I'm just another tourist.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chew on this.


I'm mortified.
Today's workout was truly an exercise
in shame and regret. Frankly the only
one to blame for my pathetic condition
is myself. For years I focused on building
a successful life, career, and relationship.
However, I never exercised. Now I've
finally decided to try and get healthy.
That means that I'm reduced to a shaking
puddle of sweat for an hour twice a week.
I'm pathetic.
All of my life, I've never liked
exercise. I loathed physical
education. So I tortured my
mother and finally she had
my doctor write a letter that
excused me from gym classes.
Instead I exercised my mind.
I'm sorry.
In eighth grade I went on a church boy's camp out. A group of us hiked deep into the woods and I hated every moment of it. It was beyond a painful experience. So much so that my body rebelled against the physical effort. Every inch of me cramped up. I was one gigantic spasm and I literally couldn't move. Being a butch young boy,
I cried and moaned and sobbed. Finally our leader figured out how to have me air lifted out of the woods by helicopter. Looking back, why didn't an adult stand up to me? I'M A PATHETIC PANSY!
I'm inconsistent.
As a young man I was so skinny that
I drank "weight shakes". When I was
married my weight was 165 pounds.
A lover of the good life, I packed on the
pounds. Post divorce, I lost fifty pounds
and fifty percent of my assets. Only to
gain it all back and more and then lose
it by doing four miles a day on the tread
mill, drinking Slim Fast, and taking diet
pills. I'M A YO-YO-DIETER.
I'm ready.
I hate the gym. I hate exercise. I hate dieting. I hate deprivation of any kind. Most important, I hate the way I look and feel. So while ashamed, mortified, weak, sorry, and inconsistent, I'm ready, resolved, and committed to getting my act together. I am embarrassed that
I allowed myself to get in this condition through indulgence and inactivity.
Now it's time that I take responsibility and I'm doing my best to do just that. I'm ready to change one day at a time.