Tuesday, April 30, 2019


Full circle
Sometimes even the simplest of things don't
make sense. Especially when what seems so
basic to one person is deemed impossible by
another. As transplanted city folks, Frank and
I struggle with the lack of recycling efforts in
central Montana. As former urbanites, we've
always recycled our guts out on a daily basis.
Meaning that all cardboard, paper, glass, "tin"
cans, aluminum, and plastics were separated
for recycling. Which somehow made the most
mundane of tasks - throwing out one's trash -
seem a worthwhile endeavor. A noble attempt
to protect our natural resources day by day.
Every day heroes
Sadly, post moving full time to the wild west
most of our recycling efforts are thwarted.
There is ROWL - a dedicated group of locals
focused on recycling plastic. However global
and regional limitations on what recyclers will
accept limits their impact. Snowy Mountain
Industries recycled cardboard and paper. But
many aren't willing to drag boxes of debris
up to the hill to save the earth. And nobody
recycles glass that we know of. Nor is there
an easy resource for getting rid of scrap metal.
Which may explain all of the abandoned cars,
appliances, etc. that sit on almost every ranch.
What a waste
Recently we had a house guest from the city.
Beyond enamored with the natural beauty of
our surroundings, she was equally repulsed
by our lack of stewardship. Hence cleaning
up after a meal was almost torture to "A" in
that we threw away a plethora of recyclables
in the process. All of which inspired several
rather intense conversations about just that.
She wondered why Montana didn't have a
statewide recycling program. Or some strict
guidelines as to what could and couldn't be
dumped in the trash. After all, everybody else
is trying to protect our earth. Why weren't we?
Large and small
Having wrestled with this issue during our time
in Montana, we share her frustration. However
we also understand this magical place and its
challenges. Thus we have no idea how to fix the
recycling problem. You see, by our very nature
Montana struggles with size and scope. Current
population statewide is 1.062 million. Our state
covers over 147,000 square miles. Making our
population density just seven people per square
mile. All who live in 362 ranked communities
within that vast space. Of which Lewistown sits
at the top ranking number twenty. Which given
our size means the rest are REALLY SMALL.
Few and far between
Lewistown has a population of 5,942. Our
largest city Billings hits just over 109,000.
Communities ranked 56 through 85 have
one to two thousand residents. The balance
of 277 fall under one thousand with more
then half of those well under five hundred.
All at an average distance of at least one
hour between. So there is no doubt that we
are few and far between. Hence even the
simplest of statewide initiatives services a
very limited population across vast spaces.
Making recycling much harder to do than
one might assume. Nothing is easy...
The way of the west
Thus all of the reasons our state is so amazing
are equally the factors that cause us to struggle.
Which force we Montanans to adapt to our
circumstances the best we know how. More
often than not failing rather succeeding in the
process. Inevitably due to our deficit of people,
resources, time, and money. Not for a lack of
trying. Every day people rise to the occasion
across the Big Sky. Embodying the pioneer
spirit that transformed the rough and tumble
terrain into home sweet home. Slowly but
surely we're making Montana a better place
to live. Protecting it for future generations.

Monday, April 29, 2019


First impression
Twenty four years ago I landed in Montana.
A jaded easterner living in Chicago, I had
no idea what I would see or do. Post a two
hour drive we arrived in Lewistown and I
was hooked. Surrounded by amazing vistas,
dramatic expanses, and dazzling sights. I
simply couldn't believe what lay before my
eyes. Plus Lewistown's historic architecture,
kind people, and quirky charms. And from
then on, I knew I'd found where I belonged.
Working hard and planning ways to make
Montana home. A decision that I celebrate
everyday. It's the best decision I ever made.

View finder
Sadly, even when living in paradise one can
become jaded. What once amazed is all too
soon status quo. Thus we rarely appreciate
our individual spheres of influence. Unable
to see the forest for the trees (or visa versa)
se become myopic. Forgetting all that makes
home so sweet. That is until somehow, some
way, somebody reminds us of just how lucky
we are. For the last days "A" has been visiting.
And as her photos shown here show, she has
discovered many of the reasons that central
Montana is so special. Enabling at least two
locals to revisit our sights via her perspective.

Positive influence
While beyond beautiful, this place can also be
brutal. Harsh weather, a tough economy, and a
lack of vision defer us from greatness. That is
until an outsider sees Lewistown for all that it
truly is. Having once been an ingenue myself,
it's inspiring to re-experience our community
from a fresh perspective. Both the good, bad,
and indifferent. Our visitor has been inspired
by the amazing natural beauty that surrounds
us. Yet also rather put off by the obvious lack
of pride few locals take to heart when it comes
to caring for their home turf. Leaving her to
wonder if we truly appreciate all that we have?

Limited visibility
Anywhere else, most folks maintain some level
of pride of ownership. Hence they sweep their
sidewalks, wash their windows, and tidy up the
yard. Making their world a better place for all
of us. So why are many of our fellow citizens
unwilling or unable to clean up their (our) act?!
Money has nothing to do with it given elbow
grease costs nada. Are we too distracted by
video games or texting to mow the lawn? Or
is it too stressful to keep our hoarding out of
view? Should one assume we locals are lazy?
A bunch of slobs? Don't give a damn? Blind
to reality? Bad stewards of a legacy of beauty?

Near sighted
Every once in a while it's good to see life via
somebody else's eyes. If for no other reason
than to appreciate just how lucky we are. Is
it time for an attitude adjustment? Rather than
bemoan the fact that Lewistown is isolated -
why not celebrate the fact that it's an oasis far
away from it all. Instead of complaining that
there is nothing to do, try getting involved in
on the local front. Most important, celebrate
all that makes this place so special instead of
wishing you lived any place but here. So step
back and see our community for what it is.
Amazing, wonderful, and beyond UNIQUE.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

7th Day Surprise: Dress Code

When did we all become slobs?

There was a time when we all dressed for the occasion.
 When girls were girls and ladies were fabulous.

When did it activewear become chic?
And looking fabulous too much work?

Isn't it time we put on our Sunday best?