Saturday, November 26, 2011


West Yellowstone, Montana:  gateway to the world’s oldest national park,
 a tourist town in every sense of the word during the summer.

In the winter the place is almost deserted.  Snow falls heavy and deep.

You are as likely to see a snowmobile going down the street as a car.

Thanksgiving weekend the town fills with skinny people on skinny skis.  
It is the Yellowstone Ski Festival.

Skiers dress in classy matching team outfits….

…or not.

On the other side of town things are a little less manic.  
Instead of skiers putting down their heads and going like a bat out of hell, 
there are people on snowshoes and families on cross-country skis meandering.

People like me.

I’m taking photos of ice,

Mother and daughter snow angels,

 Mossy logs,

 A turkey in hiding…if you can’t see him you know he’s hiding really well.

A ski trail that freaks me out a little.  
Ever since “Wizard of Oz” I’ve been spooked by long green halls. 
  A condition made worse by “The Shining.”

Scenic views of Yellowstone Park in the winter,

 A beautiful sunny day on the ski trail,

Out of nowhere I see dark clouds boiling over the mountains toward me. 
I do a quick u-turn.
 Suddenly I’m standing in a blizzard. 
  I put my head down and go like a bat out of hell back to town.

What the guys were doing while I was skiing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Wherever you go this weekend.  Please be safe.
And come back. 
My blog friends are some of my best friends.

The field of positive psychology (the branch of psychology that teaches how
to have positive mental health instead of how to treat mental illness)
has found significant evidence for what sages and poets have long taught:
that regular expressions of gratitude not only brighten the day
of the recipient, but improve the happiness and resilience of the giver.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


This is a re-working of my first two blog posts.  At the time I was dealing with the remainders of my recently deceased parents’ lives.

I ended up with the task of emptying my father’s tool shop.  I was assisted by DH, my younger brother and his wife.  The guys went through the tools and recognized some.  “Look, a chamber reamer for a diesel engine!”  “Hey, a railroad gandy’s bar.”   They rejected most implements and divvied up the rest.  Now we were left with a lot of trash and plenty of junk.  The suggestion was made to take the metal items to be recycled.  Everyone left me with the job of sorting. 

The railroad gandy was one of the things I decided to keep. The tool looks like a giant crow bar with a cow’s hoof on the end.  It’s 68 inches long, solid iron and weighs 35 pounds.  It was all I could do to lift it.  Since ancestors on both sides of my dad’s family were in the railroad business---even helping push through the first narrow-gauge rail from Ogden, Utah over Monida Pass to Butte, Montana in 1881—I decided to keep the huge bar.  I don’t know if my grandfathers actually used it.  Dad may have bought it at a farm sale, but I consider it part of my heritage.

 Later I went through the other bits and pieces.    I picked out the brass and aluminum from the iron with the result of heavy buckets of nails, staples, bolts, tools, engine thingies and unidentified parts.   The recycle place was in the next town so DH took pity on me and loaded the stuff in the pickup.  The guys at the recycling place took the bucket of brass and the bucket of aluminum and sent us around back with the buckets of iron.  There we saw a construction crane the size of a brontosaurus.  It had an electro magnet as big as a Volkswagen picking up scrap iron out of the back of a truck.  A rust covered man took our buckets of bolts and sent us around to the office to be paid.  We had to wait in line with some unwashed hippie-types who had brought in their aluminum cans.  The bottom line was:  380 lbs. of scrap iron, 12 lbs. of brass and 3 lbs. of aluminum.  We were handed $20.80 for our efforts.  That was just enough to pay for two combo meals and fifty miles worth of gasoline.  The experience was a freebie.