Category Archives: Montana

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Montana is cold. Very cold.

Going back to my dad not having a car, it’s veeeeeery cold. Freezing, in fact.

And we were walking everywhere in it.

For example, early yesterday afternoon, my dad and I put on some warm clothes and walked to the bus stop. We were heading down to the YMCA (about nine blocks from my dad’s apartment). It has been snowing constantly for the last two days, and we now have at least a foot of snow covering the ground. I dressed as was needed to get me from the front door to the bus.
But the bus didn’t come. I think we probably missed it.
So — and this speaks to our intense dedication to working out (or my dad’s, rather)– we walked to the gym.
Walked. Nine blocks in freezing weather. Literally.

We passed a little ticker-tape sign that read 0 degrees. I repeat, ZERO degrees.

When I got to the gym, I immediately went to the locker room and took off my shoes. I then spent the next twenty minutes slapping and poking my feet, trying to breathe life back into my toes.

My workout was severely shortened by this effort.

However, after the gym, my dad and I walked across downtown to good ol’ Enterprise — and rented a car. We had already been planning on renting a car for some previously undetermined three-day stretch while I was in Billings (so that we could go shopping for Dad’s apartment while I was here), but I think the frigid cold was a convincing enough argument to get the car immediately.

I’m so glad we did. Not only did we not have to walk a gajillion blocks or take the bus home, but we then had a car for New Year’s Eve festivities.

For dinner, my dad took me to this really cute new Italian restaurant in town, where we drank wine, ate caprese (my absolute favorite dish, possibly in the entire world), and watched the guys on the other side of the counter toss pizza dough (which takes a bunch of talent, let me tell you).

Then, after dinner, we drove to the movie theater with the intention of seeing True Grit. But the earlier times were already sold out by the time we got there, and we didn’t want to be in the movie theater at midnight. So instead, we watched The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

In 3-D.

Swoop!

It actually wasn’t that bad. I mean, I remember really liking the book when I was younger, so I spent a good deal of the movie going, “Oh yeah! That’s what happens!”

Overall, it’s a great kid’s movie. And the morals of the story don’t completely hit you over the head (though they’re very thinly veiled/almost eye-rolling obvious at the end).

After the movie, we headed back to my dad’s apartment where he played guitar and I painted for an hour or so — until it was about fifteen minutes until midnight. Then came the customary Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on TV (except this year it’s with Ryan Seacrest). We watched the ball drop, while commenting on how we didn’t recognize a single member of the Backstreet Boys and that Ke$ha was trying way to hard with that frosty blue lipstick of hers. My dear, the boys will never take you seriously like that.

Overall, it was a great way to spend the last day of 2010. And now it’s on to 2011. Woohoo!

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Gingerbread Houses and Other Wintery Things

Wednesday I spent the day with Desirae, a good old friend of mine who shared “total nerd” status with me in third grade. We bonded immediately, and we’ve managed to stay in touch pretty regularly since then, thanks to good ol’ snail mail. It’s always nice to see her again.
She invited me over to her house around noon, where we immediately set to work making gingerbread houses. But not just any gingerbread houses. Deluxe houses complete with M&M trees, marshmallow snowmen, and powder sugar snow to cover the rooftops.
My masterpiece had a Skittles fence, candy cane door and windows, and Nerds Christmas lights. I have rekindled my love for making gingerbread houses.
After putting half the candy on our houses and the other half in our tummies, I was invited to be a part of their large extended family bowling trip. So we all piled into cars and headed to the bowling alley across from the cemetery. 

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Filed under Loving Right Now, Montana

Uphill Both Ways in Freezing Weather

I flew into Billings yesterday, leaving balmy Las Vegas behind for the frigid winter wind of Montana — of which Dad and I had ample time to appreciate, as we stood outside for a solid twenty minutes waiting for the taxi to arrive. Just goes to show how small my town is. We probably got one of only two taxis in service that day.

Side Note: Dad is sitting here and would like me to clarify that I was in Henderson, not Las Vegas. He says that Henderson is the second largest city in Nevada. However, since they bleed together and there is only a tiny sign to indicate the change from one city to the other, I will continue to call it Las Vegas. Sounds much more exotic that way.

The last two days have been filled with rearranging/cleaning/bleaching my dad’s apartment, seeing friends, experiencing my small hometown’s public transportation, and walking to the Dollar Tree to buy more utensils for my dad’s kitchen.

It’s actually quite fun to help buy stuff for someone else’s kitchen (using someone else’s money). I’ll probably be over the moon when it’s time to get stuff for my own kitchen (though I am much less enthusiastic about the spending my own money part). But seriously, setting up a house is so much fun. And the dollar store is actually the best thing that was ever created for said homemaking. For example, why would you go to a regular store (even Walmart, the cheapville of them all), when you can get that same vase/oil dispenser/wine glass/measuring cup set for a fraction of the cost at the dollar store? One buck for everything? Yes please.

Then, of course, came the adventure of walking home with my loot. See, Dad’s not-so-trusty, ancient-beyond-belief station wagon finally bit the dust not long ago, and as such, I am without a car. Which means walking long distances to get places (ten blocks to the grocery store — uphill both ways in snow and ice) or taking the bus.

Oh, the bus. See, in small-town Montana, not very many people take the bus. I haven’t been on a bus with more than four people at a time. The city is too spread out, and the public transportation too sparse, to make it very convenient to not have a car. So most people have cars. And no one rides the bus.

Except me.

Five quarters will take me anywhere I want to go — as long as there’s a bus station nearby, of course.

It’s very interesting to see your hometown, the place where you’ve grown up and spent 13+ years, from the back of a bus. Just sitting there, bumping along. It’s a different feeling, though it’s hard to describe. And I kinda enjoy it. I don’t particularly enjoy being limited in mobility or anything, but it’s a new adventure to attack Billings by bus. It gives me a new challenge during my week or so here.

That and keeping my balance on all this ice. I shall consider it an immense accomplishment if I manage to stay on my feet and off my butt while walking around out here.

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Filed under Family, Montana