Arlee Raspberries

My man and I took a ride out of on-fire Missoula up to Common Ground Farm in less-smoky Arlee for some raspberry pickin'. It meant a lot that he came with me because I know he like standing in 101 degree sun about as much as I like my toenails pulled off with pliers.

I don't mind getting really hot as long as it is appropriate. I mean, sweating profusely while wearing a cute dress and sipping a martini? Not so much. But sweating like a whore on nickel night (that is an Anne Hughes epic one-liner) while in a patch of fresh, organic raspberries with the buzziest bees ever and a view of the Mission Mountains? I'll take it any day. I was singing It's Raining Men thanks to my friend, Savage.

We stepped into the first row and each picked a berry. Andy said, "Man. Imagine if this was your job." And I said, "I can because it was my job for two years." I was nostalgic for my days managing 3000 tomatoes and what seemed like a thousand grape vines at Ten Spoon. I can take the heat on a farm. I love getting grubby and being left with my thoughts and acres of produce. Just not for 40 hours a week.

We ended up with 10 pounds of fragrant, colorful, organic raspberries. Not that it was a contest, but Andy weighed in one pound more than me. But mine were all ripe and perfect and some of his were still light pink and wouldn't pull off the stem. Not that it was a contest...but I won.


tiny clothes on a clothesline

I went garage saling with my friend, Amy, this am and found some good baby scores: a wood sled, 12 clothing items and nine diapers. All for $12. I do love a good deal. One bonus with having a kid is how cute my clothesline now looks.


so hot. so so hot.

It is still a million degrees in western Montana. My gardens are suffering--they don't quite know what to do. The plants usually have cool nights and only a few days in the hundreds. But with over a month of near 100 degree or higher weather, fruit is officially freaking out. Laura's apricot tree formed and ripened fruit in like 48 hours. Apples are falling off my new mullet neighbor's tree, I think because of heat and no water. He has let his once-charming yard that was lovingly cared for by our sweet gay neighbors go to hell. It is tragic. But he has a mullet so, really, what can you expect?

In the last month, we have had many days over 100 degrees and the average temp this time of year is usually 85 degrees. That, my conservative not-wanting-to-believe-in-evolution-and-global-warming friends, is something to pay attention to and try to do something about. Andy and I recently watched Inconvenient Truth and I feel like everyone should own it and watch it monthly. We try to be conscientious and thoughtful but we can always do more. One thing we ceased was leaving the porch light on at night. I really like having it on because it makes be feel safer, but, as Andy says, "I want my kid to have polar bears." Me too so the light is off.

So I am watering more and I hate that. But my beets are writhing and my sweet peas are cracking and my zinnias are wilting. We let our boulevard die. It is stupid that it is grass anyway. I wanted to plant my edible garden out there since it is the best spot, but Mr. Urban Forester said no. I might do it anyway. At least it would be functional instead of knapweed promise land.

Today, I was pooped on while gardening in the front yard. yes.


the mouth-watering fabric

Bug's room is near completion. I especially feel this way now that the closet curtains are in place. I splurged on large amounts of Amy Butler fabric to replace the closet doors in Bug's room and the guest room and I was afraid to cut into it. Lame, I know, but that is what moms are for. I have spent the last three weekends with my mom and now have perfectly perfect curtains.

I will post the guest room curtains in a different post as my mama took to seam ripping due to a small imperfection.

entrepreneurial potato growth spurt

I wrote about the amazing spectacle I found on the perimeter of my compost pile in June. I know many around the world have been on the edge of their seats anticipating the outcome of the Incredible Spud. And here it is. Thriving. A potato. Planted in June. In a pot. It is true.


dig this chick on TodaysMama

So I am not sure how this happens in the blogosphere, but I am this week's featured blogger on TodaysMama. I hadn't heard of this site until I received notification that my blog would grace their homepage. This is how they identify themselves:
TodaysMama provides personal, professional and parenting resources designed to foster a greater sense of identity, empowerment and connection for women and mothers everywhere.

OK. I like that.

There are some great resources on the site. Like the page of shopping resources that support other mom's handiwork. I especially like bublove. I call Sam, my cat extraordinaire, bubs, bubby, bubba. They should consider making kitty slippers or top hats or something. The shops in this section are hit or miss but the concept is nice. A section of local services allows you to support local mamas. This is fantastic and all but Montana isn't even listed as a state! We do still belong to the union.....and people do still give birth in Montana.

Anyway, check it out.


B or G

Andy and I decided to have one ultrasound and scheduled it in a long time ago. The day before he left for his epic float adventure, he realized he wouldn't be back in time and asked me to change the appointment. I couldn't and went to the appointment with Anne, Heather and my mom. It was great to have those powerful women with me. I have often wondered how women get through pregnancy without a partner, but now I know. Girlfriends.

The doc was lame and acted as if the ultrasound was a boring chore akin to flossing. I had to repeatedly ask him to say anything at all and he would respond with one word, deadpan answers that always led to another question. "I know you do this all the time, but this is my first time and you really can't tell me enough information," I said. "I understand," he said. But this was followed by silence. "What's that?," I asked. "The stomach," he replied dryly. And so it went on. I am so glad he is not my doc. I am so glad we have a midwife we really like. But party pooper attitude couldn't keep us down. The coolest thing for me was seeing the spine and ribs with the heart beating. We have a healthy baby.

We decided to find out the gender. This is an interesting topic. People feel so strongly about not finding out and those that find out don't seem to feel as strongly, but still pretty resolute. Heather worries about gender stereotyping before the babe is born. Valerie enjoyed the anonymity of not knowing her child until it was time. Caroline loved the surprise after working her ass off for hours. We decided to find out because it is a fantastic surprise right now. I am not interested in pink or blue and my kid still remains as anonymous as ever. Could be a prep, punk rocker, goth.....I hope bug gardens. The biggest, most heartwarming reason we found out wasn't even identified until we started spreading the news. Our family that can't be near LOVES knowing the gender. It was great fun to share the news with aunts, uncles, siblings, parents, friends; to bring them closer to our excitement. My sister-in-law emotionally said that she really feels a tangible connection to her first bug knowing the news. All around I am really happy to know.

I had the doctor write the gender down on a piece of paper and place in a sealed envelope. So when Andy got home last night, we opened it together. I didn't think I could love my man any more....click here to find out if our bug is a b or g.


13.1 with a bug bump

I ran my half marathon this morning. In previous posts I have talked about learning to run with a bug in my belly and not wanting to seem fragile or that my pregnancy is a disability. As I stood sixty people deep in line for the porta poty with five minutes to race start thinking, "I will not being any kind of race or other activity before my bladder is empty, " I admit I wanted to look pregnant. I felt a bit vulnerable. What if I can't do this? Who wants to be the chubby runner with a beer gut? Not this chick.

But I was nervous for reasons beyond body image vanity.....Julie says I can't get my heart rate above 150 and that 120 is much preferred. Carol says I cannot get hot no matter what (it got up to 102 today). Aunt Deb says not to push myself and that no one will think less of me if I run only four miles. And I have to pee a lot especially since my fear of dehydration drove me to consume unbelievable amounts of fluid on Saturday and Sunday morning. And I am carrying like ten extra pounds.

So I set out with a very Man, I Love Missoula sorta way. My mama/cheerleader dropped me at the start and then positioned herself to snap a shot as I raced by. I knew so many people at the base of Blue Mountain as the bright orange sun crested over Mount Jumbo.

My plan was to run 15 minutes, walk 5. This was hard as I felt great and I was checking my pulse every few miles, never above 126. I bet I looked so hardcore, starring at my watch with pointer and middle finger to neck. I was wearing this great spandex skirt thing that I found. It was turquoise, cute and concealatory in all the right places. You don't just gain weight in your belly and boobs when pregnant...fyi. Chaffing was a concern.

So I ran and walked when I felt like it. I stopped at every aid station. I had so much fun. I quickly realized two inevitable facts: My favorite running shirt that once fit perfectly and has run hundreds of miles with me is now a belly-exposing, hoochie shirt no matter how much I pull it down and I was going to pee my pants the entire run. The second fact was more troubling than the first. I feel like I need to tell people this because it is unbelievable and I guess kind of normal and no one talks about it. It was wild. I squirted with every step. I was SO thankful for the aforementioned concealatory skirt. As it also conceals urine-soaked spandex. ewe.

One thing I couldn't let go of is a time goal. I was really nice to myself and thought three hours I can do. But, never sacrificing heart rate, hydration (of which I was apparently so good at that I sprang a leak) or any other bug-in-my-belly codes for it's time to stop now. In the end I was able to catch the chatty short woman with the tall man but couldn't reach sweat-soaked gray t-shirt or lime green shorts. I did it in 2:36.

In the photo below check out the fatigue and defeat on that guy's face 'cause I just screamed by him toward the finish line.

My knees are sore. Running pregnant is different. I think I will swim more and run less for the rest of this pregnancy. Maybe not. I do love running. And I think bug does too. The little stinker was quite active this afternoon.


Maters love the heat. Me? not so much.

The days are pushing 100 plus in Missoula lately and I find it creepy. It was a balmy 81 degrees in my house when I went to bed last night. I usually despise the stale, fake feeling of air-conditioned environments but I am becoming increasingly interested in spending a lot of time in those spaces. Andy says that since I have some of him in me, I am changing. His examples include: I now like ice in my water whereas for the last ten years that he has known me, I have routinely sent water back in restaurants unable to tolerate anything other than room temp; I can't get enough San Pellegrino--a company that I think Andy should seek sponsorship from because every single day in the summer, he cracks a bottle open, pours it in a glass with a pinch of lime and declares it the most satisfying taste sensation he has ever experienced; and now I like air conditioning. There is some of him in me.

One great thing about this heat is the affect on my edible garden! My zucchinis are growing about an inch a day. It is wild.

Carrots are growing strong and my peppers are just peeking out of their flowers. I will have enough basil to cook a pesto dinner for 200. My sweet peas are too hot against my garage; they are dry and sadly struggling to produce one flower at a time. Summer squash will be ready in a week or two.


bug's room

So this nesting instinct that "they" all talk about when you conceive a kid rings true with me. I immediately wanted to prepare. But I don't know what the hell to prepare for so my urge was realized in wanting to make bug's room perfect. I am in love with a color combo at the moment: cream sickle orange (as my friend Jenn calls it) and new England blue gray. I don't know why it reminds me of New England but it does. I spent a small fortune on amazing fabric at Selvedge Studio for the closet so I can get rid of the ugly sliding doors a la 1974.

I was avoiding cutesy-lovey-cozy nursery type of decor. And then I found these decals from notNeutral and thought, well, it is a baby's room....and they-re not that cutesy-lovey-cozy. I had a lot of fun designing where they would go and am really happy with the results. Andy likes the cat decal the best.

We are committed to getting used stuff--clothes, furniture, books, the whole nine. So, the room is outfitted with great scores from garage sales and friends.

The garish, periwinkle photo to the left of our hideous guest room before. It is more bearable as a small photo. I am ashamed to admit that I did indeed choose to paint the room that color and then spent a lot of time painting it. It is gone now. Thank god. We added a chair rail and you will soon see the amazing fabric worth millions that will be curtains on the closet. I am so in love with this fabric. I just couldn't wait to post about the room even though it isn't nearly complete without the curtains.

All we need is a crib and we're set. And a baby. We need a baby to make this room complete. Andy calls the pregnancy our situation. So, as the situation progresses and I think about how our lives will be and what will be important and what this room will mean, I realize I have no idea. People say it is the most enriching experience of your life. That is heavy. The scariest part is having no idea....no experiences to draw on to kind of understand how the situation will change things. We just float along and hope we'll know what to do and that our kid will come into the universe healthy and hopefully we'll have fun.


the last of the lettuce and peas

I came home from Red Lodge to find my greens nearly gone. I salvaged a garbage bag full and much of it tastes bitter for sure. I don't mind the bitterness.....I just add a bit more dressing. Plus it is kind of like a surprise because most isn't bitter (I tossed the obviously bolted greens on the compost) and then you have a bite that knocks your socks off.

Pay no attention to the weedy background. yikes. Don't you hate it when people say that? You probably didn't even notice the weeds until I said not to pay attention to it. Now you are staring at the weeds.

The peas were dry and pathetic. I always have a hard time yanking them out of the ground because they are so cheery.

Next up: basil, beets, tomatoes, summer squash!


jumping in a river

My man, Alice and I drove down the Bitterroot valley so that Andy could get a 20 minute lesson on how to ride a horse from our friend Abigail because he will be riding a horse for 28 miles tomorrow. The second photo is him trying to do an emergency dismount. I hope he does not need to use this maneuver as it was not as smooth as Abigail's demonstration. He will have one sore ass. This I promise. He is going into the Bob Marshall wilderness to float the south fork of the Flathead River for eight days with our friend Chris.

Seriously. Look how cute my little cowboy is. His hat is turned around backwards because he was going so fast.

I put on my bikini and jumped in a river. OK, so my bikini doesn't fit so it was more like a sports bra and undies, but it worked like a charm.

It is the absolute best swimming hole I have ever been to. And that is saying a lot. I will not announce it on this blog, but friends, know that I will take you there soon. I will tell you how perfect it is however: an eight- foot deep pool of crystal clear water that is consistently fed by an icy cool mountain stream, tons of rocks to lay on, sit on and a perfect bank to relax and read; several ledges at varying heights to jump into the perfect pool; the trail to it is off a main trail that hundreds tread on every day but the turn is inconspicuous so it is nearly always vacant; it is a 20 minute drive from my house; even pregnant ladies can handle the not-too-steep descent. It is mouth watering.


Red Lodge on Independence Day

Red Lodge, Montana on the Fourth is about as American as you can get. Bad parade with lots of horses and cars, underage teens getting smashed at campgrounds, family picnics, a huge rodeo, dogs going crazy over the loud bangs, croquet and frisbee golf and the entire town gathering to watch the $7500 fireworks display.

I drove over to Red Lodge to visit my parents and surprise my little bro who flew in from ATL and wasn't expecting me. We had a great time. It had been nearly two freakin years since we had all been together and it was fab. The trip had yet more surprises because my aunt and uncle (who also live in RL) and my cousins did not know about either my brother or myself. tada! Everyone oogled over my bug bump. My little niece (my cousin's babe but niece none the less) is adorable and made me think that I am really going have one of these. And it is so cool that my bug and hers will be nine months apart.

Alice was my traveling companion. Andy couldn't go. She swam and ran a lot with eight other canines at my aunt and uncle's house. She has swimmer's tail again, but this time I won't be rushing her to the vet. A funny note about her swimmer's tail: "swimmer's tail" was the number one keyword search that led people to my blog in the first month. Here is a picture of what it looks like in hopes that people will not rush their doggies to the doc only to find out that little fido has a sore ass.

I ran in the heat with my aunt and her friend and it was hot and made me a bit nervous for my half marathon because it took me like two hours to cool off. I will have to be careful next weekend. We sat in my parent's back yard and looked through the mini van-sized box of baby clothes that my mom has been hauling around for the last three decades.

It was 105 degrees in Missoula yesterday. I slept naked with no covers and was miserable. Andy and I had an art opening last night and it went well. It was also 105 degrees in the Ceretana Gallery. Good god that is entirely too hot. How on earth do people live in places like Vegas and Phoenix?

Today I will be putting on my bikini and jumping in the river.



I just wanted to brag about the gorgeous beets I yanked from the earth this morning. And also about how charming Alice is:

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