Showing newest 7 of 8 posts from 11.09. Show older posts
Showing newest 7 of 8 posts from 11.09. Show older posts


New Paintings by Andy Cline

On top of working full time as an electrician apprentice, studying for his journeyman's license, being an incredibly supportive partner and fabulous papa, Andy prioritizes painting nearly every day. Sometimes he wakes before 5 to get in there. Sometimes he spends full 12 hour Saturdays holed up with his very-few-haired brush. He's amazing and I am so so proud of him.

Oh Deer (Somewhere between Bonner and Seeley Lake on Hwy 200, Montana),
oil on board, 13 x 10 inches

Modern Pioneers (Outside Melrose, Montana on I-15),
oil on board, 20 x 36 inches

At Least We’ll Have a Ski Resort in Our Backyard (Below the Bitterroot Resort Carlton, Montana),
oil on board, 20 x 36 inches

Forest on Wheels (I-90, Heading East in Eastern Washington)
, oil on board, 21.5 x 48 inches

His 10 new paintings are on view right now at the Dana Gallery in downtown Missoula. There is a public reception this Friday, December 4, 5-8pm.

We'll be there. I am the one with the tiny baby and the giant boobs. Seriously, girls need their own zip code. Anyway, if you come on Friday night, I'd love to meet you!

And, of course, a little peak at our newly minted life. It is going really well. The challenges all revolve around sharing...of attention, blankets, car seats, Alice, hats, you name it. And while that stuff, Margot's occasional tantrums, are at times exhausting and annoying, for the most part, it all feels so normal and like this is how it was always meant to be. We let Margot "wear" Ruby's socks and I "burp" Margot after she eats. We just fell into what the universe had planned for us all along.

Since last Monday we have mostly been in these positions: Ruby wrapped snugly around my body, breastfeeding while Andy and Margot play on the adjacent couch. It was a perfectly simple way to spend a week.

And I find it amazing that my heart can accommodate another kid and not only that, but, a new love I didn't yet know: my LOVE of bug's love of her sister. Oh my.

See you Friday? Good.


one very lovable nugget called Ruby Jane

All is very well in our chilly western Montana world. Our life is bursting with new found love because of the very cool girl who exited my body Monday morning. I didn't realize anything was missing from my life until I met her.

Our birth experience at home was amazing and we are spending our time at home staring at each other, thankfully receiving food and hugs from dear friends and swirling around in a new daze of a new life. Thank you all so much for your well wishes. I felt all of your positive energy a few days ago as I rocked and swayed and did the perfectly impossible feat of pushing a kid into the world at 10:08am.

Happy birthday, Ruby Jane. We're super glad to meet you.

Birth story to follow.


today my life changes forever

I was sewing yesterday afternoon when the labor bracelet my friends made me flew off my wrist. It just snapped and beads pinged and bounced and rolled all over my studio.

Several hours later, I went to bed and then decided to go back to Andy to lay spoons on the couch and I said, when do you think this baby is coming? and he said, a week and, a few minutes later, I said, my water just broke.

We laughed and scurried about our home. Andy moved furniture and inflated the birth tub. I gathered candles and checked on Margot every ten minutes. I swept her hair from her eyes and kissed her cheeks. Her last night as My Only Child. I cried....feeling excited and afraid.

And now, with a dusting of this morning's snow out there in the black black night, my household sleeps and I drink tea, breathing easy through these first dull contractions. Soon. Soon the abstract movement in my swollen belly will become the fourth person in my family. Soon I will push a human out of my body. Soon I will meet my daughter.


hump day nuggets: Don't cry over spilled milk. In fact, it's best to laugh.

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and (few) words about the last week

:: Still pregnant.

And, feeling really great about what appears to be a happy outcome for my midwife at Community Medical Center. It was a bit overwhelming for me to be featured in the newspaper...this whole story is bigger than me and getting where we are took a heck of a lot of a lot of people writing letters and demanding change. But, ultimately (after a day or two of whoa that's my big ole belly in ink there), I am proud to be in the paper and proud that our efforts paid off. We the people! Click here to read the article.

:: Can't wait for Andy's exhibit, opening this Friday, November 20, at the Dana Gallery. Regular ol' gallery hours starting that day with the public reception on Friday, December 4, 5-8pm. I promise to post images of all of his paintings after it opens!

:: Every morning for a week, we'd wake to Ida strutting about the yard, bragging to her hen honeys. The crazy part is that, after many many investigative attempts, we couldn't figure out how she was accomplishing this so we settled on magic. But then, last weekend, Andy nancy drewed his way to discover a teeny gap in the corner of the run that was Ida's Secret. Sorry, girl, you are smart and all but those raccoons are pretty tough round here.

:: omg I tweet. A friend convinced me twitter is a good thing for my business. And now I am supposed to write things like omg, btw. I don't know much but my thingie is @chickdigs cause some other dig this chick took my name. mmmmm hmmm.

:: Monday morning I knocked the half and and in my attempt to catch it, I slapped it hard and hurled it across the kitchen. Just then, Margot climbed up on the kitchen table, knocked over her grape juice and announced desperately that she had to poop again mama (which just means use the toilet). And then she peed in her monkey jammies.

:: Margot has grown a bit indifferent (only a bit. still rockin’ the obsession with elmo panties.) to elmo and has been toting around this bowling pin-shaped duck for more than a month. It is from her daycare and it was finally gifted to her because none of the other kids had a chance to hold it anyway, nor were they interested. And, then, we lost the duck and I thought, eh, she’ll be fine. And I was wrong. Click here to read the rest of this essay at


I made a really good cake

Andy and I are in a bistro club. There are 14 of us, who like each other a whole lot and get together every so often and swoon over incredible food and wine. We always have a theme and last weekend's meal was locavore. In November in Montana, that means lots of meat, cheese, root vegetables and squash. And, yo, it was spectacular. I made a plum upside down cake, which I entirely followed an actual recipe for and that I didn't entirely mess up.

It is remarkable what you can do with *mostly* local-ish food. Meat and veggies are easy, Lifeline Farm for everything dairy, Wheat Montana for flour, backyard chickens for eggs.

For the plum upside down cake, I used non-local sugar, baking powder, vanilla and salt. Otherwise, it's a Montana Plum Upside Down Cake Yo. And with all the steps of adding in batches alternating with milk and separating eggs and whipping to firm peaks and perfectly arranging once-frozen plum slices, I am proud to report that I did it all as the recipe called for (except a few ingredient substitutions) and it was worth it. Turns out, steps like that are there for a reason and not to induce craziness in a nine month pregnant person with a toddler assistant. Maybe I'll even start sifting.

Margot and I had the most fun baking together.

The recipe adapted from Mary Jo Thoresen, published in Food & Wine

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 pounds Italian plums, pitted and quartered
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a 12-inch ovenproof skillet (or if you don't have an giant, ovenproof skillet, improvise with what you have and a homespun double-boiler) melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly in the dish. Turn off the heat and arrange the plum wedges in the dish in several concentric circles.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. It was at this point that Margot reached in the bowl and carefully scooped out the lump of baking powder resting atop the flour and ate it. No no Margot I said as the ingredient passed her lips. Yummy mama! she said through a chalky grin.

In a medium bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the remaining stick of butter with the granulated sugar until fluffy.

Beat in the egg yolks, 1 at a time, until incorporated, then beat in the vanilla. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the milk.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, stir one-third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining whites. Spread the batter over the plums and bake for about 55 (it only took me 47 minutes), or until a butter knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a plate. Cut the cake into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

It's really excellent and all that jumping through hoops while juggling regarding adding stuff in the right order with the right prep yields a moist, fluffy but hearty cake. Make it. I tried to take photos of the gorgeous finished cake but they all turned out looking like an organ. So, instead, the most telling photograph.

And, it is amazingly fabulous served chilled for breakfast with thick coffee. Or, for little ones, a sliver served with tea.

We have several toasting occasions per meal as instigated by Margot. She proclaims CHEERS! This is a Holt trait. I come from a family of prolific toasters.

the bistro club menu:

fried pumpkin ravioli with sage cream sauce
creamy squash soup
baked lake trout
oven roasted squash and apples with fennel
beef stroganoff
potatoey cheesy heaven with bacon
chocolate peanut cake (not remotely local but it was Anne's birthday and she is local)
plum upside down cake


oh the nuggets: readying for bug's sister

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and (few) words about the last week
Or, this week, lots of words.

Woke to a dusting of snow this morning after a long inaugural experience with a sick, puking kid all night. All is well now after kisses, hydration and a pancake.

My body is changing in a familiar way. Every time some sensation occurs, I'm all, oh yeah. I remember this. The low cramping, unreal tightening of my uterus every 15 minutes all night, when the kid grabs her ice pick or chop stick or other utensil and stabs down on my cervix. It's happening.

We are at the one-midwife-appointment per week stage and last week, 37 weeks or AT TERM bitches so no pre-term hospital fear anymore, I was one centimeter dilated, 50% effaced. And I am feeling really exposed emotionally, trying to understand that my life is about to change forever and, at the same time, knowing there is no way to understand it and that is the pure beauty of this whole procreating shtick.

At work, I find myself thinking this is my last patron event at the museum, this is my last First Friday, this is my last auction committee meeting, etc and every time I get tight-chested and excited with my little reflection among my co-workers and museum supporters that are a huge part of my life. I am going to have to write more about leaving my MAMily in a non-nugget post.


:: At our last appointment with Jeanne, she was all OK so you are at term now and you have all of your birth supplies and a car seat and such? To which we replied, huh. So, this last weekend we had hot dates at Target and Walgreens, delivery of a friend's car seat and we now have a stripedy bag sitting in bug's closet full of everything we will need to successfully get this kid born. I can't wait to sit in a tub in our living room. I can't wait to be surrounded by candles and friendly faces in our bedroom. I can't wait to lean on our perfect-height kitchen counter during contractions. I can't wait to meet our girl.

'sister's car seat', Margot says

:: Having a baby is like getting married or buying my first house: once it happened to me, I realized what a big effing deal it was and that the enthusiasm and generosity and help of friends were invaluable. Then, it was my turn to be that big help in friend's lives, to make up for my not knowing all those years. I don't know if I can possibly keep up with the love exhibited by my friends but I'll die trying.

And, it's no different with baby number two. This arrived in the post last week:

From my dear friend who enjoys the small things. We've never actually met but we know each other well and have plans to lock eyeballs this next spring. Can't wait to rest my little g on this so-soft blanket. Until then, Sam and Margot are working to break it in.

:: The new issue of mamalode is here and will be distributed today all around Missoula. I have an essay on page 40-43 called In Pursuit of Life. My first magazine publication woot! Mamalode is full of great writing. Read it.

:: Update on my midwife, Jeanne Hebl, and her unfair ban from Community Medical Center (click here and here to catch up): she had a meeting last Thursday and it went well! In fact, it seems there was a bit of tail-between-the-legs-cause-we-got-nothin'-on-you action. Dr. Weisul admitted to making a decision based on a few people's accounts without proof and without consulting Jeanne for her side. He presented her with a policy of what birth support (all midwives and doulas) cannot do at CMC and lo, she was cool with all of it. It is interesting that the CMC admin squirmed their way around the targeted accusations on Jeanne and are now making blanket statements about 'birth support'.

So, huh, the best thing is to move forward with seeking ob gyn support of the policy but one cannot help but think that this was blatantly discriminatory and could be pursued as such. But that's not Jeanne's style. She just wants what's best for her patients. So, come on with me and think good thoughts on November 20, the date the ob gyns will be voting on the new policy. I can't imagine they would vote it down because if they did, it would affect all midwifes, doulas, friends, spouses etc. and that would be about as successful as my trying to run a half marathon with ankle weights on right now. It won't be pretty and won't fly.

Who knows what tipped the senior management to seek a fair compromise but I like to think that the letter writing campaign and my meeting had an impact. We, the people. There's something to that. Thanks for all of your support and participation!

:: We have this to-do list to complete before Margot's sister arrives. Essential and non-essential but the distinction is moot. I find myself all chore-oriented first thing in the morning, wanting to get shit done. Thinking, if the baby comes today I don't want to worry that the chickens don't have fresh water.

:: Of course, one essential non-essential is hunting through the garage to hunt through boxes of baby clothes. We totally scored on having a kid of the same gender at the same time of year as bug. We don't really have to buy a thing. All of our newborn stuff is super warm, ready for a Montana winter. Although, most all were hand-me-downs and many were returned. But, hey, I do love thrifting for and making tiny clothes so I don't mind.

:: And, the itty room that they will share. Margot has been in her big girl bed for a while but the crib had remained as she left it. I washed and readied the place our babe will sleep. In a few months, that is. I look forward to her sleeping on Andy and me for those first, floppy months.

I remember sitting in the rocking chair in this room two years ago dreaming about what it would all be like. And I find myself doing the same now with some additional visual stimulation that wasn't there before...

:: My beautiful bracelet, made from beads my friends chose for me. I look at it all day and feel so much love and support for my upcoming birth. It is a fabulous gift.

:: Loving reading about what I was feeling at this time two years ago. My anxiety about not knowing when (if) it was going to happen. My total, overwhelming excitement of the day I'd meet her. Reliving the moment my waters broke. And, of course, the actual birth and subsequent falling in Love.


hump day nuggets: laugh lines

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and (few) words about the last week

Lately I have been having all of these tiny, grounding moments where I feel like I could pass out from the overwhelming reality of existence. The important, personally defining stuff that makes up who I am and where I am headed seems to smack me in the heart and brain simultaneously, pulling me into myself and out of myself and I am left confidently exposed and in love. It's a cool sensation that is also known as being on the right track. I think I am where I am supposed to be and, for the first time in my adulthood, I am not pining away at what could be out there that might be a better fit or more important. Here I am.

The four days with Paige and Arann exceeded my expectations.

:: These two with their we can grow anything all year round ness (I actually tried to find something we can grow that they can't in northern California and was certain I had them at rhubarb but no. They can grow that too).

See that new watermark? Paige convinced me to do it. Even though I feel kinda silly because I am not a Photographer but more of a photographer. Anywho, it seems a good thing to do.

Out of suitcases emerged jars of pickled lemon cucumber, Arann Harris hot sauce and bags and bags of bright red peppers. We strung em up and have gorgeous chile pepper mobiles all about the kitchen to remind us of our dear friends throughout the cold months and beyond.

:: We strolled around town seeking coffee and sweet treats.

:: And we strolled in the hills.

:: Lots of hang out time in our home. Eating, tickling, laughing, scrabble playing, storytelling, reading, singing and a bunch of other great verbs.

:: I love watching my bff do her thing. I am so proud of her. And Arann is not only a fabulous musician but is also stellar at getting kids to smile at Paige's lens.

:: And, a bit more of Paige's brilliance in the photos below.

Paige Green Photography

Cheers to old friends whose companionship gets richer with the emergence of wrinkles and evolutions of life. Here I am. Thankful that the majority of my wrinkles lay around my mouth and eyes.
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