Saturday, November 26, 2005

Winter Walk

Went for a short walk up in the Pattee Canyon Recreation Area here in Missoula. I'm looking forward to doing some cross-country skiing up there, maybe in a few weeks. The trails didn't look groomed yet, although I did see a few skiers out. I haven't cross-country-skied since around 1999 and I'm delighted to be living in a place with so many cool places to go!

Anyway, a few pictures:

The start of the trail
Starting down the trail

Sign pointing out where the heck I am
Sign pointing out the various trails

A mountain visible through the trees
Nice shot of a mountain through the trees

Baby trees!
Some of the trees aren't very big yet

From the parking lot
Looking back from the parking lot

On my way back down
View from the road

Still on my way down
View from the road II

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Almost Forgot

Apparently I've been doing this blog thing now for one year!

Well, a year and a day if you count my first post, which was all of one line. One year if you start counting from the first post that actually says something.

It's actually kind of amusing to read this post, where I described some of the topics I planned to write about. One of those topics was Montana, but I didn't really give any hints that I was planning on moving here. This move was in the planning stages at that point (we've been planning this since around April or March of 2004), but for a variety of reasons I couldn't really talk about it yet.

At any rate, it's been a year. Hard to believe!

Compare and Contrast

View from my house last Thursday:
View on a clear day

Approximately the same view has been like this since Saturday.
Mountains? We have mountains here? Where?

It is a good thing I have pictures so I can remember what the sky looks like!


My Montana voter registration card came in the mail yesterday. I completely missed the most recent election since we were literally in the process of moving, but I'm all set now for the next one!

Slowly all the little things have been coming together to make my move more and more official. Last Friday we went in and picked up the new Montana license plates. Montana has a huge selection of specialty plates that cost a little extra and benefit various groups. I know Illinois had these, too, but I don't remember there being so many! We picked the plate for the Montana Wilderness Association. It looks like this:


The other plate in the running was this one:


It looks odd to see something other than Illinois plates on my little Civic!

Friday, November 18, 2005


Drove by the new house today. They've finally put the first coat of paint on the outside!

First, our half of the townhouse:

Then, the whole thing:

I suspect it will be a while before they get to the trim, since it has to dry enough for a second coat first.

I absolutely love the color! I will be glad when the exterior work is done -- at this time of year, weather could really delay finishing the house. The longer I live and work in this tiny rental house, the more anxious I am to move!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Winking dog!

Winking dog!
Originally uploaded by SaraS.

I just thought this was too funny not to post. I've never seen Cricket wink before.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Tormenting the Pets

Visited Petsmart today (hence the comment about horses in the previous post) and decided to solve the problem of the dogs shivering all the time:

First, Cricket:
Cricket in Sweater and Hat

Cricket Pouting in Her New Sweater

Then, Bailey, who always seems to look crabby:
Bailey Scowling in His New Sweater


No, we didn't get a sweater for the cat. I don't think I want to try and put one on her!

Things that are Different

There are the big, obvious differences since moving here of course -- particularly my view of mountains right out my window:
View from Rental House

But then there are the little things that don't jump out quite so much, like these:
  • Radio ads for hunting supplies (ending with the tagline "The buck stops here." Groan).
  • Radio ads for car service places mention hunting ("get your rig ready for hunting season!").
  • Radio ads for ski stores.
  • Radio ads for horse supply stores.
  • Petsmart has a whole section for horse stuff.
I'm not in Chicago any longer!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Quick House Update

No pictures, though. We drove over and took a look last night after work. The front walk has been poured and was apparently dry, because the plastic that had been covering it the previous day was gone. This was nice because we could get to the porch without walking through muck!

We peeked in the windows with a flashlight to see the new appliances. There is also a big stack of interior doors in the living room waiting to be installed.

The best part, though, was when we drove down the alley to see the back. The garage and back of the house have been painted! I've been very anxious about when this was going to get done given the cold and wet weather lately. Hopefully they'll get the rest of the house painted soon as well. I am very excited to see the "fireweed" paint color on the house for real. Laura picked out the colors back in September (with my input over the phone), and I have been looking forward to seeing them for real ever since. I love the fact that I'm getting a red house.

From what I could see with a flashlight, the color looked great. I'm looking forward to going out there again this weekend so that we can see the color in the daylight and get a few pictures.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Telecommuting, Day 1

My first day in my home office went pretty well. I will be very glad when the new house is done, though. At the moment, my "office" is just a desk pushed up against the back wall of the living room:
The Temporary Home Office

Note that I had to expand some of my supplies onto the window sill and the pass-through to the kitchen. Also, this is extremely neat for me -- my desk is normally strewn with papers and files. I just don't have the room here to really sprawl out.

Since my office is in the living room, I discovered today a need for noise-canceling headphones to block out Laura's activities (particularly the TV). We made an emergency run to Best Buy after work today, so I should be set for tomorrow. They'll be handy when traveling on airplanes, too. At least that is what I'm telling myself to justify the expense. Laura is looking for a job (she applied for several today - go wish her good luck!) so presumably eventually she won't be around while I'm working, unless she ends up with a job with irregular hours or something.

The rental house does have a second room that used to be a porch before it was enclosed. I considered setting up my office there, but the house only had one cable connection, and we really didn't want to string a huge piece of cable across the whole house. Since we're renting, we can't exactly ask the cable company to install additional outlets, either. So, that extra room currently is our storage room with the bicycles and empty boxes.

At any rate, so far I'm liking this whole work-from-home thing. My high-speed Internet connection was solid all day and I had no trouble getting to stuff at the office. I didn't miss my one-hour-each-way commute at all, although I do have a whole pile of unheard audio books and podcasts on my iPod. I need to figure out exactly when I'm going to actually listen to those now that I don't have that drive!

In other news, it has been snowing ever since afternoon. Real snow, not rain! Laura is thrilled. I am not used to snow quite this early, but I'm kind of liking it (especially since I don't have to drive an hour to the office in it!).

Back to Work / Snow

So, today will be my first day back at work since our move...telecommuting from my very small temporary house. I spent much of yesterday organizing my desk space so that I can actually function here. I'm hoping the new cable Internet doesn't go out at an inconvenient moment -- it was solid yesterday, but somewhat flaky Saturday morning.

Woke up this morning to a dusting of snow on the porch and some flakes coming down. You can't even see the mountains that are normally visible from the front porch.

Snowing in the Early Morning

Bailey didn't like his morning walk much. He has been pretty crabby ever since we moved.

Bailey, Looking Crabby

Thursday, November 03, 2005

In Missoula!

We've been here, in Missoula now since Monday around noon. I don't yet have Internet access at the rental house, so I can only blog/surf from the hotel. Why are we staying in a hotel? Because our stuff has not yet arrived. We tried sleeping on cots the first night we were here, and it lasted all of thirty minutes. The animals find the cots comfy, though:

animals at the rental

My welcome to Missoula was less than great, as it was raining when we got here. According the locals, it had been beautiful the day before. Go figure. Then we drove by the new house, and I panicked a bit because the siding was the wrong color, and not the cool red we expected. Apparently, it comes from the factory white and they paint it after it is up, which makes perfect sense. I was thrown off by the fact that the base white color is very similar to one of the trim colors we picked, so I worried that they had flip-flopped the colors somehow.

I was a little concerned Tuesday morning when we woke up to more cold, gray, rain. Laura said "I warned you that it is gray in the winter here," to which I responded, "yes, I thought by 'winter' you meant, like, January, not November!" Fortunately, it did clear up a bit. The last few days it has been drippy and rainy in the morning, and then a bit more clear in the afternoons. Possibly snow by the weekend. This morning it was obvious that it had snowed up in the mountains a bit -- you could see the line on Mount Sentinel where the snow stopped.

Overall things are going pretty well. We've been to Target just about every day since we got here. We're hoping that we won't need to go back at least for a few days now. It is pretty odd living in two places -- the Comfort Inn and the rental house. Waiting around for our stuff to arrive is making me very anxious, especially since I need to setup everything for telecommuting by this weekend so that I can start work on Monday. I was hoping to spend these last few days unpacking and organizing, not running errands and sitting around on camp chairs in an empty living room! It also doesn't really feel like we've moved when we're staying in the hotel -- it feels just like so many other vacations. I don't think the fact that we've really moved will sink in until we actually have our stuff at the rental house.

The new house is looking great and coming along fast. I'm really hoping we can close early in December and get settled well before Christmas. We did a walk through yesterday, which was nice for me since I never got a chance to see the inside of a unit like ours when we bought it.

A few pictures:
The tiled entry:
entry tile at new house

The back of the house from the detached garage:
back of new house

Master Bedroom, with a view of the backyard and garage:
Master bedroom of new house

View from the room that will be my home office (I am SO looking forward to working here!):
View from upstairs room in new house

And a few pictures from our drive:
Crossing the Mississippi from Wisconsin to Minnesota. I like the shadows of our bicycles on the roof of the car:
Crossing the Mississippi

Cricket getting bored in South Dakota:
Cricket in car

Arriving in Wyoming after the very long trek across South Dakota:
Arriving in Wyoming!

Arriving in Montana at last!
Welcome to Montana!

A view of the Tobacco Root Mountains on the final leg of the trip:
The Tobacco Root mountains from the car on 90

Climbing Homestake pass:
Homestake Pass

Crossing the divide!
Continental Divide