Thursday, August 30, 2012

outdoor space

Progress update: Here is what I have completed so far in the back corner of my back yard. I call it my "secret garden". I got the old door from my mom's boyf's daughter who was tearing down an old farmhouse, the old window from friends and I built the bench and pergola. I installed the lattice on the side of the door and window (it's difficult to see beside the window, but it's there), because I want to grow Virginia Creeper across the pergola and create a private little romantic "room" so to speak. It'll eventually creep over top of the door and down the side of it there as well. Then, when that tree you see in the foreground grows bigger it will create a real sense of privacy back there to just go retreat to with a book and a beer... or a cup of tea... or whatever. 

I'll probably put stepping stones along the ground there so that you can walk and not hurt your feet on the mulch (Thor's suggestion, and a good one).

Might be nice to make love back there someday. 

Jules :ODIYGirl)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

feeling much better

Upon discussing this issue about Thanan with Thor last night, we decided that the lines between parent and friend may be blurred therefor Thanan tries to rule to coop, as if he was playing with a friend. He likely considers himself my equal rather than my subordinate, so to speak. So now I'm going to work on being less of a playmate for him and more of a ... parent. That sounds odd because I'm a good parent, but seeing as how he's an only child, I feel like I have to take time to play with him too, to occupy him, and I think in doing this, I have created a situation where he doesn't understand that when I say something I mean it.  I've always wanted to have a really open and friendly relationship with him so that he grows up knowing I'm approachable with any issues or questions he might have, but this could really be where I've gone wrong. Makes a lot of sense to me.

Anyway.. I felt infinitely better after having discussed this with Thor last night. Thank God for him. Wish me luck on my new journey.. changing over from being my son's best friend to his Mom.

Jules :O)

Friday, August 24, 2012

f*ck it.

Today can go get f*cked. It has just been the worst day ever. I have had to CONSTANTLY battle my son who did nothing but talk back, yell, scream, cry, tantrum, boss me around, whine, run off, and blame me for everything he didn't get his way for.

I can not handle days like today. I just am not suited for this sort of incessant struggle.  Out of the 13 hours he was awake for today, at least 8 of them were a battle of him trying to "out-adult" me. It was total bullsh*t.

He's 6. Almost 7. What the hell am I going to be facing when he's 10.. or 14... f*ck me.

My sister says my son has ADHD. My mom says my son has anger issues and needs to go see a shrink. These things make me feel like getting my back up and want to defend my son, because I don't fully feel like they are on the mark. Not helpful. My dad says he's just a kid who's learning his boundaries. My own heart tells me that he's generally a good person and a smart boy and I just need to get control of the situation and teach him who's boss around here.

I have been told I'm a wonderful parent, but on days like today I fail to see it. If I was, how would my son be acting like this? Sometimes I'm totally embarrassed by his behavior.. other times I really couldn't be more proud. It's a constant roller coaster.

The thing is that most days are not like this. Almost every day at some point he will have a mini meltdown, but most of the time, when he's around adults, he's a sweet charming lovable kid. He tells me he loves me, uses his manners, offers hugs and kisses, cuddles me, follows directions and requests, wants to be tucked in at bedtime. It's just when he hears the word "no" too much or is around his cousins that he starts to lose control, and then if it gets lost enough, it lasts longer than normal.  I am afraid of school starting again. But then I think that I need it to start because dealing with the days I have like this over the summer have totally spent me. I don't know.

I just don't know.

But what I do know is that today can go get f*cked.

Jules >:O(

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


What a beautiful thing that happens when the reflection of light and rain droplets combine, don't you think? This sky in my back yard was amazing tonight. It's slightly enhanced, but truly not much. 

It was brilliant and vibrant and gorgeous. As bright a rainbow as I've ever admired, on such a wonderful canvas of cloud. I didn't know whether it was going to be sunny or stormy. It was a pleasure to see such a wonder of nature unfold before me. 

I hope you had some sort of "wow moment" today.... did you?

Jules :Owow)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Life is a story, waiting to be told

It's 10:30pm, the sun has been set for about an hour, the stars are beginning to shine. He says to her, "Let's go out for a moonlight kayak, do you want to?" She smiles wide, hugs and kisses him and says "Yes! I'd love to!"

The water is like glass, so calm and the warmest it has been in recent years due to the overly hot summer. They walk the kayaks down to the rocky beach and she squeals a little bit as her kayak rocks while she gets seated. She pushes off and waits for him to join her out on the water.

They decide where they'll paddle and together they go off into the black night. Someone recently clipped their grass and you can smell it as you paddle along the shoreline. "Don't go out too far... ", he says to her, "It's best to stay close to shore, especially since it's night time". He's always protecting her and it makes her feel cared for and safe. "Isn't this nice?"  He looks at her and she can see the outline of his face as the stars and shoreline lights gently illuminate his figure. He's smiling. She can see the love he holds for her in his face.. in his eyes. They twinkle even in the dark.

She turns her kayak towards his and glides to him over the still water. They sit there each facing opposite directions, holding hands and appreciating the moment they are in together. You can see more and more stars as it gets darker and darker, you can hear the sounds of insects making their nightly noises, the odd fish jumping, and a few people on their properties having fires and talking into the night. But they are just silhouetted figures, barely visible, floating by. They make sounds just like gentle waves lapping ashore would sound like as their paddles stroke the water in unison. First she leads, then when she stops, they talk and look up.

"It sure would be nice if the moon was out tonight.. a moonlight kayak.. but there must be some cloud cover off in those mountains," he says as he points to the giant range beyond the island. She responds with "Yes, that would have been nice, but this is absolutely amazing, even without the moon," and blows him a kiss.

She feels like there couldn't possibly be a more tranquil, soothing and romantic moment. It's like they own the lake and the mountains and the sky. It's like the night belongs to them and them alone. Not a worry in the world. It couldn't be more beautiful.

They stay there and study the sky, talking about how it would be so nice to live there, offering each other the hope of a dream with a silent promise. After some time, they agree to turn around and head back for their dock. They retire to the cabin and spend the next couple of hours in each other's arms. They need to cool off before going to sleep, so they step out onto the patio.

The moon is out high in the sky now and the air is crisp. The moon casts a stunning glow onto the lake below. They just embrace each other and kiss under the now moonlit sky.

Jules :Oromance)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Front garden

I added this flowerbed made out of dry-stacked stones that I found in a lot for a house that's being built a couple of weeks ago. I can't pass up the opportunity to collect rocks and add to my dry creek bed, so this was the result. I lined it with a plastic landscape fabric so as to keep the whole thing a bit more capable of holding soil and maintaining soil. I planted 2 perennials and transplanted a few annuals. I don't know if I'll keep the perennials in there. I thought they'd look pretty as they spilled over the front (the white flowers and the yellow flowers), but I'm not sure they'll over winter well being out of the ground there. 

People walk past my yard and compliment me on it every time I'm out there working on it. I guess all the hard work and planning has paid off. Now there are just little improvements to make here and there. I need to go buy a blue star juniper, for one thing, and plant it in front of those tiny iris and day lillies in the photo. 

I've been working in the back yard more lately. Building a bench with a pergola over top of it. Essentially, I'm working on creating a little secret garden retreat. It's almost ready.

Why own a house with a yard if you don't take pride in ownership and work to improve it's value... right?

Jules :Oj

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I love this

This is the coolest real estate sign I have ever seen, bar none. It has to be the longest listing in history. It's so worn that you can't even tell the whole phone number. It totally makes me want to call up Wrangler West Real Estate and go see the property it's on. If you're interested in buying some mountainous land, it's on the road you have to travel to get from St. Mary to East Glacier.  Look for it if you're ever travelling that very twisty road. 

Jules :Oj

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


He plays, I sing... together we make harmonious music. 

I can't even count the number of instruments Thor has. This trip he had brought this guitar as well as his mandolin. He says he isn't really that good, but he's just being modest. You can't have the musical background he has and not know what you're doing. I love and admire his knowledge of stringed musical instruments, and I'm thrilled every time we are able to make music together.

I don't know if I'll be able to sing once I have my thyroid removed, as apparently nicking the vocal chords is a commonality for having that surgery done. Thor says he's sure I can retrain my voice. I hope he's right, but even if he's not, it sure has been a pleasure to be able to do this with him so far and will be up until then.

Jules :Olala)

Monday, August 13, 2012


This is the first half of backyard project #3 for this summer. I had a whole bunch of 4x4's from my old vegetable garden boxes that I had to tear down when I built the garage and fence. I wanted to use them somehow, but not have to go get anymore wood from the store. So I envisioned a corner bench in the back corner of my yard. Voila! Here it is! 

Step 2 of this project is to somehow build a corner pergola to sit over top of the bench. I'll have to think on that one for a while.

That puppy is heavy. Supported by stringers attached to the fence as well as a support post that runs to the ground. I think it's sturdy enough to hold at 2 adults. For sure it holds me, so that's good! If I feel it's too wobbly being attached to the fence like it is, I'll take it down and build legs for it. But I think it looks cool this way. I'll either hunt down or make a weather proof cushion for it and pillow. I can see me relaxing out there when I just want to go and get away. Once that tree grows in back there some more, it will be quite private. I have a few other things I want to do in that same back area as well. But I can't give away my secrets.

Jules :Odiy)

A story for you...

Last week I decided that I needed:
a) some exercise
b) some fresh air
c) to reconnect with my surroundings
d) celebrate being childless for 2 hours

So I hopped on my bike, Breezy, and cycled through several subdivisions, and took off down the highway. Or up the highway, because it was a slight but steady climb that was making my legs feel like lead after a short while. I decided to stop before I fell over from sheer leg exhaustion before I reached the top of it (mistake that I shall not make again next time), paused to take in the view of the city, had some water and decided to head back to town. It was a nice slope, I didn't need to pedal for some distance.

I recall, as I was gliding to the set of lights a few kms away, how wonderful the evening looked and smelled. There was a thunderstorm on the horizon and it was casting off some interesting shadows and carried with it the scent of rain. I thought "Wow, this is really beautiful". The wind on my body refreshed me and I couldn't stop smiling.

Just as I thought how great it all was, and swore to myself that I'd do it again the next day, a large hog hauling semi truck began to pass me by. It passed me by as a pig decided to raise it's ass to the hole in the wall of the truck and have a pee. The pee sprayed my left leg. For all I know some of it might have landed elsewhere.. good thing I had my mouth closed.

The pig pee landed right on me.

How would you complete this story?

Turns out I just went "Ohhh fuck that shit!!" and cycled to the nearest pond where I splashed myself clean and carried on riding.

I didn't cycle the next day though.

Jules :Oeww!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

In the shadows...

I've always loved it when I can take a photo with silhouetted trees and or landscapes. There's something a little bit secretive, special and alluring about them. This first photo is of Two Medicine Lake (lower, I think) on the way back to our campsite in Glacier one evening. It was the day the Ranger warned us to hunker down for the perfect storm. Those clouds were really all that remained of the storm when we got back to camp. 

This one was taken not far from the general store in Two Medicine, looking down the length of the lake towards Paradise Point.

Now this one is amazing. It's not quite as shadowed as I'd like it to be but I wanted to add it in here, because I think it's incredible how it looks just like a penis. Those of you familiar with the area, do you recognize it? Can you tell me where I found it? It's there in plain view for everyone to take notice of in a very populated area of Glacier National Park!  I have henceforth named it Mt. Penis. Whoever said nature wasn't inspiring missed seeing this. 

Incidentally, on the other side of the park, I saw a mountain that looked like a breast too. If turned sideways, it's the ideal shape. We must all come from the earth.

Jules :Oj

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pie time

Well speaking of firsts... I made a pie.

First I made tarts, to test out my filling, and then I made a pie, I should say.  Thor sent me a link to a blog post he did when his mom taught him how to bake a pie and with his gentle support, I decided to go ahead and do it. I have no real need for a pie, personally, but I've been invited to a gathering where there's supposed to be a chili cook off contest and a pie contest. The men are supposed to bring chili and the women are supposed to bring pie. So ok... I made an apple/pear/strawberry pie.

Here's the filling, simmering down on the stove top first. According to Thor's post, this was the way to do strawberry/rhubarb to avoid bubbling over, so I thought I'd do the same.

Here are the tarts as they cooked. I think I could have left them in a little while longer... the crust could have gotten a tad bit more golden.

A finished tart with some whipped cream on top... it tasted good, but it was really sweet. Far too much sugar for me to be eating. I put 3/4 cup of sugar, and I think sensibly it really only needed 1/4 because all 3 fruits are already sweet. Ironically, the real whipped cream subdued the sweetness. It might have helped if I had a recipe to follow... but I tend to be one of those experimental cooks.

So with the tarts turning out ok, I decided to go ahead and use the rest of my filling to make an actual pie. Here it is in the raw. I should have fluted the edge more. I was not about to go full out and make the pie crust from scratch, so if that means I don't get credit, then so be it. But I have to at least get some points for making the filling and baking it. It would have been much easier to just pick one up from the store.

The finished pie. The flash on my camera makes it look less golden than it actually is. I hope it turned out. Won't really know until we cut into it tomorrow, I guess. I've decided to adorn it with a sign that says:

"Julie's 1st Pie.. Eat At Your Own Risk" with a gravestone picture underneath. I think it at least looks pie-like. So that's a good thing.

Jules :O!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Fun on Flathead

I took Thanan down to Thor's cabin on Flathead Lake over our long weekend. It was a totally awesome 5 days.  Thanan woke up every morning and the first thing he'd do, without fail, while still wearing his jammies was go fishing off one of our docks.

Well wouldn't you know, the first morning, he caught his very first fish, off the hook which was baited with a piece of canned corn. We were all sooo excited! Here are some photos to commemorate the event. As you can see, it wasn't a very big fish, but to Thanan, it meant the world.

We had a catch and release rule for the little squaw fish.. if they were that small we could keep them in a bucket with water and study them for a while but then back into the lake they'd have to go. To my surprise, Thanan actually did well with this rule. Here are the boys bonding over the first fish moment.

Then I was so excited, I thought I'd give morning fishing in my jammies and bed-head a try too. Guess what! I caught a little fella as well! We caught just 6 of the miniature fish all weekend. It was as if they started to get smarter. We tried using bugs as bait after the desire for corn wore off, and that worked for a while also. Fun, fun, fun!

There are just some things you can't repeat in life, and I know we were thrilled to be there when Thanan caught his first fish. Firsts are vitally important in life, aren't they!

Jules :O)

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Shades of white, brown and grey...

No, this isn't some sort of weird advertisement for the Shades of Grey novel series. It's just some critters I took some snaps of on my holiday. Nothing extraordinary, but cute anyway. We saw a moose, some buffalo  and a bear as well, but I didn't get the chance to photograph them. I took pics of happy little chipmunks and a rabbit, and saw squirrels too, but they all move too fast to photograph well with my camera. 

Here's Spunky. I put him there by the phone in the hotel on the way down there and thought I'd taken him with me, but to my major dismay, I accidentally left him behind. Thankfully, Thor had his thinking cap on and his sympathy was in full force and he called the hotel the next morning of the discovery that he was missing and secured him in waiting for when I passed back through Cardston. Phewph. To feel more at home, we hunted around until we found him a twin brother who did his job in making memories with us for this trip. We didn't see any real mountain goats this time, as Highline Trail where they like to hang out was still closed to foot traffic, but here's a pic of my goat to fill in the gap. 

They call these ground squirrels. I thought they were pika, but apparently that's much smaller and more mouse-like. These squirrels squeak and stand up at attention. Sort of like a cross between a gopher and a meerkat. They're cute and they're everywhere in Glacier National Park.

Here's a marmot! We were sitting at a private spot on Logan Pass and as we were walking back to the building, we noticed this little guy standing there perched on the rocks we had traversed not a half an hour before. He just stood there and took us in for a while and then he wobbled off slightly up the hill.

This was the first bighorn sheep we saw, a very young one. I thought for sure since it was there at Two Medicine campground, that it would mean there would be a herd of them... but I only saw this one. I didn't think they were solitary creatures..

What's your favorite mountain animal to come across?

Jules :O)

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Rock with me...

If ever you need inspiration for a color palate, look to nature. Stop for a minute and admire this post which is  dedicated to rocks in nature. Everywhere you look in Montana, you see gorgeous colors surrounding you in the mountains, boulders, beach rock, river rock, pebbles.. even the road construction is done in some area with a red asphalt. 

Marvelous Mountains up on top of Logan Pass

A bright and colorful bridge pieced together with large rectangular stonework at Two Medicine Campground.

Part of a retaining wall build at a lookout area on the east side of the Going To The Sun Road. Look at how strikingly blue the stone naturally is! Wow! I had to look closely, I thought at first it was painted, until I saw it in bulk around me in nature.

 Orange splattered rock, a sort of fungi rests atop it as it overlooks this brilliantly layered water below.

I almost get teary looking at this photo, because it's just that beautiful. Look at all the colors here.. and how they compliment and blend with each other. Incredible.

Now add a wild fern into the mix for the punch of green and it takes your breath away as the crystal clear water brings out the vividness of the colors resting just below the surface.

Nature really is outstanding. Don't take the ground for granted.. we walk all over it. Stop to appreciate it too.

Jules :O)