Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's a guy thing

My husband has these tee shirts, in fact every lady I know complains that their husbands have these tee shirts. They are just worn out to where you can see through them. They are just worn to nothing. But everyone's husbands refuse to let them get thrown away. In fact, when you try to they get all "Where is that shirt of mine." It's crazy that they won't get rid of them.
Naw, that's normal. It's a guy thing.
But why? He wouldn't let me toss this nasty pillow of his either.
See, we guys bond with the clothes and things we are close to. It starts when you buy us a new shirt, that shirt is a complete unknown. Maybe it scratches or shows off the gut too well or lets us down is some way, so we are gonna be skeptical of it. We might not wear it if there is a tried and true alternative. That is until we bond with it. Once it proves that it can be a comfortable and flattering shirt we are gonna start testing the limits. Wear it to the office, and the beach, and to the game and here and there. If the shirt holds up it becomes important. We have made some memories with it and done cool things with it. It becomes really treasured and valued. You don't just give up on things that have watched out for you so well. So even if it becomes worn out or threadbare, that is still the really cool shirt that you wore to the big game or whatever. You can't just toss it. You have bonded. Guys don't want to toss their favorite stuff. It's like telling them to ignore an old war buddy. And they will also resist the brand new stuff. Just be patient. When you buy him a new shirt, don't force him to wear it all the time, give him time to bond with it. If it's a good shirt he will connect with it soon enough and then in a few years it will be the shirt he refuses to get rid of.


I told my husband that spiel you had about not getting rid of old shirts and he was all "that is so right, that is just how it is."
Yup. It's a guy thing.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Killing the school

I'm a little worried about what's going to happen to our school. They have been building up all that housing nearby.
It's just going to inundate you with kids, isn't it?
No. They are turning that old farmland into all these three million dollar houses. No one with kids can afford to live there. Families have to move farther away and this school is just going to die.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Paving paradise

I watched it happen in California when I was growing up. My parents were farmers and the area I grew up in was all agrarian and pastoral. As I got older more and more people moved in to the area and there was more and more development. Today I don't recognize it at all. It's all strip malls and suburbs.
They paved paradise.
That's right. And I see the same thing happening here in Montana too. Bozeman has changed a lot. And Lewistown is growing.
And Whitefish.
But the strange thing to me is I asked my parent's what they thought of it. They lived there through it all. They just sort of shrugged and said "its progress". They thought it was normal.
You know, I think I agree with your parents. Personally I would prefer to live in a community that is economically prosperous and growing and thriving. I would certainly prefer that over somewhere that is stagnate and dying without opportunities. Unfortunately one of the prices you pay is paving paradise.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

What is this thing?


Pine Martin?



This little guy climbed a tree when he saw me coming and then sat up there and barked at me. I have never seen one before. Any idea what it is?

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Buck stops here

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Have you ever eaten a huckleberry?

A yummy little morsel related to the blueberry. Native to the mountains of the northwest United States, the huckleberry plant has defied all efforts at domestication and cannot be cultivated. It only exists in the wild mountains and forests. It is a favorite treat of Grizzly Bears and hikers.

I have always had family in Montana, so I have known of and have been eating huckleberries for longer than I can remember. But when I leave the area it becomes immediately apparent that the rest of the world knows little of this delicacy.

I can't remember my first huckleberry but I can point to several events in my life that has tightened my bond with them. Being coaxed up the trail as a child. "Lets look for huckleberries around the next bend." And then after a few huckleberries right off the bush I would be coaxed around another bend. In this manner I learned to climb mountains.

As a young teen I learned that when an attractive lady asks you to go pick huckleberries with her, you say "YES". This is also when I learned not to violate the integrity of another persons huckleberry bucket. Just because you are huckleberry picking with them does not mean that you are going to split the bounty equally. She who picks the most berries wins. And no, she is not going to drop this handful of berries into your bucket for convenience. She will clutch them in her hands through a quarter mile of thickets and brush before giving them up to the likes of you. To this day I believe that it's not love until you can share the huckleberries.

As a young man I had to decide just how much to risk for these little berries. A friend of mine had just blissfully and ignorantly walked a mere 15 feet from a grizzly bear in her quest for a better huckleberry bush. With the bear between her and us it took much jumping, shouting and pantomime to convince her to climb up and away from the bear she never saw. And then when the group was safely rejoined and we were moving away to safety we still stopped to grab a few huckleberries.

Among berries, the huckleberry is sublime. It could be described as similar to a blueberry, but that would be like describing a Lamborghini as similar to a Buick. It would be like comparing a high school art show to the Louvre. Like describing a Stradivarius as some old fiddle. The huckleberry is the prince of berries. If picked too soon it can be tart, but milder than a raspberry. If picked too late it can be sweet, but with a subtlety that no strawberry has ever known. At the perfect peak it puts out a hearty flavorfulness that blackberries dream about. And when you have picked a bucketful of these beauties, the medley sings in your mouth and makes you believe in world peace.

The current going rate is between $30 and $35 per gallon. That is why it is so hard to find a piece of pure huckleberry pie. Huckleberry pies cost a damn fortune. Most of the pies are huckleberry peach, or huckleberry raspberry, or huckleberry rhubarb. The only way to make a huckleberry pie affordable is to cut the berries with some other fruit.

There are several small businesses making a decent living by manufacturing huckleberry jam and huckleberry chocolate and huckleberry coffee and huckleberry jelly beans and so on. The Tillamook dairy over in Washington, which makes a pretty decent huckleberry ice cream, puts out a huckleberry yogurt. I saw it in the store the other day and of course I had to have it. At breakfast I dove for the fridge with eager spoon in hand. Just for the record, you can forget about the Tillamook huckleberry yogurt. They make the stuff with damn blueberries. They ain't foolin' anyone. I can taste the difference.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007




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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

An asset to the organization

Office Girl:
Jones, you have a phone call.
Thanks, do you know who it is?
Hello, this is Jones… Uh, huh… Yes… Well that's good news… Really? That's wonderful… Thank you very much. I'm glad you had a good time… Thank you, I appreciate that… You too, thanks again.
What was that?
I am an asset to the organization.
Yup. According to Mr. R_. He stayed with us a few weeks ago and I guess I made the reservation a while back. Anyway, he called to say that he had a great time, thought the staff was top notch, appreciated that I answered his questions and steered him in the right direction. He thinks I am an asset to the organization.
I guess that settles it.
I'm gonna go put a gold star on the fridge.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Sex sells

I think my blog has been kinda lame for the past year or so. It needs some new spice.
Not much to write about? You need a good girlfriend to spice things up, then you would have plenty of drama to blog about.
The good ones are hard to come by. And I don't like drama.
You're blogging about broken ovens? I agree, your blog needs spice. Hon, I love ya... but you need more spice.
So what do you suggest?
Sex sells.
Okay, so I need to have more sex. Story of my life.
lmao, Story of everyone's lives... Just saying we all (secretly) love hearing about it.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Skinny dip

I usually feel comfortable dropping my pants in my own home. Comfortable enough to create the mantra "Pants are overrated." It puzzles me that the same act of pants dropping can feel uncomfortable and out of place elsewhere. I once experimented with a theory that I would feel just fine being naked in other settings too. This theory did not hold up well.

On the shore of a mountain lake at 5:30 in the morning with the twilight starting to pink the sky and only trees and mountains as an audience, disrobing takes on a new sensation. It falls somewhere between bedroom comfortable and doctors office awkward. The motions are quick and deliberate, no reason to be timid, yet there is the nagging feeling of worry. What if I get caught? I try not to feel self-conscious as I walk down into the water.

Cool, but not cold I am hesitant about pushing more of my skin into the wet. Eventually my feet and legs adjust to the cooler temperature and I wade out deeper until there is nothing left but to pick my feet up and submerge entirely. I only spend a short time in the water. Dunking myself and paddling a little. Then with the first birdsong lullabying from the woods I drip my naked self up out of the water and over to the towel.

Drying and dressing are anti climatic. I feel like there should be more excitement when you get naked outdoors in a public place. I secretly wish that there were someone else to share the experience with, preferably a girl, to create a romantic setting. Being alone makes it boring. Getting naked and jumping in a lake was dull. Uneventful. Unthrilling. A mediocre event in my day.

In the end, being naked outdoors was no scandal. The water was refreshing. It felt ordinary. Perhaps my naked theory might still work out.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007


The call came right after I had packed my lunch and was about to head out the door. An employee with a medical problem. One of my worst fears.

Not an accident or an injury, just a toothache with swelling. He can't eat or sleep so that makes it a serious problem in my book. Serious enough to be one of my worst fears, evacuating an employee.

I spent an hour on the phone trying to lay the groundwork. A dozen or more calls and I find a dentist that can see him in five days. I am amazed at the number of dentists that are vacationing right now or refuse to work Fridays; even for emergencies. More communicating. The employee agrees to sit tight for five days. The manager disagrees. She wants him out and cared for right now, today. I'm not in a very good position to second guess this one, so I make some more calls and lay some more groundwork. The walk in clinic can see him today and they could prescribe antibiotics and painkillers until we can get to the dentist. More calls, more communicating. Get on the trail in a half hour and I will shuttle him from the trailhead to the clinic.

More calls. Make sure the rest of the staff is on their tasks and make sure their needs are met. The clock is my nemesis now. I have errands to run, make sure the last minute supplies are picked up and moving. Make sure the gas tank is topped off, there might be a lot of running around to do today. The staff has their jobs covered, all they need is some information and all is well. I hustle to the trail.

He is waiting when I get there. Damn, he made good time getting out. It is a fast pickup but a long drive back to town. "Do you need to stop for anything? Something to eat or a soda or anything? Or should we go straight through to the doctor?"

"Let's just go straight through." No problem.

The clinic is all about the waiting room. It doesn't look busy but the wait is over an hour. We wait. Medical evacuation sounds exciting. It's not. You spend a lot of time waiting. I spent a lot of time worrying. Worrying about the break in the routine and the extra work I will need to do to get back on track. Worrying about the stress that being short manned causes the rest of the team. Worrying because that is my job, to worry about these people. These kids.

When I hired them I agreed to watch out for their wellbeing while they work for me. And now one of them was hurt. There was no way to prevent this. Nothing I could have done or trained them to do would have prevented an infected toothache. Being helpless does not make the worry go away.

Of all the things I have to do in this job, this is the hardest. I have never before been so worried about making a wrong decision. Is this the best medical help I can get? Did I find the right dentist? The most affordable? My employee has no insurance and this adventure will be a serious setback to his summer paycheck. Is this the best I can do? It hurts me in my gut to think about these things.

I followed through with the waiting and the shuttling and the phone calls keeping up with the rest of the staff. By the time I got my employee a bed for the night and pointed the car toward home I was tired. Emotionally exhausted. Tomorrow I will show up for work as cheerfully as I can muster. I don't want to give any of the staff the impression that this is hard. I don't want them to know that I fear this. I want them to know that I will do anything to watch out for them and I don't want them to know that I go home drained because of it.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Family History

That's where I met your mom you know, on the mountain.
I know.
And your grandma and grandpa met there too.
Yup, your granddad was wranglin' horses while your grandma was working on the mountain.
Have you met anyone Jones?
Not that I have been able to keep.
There are advantages to that.
Yeah, you are probably better off than you know.

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