Sunday Afternoon [sixty-five]

If we were having coffee this afternoon, it would be in Coeur d’Alene. The Sexy Master Electrician’s cousin was married on Friday and we are making a trip out of it. Currently we are in one of my favorite places, a bookstore, recharging while browsing cookbooks. More on the trip later!

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, we would be talking about last weekends amazing camping trip over to Cliff and Wade Lakes. One of our friends wanted to celebrate her birthday up there. We borrowed a SUP and rented one for TSME. We spent our time on Cliff Lake this time and camped on the hilltop. I was worried we were gonna freeze, but it was so lovely. It was the first time I’ve been able to camp with out the fly on.

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The weekend before that we went on a lovely hike up Sypes Canyon and breakfast at the Stockyard. Both are Bozeman favorites, I do get up Sypes, (about a four miles hike up to a great view of town), The Stockyard stopped serving breakfast for a time but now it’s back and I should really go more often.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I somehow found myself at two car shows  that same weekend. I hope TSME remembers this is the future. High notes, a Porche Roadster from the 60’s and a pet pig. Takeaways: If TSME remembers anything, it’s that I need a teacup pig.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I’ve had some fun site visits for work lately. First I went up in a cherry picker to take a look at a roof to see what was going on. Later that week I went up to the roof of the new engineering building at MSU for a meeting on the solar panel installation. We are going to be doing a smaller array at the middle school I am working on, so I went to get a better understanding of what will be going on.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon I would tell you that we went to the Livingston Art Walk. It was a beautiful Friday. It’s not nearly as busy as the Bozeman one is and it’s such a fun town with great galleries and people. The wind wasn’t blowing for once and we were able to sit outside and enjoy music, before it decided to pick up again.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that my friend was so desperate for a body on the field, I played softball for the first time since middle school. Maybe there was one regretful time in collage. As athletic as I think I am, I am absolutely terrible swinging a bat. In middle school gym class, they would give me the giant wiffle ball bat, mistakenly thinking that more surface area might fix the problem. Miraculously, I didn’t do horribly and it was kinda fun.

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Pottery Lesson [Girls’ Night]

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One of the pottery studios in town, Gangbusters, does group sessions of slab pottery. The clay, glazing and firing are provided, all you need to bring is refreshments. After a couple weeks, depending on how busy the studio is, you pick up your completed piece. E thought it would be a fun girls’ night and organized the whole thing, which ended up on a random Monday.
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I did not do my homework and had no idea what I was going to do at all. Luckily he had molds that we could use to create different shapes. He walked us through shaping our slabs around the molds, cutting them, adding feet if we needed and carving in decorations. Everyone’s pieces turned out really cool. The best was a bowl that had a roped rolled on the slab to create a sweet texture on the interior.
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I made a simple cup to start with as I tried to figure out what I actually wanted to do. It didn’t use too much clay so I had plenty for a second piece and I made a tray for my glasses on my nightstand. They have stopped finding their way to the floor in the morning as I hunt for them. We got to select our glazes from several colors. Most of us went with the blues or green colors, which are beautify. I switched it up on the tray with the red. I was worried it would look terrible, but it actually turned out fine.
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prefired tray

This was way better/more up my alley than the sip and paint I did with my mom and sister. Maybe because it’s more forgiving? Maybe because there is less instructions? Anyway, while I have no desire to ever do another sip and paint, I would definitely do this again. Next time, I’ll actually have an idea of what I want to do before we get there.
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final product

Cycling in Yellowstone [Day Trip]

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This spring I finally had the timing right and was able to bike in Yellowstone before the park opened to motor vehicles. Every spring, depending on the snow melt and clearing, there is a two to four week window where you can ride your bike in the park from the west entrance. That means the dates are never the same, but typically in April. For the first time since moving back to Montana, I was able to make a ride happen this year.

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It was awesome. The Sexy Master Electrician and I loaded up our road bikes, a picnic, beers and our tiny camp chairs and headed to West Yellowstone. There was a larger group of people who had talked about going but couldn’t for one reason or another when the day came. I maybe shouldn’t have gone because I was still trying to kick this endless cold. It was worth the hacking cough afterward. We were worried the weather was going to suck, and it was a bit chilly, but layers fixed everything and the sun was sun was shining. I will admit the last couple miles with a head wind did suck, but it was great for a 30ish mile ride in to Madison Junction and back out.

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It was so wonderful to be in the park without cars or motor homes and big fifth wheels. There were several people out biking. Most probably doing the same ride we did. It’s pretty flat and easy and with all the stopping to look around and what not, it only took about three hours. Next time we want to go a bit farther up to Norris or maybe try to make a one way run up to the north entrance, but that is not a flat ride and its pretty long. I need to get back into better biking shape for that.

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The road follows the Madison River and buffalo were all over. I was surprised we didn’t see more elk. The scenery was breathtaking. The mountains were still snowy and the ground was green. We didn’t spend much time at the junction before turning around to claim a picnic spot at one of the turnouts. On the way back, TSME had to race who ever he could catch on the road. I took a slightly lazier approach. It was a great way to spend the early afternoon.

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Wade & Cliff Lakes

UntitledLast summer on a random weekend, I packed up the camping supplies, rented a couple os SUPs and picked up my friend E. We headed south to Wade and Cliff Lakes. We had never been down there before but had heard it was a beautiful area and it was only about two hours away. The lakes are tucked behind some hills on a random dirt road. There is a campground at each lake and one in between on the hill. We arrived pretty early but all the spots on Wade Lake were taken and Cliff Lake was windy so we checked the hilltop instead and were able to grab one of the last spots. It was definitely a more popular spot that I expected. Several people looked like they were there for more than a weekend. We set up a tent to stake our claim and head back down to the water.
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People were fishing and hanging out on the beaches. We packed our lunch up on the boards and headed out. Both lakes are smaller and we were on Wade Lake. We went across the lake and back in a fairly lazy fashion. Coming back we were fighting wind, but once we reached the beach, we laid out with some wind and continued relaxing.
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The campgrounds are the typical basic set up and we had a site backed up to cliff. The whole area is a geological fault where the lakes sit and is what created the cliffs around the area. There are little roadside signs and a walk from the campground to the lake explain it all. So beyond a beautiful site, you can get a geology lesson as well. A perfect weekend get away!

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Sunday Afternoon Coffee [Sixty-four]

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, we would be sitting on a patio somewhere. Summer finally showed up around here and it feels so good. The Sexy Master Electrician and I went camping in early May in Yellowstone before all the tourist showed up and it was so great to not be constantly stuck in a traffic jam. We even went to watch Old Faithful go off.
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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you how proud I am about my baby sister graduating from nursing school. I went all the way home and across the state of South Dakota to see her walk an celebrate after 5 years of hard work. Now she just needs to pass her boards and she all set to start her new job. Great work Lil’ S!
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I would also tell you that I am now officially an aunt by blood. Very odd thing, but my little brother just had a massive baby boy named George. Thanks for taking the pressure of me to do such things, Michael!

If we were having coffee I would tell that I am super excited to see Garth Brooks in concert next weekend! My five year old self is freaking out. He was my first crush. I could sing the extra verses of The Thunder Rolls to the radio edited version. This is gonna be amazing.

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Speaking of concerts, there have been quite a few good ones around here lately. In the country world, I just saw Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. I forgot how amazing Faith is and I’m pretty sure she’s gonna have a major come back. Bastille was also in town and had an amazing show with Mondo Cozmo opening. In the fall we have Florida Georgia line with Nelly coming to town. Things are getting interesting.
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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would show you this card I came across that just keeps cracking me up. I am a dork, I know.

Taste of the Trails [West Yellowstone]

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Last year, a random group of friends headed down to West Yellowstone for the Taste of the Trails.  I didn’t really know anyone except the one person that invited me. No one had been to the Taste before and we didn’t know what to expect. It was so great, we came back and talked it up, resulting in a return trip with new people this year. This year the sky stayed grey most of the day and we did get snowed on a little bit, but it was still a great day to be out.
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The Taste of the Trails is a 5k cross country ski event by the West Yellowstone Ski Education Foundation.  They have four food stations set up along the pristine Rendezvous Trails. You begin with appetizers, (elk strudel and candied bacon anyone?), followed by soup, (your choice of four different kinds), then the main course, (payaya!), finishing with dessert (too many to list but the chocolate chip bread pudding so so good).
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Payaya
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Dessert! So many to try. 
The course was super easy. They removed the one steep hill that was before the soup station this year to make it even more beginner friendly. The course has a biathlon shooting range on it. This year there were people training as we came along for our main course stop.
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The hill that took many down last year

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After we finished our course and warmed up in the warming hut, a couple of us went back out to do a little bit more exploring. The trails are so well taken care of and the maps and markers make it so easy to not get lost as you weave in and around the forest. I need to pay more attention to the events they have going on. They do a fun/beginners biathlon that I would love to try out and several other fun races.
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One of the hills we would realize was not so bad later on

When we were done, we meet up with the others at the local Buffalo Bar before heading over to the Norris Hot Springs to finish the day off before heading back to Bozeman. I’m sure we’ll have another great crew headed down again for next years Taste!

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Last year’s crew

Sunday Afternoon Coffee [sixty-three]

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If we were having coffee, or tea, this afternoon we would talk about how excited I am to go down to Austin in a couple weeks for one of my very favorite person’s (who also happens to be my cousin), birthdays. She put up a Facebook invite and I declined, but then couldn’t resist looking at flights. Shockingly, I was able to find really cheap tickets, for getting out of BZN anyway. So I’m going on a weekend trip while TSME does whatever he does when I’m gone.
Bridal falls

If we were having coffee this afternoon I would tell you how proud I am of another bad-ass cousin of mine, Laura, who just published a major paper on her research on Neanderthals. And she did this one month after having a baby. Did I mention how bad ass my female cousins are? I swear, Weyrich women are gonna rule the world.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you how proud I am of the OAC for turning one year old this month. While I am not as involved with the organization as I was with AFH in the past, I truly love what they are doing and am helping them build as much as I can right now. They are going to do amazing things. Just watch.

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Complements of a friends Instagram

If we were having coffee this afternoon, we would probably discuss women in architecture. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Whether it was naivety or not, I don’t think I realized how male dominate the field was and this article is great at quickly explaining some of the imbalances in architecture so much better than I can. Have I had the same experiences as most described here? Yes, from harassment to feeling that I would think about scheduling a “good” time to have a kid that would have the smallest impact on my career. It’s disheartening to realize that there is a good chance someone who is my equal but male is making 23% more than me. That’s well over $10,000 a year. That’s crazy. And while I realize life does not have to be fair. Most of these are simple things that really should be and are not that crazy to balance and make fair.

And one more heavyish read for you if you think your up for it. I like the last line and I feel the same way, I know I’m not perfect but I’m trying. “I’m really confident that I do less damage to people of color than I used to do,” she says. “That is what I can say to you. I do less damage than I used to.”

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If we were having coffee this afternoon and it was getting later, I would say let’s go get one of my new favorite drinks: A Chocolate Manhattan. Just add orange liquor.