Women’s March [Time to Stand Up]

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For most of my adult life I have been afraid to voice my opinions that relate to politics. Because quite frankly, I fucking hate politics. I refuse to select a party. I don’t fully buy into one or the other and think we probably need more than two parties to define the melting pot that is the United States. I understand why we have government and laws. I pay my taxes, I might complain at times, but I know why its necessary, so fine. It’s politics I hate and you know what I mean.

I have a sneaking suspicion this is also rooted in the fact that I grew up conservative in a rural area of a red state and then left it. After I left home and had many different experiences. Experiences that proved things are not so black and white. That put me somewhere in the middle because I knew where both sides were coming from and I agree with both sides on a little of this and a little of that. And those changes or opinions did not always align with most of my family or friends back home. I gained many great values and learned a lot as a farmer’s daughter. I would never, ever disagree with that and my change in ideas felt like I was a traitor. As someone not huge on arguing, (though, I will if I am confident I know what I am arguing about), I have mostly kept my mouth shut. I did what I could to move my ideas and thoughts forward through various volunteer actives and organization support and did not broadcast it on social media.

For the record, I hope our 45th President is so great that I happily vote for him again in four years. I’m not kidding.

But for that to happen, it’s time for me to stop being afraid. It’s time for me to tell my father his “joke” that we knew the first place to check was the only black family’s home on our block if anything was missing the night we forgot to lock the door, is not funny or okay. It’s time to stop pretending that the times I was sexually assaulted (it may have been in small ways, but it doesn’t matter, its not okay that I rationalized were fine, because it wasn’t a big deal, because I wasn’t hurt. And no. those incidents were not in the big scary city of New York, it happens right here in Montana), was something that did not need to be acknowledge. because it does need to be. It’s time for me to stand up for my friends who are gay or bi or whatever they identify as, because they are some of the nicest, most wonderful people I know and I don’t understand how anyone could think they are less human and therefore don’t deserve equal treatment. It’s time for me to stand up for the environment. Its time for me to fight for equal pay and opportunities in employment as my male counterparts that I equally matched. I care about job in this country. I care about agriculture, the land, the way of life I was raised in. I don’t really give two shits about guns. I care about all the violence we see because of them. I believe its time to stop blaming and start taking ownership over these systematic problems and make it right. No one can claim we have some sort of great solution for a lot of things. I’m pretty sure we all want safe communities, support our children’s education, want our children to grow up in health environments and want to see jobs increase in America. And no not everyone is going to be completely happy all the time. But that’s why it’s time for me to speak up, because the only way we will find resolution is by talking and meeting in the middle. And so I went to the Women’s March in Montana.

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Some have poo pooed it and ridiculed it, as if they didn’t have the opportunity or, in fact, do the similar things years ago. I’m guessing it’s because they don’t actually understand what is was about. I want to know why you felt the need to publicly to make fun of it, instead of asking someone why they were marching. Some have said, we need to accept who the president is. We have. Don’t worry. That’s why we marched, it wasn’t us throwing a fit. It was us reminding the president we are here and we are not going away, that our issues matter too. Some have assumed those who marched think they are lesser citizens with out voices. We know you have voices and know you’re intelligent and passionate too. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with you or that I have to shut up. We also have voices and we also have the same right to use them for what we believe is right and we might, just might, be using them to voice for more that ourselves, our needs. Some think it was a man bashing session. I don’t think I heard one bad word about men. Bottom line: we were not “just stomping around in little pink hats” (but I wish I had a pink hat!) and doing nothing more. You are grossly underestimating us.

The Women’s March in Montana was so uplifting, so hopeful, so exciting. The mission of the march is: “We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.” It was not meant to be a march against the president. There was dancing, there was singing, there was no violence. The march was invigorating and a call to action. It was amazing to be surrounded by so many women and men who feel the same. We were encouraged by our state’s first lady and our senator, Jon Tester, telling us to keep marching, keep fighting. I hope they do the same. The march was our way of reminding everyone that we care about so much more about what we leave for our children, (well maybe your children, let’s not pretend I have intentions of going down that road). It was us saying  that we are going to work tirelessly for change important to recognize and honor the melting pot that this country is. It was our way of saying that we are not going to let fear win. Diversity empowers us. Diversity of every kind.  So I am going to voice my thought, prayers, whatever, and I’m going to try to not be afraid of the backlash I might get from those closest to me.

For those of you who bothered to make it through I leave you with these three things.
One, an apology for getting so heavy, but it’s my blog so I get to do what I want.
Two this quote, I don’t know where it came from, but it resonates:

“If you are a woman that does not believe that there is a reason to protest, you should be thankful that you have never been discriminated against. But there comes a time when you will have to realize that this isn’t all about you– that there are women fighting every day for equal pay, affordable birth control, and low cost healthcare provided by PP. That there are women who may never feel safe again because the men who sexually assaulted them were not given jail time. The fact that you have never been faced with hardship does not mean that it does not exist, in the same way that just because you ate today doesn’t mean that world hunger has ended. Be aware that this is about ALL WOMEN. One day, when you are faced with this discrimination, we will be there and we will stand by you.”

Three, this NYT Video about talking to the people you love and who voted for the other side.

Domestic Dispute Retreat [Bozeman Office Bonding Experience]

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Last spring, our office was getting pretty tense. We decided we needed to “air our grievances” and “do some bonding.” Or something like that. So we went to  cabin at an undisclosed location near Pony, Montana, former home of the Duck Races, for our Domestic Dispute Retreat. At least that’s the story we told the bosses.

The cabin is one of my coworkers little hideaways and it was effing adorable and perfect. The location is up a dirt road along a little creek. There is no internet and terrible, if any, cell service. No one is anywhere near you. There is a main cabin with a kitchen, living room and bathroom and then three sleeper cabins down a little boardwalk.

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Look at that stove! And the farm sink!
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Required fireplace
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And that bath!
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Sleeping Cabins

We had ribs that were being smoked with a secret recipe, lots of booze and bobcat cornhole. And that was basically what we did all afternoon until dinner was ready. I did whip up a quick Raspberry – Rhubarb Tart for dessert.
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Note a hydroflask is an excellent rolling pin in a pinch
After dinner we headed down to the famous Pony Bar for a few drinks and pool. We stopped by the horse on the hill for a required team building exercise: getting J on the horse and in the correct photo position.
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Watch your step
Once we made our way back to the cabin, the guys stayed up playing poker and the girls crashed. The next morning our host made an amazing egg bake thing in a dutch oven over a camp fire before we all headed home with our hang overs. All grievances cleared and ready to head back to the office on Monday, until the snow clears this spring…
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Some of the Things that Happened Between Then and Now

So… I’ve been MIA for almost a year. Not for lack of thinking about it. Not sure I can blame it on lack of time, though that is probably part of it. Lack of motivation? Maybe? I definitely do not come home and turn my computer on every night like I used to do. I’ve spent more time reading books in bed than reading blogs or fussing on my phone. I’ve been outside. A lot. And I love it. I also loved this record of recipes, things I’d done, places I’d gone and people who’ve done it with me. I do come back here with frequency to tell someone where I was or what I did on a trip or a project. I guess I set a New Year’s goal, with out thinking about it, to return to this place and continue on so I keep having a place to return to and get lost in the fun of the past from time to time.

Here are some of the things that happened in the last year that stick out. Some of them will be flushed out in real posts later on. Consider this a really long over due Sunday Afternoon post in no particular order.

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I guess the biggest event of mine for 2016 was the fact that The Sexy Master Electrician and I decided to co-habitat. After a long and stressful search process we finally found a place we could both agree on with minor concessions on both sides. We are currently in a three bedroom condo with a garage. I had to send Princess Chunk home to live with my sister for the time being, (we were having little to no luck finding pet friendly rentals), and he had to keep the garage clean enough so that I could park in it during the winter. “The garage is too small anyway” so TSME has a storage unit for all the crap that I still have no understanding of how it fit in his previous one car garage.

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Thanks to this change, I refinished a lot of furniture this summer. We are talking two tables, a dresser, a desk turned TV console, a side table and other random items here and there. There were several lessons learned and things left half finished for months until my parents came to visit and I kept my dad busy finishing them up. I am pretty proud of how some of them turned out some could be better, but they work just fine now.

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We also decided to purchase a grown-up couch with help from our friends at The Architect’s Wife. It looks awesome. I am so happy we finally landed on this one.

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And we had to get lots of plants. I potted them. TSME is responsible for keeping them all alive. My spider plant is doing so well I was able to give a “baby” away to a friend and it actually made it!

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We had guests for our usual Forth of July celebration in Livingston. TSME’s sister and boyfriend came to visit with one of the most adorable dog ever. Before heading over the hill, we did some hiking and brewery hopping around Bozeman. We stayed at Chico this year and went over to the Natural Bridge before the rodeo. The only hiccup was the rock that found it’s way into one of the wheels and made a terrible sound. The tire had to come off to get it out. Dang gravel roads.
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The rest of the summer was filled with kickball and flag football league, hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, some biking and boating, and a few longer weekend trip around the state.
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Oh and a trip to New York City for Kurt and Melissa’s wedding in Brooklyn. I love that city. It was a great week to be there. TSME had a great time. We stayed with friends and also got an AirBnb for a few nights. The wedding was lovely and we spent time in the Wythe Hotel, at a lot of my favorite pizza, Fornino’s and took TSME to some of the places I didn’t have the chance to our first time there together.

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We made a little trip to Pine Creek Lodge to see Diarrhea Planet in person. My friend K and her boyfriend are groupies and convinced us that we needed to go see this band since they were going to be so close. The location is great. I want to stay over next time I go out there. And the band was super fun. I would go see them again.

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I also went to Missoula to see Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. So. Much. Fun. Would love to see them again.

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#bestdressed
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Still snow in May…
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In other big news, though it’s not mine, just family related, my brother got married this Spring. My cousin, Rachael, my little sister and her boyfriend all came to Montana to hang out after the wedding. They went down to Yellowstone. I took them up to storm castle. It was super fun. And I was able to enlist them to help me move out of my tiny apartment into the condo.

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Our office had a “Domestic Dispute Retreat” in Pony at one of my coworker’s cabin. He smoked ribs, I made pie, we played cornhole and went down to the Pony Bar. Yes, there were horses and dogs at the bar. A very successfully weekend sort of off the grid. Great “bonding” experience for our little office.

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At the end of the year, we hosted Thanksgiving. TSME and his bestie had a smoke-off to see who could smoke the best turkey. They both turned out amazing and it was a fun day with friends and my parents. After that is was rush, rush, rush to the end of the year.

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We went out and cut down a tree for Christmas. My first Christmas tree since some time in college. It was adorable.
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Bozeman office and the big man
Then I had my company party in Billings one weekend. I wasn’t sick this year or the newbie so it was pretty fun, minus terrible weather.

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Another was reserved for my annual candy and cookie party, which my sister was here for with a friend. There was the Christmas Stroll. Downtown and in the “Northside” neighborhood. Plus we had to go skiing.

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We went to South Dakota for Christmas. We had to run to Rapid City one day, so we went up to Dinosaur Hill. I found out is on the National Historical Registrar and has been there since 1936. I remember them always being up there and going once or twice when I was little. but hadn’t been up there in a very long time. It was kind of neat. Kind of sad since they clearly need to repair work done if they are going to survive another 80 years.

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My parents got a new puppy, Belle. Cutest thing every. It was so fun to play with her and almost made being stuck at home an extra day, due to a storm snowing us in, worth it.

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We made it back to host Kurt, Melissa and Aubie Katz as well as TSME’s other sister and boyfriend for New Year’s. Kurt and Melissa stopped on their move to Portland and TSME sister and boyfriend were up here to ski. We hit up the hot springs, breweries, downtown, and of course, Bridger Bowl.

And that, I think, is a wrap. For the most part.

B Bar Ranch [Get outdoors for MOSS]

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Right now, in Bozeman, ski season is long over, but this is the first of a few skiing posts that I will eventually get up here.  Last year I came across a fundraiser for Montana Outdoor Science School (MOSS) that was a day of cross country skiing and lunch and all proceeds go to the school. I wanted to go, but for some reason it didn’t. This year when I came across it, I sent out a message to some friends and signed us up. 

None of us had heard of B Bar Ranch, but we had heard that Tom Miner Canyon, where it is located at the southern end of Paradise Valley, was gorgeous. As we were driving out, there was very little snow on the ground in the valley. Meanwhile, Bozeman had a bit of a storm the night before and we saw several wrecks on the way over the pass’ and there was plenty of snow in Gallatin Valley. Once we turned off into the canyon we started climbing up and by the time we got to the ranch you wouldn’t believe there was no snow five miles north. 
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The area is definitely beautiful and we all want to go back for either hiking or skiing in the future. The ranch is several miles in and is a retreat of sorts in the summer for larger groups. In the winter, you can ski their groomed trails for $10. There are three locations that you can ski into and stay the night. That is next on the list, especially since it’s only two to three miles in on easy trails.
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We did a four to five mile loop before grabbing lunch in the Nordic tent. It is an old canvass tent with a wood stove in the center. One of the “cabin” you can hike/ski into is also an old tent. It was super cozy and lovely to hang out in. We talked about going out for another short run, but after resting realized we were a bit more sore than we thought, it was our first time out this season after all.
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MOSS was doing guided tours for those interested, but we had more fun out on our own and definitely plan to go back next year if it works out. Hopefully we get out there doe more than just the fundraiser.
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Sunday Afternoon Coffee [sixty-one]

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If we were having coffee or maybe tea this afternoon, we would talk about the awesome spring weather that we have been having, that is, until  it decided to rain all weekend. Last weekend the Sexy Master Electrician and I went to the Natural Bridge via the back roads. It was a perfect day for a little hiking, a little dirt road adventures and a drink on a patio.
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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you about Skeeball League. We were ‘Bitches Be Craskee’. I think we ended up dead last, but it was still really fun. Every week we played four or five games. Each game we had to throw in different ways, like behind our backs, granny style, or on our knees.  Until next season.
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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you about the awesome time we had playing old school Pictionary and not old school Heads Up. Apparently, when I draw Texas, I draw it backwards and fictional characters are my jam. Even TSME played, it was that fun.
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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you to go see 45 Years. It was a wonderfully done film. I went with a few friends who were also at the party above and when I got there, we spent forever talking about it. Even though the two guys didn’t like it, they still enjoyed discussing it.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you about the Meeting in the Mountains. Christopher Sharples from SHoP Architects presented  so many projects in New York, I can’t wait to go back. I forgot how many awesome projects they have done. It was also a chance to catch up with some friends over chicken and waffles and watch my coworkers sing karaoke.
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If we were having coffee, I would show you all the places I’ve looked at in Bozeman. The rental market here is about as bad as New York. Hopefully we find something soon. I’m over it. And yet I’m back to craigslist…

Sunday Afternoon Coffee [sixty]

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that it was so great to see two of my old collage friends, C & S this weekend. C stayed with me and we got to see S’s little baby boy. I have not seen either of these two since 2008, maybe 2009, but it’s wonderful how easy it is to hang out with good old friends like you see them all the time.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that yesterday was a beautiful day for the annual Run to the Pub. This was my 3rd year running and it was by far the fastest I think I have run anything. Not that it was actually that fast. I heard people complaining they were not running sub eight minute miles. I was pretty happy with my sub nine minute miles. I ran with C and we definitely pushed each other. We managed to not walk at any point, which we both said we would have if the other had. Victory. Also a reminder that I do not care one bit to run more than a 10K.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you how proud I am to be a part of the Open Architecture Collaborative. After Architecture for Humanity went bankrupt, the local chapters still existed and persevered with the guidance of Garrett Jacobs at the helm to create a new non-profit. I have been helping as a core collaborator and will hopefully be able to contribute more in the future. We are so excited to launch the new organization and get to work helping under-served communities.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would show you the sweet pint glass that C and I received for being one of the first people to go to
Heyday after running. It’s a list of the peaks in the Bridgers. We also got to be instagram famous.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I am very excited to head to Nashville next weekend for Melissa’s bachelorette party. We are going to a Rihanna concert and checking out all that the town has to offer in food, drinks, sightseeing and of course music.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would also tell you that I am very excited about my new shoes. I would probably be wearing them. Yay!

 

Sunday Afternoon Coffee [fifty-nine]

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If we were having coffee, it would be along time coming. I have been so busy. Doing what? I’m not entirely sure. I seem to go to bed earlier and earlier and there have been a lot of weekend adventures. A lot of cross country skiing to tell you about. A lot of work to not bore you with. And a lot of other random stuff. My mom was checking facebook to make sure I was still alive because I had not called home in so long. So let’s catch up a bit and enjoy a huge cup of coffee.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you about the Cat- Griz basketball game. I was skiing earlier in the day, otherwise I would have wanted to go see the women’s game in the afternoon. We made it back for the men’s game in the evening. I don’t think I have been to a game since I was a freshman in college, and I’m not sure I even went to one then. It was a pretty good game up until the last quarter when they let the Griz win. At least I have cool friends to watch the game with.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you to read this quick, funny story about bouncing back forth between New York and Los Angeles. I too imploded somewhere in the middle.

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And speaking of New York, The Sexy Master Electrician got me a great book for Valentine’s Day. I have been following the instagram feed for a while now. I found pink Himalayan Sea Salt shot glasses for his tequila.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon I would tell you that I finally saw Michael Keaton. Apparently he is around town rather frequently, though I now know I wouldn’t have been to pick him out if I had bumped right into him. I went to a Bozeman Film Society film, (one of my favorite things), to see Spotlight. He introduced the film. I didn’t even know he was in it. It is an amazing film. It made me want to go back and read the articles. I was a silly high school senior at the time, I only vaguely remember it happening. I highly recommend it. Your head will be spinning.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I have some friends who are on a cornhole league. On Tuesdays, all the teams meet in a “ballroom” above the Eagles Bar and play a few games of corn hole each on the 10 courts. One of them was gone a couple weeks ago, so a couple of us subbed for her. It was pretty entertaining to watch people take so seriously. And I proved that I suck at tossing beanbags.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I am also not hot at bowling. But I had some great tights on while I was doing it. Dusty set up a bowling night on Galactic Bowling night. He had seen my crazy tights I was given for Christmas and the night was themed the 80’s. My tights did not carry my game, but my first bowl was a strike. It went down hill from there. At least I did better than TSME.

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If were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you I need to get used new glasses. For the last five years, I’ve had the same pair with little rectangular lenses. I really only wear them in the morning or at night, but these are much, much, larger, in true hipster fashion. I probably could have gotten them when I got my first pair of glasses back when I was 6 or 7. I do like how they look, just need to get used to them being so large.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, we would talk about School of Architecture’s Advisory Council meetings last week. I am on the Graduate Council part of it. We meet to discuss ways we can help the school, go to studio crits, do speed interviews and a host of other things to engage the students. We also get to tour new buildings under construction. This time was the new Yellowstone Building, which is a dorm. I was in North Hedges as a freshman, built in the 60’s or something like that. And then I was in the “New Buildings.” They didn’t have names yet and were the cool dorm to get into at the time that only sophomores and older could apply to be in. This puts the to shame so badly.Untitled
At least the views are the same amazing mountains. They can’t make that better!
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And speaking of architecture, Earth Elements had an open house to celebrate a new plumbing fixture line they started carrying. I fell in love with this piece of granite:
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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would show you my haul from the Bozeman Public Library Book Sale. I woke up, sent my friend Erin a message that said, “The book sale starts in 6 minutes!” To which she said,  the one where all the books are $2?!  Yup, getting dressed. Pick you up?  Yes please.  I walked out with 15 books. Three of which are for the TSME for his trip to Cabo that he left for this morning. I will be reading in bed and he on the beach. I do love books!
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