We had our annual Progressive Shopping night with any employees who want to participate. That’s Turn The Page, Fit, Gifts, the inn, Vesta. It’s fun to go as a group from business to business, enjoy the company, do a little shopping. It’s also a great chance to socialize and get to know each other as your own work, your own business can create a kind of bubble.
We all end at Vesta for dinner. So much food! But before the feast we announce our winners in the year’s fitness competition.
And the Inn BoonsBoro staff defend their title, and keep the (wonderfully tacky) trophy for another year. The team’s led by Head Innkeeper Karen, this year’s individual winner, who I’m told seriously cracks the whip.
And those girls at IBB prove to be clever pranksters. Part of the inn’s holiday decor is a full-size Nutcracker. He’s huge! And heavy. It didn’t stop them from hauling him across the parking lot, putting him in the doorway of a side room. And scaring the pants off Heidi, Fit’s manager, when she opened for the day.
Nice one, ladies!
Boonsboro’s decked out, and that makes a festive canvas for Turn The Page’s holiday booksigning. A busy day, and lots of fun–along with Griffin’s first booksigning. (He slept through most of it.) When he was awake, he enjoyed being snuggled by various TTP staff. I think the staff enjoyed the snuggles even more.
I get my boy through the weekend as we have another holiday event on Sunday, which includes our very special guest. Santa! (Griffin also slept through most of it, despite all the noise.)
Then there’s a work week, with some bits and pieces of holiday prep worked in. The week ends with a holiday party here for the managers. Some fun food, a lot of champagne and all the good cheer you can hold.
Oh and those inn girls left me a little nutcracker on my workstation. I see what you did there, ladies! Gave me a laugh–and Mr. Nutcracker will enjoy being part of my holiday gang.
For the weekend. Cookies! Lots and lots and LOTS of cookies. Logan skips this year, and Kayla serves as head baker with some assistance from me and from Colt. The girl’s on a roll. We dive in with cheesy Christmas movies on the kitchen TV–which Kayla and I agree are just silly fun. (I don’t believe Colt paid any attention either way.)
We end up with a double batch of chocolate chip (a crowd favorite) snickerdoodles, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Candy Cane Kisses, with the grand finale of painted sugar cookies. We include a lunch break so real food goes in tummies as well.
With Colt serving as taste tester, we deem all cookies delicious.
It’s always fun to hold a marathon cookie bake, but seeing Kayla take over so willingly, and so skillfully is the best part. One day she’ll bake in her own kitchen, and I hope look back on the years she baked in mine.
Logan has no problem eating the cookies when we have the gang for dinner. And a big bag of them go with the kids after dinner.
Today, after my morning workout I have a few little gifts to bag or wrap. I need to check the bread situation to see if I need to bake. And, at some point, sign four tubs of books. But compared to a solid eight hours in the kitchen yesterday, this is a day off!
All the traditions that weave their way into the fabric of our friends and family make a warm and colorful cloth. I love watching the cloth unfold every year.
I hope you all have your own warm and colorful cloth to cuddle with.
Note from Laura: the 2018 finale to #random Katness:
On the day he was due for his grand debut–October 17– our excellent baby stirred around enough to poke a leak in his bag and get everyone excited. When we got the call, BW and I got ourselves together, headed down to Jason’s and Kat’s for what we all assumed would be the big event.
However, by mid-afternoon, he changed his mind, resealed his bag and settled down. BW headed home the next morning, and I stayed–as co-coach for labor and delivery–all assuming again things would get going any minute.
I can work anywhere, so that wasn’t a problem. It gave me time to help the any-minute-now parents finish getting everything ready, time to cook some meals for them. Even when minutes turned into hours, and hours into days, no problem. Our Kat had on-and-off contractions and a lot of fatigue–and a couple more trips to see the midwife as the baby kept teasing his entrance.
Just after midnight on the 24th things start moving. Contractions coming close and pretty hard, so it’s a trip to the birthing center. Only to find out poor Kat’s having serious back labor (been there, done that. NOT fun.) No real progression, just pain as her boy’s decided to go spine-to-spine (like his daddy before him). After a couple hours, a homeopathic shot to try to help her sleep, and home we go.
I got about three hours, and Jason reported he managed a couple. Poor Kat didn’t get much at all. I hear my girl in the morning and go downstairs–I’m in the third-floor guest room. She’s on the phone with the midwife, pain is horrible, and she’s opting for hospital and epidural.
This is the right choice.
So we get dressed, feed the cats, move out. I let BW know. I sit in the back seat, rubbing her arm or shoulder, see that Jason keeps taking her hand while we try to help her breathe through the pains–nearly all in her back.
When we park, she has another big one right in the lot. A nurse heading home after shift stops, gets her a wheelchair, and escorts us straight up to labor and delivery. So grateful to her.
Now she has her midwife and an OB nurse, the exam, and finally after another hour or so, relief. You just don’t dilate well with back labor, and they’re going to try to encourage the baby to turn from back to front, but first Mama needs to sleep.
And finally she’s able to for a few hours.
The room has a little sofa that expands so Jason gets some sack time, too. And the long day continues.
They have what they call a peanut ball–because of its shape–and as we go through various OB nurses–shift changes–and a shift change in her midwife–they have her try various positions with the ball.
She can eat broth and jello, but would like her own broth. BW and I make a trip to their house for that, some more supplies, and go back on watch. BW takes Jason off for something to eat; I catch some Zs on the sofa.
Day becomes evening–but she’s making progress now, and the pains are tolerable. We order pizza–and BW and I sit and have a slice in the waiting room so poor Kat doesn’t have to smell the pizza goodness. Then BW finds a place to sleep a bit, I go back to doze in the chair in the room with Kat sleeping and Jason conked on the sofa.
The night passes. I’ve actually coached before, helped out–and of course had my own labor experience. I’ve never witnessed such a long one. She’s passed 24 hours since that first midnight trip to the midwife. Come on, Baby, what’s the deal???
But as dawn breaks things are moving. Baby’s turned nearly fully around, she’s nearly fully dilated. Time for more broth, more jello, more shift changes.
Honestly, by now that room is pretty much the world. I’ll add here, that my boy was a rock throughout. So proud of him. Of them, as they showed such strength, such endurance, such teamwork.
Then Kat spiked a fever–likely from being on the epidural for 24 hours. And the baby’s heart rate’s a little elevated. I admit that was the only thing that scared me.
By then we have our original midwife Joanne, and a completely wonderful OB nurse Allison on duty. Kat has to get antibiotics, and they have to tell her this means at least 24 hours in the NICU for the baby after birth–hospital policy.
My poor sweet girl just broke. She rallied because she is The Amazing Kat, but news like that during the last legs of a long, long labor took its toll. I know both Jason and I had to struggle to maintain so we could reassure her. Joanne and Allison were just wonderful with us all.
Now, fever down, baby facing up (almost), it’s time to push. Joanne’s predicted at least a nine pound baby–holy shit! I mean seriously! Kat, as you might expect, is pretty damn tired by this time, but she is so strong, so brave. I would never take an actual picture of a laboring woman, but I still have one of her in my mind, so clear. She looked like an Asian goddess–powerful, beautiful, fierce–as she began pushing her son into the world.
Jason and I help–deep breath, hold it, hold it while you push. Suck in, hold, push. Jason was just magnificent.
I could see him crown–all that dark hair–and telling her that helps. There’s his head, and oh my God, he’s gorgeous. Joanne explains that–big baby means big shoulders, so she’s going to have to do a little turn to help him get them out. But no–he’s ready, and with another fierce push, he just slides out into the world–and with a lot to say.
Under two hours from first push to last, at 10:39 a.m. on October 25, and we have a new light, new life, new family with a now blissful Kat holding her son, a beaming Jason holding them both.
A little comic relief when they ask if Jason wants to cut the cord. A big, instant, resounding NO. Nana? A quick, delighted, grateful yes. So I make that snip–as I did with my oldest grandchild–to give my youngest his first independence.
They have to clean him up, and Daddy crosses the room with him, takes pictures while they do all the post-birth stuff with Kat. I hold her hand through this–she has pain with this part, wants it over, wants her baby. My girl hasn’t had an easy time of it, and this part isn’t any easier.
Finally done, and Allison wheels the baby and scale over so Kat can watch him be weighed. Joanne had it right. He’s nine and a half pounds, 21 inches of serious handsome.
Kat gets her baby back, he even nurses a little. BW can come in now, meet his newest grandson. (He brought something up during the early pushing. I met the poor guy at the door, grabbed whatever it was, and said: I don’t have time to talk to you! The baby’s coming! Closed the door in his face. ) The baby has to go to NICU, but can stay with his parents for at least an hour first.
I get to hold him. Oh, here he is–and he looks right at me. There you are, I think. Yes, there you are. And where have you been, what have you seen? They haven’t picked a first name–they have a short list, but decided they wanted to meet him first. His middle name is Wilder, a gift that BW treasures. I’ve been thinking of him by a name for the last couple weeks–had to keep reminding myself not to–but this one name on their list kept sticking in my head.
They still don’t decide when Allison asks. Don’t know yet. It’s while Jason’s filling out a form, and I’m holding the baby. Jason laughs, looks at Kat: I can’t finish filling this out because it calls for his name. Kat says: He’s Griffin.
And holding the beautiful Griffin Wilder, Nana does a happy dance. Because that was his name in my head.
I give Griffin back to his mother, hug my kids. BW and I leave the new family alone. Jason will stay at the hospital with Kat and Griffin. BW and I will go back in the morning–then I have to go home for Saturday’s signing.
Kat and Jason look so much more rested the next day–and Jason takes us down to see the baby, who is doing really well, but has one test that’s inconclusive–so maybe a little longer in NICU. Kat’s doing some nursing and pumping so he has plenty of milk, and he has wonderful nurses looking out for him.
Still hard to go home. Despite that, I slept like a log Friday night! Saturday’s signing is busy and happy–even with a soaking rain. Girlfriends at home after help everything smooth out.
I get a text they’re maybe letting Griffin come home Monday. So that’s when I’ll head back down to help the new parents for a few days–and get lots of Griffin/Nana time.
But it turns out that test–and what they were waiting for–means our boy spikes a fever of his own. Nothing dangerous, but he needs to stay in for a couple more days.
I keep the cat company, help get the house ready. I know how hard it is for them to leave the baby–though there’s a hotel attached to the hospital. They finally decide to come home, just make the trip back and forth–so I go with them on a visit, get to cuddle that sweet boy again. He’s doing really well, but needs to finish the course of antibiotics before release.
I fix a pot roast with all the trimmings. They both need some red meat, some home-cooking.
At long last, a full week after he came to us, Griffin comes home. He’s healthy, beautiful–and his parents can finally take that full breath out. Their baby’s home. He’s so beautiful–all babies are–but maybe cooking that extra week added more magick. His eyes are already brown–no newborn blue for Griffin–and he’s so alert–and so chill.
And apparently a night owl like his mother. <g> I slept just fine his first night home–not so much for the new parents. But that’s why Nana’s here. Give me the baby, get some sleep.
Fed, changed, swaddled he reclines in his little bouncer wide awake for a full hour while I sat at their table writing. Then he slept for another before he made any fuss that first morning.
Nana believe in the three S’s when a baby’s fed, changed. Swaddle, sway and a quiet Ssssh in the ear. Griffin responds well to this.
He also likes going outside. Put on one of his little hats, and–as the weather was gorgeous–step outside in their pretty yard, show him his domain. I tell him this is his kingdom, and he seems to agree, and be pleased.
Mama nurses and pumps, cuddles–looks so happy. Daddy changes, cuddles–and looks the same. They started reading him bedtime stories in NICU and have made that a sweet, sweet habit already.
Nana cooks, does laundry and all the things new parents shouldn’t have to worry about when they’ve had this long, incredible journey, and have their baby home.
He likes to look up to the sky through their kitchen skylights. It’s obvious to me he’s spent some time flying up there before this trip to Earth. He recognizes their voices–and looks you right in the eye.
Daddy took him for a walk in his stroller around the neighborhood, and–as that post-birth business was tough, and Kat’s not supposed to do a lot of walking as yet–Nana walks him now and then, too.
He’s had a couple of visits with friends and family, and seems happy to be admired and passed around. He’s also very content to sit with his Nana in the mornings while she writes–though I did my final spell-check on the last chapter of the book I finished during all this with him in one arm. Sweet.
Now the new family is settled in–and Griffin has his first check up with the pediatrician. It’s time for Nana to go home. I made sure to cuddle and rub before I did so I could take that incredible new baby smell with me.
My kids are an incredible team, warm, easy, loving parents–I’ve been privileged to witness that first hand. My girl is a warrior. My son is a rock. They have a perfect baby–so relaxed, so laid-back and so beautiful. It’s been my joy to have all this time with him.
The only hitch? They refused to let me take him home with me. So selfish! But they did send more pictures–of Griffin in the Chewbacca outfit Jason and I picked out on our NY trip. Cutest wookie ever. And the report that he’s healthy, has already gained a half pound–now an even ten.
So I guess they get to keep him. As long as they bring him to Nana’s soon.
Thought I’d pop in for a minute to share that Kat’s a tad past her due date (10/17). Nora waits on call with her packed bag and premade lasagna to help in any way when the Young Master arrives. I promise to let you know all the news when I have some.
In the meantime, we’ll talk about other things worth waiting for. On Tuesday, I shared the cover reveal video for Under Currents — Nora’s July 2019 release. It’s gorgeous and spooky all at once. What do you think?
Within the walls of a tasteful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, young Zane Bigelow feels like a prisoner of war. Strangers—and even Zane’s own aunt across the lake—see the public side of his parents, a successful surgeon and his stylish wife. Zane and his sister know the truth: There is something terribly wrong.
As his father’s violent, controlling rages—and his mother’s complicity—become more and more oppressive, Zane counts the years, months, days until he can escape. He looks out for little Britt, warning her be smart. Be careful. In fear for his very life, he plays along with the insidious lie that everything is fine, while scribbling his real thoughts in a secret journal he must carefully hide away.
When one brutal, shattering night finally reveals cracks in the façade, Zane begins to understand that some people are willing to face the truth, even when it hurts. As he grows into manhood and builds a new kind of family, he will find that while the darkness of his past may always shadow him, it will also show him what is necessary for good to triumph—and give him strength to draw on when he once again must stand up and defend himself and the ones he loves…
You can pre-order Under Currents now: Turn the Page: http://bit.ly/2yETAxO Amazon: https://amzn.to/2yETRAQ Kindle: https://amzn.to/2yFyDmi BN: http://bit.ly/2yGcmVj NOOK: http://bit.ly/2yCXMxW IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2yGevjV Kobo: http://bit.ly/2yF3Nu6 iBooks: https://apple.co/2yIPG6Q
As you know, Nora and family moved their annual NYC fall trip to September to accommodate Kat’s due date. I decided to keep the original dates and had my own adventure last week. I’m afraid I didn’t finish my holiday shopping (code for I haven’t started) unlike some other people I could mention, but my husband and I got up to The Met, out to a NY Jets game and finished the trip with an evening at Springsteen on Broadway. And I took photos along the way.
On Tuesday, I spent some time in the Flatiron Building with Marissa Sangiacomo and Erica Martirano, members of Team Nora as well as the hosts of One True Pairing, a podcast about their favorite couples from all parts of pop culture. We had a wide-ranging conversation about our favorite Nora Roberts couples, what writers owe their readers, white chocolate and how much Erica and I detest it. I think the segment airs the week of Thanksgiving, and I’ll share a link when it’s up.
Macmillan (St. Martin’s Press is an imprint) leaves the Flatiron Building next spring to a building further downtown, so I take advantage of any visit to take a snap.
And I think that’s just about all the news from this desk. Back to waiting on the Young Master. Stay tuned!
Our last day starts cool and misty. That mist adds a nice, secretive quality to the forest, and the deer that graze through it.
Since we’ve got a trail ride midday, we opt to clean up the grub we have in the cabin. I’m not after much as I feel like I’ve grazed like a deer since we got here.
BW comes back from a drone excursion with a story. He met Kyle, a rancher, and the buffalo (bison if you’re technical) are his. The big black steer who hangs with the white steer and other cattle is Tyrone, a beefalo. Tyrone was the result of a buffalo and cow getting through the fence to each other (true love!) and mating.
I’d never heard of a beefalo, but apparently it happens. Hey, you love who you love, right?
It feels cool enough, not unpleasantly so, for layers for that afternoon ride. But by the time we walk down to the big paddock for our horses and wrangler, it’s warmed enough I tie my jean jacket round my waist. Jason does the same with his hoodie, and BW ditches his vest.
Evan will be our guide, and after a few minutes of getting-to-know-you, and asking about our riding experience, he chooses our horses. So many pretties hanging out by the paddock fence, most just dozing the afternoon away.
BW gets Traveler, a big white dude for the tall dude. I get Doc—another white but not so big, and Jason gets the pretty paint, Lonnie. Right before I mount, Evan let’s me know Doc has a heavy mouth and likes to eat on the trail, which means I’ll have to haul his head back up.
I discover truer words.
Mounted up, we head out, and Doc lets me know pretty quick he wants snacks as we ride. I let him know pretty quick that’s a no, I’m going to haul him up. We have this little war of wills throughout.
Other than that issue, Doc is as comfortable a ride as I could ask for. Sure-footed on the narrow, rocky, often steep trail, and steady as he goes. I start out beside Evan as Doc would like to be lead horse—nope, I say, settle for second place.
It’s warm and beautiful out as we cross the road, head up, up, up into the forest to wind through it. Evan, like everyone we’ve met on the resort, is knowledgeable, friendly, helpful. He works here summers, so will—like many others—be leaving Monday to go back to college in Missoula.
Our horses are really sweet and sturdy—Doc and I continue to pit my will against his greed for grass. He’s a strong one, so I feel I absolutely got my resistance training in. Jason’s Lonnie plods along, a bit slower than the rest. At one point Jason said he wondered if Lonnie went to sleep climbing up a slope.
We can see parts of the ranch below, smell the pines surrounding us. Steep climbs up, steep climbs down.
Halfway through I switched from Western style one-handed reins to English so I could use both arms to drag greedy Doc back up. I had a lot better luck.
We ride down to a pasture where a mama and her new foal graze. Our mounts either like to visit or know they’re soon heading back to doze as they all break into a trot.
We’re not to let our horses get too close to the fence, Evan tells us. Mama won’t like. But the baby seems happy to see us, whinnies even as he sticks close to Mama.
A more level ground ride now, warm, sunny, picture perfect. Traveler has edged Doc out of second place. And Lonnie is content to bring up the rear.
At one point Doc tries to nibble at a rock. I point out to him, That’s a rock. His answer is to turn his head toward me and try to nibble on my right boot.
I think he grinned.
Back we ride, with everyone but Doc stopping by the water troughs to drink. He just wants to get back into the paddock.
When I dismount, he’s content to let me pet him until it’s time for Evan to lead him away.
In the paddock now are two kids—a girl of maybe eight or ten, a boy surely no more than five or six. Both are mounted and know what they’re doing.
The little boy’s horse wants to go to the fence, but his pint-sized rider just pulls him back.
We take more pictures, bid the horses goodbye. I wish I’d thought to take a picture of this beauty that belonged to one of the wranglers. When I commented, Evan said it’s called a Gommoragh (sp) Paint.
We walk back home to relax a little (or pack a little) before our last dinner.
Experience tells us it’ll get cool—very—before the meal’s over, and since we’re going to eat outside, to bring jackets.
Alice is our server again tonight, and has reserved a pod (cabana) for us with nothing but that beautiful view in front.
After we order, we decide to try one of our family panoramas in The Yard. A little staging, a bit of blocking, and we have another tradition in our bag.
Dinner, wonderful as always with a sky that finally gave us at least a little of the fabulous Montana sunset.
Now it’s cold, even with the heater in our pod. Inside we go for all—but me—to order the final dessert.
No one leaves hungry or disappointed.
A ride back under a 3/4 moon.
More packing before bedtime.
No working out in the morning on departure day. More packing, checking, organizing, packing. We’re leaving with more than we came with—and I’m astonished when I find I can actually pack my new boots.
We opt to take the evil puzzle apart and leave it for the cabin or the staff.
Kat and BW have their last breakfast, bring back some bacon. I do the Mom Check on the cabin probably a dozen times. Pretty sure we left nothing behind.
The driver and the transportation supervisor (she needs a ride into the airport to pick up a van) arrive so we can load up. LOTS of loading.
Another pleasant, informative trip to the airport. We learn for Christmas, the resort goes all out, even putting antlers and a red noses on the Kias, Christmas trees in every cabin, white lights on the outside trees.
That’s the spirit!
Unload at the airport, load onto the plane.
We’re flying home as I write this, should land in MD in about two and a half hours. Supposed to finally be clear weather at home. Reports are that it rained nearly every day while we were gone.
It’ll be great to see our dogs—and I know Kat and Jason missed their cats. It’s always nice to settle in at home again, even after an absolutely terrific vacation.
Brisk morning, chilly enough for a fire. And a wise decision to postpone our trail ride. The rainy day cleared the haze and put the mountains in sharp relief again.
Since it’s chilly, and we’ve got that lovely fire, Kat and I tackle the evil puzzle. We can’t let it win! We break for lunch, sort of, here in the cabin. Vacation time’s winding down, so let’s eat what’s in the fridge.
And at last, even through all the dark moments, we have victory over this *&%%$!sonofa&^##!! Puzzle.
It may be evil, but it sure is pretty.
Time to kick back—and time for Kat to work on her cow painting—before it’s time to clean up for our last barbecue in The Yard. It’s still chilly by my standards so I layer it up, pull on warm socks and boots.
It may be brisk, and the sky layered, but the air’s clear and sharp so the view’s like a painting. And we have Mudslide Charlie for entertainment again, and that’s a definite plus.
Food, food and more food, but jeez I’m not used to eating all this food! I have to lay back a bit tonight, enjoy some wine, the music, the view—and the heater the lovely Alice—our waitress- sets up by our picnic table. Ahhh.
While we sit, a couple of cowgirls gallop by in the near field, one leading a third horse. Man, that are beautiful to watch, riders and horses. They end up riding right through The Yard, to the delight of all (especially the kids), then tethering the horses on the other side of the fence.
Eventually I walk over to say hi to the horses. One just stares at me like: Whattaya want? The second—with an amusing to me 57 tag on his bridle—allows me to scratch his head, pet his flank. The last gives me a well, maybe glance, and is fine with stroking on his pretty neck.
As the band rocks, the paella guy is grooving whenever he’s not dishing it up for guests. One of the cowgirl leads one of the horses by, and a little girl with equine fever all over her joins her. I can tell they’re having a serious horse conversation.
A smaller girl stands in front of the stage, staring at the female singer—I think imagining herself in the spotlight. Then she happily dances.
We’d hoped for a sunset, but it doesn’t look promising—and its getting cooler yet. We head back to our fire, have a quiet rest of the evening.
Workout’s done. Must start to organize soon as this is our last day. All but Kat will hit the trail this afternoon, and we’ll have one last dinner at the main resort.
Warmer today, but I think fall’s coming early to Montana.
Back in a former life, I was into crafting. I sewed—even made little overalls, with flies, for my boys—I embroidered, did crewel and needlepoint. I did macrame, canned jellies, refinished furniture. I was, basically, insane.
My theory is I was searching for my creative outlet, so when I found it in writing, I gave all the other up without hesitation.
But hey, vacation here, and they offered an apothecary class. Kat and I jumped in!
We walk down to the yoga studio at Spa Town—nice walk, cool morning—where Simone (of the glorious facial) would guide us through the creating of fragrant lotion bars, lip balm and body scrubs.
Just Kat and me in the class in the glass-walled studio.
We pick molds first, and both of us go for the rose pattern for the lotion bar. Pretty! Since it’s just the two of us, Simone has us double the recipe, then we can add color—Kat and I both combine the blue and red, hers for a lovely lavender purple, mine more pinky, then scent. So many delicious essential oils to choose from. I can’t resist the blood orange. Then, once Simone melts the mix, we have choices of pine needles, lavender, rose hips to crumble in, stir up before we pour into the mold.
Fun! And into the freezer with our creations.
Now we have a recipe for lip balm and little clear tubes, a little metal box. More color—we both end up with a kind of blush that looks pretty in the bowl, more essential oils. Melt it up, into a little lipped beaker to pour. While these set up, we’re onto body scrubs.
All the while, that view’s right out there through the wide glass walls.
Fine, fine sugar and salt, lots of those herbs for the scrub. I stick with the lavender and rose hips, Kat adds some pine needles. Stir, stir in a little white bucket, add more as you wish. Then the oils.
Here I reach for what I thought was the blood orange, but whoops wintergreen. Whoa, that’s pretty minty. Simone helps me tone that down with the orange, some lime, tangerine, grapefruit. It’s still minty, but now more interesting. And definitely what I’d call alert. Kat’s is lavender, and very soothing, relaxing.
Into little jars, with a label on top for the name.
In an hour, we’ve made lotion bars, lip balm and body scrubs—so much fun, and easy if you just have the ingredients.
Everything smells so good! We walk back pretty pleased with ourselves, even though it’s starting to rain a little.
We meet up with the guys for lunch. Raining more seriously now, so Jason skips his walk and we get an inside table. Good thing as the wind picks up, and the rain beats. They’re got a fire going in the dining room, and the buffet holds many choices. Fish and chips for me! And an arugula and berry salad that was mighty fine.
Hot chocolate’s pretty popular on this damp day where the temp’s barely nudging 60.
We—or should I say the intrepid Kat—builds a fire back in our cabin. It’s a snap and crackle comfort as Kat and I attack the evil puzzle. Slowly, slowly, progress is made.
Mama-to-be breaks off for a nice long bath with her own body scrub. Time to just relax by the fire, let the rain and wind have their way.
Dinner time, so I need to figure out what I have that’ll be warm enough to step outside again. Why not make use of Old Gringo Lavender boots? I wear them with warm, soft socks made by the creative Kat for me last Christmas. Cozy feet always make a difference.
Big fire in the big hearth in the dining room. Wine, soup, salads, eggplant parm special for BW and Kat, chicken fingers (GREAT bbq sauce) and fries for me and Jason.
I can’t handle dessert, but others can. Kat makes a special request. The baby is craving the world’s smallest sundae. And they come through with a little scoop of vanilla in a sorbet cup, chocolate sauce, whipped cream. And a cherry on top!
Back home and into pjs. Puzzle is definitely coming along, but it’s got a long way to go! I finally give it up, but Kat’s still at it.
And this morning I see the separate work she’d been doing, big chunks, finally found their connection to the whole. Whee!
We had horseback riding for those of us who aren’t pregnant scheduled for this morning, but it’s too cold for us greenhorns. We’ll change that to tomorrow when it’s warmer.
Workout’s done, and ended with my man Rodney Ye and some lovely yoga. I’m going to join Kat at the puzzle for a bit. If I get caught up so be it. If not, I may write for an hour or two.
Our last barbecue in The Yard tonight.
In today’s #randomkatness
Note from Laura: For those of you who mentioned the misaligned photos and captions in the posts, my first suggestion is to see if there’s an update for the WP app for your device. The main complaints have come about devices, but not just ipads or Androids. My guess is that as WordPress updates the platform, some of the apps may be lagging behind. I will continue to monitor comments and see what I can learn from the WP community. Stay tuned.
A late start (what will be Day 15), at least for me. Waking up just past eight is like the middle of the day! Part of the reason was processing Infinity Wars, but that’s for later.
Kat and I decided to hit the Outpost to finish off a little shopping in the morning. A nice day, a bit hazy so the far mountains rise under a thin curtain. We walk over—or mosey at that’s our girl’s speed right now. Only more pleasant. BW heads over to work out, Jason finishes up some stuff at the cabin—and we’ll all meet up.
We pass the horses—and a rooster crows. Hey, a little late today, pal. Gorgeous black horse, sweet, sleepy dog, strutting rooster. An entertaining stop on our walk.
They have new stuff in the shop, so we must see everything! Kat’s mission is boots, but alas, swollen pregnancy feet cause a serious issue. Even with short boots, zippered boots, larger size boots, though the girl who helped us tried really hard. Best to wait on these until after baby. Which is a shame as several pair were pretty terrific.
I’m not after boots. I have a pair of cowboy boots I’ve had for years that serve very well for those rare occasions I want them, and are wonderfully comfortable.
But…..When there is a pair of cowboy boots in a color billed as Old Gringo Lavender—and the display pair is MY size, what can I do? It’s almost an obligation, really. So what I can do is buy a pair of Farm To Feet socks (adorable and warm and comfy) to check them out.
They soon become mine. [See note from Laura.]
I also find (or Kat finds for me) a cute little dress, with pockets! Too short for a dress for me, but as a tunic over leggings, wonderful.
We have a good time looking at the leather cuff bracelets, and Kat finds one that fabulous for her. Search for a couple of gifts, and find those.
Then the guys show up, so it’s time for lunch.
Lunch this time out means a Huckleberry margarita, which is every bit as delicious as it sounds. So I have two before lunch is over. Another grilled cheese for me. Nice and sunny and warm on the porch.
Jason gets his walk back, but I’ve hit my goal and ride.
Now there’s porch sitting time, and puzzle (evil puzzle) time. A lot of doing not much of anything for the rest of the afternoon.
BW shows off his pictures of a doe and her fawn who came right up to the glass walls of the gym while he worked out. We spot a few more just grazing in the high grass beyond the cabin. Then I see one bounding—God, so pretty—just bounding along too fast for me to fumble out my phone for a shot.
I hear a hawk call—something else we hear off and on during the days here.
It’s dinner and a movie night at the cabin. Lots of left-overs to be heated up, dished up for a nice meal on the back porch.
Our tech guys (J&K) are hooking up a laptop to the loft TV to stream Infinity Wars. J&K have already seen, but Kat is anxious for my reaction and take once I have.
We have big chairs, big sofa up there, so it’s really comfortable.
I don’t want to do spoilers, but I thought the movie rocked (huge Avenger’s fan, and comic book reader since childhood here), and the ending was WHAT??? But actually not only made sense (there was definite foreshadowing) but made a really brilliant story arc from the very first Avengers movie.
I’m very anxious to see where they go (I think I know) from here. Have to wait till next summer.
Due to processing the movie, it took me awhile to fall asleep. Probably why I slept late.
Got a solid, slightly shorter workout in as Kat and I had an Apothecary class over in Spa town.
I’ll detail in the next blog, but will say we had a great time.
Cold and rainy today so writing this (after lunch) in front of the living room fire.
What to do after blissful spa services? Maybe puzzle some, and hit the leftovers for a smorgasbord of a lunch at home.
Clearly, we picked an evil puzzle that changes the shape of its pieces on its chuckling whim. But we persist. (Mostly Kat persists). Progress is painfully made.
I finally give it up for a bit, plan to read or check in with the world. And conk for a solid hour.
BW actually wakes me up as it’s time to get ready for the Long Table dinner. I’m one groggy napper and stumble around slapping makeup on my blissfully facial’d face before figuring out what the weather might be so I put on something that won’t be too hot, too cool.
In the end, since we adjusted our shuttle pick-up time, BW, Jason and I have time to walk to the Outpost for the shuttle. This is a good thing for me as the walk and the Diet Pepsi I glug as we go finally wakes me up.
And oh, the pretty evening adds to it.
Kat drives the car around, and our timing is once again pretty solid as we arrive all at once.
We shuttle over with a woman and her two kids, and in conversation it comes out she and I both grew up in Silver Spring. Small world indeed.
It’s a ride down narrow, bumpy ranch roads where those shuttles coming back and our shuttle going to have to jog for pull-outs to make room. Following the river again, and those fields, those forests.
It’s easy to see why they picked the spot they did, not only because it’s gorgeous, but it’s very open. And when they say Long Table in Montana, they mean Long Table.
Lots of people there already, but plenty of chairs at the table so we snag ours alongside our shuttle companions.
We’ve got a couple of bars, a hot band, tables of food, booths with more—samples of bread, honey, oils, cheeses all local.
Beef tenderloin, paella, hot dogs (LONG ones), salmon, potato salad, green salad, Caesar salad, coleslaw. Name the fancy picnic food and we’ve got it.
Mudslide Charlie, the band, keeps things moving. We’ve got a lead female singer who has solid pipes, and plays the washboard—fascinating—and the guitar. We’ve got a sax player who also plays harmonica. The drummer, the bass player, lead guitar. It’s R&B, which makes me very happy.
People stream in all evening. Kids play soccer on the rise above the tables, or they play by the river. Lots of cowboy hats, lots of boots.
Kat concedes to the bump, so she and I shuttle back. The guys will stay for another set.
We shuttle back with a couple and their three kids. The youngest and his mom are in the row with me. Dad and the two older are in the back.
Mom and the little guy have a nice conversation about getting showered up as the kids played hard in the dust. In the back the two older kids are bickering some. Dad keeps telling them to stop, forbids them to play together, threatens punishments. Mostly they ignore or argue with him, and he argues back.
As I’m listening, I wonder why an adult parents argues with a child. Or tolerates being told NO by a child. (NO, I’m not taking a shower. YES, you are. NO!) At one point they were all quiet, and suddenly he says: I told you not to play together! No videos for a week.
And I think: But they were finally quiet, WHY did you start them up again? So we’re whining and arguing, then comes the negotiation.
I believe in bribery where kids are concerned. I believe in explaining the whys and why nots. Negotiation? Hey, this is no democracy here. I am the benevolent dictator of your world. Negotiate with a kid, the kid will run you over and back again.
Which is exactly what happens by the time we arrive back at the Outpost. Videos, etc are back on because the kids claim they behaved for the last five minutes.
I also note that Mom stays out of this and simply continues to engage the younger child on the ride. Younger kid is perfectly happy to watch and comment in amazement on the red ball of sun sinking in the sky.
An interesting dynamic.
Kat and I have a nice, peaceful drive back from Outpost to cabin.
Then there’s that damn puzzle, just sitting there taunting us.
We work it awhile, and the guys come. The floss-dancing kid came back for an encore tonight after we left. I’m sorry we missed him.
Workout done, and Kat’s back on the puzzle. I may cave and join her awhile.
Tonight is movie night at home. We’re streaming the latest Avenger movie, which BW and I haven’t yet seen. So room service and a movie for our Sunday night.
We’ll have to see what’s going on between now and then.
It’s repetitive to say we had a beautiful day, but I’ll take repetitive beauty on vacation. Hot, but breezy, which is my kind of perfect.
After workout—and a slice of bacon BW and Kat brought me back from breakfast, it’s that damn puzzle. The puzzle’s absolutely beautiful, but the pieces are somewhat loose which makes being sure the right piece goes in the right place a bit frustrating. Kat’s making considerably more headway than I am.
Even though she and BW drove off to this tiny little town near here, population about 500, where you can rent a teepee, for instance if you need a spot for the night.
I think I got three pieces in the whole time she was gone!
It’s paint night, but since it’s about three miles away, near one of the camps (glamping) sites by the river, they send us a guide car. Pretty drive, rough roads, winding river, pine forests, open fields.
Our tables are already set up right by a bend in the river, down a rocky, sandy beach. It’s glorious. I find another rock for my rock pal Colt. A pretty pale blue stone.
The river gurgles over rocks, pines rise up, then there’s that sky—a little overcast at the moment with a 75% chance of rain.
Danielle sets us up with our wood paint boards, our palettes, our oil paints and walnut oil to thin.
It’s so pretty, so breezy, and a lot of fun.
I like painting the river (note: though the river is brownish green we all end up painting it blue!) I realize too late I should’ve done more sky before swiping in my cartoonish trees, but oh well. Jason’s beside me, BW beside him, Kat on the other side. I decide we’d sit in order of need for stability as it’s a little sandy slope.
Jason’s colors are bold. I do like my river, but the overall result looks angry. So we have a storm or it’s night, or the artist was pissed off (though I wasn’t.) BW goes pretty bold, too. Then I make a mistake.
I step back to look at mine and glance at Kat’s.
Oh man! It’s soft and gorgeous, and very European to me. It’s freaking Cezanne in Montana. Danielle has gone very abstract and colorful and lushly beautiful. Kat’s is a calm, beautiful vision of a river with a tinges of pink at the edges of the sky.
Thunder—and not just from my angry painting. And some rain. We have umbrellas, and paint a bit more. But I really can’t do more damage to mine. Jason and I pass ours off to Danielle.
Kat is contentedly adding fine, fine details with colors I have no idea how she made. Tiny flicks or nudges of the brush for shadows or texture.
The rain passes, and she finesses her vision.
We take pictures, thank Danielle who’s given us such a good time.
Off we go to wash paint off our hands before dinner.
Painting works up an appetite so we feast in one of the cabanas. The sky is huge and layered with the sun beaming through clouds.
I take a picture of a spirea for Laura , and see some of my favorite heliotrope. What a scent!
It actually gets cool enough by dessert that pregnant Kat wants to go inside. She’s a furnace these days, so that’s plenty cool.
Have my huckleberry dreamsickle inside, in the warm.
We decide we have a game of cards in us when we come back. We use the loft as the puzzle, even on its puzzle board, takes up the table downstairs, and why bother.
Another game of hearts. Both Kat and I get hands in the early stages where trying to run is just how it has to be—even though, in both cases, we know one card can screw us.
And it does, both times.
The only successful run of the night is Jason’s—and he wins this match fairly handily.
A good, full, happy day ends.
Workout bright and early as it’s Spa Day for our party. We all have eleven o’clock treatments. I’m now still in the bliss from one of the most incredible facials ever. Simone transported me during that lovely, lovely 90 minutes.
All but Kat walked up and back—and walking back was the right choice or I’d be asleep!
We’re going to forage for lunch right here.
Tonight’s Long Table night at the resort. That should be another nice—and filling—cap to a good day.
Another pretty day in the west as we head off to Garnet Ghost town. It’s not far, but it’s back windy, windy roads where the land rises and falls—lots of rises.
You have to wonder why people made a town back there. Easy. Follow the gold. The river winds, too, and panning for gold led settlers to this isolated, hilly, forested spot.
They’ve faithfully preserved cabins, the big hotel—which was pretty damn fancy in its day—the saloons, always a big draw—the general store, the stables, the smithy.
We’ve been here before, but it’s just fascinating. And considering Kat, we drive down to the handicapped parking area. Otherwise it would have been a long, difficult walk down, and a seriously arduous climb back up for her. The park official got it, let us park there. And if they needed the space, would come find us so Jason would take the car up, park, come back, go up again and bring it down (good daddy).
Fortunately, they didn’t need the space during our visit.
We stop in the little gift shop—I pick up a geode for Colt. Onto the store where once upon a time you could by a can of coffee for a quarter, shaving soap for ten cents.
I’m delighted with the table strewn with old shoes and boots. And a dress shoe prominently displayed.
We’ve got wringer washers, and incomprehensible—to me—tools, a pair of ancient skis so long the tips must have arrived five minutes before whoever wore them.
The Wells Hotel—designed and built by Mrs. Wells who married Mr. Wells, an Irish immigrant when she was 14 and he 29 (then had NINE children)—was considered the premiere hotel in the area. Three floors—with the attic level provided for miners or travelers to just lay out their bedrolls. The wallpaper—some of which was custom made—is mostly gone now. Let me just say the spirits aren’t. It felt very crowded and active in there, but if a hotel in a ghost town isn’t haunted, what’s the point?
It has a parlor, a huge kitchen area, and the rooms upstairs are certainly tiny by today’s standards. There are one or two larger rooms I imagine cost considerably more.
And the facilities only a short walk outside.
The ground shoots up or rolls up, and little cabins still dot the rises. The trees cover the steep juts, giving the town that isolated, intimate feel. I love The Newlywed Cabin. Garnet was a rare thing—a family mining town with family and community picnics and events. Whenever someone got married, they could use the cabin until they built their own—or somebody else got married.
A nice boost for the happy couple.
Kat takes plenty of rests on benches, and wisely doesn’t climb too high.
We get back a little late, and decide to grab food from the buffet and take it home. They’re great about this, have take-away boxes, so we have a little post-day trip lunch at our own table.
Time for Mama to rest.
I start a new book. Decide quickly it’s just too hot to read outside, but I have a nice bed to stretch out on while I relax with a book.
Refreshed, Kat’s ready to start the puzzle we picked up in Missoula. Hey, I’m game.
This one’s 1500 pieces, and HARD! I can’t remember having a frame take me so long to put together. Lots of lovely but blending colors. This one’s going to take awhile.
But it’s dinner time. I’m still full from lunch, but off we go (Jason on foot). I work up a little appetite wandering around taking pictures of flowers, and the big berries (?) on a very cool tree.
But even with that, I decide I can only manage a salad—and fries. Always room for a few fries.
They are delish.
Not much of a sunset—the sky went soft and blurry, with a tint of rose. Dusk lingers while we finish the meal. But why not have dessert?
Well, if you insist, I can eat a scoop of sorbet. Which is also delish.
It’s cooled off enough I walked back to the car for my jacket before dessert. And now, ready for home, it’s night, and there’s that slice of moon, with Jupiter and Venus bright.
We have so many trees at home—comes from living in the woods—that I rarely see so many stars. It’s a treat.
Back for another shot at the puzzle. Whew! I’m on a purple area that has a zillion shades. Kat worked on a green area—a zillion shades. She is far more advanced than me.
Now workout’s done, and Kat and BW are back from breakfast—I think Jason on foundation work, and BW’s heading down to the river to take some photos. Kat’s already at the puzzle. I may have to give that some time.