Category Archives: Food-a-rama

Montana – Day 16

Business day. We have a foundation meeting every quarter, and this one actually makes our spring session. Kat and Jason do the vast—I’m mean vast—bulk of the work. BW, Kayla and I vote on asks and discuss. Kayla also works on projects or finding them.

Griffin gives it up for a nap, and we get started. He’s up by the time we finish—these things take time—but we get it done. Now Jason and Kat will do the rest of the work.

Some packing and organizing. Two weeks is a long time for five adults and a toddler to spread out. There will be multiple Mom Checks of the entire house before we close the door.

But now it’s time to clean up for our last dinner.

Dinner with a view. Photo by j a-b

We snag our usual pod, and Alaska John takes care of us. Horses graze in the field under sunny skies, and—for the moment—a warm breeze blows. Griffin takes off on an adventure with his parents switching off. He’s not much interested in dinner. Me either after some foundation meeting pizza. But it’s just lovely to sit out in the air, watch the boy, the horses, be with family.

#randomkatness saving snacks division. Photo by Kat
Playing with letters.

It starts to cool, and we’ve still got gathering up and packing to do.

Back home, several of us are in or around the kitchen doing just that, and I happen to glance over as Griffin pulls open what was the cookie drawer. And pulls out—triumphantly, like Arthur pulling the sword from the stone—the 10-inch kitchen knife Kat sharpened. Housekeeping must have put it there during clean up.

I dive, grab the handle, surely shouted. Kat sees, dives, grabs. This boy is strong, and does his best to yank the knife back. I have an instant of terrible visions of blood and tragedy before we pry his fingers off—he’s even grabbed the blade.

Griffin keeps his fingers—no damage, no blood—and we put the knife way out of reach. It takes awhile for my heart to reach a level beat.

The last Montana Daddy Dance helps.

Cool this morning, and rain coming in. I expect we’ll take off in it—not my favorite thing. All packed up, and about time for those Mom Checks.

One last look. Photo by Kat

It’s been a great two weeks in a beautiful part of a beautiful state.  A fun and happy time with family—and that’s so precious. We’ve packed up memories as well as our things, and can pull them out again any time at all.

Nora


#randomkatness to the nth degree: foraged fur Photo by Kat
Using what’s hand to spin.

And a kiss from Griffin to close the travelogue. ~Laura

Montana – Day 15

Just a gorgeous day for a ride. We head out—sans Kat and Griffin—right after breakfast. I think it’s been about three years since I’ve been on a horse, and I’m looking forward to some time in the saddle.

Jenna and Indy. Photo by BW

Jenna’s our guide, and the woman who gave Kayla and Jason their fundamentals instruction picks our mounts. BW—the tall guy—gets Rio—a big, handsome blond. Kayla’s gets Indy, a chestnut, the same horse she did her lesson with. Jason draws a sweet-looking black called Oops.

BW and Rio. Photo by Nora
Kayla and Indy. Photo by j a-b
Jason and oops. Photo by j a-b

A stallion got into the mare pen one night. Result: Oops.

I have another pretty black called Rowdy.

Up we go, one at a time so Jenna can adjust cinches and stirrups. And we start off on a day sunny and bright, pure blue sky, and neither too warm or too cool.

Ready to head out.

Ahhh.

Our guide has the lead, followed by Rio, Indy, Rowdy, then Oops. Rio’s ready to go, sets a nice pace. Indy, however, just isn’t much into it, and Kayla has to work to get him to keep going. Rowdy makes it clear there’s an invisible horse between him and Indy.

Give that invisible horse some room!

Oops, however, is very into it and tailgates Rowdy—nose firmly planted to butt. After awhile of this, since Jenna told me Rowdy doesn’t much like being passed on the trail, and Jason’s having no luck convincing Oops to back off, I pull over, pause, let Oops go by.

Rowdy’s content to more or less plod—no problem for me, but at one point I urge him into a little trot to catch up.

Oops now has his nose in Indy’s butt, so Kayla lets him go by. He did consider passing Rio, but the big guy just gave him a look like: Seriously, bro? And he fell into his place and kept a respectful distance.

It’s just beautiful, and there’s nothing like seeing the forest and mountains on the back of a good horse. All the trees, the spread of lupine, the hills and peaks and green fields, all under that blue sky.

It’s just a lovely hour, and I secretly rename Rowdy as Zen because that’s how our ride together felt. He turns when I ask, stops, starts, backs up, very cooperative, and never once tries to sneak in a snack. He doesn’t hurry even when he spots the paddock.

We send some time thanking our horses and Jenna—and BW spots the adorable pony, Cookie. She actually turns her head and poses for the camera.

BW and Cookie. Photo by j a-b

Kat sends Jason a picture, showing Griffin discovering the cookie drawer. LOL. Cookies are now up out of reach on the counter.

Treasure found. Photo by Kat.
Cookie coma. Photo by Kat.

Back home for a little work, a little hang out, and producing our annual family panorama. Griffin gets busy tidying the lawn.

Annual pano .

Since I skipped a workout, I take a walk under that big blue bowl of sky before changing for dinner.

A happy meal in our pod—Alaskan halibut—yes, I believe I will.

And ice cream.

Halibut. Photo by j a-b

Back in Scotland I gave Griffin his first real taste of ice cream—and he pretty much pulled the whole cone to his mouth. I haven’t had any luck tempting him with a spoonful this trip, but try again.

Okay, fine, but gimme the spoon. Oooh, yeah, good. And he comes back for more. At one point he’s having trouble digging in and keeping it on the spoon, so I take my spare, try to help. Great! I’ll take both spoons! Then the fork I substituted as my own spoon.

I’ve got it Nana. Photo by Kat.

Oops, some fell on the floor. Well, waste not, want not.

Germ-opposed Kayla is completely against this. The rest of us laugh like loons.

Happy fam returns home, and Griffin is full of joy—and maybe a little high on ice cream. But he finally succumbs to the magic of the Daddy Dance.

Early to bed for most of us after a long, happy day.

Happy as a boy in mud and rocks. Photo by j a-b.

Today’s our last in Montana. We’ll do a foundation meeting during nap time. I’ll do some packing so I’m not rushed in the morning. Workout done, Griffin and his dad are playing outside. I’ll have to go check out the day before we get into meeting mode.

Tomorrow’s—final—blog will likely be late in the evening as I’ll probably write it on the plane and send it off after we land.

Nora

PS!

The intrepid Kat is making yarn out of buffalo fur by washing it, drying it, then winding it on a Sharpie!

I am absolutely joined to her hip when the alien zombies attack.

Total #randomkatness. Photo by Kat. (According to my Google lens it’s a Plectopera or a stonefly – Laura)

Montana – Day 7

We end our first week with a cold rainy day, but we expected it. We girls have our glorious massages booked and head over to Spa Town in that steady rain.

And into our warm individual tents. The table’s heated—ahhh. And that steady rain’s a calming kind of music now. My tech has good, strong hands, and knows what to do with them. Kinks and knots begin to melt. I drift in that perfect plane between sleep and wake, just float there for ninety glorious minutes.

Could’ve stayed right there for the rest of the day.

But home we head, three relaxed girls.

Griffin’s thrilled to see his mom, even when after some play time she convinces him to take a late—for him—nap. He’d slept in a bit this morning as he decided the span between 3 and 5 a.m. made the perfect time to be awake.

Kayla takes a lie-down herself, and I decide to squeeze a little work time in.

We’re cooking tonight, and I expect it to present a challenging experience. I’ve never cooked on a hot plate before in my life. We’re doing a Mediterranean dish with pasta, broccoli and pasta. Jason—as everyone’s off having quiet time—acts as sous chef.

The cooking space. Photo by j a-b

He cleans off a space on the little counter for the hot plate, and shows me how to turn the thing on—a two burner job. While I boil water—takes a while!—I have the new experiences of mincing the garlic Jason’s helped me peel with a steak knife. It’s what we’ve got. It works—but again takes awhile.

Kayla’s up by now and receiving instructions.

Water’s finally boiling—put the pasta on.

Heat oil in the big pot for the garlic (no onions as Kayla dislikes) then some of the spices—this dish has a kick so we’ll save out some of the pasta and broccoli for Griffin.

Jason mics the broccoli we forgot to defrost, opens and rinses the beans.

Broccili and beans. Photo by j a-b

Starting to smell good in here!

Add the broccoli to the pot—this will take a bit of awhile, too, before it’s time to add the beans. I’m now—with the steak knife—trying to chop the fresh parsley that froze in the fridge drawer. Interesting work.

Nearly done. Photo by Nora

Add the pasta, some of the pasta water reserved from that pot, the parsley, some grated Parm—more spices. It smells damn good in here! And others come out of their quiet spots to say so.

Griffin has his butter noodles and broccoli, and the rest bowls of spicy.

Finished! Photo by Nora

Success! A tasty hot plate meal.

I have now cooked a meal on a two-burner hot plate.

Clean up—not by the chefs!—and time for a bath for Griffin.

Excuse me? Photo by Kat

Kayla and I hit the puzzle while BW settles down to work on photos. We stick with it—we’re pretty close—but I didn’t choose an easy one. Bath time must be over as the giggles have stopped. The house gets quiet—just music from BW’s Bluetooth speaker, and our more than occasional mutters re puzzle.

The spread. Photo by BW
One of many views. Photo by BW

That should go there! Why doesn’t that go there? Where is this stupid piece? Where does this equally stupid piece fit?

Closer and closer—and Kayla insists this one piece she’s hunted and hunted for is missing. Piece by piece, we crawl to the finish line.

Hard work. Photo by BW

And indeed that one piece isn’t on the table. Don’t panic! Look on the floor.

And there, with a sound of triumph, Kayla finds the last piece.

And DONE.

Now I want candy. Comment by Laura, photo by BW

Flushed with our accomplishment, we head to bed.

Woke to a cold 32 degrees, and a lovely mist rolling over the far field. The day promises to warm considerably—thank GOD!  By the time I work out, and Jason and Griffin have their morning routine, it’s about 50. That right there’s warmer than it got yesterday.

The Breakfast Crew is off, and Kat and Griffin are watching one of Griffin’s shows/segments on the IPad. He is VERY involved. I hear a resounding YAY!! So something worked out well.

He gets a trip to the Apothecary today for a kiddie session—they make slime. What could be more fun?

Sunny and bright now, and supposed to stay that way.

It’ll be nice to grab some outdoor time today after a cozy indoor day.

Nora


Meanwhile, from the Travelogue Editorial Desk: Kat captures Griffin verbalizing all Laura’s feelings when dealing with repetitive questions and silly comments. Punctuated by the nose to sleeve.

And, since turnabout is fair play. It’s not always sunny at the beach office.

Curtains of rain. Photo by Laura

Montana – Day 17 into Departure

Our last day starts cool and misty. That mist adds a nice, secretive quality to the forest, and the deer that graze through it.

Misty morning/BW

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.

Ready to saddle up with Evan/BW

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.

The most ambitious pano yet.

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.

#Food-a-rama

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. 

And this one surely was.

Nora

In the final #randomkatness for this vacation:

Finished!/Kat

For everyone who has asked, our intrepid travelers stayed at The Resort at Paw’s Up.

Transition Day

I expect one last Montana wrap up post in my inbox today or tomorrow.  (There were 20 new photos in the shared album when I got up this morning — the usual indication of a great day.)  But since our intrepid travelers gather their gear and head east today while I move Control Central from Maryland to the beach this is a quick break.

Nora could stick to her habit and write up the post before they leave, but I’ll be on the road for six hours starting at 10 am my time so the likelihood of a Montana Day 17 post is tomorrow.

While it’s hard to get over post vacation blues, the fall swings into action with Leverage in Death (and Nora’s fall trip to NY) and doesn’t stop until Of Blood & Bone is in your hands.  And, of course, in between the two we’ll meet Young Master Pong Aufdem-Brinke.  

I’ll pop in with some beach photos over the next few weeks along with regular updates on books and such.  If you’re curious about what I do when Nora’s not around you can follow me on Instagram here.  BTW, don’t forget we now have official IG accounts:  Nora Roberts and JD Robb.  I’m having great fun regramming readers photos of books and where they read them on both pages.

Plus, coming really, really soon: the Of Blood & Bone excerpt.

See you on the beach side! (I’ll be working in the chair to the right.)

Laura

Montana – Day 16

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.

Evil conquered!/NR

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. 

Horse parade/BW

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.

Nora

#Food-a-rama

In today’s #randomkatness:

Kat

Montana – Day 15

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. 

Apothecary class results/NR

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.

Warmth/j a-b

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.

Family by the fire/BW

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!

#Food-a-rama

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!

Closer to evil puzzle domination/NR

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.

Nora

In today’s #randomkatness

Potential Kat toys/Kat

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. 

Montana – Day 14

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.

Artful pano selfie —  please note sign by NR.
Photo by j a-b’s phone.

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.

Old Gringo Lavender/NR

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.

#Food-a-rama time!

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. 

Fawn/BW

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.

Nice.

Nora

In today’s #randomkatness

S’mores personality test
Caption by Laura/Photo by Kat

Note: Was there any doubt on this??? ~Laura

Montana – Day 13

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.

Puzzle of evil/NR

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.

The scene/NR
Long table/j a-b

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.

#Food-a-rama

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. 

Mudslide Charley Band/BW
https://www.mudslidecharley.com/

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.

Bedtime.

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.

Nora

In today’s #randomkatness

Zinnia/Kat

Montana – Day 12

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.

Palette/BW

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.

Painting encampment/BW

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.

Kat’s vision/BW

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.

BW/Nora/Jason/Photo by BW

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.

Artists and their paintings/BW’s phone

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.

Evening gallery:

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.

Spa village/NR

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.

Nora

#Food-a-rama

Kat

In today’s #randomkatness

Cowboy pillow/Kat