Montana – Day 4


I decided to spend a couple hours in NYC, circa 2061, and had a fine time. The lovely morning meant I could start out writing on the porch—so nice to sit in the fresh air, hear the wind surf through the pines. Even if murder is the order of the day.

Finished up inside at the bedroom desk once the sun got strong enough to glare on my screen.

And all done just in time to walk with Jason and BW to lunch—our mama-to-be drove. We detour to visit the horses, and the one drinking, close to the fence, gives the three of us a look.

Eve Dallas’ worst nightmare: they multiplied./BW

I’m not in the mood for a ride today, the look says, so bugger off.

He swishes his tail and walks away.

I fall for the grilled cheese again because why not go for comfort food?

It’s a gorgeous day, but going to get close to triple digits, so time, when we get back to close the windows, turn on the AC. A little time to unwind, then Kat and I have a big treat.

Competition/j a-b

Painting under the willow—huge, fabulous willow with lots of spreading shade—near the main resort. There are five of us at long tables with wood canvases, looking out at the pretty spectacular view. This is billed as abstract. Our instructor is Danielle, and sets us up with globs of oil paint on our pallets, and a little cup of oil to thin the paint as we go. We’re working with two brushes, two pallet knives (a new one for me).

My take is we’re to paint what we see, sort of sketching it out—long lines or curves or whatever—then filling it in. Apparently I saw brilliant fall as my colors ended up seriously bold.

I glance at Kat’s now and then, just shake my head. The girl has serious skills, and there’s no abstract there. What she has is a soft, soothing, yet dramatic rendition of the landscape—the hills, fields, sky, clouds—she even adds in a couple horses some clumps of wildflowers.

Kat’s painting/NR

Danielle claims mine is Van Gogh-esque. Bless her sweet heart. Believe me, I won’t be cutting off an ear any time soon.

Nora’s painting/NR

It’s great fun, and entertaining to see how everyone’s turns out so different. Danielle works with us, makes suggestions (not so much with Kat, as why bother?) I admire the meadow of flowers in the painting on Kat’s other side, and Danielle gives me some pointers on how and where to make some of my own.

I like it!

It’s a terrific way to spend a couple hours. They’ll ship our paintings when they dry—as oil takes time unlike the acrylics I’ve used in Paint and Sips.

I think mine may dry in a year or two as I had a lot of fun with the pallet knives.

Kat and I agree we’d absolutely do this again, and try to convince the guys to try it with us.

Back we go, a little break before it’s time to head back over for dinner.

And we spy our class paintings inside a room—if you stand well back from mine, it’s not bad!

Art from a distance/NR

We have dinner in a cabana—pasta and a salad for me, and it’s great. I don’t have much room for dessert, but ask for the raspberry sorbet, thinking I’ll get one scoop. I get three, so that goes around the table.

We’re a pretty jolly group, and as the evening cools we head back. That sky, that sunset—just as amazing as a painting itself. Dusky blue rising up to strong pink that fades into softer blue, all spreading a gilded light over peaks and fields.

We decide to end our evening with a game of Hearts. Kat’s very canny with this game, and runs them before the rest of us can blink. I got a run in later on, but it’s not enough to catch her. BW and Jason jockey for last place. Then, following our house rules, BW (very quietly) takes four hearts to hit 100 on the nose, and goes back to zero to win.

We’ll be keeping our eye on him next match.

I’m up early to workout as BW, Jason and I all have massages booked for ten. Kat’s getting her pre-natal massage Saturday. Jason and I walk—close to a mile, I guess—on a cool, pretty morning.

I have Natalia—and we actually recognize each other from our visit here three years ago. She gives me a blissful hot stone massage that vanquishes even the thought of a kink.

A damn good way to spend a morning.

I suspect we’ll stay in for lunch as we have leftovers—and it’s hitting up to 104 today. Dry heat it may be, but 104 is freaking hot!

I think I’ll settle down with a book, a glass of wine, and let the afternoon heat roll by.

Flower portrait/NR




And in today’s #randomkatness (not sure if this is Kat’s remedy or the resort’s but she took the photo — and Jason supplied the description):

Natural bug protection: cloves and lemon. Kat

20 thoughts on “Montana – Day 4”

  1. Sounds like the perfect vacation to smooth out any work kinks. So glad you’re treating yourself.

  2. Thank you so much for your stories and accounts of your travels, I enjoy them so much as I think your other fans do as well, Montana is such a restful place, enjoy.

  3. Nora – Please! Keep your ears on, thank you very much. You look great with two; one would be icky.

    I have only one question: does the bug protection (the lemon and cloves) work for mosquitoes? And okay, two questions: what books did you bring with you to read on this lovely holiday?

    Have fun, all. Thanks for the window into your amazing world.

    1. It’s supposed to, and is something I’m going to try at home. Right now I’m about 1/2 way through a Spencer novel. Great fun.

  4. Nora, you and Kat have the most beautiful relationship. Most mother in law / daughter in law relationships are difficult but you have raised yours to an art form!
    Not only are you an incredible writer, you are an incredible person Nora. Thank you for sharing your life with us!

  5. Love, love the stories of your vacations almost as much as I enjoy your books. Thank you for sharing your life and your family time with us. No wonder we all feel as if you know you. You have a beautiful family..looking forward to seeing and hearing about the new baby coming soon..You’re a very talented family. Thanks again for letting us into your world.

  6. I’m so glad you didn’t forget eve & roarke, & are making time for them, thank goodness. I see you are not a master of all trades. If i may say, i think let kat stick to painting. Unless you can tell us that she writes well too! Im my book, nobody can compare to your writing. I’m enjoying your travelogue, & looking forward to the next in death.

  7. The only place I’ve seen references to cloven fruit is in The Known World Handbook by the Society for Creative Anachronism where it was a period form of passing aound breath mints. As for the heat, try 110 which was the temperature here in
    Auburn CA last week. I don’t mind the heat so much as all the smoke from the Carr, Freemont and Mendocino fires.

  8. Oh girl….you paint with words!!! The pictures you paint with your books, are masterpieces! Thanks for sharing?

  9. I have read all of your books! My favorite was comes on sundown, just because I love reading about Montana. Do you ever do any meet & greets while you’re in this great state of ours? I really hope that you are enjoying your vacation even though the skies are little smoky this time of year!

  10. It sounds like all of you are having a very tranquil time. I’m glad that Kat is having this pre-baby ,relaxation. Lord knows she won’t have much of that in a couple of months.

  11. Thank you for the peek into your vacations. I truly enjoy the travel blogs. Montana was never on my radar. It is now! I have to say that your painting does evoke a Van Gogh vibe but Kat’s is definately more Cezanne flavored. Sounds like a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

  12. Kat is so clever. I feel like she would be the world’s greatest friend to have. Laura can you ask Nora to please take a photo of the fabulous grilled cheese is anyone gets it again for the #fooddrama it sounds fantastic. I’d love to see how big it is. (Plus grilled cheese is my all time favorite food)

  13. This is such fun to read. My nephew is from Montana so I know all about huckleberry everything. Enjoy it all. Thanks.


  14. Loved both paintings -Kat’s with is warm, soothing colors, and Nora’s bold, dramatic colors. The sunset pictures are perfect, I can almost feel the evening warmth. The still life flower is lovely. The blog is so descriptive, it makes me feel like I’m there. The food looks tasty, especially the artistic one. The lemon with clove is something I will have to try to keep the bugs away. Keep enjoying your Montana vacation.

  15. Hi Nora, Kat and (the guys),
    Wow I just think that the both of you are very talented. I can’t paint but I do enjoy the adult coloring. I have a friend that just blows me away with her coloring. Still if I ever had a talent I would have a hard time choosing between painting and singing. I always see you Nora as a bold personality so I wasn’t surprised to see your beautiful painting in bold dramatic flair.
    I am reading “Come Sundown” and can almost see The Bodine Ranch/Resort with your travelblog.
    It’s wonderful that you are able to visit and relax with your family. I truly believe that nothing is more important than family.
    Tell Kat to enjoy her prenatal massage. She’s so going to love it.
    We have been hitting triple digit heat with humidity for so long I can’t remember what Autumn feels like here in Texas. It seems even winter is hot.
    Today we had almost 3 inches of rain and my daughter and I headed out for Peach Margaritas and tacos. The rain had stopped by the time we arrived so we sat outside in the coolness of the evening. It was a pleasure to enjoy our time together outdoors as it’s been so miserable to enjoy being outside.
    Thank you so much for sharing your family and vacation with us. I’m always looking forward to reading your writing, a blog or a book. Your awesome!

  16. Stunning artwork, ladies! I love the bold colors and post-impressionist style—reminds me not only of Van Gogh, but also of Cezanne and Mondriaan. Lovely work!

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