Sunday, March 4, 2018

It's Snowing in Montana

Today a friend and I left Billings, MT about 6:00 am to head for Helena, MT for a conference.  
The drive is usually a 4 hour drive.  Today it took more than 6.  There were long
stretches where you couldn’t see where the road was.  We passed many semi’s that had
gone off the road. I posted this picture on facebook via my phone. It was much later when
I read the comments.

Family and friends thank you for your love and concerns. It touched me. We arrived safely.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Writing a Memory, Day 3 #SOL18

Instructions:  Think about a memory.

It was our wedding day.  I had just come out of the bathroom and he was across the
room.  I was wearing my wedding dress and a hat with a short veil.  When he saw me
I saw his eyes soften and such love.  It was also the first time he had ever
seen me in a dress.  I remember the roses I was carrying.  The stems were
covered with a beaded cylinder.  I remember feeling the hard floor as I
walked towards him.  

We went into the kitchen area. Balloons hovering, kissing the ceiling.
Strings dancing.  The whirring fan. Food ready to put out. Carol was taking
pictures.  Through the window we could see people arriving.  A white faced Dan,
asked: “Are all those people coming here?”

We walked out holding hands, our friends and family standing.  Smiling.  

I had asked Angela for a short wedding ceremony.  From the time we
walked out and said I do - 9 minutes had passed. We weren’t the only
ones that were nervous.  Angela forgot to tell the guests to sit down.  
So they stood standing throughout the wedding ceremony.

Hailey, my new granddaughter stood eyes just above the table.  Little hands
reaching for the cake.  Her brother just beside her.  I kept moving her
hands away from the cake, while we waited for the knife.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Weren't We Her Forever Home?

This last week we babysat two year old, Misty, a black Labrador.  Her
pet-parents were driving to California to watch their granddaughter’s
dance competition. this would be the first time she had been
away from her pet-parents.

Our two dogs, Baby and Tank held a diverse opinion about her early
presence in our house.  They both were convinced she was staying forever.
Baby, our 8-1/2 year old black Labrador was tolerant
but not thrilled.  Baby thought it was past time for her to leave. During the
first couple of days. Baby would come to me with her eyes and ask,
" When is Misty going home?"

Tank, our black Lab/Dane cross, loved to run and play with her.  However,
if she got too close to Dan, Baby or me he would step in front of her
and move her to a different area of the room.  Dan and I noticed that the
last couple of days Baby had started playing more with Misty.

Misty’s pet parents called and told us they would be over in about 20
minutes.  When they walked through the doors she went topsy turvy.  
She kept trying to jump on her people.  Tank began to growl
at Jim.  Tank did not like him pushing her away.  

Jim laughed and said: “You fell in love, she’s your baby. You want to protect her.”

When they left Tank looked so forlorn.  He watched out our picture
window as she walked away.  His friend had left.  

Tank finally left the window, head hanging low. He didn’t understand why his
friend had walked away. How do you comfort someone who has watched their
friend walk away?

Baby came over to me and looked really sad; as if to say: “Why
did she leave?  Aren’t we her forever home?”

Challenges, #SOL Day 1

I re-read the post on this month’s Slice-of-Life Challenge for the umpteenth time.  I have always enjoyed the writing and commenting.  So why the hesitancy?  I am juggling to many things and from time to time I hear those balls turn into water balloons and go splat as they fall to the ground.

My friends keep telling me I need to say no.  I have been responding I have been
saying “no”.

Martha said, “Ruth I want evidence of this.”

You know they don’t believe me when they say things like that.

It has been a busy year.  It has also been filled with many opportunities to learn and grow.  
Like all such opportunities it comes with setbacks, struggles, and self doubt.

I am a “History Geek”.  I have been a member of the TPS Teachers Network since 2013.  
TPS stands for teaching with primary sources.  The Network is housed and run from
Denver and is one of the Library of Congress projects.  Anyone can join you just need
to register .   There are a number of groups
that you can join, everything from Civil Rights to See, Think, Wonder:  Primary Sources
in Early Childhood.  The TPS Teachers Network started in 2012 and has
been steadily growing.

People post about primary sources they have found, lessons they are working on,
questions they have, things they are looking for.  It is a great place to network
and grow as a learner.  This fall I had the opportunity to go through some
training to become one of their newest Mentors.  
It was a humbling experience as I quickly learned how much I didn’t know.  

This morning someone linked a source for Elementary Lessons and Primary Sources
from Colorado

If you know of other great resources I would love to hear about them.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Some Words Come With Their Own Baggage

Back decades into the last century when I was a young Society."  I asked my older sister what the John Burch Society was?  I remember she was quiet for a long time.  Then she said: "You know how Dad is about the flag and stuff?"

"Yeh", I said.

"The John Burch Society is about 100 times more than Dad about the flag."

"OHHHHH",  I said.

Fast forward many years.  I was attending a grant writing seminar.  One of the participants was a Lakota man from South Dakota.  During a conversation I said the phrase, "They Jewed him down."

He looked at me, I saw him weighing his words before he responded.

"Where did you grow up?"

"Southern Idaho"


"May I tell you a story?"


"Some years back I was part of a committee working on a project.  We were to receive a major grant to finish funding the project.  Three of the funders came out to our reservation to look at the paperwork and sign the final documents so we could move forward.

One of our tribal members had been working hard on the budget and many of the line items were coming in under budget.

The three visitors looked over all the papers we had submitted.  Finally one funder addressed us."

"You originally asked for X-dollars.  I notice the actual amount in this final report is much less.  How did you do that?"

My friend answered, "I jewed that company down.  Saved us a bunch of money."

The funder looked at my friend, then he looked at the other two funders.  They looked back. They put their papers back into their brief cases.  Latched them, stood up and walked out the door without saying anything.

Five million dollars walked out with them.  Three years of planning poof it was gone."

He waited patiently as I processed this story.  I am sure if I would have been drawn in a comic strip a light bulb would have been hanging above my head.

"Ohh, jewed Jewish.  Oh my lands I never made the connection".

He looked at me and said, "Every time you say it remember my story."

I worked hard to remove this epitaph from my vocabulary.  This word I had heard often from my father but never new the meaning the racial slur that it was.

There are so many of these racially deplorable words peppered in our vocabulary.  Think of the word "gyp - to cheat or swindle".  Where does it come from?

Some words come with their own baggage.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Nevertheless the People of Montana Persist.

Montana is a land of great diversity.  Mountainous western Montana is classically breath taking. Eastern Montana has a semi-arid steppe (dry grassy plain) climate.  It is rugged, it can be unforgiving.  It has strength, and endurance, it perseveres.

Place has an impact on the people who live there.  Eastern Montana has been home to Native American tribes and homesteaders.  The land is arrid.  Water is life.  Who were the people who lived and struggled here?  Tough, no nonsense, self-reliant, determined people.  Even as there was conflict between the tribes and the unwanted immigrants (homesteaders). The land fought its own battle for dominance, it demanded respect.

When the homesteaders came the grass was lush. Journals tell of grass up to a man’s knees. Everything was in bloom. They settled.  They proved up the land, a cabin, a corral, sometimes even chickens.  Four or five good years.  Then the drought came.  People couldn’t make a go of it.  Many left with just the clothes on their back.  Old timers told me of going into the abandoned cabins and dishes were still on the table.  People of Montana persisted, they persevered.

Fast forward about a 100 years.  In 2011 the rains started, the floods washed out roads. The land bloomed.  It was lush, it was seductive. The grass came up to my husband’s knees.  

Here is a type of beauty that reflects strength, endurance and persistence.  Here is where many of the Indian Wars were fought.  Here is where dinosaurs still hide waiting to be uncovered.  Here a fire can smolder for decades in an underground coal seam.

Nevertheless the people of Montana persist.