Thursday, March 26, 2015

#26, Playing with Pensee Poem and Photos

Small striped beggars

Bold, scampering quickly, gone

Top of Beartooth Highway, rest stop
Funny, charming varmint

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

#25, Breaking New Ground - Medicine Crow Middle School

President Obama awarding Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Photo Credit: Bacone College

Our district just broke ground for a new middle school.   It is being named after Joe Medicine Crow.  Joe is 101 and an amazing storyteller.  He is a Crow historian, a  decorated WWII veteran.  In 2009 President Obama bestowed the nation's highest civilian honor - Presidential Medal of Freedom on him.

I have been fortunate to hear Joe tell about when he and other committee members worked to have the museum built at the Chief Plenty Coup State Park.  He told us he and other Crow tribal members (English was their second language) worked with a Czechoslovakian architect (English was his second language) to build the museum.  Joe and the others stressed the importance of having the main door facing East.  Everyone agreed and went on their way.  When the committee came back together that fall they went out to the park to find workers in the final stages of the project.  Workers who only spoke English.   The important East facing door nowhere to be seen.

I remember him saying, "Now imagine some Crows trying to talk to that Czechoslovakian, who then had to explain it to the workers.  It was too late to put in a door, so we had them put in a circular window instead.  Someday if they ever build on maybe we will get the door."

When I first heard this story I marveled at the process of building such a structure.  The work, the translations, the frustrations and the celebrations.  I was joyful when I learned the new school would be named in his honor.  I was saddened by some of the comments that some people made.  We are still breaking ground in society.

His autobiography "Counting Coup" by Joseph Medicine Crow, is an amazing story.  (It only tells his early life through WWII.) It is a fast read and recounts how he returned home and recounted his military experience to the elders. As he recounted his experiences it was determined that he had met all four War Deeds and had earned the right to be a War Chief.

Joe is an amazing man, always with a twinkle in his eyes.  He once told me he wanted to live longer than his mother.  She lived to be 113.

It will not surprise me when he accomplishes it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#24, Wall Dogs and Ghost Signs

Who or what is a Wall Dog?  Until yesterday I didn't know.  Clue - Norman Rockwell was once one. How does a Wall Dog connect to Ghost Signs.  Ghost Signs are those old fading advertisements that were painted on buildings.  In one of the communities there is one painted on an old grain elevator.  The elevator hasn't been in use for at least 50 years and the sign is crystal clear.

I was reading the recent copy of "Montana Magazine" and came upon the article "Ghost Sign Scrutiny" by Claudia Rapkoch .  She says wall dogs were sign painters hired by companies to paint advertisements across the country.

I loved this quote from the story by Nancy Bennett- "Wall dogs is what the old-time painters were called that did the company signs like Bull Durham and Coca-Cola.  They earned the nickname because they worked like dogs on the wall all day," she said. "We honor and respect the history of these signs by developing a plan that accurately restores the original colors but doesn't make it look too new."

We have quite a few ghost signs in Billings.  I think it would be a cool citizen history project to photograph and document the signs that still exist in our communities.

The Wall Dogs are a group of sign painters and muralists that are trying to keep the old skills alive.  I found their website here

Further Exploration

Ghost Signs of Fort Collins

Ghost Sign Weekly

Meet the Ghost Sign Hunters

Ghostsigns The Ads

Flickr:  Ghost Signs

Ghost Sign Project

Monday, March 23, 2015

Living Gluten Free: the Journey

My journey with living gluten free actually started a few years ago after reading a Slice of Life .  I started reading about "One Little Word".  I chose health for my one little word for 2013.  A positive word.

What followed was much different than I imagined.  I was starting with a new doctor and new tests.  He was concerned with my liver level enzymes.  More tests - I was not hearing back from the good doctor so decided to try my own research.

I started with Mayo clinic website.  As I looked at possibilities many I was able to eliminate out of hand.  Towards the bottom was "gluten sensitivity" could be the culprit.   My mind thought ah this will be an easy check.  I have a new test in two weeks I will eliminate gluten and see if it makes a difference.  (For those who understand, yes I was NAIVE with capital letters.)

I went gluten free, I was clueless.   About two weeks in we met friends for dinner.  I ordered the broasted chicken and peeled off the skin thinking problem solved.  Before we left my stomach was queazy.  We got home - I spent the next three hours in the bathroom, vomiting and coping with problems on the other end.

I realized that peeling the skin off did not solve my problem.  The meat was pressure cooked forcing the gluten into the meat.  I also realized that I did have a sensitivity.

The next round of tests took me to a new doctor.  I asked about testing for gluten sensitivity.  She said that in order to get a good reading I would need to be eating gluten when they tested me.  Once the results were back the only thing they would tell me was not to eat it.  I decided to skip the tests, I already knew that answer.

Sadly it was not the answer to the liver problem.  They decided they had no answer and would continue to monitor.  I have now been living gluten free since January 2013.

Fortunately I have many more choices than people had even five years ago.  Then there is the internet, lots of support.  I have friends and family who look for new foods to share.  And I have a husband who reads labels.  I am truly blessed.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

#22, The Egg and I

Full disclosure the egg and I have a love hate relationship.  I am not crazy about eggs.  I do however order omelets with lots of cheese, meat, etc.  Scrambled eggs, and bacon is fine.  I used to love quiche.   I hate trying to clean after cooking eggs.   Since eating gluten free for the past 2-1/2 years I don't order quiche when I eat out.

Now my husband loves eggs. Fried, poached, fried, did I mention fried.  Now when I eat eggs I want them hard.  I detest runny eggs - to me they look like they are still raw.  You guessed it he likes his soft.

When we were first married and I was trying to please him in all things I would cook eggs.  However, instead of enjoying my effort.  He felt it was a teaching moment - I should be instructed in exactly the way he wanted them prepared.  He would let me know what was wrong with how the eggs were prepared.  Needless to say I was not very thrilled.  First I was trying to please him and second I didn't like eggs to start with. I especially didn't like cooking them.

Eventually I got to thinking.  "Self how is this working?  Are you pleasing him? - No!  Are you pleasing yourself? - No!"

I decided to let him know that if he continued to complain about how the eggs were prepared I would stop cooking them and he could cook his own eggs.  Hm - he did not believe me.  I warned him a number of times.  Then the next time he told me he wanted eggs I sweetly explained where the kitchen was, where the pans and spatula were as he would need to cook them himself.

He still asks me to cook eggs - and I remind him that I gave him many warnings about what would happen if he continued to complain.  His answer is always, "But how would you know how to do it if you didn't know it was wrong?"

I smile at him and say, "How did that work for you?"

He answers, "I will probably starve."

"That is a possibility.  Or you might decide to prepare them yourself."

When he is desperate he prepares them himself.  Then he mutters, "You used to cook them for me when you still loved me."

"Honey, I still love you.  I used to cook them when I was still trying to please you.  When I realized that I couldn't,  I decided to please myself.  Now you can make the eggs how you want them."

Yes the egg and I have a love hate relationship.  Once or twice a year I will choose to cook him eggs.  He is always verbally appreciative.  He also tells me I usually get it right.

"Now will you cook them for me on a regular basis?"

I smile and shake my head, "Honey, that option is no longer on the table.  I really don't like eggs, I especially don't like cooking them."

Dan and I have been together about 14 years, in July we will celebrate 9 years of marriage.  Back to my story - the egg and I have a love/hate relationship.   Dan loves them, and I hate to cook them.