Monday, August 23, 2004

This One's for You, JCP

My two readers both pointed out to me the frequency of my postings has dropped dramatically in the past month and upon short reflection I agree. But don't be fooled, my mind still fills with all sorts of ideas, my days are still full of notable events (at least to me) and I still have plenty to say. I could try to blame the Olympics for cutting into my time (they have been pretty awesome after all) or I could say that I've been too "busy" to write, but the fact is I just haven't been able to motivate myself. Thanks, Mr. JCP, for shaking the cobwebs from my brain.

Tonight was an amazing evening here in Missoula; the cold, fall-like day gave way to a remarkable night. The clouds all parted and almost vanished, letting the sun brighten the evening sky and make the mountains shine. I got to play some Ultimate, which was a nice way to end a pretty busy day.

Things aren't going so well for Annie and me, which has alot to do with the lack of posting. We're struggling to keep our relationship on course as the long distance starts to take its toll. I haven't written much about Annie; some of that is out of respect for her and some of it is due to my own caution. Annie is a true joy to me, she is smart, cute and for some strange reason she hasn't been scared off by all my defects. But, truth be told, we hit some bumps while we were in France and it caused us both to take a step backwards to reassess our relationship. I can't fault her, she's been through this before and was burned in a past relationship. On the other hand, I've been burned too and I'm not prepared to make life changes or ask her to make life changes until we're both sure it is what we really want. So it brings us to the current impasse, she feels like we're going nowhere and I feel like she is painting us both into opposite corners. It's a little frustrating but I can't say I didn't see it coming. I'm not sure what will happen in the next couple of weeks as we both try to determine what direction to take.

On a lighter note, I saw my first bear of the season on Saturday. I was spending the weekend at the Matelich's up on Flathead Lake. They are building a home out on King's Point near the narrows and the bear, a full grown black bear, somehow was stuck between their house and another developed property. King's Point is the tip of Cherry Point, an area that has been developed slowly over the past 25 years. The are is wild, although it is being transformed into manicured lawns and $500,000.00 homes. There are mountain lions and bear that still wander into areas that are becoming neighborhoods and it is sometimes easy to forget we live on the edge of the wilderness. As best we could tell, the bear we saw Saturday would be close to 7 feet tall standing. The bear apparently destroyed a couple of trash cans sometime early Saturday morning and then hid in the densely forested land between the homes. When we arrived in the afternoon, Lewie Matelich nonchalantly mentioned a bear was hiding in the bushes, about 40 yards from his house. I assumed it must have been a juvenile, drawn to the area by trash. About an hour later I saw the bear, standing in a clearing looking very stressed and pacing nervously. This is never a good sign for bear-human interaction, so we made sure all the kids (there were 17 kids at the party) stayed up on the second level deck. We saw him a little later from a vantage point on the third level (second level above ground) and it was almost funny as he thought he was hiding well, but his bum and ears were longer and higher than the brush he was trying to hide behind. It made for an interesting night, as my friends Karl & Lori Westenfelder and I attempted to sleep outdoors. The Matelich's invited 10 families and me up for the weekend, so sleeping space was at a premium. Karl, Lori and I had planned to sleep under the stars, but the more I laid there the more I bean to see myself as a sleeping bag wrapped appetizer for that bear. As the night wore on, every sound made both Lori and I wake up and then we both had a hard time getting back to sleep. I remembered that one of the Mom's put watermelon rinds in a plastic trash can on the front porch, so Lori and I got up and moved the trash can inside. Then she freaked out about the s'mores makings that she was sure were left down on the shoreline near the fire pit, so we donned our headlamps and cautiously went to the shore only to find everything had been meticulously cleaned. All the while Karl slept through it all. Lori was the first to bail, opting for the indoor basement floor, somewhere around 2:00 AM. Shortly thereafter Karl and I used the lightning we could see south over Polson as an excuse to move inside without admitting we were more than concerned. We never saw the bear again and I hope it snuck away safely.

I'm constructing a little walkway of stone on the east side of my house, an area that has long been neglected. I dug up the old sidewalk and added two cubic yards of dirt and stone. I gathered the flat stones from around Missoula and Flathead and am slowly piecing them together to make a curved walk. I'm planting mums as I go and will fill in the area between the walking path with some type of sedum or rose moss. I think it will be quite nice when I'm done.

I guess that's all for's getting late and I really am rambling. I'll try to post something more cohesive and coherent tomorrow. But I'm off the snide JCP, I'm off the snide.
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