My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Friday, August 23, 2013

SkyWatch Friday: May we have a pause, please?

Please pardon my absence and failure to keep the vacation posts coming lately. I spent several days last week in Havre, MT visiting my mom, and we had a nice time and got quite a bit accomplished, but those visits are never easy for a variety of reasons. I was zonked when I got home Tuesday evening and had a lot to catch up on. Good thing I got a lot of it done on Wednesday, because I spent the next two days down for the count with a monster headache. My body always lets me know when I need to take a break, but I wish its clues would be more subtle! (Of course then I'd just ignore them...)

I'd hoped to finish Part 2 of our Seattle visit early this week but there's a lot left to do on it, and even when I've had some time I haven't felt like blogging or even being online. My in-laws arrive Monday for a 5-day visit so we've been busy trying to get projects done before they arrive and August is history, plus this month has been filled with appointments. All the distractions prevent my feeling focused and creative, especially when it comes to the vacation posts, which take so much time and effort to put together. When blogging feels too much like work and not enough like a fun creative outlet, it's time for a break. The first time BW and I visited our English friends Iain and Sophie, they took us out to dinner at a very fancy restaurant in a historic country house hotel. Iain told us during dinner about the last time they'd eaten there, when he'd felt that the waitstaff was being a tad too eager about whisking away their plates and cutlery between courses. So as one swooped in to abscond with his latest barely-finished dish, Iain put his hand over it and quietly said, "May we have a pause, please?" BW and I just loved that and love to repeat it (usually just to the Universe, there being no waitstaff to say it to - which is probably part of the problem, lol) - whenever things are pressing in on us and we're feeling overwhelmed. Anyway, just thought I'd explain my post's title. Just make sure you read it in an English accent, or it won't sound right. :-)

I still have so many photos from our PNW trip to sort, cull, edit and upload that I've been taking very few new ones. But a handful has accumulated, both local and from my Havre trip, so I'll use this opportunity to share them. I took most of these with the iPad, which sure takes some impressive photos! Hope you enjoy, and I promise to return in September to wrap up our Seattle visit and get us at least started on our visit to eye-candy intensive Victoria, BC! 

Sunrise, July 30

Thunderstorm, Aug 3

Another thunderstorm that same day, illuminated by the sunset
(the white dot in the upper right is a plane)

We had several of these pass by in early August, but got nary a raindrop from any of them. Noooo, that waited till early yesterday morning, since I'd just finished washing the last of our many windows the night before! Grrr...

Muley Schooly :-)

School starts this Tuesday and kids have been showing up at the elementary school across the street since late July to register. But these three mule deer bucks who showed up one morning look more like teenage high schoolers to me! :-)

Soldier Ridge Trail

A new 4-mile walking/biking trail opened near our house a few months ago, and we finally got a chance to check out about 1.5 miles of it with our dogs a couple of weeks ago. Except for a lone jogger we saw near the end of our hike, we had it all to ourselves. It passes through private land and no motorized vehicles or hunting is allowed, which will make it a real treat for us this fall when the weather cools off and we plan to take a day to explore the entire trail.

And now to Havre...

Montana Used Car Lot :-)

Spied this collection of used cars for sale off Highway 87 about 11 miles south of Roundup, MT. Not quite the middle of nowhere, but you can see it from there! ;-)

Hubcap of Doom 

While in downtown Havre to check out their farmer's market, I happened to park next to the vehicle sporting these intimidating hubcaps, so of course had to snap a pic!

Hill County Courthouse

Havre is the county seat for Hill County, and while I think their stately courthouse is quite photogenic, I also took this for sentimental reasons as my late grandmother worked here as the Hill County Auditor. Which was ironic, since she had quit high school over an unbearable math class and its equally unbearable teacher, and wouldn't earn her high school diploma till she was in her mid-80s ~ the oldest person in Montana (at that time, anyway) to do so! She was an excellent auditor, however, re-elected every time she ran until she retired in the early 1970s. Wonder what her high school math teacher would have thought of that? 

As a child in the late '60s, I loved to visit her at work because I'd get to type merrily away on one of the state-of-the-art IBM electric typewriters, writing letters back home to my dad (mom and I would spend a month in Havre every summer). And I'd get to gape at the giant murals painted in the impressive main stairwell.  Mom and I had to go to the courthouse on this visit to register her vehicles, so I went looking for the murals to photograph them. But alas, turns out the building was extensively remodeled in the late 1970s, and the murals were covered up! Sheesh.

Sunrise over Havre

I was up by 6, about three hours before Mom, every morning during my visit so I could let Willow out and feed her. Then Willow and I would drive to the library, where I could access their free WiFi from the parking lot. Sometimes we'd also go for a walk and I'd take photos of some of Havre's old homes and email them to BW, since the library is right near the historic residential district. (Click here and here for two views of my favorite Havre cottage!) On our way to the library on the last morning of our visit, I'd only made it part way down Mom's block when I had to stop to take this sunrise photo. Mom's neighborhood sits atop a hill with wonderful views in every direction, and in this one you can see into Saskatchewan. 

Enjoy more incredible skies from around the world!

Wishing you all a safe and happy end to August and, to those of you in the US, a wonderful Labor Day weekend! See you in Seattle when I'm ready to move my finger on Life's DVD Player from "Pause" to "Play!" :-)


  1. A very interesting trail awaits.

    1. I think it does! It was hard to turn back, but it was getting pretty hot for the dogs.

  2. Looking forward to trail pics.By the way...I read EVERYTHING in an English accent!
    Jane x

    1. Ha, funny chick. ;-) Well if that's the case, then you are really screwing up the pronunciation of my BW quotes!! LOL

      I'm looking forward to TAKING the trail pics. Adventure Jo is coming to visit in October, maybe we'll hike it then (if not before). So far the trail photo is getting all the attention - not the skies, not the deer at the school, not even the Hubcap of Doom? Huh. You never know how it's going to go with a variety post like this!

      Okay, enough procrastinating, more housework and laundry await - sigh.

  3. Amazing billowy clouds and the bucks going to school are priceless.
    Rest and come back when you are refreshed.

    1. Thanks, I am particularly fond of the one of the "school bucks" myself. :-)

      No rest for the weary till my company leaves, but then I do hope to get a chance to relax and recharge. I'll go along with "hazy" and "crazy," but "lazy" days of summer?? No way.

  4. Wow - - your shots are stunning!

  5. Gorgeous skies and landscapes. Love the elk? Are they going to school too? Great photo, have a happy weekend!

    1. Thank you! But you are so busted. Just looked at the photos without reading the caption, didn't ya? Those aren't elk (though that would be very cool!) - they're mule deer. We're used to seeing them around the neighborhood (especially those three "bad boys of summer"), but I thought it was a hoot that they walked right past the building like that!

  6. I love the source of your title. It's important to take a pause and go slow sometimes! :)

    Such gorgeous skies (as usual!). I especially love the clouds. You must have received the storm we got a few nights ago. It was a very windy, loud one that left all the windows quite dirty. Alas, Ayla is also very dirty from it now.

    When I saw the photo of the school I thought those were statues! They're growing some very impressive antlers. Such handsome guys!

    How wonderful that a new trail opened up by you. I would be very excited about that! I bet the dogs will love exploring all of the new scents and sights. :)

    Your solitude mornings while visiting your mom sound wonderful. I love to get up before everyone else, although it rarely happens. The sunrise on your way to the library is gorgeous!

    I hope all goes well next week with your in-laws visit. Hopefully you can catch a break for a while after that and have some downtime!

    1. I agree! And once we hit the road, especially when we got to Victoria, we really enjoyed a wonderful pause and started taking it nice and slow. Such a nice two weeks - in such stark contrast to the month of August! Man, it's been balls to the wall this month.

      I'm so glad you added your full moon pic to SkyWatch! We had a lot of wild storm clouds in late July and the first half of August, but I limited myself to just these two for this post. I'll share the others in future SkyWatch posts when I don't have any current sky shots to share. (Yarite, like THAT ever happens around here!) :-) Your storm was different than ours. Ours was a few flashes of lightning and claps of thunder, and wind and rain that lasted less than one minute. Not enough to do any good, just enough to hurl rain at our clean windows on two sides of the house (and since we open our house up at night, some of the windows got rain on the inside as well as the outside!) When I was running my errands later that morning, everyone in town was talking about how wonderful it was to get that rain! I wanted to dope slap them. Sorry that Ayla got dirty already, but I'll bet you guys will have fun washing and polishing her back to a shiny luster - at least the first time or two!

      Those muleys DO look like statues! And you should see their antlers now. I see them on my early morning walks a lot - sometimes they're standing just a few feet away (pity I don't take my camera along!) And yesterday one of them was just on the other side of our back fence. They are very handsome indeed! The Three Amigos.

      I thought of you when we took that hike and even said to BW, "Mike and Molly and their girls would love this!" The first part of it was a wide gravel path through prairie, and you could see houses in subdivisions in the not-too-distant distance. But then it turned into that narrow deer trail and got all wind-y and hilly (where I took the picture) and turned away from human habitation toward the mountains, and that was fun! I can't wait to follow it to its end. A helicopter flew overhead while we were hiking it and we wondered if someone patrols it by air. They don't want you leaving the trail AT ALL (lots of signs reminding you of that), and provide a poop station to clean up after your dogs. The dogs can be off-leash as long as there are no cows or wildlife around (which there weren't that day). I just hope the locals who don't like being told what to do - or not do - don't screw it up for the rest of us.

      I love early morning solitude too - I'm usually up at least a half hour before BW. Mom used to be up really early, but she's really a night owl at heart, and now she stays up late and gets up late. The first night I was there she had me up till 2am and was annoyed that I couldn't keep my eyes open and finally insisted on going to bed!! I've never been a night owl, ever. By the way, did you notice the sunflowers in the bottom left corner of the Havre sunrise photo? I wish they showed up better, but it was still too dark and I didn't want to wash out the sunrise by lightening the photo.

      Thanks for your good wishes - I was hoping to get a chance to email you before they come, but think our weekend is going to be too busy. I'll do it if I get a chance, though. I owe you a couple now!

  7. Welcome back. And 'may we have a pause' is so much more elegant (and accurate) than the 'stop the world, I want to get off' that I am familiar with.
    I would like a pause of six myself.
    And, as usual, loved your photos. The bucks were enchanting (and I suspect the teachers would prefer them) and the skies filled me with oohs and aaahs.

    1. Thank you! Though my return is temporary. :-) Wish you could get your pause (or six)! I've only had time for a quick peek at your blog in the past week or so and no time to leave a comment, but it looked at a glance like you had your own hands pretty full. I agree with you about the difference in elegance and accuracy between those two phrases. Do people still say "stop the world, I want to get off?" I haven't heard that in ages. Isn't there a song with that phrase in it? Iain has provided us with a few great sayings. "Don't be assing about" is another favorite, though what makes it fun for us is saying it like he does - "aaaaahsing about." :-)

      I cracked up at your "I suspect the teachers would prefer them" line! Right on. :-) Those skies of ours are really something, aren't they? Thank goodness for digital - if we were still having to take rolls of film to the store for developing I'd be broke and homeless thanks to our skies.

    2. Here in Orstraylia we would also say 'aaaaahsing about'. And in fact the only ass we talk about has long ears and beautiful eyes.
      And no, I haven't heard 'stop the world...' in a while. Wishful thinking perhaps.

  8. The new trail looks amazing — something you won't find in a city like Seattle. I love that there are no cars or hunters so you can really appreciate the serenity as well as the scenery.

    Glad your visit went well, but sorry about the welcome home headache — stress overload will do that. I didn't know you were taking Willow along.

    We went to Whidbey and loved it — can't wait to see your photos, because I seem to have forgotten to take many. Mine are posted in two parts if you're curious.

    1. No doubt - you won't find a trail or landscape like that in Seattle! But you might find something very like it east of the Cascades! That area around Ellensburg really reminded us of this area and much of Montana. And we too love that we can enjoy some serenity on that trail too - it's something that can be in pretty short supply around here, especially during the killing season.

      I always take Willow with me to Havre. Mom really loves and enjoys her, and she's such a good girl. It's fun to have her as an excuse to play and go for walks, and she can provide a welcome and much-needed distraction if things get tense between us (which they inevitably do!) Besides, I really enjoy her company on that long, desolate drive.

      I'm glad you loved Whidbey - won't it be fun when we live there? :-) I can't wait to share my photos, but it's going to be a while yet - and of course I'm curious! Just not sure when I'll get a chance, but am hoping to have SOME alone time during 'the visit" - if I don't, I'll go apeshit crazy, I kid you not. Anyway, rest assured I'll visit your posts as soon as I'm able. Sure wish I could have gotten mine done by now - my own fault for visiting such photogenic places with so many photographic devices and no self-control! :-)

  9. Love that shot with the deer... and too bad about the old murals!!

    1. I know! They were done in a Charlie Russell style, and I was really wanting to see how closely they resembled my childhood recollections. I couldn't even find the main lobby/grand stairwell they were in - everything was just drab, sterile offices with lots of walls and deadend hallways. Whomever came up with that great plan was a true blue ijit.

  10. Great cloud shots, I love the deer pic also.

  11. Replies
    1. Thank you, Laura! The skies here give me wonderful photo ops on an almost daily basis.

  12. I'm a sky-lover too! These cloud-scapes just delight me!
    Love those dear deer as well! What a thrill to see them - Even if it is out of their element.
    Keep having fun!

    1. Ah, another cloud-gazer! Bet you get some really great cloud-scapes in Florida! I'm glad you enjoyed these! I have a couple more I took during this time period, but am saving them for a rainy day. :-)

      Those bucks do look most at home in the large field behind our house (two of them were just on the other side of our back yard fence last evening, only their antlers giving their presence away as the sun set!), but they've managed to make themselves look very much at home everywhere they go. We see them tromping around the neighborhood fairly often, which fortunately has a slow speed limit and the deer themselves appear to be quite traffic-savvy.

      It's a weekend filled with cleaning, cooking, mowing and laundry - but we're getting close to being done and then I hope we can enjoy our week with our company! Going to continue to be really hot (upper 90s here most days), so we'll no doubt be hanging out inside, unfortunately. But at least we can look out all our clean windows! :-)

  13. Hi!Laloofah. Welcome back. Your photos are very beautiful. Nice sky shots. Soldier Ridge Trail and Sunrise over Harve photos are very cool too.
    Did you have good days in your mother's house? I hope for your good health. I came home from a three day trip last night. Sorry not to visit you soon.

    1. Thank you, Minoru, for the welcome back and for your compliments! Yes, I did have good days at my Mom's house, and I thank you for your wishes for my good health. You're very thoughtful!

      No need to apologize for not visiting me sooner, as you know I am WAY behind on my own blog and on visiting everyone else's! But I'm eager to see where your travels have taken you lately - you always go to such beautiful and interesting places!

  14. I can certainly commiserate with your post title so with a good English Accent I also say "May I have a pause please!"

    I found the photo of the deer at school especially funny since I just got the e:mail from you about the first day of school and bedlam. I'm guessing the deer are no longer coming anywhere near the place!!

    I really enjoyed the story about your grandmother quitting school over math and then becoming and auditor. I guess it just goes to show that a teacher can really make all the difference. So cool about her getting her diploma in her mid 80s!!

    Since we haven't talked since you got back from Havre, it was fun to hear about your mornings with Willow and the visits to the historic district. I really liked that last sunrise photo. I think those great sunrises follow you around!

    1. I'll BET you can!! I'm glad you did get that pause you were needing, though I'm sure even it wasn't nearly long enough, given what's been going on at work lately and the month that lays ahead....

      We've been seeing the Bad Boys over our back fence and on our walks (saw them napping in the shade of a back yard on a bike ride this weekend - the back yard gate left standing open apparently for just that purpose! Loved seeing that!) But around the school? Nope, they're indeed giving it a wide berth these days! Can't blame them.

      We thought it was very cool that Ging got her GED! She was so pleased about it, it was a real accomplishment. My mom's friend Roland also quit school over a bad math teacher. Roland had one of those brilliant mathematical minds that could do equations quickly in his head, and since he never showed his work on homework or tests (because he didn't need to, and in fact struggled with it if required to), his teacher accused him of cheating. Even when Roland got up and was able to solve the equations the teacher gave him at the black board, the teacher continued to accuse him of cheating. So Roland quit the class and school (I get quitting the class, but too bad he dropped out of school!!) He had a successful enough career running his own construction company, but as one who struggles with math, I have to say - what a waste of an enviable talent!!

      Can't wait to catch up on the phone later this week!

  15. first post never took! Well, what I said the first time, plus, I loved the deer pic. I must say we've never seen them at our school ;-).

    1. I just had trouble with my reply to Jo, too! The gremlins must have figured out I haven't been around to keep them in line lately. Too bad we'll never know what "what I said the first time" was!! Shame on you, you tease!

      Pity about your school's lack of deer exchange students. Think of all the missed pun opportunities - "keep your school bucks on this shelf," "will you sign my deerbook?" Okay, that's all I can think of for the moment, but still... ;-)

  16. So glad you are making a point to 'take a pause'. It's true - we are rushed through 'formalities' way too often. My husband and I make a point (especially at special meals) to tell our server we are 'campers', and to 'forget about us'. And we tip the server well for letting us take up their table for a long time. No fun being rushed through a special meal! And I don't want a rushed version of your trips and photos either - no fun unless it's a pleasurable process for you :-)
    What a neat story about your grandmother being the oldest high school graduate :-) And working at the County Courthouse!! Too bad the mural was covered up :(
    But the cloud shots were super cool, and I loved how you and Willow were out each morning at 6am to catch the sunrise and some wi-fi! Too cute. And the deer visiting the school...awwww!
    I hope you are getting some rest, and that you are being good to your body. Please take care, and we'll see you when you feel the artistic love and joy to create another post!
    *big hugs*

    1. It is important to take a pause from time to time. I've long thought that life should come with "pause," "rewind" and "FF" buttons! :-) I love your story about "camping" at a table so you can savor both your meal and your experience without feeling rushed along.

      I'm glad you enjoyed this batch of photos, and appreciate your patience as I stagger along at a snail's pace with my posts! :-) My in-laws left on Saturday, BW and I enjoyed some "decompression" over the long weekend, and I'm using this week to do a little catching up, resting, and getting back into my routine. I hope to start blogging with enthusiasm next week, and catching up as much as time allows on everyone else's blogs. *Big hugs* back at you, Maya!!


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

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