Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010

We had a nice and quiet Christmas this year. Sure was nice to finally stay home for a change. We had parties and were gone every weekend in December.

Gary had Thursday off from his work, so he got the day to himself. He didn't know he had it off until he got to work that morning and they told him to go home with pay. I had just pulled into the parking lot of the court house when he called me to get him. I was two minutes late getting clocked in. Thursday was also when the court house had their annual Christmas brunch. It is just a small get together before the holdiay and we much on brunch stuff. I didn't think we were going to have a brunch will all the construction going on. When the head janitor told me that the notice was in our last paychecks I told her that I didn't get anything. She said she didn't either. She went and found out that the notice was printed in real small print on our check stubs. I am now one of the employees who don't read their check stubs. I do now. At the last minute I made some cookies for the bunch.

I had Friday off, so spent the day cleaning house. Jennifer had it off too so she helped. I picked Gary up for lunch and he told me that the store was having an inhouse raffle for the employees to win items such has a computer, tv, golf bag and other bunches of goodies. He said with his luck he would win the golf bag because he doesn't play golf. When I picked him up he was waiting outside with a golf bag. I just laughed. He said he actually won the canoe, but one of his co-workers wanted the canoe so they traded. We have an item for the HOG White Elephant party next year.

We rented movies to watch over the weekend, but ended up watching them all on Christmas Day. We even watched a couple movies on tv. I did make it to church in the morning, was too tired to go to Midnight Mass. I fixed dinner and then we just munched all day long and watched movies.

I got a new digital camera for Christmas. I actually knew I was getting it because Gary told me to order it. I did on Monday and it arrived Thursday afternoon. I have a Nikon D5000 digital SLR camera with a 18-55mm lens. I've been snapping photos at home and learning all about the whistles and bells on it. Haven't had a chance to take it out and have fun, but that will come when I go to the dentist on the 4th. I also got a new leather vest, another piece for my village and a scented oil burner.

Gary got a pair of leather gloves and a big jar of mixed nuts and a $50 gift card for The Outback. Jennifer got a new jewelry box, some jewelry and money.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Being a Grandma is Fun

I am a grandma by default. There are 9 grandchildren between my three stepchildren and six live here in Hardin. Three call me Grandma Pat, the others I'm just Pat and that is ok too. The kids range in age from 16 to 3. There are 6 girls and 3 boys.

Carl has two girls that live here, Alexus (10) and Mariah (7). These girls are the ones who call me Grandma Pat and they even call Jennifer their aunt. They really like it that Jennifer has the same name as their mother, even though she spells her name different. The two girls with their mother take tae kwon do lessons from us.

Donnie has three kids and a step daughter. Shayla (16) is his step daughter that we have adopted as ours. Brandon (14), Tristan (8) and Elyse (4). Brandon and Tristan take lessons from us too. To these kids I'm just Pat.

Linda is living in Evanston and she has three kids. Alyssa (13), Andrew (10) and Brandy (3). We don't get to see these kids.

I admit that I had a hard time with the kids calling me Grandma, but it has grown on me and it's pretty easy now. I would tell our friends that we would spend time with Gary's grandkids and they would look at me funny and ask "well, aren't they your grandkids too". You should see people's faces when I tell them that the kids are my grandkids. Some know my three kids and are surprised to see that they have kids this age. Then I have to go through the whole thing and explain how this works.

This weekend we were busy with grandparent duties. Friday night at the basketball game, Elyse and her dance class performed for half time. They were real cute and I got some photos. Not very good because my camera just doesn't have the range, but they will work. Brandon is in 8th grade and he playes in the high school pep band. He plays drums and is real good, he even gets to play the drum sets. I got some photos of him playing, but those didn't turn out at all.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon shopping with Brandon, Alexus and Mariah. We got them gift cards for Christmas. Gary talked to their mom and told her that we would like to take them shopping and out for lunch. The kids were so excited and couldn't wait until after Christmas, so we took them yesterday. Brandon turned down going hunting with his Dad, just so he could spend time with us.

I rode in the back of the pickup with the girls and let Brandon have the front. More leg room for him and he could visit with Gary. I colored with the girls. Been quite a while and my coloring skills in a moving vehicle are rusty.

We plan to take Tristan and Elyse later. The invite was extended to Shayla, even knowing that she wouldn't want to be seen out in public with us oldies.

Even though the kids' mothers are no longer married to Carl and Donnie, Gary and I still get along with them. We didn't take sides when they split and we always talked to Jenifer and Sasha. In fact Sasha works in the court house with me, so I always get updates on what the kids are doing.

Jennifer and I get alot of hugs from Alexus and Mariah. Mariah even got her Aunt Jennifer a gift for Christmas.

Being a grandma is alot of fun, can't wait for more.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dinner Party

December is the month for parties. This past Saturday we were invited to a friends house, Dick & Joan Russell, for a dinner get together. All we had to bring was a dessert or salad. I told her that I would be bringing a dessert.

I made a chocolate cheesecake for the dinner. I made it Saturday morning and it turned out nice. We left Hardin later in the morning to get some shopping done, so packed up our stuff and headed out.

What a nightmare it was getting around Billings on Saturday. Alot of traffic and it was slow going to get anywhere. In order to move around, you better head where the traffic lights were. If you wanted to get on a street without the benefit of a traffic light you probably should have brought a book to read to get across the intersection. The stores were pretty crowded too. We did get some of our shopping done. Gary said that he would never shop during the Christmas season again. It's only this crowded on the weekends when people are off work and the out of towners come in to shop. Just image what this weekend will be like shopping.

We went to our friends the Butterfields house to follow them to the Russell's house. We had been to the Russells once before and it is not an easy place to find, especially in the dark. We got there at just the right time.

There were nine couples at the dinner and we had a great time. It's always a great time when we get to spend it with our friends. The dinner was at 5:30 pm and we didn't leave until 10:00 pm, as I had to get home. The meal was delicious and all the women laughed over stories. One of the girls ( she is a girl only 19) will never be the same. We are getting her educated and her boyfriend doesn't have a chance. Keep in mind that I'm one of the young ones of our group of friends (under 50). That poor girl was blushing all night and her boyfriend sat at our table. He said our conversations were more interesting than the mens.

We were all sent home with a package of Joan's homemade fudge, very yummy, and some lasagne.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tae Kwon Do Party

Last Saturday was our annual Tae Kwon Do and Judo Christmas Party and Awards Banquet. It is held at the Billings Hotel every year.

This is a dress up party and Gary just hates it. Not the party itself, just the fact that he has to wear his suit and tie. He swore that when he retired that he would never wear a suit and tie again. I like to dress up real nice once a year.

This year we spent the weekend with our friends in Billings. Friday night is the Toy Run party, Saturday is Tae Kwon Do and Sunday is the Toy Run. Last year we drove back and forth, this year we stayed with our friends the Butterfields. I think they just wanted to see us dressed up in our fancy clothes.

We had to be at the party by 5:00 for a short business meeting and also for the instructors to sign the black belt certificates. We got a run down on what happened during the year and a schedule of events for the upcoming year.

Every year there is a raffle for prizes and this year the grand prizes were a blue ray dvd player and a 27" flat screen tv. There are also other items wrapped up. This year they tried something different. Each school had to make a basket for the raffle. I made our basket with different flavored coffees and teas. It was hard coming up with an idea and I didn't want to make one strictly for a male or female. You don't know who would end up with the basket.

We had our meal and it was very good. We had three different kinds of salads, rice, mashed potatoes and gravy, chicken and roast beef. It was very delicious. There were all kinds of desserts on the table. No chocolate for me to choose from so I was forced to take a piece of raspberry cheesecake. Oh the sacrifices one has to make.

After dinner is the awards. All people who are third degree black belts and above have to come up front. I am the only woman high rank. My job was to pin the roses on the people as they came forward to receive their black belt certificate. I just handed the people their flower, or else it would have been a huge mess. Most of them didn't want it pinned on anyway, just two people did and I didn't poke them. I received an award for 2010 Outstanding Associate Instructor. I was surprised. I received a very nice plaque that we will hang up in our school.

After the awards the fun begins. A DJ is hired every year for the dancing and in between they draw tickets for the raffle items. I buy $10 worth of tickets. After a drought for the past couple years, I did win a small raffle item. I got a mobile organizer. Not sure what I will use it for, but have decided that I already have a white elephant item for our HOG group next year. I didn't win any of the big prizes, but then there is always next year.

All dressed up
My award

Monday, December 6, 2010

Roaddogs Toy Run

Jake & Aletha Moran; Gary; Kitty & Dale Butterfield

What a busy weekend we had. Friday night we headed up to Billings for the parties. We stayed at our friends the Butterfields for the whole weekend.

Friday was the Roaddogs Holiday Jam at one of the bars in town, Bones. We go to this place for our HOG meetings and they do cater to bikers. There was a live band and dancing. This year the band was Zen and they play classic rock. Music from the late 70's to the 90's. Funny to think that the music we listened to when we were teens is now considered classic. To me classic rock is the music from the 50's & 60's. We got there early to get a big enough table and to save seats for our other friends who were coming to the party. We got a table right in front of the band so that we can see what is going on. We ate our dinner and waited for our friends to arrive. There were some already there when we got there, so our group had two tables with enough chairs with backs to sit comfortably. To get into the party you either paid a cover charge or you had to bring a toy, we opted to bring toys.

The Roaddogs also auction off alot of real nice stuff, this year the big stuff was a 50" HD tv and a grandfather clock like the one I have. Some of the other items were laptop computers, smaller flat screen tvs, digital cameras, leather coats and more nice stuff. There is also a silent auction at the same time, but nothing that I wanted. At one point Gary was trying to get the bar servers attention during the auction, so without thinking he raised his arm. I grabbed his arm and put it down, then informed him that he just placed a $130 bid on an item. Fortunately he was outbid in no time. Whew. All the money raised on Friday night is then spent on Saturday morning for the toys to deliver on Sunday. The paper reported that $23,000 was raised. We had a great time with our friends and dancing to good music. We left the bar at 12:30 and then stayed up and visited with our friends until 2:00 am.

We slept in a bit on Saturday morning, got up around 8:00 which for us is sleeping in. Also our friends were up and about and it would have been rude to be lazy. Saturday was our tae kwon do party, but all of that info will be in another post.

Sunday morning we packed up our clothes and loaded our truck up and then went down to the fire station to meet up with our friends and be in the Toy Run Parade. The Christian Motorcyle group hosts a breakfast for everyone, they serve biscuits and gravy at no charge, but we leave a donation for them. Got to visit with people and watch the bikers get their bikes ready for the parade. The side streets of Billings are horrible, not plowed and there are deep ruts and ice. It was cold about 20 degrees, cold enough but not below zero like last year. We drove the parade route in our truck. Everyone arrived at Rimrock Mall in one piece.

We managed to find a parking space and make our way into the mall to help unload the toys. I carried in one load then stayed inside and took photos. The goal every year is to bury the Salvation Army tree, which was done in no time.

Gary and our friend Kitty caught a family stealing a bike, a very large bag of toys and a large stuffed animal. I missed it but apparently Kitty saw them carrying this stuff and said that it didn't look right. All of the stuff should be going in and not going out. She turned around and Gary followed her and confronted the family. The items they were trying to walk out with were already delivered to the tree. The guy said that he though that this stuff was for anyone "poor" to take. Anyway, the toys were taken back and delivered to the tree. What kind of dirt bag would steal from the Salvation Army.

My photos of the weekend are posted on my Picasa site, but here are a couple from the parade.
The trucks loaded with toys.
The Salvation Army tree getting buried.
Didn't take much time to bury the tree.

Friday, December 3, 2010


We had a nice and quiet Thanksgiving at the Liming house. The weather wasn't great, had alot of snow and it was cold, but started to warm up. I cooked up the meal with our favorite holiday foods. We had invited some guests to come, but only one was able to make it. The other one got called in to work. I was afraid that we wouldn't have enough turkey, but there was alot of meat on that 10 pound bird. We did have our leftovers.

I took Black Friday off, not to go shopping for the big deals, just because with the schools closed for the holiday work would have been very long and boring. Jennifer had to work Friday morning, so we decided to go shopping when she got off at 3:00.

We left Hardin around 4:00 pm. Jennifer didn't get off work until 3:30 and by the time she got home and changed out of her uniform it was 4:00. We stopped at Wal-Mart as I got my photo Christmas cards done and needed to pick them up. I also had to get the stuff for my basket I'm making for our Tae Kwon Do party on Dec. 4. We got all of our must haves done and now to the fun part.

A couple years ago I started working on a Christmas Village. I have quite the collection of buildings, now I need people and the little stuff that makes a village. That is a hard quest this year. Normally I am able to get the village stuff at Wal-Mart, but not this year. We even looked in the mall and nothing. We stopped off at Target to look, nothing. I decided to check out K-Mart and if nothing then we could go home. I found paydirt. Picked up some people for my village and I'm happy. Couldn't believe how hard it was to find Christmas Village stuff. I did get some ideas on what to get Jennifer this year. Told her not to buy stuff she needed with Christmas coming.

We had a good time and enjoyed ourselves. The best part was no snow, had good roads and good weather. It was on Saturday when I found out about the Christmas parade Billings has on Friday night and we missed it. It would have been fun going downtown and strolling the streets. Maybe next year.

It snow again on Sunday all day and night, this time we had wind so that caused some drifts. Monday morning the front of my car was all drifted in. Fortunately the back was clear so I was able to get in and out of the driveway. In one week we have had 2 feet of snow on the ground.

I know that it is winter and we do get snow in Montana, but do we have to get it all at once. Gary bought a snow blower last year with the theory that once he bought it, it wouldn't snow again. Good investment, he has been out several times already blowing the snow. He does our neighbors walk too. Just in time for the state snow plow to plow all that snow and then some right back on the sidewalk.

The city has been printing the snow removal code in the paper and the briefs. Property owners are required to have the snow removed from their sidewalks four hours after the snow or by 11:00 am which ever comes first. Also property owners are not allowed to put the snow in the streets or gutters. Some people do and some don't. Even the city wasn't very fast on clearing the city owned sidewalks. It was a couple days after the last storm that the city removed the snow off of their walks. We are so glad that Mom's neighbors take care of her sidewalk.

This weekend we are busy with parties and the toy run. Tonight is the toy run party, then tomorrow night is the Tae Kwon Do party and Sunday morning is the toy run at the mall. Will tell you all about our weekend next time.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

White Elephant Auction

Last Sunday was our HOG Chapter white elephant auction and officer election meeting. I was nominated last month to be the chapter secretary which I accepted. Gary will have to teach my class on the one Tuesday a month that I have to go to a meeting. Nobody ran against me so by default I am the Beartooth HOG Chapter secretary for the next two years. I officially take over my duties in January.

The winter storm hit us on Thursday night and continued on through the weekend. There was a small break in the weather, so we took advantage and went to the meeting. This is always a fun meeting. We get great food and can bid on some nice items for the auction.

We left earlier than usual to Billings. Our meeting didn't start until 1:00 pm, but we had to shop for the Thanksgiving meal. Our original plan was to shop after the meeting, but with the storm we decided to get the shopping done first then after the meeting just come home.

The driving lane was pretty good going up, the passing lane was snowpacked and icy. As long as you stayed in the driving lane, you were good. Until we reached the Billings hill, that is where we ran into ice all the way into Billings. We did pass a very slow vehicle and then just had to laugh when we saw where they were from. This young girl (20ish) from Georgia was driving white knuckles and this is on the dry part of the road. Apparently she thought is was cold out as she was bundled up real good. Guess the heater on the car doesn't work. She was going around 40 mph and was probably scared to death when a semi and two pickups passed her. We were the second pickup. I wondered what happened to her when she got to the Billings hill when it was very icy. On our way home the roads were in better condition. The driving lane was clear but the passing lane was snow packed. We got home before it started snowing again.

We made it to Billings in one piece, ate breakfast got our shopping done and headed to the meeting. We were there an hour early, so watched some of the football games in the sports bar. Made our way to the meeting with our goodies. I made a macaroni salad for the meal and we brought a football shaped grill for the auction.

I came home with a new pair of riding boots and two holiday coffee mugs. I got the boots for $24 and the coffee mugs for $2. The boots were only worn a couple times and the lady who brought them told me that she couldn't wear them as they were a bit small for her. I had tried them on before I bid on them and they fit me. There was a nice coat that fit Gary but he wouldn't bid on it. He said what does he need another coat for. Our friends were getting after him for not bidding on it. The coat is a $300 coat and it went for $35.

The box the boots came in said they were a size 7 1/2, but the tags inside the boots say size 7. I normally wear a 7 1/2, but these fit great. A tad big for me in the heels, but just have to wear thicker socks. I figured that when I got them home and decided that they really didn't fit me, I can give them to Jennifer, she wears a size 7. The original price on the boots was $130. Gary rolled his eyes, said just what I need another pair of shoes.We had a good time and enjoyed ourselves. Now I'm gearing up for Thanksgiving. Jennifer invited her friend Arthur over and Gary invited one of our biker friends to eat. Hope I have a big enough turkey. We may not have any left overs.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jackpot Nevada

This past weekend Gary and I took a road trip to Jackpot Nevada. This time last year we went to West Wendover with some friends on a gambling junket and had a great time. This year the deals for Wendover didn't work out.

Gary had two days of vacation to use or lose. We were originally going to take this trip on Thanksgiving weekend, but too many people from the store already put in for vacation on the holiday.

We stayed at Barton's Club 93, the rooms were very affordable $60 a night. The rooms were nice and very clean. The only thing we didn't have was a fridge and microwave like the rooms at Cactus Pete's. However, Cactus Pete charged more for rooms on the weekend, while the 93 kept their prices low.

Jackpot is not a very large town, just has 5 casinos, a gas station and a store. There are shuttles that will take you to the other casinos at no charge, just tip the driver. The shuttles were 24 hours and came by about every 15 minutes. Was not a long wait. Our other option was walking as three casinos are within walking distance. But why walk when you can ride, especially when is was on the cold side.

We left Hardin Friday morning after dropping Jennifer off at work. Had great weather. We stopped in Big Timber for breakfast. We decided to go through West Yellowstone on the way down with a stop in Idaho Falls to get in a visit with Robert. The only weather we ran into was from West Yellowstone MT to Ashton ID. It was spitting snow and the roads were wet, fortunately not slick. Gary had me drive this stretch as I know where to turn off and meet Robert. Had a nice visit with Robert. He had some good news for us, he got accepted into the college program for auto mechanics. He will start Jan. 10. He wasn't sure because they only took 8 candidates and he was 11, but he got in.

Got back on the road, this time Gary drove and I navigated. Wasn't too hard until we got to Twin Falls. You turn into town and then get through the town traffic and have to make a hard right hand turn. There is a funky intersection and if you are not paying attention you can get lost real quick. We arrived in Jackpot at 4:00 pm.

We spent most of our time at Cactus Petes, that one has the sports betting that Gary wanted to do. We mostly gambled at the two casinos Cactus Pete and Club 93. Both are nice and they both have the restaurants and buffets.

I broke even and Gary won this time. I spent my time playing the penny machines, my money lasts longer. I don't know if it is just me but it seemed like the machines were nicer to me at night and early morning. In the afternoons they seemed a bit tight. I also did better putting cash in the machines instead of playing on the cash out tickets. At least that is what worked for me. There were three times when I put $20 in the machine, hit the button once and cashed out anywhere between $75 to $95. I was happy. The first time I did this the woman next to me told me to keep playing. I told her that I was happy, I only put in $20 and I'm walking away with $80. Works for me. Gary won on the football games, which was very nerve racking especially one the game he bet went into overtime. Had to win by 4 or more points and he knew for sure that he would lose. With 30 seconds left in overtime the team threw a touchdown pass. He was pretty excited and jumped out of his chair. It was funny.

We left Monday morning at 6:00. We were going to eat breakfast at Cactus Petes but the restaurant was closed and didn't open until 7:00 am. Only 24 hours on the weekends, why we didn't go back to the 93 I don't know. We decided to eat breakfast in Twin Falls, it's only 45 miles up the road. I was navigating again and reminded Gary that I have never been home this way and don't know where the turn off is. We saw the signs pointing the the interstate and we had options. Instead of turning left we went forward. This actually ended up being the better route. You bypass all the down town traffic, but we missed the restaurants. We ended up eating breakfast in Burley.

We decided to take I-15 to Dillon on the way home for something different. We wanted to see which route was shorter. Turns out there is no difference at all. Going through Dillon then cutting across to Whitehall is about 50 miles more than going through West Yellowstone. If you want a scenic drive, go through West Yellowstone but probably not a good idea in the winter. We lucked out. Time was it the same.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Veteran Day

I just love November. There are three holidays in the month this year and I get them all off. Too bad that they don't fall on a weekend to make it three days off.

I had the day off, so off to Billings to get some errands done. I had to take the pickup to get the oil changed. Wanted to get that done before leaving on our road trip the next day. I was told not to worry it should only take a few minutes. A few minutes at the dealership turned out to be two hours.

The Nissan dealership is not very speedy on getting things done, so I took a book to read. I do have to admit that this is the first time I had to wait two hours to get the oil changed. Naturally there are a bunch of other stuff that needs to be done right now. They made is sound like that I wouldn't be able to leave the lot without getting all the extra stuff done. I just smiled and told the service people that I would tell my husband. I did make it home all right.

Now that I got the "honey do" errand done, it was time for me. I got my hair cut very short this time. It is taking some time getting used to. Still not too sure if I like it, but it will grow out fast. I have been contemplating growing my hair a bit longer again, but I can't get past the shaggy phase. This time I really took care of the shaggy stuff.

Went to the mall and half of my co-workers were there shopping too. I also visited with some of my biker friends who were out and about that day. Walked into JC Penny and they were having a great sale. I was able to buy a new pair of jeans, three shirts and four different pieces of jewelry for a great buy. The jeans were under $20, the shirts were all $4.80 each and the jewelry was under $10. I bought two bracelets and two necklace and earring sets.

It was a very enjoyable day and I had a good time.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Road Trip

Saturday Gary and I went to Missoula for a Patriot Guard Board Meeting. We decided to make the trip in one day instead of spending the night. We figured with the two of us driving, the trip won't be that bad. That's what we get for thinking.

Gary came down with a cold and on Friday night he didn't get any sleep at all. He would cough whenever he laid down, so off to the couch he went. He can at least recline and get some sleep. Once he got up he played on the computer for a while, still coughed here and then, no sleep just some cat naps.

Once he started to sleep, Jennifer woke up to get ready for work. She had to open Saturday morning. He figured he better leave the lamp on in the livingroom so he wouldn't surprise her when she got up. I got up at 4:30 am and immediately told him that I would do the driving, since he didn't get any sleep. This way he could nap in the truck.

We took Jennifer to work by 5:00 am and off we went. Gary started out driving, said he was ok. We stopped in Big Timber for gas and ate breakfast at the little restaurant next to the gas station. Our friends swear by the breakfasts here and said that they serve the best scones. I ordered a breakfast with a scone. It wasn't a scone at all, it was just fry bread with honey butter. It was good, but not as good fry bread as what you can get around here. In my opinion fry bread is not a scone.

I was driving when we left Big Timber. We stopped in Anaconda for a short break. It has been quite a while since I have been west that I forgot Anaconda is not just off the interstate. You go about 6 miles before hitting town. It was a good stop to stretch our legs and get some fresh air. Gary couldn't remember if the meeting started at 12:00 or 1:00 so off we went.

We made it to Missoula at 12:00 pm. Found our meeting place without any problems. We were very early as nobody was there so we decided to find the Harley dealership. According to the signs, it was on the same street as our meeting place, however, we couldn't find it. Must have been further into town. We found a gas station and decided to gas up here that would save us a stop before leaving. Back to the meeting place. We were still the first ones there, so we went inside. The place we met was a casino with a nice restaurant off to the side. We were able to watch some football before the meeting. It wasn't long before the others started to show up.

I can sit in the meetings but I have to be quiet. Since I am a Patriot Guard member I am allowed to attend all the board meetings. They actually got quite alot done and this time they even conducted a real meeting. In Sept. when the meeting was in Billings, the guys made motions and seconds but then didn't vote on the motions. This time they did, they even verified the quorum. The meeting lasted about 2 1/2 hours, we left Missoula around 3:30. They were surprised that we were headed home.

I was driving again, this time we stopped in Butte for a break. I had Gary drive from Butte to Bozeman, just to give me a little break. We ate supper in Bozeman. We ate at Wendy's and this one had a tv with football on. Leave it to Gary to find a football game in a Wendy's. Called in to Jennifer to keep her posted on our whereabouts. Once we arrived in Bozeman, it was a three hour drive home, not bad.

We got home at 10:00 pm and promptly went to bed. Good thing we got the extra hour of sleep in due to the time change.

In the future we have decided that next time the meeting is in Missoula we will spend the night. We were both tired at the end of the day. It wouldn't have been so bad if Gary had some sleep and could help with the driving. We forgot our cd's, so once we got out of radio contact it was pretty quiet driving. Talking helped in that area.

Driving 800 miles is quite boring so we counted how many counties we drove in, came up with 13. We argued if you should count Big Horn county. I said yes, because we had to drive through it to get to the next county. We had good weather, except in Missoula. It was rainy in Missoula. I wasn't able to get any photos because I drove. Gary would have thrown a fit it I took photos while I was driving.

Now we are gearing up for our road trip to Jackpot Nevada on Friday.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Election Day

Every two years I get election day as a holiday. A perk for being a county government employee. Didn't do anything special, just stayed home and got some work done.

Our poll opened at 7:00 am, so this year we decided to get to the polls early. Gary didn't want to use up his lunch hour to vote and he didn't want to wait in line after work, besides we have class on Tuesdays and wanted to relax after getting home.

In Montana you can vote absentee any time, you don't need a reason. We did that one year and liked it. We had time to go over the ballot and read the initiatives real good. At the polls you kind of feel rushed, especially if there is a line.

I got a sample ballot for our precint and that helped too. We were able to go over the ballot and read the initiatives real close. The wording on those can be tricky at times. One of the Montana initiatives you had to vote for it to be against it. That can be confusing.

Gary and I were the first ones in our precint to vote, I was #1 and he was #2. I was surprised at how many people voted at 7:00 am. There were quite a few coming in. Jennifer didn't want to get up early so she voted before she went to work.

Now that I voted, I have plenty of time to get some house work done. I got caught up on some laundry. The only thing I didn't get done was clean out the refrigerator, will do that this weekend.

Mom was still here, so we went out for coffee and had a good visit. Then it was time to get home and take Jennifer to vote and work. While she was voting I sat and waited. The town of Hardin has three precints and we all vote at the Middle School Auditorium. While I was sitting there were some voters wondering who I was. One of the judges said that I was a poll watcher. I was just waiting for Jennifer.

It didn't take her long, she was in and out. Took her to work then picked up Gary for lunch. After taking him back to work my plan was to clean out the refrigerator, but I ended up taking a nap instead.

That was the extent of my day, just stayed home and relaxed. Did get a couple things done just not all of it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween Party

Last Saturday we attended a Halloween party at our good friends Dean & Lynn in Billings. We got an invite many months ago and the only rule was that we couldn't dress up as bikers. We do enough of that anyway.

We thought long and hard and what to dress up as and finally decided on the gangster/flapper theme. I bought our costumes online in September.

Gary's costume came with the pinstripe suit, white tie and shirt. Mine came with the dress, gloves, headband and jewelry. I already had the shoes for the outfit. I bought a wig and tried to find some pantyhose with the seam but that was hard. We bought Gary a fedora hat to wear.

Saturday came and what a busy day that was. First we had a Patriot Guard mission for one of our own that morning. We finished with that in plenty of time to get home and get ready for the party.

I had made a carrot & pineapple salad to take. Figured with the orange and yellow colors that was halloweeny.

While getting ready I was having wardrobe malfunctions with my dress. To start off the dress felt very short and I was thinking that my butt was hanging out. I was assured by both Gary and Jennifer that the dress was fine. The fringe on the dress was down to my knees. The dress was strapless and just had a very tiny piece of velcro to close the back up. Every time I moved that velcro would pop open. I could not find one single safety pin in the whole house. We looked everywhere. Gary finally drove to Pamida and bought a bunch of safety pins.

Now I was ready to go. Gary got his costume on and he decided that he didn't want to mess with the tie that came with it, so he used one of his own. He even found his old shoulder holster and we used one of our practice tae kwon do guns for it. He could have used his real gun, but decided to play it safe. The hat we bought just didn't look right with the costume, so he just wore his dark sunglasses. We managed to get out of the house without the neighbors seeing us.

We arrived at Dean & Lynns and we were right on time. There were 21 one us there, one husband was out hunting but his wife came anyway. Only one guy didn't dress up so he was the group photographer. We had a great time.

Lynn had made 4 different kinds of chili, there was onion chili, chicken and white rice chili, jalapeno chili and chili without beans. We ate the onion chili and it was delicious. She also served up some veggies that you could either make into a salad or just snack on. For desserts that was a chocolate cake, chocolate rice krispie bars, pumpkin bars and dirt(chocolate pudding with crushed oreo cookies on top with gummy worms mixed in).

I took a bunch of photos and put them all on my picasa site that you can check out if you haven't already done so. We had such a good time and we got home before 11:00 pm. We got an invite for next year and now we are trying to come up with some ideas.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy 3rd Anniversary Jason & Jeni

Sending out anniversary wishes to my son Jason and his wife Jeni. They live in Oxnard California and enjoying life in sunny southern California. I have gone out there twice to visit with them, just too far away to make the trip more.

This is how I found out that Jason was getting married. Gary gets a phone call from Jason wanting to know my maiden name. Gary told him and then asked why. Jason said that he needs it for this license thing he is filling out.

I think their original plan was to get married on Halloween but that didn't work, so they got the date as close as possible.

Congrats to you two and later tonight I will have a drink for your celebration.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Anniversary To Me

October 2010 marks my 25th anniversary of working for Big Horn County. Hard to believe that I started working here in October of 1985. Where have the years gone. I can still remember my very first job interview with the county and my first day on the job.

I started out working in the Sheriff's Office as a dispatcher and for 17 years have watched the role of dispatcher evolve into a 9-1-1 operator. After 17 years decided that it was time to turn a new page in my job so I transfered to Justice Court for 2 years. Two years later another transfer came available so I took it and for the past 6 years I have been working for the schools with the county.

I have seen many people come and go and have seen alot of long time employees retire over the years. People that I have worked with and are dear friends.

Even though I am no old enough to retire, it is nice to know that I now have the security of a pension coming to me after 25 years of service. Granted if I retire now, my pension won't be much, but if anything drastic should happen it is nice to have that security.

My goal is to work another 5 years to get my full 30 years of service.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Belt Testing, Football and HOG

What a weekend it was for us. Friday night was our color belt promotion test. We had nine of our students test and two were grandchildren. Three of Gary's grandkids are taking lessons from us and two tested, Brandon and Alexus. Brandon is Donnie's son and Alexus is Carl's daughter. Friday was also Alexus's birthday, she turned 10. Our students have been working hard and they all got their new belts. We managed to get a group photo this time, but I just have to get a copy from one of the moms. Alexus was very happy as this was part of her birthday present from her mom. After the test, Gary and I stayed for the dinner for the black belts. Mrs. Park always cooks a dinner for us and it is all very tasty. I don't eat the kimshe, too spicy for me, but I can eat her other dishes.

Saturday, Gary worked the last two home games of the season. He was the score keeper and clock operator for the games this year. He did all of them, middle school all the way up to varsity. He had two games back to back and then we just had enough time to make it up to Billings again to watch Tristan (Donnie's son) play in his football game. He got involved in the Mighty Mite Football League that the Billings Outlaws sponsor for little kids. His mothers new boyfriend is an announcer for the Outlaws. It is a great program to get kids involved in football. Unfortunately Tristan's team lost, but he sure enjoyed his season and can't wait for next year. This is why I want to upgrade my camera. Gary's grandkids are keeping us pretty busy. Now the youngest one is in dance. The Outlaws organization was selling some of their gear for a bargain price. We bought us a fleece jacket for $8 each. I think normal price was $25 for them.

Sunday was our HOG chapter meeting in Billings. Our original plan was to ride the bike up to the meeting. In April Gary got in on the mileage contest and it ended yesterday. Woke up and it was pretty cloudy but not too bad. We started to leave the house at 11:30 yesterday morning and that was when it decided to rain. It was pouring rain. We started to head out, but decided that riding in the rain all the way to Billings for a meeting just wasn't worth it. We wrote our ending mileage down and they will just have to take our word for it.

By the time we got to Billings, it was clear and the sun was shining. It had rained all the way to Billings until we got to the the top of the Pryor hill. Figures. Anyway the weather didn't cooperate so for the mileage it went on the honor system. Gary didn't get enough miles to be one of the winners. The winners are two guys who put on over 20,000 miles. This year we put on over 9,000 miles, which it pretty good for us. We are putting on 3,000 miles more than the season before.

The October meeting is kind of a sad meeting because we know that riding season is over. There may be a few days here and there that we will be able to get out in, but I'm afraid it's going to be a long winter. This is also the meeting were new officers are nominated and I got nominated to be secretary. I tried to get out of it because I can't make the officer's meetings on Tuesdays because I have class. Gary was quick to pipe up that he will teach my class for me, because it's only once a month. How can you argue with that logic, so I said I would be the secretary. The election is in November, but there is only one candidate for each position, so I will be the HOG secretary for the next two years. I will take office in December. They did tell me that they know I have to come from Hardin for the meetings and if the roads are bad I don't have to worry about it. All I have to do is keep minutes for the two meetings each month and make sure that the minutes get sent to the editor for the monthly newsletter.

That pretty much sums up our weekend. I did post Tristan's football pictures on picasa. Not the best but they will work for me. My little camera just doesn't have the range.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Court House Construction

What a noisy week this has been. The court house is undergoing major renovations. The whole basement is being torn apart. All the walls and floors are being dismantled and then will be remodeled. The disaster and emergency services will be in the basement.

This is a 200 day project and what a mess. The only entrance into the court house right now is the main doors. The elevator is out of service to prevent people from wondering into the basement, so you have to take the stairs to get to the offices upstairs. That is not a big deal for me, as I always take the stairs. It is a big deal for some of the customers, especially the elderly ones who can't take the stairs. The construction workers fenced off half the parking lot, so parking is a premium, especially on court days. The county did make a parking lot across the street, but not going to pave it because of drainage issues. What a muddy mess that will be in the winter. So far the employees haven't been told to park in the dirt lot, but I'm sure that will come down the line soon.

This week all I have heard is the jack hammers. They are working in the area under my office. It is loud throughout the court house. Every office has their door closed to help muffle some of the noise, but that really doesn't help. At least with the doors closed you can hear people on the phone. I'm on the third floor and it was bad, can't imagine the offices on the main floor. On top of the jack hammers, dust is everywhere. The construction guys do have plastic hanging up but it's not helping on bit.

This week, they knocked down the side entrance in the alley which is on my side of the building with a huge backhoe. The court house has been really shaking with the rumbling of the back hoe and jack hammers. I swear there were times when the back hoe hit the building. There were a few times when the building shook you wondered if you had to get under a door frame or something sturdy.

Not only do we have the major construction going on downstairs, we are also getting a new fire sprinkler system installed and new lighting installed. This week I've had the fire sprinker guy working in my office, so some drilling involved but he is not as loud as the jack hammers. Then for two days I had the light guys installing the more energy efficient flourescent light bulbs. They aren't loud, but I had to leave for a bit as there is a light right over my desk.

The sprinkler guy and light guys did a good job cleaning up after themselves, however the construction guys downstairs are messy. They are leaving dusty footprints all over the building.

It has been nice and quiet today as none of the construction people work on Fridays.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tae Kwon Do Tournament

Saturday was the 24th Annual American Jung Do Tae Kwon Do and Judo Championships in Sheridan Wyoming. We took eight students to the tournament. Only two are tournament veterans.

Our students did an exceptional job considering that most of them have only been taking lessons for the past five months. We have one student who has only been in class for three weeks. We took one black belt, one yellow belt and six white belts. The school as a whole came home with 12 medals, 4 golds, 3 silvers and 5 bronzes. All the students but one came home with a medal.

We had our only girl competitor freak out over the sparring competition and no way was she going to do that. She was afraid of getting hurt. In class she spars with the boys and wins so we were so shocked that she freaked out. Jennifer even tried to talk to her. No dice. Will have to work on the confidence part. Our next tournament is in March. Jennifer and I were both told by our instructor that we are competing in the next tournament too. We will be doing weapons and board breaking for sure.

Our brand new student came home with a gold medal in sparring, he is on cloud nine. He didn't get one in forms. I stressed to the kids that getting a medal in forms is hard and we kept reminding him that he has only been in three weeks, the others have been in class for months.

They will bring their medals to class on Tuesday and I will take a group photo to get in the paper. Our black belt didn't get a medal. He assumed that he would medal anyway.

In other tournaments he does win, but this time he didn't come to class for the whole month of September. He just assumed that he would medal. He was getting a bit cocky about this and he got knocked off his pedestal.

Gary, Jennifer and I were busy judging. One of our other students came to judge, he missed most of the summer in class and didn't feel ready to compete. He wanted to learn the judging side of it. I think he had a good time, at least he said he did.

Now our students will be working hard on their belt promotion test on the 15th. We have most of our school eligible to test, just a matter of them turning in their paperwork and fees. We have two students on track to get black belts in March.

I was able to take candid photos of our students before competition started. The only bad thing with us judging is that I don't have my photographer (Jennifer) to get photos of them competing. I will have to ask the mothers if I can get copies of their photos. I want to make a poster for advertising for the school.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Where Did September Go?

Wow, October 1 already. September was just a blur, we were so busy. The last info you got was our Labor Day Weekend.

The second weekend of September, Gary had a Patriot Guard Board meeting in Billings. The meeting was supposed to start at noon, but didn't get started until 1:00 because two people were late. They just made it by having a quorum. I was able to attend because I am a member, but I don't have any say or input and I can't vote. We were hoping to get out in time to be able to see Tristan's ball game, but that didn't happen. Before the meeting, we stopped at the city golf course to look at the Healing Field. They put up 1,000 flags, it was very impressive. On Sunday we rode in the 9-11 Memorial Poker Run. This is sponsored by the B.A.S.T.A.R.D.S. We met in Laurel, then rode in parade format to the Billings Court House for a short ceremony. Then we rode to Bugz in the Heights, then our last stop was at Strokers in Huntley. At Strokers we had a lunch served then they raffled off some prizes, which we didn't win. There was also a silent auction, but we didn't bid on anything. We had met some of our Harley friends in Laurel. Had a good time.

The third weekend went to Tristan's ball game. He was glad that we were there but mad because his Dad wasn't. He plays better when his dad is there. At this point his team has not won a game. There is only one kid on the team that has experience the rest are all first timers and you can tell. They do have a coach that just yells at the boys when they don't do what they are supposed to do. The coach was called about his behavior and didn't like it one bit. I've seen the playbook that they want the kids to know. At this level it is very confusing and there are too many plays for them to remember.

Last weekend we went to Billings, dropped Gary off at Tristan's game. Jennifer and I went shopping in the mall. I missed one heck of a game. Tristan's team won their first game. Gary said you would have though they won the Super Bowl! Everyone was shocked and parents were commenting on where their children were. Gary said that the boys were a whole different team. Said Tristan played extremely well, his Dad was there. Tristan's Mom did say that he plays different when his dad is there. We are going to miss his game this weekend, but will be there on the 9th for his last game of the season.

Yesterday I had a dental appointment. Mom went with me. She called me up on Wednesday to let me know that she was in Hardin and did I want to go to lunch on Thursday. I said sure, then remembered that I had the dental appointment. Did she want to go? She said yes. She sat in the dental office waiting for me while I was getting my teeth cleaned, she is such a trooper. Then she went with me on my "therapy" session. We had a good time.

In between all of this, we have been busy teaching tae kwon do and getting our students ready for the tournament tomorrow and their belt promotion test on the 15th.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

An update on the happenings during Labor Day Weekend. We didn't have any plans of going anywhere, just sticking around home for a change.

Saturday we all went to Billings. Jennifer wanted to upgrade her phone so we shopped around and she now has a Droid with all the whistles and bells. She is having fun playing with it and finding out the features. With this phone she had to sign up the the internet package. I could have upgraded my phone too, but have to wait. Later that afternoon we went to Gary's grandson's football game. Tristan is playing in the mighty mite football league with the Outlaws. His mom's coworker is an announcer for the Outlaws and that's how he got into it. Tristan really likes it. He says that it's real football not flag at all, he gets to tackle. Tristan is in the 8-9 year olds and for most of his team this is their first year of playing organized football. It was fun to watch and Tristan made a couple good tackles, unfortunately his team lost. The team they played against had the more experienced players and you could tell. Gary took Tristan to a practice on Tuesday. Tristan sure enjoyed his time with his Grandpa Gary.

Didn't do anything on Sunday, just stayed home and got caught up on some work that needed to be done around the house. Gary also used the day to fix our trunk. The latch assembly just fell off while we were in Chico. He bought some JB Weld. The instructions said that it would work on fiberglass, will find out. Some people said it wouldn't work and some said it is the best stuff out there. Spent the whole morning removing the old glue. Mixed up the JB Weld, got it on the latch assembly. Had to get it just right or else our trunk wouldn't close. Then we used a hydralic jack to keep it in place. Wouldn't know until morning if it would work or not. Had to wait 15 hours.

Monday morning rolled around and the big test was seeing if the JB Weld worked on our latch assemble. It did, we were jumping up and down for joy. Saved us alot of money by not having to take it to the dealership to pay for labor and all that good stuff. So far it is holding up, so we are fans of JB Weld.

We went on the HOG MDA Poker Run Monday morning. Got to Billings early so we ate breakfast before making our way to the Powder Horn Bar. Paid for our poker hands and drew our first cards. The way our poker run works is that you don't know what your hand is until the end. You get a card with 52 numbers on it and at each stop you draw a chip and get your card punched. It is alot of fun. We ended up being dealers at the 3rd stop in Worden. By the time our shift was up there was no way we would make two stops, so we just went to the last stop. We were able to draw the rest of our numbers. We didn't win a thing. Gary got a pair of 3's. I had nothing.

The HOG group donated $1,500 to the MDA. Prizes were awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and for low hand. The winners for 3rd and low hand donated their winnings back, the 1st place winner donated half of his winnings. Had fun and enjoyed ourselves. Nothing beats a day when we can spend it with our good HOG friends.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Charity Ride; Patriot Guard; Chico Ride

This past week has been a busy one for us. On the 22nd Gary and I rode in the HOG Charity Ride. This ride raises money for school supplies to the Title I schools in Billings. It was a success last year and we raised $1500. This year it was not a big turn out. About 40 people in all participated. Gary and I ended up being dealers at the first stop. The cost was $20 per hand or school supplies. This year Gary and I donated 6 backpacks and 18 notebooks. Gary got the backpacks and notebooks from IGA. We actually had two cases of notebooks, but they were too heavy to load on the bike. The rest of the notebooks I gave to our tae kwon do kids. We had a good time.

Friday the 27th we had a Patriot Guard Mission in Billings. This was the first mission for Gary being the ride captain since he got elected to the Montana Patriot Guard Riders Board of Directors. He is the Eastern Montana ride captain. He has plenty of help and everything went smoothly. This was for a pilot who was killed in Viet Nam in 1971. His remains were identified and he was finally brought home after 39 years. The funeral services were at Holy Rosary church in Billings and he was buried in Laurel in the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetary. The weather was great, not hot and not cold. It was a huge turnout for this one. There are some photos on the Billings Gazette website. There is one of us, but you have to look hard for it. Gary is wearing is Viet Nam Veteran hat. The photos are under Magers Funeral gallery.

Saturday the 28th we headed out on the Chico ride with the HOG group. This is an overnighter at Chico Hot Springs and we ride through Yellowstone Park. It was pretty cloudy when we left and rain was in the forecast. We rode through Red Lodge and over the Beartooth Pass with a stop at Vista Point. We got into rain at the top of the pass, so we are putting on our rain gear while it's raining. Not an easy thing to do. We stopped in Cooke City for lunch and the rain just poured and it was like that all day long. This year we bought a National Park pass and it sure paid for itself already. I had the pass out when we went through the gate and sure enough the ranger had to see an ID. Gary's ID was in his wallet and in order for him to get to it he would have had to taken off all his rain gear then put it back on. Since my name is on the pass she could see my ID which I had in my purse in the trunk. This was the first time we had to show an ID with our pass, so lesson learned, keep pass and ID together. As we were going up Dunraven Pass the rain was coming down pretty fast and hard. The group stopped at Canyon and it was decided to just go on to Chico. The original plan was to head down to Old Faithful and go through the new visitor center. We ran into fog at Mammoth. Was so glad to reach Chico.

While I was checking us in at the resort Gary parked the bike and was getting our overnight bag out when our trunk broke. The whole latch assembly just fell off. It was just glued on. Gary said a few happy words then he was real upset when he saw that it was just glued on. Said for the money we paid you would think things were put together better. Fortunately he had some bungee cords with him to get us home. Since our bike is a Lehman conversion he is going to call Lehman in Spearfish to find out what kind of glue to use and if they will send us a tube. He really doesn't want to take it to the dealership to fix, as it would take weeks.

Our night at Chico was alot of fun. The whole group met at the bar where we ate dinner and had drinks. Later we enjoyed the hot pools, perfect for a day in the cold. After the pools closed we went back to the bar. They had a live band there that night. It was the same band that was at the Road Dogs Christmas party and we really enjoyed them. The band is called Jamelution from Bozeman and they play the classic rock & roll from the 60's, 70's and 80's. Gary and I even learned how to play shuffleboard. Just had a very enjoyable night.

Sunday morning it was time to check out. We all rode together for breakfast in Livingston. After breakfast everyone said their goodbyes as we all left in different directions once we hit Billings. Normally this ride is held the first weekend in September, but with Labor Day this year our group couldn't get the block of rooms so it was moved up a weekend. The weather forecast for this weekend is sunny in the 80's & 90's. Figures. Gary and I are hoping that we can add this ride as an annual event. We sure enjoyed ourselves.

All of my photos are posted on my picasa site.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nation of Patriots

Last weekend, Gary and I participated in the Nation of Patriots. This is a group that raises money for wounded soldiers. They are based in Wisconsin and they start a tour of the American Flag being escorted through the lower 48 states in a month. With such a huge undertaking, the group asked the Harley Owners Group if they would escort the flag from one leg to another. The flag has to be back in Wisconsin where it started by Sept. 4th.

Our friend Dale Butterfield headed the Billings group to escort the flag from Billings to Jackson with a stop in Cody. He picked up the flag in a ceremony in Billings on the 13th. We couldn't be at the dealership to watch this as we were working.

We told Dale that we would ride with him to Jackson. We made our reservations for Jackson. There were two other couples who went with us all the way to Jackson.

We spent the night at Dale & Kitty's. She had dinner for us along with our friends Marty & Vicky. She made homemade tacos, they were very good. All we had to bring was the beer. I took an hour off from work and we made our way to Billings. It was raining in Hardin when we left, so we had to put on our rain gear before heading out. We got out of the rain at Fly Creek. Got to Billings, picked up our beer and headed to the Butterfields.

On Saturday morning it was raining so had to put on the rain gear again. The weather didn't look promising. We met the others at the dealership and picked up two more bikes in Laurel. In all there were 8 bikes and 13 people for the ride to Cody. While we were waiting at the dealership I called up Mmom to see what the weather was like in Wyoming. It was reported that it was nicy and sunny, but had rained earlier during the night. That was great news. I told Mmom what we were doing and didn't know if they wanted to take a ride to Cody to meet us or not.

We arrived in Cody around 9:30 am. We stopped at the gas station at the edge of town to take off our rain gear and to get the flag ready for the short ride to the Cody dealership. Mmom had left me a message that they were parked in front. We all posed for a photo op as the local paper reporter was there to write a small story. After we signed the book for this leg, we all went across the street to the Irma for a coffee break. Got a good visit in with the Gma's before we had to get ready and head to Jackson.

Two bikers turned around and headed back to Billings, while the rest of us continued on through Yellowstone Park. We stopped at Fishing Bridge for a short break where one rider headed back home. When we got to the West Thumb Junction we lost another rider. Now we have four bikes and 8 people.

It was free admittance into the National Parks that weekend, but we have our annual pass anyway. Had nice weather. Once we got into Teton Park we pulled over at Colter Bay for a break and took off some more layers.

We pulled into Jackson around 4:00 pm and again we stopped to get ready for a short parade through town to the dealership. Once we got to the dealership they called the guy who was taking the flag on the next leg. We only had to wait about 15 minutes. Not too long. Went through the ceremony of passing the flag from one leg to the next. Not only was there the flag, but the banner that the dealerships sign. There was a book that went along with it that all the riders sign plus a couple plaques. One was a proclamation signed by a California congressman and the other was a certificate that the Blue Angels verified that the flag was flown over Pensacola Florida.

We all then checked into our hotel, which was across the street from the dealership. Got checked in and cleaned up then headed to the Cowboy Bar. We all had burgers here as we didn't stop to eat lunch. After the bar we walked through Jackson, stopped in the Silver Dollar Bar. This is the one that has silver dollars inlaid in the bar. Then back to the hotel. There is a liquor store right next to our hotel, so we stopped to get some beer to drink at the hotel. We all sat around and visited and started planning for next years trip. Gary was told that it was his turn to plan the trip and our friend Marty & Vicky want to go. It was the general consensus to go through the Redwoods.

On Sunday morning we had to get back home to work. Dale & Kitty then went on to Salmon Idaho for a small trip. The rest of us went on back home. Instead of going through the park, we went through Idaho to West Yellowstone to home. It was a nice ride. It added about 80 miles for us, but time wise it was a wash. It would have taken us just as long if we went through the park.

In front of the Cody Harley Dealership.

In the Cowboy Bar in Jackson (from the left: Vicky & Marty Davis; Pat & Gary Liming; Dale & Kitty Butterfield; Aletha & Jake Moran)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

History Ride

Last Sunday, Gary and I went on the HOG Chapter History Ride to the Lewis & Clark Caverns. It was not a good turn out. Only 4 bikes and 8 people, but we went on the ride anyway.

Had to be at the dealership by 9:00, met up with the other riders and made our way towards Three Forks. We arrived at the caverns. None of us was interested in going through the caverns anyway. The only ones who did was the father & son. The rest of us decided to head to Virginia City for lunch.

One of the women had suggested Virginia City instead of the caverns at the dealership, but the man leading us said NO, we have to go to the caverns. We get credit for riding tickets by going to the caverns. She had suggested Virginia City because it is historical and none of us were interested in going through the caverns anyway.

Our group headed towards Virginia City, when we met up with a friend who hung out with us in Deadwood at the highway. Had a good lunch in Virginia City. The guys sat outside by the bikes, while us women went walking and looking in the tourist shops. That's when we saw the colorful local.

A storm was coming in, so the guys wanted to get going to beat the storm. While we were getting ready to go a Chinese family stopped to look at our bikes and take photos. The guy was more interested in the trikes and he was just snapping away. He kept shooing us out of his photo while we were getting ready. Finally told them that we had to go to beat the storm.

We did beat the storm. Stopped in Livingston for gas. Good thing because at Big Timber we were behind a huge storm that dumped alot of rain. The highway was very wet. At Park City we got into some strong winds. Gary and I did get caught in some rain at Billings. Not very long. From the King Ave Exit to the Lockwood Exit. Just enough to make our clothes damp.

By the time we made it to the top of Pryor Hill we were dry. We did learn a lesson from this. Don't go out drinking the night before a 600 mile ride. Gary was pretty tired when we got home.

This weekend we are going to Jackson with our friends Dale & Kitty Butterfield, Marty & Vicky Davis. A group called Patriots of America is escorting the American Flag across the 48 states in a month. The group wanted HOG members across the states to escort the flag to the various stops.

Dale will be picking up the flag on Friday and we will meet up with him to escort to Jackson on Saturday. Will be coming home on Sunday.

Monday, August 9, 2010

John Hamburg Memorial Poker Run

This past weekend Hardin had the first annual Extreme Days. Saturday morning Gary and I participated in the John Hamburg Memorial Poker Run. John Hamburg's grandson put the poker run together. He was hoping to get 100 people, but there were 14 bikes and 19 people.

It was a short run, 125 miles. The first and last hands were dealt in Hardin. Our stops were Sarpy Creek, Hysham and Custer. For $10 you got two poker hands.

Our friends from Billings came down, we met them at Spirits Casino (Corner Pocket). Breakfast of biscuits and gravy was served for free. They had us poker players stick around. We each got a ticket, originally they were going to draw for prizes, but they had enough that all the players got t-shirts. In fact Gary and I ended up the three t-shirts. Then the newly formed Hardin Police Dept escorted us out of town. It was funny because it looked like the police were escorting us trashy bikers out of town. We were paraded through town.

The final stop in Hardin was at the gates for the Extreme Days. Our friends didn't want to see the mud bogs and we were hungry so we ate lunch at La Chalupa. Our friends had to get back home to Billings so they gave us their beer tickets. There were two others who rode with us. One is a Patriot Guard Rider from Roundup and the other guy was a local who never participated in a poker run so he was sort of lost.

The Patriot Guard Rider and the local guy wanted to go back to Spirits to get their free beer, so we went with them. Home is just across the street anyway. Most of the poker players were already inside. The local who never participated in a poker run and didn't know what to do ended up winning for lowest hand. A lady won for the best hand and she bought the bikers a drink. Gary and I used our free drink chip for later in the evening.

We never did make it to the mud bogs. By the time we drank our free beer, we just went home to get some stuff done before we went out later for the street dance. The street dance was being held at Spirits anyway, so we just as well go. Wouldn't get any quiet anyway.

The casino was having a live band inside the bar, while outside was a DJ for the street dance. We stayed inside were we had a good seat and it was nice a cool. We drank our two free beers each and then ended up buying two more as friends started filling in. The band inside was Mojocatz from Bozeman. They played classic rock & roll from the 60's & 70's and some blues. They were very good. Inside they were giving away stuff and we ended up with another t-shirt; a hat; and a blinking light that you clip on your shirt.

Had a good time and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Next year we may make it to watch the mud races and truck pulls. The Extreme Days was a fund raiser for the newly formed police department. Last word we heard was there were 250 people at the mud bog races for Saturday. Our mayor, Kim Hammond, told us that the towns people didn't know that she was going to turn Hardin into a biker town when they elected her. Kim rides a Harley too.

Hardin wants to make this an annual event and to catch bikers headed to Sturgis. A few did attend the street dance, only because they were staying at the Wester Motel. The powers to be did learn alot from this and they said that next year it will be better. They now know how to advertise for this.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sisters Make You A Better Person

Just read an article in the news that having sisters makes you a better person. The study was done on teens, but I am making it work for me.

I have two sisters, so I guess this makes me doubly a better person. Didn't really say anything about brothers, but the study did say that it is best to have siblings. The study also didn't go into detail about age differences either.

Siblings promote good deeds and foster charitable attitudes. Sibling affection and good deeds is twice as strong at parental affection and good deeds.

The study didn't go into detail about sibling rivalry or what happens when a person is estranged from their siblings. In my case I am fortunate that none of us are estranged from each other.

Thank you Mary and Bonnie for making me a better person. I will also thank Ed after all he is a sibling too.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Idaho California Trip

Last week I spent eight days on the road. This is our annual girls road trip with my mom and daughter. We had a great time.

First stop was in Idaho Falls to visit with Robert. This time I took a different route on the way down because I've never been to Idaho Falls that way before. We went to Whitehall then down to Dillon. Caught I-15 at Dillon on our way to Idaho Falls. I ended up having to take a detour because of the Blue Angels Air Show, so I ended up on the highway I always take. We checked into our hotel and then met Robert at Denny's. After eating Robert drove us around to check out the sites of Idaho Falls.

Robert got tickets for the Sunday performance to the air show. He had called me up before I left to make sure I brought some chairs to sit on as there was no seating in the spectators area. It was a good thing I listened to him. The gates opened at 9:00 am and we were there on time. There were some planes on display that we could check out. We were able to get inside the cargo plane and I was able to sit in the pilot's seat. It was a very enjoyable show and we got alot for our money. Not only did we get to see the Blue Angels, but we also got to see the aerial acrobatics from others. We were there from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. It took a long time to get out of the parking lot. It was announced that there were 50,000 people at the show. Will be getting my photos up soon. Took Robert out for a nice meal, then we just visited. He had to get to him home and get to bed as he had to work the next day bright and early at 4:00 am. Before leaving town, we did stop by his place of work for a short good bye.

We made our way west towards California. Stopped in Reno and stayed at the Boomtown Casino. I gambled for a couple hours and came out even. Mom watched me and Jennifer shopped in the gift shop. On Tuesday we made our way to Napa to meet with Spuddies neighbors and friends for lunch. Mom had to pick up some coins anyway. After lunch we made our way down to San Luis Obispo for the night. Met up with a relative who is doing the geneology of the Carlson family.

This is the day we played tourist. We went through the San Luis Obispo Mission. It was very interesting, we also went through a historical museum about San Luis Obispo. We then found our way to Bubble Gum Alley. This is just a small alley way with chewed bubble gum plastered all over the walls. Not a place to go if you are a germaphobe. I had read about this in some travel news but couldn't remember where it was. We found it. Didn't put any gum on the walls as I don't chew gum anymore. Stopped in Solvang before making our way to Oxnard.

Got checked into our hotel then called Jason. I got directions on how to get to their place and it was real easy. They live on one of the main streets in the city. Jason & Jeni and her aunt just moved into their new place a couple weeks before we arrived. A nice apartment and they are able to have their pets. A good thing. Jason & Jeni have a dog while her aunt has six cats. Not a good place when you have allergies. Good thing I brought some pills with me.

Mary and the little girls met up with us in Oxnard on Thursday afternoon. We spent the morning with Jason & Jeni at the mall, then went to the hotel to get Mary and the girls. We then went back to Jason's apartment to go swimming in their pool. The water was very cold, but we got to warm up in the hot tub. A very enjoyable afternoon. Later we went out to dinner. Jeni's aunt was too tired to go out with us on this night, she just wanted to stay home and relax. We had a great meal and I got to try a pazookie. Very interesting dessert. Basically it's a very large warm cookie with ice cream on top. I took the kids back to their place and got a short visit with Jeni's aunt. She gave me directions on how to get back on I-15. Very straight forward.

Friday morning came and time to start heading back home. The week went by very fast. Got a late start leaving Oxnard, but it was ok missed all the morning traffic. Mary and I had fun passing each other on the highway. Once we got to the I-15 interchange we headed north and she headed south.

Spent two very long days in the car to get home. Did get to stop in Idaho Falls one more time for a quick visit with Robert. I delivered Jason his tv and he had a play station in the box so I took it with me. He gave it to Robert as he already has game systems. I got rid of some of their stuff out of my house and I didn't take any back with me.

Had a great time visiting with my boys. Don't get to see them very often, it was two years since I visited with them last.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Harley Olympics

Last Sunday was the HOG Chapter Harley Olympics and Picnic. We met in the Huntley city park at noon. The picnic was catered so didn't have to bring anything, which was nice. We had burgers, brats, salads, chips and for dessert had our choice of apple or cherry pie with ice cream. The pies were originally for the pie eating contest, but no one wanted to do that game.

Gary wanted to go after our 2300 mile trip because they had set up some games special for trikes. He figured if they went to the trouble then we should show up. We ended up being the only trike there, so not too sure what games they had in mind for us.

Gary and I did play in some of the games. We did the balloon toss, we made it to the final round, but our balloon broke. We did the bike wash. Your passenger throws a water balloon over a rope and it goes higher each time. We didn't make it the first pass, I tossed our balloon too far, couldn't catch it. It hit the windshield and bounced into the grass. We also did the buffalo shoot. You shoot paint balls at the target. Our target is a painted buffalo with a target on him. We got two tries to shoot 8 rounds each in the target. Not too sure what our total score was, but I did hit a couple in the bull's eye and I only three three shots. It was fun. The next game I did was the plank walk. You get into teams of 4 and you loop your feet onto the plank. My team didn't win our heat, but we did make it to the end without falling. It was all in good fun.

Before the games and eating we had a short meeting. Gary and I didn't win any of the door prizes this time, but I did win the 50-50 drawing. Walked away with $31. A little extra spending for my trip.

So far this year we have been lucky with the drawings. I won the 50-50 back in January, but donated all of that money back to the chapter. In April Gary won a bottle opener and in May I won a t-shirt. Some of our friends started to rub my shoulders so that my good luck will rub off onto them.

We had a good time. An enjoyable day, we got home around 4:00.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

La Barge Wyoming

On our trip we made a stop in La Barge so that we could eat lunch at the diner. I had told our friends the story about the diner and I have wanted to go here to eat lunch, but have not made it yet.

A couple years ago there was an article in the Billings paper about this couple buying a diner in New York and bringing it to small town Wyoming. It was all very interesting and I wanted to go and check it out. Never did make it until now.

I will recommend this diner to anyone. The food was delicious. We had a burger with home made fries. The shakes are very good, just perfect. They need to work on their parking lot some more, nothing but rocks. Not the best for motorcycles but we managed.

The couple managed to keep everything original as best they could. Reading the history about it and diners across America was interesting. Too bad I couldn't bring a menu home with me.

There is a map of the United States on one wall with pins from guests. To my surprise there is a pin representing Meeteetse and Hardin. Makes me wonder if two certain women made a road trip. Would not surprise me in the least. Our friends enjoyed the diner too. It was worth the stop.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Colorado Trip

Gary and I had a wonderful time on our motorcycle vacation to Colorado. We went through four states and six national parks.

We spent a week with our good friends Pat & Sandi Breckenridge and Dale & Kitty Butterfield. These couples live in Billings and we met them in Hardin bright and early just after 6:00 am on Saturday morning. Made our way to Loveland Colorado through Wyoming. Got pretty warm after we left Buffalo and hit the famous Wyoming wind from Wheatland to the state line.

We lucked out with motels, we were able to stay in the Comfort Inn, Quality Inn and Best Westerns. We did stay in two mom & pop motels in Moab Utah and Jackson Wyoming. All the motels were under $100 except Jackson, there we paid $150. Every night we went out and drank beer. The first night I drank margarita's, they were very tasty after a hot day of riding. After that I stayed with beer. I broadened my horizons with beer, tried different kinds, but Gary stayed with his Coors.

The National Parks we traveled through were Rocky Mountain, Mesa Verde, Black Canyon, Arches, Teton and Yellowstone. Went over alot of mountain passes, the highest elevation was 12,000 feet at Independence Pass. Going over the Red Mountain from Durango to Ouray was a scary one. Very narrow mountain road with no shoulder and no guardrails or berms and a 9,000 foot drop to the bottom. Naturally we were on the cliff side of the road. This road also had many hair pin turns. I was so glad when we got to the bottom, seemed like it took forever.

Got caught in a hail storm near Kremmling Colorado, that was not fun, good thing the hail was pea sized. No place to pull over and nothing to hide under. We managed to find a place to turn off the highway, at a private driveway. Rode out the storm, lasted about 10 minutes. Otherwise the weather was nice. Cool in the mountains and very hot in the desert.

In Rocky Mountain NP we were able to see a moose with two calves. She stayed in the trees so getting pics was hard, but I managed. In Yellowstone we saw a sow grizzly with two cubs at Mt. Washburn. Got a bunch of good pics there. Otherwise we saw elk, buffalo and deer.

I got all my photos downloaded and uploaded onto Picasa. Now I just have to get them edited in photoshop. Will be making cd's for my friends. They are going to do the same with their pics.

Now I get ready for road trip number two to Idaho and California with Mom and Jen.

Here are some photos of us on our trip, the rest are on my picasa site.

pea sized hail stones, my lap

Rocky Mountain NP

I impressed people by getting on this thing

Lizard Head Pass

Pat & Sandi; Kitty & Dale; Patty & Gary
Black Canyon NP

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Photo Contest

Beartooth Harley is having a photo contest during the summer. It just started this week. Every week on Sunday we will be given a list of items to photograph. All we have to do is get out and take photos. We have until Saturday to get the photos submitted. Voting will start the following week. The winner of the week will win a $25 gift card at the dealership. I have entered.

The top three vote getters for the weeks will then be entered for the grand prize. Grand prize winner will get a $100 gift card, second place $50 gift card and third place $25 gift card.

This week the items are deer, tree, flower, mountain, river. You can vote for me. I'm listed at pat. All you have to do is register at the Harley dealer website. Click on the Harley-Davidson sign. This will take you to a different page, from here click on the photo contest sign. It will list all the entrants and starting on July 11th, you can vote. If you want to register, there is a register link in the upper right hand corner.

Here are the photos that I have submitted for the week. The flower was taken at Shell Canyon last year. The deer was taken at Grandma's house a couple years ago. The mountains are the Tetons. The tree was taken at Craters of the Moon National Park in Idaho, it's called witch's broom. The river is the Yellowstone River taken at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone National Park.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Independence Day Weekend

To celebrate Independence Day, hubby and I jumped on the Harley and took a quick trip to Meeteetse Wyoming. The main goal was to visit my youngest sister and her family. We left town early in the morning and stopped in Rockvale for breakfast.

We got caught in Cody with the parade, so we got to watch the end of the parade. We were delayed for about a half hour, not bad at all. Made our way to Meeteetse. Got to the house and my brother in law made a trip to the Cody ER with my Mom. That ended up taking them all afternoon. Ken is fine, got some medicine for his abdominal pains. Got some good visiting in with my sister and nephews.

Gary and I went to the Cowboy for a quick bite to eat, just a snack to hold us over until supper. That's when we found out that the bar was going to have a live band that night.

Made all the arrangements for supper. Gary and I shared a pizza, we passed on the ribs. My sister and her hubby had the ribs though. We didn't get to eat in the bar as they were getting it ready for the band, so we sat in the cafe. With the little ones, not allowed in the bar.

After supper Gary gave Harley rides to my sister and nephews. The boys had to see their Mom ride first. Kevin was all excited. The boys had to wear a helmet. Gary took Kevin out twice, they went to town and back. Sam wasn't too sure about it, so he only went to the end of the check station and back. Sam didn't like wearing the helmet, said it made him feel like a bobblehead. I know what he means. Those helmets do get heavy. The boys wore Gary's helmet as it is smaller than mine and the helmet didn't fit Sam quite right.

We visited some more, then made our way back to the Cowboy for some drinking, dancing and listening to music. We were able to get a table for all of us. The bar was full, but not crowded, just right. The band is a local band and they played classical rock & roll.

At one point the band decided that the women needed to show off their stuff. Most of them were youngsters, so Bonnie and I decided to show them how it is done. We didn't win. The prize was a camping chair. Big Jim was the judge and the top three finalists were his granddaugher, wife of a band member and daughter of another band member with Big Jim's granddaughter winning it. Later he told me and Bonnie that he tried to keep it fair. We told him that they had youth on their side. It was all in fun. The dancing was after the shots of Pucker. Bonnie and I each had two shots each, made the dancing easier.

We also got patriotic hats, each one was different. I ended up trading mine for the cowboy looking hat, which I liked better. Ken sure had fun with his hat.

We didn't quite close the bar down, didn't get home until after midnight. Said my goodbyes to Bonnie and Ken as I wouldn't see them in the morning. Will be posting my photos on picasa later tonight. Mmom has her up.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gathering of the Guard

Last weekend, Gary and I went to Bozeman for the annual Gathering of the Guard with the Patriot Guard Riders. We have been trying to go to this event for two years and couldn't make it for some reason. This year we decided to go.

We left bright and early on Saturday morning. We spent Friday night with our friends who we were traveling with. We met the others at the Laurel Town Pump at 6:00 am. If we had left Hardin, we would have had to leave by 5:00 am, so our friends invited us to stay at their house. We had to bring the beer and they served us pizza. Had a great evening eating and visiting.

Saturday morning arrived and we met our other traveling companions at the Laurel Town Pump, we had 5 bikes and 9 people in all. Our goal was to make it to Bozeman by 8:30 am for breakfast at the Gran Tree Inn. We arrived in plenty of time. Got into a bit of rain from Columbus to Big Timber. Nothing major, just a few sprinkles but enough to say we rode in rain. By the time we arrived in Bozeman it was nice and sunny. Ate a huge breakfast at the Gran Tree Inn, very delicious.

After breakfast we visited and met new people, then we got ready for a short ride to Hyalite Resevoir. There was another ride to the headwaters of the Missouri River. We took the ride to Hyalite Reservoir as we haven't been there before. It was a nice short ride through the canyon and up to the reservoir, very pretty scenery. We stayed here for a while then made our way back to town in time for the meeting.

During the meeting they had door prize drawings, raffles and a silent auction. I won an American flag as a door prize. Nothing on the raffles and I didn't participate in the silent auction. The auction were leather coats and vests and some tools. The coats and vest didn't fit us and Gary didn't want any of the tools. This is the meeting where the board of directors are elected. The state is divided into three sections and the general membership elects two representatives from each section. Gary was nominated and elected to be one of the eastern representatives. He is not too sure if this is a good thing or not. He has to go to the board meetings and they meet 4 times a year. Not too sure how long he will serve. He figures he has either a year or it can be up to three years.

After the general meeting, the board met for a short meeting to elect a chairman and such. I had to hang around, fortunately our friends stayed with us.

At the same time as our gathering, a group of Viet Nam helicopter pilots were having their annual convention at the Gran Tree Inn. As a surprise arrangements were made for the Patriot Guard to form a flag line at the Viet Nam Wall Memorial at the Bozeman Cemetary. We got in our formation and paraded through downtown Bozeman. Waved at alot of kids. In all there were 50 bikes and about 70 people. We were at the wall for about an hour, until the pilots came through. They sure enjoyed and were very proud of us for doing this for them.

While we were waiting at the wall for the pilots, there was time to visit the memorial. Gary was trying to find a friend who is on the wall, but he couldn't remember what panel. We looked it up once we got home and he had transposed the numbers. Bozeman is not too far away and will get him up there again. After seeing this wall, we want to make the trip to Washington DC to see the original wall. This is just a replica, so can't imagine the size of the original wall. After the flag line, we met up with our friends and ate dinner. Called it a night as we all had a early and busy day. None of us stayed at the same place. Gary and I stayed at the KOA as the motels were full.

Came home on Sunday. Met up with our friends at the Harley dealership in Belgrade. Rode through Bridger Canyon before hitting the interstate for home. Ate lunch in Big Timber, said our goodbyes. Once we got to Billings our friends left for their homes.

Had a very enjoyable weekend. I have posted my photos on picasa. Here is a photo of Gary at the Viet Nam Wall Memorial.