Month: August 2011

The city of Missoula

I don’t typically take part in link parties, but when I read about this one I couldn’t resist.  Kate, from Centsational Girl, writes one of my favorite DIY/home decor blogs and mentioned the idea of writing a post about the favorite things in your town.  She said:

“This is your opportunity to photograph and write about a few of the favorite things you see from day to day that make your world a better place.  Show us that building you love, or wraparound porch on the house around the corner, the best place for java, tastiest spot for lunch, or a store in your town with amazing finds.”  

She’s calling it the “Favorite things in my town link party” and people from all over will be posting links about the favorite things in their little town or city. 

Because let’s face it…every town is unique and wonderful in its own way.  There are things I miss terribly about living in Seattle and other things I don’t miss at all.  The fun part about exploring a new city is finding those unique places and falling in love with something that only it can offer.  Whether it’s Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, 23rd Street in Portland or the Hip Strip in Missoula…there are fun and interesting places to explore everywhere.  The trick is to find them.  So I put together an insider’s scoop into some of my favorite places in Missoula and why I love the Garden City.

You simply can't beat fall in Missoula!

To tackle this task, I took an evening off last week (leaving the chores at home) and went on a stroll around the city with my camera in hand.  It was the perfect way to blow off some steam after a particularly stressful day.   Just me and my pup enjoying where we call home. 

For those of you new here, Missoula, MT is located in Western Montana in an old glacier lakebed (Glacial Lake Missoula).  We’re in close proximity to both Glacier and Yellowstone National Park.  Missoula is typically referred to as a college town, but those of us lucky enough to stay here after college spend most of our time enjoying the incredible recreational activities that the area provides. 

Now, without further ado…here are some of my favorite things about Missoula. 

1.   Fooled you with some photo trickery, didn’t I?  Those aren’t mountains, rather the top of the event tent in Caras Park.  See #7 for the full view.  However, the irony of this shot is that the serene, mountainous pictures are a true reflection of the landscapes in Missoula and western Montana in general.

2.  Break Espresso.   Located downtown in the heart of Missoula it’s hands down my favorite local coffee shop.  The soy latte’s are splendid and the bakery items divine.  May I recommend the ham and cheese quiche, vegan raspberry scone, or their famous shortbread cookies?

3.  This pic represents two things I love in Missoula:  breweries and outside eating.   I can imagine nothing better than sipping a local brew after a long hot day.  And with three breweries already scattered through town (and two opening soon), it’s fair to say we do this frequently.  It’s amazing how so many local breweries can make it here in Missoula.  My theory?  Good beer.

4.  Big Dipper Ice Cream.  The best homemade ice cream I’ve had.  I’d tell you to “go early” but no matter what time of day you stop by the line will be to the sidewalk.  My favorite flavor?  Mocha chip.  And a doggie cone for Summy.

5.  The University of Montana.  I’m certainly not a die-hard Griz fan like most people in this town, but U of M is my alma mater and I acknowledge the life she breathes into this community.   You haven’t seen anything until you’ve watched a Grizzly football game, which I try to do at least once in the fall.   The love people have for the Griz is contagious, if even for the four hours you’re watching the game.    The University is also responsible for our namesake  “M” that lives on Mount Sentinel.  Visible in the first picture posted.

6.  The Clark Fork River runs through Missoula, providing swimming, fishing, tubing and kayaking to all of our two (and sometimes four) legged residents.   It also provides some amazing backdrops and scenery for running, walking or just some photo-taking.

7.  Caras Park is where events of all shapes and sizes happen.  Nestled between the Clark Fork River and downtown Missoula, you can often find a Brewfest, festival, farmers market or some sort of event taking place.  Every Wednesday they do “Out to Lunch” in the park and Thursday’s are “Dinner in the Park” where food vendors setup and sell their creations to locals while a band entertains people from the pavilion. 

8.  Just another beautiful view of the Clark Fork as she passes through town.    If you look closely, about midway through the river you can see Brennan’s Wave…a kayaking/surfing wave that was created in honor of a local kayaker who passed away.  There’s hardly an hour of the day where somebody isn’t surfing it.

9.  This isn’t your grandma’s fabric shop.   Selvedge Studio is my favorite fabric store…hands down.  It’s where I go for inspiration, unique and modern fabrics, or to take a sewing class.   I’ve been guilty of coming out with fabric I have absolutely no use for.  Just because I like it.  Now that’s a good store.

10.   One of the most-loved and recognized icons of downtown Missoula:  the clock.  This picture represents Missoula downtown and the energy it brings to the city.  Unfortunately, a lot of downtown areas in Montana cities have become ghost towns thanks to big-box stores popping up on the fringes of the city.   Not Missoula.  Our downtown is thriving and it’s one of my favorite places to come and walk, shop, eat or drink. 

11.  Missoula Farmers Market.  Once the Hubs is out of the house for hunting season, you can find me every Saturday morning Sept – Oct at the Missoula Farmers Market.   I love supporting the local farmers, artists and vendors.  Not just because it’s good for Missoula, but because their products are amazing as well!  We have some gifted people living here and it’s evident in their goods.  The people-watching is pretty spectacular as well. 

12.  Beer.  Have I mentioned I like beer?  Especially craft beer?  If you do too, then Missoula is your place.  It just so happens that the Iron Horse Brew Pub is one of our favorite places to stop for a drink….with lunch or dinner.  They’ve got great food and several outside seating options, so you can almost count on getting a seat in the sun.    Plus, they carry many of the local brewery beers, so you can sample them all if you like.  Though it’s not recommended!

13.  Just another shot of downtown Missoula.

14.  Missoula is called the Garden City.  That’s because we’re located in a valley between mountain ranges.  Our climate is a bit more protected than many other Montana cities, and for that reason our summers are a little bit cooler and our winters a little bit warmer.  What’s not to like about that?    It also provides a habitat for Norway Maples that line the streets of the University District.  The fall in that area is simply beautiful.

15.  Trail systems.  This is a picture of the River Trail that lines the Clark Fork River.  But this picture represents the trail systems available in and around Missoula.  There are so many options at my finger-tips that sometimes it’s hard to decide where I want to go.  I can drive for 10 minutes in any direction from my house and be on a mountain trial….and probably only see a handful of people. 

So there you have it:   15 reasons I love Missoula.  There are many, many more.  I haven’t even gotten started on food places (like Biga Pizza, the Mustard Seed or the Hob Nob), or running trails (Pattee Canyon, Blue Mountain) or winter activities (like skiing at Snowbowl or snowshoeing up Lolo).    But I’ll save those for another day.

The bottom line is that I couldn’t ask for a better city to live.    But then again, I’m biased.  

Although…when outsiders take note of how wonderful your city is, you kind of have want to believe them, no?  I’ll leave you with a song Jewel wrote for Missoula last fall when she played here.    Enjoy!

Be sure to stop by Kate’s site and read about some of the great towns other people live! Favorite things in my town link party

Sisters Weekend 2011

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a sentimental girl, but I my not have mentioned that I love traditions.  So….I guess that makes me sentimental about traditions, er, something like that.

Anyways, one tradition that I look forward to every year is our annual Sisters’ Weekend.  This is typically a weekend that involves no husbands or kids.  Just sisters.  It gives us a chance to reconnect and spend some much-needed (and too infrequent) one-on-one time together. 

In the past we’ve taken turns visiting each other in our respective cities/towns.  This ensured we got a trip to Seattle, Missoula and Polson once every three years.  And let me tell you…we’ve had some fun.  See for yourself:

This year was a little bit different however.   My sister Amy and her family had just recently moved back to Montana from Seattle…with their 7 month old daughter in tow.  Needless to say, life is a little bit crazy for them.  In addition, Cousin’s Weekend (another much-loved tradition with the only cousins on our mom’s side) had been scheduled for Fall this year (typically a spring endeavor).   So….calendars were booking up fast.  But knowing we didn’t want 2011 to pass us by without getting together, we decided to make it a family event this year and get together in Polson at the lake.  I’m not sure what The Husbands thought of being included in sisters weekend, but to be honest they aren’t sure about much when all three of us are together.  Sorry Husbands.   I can’t see how they can complain about being on a boat all day long however!  Plus, they even took a little “brother-in-law” raft trip down the Flathead River one day.  

Here’s a little snippet of this years festivities:

I’m still learning how to put these collages together…so sorry about some duplicate pics!  If you click on the whole collage it will open up a bigger version.

I’m so grateful that we make the effort to do this each year.  It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own busy schedule that before you know it too much time has gone by between visits.   Inevitably our lives will change and as our families grow this may be harder to do…but it’s so important to make time for it.  And I suppose if the Husbands and kids have to start coming more often…I’m ok with it.   Thanks for the great weekend everyone.  Already looking forward to next year!

…and your angry eyes too!

Anyone else remember that line from Toy Story!?  It’s in your best interest to just smile and nod.  Read on…

Guys, something is happening to me and I can’t seem to stop it.  I am angry.  And annoyed.  Like, 90% of the time.  And it’s not even legitimate anger!  It’s random and irrational.  Things that I used to just brush off are now HUGE deals.   

I have never experienced this before in my life!  Typically I roll with the punches pretty easily and not too much ruffles my feathers.  But man.  These days you just look at me wrong and I’m on the fight!     For example, as you know I have a few things on Craigslist right now.  Yesterday I got an email from someone who said she was interested in the rug  (coincidently she had emailed me last week asking what my lowest price was.  Um, my lowest price is what I have listed you moron.  $75.  If I was willing to go any lower I would have listed that price).  Ugh, anyways, fast forward one week.  Now all of a sudden she’s interested again.  She asked if I would take $40 (presumably because it’s been posted for over a week), and I said, no, but now I’m willing to consider $60.  She’s still interested.  She asks if she can come over and look at it, but she’s only in town for a few hours.  I text her right back and say, “sure, I’m actually headed home for lunch right now and could meet you anytime between 1:00 and 2:00.”   I hear nothing back.  I call her.  She doesn’t answer so I leave a voice mail.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip. 

I have yet to hear back from her and I’m livid about it!  She’s totally jacking me around and it’s pissing me off.  I’ve always been quick to reply and even offered to work around her  busy schedule, as if I want to spend my lunch hour waiting for someone to come look at a rug.  If she changed her mind or wasn’t interested anymore, just tell me.     Have the common courtesy (that I extended to YOU) and let me know.  Seriously!  I mean, I know, I know.  I’m expecting to much out of a Craigslister…but I don’t think she realizes she’s messing with a hormonal pregnant woman. 

See how irrational this is? 

Oh, and at the Dr. last week they couldn’t get me out of there fast enough which completely irritated me.  I’m sorry, but this is my first pregnancy and maybe, just maybe I might have some questions.  But if you’re obviously rushing me through the door I may not feel comfortable asking them.  Obviously you have somewhere better to be than with your 12th appointment for the day.  I may be just a number to you lady, but you don’t have to make me feel that way.   Oh, and the nurse who typically gives me the 10 minute instruction on how to pee in a cup without contaminating the sample?  Says to me:  “bathroom’s right there, there are Dixie cups on the back of the toilet.  Pee in there and leave it on the bench for me.”   Um….I’m sorry….but is that the same set of Dixie cups you offered me water out of last month?  I thought so.  How in the hell is that sanitary?!   And where the hell are the special sanitizing wipes and the screw-on plastic cup?  Honestly…if some emergency was happening in the office you could (a) let me know that things are a little hectic that day or (2) reschedule.   Don’t just waste my time…and if my urine sample comes back funky I’m not making an extra trip in to re-sample. 

See what I’m talking about?  I’m like a crazy person.  I’m a woman on the verge.  Luckily I still have enough sanity intact to apply a filter most of the time, but my worst fear is that I’ll start acting out on some of these over-reactions.  Like the time The Hubs and I went out to dinner and wanted a seat outside.  The host said that they didn’t have any seats available and I instantly snapped back, “There are plenty of tables available outside, I just saw them!”    To which he replied, “yes, but those are reserved.”    Doh.   The Hubs gave me the side-eye for once that day.

It’s more than that too….it’s the dishes in the sink.  The mugs that didn’t get put back in the cupboard right.  The dirty bathroom.  My dead flowers out back that withered up and died because we are never home.  The fender on my cruiser that is loose and making my cruiser rides noisy.   My tight jeans.  Work, period.  They are all irritating the crap out of me. 

I’ve been trying to hide it though because I know it’s all ridiculous.  There’s no reason to lash out at The Hubs because he didn’t put my collection of Starbucks mugs away with the handles facing out.  At least he unloaded the dishwasher, right?   

I’m trying to remind myself to not sweat the small stuff.  And as my friend Kirsten always says….we have nothing to be upset about!   Really, nothing.    I’m healthy and pregnant, I have a good job, The Hubs has a good job.  We don’t worry about where our next meal will come from.  We have a roof over our heads.  I have a cute little fluffball that brightens my day just by being happy to see me.   I  have wonderful family and friends.  So truly, there is no good reason I should let simple things like this ruin my day….or worse, ruin someone else’s day.    So what do you do when forces of nature try to sabotage your perfectly wonderful life?    For one, I’m cursing at praying to the hormone-Gods that this phase passes quickly, and two, shopping for some maternity clothes so my pants don’t feel tight anymore. 

I think that’s a good start.

Living room makeover

Thank you everyone for your kind words and well-wishes in my last posts’ comments and on Facebook!  We are super excited about the impending arrival of our little one.   I’m also excited to plan and prepare for him/her, which ya’ll will be privy to I’m sure.  However, I did promise my friend Adam that this wouldn’t turn into a baby blog and I intend to keep that promise.  Most of the time.  Speaking of… 

I consider myself a fairly patient person.  But I am done, I repeat, DONE with our living room.    Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with it (a fact that The Hubs is much too quick to point out).   We have decent furniture (er, ok, “had”), things matched, and as a room it worked.  The room looked nice and even kind-of put together.  The problem is that I had always been “just dealing” with it.  So you have hand-me-down forest green couches that you can’t afford to replace?  Let’s buy some pillows, fancy it up and make it work (any idea how hard it is to coordinate with forest green?!).  Oh?  And the room is pretty dang small?  Well that’s ok, we’ll keep it minimal and pick out some smaller items to go with it.  Like a GIANT 52″ flat screen TV.  Side-eye to The Hubs.  

Perhaps it’s the pregnancy hormones kicking in, or perhaps it’s the fear that I’ll never be able to spend money on myself again come January…but I decided that I must tackle this project.  Now. 

I went ahead and put together a quick and dirty mock-up to portray our current situation.  I only included the major pieces of the room so it looks a little baron (I promise you it’s a bit more inviting than this floor plan leads you to believe).  The door to the bottom left is the front door to our house.  If you proceed through the room (to the left of the couch) you walk past the stairway (leading upstairs) and into the kitchen.   

Allow me to break down my annoyances for you:

1.  Turns out forest green couches just aren’t my thing!  It’s so hard to coordinate colors and accessories.  I always felt extremely limited when picking out pillows, rugs and decor for the room…often passing on items I loved because they just didn’t fit.  

2.  The couches are actually the “overstuffed” kind…which in my opinion is just too big for the size of the room we are working with.

3.  The whole style overall just isn’t me.  

4.  Lack of seating.  I think we could make better use of the limited space we have so more than a few people can sit down at once.   A 52″ HD TV typically means there’s a lot of hockey, football and (sigh) hunting-show watching done at our house and in reality about 5 people could sit comfortably in the room.  And five is generous because it includes me sitting on a trunk that sits in the entryway (not pictured above).

5.  It’s really hard to get to the closet (see it there in the back right hand corner) to get the vacuum out.  Maybe that’s why The Hubs never does it…

6.  The room feels very boxy to me.  Immediately upon walking in the front door you’re met with the coffee table which makes the room feel closed-off and uninviting. 

7.  I have tried every, and I mean EVERY furniture arrangement you can think of with this space.  And the only combination that works with our current furniture is what you see above.  I distinctly remember The Hubs coming home from hunting one weekend and asking me what I did that day, to which I replied “re-arranged the living room.”  He looked at me a bit like I’d gone crazy, peeked back in the living room and said “um, sweetie?  It looks exactly the same.”   Yes.  Yes it did look exactly the same despite the fact that I had spent my entire day pushing and moving heavy furniture around to every possible location.   

But I think the biggest irk about this room is that it’s just not me.  Sure, Monty Dolack paintings are great, but it’s not really the look I want in my house.   Sorry Monty. 

In addition, I feel I’m working hard (and a lot) and we should have stuff that is ours.  Not just hand-me-downs that we’ve “made work” for the past five years.

So one night while sitting on my beloved forest green couch I got to thinking…what if…

What if we scrapped this whole damn room? 
What if we got a new couch and put it on the opposite wall under the window?  Oh my god I’ve never been able to have those windows open or reap the benefits of glorious sunlight shining in…thanks to the giant TV placed in front of them. 
What if that meant the new couch could be a sectional that could seat multiple people?
What if we moved the TV to the opposite wall?

I was onto something and it wasn’t going away.  It was going to take some convincing, some reasearch and some saving, but in the end my vision was something like this:

I love that the layout addresses so many of my previous concerns:  it completely opens up the space, allows for more seating, offers new options for colors slash accessories and opens a whole new world of opportunities for decorating.  

I did have concerns with this design however.  The sectional had to be just the right dimensions to work in the proposed area, and moving the TV to the other wall meant that there is potential for glare from the window on the screen.  Also, there’s no cable hook-up on that wall so we’d either have to run a new cable, or deal with one stretched down the baseboard to the new TV location (um, no thanks).  

So it’s not like this idea didn’t have risks, but god bless hormones because as of last week our living room looked like this:

Aye Carumba

Sayonara couches and get ready to kick-the-curb coffee table and rug.  

Obviously I’ve pulled the trigger on the move, but it’s going a bit slower than I thought.  We’ve found (and purchased) a couch, but we are working on getting cabling done, carpets cleaned and the rest of the furniture sold before moving anything around.   And since you know I’m a planner, here’s my entire to-do list for the room:

  • Look into cabling for cat5 and coax 
  • Research and purchase a couch
  • Move couch inside!
  • Rearrange furniture and see what still works and what doesn’t 
  • Find or DIY some fun patterned pillows for the new couch
  • See if previously-purchased West Elm curtains will work, if not sell on Craigslist
  • Sew curtains (if West Elms don’t work)
  • Sew curtain for front door windows to reduce glare on TV
  • Consider painting living room
  • Be on the lookout for a console table for the entryway
  • Be on the lookout for cheap frames to put a frame gallery in the entry way
  • Paint mirror
  • Replace boob lamp with a some sort of drum shade light (Eden light at CB2?) and install dimmer
  • Find a fun patterned rug (8×10) 
  • Update the leather tray for table (line with fabric?)
  • Decide on wall art (maybe some covered fabric canvases) for the wall with the couch.  Something to fill up the big space and bring in some color. 

This list may take me 17 years to complete, and I’m not opposed to waiting on a few things so I can find something I love.  I don’t want to rush through the list just to cross something off….since I’m starting from scratch I really want this to be a room that makes me happy and is full of stuff I love.  Plus, aren’t time and budget always a concern (that was for you Hubs).   Luckily I have a whole lot of Janna-time coming up in the next few months while the Hubs is out hunting…so hopefully I can make a bit of progress soon! 

I’ll be keeping you in the loop as things progress, but for now you can imagine us sitting in our camp chairs when we need to veg.  Yes, the camp chairs are inside and let me tell you….we both agree they aren’t as comfortable when you’re not sitting by a campfire.

It’s been awhile!

Hello, my name is Janna.  I used to blog here.

Yes I’ve been absent for a while and my deepest apologies.  But as you read here, I’m rested and I’m ready to jump back in the saddle.   Speaking of saddles….we’ve had ourselves a nice little summer.  So I thought I’d fill you in on what the going-ons have been around our house since we last spoke.

River of No Return

Our summer vacation this year was seven days down the Wild and Scenic Main Salmon River through Idaho.  Dubbed the “River of No Return” because of its seclusion (and in my opinion, its big whitewater), it never disappoints.  They say drawing a permit for the Middle Fork or the Main stretch of the Salmon River is the “rafters equivalent of Willie Wonka’s Golden Ticket.”   This was Eric’s 4th Golden Ticket ride down the Main and my second.

I kept a river journal (surprised?  and hand-written mind you…it ain’t proper to take electronics when you’re surrounded by thousands of feet of cubic water each day).  So I plan on sharing those entries as well as some pictures to fill you in on that adventure. 

4-year Anniversary

We celebrated our 4-year Anniversary this year by spending 6 hours in the car with 3 other people who hadn’t showered for a week.   What?  That’s not your idea of romantic?

4Runner

After 7 years of debating whether “her” truck was better than “his” (it wasn’t), and two years of saving every spare penny….the Tangedahl’s have finally entered the weird world of chauffering passengers.  Out with the old and in with the new I suppose.  Isn’t she a beaut?  She’s a 2011 Toyota 4Runner SR5 and she is beautiful inside and out.   Although I curse myself every time I catch myself referring to my vehicle as “my truck.”  That has always been one of my biggest pet peeves:   SUVs are not trucks!  While trucks are awesome,  4runners are beautiful.

Race(s)

Bad news to report here.  I didn’t end up doing either of the Half Marathons I signed up for.  Remember?   The first one due to lack of desire/training being viciously attacked by a pack of wolves and the second due to the flu (for real). 

However, I do have good news to report!  The Hubs is awesome.  Duh.  But really, now he is awesome + oh-so-inpiring.  He ran in the appropriately-called  Elkhorn HURL 23k a few weeks ago….and took 5TH.   This was a trail run through the Elkhorn mountains near Helena.  The course gains 3000 feet of elevation (I’m sorry, but at that point I’m hiking, not running).  He rocked it though (as usual) but I was so excited to see him round the corner as the 5th person across the finish line.  Congratulations to him!   At least one of us can represent….even if it is all considered “Hunting Training” for one of us.  (Hint, I don’t hunt).

The state of affairs at our house

You could say I have a minor major project  going on at home.  Here’s what our living room looks like these days:

Aye Carumba

Poor Summit looks a little confused about the whole thing.  I’m sure she’s wondering how she’s supposed to sneakily lay on the couch all day if there is no couch.  Yep, we are now couchless and chairless thanks to my new best friend Craigslist. 

It’s clear that we aren’t home enough to sit on the ‘ol thing anyways, right?

I’m hoping that in a few short days that rug and coffee table will be gone as well.   I finally decided that it was  time to pull the trigger on a living room revamp.  We’d I’d been “making-do” with hand-me-downs for five years now and I’m ready to make it something more reflective of my our tastes.  I’m soooooo excited!  Don’t worry, you’ll all be around for the transformation. 

Blackfoot multi-day

Just in case you’re wondering about Summit…she’s enjoying summer as well.  She typically accompanies us on all of our adventures, with this past weekend being no exception.  We spent 3 days and 2 nights on the Blackfoot river, which is just outside of Missoula.  I guess you could say she enjoyed herself:

The Bump

I’m hoping this revelation sheds some light onto some of the strange happenings over the past few months.  Like not wanting (or being too tired) to run, getting deathly sick (I did have the flu, just could not recover for.ev.er), and skipping out on the ‘ol blog for awhile…..sad:

Yep…we got our “two pink lines” and I’m thrilled to tell you I’m pregnant!  I’m just over 16 weeks along and due January 27th.  We are 98% excited, 2% terrified (and sometimes vice-versa).   Kidding aside, I have to say we can’t wait to be parents and have actually been wanting to for several years.  So this is extremely exciting and wonderful and scary all at the same time. 

“Yes” I went on the river trip pregnant and “no” it was not as fun this time.   You’ll hear all about that in my river journal.   And “yes” this is what ultimately forced the hand on that beautiful 4runner.  Apparently it’s ill-advised to put a car seat in the back of a truck.

Anyways, I’m looking forward to this journey and sharing it with all of you.  This whole pregnancy thing is wild.  The Hubs could probably tell you a few stories about my experiences with raging hormones….so it’s a good thing that (1) this isn’t his blog and (2) he used up his allotted “word count” in his last guest post

So my friends, it’s been a busy month-and-half, no?   Like I said, I’m stoked to be back  in the saddle and can’t wait to see what these next few months hold.