Saturday, November 26, 2011

Last thoughts on Grandma Vi.

She worked hard at her job and on the farm--her pinkies were gnarled from the milking she did.  She raised nine children with her loving husband Nick.  She was named Lake County Woman of the Year in 1965.  She met and was acquainted with Presidents and Popes.  She was a caring grandmother of many.  She annually rocked Vegas bingo parlors.  She was the first woman to head up a state ASCS, the program that oversaw and implemented federal farm programs in each state.  She gardened, canned, cooked, and served.  She was always on the go, and yet still somehow the center of my Montana universe.  Her heart was HUGE.

Grandma Vi didn't settle for being one thing or another.  She gave it her all.

This, I think, must be her biggest legacy.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grandma Vi Herak's obituary.  Her funeral was yesterday.  Hana's grandmother Joyce's funeral was Friday, and here's her obituary.  We miss them already.  May they both rest in peace, and may Hana and my baby inherit all of their loveliest qualities.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Here's an article about my good friend Jeff Morrow and his saddle-making business that just came out in The Missoulian:  Niarada Man Creates Art that Cowboys, Horses Wear.

Here's one about Dunn Center, ND, where I recently lived and still own a house in (as featured prominently in the doc Roll Out, Cowboy): Dunn Center Growing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My sweet Grandma Vi passed away peacefully this morning in Ronan, MT.  She was a mother-of-nine, farm gal who raised cattle and wheat with my Grandpa Herak (who died in 1987). She was a tough Irish-Catholic Democrat who got to meet John and Jackie Kennedy in '62.  She was kind, generous, and fun to be around.  Gratefully, I saw her four days ago when I was in Montana with Hana.  I lifted her hand up to touch Hana's pregnant belly and, being ever modest, Grandma giggled at the intimacy of it all.  I'll miss her so.

Julia Viola Sullivan Herak, 1920-2011. Rest in peace, sweet Grandma.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

One last trip to North Dakota for a final fish haul and then I'll be a Missoula, MT, resident.  This happens every twenty-or-so years, Missoula is my city of fresh transitions.  I lived here from 1971-1973 as a toddler and again from 1989-1992 during my first years of college.

Here's a list of things I love about Hana's and my apartment.
  1. Clawfoot bathtub.  Perfect for warming up one's bones on winter days.
  2. Spaciousness--our biggest home yet.  Hana especially likes the kitchen and multiple closets.
  3. Funky features:  plaster walls, 1940s linoleum floors, arched bedroom windows.
  4. Proximity to things we like: Mount Jumbo trailhead (2 blocks), Greenough Park (2.5 blocks), Albertsons Market (3 blocks), U of M campus (4 blocks), USPS for Hana's daily shipping of Etsy items (5 blocks), City Library (6 blocks), downtown Missoula (7 blocks)!
  5. Easy directions.  For instance, if you're leaving Boston just hop on the I-90, drive west 2,600 miles to Missoula, Exit 105, right onto Van Buren Street, first right (Poplar Street), 5th house on left, walk up stairs.  It's just as easy from Seattle.
  6. Our mailing address has the musical words "Pop" and "Soul" secretly encoded within it: 930 Poplar / Missoula, MT 59802.
  7. Big deck off back with beautiful view of surrounding mountains.
  8. I love the sound of a freight train.  Tracks are a block away.
  9. Evie, our 80-year-old downstairs neighbor, is rad.  She keeps the yard tidy.  She lets me watch football games on her big screen TV.  And she takes care of our pup Gilda.  In fact, Gilda begs to visit Evie and her dachshund Jazzy at least once a day.
  10. Deb, our lovely landlord and friend. Her rent fee is cut-rate, PLUS she keeps us stocked with bread, apples, and eggs from her free-range chickens.  She's Evie's daughter.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Just got the week off with Goodall, so I boogied straight to Missoula to be with Hana for a few days. Her/our pregnancy is coming along swimmingly. She just entered her third trimester. Baby's kickin' a-way.

She told me that her inny will soon be an outy. Tomorrow, by the way, is Hana's baby shower, which my cousin Rebekah will host at her house.

Missoula has been opening its doors to me since I arrived two days ago. The weather has been great; Hana and I saw a spirited Day of the Dead parade yesterday; we've been to two lectures at U of M on Middle Eastern issues; I'm about to attend a First Friday; and tomorrow I might drive to Jerry Johnson's Hot Springs in Idaho for a soak.