Tag Archives: Montana

HF: Backwards Much?

Haiku FridayMontana = beauty
Clean, serene, charming, peaceful
Outdoorsy heaven

If you’ve e’er wondered
Why I talk smack about ‘Tana
Here’s a good reason:

UK readers: Radio Shack is the same company as Tandy.


HF: Montana-stachey-views

Montana has it —
Purple mountains majesty
They say “God’s Country”

The majestic mountains woo me, I luv the scenery outside my front door.

Ian is on the left

Live here long enough
And you’ll look like the locals
Well, if you’re a man

Here’s Bryan’s theory
Only cops and firemen
Wear this kind of ‘stache

Haiku Friday

You’ll be happy to know all these, bar the first one, are my shots.

Thirteen Things That Tick Me Off About Montana

Not to be confused with last week’s post.

1. It’s bloody cold here in the winter. Friends pre-warned me of the Arctic temperatures that last for two weeks in January last year. I laughed. I’m not laughing now. I’m freezing my freakin’ she-nuts off.

2. Lack of Technology: Just as one example, Bryan walked into a print shop two days ago with a disc in-hand full of documents he wanted printed and spiral bound into fifteen booklets. They wanted/needed the paper copies. “Well, I have my laptop with me–” he offered. “I’ll print it off on mine”, the owner growled, snatching the disc. “He probably won’t charge you for the copies…” said the lady. He came out, 30 pages later (for one booklet) and said, “that’ll be $0.20 a copy.” “Fine.”

3. Mullets: Now, I’m no expert, but hair doesn’t grow that way naturally. I think there needs to be an amendment in the Constitution that bans them. There are five people in my congregation at church with a mullet. And. They’re. Women. One of them has a natural wave/perm too.

4. This one’s for Bryan. He calls them Horse Women. He knows one personally. They don’t have enough food to feed themselves and can barely make their mortgage payment, but they board, tend and take care of their horse–all for a hefty $1500/month price tag.

5. Commuting to Missoula. I’m totally used to it now, but sometimes it’s such a task. We have to pack provisions just to go shopping at the stores “in the big city”. We moved from a prime shopping area where Target, Michael’s, Toys R Us, Barnes & Noble, Old Navy, Pier 1 and restaurants galore graced our lives just a sweet 5-minute drive away. Now it’s all 45 miles from us.

6. That said, there are local stores, but if you stay, you pay. Usually. Sometimes they have amazing sales, but you can generally pay anywhere between $0.50-$1.50 more for any item. They encourage locals to shop local on adverts on t.v.–I will if I’m desperate. We bought frosting one time at Super 1, it expired 4 months previous. We have one Big Box store: K-Mart. Why does every K-Mart smell like an animal up and died in the premises? Sick. And other thing! You would think living in the midst of a meat and dairy euphoria that it would be reflected in the prices. No. I’d rather pump petrol and drink it, it’s cheaper than the milk here.

But I suppose that’s nothing compared to the housing market. Thankfully we made a 20% profit on our last out-of-state home. We paid almost $100,000 more here for a smaller home. Thanks to the influx of Californians (well, that’s who they’re blaming) over the past 5 years, the housing prices have shot through the roof. It’s pure nasty.

7. Road conditions. Thanks to the washboard Interstate road all the way to Missoula for my pre-natal doctor’s appointments, I enjoyed 50 minutes of contractions every trip, there and back. During nasty winter conditions, local roads and pavements (sidewalks) are covered in sand, not salt. It’s disgusting after the snow melts.

8. There was a time in Montana history not too long ago when you could drive any speed you cared to. Those days are well gone. I can’t help but wonder who posts the speed limit signs here. Obviously someone with a good sense of humour. The back country 2-lane – sometimes windy – highway speed is 65 mph. It changes to 35 mph with no warning and no gradual decline. What’s up with that?

9. I’d love to have a bike. I’d love to go rollerblading. I’d love to walk more places when the weather is nicer. I can’t, there’s a drastic shortage of pavements. That ticks me off.

10. You’re sick. Well, I mean hypothetically, not in the head. So you head to the local pharmacy in Albertson’s. “We don’t have that in stock, can you come back in 2 days?” No further comment.

11. I could have lumped this with No. 6, but quite frankly, this deserves a room all by itself. Okay, so I admit this should be something I am used to from the UK, but I’ve been here for eight years and I was converted pretty early on. I can’t stand it that businesses close and 5 and 5:30 p.m. Bryan gets off shift at 6 p.m. and sometimes needs things at the last minute. Tough luck, Jimmy. We’re closed.

12. Amenities, or lack there of. No zoo (it’s in Bozeman), museums, bowling alleys, kid-friendly pools, etc. We have an indoor pool 6 miles away, but they cater specifically for adults. I really don’t care to drive an hour just to entertain the kids. By the time we get there, they’ve been asleep for as long.

13. Environmentalists. I say conserve what we can, use the resources we have and recycle if possible when you can. They were against putting in a local Wal-Mart (not my fave, but I prefer the grocery prices) and had them do an environment impact study. They changed their minds because it would have set back everything another year. The thing that gets me is there are loads of log homes here (probably filled with environmentalists). Where’s the conservation there?

Thirteen Things I Enjoy About Montana

It was a huge adjustment for Bryan and me after we moved here. We felt lost and misplaced for a long time. Now after 18 months, I have a list.

1. Tax-free living. For the first 9 months, especially when we’d make a big purchase I’d bellow, “and it’s tax FREE!” Don’t hate me for it.

2. Nightmare traffic is a 6-car line at the 4-way stop. No traffic lights, no roundabouts–nothing.

3. It’s quiet and peaceful, especially at night. At first I couldn’t get to sleep because it was too quiet here, now I can’t get to sleep in the metropolitan areas.

4. Genuinely nice people live here. There’s a lot of OLD people here, but they’re nice.

5. It’s brilliant to drive to Missoula and on the way spot bald eagles, hawks or falcons overhead on the way there. Watch out for the freakin deer a-go-go though.6. The local school district is in the Top 5 in America.

7. My husband’s total commute is just 12 miles both ways, compared to 1.5 hours before we moved here.

8. The opportunities for mountain climbing, biking and camping are endless. The mountain views are also breath-taking.

9. It’s virtually stress-free, living here.

10. We’re just a 4 hours’ drive from five of the best fishing places in America. Neither of us fish though.

11. I’m only 4 hours south of Canada. It’s calling my name. I want to go buy some British food so bad.

12. It’s safe. If I’ve accidentally left the front door unlocked overnight I don’t go throw up when I realise it. I still worry a little, but it’s not a huge issue now.

13. There are plenty of places locally to go float the river.

Small Town Cooking

I wouldn’t necessarily say I live in a small town, it’s more of a small village.  But not necessarily in the British sense though: small amount of people over a vast amount of space.  I have to say, it took us about a year to finally feel like we wanted to be here.  It was a huge culture shock to us both.  We got here and had to adjust from “it would be a great place to vacation” to “farce, we have to freakin’ live here”.  Ian?  He took it in his pee pee-holding, snot-pickin’ stride.  It’s nice though, going from crazy-you-might-die traffic to complete calmness.  Heavy traffic here is 6 cars in front of you at the four-way stop.  There’s no traffic lights, certainly no roundabouts, and for that matter, very few pavements (sidewalks) – including on my street.  Most people know each other, and for the most part, you can tell an out-of-towner because they’re the ones not wearing Wrangler jeans and not walking with an invisible horse between their legs (and that’s just the women).  Eighty percent of the women here are, shall we say, non-threatening?  But very sweet people, of course.  There’s been a few days I have dropped Ian off at pre-school wearing absolutely no makeup and feeling completely comfortable with it.  I would never have dreamed of it in Utah.

Anyway, I had a point.

For Hallowe’en, we went to our local Church’s Trunk or Treat.  Everyone was asked to bring chili, so I obliged.  I thought variety might be the best approach, so I searched for a great Chili Verde recipe, as I had never made it before.  You know the kind, a soft green colour, made with chicken and not beef.

Anyway, I got there, sat my covered casserole dish down and opened it up.  A sweet old man who is known for his incessant teasing stopped and stared at it.

“What’s that?  That’s not chili.”
“It’s Chili Verde”, I offered.
*silence, crickets chirping*
“It’s made with green salsa and chicken instead of ground beef.”

I made it again for dinner tonight and couldn’t help but think about the potential ruckus I could have caused.

Welcome to Montana.