You call this winter?

I just took a photo from the back deck of Faith River Communications WORLD HEADQUARTERS LLC, and I was about to upload it when I realized it showed nothing but brown grass and a long, empty field leading to the Bridger Mountains, which are almost equally devoid of snow. Thought I'd hold back on depressing anyone further by posting it.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that southwestern Montana is at 80 percent of normal snowpack currently, a figure that indicates someplace else must have more snow than Gallatin County. We've heard Red Lodge is doing OK. On the up side, local ski repair shops are doing well due to the above-average number of clients bringing in skis for rock damage and blowouts. 

All our friends are praying to the Snow Gods to forgive us for whatever nonsense happened last year, and let go that one thing with the beer cans and the flamethrower and the trespassing. OK? We're sorry. Let it snow, please.

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The BeerHive State

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The Beehive State isn't all bizzy-ness. Case in point: The Beerhive, with a menu of over 200 beers and an ice rail, a frosty track around the bar where you rest your beverage between sips to maintain the ideal cold temp. There's also a tiny sidewalk section (4 or 5 tables with a view of the Downtown Rising, that is, the incredibly ambitious reinvention of downtown Salt Lake City) where you can a) smoke! and b) order German delectables from the restaurant next door.

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Bar & Grill as art

Shot this to look like a painting, today in Livingston, Montana.

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What's behind this name? Big Dry Saddlery

Strolling through Lewistown, Montana yesterday I noticed this little business on Main Street. Closed, unfortch, or I would have gone in to ask about the name.

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Boo hogs the remote

Boo stayed with us while my daughter and her husband were on their honeymoon last week. World Cup fever!

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Driving west of Bozeman yesterday

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On assignment, heading toward the little town of Norris, Montana.

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Deb Habernicht Gets Bozeman Moving!

Click to learn more about NextFit

 Three cheers for my long-time client Deb Habernicht and her heroic 6-week fitness series that kicked off her new biz: NextFit.

This is the coolest thing I've seen in a very long time, a wonderful new way to get in/stay in shape that appeals to both my gadget-geek tendencies and my dual athlete/slug personality!

Long story short: there's now a giant database of fitness knowledge, music, celebrity trainers' secret techniques, encouragement, and years' worth of hands-on, proven fitness experience. NextFit lets you plug into that with your own stats, preferences and goals -- and the system custom mixes a new workout every day just for you! Your workout (complete with music, instruction, encouragement and even your own name spoken to you) downloads onto a nifty little gadget called the Keychain Trainer.

You press play and GO -- for almost any fitness category. Running, walking, weights, pilates, yoga, combo training, anything in the gym, prenatal fitness, you name it.

I'm so impressed with this new system that I'm using it , my daughter is using it , and I'm getting dear hubby into it, too.

So again, kudos to Deb and NextFit. The Get Bozeman Moving campaign continues, so stay tuned!

 

 

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Robotics in the Rockies

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Right here in Bozeman, there's a new program getting kids tapped into global-impact technologies: Robotic Explorer, founded by Debi Maloney, M.Ed.

Robotic Explorer shows kids how to build, program and control their robotic creations to carry out specific tasks in a number of engaging environments -- from the deep sea to the far reaches of the solar system. Robotics Explorer is a bridge where kids tap their inherent tech-genius to see the vast possibility of real world applications. And kids love it!

Want to productively fill a piece of your kids' summer with something fun and mind-expanding? Or just in town for a few days and need something cool for the kids to do? Check out the Current Schedule at Robotic Explorer Now

Get more info about this breakthrough learning opportunity at Robotic Explorer.

 

 

 

 

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Earth Hour

At home in Bozeman, we turned everything off for 1 hour+ on Saturday night ... and had a wonderful time by candlelight playing alphabet games with our teenage girls -- of the variety we always played on road trips in the days before on-board DVD players.

There's a nice collection of worldwide before-and-after Earth Hour photos at Big Picture

Lima's before pic shown below:

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Live blogging the rodeo!

NEWS FLASH:

The Montana High School Rodeo Association (MHSRA) has chosen Bozeman to host the 2009 Montana High School State Finals Rodeo. The rodeo will be held June 10-14, 2009 at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds where contestants from across the state will converge to compete for prizes and the chance to go onto the National High School Rodeo Finals in Farmington, NM.

Your faithful correspondent Mary Engel is committed to a live blog of the entire event. I will post to my blog, www.strongcopywriting.com, as well as my main web site, www.faithriver.com.  We'll twitter it all and use CoverItLive to make posts to the web sites.

Would love to hear from all my colleagues as to any suggestions -- if you've live-blogged/live-covered an event, contact me!  Thanks!

 

 

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Superstar of Pakistan

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From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:

Mortenson receives Star of Pakistan

by Karin Ronnow

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Humanitarian Greg Mortenson’s staff and supporters showered him with rose petals, hung garlands of fresh flowers around his neck and cheered in Urdu Monday night.

The cheerful celebration came hours after Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari presented the 51-year-old Bozemanite with the Sitarai-i-Pakistan medal, or Star of Pakistan, in a formal midday ceremony here in the nation’s capital.

"This award is an honor, a big honor, not only for Greg but for Greg's family and for all of Central Asia Institute - from America to Pakistan and Afghanistan," said Sarfraz Khan, CAI’s operations manager.

Mortenson founded Central Asia Institute in the mid-1990s to support his efforts to build schools and promote education, especially for girls, in neglected and isolated mountain villages in Pakistan. His work has since expanded to Afghanistan and now includes nearly 80 schools benefiting more than 33,000 students.

Full article

 

More about Greg's Central Asia Institute: CAI site

The must-read book about how this all came about: Questions & comments 0

Fire & Brimstone

 A somber moment for a number of tragedies that have hit my home state lately:

Bozeman's exquisite Main Street suffers explosion due to gas main leak on March 5, 2009; one life is lost, a number of key buildings and businesses are lost.

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Photos and details are available at www.bozemandailychronicle.com and www.billingsgazette.com.  New today is a site launched by Northwestern Energy to provide info and an archive of all news releases on the event:

www.bozemanrecovery.com

A day later, in the nearby town of Whitehall, an eerily similar event happened -- buildings on the historic Main Street were gutted by fire.  

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Yesterday, a charter plane crashed in Butte, killing 14.  Seven adults, seven children.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,510082,00.html

Today, Miles City's historic district burned:

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http://www.milescitystar.com/news/index.php

 

Tears for all the loss, and for our beautiful Montana.  

 

Thanks to all for your prayers and love.

 

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Merry Christmas to All!

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Mary and Jon with our Christmas tree '07 in the Trail Creek / Goose Creek area (photo by Sophie!).

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Jessie, Becky, Mary, Jon, Tate and Sophie at R Climbing X.

Have a safe, peaceful and blessed holiday.

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Our Tate is home

Apparently a large segment of the population turns their attention daily to celeb-nonsense, but here at R Climbing X, we've focused on the return of TATE!

Our lovely chica has been in Argentina since August. You can't imagine the travel snafus she navigated in another language to get there and back. Bienvenidos, honey! Ya done good (that's a rough colloquialism for Nice Going!)

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Animal rescue at R Climbing X

All summer, we've had the joy of watching twin fawns grow up in the apple orchard -- they and their mom have become like pets, even frequently hanging with the horses and napping on the front lawn.

Last night, our delivery man from Bamboo Garden rushed to our door to say he'd spotted a trapped deer at the corner of our property. One of the twins was tangled in the neighbor's wire fence!

Bamboo Guy and I took turns holding the frantic, screaming fawn more or less still and trying to untangle its one leg from the crosshatch wire fence. Meanwhile sent my daughter to fetch a wire cutters. Bamboo Guy got the wire cut in several places, and little twin was free -- scratched a bit and sore, but able to run back to panicked mama and then disappear back into the trees along the creek.

So here's to the top-notch fast action, there, Bamboo Guy! Thank you.

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Hot. Smokin.'

No, not me, you sick twisted freak. The entire state! A week's worth of 100+ temps, and the whole place feels like it's about to burst into flame. Get the latest info here: Montana Wildfire & Drought News & Conditions Questions & comments 0

He is risen

images-1.jpg Happy Easter. Questions & comments 1

Squibnocket update

A while back, I wrote about the latest addition to the Engel-Carpenter Pet Asylum, a wonderful tuxedo cat I named Squibnocket.

Old Squib took a while getting with the routine here at Nutjob Petz Inc. The first time we let him outside, he disappeared for 5 weeks, not knowing that having a home means you can return there whenever you like. He returned emaciated but quickly put our three so-called dogs to shame by demonstrating world-class wolfing technique at the food bowl.

He's now picked up on the methods used by our other two cats: make a lazy loop from house to barn to creek, and then generally sit on the porch or the deck waiting for a door to open so you can bolt inside and head for the chow line.

To add to the confusion, Bex calls him 'Dex' -- a little something that has to do with Dad, I think. It's an 'in' thing.

Photos to come soon.

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Twelfth Night

The 12 days of Christmas come to an end. Bittersweet, because now we have that soul-sucking time of the year stretched out ahead of us, a bleak tundra with only those dead presidents and some sort of hearts-n-flowers fest to sustain us until Spring Break.

I'll do my best to distract, so let's get started.

This could be the year someone's life changes. All you have to do to help is vote on the amateur Doritos ad which will air during the Stupor Bowl. Give someone a leg up at:

Doritos presents Crash the Super Bowl

Happy 2007! Questions & comments 0

Standard-issue lab & RE license

Couldn't agree more with the writer to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle who suggested that our Montana state commemorative quarter design oughta be a dog in a pickup. I would even propose the new quarter should display a triad of images: the pickup dog, a replica of a Montana real estate seller's license and the official seal of the NIMBYs (as yet to be designed... anyone?). It's long been a joke around here that when you purchase property in Montana, you receive a standard-issue lab or golden retriever plus a versatile bandana with the usual print on one side and a real estate license on the other. You can either adorn the dog or go into business.

Seriously, I'm surprised that there wasn't a horse anywhere in the current proposed designs. The West and Montana would be nowhere without the horse; even throughout its current gentrification and upscale mansionization, Montana is inextricably linked to the horse. Horses are still everywhere, including my own backyard, and they still give plenty of otherwise soft-bottomed Hummer drivers a reason to toughen their asses in the saddle, face a subzero wind to feed and water, callous their hands and go to Murdoch's.

How soon we forget that the Montana we signed on for was driven by the secret desire to get caught in a duststorm or a blizzard or a forest fire or a deluge of rain that swamps everything we've worked for in the last six months. We grew up in, or chose on purpose, something that's harsh because we want to be the kind of people who can take it.

I'm not saying everyone who comes to Montana wants this, but the fact is, yes, those things still happen here. They're not just some Lonesome Dove romance or historical footnote. They still go on in Montana, even for those who have enough money to make a cushy no-dirt-under-the-nails horse life if they want. And sure, plenty of monied folks do hire someone else to deal with this nonsense in a harsh climate, and they stick to their professionally designed interiors while some hired hand is out in the cold.

But there are also people, even among the newcomers and the well-off, who do it themselves because by God, that is what Montana is about: a 125-pound woman blindly guiding thirteen storm-panicked1200-pound horses through a crippling hailstorm to the safety of the barn by herself; the frostbitten night when she went after the two SUV-loads of skiers who hit the ditch hard; the morning she dug a drainage trench out of the barn because it's been raining for five days straight and the foaling stall flooded and the young of the year are coming; her Christmas Eve crash course in colic that introduced her personally to many of the things she read about in All Creatures Great and Small as a kid; her bruises right above the knee that come from bumping bales of hay up into the pickup and later up into the storage shed; her black eye from the fast-swinging head of a surly lame gelding; her makeshift bed on the hay bales beside the broodmare's stall where she can keep watch for the coming foal; the endless cold nights in a neighbor's riding arena where she exercises the horses alone, and then drives the 4-wheeler or walks back home in the dark under more stars than anyone thought were out there.

Another serious omission from the quarter designs, like it or not, is the trout. Appropriately non-native (at least by the existing rubrics that require at least one of your ancestors to be an amoebic member of the LOCAL primordial soup in order for you to stake a legitimate claim in Montana), introduced sporting trout species changed Montana forever. One could reasonably argue that the rainbow and the brown have contributed as much to this state's economy and even destiny as any other force -- not only are thousands upon thousands of people drawn here by the promise of the trout, but a significant number of those eventually become landowners in Montana. They also become, whether they move here or not, fierce guardians and protectors of trout habitat and the glories of a pristine Montana environment, which translates into a better sphere into which we receive all sorts of tourists: photographers, dreamers, motorcyclists, climbers, hikers, kayakers, gawkers, explorers, writers, geocachers, artists and wildlife enthusiasts. I maintain that it all starts with the trout -- because trout fishers in Montana are second to none in contributions to and personal involvement in environmental causes, and because, after all, the very concept of catch-and-release fishing means, in its purest form, that you don't even have to catch them, you just have to stand next to them. Witness the idea of the "long release" whose premise is that once you've fooled a fish with your expertly tied fly and impeccable presentation, the catch is not just secondary but really, completely unnecessary and even disruptive to the real art at hand. The overriding theme here is not dominance or destruction of the natural world, but an all-consuming attempt to join with it in whatever way possible, even if that way is only as thick as the floating fly line that connects us to it.

Among the current designs, I have to choose the buffalo skull. Maybe that really is an apt symbol: it's about all the things that are gone now, or will vanish soon. We do remember, even while we embrace and love the new Montana.

I think of all the people who are still somewhere else, hoping that Montana will be the West they dream of. It's debatable whether Montana can still live up to that dream, no matter how sincere they are in wanting to adapt to the place, rather than having it adapt to them. It's just that more and more, Montana becomes homogenized and takes on the character of the places others fled. The character of old Montana is bleached out in the sun, where it still lies stark and stubbornly enduring as we build something new -- not something bad, no, not bad at all, and in fact, mostly very lovely. But different.

The buffalo skull seems right as one symbol to say all that.

50 State Commemorative Quarters Designs

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We're with you, Myles Bagley

The rest of the world may have the Oscars (and yes, my brain-smack wunderkind Ave and I adore the Jon Stewart), but here in our lovely hamlet of Bozeman, we were gathered last Sunday for something far more important: community spaghetti dinner at the Bistro for Myles Bagley!

A gorgeous crowd gathered for this event at Bozeman's Main Street staple, the Bistro (aka John Bozeman's Bistro), and thank goodness we were gorgeous because the camera kept on a-rollin' for the benefit of our Myles. Most folks in evidence had some connection to the Bozeman soccerrati via Myles' participation, Myles' charm and good looks.. and sure, Dad Al's coaching tenure.

"Run FASTER!" was our night's major gut-laugh because of the Al-Bagley-quote and smoke-visual provided by Ave Milhauser and her former soccer teammate, the lovely gal with the way-cute baby named Sidney. Myles stories were recounted by all.

At one poignant moment, Myles via cell phone made the rounds of all the tables, hearing everyone's jubilant shouts of YAY MYLES!! and HI MYLES! and YOU ROCK, MYLES!! We all would have loved the chance to say more, especially since you're the bravest guy we know and you're loved by so many -- but, as with all Oscar acceptance speeches, there was only a split second to try to say it.

Others in attendance were non-soccer but full-on Bagley family LOVE. Myles' circa junior-year friends, as non-pro wait staff, did a smashing job (only once literally) with serving and schmoozing.

Right now, a large portion of the Bozeman population is carrying around one of those polished river stones, and holding an even bigger prayer for Myles.

For Strongcopywriting readers who haven't heard: Myles suffered a severed spinal cord as a result of a snowboarding accident a few weeks ago. He's 17 years old. He is paralyzed from the waist down. With your love and contributions, we pray for the miraculous intervention that will give him the fullest possible recovery and the ability to reach our whole planet which is dearly in need of Myles' strength, peace, beauty and ideas.

Spaghetti today, miracle tomorrow. Hang in there, our beloved friend. So many good things can come, things we can't even imagine today.

For those who missed this wonderful event, there's a fund for Myles' substantial medical expenses set up at FIRST INTERSTATE BANK - MYLES BAGLEY MEDICAL FUND, 202 W. MAIN ST. BOZEMAN MT 59715. Please, please send any amount you can.

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So far, so good

B = once again scores big time on the varsity debate scene, headed for State
T = kicks butt on math and science test scores, grabbing highest grades in her classes; makes the elite soccer team
S & J = join the basketball team (two of the tallest players) while maintaining A averages

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Time is right

Today I want to publish something I wrote several months ago:
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In recent days, a number of major life events have visited our household. Incredibly, in spite of everything, this is the place the children want to be. It's like a beating heart here, with an infinite number of inputs and outflows and influences; still, this is the place our children congregate with their friends -- and I am grateful to the ends of my being.

Our house is built on a strange foundation: a web of interconnectedness that began with my children's relationships to Jon's children, overlaid with my love for Jon (and later our marriage, and therefore, the strongest cables in the web), strengthened by additional community threads (friends and families that love us, thank God), shot through with all the love of our parents, siblings and Ave.

It's an intricate pattern of friendships/families that love us.

Into this, we gather any storm, any crisis, any conflict, any disruption -- and we have done so successfully, as many come to our home as a place of solace and security.

We bring love, acceptance and connection to each soul that comes into this house -- just show us what you've got.

As the parents of 4 teenage girls, we put all visitors to the test (young men, stand up for your test of respectability and accountability; ladies, please know that we'll call parents at the drop of a hat, and we don't mind being "those annoying tattletale parents" at all).

Our message: we welcome you all -- just be straight. The door's always open (and much to my sublime happiness, this is the place kids gather in safety).

la Mer's binding premise: absolute, ironpants control doesn't work. Welcoming as part of a community does work.

Come on over.

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Small towns that rule (including Bozeman, natch)

It's right there in the lead: "College towns are the best bargain in real estate." Probably so, and even better, look at the deal you're giving yourself, your family and your joy factor, not to mention the pricelessness of clean air.

The Big Picture spanks locals in Bozeman who get myopic about the troubles (yeah, we dislike change).

Here's a bit from Rich Karlgaard in his Forbes article:

* Bozeman, Mont. is home to Montana State University. Indeed, the presence of MSU is the reason Greg Gianforte picked Bozeman as a place to launch RightNow Technologies in 1997. Bozeman is awash with smart young people, just what any software startup needs. Gianforte rejected in-state rival, Missoula, home to the University of Montana. The entrepreneur had little use for U. of M.'s assembly line of lawyers and English majors. He had less use for the antibusiness attitude that often attaches to those disciplines. Gianforte's reasoning worked. Talent-rich RightNow went public last year and boasts a $90 million revenue run rate

Full article here: Live Rich in College Towns - Forbes.com

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Good riddance 2005

The year 2005 just wouldn't give up: the very last day of the year claimed our beloved friend and equine vet Dave Catlin, a dear man who cared for all our show horses over the years. A couple of weeks earlier, Mike's buddy and fishing guide was suddenly gone: Garry McCutcheon. And as most of our loyal Strong Copywriting / Faith River readers know, we lost our papa, Mike Dry, in October to glioblastoma multiforme.

To those other families who lost Dad this year, we are praying for you and sending our love. Don't know what else can be said that is helpful... nothing, really. Just please know that in this sad, impossible time, others will hold you up to the best of their ability.

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Sundance a year later: another Bozeman connection

Sundance Film Festival 2006 in Park City, Utah, includes a bit by Montana State U. prof Cindy Stilwell. Read on: MSU News -- Professor's film selected for Sundance Film Festival

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Gimme shelter

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Our latest client is that stylish and erudite house of real estate finery, the Montana affiliate of Christie's Great Estates. The previous month or so of work over here at Faith River Communications will contribute to the area's coolest and most-educated web site devoted to luxury Montana real estate: this outfit is staffed by some impressive folks who truly "get" the upscale client. We've got the articulate and compelling modelly Zuzana, we've got Dartmouth, we've got a former international financier, we've got the native Montana element, and my friends, I have to tell you, it doesn't get any better than this.

If you click in today, you can watch the web site evolve from its current state to the new (coming soon) version devised by Eric Hathaway, Cary Silberman (my man! in the design biz) and yours truly: Christie's Great Estates Exclusive Montana Affiliate

Continue Reading Questions & comments 0

Mi amor kicks butt

Proving once again that she is a force of nature, the extraordinary Miz Bex and her partner the lovely Miz Morgan struck fear into the hearts of many at their Speech and Debate meet in Helena last weekend. Trust me, you do NOT want to debate this Becca girl. I've tried. I've been reduced to a weakly bubbling sauce of overcooked squash. One side, punks! The Bex has arrived on the policy debate scene.

Speech and debate team finishes third

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Hawthorne School rocks, sez JFK PAC

One of FIVE schools in the entire country to receive this designation? Wow. Bozeman oughta be proud. Many thanks to Principal Marilyn Delger for making a difference in this community, and in the lives of the great kids who were lucky enough to go to Hawthorne School.

OUR OPINION: Hawthorne kids bring prestige to Bozeman

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My kids' elementary school ranks among nation's elite

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts chose Bozeman's Hawthorne School as one of its five Creative Ticket National Schools of Distinction for 2005. My daughters and stepdaughters all attended this school, from kindergarten on. Three cheers for Hawthorne Elementary!

Hawthorne School wins Kennedy Center award

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Mike's iMix

To those who've inquired, I published the playlist to iTunes as an iMix. Go to the Music Store of iTunes, and search on the title "Mike's end"

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Back in black

My recent lengthy absence from the blogosphere is due to the death of my childrens' father, Mike Dry. Loyal StrongCopy readers know of his Caring Bridge site and his struggle with glioblastoma. I wish to extend my thanks today to all of you who have been so gracious and kind in thought and deed.

Mike and I certainly had our tough moments, some of them on an epic scale, but since our divorce, we have never had a harsh word between us. People commented frequently how we seemed at ease and enjoying ourselves together at the kids' many play performances and band and choir concerts. We got a lot of puzzled looks and questions in this category: you seem so great together! what happened!? We had a great deal in common: love for language and the written word, a desire to live life with a fluid and harmonious approach, love for the ridiculous humor of dogs, a great appreciation of good horses, a desire to be heard and understood, a love of fly fishing and the outdoors and the mountains and our sweet, isolated Montana.

We disagreed at times about the minutiae of childrearing (how much to spend for what, how often to say yes, what level of "wheels" is appropriate for a teen), but because of his unwavering commitment to the girls, I didn't challenge his style of parenting; because of my unwavering commitment to the girls, he didn't challenge mine. He referred to me as his "favorite ex-wife" and he never had a negative word to say about me as a mother; I often told friends that he was the ideal co-parent and model ex-spouse who was always kind to me (some folks even suggested I write a book about this, since somehow we came from the fires of hell to meet on the benign and loving playing field of raising our children).

In preparation for his memorial gathering, my dear friend Liza and I plus our kids and my stepkids all got together to comb through photo albums and pull out the pictures of Mike that we could compile into a collage.

Liza had a couple of prevailing messages for me during this evening of photo-remembrance:

1) When she saw the photos of Mike and me from our dating days and honeymoon, she exclaimed, "No wonder you married him!" Yep, Mike was movie-star handsome, fit, tall, gorgeous and with a mega-watt smile that even Julia Roberts would envy.

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2) When she had viewed the entirety of our photo history, Liza said, "You and Mike created a really beautiful thing together." Liza had gotten close to me when Mike and I were parting, and subsequently remained close to both Mike and me -- our daughters are best friends. And so now, she talked about how glad it made her to know that Mike & I had such a vibrant, joyous past right there for all (including our kids) to see. She especially loved the photos of how Mike happily embraced the favorite times of holidays and birthdays, gamely wearing the pointy birthday hat or the Ace of Diamonds Halloween costume (to correspond with my Ace of Hearts).
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My last words to Mike were: I love you.
His last words to me were: I love you.

I stayed with him till his last breath and held his hand to the last, not because I was so important, but because, maybe, he needed to know that I would safeguard his spirit in the girls' lives for as long as I have the privilege. I will, Mike. I will. They will never forget who you are, and how you are right there beside them.
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Those Bozeman writers are everywhere

Bozeman Daily Chronicle's Gail Schontzler with this one:
Author from Bozeman fills coveted New York Times column space

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"American Made" Screening in Livingston

The House of Fine Art, an eclectic gallery focusing on fine art, film, photography, and music will be screening the multiple award-winning short film, AMERICAN MADE during the Friday, June 24, Livingston Art Walk. Written and directed by American Film Institute graduate, Sharat Raju, AMERICAN MADE tells the story of the Singh family as they take to the road in their American made car on what will most likely be their last family vacation. With the oldest son getting ready to move to New York and the youngest son busy with high school, Anant Singh, the father, decides they need to see the Grand Canyon as a family. This is a story about a father and son in post 9/11 America. A young son struggles to understand why his Indian born father must wear a traditional turban and a father struggles to understand his son's thoughts. This is an American story of an American family.

AMERICAN MADE has screened all over the world and has won more than seventeen major festival awards. Screenings are free and will be at 6:00pm, 7:00pm, and 8:00pm. Please call 579-9778 for more information. The House of Fine Art is located at 119 W. Callender Street, Livingston, Montana.


RE:     June 24, 2005 Livingston Art Walk

Contact: Penny Ronning
Phone:  406-579-9778
The House of Fine Art
             119 W. Callender Street
             Livingston, MT 59047

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Bozeman High makes Newsweek list of top high schools

This week, Bozeman not only made Newsweek's list of the top schools in the country, but also moved up significantly in the rankings from its spot last year.

BHS is the ONLY Montana school on the list. Read the full story here: The Bozeman Daily Chronicle

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Honeymoon's not over

... but we have returned to Bozeman after a perfect wedding day in Big Sky and an unbelievably fun, romantic trip to Hawaii. A million thanks to all our well-wishers and guests. The wedding photos (c) Mery Donald will be ready in the next few days, so please email me for the link and password if you'd like to take a look.

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I'll put up a preview of the other wedding pix on the Faith River Communications site, too.


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Hooray for HatcHfest... and Montana's film industry

Recently Penny Ronning, founding goddess of HatcHfest and always a booster of the film industry in Montana, rallied the troops in support of a bill that gives tax incentives to moviemakers in Montana. Without passage of this bill, filmmakers had been diverting their attention and dollars to other venues, though Montana is often their first choice for its scenic beauty and very frequently the actual subject of films. Thanks to the efforts of Ronning and many others who support the lucrative film industry here, we could soon be seeing more of Montana on the big screen. Despite the concerns of some who resist "newcomers" and change, it seems to me that the non-polluting, promotional nature of the film industry is a great match for Montana.

Continue Reading Questions & comments 2

Bozeman a force in laser research

Laser driven: Photonics research pumps millions into Bozeman's economy

Source: Nick Gevock of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Chris Palassis jumped at the chance to return to Bozeman to do laser research.

The 30-year-old had earned a master's degree in physics at Montana State University and, like so many science graduates, found work out of state.

But like a lot of people, he longed to return to Bozeman. So he didn't hesitate to quit his job designing televisions for Sony in Pittsburgh to go to work conducting laser research for AdvR, Inc., a photonics research and development company.

"After being in grad school in Bozeman, it's a pretty big shock to go to a city of 2.5 million," Palassis said this week. "We started a family, and wanted the opportunity to raise a family in a small community like Bozeman."

Just over a decade ago, Palassis would have been hard pressed to find a job in his field in Bozeman. But today he's one of a large, and growing, crowd.

In fact, more than 200 professionals are working in Bozeman's photonics industry, companies that do research and development on lasers and other light-related technology. It's a field that has burgeoned over the past 15 years in Bozeman, which is now home to at least a dozen companies that collectively pumped more than $40 million into the local economy last year.

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Bozeman backpacks lead the pack

Here's our old friend Dana Gleason with another winning company. He was the mastermind behind Dana Design packs of Bozeman, which later sold to K2. As part of the Thibeault Advertising team, I helped out on the Dana account a while back. Glad to see Mystery Ranch in local and national media.

Bozeman business makes backpacks for 'real world' loads

Source: Brett French of The Billings Gazette

At a time when backpacking gear companies are counting ounces to cater to a lightweight trend, Bozeman's Dana Gleason is building the Humvee of packs — stout, durable and expensive.

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MSU student wins Emmy


Source: Montana State University News Service

Praveen Singh will receive an Emmy on March 13 for his film on leopards, which he created through MSU's Science and Natural History Filmmaking Program.

As Montana State University graduate student Praveen Singh tracked leopards through the jungles of India last summer, he could think of only one thing: get a shot of the elusive cats. He did. Singh captured a few hours of rare video footage of the Indian leopard, and for his efforts, Singh is receiving the most prestigious award for student work: an Emmy.

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Bozeman one of the stars of Karlgaard book

Forbes publisher says Bozeman in good growth position
Source: Kayley Mendenhall of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes magazine, seems to think Bozeman has what it takes to succeed in business.

In his new book, "Life 2.0: How People Across America are Transforming their Lives by Finding the Where of their Happiness," Karlgaard has devoted an entire chapter to telling the stories of Bozeman and Livingston entrepreneurs.

And after his boss, Steve Forbes, read a review copy, Karlgaard said, his like of Bozeman was so obvious Forbes jokingly asked when he was moving here.

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Bozeman skiers excel internationally

Bozeman's young women bring home one of the best results ever for the Americans in the Scandinavian Cup. We've known Sarah, Ase and Erika since they were little -- they were classmates of Becky's at Hawthorne Elementary School. Now they're all at Bozeman High. Couldn't be more proud of these young women.

Local skiers exceed expectations in Norway
Source: Mike Kiefer of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Bridger Ski Foundation's Åse Carlson, Kate Dolan and Erika Flowers might have expected to haul home luggage heavier than when they had left for Norway.

Gifts, souvenirs, maybe some samples from the Swix wax factory.

No one expected to carry the burden of high expectations among the national cross country skiing community.

But that's what you get after contributing to one of the better performances for an American team in the Scandinavian Cup last week at Gjorzk, Norway.

Carlson finished seventh in the 5K skate with a time 13:17, placing highest among the Americans competing at the premier international competition. Dolan and Flowers finished 21st and 24th.

"That is huge," BSF coach Dragan Danavski said. "That is one of the best results ever for the Americans in the Scandinavian Cup."

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Bozeman in Skiing Mag's Top Ten

The September 2004 issue of Skiing Magazine listed the Top 10 Skiing Towns in America, and there was Bozeman, right at Number 4.

Skiing Magazine ran a 14-page feature that not only evaluated the superior skiing, but also gave a solid look at the quality of life in these communities -- the best legitimate jobs, the enjoyability factor and testimonials from local residents on daily life in each town.

The magazine searched high and low for the ideal towns by these criteria: population between 5,000 and 50,000; within 35 minutes of at least 1,800 feet of lift-served vertical; median home price, income and rental price; and snow stats that include acres, inches and vert. Here are their picks:

Top Ten Ski Towns in America
1. Jackson, Wyoming
2. Steamboat Springs, Colorado
3. Vail, Colorado
4. Bozeman, Montana
5. Hood River, Oregon
6. Truckee, California
7. Park City, Utah
8. Breckenridge, Colorado
9. Aspen, Colorado
10. Stowe, Vermont

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