"Eventually all the pieces fall into place....
until then, laugh at the confusion,
live for the moment, and know that everything
happens for a reason"

Monday, January 28, 2013

War Eagle from Montana!!

One of the weirdest things to me about Montana is that there are no Auburn fans. Just kidding. There's weirder things but it definitely is different. Not only are there not Auburn fans, there aren't Alabama, Tennessee or any other SEC fans, really. Why would there be?

And that's why it was so special to hear a "War Eagle" the other day at Costco. This sweet old man serving free samples offered us to taste his product and then said "War Eagle!" With food still in our mouths, we smiled and gave him a "war eagle" back. Paul's hat and my sweatshirt had given us away as fans and sure enough, he was an Auburn alumni, too. We talked for a while about Auburn's unfortunate football season, where he was from in Alabama and just enjoyed a little taste of home right here in Montana. To share that instant connection and love for a school, regardless of our disappointing football season, reminded me of why I love Auburn so much.

The Auburn family really is everywhere, even in Montana. War Eagle!!

Love and Happiness,

Friday, January 25, 2013

10 Things I Don't Like About Montana

When Paul and I moved to Montana, we were in for a pretty big culture shock. Things just aren't the same here, which we expected, but we obviously didn't know exactly what to expect. Over the past month or so I've been noticing things that are different and that I don't like. Now, I don't hate these things, but they definitely bug me. So, I thought I'd share with you some of my aggravations with Montana.

  1. My biggest frustration is that they don't have stop signs. Okay, they have stop signs in some places...but not all. That's weird to me and makes me feel a little unsafe. It's not uncommon to come to an intersection with NO stop signs at all. Who goes first? Who has the right of way? If we both went and had an accident, who is responsible? Theoretically, everyone yields to the person on the right in these situations. That makes sense, I guess. But wouldn't it make more sense to just put stop signs there? Just a thought.
  2. Walmart. Now, I've never liked a Walmart in any city that I've lived so this wasn't a big surprise. But the people here are different. They're a little bit rude and obviously think that they have the right of way at all times. One time, a lady was blocking the exit of an aisle and I politely let her know that I was going to slip behind her to get out. She didn't move or even acknowledge me. Talk about awkward! And when they push their carts out of aisles, they don't even look for oncoming shoppers. I've had numerous near buggy accidents because they pull out in front of me without hesitation, then give me an evil eye. Am I suppose to yield to the people on the right, like at these weird stop-signless intersections? Who knows. You better put your game face on before you go into a Walmart here. It's weird though. At any other place, people her are incredibly nice, polite and kind. I don't know why but it seems to just be a Walmart thing.
  3. Another problem I have are the stop lights. They're perfect until it snows and there is ice on the road. See, you know those times when the light turns yellow and you aren't sure if you should stop or go? In Johnson City I always stopped, even if it required some hard braking, because they had cameras on the lights and they would mail you a ticket. But here, you just go because once you hit your brakes...you go to sliding. Believe me. I did it the first time I went driving in the snow. Lesson learned. Make no sudden movements. I'll get use to this one, but for now I'm having to learn to just run red lights instead of sliding off the road trying to stop. 
  4. You may not think that the paint on the roads is a big deal. I didn't either until I got here. Paint lines are nearly invisible because of the snow, ice, gravel and snow plows. This wouldn't be as big of a problem if I knew where I was going. It's kind of impossible to get in a turn lane you don't know exists and Paul is all the time straddling the middle line. Not because he's a bad driver but because we don't know the line is there. Parking lots are a free for all because it's not like you know where each spot is. That's what the paint is for. That's right. The paint you can't see. It's really hard to learn your way around a new town with no lines on the roads. Just saying. 
  5. Mostly, learning to drive on ice and snow has been a big challenge for me. I guess that isn't a Montana thing and more of a Bethany thing. My Corolla has proven to not be much of a snow vehicle. She does fine but she gets stuck easily. Paul had to push me out of an icy parking spot that was on a slight hill the other day. No big deal around here but I thought it was very embarrassing. I'm sure I'll get over that soon, too. 
  6. Don't get me wrong, I love the snow. But life goes on here, even when it drops 2 feet over night. Everyone goes to work, on time even, and the schools definitely don't get out. And that means I run my errands in the snow. After it has snowed it's worse, when the sun comes out and the whole world is a bright, blinding white. I basically need 4 pairs of sunglasses to dim the glares off of the roads. I'm getting pretty use to driving with sunglasses on, visor down, one hand over my eyes and a hard squint. I'm pretty sure there is no changing this so I'm going to have to accept how bright it always is. 
  7. Fast food here is more expensive. We haven't eaten a lot of it since we've been here. I guess we were pretty burned out after so many days on the road. I've never eaten at so many fast food joints than we did in those couple of weeks. But when we have, we noticed that their "value menus" aren't such a value. Sure, there is no sales tax here but even if you factor that in, it's still more expensive. It's probably a good thing though because now we're not as tempted to get fast food. 
  8. Speaking of eating, Helena has a horrible selection of chain restaurants. I wouldn't mind so much if they didn't constantly play commercials for places we don't have. Well, maybe they're close by...right? Nope. Most the time they are hours and hours away. Olive Garden. Sonic. Little Caesars. Cracker Barrel. I see their commercials everyday. Just tempting me. They even sell Chick-fil-A gift cards at Walmart but the closest one is in WYOMING. Not a single one in the state of Montana. What's up with that? How many gift cards do they really sell?
  9. And, they talk a little different here. I'm getting use to it but it sounds like a variation of a Canadian accent. Not as strong but imagine a Canadian saying "about". You know, they say "a-boot"...Montanans sound a little like that. They say crick instead of creek and call snowmobiles sleds. The first time someone told me their hobby was to "sled" I was like, "Oh, like dog sledding?" No Bethany, not dog sledding. Insert foot in mouth now. He knew immediately that I'm not from here. 
  10. Lastly, I don't like how people park on the street all the time. It's a weird concept to me because I've never really lived anywhere that this is common. Here it is. A lot of homes don't have garages and only  have on street parking. I'm okay with that but what I'm not okay with is when they build a brand new Buffalo Wild Wings with a huge parking lot and the road leading up to the restaurant is lined with cars and the parking lot is empty! Are you kidding me. Who would want to parallel park if you didn't have to? Whatever, I guess that means there should always be plenty of parking for me in the parking lot...with no lines. 
So, that's some of the things I'm having to get use to here. Nothing major; just a few annoying things that I'm sure no one here thinks is annoying. One day I'll write a post about the things that are different here that I LOVE because there are things that make those other things worth it. :)

Love and Happiness,

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Turning Water Into Snow: Video

A couple of weekends ago Paul and I didn't go skiing because it was too cold. Well, Paul would have gone but I didn't want to. The Weather Channel said that the high was going to be 8 degrees with the majority of the day being close to zero, so I put my foot down. Frostbite was not in my weekend plans. So we stayed home, relaxed and watched a few movies. I piddled on the internet and stumbled across the coolest thing! It was a video of someone tossing boiling water into the air when it was negative something degrees outside. The water turned to snow!! I couldn't believe it so we decided to try it. It was only 3-5 degrees that day at our house but we thought it was worth the try. Sure enough, the boiling water turned to snow!! It was incredible. I was amazed and giggling like a kid at a magic show!

The next day I wanted to do it again, and catch it on video. That day it was warmer...a toasty 9 degrees. We weren't sure if it would work again but, with camera in tow, we tried it. I'll post the video so you can see. The first toss works best and the second and third don't do too well. Don't mind my horrible commentary. I forget that the camera can hear me, too. :)

Did you see it? Did you see the water turn to snow? We thought it was pretty awesome and wanted to share it with everyone! I learn something new everyday.

Love and Happiness,

Fun In The Snow

We've discovered that winter in Helena is two things: COLD and SNOWY.

And when it's cold and snowy, Paul and I aren't too excited about spending much time in it unless we're having fun. That means we don't go on pointless walks for an extended amount of time and we definitely don't sit out on our back porch just for the fun of it. I always have a hat and a pair of gloves handy and I have to wear snow boots to check the mail.

But with snow comes great fun. So, Paul and I rented our own skis for the whole season and almost every weekend we've hit the slopes. The ski area is only 30 minutes away so it's very convenient for us to hop in the Jeep and spend a day on the mountain. Paul has turned pro in the past few weeks and was even caught catching some air this past Saturday. Before I know it he'll be doing flips in the terrain parks. I, however, am still an obvious beginner but we have so much fun racing down the slopes.

Another one of our favorite things has been sledding. After the initial $10 investment for plastic sledding discs, we were set for slipping, sliding fun for FREE at the local sledding hill. It takes a little more energy than skiing because we have to walk back up the snowy hillside but its good, cheap fun on a Friday night. We're kind of like big kids laughing and screaming down the hill but if you're not having fun in the snow, what's the point?

And since it's extremely cold here, it's very easy to have outdoor skating rinks, frozen by nature. On Friday we went ice skating in a park that they flood in the winter. I was able to use my mom's old ice skates that she gave me years ago. Who knew that I'd ever live somewhere where I could put them to good use.

It was super bright that day! Sorry!
I love being here with all the snow. Even on days that I don't get out in it, I love looking out the window and seeing blankets of snow on the ground and the snowy mountains in the distance. It really is so beautiful. I already can't wait for our next big snow!

Love and Happiness,

Long Time No Write

Well, it's been a while since I last posted. I won't lie and say that I've been super busy because I really haven't. Paul goes to work M-F and I've been doing my best to be a good housewife. That's the least I can do since I don't have a job yet. Lots of laundry and dishes and making the bed (which I don't think is necessary but Paul likes it, so I'll humor him). I've been cooking nearly every night and doing most all the errands. It's been kind of fun to be a housewife but I'll admit, it sometimes gets a little boring. There is only so much excitement one can get from folding laundry. :)

My nursing license has officially been transferred to Montana, so I've started looking for a job. Oddly, there aren't a lot of nursing jobs available. I was surprised at how few there actually are but then again, I have liked being off work, so there's no rush. I've sent in one application so far and I'm contemplating a couple others. Maybe something good will open up soon.

Paul likes his job so far. Engineering is definitely different than construction so it's been a big adjustment. I think he may be going through slight hammer withdrawal. I may have to create some projects to keep him busy. One of his first engineering projects was to work on a grizzly bear crossing! I laughed when he came home and told me. You don't see those in Alabama or Tennessee. And everyone is so laid back here. No ties, no button-ups and no khakis. Paul gets to wears jeans or cargo pants with a flannel shirt everyday. At least he's comfortable when sitting at his desk.

Things really are going well. We've really settled in and are enjoying everything so far. Today I'm going to be doing lots of blog updating so stay posted!

Love and Happiness,