Why I Love Living in Montana #1

I have been working on a post of reasons I love Montana for a while, but decided instead to try it one by one–as they came to me–rather than trying to compile them all into a list or two or three.

So here is NUMERUS UNUS:

I love living in Montana, because wherever you seem to go, you meet someone who knows someone you know.  It isn’t even six degrees…it is two or three at best.  It is the nation’s biggest small town.  Everyone knows everyone.

Today, while at my acupuncturist’s office, we realized that she was married to a man who shared a house for a time with one of my very dearest friends from Michigan.

These types of connections happen all the time.  My husband works with a woman who is friends with the couple who used to live across the street.   That couple rented their house to a man who is friends with my acupuncturist.

These “threads” (to borrow a word from my acupuncturist) may seem likely in a small town, but they also happen throughout the state.  The entire state of Montana is just a giant neighborhood.  I love the fact that I can contact the president of the MEA-MFT and will usually get a personal response in an hour or less.  I would never have been the one selected to go to Washington DC with other new National Board Certified teachers had I lived in another state.

I love that our mayor was the one we hired to do site prep for our garage, and that his daughter was my son’s fourth grade teacher.  She lives in a house built by the man who put the second story on our house.

When we go to a party, there are usually a few moments of “oh!  I didn’t know you knew so-and-so, too!”

One of my favorite discoveries concerned a woman I was acquaintances with back in high school.  Her husband lived across the street from my best friend when we were growing up and our mothers worked at the same insurance agency–all back in Michigan.  Once Facebook really got rolling, I realized that Aimee and John lived just two hours south of us (which is the equivalent, more or less, of living on opposites sides of the same neighborhood, as John and I did as kids).  Four Michigan transplants (my husband, me, John and Aimee)–four Forest Hills Central High School classmates–living a stone’s throw away from one another in Montana.  I love that.

There are so many more examples that simply aren’t coming to mind right now–I think I am still in meditation mode from my appointment earlier.   And while maybe this isn’t that remarkable to other people, it just wasn’t something that happened often in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The “threads” weaving from one person to another provide me with a sense of belonging–that I am an important part of the web of human beings who populate this beautiful place.  And that is a reason I love living in Montana.

Oh…and this:


This is a good reason, too.

Why I Hate the Science Fair

Okay…maybe that isn’t the most befitting title.  I don’t really hate the science fair–I hate what happens in our house during the science fair.  It is hands-down the most unpleasant time of the year in our house.

It starts in January.  The boys attend after-school meetings or workshops designed to help them  with their project.  While I am sure they learn some important information, in none of those meetings do they actually seem to get guidance with their individual projects.  This means it must all happen at home.

Now, my boys love science–and my husband and I love science.  But when it comes down to putting all the pieces together and making sure the parents don’t do too much of the project, it gets complicated.  The boys never really seem to understand what is expected from them, and Eric and I certainly don’t know, except from what we read in the science fair packet.  Narrowing down a topic is tricky as well.  My eldest child will pick a topic and WILL NOT BUDGE.  We may try to offer some variations, or suggestions to make it more straightforward, but he is not having it.  My younger son, on the other hand, picks a topic, then changes it, then changes it again, then adds ten things to it, so on and so forth.  He wants to try it all.

We swore after last year the boys would decide their topics right away and space out the work throughout the month.  This…sorta happened.  We try to help, we order and cajole the boys to work because “we aren’t doing this for you”.  We try to get them to do a little bit at a time so as not to have the meltdown of last year.  This…sorta happened.

In the meantime, we are planning and executing both boys’ birthday parties.  We have sleepover parties.  We have tired boys.  We have new games and toys that want to be played with.  We have a February 26 deadline.  We have tears.  We have pouting.  We have stomping. We have parents tearing what little hair they have left from their heads.  We have parents raising their voices, threatening lost computer privileges.  We have negotiations.  We have many promises made, some promises kept.  We have whining.  We have boys with terrible colds.

Noses are blown.  Reminders are given to cough into elbows.  Boys wander away, boys are corralled and returned to the work site.  Nobody is happy.  Everyone is exhausted.  We hope this doesn’t destroy any and all love of science.

Finally, at long last, after much trial and tribulation, the boards are made, the reports are written, and the notes are prepared. Next Tuesday, we will go to the sweaty elementary school gymnasium and wait for 2 hours or so for the judges to makes their decisions, ribbons will be awarded and it will all be over for another year.  We will wonder if they will want to do it again next year.  They will.  They always do.  Sigh.

Who is with me?  Do any other parents experience the Science Fair Meltdown?

Science fair exhibit (butterflies), probably t...

What I’m Knitting Today

What I'm Knitting Today

These Baby Uggs are for Bentley, the baby of one of my former students.

These are my go-to gift for baby boys. For girls, I tend to knit up Saartje’s Booties. These would look cute in pink or purple, though!

One down, one to go.
The pattern calls for a Berroco Suede, but it is a discontinued yarn. I think they look just as cute with Red Heart solids. Lion Brand Luxe Fur is what I used for trim. The pattern can be found here.