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grilled CHEESE July 30, 2010

Posted by Emily in Missoula, photography, things that make me smile.
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Still trying to catch up on some uploading, but this series made me happy.

Grilled cheese at The Good Food Store


July=houseguest month June 30, 2010

Posted by Emily in a few of my favorite things, Andalucía, fiesta, jobs schmobs, Missoula, Spain, Travel.
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I’ve been on a roll with the blog this week (not to be confused with blogroll…har. A little nerd humor…) as the picked-up pace of blogging is mirroring the rest of my life. I’ve been on hyperdrive in the past couple of weeks, scrubbing, unpacking, hammering things into the walls after midnight most nights and doing more painting than seems natural. This is because I’m desperately trying to feel settled in the new house, yes, but also because I am preparing for basically one entire month of houseguests. On Friday, my dear friend Anna arrives from Sweden. We first met in Spain in 2005, when she was in my class temporarily and then, before moving on, invited me and my then-roommate out for churros con chocolate. We became fast friends and spent a semester painting the town red, making fun of Spanish dancers, and doing a lot of laughing. In 2007, I visited her in Sweden and, after the two initial awkward minutes, realized that time didn’t really matter – we still got along swimmingly and were talking a million miles an hour, in English and Spanish, as though we needed to catch up after a few weeks away.

When I moved back to Spain, she came to visit me in time for Las Cruces, a strange holiday involving lots of drinking in the streets in front of these huge floral crosses. A month later, I took the train to Pamplona, where she was putting in Spanish semester #4 after a year of Swedish uni. More going out and eliciting eyerolls from the other subdued Swedish exchange students. Our paths haven’t crossed since June 2008, as she was finishing up school in England and spending holidays in Sweden and I’ve barely left Montana.

Her graduation present from her parents was a ticket to come and see me, info I received last summer via one of our long, multi-part, bilingual letters. We’ve spent the last 6 months planning and getting ready for her two weeks here, and I’ve booked us flights to Vegas (first time for both of us) and have made Glacier plans. It’s going to be a blast.

Then a couple of months ago, two Spanish friends (a couple – she taught elementary school with me, he’s an elementary teacher in another district) sent me a message on Facebook, saying they had a surprise for me. I figured they might be getting married….but then didn’t hear anything else from them for a while. They are an absolutely hilarious Sevillano duo and introduced me to the intricacies of the fabulous Feria de Abril, flamenco-style dress and dance lessons and all. They had talked about coming to visit at some point, but have a camper and have spent most of their recent holidays at the beach in Spain or Portugal or tooling around other parts of Europe.

Three weeks ago, I get an email from them saying they are coming to the US, along with her brother, and would like to come and visit me in Montana. They’re also going to be here in July. So…we’ll have one night with all 4 of them – the 3 Spaniards, plus the Swede – staying in my house. Then I’m going to put the Spaniards on a plane to Las Vegas (one week after I’ll get back…thanks Allegiant!), so they can go and check out Sin City, spend some time by the pool, and Anna and I can finish up our time here. I think I’ll have a day to wash the sheets and then they’ll be back for 9 days here – with Glacier and possible Yellowstone plans in the works. I’m hoping to be able to join them for one of the two, and maybe send them off with my car to the other. Sorry about the lack of air conditioning, guys…the Volvo’s all I’ve got. 🙂 At least Europeans know how to drive a stick. (weird note: Anna used to work at the Volvo factory in Sweden. It’s fate.)

Luckily, there’s an extra bedroom at the house. I bought a bed on Craig’s List and spent $35 on a bedding set from walmart.com. It’s pretty cute in person, actually:

It’s been nice to have this Friday’s deadline to motivate me, and I’m hoping to be largely done with the important unpacking by the end of the week. Come August, when I return from my family reunion, there will be some other unpacking/organizing to do, for sure, and probably a couple of lingering painting projects, but in the meantime, July will offer lots of good times and adventures with old friends I don’t get the chance to see too often. I get to show all of them Montana and the US for the first time. And I’m really ready for the vacation.

Let the sun shine in! June 25, 2010

Posted by Emily in Missoula, new house, photography, things that make me smile.
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After weeks and weeks of blah, rainy weather, we’ve finally had some beautiful, sunny days that feel like summer. And I am so ready for summer!

This weekend, I want to finish a couple of painting projects, put away a million things at the house, hang some art, and wash the outside of the windows. Let the sun shine in!

Keeping my fingers crossed that the marigolds recover – too much water and not enough light and they are looking more than a little sad. It’s kind of tragic.

Sooooo…what’s on your weekend agenda? What about summer gets you excited?

Goodbye to a classic movie store May 22, 2010

Posted by Emily in Missoula.
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It was small and kind of dark. A lot of times there were dogs lazing just inside the front door. A large percentage of the movies were still VHS. The likelihood of a Kevin Smith movie playing on the tiny TV was always very high. But if you were looking for some obscure foreign film, or a movie made by or about someone local, Crystal Video was the place to go.

I’m as guilty as the next person – I get Netflix, sometimes I hit the Redbox. Sure, I dropped in from time to time, but time to time is not how most businesses are run. It’s like people who don’t subscribe to the newspaper bitching about the downfall of printed media. I get the irony.

But it’s a shame that small, local places like this can’t really make it in this ever-changing world of how we get our media – whether we’re talking VHS vs. DVD  vs. BluRay or in a local rental shop vs. online vs. a grocery store kiosk. How do you compete with Netflix’s thousands of movies, delivered to your doorstep the next day?

But I’m sad to see it go. It’s been making me think over the last couple of weeks about the state of things, and what choices I can make to shift the tide.

On the move May 2, 2010

Posted by Emily in Missoula, moving, The Purge 2010.
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It’s that time of year again, time to think about leases ending and moving one more time. As my couple of loyal readers may recall, I started asking a lot of these same questions this time last year. Namely,

-why are places so expensive here when wages are so low?

-how can the listing say an apartment is close to two things on opposite sides of town?

-how can people, in good conscience, rent hellholes like these?

After a whole lot of frantic Craig’s List refreshing and a bit of driving, slowly and stalker-like, through neighborhoods I like, hoping to see For Rent signs, I was starting to have my doubts. And then last week happened.

After lots of misses, I finally saw an apartment on Craig’s List that I thought might work. I emailed them back right away. Scheduled a showing. Asked for the application, so I could have it all ready to go. At the showing, I tried to ignore the other people also checking the place out. I wandered around, looking into every closet, checking out every nook, trying to envision my furniture, my art, and myself in the space. And despite the low ceilings and the funky closet spaces, I thought I could make it work. The place had more charm than anything else I’d seen, by a long shot. I thought I could make it mine. And that alone was worth the extra couple hundred bucks I’d probably spend every month. I handed over my completed application and crossed my fingers.

The next morning, I get an apologetic email from the owners. They’ve decided to put the house on the market, so the two tenants (upstairs and downstairs) would have to be ready for showings, the lease would now be month to month, but they’d dropped the price a bit. I thought about it for a little while, because by this point I had decided that this was the place for me, but with strangers wandering through and constant uncertainty that this might be the month they kick me out, I decided it wasn’t worth it. I don’t want to move and attempt to feel settled, only to be politely asked to leave.

Going back to the beginning was a big letdown. The same five places are listed over and over on CL, some with “one day special!!!!!” as part of the title, two or three times a week. Ugh. Mobile homes starting to look like more of an option?

And then another opportunity quickly presented itself, one I hadn’t really considered – having a roommate. I was ready to live alone (was ready last year…), to get over the roommate thing, especially semi-random roommates. But then the roommates of a friend who lives just off campus decided they were ready to move. She didn’t want to leave the house, where she’d lived for five years. So she asked if I’d be interested. It’s a 3 bedroom house, but it would be cheaper with just the two of us than the apartment would have been for me to live alone. Plus, people willing to rent out basement rooms are often total weirdos, let’s be honest. It has a yard with a picnic table and a tree with a hammock. I can actually plant things directly in the ground and not in an ever-growing number of pots. We think we might even be able to paint.

And so after deciding, over lunch, that we were both at a point in our lives where the college house scene – lots of posters and sheets covering crappy couches – was no longer our scene, we decided to take on a project and move in together.

I had so made up my mind to be done with roommates, but I came to see that a lot of the things I didn’t want to repeat were with roommates I didn’t know very well, or who didn’t communicate openly. Moving into a house, versus an apartment, but with a roommate felt like a lateral change at first. But now I’m excited. A bit of space to breathe and decorate and settle in is exactly what I was looking for. I’m excited to clean this place up and make it mine. Well, ours. And that’s cool too.

My organization class also starts next week, so May is going to be busy. I’ll try to post here about some of the upcoming changes  – exciting, spring, fresh changes.

My move may not be quite this artful:

(video via Renee Anne, via Desire to Inspire)

Blue winter January 15, 2010

Posted by Emily in Missoula, photography.

1. Christmas in Denmark, 2. Canon, 3. poster, 4. Untitled, 5. Tea and Cashews, 6. C/Santa María, 7. Costanilla de los Desamparados, 8. fall colours, 9. celebrating

Yesterday as I walked out of work, it wasn’t quite dark out. The sky was blue. The ice was melting.

It made me giddy. I went home, hauled out my tripod, and finally took some photos. Then went for a nice walk with my new Yak Trax (the ice isn’t quite melted yet, and I’ve already taken a couple of seasonal spills…)

I like the cool blue light of winter evenings. I like winter when it snows, or when we have bluebird days, but not so much when it’s gray and dark and drab.

These are a few photos that have caught my eye lately on Flickr – winter with a touch of spring to come. I’m looking forward to a three day weekend with equal parts time spent around the house and meeting up with friends. I’ll try to take some photos, if I can get some light.

Have a nice weekend!