Monday, April 23, 2007

The Story In Pictures

Over the weekend, Dave and I traveled to Missoula, Montana. The trip is about seven hours straight west on I-90. We have made the trip to Montana many times but I always enjoy it because (except for the middle part of Washington) it is gorgeous. Mostly, I drove because now with lap top computers, my husband has made every place his office, including the car. And as long as there is no snow, slush, or ice, I do not mind.

The reason we went was to watch Lucas play his viola and we had the good fortune to attend two concerts--one on Friday night and the grand finale on Saturday. Friday was a music student's senior composition recital. Lucas performed in two of her pieces. In one, he was in a large ensemble of about 15 instruments. Naturally, we loved the other performance because it was just Lucas alone with his viola accompanying a young woman soprano. It was a hauntingly beautiful duet.

On Saturday, we attended the Missoula Symphony's final concert of the season. Lucas loves Shoshtakovich and they performed his Symphony No. 5. We were tired after a day hike but if you are at all familiar with this composer, it is impossible to doze off. Mixed in with all of the music, we treated Lucas and his girlfriend to some nice food. To make the weekend even more special, my Mom drove to Missoula from Helena and joined us. Stupid me did not get people pictures of Lucas in his tuxedo with his Grandma but it was an incredible treat to have her there to share the time together.

The trip in pictures:

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Lookout Pass on the border of Montana/Idaho.

Notice the trees. They are infected with the pine beetle. We particularly observed how wide spread the infestation is in the forests in this part of the trip. The problem is aggravated by global warming because the winters are no longer cold enough or long enough to control the pest. As it takes over the trees, they become an extreme fire hazard in the hot, dry summers.

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Missoula from the surrounding hills.

I am sad that Lucas is graduating next month. He loves Missoula and it has been fun for him to be in Montana. Missoula is a great city. As we found yummy cinnamon rolls and smoothies downtown, long haired bearded people young and old were hanging out on the sidewalks with scads of big dogs tied to bistro chairs. Not unusual was to see folks walk by carrying a kayak over head.

On Friday night, after the concert, we took Lucas and Magali out for dessert in the Red Bird restaurant's wine bar. Of course, as we walked in, Dave is accosted by quite a group of men and women. Shaking their hands and laughing, "What are you doing here?" Yep, scientists. Dave knows them everywhere. What is weird is that one of them knew my Mom and me because he was the annoying little brother of this girl in my Brownie troop in Helena from over 40 years ago.

The Red Bird is located in what used to be the Florence Hotel. It is now mostly law offices. My Mom lived in Missoula as a little girl and when we entered the front door she remarked that she remembered when the Florence Hotel burned down. She said it was a big deal at the time and she remembers seeing the smoke. In the lobby, sure enough, were pictures of the fire from 1936 when my Mom was eight years old. They rebuilt in the art deco style in 1941. I was like "Whoa!" My Mom is kind of a walking Montana history book.

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Florence Hotel as it looks now.

On Saturday morning after cinnamon rolls, we drove around a little. This is fun for my Mom because not only did she live in Missoula as a little girl, but she and my Dad both went to college at UM, too. On the outskirts of town, I spotted something I had not seen since I was a little girl. In Helena, we lived on the edge of town and at times in the spring we would see these birds across the street from our house. Honest to goodness bluebirds!

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Bright blue Mr. Bluebird.

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Not so blue Mrs. Bluebird. Ah, they are looking at each other.

More Missoula in my next post.