I Packed Myself In Ice Again Last Night…


Greetings from Big Sky Country… (And it really is.)

We are officially Montanans, with voting rights and everything…

I am happy here. The sun and air feel familiar. I know exactly what time of year it is by the way it smells. I am home.

We are going to Helena on Monday to do all the stuff. Take it for a stroll…
We haven’t been back since we went the first time to see if we liked it. On paper it fit. It was in a blanket of smoke and ash, but we still liked the vibe.

The final week in California…

Post last day of work gathering…

I have good friends.

My friend, Hilary made me this… It’s all Barb in California.
She is beyond talented. I felt special…
And my California family from Elon.

I have several pictures of these two giggling like school girls. It’s what they do…

Lunch with JoJo…

Ahhh, Sam. This was my sister Anne’s favorite toy from childhood. I’ve been carting it around with me forever because I don’t have the heart to throw it.  Max found it and chewed one of the ears off. I honestly can’t remember if I actually threw him out on this move. I took a picture of it which usually means I did. Toy Story really messed with my head.

The best thai ice tea and Vietnamese sandwich in the East Bay, made with love by my friend, Pat.

We had a lot of “last suppers.”

Pizza with Tone and Rebecca…

This beautiful Mediterranean meal was waiting for me when I finally got done cleaning the apartment the night before we left. James was down the block eating with Michelle…

And we are off!!
Both my kids are great travelers.

It was a hot one!

Finally Montana!

We stopped in West Yellowstone to let the pups stretch…

My welcome to Montana: lilacs.

Cheers to being done with that part of our lives…

Max’s spot…

We arrived shortly before the Fourth of July. I’ve missed the energy around this time.

My parents back yard. We don’t have to travel far to get to the festivities.

The Mr. and I had our first Montana date night. Pool at the local bar followed by a fireworks display put on by the neighbors. We were the only ones in the bar, except for the Mayor who owns the place, and Fox News (oh boy!). We are very much living in the opposite of where we were three months ago. I was a good night.

A lot of my days are filled with Bob’s garden, and  all the magic that comes with it. This is what I was looking most forward to.
Access to a garden changes my whole being.
I was meant to  garden and food prep on a large scale. It’s not a whole lot more work to take care of 80 tomato plants as opposed to 6. Its like a lasagna, you might as well make four and freeze three if you’re going to go to all that trouble.

Right after the Fourth we headed to my hometown for the JoJo Joe wedding. The bride is my best friend, King’s  sister. Her family is my family.
I remember her mom pregnant with JoJo. And her being a flower girl in King’s wedding when she was bitty.
She is marring a man named Joe.
And in true mountain fashion: a rain storm right when the wedding was supposed to start. We stayed in the car and snacked on beef jerky we found in the center console while the rain passed over. (My mom is always good for hidden snacks.) It was that or sunflower seeds.

But what a setting for a wedding…

Booze, J. We need booze!
“How else does one deal with a Klessens family gathering…?”

J’s first Montana wedding, except for ours, of course.
He found a bottle of Macallan 18 on the table and almost cried happy tears. “So people just bring their own bottles and share?! ”

Yes. Yes, they do.

And not the cheap stuff…

And that’s when he realized he’d be just fine here.

Next day cleanup. And finally some time with my best girl post wedding stress.

Wedding clean up storm. You gotta have one of those too.

I have missed the mountains with every fiber of my being…

Young and very hungover. The whole day reminded me of King’s wedding more than 20 years ago. Same spot, same family, different bride; and we were the ones not moving too quickly.

Ahhh, our traditional drive around the loop. (A secluded drive up in the mountains back behind King’s parents’ house that we’ve been taking for years.)

One of the original 14  pink flamingos we stole in high school that started it all. We find one every once in a while in a random spot out at her parents place. When her parents were building their house, they used them to mark the property lines. It made us giggle. We were such shits.

More garden time…

This is one of my favorite burgers. There is a little cafe in a tiny town named Circle on the way to my middle sister’s house. The patty is hand packed, the bun is toasted, and the gems are perfectly crispy without being overdone. And of course, good ranch. (You will not stay in business in this area with bottled ranch.) I remember it from years back, it’s still just as good.

Tornado warning sky…

Wynn is well loved everywhere she goes.

This was the first time Wynn and Max were separated since we got him. She was really kind of sad without him. She didn’t eat much and was in a constant state of mope the whole weekend.
But when we got back she ran right to him and her whole mood changed. She doesn’t show it often, but she loves him.

To say my grandmother collected rocks is an understatement. Since my sister now owns the house, I still get to wander the yard and find familiar treasures.

Always rummy.

We are a strolling family…

Just as everyone was settling in for the evening I looked out the front door to the most uniquely beautiful light. The sunset filled the entire sky. Quality light excites me.

It was a goodie… Montana skies are my favorite.


My copilot..

I get my oil changed at Master Lube. They are good, but more importantly you get an ice cream sandwich while you wait. I don’t care if its nine in the morning.

First chicken fried steak back in Montana…

We departed on the first of two trips back down to California we are taking this summer. For me anyway. J will go once a month thru December to finish his doctoral program.

We had a lovely visit with our friends, Pat (the one who makes the best thai iced tea) and Cooper and Gordon.

Cami and Andy are married! We are heading back down there to celebrate with them in a couple weeks. They had a small family wedding back in July and the reception is beginning of September.

Much needed trip to Tahoe with the girls.

Our tradition is to watch a really, really crappy romantic movie. Elon, who has the worst taste in movies, usually brings our choices. She actually picks them out thinking they are going to be good, she has terrible judgement. We love her anyway… So yeah, this one stared Miley Cyrus, if that gives you any sort of clue to it’s quality.

HA!!! This Guy! I watched him for a good 30 minutes while he strutted his paddle boarding skills. He would try to stand up, but before he would get steadied, he’d whip out his phone to try to get a selfie to show all his friends back home just how cool and coordinated he is, and then promptly fall off in the most ungraceful way. So after about 20 of those cycles he was too tired to even stand up, this is triumphant return back to shore.

Fucking people and their selfies…

Giant horror movie ants were our nemesis. We battled all weekend, then all of a sudden, they were gone.

What the…

Billings Farmers Market!!

This is the only photo I took. It’s completely overwhelming there, but I always enjoy hanging with my mom, eating egg rolls for breakfast.

My middle sister’s oldest daughter is graduating this coming school year. And, because she’s spoiled, she came down to hang out with us and have one of her senior portrait sessions taken in the mountains that she loves.
She’s a good kid.
We had fun.

And watch a love of sushi blossom. It’s a beautiful thing.

In my mind, my sister, Anne says hello at 11:14. The pump clicked off at exactly 30.00 which has happened only a handful of times in my life. I figure it’s her way of saying, Welcome Home…

Today is her 27th death day.

My dad will eat garden peas all day, every day that they are growing.

My mom and I are canning cherries for Cami and Andy’s party… Old Fashions are on the menu, and store bought cherries will never do…

I have been taking my husband to some classy establishments.

(The bottom line reads: Need coons and coyotes hunted  its free)

Back up to Scobey to bring Sarah and take portrait session number two…

And play beauty shop.

And introduce Max to his new bff, Bosco.

Pool for the dogs.
Max wouldn’t go in it. He’d stick his head under water to try to catch the fish that were printed on the bottom, but that’s about it. He’s not a water dog, we now know for sure… Bosco would stand in the middle when he needed a break knowing Max would not go in.

Spiderman at the theater where I saw my first movie.
And they still have cherry pop!!

These two played and played and played…
It made my heart so happy for Max to find a dog who could keep up with him.

She is my sunshine…

I remember being just tall enough to rest my chin on this windowsill and look out onto the street. 35 plus years ago…

Isn’t she adorable…?

EEK! So this is St. Marie. It’s an abandoned air force base just outside of Glasgow,  that was in operation in the late 50’s through the early 70’s (roughly).

I lived there my fifth grade year while my dad worked for a crack-pot that was trying to turn it into a retirement community. (Seemed like a good idea at the time.)
Like most things – not the worst idea, terrible execution.
You can drive down a street that looks like Beirut and in the middle will be one or two houses fixed up with nice yards,  (a few people still live there) then back to an episode of “Life After Humans”. It is a completely surreal place, and I absolutely love going there. I think the fact that it’s in NE Montana (aka “the middle of nowhere”) adds to the effect.
Someday I will have enough time to really photograph there…

The school.
My friend, Siobhan and I (The only childhood friend I have not been able to find via facebook) used to go exploring in there. It was like they just walked away mid school day.

It’s a good day when I get apple cinnamon jelly with breakfast.

My mom’s raspberry patch…

At this time I would like to take a minute to mourn a few moving losses…

My favorite blue serving platter, who deep down I knew would not survive the trip.
My houseplant Robert who I have had for 30 years, and am infinitely more upset about loosing. It will take much more than a minute to get over it.  There is a crazy long story of his final, final end, which I find fitting, but it still breaks my heart.
I also lost all my orchids…. It was a bad trip for plants, and I’m always so careful with them. I get attached to plants, especially if they’re a gift, so it makes me extra sad to loose them.

I also want to remember my perfectly ornate vintage serving utensils that we used at our wedding (that took me an entire year to collect) that I lost in the move from Mass to California.
I still miss them.

Are moves just cosmically preordained to suck…? Is there a law that goes back to the dawn of time that says no matter what, at some point, something has to completely shit the bed?
I thought we had this one in the bag.
At the moment 70% of our belongings are in a van which is in a semi on the way back from California where it broke down an hour outside Sacramento.
It is of-putting to be is a situation that around every corner you are more and more convinced  you are involved in a scam and you are never going to see your christmas ornaments again. However,  by 7:30 tonight we hope to have the van with my grandmothers china back safe.

So if any of you need to ship a vehicle a very long distance packed full of your most treasured possessions, talk to me, I am now an expert.
At my very core I am not a “possessions” type of a person, I like simple, however I do have a few things that are part of me.

(This was written two days ago, all is well.)

It really is the only thing that didn’t go so well. We are now back to leading a charmed life.

Today is World Mosquito Day. I am heading to the garden after this, I’m sure the worlds population will be out there celebrating.

Happy Friendship Week, Loves…


“Are You Going To Heaven or Hell?” “I Don’t Know, I Thought I Was Going To Montana…”

Life is just so big right now… It’s a pretty significant transition year, and we are at the apex. I will try to form emotions into words next post when my brain settles down.

I will talk about the time just before we moved instead.

And this Rose Garden:
My girlfriend has this magical place growing by her house….
We made it a day.

I’m a very “stop and smell the roses” (literally) type of gal. I get it from my mom.

Ketchup and Mustard rose… It’s actually a thing.

Fitting end to a perfect day…

This post is very Max heavy…

I’m just so in love with him, and he still hasn’t gotten to the point where he hates having my camera in his face. And he changes every day.

He signed the window with his nose – xxxooo
He is a lover…

Day one of the doctoral program… (In five short months he will be a Dr.) That look is him thinking he got out of pictures because he graduated. Keep getting degrees, and you’ll keep getting your picture taken.

My good friend found a german shepherd on her way home from work… at night, on a backroad, in a rainstorm. (If you knew her, this would come as no surprise.) When it comes to dogs, you will find few people who love them more than her. Heart of gold, this one…
She is one of my pups’ favorite people.

One thing I will miss about the last 11 years of living in, or near a major city is the frequency of friends coming to town for business.

He discovered the joy of sticking your head out the window…

Day with Peter…

Weekend bachelorette party…

My dog-loving friend, met a dog-loving man.

This lady… chance encounters with groovy people on elevators.
I love laughing.

I have loving, thoughtful friends… A welcome break from packing.

The Mr’s curriculum map, he got great satisfaction crossing classes off at the end of every term.

And now it’s done.

Pre-graduation breakfast…

His classmates voted to have him make the speech.
Note the swear jar and a stack of ones…

I am a proud lady…

Summa Cum Laude, bitches!

Last minute trip to one of our favorite spots…

Max was here…

Bowling with the salon…

Birthday girls…

Happy Independence, Loves!







Loose Ends…

THE move is becoming very real. At this moment we will be leaving in 67 days….

James is done with his Masters Program. He’s currently in France for an ear acupuncture workshop with a few members of his cohort. He’ll be there for a week, then they’re off to Italy for some r&r for another week.  Then home, with a stop on the East Coast to visit friends and family.

He deserves it (and you know I don’t use that word lightly).

Max is growing like a weed…

One of the main reasons I chose the salon I work at is because it is also used as gallery space. Every two or so months a different local artist displays their work on the walls… It is a beautiful space.
I couldn’t leave without contributing…

Out-takes from the disco ball shoot:

Red Sox game on a school night! I love it when a plan comes together…

My niece, Casey Jane is staying with us for a bit…
First stop, Tony’s art opening.

The official last day, of the last day photograph… I remember sitting in our living room in Lynn planning this adventure. And now it’s coming to an end.

Here is my hanging-ish. As close as I can get you to the real thing…

All but two were printed on metal. The other two on canvas.

Disco Ball: 30×40 canvas

On this wall, the biggest was a 20×24 and the little ones were 6×6… (for scale).

I decided to mostly go with black and white for simplicity and flow. Plus the walls are brick and gold. Most other color would fight with that.

Some of my newer infrared… 16×24 and 16×16

This is a good explanation of infrared…

Frozen flowers: 8×8 and 8×12

Lightning: 20×40 canvas

Happy Easter Eve, Loves!


Fix Your Ear, Wynn… You’ll Get Palsy Like Your Mother.

This is how long it’s been… The Paradise fire was the second week of November.  Time is slipping away…

SO! I couldn’t wait until the end of the blog to introduce you to our newest Constantine, Maximus.  To the best of our knowledge, he is a border collie, husky mix. He certainly herds like a collie, and sas talks like a husky. He was born the end of November, my favorite month.
He gives superior hugs.
He is all consuming. It took me about four hours to become completely attached….

My friend, Rachelle takes me to the best “hole in the walls”.
Fish curry served on a cafeteria plate. Just my speed.

Thanksgiving at Ruth and Bob’s. Our surrogate family.

Frozen chicken feet…

The Mr’s potions…

Chinese food and Christmas lights…

Christmas Eve…

Christmas Day on our beach…

This is a weird area where the ocean runs into itself…

Christmas Soup.

New Year’s Eve day, with Peter.

It’s always humbling to have a friend who goes to school with you that manages to do it all AND raise a family.

Mine was Kari.

This is Michelle, James’ Kari.

First day: term 11

At this moment he has seven weeks left in his Masters Program.
This part of our journey has simultaneously taken forever, and flown by.
My heart will be broken and elated to be away from here.

Two of my favorite people have birthdays on January 14. My middle sister, and this shiny gem.

Wynn digs her Cami.

This is Max’s litter.
I was so excited and overwhelmed, these shit pictures are all I managed to get. I believe there was eight. I wanted them all.

Work Holiday Party…
James got a puppy and managed to weasel out of going.

My birthday cake: 41

It is the year for changes… And I’m stoked!

Tomorrow is “I WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY” day.  I didn’t mean to write that all in caps, but I like it.

I sending you all a ton of HAPPY…

That Is A Bad Place To Take A Nap, Fish…

Hi, All…. Happy Happy Happy Holidays!! And yes, I say “Holidays”. There is a lot this time of year, and I appreciate them all.

We found a new favorite beach. It’s a dog lovers beach. And since we love dogs… and other people who also love dogs.
We spent Christmas Day there (pictures on the next blog)… (In April.)

When we stopped so I could take this picture, the man who owned the house near by came out and started screaming at me (lots of very bad words). So I blew him kisses, and waved, while he was telling me to “go fuck myself”.
So, I’m going to stick it to him by putting up the only picture I got, even if it’s crap…

Off to Florida!

We spent the first part of our trip with J’s middle sister and her family.

Florida Gators! A momma and her babies. (You have to look hard for the babies.)

The Taylor’s live in Lakeland. It is known for it’s swans. They are everywhere…

This is what pops into my head every time I see a swan…

Wedding time!
Sonny is one of J’s closest friends. He graces the ol’ blog from time to time, but not nearly enough.

The wasps were not invited to the wedding…

The “best” man.

The bride…
This was our first chance to meet Danielle.
She is a GEM.

We will get to know her better when we drag them to Montana to live.

We had Sonny’s daughter, Irina for the day. She is much more fun now than when she was younger… And she agrees.

This is me.

Sun rainbow. Kinda…

She is such a sport…

This was my favorite moment: running into Wynn puppies. I was too busy freaking out to take more pictures. I do so love dogs, especially shih tzu’s.

Is a penny lucky or unlucky, if its upright…?

We laughed a lot that day…

I do so love the beach…

And, to top it off, we ran into these two, who just happened to be in the same area running a marathon. J and Sean used to work together in Boston… Good Peeps.

That’s it!!! Holy crap! THIS has taken for-ev-er to finish…

I am so excited for this year!! 95% good things are on the horizon. (The other 5% is having to leave some very kick-ass people when we exit this state… but we don’t talk about that part.)

Happy 2019, Loves!






This is going to be a very good year… I just have a feeling.

Even though I’ve given up on my own garden, I still like to go hang out in others…

On our drive down to Santa Cruz, we stopped at a random Taqueria, like we usually do on road trips. All the food at this place was a little off, not bad necessarily… This green sauce tasted like instant pistachio pudding.

Celebrating number eight.

This was a great weekend.

He is still the best decision I ever made.

He hates me photographing him in infrared, it makes him look soft, and creepy.

What do you see in this band aid…?

I like tomatoes, but I don’t love them. I like things that are made from them. However, sungold cherry tomatoes, I eat like candy.

See you all soon…

King Virgo


I have several clients who are extra special.

Ruth is one of them, I cherish every second with her.

From her garden… The light is always beautiful there.

Flowers from another client/friend… they were not dead when I got them.  I actually like the look of dead flowers as much as live.

I did not mean to do this, I was actually in a hurry when I poured them … Since I’m not nearly as disastrous as I used to be, I feel like my guardian angel sends me little gifts to reward me for a lighter work load.
I do appreciate symmetry.

King came to visit!!
She is my person.
I miss her everyday.

Beers with Peter.
San Francisco is not my thing, we rarely go, but its fun when friends come to town.
Zeitgeist is a must.


Wine for her.

Beer for me.

Wine is not really my thing.

Thanks for the fun!

End of term party. Nine down, two to go…

Chicken fried steak, and corned beef hash and eggs, on the same menu, on the west coast! That made our day.


Oh yes, and hash browns… My second favorite potato.

We were compatible hiking companions. He appreciated the frequent stops.

Bears DO shit in the woods…

Birthday lemon bars.

I’m glad he was born.

Birthday surprise… Last minute work trip to SF for Sonny.

We missed each other before he left for his first day.
After works…
First day, term 10.

Lady Sybil.

These flowers will always remind me of my mom. When we moved here, my mom drove out with us. They were growing wild everywhere.

Have a magical weekend, Loves…