Happy Spleen…

So much has happened since last we chatted, but at the same time, not much has.
Thats the name of the game right, balance…

This is officially the longest I’ve gone between posts.

I started a new job three weeks ago. So far so good.
Akari (salon and spa) is a four minute walk from my front door. Since we live, and would like to remain living in, downtown Portland, it seemed feasible for me to find a job in the city so we didn’t need to get another car.
(I’ll fill you in more later.)

For the first time in well over a year, we are going to get to see the majority of peoples faces.
I’m both excited and weirded out by it.

Wow, these pictures are old.

I got sick in February, I kinda lost my shit: mentally and physically. It consumed me for three months. Very dark days in the Constantine household…
I’m felling pretty ok now.

I’m happy it’s finally Spring, this winter was painfully long.

Sun on my face is my new favorite thing.

I love you all.
Just so you know.

We still go to the beach as much as we can. The boy needs to run. One downside to summer is the beaches are closed to dogs most of the day.
We just plan better.

He’s not a puppy anymore.

This was one of my first real meals in a very long time. When you spend an extended period drinking your food, you appreciate meatballs when you finally get them.
(SLAB, one of our Portland favorites.)

We stopped for lunch at a place by the side of the road on a recent day trip. They just happened to be playing music. So we got lunch and CCR covers… We have good luck.

Blueberry cheesecake for me, Coffee for the Mr.

Now that it’s warmer, I’ll actually go out at night and photograph. I greatly dislike the cold. I’m weak, I admit it.
I also feel better having a companion that looks like he could eat your face off.

Our first cannoli in Portland…

Today was National Rescue a Dog Day. That, like Valentines Day, should be everyday.

I miss all of you like crazy. I hope to see your faces soon…

Toast Without Butter Belongs In The Trash…

Happy 2021, Loves!!!

I feel so inspired right now! I usually do this time of year; I love fresh starts…

Short of something crazy happening we’ll be in Maine for awhile. We are content. And that is a good feeling going into a new year.

HAHA! It is now February 1, and it’s cold, and all I want to do is lay in bed and read.

My Christmas tree is still up.

I just learned that tomorrow is a snow day at work.
A gift from above.

Maybe I’ll take down the tree, or dust it.

This is Jade! The reason we moved here…
James’ window is the one in the main house, top floor facing the drive way.

Our first Portland guests.

We’re thankful that we still live close to family. Jame’s cousin’s live an hour and a half away. And halfway between us is Portsmouth, NH, one of my favorite places.

I’ve started allowing myself to be hopeful about this coming fall. Maybe a little more freedom…?
I even miss the dream of traveling.

My boys…

Happy Halloween!!

Isn’t it nice to get some fall color in the middle of winter.
It is my procrastinator self talking, but still true.

The Mr. and I love this building. There are a lot of very cool places here. Old brick buildings are the best…

Living downtown has its perks. It also has 10.5 hour long, horn honking sessions.

And our apartment windows are shit.

I do still like being near that kind of energy though…

First attempt at scones: Too big a batch, so I could’t spread them far enough out in the pan.
And the fruit made them too wet, even with added flour.

King! do you recognize this!? and the one behind is from the same company!
There is a picture below that has a third that was added later in the month. I love them all!

Work Christmas party…

This year I am thankful for:
James finding his place to settle and grow.
Our pups.
Living by the ocean again.
Time to work on me.

James and I stopped getting a whole turkey a couple years ago. We both prefer dark meat, so really there was no point getting a whole. This year what we got was terrible! Such a bummer.
It’s like the turkey’s whole diet consisted of something weird, like poptarts.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving lunch together.
Yup, that’s my parent’s puppy with a spot at the table…

There are just some windows that are made for Christmas trees…

And some hallways look like they should have twin girls in blue dresses at the end of them.



Pot roast in a cast iron dutch oven.
It’s the simple things in life…

The only way I can get them both to look at me? Pie from this place.
And cheese.

I feel ya, brother.

I call this one: “Waiting on a photographer”.

My friends sent me Meyer lemons from their tree in Oakland . They are worth doing something special with if you can get your hands on them. We made cookies, limoncello, and fermented a jar full. More on that when we use them for something…

He. loves. snow.

Happy Holidays, Loves!

Second and much improved scone attempt. I’m sticking to no fruit ones for now.
Below are eggnog… There wasn’t anything I would have changed.

This looks like a person, but is not, and we can’t figure out what it actually is. It still makes me jump every time I glance at it.

Early NYE dog walk…

There is a hotel down on the water that always seems to have fires going on their patio whether anyone is there to enjoy them or not. So we decided to see if they also liked dogs.
They like dogs.
Max, however, come to realize, does not like to be surrounded by fire — one, fine — six, no.
It was a quick beverage.

Later evening celebration with Rudy and Andee.
(We went with to pick up their dinner.)

A very joyous, productive, peaceful, healing 2021!

My first part of 2021 is all things photo.
(I split the year into quarters; it allows me to be more selective and purposeful, and stay open to change.)
My new computer arrives this week. That will help smooth the ride…

I don’t think I’ve put a link to my website on here yet. So…
Step one…

Growing food and taking pictures, those are my loves. Those two things are getting most of my 2021 energy… Mostly photo, since we live on the third floor with zero outdoor space.

I hope all of you get to work toward something worthwhile this year…

Portland (Eew No, Not That One…)

So, the Montana exit:
We came to the realization back in March that Helena was not likely to be our forever home. We wanted it to be, but there are just a few too many confederate flags and styrofoam containers for us to feel it was the right place for us. However, for the love of my parents and the few other members of my family and friends that even care if we live there or southern Africa, we would have stayed if we could have possibly made it work.
In the end James finding a job in the field we just spent the better part of five years persuing was most important. The saying “put the life jacket on yourself before you help those around you” kept going through my mind. You can’t be there for others if you yourself are sinking.
Within the span of one week James had two interviews, took and passed his final NCCAOM exam, and drove to New Jersey to be with his family as they worked through the shock of loosing his dad unexpectedly.
Don was a great man and the absence of him will be felt forever. I will miss that laugh.

J found out while he was there that he got the job in Portland, so he left the car in NJ, flew back to help finish packing up the house and drive our life to the east coast. The man is a rock star, and I don’t deserve him.

Nothing, nothing, nothing, everything… our last year in a nutshell.

We are coming up on a month in Maine. We’re still kinda in that in between stage where we don’t feel settled or grounded, but the newness has worn off. We still love it though and are looking forward to the day we do feel at home… Maine has a nice balance of city and country. We live in downtown Portland but we can be in the sticks in less than a half hour. The ocean is three blocks away. It has four seasons, winter isn’t too terrible being this close to the ocean. We can be in Montreal in a five hour car ride, Boston in less than two, and Europe within the day with just a short transatlantic flight. Someday… when us dirty Americans learn how to wear a mask, and stop crying about the injustice of it all. What a bunch of whiny little bitches.

I miss these two. They were the bright spot of our life in Helen. I can’t wait to hug them again one day. When we can fly… and hug.

Our last days in Helena…

Going away drinks with friends…

In case you can’t read the very fancy writing: J is officially a Dr. of Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine!

He still wanted his picture taken with the Spiderman costume more.
Lovely sushi date with my niece when I dove to Bozeman to get J at the airport.

Happy Birthday apple pie for my Mr. It was the best ever! Just like him.

We got to decorate a rock! Such an honor.
My dad completely renovated the end tables we made together 20 years ago. He is one of the greatest, most giving people I know.

My parents came to help me with the dogs when J was in New Jersey, since I was still working full time. Then they came back to help us pack up the apartment. My mom brought meals so we didn’t have to cook in the chaos. They are truly the best, and I’m still very irritated I had to leave them in Montana.

This was my very first cassette tape. My mom gave into my begging at the Woolworths in Glasgow when I was in the fourth grade. I found it when I was helping my parents declutter the garage. Max promptly made it his own.

This is Sam: my parents new reason for living. He is so very loved, and now the main topic of conversation when we chat. Which is okay, dogs are one of my most favorite topics.

First meal in our new place.

We celebrated number 10 last month. For the second year in a row we didn’t pull out the wedding clothes (mainly because we had no idea where most of them were packed) it was kinda sad. (Next year we are back to our tradition. I have something very special planned for 11.)
This year we headed down the block for desert and drinks.

A picture from our honeymoon I found the other day…

I have never heard sloppy joes referred to as slushburgers outside of my own home growing up. Until now.

We took our first day trip. This area is adorable and full of old port towns, everything looks like it belongs on a postcard.

I had an old friend who lived at Touchmark (the retirement community I worked at in Helena) named Mervin, who would tell me jokes every time I saw him. The one above is one he’d tell me often…

AHHHH, first apple cider donuts on the East Coast. Johnson’s Corner is a Constantine family favorite.
View from our apartment up Congress street.

I came across a few pictures from the beginning of the summer that didn’t make it onto the original post …

Got to see my bestie and her family (my second family) in Butte.
My girl…

Until next time, my Loves…

Bitter Sweet…

No one will forget this year, that is for sure…

Our world is changing. We lived in the movie Groundhog Day for six months, then all of a sudden, we are living in Maine.

More on that next post. (Which is coming very soon, I promise. I’m trying to take advantage of me not having a job at the moment and get on the computer to tackle my photo to-do list…)


Things start on fire a lot in Montana…


So much has happened since I was last on here, and yet again other than a couple things, the last four months have been very uneventful.

Facetime is still the norm… I like it. As much as we’ve moved, we have friends all over the place. I like to see your faces.

Time with three of my California Girls. Life is a little better in a pandemic if your friends are hair dressers… for them anyway.
I’m stuck with a grown out pixie and natural hair color with the rest of the country.


We bought a car! A very loved, one-owner (my friends Debbie and Troy), 1997 Subaru Outback. We passed the torch Montana style.


And then we realized we wouldn’t need two cars in Portland so they took it back and sold it for us… Top notch people these two. We did not settle into Helena in anyway but I met some great people at work, and these two I will stay in contact with forever.






We did get to camp once before we left, and it was glorious!

















Rummy, of course.



Camping is his favorite. He never stopped moving.
So. Many. Sticks.














Tomorrow is our 10th anniversary.
We now live just a few blocks from the hotel where we stayed for our fourth anniversary…
And this just happens to be a link to that post…

Right now I’m eating a donut that James brought me that tastes like if my Granda Natalie’s homemade cake donuts and Autumn had a baby.

Happy Fall, Loves! You can’t do much these days, but you can still go outside and kick leaves.

Find Your Flow…

“Let me explain… No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

So, Wow. Things are kinda crazy out there.
I’m not going to add my opinions, there are too many of those running amok already (amok, amok, amok).  (In my opinion…)

However I do have to mention it since this technically is my gift to my future senile self, so I can read about my life even if I don’t remember it.
(So ya, Covid happened, shit got real.)


This year was fairly sucky for me before all this all stated.

There are so many pictures going through my head (most include fire) that could way more easily describe the emotional baseball bat to the head, that was Winter 2020.

Depression: what a pip.

But it’s done now… (for now).

Spring helps…




Christmas… huh. I’m still impressed I decorated.















AA came to visit!



So this shitty thing happened…

In the beginning of the last post I was talking about reconnecting with my friend and long-time boss-man… Well, he passed on to the great ski mountain in the sky.


I took this image 14 years ago. He was the model for my “professional portrait” assignment in college.

What a great man…

















We take the same mile and a half walk everyday  (J does it twice). It’s beautiful, right behind our house, and the dogs can be off leash…













One of the very best things about quarantine is facetime dates.

King and I started having drinks via facetime a year ago. It is a superior way to stay in touch. I like to see faces.








I’m working through all this. I used to work in a little bistro inside a retirement community.  It morphed into working in the main kitchen when the quarantine came into affect. I like it…
I’m up and down with my feelings about leaving the house. Like most things that started out bumpy this year, it’s smoothing out.
Montana is a fairly safe area. Social distancing is already kinda a thing.
We do what we can…



I’ve been making bread!

This is stupid easy:  (And I’m not converting it into cups, go get a kitchen scale, you will use it all the time.)

  • 17 oz Flour
  • 2T Yeast
  • 1-2t Salt (depending on taste)
  • 10 oz water

Put dry ingredients in a stand mixer, add water slowly until mixed into a ball.
Cover and let rise for an hour. (I put mine in the oven with the light on.)
Take out and turn the oven to 500. Put your dutch oven in to heat up with the oven.
Pull the dough out of the bowl and reshape into a ball, heavily flour the outside of the ball and put in a clean mixing bowl.
Cover and let it rise for a second time for 15 min – About the time it takes the oven to preheat.
Take out the dutch oven and drop the temp to 450.
Carefully dump the dough ball out onto your hand and transfer it to the dutch oven. Cover and let cook for 20 minutes.
Uncover and let cook for another 15-20 to brown up.
Transfer to a cooling rack and leave it alone for 2 hours.






The Mr. has been making pretzels… There are no limits to his talents.




Max just needs so much more of a walk than Wynn. She rides most of the way.


Cast iron pizza…















Happy Birthday, to this guy! Thank you for all that you do… Including my future planter boxes. I’m jonesing to grow something… Love You like crazy!

me n pa

We are traveling to my town of birth this weekend to celebrate my niece’s graduation.  She’s all grown up! Kind of.

Sarah grass

Change what needs changing, Loves… I think it’s the perfect time for it.







She Was the Only Vegan I Haven’t Wanted to Punch in the Throat…


I’m dealing with death this week…

A friend of mine died. It was a cruel death undeserving of a such a quality human.

I didn’t know her that long, but she grabbed my heart like very few are able to do.

I haven’t lost anyone on a very long time.  I suppose it will start happening more and more as I age, that seems to be the crap theme in life.

Robyn, YOU were the shit, my friend. I hope wherever you are, there’s a mass amount of dogs for you to love on.














While in AA’s metal shop I saw this. I remember when she got this bracelet and where all the links came from, and what they mean…


I’ve recently gotten back in touch with my first boss. He is a lovely man. He lives across the ally from AA’s metal shop, so we try to have tea with him when I come to Red Lodge.
I worked at the Roman Theater for over 10 years. It will forever be my favorite job, and he will forever be my favorite boss.


Not a bad view while stuck in road construction…



Typical Montana. Early snow makes for a 20 second Fall.






When we drove to Helena for our actual move, we got stuck on the Bozeman pass for two hours.
Welcome to Montana…


Our new dog park. We go there almost everyday. My boy NEEDS to run.



Margaritas in our wedding glasses. It’s kinda our “welcome to our new home” thing.


They bonded over their mutual confusion.




ALL OF THEM! Although I’m terrible at letting THEM know that…



I absolutely love all the colors of beer. That is why I photograph it, not to make my mother panic that I’m an alcoholic.


George Michael was my very first love. And I still love him after all these years…


There is no such thing as JUST sisters…



We went to a tiny craft fair at the church walking distance from our house.
My sister and niece both work at this place in their town (the town where I was born) making lefse. This is something they both helped create, and there it was right in front of me.  Small world.
If you get the chance, do try some. I like mine with butter, cinnamon, and sugar.





Ah yes, one of my favorite days…





James has been busy… Tinctures he started last year were finally ready to strain. A whole lot of love and knowledge goes into his creations.
I am so proud.



I think if I had to pinpoint what I missed about Montana the most (other than the people) it would be the sky.

It really is Big Sky country.


We went to the Art Walk in downtown Helena shortly after we moved here. Most all the stores open late for local artists to display their work. It was a beautiful thing.
Next year I will be one of them.
I also met members of the local camera club, who invited me to their next meeting, so I went, and it was amazing. I need to be around other photographers to grow, that I learned early on.


These two made me laugh out loud. Not an easy feat.



Oh Boy! THE candy of my childhood. Grape Zotz.


I can spot a disco ball from a thousand paces…






We took a little field trip to the Montana Historical Society…




We waited outside in the cold to see if we could view any part of this past meteor shower. We couldn’t. But it was fun to get out anyway. Ya gotta try…


I created my own light show…


My mom and I made cranberry sauce when they were here. It’s one of the traditions passed down by my grandmother (my dad’s mom). Although I have cut almost half the sugar out of her recipe…


So messy…

But, I have a dishwasher now! Someone who HATES dishes as much as I do needs a dishwasher for sanity.



“Made in Montana” fairs are a blast. They have several throughout the year in all the bigger cities around Montana. The original one was only in Helena, but it got too big. Montana crafts(wo)men are some of the very best.
Of course I ran into someone I went to high school with. That is how it is here, Montana is one big small town.


We made Thanksgiving dinner a week early so we could celebrate with my parents.




Right now I’m going to pray this publishes. I just realized wordpress is unable to save anything I’m writing. So you will either get to read this now. Or I will swear very loud and you will get it later.

I hope your holiday season is not making you crazy.

LOVE and MISS you all…

Montana Is My Weighted Blanket…

In three days we move into our new apartment on Cat avenue.

I’m ready. I’ve appreciated my time off, but I find myself missing the structure of the real every day.

The last three plus months have been the perfect transition from one chapter to another. We both needed to take a breath.

My mom and I processed an entire stand-up freezer full of garden vegetables. And then some…

My future Montana plot is my number one daydream.

Have I mentioned yet today how excited I am to be back in Montana…?  Like how I feel when I look at my dogs and feel so much love, I have to stop myself from eating their faces off.

I drug my husband to the fair. Simple. Perfect.

The summer of mantises. A good omen.

Also, the summer of gems.

Care packages for my girls.

This used to be my high school. They have a new fancy one so this is now the junior high.
Still smells the same.

A little gem from 1995 when we used to terrorize those walls.

When last we chatted, we were headed to Helena, our future home.
We still love it.

I have wanted this building from the minute I first saw it. It would take ten million dollars to turn it into something useable. So if anyone out there has a spare bit of change and would like to save an amazing building….  It makes me symphony excited.

On our way to look at my dream building, we found a perfect little country farm with all sorts of deliciousness growing around. They will be my future friends, they don’t know that yet…

I take it as a huge “burning bush” type of sign that the ice cream shop downtown had two our favorite ice cream flavors: firestick, and black licorice, two very obscure flavors that you hardly ever see.

Steve’s Cafe: a recommendation by the manager of our new apartment.
He was right…

Have the carrot cake…

We spent two days driving around saying “oh, that’s cute” or “I like that…”

No red flags…

AND, the Wassweiler, which we will have a hard time staying away from. If you come visit us, chances are we will take you here.

I can not WAIT to move here!

We took the scenic route home, which meant we had lovely views changing the tire…

There is something satisfying about exploring an area knowing it will become familiar. There is an overwhelming amount of cuteness within two hours of our front door.

My OTHER favorite flavor of ice cream (blueberry cheesecake). Both in one summer!

Yes, it gets hot here. Just head to the shade.

Camping with the Parents, and their friends, and their friends’ friends.

Max is officially a country dog, laying in the middle of the dirt road.

Peach season is my favorite.

A little back yard birthday drink. J turned 45 on the day we left for California.

Happy Birthday! You are now officially licensed in the state of Montana to practice acupuncture!!

I am so freaking proud of him!

He is in California at this very moment for the third to last weekend of his doctoral program. It is so very close. He could use a break from school.

Another scenic route: South Lake Tahoe.

Wedding reception for two very good people…
They got married back in July with family.

We break for cake…

This little gem hung out with us in the backyard for three days…

Did some qigong with J…

Mini golf with the crew…

11 14

This means we all did well… except Briana.

She does love the Batman.
And basketball.

And just like that, our three weeks in California were over….

I got to spend time with some of my very favorite bay area people. Some we missed, sadly even with three weeks, we didn’t have that much free time.

We will be back!

And back to more veggies…

My husband’s first official patient.

We decided to take a last minute trip to Lincoln Nebraska to visit friends who recently moved there. It is a great town. I’d live there.

Wynn discovered her new favorite mode of transportation.

Stopped and spent the night in WY with J’s sister and brother-in-law on the way home.

And this firecracker! She makes my heart happy.

Ha! Ghetto kinda fabulous.

First snow…

I didn’t even really photograph it. As long as I’ve waited to be back in seasons, and I got nothing…
I haven’t been photographing much at all.
I guess it goes in stages.

Next blog will be from our new house!!! And hopefully a bit more exciting than this dribble.

And FYI: October is “adopt a shelter dog” month.

Happy Autumn, Loves!

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.