Time to Hit the Skyway. . .

If you haven’t read the previous entries, I suggest you start here and work your way up.

Truth is, I’ve traveled a fair amount and seen beautiful places. But, damn, Montana is something special! Even with smoke from wildfires obscuring some of the views, it’s just beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. (Pictures below.)

Sunday morning, my hosts in Manhattan (west of Bozeman), Ann and Nick, took me to breakfast at a place that seemed so Montana, so untouched by time, that even I could tell when some “you’re not from around these parts, are you?” types walked in. After breakfast, we went to see the headwaters of the Missouri River, where the Gallatin, Madison, and Jefferson Rivers converge. The pictures in the slide show include the handiwork (or should I say teethiwork?) of some beavers who got discouraged when the water level dropped.

In the evening, we performed — Ann Tappan (pianist), Kelly Roberti (bass), and I at the beautiful home of Frank and Jirina Cikan in Bozeman. We had an enthusiastic audience and a lot of fun. After the concert, Ann, Nick and I went to the Pita Pit, the only place we could find that was still serving food after 10 pm; I mention this only because it was exactly the sort of place we’d end up eating after gigs during the years I was touring in Germany (well, there it’s the doner kebab joints), so it felt familiar, and right.

Back in New York, I’m reflecting on a memorable 10 days: volunteering at Project Vote Smart (PLEASE consider supporting the work of PVS with a donation), and then meeting up with Ann and Kelly in person (previously we’d only known one another online) and making music with them. I’m feeling very luck to have had this experience.

And now, more pictures: Vintage cars parked outside the 3 4Ks restaurant. People: Ann, Kelly, Nick, Jirina and Frank. Scenery at the headwaters of the Missouri. A few of the stunning sky taken from inside Ann’s car on the way to the gig.

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All Good Things. . . Continue, if We Do Things Right: Montana Diary.7

If you’ve missed previous Montana posts, or don’t know why I’m here, click to see: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6. (Probably makes sense to start with Day 1!)

The day started with a 7:30 get together with Richard Kimball, the founder of Project Vote Smart. Over breakfast, Richard told us the story of how he came to start the organization. It’s a good story, and you can read most of here. He also filled us in on some of the challenges PVS has faced (and continues to face), as well as on plans for the near future, which include making the website even more user-friendly. In case I haven’t made it clear, I wish everyone knew about, and used, http://www.VoteSmart.org. It’s a brilliant resource for voters, an antidote to the usual barrage of campaign slogans, sound bytes, and attack ads. I also hope people will join PVS at any donation level. It costs money to keep this gift to democracy going, and it’s so very valuable. You can find out more here. [the photo shows lunch in the lodge.]

Work today included more updating to PVS’ voter registration data base; I took a break from the computer to help get this year’s Voter’s Self-Defense Manual ready for mailing.

What a gorgeous day it turned out to be. I couldn’t get warm enough in the morning, yet sat sleeveless on the deck for dinner! Later, Richard took some of us on a tour of the property in the PVS van. We covered the ground I’d seen on the early walks, but on this tour I learned a lot of the history of the property, including stories about the families that lived here early on. [at left, dinner on the deck.]

Below are some pictures from our tour, and from the grounds. I’m a bit sorry to leave tomorrow. It sounds like there’s plenty to explore around here on the weekends, but I’ll be driving down to Manhattan (Montana, that is), west of Bozeman, where I’ll perform a concert on Sunday. On to the next adventure!

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Click to continue to part 8 ➽

Some Pretty: Montana Diary.6

If you’ve missed previous Montana posts, or don’t know why I’m here, click to see: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5. (Probably makes sense to start with Day 1!)

Today, more time at the computer, making sure New Hampshire election town clerk office listings are all up to date on the PVS website, and double checking the list of all New York state Congressional and Senatorial candidates.

I’ll keep today’s entry short, and close with some pictures from this evening’s walk.

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Click to continue to part 7 ⇒

I Found My Thrill On Daffodil Hill

I’ve lived in New York a long time. A LONG time. I’ve been in an urban environment pretty much my entire adult life, and there are times, let me tell you, there are times. . .

Thankfully, I have the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for getting away from it all. The BBG has become my happy place, and will remain as such, I’m sure, as long as I live in Brooklyn. I’m glad to report that things aren’t entirely out of whack, seasonally-speaking — only somewhat. A few cherry trees are in bloom, but most just hint at the glory to come. The lilacs and roses are nowhere to be seen, which is good; it’s March, after all. But the daffodils, yes, the daffodils are doing exactly just what they’re meant to do. The magnolias are magnificent; the white star magnolia gave off the most delicious, delicate, spicy scent. Aaahhh! There are camellias and primroses and periwinkles. The bark of a crape-myrtle. Turtles and ducks making the most of an unseasonably peaceful day. I heard a bird call and looked up, up, waaay up to see a spot of vivid orange against the branches and clear blue.

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Winter Garden

Dust of Snow
 - Robert Frost
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

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The birthday present I gave myself today was simply a trip to my beloved Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The need to spend more time gets stronger and stronger. This afternoon’s visit lifted my spirit on this January day.

Drive-By Sunset

I love the painterly feeling of these photos. In fact, they make me want to paint! I took the pictures, but I take no credit, since all I did was point my camera and click at the scenery that sped by while my husband drove us homeward on Route 684 in New York. As far as I’m concerned these are  more than anything about a sort of chemical — perhaps alchemical is more apt, not to mention magical — reaction of sunset, window, and velocity. Click on the first image, and then you can scroll through the rest. I did a single adjustment in Photoshop to the fourth image, which caused the blues to emerge, but all the other colors you see are exactly what the camera captured.

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