Bob Dylan, Literature & the Bull Session

Rambling Thoughts...

In October, Bob Dylan shocked the world by winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. While many feel the honor is well-deserved, others question this recognition. If you want to see what folks are saving, check out this New York Times article, which inspired almost 2,000 comments from readers.


Whatever your thoughts on the matter, the award has found many people asking the question "What is literature?" Mr. Dylan touched on the question in his Nobel acceptance speech, but has not had the time to contemplate this himself so don't look to him if you want the answer.


2016 Holiday Card & Musical Selections

Here is the latest. Those of you on my list will be receiving the card and disc in the mail sometime soon. Enjoy and best wishes for 2017. May it be the best year ever!


Writing Exercise - Where Are You Now?

There's a room in Carolyn's new house that is a great nook for relaxation and contemplation.  The old owners converted a garage into this space and Carolyn has it partitioned off from the kitchen and the rest of the house to literally keep the cats away from the dog. It is a quiet oasis for readers, writers and cats. The others have gone out to walk the dog and look at the hobbit houses while I have some down-time to work on this writing exercise and a chill for a bit.
Carolyn's house & our crazy relatives!


Music Appreciation: Lesson One

Setting: Jean Pierre Rampal Concert

Date: Early 1980s



The Bar in the Dream - Exploring a Sense of Place

Plonk, a Bozeman, Montana wine bar
Plonk in Bozeman
Years ago, a neighborhood pub would appear in my dreams. This was a welcoming, comfortable place where my friends and I would gather, a spot we considered "ours." In the dreams, the pub always retained a pleasant, low-key vibe without any rowdiness or drunken shenanigans. Upon waking, the image of the bar along with the feelings it conjured hung over me like a warm robe, and I'd start the day off happy with strong feelings of comfort, connection and friendship.


Bob Dylan & the American Love Affair with the Road

Celebrating American Pride Through A Chrysler Commercial

I've been thinking about road trips recently. Partially because I recommended them in a recent post and partially because Mike and I recently took one. It had been several years since I embarked on a long car trip and I was reminded of the excitement that comes with hitting the American road.

Vast distances and inadequate public transportation make having one's own wheels a necessity for many Americans, and so many towns and cities have developed and grown with the car in mind. Given these realities is it any wonder that Americans are big fans of the car and the open road?

A Super Bowl commercial from 2014, featuring Bob Dylan, perfectly captures not only the essence of the American love affair with cars but our strong sense of identity and American pride.


This is Bozeman - Retelling the Story

A Work-in-Progress

Mike and I walked in the rain to meet Cathy and Don for dinner at a place that screams, "I'm a pizza parlor," while offering gluten-free and sprouted grain crusts.


Completing the Trifecta - Exploring Three Random Lakes in the Southern Madison Range

The days of summer are dwindling and I'm glad to say that I've gotten out on numerous adventures so far. One great thing about having seven mountain ranges within an easy day's drive of home is that you can live here for a while and still have new places to explore. Thus is the case with a series of random lakes in the southern Madison range. 
Cameron Lake, Madison Range, MT
Cameron Lake


Must-Do American Activities - A Guide for Foreign Graduate Students

If I think back to 1993, I recall how exciting it was to move from Connecticut to Wyoming to attend graduate school.  I imagine that excitement must be ten-fold for the foreign student coming to the United States. Given my fond memories of this time in my life and the fact that my current job has me working with graduate students, graduate school often crosses my mind.

My friend Nina from Serbia just arrived in Ohio to attend graduate school so while she has visited the United States in the past, it will be a completely different experience now that she is making America her home for a few years. I contemplated what I'd suggest to her and all of the other foreign graduate students coming to the United States for graduate school. There are so many things to do yet so few experiences are truly unique these days. Is there anything left that is truly American to recommend? I'm not sure but I have come up with three must-do activities for foreign graduate students studying in the United States.

Below is what the A-List has to say about music, road trips and football.



Naughty By Nature's Hip Hop Hooray, A Guilty Pleasure

The Parlor Bar, Laramie, Wyoming
Dance Club, Laramie Style
Studio 360 is a cool variety show that is on KGLT right before my radio show. At the end of last week’s program, right before I went on the air, host Kurt Anderson sent out a call for stories of “guilty pleasures,” the corny things in life we dig, but often keep to ourselves. Everyone has a guilty pleasure, those pieces of music or film or pop culture, clothing or whatever, that we like despite its cheesiness and lack of high regard. For me one of my guilty pleasures is Naughty By Nature's Hip Hop Hooray.


The A-List Olympic Gymnastics Primer

Gymnastics season is upon us. With the 2016 Olympics on the way, it's the one time every four years you can find gymnastics on TV.  After Sunday night's Olympic trials there is lots of talk and social media posts about the sport, which can be interesting and, for a former gymnast like myself, a tremendous time waster. Although I don't keep up with the sport like I used to, these last few days and subsequent web searches brought me up-to-date on all of the happenings. It's going to be an exciting Olympic games for gymnastics with a diversity of athletes to watch and teams to cheer for. Below you will find a few things to know and stories to look for during the games.


Independence Day Exploration in the Crazy Mountains

July 4th is a great time to celebrate America's independence, but it is even a better time to get out for a few days in the mountains. Mike and I always manage to do something memorable over the Independence Day holiday and this year was no exception. Our destination, the Crazy Mountains.


Where are They Now? An Update on New Haven Establishments

My most recent post lead to lots of conversation and many questions about New Haven with "I wonder what happened to....?" and "I remember when..." being the two most common responses.
Broadway, Gateway to New Haven
Broadway, Gateway to New Haven

Below is an update on some New Haven establishments that were popular in my day. I copied the list from my original post and added a few others based on what people have been talking about. There are a few times when I couldn't find the full story or my memory fails me, so I'll need your  help to fill in the gaps. Feel free to leave your stories in the comments section of this post. I am sure there are a ton of great places I am missing.


Rambling Reflections on New Haven

Lately, I've had New Haven on my mind. Discovery of the Elm City Diary Facebook page coupled with a slow and boring week at work was all it took to set me off on a Google search. When I stumbled upon Eva Geertz's blog post in New Haven Review, my curiosity about New Haven turned into full-fledged nostalgia. As I read the post, the names of local institutions, the sights and sounds of the Elm City, its people, its vibe, and whole slew of thoughts, feelings and images came flooding into my mind.
Downtown New Haven, Connecticut, the New Haven Green
New Haven Green


Conspiring to Love, A Review of United by Cory Booker

I have been told over and over again that the way to be a writer is to write. Every day. I'm trying to do that but it's hard when you're trying to manage a million things in everyday life and perfect summer weather is competing for your limited free time.

Below you will find my review of Cory Booker's book United. I finished it a few weeks ago and rather than waiting to get it perfect, I'm going to share it with you now bumps, bruises, incomplete thoughts and all.


Official Diagnosis: Mid-Life Crisis

Rambling Thoughts On Mid-Life Discontent

When I was 39, I had a strong desire to go surfing and find a 23 year old boyfriend. Surfing had always interested me but the much younger boyfriend was only something to joke about as I contemplated my 40th birthday. I even went as far as saying I was having a mid-life crisis. Silly and over-dramatic for sure, but I didn't take myself or my imagined mid-life crisis seriously at all as in reality, I knew everything was fine By the time my birthday came around, I was preparing for a trip to the Pyrenees with surfing and the strapping young lad far from my mind. Life was moving along smoothly and I was content.


A Late Spring Ski Tour in America's First National Park

Over most Memorial Day weekends, you can find me skiing on Beartooth Pass (BTP). Between the abundance of road side skiing, challenging terrain, the camaraderie among skiers, and the chance to take an early season drive through Yellowstone National Park, it is always a great weekend. Mike and I headed down there this past weekend and took Lukas along for the adventure. While we did ski BTP, an unexpected, temporary closure of the pass on our drive over allowed us to explore the ski possibilities near Dunraven Pass in the park.


Early Mornings & NPR - They Just Go Together

While I'm not much of a morning person, I can rally for an early morning wake up if there is a compelling reason - a 6 a.m. flight, early starts for spring skiing, etc. To get the chance to see a live broadcast of NPR's Morning Edition ranks highly on the list of compelling reasons to leap out of bed before sunrise, and on Friday, the alarm want off at 4 a.m. for just that.


Luck & Powder on the Sphinx - 4.16.16

Sometimes a day in the backcountry comes together just as you want it to. When the outing is a ski tour in late spring that includes a long approach and it  works out perfectly, you are incredibly lucky. Mike and I must have had some good karma coming our way as our trip to ski the Sphinx couldn't have been better.
The Sphinx, Madison Range, Montana


Skiing with the Brits - Step Two, Teach Them the Lingo

Once again, I was surrounded by Brits on my most recent ski tour. in the Alps. As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the delights of traveling and ski touring abroad is the opportunity to pick up new words and lingo. My three European ski tours have taught me a lot of British lingo and as a member of guided trips, I am able to share American mountain town lingo with the group. Other than one American guide leading a trip, I've been the only American on all of the tours I have completed so it becomes my responsibility to serves as an ambassador for American mountain town culture.


A Typical Day on A European Hut Tour

Grand Combin as seen from Rhêmes Notre Dame
Note: This entry is copied from the journal I kept during the trip.


First Impressions of Chamonix

So this is Chamonix I thought as I stared out my hotel room window at the tall and jagged mountains outside. Wow! Huge, rocky, icy, rugged, dramatic. So many superlatives and that was only one side of the valley.It was a "So this is Yale" moment for sure.

From the Front Porch to Center Stage: Robert Earl Keen & Lyle Lovett in Concert

Note: This is a work in progress! Concert reviews are harder than I thought! I have more thoughts, which I may jot down some day. The show was a few weeks ago so I want to get this review posted before more time goes by.

Robert Earl Keen & Lyle Lovett, March 18, 2016 Wilma Theatre Missoula
Marcy 18, 2016, Wilma Theatre


Gran Paradiso Hut Tour, La Dolce Vita

Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele, Gran Paradiso, Italy
At Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele

If there is such a thing as paradise for backcountry skiers, I am pretty certain I found it in Italy’s Gran Paradiso National Park.


Missoula Road Trip: Montana's Urban Paradise

Steinbeck Montana quote, Iron Hose Brew Pub MissoulaTo me, Missoula has long ranked as one of Montana's most dynamic and lively towns.  I have always felt it has a certain je ne sais quoi making it feel like a much more urban place than Bozeman. While it is bigger (69K people compared to Bozeman's 41K), I don't think the population difference is enough to give it a more urban feel then Bozeman yet it certainly has one. I got to experience the vibrancy and urban-ness of Missoula once again as Mike and I made a quick trip there this past weekend.


Discoving a New Author: Liane Moriarty

While I read regularly, sometimes I am at a loss for what to pick up next. I'm not very good about keeping a running list of books to check out so often I scramble to find  my next read. I love it when I enjoy a book by a new author and discover that he/she has written several more. This is always a great moment as I know I won't be short on reading material for a while. Thus is my recent experience with the work of Liane Moriarty.


Skiing with the Brits - Step One, Know the Lingo

As I prepare for my third European ski tour, I am reminded that although Americans and the British both speak English, the two groups use different language when talking about skiing and gear.


Beehive Basin Snow Measuring Stick

For the past three years, I have posted updates on snowpack levels at local ski areas. The readings are taken as the Steenburgh Winter comes to an end. (It ended yesterday in Southwest Montana.) Data comes from each ski resort's snow report and once recorded in these pages, the posts become a good reference point for comparing snow levels each year.The wildnerness boundary sign in Beehive is a great place to measure the snowpack.


When You're Big in Poland - Where are My Readers From?

Mountains are for clever ones, Dom Turysty, Zakopane, Poland
I'm always curious to see where my readers come from, and thanks to the analytics feature on this blog, I'm able to do just that. While it no surprise that I have readers in Serbia, Montenegro and Italy as I've recently traveled to  and have strong connections with those countries, I was pleasantly surprised to see a recent increase in readership from Poland.

So the big question is,...where are you reading from and how did you stumble upon this blog? Please leave your response in the comments section of this post. (You can do so anonymously.)


Artistic Mastery & Brotherhood Are Winning Combination for Bozeman Symphony

Bozeman SymphonyWhile there are many popular destinations located near the mountains, it is the town itself that makes Bozeman stand out from the rest. Home to Montana State University, many creative, driven and community minded people call Bozeman home. Long before it became the wildly popular destination that it is today, Bozeman boasted The Ellen Theater on Main Street (1919) a community radio station (KGLT, 1968), the Bozeman Film Society (1978), an annual performance of the Nutcracker with live orchestra (32nd annual production in 2015), and many other artistic, cultural and social amenities. Thanks to these organizations, Bozeman is more than just another pretty face in the crowd.

2016 Snowpack Update

It is that time of year when the Steenburgh Winter is coming to an end. I first posted about this concept in 2014 and gave an update last year, so it looks like it's time to check out the data and see how the Bozeman area ski areas are doing this year.


The Cinnamon Lodge: An Under-Rated Gem in the Gallatin Canyon

Big Sky, MTNumerous commercial properties dot Highway 191 between Big Sky and Yellowstone National Park. Some of them, like the Corral and Rainbow Ranch, have stellar reputations and are local institutions that we are drawn back to again and again. Other establishments, such as the Cinnamon Lodge, have been around forever and are an under-rated gem.


Where Have All the Gear Shops Gone?

It seems like every time you open a magazine, Bozeman appears in another 'Top Ten" list. Best
college towns; best places to retire; 25 places you must visit now; the list goes on and on. Outdoor activities are a big reason Bozeman makes these lists and it is not surprising that locals and visitors alike take advantage of these amenities.  With six great mountain ranges nearby and endless opportunities for exploration, Bozeman is truly a town with outdoor recreation at its core. So one would think we'd have an abundance of stores to buy equipment for said activities. The sad reality is that gear shops, at least the ones catering to technical skiing, climbing and mountaineering, are dwindling in number.


West Yellowstone, An Unexpected Backcountry Destination

Greyling Creek, Yellowstone National Park
Leaving our mark near Greyling Creek
With my ski bum days behind me for the time being, I find that I am eager to get in an extra day of skiing whenever the opportunity makes itself available. Sure, I get out for a short skate ski on the town trails two or three nights a week after work, but that's not the same as putting in a long day in the backcountry.