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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/blog/normajeantrent
Rated: E · Book · Biographical · #2198921
Norma's Wanderings around a small section of Montana
2020 was to be the year of perfect vision. But the whole Corona virus or is it Covid-19 or is it Wuhan virus or my favorite term, Kung flu, set the entire world off into another dystopian realm few could have predicted.

Here in Montana, we have lots of open air and open space and little sickness compared to other states. Hooray for the rural life!

So keep on writing everyone. Hunker down, it's going to be a bumpy ride. Along the way, sit beside me on my porch as I consider life.


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November 27, 2020 at 6:07pm
November 27, 2020 at 6:07pm
#999232
Well folks, we are in Big Timber for Thanksgiving. We had an excellent meal, and now are staying for our second night. But the biggest event is the WIND! Merciful heavens. There was a high wind warning, since expired. The wind was a steady 25-35 MPH with gusts up to 50 MPH. *Wind*

So here are the guidelines as set forth by the CDC for those gatherings yesterday:

(illustration of friends gathering outdoors wearing masks and six feet apart)
Celebrating virtually or with the people you live with is the safest choice this Thanksgiving. Yeah, well whatever.

If having guests to your home, be sure that people follow the steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer. These steps include:

Have a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community. Ha! Evidently they don't live in Montana. My meal would have ended up in Billings.
Limit the number of guests. They usually have 600 reservations here, this year 100.
Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together. Non-existent
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use. Any good restaurant does this.
If celebrating indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible. You can use a window fan in one of the open windows to blow air out of the window. This will pull fresh air in through the other open windows. What? It's winter in the Northern Hemisphere people, and in my area that means cold. The wind is blowing 25 MPH, no need for a fan. Who is going to pay the bill for extra heat?
Limit the number of people in food preparation areas. Again, this was a restaurant. I'm sure there were a dozen or more in the kitchen. But all employees I saw were masked.
Have guests bring their own food and drink. Ha! They could just stay home. I'm at a restaurant. I'll not bring my own, thank you. I'm paying for a good meal.
If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils. Nope, we used real silverware on real plates with real napkins. Kind of civilized.

We had the best meal. It started with a charcuterie plate: cure meats, cheese cubes, crackers, quick breads, fruits, pickled vegetables. Then we had a Caesar salad, then the main plate with turkey and prime rib, mashed potatoes (real, not instant), fried Brussel sprouts, glazed carrots, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and gravy. Our dessert was chocolate mousse. Oh my...wonderful food. Of course we ate too much. So a little after all that, we took a walk in the dark, under the full moon. The wind was howling, but what the H. If you're dressed warm enough, no problem.

This hotel has been around since 1890. It is worth a stop if you are ever in the area. https://thegrand-hotel.com

Just hang on to your hat, your scarf, your small dog. This area in Montana is like a wind tunnel.

Queen Norma Jean *Crown*


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November 24, 2020 at 6:54pm
November 24, 2020 at 6:54pm
#999052
So we are on the countdown to Thanksgiving. Does everyone have the required goodies on hand? I am not cooking this year. We are going to Big Timber to a hotel that is serving the big dinner. Our railroad trip was not happening, the Isaac Walton Inn over by Glacier National Park is closed for renovation at this time, darn. We love doing Amtrak. So fine, we'll drive for a few hours, stay a few nights. We think there may not be snow in the Crazy Mountains this time of year, we haven't had any snow for weeks. *Sun*

But today I got the baking fairy on my shoulder. I baked some quick breads. Some orange *Orange* bread and then a loaf of pumpkin *Pumpkin2* bread. Our church was called upon to provide some meals for a couple next week. Perhaps they will get one of these loaves. The husband waited too long to go to the doctor, and as a result ended up in the hospital with a raging case of pneumonia. So a warning to you folks - don't wait til you are coughing up blood. You don't want to spend a week in the hospitals right now with this virus raging.

Is everyone setting up all those Christmas decorations? I have to admit I am a bit of a humbug. I have a lot of decorations, but rarely put any up any more. We have no visitors, no family. I don't think we even put up a tree the last few years. The whole hoopla about this from Halloween to Christmas annoys me so much. I say every year I just want to go to a deserted island and get away for these months. So sorry for those of you that love all the gift giving and partying. Have fun.

Today has been a nothing type day. Computer work, puttering. No real cleaning. You know how some days you just can't bring yourself to clean? Yep, one of those days. I'm sitting here watching 'Chopped', a favorite cooking show. 'What are you doing, putting those two foods together, I think as these cooks try to make weird foods work together.

I'm just marking time until 6 pm. *Clock2* Then I'm headed to a Chamber of Commerce meeting. I had to call a friend to see if that meeting was still on since I didn't get a notice.

Then when I get home I'll watch a new show. *TV* 'Big Sky'. One of my favorite authors, C.J.Box talked about this series last March at his book signing. It was filmed some in Montana, is based on a book of his. The first episode last week was very good. Not sure how many episodes there are, but I will try to watch them all.

So if you've never been to Montana, BIG SKY is really a thing. The sky really does look bigger here. It's our claim to fame.
November 20, 2020 at 12:14am
November 20, 2020 at 12:14am
#998741
The day was busy. But for the life of me I don't know why. Hmmm. Well, let me write a bit and try to figure this out.

I got up about 7:30. Earlier than I wanted. But whatever. I didn't sleep well, first time since I started this sleeping protocol. Weird. Then I puttered until about 10 AM, then I wandered over to RSVP to check on the Children's Bazaar we have every year. This event is fun, children can come and purchase gifts for family without parents. Of course, this year the powers that be have cancelled this event. *Sad* No more than 25 can gather at one time in public areas. Drag. This virus is really starting to annoy. Since I don't swear, I'll let you fill in the blank. ___________

Then I headed over to the IGA to see if the Salvation Army bell ringer from my church was there. I wanted to get a picture for the statewide church newsletter. No dice. Hmmm. So I headed back home. I puttered a bit more at home. Did some computer work, then again headed out at 11 AM to once again check on the IGA, since I had the time wrong the first time I went. Still no person manning the red kettle. Hmmm... After buying some groceries I checked the non-profit's mail box and then took my daily noon time walk. When I got home I called the person who was a no-show for the bell-ringing.

"Oh, I had to go to Billings. Sorry, I forgot to call you and let you know." Grr...... Hard to fire a volunteer. By then it was lunch fixing time. So we ate an then hubby and I served our hour at the bell ringing.*Bell* It's been interesting. Mostly older folks are donating, not the younger. People come to shop in the most curious attire. I saw one young lady today, probably high school age, in leggings and a sweat shirt. I don't think she had anything on under the leggings, since they were pretty much see through. Perhaps a thong? Goodness.

Since then, I've been sort of vegging out on the couch. I watched the Food channel, love that. Then a movie, 'The Equalizer 2', actually a pretty good story if quite violent. I like Denzel Washington as an actor.

So far tonight I've done a few reviews on the site, and trying to wrap my head around a story idea for a contest. Just having a hard time getting motivated. Maybe I need to get the sunlight lamp down from storage. This time of year at this latitude is hard on those of us affected by lack of sunlight.

You would think all that walking around outside today would have helped. Later folks! Write on!
November 16, 2020 at 1:52am
November 16, 2020 at 1:52am
#998461
Am I the last person to watch the movie "Crazy Rich Asians"? Well, probably. We didn't go to theaters much, if ever before this virus thing hit. Now no one goes. So it was just on TV and I happened to find it channel surfing.

As you know if you've perhaps been reading this BLOG, I've been on this sleep protocol, which I have to say for some strange reason seems to be working. I am watching TV more than I want. And it probably has added about a year to my life with snacking and not sleeping and all, but never mind that.

Anyhoo, that movie is cute. Kind of Pretty Woman, Cinderella, Jane Austen, Rich Boy meets Poor Girl fairy tale. Talk about conspicuous consumption. Holy cow - that wedding scene was outrageous. Crazy antics. Does stuff like that really happen? Or was it just for the movie? I think it probably does. If money can buy anything, and the sky is the limit, and you have unlimited money well, why not! But my way of thinking, just because you can doesn't mean you should.

I guess I'll never know. I'm just happy to be able to live in a nice little house in a nice little town in Montana. Pay all my bills, have food to eat and a warm bed to sleep in and clothes on my back. More than 90% of the world's population.

We did our first gig for the Salvation Army today. We are volunteer Bell Ringers for the Red Kettle campaign. My church does this every year. We sign up volunteers for a week to do this at the local grocery store. It only takes a few hours and is for a worthy cause. It was to be from 3-4 pm. So hubby took the first shift, it was to be 1/2 hour. For some reason I thought it was an hour. I show up at 4 pm. Hmmm. He is a bit miffed, with good cause. Ooops. Sorry. I stay for a little while longer. We have three more days to do this. So I'll take another day and make it up to him.

The closet doors we got from North Dakota are in the process of being stained and varnished. We had a heck of a time manhandling them into the house. The hardware guy carried these like toothpicks from the store to our trailer. The two of us were like weaklings trying to get them from the trailer up to the porch then into the house. Then from the living room up to the second floor where they are being worked on. Goodness. We need to do some strength training.

Tonight my grandson from California called me on FaceTime. It was good to talk to him. He is doing an EMT training course. So far so good. I pray he sticks with it so he can get a good job. His cousin in Ohio is an EMT and firefighter. My sister and niece are RNs. My brother was a highway patrolman, as are his two sons. Seems my family is in the caring business.

I finally am starting to write again. It took some time after the OctoPrep month off. It really does show that you need to write every day to keep that edge. I do writing for the non-profits I volunteer for. That helps, as well as for different contests on this site.

I really like to do the Daily Flash Fiction. That type of writing to me is the most challenging. Tonight it paid off. I won the challenge. But tomorrow is another day. We'll see what happens.

Write on!




November 12, 2020 at 10:12pm
November 12, 2020 at 10:12pm
#998238
Today we are on a journey. A journey to Bismarck, North Dakota. And why you ask? Seems hubby ordered doors from a company here for our closet in the bedroom we remodeled. Those doors are finally at the hardware store and ready to come home. So we come to take them to their final resting place.

The day was sunny and bright. Blue skies all the way. No snow, thanks be to God since we are pulling a trailer. It took just about 6 hours to get here. Not bad. We stopped twice for gas and potty and once for food. Finally we made it to Bismarck and our room for the night. Ramada had a room for $75, which we thought was reasonable. It has a pool, free breakfast, free WiFi but for some unknown reason there are 2 TVs in this room. *Tv**TV*
*QuestionBr* At first neither worked, so the person at the front desk explained the magic and I got one to work. But no sound. I was irritated and finally decided, fine, no TV tonight. No big deal. I would rather internet instead.

So the capitol of North Dakota is Bismarck. Did you know that? It is on the Missouri River. 2nd in population after Fargo, remember that crazy movie?
Bismarck was renamed by the Northern Pacific Railroad to entice German settlers, since they knew the name. Otto von Bismarck, a German politician.

We had dinner at a little steak and seafood place across the parking lot. Great food, called The 40. Wonderful steaks. Actually too much food for us this late at night, but darn it, we deserved a reward for that long journey - fighting the enemy all those 600 miles over that rough trail, whipping those horses, watching for bandits. *Smirk2*

Along the way I made note of some fun sights:
truck after truck full of sugar beets headed toward Billings and the sugar beet plant
a large herd of antelope
Bad Route Road - where does that lead
Cracker Box Road - hmmmm
Whoopup Creek Road - wonder what happened there
Home on the Range - name of an exit - is this a town? a road?
Camel Hump Lake - Ha!
Enchanted Highway - oh don't we wish!
Hebron - site of Fort Sauerkraut - great name - and of course, I found a link on the internet: https://everything2.com/title/Fort+Sauerkraut

We crossed from the Mountain time zone to the Central time zone. On the North Dakota map, the time zone skips around. Curious. What if your house is in two time zones? Could this be a thing? What if your town is?

Okay, for now, I have to figure out what time I am prescribed to go to bed tonight. Central time or Mountain time. So confusing. My brain is tired, perhaps I'll just be like the pioneers and sleep when it's dark and be awake with the roosters.






November 10, 2020 at 12:47pm
November 10, 2020 at 12:47pm
#998044
Well for the first time I got a call that someone I saw last week, a massage therapist, was exposed to someone with the virus on October 30th. So far she is asymptomatic. Great. Now that worry is in the back of my mind.

I was up all night, well since 3:30, so might as well have been, running to the bathroom. I want to blame it on the 'meals on wheels' offering yesterday. I got a call to help. Monday is not the usual day for us, but they needed help, so sure. I helped. Then I brought home some food for our lunch. Hmmm. Something didn't sit right, as they say. So I now am drinking the pink goo and gatorade.

After OctoPrep finished, I had a lot more time to think about writing for the contests on this site. I enjoy thinking of little tales, flash fiction is truly a great challenge. But the contests where you have a month to mull over the story are great as well.

We did have a bit of a storm come through, but it was rain to start *Rain* which froze under a light layer of snow. *Snow4* But over the past few days the sun has melted most, so walking is not so treacherous.

What is everyone doing for Turkey Day? We are driving a bit west to Big Timber, staying in an old hotel for a few days. They're serving a meal on Thanksgiving. We also have a few hikes in mind in the mountains *Mountains* over that way. We just pray the weather holds. The past few years we've taken Amtrak *Trainbr* to a place over by Glacier National Park, the Izaak Walton Inn. https://izaakwaltoninn.com. But they are closed this year at this time. Darn.

So everyone stay safe. Enjoy the beginning of winter.
November 6, 2020 at 6:23pm
November 6, 2020 at 6:23pm
#997802
So the election is over. Well, sort of. While the rest of the country agonizes over the results, we here in Montana wait. Our votes have been counted. In our fair state we have about a million people. The entire state, a million souls. That is about as many as a decent large city. I checked out the numbers for 2020. Registered voters: 696,292 and then votes actually cast: 382,072 equals a percentage: 54.87%. Interesting. I was sort of disappointed about a few winners. One especially troubling for me was the marijuana bill. So now it will be legal. Darn.

I was never a user, never will be. I don't believe in drugs, never will. I don't think it is a good idea. But then there are a lot of folks who use it for medical reasons, and that has been allowed for years. But lots of folks have the idea that this will bring in a ton of cash for the state and the schools and other worthy causes. I think it may cause more trouble. Time will tell.

We're in for another winter storm, or so they are warning. Saturday night a storm is forecast, wind and snow. But then it is November so bring it on. Again, I have nowhere to go. I am safe and sound in my little house. Last time I went skiing around town. I hope to do that again. Such fun.

I keep checking the news to see if there is any final tally on the Presidential race. And all I get it smoke and mirrors. Talking heads. Perhaps we'll find out something by January.


*Snow1* *Snow2* *Snow3* *Snow4* {e:snow:5} Let it snow!



Queen Norma Jean *Crown*

Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.
November 2, 2020 at 10:55pm
November 2, 2020 at 10:55pm
#997518
My hubby got a box in the mail several days ago. It was a box of bullets. Not unusual. He was going hunting. But he didn't have to sign or show ID to receive this box. I thought that was unusual.

But the thing I thought so strange this day was the other piece of mail. We've been getting political fliers for a month. I'm sure everyone has been getting tons of these as well. Well this day, the day we got the box of bullets, we got one that stated:
On guns, it's not just about hunting.
It's about freedom.
It's about liberty.


So strange the incongruity of the two coming the same day.

So you would think this would be addressed to my hubby. He's the one with the hunting license, after all. He ordered the firepower. But no, the flier was addressed to me. I do not hunt. I will eat the meat, in moderation. But I have a hard time taking a life.

Currently in our garage there is a carcass. A mule deer buck carcass. It is skinned, and hung waiting to be carved up and sent to our freezer for use this winter. Meat has to hang for a few days to let the blood drain out before it is butchered. I guess that is what is happening.

So with that weirdness lurking in my garage, and probably in many garages and sheds and back yards across the area, we head into the vote tomorrow.

Good luck everyone.

November 1, 2020 at 1:22am
November 1, 2020 at 1:22am
#997347
I am always finding fun photos, jokes, graphics on Facebook. I especially liked this one.

As folks venture off into NaNoWriMo world, I challenge you to write something that people will read one day and say, "Wow! How did they ever imagine that? So prophetic....."


 
 ~
October 31, 2020 at 2:54am
October 31, 2020 at 2:54am
#997226
So I found a graphic about the sloth at the Billings Zoo. Fun. Just had to share it with you.

Things are fine here. There was a news story on NBC about the virus in Billings - it showed St. Vincent hospital. That is my go-to place for healthcare that can't be treated here in Roundup. I love that place. It has taken good care of me these last several years. NBC did a good job talking about the COVID surge here in the rural parts of Montana. It's not good, people. And it probably won't be good for some time.

I think a visit to the zoo to see the sloth would be a fun get away.
 
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