Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Montana’s Hidden Gems: Chinook Winds

Today, as I watch the snow falling softly and steadily, I have another of Montana’s Hidden Gems to share. This one truly cannot be seen, but it can be felt, and its effects are witnessed through both touch and sight. This hidden gem is a weather phenomenon known as a Chinook Wind.

I experienced my first Chinook on October 12, 2018. I remember because it was two days after I shoveled 10 inches of heavy wet snow from my sidewalk. In my opinion, that snowstorm had arrived a bit early and I was not looking forward to the long winter ahead. Admittedly, I have been spoiled for many years. I grew up in what I often referred to as the Arctic East in Idaho, but my adult life (until recently) was spent in the Banana Belt of Idaho, or the Treasure Valley in southwest Idaho. Its mild winters truly are a treasure!

October 11 arrived and with it, my aching muscles. Looking for something positive, I concluded that the winter would bring improved upper body strength due to my shoveling duties. I was positive there would be many days of shoveling ahead. As I watched the news that evening, the weatherman promised a Chinook Wind on the morrow. I had heard of these, but I thought they were warm wet and even aromatic. I was mistaken.

October 12 proved windy, but then there is a lot of wind here on the Eastern Front of the Rocky Mountains. I could hear it howling all morning. As I ventured outside sometime before noon to stash my trash inside a shed in order to keep it safe from bears (that’s a thing here), I was surprised by the warm atmosphere accompanying clear skies. By early afternoon the temperature was up to 55 degrees and most of the snow had melted. This wind, known as a Chinook Wind, was strong, warm, and dry. The snow didn’t just melt and run into muddy messes - it l went away. Oh, how I enjoyed that afternoon!

I was blessed to experience a warm season for the next two weeks with temps rising into the lower 60’s most days. Freezing temps held off until almost November, giving me time to locate my warm layers and allowing my brain to prepare for the real Montana winter ahead.

We’ve had snow for two days now, but I hear rumors of another Chinook just around the corner. I’m not certain, because this hidden gem cannot be seen, but it can certainly be felt. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Read about more of Montana's Hidden Gems. Perhaps these posts will draw you to this remarkable land.

Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grand-parenting. The cookie recipes are a bonus!

Happy Running!
Carol - aka Running Granny Green

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Writing through November - or NaNoWriMo

I’m six days into NaNoWriMo and its really quite a challenge. For me, there isn’t a lot of writing that happens on the weekends. I have too many distractions on Saturday and I truly believe Sunday should be a day of rest from worldly (and wordy) pursuits. Weekday mornings seem to be my most productive time and yet I find a lot of things to interrupt the writing process. Things like …

Snow shoveling, (I live in Montana)

Laundry, (it never ends)

Social Media, (there might be something inspiring posted)

Housework, (not really. Only two people live in my house)

Snacks, (the Halloween candy is calling)


Can I really write 50,000 words in one month? I have several projects in process, so I don’t lack for material. That helps because, like I said, I am easily distracted.

I also get bogged down with self-editing. I spend a lot of time correcting punctuation and rearranging thoughts as I write. I have yet to learn to just spew forth words on paper and fix them later. That is not to say that there isn’t a lot of editing after the first draft. There is always plenty of editing. I suppose in the long run it doesn’t matter when the editing occurs, so long as the project gets finished and polished.

That’s the key for me. Completion of a writing project is validation for me. All those hours not cleaning, shoveling, baking, or eating are justified when the project is finished. Staying in my seat in the interim is the real challenge. When in the middle of a writing project it appears that I will never reach the end, I am tempted to put it on a shelf, store it in the back of my mind, and wait. Wait for what? The perfect time to write? The perfect motivation to write? The perfect photo to accompany my writing? The perfect audience? Oh, if only I could find that perfect audience!               

I think I nailed it yesterday with the help of a friend. I mentioned that I feel guilty and self-indulgent when I am writing. She asked why I felt that way. I formed an answer and verbalized it.

“Because writing does not have a guaranteed paycheck attached.”

Do my fellow writers ever feel that way? When a worker punches a time clock, he has confidence he will get paid for the time invested. Contracted workers are paid for the products they produce. Writers and artists work on speculation. First, they produce the product and then hope to get paid for their work. If there is no pay (here’s the tricky part) then the writer (me) might think she has spent all her time pursuing her own fun. Guilt follows! Oh, the conundrum!

Well, the sidewalk is shoveled, the laundry is under control, the house isn’t messy yet, and I don’t need to eat more Halloween candy! Those distractions are under control, but …

I think I hear the FedEx truck!

Have a great day my reading and writing friends!

For a view of some of my finished projects visit my Amazon Author Page

Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grand-parenting. The cookie recipes are a bonus!
Happy Running!
Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Accepting the NaNoWriMo Challenge!

I’m biting the bullet and committing to NaNoWriMo this year! It's a challenge to write 50,000 during the month of November. Why? Because I’ve been finding other things to do and neglecting my writing. That’s kind of like a bow hunter neglecting target practice, or a pianist who never plays. Also because my better half encouraged me to do it. I’m already behind because it took me all day on November 1 to decide to commit. Now I have to come up with a topic, title, genre, a project of some sort. I’ve already begun outlining a cookbook, but recipes do not lend themselves very well to busting out a lot of words in one day. They are going to be mundane, technical, and take a lot of proofreading, so the cookbook is probably not going to be on this list. This blog might benefit from NaNoWriMo, but I get stumped on topics there as well. What to do? What to do?

Perhaps I could be like those song lyrics I detest, you know the ones that use nonsense to fill in measures instead of filling them in with something of value.


Ohooo, oho, ohhhhh …

Hey, hey. he-e-ey …..

You get the drift. I feel that is just like adding blank or lined “journal pages,” or decreasing the page dimensions or increasing margin size in the hopes of gaining a greater page count. It’s all junk. As one friend once reported, “Garbage, no matter how it’s presented, is still garbage.” I think he used stronger wording than that, but it means the same thing.

So here I sit, baffled by the commitment I have just made. How do I begin? The cookbook is out for this month’s project. However, I will still be open to collecting and researching recipes. After all, cooking is my “what to do when I don’t know what else to do” tactic. It’s an escape that gets credit for being productive, because others benefit from it. They get to eat the fruits of my procrastination.

Fiction? I’m still sitting on my novel – afraid to publish it. I know I can write short stories, but I would have to write several to fill the word count. Do I have another novel idea? Perhaps.

Non-fiction? It’s what I know best. I’ve still got projects that need completion. And I have yet to write “Soup is not a Meal.” It’s about misconceptions and unrealistic expectations between men and women as they pertain to or are experienced in marriage. I’ve had my share of research on this topic over the years.

However, “Soup is Not a Meal,” may also lend itself well to fiction. I’m pondering on that one. Humorous? Clean. Does it lift and inspire others? Lifting and inspiring is one of the reasons I write. If it isn’t worth reading, then it probably isn’t worth writing and it definitely isn’t worth sharing with the world. That’s my opinion, anyhow, and it has evolved over the years.

So, … I want to write something worthwhile to lift, edify, inspire or motivate others. I’m going to sleep on it and hopefully, by morning I will have a plan. At least a starting point. That’s what I’m doing right now, is it not? Starting?

No more looking at a blank screen or baking before writing. I’ve got some work to do and mornings shall be my time to do it – after breakfast and scripture study, but before exercise. Perhaps the scripture study prior to writing will help me stay on track with my purpose – to uplift, inspire, and motivate.

I've just shared my first 600 words with you. And away we go!
If you would like to join me in this NaNoWriMo quest, it's not too late. Here is the link to sign up.
I'll try to keep you posted on my progress throughout the month, but I may be too busy writing, or baking!
Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grand-parenting. The cookie recipes are a bonus!
Happy Running!
Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Back to Baking with Sourdough

I recently moved back to Montana and Returning to My Roots has presented some unique opportunities for growth. For one, I decided it was time to grow a Sourdough Start for a couple of reasons …

*It’s fun to try new recipes,

*Shopping is not as convenient as it once was,

*I hear sourdough is good for you (this may or may not be fact),

*It just feels like the right thing to do.

I began by searching for a sourdough starter recipe on Google. I chose this one. It only takes three ingredients: yeast, flour, and water. Note: I’m pretty sure my mom never posted anything online, but the author of this recipe has the same name!

I employed the services of my seldom used bean pot and a wooden spoon. Metal bowls and utensils will react in an unappealing manner with sourdough, so avoid them.

I couldn’t wait to jump right in by baking up these loaves of Sourdough Focaccia. The mix of sourdough, garlic, and rosemary baking in my oven creates an aroma that is irresistible! The bread tastes good, too!

Can't you just smell it?

I also tried these Buttery Sourdough Buns from King Arthur Flour and served them with homemade tomato soup. The soup recipe will follow soon. Yum!

Sourdough Huckleberry Pancakes are a special breakfast treat and so easy. No Huckleberries? No worries. Leave them out or substitute with another berry of your choice. 

If you decide to dive in to sourdough baking like I have, remember these simple tips:

*Use the sourdough often to keep it active.

*Don’t forget to save some start and feed it each time you bake.

*Use non-metallic utensils and bowls.

*And lastly, be courageous and try new things! (Advice from a Running Granny!) 

If you have a favorite Sourdough Recipe, I would live to hear about it in the comments below.

Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grand-parenting. The cookie recipes are a bonus!

Happy Running!
Carol - aka Running Granny Green

Friday, August 17, 2018

Elkhorn Relay 2018 – The Report

Elkhorn Relay 2018
Team Gang Greens at the start
Elkhorn Relay 2018 found us on our fifth year as a team of running buddies sharing an experience that proved once again that we are alive, healthy, able to endure fatigue and discomfort, supportive, happy, and maybe a little bit crazy! Due to circumstances beyond our control, only three of the original team members were able to participate this year and we missed the Pages dearly. Although the complexion of the team varies from year to year, every participant becomes a part of the Team Gang Greens family. You simply cannot share an experience like this without becoming forever one of the gang.

Check out the bank reader board. 
107 degrees!
Elkhorn Relay is organized and carried out by Doomsday Racing, a non-profit organization sending excess relay proceeds to a charity or ministry in foreign countries. You can learn more about Doomsday Racing and Elkhorn Relay HERE.

We chose this race for several reasons:

Accessibility – that was before I moved to Montana!

Affordability – all the organization and race weekend legwork are done voluntarily. Even the folks providing pancakes, pulled pork, and hamburgers and hot dogs!

Challenging Course – they bragged about the course and we know why! The 100+ temps magnified the challenge.

Where's my leg?
We loved this race for these reasons:

Accessibility – a short drive from the Treasure Valley, this relay is convenient for the running community in Boise and surrounding areas. The drive home is especially nice as the weekend’s sleep deprivation begins to take its toll.

The view!
The Course – we don’t train all season for a Fun Run! If you’re going to challenge yourself and your teammates, you might as well go for it. We dubbed this course the EKG and even put it on our team shirts!

Free Food – Really! Except for half a banana and a muffin at the end, most races require you to purchase your food. It isn’t so much about the money, but the convenience of having a meal ready so you don’t have to locate your money in the chaos that is your race van. Fresh water and sports drinks were also provided. Oh, and huckleberry muffins!

The Volunteers – they might not have been running, but many spent long hours volunteering at exchange zones, some fulfilling multiple shifts. I’m rather certain they were also experiencing sleep deprivation. One station lit up their canopy AND the portable toilet with Christmas lights! It was a welcoming sight at midnight. They were happy to be there, or they were very good actors. Best volunteers I’ve experienced at a relay!

Portable Toilets – okay, this is important to relay runners. They were clean and plentiful. Thank you!

We love our teammates for these reasons:

Adventurous Spirits – not every person you meet is willing to try something as challenging and unpredictable as a relay race. The weather may change (and it did) from blistering heat to a thunderstorm and back again. The team deals with it.

Happy People – its not okay to be grouchy when everyone around you is also tired, sore, uncomfortable, and doing their best to remain positive. It’s not easy to go without normal sleeping and eating patterns while exerting repeated physical activity. The team deals with it.

Injuries happen.
The team deals with it!
Runners to the Rescue – someone often gets injured. It’s just the nature of the running beast. And someone always steps up to log extra miles, or swap out an easier run, or run early to allow his teammate extra recovery time. It wasn’t planned, but the team deals with it.

Assisting a teammate
 at the end of her run.
Runner’s Respect – running is hard. Don’t ever think that the guy out their logging miles is doing it pain free or that you would be a runner if it was as easy for you as it is for a runner. It’s just plain hard and there is a bond that forms when people share misery. I often say, “A relay is the most miserable fun you will ever have.” It’s also a very effective way to gain family, the kind of family you were not born with, but will never let you down.

“Are you crazy?” People will ask, or maybe its an accusation. Perhaps we are, but we get to hang out with the best kind of crazy people on earth! They are relay runners, and they are family.
We made it!
206 miles in 31 hours 46 minutes!
Thanks, Elkhorn Relay, for a great weekend. We had fun and your volunteers were the best!

Catching some ZZZ anywhere he can!                      Cooling off!

Van 1 is done!
Team bonding. We love our pre-race dinner!
Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grand-parenting. The cookie recipes are a bonus!

Happy Running!
Carol - aka Running Granny Green

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Montana's Hidden Gems: Stone School Inn

Stone School Inn Built 1911
I have already shared some things that returned to Montana and some things that are finding a new home in Montana, I guess its time to share something I have found in Montana! This is only the beginning of many posts of Montana's Hidden Gems. Perhaps these posts will draw you to this remarkable land.

Glacier National Park is a must on every American’s bucket list. I will regularly share some pictures and thoughts from the park, but there are many gems hidden in the areas surrounding the park that you might want to add to your list. Let’s begin with the Stone School Inn Bed & Breakfast in Valier. I joke that I am running my own non-profit B&B for friends and family, but the Stone School Inn is the real deal and it’s a short drive from the east entrance of Glacier National Park and Going-to-the-Sun Road!

St Mary Lake

We wandered over the other day to see if we could get a glimpse of the building and find a little info. The owner, Susan, was more than gracious as she invited us in and gave an informative tour of the old building. Built in 1911, it still holds the charm of that era while providing upgrades like air conditioning and Wi-Fi to which we have all become accustomed. The staircase that greets visitors reminds me of my old elementary school in another resort town, Lava Hot Springs. 

The five bedrooms have private bathrooms with two of the rooms showing off claw foot bathtubs. Each room holds a charm of its own. Breakfast is optional, and Susan will even pack it to go for those headed to “The Park,” fishing on Lake Frances (it’s only a short stroll away), or going on a dinosaur dig in Bynum, MT. That's right, a dinosaur dig!

Sunset viewed from Lake Frances

The Dining Room, Game Room, and Library are all open to guests. What a great place to host a family reunion or a retreat for your quilting or writing group!

 Although this hidden gem appears off the beaten path, it's right along one of the main routes (I might add most scenic) to Glacier National Park and the Going-to-the-Sun Road. A gorgeous view of Lake Frances and the Eastern Front of the Rocky Mountains is right outside your door! Visit Montana and stay at this unique bed and breakfast while you explore other Montana treasures.

Note: The Stone School Inn is available for purchase. If you are looking for and adventurous business opportunity, this might be right for you.

Learn more about the Stone School Inn in Valier, Montana HERE.

Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grand-parenting. The cookie recipes are a bonus!

Happy Running!
Carol - aka Running Granny Green

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Finding Home in Montana

Coach Beck's Cricket
I recently shared a post about things Coming Home to Montana, items that are returning along with me. This post, however, is about things new to Montana, items that just seem to fit here. Interesting enough, my husband, a native Idahoan, is adjusting nicely to this new life. As of yesterday, we are both registered voters!

This little guy belonged to my dear friend, Coach Beck. She kept him on a table near her front door and each time I visited, I mentioned that I wanted her to will it to me when she died. (I’m older than her, but I couldn’t help trying!) Imagine my delight, and tears, when she placed it in my hand before I made my official final journey to my new home. He is perched near my front door on the pedestal at the bottom of my stairs. He just seems to fit there. I think of Coach Beck each time I pass by him.

Bonnie's Stained-glass
This stained-glass window hanging was made several years ago by my little sis, Bonnie. She never lived in Montana, but she has already been here to visit! It is decorating the window also at the bottom of my stairs. It adds a splash of color and delicacy to the stairwell. I think it fits nicely.

Another dear friend, Dana, pieced this lovely lap quilt and gave it to me after a term of shared service. I love it! I’ve taken it in the car on some of my trips back and forth during my Montana Move. It found a home in the living room. I’m certain it will have many opportunities to warm a body or two in the winters that lie ahead. Again, I think it fits my Montana home just right.
Lastly (for now), these items have been collected over time. The mirror was a recent purchase. The blown glass candle holder was a gift from another sis, Judy. (I have a lot of sisters!) I purchased the pitcher and vase many years ago, before I was married, as part of some pottery I was collecting at the time. They found their home atop a china hutch that isn’t really a china hutch. It is a pair of ends to our entertainment center that was too large for any wall in our new old (built 1920) house. Oddly enough, it didn’t fit as a set, but it serves a needed purpose.
Not really a hutch!
There are many other items that are “settling in,” just like me. The antique dining chairs, the items in the china hutch, family photos and bedroom furniture are all finding their spots. Even my cinnamon rolls and power cookies have discovered a friend or two!
What does it all mean? Was I “destined” to return to Montana? Perhaps. I like to think, however, that life is adaptable – that one can kind find a home wherever their road takes them. A home and friendship and comfort can be found wherever we go. I think that is because we don’t really find those things, we bring them with us. Would you agree?
Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grand-parenting. The cookie recipes are a bonus!

Happy Running!
Carol - aka Running Granny Green

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.