Monday, December 30, 2013

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Seattle: Part II

If a friend can fly half way across the world then I can drive to Seattle for a weekend blitz trip. 

So when Bare came home for Christmas & I couldn't get any time off around the holidays I did what any crazy friend would do and drove down Friday night as soon as I clocked out of work. It's only 7 hours in good conditions, and thankfully, minus a patch of fog in the middle, the craptastic ski season this year meant all three passes between Missoula and Seattle were clean and clear for late night, blitz trip driving.

Needing to make the most of our time spent together, we got up decently early Saturday morning to pack in as much fun as possible. 
Which started with a tour of the St. Michelle Winery - where I had much to learn about wine making (and tasting!).
The right next door to Red Hook Brewery for a tour (and tasting too!)
Our next stop was on the 73rd story of some massive sky scraper to watch the sun set. This wasn't planned but our timing was impeccable. 
No trip to Seattle would be complete w/out a bowl of clam chowder from Ivar's. So we dined there before heading to a park that overlooks the Seattle skyline. Anyone who's ever traveled w/ me knows that I LOVE city lights - so this stop was a treat for me. Bare was a good sport putting up w/ my Oooing and Ahhing for a good twenty minutes.
Finally we decided to have a night cap and fulfill a dream of mine by dining in the rotating restaurant in the Space Needle. By dine I mean drink a bottle of champagne and consume the best creme brulee I've ever tasted. Followed by bed of course. Thankfully Bare was still partially on Loas time & was totally good w/ this idea.

Sunday morning we slept in & then headed to Trapper's for all you can eat sushi for $16. OMG! (Note: Holly consumed so much sushi she did not eat for over 24 hours following. That's what I call an epic win in my book) 
My proudest moment came when I did not cry when saying goodbye to Bare this time around, unlike our previous parting. I'll see you in March friend!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

 Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your day was as blessed as mine & spent w/ those you love.
My day was spent w/ two very dear friends in foot pajamas watching Christmas movies & eating good food (a Christmas feast of pot roast and gushers) before taking off for my yearly solo trip to the movies.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Bar Weir

Bored with the usual night scene in Missoula my friends and I set off for an exclusive club the watch the sun set to celebrate winter solstice.
We were more than elated to find Bar Weir completely void of all other human beings, including the usually present nekked hippies. We quickly shed our hiking gear (but not our bathing suits!) and jumped into the hot water of Weir hot springs. 
Lydia and myself, growing restless of sitting, decided it would be a great idea to make snow angels on the freshly powdered island below the pool. So we set off down the rocky hillside, forded the icy water of the stream and danced through the powdery snow. Thankfully snow angels can be created quickly, but the trek back up the hillside is much more difficult when your body is trembling from the cold.

Finally it was off to Club Bed for this girl starring DJ Pillow & MC Blankey

Monday, December 16, 2013


Hunting for a Christmas tree last year was a winter wonderland filled with laughing girls, tail wagging pups and an overdose of Christmas magic. We searched for hours in the perfectly cold snow for the perfect tree.

 This year, as Debbie, myself and our friend Tylor set off down highways 93 into the Lolo National Forest, we were greeted by a much different scene. For the better part of our drive both sides of the highway remain charred and empty from the roaring forest fire that passed through the area during the fire season earlier this year. As we passed through the blackened remains of a forest we were hopeful for what was on the other side. However, even as we left the burn area and began to climb in elevation there was little snow to be found. We turned onto a forest service road but were almost immediately greeted by a locked gate. So we parked our trucks (I use the term truck very loosely here w/ Mi Baja) and took off walking through the patchy snow. Not even 100 yards in we stumbled upon a perfect tree. Determined to spend more than 10 minutes out in the woods, we left our freshly cut tree on the side of the trail and continues down the path. Not more than a quarter of a mile further we stumbled upon a curious finding of an abandoned car and a wide variety of assorted bike parts. 
Bored in the woods, we then decided to make something out of the multitude of frames and rims.
We then started back down the trail when Tylor noted how perfect the snow was for making a snowman. Then I mentioned how funny it would be to build a snowman on top of the abandoned car next to the newly formed bike sculpture. After a brief exchange of glances we turned around and began building Old Greg the Snowman - on top of the car.
We did eventually get a bit of a hike in. Even free hiking off the trail back to the car to add to our adventure. Thanks for making me feel like I'm back home in the Appalachian Mountains during the holidays Montana. 

Old Greg the Snowman wants to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Sub Zero Ladies Night

Back in August, while a few of us were sitting in Caras Park listen to the Missoula Symphony Orchestra play, we decided it would be a splendid idea to have a ladies night to the symphony for their annual holiday playlist. It would be an all girls night and we would finally have an excuse to get all dolled up - a rarity in Missoula. 

Fast forward to December when temperatures have plummeted to negative numbers. That doesn't even include the wind chill which brought the number into the negative thirties. If you let the cold stop you from doing things in Montana you'd never get anything done. So on the dresses, heels and hair product went. All the girls had fabulous dresses & the Missoula Symphony Orchestra put on a spectacular show as always.

Monday, December 02, 2013

On Top of the World

I’ve had the highest mountains
I’ve had the deepest rivers
You can have it all but life keeps moving
I take it in but don’t look down
‘Cause I’m on top of the world,
I’m on top of the world,
Waiting on this for a while now
Paying my dues to the dirt
I’ve been waiting to smile,
Been holding it in for a while,
Take you with me if I can
Been dreaming of this since a child
I’m on top of the world.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Give Thanks

As always, I have a lot to be thankful for, perhaps this year a little more than others. Too many to list, but I hope that I continue to show the people around me how thankful I am to have them in my life. Bosco wants everyone to know too.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Letter to the Editor

A Letter to the Editor written by my Daddio in my hometown's newspaper... 

Many reasons to be thankful

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Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 6:18 pm | Updated: 6:37 pm, Tue Nov 12, 2013.

Thanksgiving is soon here and I have some special thank-you’s to hand out.
I have had Parkinson’s disease for about four years now. I recently had surgery for deep brain stimulation implants done at Allegheny General Hospital. A lot of people have helped me on my journey to this point and to them I wish to say a huge thank you!

The first goes to the van drivers and the Rev. Charles Olson of the Somerset Area Ministries (SAM van). This took all the worries and stress out of frequent trips to downtown Pittsburgh for this country boy from Confluence, who just despises driving in congested city traffic. This service is a godsend to someone like me. To anyone who supports this program financially, a hearty thank you from me also. Please don’t stop. It is a great program.
To all the many, many people both known or unknown, by me or my family, via the social media sites my family posted on, who have prayed for me during this two-part operation, all I can say is thank you. Your prayers were felt during the most stressful times of the operation, like when the warm human hand of a nurse touched mine during stage 1, when I was awake while a talented neurosurgeon drilled two nickel-sized holes through my skull allowing them to insert the hair-thin DBS implants. Wild, yes! Rocked my world, yes! Shook my fillings, yes! And amazing, yes!
To the complete surgical team at Allegheny General Hospital under the guidance of Dr. Whiting, who is on the cutting edge of DBS, thank you.
To my rehab team at West Penn Hospital, thank you. With your assistance I was out in a record time of four days.
To my son Charlie, thank you for spiritual support and information via Internet research to make this decision opting for DBS — also for taking care of the home front while I am recovering. My bird dogs appreciate it, too.
To my daughter Kristen, thank you for all the love, prayers and emotional support from across the miles via phone conversations and social media sites. Also, it was good to have you by my side before stage 1 surgery.
To my daughter Holly: Wow! First of all, thank you for your involvement in the Michael J. Fox Foundation. You ran the Missoula Half Marathon, on little training, raising money for PD research. And thank you for the support on your blog and other social media sites.
Now to my special angel that God sent me over 37 years ago: Ginny, my wonderful wife. There are no words I can utter from my lips to thank you enough. I love you. I could never have done this without you by my side. May we have another 20 years of a quality life together.
Some people have said they thought I was a hero to them for having the courage to go through this procedure. No, the above people were. Especially the surgical team. I just provided the medium for them to paint the word on.
Please support the SAM van and Parkinson’s disease research via the Michael J. Fox Foundation. To anyone with PD and considering DBS, if you would like to talk with someone who has had it done, I am in the phone book.
Chuck Groff

Wizards of Parkinsons

He's always been a Tinman in my life - completely full of heart - but for his next adventure the Scarecrow needed a little bit of Lion in him.

So this journey of living with Parkinson's came head on in my Dad's life in the last few days as he underwent brain surgery for Deep Brain Stimulator (DBS) implants. 

I am ever grateful for my Seester being able to be at the hospital for the first part of Dad's two part procedure. 

Worry quickly turned to relief when I received the message that Dad was safely out of surgery & in recovery. As soon as I was able to, I called him on the phone were I don't think I've ever been so happy to hear his voice. In true fashion, when I asked my Dad how he was doing he told me he "had a splitting headache." Truer words have never been spoken by a man that just had his skull drilled into, electrocuted, and stapled back together.

Here are a few photos documenting his journey...