Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lee "Alexander" McQueen Tribute

How sad for fashion that Alexander McQueen is no longer with us. And how sad it is that he felt his only option was to kill himself. Below I've put some of my favorite Alexander McQueen designs. He was a brilliant artist and he manifested his visions magnificently. I find it amazing how someone who lives such a glamorous and enviable lifestyle can be secretly so unhappy. It is a reminder that nobody's life is perfect and that everyone should be grateful for the good things in their lives. RIP Lee

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Montana and Thoughts on the City

I am still fascinated by the rich history that surrounds Montana and much of the west. I'm re-reading some parts of Undaunted Courage now that I'm here. Have you ever been to a place that has such a rich history that it's almost as if you can actually feel the energy of the past? Thats the feeling I get being here because while a lot has been developed in this state, a lot (in comparison to much of the rest of the country) has remained the same. You can look at something like a natural hot spring and know that it has been around for a very long time. I love to think of all the people who have come before me in the very same spot. Who stood on this very ground before me? Who footsteps do mine embrace with each step? I love it. This is the very least of the connection that we have to each other. Because what are the chances that you will step exactly where someone else stepped? Well, with so many people on this earth the chances are pretty good but still... what are the chances that your footsteps will lay exactly on this one particular person's?

I feel that when you live close to the earth, you put your energy into it, and it's almost as it it gets captured and stored. And then those who come after you feel this energy, this life, and don't realize its source. When you live in an area with lower population density and access to natural environments you interact diffierently with the world. It's not the same as walking through a city, surrounded by carbon-neutral buildings but finding no real semblance of the real place in which you are walking. By place I mean the natural formation and landscape of the area. Even Central Park, as beautiful as it is, is engineered to fit what the tree-loving city-dweller would need in their life. And when thats the only nature you see, you miss out on all of the other amazing ecosystems.... grasslands, wetlands, desert, sub-alpine forests, etc. There is just city and then there is "nature." I'm not saying that is wrong. I am merely questioning the legitimacy of a city-dweller's experience in life without knowing what this earth is really made of. It certainly isn't pavement. I'm also just exploring the thoughts that I have about life as I contemplate where I will live. If it didn't take 2 plane rides to get to my parent's house in New York I would definitely stay here in Montana. I hope that at some point in their lives, everyone gets the chance to visit or live in their "Montana." A part of my doesn't want anyone else to go to Montana though because people are starting to realize how amazing it is. Unfortunately, that materializes itself in their destroying it through developments and sub-developments. How ironic that in our quest to better experience something we have to damage or destroy it. I think that really says something about the way we live and view life. Something to ponder.

Thoughts and a List

Well it has certainly been some time since I've posted here. With my trying to figure out what I'm doing with my life the blog has kind of taken the back-burner but I missed it so here I am!

The field season with CFWEP (the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program- wrapped up with the fall newsletter being published. I wrote an article about the work we did in the local schools, educating 5th through 8th grade students on issues surrounding the Mill Town Dam and its removal, along with the effects, in general of mining which takes place up-stream of the dam. I encourage anyone who might read this to check out the CFWEP website because the history of this area is fascinating! In training to give these lectures and lead field stations on the river I got a real crash-course not only in this incredible and extensive history but also in the social and environmental impacts of mining, watershed health and the indicators of ecosystem health.

I went home to New York for a month to spend the holiday season with my parents and extended family. I got to see a bunch of my friends, which is always great and I got to work a bit at Harborside Veterinary Hospital. It was difficult finding a job in Montana. I moved there around the first of July but was unable to find work until the middle of October and even that was only seasonal, ending in mid-December. It was actually pretty fun though. I worked at a plant nursery called Pink Grizzly in Missoula that operates a wreath business and christmas tree lot in the colder months. The plant nursery work is due to start up soon. We should begin planting in March, which I'm looking forward to.

So anyways, when I was home and working at the animal hospital I realized that I'd been working there for a long time but I was always super excited about it. Since I've been trying to figure out the direction in which to take my life, in terms of possible careers, it made sense to reconsider going to veterinary school. So I've decided to do it! I'm gonna get my Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine!! I have to take a bunch of classes that are going to be difficult (a year each of physics, biochem, organic chem, inorganic chem, microbio, etc) before I can actually apply so I'm trying to figure out when and where I will take those classes. It gets complicated with the difficult job/ finance situation, having a serious boyfriend in Montana, and having my family in New York. I'm thinking though that I'm going to need to really focus on the classes while I am taking them so I can do my best, and hopefully also work at Harborside for the experience and the money to finance my education so I'll probably return to New York at some point this year.

Having a possible end, or at least a hiatus, to my living in Montana has made me realize how amazing it is that I am living here now. I am super excited for the spring so I can ride my bike and hike more. I ordered some micro-spikes to put on my shoes so I can hike in the winter when there isn't much snow but plenty of ice to make up for it! I'm making a list of everything I want to do. Keep in mind this is a working list so it's sure to expand greatly. If anyone has anything they think I should add to this list please let me know!
Here it is so far:
Watch a sled-dog race
Go snow-shoeing
Go cross-country skiing
Visit historic Fort Missoula
go to interesting lectures/ talks offered at the UM campus (it's 3 blocks from my apt!)
Go to Jerry Johnson hot springs in Idaho
Bike to trail from Lolo to Hamilton
Sit outside and draw
Go for a hike with my camera and just take my time noticing all the beauty
Go to a Missoula Maulers hockey game
Check out the MT Natural History Center
Hike the trail west of Missoula that follows the train tracks
Run in a race
Shadow an equine veterinarian
Volunteer at a farm in Missoula in exchange for some produce
Work at least one day at Homestead Organics in Hamilton, MT

For now, since I don't have work until March I'm going to try to take advantage of the time I have to do some of these fun things. A lot of them will be more fun in the spring when it's nicer out but since hot springs are nicer in the winter I'm planning on heading to Jerry Johnson tomorrow with my boyfriend and dog. It sounds like a really cool place because you have to hike before reaching the hot springs. I like the idea of that a lot more than commercializing the hot springs like they have done in Lolo. I was so surprised when I first saw Lolo hot springs because I had been expecting them to be in their natural form but it was really just an indoor pool that happened to be heated by geothermal energy. It might as well have had an electric heater though, since you couldn't really tell. I'm excited to see some legit hot springs! AND to make things even more exciting... I'm going to Lincoln, MT this weekend with Tyler to watch the Race to the Sky sled-dog races! I am soooooo excited! And afterwards we're going to go snow-shoeing. I am really looking forward to that!