2015 Year In Review

JANUARY

  • 1/1 – 5th Annual Ski-N The New Year at Mt. St. Helens
  • 1/3 – The Greaser-McDaniel Clan got together for the very first time since all the kids were born. We spent the afternoon at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, then ate pizza and camped out at Daryl’s house. I’m so thankful for my family.
  • 1/9-10 – 6th anniversary trip to Sharkey and Gold Bug hot springs
  • 1/10 – Daryl asks me to be his wife!
  • 1/11 – Ski Lost Trail with Daryl and Nick
  • 1/15 – Guest Artist rehearsals with Stevie Teran
  • 1/19 – MLK Jr day ski at Lost Trail
  • 1/26 – First day of spring semester

 [photo by William Muñoz]

FEBRUARY

  • 2/6-7 – ACDA Benefit Concert. Perform “You Can’t Even Imagine How Many Toes I’ve Touched” and “Paradise”.

[photo by William Muñoz]

MARCH

  • 3/1 – I picked my phone up after putting lotion on and it went flying out of my hand. The screen was completely smashed. Marley tape to the rescue!
  • 3/3-7 – Dance New Works. Choreograph “Sassafrass”, perform “Impending Disturbance: Unpredictable Predictability” and “Vibe”.
  • 3/4 – Cat sit Pooka and Katniss while Clare sees Neil DeGrasse Tyson. So jealous, but at least I got kitty snuggles.
  • 3/16-22 – American College Dance Festival Northwest Regional Conference at the University of Northern Colorado
  • 3/16 – Karen drives my car with Emily, Arina, and Jessie while Heidi drives the quarantine-mobile to Casper, WY. Jasmine and I sleep most of the way.
  • 3/17 – Drive to Fort Collins, CO. Emily, Arina, Jessie, and I explore campus before the opening concert.
  • 3/18 – Perform “Paradise”
  • 3/20 – Emily, Haley, Charlie and I take an amazing ballet class with Marsha Knight. Ellie and Emily perform “Where We Left It” in Gala concert.
  • 3/21 – I drive Emily, Arina, and Jessie to Billings
  • 3/22 – Drive us home to Missoula
  • 3/30-4/3 – Spring Break
  • 3/30 – First day of Spring Break day date with my love

[photo by William Muñoz]

APRIL

  • 4/4 – Skiesta at Lost Trail with Daryl and Mike
  • 4/5 – Start planting in the garden
  • 4/9-10 – Informal Concert
  • 4/16 – Disc golf at Blue Mountain with Daryl and Mike
  • 4/22-25 – Dance In Concert. I designed lights for “Petipa Variations” and “Secondarily: Intersect”, run the fly rail for “Secondarily: Intersect”, and danced in “Paradise.”
  • 4/24-26 – My parents come to visit!
  • 4/30 – Daryl built us an amazing bike shed in the back yard

MAY

  • 5/3 – Auditions for A Chorus Line
  • 5/9 – Cookie baking date with Sydoney
  • 5/10 – Theatre & Dance picnic. I got $2000 in scholarships!
  • 5/15 – We Carry The Ocean Inside Us, Emily’s senior show at DDC
  • 5/16 – Graduation party at Emily, Arina, and HanaSara’s. Six of my favorite ladies graduated and I of course cried.
  • 5/17 – Designed lights for the Ballet Arts Academy recital
  • 5/18-19 – Rhythmic Motion, Arina’s senior show at Headwaters
  • 5/19 – Jackie visits!
  • 5/23-25 – Memorial Weekend Ski at Shmerker’s Folly
  • 5/29-6/2 – Papoose caving trip with Daryl and Brian
  • 5/30 – Cave hunting and morel finding

JUNE

  • 6/1 – Caving
  • 6/4 – My forever love’s birthday!
  • 6/12 – Drive from Missoula to Sprague, WA
  • 6/13 – Drive to Portland
  • 6/14 – Daryl and I take the waterfall tour through the Gorge
  • 6/15 – We spend the evening at Kelley Point Park
  • 6/16 – I go on an 8-mile hike at Multnomah Falls with Amy and Henry
  • 6/17-22 – Eugene
  • 6/17 – Daryl and I drive to Eugene
  • 6/18 – Daryl, Kevin, Niki, Sawyer, Landon, and I spend the day at a lake. That night, I meet up with a long-time internet friend, Monica.
  • 6/19 – Daryl, Kevin, Niki, and I go on a bike double date
  • 6/22 – Daryl and I drive to Mt. Hood
  • 6/23 – We ski to Cooper Spur on Mt. Hood
  • 6/26 – I drive to Astoria for the day. My favorite silly small town. Liz drives from Medford to Portland for the weekend.
  • 6/27 – My 28th birthday! Breakfast at Grain & Gristle, wedding dress shopping, then a bbq at Kelley Point Park.
  • 6/28 – Daryl, Liz, and I continue birthday celebrations with a brunch fit for royalty at Tasty N Sons. Liz heads back to Medford and Daryl and I drive to Kennewick.
  • 6/29 – Daryl and I drive to Missoula. Saville and the kids are in town, so the house is full of family.

[photo by digabyte.com]

JULY

  • 7/2-5 – 4th of July at Kreis Pond with Daryl, Mike, Saville, Fisher, Ike, Elsie, Simon, Max, Nick, Rita, Ozzy, Jessie, Adam, Kaia, Erin, and Rob
  • 7/6 – Finally get my phone screen fixed
  • 7/16 – Drive to Wyoming. First solo camping night!
  • 7/17 – Drive to Boulder, CO
  • 7/18-8/2 – Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop
  • 7/19 – Less than two weeks after getting it fixed, I smash my phone screen again
  • 7/25 – Spend the afternoon being both my majors at tech
  • 7/31 – BJDW Student Concert

AUGUST

  • 8/2 – Sue Ann rolls over 300,000 miles! Drive from Boulder to Dinosaur National Monument.
  • 8/3 – On my way through Salt Lake City, I stop by and meet Stacy. We’ve been online friends for 12+ years and I’m so happy we got to spend a couple hours together. I drive to Pocatello and camp on a mountain.
  • 8/9 – Daryl and I meet Brian at Benchmark
  • 8/10-22 – Scapegoat 2015: Little Nibblers Edition
  • 8/10 – Hike to the tarn and camp
  • 8/11 – Move to cave camp
  • 8/13 – Follow leads
  • 8/15 – Make the very first thru trip – in Green Fork Falls Cave and out Kathy’s Icebox!
  • 8/19 – Spend the day hiking around the Plateau
  • 8/20 – We were gifted a bottle of Crown Royal from a packer we met the previous week. We drink it with some of Kathy’s Ice.
  • 8/21 – Hike out to the cabin and camp
  • 8/22 – Hike out and head back to Missoula
  • 8/28 – Modern placement class. Date night! Cafe Dolce and Big Dipper Ice Cream.
  • 8/31 – First day of Junior year

SEPTEMBER

  • 9/26 – The cast of A Chorus Line and Treasure Island danced and pirated our way through the Homecoming parade today. We won the Governor’s Award!
  • I made a lot of soup

[photo by Terry Cyr]

OCTOBER

  • 10/3 – Headwater’s Last Hurrah. I’m so thankful I was able to see this show. Amy changed dance in Missoula and is such an important person in our lineage as dancers here. It was beautiful to see the support she received for her final concert.
  • 10/11 – Skype date with Emily, Arina, and Jessie!
  • 10/21-31 – A Chorus Line
  • 10/23-25 – My parents and Grandma visit

NOVEMBER

  • 11/5 – First snow of the season
  • 11/14 – 11 1/2 hour focus for Treasure Island. I ended the day with a heart full of love for what I do.
  • 11/20 – Fall Studio Works. Perform “Origins Of A Dance” and help backstage.
  • 11/21 – HanaSara’s going away party at Clare’s. I love her dearly and wish Tokyo weren’t so very far away.
  • 11/25-29 – Thanksgiving Break
  • 11/26 – Thanksgiving. I made three pies for myself, Daryl, and Mike.  They were delicious.
  • 11/28 – Griz playoff game with Daryl, Mike, and Liz. We won! Go Griz!

DECEMBER

  • 12/4-12 – Dance Up Close. I was costume run crew for the first half, performed “her life had been”, then switched back to run crew mode until after midnight when laundry was done.
  • 12/18 – Last day of the semester. Daryl drives to town!
  • 12/19 – Ski at Lookout with Daryl and Liz. Beautiful, great first day of the skison!
  • 12/20 – Ski at Lost Trail with Daryl, Mike, and Liz. Pow pow!
  • 12/21 – Daryl and I head toward Portland from Missoula. We got stopped at the pass before we left Montana and sat for three hours waiting on a wreck. Between Ritzville and Kennewick the Outback started acting up. We stop driving at 5:30am.
  • 12/22 – Limp the Outback from Kennewick to Portland. It took us 27 hours to make an 8 hour drive.
  • 12/25 – We spend Christmas evening in Astoria with my parents. I love my family.
  • 12/26 – For Fisher’s 11th birthday, Mike, Daryl, and I took him snow camping for the first time!
  • 12/27 – After a great snow kitchen breakfast, we build a sweet snow cave. I haven’t seen a kid as excited as him for such a long time.
  • 12/30 – We went to happy hour with some friends from D’s work, played trivia, and ate tacos
  • 12/31 – New Years Eve date night!  Dinner at Zeus’s Cafe then Blind Pilot at the Crystal Ballroom!

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January 10, 2015 – Sharkey and Gold Bug Hot Springs 6th Anniversary Trip

For our anniversary this year, we decided to go on a hot springs trip. My favorite! Before we left, Daryl read about a hot springs near Salmon, ID – Sharkey Hot Springs. Since we have to drive through Salmon to get to Gold Bug, we decided to check it out. Based on information online, we were unsure we’d be able to get to the springs because of snow. We were very pleasantly surprised to find the road to plowed all the way to the parking lot! The hot springs are maintained by the BLM and there is a small day-use fee ($3). But considering that means the pools are cleaned once a week, there is a fire pit, heated changing rooms, and bathrooms, I’d say $3 is more than reasonable! My handsome love. After our soak at Sharkey’s, we hit the road to Gold Bug Hot Springs, one of my favorite place on the planet. The trail was predictably icy, so we made a few detours off the main trail as to not die. We made it to our favorite camp site about half way up to the springs and set up camp. I love that we set camp up so quickly and efficiently now. We both set up the tent, then while Daryl put the stakes in, I set up our beds inside. After getting our sleeping quarters arranged, we went off in search of wood for a fire. Just through some trees from our camp site, The Explorer hit jackpot with a super dry dead tree. We carried it in pieces back to camp and then started breaking down and sorting the branches. We had to baby the fire a bit, but no where near as bad as a fire we built on Shi-Shi Beach for a friends birthday years ago – it took 6 hours to get that one going! After we got the fire going, Daryl made dinner. Boil water, pour into Mountain House package, stir, wait 9 minutes, and voila! This was the best anniversary we’ve had. Daryl has moved home and we are in such a great place and I love him so very much. I fall more in love with him every single day. I don’t know how it’s possible, as every day my heart is completely full with love for him. And spending our anniversary hiking and soaking was so perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better anniversary dinner. After dinner, we packed a bag to head up to the hot springs. I went to get something from my backpack and when I turned around, Daryl managed to make an already perfect day more wonderful. As soon as he asked me to marry him, I burst into tears. I couldn’t believe it was really, actually, finally happening! Everything about it was absolutely perfect. I could not have asked for a more perfect, more amazing, more us proposal. I am so thankful for Daryl. I am so thankful I get to spend the rest of my life with him. After some celebrating, we started the hike up to the hot springs and spend a wonderful three hours soaking by ourselves.

I couldn’t take the smile off my face on the drive to Lost Trail to ski the next morning.

Here’s to the last six years and to forever after. I love you, Daryl Scott Greaser. I cannot wait to be your wife.

Freedom in Dance

When I was little I wanted to be a Principal Ballerina with the New York City Ballet. With Dance Theatre of Harlem. With Joffery. Then I wanted to make it to 5’6″ so I could be a Radio City Rockette. Then I wanted to be the next Sutton Foster and take over Broadway. Then I wanted to dance with Hubbard Street Dance Company.
For a long time I mourned those dreams. I mourned that my depression robbed me of succeeding at UArts and having a chance at breaking into the dance scene in New York or Chicago. I mourned that I’m not tall or thin enough to be a Rockette. I felt like I let my potential go to waste because I’ve never tried my hardest at anything and therefore robbed myself of those dreams. It took me a long time to stop being mad at myself.

I have been so unbelievably lucky in and thankful for the training I’ve received in my life. I was so lucky the dance studio closest to my house when I was 5 was run by an amazing teacher who filled the studio with love and good technique. I’m so lucky that my parents found Virginia Ballet Theatre (now Ballet Virginia International) when we moved. My teachers there were so wonderful and solidified my ballet technique and love for dance. I’m so lucky I decided to look in the “Schools Not Listed” section in the back of the Seattle Times High School Guide before we moved to Seattle and I found the Washington Academy of Performing Arts Conservatory High School. 30 kids? Ballet and Musical Theatre? I was sold in a heartbeat. I fell in love with jazz. True, it wasn’t always the healthiest of environments, but I would not be who I am without it and I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for my time at UArts, even though I sometimes still have to remind myself I didn’t fail there. I changed as a dancer while there. Horton and Graham began to influence the way I move, though I couldn’t tell that at the time. I’m so thankful Melissa welcomed me back to Seattle with open arms and a company that reminded me why I love to dance. I’m so thankful I had a terrible job in Pike Place down the alley from the tea shop where I met Lisa and she told me about 127th St. Auditioning for 127th St Dance Co was the first time I really put myself out there as a dancer and my life changed. Barbara and Rochelle taught my soul to feel again. I am so very thankful for the family I have found in the School of Theatre & Dance at UM. I have been given such a gift, being in school right now. I am so very thankful I got a chance to do school right. I’m so thankful I’m a 27 year old sophomore. I am in such a good, healthy, happy headspace right now and I have teachers and friends who push me as a dancer and support me as a person and I feel so lucky and blessed.

I’ve learned so much about myself as a dancer in the past three semesters. I am such a different dancer than I ever thought I would be. I am so clearly influenced by my training. Whenever people ask me what kind of dancer I am, I have a hard time answering. I can trace direct lines to Alvin Ailey, Antony Tudor, Bebe Miller, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane, Buzz Miller, George Balanchine, Gus Giordano, Jack Cole, Jacques d’Amboise, Jerome Robbins, Jiri Kylian, Joan Meyers Brown, Joe Tremaine, Kent Stowel, Lee Theodore, Martha Graham, Michel Fokin, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Nancy Stark Smith, Pat Graney, Paul Taylor, Robert Joffery, Rodolf Nureyev, Sergi Diaghilev, Twyla Tharp, William Forsythe and so many more. I am a product of all their styles and more.

I used to hate improv. When I started at UM I had nothing but negative feelings about improv and its use in rehearsals. But we use it so often here at school, both in rehearsal as material generation and inspiration and in classes, so I had to learn to enjoy it. I love it so much now. It has become a part of my dance style and I’m thankful for the tools it has given me.

A couple weeks ago I was in rehearsal with Sydoney, Carissa, Samual, and Marit for Sydoney’s beginning comp final piece. Her camera battery died, but I had my computer with me so I recorded our improv for her. I’ve never watched myself improv before. I think I like what I see. I’m not in the shape I’d like to be in and I’m sure I could find a million things to nitpick about the way I look and move, but I’m not going to.

I’m thankful for the freedom I’ve found as a dancer in the past couple of years.

School. Life. Change.

My first year of school is done. I can’t quite believe it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about change, about how everything is changing.
I was with some friends the other day and we were talking about our proudest moment. The first thing that popped to my mind was the past seven years. School is so different now than it was seven years ago. Everything is different. I couldn’t be more thankful, I couldn’t be more blessed.

Seven years ago was the summer between my Sophomore and what would have been my Junior year at UArts. Half way through my Sophomore year, I dropped out of classes. I started second semester not making it a single week where I made it to all my classes. Around midterms, I stopped going entirely. I couldn’t leave my house. If I did leave my house and needed to go anywhere in Center City, I took long, circuitous routes as to avoid the UArts dance buildings. I spent the entire time outside of my house, terrified I’d see a classmate. I heard their whispers, the comments they made behind my back, and I couldn’t take it. That summer, I didn’t sleep. I would stay awake until the sun came up. I’d sleep from about 8am to 1pm. I’d work 2pm to 10pm. I’d stay awake until 8am and the cycle would continue. I lived in my awesome apartment until July, when I moved into my terrible apartment. Terrible apartment was not ready upon move in, so I moved into Gabi and my then-boyfriend’s apartment. Not living with my crazy roommate helped my anxiety and sleeping habits. The school year started and I moved into my terrible apartment. With friends back in town, I was able to mask the depression I was feeling better, but inside I felt like I was dying. Sometime that semester I read Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel. I don’t know if it helped or made it worse.
Somehow in the midst of the blackness, I found the strength to start seeing a therapist. I reached out and very thankfully found Dr. Jenna. And even more thankfully, I continued to see her. Reaching out is the single most important decision I have ever made.
Around the same time I started seeing Dr. Jenna, I also applied at Drexel University as a psychology major. I told myself if I didn’t get in, I would move home to Oregon. I filled out the paper work, but didn’t write the essay. I figured theres no way I’d get in with a semester of Fs on my transcript and no essay. However, I got in. That night I called my Mom and told her I needed her to tell me to move home. I couldn’t make the decision myself, thats why I didn’t complete the application. I needed my Mom to make the decision. And she did. I’m so thankful I moved home when I did. Through the darkness and the fog, I saved my own life.

My depression seemed to get better after I moved home, but really it just changed. The dark fog I was lost in became a pit in my stomach. I stopped eating and started working out late at night in my room. Finally, I decided I needed to get myself together. I struggled a lot, but I fought with all I could. I in no way was recovered, but I stopped actively trying to die.

Eventually I saw through the fog enough to decide to move to Seattle. I love Astoria, but I knew I needed to live some place with more dance. I had found it again and knew it was the only way I was going to live. April 2010 I moved to Seattle and into my friend Lynne’s house. For six months I lived with her family and danced with New Vision Dance Company. One day while walking to the bus from work in Pike Place, my best friend Becky called and asked if I wanted to move in with her on Capitol Hill. I jumped at the opportunity and made plans for the move. Shortly after I moved to Capitol Hill I found out about an audition for 127th St Dance Company. I wanted to go. I was terrified to go. I almost turned around three times on the walk from my apartment to PNBs studios. Going was one of the best decisions I ever made. New Vision was a dance home because it was comfortable. It was a home because I had known Melissa since high school, because I knew other company members since high school. 127th St was scary because it was the first time I auditioned for a company and I made it in. I didn’t know any of the dancers, I didn’t know the director, I didn’t know the choreographer. But they still wanted me. It was scary and amazing and the best thing I ever did for myself as a dancer.
There were a lot of ups and downs that year. I was living with Becky and it was perfect. I was homesick and I was miserable. I was dancing in two dance companies, plus teaching a ballet class. Everyone died. I was going to the gym. I was going to the gym almost obsessively. At the end of our lease, I decided I needed to leave Seattle. I love Seattle, but I was so over not being able to park my car and crack heads yelling in my alley. Daryl and I made plans to move to Montana. Change was on the horizon and I was so excited.

The three year anniversary of Ari killing herself is coming up. Every time I think about change, I think about her. My life was so different, so hopeless, so desperate seven years ago. But I stuck it through and I am so blessed and happy. How would Ari’s life be different if she were here today? What unimaginable joys would be in her life today? I know it’s not necessarily healthy for me to think about the what-ifs, especially in this situation, but I really can’t help it. I have accepted that I wouldn’t have been able to save her life if I had called. Yes, I might have brightened her day a bit – but whose to say if she would have even answered her phone (or if I even had her correct number!)? I would not have been able to save her. She had plans with friends for the next day. She had plans. She killed herself with plans for the immediate future – me calling her would not have changed that. I have accepted this. However, I will always wonder how her life would be different today.

My life today is so different and so much more wonderful than I ever thought possible. I live in a beautiful town, snuggled in a valley surrounded by wilderness and mountains. I am a double BFA in Dance and Lighting Design at the University of Montana, a school that was never on my radar 10 years ago when researching colleges. I am in love with the most wonderful man on the planet. I am loved by the most wonderful man on the planet. I am so blessed. I am so thankful.

2013 Year In Review


JANUARY

  • 1/1 – Third Annual Ride-N The New Year with Daryl, Nick, Conner, and Lori at Lost Trail
  • 1/10 – 4th anniversary date at Red Bird Wine Bar
  • 1/11 – Missoula got a dumping of snow, so I skied to work!
  • 1/14 – First day of rehearsals for Jumping Into Fire at the University of Montana. I’m really proud of myself for putting myself out there and not shying away from the show, even though I decided not to go back to school this semester.
  • 1/20 – Daryl, Nick, and I spent the day at the Darby Dog Derby supporting Aiyana. We got lots of photos and loved on the dogs.
  • 1/21 – After staying the night in Darby, we were joined at Lost Trail by Liz and Tommy and spent the day skiing pow.
  • 1/25 – We had a “surprise” going away party for Daryl.
  • 1/27 – Daryl and I went to Great Falls for the day and spent the whole time playing with Fisher, Ike, and Elsie.


FEBRUARY


MARCH

  • 3/3 – Nick and I spent the day at Lost Trail, shredding the gnar.
  • 3/7 – I came home from the show and found a facebook message from WAPA kids. Julie Denninghoff, one of the most important teachers at my high school, had a heart attack and died. I’m tired of people dying.
  • 3/9 – Closing night of Jumping Into Fire!
  • 3/15-17 – I made a whirlwind trip to Seattle for Julie’s funeral. After the service, most of the WAPA kids went to Red Robin for lunch, as per tradition. It was so wonderful to see so many faces of people I love, but I’m really over having high school reunions at funerals. On the drive back I encountered white out conditions between Wallace, ID and DeBorgia, MT (32 miles). I drove the entire way with my flashers on, barely moving. Four hours later, I got out of the storm and still had an hour and a half to go. Hands down, the scariest drive I’ve ever made.
  • 3/22-23 – Two nights of Yonder Mountain String Band at the Wilma!
  • 3/24 – Spent the day playing folf with Conner, Lori, and Nick.
  • 3/30 – Lori and I caught a gorgeous day skiing at Lost Trail! After we got home, we played poker all night.
  • 3/31 – Jessie and Adam invited everyone over for Easter lunch at their house and I brought the most beautiful peach pie. After, Nick, Erin, Conner, Lori, and I hiked around Blue Mountain and summited a peak just the sun dropped behind the ridge.
  • For the first time, I can say I’m recoverED. It feels really amazing.


APRIL

  • 4/7 – Conner, Lori, Nick, and I went to Weir to soak in the hot springs today. It was so relaxing and wonderful.
  • 5/15 – Liz moved in! Tommy left for a walkabout in California last week, so I gained a wayward hippie and a deg.
  • 4/19 – Nick, Liz, and I invited Adam over for a hippie bonfire tonight. I love our house and our backyard and our friends.
  • 4/21 – Nick and I went rock climbing with Conner and Lori (and Tucker!) at Rattler Gulch today. It snowed and we were freezing, but it was awesome.
  • 4/24 – After work I drove to Spokane and flew to Seattle. Michelle picked me up, then she, Becky, and I went out to dinner.
  • 4/25 – Before Becky had to go to work, we walked down to Pike Place and ate breakfast at Biscuit Bitch (holy moly, so much delicious food!). After wandering Seattle for a bit longer, I caught at train to Portland at the newly renovated King Street Station. Daryl picked me up and I covered him with kisses!
  • 4/26 – Daryl and I hiked Silver Star Mountain and had some of the most unbelievable views of the Cascade volcanos.
  • 4/27 – Blind Pilot & Oregon Symphony concert! I wanted tickets to this show when it was announced, sometime early 2012, but I didn’t dare purchase them because I figured I would be busy with school or work. I was a very happy girl when I realized I’d be able to attend with my handsome love. It was AMAZING. The orchestrations for the Blind Pilot songs were so much more amazing than I envisioned in my head. It was so beautiful and I definitely cried.
  • 4/29-30 – We went to Astoria for the weekend. I love my hometown.
  • 4/30 – On the drive back to Missoula from Spokane, Sue Ann rolled over 280,000 miles! I love my girl and am so happy she’s still chugging along.


MAY

  • 5/1 – Woke up to a flat tire and cars covered in snow. Thankfully, Liz was able to drop me off at work on her way to school.
  • 5/2 – First day at Black Cat Bake Shop! So happy to finally be working real coffee again.
  • 5/9 – First river trip of the year!
  • 5/11 – After Conner got off work, Nick and I joined him and some friends for some rock climbing on the Kim Williams trail.
  • 5/21 – Conner, Lori, Nick, Erin, Tucker, Ozzy, and I went headed out of town for the evening to rock climb and bbq on the beach. I really love my life in Missoula (though obviously it would be better if Daryl were home).
  • 5/22 – Daryl visits for a long weekend!
  • 5/24 – I convinced my boss to let me borrow a pop-up tent for our bbq, so we had a Trail Head Sponsored Event. One of my really great friends from high school, Friday was in town working MissCon, so she stopped by with some friends. I love hippie-house-bbqs.


JUNE

  • 6/4 – Happy birthday to my sweet Daryl!
  • 6/7 – A bunch of us biked downtown for First Friday. Ozzy was the the belle of the ball in his cart and there was double dutch in a parking lot. I love this town.
  • 6/9 – Since I bought myself a new-to-me bike, I decided I’d start taking myself on Single Lady Bike Dates – an hour or so biking on the Kim Williams with a stop at DraughtWorks on the way home.
  • 6/12 – Missoula’s summer was shaping up to be a perfect one.
  • 6/18 – Officially became a Griz today!
  • 6/22 – Hippie bonfire and middle of the street frisbee night.
  • 6/27 – Happy birthday to me! Gorgeous birthday sun and delicious birthday beer.
  • 6/29 – Daryl came to town for my birthday. He, Liz, and I went to Frenchtown Pond to enjoy the hot weather and cool water.


JULY

  • 7/7 – I can’t believe it’s been two years since Ari died.
  • 7/19 – Driving to Spokane for a flight during fire season means lots and lots of smoke.
  • 7/19-24 – I spent a long weekend at home with my forever love. Gorgeous weather, some hiking, and time with my parents.


AUGUST

  • 8/4 – Cave shwag has started to arrive!
  • 8/7 – Daryl and Brian both arrived in Missoula and the Scapegoat prep officially started. Most importantly, there was Vortex, OPA, and 3-Way IPA to drink!
  • 8/8 – My singular goal for the summer was to burn through the bottom of the fire pit. We finally achieved it!
  • 8/9 – Daryl, Brian, and I caravanned to Benchmark. Scapegoat ’13 official began!
  • 8/10 – Brian took off before Daryl and I so he could meet the packers and mules at camp. Daryl and I make the 12 mile hike in about 6 hours.
  • 8/11 – We spent the day hiking around the plateau, then I did the most bad-ass thing I’ve ever done and rappelled down a 200′ rock face.
  • 8/12 – My first day in Green Fork Falls Cave! Also, I spotted a cute little black bear near the entrance.
  • 8/13 – Camp day!
  • 8/14 – Cave ‘sploring day
  • 8/15 – Cave mapping (which makes me officially part of the Scapegoat Cave System history!)
  • 8/16 – Spent the day on the Plateau again (after climbing UP the 200′ of rope!), searching for caves. A pit Daryl found four years ago proved to be a legit cave, so we mapped it and got some photos!
  • 8/17 – Camp day. Daryl built a raft and floated on the tarn for a hot second before it sank.
  • 8/18 – River Gallery day in the cave! We (wet) suited up and swam through the freezing water. I never in my life envisioned I’d do something like that!
  • 8/19 – We visited One More Day cave and discovered that I am physically too short to get into the cave without rope, so I hung out while the boys went caving for a bit. In the evening, Daryl and I hiked out to the Green Fork Cabin.
  • 8/20 – I hiked out 10 miles from the cabin to my car. The longest solo hike I’ve ever done! I was so excited when I got to our hidden beer! The drive back to Missoula was uneventful, but the Lolo Peak fire made the drive super smokey. I took myself to DraughtWorks before stopping by the house and found Liz and Jessie there!
  • 8/23 – Tommy and Debo got back from California! The Wayward Hippie House gained a true long-haired, unemployed hippie and another dog.
  • 8/26 – First day of school! I am so proud of myself for going back, especially after a seven year break from being a dance major.


SEPTEMBER

  • 9/7 – Daryl came home for the weekend and we went on a fancy date to The Pearl. I’m so happy when his cute face is home.
  • 9/22-23 – Hana, one of the people I met during Jumping Into Fire, asked me if I wanted to participate in the 23 1/2 Hour Play Festival at school. I was so excited to be asked, and at the idea of doing stuff with theatre majors, that I jumped on it. It was so much fun! I drank a lot of coffee and met some new friends.
  • 9/29 – First Swan Lake rehearsal! I am so excited we’re doing Act II next semester!


OCTOBER

  • 10/5 – Tommy, Liz, and I went to Bart and Nicole’s for a bbq tonight. We got to meet their new baby!
  • 10/12-13 – Dancer’s On Location! My first show as a student and my first show with the dance department.
  • 10/18-20 – I flew from Spokane to Portland for a weekend visit. Daryl surprised me with the most beautiful bike in the whole wide world, a near-mint condition August 1979 Schwinn Suburban (I’ve named her Lady). We spent Saturday on a brewery bike tour in the beautiful weather.
  • 10/21 – The cast list went up for Swan Lake and I’m a Little Swan!
  • 10/24-26 – My parents came to Missoula! They spent two weeks on a long road trip for their 30th Anniversary trip and Missoula happened to fit perfectly into their plans. It was so wonderful to show off my new home to them, as well as show off the campus. It was gorgeous the entire time they were in town, for which I am very happy. I love them so much.
  • 10/26 – Daryl came to town just as my parents were leaving. We changed Sue Ann’s breaks!
  • 10/28 – The ten year anniversary of Kiana dying. Seems like a lifetime ago.


[photo credit: Nathan Snow]
NOVEMBER

  • 11/10 – Taking two dance classes a day and eating healthier definitely has its perks: fitting into a pair of Express jeans that have just hung in my closet for the past several years!
  • 11/13-17 – Mike had a few days off of work, so he came to visit. I love when he’s in town!
  • 11/15-18 – Daryl came to visit for the weekend. I’m so happy he was able to visit while Mike was here!
  • 11/15-16 – Fall Studio Works! So many friends came to the show: Daryl, Nick, Erin, Liz, Tommy, and Mike!
  • 11/23 – Clare and Sydoney performed in a cabaret at Missoula Winery tonight, so Brooke, Arina, Emily, and I went out to support them. After, we sang karaoke at their house. Life is very good here in Missoula.
  • 11/27 – Liz, Aspen, and I drove up to Polson for the first night of Hannukah. When we got to Liz’s parents house, Patsy insisted on taking Aspen to the vet for her limp. We found out Aspen had bone cancer. It was a rough night.
  • 11/28 – I drove back to Missoula and found a Daryl in the living room! We went to Friendsgiving at Nick, Conner, and Lori’s house and ate way too much food and pie.
  • 11/29 – I finally treated Sue Ann to some new tires. And, I paid for them outright, no credit card. I’m oddly proud of myself for that.


DECEMBER

  • 12/3-7 – Dance Up Close! I’m really proud of the two pieces I was in and am so happy so many friends came to the shows.
  • 12/5 – First portfolio review for my Design Tech major. I went in feeling a bit unprepared, since it was my first review, but it was not on that “counts” (this year they had all Freshman and Transfer students do a review at the end of first semester to help us prepare for the end of the year review, which is how we “interview” for the BFA program. Despite the fact that I cried twice (I’m super emotional when I talk about coming back to school and how perfect UM is for me), I feel really good about it. I think I made a good impression with what little I have in my portfolio and I know I impressed them by how put together my resume is (which is great, considering I told them I feel like I need a lot of help with it).
  • 12/6 – Liz and Tommy took Aspen up to Polson today to put her down. Rest in peace, my favorite beer drinking Labrador.
  • 12/11 – Should (Not) performance! I’ve been working with a group of 11 other dancers and actors all semester on a piece facilitated by one of the MFA Acting candidates, Clare. I’ve learned so much about myself during the process, it was really nice to finally show it to people.
  • 12/12 – Cast party/end of finals party at Clare’s house. We were all there until 2am, singing and crying and laughing. I love my group of friends at school.
  • 12/14 – After trying and failing at finding friends to ski with, I decided on a solo trip to Lost Trail. I was rewarded with great snow and I found friends in the lodge!
  • 12/16 – Having friends at school who are from Portland means I don’t have to drive home for break alone! Arina and I had great weather the entire drive, though Sue Ann got terrible gas milage (she needs a tune-up).
  • 12/20 – After checking obsessively for the past week, grades were finally posted. 3.95 gpa! I am so proud of myself!!
  • 12/21-22 – For Christmas, Daryl and I treated my parents to a night at the Edgefield and tickets to OBT’s Nutcracker (which Daryl had never seen before!). It was such a wonderful weekend with my family.
  • 12/23 – I braved downtown Portland and spent several hours in Powell’s. I stayed within my budget and still bought a bag full of books!
  • 12/24 – We’ve been on a “buy $50 or less Chicago made Schwinn bikes” kick recently and today we bought a February 1974 green Schwinn Suburban for $20. I can’t wait to fix it up – we’ve decided since it’s in less good condition than Lady, it’ll be my inclement weather bike.
  • 12/25 – Christmas at my parent’s house! Highlights include a double-point needle set for my Mama from my Dad, knitted items for myself and Daryl from my Mama, and I got a gorgeous Cinema Display from Daryl (I’ve been wanting one for several years now!). The weather was amazing, so Daryl and I went to the beach for a couple hours and took photos.
  • 12/26 – While driving back to Portland, Daryl and I came upon a roll over accident. Daryl saved the day and got a woman out of the truck.
  • 12/28-29 – We camped at the Mt. Hood Sno-Park with hopes of skiing on Sunday. However, when we woke up, it was almost 40° – we’re both over skiing in terrible conditions, so we ended up just reading and napping in the truck. Highlights of the day include seeing a guy get his Tahoe semi-stuck in approximately 1/2 inch of snow/ice and then proceed to not put it back into gear after parking so we watched it roll out of the parking lot, into the trees. Later we drove up to Timberline in time for sunset.
  • 12/31 – Daryl and I went up to Mt. St. Helens after Daryl got off work for our Fourth Annual Ride-N The New Year. As with skiing the previous weekend, it was a bust. We did make plans to come back next weekend to summit.

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Weekend home

Long distance is hard.
The Explorer and I recently passed the 4.5 year mark. We’ve spent nearly two of those years apart. It’s hard.
I definitely believe it’s been good for us. I know being apart has made us stronger and better than we ever could have been if we hadn’t had to grow and learn through distance.  Me moving to Seattle in 2010 was absolutely the best decision I’ve made purely for myself. And while it was really hard living three hours apart from each other, it was wonderful for our relationship. It taught us a lot about communication. It taught us a lot about making the most of our time together. It was hard, but it was good.
I was so excited to move back to Astoria and then for us to move to Montana, because we were finally going to be together. We were finally going to live together and start our life together, not three hours apart. Life is funny that way – you set your sights on a goal and plan for it, then someone gets a job 10 hours away.

Moving to Missoula and then having Daryl get a job back in Portland was hard. If I didn’t have great friends here, and I didn’t have a job I love, and I weren’t so excited to go back to school next month(!), I’d be in Portland with him. I love Portland. I have always wanted to live in Portland. But Missoula is where I’m supposed to be right now, even if it means we are apart again.

We’ve decided that while it will delay us getting out of debt a little bit, it is more important that we see each other every month, or as close to as possible.


In April I visited D in Portland. It was so wonderful to see him. We climbed Silver Star Mountain and had one of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen. We saw my favorite band, Blind Pilot, in concert with the Oregon Symphony. We went out to the coast, had dinner with my parents and Grandma, and saw two Bald Eagles fly down the beach. It was a wonderful visit.
In May, Daryl came out to Missoula for a long weekend. He and Nick skied St. Mary Peak and I worked the entire time. I was bummed I couldn’t go off and have fun, but it was wonderful having him home.
My birthday was on a Thursday this year, so Daryl came out for the weekend. It was laid back and wonderful. He also came out for a few days the following weekend and I was so happy to see him again so soon!

For July, it was my turn to travel! I opened at work, then hit the road. (Note: it is cheaper to drive three hours from Missoula to the Spokane airport, pay to park for the weekend [and even a full week], and drive back to Missoula than it is to fly out of Missoula.  Ridonkulous.)


About 45 minutes west of Missoula, I drove by the West Mullan Fire, which at the time was 4,500 acres. Fire season is definitely officially here.

I purchased a ticket for the 6:25pm flight just in case I didn’t make it for the 5pm flight. But I made it to the gate as they were loading the earlier flight, so I snagged a seat and off I flew! It was an uneventful flight and I landed in Portland in a glorious 84°! The Explorer met me inside, I covered him with kisses, then we went to Breakside Brewery for delicious beers and dinner. I had the most perfect grilled ham and swiss sandwich with caramelized onions – I’ve never had a grilled ham and cheese with onions before, but it revolutionized my favorite sandwich! After dinner we went back to the truck and accidentally sat there talking for HOURS. No joke, probably two and a half hours went by between when we left the brewery and we finally started the truck to find a campsite.


We camped that night on an overlook between Portland and Scappoose. The next morning we drove into Scappoose in search of a perfect breakfast. We followed our usual MO of driving around a town until we find the restaurant with a million cars parked in the lot. Ichabod’s did not disappoint! The parking lot was full and we had to wait for a table. We each ordered our usual diner breakfast – chicken fried steak with scrambled eggs for The Explorer and biscuits and gravy for myself. They were so good! And I was starving and scarfed mine down before D made it half way through his!

We decided to hit the back roads on the way to Astoria. I love the windy roads to the coast, and the weather was perfect for a day drive. We ended up stopping at Fishhawk Falls. We got out to stretch our legs and took a little hike around the falls.





We found a great thimbleberry patch along the way and picked ourselves a nice little snack.

After we made it to Astoria and stopped by my Daddy’s coin shop, we decided we needed lunch. I declared we needed fish&chips, so Clemente’s it was. Neither of us had been before, and since it is the only place downtown that had cod (both of our preferred fish for fish&chips), it was perfect. And let me tell you – it was DELICIOUS! We got an order of fresh Salmon and two orders of local Cod. With Fort George Brewery Sunrise Oatmeal Pale Ale, of course! After a quick stop at the house to say hi to my Mama, we headed out to the beach so I could see my favorite ocean.

That night we were going to camp at Saddle Mountain so we could get up early and hike it the next day, but the camp sites were full – and the clouds moved in. We found a primitive camp site off the beach path of highway 26 and sat and talked for hours again. Even though we talk on the phone a lot, I always forget how much I love talking with Daryl. Just being, not talking with him, is wonderful. He is my heart.


Since Saddle was still socked in when we woke up on Sunday, we headed back to Astoria. Breakfast at 3 Cups Coffee House was just the ticket, so we sat and planned for Scapegoat. After we finished breakfast, we went to my parents house and hung out watching baseball. I love spending time with my family, especially all together!


That evening we all went to Fort George to check out the BEAUTIFUL new upstairs and check out the new wood fire pizza. Ack, I cannot get over how beautiful it looks upstairs now. My next trip I’ll get some photos, so for now you’ll just have to trust me. It’s perfect.

Leaving Astoria is always hard, especially when I have to leave Portland the next day to head back to Missoula. There was a part of me that really wanted to oversleep my alarm and stay in Portland with my forever love. It’s the same part of me that, when driving back to Seattle from Astoria, wanted to get off the Interstate to turn back around. Being with Daryl is what I want, but I know I’m supposed to be in Missoula right now. Without him.

Long distance is hard.  Absolutely worth it.  But hard.

Twenty Six


Crater Lake, 2009
22nd birthday


Hotel Elliott, 2010
23rd birthday


Seaplane flight, 2011
24th birthday


Mt. Adams, 2012
25th birthday

It feels a bit weird to not have big plans for my birthday this year like we have in the past
But 30 minutes in to the start of my 26th year, and it’s already wonderful. My Explorer sang me a sweet birthday song at midnight. Tomorrow evening we’re having a potluck bbq and then we’ll ride our bikes to get ice cream. And sometime between tomorrow evening and Friday morning, my forever love will be in my arms.

Here’s to 26.