Friday, August 28, 2015

Colorful 'Tradgards Festen' blossoms today through Sunday in Helsingborg, Sweden

Sofiero Palace and Gardens in Helsingborg, Sweden, opens its gates for a three-day festival. Vendors set up late Thursday.

Dahlias the size of dinner plates are wet with morning dew at Sofiero.
Stunning Sofiero Palace and Gardens -- Europe's most beautiful park -- invites people in for a weekend festival


A clump of climbing roses forms a Valentine heart at 'Europe's most
beautiful park' a title earned by the palace and grounds in 2010.
WHEN KING Gustav VI Adolf planted his first rhododendren in 1907, he had no idea how his handiwork and love of gardening would blossom.
This weekend's huge festival invites the public to Sofiero Palace and Gardens, one of Sweden's most popular attractions.  On the grounds that host world class entertainers such as Sting, thousands of Swedes plus Danes from across the Sound are enjoying the palace's annual Garden Festival, a treat for the senses. Jazz musicians were setting up Thursday evening, along with gardeners, artists, craftsmen and caterers from across Sweden.
THE PUBLIC is flocking to buy bulbs and cuttings, potted plants and bouquets while lunching on their own goodies or sampling dozens of ethnic food vendors' specialties.
Lovely Helsingborg is just across the sound from Denmark.
King Gustav Adolf who
 died in 1973, photographed
at Sofiero Palace.
After Thursday's rains subsided, dozens of vendors
began setting up a festival at Sofiero Palace.
SOFIERO was one of the Swedish royal families country mansions, bought from a farmer in 1864 by Crown Prince Oscar of Sweden. The royals enjoyed it as a get-away -- and created a feeling of countryside within the grounds, right in the center of Helsingborg. While it was beloved by several of Oscar's descendants, the royal who made it famous and beloved by the public was Oscar's grandson, future King Gustav VI Adolf, who with his wife Crown Princess Margaret turned it into a spectacular park and garden, planting over 400 varieties of rhododendron and designing spectacular gardens along a picturesque stream leading to an outdoor nook where they took afternoon tea.
Rhododendrons flower over a magnificent ravine and frame
the Sofiero Palace Gardens, where organic produce is grown.
WHEN MARGARET died and Gustav eventually remarried Lady Louise Moutbatten, it became their official summer residence.  They began the tradition of "open houses," one of which is unfolding now through Sunday in form of a famous festival. (The city of Helsingborg has operated the castle and grounds since Gustav's death in 1973 when he willed it to the city for public enjoyment.)
IT TRULY is a wonderland, a riot of color and floral abundance.  Dahlias the size of dinner plates stand upright with help of wooden stakes cleverly driven into the ground beneath the foliage. Hundreds of multi-colored fuchsia hang their heads in elegant excess.
Roses climb up trellises and clump in fetching shapes -- several reminding of Valentine hearts.
Bulbs for sale at Sofiero Palace in Sweden catch Cookie's eye.
On our Thursday visit, we enjoyed bee blossom, wild carrot, poppies still abloom in almost September, and displays of every kind of bulb and tuber, adding to the draw of this southern
Sweden outdoor event.
THIS GRAND weekend festival of flowers in Helsingborg, Sweden, is testimony that 150 years of tradition and love of gardening can bridge the gap between classes, continents and generations.
For more:

Mystic View Cabins invite you to
travel from a Scandinavian garden fest
to the wonders of  rural Montana. 
COMING SOON: Mystic View Cabins in rural Montana, USA, offer another kind of splendor, thousands of miles from Scandinavia.  Our time travelers zip back and forth across the oceans, to sample the good life -- today in Sweden, and soon, in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana, where cabins near Fishtail offer solitude, natural wonders and a place to recharge and rejuvenate.  Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Wednesdays and weekends at:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Paradise Point pleasures await on San Diego's gorgeous Mission Bay

Paradise Point Resort is less than seven miles from downtown San Diego, and offers a tropical world of pleasure.
Cookie emerges from the galley, having prepared a snack.


AT PARADISE Point Resort, time truly stops.
The beauty of the sea, the peacefulness of the waves, the suspension of time, all create a beautiful, insulating serenity that calls one back again and again.
So it was with a summer sailing from the Point with our friends, Dawn and Phyllis.
Mission Bay Yacht Club race with spinnakers flying,
as seen from our boat rented at Paradise Point Resort.
We four began a calming day on Mission Bay, strolling the gangway to the boat rentals, past vacationers and diners and lovers of beauty.  The resort is always humming with activity -- jet skiing, boating and kayaking.  We enjoy the restaurant and myriad activities the tropical atmosphere suggests -- even fish-watching from the bridge.
"Cap'n Keller" in center, enjoys a relaxing sail with Dawn, left, and Phyllis.
OUR FAVORITE way to enjoy the Bay is from Paradise Point, where we charter a boat, throw in a picnic and leave our worries behind. We sail as often as time and money allow. Sometimes it's just the two of us; other times, we treat friends and family. No one is satisfied with one outing on the water!
Sailing is a time-honored cure for the blues, an antidote for almost anything that ails you!
IT IS GLORIOUS.  On this peaceful saltwater lagoon, I've been introduced to Keller's past.  He lived in several places on Mission Bay as a college kid and employee of the beloved Aquatic Center where he was involved in a cause to preserve Interlude, a boat with a place in the hearts of several generations. (The beloved boat is in dry dock now.)
Mission Bay is unusual, as one of the largest waterparks of its kind in the world. It is 4,200 acres of land and water, surrounded by 27 miles of shoreline of sandy beaches, attractive people and abundant bird life.
Our favorite Paradise Point Resort is an important part of that. On its own 44-acre private island with a mile of sandy beach, this picturesque resort is just seven miles from downtown San Diego
Paradise Point Resort offers a choice of rental boats
and  various other equipment for reasonable prices.
Interconnected by a network of waterways, inlets and islets, Keller's favorite bay is best explored by boat... (with Keller at the helm.) Our second choice is by the region's progressive bike paths.
FROM MISSION Bay and Paradise Point, we've watched families barbecuing on the water, couples doing yoga or sharing a picnic, strolling, kayaking, jogging and taking in the internationally known spectacle of SeaWorld.

To book a room at Paradise Point Resort, go to
 Lessons and skippers are available if you don't do your own sailing, along with motorboats, jetskiis, paddleboats and kayaks. To check rentals and other Paradise Point options out,  go to

Check out Mystic View Cabins if you want a quiet, romantic weekend
or have an overflow of guests as we recently did at a family reunion. Up next.
 NEXT UP: Mystic View Cabins not far from High Chaparral provided a beautiful setting for the overflow during a recent family reunion of nearly 30 people. The lovely, rustic cabins near Mystic Lake, on Fiddler Creek and West Rosebud Road have much to offer for serenity, beauty and all the comforts of home. Remember to explore, love and learn and catch us weekends and Wednesdays at:

Friday, August 21, 2015

'Rancho Deluxe' holds up: rootin' tootin' parody is 40 and still frisky

Actor Sam Waterston this summer as Prospero
in "The Tempest," at New York's Shakespeare in the Parks. 




VIEWING ''Rancho Deluxe" again after 40 years is like thumbing through an old, favorite family scrapbook.
It's worn and a bit faded, but it's as welcome as a nightcap after a long day's toil. It stirs memories and inevitable "oohs and aahs." As one friend said, "Everything's good about it -- except that we're all 40 years older."
Watching the 1975 film, we're naturally reminded of our own aging. But so what?
Montana resident Jeff Bridges with his Oscar for "Crazy Heart."

TO CELEBRATE our own memories of the filming of this made-in-Montana relic, we gathered a few friends -- of the same approximate vintage as the actors, most a few years younger. Several of the talented cast has gone to that great performance hall in the sky.  The others have aged well, we agreed.  And we of the audience are holding our own.
So it was an evening of laughter and nostalgia, with familiar scenery, lively Jimmy Buffett music, delightful acting, a script both wise and witty, and plenty of made in Montana humor.
Elizabeth Ashley, left, with the title character
in "Agnes of God" on Broadway in 1984.
PART OF THE pleasure in seeing this charming film four decades later is in having watched the stars succeed in the slippery shadows of show business. I've had the good fortune to interview several of the key players, to attend premiers as film, TV and theater reviewer and to preview their work on Broadway and television.
In the script, written by Montana's Tom McGuane, Jeff Bridges and Sam Waterston play a pair of cocky cattle rustlers named Jack McKee (Bridges) and Cecil Colson (Waterston). Elizabeth Ashley plays the female lead of Cora, wife of a wealthy rancher.  She provides many laughs with her caustic asides, closet drinking and smoldering "nobody's fool" attitude. (I've seen her on stage in several Tennessee Williams plays since then, and on Broadway as the psychiatrist in "Agnes of God," and in "August, Osage County." Always a treat to watch this versatile, accomplished actor.)
BRIDGES IS young and baby-faced as a clever misfit, a preview of the roles for which he'd win acclaim in his long career. Waterston is understated and wry as his part-Indian sidekick.
The late Slim Pickens was a real rodeo cowboy and provides
an authentic character in "Rancho Deluxe." 
It's been fun to see Bridges at events in Los Angeles, where he is respected not only for his acting, but for having a strong marriage and successful family life in an environment not known for either trait.
I was delighted to see him win the Oscar for "Crazy Heart."
Waterston is known on TV for his "Law and Order" and Abe Lincoln mini-series.  But I enjoy him more in Shakespeare in the Parks, where this summer his wisdom and wit as the marooned sorcerer Prospero in "The Tempest" won raves.  Like many of today's fine actors, he came up through the stage and is returning to it in his older years. (He is 74; Bridges is a younger 65.)
AS THE THIEVES steal cattle from wealthy rancher John Brown, Harry Beigh is called in (Slim Pickens.) Clifton James is a hoot as the rancher -- the actor is alive and well at 94.  Watching him and Pickens go after the two young rustlers is chief among the movie's pleasures.  The bombastic Brown and Beigh (a former rustler) provide a merry kick in the pants. Enter hapless ranch hands with rhyming names of Burt and Curt: Harry Dean Stanton and Richard Bright furnish giggles as they fail to capture the thieves.
Pickens died in 1983, famous for riding the bomb in "Dr. Strangelove." A rodeo cowboy for 20 years, he's the "real deal" and his is is the most authentic character in the picture. All four supporting players garnered fine reviews for "Rancho Deluxe."
One critic said McGuane wrote the script "purely out of a desire to keep from fallin’ asleep” (mimicking rustler Jack’s definition of capitalism) but our group of movie aficionados found the writing engaging and the characters and their shenanigans entertaining. Best of all, we loved seeing Montana on screen.
The film's beautiful footage of Paradise Valley includes a scene at Chico Hot Springs, and another when the helicopter spots the rustlers. We marveled at the film's lovely lighting by William Fraker and we tapped our toes to the Jimmy Buffet score -- written before he gained Margaritaville fame and a following of Parrotheads.
Downtown Livingston is there, too, and it's fun to see the familiar Depot, restaurants and Murray Hotel, which have aged as well as the actors.
Come visit Paradise Point with us, in San Diego, on picturesque Mission Bay.
                                                                                                    --Bruce Keller photo
PARADISE ON PARADE:  San Diego's  Paradise Point Resort is a place of relaxation, beauty and peace of mind.  Come sailing with us in one of southern California's most desirable locals.  We'll guide you through a calming afternoon on Mission Bay, based from a beautiful 44-acre private island with a mile of sandy beach.  And believe it or not -- one of our favorite resorts is less than seven miles from downtown San Diego and the airport.  Come on over -- and remember to explore, learn and live. Catch us weekends and Wednesdays at

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

'Rancho Deluxe' recalled: 40 year anniversary arrives for Livingston western

A "Rancho Deluxe" party poster hangs by the registration desk at the Murray
Hotel. At left is actor Sam Waterston, at right Jeff Bridges.



LONG AGO, when I was a young reporter, a movie parody of a western made a name for itself.
Although "Rancho Deluxe" was not greeted by critics as a great film, its made-in-Montana stamp, Jimmy Buffet score, engaging story and talented cast created a lasting appeal. Today, "Rancho Deluxe" is beloved by many.
A roster of Montana-loving folks created the 1975 film:
Thomas McGuane crafted the screenplay.  The gifted novelist and short-story writer lives on a ranch near McLeod and writes for The New Yorker.  His evocative characters and landscapes are drawn from the Montana he has known for decades.
ACTOR JEFF BRIDGES, who lives a good portion of the year on his Paradise Valley place, donates time and money to worthy Montana causes, including a fight against child hunger.
Jeff Bridges skips around with kids, whose health and well being he champions
when he is in Montana, enjoying his home in Paradise Valley.
Bridges and Sam Waterston portray the two drifters who rustle cattle and try to outrun the law in then contemporary Montana. Both of these versatile actors have gone on to success and accolades.   Bridges, known as both a devoted family man and talented actor, had been nominated for a best-supporting Oscar in 1972 for "The Last Picture Show."  Five years ago, he won the coveted best actor trophy for "Crazy Heart."
WATERSTON HAS enjoyed success in film, TV and on Broadway, winning a Tony for "Abe Lincoln in Illinois." His career includes a lauded Lincoln mini-series, Golden Globe nominations and fame for his "Law and Order" role.
The Murray Hotel will be full of movie lovers later this week,
when an outdoor screening is held across the street for "Rancho Deluxe." 
LEGENDARY singer-composer Jimmy Buffett has maintained long ties to Montana, dating back to the 1970s when he wrote the music for "Rancho Deluxe."  He performed "Livingston Saturday Night" with alternate lyrics within the film in a scene set at a country/western bar reminiscent of those in downtown Livingston.
Local Livingston residents remember the movie premier and the filming, which took place largely in Montana, supplying me with some of my first "star" interviews as a young reporter.

 Elizabeth Ashley has appeared on
Broadway and is known for her
portrayal of sultry Tennessee
Williams women.
AN ELDERLY MAID at the Murray Hotel a couple days ago recalled cast and crew staying at the Murray, partying in the fourth-floor outdoor jacuzzi (long since gone) and drinking and trading movie stories while soaking.
Elizabeth Ashley, known for her moving interpretations of Tennessee Williams' southern belles, played the part of Cora Brown, married to a wealthy ranch owner. Actor Clifton James, who played the wealthy rancher married to Ashley, is still alive at 94 and living in Spokane.
Here is Elizabeth Ashley during the
filming of  "Rancho Deluxe" in 1975.
 The late Slim Pickens, who also loved Montana, had a featured part in "Rancho Deluxe." Pickens, known for his famous "riding the bomb" scene in "Doctor Strangelove," played the aging detective Harry Beige hired to find the rustlers. Pickens garnered the best reviews of anyone in the film.
The film's director Frank Perry, who died 20 years ago, was also known for "Mommie Dearest," "Diary of a Mad Housewife" and "David and Lisa." When he found he was dying of prostate cancer, he filmed his own story,  which was an international success. He, too, loved Montana and returned to vacation several times.

UP NEXT: We revisit "Rancho Deluxe" and watch the movie again -- after decades -- and tell why it holds up as an enjoyable parody of western life and mores. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Wednesdays and weekends at:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Tanks for the memories -- collector saves World War II weapons, vehicles


Collector and military historian specialist Larry Torske of Hardin enlists the help of his grandson to fire his prize cannon..
Military weapons specialist Larry Torske describes restoration work to visitors.

LARRY TORSKE has a cannon in his front yard, a "DUKW" in his Hardin shop, and tanks to boot.
Torske is surely the only man in Hardin -- and one of the few in Montana -- with a cannon proudly displayed in his yard.
The energetic farmer -- for many years a U.S. Postal Service carrier -- has a hobby of collecting old machinery. Married to musician Randi Lierboe in Fargo, N.D., nearly 52 years ago, he brought her to Hardin to the family farm. But all work and no play wouldn't satisfy either Torske.
A meticulous craftsman, Torske shows how tiny, intricate
pieces fit together to restore a vintage tank.
Randi, a retired laboratory tech, worked for many years, too, and both helped make Hardin's highly regarded Big Horn County Museum a reality.
Bruce Keller takes a turn at the wheel of one of Torske's restoration  trucks.
THE COUPLE'S two daughters, Brit and Andrea, sons-in-law and five grandchildren understand their parents' desire to be active in retirement. The Torskes are "community kingpins," as one friend put it, "always there to lend a hand to a good cause."
Torske sings in fund-raisers, with Randi on piano, and both beat the drum for the museum. "He has to have a project," says Randi, "and I always have a list of things to do" (including volunteering regularly at the museum.)
In a shop a mile or so away from the family farm house, Torske drives to work on his "projects and stuff," as Randi calls it. A large metal workshop houses 30-caliber carbines made by Rock-ola Jukebox, machine guns made by Royal Typewriter Co., and other treasures. The war effort reached into commerce and enlisted the expertise of businesses known for other reasons. For instance, Diebold Company, famous for quality safes, supplied vehicle armor. Royal Typewriter Co. turned out light machine guns. Truck boxes were manufactured by piano makers.
'AMERICA'S industrial might won the war," Torske said.
About a decade ago ago, Torske began to restore a M24 Chaffee, a light tank used by the Army at the end of World War II.
Larry and Randi Torske: long marriage
is a true partnership in understanding.
A major overhaul, including engine repairs, took several years. Torske showed off his effort during Hardin'’s Little Bighorn Days parade a few summers ago. Driving the tank was his son-in-law, Ray Jeno, who served in the Idaho National Guard as a loader on an M1 Abrams tank.
Inside Torske's workshop, everything is organized and neat.
Torske restored the tank for the Alabama Center for Military History, a private museum in Huntsville. Estimates for restoring a World War II tank range from $125,000 to $150,000. But Torske was paid in "equipment" not dollars, brokering a deal for a second, unrestored tank as payment for his good work.
"People drive past these big barns and houses and never know what's in them," he winks.
Latest undertaking:  this DUKW isn't Torske's but his
latest project is to restore one similar.
The "gift" tank, penetrated with dents and other scars of use, is still a work in process.
WHILE TORSKE is restoring the second tank, he takes time off to tackle a job he considers less-complicated:– restoring a World War II military ambulance. He's also restoring a "duck," an amphibious vehicle used during World War II in dangerous air-water maneuvers.
About the colloquial term "duck," that's how the word is pronounced, like the aquatic critter. It is officially spelled "DUKW," used particularly during attack and designed only long enough to survive short periods. So Torske has his hands full for a while longer at the shop. Randi will be busy with her own "stuff."

COMING WEDNESDAY: The movie "Rancho Deluxe"  was filmed in Montana 40 years ago. Now, the town of Livingston is celebrating the anniversary with a celebration and showing of the western parody this Thursday, Aug. 20, on the lawn by the historic Livingston Depot. Relive the days of yesteryear in a two-part series on the filming of "Rancho Deluxe," with updates on Jeff Bridges, Sam Waterston, Elizabeth Ashley and others in the movie.  Remember Jimmy Buffett's "Livingston Saturday Night"? We'll refresh your memory in our two-step down memory lane.  Remember to explore, learn and live. Catch us weekends and Wednesdays at

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Shaggy dogs get a "do" -- complete canine make-over at one-stop salon


AFTER: Nick and Nora emerge freshly groomed and ready to rock 'n' roll, with Abbey Wacker doing the honors.
Paws and Reflect has a cute, convenient studio for grooming, but
will also come to your house or office to groom your pet. 

SUMMERTIME and the living is easy. Right about August, people are getting summer hair cuts. But if you're not the only shaggy critter in the household, how about shaping up your shaggy pooch?
IT'S ALWAYS  a good idea to kick things up a notch when you're in the summer doldrums.
Hair looks blah. Company coming.
Time for a change!
So we took Nick and Nora to Paws and Reflect Pet Salon, 2906 Grand Avenue, in preparation for a road trip. Boy, they are two spiffy dogs.

Paws and Reflect on 2906 Grand Ave. gets paws up.
 We've spent thousands of dollars through the years on dog grooming. Most of our money goes to San Diego groomers, who charge as much as $130 for the two -- that's if you go for the Rolls Royce of La Jolla groomers and have them bring their mobile grooming unit to your home.  But we try to keep the pair under $80 or $90, which you can do at Paws and Reflect for two doggies.
WE FOUND the  Paws and Reflect team cordial, efficient and, most important, devoted to their work.  They immediately made Nick and Nora comfortable, offering treats, pets and kind words to ease them into the back room (Nick declined his treat, Nora took the bite.)
BEFORE: Fairell Newell, left, and Jeannie Schroeder, take 
Nick and Nora in their arms and calm them down 
 and assure them before they are groomed. 
The groomers efficiently took all our phone numbers, then checked with our Absarokee, Montana, vet, Dr. Rex Anderson, to make sure their shots were up to date. (They just had their rattlesnake vaccine, parvo/et al re-ups and a look over.  If we'd thought to bring in the paperwork, that would have simplified things.)
We did a few hours' errands and had a phone message that the pups were ready, 10 minutes before they had estimated.
PAWS AND REFLECT also offers dog obedience training, doggie day care and kenneling.  All the prices are reasonable -- expect to pay $36 to $45 for a complete grooming, depending on your dog's size.  That includes the wash and clip, ear and teeth cleaning, nail cutting and that least pleasant of "musts," the anal glands.
Paws and Reflect has a way with dogs, and a cute anteroom.
As owner Brooke Odei says, "Our staff is hand chosen. We look for people who truly love animals."
She insists that her colleagues exhibit a true and genuine affection for doggies -- all four of the people with whom we came in contact did so, going above and beyond with kindness.
If you have to wait, the staff will make you comfortable in a pretty little sitting area with doggie toys, clothes and decorations.
We've recommended Paws and Reflect to our pet loving pals.
For more information, go to, or call 406 839-9116.

Larry Torske took a shine to tanks years ago, and his collection is growing.

UP SOON: Tanks for the memories and we didn't make a typo.  A Hardin man has been collecting and restoring vintage tanks, and we stop by Larry Torske's to have a look. Remember to explore, learn and live, and catch us Wednesdays and weekends at:                                                                         

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Trip tips for road-tripping Yorkies lead to a happy life on the road

A drive up the California coast from southern California includes plenty of stops so the Yorkies can be exercised and kept to a routine. Traveling with pets means being sensitive to their needs, to help them adapt and enjoy the journey, too..
A human bag, a cooler, and Yorkies ready to roll.

 THEY KNOW when the suitcases come out that a trip is in the works. Are they to be included? Naturally, they hope so.
That's the major concern of Nick and Nora, as we scurry about with bags and lists, clothes and errands, packing for another departure.
When they see their Sherpa travel bag come off the shelf, they breathe a sigh of Yorkie relief.
They fuss and prance about, calming down only when they are in the car and the four of us are on our way.
THEY GOT their summer cuts and are beautiful for our next driving trip, so we're off..
Nick and Nora know they are to be included in a road trip when they see their 
Sherpa bag come off the shelf. Here they are in Ashland, Oregon, 
during a week-long visit to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
This article answers questions we've received the past months, asking for hints to ease road-tripping doggies into the travel groove.
Here's how we do it:
*Before the actual drive, load the pups in the car and take a few short trips, stopping by a park or recreation area to play for 15 minutes. This gives them the idea that car trips can be fun.
*Take a couple gallons of the doggies' accustomed water, refilling the bottles half with the new water, thus easing them in to the changing water sources.
*Pack plenty of their regular dog food and whatever regular treats they get. Feed them only half the normal amount before the day's drive, to reduce motion sickness.
Nick is a good listener, grateful for conversation.
Talking to your pet as you travel helps calm him.
*Bring along favorite old toys and pillows if you have the luxury of space, and put an old t-shirt with your scent to add comfort to their sleeping area.
*Talk to them in the car. They appreciate it.
*Always keep a window cracked for ventilation.
*If you have an RV, high truck or other vehicle they can't easily master, fashion a ramp out of plywood or particle board with an old towel or piece of carpet for tread.
*Leash them before departing the car, to avoid surprises from another dog or person.
*Be courteous to those who may not share your affinity for four-legged "people."
Frequent stops, in parks or by a river
or stream, calm your traveling pet.
Here, Nora appreciates a break.
*Plan plenty of stops. If you're driving through the desert, keep water in a deep plastic or metal pail in the car, or in their kennel, where they can find it. When you hear the lapping, take a break.
*Give a small treat when you load them back in the car.
*You will need to purchase an airline approved travel case. (Pet stores have a wide selection, or go on line.) You'll pay around $50 and up.  Our Nick and Nora love their Sherpas.
This link will provide dozens of choices:
*Register your animal when you make your own reservation. Only limited numbers of pets are allowed in each cabin.
 *We recommend a small piece of a tranquilizer to calm before boarding. Feed only a small meal, enough to help the med get absorbed. Ask your veterinarian for a prescription. We just re-upped.
*Keep treats in your pocket. (We break "Greenies" in two, as reward after passing through TSA.)
Nick settles into the Omni hotel in Los Angeles, with a toy from the concierge.
*Remove collars and put in your purse, briefcase or carry-on.  They will trip the TSA alarm when you carry them through.
*Once you get the dog safely under the seat in front, tell him he's a good boy and encourage him that the flight won't be long.
*You must not remove the dog from his case, but I open the zipper from time to time to pet and give treats if I hear restlessness.
*Keep your leash handy so you can take him out to go potty as soon as you get to baggage. If you're traveling with a partner or friend, one person takes the pet out and the other waits for bags.
Groomer Abbey Wacker has expertise and hands-on cheer at Paws and Reflect.
PET PERFECT: We found a fine match with Nick and Nora and a wonderful Montana groomer, at Paws and Reflect on Grand Avenue in Billings.  There, personalized attention makes grooming a breeze, calming down even our nervous Nicky. Up next, tips on looking for the right groomer for your prized pets. Remember to explore, learn and live and check us out Wednesdays and weekends at:

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Artist finds her outlet in photography of Stillwater Valley and beyond

Barbara Adams photographs reflect her love of landscape, changing by the moment, with all its clouds and colors. 


Artist Barbara Adams, right, introduces Christene Meyers at
 a reading for  Meyers' novel, "Lilian's Last Dance."
The same back yard hosts Saturday's second annual Art in the Yard.

WHEN BARBARA Adams lost her husband Ed, she lost her equilibrium. She'd get it back.
It's not uncommon to lose one's sense of balance and meaning in a devastating loss.  Adams decided to "get back on the horse."
She picked up her camera -- an important element in her life with Ed.  She got her mojo back through art.
The energetic photographer may be closing in on 70, but she has the drive of an artist half her age. The photos are one way of "keeping in the groove, and honoring Ed."
Adams says that losing Ed was a horrible blow, but the medium of photography continues to help her through her loss.
WITNESS "ART IN THE YARD," which Adams hosts in her back yard in Columbus, Montana, this Saturday, Aug. 8.
The day-long gathering will feature artists and their creations from throughout Stillwater County.
A little magic, and a photographic kaleidoscope emerges in Adams' studio.
"It's a smaller, grassroots offshoot of the Absaroka Fine Arts Wine and Art Festival," says Adams. She refers to the popular festival which attracted hundreds to sip wine and browse art under a tent for nearly 15 years. It raised monies to support scholarships and the annual Shakespeare in the Parks visit by Montana Rep.
Adams and artistic friends invite the public to her home studio, Montana Meadowlark Photography, to wander her pretty back yard and patio Saturday. The fun is in Columbus at 48 E. 1st Avenue North, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m..
A colt and its mother enjoy the grass and a cool breeze in this Adams shot.
The much photographed Montana meadowlark inspired
the name Adams chose for her photo gallery in Columbus.

HER PHOTOS evoke happy memories of driving the countryside with Ed, often listening to the meadowlark's cheerful serenade. So the decision to name the gallery "Meadowlark" was a natural.
 The couple’s 17-state trip to Kansas – "B.C." (before camera) – propelled Adams’career.
“After we returned from the Midwest, I remarked that we should have had a camera,” recalls Adams. “For the birds, the sights, the changing landscape. We went to Billings, bought one and that was the beginning.”
Frequent drives around Stillwater County resulted in a growing repertoire of nature portraits and scenics, admired by the public in galleries and in her Columbus studio.
''ED DROVE and I held the camera. I had him trained to stop on a dime, or retrace a piece of  road so I could get the shot I missed.”
Her artistic credo is “take pride and have fun.”
Since Ed’s passing, nearly four years ago, Adams immersed herself in her hobby, making prints and note cards. “I find peace, but I’m no Ansel Adams,” she jokes. “When my family tell me I have a good eye, I ask, ‘which one?’”
For more information on her work or the Saturday art sale, call Adams at 406 322-4450.

Nick and Nora at Mount Shasta with Keller and Cookie.

 DOG GONE:  We're about to get a summer hair cut for Nick and Nora, who have become slightly shaggy dogs. Tips on making the most of your summertime on the road with beloved pets and how we keep Nick and Nora "cool cats" or, well, dapper doggies, is up next. Remember to explore, learn and live and visit us Wednesdays and weekends at: