Yellowstone and Beta Blocker on Board

Wolf watching in the banks of Slough Creek
Wolf watching in the banks of Slough Creek. This crowd flipped around 180 degrees when a griz was spotted on the opposite hill.

So my doctor Jay has a sharp physician’s assistance named Chris. For decades Jay has been my doctor but he’s so darn popular and doesn’t do my girl parts and we decided it would be easier to see his PA instead. OMG. Chris was great. So great she managed to get me to do something Jay and three cardiologist have tried but failed. She convinced me to give a beta blocker a try and see if it lessened my afib symptoms. Who knows I might like it and it could save my life. I am in my 3rd day. I’ve resisted because betablockers are notorious for causing lethargy. I am feeling stoned. I also have a governor on my heart rate and can’t move quickly. Yet. The pharmacist and drug literature says it should pass in about a month. Stay tuned. Now’s the time to schedule a tennis match if you want to take advantage of my sloth like footwork.

Despite me languidity yesterady I managed to fly fish and enjoy Yellowstone with Burt and Sue and Jay and play music and tour Gardiner with Zondra. My phone says I walked 5 miles over the course of the day. I did also happen to fall asleep just 100′ from a herd of bison in grizzly habitat while my friends fished on. Refreshing and startling little nap.

I am taking the new drug day by day. I hate the idea of being on a beta blocker for the rest of my life but I like the idea of surviving long term. I hope to have more fish to catch and wolves to see.

Burt's tiny binos
Burt’s tiny binos
I fell asleep right here. Bison and Grizzly could not keep me from some zzzzzz.
I fell asleep right here. Bison and Grizzly could not keep me from some zzzzzz.
Lamar River in Yellowstone
Lamar River in Yellowstone. It was a little cloudy for optimal fishing.
This is not a merkin. This is a Bison beard.
This is not a merkin. This is a Bison beard.
I look pretty dashing with a beard.
I look pretty dashing with a beard. or Amish.
Black bear cub
Black bear cub. Yes it’s tiny. DO NOT APPROACH WILDLIFE.
The Roosevelt Arch. First entrance to the world's first national park.
The Roosevelt Arch. First entrance to the world’s first national park.
Masonry at the Roosevelt Arch.
Masonry at the Roosevelt Arch.
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Semi-Retired is Darn Fun

Welcome to Helena chicken dinner with Rosemary and Ed.
Welcome to Helena chicken dinner with Rosemary and Ed.

This is our first summer free of work in 5 years and 3 weeks in we are loving it. No work deadlines are looming and we can do whatever we want. A very freeing feeling. The first 2 weeks were spent traveling up the west coast and reconnecting with left coast friends and family and making trailer repairs. The last week has been in the Helena area. Helena was home for 30 years for Burt and 20 for me. Connections are diverse and deep. It’s always hard to figure out what to do and who to see. Generally we play it loose and see what happens. This was our first visit in two years. Many connections have naturally faded and some have strengthened despite time and distance. My friend Ed and I think it all depends on a person’s preferred method of touching base. There is texting, facebooking, emailing, phoning , snail mail and more… If you do not share the same preferred manner of communication the lines are quiet. Add to that the demands of jobs and children and who has time to chat?

This visit has had more elements of loss than earlier returns to our former hometown. Some people have noticeably declined and others died. My musical mentors are a generation older than me and the changes there are most noticeable but the loss of my peer, Linda, the sharpest pain. We had Linda’s husband over for dinner with Rosemary and Ed and it was a joy to reconnect. I only cried once when I learned half of Linda’s ashes were spread up on our favorite running trail. Linda and I ran it together the first time when I was 34. That run became a regular part of our lives for many years. From that 7 1/2 mile route we hatched our idea to run a marathon. The ridge trail with its varied terrain and expansive views became the mainstay training run as we added longer and longer weekend runs to our schedule. Frequently the ridge trail was the last bit of a 20+ mile endeavor.

Aside from our grueling and expanding schedule of eating with friends we managed to play tennis and bridge and music AND visit the doctor for checkups. We’ve scheduled some shows for July in Helena with former bandmates Mike and Barb. Announcements coming soon. We also took a tour of the former Asarco lead smelter with Betsy. Betsy and her team have done an astounding job reclaiming this heavily contaminated industrial site. I feel very lucky to see the work I first imagined happening in 1998 nearing its conclusion. I feel even luckier that I didn’t actually have to do most of the work.

After 5 non-stop days of play (thanks Ed and Rosemary for the constant doggie daycare) we headed to the greater Yellowstone area to retrieve our rowboat from Sue and Jay’s river house. The Sea King rides again. We are headed to Montana’s northwest territories and her many streams and lakes. Fish will be eaten. Jen and Robin will be visited. Pinochle will be played. A few nails might be nailed. But first Yellowstone….

Brunch with Claire
Brunch with Claire
Up on the slag pile again.
Up on the slag pile again.
By pass and new channel of Prickly Pear Creek at former Asarco lead smelter.
By pass and new channel of Prickly Pear Creek at former Asarco lead smelter.
Pickup tennis match.
Pickup tennis match. We ran into a friend of Burt’s. These two have skills but we managed to beat them. A grudge rematch will be scheduled soon.
Jay looks like he's giving Burt a lecture but he's not.
Jay looks like he’s giving Burt a lecture but he’s not.
Burt gowning around.
Burt gowning around.
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