Wow, what a year! I can not believe we were able to cram two-months of activities into twelve months. Yep, pretty slow year here, not sure where it went but I know it was not adrenaline-filled.
Snowboarding/skiing got off to a slow start, then some big storms rolled in and it was powder nirvana. We also took advantage of Vail Resorts Military EPIC Pass for unlimited skiing at any Vail-owned property. So we hit places in Utah and Colorado. Anne Marie’s brother Jerome met us in Colorado, proving once again he’s a much better snow surfer than either of us. The EPIC pass was indeed epic. We did not buy the tickets this year due to the addition to our family.
In April one of Anne Marie’s friends had a German Shepherd Dog (GSD) puppy she could not keep. So for some reason I am still not clear on, we ended up with a puppy. Anne Marie drove to Oregon to pick it up, visiting her sister Julia on the way. Turns out the puppy is a long-haired GSD and we’ll be her fourth (and final) home. My new hobbies include: throwing the stick, throwing the ball, playing tug a rope, going to the dog park, and unclogging the vacuum cleaner. I can strip the Hoover down and remove all of the dog fur from the motor, brushes and tube faster than I can field strip an M-1 rifle.
Our new 65 lb fur missile is named Zoe. We named her after Zoe in the TV series “Firefly.” They are both black, female, and the TV character is a warrior—our dog, not so much. She is pretty much a chicken. But technically, she is still a puppy: she’ll be one on New Year’s Day. Anne Marie posts lots of pictures of Zoe on Instagram @amscottwrites
I am down to my last 4 months working for Smokey Bear. I am looking for something a little closer to home. The fifty-six mile each-way drive isn’t bad in summer, but in the winter it’s dark to Missoula and back home. I swear every large critter of undetermined origin is trying to jump out of nowhere and kill me. Maybe if I did not drive on the twisty mountain road it would be different, but where is the fun in that?
Anne Marie continues her prolific book writing. She published book six of her science fiction series this fall. She also got a short story selected for a big anthology (you know, a big book of stories by various authors—I had to look it up, too). Her story ended up being the first one in the anthology. You can find her books under the name AM Scott or at amscottwrites.com. She hopes to finally break even in 2020.
She also went to a writing/marketing conference in Las Vegas (the Nevada one, not the New Mexico one) with her sister Julia Huni, who also writes science fiction. They had a good time and made a lot of contacts. The best part was I did not have to make an emergency trip to bail them out of jail.
Last spring, Anne Marie revisited her college years. She performed in a local theater show called “Disaster! A 1970’s Movie… Musical!” It was a spoof of all of the 1970’s disaster movies. It was pretty funny. She had a blast and met lots of, let’s say interesting, people. They are all very talented. It is amazing how much talent there is in this little valley.
We didn’t do much hiking this summer—see above about new puppy and long commute. We did get a few short ones in this fall and Zoe seems to really like it. We also did a lot of obedience training with the professionals at Wind River Tails and Trails. Zoe has become less fearful of dogs and likes people, so she can run free at the dog park.
Fortunately, Montana was pretty disaster-free this year. Anne Marie only did one Team Rubicon operation; a fire mitigation project in NW Montana for another veteran organization. She was happy to sleep in a tent for a few nights since she didn’t do any backpacking trail maintenance trips this year. She did get one quick backpacking trip with friends, also in NW Montana.
In October, a good friend of mine from high school, college, and the Air Force (we both took the AF test at the same time and ended up being stationed only about 80 miles apart) came to visit. We introduced him to a true Montana fall: burning slash piles on rainy days and cutting down big trees. He mentioned renting a chainsaw and cutting trees in his subdivision, so we decided to up his skill level. I got out my professional chainsaw. And by professional I am not talking about some cheap marketing-ploy chainsaw used to prune Magnolia trees. My chainsaw was a rebuilt one bought from a real lumberjack. It is the same type we used to fight fires. Think of this thing as a clan of angry beavers set out for revenge against trees. It will cut through boulders and take a leg off in five seconds. Anyway, after a quick lesson by Anne Marie (she is a Team Rubicon saw instructor) he was dropping seventy-five foot plus trees. He lived and my saw still works, so I guess we can chalk Anne’s instruction up as a success.
So far, it’s been a disappointing ski season here. Opening day was a couple of weeks later than normal and we’ve gotten little snow since then. We normally ski on Christmas (Anne Marie sings for the Christmas Eve service) but this year there just isn’t enough snow to bother going.
We’re hoping for more snow, so we can use our ski passes and all the prepaid doggy daycare days. We hope you get the weather, fun and jobs you want in 2020!