So, there I was, wandering around the dairy section of the grocery store (exciting life, I know,) when I spotted eggnog. Ah, the non-alcoholic beverage of the Gods! The sight of this rich and creamy drink clued me in–it must be Christmas, Hanukkah, Festivus For the Rest of Us, dance around a bonfire at night, etc, season. So, in that spirit, you are getting this message. Not an actual letter as I am boycotting the US Post Office until they print a stamp with my likeness on it. Since I am still more or less alive, I do not think I will see said stamp. That, and I am lazy and cheap. Mainly cheap.
What happened this year? Well, I took a lot of naps. Wait, this is supposed to cover interesting events. Sooo…
AM has been extremely busy. First, there were the floods down by Yellowstone National Park. I am sure everyone saw the video of the big house getting washed into the river and floating along nicely until it hit the bridge. Well, a pretty large area was impacted by the floods. AM went down with Team Rubicon and helped out with the cleanup.
She then went to Stanley, Idaho to teach a chainsaw class and cut out snags, making a Boy Scout camp safe for the kids. Then she went to Moab, Utah to help cut trees down from another flood/fire disaster. Who knew there were trees in Moab? One of the projects was dissembling giant log jams from the flood. Unfortunately, the tree huggers wouldn’t let Team Rubicon use heavy equipment to tear the dams apart within thirty feet of a stream. Something about fuel contaminating the soil. These dams were not little piles of sticks either; think immense, tightly compacted ten-foot-high islands of logs, debris and dirt. So, it was a lot of chainsawing and straight up digging out the logs. I suggested explosives, but for some reason this idea was not followed up. From Moab, she was off to Washington state to assist another fire recovery chainsaw project.
AM also continues her epic adventures in the land of book writing. She currently has 12 science fiction and 2 romantic suspense books published, with more coming this year. And in the tradition of commercializing Christmas, you can get her books here! She also co-wrote a series of post-apocalypse novels for charity. Six authors started in her group, four authors finished, with only two of them remaining the same, but they persevered and four of the eight books are out now. The series is here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/
In June, she attended an author conference in Spain. She went with her sister (also an author), and brother-in-law. They met up with one of our friends who was in Spain visiting her parents. They toured all around. The weird thing is there were no pictures of old castles or churches or anything historic. All of the pictures seemed to revolve around wine and food. I am not sure there really was a conference. (Note from AM: There was indeed a conference and lots of pictures of castles and churches. See my Instagram: @amscottwrites or @annemscott_author) (Counter Note from The ASM: All of those pictures look like stock pictures from a travel agency)
In November, she attended another conference in Vegas. She also had a mini-family reunion there; her brother Joe lives in Vegas, her sister and husband were at the conference, and her brother Jerome and his wife flew down to meet them. Again, there seemed to be a lot of pictures centered around eating and drinking. I think I am missing out.
The really big news: AM became a legal motorcycle rider. Yep, she got her motorcycle endorsement after attending the motorcycle safety course. I too attended this course. I got yelled at for putting my leg out while doing fast tight turns. Something about, “This is not a motocross race!” Old habits die hard, but I passed anyway. Anyway, we now run our bikes up and down the Forest Service dirt roads when it is too hot to go hiking and ride into town on Saturdays to attend the farmers market. Have you ever tried riding a motorcycle while carrying a watermelon, four cantaloupes, and an apple pie? (Note from AM: Neither has Matt. The pie would never last that long!)
So, where was I during all of Anne’s adventures? Well, other than a motorcycle safety class, I was at home with our neurotic dog Zoe. She’s developed some weird phobias. Some days she is happy to go for walks and others she does not want to leave the house. One day she is happily playing with other dogs and the next day she just stands there, nervously shaking. Fortunately, she is always up to go swimming or hiking. She is on doggie Prozac, which seems to help.
We did a three-day trip on the Magruder Corridor with Anne’s brother Jerome and his wife Stephanie. It is an old stage coach road across the Idaho – Montana border. Both vehicles lost their air conditioning on the trip. I think Jerome’s issue was electrical. Ours was a bad clutch. I think the clutch died as a result of two much sand/dirt. How dusty was it? Well, when I got home and pulled out the new air filter, I think there was more sand than filter media. After hosing out the engine bay, there was enough sand on the driveway I could have listed the house for sale with beach front property.
The second week in September we also did a four-day trip to the Absaroka-Beartooth mountains. We ended up setting up the camper (named “Lightwave;” by naming it after a spacecraft in AM’s books we can claim it as a marketing expense, but enough about my questionable tax avoidance schemes) in a mini blizzard in the dark. Now we have set this thing up 30 times, but this time for some unknown reason, one attachment stud was coming up short by about half an inch. After trying various things like changing the position of the camper, lowering or raising various corners, I decided the stud was not really needed, so I removed it. The camper worked out well other than a slight issue with the heater thermostat not wanting to shut the heater off. The first hike on the trip turned really snowy and cold after about three miles. Fortunately, the weather for rest of the trip was perfect.
Have you seen the TV show, Yellowstone? A lot of the show is filmed between Missoula and Darby, Montana. Well, guess who happens to live between those two towns? That’s right, Huey Lewis. Also, we live between them. So this summer we both were extras on the show. AM did one episode and I did two. Here is the really goofy thing: we’ve only seen one episode. It was interesting seeing how stuff is filmed, how many shots it takes for one scene, and how fast camera and lighting can be set up and taken down. I got some weird looks when I showed one of the guys playing a sheriff’s deputy the proper way to carry a 1911 pistol. I am not sure if the crew was impressed or aghast. Next year, I’d like to play a sheriff’s deputy. When the casting call goes out for deputies, they always state, “if you own body armor, please bring it.” I wonder if they would say the same thing when casting extras in Iowa? For the record we are transplants to Montana, and do not own any body armor. (Yet. I am holding out for real armor, a tank.) You can get autographed glossy head shots of us by contacting our agent.
We continue to go skiing/snowboarding as much as possible. We had two feet of fresh powder on opening day. I went down a black and only turned to avoid trees. The snow was so deep neither of us could get any real speed up. Pro tip: do not crash in two feet of powder. It is really hard to get up. As of today, I still have 9.3 fingers, but it is still early in the season. Fingers crossed I do not lose another one.
If you are interested in visiting the Bitterroots, July and Aug are the best months. I am usually splitting fire wood then and could use the help.
Well, it is getting late and I need to go practice dancing around the bonfire. So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
The Amazing Sleeping Man, AM and Zoe