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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Going to Montana tomorrow, back late Feb. 23.....

Posted on 2006.02.17 at 10:41
Yes! I am off to Montana for five days….

Nope, not to look for Ennis and Jack, should they have wandered too far north, trysting in the the Absaroka Mountains (a sub-range that straddles the border between Wyoming and Montana). I am taking Rachel for a “campus visit.” Our daughter has always had one main life goal: to enjoy outdoor recreation in a beautiful place, particularly places where she can learn surfing or snowboarding. The campus is in a narrow place in the river valley, in the midst of mountains just north of the Montana/Idaho border, a sub-range called the Gallatins. Yellowstone Park (and Wyoming) is south of there, but mostly to the east.

Rachel has planned to make a career in nursing, a career she sees as one that will afford her the best chances to live in such places, support herself modestly, and allow her to do what she really loves. I think that’s a reasonable goal. We just wish these places were not so far away and so costly. Still, she’s our only child, the child of a somewhat late surrender to love and marriage. She came to us much-desired but unexpectedly, since we were both past our prime reproductive years. I suppose there are worse things we could go broke doing than sending her to the school of her choice. :)

She has applied to and been accepted by three schools. One is the 'fall-back,' the local university (“Yuck!”). Her first choice is in Hawaii and her second choice is in Montana. We are hoping to give Montana its way with her (yes, this visit is to seduce her into making it her first choice). It's no less expensive than the school in Hawaii, but so much closer. It's a long two-day drive, but Hawaii would mean air fares, air fares so expensive we could only a afford to send her back and forth once a year.

Here are a pile of photos (for you who might be interested) of the area of Montana where the school is, along with a couple of annotated maps (I love maps).

I’ve also included a string of old shots of us, especially of Rachel. How quickly time has passed! I think all of you who have reached your middle or later years appreciate that. My mother always used to say, one didn’t notice the passing of the years except when one saw the way the children grew up.

You parents of children, aunts of nieces and nephews, older friends of the children of peers – you all know this. ‘Wasn’t it only last month that Bridget was sitting in a potty chair? Now she is driving a car.’ Treasure the watching of their growth; it is so soon over. I wish I had kept a journal of those early years. At least I saved her drawings and scrawls. But I wasn’t inclined to really write until my Frodo swoon. Too bad I hadn’t fallen in love with him earlier.

Map of Montana, showing Bozeman:

Here are scenic shots of the area. The top photo shows the campus of the college in the foreground, the mountains behind it:

This is the sort of land I love deeply: the high, vast, rolling grasslands between the valleys and the mountains, the sort where the bison used to roam.

These are shots in the mountains south of Livingston, which is a little east of Bozeman. Bozeman itself is on level land, the Gallatin River flowing through the valley. Speaking of which, the film "A River Runs Through It" was filmed in and around Bozeman area.

Below is a shot from the website of the ski place where I am taking Rachel for a snowboarding lesson, called Bridger Bowl. It's in a little sub-group of the Gallatins, called (surprise) the Bridger Range. The ski resort is only 20 minutes from the college campus and a shuttle takes students there for $5.00. The much bigger and more famous ski place, Big Sky, is about an hour away to the south, in the Gallatins.

Here are photos of Rachel with me and Glen over the years:

Rachel at about one and a half years of age:

Here I am the same year, at my graduation from a seminary graduate school:

Rachel was just over two years in this one; I was thirty-nine:

Here are the three of us in eastern Suffolk County, Long Island (NY). Rachel was three and a half. I would have been forty.

This is one of my favourite pictures of us because Rachel is so funny in it. She did NOT want to have her photograph taken. Can you tell? Rachel was eight, I was forty-five, Glen was forty-three.

This is a shot of Rachel I have always loved, she looks so wild and happy. It was taken on Baker Beach in San Francisco. She was ten.

This was taken in the summer of 2003. Rachel was fifteen, I was fifty-two.

This is her “senior picture,” taken in October. She was seventeen years old then. She'll be eighteen in May. I can hardly believe it.

~ Mechtild


sayhello at 2006-02-17 16:56 (UTC) (Link)
(((Mechtild))) She's a lovely girl.

I think your captions got a bit mixed up in the lj cut, as the one that showed up under the San Fransisco picture on the "front" page of the post was the one that said Rachel looked happy & free. I thought "she looks kind of sullen & pissed there, to me!" When I saw the entire page, I realized it was the caption to the picture *below* of her running, which *did* fit the description.

How quickly it goes.

sayhello at 2006-02-17 16:57 (UTC) (Link)
Aha! You've fixed it. I must have just caught it.

mechtild at 2006-02-17 22:26 (UTC) (Link)
Whew! I thought I had fixed it. It took me a while to catch it. Your eagle eye got there first! :)

golden_berry at 2006-02-17 17:14 (UTC) (Link)
Your daughter is beautiful, Mechtild, and so are you and your husband--great family photos. This post really tugs at my heart; deep love and the shock of the passing of time, pride in your child mingled with the knowledge of her impending flight from the nest. My dear friend Peaceweaver is going through the same thing with her only child right now.

I hope your daughter chooses Montana. I certainly would!
mechtild at 2006-02-17 22:30 (UTC) (Link)
Well, you just talk her into Montana, Goldenberry! I really, really, really hope she loves it. The daughter of one of husband's best friends (Minnesotans like him) lives there with her husband, and they just graduated a couple of years ago from that school. They met ... yep, snowboarding. (Both are avid boarders).

Anyway, the daughter is actually going to meet us and show us around Bozeman, point out the student-oriented interests, join us for dinner at the Montana Ale House (her recommendation). She may even meet us up at the ski place to do some snowboard time with Rachel, after Rachel's lesson. Isn't that nice?
Map-Maker, Lighthouse-Keeper
marinshellstone at 2006-02-17 17:24 (UTC) (Link)
you are beautiful, and so is your daughter!

I love those shots of Montana. How awesome to just ride horses through that country and camp underneath the stars...
mechtild at 2006-02-17 22:33 (UTC) (Link)
Hadara, are you sweet! I was a good-looking young and middle-aged woman, but those days are gone *sigh*. It's your turn to carry the beauty torch, now. *grin*

(Still wearing that stuff you bought for Valentine's from Victoria's Secret?)
mews1945 at 2006-02-17 17:36 (UTC) (Link)
What beautiful pictures. You are beautiful too, and your daughter has grown up to be a lovely young lady. I hope she chooses Montana too. It certainly is gorgeous country and the idea of being able to go snowboarding that easily would certainly increase its appeal.
mechtild at 2006-02-17 22:38 (UTC) (Link)
We would love her to go there, but we don't want her to grow up always regretting not having gone to Hawaii if only to try it, just to please us.

Personally, I would love an excuse to visit that area. I adored all of the lands we drove through moving from the East to the West and back to the middle. Each time, we chose our routes to go through the Yellowstone/Tetons/Big Horn Mts. areas, just for the scenery, and loved it.

I would love her to love it in MT, yes.

shelbyshire at 2006-02-17 18:17 (UTC) (Link)
Drive carefully! Especially this time of the year. Gorgeous photos!!

mechtild at 2006-02-17 22:40 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Shelbyshire. We're having an intense cold snap all of a sudden. Here it was a little above zero with a nasty windchill factor. But that big dip of artic air, as usual, has skipped most of Montana. Not that it isn't cold there, but not AS cold. :D

I didn't take any of those Montana pictures. I just got them off the internet, but thanks. *smooch*
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2006-02-17 19:20 (UTC) (Link)
What a beautiful family you are. I see the likeness between you and your mother.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hope that Rachel chooses Montana.

Enjoy yourselves and take care.

mechtild at 2006-02-17 22:41 (UTC) (Link)
You see a likeness between us? Well, thank you! No one usually thinks she looks like my side of the family, only Glen's.

((((hugs you))))
lembas_junkie at 2006-02-17 20:57 (UTC) (Link)
Oh my goodness, look at you!! It's so wonderful to finally see what you look like! :D And of course your daughter is lovely and your husband strapping! :D

So is your hair still that short or any longer now? It looks so beautiful and thick; I used to have really long hair, too. But then one day I felt like a change so *LOP*! off it came. Everyone was doing double-takes for at least three weeks after that, heh heh.

So nice! And the mountains, Le Sigh! I love the mountains. :) I still have a piece of my heart in Kananaskis Country, where I lived for a year the first time I ever moved away from home. :)

So your daughter wants Haiwaii, of course; hmmm, she's have the warm beahces, a great school I'm sure...and hot LOST actors to run into... ;)

Lembas :)

p.s. Oh, I forgot to say: I saw BBM, and I loved it! Actually, this post is getting long, I'll write you an email later. :) I just finished a 3 hour lab, and now I'm on my way out of the school - the weekend, yaaaaaaaaay! :D
mechtild at 2006-02-17 22:44 (UTC) (Link)
Lembas, no, my hair is very fine. Not thick at all. I have been trying to grow it out again, but it's taking forever. I look like a soccer mom's mother, I'm afraid.

Yes, Rachel adores swimming and beaches and beautiful tropical places. She has tropical shots on her walls, on her screensaver, you name it. She was in heaven those five days we took her to Hawaii this time last year. And she loved her surf lesson. It's going to be very, very challenging for her to want to go to Montana instead.

You saw BBM? Oh, goody! I decided to stop seeing it after my fifth time, so that I'd enjoy my DVD more when I get it. :D
igraine1419 at 2006-02-17 21:00 (UTC) (Link)
Have a wonderful trip, dear Mechtild and thank you so much for posting those BEAUTIFUL photographs. Your words about how quickly time passes made me think of my own daughter and want to cling on to every moment. Actually started to sniffle a little there.

Montana looks very wild and beautiful. It's wonderful that your daughter knows what she wants so clearly in her heart. I wish you both all the best.

Aisling x
mechtild at 2006-02-17 22:47 (UTC) (Link)
Actually, Aisling, I was thinking a lot of you when I wrote about how quickly they grow, saving her picture stories and things we drew together -- and how I never journalled any of it. All that I have are the letters I wrote to my mother those years. My mother saved them and gave them back to me. They almost were like having a bit of a jounal. I am SO glad I wrote them.

Montana near the mountains is very gorgeous. Most people thing the bulk of the state, its whole eastern half is boring (high plains, like where Ennis and Jack go to Aguirre's office in a trailer). But I even like that. The land is so big and the sky is bigger. I think it's rather thrilling, having lived mostly in wooded or congested places.
bagma at 2006-02-17 21:16 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for these pictures! You and your family look wonderful, and so happy!:)
I find very moving to see the passing of these 17 years through your daughter's face. Sometimes I watch my 13 years old son, who now is taller than me, and I wonder where my baby is gone...:)
I hope your daughter will choose Montana; what a beautiful land!
mechtild at 2006-02-17 22:51 (UTC) (Link)
Your son is 13? Ah, you know how fast that went, no? Well, the teen years seem to have gone the fastest of all. It seems like she was a freshman last week!

Yes, I am hoping very much that she'll prefer Montana. Even that she will like it so much she'll be happy to go there should she go to Hawaii, but want to transfer after a year so far away. We have the cats, after all, so we do hold some aces up our sleeves (she adores our cats and they adore her).

Thanks for all the good wishes!
mechtild at 2006-02-17 23:21 (UTC) (Link)
I wanted to add, Bagma, that I often have thought it's even more of an eye-opener (the growing up of one's children) for parents of boys. Young women tend to look far more like they did as girls than young men look like the boys they once were. One day your son will be a man. And look like a man. When I imagine that for myself, I think of it as simultaneously jarring and thrilling -- "THAT is my son?"

Of course, when I think of my own mother, it may be that one never stops seeing the boy in the adult child. My mother still thinks of my 50 year-old brother as her "baby". He was the "youngest" and he still is to her. But, from her perspective at nearly 83, he is still a baby. ;)

On the other hand, my mother still calls me, "my little [Mechtild]." I did well at the death of my father, because I had a lot of ambivalent feelings about him, which made me a bit more distanced from him. But I have always really liked my mother, for all her foibles. When she dies, I think I will be truly bereft. When she dies, I will be no one's "little Mechtild."
pearlette at 2006-02-17 22:58 (UTC) (Link)
Wow. Mountains. Wow. Just ... WOW. Take me there, Lord.

What a handsome family. :)

Rachel is a lovely-looking girl, Mechtild, and so is her mother!!!! :)

(You look like your mum.)
mechtild at 2006-02-17 23:25 (UTC) (Link)
I look like my mother? You really have been saving my old emails and posts. Thank you for saying that, since people rarely think I look like my mother, only my father. I thought my mother looked like a movie star in her old photos. A totally hot, Swedish movie star. Even if she was English and very prudish, even for her era. ;)

Yes, Rachel is very good-looking. But she usually doesn't play it up and not that many notice. She's still a "tomboy," wearing no make-up, old T-shirts and sweats, with her unwashed hair in an elastic band. It's very endearing, actually, considering our times.
pearlette at 2006-02-17 23:46 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, you look a lot like your mother. :)

Your mother was prudish????


It's very endearing, actually, considering our times.

mechtild at 2006-02-18 00:32 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, my mother was and is prudish. She thought "Something's Gotta Give" (Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton) was really good, but the sex scene too explicit (?!?!?!?) "Leaves nothing to the imagination," she said.

Have you seen it? Nothing shows. In the "sex scene" Diane Keaton is wearing a long-sleeved turtleneck sweater. But, mother is right: you know (if you know of such things) that Jack is supposed to be giving her oral sex. Diane Keaton's split-second flash of actual nudity happens in a non-sex scene.

My mother always locked the bathroom door just to pee. And we never, ever saw her undressed. It was a huge thing for her to have to let me and my sister sponge-bathe her after her car accident and major surgeries.

We never heard my parents making love, although a younger neighbor-friend of hers confided to me (years later) that they were active enough that other women asked my mother "her secret" -- how she kept my father so interested.

So, yes, she was prudish. But not unsensual. ;)
(Anonymous) at 2006-02-17 23:00 (UTC) (Link)
Time goes by and all three of you look better and better. Of course there is a secret in you family! :-)
Have a wonderful trip and enjoy every moment together.
Estelanui - Francesca
estelanui at 2006-02-17 23:09 (UTC) (Link)
It was my post with the recurring login problem, sorry.
mechtild at 2006-02-17 23:26 (UTC) (Link)
Estelanui, hello! I know about the log-in problem. Mine comes and goes, too. Grrrr.
maeglian at 2006-02-17 23:40 (UTC) (Link)
Have a safe trip, and I do hope Rachel will like Montana. Montana looks beautiful from your pics. A little bit like home, but much more magnificent, more wild and rugged, and more scenic.

Wonderful of you to share your family pics with us. It's nice to be able to connect a face with the "name" on the board. What a lovely little family you 3 seem to be. :-)
mechtild at 2006-02-18 00:21 (UTC) (Link)
Montana is not as beautiful as YOUR home! Or, at least parts of your home.

Well, I didn't post any pics of us sulking or looking mean, it's true. It's the nature of family pictures. Only Rachel was stubborn enough to refuse to put on a "picture face". But thank you for saying such kind things, Maeglian. I know I will be thinking some "Brokeback" thoughts as we drive out there. Especially since I am bringing the soundtrack! :)
ellinestel at 2006-02-18 06:18 (UTC) (Link)
(((((((Mechtild)))))) The pictures are lovely, and I do think that your daughter looks like you. :)

Have a safe and successful journey! :k
mechtild at 2006-02-18 12:58 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Ellin, for the compliment. I hope we don't freeze on the way. It's -20 Farenheit this morning (-29 Celsius). Brrrrr. It's supposed to warm to above that during the week. Whoopee.
wendylady1 at 2006-02-18 07:25 (UTC) (Link)
What a FABULOUS place to study...the mountains are just ...well... awe-inspiring !!! ( I just hate the overused word "awesome"...it doesn't exist in the Brit-English language, just in US-English !! )

I loved your family pics...and it's so nice to see what a regular F-list friend actually looks like...strange how they almost never look like you imagine them to look - although I didn't really have a mental image of you really, just a feeling of talking to a fantastically friendly and imaginative person, with a wickedly naughty, and very English sense of humour !!!

I hope your daughter is very happy at her chosen college...and let's hope it is Montana...a bit nearer for you...but without the beachy fun of Hawaii, which would appeal to me a lot more...( FAB though those mountains are !! )
mechtild at 2006-02-18 13:01 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Wendy. Well, the tropics are the sirens of the world. The islands, the blue skies, the sun, the sand, the waves, the lush landscape all call to her very strongly. We'll see.

I would agree that it is almost always a surprise to see what an e-friend looks like. Not that they look "bad," but that they rarely look the way one imagines them after ages of posting together.

My young pictures look even more different, I am sure. I can barely see myself in them, physically, only the "look on the face" matches.

Well, I'm off! See you in a week. :)
elasg at 2006-02-18 13:32 (UTC) (Link)
It is amazing how quickly they grow up, isn't it? Mine's only 8 and she's already looking like a lady. I keep wondering where that beautiful baby went. *sigh*

taerie at 2006-02-19 01:51 (UTC) (Link)
You are right.. it is a surprise to see what an e friend looks (or looked) like. YOU for instance! You once said that you had never looked like the kind of woman you could imagine Frodo being into. I totally disagree!!! Shrink you down, slap some hairy feet on you and dress you in a flowery dress and I can totally see you standing next to a blushing Frodo while other hobbits throw confetti!

Lovely family.. very vibrant.. and I too love that look on Rachel's face in that picture!! hahahaha! They are so cute when they are being bad!
I loved Montana the one time I went. All that open sky makes you feel like you are flying!
Have a great time!
maewyn_2 at 2006-02-19 07:00 (UTC) (Link)
It looks like you'll be visiting a beautiful part of the country. Hopefully (for you) she'll be so taken with Montana that she feels she MUST go there! Have a great (and safe) trip! See you when you get back.

I love your family photos. I love looking at how people change over the years. Rachel has grown into a lovely young woman.

I know exactly what you mean about children growing up fast. I have to pinch myself when I realise that my two "little" boys are now 23 and 26! When they are growing up, you are so taken up with day to day living that you don't notice a thing. Then one day you look at them and they're adults! When did that happen?!

You mentioned wishing you had kept a journal of Rachel's growing up. I didn't keep a journal as such, but I have a sort of diary that I started only 2-3 weeks after I met Laurie. I kept writing in it on occasions - sometimes it was 2-3 years between entries, but I'd write it as if I was talking to someone I knew, filling them in on what had been happening in my life. I wrote about getting engaged, then married. When the boys were born, I noted when they got their first teeth, first steps, their height and weight at a certain age. When they started school, I wrote about their progress, etc. Of course, the diary wasn't entirely about the boys, but I suppose it's a synopsis of our life over the last 32 years. I recently typed it all into a Word document. It's twenty pages long, and I just looked at it - it's 2 years since I've written in it. I must update!
Starlit Woods
starlit_woods at 2006-04-22 14:21 (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful mountain photo's! So stunning! And even more beautiful family photo's Rachel is very pretty and her mum is even prettier :) You have a gorgeous smile! :D
mechtild at 2006-04-22 18:21 (UTC) (Link)
I forgot I had stuck all those family pics down there. I guess it had made me all sentimental, thinking of our daughter as grown up already.

Thanks for commenting, Starlit Woods. And when you have seen BBM (and if you enjoyed it, of course), I'll point you to the silly spoofs.
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