Homesick for Montana

Another week without a trip to the airport! Compared to last week's mix of work and appointments, I settled into a nice schedule this week. I slept in my own bed, didn't eat a single meal in or from a restaurant, and worked out every day. It all ends in a couple days, but it was good while it lasted.

As I look back on my week at home, like I do every Sunday evening, I realize it's bringing up emotions I didn't expect. I'm happy, frustrated, and most of all homesick. How could this be? Let's knock out the first two. Happy for the last week at home and spending quality time with Terry. Frustrated that I haven't found a solution at work to reduce my travel and that I'm looking forward to surgery in order to be able to take time off and not travel per doctor's orders. Got to fix that!

Homesick. Sure, I'm homesick in anticipation of not being home the next two weeks. Even more so, I'm homesick for Montana. Strange that it took a blog to put it all together. I wasn't born in Montana, but moved there before Kindergarten and stayed through College Graduation, it's home and I'm a Montanan. I don't go back often, which is my bad. Maybe deep down, I know the more I go, the more chances I won't come back. I love living in Park City and don't plan on leaving, but there is something about the land and people of Montana that occasionally tugs at the heart.

There are plenty of reasons for Montana homesickness, these ones got to me this week.

St Patrick's Day: I have Irish heritage and lived in two of the most Irish proud cities in America. St Patrick's in Anaconda and Butte is at least a week's worth of celebration. Last Saturday, I started seeing posts on FB of friends dressed in green running in the local races, jig dancing, and just being Irish. On Thursday, I watched the M&M webcam in Butte and saw posts that made me proud of Montana tradition. Meanwhile in Utah, I wore my Irish socks, dressed in green, and ate boiled potatoes and cabbage. In year's past, I've marched in the SLC Parade with my Montana Tech Alumni. I didn't realize how much it was satisfying my Montana yearnings for community and celebration. Obviously, I either need to get back to it next year or get myself back to Butte.

Montana Family & Friends
Happy St Pat's from Utah

Parents: Sure, parents can either drive you crazy or make you homesick, but this week was a tough one. Mine were in Kansas helping my Grandma transition from her house of 60+yrs to an assisted living apartment. I saw videos of the house before and after the estate sale, which brought up many emotions. Talked to my Mom about saying goodbye to the house she grew up in and where we spent summer vacations. I broke my hand in a fight with my brother in that house, watched hours of sports with my Grandpa, and even spent a summer in college rehabbing a knee. I wish I could have been there to help my parents with the transition and to say goodbye. I'm not homesick for Kansas, but homesick for Montana and family.

Grandma's House after the Estate Sale - Mom & Dad relaxing in the only furniture left after a job well done.

Podcast: With all my walking, I've been listening to a lot of podcasts. I have my favorites, but have picked up a few new ones, including The Minimalists. More on that activity later, but the premise is two guys that left corporate jobs and moved to Missoula, Montana and live minimalist lifestyles. They have some great ideas, but what gets me every time is the mention of their 406 phone number and little things about living in Montana.

I still have months of walking/hiking before I can bike - dry single track & podcasts makes me happy!

Basketball: March Madness always makes me homesick. My brother and I have attended tourneys in the past and use it as time to catch-up. The flood of basketball into my life brings back years of memories, most occurring in Montana. I'm reminded of and miss my teammates and so many Montanans that were involved and supported the sport while I played.

Since I'm limited with my shoulder, I've been looking forward to the NCAA tournament for weeks to keep my mind off the pain and lack of activity. We filled out brackets (favorite mascots for the men and serious for the women) and started watching on Tuesday. My college teammates are at the tournaments and sending updates. At one point today, I was icing and had 6 channels to choose from.

It really hit home Friday night at the NIT Round 1 game at University of Utah. The Montana State Bobcats and their fans had made the drive to take on the Utes. I'm a big Utes fan, but when any Montana player or team is in town, my Montana roots override my Utah residence. I wore Terry's Bobcat sweatshirt and immediately was adopted into the MSU crowd when they found out I was a homesick Montanan living in Utah. We had a great time and cheered hard, but the Utes came out victorious.

MSU took on Utah in the NIT - despite a famous assistant coach and great Montana crowd, they didn't move on.