I’ve Started a New Photoblog

So now that I’ve submerged myself in the world of blogging for a few months, I have seen quite a few photography blogs, and have felt the photography urge again. Back in middle school I took black and white photography classes for a few years, and loved it. I even thought for a while that I would be a wildlife photographer.

A friend of mine did a 365 day project where she posted a picture every day of the year. It seemed like a lot of fun and a perfect way to jumpstart my photography exploration.

So I’ve started a new photo blog at http://elyseriouxphoto.wordpress.com/. I can’t promise that I will post exactly everyday, or that i’ll take photos every day. But I hope to have 365 photos that I can be proud of at the end of the year. And hopefully have some fun on the way.

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St. Patty’s Day in Butte

I spent part of St. Patrick’s Day in Butte. Butte is like the west coast Boston when it comes to Irish Pride; the large Irish population is due to the mining history of the town. Butte has quite the reputation for being the wildest party around on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m not usually one large groups of people with large amounts of booze, but I’d been told by a few coworkers that I should go there for the experience. It also happened to be a fellow VISTA’s birthday and there was a party with cake involved, so I decided to go down for a few hours.

I was nervous about parallel parking mom’s SUV, since I’m used to driving my tiny Echo, so I drove around for a bit trying to find a parking spot I could pull into. I finally worked up the nerve to parallel park, and pulling up to a spot put on my blinker. Unfortunately the jerk following pulled right up behind me, thereby not allowing me to back into the spot. After several awkward minutes of inching backward trying to give them the message that I was trying to take that spot, I finally gave up and continued to drive. Which worked out well for me as I found a much larger parking spot later. That helped me resist the urge not to key their car as I walked by to find them parked in the spot I was trying to take.

Most of Uptown Butte was swarming with people in various states of drunkeness and green decor. We walked by a girl waving a sign saying “Jesus Loves Titties”, several people falling down drunk (at 2 pm none the less), someone handing out jello shots (apparently people haven’t heard of rohypnol), and several people in green wigs. I would assume the open liquor prohibition isn’t really enforced on St. Patty’s Day as several people walking around were working on a beer, or three. The M&M bar is supposedly the place everyone goes on St. Patty’s Day. I really don’t like squeezing into bars overpacked with people so I didn’t go in. This picture also gives you an idea of the amount of people on the streets. I took this picture around 2. By 6 pm there were people dancing in the middle of the street.

We went to a new distillery in town Headframe Spirits that produces a cream bourbon called Orphan Girl. They mixed it with rootbeer to make a Dirty Girl cocktail. It tasted just like a root beer float. Hungry at this point we decided to get some pizza at Trumbo’s. Also really tasty, and thankfully the business was devoid of people (Thank God). I apologize for Nicole’s lack of class in this photo. Sheila (the birthday girl) is furthest right. Allison is the blonde, and Stefani is the other girl.

The guy is my coworker Sam. He broke is collarbone a few weeks ago snowboarding, and had surgery last week. So he was a little out on pain meds (but he wasn’t drinking).

We went out to a few more bars. I was looking for a green beer, which I’ve been told is the thing to get St. Patty’s Day. But after 2 or 3 bars I decided to settle for a Green Apple Martini (it counts right?).The last bar I visited we met up with 15 or so VISTA’s including my leader Jared. He was wearing some sorta green linen dress, like one you would have expected a girl scout leader to wear back in the day, and chopped off the bottom to look like a kilt. There was also many drunk people in the bar taking turns cheering, and singing America the Beautiful or The Star Spangled Banner. I’m not really sure what American songs have to do with Irish Pride. I mean I’m all for singing rowdy songs when drunk, but at least make them celtic drinking songs or something 😛

We went back to another VISTA’s abode from cake and cookies. I had to leave afterword for two reason. First I was taking my final on Sunday, and was not going to be spending all night partying. And second, I was heading off to my other event, drumming at the Sunshine Mine.

A member of a community group I’m apart of had invited all of us up to her business, a radon health mine for some dessert and drumming sessions. There are several health mines in the area. These mines are old diggings that radon from the mountain seeps into. Somewhere along the way people have discovered that the radon in these mines (which is several hundred times the levels allowed in a home) tend to cure aches and pains and various other ailments. Boulder has 3 of these mines in the area, and people come from all over the globe to stay a week on campus, and sitting several hours a day in the mines. But science aside the mines make a great drumming place.

So I drummed with a couple of community members for a few hours (Sorry Uncle Doug), before heading home. Here’s a few pictures I took inside.

So I’m going to Yellowstone this weekend. Stay tuned for more!

Sooo I was going to go to yellowstone this weekend…..

Hi everyone,

My plan for this weekend was to spend it in Yellowstone with a bunch of VISTA’s. However I got a call late thursday that my Uncle had suffered a major heart attack and passed. It was very sudden news, as my Uncle just turned 50 this year, and is fairly health for his age. His two children are both still in high school, so needless to say I felt I needed to come home to help support them.

I hope to go back to Yellowstone at some point before the winter ends, but right now I’m not sure if that will happen. I have another two weeks of my class left, and that’s kinda limiting my travels at this point. Hopefully I’ll have something interesting to blog about in the next couple weeks. But in the meantime thanks for your patience and continued loyalty to my blog.

Calfing

So now that it’s getting cold, all the cows on the local ranches are starting to pop out new calfs. Since I’ve seen the shipping off of cattle to fed, I figured that I should see how birthing the cows goes.

I went with a friend to the ranch again, to help with the birthing. When we arrived we found this little guy in the warming hut. This little guy had been born that night, and with the cold temperatures, they brought him in to stay warm. 

Alisha and I tried several times to get him to stand up, while Joe, one of the ranchers prep ed his syringes for giving shots. All the new calfs get ear tagged, and antibiotic shots. This little guy couldn’t quite figure out how to get his back legs to work, so we left him to go do some tagging.

There are several different categories in which the mom’s fall into in terms of how they behave with their calfs. Some of the mothers (usually the older ones) are quite calm when it comes time for their calfs to get their shots and tag. The cowboys can just calmly walk up to the calfs, do their thing, and walk away.  Other times, the moms will be a little more protective. In this case the cowboys grab a leg, pull the calf back away from the mom so that they can tag in saftey. The mother will follow a little bit mooing, but otherwise won’t be any trouble. And than you have the ones who as soon as you walk in the pen, know that they are going to be trouble. They paw the earth, and blow air through their nostrils. These new moms don’t know what you are doing, and don’t want you anywhere near their calf. One of these moms chased Joe through a fence, screaming at him. Joe had to pull the calf through the fence, so that he could tag the calf safely.

After tagging 6 or so calfs, the cold got to Joe, so we went in to warm up and check on our calf. He still wasn’t quite getting how to use his last legs, but he kept nosing around the wall looking for an udder to suck on. We brought him back out to his mother.

Meanwhile Joe explained to us how the older mothers like to “grandma” off the younger mother’s calfs. An older mother will start going into labor, and since she’s been through calfing a few times she knows this means a new calf is coming. If she sees a new calf on the ground, she will think oh well I already delivered, and start to take care of this calf on the ground. New mothers tend to be more timid and will give up care of the calf to the older mom. The older mom than gives birth to their calf, and forget about the one they “stole”. To avoid this the cowboys try to keep the older moms away from the newer ones, but sometimes the cows switch calfs for no good reason. Joe was telling us that yesterday they had two moms both decide they liked the other’s calf better. It sounds like you could make a soap opera about bovine relationships.

We went out into the pastures to track down more calfs, but still didn’t see any cows in labor. One little calf wanted to come home with me after getting tagged, despite his moms moos. Somehow I don’t think my landlord would appreciate a calf in my apartment.

Just as we were leaving (literally driving home off the ranch), we finally got to see a cow giving birth. We had to stay far away, as every time we tried to get closer the mom walked away.

I had been discussing with some of my friends the previous night, exactly how a calf came out. I couldn’t quite figure out with 4 legs how a calf would be birthed. Turns out the front hooves come first, followed by the head, the rest of the body, and then the back legs. 

And some more happy cows and calfs.

Gung Ho Fat Choy!

Happy New Year!

Ok, well technically Chinese New Year was last weekend, so I’m a week late. However on Saturday I drove down to Butte to participate in their annual Chinese New Year Parade. I’m not sure why they decide to celebrate later than everyone else, but to celebrate the Mai Wah Society of Butte holds an annual Dragon Dance Parade around the streets of uptown Butte. This Dragon was a gift from Taiwan to the Mai Wah Society to celebrate the chinese heritage of many of the mine workers in the Rocky Mountain West. This yearly event is often categorized as the shortest, loudest, and often coldest new year’s celebration around the world. Luckily for us, the cold decided not to join the festivities, so we didn’t freeze while dancing.

Butte has a very interesting history. Known as “The Richest Hill in the World”, the mines of Butte have produced over 2 million in copper, zinc, silver, and other materials. Workers came from all over the world to work in the mines. Watching over the city of Butte is a statue of the Virgin Mary nicknamed “The Lady of the Rockies”, a 90 foot statue that is placed on the mountains 3,500 feet above the city.

The cultures of these miners greatly influenced the city. At one point there was a greater percentage of Irish in Butte than in Ireland, and from what I’ve been told St. Patrick’s Day in Butte is a once in a lifetime experience (another adventure for a later time). Also famous to the city is the Pasty (pronounced Pastee). This softball sized meal gets it’s origins from the Cornish and Welsh miners who came to work in the mines. This huge meal of potatoes and steak bits is wrapped in a pie crust and baked and dipped into gravy as you eat it. Miners would eat this for lunch, as the Pasty was salted enough and wrapped in enough crust to not require refrigeration. I decided to pick up one for lunch. It was way too much food for me, and quite salty for my taste, but I could see why hardworking men would chow down on these as it is full of delicious fatty and stuffing food.

A bunch of us Vista’s volunteered to be a Dragon Dancer (funny how I’m doing all this asian stuff out in the west huh). The Dragon Dance is supposed to scare away bad spirits and bring in good luck for the new year. This year was extra special being the year of the dragon. My coworker Sam was pretty excited about that, as he was born during the year of the Dragon as well. I happened to be born under the lesser reptile of the snake.

We spent half an hour practicing moving the dragon. Allison got to be The Pearl of Wisdom. She had a colored ball on the end of a stick that she twirled around. The dragon is supposed to follow the Pearl, trying to get wisdom. 

The other part of the parade involves blessing business who give a monetary donation to the Mai Wah Society. For these business we did a traditional dragon blessing. We bowed in front of the business three times, ran in a circle and than bowed one more time and roared into the place of business. The door of the business are opened at this time, and our roaring is supposed to scare away any evil spirits, allowing good ones to enter and bring good luck to the business in the new year.

We danced from business to business with lots of fireworks in between.We ended up in front of the Mai Wah Society where they set of 10,000 chinese fireworks. Needless to say there were a lot of fireworks that went off.

ButteAnyway, I’m off for now. Later this week I will get to help birth some cows, so look forward to more updates soon.

Update* Hey guys. We just got sent pictures of the event from the event holder. So I posted a few more pictures. Below is the only good picture of me. I’m the red shirted individual in the back. 

They also had some traditional japanese drummers there before we came out with the dragon.

Long Time No See

Hello Everyone,

So I know its been a while since I have updated the blog. Part of the reason is because I have been terribly busy. Between trying to get out a county wide survey out to the residents of the county (one that had several problems along the way), going home for Christmas with lots of packing (since mom finally sold our house) and catching up with friends. Than once I returned back to work, putting in data from said survey, running a bone marrow registry drive for an MLK day VISTA project, and trying to get a photo project in the schools about community health issues up and running. Oh and ontop of all of that, I’m now taking an online Microbiology class so I can apply to more PA schools come March, figuring out where I want to apply, and start planning my road trip across the country home.

Needless to say I have too much on my plate right now.

The other reason is I really haven’t been traveling around the state, or doing anything interesting since I’ve been home. It seems there is a mad flurry of activity in the summer and fall months, and than things seem to die down afterwords. Frankly I’m a bit relieved. I couldn’t possible be doing half the stuff I’m currently doing if I was gone every weekend.

I’ll be doing some fun stuff in the next couple of weeks. I’m going to Butte next weekend to participate in the Chinese New Year celebration, put on by the Mah Wai Society in Butte. I will get to be a dragon dancer as they have a mini parade with a dragon dance in front of businesses who have contributed to the society. The dragon dance is believed to bring good luck in the new year to the business. There are also some winter trips to Yellowstone in the works.

So I have not forgotten about you all. Stay tuned for more exciting adventures to come in the next few weeks.

Now back to Micro for me……..

On Montana Snow

We’ve gotten quite a few snowstorms here in Montana over the last month. In the past I have hated snow, for all the times I’ve had to move heavy shovelful after heavy shovelful out of the driveway. More often than not it was mostly my job as my brother would come up with more and more excuses to avoid having to do this laborious chore (seriously how many times can you “misplace” your snowpants). Even when we were blessed with a snowday, we would still have to help shovel our parents out so they could go to work, robbing us of the extra sleep so blissfully enjoyed by my friends. The past few years I have retreated from the snow and gone to school in warmer climates, where for most of the winter I would be in the much milder climates. So you can imagine my dread at returning to live in a northern state again.

Montanan snow is a curious thing. We’ll get hit with a huge snowstorm dropping 5-6 inches on us, and than less than 2 days later it’s all gone. And not because it has melted, but it just seems to disappear.

I didn’t understand where all the snow went. It was like it all just stood up and got the hell outta dodge. It wasn’t until we had a snowstorm during my work day that I realized what was happening. We were getting hit with a pretty heavy storm, one that made it impossible to see on the other side main street. But I could see see the fallen snow blowing across the ground like a river of snow. Because of Boulder’s elevation, all of the snow is light and powdery and blows away easily in the wind.

So I’ve been busy they last couple of weekends. Last weekend I went to Bozeman to visit another Vista and visit the town. They had a christmas stroll on friday night that we walked downtown to. There were a whole bunch of vendors selling fried dough, smores and other tasty treats (really wished I wasn’t on a VISTA salary then). On the drive back from Bozeman I saw some pretty views of snowstorms coming over mountains.

This weekend Boulder had it’s xmas celebration with lights and a hayride. We had great fun belting out christmas carols (the ones which we could remember) at passerbys. Afterwords we enjoyed hot cocoa and chili in the town hall and split a cake. There were a ton of people there so it was great fun.