Butte Saint Patricks Day parade and Pampered Chef roll out

The city of Butte, Montana–a little over an hour from here houses the only Serbian Orthodox Church in the state. But guess why else its a city after the very heart of the Klajic family? It has the highest per-capita Irish population of any city in the US–even higher than Boston.  Scott writes about it a lot, but its worth mentioning again–he didn’t just marry an Irish girl, but his mom’s side, in particular the Leach strain are from fine Irish stock. Those little rust red hairs in his beard are the dead giveaway.

A cute Irishman waits for the parade to start

So, when they roll out their Saint Patrick’s Day parade, they really do it right. We packed all seven of us (me, Scott, the kids and my mom) into the Expedition and made the trip. A beautiful ride through the Elk Horn mountains, still covered in snow and a quick stop before the parade for lunch,.

Occasaionally a picture of me  turns out and I like it.

Mongolian BBQ on Saint Patrick’s day. It was the restaurant with the shortest wait.

Then it was off to the parade route to watch the floats.

The bagpipes make my Irish heart stir. I can hardly contain myself when they march by.

We got home and I was in heaven. Scott has done a lot of research into epigenetics and he tells me it explains why this is so powerful for me. He says he gets the same feeling when he hears this. He says it also explains why our boys already talk like Sean Connery. Whateverit is, I love it. (I am aware Connery is Scottish, but we have a lot of that on our genetic mapping as well).

Later I made Guinness stew, a creation I have borrowed and perfected over time. My grandma learned to make corned beef and cabbage for my grandpa, and I always thought that was a sweet gesture. I have learned to make several of Scott’s favorite Serbian dishes and the whole family likes the Guinness stew. Enter, my new venture in the world of Pampered Chef. I have started selling these products, and I made a video (actually two) demonstrating how to use their quick pressure cooker to make the stew.

I have a facebook page also, if you are on it.

Mychael’s Pampered Chef

Here’s the staged photo of the finished product.

We hope everyone had a wonderful Saint Patrick’s day. And don’t forget, he was a real Saint, who has earned his place among the others. It’s not just a day to have an excuse for being drunk.

He is venerated in the Orthodox tradition. Here is a link to a description of the history of the Church in Ireland, from the Serbian perspective.

A brief history of Orthodoxy in Ireland.



Renaissance Man

When I was growing up, the gold standard, at least in the circles my family associated with was to at least try to be “Rennaisance” man. In practice, this is why I was enrolled in accordion, auto shop, baseball, Boy Scouts, Air Force ROTC, etc. I took classes in theater as well playing sports. I learned about classical music, literature, and they even had a class at my Christian school called “outdoorsmanship.” I have filed patents for a couple of gadgets. I wrote an interactive CD-ROM software to teach kids about orchestral music in college.

My dad firmly believed that a man should be able to change the oil, make a blackbery cobbler in a dutch oven on an open fire, pitch a perfect game, shim a door and then jump right into the tenor part of Handels “Messiah.” All of which I have done.

The idea was that if I showed even the slightest interest in something, my parents would at least try to let me explore it. (Although the accordion is an instrument popular in the old country, and my dad kind of insisted on that one). They didn’t always force me to finish what I started, but they made it clear that rounding out my interests would make me a more interesting person, with a deeply fulfilling inner life. I gravitate toward some, and others I thought they were interesting, but never pursued them past a novice level. I would let reader (or people who know me) decide if it worked.

There were a few of these things that I could just never get into. Namely. ballet and poetry. Both make me want to fall out of my chair and drop dead. However, my oldest daughter is shaping up to have to have a talent for the former, and is actually pretty spindly and petite, like a ballerina. Plus, she’s a girl and everything.

RIght now, she is slated to be a butterfly in the Queens City Ballet Company’s performance of “Alice in Wonderland” here in Helena, and if you have never had a child in a high-end ballet troup, its a pretty greulling schedule. They also have at least one “observation” night where you can watch a rehersal. (Usually, you don’t get to watch, because it is distracting). So, I went, to be the supportive dad. Me and Kahtryn, the one year old sat together.

As you can see, I am still having trouble containing my enthusiasm for the craft. But, I have to admit, there is some raw talent there, even if I try to be totally objective.

Mychael has a physician friend who, when you ask him “what made you want to become a doctor?” he replies “my mom made me.”

Columnist and talk show host Dennis Prager is also an amateur symphony conductor. He gets the opportunity to go all over the world and conduct orchestras as a guest, and there is one question he always asks the group as they begin rehersals. Kind of an ice breaker. He is standing in front of the most accomplished musicians in the world and asks “how many of you are here because your parents made you take [trumpet/violin/cello/whatever] lesssons and forced you to practice for hours?”

Almost all of them raise their hands. And I think about this in a world where these art forms, and these disciplines are fading from view and not appreciated. How do you handle this?

By the way, I thought this was a funny out take from our family photo session.

Not really sure what’s going on there.

The trenches of insanity!

Sun came out today and I was able to dig my way to the back gate of the horse pasture.

Now I can get to them to feed without feeling like I ran a marathon walking across a quarter mile of waist deep packed powder.

Has it finally broke?

Not sure if this is the breaking of winter into spring, but we have some really nice weather over the last few days.

The snow is starting to melt really fast and i’ve been able to start digging the escape trenches of sanity. Like this one to the external laundry room door:

Or this one to the barbeque, which is finally starting to make its location known:

We also had a chance to go to our new favorit barper shop, Dundees at Reeders Alley.

Mychael tells David, who is only there on Saturdays what she wants for our David’s hair:

Afterwards, we got a quick snapshot our front. Reeders Alley has a long and interesting history.

This is the beard product he recommended and Mychael picked the scnet she likes. She’t grown quite fond of burying her nose in my neck and smelling it.

Here’s a picture of Readers Alley in the summer. And a link to their site, with history.

CW11B3 Reeder’s Alley Helena Montana MT US. Image shot 1000. Exact date unknown.

History of Reeders Alley

A little military humor

This one is for my readers and friends who can relate. Six months since I retried, I’ve come up with a list of things I like about not being in the army anymore:

I can go on vacation without having to prove to my boss that I have reliable transportation, insurance and enough money in case of emergencies.

I can go outside with no hat on

I can go outside and carry things in my right hand

I don’t HAVE to get a haircut

No one calls me at 0400 to come pee in a cup

No one approaches me to “thank me for my service”

I don’t have to stand up when my boss enters the building for the first time that day

I am never “red” on my dental readiness category

If my shoulder hurts, I just skip push ups that day, and I don’t need a doctors note (profile)

I never sit in profile scrub meetings where privacy act and HIPAA protected information is discussed so the whole unit can hear

I don’t have to defend my parking space like it’s the most valuable strategic piece of real estate on the planet

If I am sick, I just call work and tell them so

My employer does not issue me a bunch of equipment, which I store in my garage for two years and then tell me its “dirty” when I try to turn it back in

My next promotion is not dependent upon how fast I can run or how well I can put a 5.56mm hole in a piece of paper 300 meters away

The speed limits in the civilian world are reasonable

I don’t spend half my life trying to mitigate risk

I never find myself in a room full of other field grade officers being yelled at by a corporal on a power trip because he is “in charge”

When I document a clinical decision I made, I do not get an email from some non-medical provider in the basement telling me I did it wrong.

People who sit behind windows are friendly and eager to help me with my problem

There are no “off limits establishments”

My commander is not hitting on my wife while I am deployed

I don’t have to tell every other person I meet my social security number

I never go amber on “suicide prevention,” “SHARP,” or “EO.”

I never go into a big room full of people and we all get six shots in the arm on the way out

(That’s my rack)