Tag Archives: The Strangled Darlings

Portland #8

My legs were stiff as they turned over the bikes cranks, 9 hours of driving back from Portland will do that. Portland was much warmer- after the long drive, the evening air had a bite that reminded me I was back in Montana. It felt good on my face.

driving west, clouds

I never mind the drive west.

I went to Portland to represent Energetechs at the PHnw5 conference, geeking out with other building professionals on insulation, window, and energy modeling details for the most efficient buildings in the world. The usual highlights were not to be missed- solving the hardest design criteria in the world and watching my friend David present one of the first PassiveHouse apartment buildings in Portland.

window installation details

Nerdy… window flashing and install details.

speculative passive house

The first speculatively built Passive Houses. The two units sold in 3 days. Props.

This was the 8th time I’ve been back since I left in 2011. I still miss it (this song always runs through my head). There is a strength in my adulthood now that was developed while I lived there. As my ties to that place whither, I’m afraid that strength will also. Driving into inner northeast on Thursday night, the old ties swelled. Music with the band, a few favorite restaurants, and a late night at Stormbreaker Brewing (formerly Amnesia…) completed the feeling. It felt good to show Mark my old haunts, and make new friends in the Passive House community.

portland coffee

Coffee in little tiny cups.

Mark at Multnomah Falls. The spring runoff is big.

Mark at Multnomah Falls. The spring runoff is big.

I’m not sure why my history with that place still feels so important to me. Maybe because I remember having life a little better under control there. Maybe things felt more certain, or just less confusing. It wouldn’t be the same if I moved back, and I don’t really want to, but sometimes the decisions we make are never as cut and dry as they might seem.

“Allow. That’s most of what we have to do. Just allow it. We might not understand now, or ever.  But we will feel it. We will feel our lives. ” (Andrew Given)


ps. the title isn’t wrong. Portland #7 didn’t get it’s own post, but you can read about it here.



A number of rare circumstances were in alignment the past few weeks, and while the time has been brimming with awesome, it’s kept me away from writing.  Maybe that’s a good thing?  It started almost two weeks ago.

I don’t really care how you feel about Obamacare (or the Affordable Care Act of 2010).  Healthcare in this country has a lot of issues, and I don’t pretend to understand them.  Check out Keith’s blog for far more insight than I can muster.  One issue I do understand is accountability, and the fact that healthcare is a unique product and in a unique market- and because of that, I believe it needs some very careful regulation and standards for accountability.  One fun fact of ACA is that if your insurance company doesn’t spend 80% of the premiums they take from individuals on actual patient care, they have to refund you  the difference.  Time Insurance Company, with whom I had insurance last year while traveling, only spent 71.8% of premiums on patient care.  So, I came home from a day of insulating attics and got a check for 8.8% of the premiums that I paid them.  This is corporate accountability.  This is a good thing.

Who likes getting their money back?  Me and a check from Time Insurance.

So that was cool…

Then my friend Maggie from Portland stopped in for a few days.  I knew it was about to be hectic, but Maggie is one of the most easy going people I know, and after many nights crashed on her couch last year, I was grateful to return the favor.  Suffice to say we had too much fun to take any photos, and part of that was because the Strangled Darlings also arrived a day later from Portland.  They are some of my favorite people to make music with.

Wednesday night we jammed until Thursday.  Thursday we ate and drank until Friday.  Friday we jammed on the street in the afternoon, ate in the evening, and played music until Saturday.  Poor Maggie finally got fed up with it and finished making her way to Bozeman, where I look forward to visiting her this winter ;D

Two local tango instructors turned more than a few heads tearing it up on the patio…

Saturday we started playing music at 4pm- and one way or another, between myself, my friends with Border Affair (a little music ensemble I play with here in Missoula), and the Darlings, we didn’t stop making music until Sunday.  A huge thanks to Draughtworks Brewing for having us out and letting us make some noise.  Somehow we got free tacos from the taco truck out on the street, otherwise we might have perished.  The staff mentioned that in 8 months of hosting live music, no one had gotten people dancing like we did.  It was a very good time.

A huge thank you to everyone who came out to Draughtworks.  Huge thanks to Jess for hosting the after-party.  And, somewhat sheepishly, huge thanks to Steve for waiting until 11am on Sunday morning to go rock climbing…

Photo courtesy of Steve Cundy + Instagram.

Steve yet again showed me another Bitterroot rock climbing gem at Big Creek.  You have to rally up a gnarly Forest Service road to get there, but there’s a perfect old school 5.10a stembox and a bunch of fun bolts to crank.  My hand is finally starting to feel good again, and plans are brewing for an excellent weekend.