Raising My Pit Bull Puppy

I would like to introduce Mac, our 10 week old Pit Bull puppy. Mac was born on July 10th, 2020. My fiancé, Lyndsy, and I had been wanting a dog for some time and we were looking to get a puppy or rescue a dog near the end of summer. To our luck Lyndsy’s Aunt’s dogs (dad was full breed pit bull and mother was mostly pit with a little bit of lab) had a litter and we were the first people she asked to see if we wanted a puppy. We immediately said yes and she sent us pictures of the litter so we can pick one out. This little grey ball of joy stuck out to us and we knew he would be perfect for our family. We would get updates from Lyndsy’s aunt on how he was doing and she even started calling him Mac for us around 3 weeks old. We picked him up on August 21st and he has forever changed our lives. Mac can be a handful but is usually very well mannered for a puppy. We are making sure he is crate trained at night where one of us will take him out to potty in the middle of the night, he rarely whines about being in his crate anymore. One nice purchase that we have made is the Fresh Patch, which is a patch of grass (4ft by 2ft) used for dogs to help them train and get them comfortable with the transition to going to the bathroom outside. We are enrolling Mac into some puppy training classes that Lyndsy and I will attend. I cannot wait for this little guy to grow up and be the great dog I know he will be. As of right now he weighs 20 pounds and we are expecting him to be about 90 pounds when he turns a year old.   

 

 

Picking up Mac

 


The Ideal Autumn Meal: Tamales With a Side of Grey Goo

Ah, it’s that time of the year. The leaves are turning red, the air is starting to cool, the sun is starting to set earlier. Autumn fast approaches, and with it, season specific food. Thats right, it’s tamale time!

Now, if your’e anything like me, then you love tamales. And who doesn’t love a variety of meats and spices wrapped in maze, covered in a corn husk and steamed to perfection? I know a lot about tamales, how to eat them, how to serve them, how to enjoy them, but not how to make them. Fortunately, I’m on the internet.

-10 hours later-

Alright, now I know more about tamales then I’ll ever need to know, and now I am going to make that YOUR problem. Earlier I said “if your’e anything like me, then you love tamales”, but don’t fool yourself. You are nothing like me. For you see, I really love tamales.

Between my tamale obsession and my laziness, I simply can’t make enough tamales by hand to keep me satisfied. So I think it’s time I get a helping hand. Or a lot of helping hands. Like, hundreds of tiny helping hands. And before you ask, I’m not talking about using child labor in a sweatshop next to my storage unit, I’m talking about nanobots! The sweatshop is unrelated, just forget I brought it up.

If you clicked on this thinking it would be a tutorial on how to make tamales, but after seeing that last paragraph are starting to second guess yourself, don’t worry, this is a tamale tutorial. But not your run of the mill tamale tutorial, no, I’m going to teach you how to make tamales like the Demiurge you were always meant to be.

Step 1: making the nanobots

Making nanobots is one of those fun activities you do in an afternoon, ideally with your father or son, depending on what roll you are. Go into the garage and pull out your Kirkland Signature matter fabricator. Program it to make a robot that will make a smaller robot that will make a smaller robot and have this continue until a small robot, approximately the size of a needle, produces a nanobot half the size of a blood cell. Now that that is done, we have just completed the toughest step.

Step 2: from 1 to 2 to goo!

Program that nanobot with 3 instructions. 1, make 4 copies of yourself using any non-tamale matter. 2, download the 3 preprogrammed instructions into the newly fabricated nanobots. 3, convert all non-nanobot matter into tamales. Now you just sit back, relax, and wait as those piles of corn and meat and whatever else magically assembles into tamales before your eyes.

Step 3: realize you made a mistake.

So… we forgot to program the nanobots not to turn ourselves into tamales. And I guess that ought to extend to our friends and family too. But not the neighbor’s dog. By this point, poor snuffles has already had his matter converted into tamale ingredients. Assuming that the nanobots are still on the tamales, lets just avoid eating that batch for now. Besides, we have more important things to do…

Step 4: get out of town!

Because you were so eager to consume delicious tamales, you set the duplication to 4, so we have very little time left. At this point, just go to NASA or SpaceX and steal yourself a rocket. That’s right, we’re leaving Earth. Assuming the nanobots won’t be able to leave Earth on their own, and we know we didn’t program them to be aware enough to realize the entire universe is made out of matter, we should be able to safely establish the first Mars tamale colony! You did follow the instructions, right?

Step 5: take one last look.

Step 6: enough looking, get on the rocket!

Step 7: lift off

By this point, you should be asking yourself, was it worth it? The answer is, yes. Of course it was worth it. But this is also your fault and you should be ashamed. I mean, look at what you did! This, this is Earth right now! This is all your fault. What were you thinking? What, that you would just look up an article online about making tamales, following along without first reading through the entire article? THERE WEREN’T EVEN INGREDIENTS LISTED!

Step 8: remorse

You forgot to grab cattle. Meat doesn’t grow in the ground, corn does. This is your fault, not mine. And you didn’t grab corn seeds. No, Mars dirt can’t be used to make tamales. You don’t even have water to steam your non-tamale dirt tamales. This is why we can’t have nice things, because of people like you.

 

I hope you found this tamale tutorial useful! Next week, throwing your cat in a nuclear reactor. Federal authorities call it a serious offense and a radiological hazard, but you kids will absolutely love having a glow-in-the-dark kitty cat!

Why Dogs are Good People

Very recently my family and I lost a close friend, our dog Sophie.  She was almost 14 years old and was full of life and energy up until about her last week with us.  After returning home from the vet the day we had to put her down, my father and I sat outside and reminisced about our favorite memories with her and talked about what a great dog she was.  She was always as friendly, loyal, loving, and caring as any dog could have been.  This discussion with my dad led to another conversation that I decided I wanted to share because I think it has some truth to it.  The conversation that came up was; what if people thought a little more like dogs do?

It is no secret that our nation is somewhat of a disaster right now.  With Covid-19, social injustice, and politics, being the top contributors, there is always something for people to disagree upon.  America seems to be divided about everything, even in a time where we arguably need to be unified the most.  That being said, my dog didn’t care what your skin color was, your religion, your political views, your income, or any other opinions you might have.  If you treated her well, she was going to treat you well.  She judged you exclusively on your character, and I think we could solve a lot of these issues if people thought the same way.

I don’t want to get into politics too much, but it always seems that every ad or debate has to be negative.  Maybe if people could focus on why they will do a good job, rather than why the opposing candidate would do a bad job, things would be less divided.  Or at least less extreme.  I wish people could still have respect for each other, even if they have differing opinions.

My dog always focused on reasons to like people, until you gave her a reason not to.  It seems that people tend to have it backward.  People want to overgeneralize and dislike someone until they find a reason that they shouldn’t.

A great example of how dogs show love and loyalty where it is due, no matter the circumstances, would be that more often than not, (at least where I am from) homeless people seem to always have a dog with them.  And in my experience, the dog doesn’t look any less happy than a dog living in a big house.  Assuming they are both treated properly.  Dogs don’t care how much money you have or who you are, treat them well and they’ll do the same.  Sophie was always loving and compassionate up until her dying days, even when she finally got sick, she did her best to make sure her owners still knew that.

I think people can learn a lot from my dog, and probably from most dogs.  The point that I am making is that if people could see past their inherited prejudices, and quit overgeneralizing, the world would probably be a much better place.  It is possible to love people with different opinions, religions, political views, or anything else that seems to only divides us.  Sophie showed me that.  There would be much less hate in the world if people thought like Soph did. I encourage everyone who reads this to try and treat people like she did, it’s not that hard after all. It’s so easy even a dog can do it.

Top Five Movies Filmed in Montana

Sit back, grab some popcorn, and get ready to see the Land of the Shining Mountains on the big screen

Author: Shane Cox

*All movie art credit belongs to IMDB

5. What Dreams May Come (1998)

Poster What Dreams May Come

There is an easy way and a hard way to see Heaven. The easy way is to live in Montana.

Led by legendary actor and comedian Robin Williams, this movie showed us the true meaning of the word “soulmate”. In this romantic fantasy, William’s character travels through Heaven and Hell to rescue the soul of the woman he loves. Along the way, he will reunite with his old dog Katie and his children who tragically died in a car accident and no I’m not crying I’m just SWEATING THROUGH MY EYES OK!!! (Seriously, it is a great movie, but have a box of tissues on hand)

Glacier Park

Some of the most beautiful shots in the movie were filmed in Glacier National Park. While shooting, Williams decided to take a break and tour the area. (Traylor, 2014) He later said:

“If it isn’t God’s backyard, He certainly lives nearby.”

RIP Robin. There will never be another like you

4. Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump Poster

Movies and Montana goes together like peas and carrots…

Montana makes a brief yet beautiful cameo in this legendary picture. During the running sequence, the shot of Forrest running though a field of golden wheat was taken just outside Cut Bank, MT. The scene then cuts to him jogging across a stone bridge at the St. Mary Entrance to Glacier National Park. (Movie-Locations: Forrest Gump, 2020)

Though Big Sky Country is only onscreen for few seconds, it was almost left out of the movie entirely! The studio, worried that the project was going too far over budget, threatened to pull the plug in the middle of production. Hanks and Director Robert Zemeckis decided to cover the cost of shooting the iconic running scene and save what is now one of the most beloved movies of all time. (Ashton, 2020)

As if we needed another reason to love Tom Hanks

3. The Untouchables (1987)

Untouchables Poster

That’s the Montana way…

Chicago is great. But when you want your protagonists to charge the bad guys guns blazing while on horseback you pack up production and go to the Treasure State.

Based on real events, the movie follows Elliot Ness as he forms a team of special agents to take down the infamous gangster Al Capone. The movie’s (arguably) best scene takes place at Hardy Bridge just outside of Great Falls. (Movie-Locations: Untouchables, 2020)

This film is criminally underrated. In fact, you should stop reading this list right now and go watch it. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

2. The Revenant (2015)

Revenant Poster

The movie that FINALLY gave poor Leo his Oscar

While the movie is set in Montana and South Dakota, most of it was filmed in Canada. However, one of the film’s most pulse pounding scenes was shot in the rapids of Kootenai Falls, just downstream from Libby. In this scene Hugh Glass (played by DiCaprio) uses the waterfall to escape from a party of pursuing Arikara hunters. (Movie-Locations: Revenant, 2020)

I just gotta say…y’all know that scene where Leo eats a raw bison liver? Yeah, that wasn’t special effects. Real Liver. Real Reaction. He also actually crawled inside of a dead horse. All I’m saying is that if DiCaprio wanted to live in Montana he would fit in around here just fine. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Honorable Mention: Return to Lonesome Dove (1993)

Lonesome Dove Poster

A Cowboy’s Odyssey 

This 4-part mini-series, while technically not a movie, deserves a place on this list. The sequel to the epic adventure Lonesome Dove follows Captain Woodrow F. Call’s return from Texas to his ranch in Montana.

This series is the perfect binge watch for fans of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies. The filming locations span across the state and include Butte, Cardwell, Virginia and Nevada City, Laurel, and Billings. (Return to Lonesome Dove: Filming and Production, 2020)

Fun Fact: My Dad worked on the Set #2 of this movie while he was in college. He was paid $100 a day to pick up and hide barb wire fences so they were not caught on camera. He and his coworker would spend their free time hunting rattlesnakes to turn into boots and hatbands to sell to the California crew.

I’m sorry, but my Dad is cooler than your dad. 🙂

1. A River Runs Through It (1992)

River Runs Through It Poster

I’ll never leave Montana, Brother

There is no other way to end this list than with the most iconic Montana movie of all time. While most of these entries only take advantage of the state’s amazing scenery, Montana provides the heart and soul of this beautiful story.

While the film was set in Missoula and by the Blackstone river, the scenes in town were filmed in Livingston, MT. Likewise, the fishing scenes were captured in Paradise Valley on the Yellowstone River,  the Gallatin River south of Bozeman,  and the Boulder River by Big Timber. (Movie-Locations: River Runs Through It, 2020)

So many elements of this movie make it special. Norman Maclean’s story was adapted by Richard Friedenberg and brought to life by director Robert Redford. The entire cast is amazing, with now legendary actor Brad Pitt standing out among the crowd.

If you were born under the Big Sky…you need to watch this movie. If you have, you know why I can’t put the feeling into words. This film reminds us where we come from. It reminds us of Home.

References

Ashton, W. (2020, January 2). Forrest Gump: 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Classic Tom Hanks Movie. Retrieved from Cinema Blend: https://www.cinemablend.com/news/2487844/forrest-gump-10-behind-the-scenes-facts-about-the-classic-tom-hanks-movie

Movie-Locations: Forrest Gump. (2020). Retrieved from Movie-Locations: https://www.movie-locations.com/movies/f/Forrest-Gump.php

Movie-Locations: Revenant. (2020). Retrieved from Movie-Locations: http://movie-locations.com/movies/r/Revenant.php

Movie-Locations: River Runs Through It. (2020). Retrieved from Movie-Locations: http://movie-locations.com/movies/r/River-Runs-Through-It.php

Movie-Locations: Untouchables. (2020). Retrieved from Movie-Locations: http://movie-locations.com/movies/u/Untouchables.php

Return to Lonesome Dove: Filming and Production. (2020). Retrieved from IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106112/locations?ref_=tt_ql_dt_5

Traylor, A. (2014, August 11). Remembering Robin Williams in Montana: His Visit to Glacier National Park. Retrieved from 107.5 Zoo FM: https://1075zoofm.com/robin-williams-montana/#:~:text=Remembering%20Robin%20Williams%20in%20Montana%3A%20His%20Visit%20to%20Glacier%20National%20Park&text=Scenes%20from%20the%20film%20’What,was%20directed%20by%20Vincent%20Ward

 

How To Thrive As A Single Parent Student

To start, remember that you have got this! You are starting an adventure that will have lasting impacts on you and your family, regardless of your starting support network size.  You can do this.

Here are a few tips to make the transition a little less stressful as you go back to school:

Start Building a Support Network

The more support you have through your college experience, even if it is just for yourself, the better it will be in the long run for you and your kids. We’ll talk about some support network ideas for the kids in just a moment.

Begin in your school’s student success center. In the business school, they have been a great resource for me. They have assisted me with my resume and they have been an encouragement for so much of the hard steps.

They even made a way for me to have access to career fairs that would have been difficult to attend with my daughter.  The first semester of the evening career fair, they even offered to watch her! The second semester, they asked a MISA (Management Information Student Association) member to watch children for the event. That is an amazing resource!  They have been incredibly good to me. They would not have known my need, however if I had not taken the first step to meet with them.

Meet with your Professors

I cannot stress enough how vital this is. Your professors want you to succeed and want to help you!

Every professor in and out of my major has been wonderful. I do feel like I was incredibly blessed haven chosen the MIS degree path. My professors have supported, encouraged, given hard advice, and pushed me to be the best I could be and not limit myself because of the fact that I am a single mom and a non-traditional student. I have signed a contract for an amazing career, before I graduate, because of my professors.

They did things that made it easier for me to succeed. For example, I brought my daughter to class on the days when she was out of school in the middle of the week.

Here is the truth though, I emailed or talked to my professors to make sure it was okay to bring her with me.  I never wanted them to think I took it for granted and I wanted them to have an option to say no. They have never not allowed me to bring her with me. Every time I have needed to bring my daughter, all of my professors have been gracious towards me and her.

Do Not Limit Yourself to Just Your College

Ask about resources that will help you succeed in your learning and then follow up and utilize them.  Need help with writing? Go to the writing center. If you have a kid that is young enough to go to ASUM childcare, utilize that resource. If you need help with almost any high fail rate class, there is a study jam or tutoring to be found in the evenings or in the Lomasson building.

The generosity of faculty, staff and other students,  was one of the things that most surprised me in this experience as a non-traditional single parent student.

Photo by Laurent Peignault on Unsplash

Support For Your Child

How Do You Balance Homework And Parenting?

My daughter was 8-years-old when I began school, so we were able to have conversations about what it was like to be in college from the start. We do a lot of talking through her feelings when it gets hard and she feels like she is not getting the level of attention that she needs. I try to be as validating as possible about how challenging it can be for her, too.

We make compromises as well. So, for example, I will set a timer for ten minutes and I will stop working on homework once that goes off just to be present with her. I will sometimes set another timer to know when to get back to my assignments.

 How Do You Handle Out Of School Days While Still Having Class?

I typically take my daughter with me. She gets screen time during the classes, which is a treat for her. Plus, I let her know that I am excited that she gets to attend class with me. Like I said before, my professors have been very kind to her and I have also found that other students make her feel welcome to be in the class.

Another option, here in Missoula, are drop-in daycare centers. The one that I will use on occasion is very loving and my daughter feels safe there.

How Do You Handle Your Child Being Sick?

The university does not have a great solution for sick kids.  However,  after growing my friend base and support group, I have found that there are some faculty, staff and other students are willing to help me and not just from my own college.  I have also found that my professors have been very understanding through the process of having a sick child.  So seriously, talk to your professors!

Conclusion

The building of a support network is very important to your success as a student. I believe that if you are willing to put yourself out there and be friendly, you will be able to have the support group that you need.  I have found that the University of Montana’s faculty, staff and students are an incredible group of people that, on the whole, want to be in your corner as you pursue your educational goals!

Photo by guille pozzi on Unsplash

 

 

Mandy Fischer is a single parent to an amazing 10-year-old daughter. She will be graduating the Spring of 2020 from the University of Montana with a Business Management Information Systems degree. She recently accepted a position with Deloitte that begins after graduation and is excited for the future!