22 June 2007


A couple weeks ago My Better Half and i went to Paris for a long weekend. MBH's boss hooked us up with his parents, Jacques and Liliane, who very graciously showed us some of Paris's sights and culinary delights.

Almost immediately we discovered where the French pirates hang out -- the Rue St. Placide, in the 6th ARRRondissement:
We didn't hit the Louvre, but we did get to the Centre Georges Pompidou for a couple hours (not nearly long enough). I spent a while in the room dedicated to Joan MirĂ³ and one of my favorite artists, Alexander Calder.Not only did we visit the Pompidou, we ate there too -- with Jacques and Liliane at Georges, featuring dramatic views of Paris and delicious food.

While in Paris, we of course had to hit some standard destinations, such as Notre Dame,
the Grand Palais with its striking glass ceiling,and Montmartre (where someone had recently splashed red paint on the basilica).

Now, you may not be aware of this, but no trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the Place Fernand Mourlot (dedicated to the master lithographer, Jacques's father, Eric's grandfather).

After the Place Mourlot we had some time to kill, so we decided we could fit in a visit to the Eiffel Tower. From the postcard photographs i had seen, i was expecting it to have something of an ephemeral feel to it, but its massive presence is actually quite impressive up close.And, it sparkles at night!

07 June 2007

Beer Butt Chicken

Until our recent trip to Montana i had heard people rave about "beer butt chicken" (also called "beer bottom chicken" by the too-polite), but had not experienced it for myself. When we got to Havre, my dad let on that he had purchased a Contraption specifically designed to prepare the delicacy -- a metal stand, basically, to hold two beer cans inside two chickens. The Contraption addresses the only difficulty i can imagine in beer-butt chicken preparation, namely, keeping the chicken from falling over on the grill.

While i was lax in my responsibilities during the Havre Underground tour, i did document the more important occasion -- the Contraption's maiden voyage.

The verdict: delicious.


After our hike back from Avalanche Lake, My Better Half and i drove east (through a late-May snow storm) from the mountains down to the plains to spend a few days in Havre, where my father and grandfather live. My sister also drove west from Fargo (and brought along more eyeballs!), so it was a little family get-together.
For as long as i can remember my dad has painted and sculpted, and there are a lot of his pieces in the house and yard. Keith has become a fan of my dad's work, specifically small sculptures he's been making recently from Russian Olive wood; we brought some pieces back for him.
While in Havre we took an excursion (in Dad and Grandpa's fancy new pickup truck) down to the Bearpaw Mountains south of town. Grandpa used to have a cabin down there, and related a lot of fond memories during our trip.
The most interesting (to me) attraction in Havre -- besides family -- is the "Havre Underground", which i only became aware of a couple years ago. In the winter of 1904 a fire destroyed a large portion of downtown Havre; the locals responded by moving their businesses into the basements, connecting them with tunnels, and living partially "beneath the streets" until they could rebuild. MBH and i took my sister on the tour (it's the second time for the two of us), which is a fun mixture of random old-timey whatnot and local history. (I didn't get any photos, sorry.)

01 June 2007

Glacier National Park

Last week, My Better Half and i spent some time in Montana. Our first two nights were in Whitefish, just west of Glacier National Park. If you haven't visited Glacier, you should: i consider it a strong candidate for Most Beautiful Place In The World. But then, i'm partial to the Rockies, and haven't yet seen Kashmir.

On our first full day, we slept late and puttered around Whitefish long enough that we only had time for a short walk near Lake McDonald in the late afternoon. It's a nice lake, but more of a lazing-away-summer-vacation-with-the-family kind of place than a holy-crap-these-mountains-are-amazing kind of place.

The next morning we went on a proper (though still not very difficult) five-mile hike starting through the Trail of the Cedars and then along Avalanche Creek to Avalanche Lake, which is somewhat more dramatic.

We also saw a couple deer on the trail, who took virtually no notice of us.