Bigfork Bound

A memoire of a frantic weekend with Juliana.

Scrambling to find housing in Bigfork! What an experience. After a relaxing Thanksgiving holiday at home, Juliana and I set out on Saturday afternoon to find her new home in Montana! We touch down in Calgary late on Saturday night, got a rental car, and headed south. In the darkness, we really didn’t get a sense of what was to come. We made it as far as Carston, where we grabbed a small hotel and crashed out. We got up before sunrise, and hit the road again. We timed it well, with the sun peeking over the eastern mountains just as we were entering glacier np. In our haste, we forgot to check road conditions however. Although the weather was overcast, there was certainly no snow or ice. There was a brisk wind which brought the chill down to perhaps the high 30s, but it certainly wasn’t severe weather conditions. Nevertheless, when we got to “going to the sun road”, it was closed. This being late November, this naturally made sense. We both felt a little chagrined that we did not even consider this possibility. So we headed back down the road to the nearest southbound highway, took a right, and continued along the eastern side of glacier. Along the way, we saw a moose. We also saw a great horned owl which flew within 6 feet of our windshield! We stopped to take a few pictures, but we’re mainly motivated to get to Kalispell and begin looking for housing,so we pressed on.

When we finally arrived in Kalispell, we were hungry and headed straight for Applebee’s. Our waitress was a young woman named Kendall. She had moved Kalispell a few years ago and knew exactly what we were going through trying to find housing. She informed us that the housing market was very very tight, but she put us on to a few important leads such as a Facebook group for property managers and craigslist. After lunch we made a point of driving the entire town of Kalispell, as well as Bigfork, and Columbia Falls. We went to every apartment complex in those three cities, and we poured over craigslist listings and Facebook posts to find available rooms for rent, duplexes, or town homes. Unfortunately the majority available listings refused to take pets, or were far too expensive. As it was Sunday, we did make a few phone calls to some potential listings but most went on answered. We decided to drive past one apartment complex that didn’t specify whether pets were accepted or not. Though the office was closed there was a note on the office door listing a one bedroom apartment available, but specifically saying no pets. I decided to call the number to ask for possible exception, and was surprised when a woman named Wanda answered. She was very pleasant, and Empathetic to our situation after I explained to her that we were only here for two days to find a place for her to live. Despite her empathy however, she stated that the owners really didn’t want pets. She agreed to reach out to the complex owners and ask them about the possibility of an exception, and to call us tomorrow. However she reiterated that she was doubtful, and encouraged us to continue looking elsewhere.

This all left Juliana🦄 discouraged, and her anxiety level was clearly on the rise. We headed to the red lion hotel where we got an excellent $50 rate due to cyber Monday sale. The woman behind the front desk at the hotel was also very conversational. On the way out to dinner I realize that I left my credit card at Applebee’s, so Juliana🦄 texted Kendall who had given us her cell phone number for future reference. Kendall confirmed that it was there, so we headed back to Applebee’s where I was able to get my credit card without any difficulty. While I was there, I took note of the friendly vibe. For instance, while getting my credit card, the fellow at the bar struck up a conversation with me spontaneously. Then it was off to Qdoba for dinner, then back to the hotel for more research, followed by some lounging in the hot tub.

The next morning, we rose early and headed out to Sykes for breakfast. It was good. We met an old man who approached our table and showed us some origami. He illustrated how to fold and tear a piece of paper to spell the word “hell” and leave behind a small scrap that will become a cross. He was a nice man, and he clearly took delight in sharing this project of years. We then headed out to Bigfork to meet Lily The landlord at a small two bedroom house on the edge of the lake. Lilly was an interesting character, with a bit of a hippy vibe. She connected easily with Juliana and I, and there is a strong sense that she was much more about interpersonal connections then contracts and so forth. The house was small and clean and would be adequate, though it was a little bit dilapidated. It did have deadbolts on all doors. The upstairs portion of the house sits directly above the basement which is rented to a retired deputy sheriff. He happened to be headed to a Tai Chi class and stopped in to say hi. He was warm and he seems like an excellent neighbor.

After spending some time here, with Juliana’s spirits now lifted, we went to take a look at couple other places. These did not compare favorably. At the same time, we received a call from Wanda who is excited to tell us that she had gotten permission to make an exception for us with regard to Rori. The cat would now be allowed with a $300 nonrefundable deposit. Unfortunately Wanda was not working at that apartment complex this day, it would have to wait until the evening to show it to us. We agreed to touch base with her later in the evening, and headed to lunch.This time we opted for pizza, keeping with the vegetarian theme. The pizza was outstanding.

After pizza we drove to The Appleway apartments. We had left them a couple of messages and they had failed to return our phone calls. As we enter the office, we met the complex manager Deb. She indicated that these were low income housing units only, and the pets were not allowed. Upon learning of our situation, she became very maternal and offered us her contact information and encouraged us to call her to get her opinion about any place were thinking of staying. She also gave us contact information for a woman named Jessica at integrity property management whom she believe might be able to help us with some other low income housing options. We thanked her for her interest and assistance, and headed straight over to Integrity where we did in fact meet Jessica. Jessica did not have any low income housing units available, but she did have a small two bedroom duplex which was not available for rent yet but would be coming available in January. She gave us the address and we headed over to that place. This was the second reasonably acceptable unit that we had come across. We knocked on the neighbor’s door, the back half of the duplex, and met a young woman there who was friendly and helpful as well. She lived in Kalispell her whole life, and had good things to say about the neighbors in the neighborhood.

We parted, and returned to Bigfork to get a second look at the house owned by Lilly the landlord. Upon arriving, Juliana was decisive, knowing instantly that this was the one she wanted to live in. Luckily for us, Lily was just finishing some touch up work and was on her way out. We stopped and explain that we had made several appointments, but that her house was the one we were really interested in. She was genuinely relieved and grateful, and was eager to have us sign the contract then and there. No application fees, no reference checks. This was especially reassuring to Juliana who was afraid that her prior landlord would have given her a bad review because of her roommates dog. Lily also said she would waive the pet deposit because she really genuinely believed that Juliana was a great young lady. One of Juliana’s biggest concerns about renting from Lily was her bad experiences with renting from an individual landlord as opposed to property management company. Although they certainly can be difficult, I am hoping this positive interaction from the get-go will set the tone for this next year with her.

Now that we had signed a lease, and taken care of business, the pressure was off. Juliana finally began to relax, and we spent the next two hours driving around Flathead Lake. It’s a beautiful lake with starkly different scenery from one end to the next. Afterwards we went back and once again rented another room at red lion, then headed out for dinner. Because we both really enjoyed the afternoon pizza, we opted for pizza for dinner. After dinner we hunkered down, worked on social media bit, and turn in early.

The final morning we rose, had a quick breakfast at the hotel, and begin the 5 1/2 hour drive north to Calgary. I will say once you get out of the mountains, there is very little to see along the way to Calgary. It’s best done in the dark. At the airport we really had no issues. It was basically smooth sailing. I did meet a nice young man named Robert Rooke. He is an aspiring musician on his way to Nashville, and I’ll hope for and look for good things from him. That’s about it. Four glorious days.

As always, be thankful and be giving.


When goals get in the way


“Sometimes to do more you must simply achieve less”

It is commonly espoused  that to become successful at something a person needs to set goals.  Indeed, this idea is the essence of many lucrative promotional programs oriented towards dieting, fitness, marketing, networking, sales, and so on.  Read more

Breaking Up with My New Year’s Resolution

Chalkboard Sentiment

If you’ve read my earlier posts, you know that I made a New Year’s commitment to post to this blog everyday for the 365 days of 2016.  That sounded like a really good idea, and still fills my mouth with the flavor of a laudable endeavor when said out loud, but it’s actually not so great.   So I actually didn’t post to my Blog yesterday in direct defiance of my earlier commitment to post every day of 2016.  I broke with my resolution intentionally.  And here’s why.

Read more

Mindfulness Isn’t Just Trendy, It’s a Powerful Tool | Big Think

I’ve considered many options for categorizing posts to the Giggling Calamity arm of my blog, and mindfulness seems to be the best fit overall.  The essence of Giggling Calamity posts is rooted in exploring how we perceive, experience, and alter the external world around us.  This includes relationships, family roles, employment roles, masculinity, femininity, philanthropy, education, activism, etc.  Not to be lost however is the simple fact that who we are dictates how we experience our environment, and for that reason, understanding who we are is vital to understanding the onslaught of external stimuli that confront us each day.  That’s mindfulness.  That’s why I’ve reposted this brief reminder about the importance of mindfulness originally published on Big Think.  I encourage you to check it out.

Mindfulness Isn’t Just Trendy, It’s a Powerful Tool | Big Think

3 Pieces of Gratitude – 1/4/15


1. Electric guitars, and the people who play them really well

2. The sound of crackling wood from a campfire

3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer


Why does everything take so f@*#king long?


The title says it all.  Really.  Why does everything take so long these days?

I sat down to write a quick post for day #2 of this blog.  That was 2 hours ago.  The post is still in it’s infancy.  I got distracted by perusing my newsreader (feedly), hoping to find some interesting article that I could curate and editorialize about.  And there are quite a few interesting articles coming in, but it is just soooo tedious to read them and tag them and sort them and spin them into something worth writing about that I nearly forgot about actually writing a post for my blog.   There is simply too much to take in, and seeing anything with clarity through the fog of excess is certainly one of my new challenges.

No longer do people have time to listen to you wax eloquently about your favorite pets idiosyncrasies or the people you met on your vacation.  No, instead it’s “just the highlights, please.”

Distraction is so commonplace for us all now that it is expected.  If you pay attention, you’ll likely notice that conversations today almost always have an element of redundancy.  That’s because someone almost always didn’t hear what was said.  Really.  Take a moment next time you are in a small group conversation to remain silent and observe for this phenomenon.  Verbal brevity is also becoming the norm.  No longer to people have time to listen to you wax eloquently about your favorite pets idiosyncrasies or the people you met on your vacation.  No, instead it’s “just the highlights, please.”  But perhaps the most amusing aspect of conversation today is the variety of physical and verbal queues people employ to attempt to end it.  From subtly glancing at their phone, to mentioning how busy we are, to simply turning and walking away, we’ve all become quite proficient at the art of non-conversation without even really knowing it.

To tackle this problem as it pertains to curating content for this website, I decided to reorganize my news reader to separate out those sources that I know produce interesting quality content from other interesting but untested or inconsistent sources.  Most importantly, I decided to be highly critical in my selection of these sources to keep me focused and give myself the best chance to succeed at this website.  So, without further ado, here are a few of my favorite websites, blogs and sources for curated material that may appear from time to time on this blog.

Great Adventure Blogs

Indefinitely Wild

Indefinitely Wild Screenshot


Adventure Journal

Adventure Journal Screenshot


Sidetracked Screenshot

The Art of Non-Conformity

The Art of Non-Conformity Screenshot

Health and Fitness


Greatist Screenshot

Great Writing

Marv Himmel

Marv Himmel Screenshot

Great Free Images (CC0)


Unsplash Screenshot


Pexels Screenshot


Reflection Made Possible with the One-Sentence Journal.

Journaling is something we all aspire to at one time or another. Like exercise or eating well, however, journaling requires commitment to really be meaningful. As busy as we are these days, that commitment can be hard to come by. Therein lies the beauty of the one-sentence journal. It’s a great way to force yourself to reflect on the most memorable or meaningful aspects of your day in a concise and efficient manner. Try it. You’ll find it’s easy to do by simply making a note in evernote or some similar program and adding your brief reflections to the bottom each day. And contrary to the title of the exercise, you don’t have to confine yourself to just one-sentence. Good luck!

Learn more about using a One-Sentence Journal here:

Source: Find Happiness in Keeping a One-Sentence Journal | Big Think

Looking Forward in 2016

Image courtesy Greg Rakozy at

Image courtesy Greg Rakozy at

Ihave had this domain name for years.  I picked it because it represents a couple of my favorite things – giving, and giggling. When I originally conceived of it, the idea was to create a garden variety family blog devoted to sharing the wondrous things my children said and did which brought me joy everyday.  This was back when Facebook was just emerging, and the idea of social media and “smart” phones were abstract and only contemplated by academics in think tanks.  There was no Twitter, Snapchat, Skype or Instagram.  The only way great family moments were shared was via email.  Landlines still populated every home in the United States, and film camera’s still prevailed.  Of course, I was always too busy to use the website as intended, and the relentless evolution of technology has now created so many more effective ways to interact with family and friends.  My kids are older, too.  They’re quite tech savvy and easily share their own ideas about what’s funny without needing me to represent them.


I hope the mud on my goggles and the grit in my teeth will be washed away by the torrents of words that rain down over me and splatter upon the digital page.


So now I’m left to decide just exactly what to do with this website.  I must confess that I suffer from a paralysis of analysis in this regard.  It has really prevented me from getting it up and running for the past couple of years.  Rather than generate content, I’ve focussed on learning css and php, playing with wordpress and it’s infinite array of plugins, developing strategies for curating good content, integrating my website with various social media accounts, etc.  Basically I’ve focused on everything except content.  That’s ridiculous, and tonight it ends.  Fittingly, it happens to be the first day of 2016.  So my new year’s resolution for 2016 will be to post to my website every day.  Something.  Anything.  From this chaos, I hope order will develop.  I hope the mud on my goggles and the grit in my teeth will be washed away by the torrents of words that rain down over me and splatter upon the digital page.  I hope my blog takes the mesmerizing shape of a beautiful body that I long to touch and be touched by every day.  I hope to yearn for my blog.


Yes, that’s right.  I hope to yearn for my blog.  And it’s a tantalizing notion.  One that is already stirring emotions of anticipation, excitement, anxiety, and doubt within me even as I write.  That’s a great sign.  The potential is within me. So goodbye to 2015, and hello to 2016.  And may the new year paint all of our perspectives with imagination, creativity, wonder, excitement and fascination.


Let the adventure begin…

Welcome to Givagiggle!

Hello and welcome to Givagiggle.  What’s this blog about you ask?  This blog is dedicated to the pursuit of beauty, love, joy and inspiration wherever they can be found.

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