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COMPLIMENTARY

BILLINGS’ MOST READ MAGAZINE | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

erraBeth TJOCHEMS 38 OVERCOMING DYSLEXIA, ONE CHILD AT A TIME

GIRL POWER

MEET THESE YOUNG WOMEN SHARING THEIR STRENGTHS

DATE NIGHT IN

SPICE IT UP WITH STYLE

FRUGAL & FESTIVE

WHIP UP A HOMEMADE HOLIDAY ON A DIME

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We care where you are.

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Community Corner

We are proud to be one of the sponsors of the Billings Association of REALTORSÂŽ Quality of Life Program that raised $27,000 for nonprofits in the community!

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Career Enhancement Manager

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Billings Best Real Estate Agency 2014-2019

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406.254.1550 | 1550 Poly Dr, Billings | 444 N 9th St Ste 5, Columbus | 111 S Broadway Ste C, Red Lodge | www.bhhsfloberg.com Š2020 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of Columbia Insurance Company, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. Equal Housing Opportunity.


Meet the STAFF PUBLISHER & EDITOR JULIE KOERBER julie@yellowstonevalleywoman.com COPY EDITOR ED KEMMICK SPECIAL SECTION EDITOR LAURA BAILEY

ED KEMMICK

LAURA BAILEY

Copy Editor / Writer

Special Section Editor Social Media / Writer

ADVERTISING TERRY PERKINS: 406-860-3951 terry@yellowstonevalleywoman.com TRISH SCOZZARI: 406-690-9528 trish@yellowstonevalleywoman.com LYNN LANGELIERS: 406-671-2325 lynn@yellowstonevalleywoman.com C R E AT I V E D I R E C T O R MELANIE FABRIZIUS ads@yellowstonevalleywoman.com DISTRIBUTION NICOLE BURTELL

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CONTACT Yellowstone Valley Woman PO Box 23204 Billings, MT 59104 Phone: 406-254-1394 www.yellowstonevalleywoman.com

ON THE COVER Photography by Daniel Sullivan Clothing by Cricket Clothing Co.

MELANIE FABRIZIUS Design 4

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DANIEL SULLIVAN

LOVELY HITCHCOCK

Photography

Photography

©2020 Media I Sixteen All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.


Letter

FROM THE JULIE KOERBER

Editor

IT’S SAFE TO SAY

likely an undercount. The 41 drawings represent these women.”

the Holiday Season 2020 is going to look and feel a little bit different than years past. Not too long ago, I had a moment of weakness and lamented to my daughter about how I just wanted life to be “normal” again. My daughter, without skipping a beat said, “Mom, the black plague lasted seven years.” In other words, woman up. After that point, I tried to find ways to see the beauty of this time. I would start my sentences to my family, “I love this age because..” and then started to list some of the good things in spite of the bad. So, what were my “loves”? I actually have a few. I love this time because, with my family together more, we’re spending quality time talking about things that matter. I laughingly said the other day that I love this time because I’m going through so much soap that I was able to enjoy scents like Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte and Pumpkin Cupcake, knowing I’d go through them before Thanksgiving even hit. They smell divine by the way. But, there was something deeper I loved. I loved seeing friends and business partners grow in ways they wouldn’t have if this pandemic hadn’t struck. My beautiful friend, Karen Grosz, decided to start her own networking group to promote happiness and she is now building an online community of support. It’s hard to keep that woman still. She is always dreaming, always encouraging, always doing. Then, there’s the woman I call my partner in crime. Melanie Fabrizius is one of those wonders who literally breathes life into Yellowstone Valley Woman magazine by designing every square inch of it. She has a graphic design firm on the side and when her client load dwindled a bit because of COVID-19, she decided to turn her attention to a long-lost love — art. She launched a website and devoted time to explore digital art. She created what she calls the Scamper Series, showing some of Montana’s wildlife in bold, graphic displays. It was her second body of work, however, that formed a lump in my throat. It’s called Not Forgotten. On her website, she says, “This series is dedicated to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls of Montana. According to the Urban Indian Health Institute’s 2020 report, there are currently 41 known cases of MMIW in Montana. This is

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As you scroll through her drawings, each woman depicted has her own distinct personality. The hair, jewelry and clothing is unique. What’s the same in each portrait is the red handprint over each of their mouths, an image that symbolizes how indigenous women’s voices have been silenced. “I was inspired by our March 2020 issue featuring Selena Not Afraid’s story and the MMIW movement,” Melanie says. “The faces of these beautiful women and girls from that story were on my mind daily.” When COVID hit, she says, “I felt like the news coverage about MMIW stopped.” Wanting to push it back into the spotlight, Melanie turned to art. “I simply want to continue to bring awareness to this issue and keep it in people’s minds and hearts.” The result was 41 portraits drawn straight from Melanie’s own heart. The works are colorful and thought provoking. As you flip through this issue, you’ll see stories of women flexing their strengths and sharing their talents in remarkable ways. Our special section on Girl Power has me jumping out of my shoes over these young women who are blazing new trails. The spirit they all embody is one we can learn from — to follow our passions, no matter what our age. So, as you look around this beautiful world that is weathering tough and dark things, I hope you follow these women’s leads and look for the good. See the change. Be the change. Hug those you love. Be grateful and, most of all, have the most blessed holiday possible.

Julie IF YOU’D LIKE TO SEE MELANIE’S WORK, click on melaniefab.com


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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020 On the Cover 38 TERRABETH JOCHEMS

Overcoming dyslexia, one child at a time

Girl Power 12 AT THE CONTROLS

Teenage helicopter pilot Ashli Blain spends summer fighting fires

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SMALL ACTS, BIG HEART

High School Senior Sophia Boughey reaches out to help the homeless

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THE LIFE OF MANY COLORS

The art and path of Bunny K.

KICKS FOR KIDS

Third-grader’s act of kindness sparks local non-profit

LIFE IN TECHNICOLOR

Heart abnormality brings new perspective to mural artist

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This year holiday giving might help people cope with COVID-19

SIPPING AND SAVORING

Abby Reno does both with wine and business

THE QUEENS OF CHRISTMAS

The many looks of the traditional poinsettia

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FRUGAL AND FESTIVE

Whip up a handmade holiday on a dime

EXTRACTING FLAVORS

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KEEPING THE PEACE

Filling your holiday table with a sweet and serene vibe

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The story behind one of Billings’ first Madams

REMEMBERING JUDY

Group works to install a statue of Montana’s first female governor

YVW Home 91 NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

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Stirring up Holiday Cheer

Features 84 THE MANY SECRETS OF OLIVE WARREN

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YVW Holiday 34 GIVING IN HIGH GEAR

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THE PINT-SIZED SCIENCE OF COOKING

Meet future chef Tegan Bahm

Modern twist on historic charmer

102 ON TOP OF THE WORLD

Family respite takes in every bit of nature YVW MAGAZINE

IN EVERY ISSUE 52

KAREN GROSZ: Being a Karen

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FASHION: Date Night In

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TASTE OF THE VALLEY: Do the Mashed Potato

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LOOK WHAT WE FOUND: Make a Modern Wreath


Caring about our residents is our way of life.

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Our Marketing Director, Becky, has over 13 years working for the betterment of seniors in our community.

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l r i g er w

pow

EIR ING TH R A H S WO M E N ASSION YO U N G D E N C E , C O M P N INDEPE NGTHS & STRE

WHAT WERE YOU DOING AT 9 YEARS OLD? Were you jumpstarting a non-profit dedicated to lending a hand to some of your peers? What about at 10? Were you crafting cream puffs and whipping up savory dishes for your family? Did you develop an outreach program for the homeless using your waitressing tips as a teen? No? Maybe you were off fighting forest fires at the controls of a massive helicopter? Or maybe you let your creative juices flow in your early 20s in order to make your passion a business through art? These aren’t hypotheticals. They are the stories of some amazing young women, blazing their own trails and creating their own paths for the future. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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at the

con t rols TEENAGE HELICOPTER PILOT ASHLI BLAIN SPENDS SUMMER FIGHTING FIRES written by CYDNEY HOEFLE photography by DANIEL SULLIVAN

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THE THOUGHT OF FLYING

above a raging fire, with smoke inhibiting your vision, while being aware of the trees, mountainsides, firefighters on the ground, other aircraft, wind direction and temperature — not to mention a place to drop 2,000 gallons of water below — would deliver an adrenaline rush most couldn’t handle. Not so for Ashli Blain. “It’s not as exciting as you might think,” Ashli says. “I mean, it’s just my job.”

back at it,” she says. “After a winter off, we’re back in the saddle. But we’re trained to take every precaution possible and I have tremendous faith in our aircraft and pilots. It’s really never nerve-wracking for me.” Ashli became somewhat of a celebrity this summer after the media discovered that a 19-year-old was helping to fight one of California’s major wildfires. Along with several publications, she was profiled by both NBC and CBS. Links to the stories went viral on Facebook. Ashli stood out because she’s one of the youngest helicopter pilots in the country able to co-pilot both Chinooks and Black Hawks.

Those are humble words coming from a 19-year-old who spent the summer fighting fires, not from the ground but from up above. Like most college students, Ashli works summers to subsidize her college education. IT'S EXCITING IN THE SENSE But unlike most college students, for THAT I GET TO DO SOMETHING the past six years she’s been doing it UNUSUAL. working as a pilot. — Ashli Blain

“It’s exciting in the sense that I get to go do something that’s unusual,” Ashli says, “but 99 percent of the time our flights are smooth and relatively calm.” Which is what the company she works for — Billings Flying Service — and her fellow pilots strive for. Ashli began flying when she was 13. She credits her training, much of which happened under her father’s tutelage, to the standards of the company she works for and the confidence she has in the aircraft she flies. “The first fire of the season is exciting in the sense that we’re

Chinooks are one of the largest helicopters built, equipped with twin engines and tandem rotators. They are imposing, making it hard to imagine a petite 19-year-old — one who needs to sit on a cushion to reach the controls — as its pilot.

But, that’s where Ashli spent her summer, helping to battle the Santa Clara Unit Fire. The flames were sparked on Aug. 18 and weren’t contained until Sept. 30, leaving more than 396,000 acres of charred land in its wake. “It was massive,” Ashli says. “I’ve never seen anything like it. It was a continual rush the entire time.” During a fire, it’s the pilots’ job to not only maintain control of the chopper but to lean out of the aircraft to line up the 2,000-gallon NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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licenses and a certified instructor’s license as well.

bucket, dip it into a water source before taking it to just the right spot of a fire. As a rated co-pilot, Ashli serves as an invaluable second set of eyes, constantly keeping watch on the controls and the environment. This wasn’t the first summer she’s done this. It was her second. Ashli is a third-generation pilot in her family. Her father and uncle own Billings Flying Service, a company launched by her grandfather, Gerhart Blain. Several cousins have made careers out of flying. It’s easy to see why growing up around planes and helicopters helped pique Ashli’s interest. By the time she was 13, she started flying a glider plane. By her 14th birthday, she soloed her first flight. “I love glider planes,” Ashli says. A glider is hooked up to another plane which lifts it into the air and releases it when it reaches the desired altitude. “I learned to fly in Southern California and it was a thrill from the first time.” After those first years of flying a glider, Ashli went on to pilot multiple aircraft adding new licenses every year. Just six years into her career, she has licenses for private single-engine airplanes, instrument airplanes and private multiengine airplanes. She also has commercial helicopter and instrumental helicopter pilot

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Right now, however, it’s the helicopter piloting that has everyone’s attention. She’s rated as a copilot for the Chinook and is one of the youngest command pilots for the Black Hawk. She earned that license when she was 17. “My interest in flying helicopters started around 13. I started trying to convince my dad to teach me,” Ashli says, adding that her father, Gary, has been flying helicopters for more than 30 years. “He finally said that if I could find a UH-12C Hiller (old, affordable and can be fixed up) that he’d teach me.” She found a 1952 model and together she and her father fixed it up before she was able to fly it for the first few years. It fueled her love of aviation. To keep flying, she was homeschooled through high school and spent every available minute pursuing each one of her licenses. Today, she’s been all over the world with her family’s business and has more than 1,400 flying hours under her belt. Last summer, she co-piloted with her father on a fire near Lewistown. They flew a Black Hawk for that fire and then spent two weeks in Salmon, Idaho, doing the same thing. This summer she co-piloted for several of the pilots with her father’s company. “It’s been really fun flying with such experienced pilots,” she says. “I have tremendous respect for all the guys that are fighting fire.”


MY INTEREST IN FLYING HELICOPTERS STARTED AROUND 13. I STARTED TRYING TO CONVINCE MY DAD TO TEACH ME. — Ashli Blain

Ashli says she watched many of them work 12 days on and 12 days off just to make an impact on a fire line. “It’s a grueling schedule and takes a lot of stamina. When you’ve been flying for eight hours on a fire, it takes a lot out of you.”

“I loved working with the animals, and I have such respect for the veterinarians there,” she says. “I could have gone that route, but at some point, I had to make the choice because I knew I couldn’t do both.”

As passionate as Ashli seems to be about flying helicopters, and as much as she loves the world of aviation, she’s a freshman studying accounting at Rocky Mountain College.

Today, she feels fortunate to be doing what she loves.

“I know,” she says with a laugh. “It’s a different world as far as excitement, but I love my classes and my teachers. I wanted to be able to fall back on another career in case aviation doesn’t work out.” The youngest of three girls, Ashli spent her childhood romping around her parents’ acreage south of Billings. She raised chickens and had a thriving egg business. As she homeschooled, she also worked for Caring Hands Veterinary Clinic, helping with the animals, and considered vet school before the lure of aviation and accounting took hold.

“It’s hard work,” she says, “but I’m lucky to have found something that I am passionate about so I’m willing to put the work into it.” ✻

CYDNEY HOEFLE, writer A fourth generation Montanan, Cydney was raised on a ranch on the banks of the Yellowstone River where an appreciation of the outdoors was fostered. She and her husband raised three children in Billings and are now the proud grandparents of three. The best part of any of her days is time spent with Jesus, family, friends, a good book or capturing someone’s story in words.

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small acts,

big heart

HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR SOPHIA BOUGHEY REACHES OUT TO HELP THE HOMELESS written by CYDNEY HOEFLE photography by DANIEL SULLIVAN 16

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IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT in downtown Billings and 17-year-

because she feels called.

old Sophia Boughey is driving, not looking for trouble, but for someone to help. It’s just part of her weekend rounds, trying to track down the homeless who might need a hand. When she finds someone, she asks to help, makes a list of their needs, makes a trip to the store and then swings back to deliver.

“I have had people close to me who have been discriminated against,” she explains. “It’s hard and they didn’t deserve it. The homeless are often treated poorly. A simple act of kindness can go a long way.”

“It sounds like a lot,” Sophia says, “but it really isn’t. I have rules for myself to stay safe. I only stop for women or children and I never get out of my car. Most of the people I have met just want someone to talk to them and listen. I can do that.”

Sophia and her twin sister, Miranda, transferred from Red Lodge High School their junior year and will graduate in the spring from Billings Central High School.

In Red Lodge, Sophia got involved with Rotary Club, a nationwide organization that has more than 34,000 clubs. The They don’t ask for much, Sophia says. Red Lodge club awarded Sophia and It’s usually a carton of milk, some food three fellow students the “Rotary Youth or a warm blanket. She never reaches — Sophia Boughey Leadership Award.” As a part of the into her wallet to give money. She never honor, they were given $50 seed money wants to give something that might to start a community project. Together the contribute to a habit or addiction that team raised $10,000 and spent the money someone might be struggling to break. on a water bottle filling station located in downtown Red Lodge that allows people to fill their “Mostly, they just need to know that someone cares water bottles for free. The two-year project culminated enough to ask how they’re doing and how their day is this summer. going,” she says.

MOST OF THE PEOPLE I HAVE MET JUST WANT SOMEONE TO TALK TO THEM AND LISTEN. I CAN DO THAT.

This high school senior isn’t working as a part of a nonprofit mission. She’s a one-woman grass-roots effort. She does it

“I learned a lot through Rotary and RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) camp,” she says. “Attending camp really NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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changed me and taught me about leadership and helping others. Raising money for the water bottle project taught me about fundraising, GoFundMe and how to approach business leaders to explain our ideas and ask for donations.”

car and home. It makes me feel a little guilty that I have so much. I can give a little and help someone out. It doesn’t take much to be kind to someone.” Sophia says one of her favorite sayings is printed on a T-shirt she owns. It reads “Cultivate Kindness.”

Mature beyond her years, Sophia says she was drawn to the homeless from awareness. “I really became aware of it when I got my driver’s license and spent some time driving around. I started to see the same people in the same places. It really broke my heart. I get emotional just thinking about them. I decided I had to try and do something to help them.”

BY REACHING OUT TO THE HOMELESS, I HOPE THAT I MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THEIR DAY NO MATTER HOW SMALL. — Sophia Boughey

Self-funded, Sophia spends all the tip money she makes at her job working weekends at Sophie’s Kitchen (no relation) toward the needs of homeless people. “I don’t count my money because that might temp me to spend it on myself,” she says. “I remind myself of the things I have — my 18

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“Especially now,” she continues, “there’s so much going on in the world right now. We just need to be mindful of others.” Heading to college next fall, Sophia hopes to pursue journalism and says she’ll never give up volunteering. “I have been a volunteer for something most of my life,” she says. She credits an aunt for influencing her in that direction.

“My aunt has the biggest heart. If I have even half the heart she does, I will make a difference,” Sophia says. “By reaching out to the homeless, I hope that I make a difference in their day no matter how small.” ✻


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The pint-sized science of

cooking MEET FUTURE CHEF TEGAN BAHM

written by STELLA FONG photography by DANIEL SULLIVAN

TEGAN BAHM

cooks up science with touches of magic. At 10 years old, she comfortably blends culinary terms like “caramelize” and “sear” into her sentences. She whips up words from the culinary techniques she practices, such as “pipes” for the placement of Bavarian cream on her cream puffs, and “swirl” for joining frostings of different colors. At Rae Rae’s Bakery, owned by Tegan’s parents Bruce and Heather Bahm, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan choices of baked goods are all on the menu. Tegan, her sister, Delilah, and her mother all suffer from celiac and have other health concerns, and when the Bahms were searching for a gluten-free birthday cake in 2016, it so happened that the bakery was up for sale. It was a perfect fit. “I make the cupcakes and cream puffs,” Tegan says, explaining her duties. For the holidays, festive chocolate peppermint cupcakes are her specialty. On top of a chocolate cupcake, “We do a chocolate peppermint frosting. I swirl together red frosting with green frosting with crushed peppermint candies mixed in. I pipe the frosting on the cupcakes.”

“It’s easy to pipe,” Tegan says. For Tegan, it’s second nature for her to make cream puffs. Traditionally, cream puffs involve making a tight dough called a Pâte â Choux where flour is added to a mixture of boiling butter and sugar in a pan. Eggs are then vigorously incorporated, resulting in a stretchy ribbony dough. The dough is piped from a bag into small mounds to be baked. Once cooked, Bavarian cream is piped into the cream puff. Of her work at the bakery, she says, “I get experience baking.” Also, she says, her eyes lighting up in a smile above the mask she’s wearing, “I get to eat the mess-ups.” “It’s handy to have a kid that likes to cook,” Heather says. Tegan makes dinner for the family at least once a week. “She’s learned to adapt recipes, switch things out. She treats it like a science experiment.” Tegan remembers baking when she was 5 years old. “I started when I was very young,” she says. Her first memory was making pancakes with her grandmother. Heather says, “We started

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TEGAN (LEFT) WITH HER MOM, HEATHER, AND SISTER, DELILAH AT RAE RAE'S BAKERY.

cooking together with her sitting on the counter while I was making cookie dough.” “I love salad and salmon,” Tegan says. This affection showed on her Instagram post of a filet of oven-cooked salmon atop fresh salad greens garnished with sliced strawberries and avocado finished with a nasturtium flower. “I decided to experiment with the strawberries,” Tegan says of the concoction. “I put the strawberries on and it tasted really good.” Then she explains how she whips up the salmon, “I preheated the oven to 400 degrees. I put tin foil on a pan and baked it for 10 minutes. I checked the fish to make sure it wasn’t raw.”

I LIKE TO PIECE TOGETHER RECIPES FROM COOKBOOKS. IT’S COOL HOW YOU CAN TURN SOMETHING INTO SOMETHING ELSE. — Tegan Bahm

The secret for many cooks is knowing where to best source products. For this salad, Tegan purchased the salmon from the Billings Seafood Guys, the greens from Swanky Roots and the olive from The Spiked Olive. 22

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From her forage at the Yellowstone Valley Farmers Market, she became friends with Morgan Ceartin, whose mother owns The Spiked Olive. With her BFF, she shares her cooking skills. During sleepovers, since Morgan doesn’t like salmon, “I get to make and eat chicken salad,” Tegan says. Tegan’s dad prefers beef. “I pan sear the steaks when I cook them for the family,” she says. Her father likes his steak medium-rare and her sister likes hers well-done. Tegan extended her hand out to demonstrate the testing of meat temperatures by comparing the meat with the flesh under her thumb.

When Tegan starts talking about recipes, her voice races. “I really like making burgers. I really like making chicken a lot. I have a side of carrots, potatoes or broccoli.” For the sauce she says, “I make that up from my head.” She values the science involved in each dish. “I like to piece together recipes from cookbooks,” she says. “It’s cool how you can


turn something into something else.” In her bedroom, Tegan has bags of cookbooks purchased from thrift stores and yard sales. While others search online for recipes, she doesn’t like computers. In her collection of books, there are many gluten-free books and those specific for the junior chef and the baker. There’s also a barbecue cookbook and one specializing in pasta, but the one that showcases her level of culinary curiosity is a book on sous vide. Tegan has yet to pursue this French style of cooking, which involves food sealed in a vacuum bag to be cooked in a water bath. Maybe someday we will be able to eat one of her sous vide dishes when her dream of opening a gluten-free Italian restaurant comes true. In the meantime, Tegan will continue to practice her science that many of us see as magic. ✻

STELLA FONG, writer

Stella divides her time between Billings and Seattle and is the author of two Billingscentric books, Historic Restaurants of Billings and Billings Food. Her writings have appeared in Big Sky Journal, Western Art and Architecture, the Washington Post as well as online at lastbestplates.com.

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THE LIFE OF MANY

COLORS THE ART AND PATH OF BUNNY K.

written by VIRGINIA BRYAN photography by DANIEL SULLIVAN

RYLIE KAISER

knows she’s a lucky young woman. While hanging several large paintings for her seventh ArtWalk appearance in late 2019, Rylie, who signs her work “BunnyK,” had her mother, Kim Kaiser, by her side. Kim reserved the downtown gallery and handled the all the details for Rylie’s show. During the ArtWalk, the two greeted family, friends, colleagues and visitors with smiles, hugs and laughter. Energy from Rylie's multi-colored “pour” paintings reverberated through the gallery and by night’s end, she had sold five of them. Her art is explosive, colorful and attention-grabbing. The colors that flow through each piece have brought Rylie comfort during her healing journey. At her young life, she’s already endured two bouts of cancer, difficult treatments and a diagnosis of epilepsy.

YOU JUST DO IT Rylie was a month away from her fourth birthday in 2002 when

antibiotics failed to kick a low-grade fever. Her pediatrician ordered a blood test. “This might be leukemia,” the pediatrician told Kim. She remembers him bolting into the exam room and saying. “We need to get Rylie to Denver NOW!” Doctors in Denver confirmed the diagnosis. Kim says she felt clueless about how to juggle her career with Rylie’s health needs. She’d graduated from Montana State University-Billings just two years earlier. Neither she nor her husband, who’d just changed jobs, had significant savings, sick leave or vacation time. They had another child at home and needed both incomes to make ends meet. When it came to travel, Kim’s vehicle wasn’t what she called travel worthy. Kim knew the ravages of cancer. It had claimed the lives of her father and uncle. Working for the American Cancer Society (ACS), she interacted with cancer survivors and families and friends left behind by those who didn’t survive. It was her job to coordinate events to raise cancer awareness and money for research NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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Now, two decades later, friends still ask her how she did it. “I don’t know,” she says. “You just do it.”

AN EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER After Rylie’s diagnosis, Kim and her daughter spent the next 18 months traveling to Denver and back every other month. Thankfully, there were times that Rylie’s chemotherapy, biopsies and treatments were done at home. Even so, Kim did much of her ACS work remotely — before Wi-Fi and smartphones. Rylie endured the travel, nausea, exhaustion, vomiting, isolation and mood swings like a trooper, but Kim recalls the whole family experiencing a “rollercoaster of emotions.” During one Denver hospital stay, mother and daughter were watching “The Wizard of Oz,” Rylie’s favorite movie. A gift arrived and within the package for Rylie sat a pair of sparkling ruby-red slippers just like Dorothy’s. Rylie slipped the shoes on her tiny feet and clicked her heels together. “They don't work, Mommy,” Rylie said in a frail voice. “They don't work.” Kim was devastated. She knew the statistics. Children with leukemia have an 80 percent survival rate in the first five years. The survival rate drops to 40 percent if the cancer returns. KIM (LEFT) WITH HER DAUGHTER, RYLIE

At the end of her first round of treatment, doctors thought Rylie was “all clear.” But in the fall of 2003, the Kaiser family discovered Rylie’s cancer was back. Hospital stays meant movies with Mom, coloring and crafts between chemo, low blood counts, fevers, IVs dripping with medication and the ever-present fear of infection. Rylie spent Christmas 2003 at St. Vincent Hospital. Between March and June 2004, she underwent a bone marrow transplant, followed by a full body and brain radiation in Minneapolis, with two more years of check-ups afterward.

COLORS BEGIN TO EMERGE During Rylie’s second cancer battle, her sense of color began to emerge. One day, the Montana Hope Project delivered a playhouse for Rylie on a big flatbed truck. To all who had gathered, Rylie announced her color selections. “Pink and green for the bedrooms, a yellow kitchen, a blue dining room and the rest in fabulous 26

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grape with rose trim!” Those moments were the joy during some very rough years. Because of Rylie’s suppressed immune system, her elementary school years meant social isolation. The effects of radiation made schoolwork difficult. In middle school, things began to shift. Rylie attended Billings Education Academy where her self-esteem and individual strengths grew. Art was woven into every school day.

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After graduating from Senior High in 2017, Rylie remembers telling Kim, “Mom, I need paints, brushes and canvases.” Kim connected Rylie with Ruby Hahn, who was, at the time, an MSU-Billings art student. The duo shared ideas and techniques for their “pour” paintings and envisioned a joint ArtWalk appearance. Rylie refused to let her first grand mal seizure, which came unexpectedly in 2017, set her back. The ArtWalk show went on. Over time, Rylie developed friendships with her patrons and acquired a “following” in the local art community. “When strangers admire Rylie’s art and purchase it, her sense of purpose and self-worth get a big boost,” says Kim. “She’s faced more adversity in her 20-some years than many people face in a lifetime.”

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Rylie dreams of a “she shed,” where she’ll have a dedicated space for her art and woodworking. It will have room for “Apollo,” her bearded dragon. Kim found her dream job as CEO of the Billings YMCA where she uses her energy, creative thinking and resilience every day. As Rylie chatted about her art and plans for the future, she paused to look at Kim with adoration and gratitude — the way all mothers wish their daughters would look at them. She knows she’s had one of the best partners to help her succeed in life, with every challenge, every step and every new work of art. “My Mom,” Rylie says, “my Mom has my back.” Maybe those ruby slippers worked after all.

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BECOME A MEMBER OF THE 505 CLUB BY... Sponsoring a youth for $25 a month for a year.

WHAT DOES MY MEMBERSHIP DO? Your monthly donation helps provide an opportunity for our youth and young adults to receive basic necessities that help them reach long-term success, including:

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Go to www.tumbleweedprogram.org to sign up and for more information. VIRGINIA BRYAN, writer

Tumbleweed provides Safety, Assistance and Hope to our community’s vulnerable and homeless youth, creating lasting life changes.

Virginia Bryan is a freelance writer and Director of ArtWalk Downtown Billings. She has written extensively about our region's artists,culture, history and women.

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kicks for

kids

THIRD-GRADER’S ACT OF KINDNESS SPARKS LOCAL NON-PROFIT written by JULIE KOERBER photography by DANIEL SULLIVAN 28

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IT WAS A SIMPLE, everyday interaction that started with a little chit-chat in the hall. As Reese Danhof, then a third-grader, stood in line with the rest of her class at Elysian School, she noticed that one of her classmates looked a bit down. “He was walking all sad. I said, ‘Hey, what’s the matter?’ He told me, ‘I’m going to have to wear my snow boots all summer because I have no tennis shoes,’” Reese says. After some time passed, Reese looked at the boy and remembers saying, “’Well, I can get some tennis shoes.’ He said, ‘What for?’ and I told him, ‘For you.’” Reese adds, “He was smiling for the rest of the day and was in a super happy mood.” And that, Reese says, made her heart feel happy. Later that day, Reese remembers hopping in the car with her wallet in hand ready to ask her mom for a trip to the mall after they dropped her older sister off at soccer practice. “My mom asked me, ‘What’s the wallet for?’” After Reese relayed the story, her mom, Holly Danhof, called the school counselor to see if it would be OK. “The counselor told me that the boy’s mother would absolutely be receptive,” Holly says. “She told me that she was in a hard situation.” Stuffed inside Reese’s wallet was the money saved from Christmas and birthday gifts. “I just knew I had that money and I knew I wanted to spend it on something more important than toys or clothes,” Reese says.

put this idea together it was something to show how a tiny little gift of $50 could change a kid’s life. When you get a compliment about your shoes, it makes you feel better about life. You walk with more confidence.” “We do have kids in our community who could benefit from this program,” says Elysian School Principal Ryan Truscott. He’s amazed that one act of kindness that started at his school could now spread citywide. He’s not surprised that it was Reese who sparked it. “She always has a smile on her face,” he says. “She wants to put people first and she wants kindness to come out of everyone.” Eventually, Reese and Holly would love to take the program statewide. Since all of the ordering is done online and shoes are shipped direct to the school, Holly says there’s no reason why this nonprofit can’t reach beyond Billings. “Each child will be in a different situation,” Holly says. “Maybe it is an eighth-grader who would like to play basketball for the first time but never could because he didn’t have basketball shoes. If you can help a child walk with more pride and dignity, what could that do for him?”

I JUST KNEW I HAD THAT MONEY AND I KNEW I WANTED TO SPEND IT ON SOMETHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN TOYS OR CLOTHES. — Reese Danhof

By day’s end, she carried a box of Nike high tops in a splashy red-and-black design. When the boy got the box in his hands the next day, Reese saw a look of wonder on his face. “To this day, he treats me like I’m his sister,” Reese says with a smile. As the 9-year-old tells the story, her mom looks on with pride. She says this is the kid who will voluntarily fold the laundry when she knows her mom is busy. And this is the kid who loves making people handmade greeting cards with heartfelt notes inside.

While the idea was Reese’s, Holly is thankful for a trio of women in her business-tobusiness networking group. Mandy Kleinhans, Sarah McLean and Danielle Thorson jumped in to help and now serve on the nonprofit’s board. They’ve been vital players in getting the nonprofit off the ground. “We wanted to take what she did and replicate it,” Holly says.

While they are still raising funds and getting all the details in order to get thing rolling, they’ve established a partnership with Canyon Creek School to take the program for a test run. While they’d love to have a partnership with a retailer to get shoes at a discount, for now they use coupons and store points to rack up savings. With each new pair of shoes, both Holly and Reese can’t help but feel good knowing there is a child on the receiving end of the gift.

“I’ll try not to cry,” Holly says. “But her heart is so big and she wants to give all the time.”

“Kids don’t get to choose their situation,” Holly says, “but if we could privately help them, we can let them know that someone out there cares about them.”

Today, the random act of kindness sparked at Elysian School has blossomed into a full-fledged nonprofit aiming to help children who could use a new pair of shoes. It’s called Kicks for Kids 406 and the goal is to work with elementary school counselors to help kids walk a little taller. Every donation will be discreet and anonymous.

TO FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN HELP WITH KICKS FOR KIDS, visit the nonprofit’s website at k4k406.com. If you have questions, you can reach out via email at kicksforkids406@gmail. com. ✻

“They get a chance to put on a new pair of shoes, out of the box, pull the stuffing out and lace them up,” Holly says. “When we NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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Life in

TECHNICOLOR

HEART ABNORMALITY BRINGS NEW PERSPECTIVE TO MURAL ARTIST written by JULIE KOERBER photography by DANIEL SULLIVAN

ON A SUNNY MORNING IN OCTOBER,

Elyssa Leininger was close to wrapping up a work of art that touched her heart in ways she never imagined. Her canvas wasn’t something you hang on a wall — it was a wall measuring roughly 2,000 square feet, with bright and bold depictions of the Yellowstone Valley and the many animals that once roamed this now very urban center of Billings. Her canvas was the west wall of the Sixth Street West underpass, which she had driven past countless times during her high school and college days. “This was nothing I ever imagined painting,” Elyssa says. “It is something that has always stood out in my mind as being a dark, ugly place.” Now, bold colors cover nearly every square inch of one side of the underpass wall. From July 30 to the final days of October, when Elyssa put her last stroke of paint on the massive work, she spent sunup to sundown here, nearly 1,000 hours in all. She would take her cart of paints and supplies and with a rolling stool, she’d move back and forth, filling in bits of grass, adding animals and trees as she went. With nearly 17,000 cars whizzing by each day, just feet from where she worked, it was impossible to stand back and make sure her 30

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artistic perspective was on target. “It is really hard to step back and get the right proportions,” Elyssa says. “So, I sketch the animals in chalk, take a whole bunch of measurements using my smaller two scale design, which converts square inches to square feet, to figure out how big each animal should be.” It’s how the bison, which stand over six feet tall, ended up being life-size. As Elyssa reflects on the journey, she’s amazed by the turn of events that brought her here. “I have always loved sketching and drawing,” Elyssa says, remembering fondly how she would tell her parents she was going to grow up to become an artist. When she entered high school, she took an art class as a respite from her other difficult classes. The art class, however, turned out to be the most challenging. “Everything that I created was just essentially rejected,” Elyssa says. Her teacher, she adds, would pick apart her work. “If I drew a little town and there was one window where the perspective was a little off, she would circle it and draw a frowny face on my work.” Elyssa took it personally and says, “I had no desire to


I REALLY WANTED THIS MURAL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN JUST ONE PERSON’S DAY. — Elyssa Leininger

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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create anymore.” From then on, the only time she would sketch was to doodle in her notebooks during class. When Elyssa turned 17, she started to experience heart arrhythmia, and after administering a battery of tests, doctors discovered her heart had an extra pathway. “It caused the electrical signals to go all haywire,” Elyssa says. “My heart would start beating out of control with no real rhythm.” Her doctor told her it would be a simple hour-long procedure to correct the heart’s pathway. “The further they kept going, the closer they got to my heart’s natural pacemaker and they had to stop after a nine-hour surgery,” Elyssa says. But when she awoke after surgery, she says, “Everything was very vibrant. I knew that life was special and important.” That technicolor view stayed with her. “I saw the landscapes and wildlife as very vibrant and vivid. I had these artistic visions and started to have a desire to create again,” she says. It wasn’t until she started as a freshman at Rocky Mountain College that art would be woven back into her life. “I did everything I could to avoid taking an art class, but it was required for general education,” Elyssa says. “So, I took a sculpting class and my professor was absolutely amazing. She really encouraged me to keep creating.” She not only encouraged Elyssa, she urged her to change her major. There was an scholarship available to study art in Italy. She wanted Elyssa to have it. 32

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“She told me I was special,” Elyssa says. “It made all the difference in the world.” In Italy, Elyssa says she felt like she painted for the first time. She studied the masters —DaVinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli — and fell in love. She not only used that emotion to develop her work, she used it to develop a career. “I am now a professional western and wildlife artist,” she says. “I used to travel and do different shows around the state but this year they were all canceled. This mural came about at the most perfect time.” As she walks the length of her work, she says, “I really wanted this mural to make a difference in just one person’s day. The warm colors like the yellows and oranges are known to inspire feelings of confidence, positivity, tolerance, happiness. I thought psychologically, people passing through, just seeing a glimpse of these colors would inspire feelings of hope and positivity and maybe change their day a little bit." As you glance at the animals, they look sun-kissed, the light reflecting in each animal’s eyes. “That was just something that I was able to just see one day after my heart procedure,” Elyssa says. “I could just see the way the light touched an object and where the shadows would lie, where the sun would hit and how it would almost glow.” She adds, “These warm colors? That’s how I feel about the world, the landscapes, the American West that we are surrounded by. It’s sacred to me. I come from a long line of ranchers in Montana, so that’s always


been a part of me and a part of who I am.” The mural was initiated by the South Side Neighborhood Task Force and funded through a mix of grants and community donations. After being chosen as the artist from a host of applications, Elyssa received a small stipend for her work. The biggest gifts, however, have been those that come daily through random acts of kindness. Since the project began, she’s kept a running tally of each one through a notes app on her phone. She’s jotted down more than 100. “Some guy gave me $4. It was all the money he had but he wanted me to have it,” Elyssa says with emotion in her voice. People have handed her free coffee. Others gave her boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

garbage, and trimming the waist-high weeds, Elyssa put on the finishing touches, hiding little animals like rabbits, frogs and rattlesnakes in amongst the sagebrush for little ones to find as they walk by. And as she did, a traveler stopped, just like the many dozens before her.

“I just wanted to take a photo of the artist!” Ursula Beck of Sunburst, Montana, says. She had seen the work but knowing she was heading back home, took the time to stop and soak it all in. “Can you stand next to your painting?” she asks MAYBE THERE WILL BE OTHER PLACES Elyssa. “This is a great, great thing. It’s AROUND TOWN THAT WILL OPEN UP what we need. We need to make the FOR MURALS, BECAUSE I WOULD LOVE world pretty.”

TO CONTINUE TO BEAUTIFY BILLINGS. — Elyssa Leininger

“Every single day there are at least 100 people who honk and wave and shout out their windows,” Elyssa says. “There are more who stop and walk through or stop their car just to tell me how wonderful it is and how much they appreciate it. It is amazing. I never expected any of that.” Just three short months after cleaning up massive amounts of

As Elyssa smiles and nods, she says that’s exactly what she’d love to do. “Maybe there will be other places around town that will open up for murals,” Elyssa says, “because I would love to continue to beautify Billings.”

TO SEE MORE OF ELYSSA LEININGER’S WORK, you can visit her website at elyssaleiningerart.com. ✻

Montana Residents NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

$10 33


GIVING r a e G h g i in H THIS YEAR HOLIDAY GIVING MIGHT HELP PEOPLE COPE WITH COVID-19 written by ED KEMMICK photography by DANIEL SULLIVAN

IF YOU ARE someone whose holiday season to-do list includes charitable giving, this season the ways to lend a hand are going far beyond gifts of toys and food. This year, there is a direct, easy way to help those in our community affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Soon after the pandemic surfaced earlier this year, the Billings Community Foundation and the United Way of Yellowstone County established the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, aimed at funneling resources to nonprofits serving people disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and resulting economic hardships. As of mid-October, according to BCF Director Lauren Wright, the two organizations had raised close to $170,00 and had distributed nearly $140,000 of the total. “It was amazing, the support that we saw,” Lauren says, “and just how many people took it upon themselves to acknowledge how blessed some of us really are, and that we have an opportunity IT WAS AMAZING, THE to impact our SUPPORT THAT WE SAW AND community JUST HOW MANY PEOPLE and those less TOOK IT UPON THEMSELVES fortunate.”

TO ACKNOWLEDGE HOW BLESSED SOME OF US REALLY ARE, AND THAT WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO IMPACT OUR COMMUNITY AND THOSE LESS FORTUNATE. — Lauren Wright

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Donations from individuals, corporations and foundations have gone to dozens o f n o n p ro f i t s in Yellowstone and eight nearby

counties. Seventy-five percent of the funds go to individual charities; the other 25 percent goes directly to the Yellowstone County Continuum of Care, a coalition working specifically on shelter and homelessness needs. In the early days of the pandemic, the United Way and the Billings Community Foundation were working frantically to distribute funds on a weekly basis. Organizations could apply for up to $2,500 every Tuesday, and by Friday of each week the allocations were decided on, with the grants going out each Monday. When things finally began to slow down, they went to a monthly grant cycle. Meanwhile, fundraising efforts continue, and members of the community response team expect to see greater needs again this fall and winter, particularly when the flu season arrives on top of the pandemic. “We did want to make sure that we’re continuing to fundraise and to support this fund so that when the need arises again, we are ready and prepared to respond and support our nonprofit partners,” Lauren says. There is also a commitment by the United Way and the Billings Community Foundation to continue working together. “This is a new partnership and collaboration,” Lauren says. “And it is something that we hope to continue. We have been working together with them, and we’ve all agreed what a wonderful process this was and how nice it was to be able to depend on each other.” Because of the need to get funds out quickly, the community response fund hasn’t been allowing people to direct their donations to a specific agency, but it does encourage them to donate directly to those organizations if they’d like to. Here are some COVID-related needs at a few of the larger nonprofits in Billings:


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Family Service 3927-3931 FIRST AVE. S. | 2592269 Financial donations are paramount this year, since Family Service is expecting a significant increase in the number of people looking for help at both Thanksgiving and Christmas. And with the federal eviction moratorium ending on Dec. 31, they think the first three months of the year are going to be tough. So, emergency rent and utility funding, and food donations for the holidays and winter months, are big needs. Food items could include stuffing mixes, canned corn or green beans, inexpensive salt and pepper sets, cooking oil, boxed or bagged cereal, peanut butter, canned soup, stew or chili, and spaghetti and sauces. Other big needs include gently used children’s coats, snow pants, boots, gloves, and other warm wear. Please make sure they are clean and in good repair. And if

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its services during the pandemic shutdowns and is now serving 7,000 meals a month, at a cost of roughly $2 a meal. If you’d like to give a donation specifically to that program, you may do so on their website: svdpmt.org/donate.

you’d like to help organize a post-holiday food drive in January or February, let Family Service know.

Family Promise of Yellowstone Valley

You can also write a check and put “food program” in the memo line. And because it doesn’t have the ability to wash dishes, the organization goes through an enormous amount of paper products, including paper plates, napkins, plastic utensils and cups. If you’d like to drop off those kinds of items, you may do so on the north-facing door to the building at 3005 First Ave. S.

Tumbleweed

10 S. 26TH ST. | 294-7432

505 N. 24TH ST. | 259-2558

Family Promise has been serving an ever-growing number of families. Because of COVID-19, the organization is continuously running its Emergency Shelter and Mobile Diaper Bank, as well as serving more clients with direct community case management. This has left Family Promise with a greater need for items like diapers, wipes, formula, gift cards for gas, food, clothing, etc., and, as always, monetary donations.

Executive Director Ericka Willis says the pandemic affected the people they serve —vulnerable and homeless young people — dramatically. Many of them had their hours cut of lost their jobs in the food service industry, leading to more homelessness, financial instability and increased drug use. Especially in the early stages of the pandemic, with schools closed and Tumbleweed unable to use its drop-in center, the organization shifted gears quickly, restarting its street-outreach program.

You can follow Family Promise on Facebook, where they post their most current needs weekly. Items can be mailed to their office, 10 S. 26th St., 59101, or call 294-7432 to arrange a drop-off.

St. Vincent de Paul

3005 FIRST AVE. S., 252-1855 St. Vincent de Paul’s biggest COVID-related need at the moment is support for its food program. The organization greatly expanded 36

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So, their biggest need is for monetary donations that will allow them to keep their staff working and interacting with their clients. Beyond that, there is a need for snow boots and other winter gear, as well as a continuing need for donations of food. Specific needs change quickly, so check the Tumbleweed website — tumbleweedprogram.org — as well as their Facebook and Instagram pages, which are frequently updated. ✻


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OVERCOMING DYSLEXIA, ONE CHILD AT A TIME written by ED KEMMICK photography by DANIEL SULLIVAN

THERE ARE TIMES, apparently, when good sermons need to be delivered more than once. About 10 years ago, TerraBeth Jochems’ pastor at Harvest Church, the Rev. Vern Streeter, first preached on the importance of finding what you were meant to do in life. His message, she says, was: “Stop doing good things so you can do one great thing.” After hearing versions of that sermon over the years, “One day it was like this brick just hit me over the head,” TerraBeth says. “It was like: You need to stop being in the classroom and you need to help kids with this particular problem.”

helping kids,” TerraBeth says. “I know what it feels like to not be able to read. Every chance that I could get, I wanted to reach as many kids as I could.” In 2016, she stepped away from everything that was “comfortable” to her — a district she knew, her colleagues that were also close friends, a stable full-time job — and retired. “It was always in the back of my head that I needed to start a literacy ministry,” she says.

I KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO NOT BE ABLE TO READ. EVERY CHANCE THAT I COULD GET, I WANTED TO REACH AS MANY KIDS AS I COULD.

The ministry was launched at Harvest Church. TerraBeth became a full-time tutor, devoting herself to work with people who didn’t just need to become better readers, but in many cases had to learn how to read. Before the pandemic changed everything, TerraBeth and her four trained tutors were coaching 48 people through the literacy program.

That particular problem was dyslexia, a reading disorder that affects one in — TerraBeth Jochems five people, and which TerraBeth herself had struggled to overcome as a child. When Streeter’s message finally hit home, she’d been Chuck Barthuly, executive director of the Better with Billings Public Schools for 25 years, teaching Billings Foundation, which was founded in 2005 by reading and English in grade school and high school. She leaders at Harvest Church, says members of the foundation are worked as a reading tutor for years, helping elementary-age proud of having partnered with TerraBeth in her work. children and teens after school and during the summer. “As I taught, the more I kept seeing this possibility of really

“Ultimately, it was her desire to want to help kids, and her passion and contagious, infectious commitment to helping kids that led NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

39


our board to want to help her build that,” Barthuly says. On a personal level, he adds, it’s a joy to see TerraBeth working with her students, particularly young children. “You can see the lights click on, and see them just go from despair to hope,” Barthuly says. “She gives every kid every ounce of her energy.”

you can learn those seven types, you can read and spell pretty much everything.” It’s a common misperception that people with dyslexia see words differently. The disorder has nothing to do with vision, TerraBeth says. It’s all about what happens when what is seen or read goes into the brain. For most people, she says, the information is automatically sifted and sorted. For someone with dyslexia, the information floats around in a jumbled state without being properly processed.

TerraBeth doesn’t do dyslexia screenings, though people who have been diagnosed with the disorder are often referred to her. Her tutoring makes use of the Barton Reading Program, itself based on the Orton-Gillingham approach. While it was created for students with dyslexia, it’s useful WE’LL BE FOREVER regardless of why someone has trouble GRATEFUL TO TERRABETH reading.

FOR HER CAN-DO ATTITUDE. WITHOUT HER, I DON’T KNOW WHERE WE’D BE.

“I have one little boy I tutor. He told me, ‘Mrs. Jochems, my brain is just like a cell phone. I have too many apps open in it and I don’t think I can sound out this word right now.’” TerraBeth says that’s what it feels like for someone with dyslexia.

This highly structured program is geared to the way people with dyslexia process Terra Beth’s program is highly structured. information, combining phonics or soundShe teaches the hard and fast rules of — Marla Cronk based instruction with hands-on learning. reading and over time, those learned rules A fundamental part of the program involves slowly rewire the brain to help a person read manipulating wooden tiles with letters printed normally, or nearly so. In many ways, TerraBeth on them, blue tiles for consonants and yellow tiles for says, people with dyslexia learn to read the way other vowels. Using the tiles, students learn how to break down words people learn a foreign language, from the ground up, learning and put them back together, or to rearrange the tiles to form new the rules and structure, and memorizing vocabulary lists. words. TerraBeth typically tutors children between first and third grades, “The thing that works with this is that it helps phonemic but she’s tutored many teens and older adults as well, including awareness – that’s not phonics. Phonemic awareness means one woman in her 80s. The results are often life changing. knowing where to separate sounds and how to put them back That was certainly the case for Tianna Cronk, a 23-year-old together to manipulate words,” TerraBeth says. “There are seven Billings native. Her mother, Marla, a part-time nurse who different types of vowel syllables in the English language and if 40

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AT THAT POINT IN MY LIFE I WAS SO RELIEVED, BECAUSE AS A LITTLE THIRD-GRADER I THOUGHT I WAS BROKEN. IT WAS VERY NICE TO KNOW THAT MY BRAIN JUST THOUGHT DIFFERENTLY. — Tianna Cronk

volunteered in her daughter’s classroom, remembers when she first began to notice that Tianna had trouble reading. There was a boy who came to Tianna’s first-grade class at Rose Park Elementary well into the school year. He didn’t know the alphabet and couldn’t write his own name. Marla worked with him one on one, and by the end of the year his reading and writing skills were at normal levels. But her own daughter, who had had every advantage and who had been read to since she was born, couldn’t keep up with that boy. Her first-grade teacher set up a reading program for Tianna, and she and her mother worked at improving her reading skills all summer. But second grade was “kind of the same thing,” Marla says. “She just barely kept up.” In third grade, Tianna, the oldest of three children, ambitious and something of a perfectionist, was placed in the lowest reading level. “She was devastated,” Marla says. “She started to fall further behind. She started becoming anxious.” School District 2 didn’t test for dyslexia, but Marla knew that in her hometown of Chinook, there was a teacher in the school district who did. In the summer after third grade, Tianna went there with her mother and was diagnosed with severe dyslexia. “At that point in my life I was so relieved, because as a little third-grader I thought I was broken,” Tianna says. “It was very nice to know that my brain just thought differently.”

At the beginning of fourth grade, on the recommendation of the Rose Park principal, Tianna started being tutored two to three times a week by TerraBeth, who was then teaching reading at Senior High. Tianna stayed with her for three years, and though she says she was not entirely “fixed” and is still a slow reader, she could do her schoolwork — and then some. When Tianna graduated from Senior High in 2015, she was one of about 10 valedictorians. Now, having earned an undergraduate degree in animal sciences from Montana State University Bozeman, she is a sophomore in veterinary medicine at Washington State University in Pullman. And that’s not all. Tianna’s sister, Terah, two years her junior, also had dyslexia, though it wasn’t as severe as Tianna’s. She spent two years being tutored by Terra Beth. She, too, graduated from Senior High as a valedictorian and is now married and living near San Diego, where she is studying healthcare administration through Montana State University Billings. The fact that two of

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Marla’s three daughters had dyslexia is a reminder that dyslexia is genetic. Marla’s husband, Barry, was not dyslexic, but his brother’s oldest child was. “We’ll be forever grateful to TerraBeth for her can-do attitude,” Marla says. “Without her, I don’t know where we’d be.” Between them, Marla and Tianna described TerraBeth as kind, understanding, calm, positive and upbeat. That probably springs from her own experience with dyslexia, and from being helped by a caring, knowledgeable adult. TerraBeth went to school in Seattle before moving to Billings with her family at the start of fourth grade. From the start of first grade she had trouble reading and processing information in general. Her frustration — “That was a horrifying time of my life,” she says — was perceived by her teacher as defiance, and she and her desk were moved into the hall as punishment. “I spent a lot of time out in the hallway,” she says.

I HAVE ONE LITTLE BOY I TUTOR. HE TOLD ME, ‘MRS. JOCHEMS, MY BRAIN IS JUST LIKE A CELL PHONE. I HAVE TOO MANY APPS OPEN IN IT AND I DON’T THINK I CAN SOUND OUT THIS WORD RIGHT NOW.’ — TerraBeth Jochems

Soon she was placed in a special education class, confined to a “green barracks” separate from the otherwise new brick school. Fortunately, Seattle schools did test for dyslexia then, and TerraBeth received her diagnosis in the first grade. In grades one through three, she received reading instruction from a Mrs. Kashawagi, who apparently had been trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach. By the time TerraBeth moved to Billings, she had “graduated” from special ed. She was not only reading at grade level, she had become the avid reader she remains to this day. After earning a BA in secondary education from what was then 42

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Eastern Montana College, TerraBeth began to share her love of reading by working as a para-pro reading instructor at Garfield Elementary School in Billings. She did that for three years before becoming a full-time Title 1 reading instructor there in 1991. In her first year as a full-time instructor, she won the Sallie Mae First Class Teacher Award. Later, in a partnership with Johns Hopkins University, Garfield School developed a program that made every teacher into a reading instructor. In a year and a half, the school went from having 36 percent of its students reading at or above grade level to 89 percent. Despite the successes, TerraBeth says, “I was just so frustrated. I kept saying something is wrong. Something is missing here.” Those thoughts lingered for a few years. It wasn’t until she was rummaging through some old catalogs looking for new reading materials that she stumbled upon a handwritten flyer promoting a readingthrough-spelling-rules program.

“I thought, ‘That’s it! That’s how Mrs. Kashawagi taught me to read.’ Spelling is the cornerstone of learning how to read,” TerraBeth says. She took the flyer and called the woman who created it. “Her name is Pauline Adamson. She was probably 80 at the time. She lived in Red Lodge in this little apartment. I go there, sit down with her and she taught me the whole program,” TerraBeth says. “We’re having tea at the very end of the day and she said, ‘You


Armed with all the lessons from Pauline Adamson’s binder, called Phonics for Reading and Spelling, TerraBeth rewrote her entire curriculum. She says, “That’s when it hit that I was going to start doing things differently.” She crafted a program at Garfield School called sign phonics, using sign language to help kids process reading and learn in a multi-sensory way. “It opens up their brains to a new way of learning,” TerraBeth says. “It lights up their brain and they can feel their brain changing. They don’t know how to explain it but they can feel it. Watching it is a miracle.” When Garfield closed in 2001, TerraBeth was transferred to Senior High, where she was asked to start a reading program. She worried all summer, afraid that the way she was teaching young children wouldn’t translate to high school, but as soon as she walked in the doors at Senior, she says, “I was at home.” She stayed at Senior for 15 years, starting out as a reading instructor and later becoming an English teacher (where one of her students was Tianna Cronk, whom she had taught to read a few years earlier). During her time at Senior, she continued tutoring after school and on weekends and was active in the Montana State Literacy Association. Along the way, she increased her formal knowledge of the Barton system, traveling to California to become certified in the first three levels of the teaching method. On the side, she helped start One Book Billings, in which people across the community read a book by a Montana or regional author and then discuss it in various forums. TerraBeth says while she loved working for Billings Public Schools and really enjoyed her years at Senior, she still had

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know about three years ago there was this young girl in the newspaper and she got this award for some reading program after school. I have been sending her all of my stuff and I never heard from her.’ I told her, ‘That was me.’ She told me, ‘Well, you must not have been ready for it.’”

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a nagging sense that she wasn’t doing everything she could for the people who most needed her help. In 2016, Vern Streeter’s message about doing “one great thing” finally hit home. The program she started at Harvest Church is 3-H Tutoring, for Hope, Help and Honor. Through it, she’s watched kids’ confidence soar. Children who didn’t want to go to school and often complained of “tummy aches,” TerraBeth says, now lift their heads high. “They turn out to be readers and almost instantaneously figure out that they

can do this and that they aren’t dumb.” TerraBeth says she didn’t have a grand vision for the program when it started, but as it expanded and the need became ever more obvious, her goals expanded, too. “Our vision is to grow in the community and reach as many kids as we can,” she says. Already, it draws students from all over the area, some of them making a 45-minute trip to the tutoring sessions. Most of her students don’t belong to the church, she says, and though there is a charge for the program, the Better

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Are you concerned about your child’s reading progress? A grassroots parent-led group known as Decoding Dyslexia is a great resource for information and awareness. You can find the group at decodingdyslexia.net.

To learn more about 3 H Tutoring... EVERY DAY IS A MIRACLE WITH THESE KIDS.

Visit the Better Billings Foundation website at betterbillings.com and click on Projects and Programs under the Who We Are tab.

— TerraBeth Jochems

Making Progress

Billings Foundation offers scholarships on a sliding scale for families that can’t afford it. At some point, TerraBeth says, it may be necessary for 3-H Tutoring to operate out of its own building. Wherever it leads, TerraBeth is ready. “I know in my heart of hearts that I haven’t yet scratched the surface,” she says. “When I come here and I watch these kids and I listen to what they say and what they can do, I see how the trajectory of their lives is changing. Every day is a miracle with these kids.” ✻

Montana Dyslexia Screening & Intervention Act In May of last year, Senate Bill 140 was passed into law, requiring schools to screen and provide early intervention services for students with dyslexia. As of now, a protocol is still being put in place to give Montana’s more than 800 public schools a system to help children with dyslexia. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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SIPPING SIPPING and Savoring ABBY RENO DOES BOTH WITH WINE AND BUSINESS written by LAURA BAILEY photography by DANIEL SULLIVAN 46

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IF YOU ASK ABBY RENO, owner of City Vineyard, what wine to have on hand for your next dinner party, she’ll start with some questions to get to know your tastes, followed by more questions about what you’ll be serving. She’s learned that to help a customer find the perfect bottle of wine, it takes both understanding the customer and understanding wine. These days, she’s a skilled matchmaker, but that wasn’t always the case. When Abby was just starting out in the business of wine, a regular customer came into City Vineyard, looking for a Bordeaux. Abby confidently led the older gentleman to a section of red wines at the back of the store. She wasn’t too far into her sales pitch when he placed his hand on her shoulder and gently said, “Honey, you have a lot to learn. I’ll take it from here.” Abby looked at the wine and realized she’d brought him to the burgundy section. “They’re completely different,” Abby says, remembering the flash-bulb moment. “They’re both wine and that’s about it.” Starting that day, she doubled down on her study of wine, its history and the cultures of the countries and regions where the different varieties are grown. She read books, pored over maps and took online courses. Today, five years later, she’s a Level I sommelier, a certified expert in wine, and well on her way to earning her Level II sommelier certificate. “I knew the foundations of business, but I didn’t know wine,” Abby says. “I had to learn wine and apply what I knew about business to this new industry.” Her hard work is evident in every aspect of the airy, sunlit West End store. City Vineyard sells labels from all over the world and the store’s offerings include wines for every taste and pricepoint. One entire wall offers a wide selection of craft beers, and

the in-store gourmet market sells imported meats, cheeses plus other complements for wine and beer. Step a few paces into the lounge and you’ll not only find 25 different wines by the glass, but 20 beers on tap, plus perfectly paired small plates for snacking. On weekends, the lounge serves brunch with mimosas made with fresh-squeezed orange juice. Once a month, you can catch a wine tasting class to help perfect your palette. Abby, 37, is no newcomer to business. She’s been at it since high school, working for her mother Becky Reno, former owner of the Billings-based City Brew franchise, established in 1998. While the initial push was coffee, Becky started City Vineyard in 2000 after realizing there was a niche for an exclusive wine store in Billings. When Becky decided to sell City Brew in 2017, the company had grown to 23 stores in Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota. Abby was the director of operations in the retail division for City Brew from 2006 to 2015. The job required lots of travel as she oversaw the opening of new stores and the marketing of new products. Abby’s strength, according to her mother, has always been customer service. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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“Good customer service is what builds a company, and it’s consistency that makes all the difference,” Becky says. “Abby has that gift.” Visitors to City Vineyard are just as likely to be greeted by Abby as they are one of the many other knowledgeable staff members, and despite the demands of her leadership role, she still loves helping customers find the perfect bottle of wine. She enjoys suggesting foods to serve with each bottle that not only complement the taste but originate from the culture and region where the wine is made.

Montana, they’d never met. They discovered they had more than just their education in common. “We were on the same beer pong team and ran the table all night,” Abby says. “Obviously, we knew how to play together.” The two were married in 2013. Two years later, Ryan left his career in law and Abby left City Brew to take over operations of City Vineyard. By then, plans for expansion were already swirling. “We were interested in getting involved in something we could grow and that was fun and different,” Abby says.

“Wine is experiential,” Abby says. “You can be transported to that place and still be in your living room.” Abby says she has always had an interest in business, and after high school she attended the University of Montana School of Business. After graduation, she spread her wings in San Francisco, working for Nordstrom’s. When Abby returned home to Billings, she went to work for Becky in executive leadership at City Brew.

WINE IS EXPERIENTIAL. YOU CAN BE TRANSPORTED TO THAT PLACE AND STILL BE IN YOUR LIVING ROOM. — Abby Reno

“It really took being gone to understand the opportunity that I had,” Abby says. “I knew I loved business. I didn’t know anything else because I lived with a serial entrepreneur. She wanted me to have time to be on my own and do my own thing, so she encouraged me to leave the state and do something else. I’m so glad I did because I never would have appreciated who she was and what she’d done.” Abby met her husband, Ryan Nordlund, who was then deputy county attorney for Yellowstone County, at a mutual friend’s barbecue 11 years ago. Though they’d both gone to Billings Catholic Central High and both attended the University of 48

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In 2017, City Vineyard left the small store at Grand Avenue and 17th Street and moved to its present 5,000-squarefoot location near the intersection of 32nd and Grand. Ryan works in the back of the house, handling all the IT and, of course, legal aspects of the business. He’s also passionate about beer and is the beer buyer for the store. Becky is still involved in City Vineyard as a financial partner.

“Because she’s still involved, I never feel alone,” Abby says. “There’s been lots to learn, and it’s been good to be able to tap into her wisdom.” Abby has been able to share wisdom of her own as she served on the University of Montana College of Business Dean’s Advisory Board for three years. She had many opportunities to share her experience with students, and always reminded them that no matter what they chose to do, challenges would always be a part of business. “It’s OK to be afraid and if you work hard, you’re going to get through it,” she says. “Just put your head down, work hard and you’re going to make it.”


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For Abby, her challenge was wine, which she’s come to love. She’s always on the lookout for a new wine or vineyard she’s never heard of before. While she’s always at the ready to share a new flavor, she says often the best suggestions come from her customers. “We wouldn’t be here and be successful if it wasn’t for our customers,” Abby says. Abby and her staff have struck an intentional balance of providing next-level customer service, along with a carefully curated collection of wines all in a friendly approachable package. Their tagline is, “There better be dogs and wine where we are going.” The tagline is a nod to the staff and their pack of much-loved dogs, including Abby’s 14-year-old heeler cross, Dixie, who wags her tail at the door to greet Abby and Ryan at the end of each work day.

WE WOULDN’T BE HERE AND BE SUCCESSFUL IF IT WASN’T FOR OUR CUSTOMERS. — Abby Reno

“There’s nothing like sitting in the back yard with a glass of wine and my fur-baby,” Abby says. ✻

Flavors

for the

Holiday

ABBY RENO’S PICKS FOR ENTERTAINING

Wondering what wines to serve this holiday season?

Abby Reno, owner of City Vineyard, has the perfect selection to take you from those first sips while preparing Thanksgiving dinner all the way to toasting the New Year. The following wines are part of a generous selection available at City Vineyard.

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GAMAY, “RAISINS GAULOIS” FROM

RED BLEND, “BODY GUARD” FROM DAOU,

CREMANT D’ALSACE BRUT FROM KUENTZ-BAS,

LAPIERRE, BEAUJOLAIS, FRANCE: This is the perfect red wine for your table throughout the holidays. It’s an easy drinking, fruit-driven red that is versatile with enough structure and acidity to complement most dishes, or as a tasty glass on its own while you are cooking.

PASO ROBLES, CA: This juicy, fleshy palate offers bright, generous flavors of cherry, cranberry, strawberry and blueberry accented with black raspberry. It goes beautifully with grilled and roasted meats along with rich desserts like dark chocolate truffle & flowerless chocolate cake. This wine is autumn indulgence to the max.

ALSACE, FRANCE: This is a beautiful, dry French sparkling wine comprised of 50% Pinot Noir & 50% Auxerrois grapes. This sparkler is a perfect aperitif and is amazing with charcuterie platters, olives, pate, ham dishes and many more. It’s also a great alternative to champagne for a celebratory toast at half the price.


BEING A

KAREN written by KAREN GROSZ

lowdown. “Karens” demand to see the manager, behave with bourgeois attitudes, and exact their fair share of everything, giving little in return. Before long, the silly Karen meme became a verb — people “Karening” at protests or in nasty online comments. Others were called out for poor behavior with the sentence, “Don’t be such a Karen.”

IT STARTED NICE AND EASY,

like opening a bag of chips and saying you will only have two. Then you have five, next a small handful, then you push away the remaining few chips hoping someone else will eat them before you smash them and pour them on your ice cream. We’ve all been there, at least a time or two, where we were lulled into thinking it was all fun and games, and shazam, all of a sudden it’s too much to handle. That’s what the Karen memes have been like for me. Back in the beginning, I had heard about them, was sent one or two. I laughed. They were very funny actually, and then I made a Facebook post featuring some of my favorites, more laughter, more “it will all be OK”, just like that third handful of chips, when you swear you will take a nice long walk to make up for the damage you are doing. It’s all good. And, then, just like that third helping of chips, it’s not good, not good at all. It seemed like all of a sudden “Karens” were everywhere. Memes. Videos. Jokes. Like potato chip crumbs, they were the debris of good intentions gone bad. Now, you can’t get away from them. Just in case you’ve missed the memes, let me give you the

KAREN GROSZ 52

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I witnessed that firsthand when we were in the grocery store recently, only our second live visit during the pandemic. My husband, Paul, and I ran into a friend. While enjoying a quick, masked-up visit, a woman started screaming at us, saying that there was a pandemic going on and we could not behave like that in public. She, in a classic “Karen” move, started demanding that the manager on duty do something about our behavior. It was all very surreal and became truly unsettling when my husband, who is very much against the Karen memes, since they do not (and this is very sweet) represent his wife, turned to the woman and barked, “Stop being such a Karen.” Wait, screech, back it up a bit, pal. What did you just say? So, the poor guy, who just wanted a bit of ice cream, got Karened by not one, but two Karens, right there in aisle six. One “Karen” berated him for speaking with a friend, and his wife, Karen, who did not appreciate the use of her name for this bad behavior. Our friend slunk away, pulling his mask a little tighter around his nose, as if the whole situation stunk. So, that’s what it’s been like living with the name Karen. It was a simple little potato chip of joy that became a tidal wave of attitude. OK, that might be a little dramatic, but so is the fact that I often feel I have to say “I’m not that kind of Karen” when people learn my name, and I see a look pass over their face. I have never, (OK, maybe once, or twice, but it’s really not a habit), demanded to see the manager. I have never taken the last cookie, pushed my child to the front of the line, or belittled someone


based on their job or situation. What I have tried to do is point out the best, help with the worst, and make sure, at the end of the day, that I did more good than harm to our society, which, if you look around, seems to be what most of us want to do.

mily in tana’s 14tha.org

Chase mber Finals ntana. morial uring

person is doing the very best she can, and the tension in your life will ease just a bit, as you remember to give them grace.

3. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

I know. That’s harsh. And, you really are just trying to help, but if you let others live If that’s true, that you and I want to fight for what is right, help their lives, if you let them make their own decisions, trip over the Beauty & the fix what’s wrong, and live our best lives, Bea that’sst exactly what we rocks they drop, and solve their own problems, the world really Billings Theatre presents “Disney’s Beauty and being the Beast should do.Studio So, here are three of my best tips for not a will be a better place. There is no need to point out every error, or Junior,” 10th-13th. Brainy and beautiful Belle yearns to escape “Karen” butJanuary still getting things handled. to fix every problem. That is what the worst of Karening” her narrow and restricted life including her brute of a suitor, Gaston. is all about — being the know-it-all, bossy, let me Belle gets adventurous and as a result becomes a captive in the Beast’s tell you how it is going to be, biggest voice in the enchanted castle! Dancing flatware, menacing wolves and singing room. Instead, ask if advice is needed, offer furniture fill the stage with thrills during this beloved fairy tale about to help, but most of all, just support others very different people finding strength in one another as they learn how | KEH·RUHN | on their own bumbling, tumbling journey. to love.b i l l i n g s s tud i o t h e a t r e .c o m adjective That way, if a moment arises that you 1. Demand to see the What works is quietly and have to be the biggest, baddest “Karen,” manager, behave with FRinge FestivaL calmly listening to both sides and it will have true power, the kind that bourgeois attitudes, and Venture presents Fringe Festival, January 18th-19th and truly, withTheatre an open heart,itsworking makes people listen. I’ve only had to do exact their festival features four nights of shows featuring localfair share of to 25th-26th.The meet in the middle. Even though that three times and the moments live in everything, and regional performing artists of all types including dance, standup giving little I am a Karen, and we are, apparently, infamy. Changes were made. in return.art, comedy, theater improv, one act plays, musicals, performance loud and proud, I know I don’t know spoken word/poetry, and puppetry.v e n t u r e t h e a t r e .o“Don’t rg be such a Karen.” You and I, no matter what we are named, everything. I am never the smartest are just trying to do our best, to be our best, souL s tReet d anCe person in the room, but when I have This high energy show comes to the Alberta Bair Theater on January and to have a bit of fun. I know this because I am assembled a group of people for strategic 19th and presents a new era in dance, while pushing the artistic a first-born child, a Leo, and a Karen, with a Dukes planning, or problem solving, I know the GROUP boundaries of street dance. Soul Street concerts consist of a mix of Mixture for heritage. Nothing about me was made to be will become smarter than all of us. That, collectively, we movement that will keep you at the edge of your seat. The music is timid, but I am bumbling and tumbling along, thankful for the can rise to any challenge, or battle any evil by actually listening to combined with an electric mix ranging from hip-hop to classical. grace and wishing you the same, especially when you reach for each other, and pulling apart the good and the bad of every idea. It’s a show that will make you laugh and keep audiences of all ages that next handful of potato chips. ✻ Calmly.

1. STOP SCREAMING. YELLING. BANTERING. BELITTLING. THROWING ROCKS. JUST STOP. THAT DOES NOT WORK.

KAREN

entertained.

2. ASSUME THE BEST. That driver did not cut YOU off in a ConC eRt Fo R the whoLe FamiLy

traffic, they just realized they were about to miss their destination presents itsThe Family Concert on January at the andBillings turnedSymphony a little too quickly. waiter did not mean to26th forget Alberta Bair Theater. Four time Grammy nominees, “Trout Fishing your side of special sauce. He is worried about his ailing mom, in America,” will perform along with the Billings Symphony. Trout and has five tables, all with at least three special requests, and Fishing in America is a musical duo which performs folk rock and forgot to add that sauce cup to his tray. A gentle reminder, a bit of children’s music. b i l l i n g s s y m p h o n y.c o m grace, will go a long way in life. Assume, in every situation, that a

als de

KAREN GROSZ, writer Growing up in the shadow of Mt. Rushmore gave Karen an appreciation of high ideals. Living in Alaska for 25 years gave her a frontier spirit. Life in Montana finds her building community. A selfdescribed "multipotentialite," she loves coaching others with her business, Canvas Creek Team Building.

Changes, ideas, wondering what to do now? Discover your Next in these pages

What’s Next?

0

ri

AVAILABLE ON

amazon.com “I’m not stuck anymore. Thank you.” —Jessica

rd YELLOWSTONEVALLEYWOMAN.COM |

DECEMBER 2012/JANUARY 2013

63 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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FOR YOUR YARN LOVER

Handmade Knit Stitch earrings in copper or silver by Birdie Parker Designs are lightweight and playful and are the perfect accent to any project you have in hand. Prices range from $32 - $80 Our cozy YARN BAR is full of presents for your favorite yarn lover - from beautiful earrings, creative accessories, tools, books, and fine yarns for knitting, crochet, weaving, & embroidery. Located at 1940 Grand Ave. Or online at www.yarn.bar

PRETTY TIME TRACKER

Help give the gift of time with this 17-month planner ready to kick off 2021 with beauty, $37.95. Pair it with a coordinating floral weekly planner desk pad, $13.95 and a pretty and bold stainless steel insulated mug perfect for all kinds of beverages, $39.95. Find all at The JOY OF LIVING, 1524 24th Street West.

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PARTY IN A BAG

Extend that kid on a Christmas morning feeling with Four Winds Quilt Shop’s Pink Party Bag subscription. Bags come bi-monthly and each one is full of fun projects, sewing notions, books and gifts. It’s perfect for any budget at $49.99 every other month (must subscribe for a year). Pick up the Quilter’s Bag at the shop or have it mailed to your favorite quilter anywhere in the U.S. to share the joy all year long. Call the store, stop in, or visit their website to sign up, 4windsquilting.com. FOUR WINDS QUILT SHOP, located at 1314 24th Street West.


OWN THE CHANGING SEASONS

Give your man a Tommy Bahama luxe ½ zip with comfort he won’t want to take off. Fully reversible with stylish contrast stitching delivers versatility. $110, at JASON’S CLOTHING, 2564 King Avenue West.

FEELIN’ GOOD

‘Spread the power of optimism’ with Life is Good apparel now at SHIPTON’S BIG R. Find the perfect tee and more for everyone on your gift list this season. Feel good while looking good and helping others! Find them at Shipton’s West, Heights and Downtown locations.

ALL THE TRIMMINGS

An intermingling of sage, juniper, red cedar boughs and more will bring your Holiday trimmings to life! It’s a perfect gift for a friend but make sure you bring one home for yourself! $35 at DAVIDSON DESIGNS located at 2228 Grand Avenue.

GRAB A PLATE

Planning for holiday parties is easy if you let EVERGREEN CAFE do the work for you. From charcuterie boards for small parties to a crowd, your refreshment needs will be met with fresh, delicious, healthy meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. Also available are gift baskets and boxes filled with Made in Montana products suitable for anyone on your Christmas list. Located at 1540 13th St West inside Evergreen Ace Hardware.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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THE SCENTS OF THE SEASON

The Lampe Berger is a decorative fragrance lamp that destroys odors in the air while adding beautiful scents to your environment. Lampe Berger uses a catalytic burner that reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit to combust a special alcohol-based liquid oil made from natural botanical extracts developed by Chanel. $30 to $80 at STUART’S HOUSE OF VACUUMS located at 3121 Central Avenue.

THE GIFT OF ART

Local artist Eloise Oviatt designs these must-have ornaments with the joy of the season in mind. They’re the perfect gift as a tag on a present, an ornament on the tree or just as a treat for yourself! Share that little piece of Montana with someone you love with these kiln-fired and ceramic glazed pieces. What could be better than a gift created by a local artist? $15 and up, available at THE FRAME HUT AND GALLERY, located at 1430 Grand Avenue.

MONTANA LOVE

Best. Gift. Ever. Our fave Love Montana necklace has some friends! Who doesn’t love a Montana Sapphire set in sterling silver? With or without a gem it’s beautiful! Or do you prefer the simplicity of a small sterling silver Montana necklace? Locally crafted. Artistically beautiful. $59-$199 at NEECEE’S located at 1027 Shiloh Crossing Blvd.

SAVOR THE FLAVORS

It’s the perfect way to deliver a little holiday joy with two bottles of wine and all the favorites from the staff at City Vineyard. Taste a little gourmet chocolate, made in Montana caramels, truffle chips from Spain, plus flavorful ranch pretzels. The delicious basket comes complete with cocktail napkins and even a professional corkscrew to make opening your evening a breeze. The “Staff Favorite Basket is $69.99 at CITY VINEYARD, located at 1335 Golden Valley Circle. 56

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THE GIFT OF STRENGTH

Jewelry designer Frieda Rothman created this bracelet to symbolize the grit and resilience alive in all four of her grandparents, who were also Holocaust survivors. With handset pavé stones, the message reminds each woman of their inner strength and of their ability to make a positive difference in the world. Find this heirloom quality hinged bangle crafted with a 14K gold and rhodium matte finish, $395, at GOLDSMITH GALLERY JEWELERS in the Shops at Shiloh Crossing.


CHRISTMAS IN THE AIR

Frasier Fir – it’s GAINAN’S most popular holiday fragrance gift line. The aromatic snap of Siberian Fir needles, heartening cedarwood and earthy sandalwood combine to create a just-cut forest fragrance that evokes warmth and comfort. Frasier Fir is a tradition that feels right at home. Shop the collection featuring candles, lotions, soaps and more at Gainan’s Midtown Flowers located at 17th & Grand and at Gainans.com.

CHEESE & WINE PLEASE

Get ready for a fun night in with these wine glass topper appetizer plates featuring non-slip silicone bottoms. When you pair your evening with a selection of cheeses, these porcelain cheese markers will keep you from guessing what is delighting your taste buds. Plates, $18, and set of four cheese markers, $27, at THE JOY OF LIVING, 1524 24th Street West.

DELICIOUSLY GOOD FOR YOU

Brewed right in the heart of midtown Billings, Big Sky Kombucha is made with fresh, organic ingredients and brewed in small batches to ensure the best flavor and quality. What better gift to give than something that is not only good, it’s good for you! Offering three sizes of growlers along with gift cards to fill them. Stop in at BIG SKY KOMBUCHA, located inside Evergreen Cafe, 1540 13th St W, or call 406.200.7407.

THE GIFT OF COMFORT

Comfortable, lightweight and stretchy, JELT BELTS are made to keep pants in place with a flat, no-show, metal-free buckle and grippy inner gel. Perfect for travel, outdoor sports, and everyday activities. Made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, a portion of every sale supports programs that give back to veterans, kids, and the environment. Starting at $24 with looks for both women and men. Get 15% off at jeltbelt.com with promo: YVW15.

KEEP ON TRACK

Don’t let winter weather keep you indoors. The Keen Revel IV Polar boot is waterproof, rated to -25F, and has Keen PolarTraction on the outsoles for grip on snow and ice, $149.95. A pair of Leki trekking poles will help with balance, $99.95. Both can be found at THE BASE CAMP, 1730 Grand Avenue. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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I CARE ABOUT YOU

Send this little care package to someone who needs a little love too! This gift comes complete with a 100% cotton face mask along with some of Aveda’s most loved products —Avenda Hand and Body Wash, Lotion, Hand Relief Cream and Body Composition Oil all with Aveda’s signature soothing aroma called Shampure made from pure flower and plant essences. It’s a $59 value for $35 at SANCTUARY SPA & SALON located 1504 24th St. West.

THE PERFECT PAIR

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Layer up your style with these 14K gold plated beauties. Created by Bracha, which means blessing, this glam company uses a portion of every sale not only to help women illuminate their individual style but to contribute funds to help end human trafficking. Initial Card Necklace, $52, and Monte Carlo layering necklace in herringbone design, $42, both at SOMETHING CHIC, located at 2818 2nd Ave North.

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Need a little something for the java lover? Brew up and savor this festive full-bodied Holiday Blend from CITY BREW. It delivers chocolate and nutty flavors, low acidity, and a drier finish with hints of spice in every cup. Enjoy a box of 12 single serve cups for the K-Cup® Brewing System, $9.99 at all City Brew locations.

Brew & E ire Pour ent into 2 oz bag r cof fee filte

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BREWING TH

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I CARE ABOUT YOU,COZY STYLE

Stay in and snuggle up with this beautiful 750-piece Monarch butterfly puzzle, a cup of Evening in Missoula tea by Montana Tea & Spice Trading along with a pair of World’s Softest weekend socks, so soft you’ll be wiggling your toes in cozy comfort. $35 for all at THE JOY OF LIVING, downtown located at 102 N. Broadway.

MAKE IT MERRY

The holiday season is a special time and with careful color choices, whimsical designs, and lots of shimmer, Toad N Willow’s wide-ranging collections will enhance the beauty of the season, no matter your aesthetic. Cozy up to the fire this season with hand selected pieces, warm and rustic, inspired by evergreens and softly falling snow. Prices range from $11.95 up to $225. See it all at TOAD N WILLOW, located at 118 N 29th Street.


GIVE YOUR PET SOME LOVE

Whether it’s a cozy bed, a fun toy, or a snazzy new collar... everything your pet could dream of can be found at Lovable Pets. Stop in and support our state this season with made in Montana products from West Paw Designs, Mtn Straps, DoggieStyle Gourmet Treats, Just Meat Treats, and even Billings-local designers! Find them all at both of LOVABLE PETS locations 1313 Grand Avenue and 4010 MT Sapphire Drive across from Scheel’s.

BE GRATEFUL

Great clothing, home decor, and gifts from CRICKET CLOTHING COMPANY i n downtown Billings. Cozy grateful sweatshirt $49, beaded snowflake $62. Enjoy this Made in Montana candle and diffuser, available in five different scents. Candle, $42, diffuser $36, heart ornament $9, and Frame $39. Enjoy free gift wrap and in-town delivery. Located at 2814 2nd Ave. North.

THE GIFT OF BLING

SInce diamonds are a girl’s best friend, why not stack them and mix your metals to make a statement? This assortment of stackable bands by Naledi Collection and Venetti lets your personal style take center stage on your finger. Prices range from $750 - $1050, available only at MONTAGUE’S JEWELERS, 2810 2nd Avenue North or on the web at montaguesjewelers.com.

THE ZEST OF LIFE

The holidays mean delicious meals shared with loved ones, which also means lots of hours spent in the kitchen. This holiday season, treat the hardworking home chef in your life with a gift basket from ZEST KITCHEN AND COOKWARE. With unique specialty foods you won’t find anywhere else and helpful gadgets to make their cooking adventures a little bit easier, you can show your favorite home chef how much you appreciate them this holiday season. Price $100 (valued of $130) From Zest Kitchen and Cookware, 110 N. 29th Street in Billings or online at zestbillings.com.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Elevate your tealight holders from supporting cast to center stage using these slender, art deco-inspired, lead-free crystal tealight candleholder pillars. They’re lovely in your decor, and they make lovely gifts too. Set of three candle holders $180. At ETHAN ALLEN, located at 3220 1st Ave North.

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written by VICKI-LYNN TERPSTRA photography by DANIEL SULLIVAN

SPICE IT UP WITH STYLE

WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE, draped in our comfy sweats sporting a messy bun while ordering the sameold, same-old take out dinner for a night in with our sweetie. Well, let’s get out of this habit! It’s time to spice things up. It’s time to infuse a little more romance and, dare I say, style into those date nights at home. ✻

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VICKI-LYNN TERPSTRA, writer With nearly a decade long career in retail, Vicki-Lynn has cultivated a true passion for fashion. Even though her day job involves event planning and social media for the largest insurance agency in the Northwest, she uses her style and industry know-how to help keep women in the Yellowstone Valley looking their best.


Lounge in Style

Retire the hoodies, leggings and oversized sweats. Date nights are special and significant because we give a little extra effort, which speaks volumes to our partners. Look put together and still be comfortable enough to curl up on oversized pillows around your coffee table. GET THE LOOK: Katie Ellis is wearing Zyia Everywhere Zipper Jogger, $89, from MYZYIA. COM/MOVINGINZYIA. Chic lush long sleeve tee, $34, from Something Chic. Birkenstock Arizona Fur Mink, $150, from NEECEE’S. Model David Ellis is wearing Ugg Slippers in charcoal, $110, from DILLARD’S. Brax Perma Blue pant, $185, and Tommy Bahama Flipsider half zip, $110, both from JASONS CLOTHING FOR MEN. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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Fun & Games

Hide the remote and replace movie night with something more interactive. Pick up nostalgic staples like chess and checkers and it’s sure to be a good time. Puzzles have made a huge comeback lately and picking something you could enjoy sitting out as artwork brings extra value. WHERE TO FIND THEM: Cavallini & Co. Celestial Vintage Puzzle, $17.99, and Schylling Chess & Checkers set, $9.99, at LIBERTY & VINE.

Set the Tone with

Tiny Touches

It truly is the little things — like a “love” banner that helps cover the table with a romantic vibe and can later be hung in the master bedroom after the night is over. Gather up your favorite photos and use them as part of your table décor. Layer your relaxation space with things that are meaningful. It only makes the space and the evening feel that much more special. Try oversized pillows and cuddly blankets to switch things up and create unique seating areas to put a different twist on your everyday living room space.

2812 2nd Ave N | Billings, MT 59101 | somethingchicclothing.com

experience

Give more than a gift... give an

WHERE TO FIND THEM: Love banner, $39, soft blue quart jar, $9.95, faux foliage, $16.99, all at LIBERTY & VINE. Capri Blue Gilded Muse Exotic Bloom Gold Candle, $40, at NEECEE’S. Southern Living Coverlet, $179.99, Villa Pillows Filled Euro Sham, $119, and decorative pillow, $42, all from DILLARD’S.

406.655.1701 •• 1504 1504 24th 24th St St W W •• SanctuarySpaAndSalon.com SanctuarySpaAndSalon.com 406.655.1701 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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Finger Food

Ditch the pizza delivery and forget about cleaning the dishes. Premade charcuterie boards deliver beautiful and easy bites, leaving plenty of room for chatting, laughing and board games. Picking a wine that is easily sharable and universally tasteful tends to elevate the romance as well. WHERE TO FIND THEM: Coeur De La Reine Sauvignon, $16.99, Staff Favorite Charcuterie Board, $59.95, Cici’s cookies, $5.75, and Moonstruck candies, $5.95- $12.95, all from CITY VINEYARD. VinGlace wine chiller, $90, and Southern Living serving tray, $68, both from DILLARD’S. 64

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y d o B r u o Y r u Conto and

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™ PROCEDURE L L I F I T U A E B E WITH TH

What is it? BeautiFill ™

Non-surgical Liposuction & Fat Transfer Treatment

Benefits... - Safe and fast treatment

- A remarkable level of fat cell viability, over 90% - Reduced side effects of liposuction such as bleeding, swelling, and risk of hematoma and bruising - Minimized post-procedure pain

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An in-office procedure performed under local anesthetic, using laser energy to gently loosen fat from problem areas such as the abdomen, hips, flanks, and thighs. The harvested fat cells are then injected into areas where volume has been lost, including many facial areas, and certain areas of the body such as the buttocks and breasts.

B O O K Y O U R A P P O I N T M E N T O N L I N E AT

MYVITALITYMEDICALWELLNESS.COM 406-855-2422 | 4046 AVE C | BILLINGS, MT


Christmas THE QUEENS OF

THE MANY LOOKS OF THE TRADITIONAL POINSETTIA written by LAURA BAILEY photography by DANIEL SULLIVAN

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WITH NAMES AS ALLURING

as Christmas Beauty Princess, Superba Glitter, Winter Rose and Glory Red you’d expect to encounter a parade of holiday royalty. These queens of Christmas, however, are both new and beloved varieties of poinsettias. They range from bright ruby red to a deep burgundy to snow white and almost every shade between, and they’re just as beautiful as their names suggest. These varieties of the iconic holiday plant start rolling into Gainan’s Midtown Flowers and the Heights Garden Center in early November where those in the nursery work to keep them beautiful all season long. “We hope that when people think of poinsettias, they think of Gainan’s,” says Darlene Schlueter, the garden center’s manager. Darlene has worked for Gainan’s Heights Garden Center for 26 years, starting out as a part-time waterer, and moving up to manager. She oversees the growing operations and plant purchasing. Over the years, Gainan’s has grown poinsettias, off and on, in their greenhouses on Bench Boulevard. For the past couple of years, however, they’ve opted to purchase poinsettia plants from a family-owned farm in Blain Washington.

WHITE GLITTER

“There are hundreds of varieties of poinsettias and they have perfected these varieties,” Darlene says. “We get in everything from the 2-inch minis to the 10-inch pots, which have three to four stems.” This year, 1,500 poinsettia plants will grace the floors at both Gainan’s locations. If the past offers any predictions, by Christmas they will be sold out. In the days when Gainan’s grew their own poinsettias, the process started with the delivery of thousands of tiny “plugs” in July. With careful tending they were ready for sale by start of December. Darlene misses those days. Poinsettias are one of her favorite plants, primarily because they are so unique, and the plant’s finicky blooming habits are so fascinating.

POLAR BEAR WHITE

“I loved growing them,” Darlene says. “I liked teaching people how the color change worked.” To understand what makes a poinsettia bloom requires a short lesson in photoperiodism, which is a sensitivity to light that occurs in plants. Many flowering plants are triggered to bloom by changes in the length of days. While most plants bloom as the days get longer, poinsettias are one of the few plants on the other end of the spectrum and bloom as the days get shorter. The blossoms on a poinsettia are the tiny yellow buds at the center of what looks like the flower. The “petals” are actually the poinsettia’s leaves that turn color as the days get shorter. For maximum color, their exposure to light shouldn’t be any longer than about eight hours. Montana’s shorter days and longer nights are ideal for growing poinsettias, Darlene says, but they still need a little help with shading to bring them into their full color and to maintain their

MONET TWILIGHT NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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Although the plants require about 12 to 16 hours of total darkness a day to achieve their color while growing, once they’re in your home, Darlene said their color should stay under most normal home lighting situations. Poinsettias are native to Central America, where they naturally bloom during the winter. They were first brought to the United States by Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first ambassador from the U.S. to Mexico. Their appeal, especially for holiday arrangements, grew in the early 1900s, and plant breeders have been perfecting the bright reds, bold pinks and snowy whites ever since. During the season, the varieties aren’t just for sale, at Gainan’s, they are also on show. Visitors can look at each plant, voting on their favorite. While the contest is a way to interact with shoppers, it offers valuable insight for growers as to which poinsettias have the most appeal. appearance. That’s why at 5 p.m. every night, blackout curtains are pulled across the greenhouse ceiling and the plants go into almost total darkness. They won’t be awakened until 8 a.m. the next morning. Even stray light from streetlights and passing car headlights can disrupt the coloring process, Darlene says. “When you’re growing it’s very important to have that shading,” she says. “Without it, they can revert back to green.”

“Of course, red is always number one,” Darlene says. As soon as last of the parade of holiday beauties goes out the door at Gainan’s Heights Garden Center, the focus shifts to spring. In January, the first deliveries of tiny plants for the spring and summer growing season start arriving. Darlene says at Gainan’s there’s always a little something green to appreciate. ✻

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR POINSETTIA You’ll want to take proper care of your poinsettia to keep it looking vibrant and fresh throughout the holiday season. To start, you’ll want to be sure it’s wrapped well to protect it from December’s cold temperatures. Exposure to temperatures below 55 degrees for more than a few minutes can cause the plant to drop its leaves. Once home, place the plant in an area of your house with natural light, but not direct sun. Avoid placing it where it will be hit with cold drafts and keep it away from heat sources like radiators and heating vents. Color is best maintained when the plant is kept between 72 degrees during the day and 60 degrees at night. Water your plant when the soil surface is dry to the touch. Saturate it thoroughly, until water runs through. Let it drain well, and don’t let it sit in water. Poinsettias are not poisonous but likely to cause an upset stomach if ingested by pets and people, so keep them out of reach.

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DISTRIBUTED BY THE PEPSI-COLA BOTTLING CO. | BILLINGS, MT

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Christmas begins at Gainan’s 17th St. W. & Grand Ave. 406-245-6434 gainans.com

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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FRUGAL

FFESTIVE WHIP UP A HANDMADE HOLIDAY ON A DIME written and photography by LOVELY HITCHCOCK

HAVING GROWN UP

in a country where the Christmas celebrations begin as soon as a month ends in “-ber,” I am often asked how I could bear to listen to Christmas music as early as September. In the Philippines, Christmas is second nature, just like breathing or eating. It runs through people’s veins. There are Christmas carols, lechon — roasted pig — homemade Christmas strings trees, attending Simbang Gabi — Midnight Mass — and, of course, the famous Chicken Arroz Caldo — a Filipino Christmas Rice Porridge.” Several years ago, my husband and I decided to move to Japan. Before moving, we sold nearly everything we owned, since we hoped to be there for several years. After one year, however, we were being called home and, upon landing back in Montana, we found ourselves starting back at square one. After the car, furniture and everything else needed to fill our home, there wasn’t any cash left for Christmas decorations. I found myself faced with an enormous challenge. I had to be frugal.

3301 1st Ave N ❆ Billings ❆ 281-8460 ❆ marketplace3301.com

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Visions of that “Charlie Brown” Christmas tree decked out in strands of popcorn came to mind. But fortunately, a dear friend of mine just happened to be enamored with this new “ornamental gnome” trend and she gifted me with one of her handmade designs. That’s when I pulled out my old craft tubs (some things were too precious to sell) and got to work. My first handmade Christmas gnome led me to another and then on to another piece of moneysaving décor. My goal was to use things lying around the house and not have to buy any supplies, except the hot glue of course. After a savvy and frugal brainstorming session, Christmas was a hit! ✻

na' s Mongtaest

Lar ique Ant ll Ma


Reviving the Dead

BULB

If you happen to have a string of miniature bulbs or maybe those large, traditional Christmas light bulbs, don’t ditch the burnt-out bulbs. Re-purpose them and give them new life but transforming them into ornaments. Tie some ribbon around the top, then glue on bits of Christmas greenery and berries for a festive flair.

Recycled

ORNAMENTS We all have those old, outdated, round tree ornaments. Some are older than we are. We tend to hold on to them, but not use them. Why not give them a facelift? Start by cutting a square of fabric big enough to cover the ornament with extra fabric to tie at the top. Secure it with a piece of string, twine or fabric and then embellish it with holiday bling! Don’t forget to check the bottom of your Christmas ornament box for things to use as embellishments.

Place Mat

PILLOWS

Want to add a few Christmas pillows to your living space but don’t want to pay $40 for each one? I made these pillows using place mats from the dollar store. I simply placed one on top of the other, wrong sides together, and sewed them together, leaving a roughly 2-inch opening to use to stuff it with fiber fill or even the innards from an old pillow you no longer use. If you don’t sew, don’t worry. You can also hot glue the mats together as well. Once you are done stuffing the pillow, sew or glue the opening shut and then, enjoy!

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ORNAMENTAL GNOME

You may be surprised at how easy it is to surround yourself with Christmas creativity without any real crafting experience. And, when it comes to these darling gnomes, supplies can be found literally in a used K-cup, an old shirt and maybe some cast offs from Christmases past, with tiny pieces of holly, berries or mini pinecones. Just look at the bottom of the box where you

Shabby

BUNTING

Make an elongated triangle out of scrapbook paper or cardboard to use as a pattern. If you have a fabric stash, use the pattern to cut a dozen or so triangles out of various pieces of patterned fabric. Depending on how long you want your bunting, take a natural jute string (be sure to make it long enough for tying) and begin sewing it on the first triangle by using zigzag stitches about a quarter inch from the top of the fabric. Keep adding fabric triangles until you reach the desired length. Every four triangles, I decided to deck out a triangle using Christmas related trimmings. Repeat the process until you’re completely delighted. 72

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keep your ornaments. You’re likely to find a garden of tiny bits of inspiration. With my project, I’ve even taken old yarn strands and dyed them with coffee, and then cut up worn-out plaid shirts, socks and scarves. If you feel like you have to buy some materials, then the dollar store is your best friend. Look on every shelf and rack. You’re sure to find creative treasures in unlikely places.


Let’s Get

Started

1.

2.

3.

4.

Poke a hole on the bottom of a clean K-cup. Using 8 inches of baker’s twine folded in half, tie one jingle bell (these were a part of an old ornament but you can find a package of bells at the dollar store) and pull it through the hole until it touches the inside of the cup.

I purchased a mop at the dollar store and used it to create my gnome’s beard. Simply take 12 lengths of 6-inch mop string folded in half and glue 2 strings under the “nose.” From there, glue the halved pieces of mop to the edge of the K-cup as shown. You’ll continue doing this until the whole cup is covered.

5.

7.

When it comes to the hat band, you can use anything. Choose a ribbon, a shirt sleeve, some pom poms. Glue a piece long enough to cover the circumference of the hat.

Tie the tip of the hat with a baker’s string to secure.

Glue a small wooden ball in the middle of the cup as shown.

Glue some pre-cut fabric of your choice just above the “nose” covering the top, then glue the fabric together to form the gnome’s hat.

6.

8.

Unravel the mop strings so they look more like a beard.

Embellish the hat in any way you wish. Be creative! NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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flavors2

EX TRACTING

STIRRING UP HOLIDAY CHEER

written by STELLA FONG photography by DANIEL SULLIVAN

gingerbread liqueur

cranberry chocolate infused vodka liqueur

MAKES ABOUT 3 CUPS ½ c. fresh ginger, peeled, chopped 2 T. crystalized ginger, chopped 1 cinnamon stick 3 whole cloves 1 pinch of freshly grated nutmeg ¼ c. blackstrap molasses ½ c. rum 1 ¼ c. vodka

MAKES ABOUT 3 CUPS 2 c. fresh or frozen cranberries ½ c. granulated sugar 3 T. water 1 t. vanilla extract

MAKES 3 CUPS 2/3 c. cocoa nibs 1 1/3 c. vodka 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise 1 ½ c. sugar

2 c. vodka

1 c. water

DIRECTIONS

DIRECTIONS

1 ¼ c. brandy DIRECTIONS Combine ginger, crystalized ginger, cinnamon stick, cloves, nutmeg and molasses in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Cool. Pour ginger mixture into a quart jar. Add rum, vodka, and brandy. Tightly seal jar and shake well to combine. Steep at room temperature for one week. Strain into a clean jar or bottle. Keep in the refrigerator for up to six months. 74

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Combine cranberries, sugar, water and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes or until berries burst. Cool. Pour into a quart jar and add vodka. Tightly seal jar and shake well to combine. Steep at room temperature for one week. Store in a cool dark place for up to three weeks. Strain cranberries through a cheesecloth if desired. Keep in the refrigerator for up to six months.

Combine cocoa nibs and vodka in a jar with a lid. Shake and let steep at room temperature for one week. Strain nibs through a coffee filter into a clean jar or bottle. Bring sugar and water to a boil. Let it cool. Add to container. Keep in refrigerator for up to six months.


2

HOMEMADE INFUSIONS and liqueurs create celebratory flavors for holiday celebrations. Steep cranberries in vodka, and a muted scarlet-ruby-colored liquid with sweet and sour overtones appears for the makings of a festive Italian-themed Negroni. A deep-dark-brown potion comes from bathing cocoa nibs in vodka. The chocolate liqueur with the essence of a chocolate brownie when added to a cup of Chocolate Chocolate Hot Chocolate brings decadent joy. Along with rejoicing and jubilation, the holidays hold sentiments of nostalgia. A Gingerbread Liqueur captures memories of decorating cookies spiced with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and molasses. Add some cream to the liqueur and the season’s cocktail will be jolly. My first spirited infusion was the Stoli Doli — vodka infused with pineapple. At the Rainbow Ranch in Big Sky many years ago, a large jar packed with pineapple chunks sat behind the bar. A sip

of this infusion over ice brought me immediately to the tropics. The neutrality of vodka, a distillate of rye, wheat or potatoes, provides a blank background for fruits, herbs and plants to release their personalities. The alcohol intensifies the aroma and taste because of its volatility, especially carrying essences quickly to the olfactory nerve. Smell influences taste. A liqueur is usually a sweet alcoholic drink that is savored after a meal. Sweet is a personal preference. Play with the recipes. If ginger is what you love, add more ginger to the Gingerbread Liqueur. Throw in some dried cranberries for the infusion to intensify the taste. Chopped up chocolate can go into the chocolate concoction. Mostly, cheers for a joyful holiday. ✻

cranberry negroni A cranberry Negroni can be served in an ordinary glass or elegantly presented in a tall champagne flute. During the season when fresh cranberries are available, add a few to usher in the holiday spirit.

MAKES 1 DRINK 1 ½ ounce gin 1 ounce sweet vermouth 1 ounce Campari 1 ounce cranberry liqueur Orange wedge for garnish (optional) DIRECTIONS Place gin, vermouth, Campari and liqueur into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake for 15 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass over ice. Garnish with an orange wedge.

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chocolate chocolate

hot chocolate

This is decadence in a cup. The hot chocolate is reminiscent of pudding, but so much richer. Add a scoop of peppermint ice cream or garnish with crushed peppermint candies to really get into the holiday spirit.

MAKES 2 DRINKS 1/4 c. and 2/3 c. whole milk, divided 1 T. cornstarch 2 T. sugar 2 T. cocoa 3 ½ ounces dark chocolate, chopped ¼ c. chocolate liqueur Whipped cream, for garnish (optional) Dusting of cocoa powder, for garnish (optional) Chocolate shavings, for garnish (optional) DIRECTIONS In a small bowl, whisk ¼ cup milk with cornstarch until smooth. Set aside. In another small bowl, mix sugar and cocoa together. Set aside. In a small pot, heat 2/3 cup milk to just boiling. Whisk in cornstarch mixture. Reduce heat to low to low-medium. Slowly add cocoa mixture, whisking until smooth. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Add chocolate liqueur and continue whisking until thickened, about three minutes. Pour into mugs or coffee cups. Top with whipped cream, a dusting of cocoa powder and chocolate shavings, if desired.

gingerbread and cream This drink shouts fond and fun holiday memories. Remember decorating gingerbread houses or cookies? This drink is not overly sweet, so more brown sugar can be added if you want. Also, top with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon for extra cheer.

1 T. dark brown sugar 3 1/2 ounces gingerbread liqueur 1 ounce heavy cream Gingerbread or spice cookie, for garnish (optional) DIRECTIONS Add brown sugar, gingerbread liqueur and cream to a shaker. Stir to dissolve sugar. Fill shaker with ice. Shake for 15 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a gingerbread or spice cookie. 76

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d e h s Ma o t a t Po

DO THE

AMERICA’S WINNING SIDE DISH

TA STE O F THE VALL EY

written by KAY ERICKSON

ON HOLIDAY TABLES far and wide, one winner sits in the middle of most dinner settings. That dish is (drumroll please), mashed potatoes (cheering, applause). While that may seem silly, there’s some truth to it. And we also know that if the mashed potatoes aren’t creamy enough or flavorful enough, the holiday meal is just not as spectacular as it could be. I will admit that during the year, I may not be as fussy with my potatoes. There are times when, just for convenience, I leave the skins on for a bowl of rustic mashed potatoes.

For those looking for something different, how about mashed potatoes with cream cheese or sour cream? I know of many families who cannot imagine the holiday table without them. Enjoy! ✻

As holiday time approaches, however, my potatoes are my best, just like my dishes, stemware and silverware. My potato of choice? Yukon Gold. Move over milk, only half-and-half will do. And there’s no hand mashing allowed. Instead, I reach for a food mill or ricer for the perfect mashed potato texture. One piece of advice — never use a food processor or blender. The end product won’t be edible.

IN EVERY ISSUE 78

One trick I discovered a few years ago was to prep my mashed potatoes a day ahead. Simply cook, mash and then stash in the frig. The next day, grab those ’taters and reheat in the microwave, mixing in heated milk and butter. It is a true time saver.

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KAY ERICKSON, writer Kay has spent her professional career in public relations and broadcast news, currently at Yellowstone Public Radio. Her journalism degree is from Northern Illinois University. Her passions include her family, sports and food. Her mom and an aunt taught her the finer points of cooking and instilled a love of good food and family mealtime.


make ahead

cream cheese

Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes Kosher salt Milk, heated (your normal amount) Unsalted butter, softened, (your normal amount)

3 lbs. Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quarter or halved 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature 4 T. butter, room temperature ½ c. milk, heated

mashed potatoes Freshly ground black pepper to taste DIRECTIONS The day before you plan to eat them, quarter or halve your normal amount of potatoes, place in large saucepan and cover with cold water by an inch, add salt and cook the potatoes, as usual, until fork tender. Drain the potatoes and return to the pan. Turn heat to low and shake to dry. Transfer to a food mill or ricer and puree (or mash with a potato masher). Transfer to microwavable bowl and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next day, soften the butter, heat the milk and microwave the potatoes until hot. Whisk in the heated milk and softened butter, salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

mashed potatoes

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste DIRECTIONS Place the potatoes in pot, cover with cold water by an inch, add salt, bring to a boil and cook until fork tender. Drain. Transfer to food mill or ricer and puree (or mash with potato masher). Add the butter, cream cheese, milk and combine until creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

NOTE Sometimes, to change things up, instead of the cream cheese, I will add ½ cup of sour cream and a little more milk, if necessary, to get a creamy consistency.

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Peace5 KEEPING THE

FILLING YOUR HOLIDAY TABLE WITH A SWEET AND SERENE VIBE written by LINDA HALSTEAD-ACHARYA photography by DANIEL SULLIVAN

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5

EVERY SITUATION IS UNIQUE, BUT EVERY SITUATION SHARES SIMILARITIES. IT’S BEING ABLE TO BRIDGE OUR UNIQUENESS WITH COMMUNICATION THAT WE ALL UNDERSTAND. — Mary Hernandez

IT’S T-MINUS NOTHING.

We’ve called the cousins, planned the menu and cooked our hearts out — only to have our Norman Rockwell vision detonated by a nasty outburst from Uncle Fred. Suddenly the turkey takes backstage to tribal warfare.

Hernandez can’t guarantee her suggestions will prevent Uncle Fred’s rant, but her tips offer ways to de-escalate tensions. The approach she uses relies on a few basics: building a toolbox of strategies and then planning and thinking things through.

Though this scenario may seem extreme, for many people tensions run a little higher during the holiday season. Even the most civil of get-togethers will be simmering in a Covid stew that’s been spiced with politics, money woes and family dynamics.

Her toolbox includes active listening and diversion strategies that she’s picked up over time. The planning piece requires mental preparation and sometimes even rehearsing scenarios. Planning the “tone” and purpose of a get-together is just as important as planning the menu, she points out.

Here’s the good news. Dinner table antics don’t have to sour a celebration. It takes effort and planning to steer away from conversation landmines, says Mary Hernandez, director of the Institute for Peace Studies at Rocky Mountain College. But, it can be done, even in the most fragile of situations. Hernandez has fostered a lifelong passion for bringing everyone to the table. She credits her younger sister, Diana, who was born with cerebral palsy, as her inspiration. “From the time she came home we all took responsibility to make sure she was included in everything we did,” Hernandez says. “That led me to what I’ve done with my life.” That sense of purpose, enhanced with a strong background in communications, has served Hernandez well. She spent decades as a consultant for nonprofits before landing her position with the Institute of Peace Studies earlier this year. Speaking in thoughtful, measured sentences, Hernandez exudes a sense of calm. What may look natural, however, comes with effort and practice. And, it requires energy. “Every situation is unique, but every situation shares similarities,” she says. “It’s being able to bridge our uniqueness with communication that we all understand.”

And, when you envision the day with those around you, she says, you should ask yourself whether what you are expecting is capable of happening.

DEALING WITH FAMILY DRAMA Unwanted outbursts and behaviors are oftentimes rooted in some sense of fear. No one wants the holiday dinner to be the place to deal with those sore feelings. If you feel something brewing, Hernandez says, plan a separate time, one-on-one — preferably before the gathering — to chat about and resolve frictions.

SET SOME GROUND RULES It’s OK to set some ground rules in order to “stay out of the weeds.” If politics are off-limits, let everyone know. Should you decide to ban television or alcohol, give a heads-up and ask for everyone’s support. Although the structure may seem awkward at first, remember that leaving things to chance just might open the door to Uncle Fred’s rant.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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USE THOUGHTFUL DIALOGUE Better communication serves as the foundation for more meaningful gatherings. For that reason, Hernandez says, reaching out to others with thoughtful dialogue can never be overestimated. “We never know when we are going to touch someone in a way that leaves an impact,” she says. “It’s such an individual thing. It needs to land at just the right moment.” Hernandez adds that relationships are often enriched by simply letting people know that you care. And that, in turn, is fostered by giving a person your full attention – listening to understand rather than to respond.

CHECK DEVICES AT THE DOOR “Device holidays” offer one way to limit the distractions – and potential pitfalls – so rampant in our rapid-fire, crisis-driven world. “Devices give us a way to avoid one another when we need to be fully present with one another,” Hernandez says.

DIRECT THE CONVERSATION Some people and some situations will always evade the best of efforts toward maintaining the peace. If Uncle Fred ignores the rules and blurts out a hurtful remark anyway, a simple redirect can prove powerful, Hernandez says. “Suggest to him, ‘Let’s save

this for another time,’ and then change the subject,” she says. It’s also important to have a backup individual ready, she says, so choose someone who can be signaled to take Uncle Fred aside and address him discretely. Above all, Hernandez reminds us that everyone, those who enrich us and those who don’t, are all a part of the human family. “We have to be able to accept that we’re not perfect and the ones we love most are not perfect,” she says. “Perfection is fleeting. We miss a lot when we wait for that perfect moment. We can spend time waiting for perfection or we can enjoy life.”

NEED A LITTLE COACHING BEFORE THE HOLIDAYS? Mary Hernandez recommends YouTube talks by both Celeste Headlee and Priya Parker for a little extra insight. ✻

LINDA HALSTEAD-ACHARYA, writer A long-time resident of the Columbus area, Linda Halstead-Acharya enjoys spending time and learning from her rural neighbors. She has a degree in wildlife biology but for the past 25 years has pursued a career sharing other people's stories in print. She loves riding, writing and traveling.

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Olive Warren The Many Secrets of

THE STORY BEHIND ONE OF BILLINGS’ FIRST MADAMS written by VIRGINIA BRYAN photography courtesy WESTERN HERITAGE CENTER

A ROUGH START

Editor’s Note: Over the past century-plus, many women in the

Yellowstone Valley have broken tradition, refusing to let society dictate their path in life. They’ve been comics, political activists, rough-and-tumble history makers and community champions. Earlier this year, under the leadership of Community Historian Lauren Hunley, the Western Heritage Center began honoring 10 of these women with its exhibit “Saints & Sinners: Women Breaking Tradition.” Be sure to catch the exhibit before it closes at the end of 2020. “I am going to chop (you) to pieces!” growled Calamity Jane, hatchet in hand, as she stormed the dry goods aisle of the Yegen Brothers Mercantile on Billings’ Minnesota Avenue in 1902. Some say Calamity was looking for Olive Warren, a 20-something, darkhaired, well-dressed beauty working as a shop clerk that day. A quick-thinking employee intervened, pried the hatchet from Calamity’s hands and escorted her to the front door. If it was Olive Warren, she might have been wearing a particularly large diamond ring, a gift from a prominent Billings lawyer. According to one account, Calamity Jane and the lawyer’s wife chatted over coffee when Calamity delivered wood to the woman’s home. Calamity allegedly recognized the woman's husband as the escort of the beguiling Olive. Was Calamity’s wrath intended for Olive? Was there another motivation? The mystery surrounding the encounter sets the tone for Olive Warren’s colorful, controversial and secretive life in Billings over the next four decades. 84

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Olive Warren was born in 1873 to Missouri farmers, Jud and Jane Sands Dewey. The Deweys moved their family to Denver in the 1880s. Olive was a teenage bride when she married Thomas Skerritt in 1890. They divorced two years later. A City Directory puts Olive at an address smack dab in the middle of Denver’s red-light district in 1897. By August 1897, she was working at Feeley’s Place, a brothel on Billings’ North Side. Its madam, Edna Feeley, had connections across Wyoming, Denver and Portland. Perhaps she encouraged Olive’s move to Billings, citing less competition and a chance to escape Denver’s depressed economy. Young, uneducated and divorced, Olive had few options. Given her independent streak and business savvy, it's no surprise that she wasn’t content as a cook, laundress, shop clerk or seamstress.

A GROWTH INDUSTRY IN THE AMERICAN WEST Prostitution was a booming business in the West at the onset of the 1900s. Human trafficking was a big problem. By 1910, it was illegal to lure or transport girls and women across state lines or federal boundaries for immoral purposes, prostitution and debauchery. We’re left to wonder if Olive Warren freely chose prostitution, if she was a victim of human trafficking or if she was destitute with no other options. The world’s “oldest profession” enticed women with beautiful clothing, a nice place to live, medical


care, protection from violence and economic security. For many women, those promises didn’t hold true and they turned to addiction or died by suicide. In contrast, we remember Olive as Billings’ most successful madam and one of its most flamboyant citizens.

OPEN SECRETS Olive didn’t stay long in Etta Feeley’s employ. By 1902, city records reveal eight women lived in a Montana Avenue “boarding house” that Olive owned. “Boarding house” was a euphemism for brothel. That same year, Olive sued Mrs. Jack Little over the wrongful cancellation of a lease, back rent and property damages at another property she owned. The judgment against Mrs. Little exceeded $7,000 in 2020 dollars. Vociferous Billings residents complained that prostitution activity was too close to Montana Avenue’s railroad depot, resulting in Olive and others being told to move off Montana Avenue or leave town. Olive relocated across the tracks and one block south, constructing a building at 2512 Minnesota Ave. No doubt financed by the prominent Billings lawyer who lavished extravagant jewelry upon her, the new establishment became the “Lucky Diamond.” Montana’s finest brothel, it boasted a working telephone, velvet draperies, mahogany furnishings, beautiful women and a discreet back stairway. Olive caused quite a stir when, bedecked in her plumed hat and velvet riding attire, she rode her elegant black horse side saddle through residential neighborhoods. Local society was set on its ear when, upon the death of her prominent lawyer, she sent a large horseshoe-shaped wreath covered with red roses to his NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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district, and secured, at the time, the largest collection of fines from a single raid. The Lucky Diamond was part of the crackdown, which eventually led to its demise. Olive said her name was Anna O. Dewey and she was 34, not 46, when she married James McDaniel, then 27. At various times, she used the names Olive Dewey McDaniel, Anna Olive McDaniel and A.O. Skerritt. During her marriages to Doherty and McDaniel, some think Olive owned a Wyoming ranch and ran a cattle operation near the Crow Reservation. Between 1929 and 1940, she managed the Virginia Hotel at 2709½ Montana Ave. In 1932, she divorced “that S.O.B. McDaniel.”

Prostitutes • Cody, Wyoming family’s home. The card read, “With love, from Olive.” Years ago, a local collector salvaged a large sandstone carriage block abandoned at 2512 Minnesota. Olive Warren’s name is carved on the top and on the street side of the heavy form. Placed just outside the Lucky Diamond’s front door, the carriage block allowed patrons to step directly onto it, thereby avoiding the muddy, dusty, unpaved street. By using only Olive’s name, one wonders if the carriage block provided camouflage for the Lucky Diamond’s front entrance.

MANY NAMES, MANY AGES, MANY HUSBANDS Harvey Doherty married Olive in 1910.They divorced in 1917. Did Mr. Doherty figure out that Olive was 37 years old when they married, not 30 as she claimed? While they were married, it was not exactly a secret that prostitution fines and pay-offs brought in big money for city coffers. About the time of the Doherty’s divorce, the Billings Vice Commission raided Billings’ red-light

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The accumulated stress of legal troubles, heartbreak, marriages and divorces, venereal disease and unwanted pregnancies among her “girls,” domestic violence, hypocrisy and sexism began to take its toll. Olive travelled to Minnesota, where she died of a kidney ailment at age 70. In December 1943, her body was returned to Billings by train. Some say her son, others say a nephew, paid for her funeral and interment in the Mountview Cemetery mausoleum, where she now rests alongside city notables like philanthropist and sheep rancher Alberta Bair and well-known architect J.G. Link.

Author’s Note: The Western Heritage Center, The Billings Gazette

archives, Myrtle O. Cooper’s book “From Tent Town to City,” Nann Parrett’s book, “Montana Madams,” and James D. McLaird’s “Calamity Jane: The Woman and the Legend” were sources for this story. ✻

VIRGINIA BRYAN, writer Virginia Bryan is a freelance writer and Director of ArtWalk Downtown Billings. She has written extensively about our region's artists,culture, history and women.


Lauren Hunley GIVES A VOICE TO THE PAST

written by VIRGINIA BRYAN photography courtesy WESTERN HERITAGE CENTER

LAUREN HUNLEY’S

curiosity led the Western Heritage Center (WHC) to create “Saints and Sinners: Women Breaking Tradition,” an exhibit that focuses on 10 area women who broke free of social norms, challenged gender expectations and defied racial stereotypes over the last 100 years. Four of these women, World War I nurse Harriet O’Day, nationally syndicated cartoonist Ethel Hays, poet Gwendolyn Haste and Billings madam, Olive Warren are featured in this and past issues of Yellowstone Valley Woman magazine. Inspired by the centennial celebration of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Lauren and the Western Heritage Center created a list they called “Awesome Women.” Through a systematic scouring of city directories, tax records, newspaper archives, vintage photographs and clothing collections, they narrowed the list to the 10 women whose stories are featured at the WHC through December 2020. “Every community in America relates to the national narrative,” Lauren says. “It’s my job to find those stories in Billings and the Yellowstone Valley region.” She’s particularly captivated by “stories that have been forgotten or brushed aside, stories that aren’t just about privileged white men.” Lauren’s journey of discovery began when she left her home in West Virginia and headed west for a Learning and Visitor Studies degree at the University of New Mexico. While she commuted to work in Washington, D.C., she completed her master’s degree via a combined online and residency program at England’s Leicester University. “In museum work, you go where the jobs are,” Lauren says. So, back west she came in 2011, to become the education and outreach coordinator at the Carbon County Museum in Rawlins,

Wyoming. Networking through the Mountain Plains Museum Association, Lauren met Kevin Kooistra, the WHC executive director. “Send me your resume,” Kevin said to her. She did. In 2019, he hired Lauren to be the WHC community historian. Lauren’s most exciting moments as community historian come unexpectedly. “My heart rate goes up when I hear visitors say, ‘I know her!’ or ‘I didn’t know that!’” she says. In museum-speak, those phrases suggest a visitor has connected personally to the story being told. “With ‘Saints and Sinners,’ our job is to provide the context for these women to tell their stories, in their own voices, from their own hearts,” Lauren says. “We want them to speak now, even if they were silenced back then. If we’ve done our part correctly, visitors will make their own connections and draw their own conclusions.” ✻

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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REMEMBERING REMEMBERING

Judy

GROUP WORKS TO INSTALL A STATUE OF MONTANA’S FIRST FEMALE GOVERNOR written by JULIE KOERBER photography by DANIEL SULLIVAN

THOSE WHO KNEW JUDY MARTZ, Montana’s first female governor, call her a trailblazer, one who led by never forgetting the Montanans she served. They say Martz was rarely seen without two things, a smile and her trademark golden turtle lapel pin. Martz often shared how she wore it as a reminder to be fearless and courageous telling others, “Behold, the turtle, he only moves forward when his neck is out.” Today, a group of Montanans are sticking their necks out raising money for a permanent reminder of not only Martz’s 34 years of political service but her historic first in the governor’s office when she led the state from 2001 to 2005. “The first woman to ever be governor of our state — that’s important and this is a wonderful tribute to a wonderful woman,” says Phyllis Burns, the widow of U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns. Burns says having a bronze statue placed in the halls of our state Capitol would not only recognize Martz but would serve as an inspiration. 88

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“It’s really important for our young women and young girls to realize the potential they have within themselves,” Burns says. “She was a special lady for a special time.” Martz’s life was one of many noteworthy milestones. She was Miss Rodeo Montana in 1962. In 1964, she qualified to compete in the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, as a speed skater. She fell during her event and ended up placing 15th in the 1500-meter. But still, it was the best placing of any American speed skater in Olympic history, up to that time. She often reflected on that event, telling others they needed to keep fighting to the finish. “She carried her values deep in her heart,” says Peggy Miller who, with her husband, former state Sen. Ken Miller, knew Martz since the late 1990s when Martz became Montana’s first female lieutenant governor.

PHYLLIS BURNS & PEGGY MILLER

Today, Miller, Burns and


Interview Videography • FOR KEEPSAKE ALBUMS•

GOVERNOR JUDY AND HARRY MARTZ JOINED BY PHYLLIS AND U.S. SENATOR CONRAD BURNS.

Our mission is to provide you with the opportunity to

SHARE YOUR LIFE STORY

longtime friend Shirly Herrin, who in 2017 inducted Judy into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame, are all at the center of the fundraising effort to make the Martz statue a reality. While Gov. Steve Bullock signed Senate Bill 275 into law last year, allowing for the statue, the funds needed for its creation need to be raised privately. If a statue is not in place by October of 2024, the authorization expires.

for your family and friends to cherish forever!

That’s why the group, led by Dave Galt, a former transportation director and friend of Judy, is on a mission to get all $160,000plus raised to start the process of seeking an artist, creating a design and installing the statue on the Capitol grounds. So far, they’ve raised roughly $70,000 through a grassroots campaign of letter writing, social media outreach and personal requests, along with a website catered to the cause.

• Re-live the memories in your life with video.

Judy Martz died in Butte in October of 2017 after a nearly threeyear battle with pancreatic cancer. Those who knew her well say if she knew about this effort, she’d more than likely smile and shake her head.

Your Life History

• Share your stories and experiences through modern media. • We will conduct personalized interview(s) in your home environment; add music and pictures that will relate your stories for others to enjoy for today and beyond.

“She was a very humble woman,” says Peggy Miller. “She would be honored to be recognized in this way, giving hope and encouragement to others to pursue their dreams.”

Plan Ahead For Your Family And Holiday Gatherings!!

IF YOU’D LIKE TO HELP, you can donate by making checks

CALL NOW TO SET UP YOUR APPOINTMENT!

payable to the Montana History Center with Martz Statue Fund in the memo line. You can mail donations to Montana History Fund, Box 1585, Helena, MT 59624. All donations are tax deductible. ✻

Jeff Howell (406) 690-0635 jeffhowellvo@gmail.com Nola Howell (406) 861-7127 g.nolav@gmail.com NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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New Kids7 ON THE BLOCK

MODERN TWIST ON HISTORIC CHARMER

written by TRISH ERBE SCOZZARI photography by DANIEL SULLIVAN and MIRANDA MURDOCK PHOTOGRAPHY

MIKAYLA KOVASH AND TOM PAXINOS dated for the first time a year ago this past February after Mikayla invited Tom to a Real Big Fish concert at the Pub Station. They’d met while working as real estate agents at different offices. Tom couldn’t get to the concert until the end of the night but the two made up for it by chatting into the wee hours. They discovered they had a lot in common.

Mikayla & Tom

Their relationship blossomed over the next month before their lives changed suddenly. A walk on the Rims with their two dogs, Zeus and Monte, ended abruptly when Tom and Zeus plunged off a cliff. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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“Mikayla was getting cold when Zeus saw the river,” Tom says. “He’s a little crazy for water. I told her I’d grab my dog and be right back. I didn’t come back.” Mikayla soon made her way to where Tom vanished. “I thought he walked down,” she says. “You couldn’t see it was a sheer cliff.” When firefighters brought him up on the gurney from the 40-foot drop, she says, “I thought he was fine as he said, ‘Hi, Babe.’” “I then didn’t see her for 17 days,” says Tom, who suffered a traumatic brain injury. “I was in a coma for 17 days.” He was then flown to Colorado spending a full month in rehab, and he lost his left eye. Zeus recovered quickly, and Tom returned to work several months later.

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“Within 30 seconds I was thinking, ‘This will work,’” Tom says. “I looked at Mikayla and said, ‘We could probably buy this,’ and she said, ‘Oh, yes, we’re going to buy this!’”

WE HANG OUT HERE ON THE FRONT PATIO ALL THE TIME AND WE EAT DINNER HERE. WE’RE THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK. — Mikayla Kovash

During Tom’s healing process the couple finalized their plan to find the “dream home” they’d been talking about. Mikayla wanted to live in a certain area close to downtown, but Tom was a little more specific. “I wanted to live on the 200 block of Clark,” he says. Mikayla wanted a home with a pool. “I sent letters to everyone in the neighborhood saying I wanted a pool,” she adds. 92

Hearing from a friend that a house on Clark Avenue would soon be listed for sale, they took a peek.

The property lacked a pool. Thankfully, it could accommodate one. “We weren’t too picky on the house as we had my dad (retired contractor Bryan Kovash), to do the work,” Mikayla says. “There would be things we’d want to do for our style.” The couple’s quaint 1940s home, nestled amongst the trees in one of Billings’ oldest neighborhoods, fits right in with its turn-of-thecentury counterparts. The nearly 3,200-square-foot stucco abode features an eclectic mix of old style

and modern distinction. The home’s façade has a Mediterranean/cottage style with large arched window and door accentuated with an open-air porch. New metal fencing surrounds the mature lot. Its low-profile allows the couple to visit with neighbors and other passersby.


“We hang out here on the front patio all the time,” says Mikayla, “and we eat dinner here. We’re the new kids on the block.”

your comfort your way.

“It’s wonderful, as every weekend about 30 or 40 people walk by, some walking their dogs,” says Tom, well-known as a community theater actor with a movie to his credit. “We get to meet and talk with a lot of them.” Zeus and Monte, along with Lulu Kombucha the one-eyed rescue cat, thrive on living in this established neighborhood. The close proximity to friends and downtown’s night life rates high on the list, too. “I wanted it walkable to Walkers,” says Mikayla. “And, the house is big enough to host groups of family and friends.” The lower level offers two guest bedrooms, a bathroom, laundry area and Mikayla’s “Kardashian closet” and gym. The main level features original oak flooring and the captivating architecture of the front window. Craftsman style built-ins offer abundant storage throughout. The living room’s nine-foot coved ceiling and nostalgic tile-faced fireplace transition beautifully with the recent updates. Freshly painted white ceiling and walls cover the old “burnt yellow” color. A partial wall removed between the living and dining areas defines an open floor plan. “We also got rid of all the doors, which helped open it up,” Tom says

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Alana Jackson Mortgage Loan Assistant Billings, MT 406.652.3321 alana.jackson@usbank.com NMLS#: 650625

Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rates and program terms are subject to change without notice. Visit usbank.com to learn more about U.S. Bank products and services. Mortgage and Home Equity Products are offered through U.S. Bank National Association. Deposit Products are offered through U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC. ©2019 U.S. Bank 61701c 12/19

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Natural light pours in through scores of windows. The ambiance gives off a kind of calm. “We need it with our crazy lives and jobs,” Mikayla says. Tom’s home office is located just off the dining room. The sun beats in by midmorning, so dark wooden blinds dress the L-shaped windows, providing chic contrast to the room’s snowy color. A plant dubbed Andre the Giant looms by the doorway. “I’ve had this plant since it was a baby,” Tom says. “It literally had two leaves on it and now I’ve had it over a decade.” The greenery accents a dark wood dining table. Beneath the table is a “cattle rug of ’89.” Mikayla tells of her family riding in the famed Montana Centennial Cattle Drive in 1989. “My brother wasn’t born yet,” she says. “My sister was a baby and Mom changed our diapers on the back of a horse!” Above the table hangs a globe chandelier. “This mid-century modern chandelier marries Tom and Mikayla’s style with

a flair of modern combined with the traditional feel,” says Lauri Patterson, owner of One Source Lighting. The distinctive look carries into the bathrooms on the main level. “It was a one-and-a-half bath home as the master had a half bath,” Mikayla says. “Now it has two full baths.” The en suite showcases a black-andwhite hexagon floor tile, metal casing around white subway shower tile and a floating vanity. “It’s a deep-brown Fashion cabinet with white porcelain under-mount sink with quartz top,” says Denise Audet, accredited interior designer for Cabinet Works.

Auto • Home • Business • Life

The guest bath down the hall also presents a unique black and white tile floor. “We found this cement tile in a ‘flying geese’ pattern. The deep blue ‘naval’ Fashion Cabinet is shaker style with quartz top and the same rectangle sink and hardware as in the master bath.”

Medicare Planning

Clean lines and minimalist beauty express the homeowners’ personalities.

406.252.3411 • 2047 Broadwater rdaniel@farmersagent.com

Farm & Ranch

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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“Our styles are similar,” says Mikayla, noting they adore the abstract artwork of Marie Taylor, as well as her peony paintings popping with color in the main floor guest room. Bursts of color deliver additional panache to the home’s white interior. The metal patterned ceiling and a wall of upper cabinets sport a fresh coat of white paint in the kitchen, while a striking shade of jade on the lower cabinets and pantry makes a statement. The charming kitchen leads the way to the backyard where a metal privacy fence draped with strings of Edison bulbs spotlight

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the home’s hidden gem. “It’s a pool with bling,” says Bonnie Davidson of 5 Star Pool and Spa. “It’s 12-by-22-foot with LED lights and a custom corner step with tanning ledge. We foamed the steps before hanging the liner so it’s cushy.”

Tom and Mikayla created an oasis in this outdoor area. It’s as stunning as the home’s interior. They agree there are “lots of projects” they still plan for this exceptional home in the old neighborhood. For now, they’re content to be the new kids on the block. ✻

“It’s like a yoga mat,” Mikayla says. “Everyone likes be in the water on the tanning shelf. I love the community it brings to our house. It’s our life pool.”

Damon Bower

CONSTRUCTION We handle it all.

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Congratulations on your home, Mikayla & Tom!

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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Modern ADD THIS ASYMMETRICAL WREATH TO YOUR HOLIDAY DOOR

LOOK WH AT W E FOU ND

written by RACHEL JENNINGS photography by DANIEL SULLIVAN

make it

IN EVERY ISSUE 100

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CHRISTMAS CAROLS, the big tree, the meal, gift giving, the opulent decorating: who doesn't love the holidays for its traditions? This year, let's spice it up a bit with a modern twist on the traditional wreath. It includes all my favorite must-haves. It’s low cost, quick and easy, and looks fantastic. These wreath rings are making a splash, not just for the holidays but for everyday décor as well. I found my ring at the Dollar Spot at Target for just $3. The greenery, wire and small Christmas décor items were picked up at my local craft store. You can go inexpensive and use greenery you might have, or, do like I did and pick up individual stems. I found these to be a little on the pricey side at $6 per stem, but I loved the look just the same. I ended up buying four stems.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

• Large brass ring • Artificial greenery • Wire or hot glue • Small Christmas decor item

LET’S GET STARTED I started by just laying the stems on the ring. Don't be afraid to bend the stem’s wires to get the movement and placement you like. I really stepped out of my design comfort mode and chose a one-sided asymmetrical look. Once you have laid your stems on the wreath with a look you like, it’s time to secure them. TIP: Snap a quick picture of your greenery laid out so that you can look back and refer to it as you permanently attach your faux foliage to the ring. To attach the stems, you can use wire (like I did) or hot glue. Hot glue is easy; just dab a small amount to the ring and quickly press down your stem on the glue. You will have a few seconds to adjust your stem until the glue hardens, so work quickly and be careful not to burn yourself. If you choose to use wire, just wrap it around each stem until it feels tight and secure. Continue gluing or wiring, placing each item where you like and layering on the greenery and flowers. The stems should have a nice natural flow, using the larger items on the base moving to thinner greens or flowers as you move up the ring. Once your greenery is set, adorn with Christmas décor

items at the base of the wreath. My ring came with a leather strap as a hanger, but if yours is without, use ribbon, twine or whatever you like and tie one on! I absolutely love how this wreath turned out. It is a fun mix of both modern and traditional Christmas looks. I enjoyed pushing the edge of design into something that wasn’t really the norm for me. On top of that, the wreath cost roughly $30 and only took an hour of my time. It was a great project that will share merry vibes for years to come. ✻

RACHEL JENNINGS, writer Rachel is a self described "Junker," who not only loves all things old, but LOVES the challenge of trying to make something new out of each find. While she is a Hair Stylist by day, in her off time you can often find her covered in paint, trying to repurpose something she's found.

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ON TOP OF THE

WORLD FAMILY RESPITE TAKES IN EVERY BIT OF NATURE written by TRISH ERBE SCOZZARI photography by DANIEL SULLIVAN

NOTHING SLOWS TRISH ADAM down or holds

a Trish & Tan 102

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her back from enjoying the great outdoors. While out for a Sunday drive a couple of years ago with her daughter, Julie, and son-in-law, Ken, she spied a 20-acre parcel of land for sale. In her heart, she knew that she wanted to spend her golden years surrounded by nature, so what did this 80-something dynamo do about it? She snatched up the property. Perched on a hilltop between Columbus and Reed Point with stellar views of the Yellowstone River to the northeast and the Crazy Mountains in the other direction,


Trish carved out the idyllic spot for her new home.

90s so we couldn’t just uproot and go.”

A road leading up to the site first needed to be cut through heavy rock. Utilities had to be fed uphill. Undeterred, Trish soldiered on to fulfill a double mission: securing a peaceful place not only for her but for her children and grandchildren, and creating a loving tribute to her late husband.

Trish eventually moved from Michigan to Billings. It happened a decade ago after her husband and both of their mothers had died. “I’d been a widow for six years and the property there was too big, so Julie told me, ‘Come out to Montana,’ so I built a house in Josephine Crossing,” a Billings neighborhood on the north bank of the Yellowstone.

“My husband always wanted to move to Montana,” says Trish. “He loved the outdoors.” Trish says she and her husband would come to visit their daughter, who moved here in the 1990s. While the urge to join her was there, “Both of our moms were in their

Eager to build again, this time on top of the world, Trish took a friend’s suggestion to call Ban Construction. “I met with Zeth (Ban) and loved his ideas right off the bat,” she says. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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Taking into consideration Trish’s talent as a nature watercolor artist, Zeth’s plan allowed for this intrepid spirit to paint without leaving the comfort of her home. A 20-foot vaulted ceiling in the great room flanked by a wall of Pella windows displays the winding river and lush valley floor below. “The view is perfect with the pine trees all around,” Trish says. The spectacular vista opens like a rose when ascending the lighted curved staircase leading to the loft. Soft gray carpeting from Rich’s Flooring Abbey Carpet complements the neutral gray color of the interior. The loft’s sitting room provides simple yet elegant creature comforts. Julie enjoys some down time while relaxing in a comfy swivel she claims as her knitting chair. It’s also where a cup of morning coffee tastes extra special. A desk from Time Square Furniture offers Ken the option to work from the hilltop. Since the desk top rises, he gets the choice to either sit or stand. Two bedrooms and a full bath soak up the rustic charm of this lofty area. The couple’s bedroom leans toward western culture with its bed covering and reading lamps mounted on the headboard. It’s a tranquil retreat.

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Trish’s granddaughter, Ellie, now a senior in high school, takes up residence in the second bedroom. Her fondness for horses is emphasized in a photo series above the bed. The home’s other two bedrooms are on the main floor. One provides a respite for the fly-fisherman of the family, Trish’s grandson, Cal. Around the corner and down the hallway sits the homeowner’s personal space. Trish’s suite reveals nuances of minimalistic modernism. Her feminine touch gives way to dashes of color while a sliding glass door opening to the patio invites in the stunning scenery. “Mom can drink her coffee while looking out,” Julie says. And what lady of the house could go without a super-sized closet?

RYAN AUER 406.850.2011

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auerproperties.com NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

105


The double-door closet is organized with a bank of cubbies. “They (Ban Construction) maximized every square inch,” Julie says. Extra storage was figured into Trish’s en suite, as well. The spacious bath captures natural light from a large window casting its warm glow on the floor-to-ceiling storage cabinet and high-top vanity. The custom cabinetry by Beyond the Box Cabinets accentuates the clean lines prevalent throughout the 2,400-square-foot house. A black-trimmed all-glass shower from Montana Glass and Shower Door ties in perfectly with black-trimmed windows. “Black iron fixtures are in both bathrooms on the main floor,” Tana Ban points out. Where son Zeth takes care of phase one (design plans) and son, Nick, and husband, Brian, do the construction part of the project, “I come in and do the pretty stuff,” she says. Tana worked closely with Trish bringing to fruition all that was needed and desired to create this beautiful home. Anne Murphy, owner of Refined Designs, collaborated with both women from the get-go, detailing accessories and the finishing touches. “The service I offer is pulling things together and shopping for the sprinkles,” Anne says. “They bake the cake and frost it, I add the sprinkles.” 106

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Perfectly

Beautiful

Pella Window & Doors • 406.656.1516 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

107


We’ll help you choose the perfect floor for your

lifestyle and budget.

• THANK YOU FOR LETTING US BE A PART OF YOUR NEW HOME •

The women met together with floor plans in hand, deciding what worked best for where the TV would be positioned, where the conversations would happen and so forth. The inspiration for the great room emerged through a picture of a windmill with blue tones Trish had picked out at Time Square Furniture. CARPET | HARDWOOD | TILE | STONE | LAMINATE | VINYL

Rich’s Modern Flooring America’s choice in floor fashions since 1958.

248-3656 | 713 Main St | Billings | billings.abbeycarpet.com 108

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This was the art piece that put into motion the décor. “Trish and Tana came into the store with the cabinets and flooring, (a graywash Luxury Vinyl Plank from Rich’s Flooring Abbey Carpet),” says Anne.


CREATING AMAZING SPACES

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“We wanted the room to function with plenty of seating in order to look out the windows and to have coffee by the rock fireplace. It all starts with how a room is used and how the room can best function for a person’s lifestyle.” The space easily accommodates a large sectional with reclining ends. It’s the place to sit back and enjoy the view. “I told them to ‘go for it,’” says Trish. “I had trust in what they were doing. I was right in there!” The home’s transitional style, well defined from the modern furniture to the farmlook railing on the staircase, shapes this impressive open space. Modern class blended with traditional style extends into the dining area and kitchen.

IT’S NATURE. IT’S PEACEFUL. IT’S A PLACE TO COME AND GO TO BED AND THEN WAKE UP AND SAY, ‘HELLO, WORLD,’ AND KNOW MY HUSBAND IS HERE. — Trish Adam

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and square corners, there are variegated gray-hued laminate countertops. “The light and dark tones give the countertops a granite-esque look,” says Kristy Ferguson, owner of Beyond the Box Cabinets. “It was a team effort with our designers Debbie and Ragan.” A center island with storage space in the base cabinet attracts its share of attention. “We created a space for Trish and her family with seating at the island. Everything else (including the fridge) is boxed in to be as neat as possible.”

A walk-in pantry wired with electrical outlets enhances the kitchen’s distinctive character. Since Trish loves to bake and cook, this practical convenience makes it easy for cleanup while encouraging freedom from counter clutter.


Christmas MAY YOUR

BE BLESSED WITH

PEACE AND JOY

656-8681 | 3127 Central Ave www.stuartshouseofvacuums.com Mon-Fri 8:30-5:30 | Sat 10-4

HOME LOAN SOLUTIONS The modernized space on top of the world treats this traditional family to the good life. It’s the essence of home where holiday dinners are set to be served and where the family can sit outside under a blanket of stars. “We’re blessed,” says Julie.

• Purchasing • Refinancing • Building • Remodeling

“It’s nature. It’s peaceful,” Trish says. “It’s a place to come and go to bed and then wake up and say, ‘Hello, world,’ and know my husband is here.” ✻

Call Sam for your Real Estate Needs!

Sam Van Dyke Home Loan Consultant NMLS#776569

248-1127 www.billingsfcu.org 1516 Main St • 2522 4th Ave N • 990 Grand Ave • 32nd & King Ave W NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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• BAN CONSTRUCTION •

HOME WHEN BAN CONSTRUCTION

builds a home, the Ban family takes it very seriously. “Our main goal is for our clients to be happy and proud of the home we’ve created for their family,” says Tana Ban, who along with husband Brian and their two sons, Nick and Zeth, make up this builder team. They’re native Montanans noted for their hard work. They gain their inspiration from each new home they build. “It’s important to us as our name is on each one,” Tana says. “I think that’s a trait of a Montanan – achieving the best of our abilities in whatever we’re doing.” Zeth takes the lead in drafting the home’s floor plan. Their design style centers on expectations. “We work with the style that our client wants,” says Tana. Brian and Nick then move into the construction stage. “We build on each phase working with interior products usually beginning with flooring and tile,” Tana says. “Then it’s on to cabinetry so everything blends. The same is with the exterior.” Tana’s eye for décor puts on the finishing touches. It’s the Ban family way of creating a home. ✻

Congratulations

Let us point you in the right direction!

beautiful home!

HOME | AUTO | RECREATION VEHICLES | SMALL BUSINESS

— on your —

406-655-1200 6956 Commercial Ave Billings, MT josh@pridetruss.com 112

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Jennifer Massey-Norman

INSURANCE AGENT / OWNER

406.534.8008

JM Insurance Group, llc

1111 Main St | Suite 6 | Billings, Montana EMAIL: jennifer@jminsgroup.com | jminsgroup.com


Starting a Project? Need Repairs?

McCabe Electric, Inc. Donald W. McCabe • 406-860-5225 • Taylor McCabe • 406-690-3625

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Billings, MT 59107-1976

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5330 BLUE HERON

new listing

710 S 64TH ST W

448 CEMETERY RD

4729 LEWIS AVE

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426 E ALKALI CREEK RD

5220 PRYOR MOUNTAIN VIEW DR

5420 MERLOT LANE

1936 HWY 10 COLUMBUS

new listing

Under Contract

3225 ALPINE DR

Under Contract

1136 ALDERSON AVE

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3038 CENTRAL AVE

2800 GREGORY DR S

4727 AUDUBON WAY

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1480 S CANAL CIRCLE

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We were so blessed to work with Robin and Tom in both the purchase and the sale of homes this year. Totally

classy and professional, Robin was keen enough

to inquire about an existing insurance claim on the home we bought and she

looked out for our interests in what could have been a complicated purchase. Realtors matter in a hot market and Team Hanel knows how to make sure their clients get what they need and want. really

— The Kibblewhites

TOM HANEL ROBIN HANEL 406-860-6181 406-690-4448 Robin@RobinHanel.com Tom@TomHanel.com www.berkshirehathawayhs.com


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Let the Freyenhagen Team turn your home dreams into a reality. “From the first meeting to the final touchup, we will be there every step of the way to guide you through your home remodel with expertise and care.”

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Yellowstone Valley Woman  

Yellowstone Valley Woman magazine was started in 2001 as a 40-page free publication in Yellowstone County. Over the years, thanks to your re...

Yellowstone Valley Woman  

Yellowstone Valley Woman magazine was started in 2001 as a 40-page free publication in Yellowstone County. Over the years, thanks to your re...