Monday, July 27, 2009

All Good Things Must Come to an End -- But New Good Things Will Start!

It's hard to believe that my internship will end soon. Last week was the "Great Intern Tour of 2009," so Samantha and I headed to Bismarck to hang out with the other interns and tour some of the historic sites around Bismarck/Mandan. Many of the sites we visited used to be Mandan villages, but we also saw Fort Abraham Lincoln (where Custer was based for awhile) and Fort Mandan (where Lewis and Clark stayed for a winter). It was really interesting and has motivated me to look into more of the history of the area.

I finally booked a flight to Dulles airport in DC (ok, my dad did this one for me). It only cost $88, which isn't too bad. But, my dad will have to drive me to Milwaukee and I'll have to pay for my check-in luggage. I'm getting really excited to travel to the Middle East soon. So even though I'll have to leave Medora, I'll be starting a whole new (and challenging) experience.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Now I Become Myself by May Sarton

Now I become myself. It's taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people's faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
"Hurry, you will be dead before-"
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!

Stormy Week

At the end of last week, a tornado went through Dickinson (the city that's 30 minutes away and where I get groceries). Most of the south side of town was hit and one of the house interpreters even lost her apartment in the storm. She and her husband are okay and are currently in the process of moving to Germany with the Air Force. We're supposed to get severe thunderstorms tonight and the next few days, too, so hopefully that will go well and we won't get the quarter-sized hail that they are predicting.

The stagecoach drivers and horses arrived today! It's really quite fun to have them around. They are very interested in the history of the house and once they finally get started (which will hopefully be soon -- it has to dry out first), we'll get a free ride in the coach. I'm also hoping to get a chance to go horseback riding this week, or if that's not possible, to finally hike out to Theodore Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch cabin. I've been meaning to do that for weeks, but it always falls on a day that I work in the gift shop, or a day that I can't escape from the Chateau for a few hours.

This weekend, a girl was playing her violin for tips just outside of the gift shop. Apparently, she did quite well, so I've already asked George if I can set up there if I return here next summer. I wouldn't be a Chateau intern, so I could work in the gift shop and at the Chateau 3 days a week each. It might not happen that I get out here again, but I'm looking forward to the possibility.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Trip to Bismarck (Part Two)

I've been asked about the story of the bass and violin, and I can't say that I remember them very clearly. The bass was used on a ship during one of the wars the US fought(see how little I remember? :)) and the only reason the bassist survived (everyone else was killed) was because he was a member of the band. The structure of the bass was pretty well preserved, but it was missing two of it's strings. The Hardanger fiddle was brought over from Norway by a family, and other than the family's travels through Minnesota and North Dakota, it's life has been rather uneventful.

We met so many of the people that work in the Heritage Center, and so far, I like them just as well as I like the people I work with at the Chateau. And, while we were in the archives, we saw Frank Visraylek (most likely spelled wrong) who is a North Dakota researcher and has written some works on the Marquis. I haven't read his work yet, but now I'm interested and hopefully, I'll get a chance before I leave.

We also got a chance to go part way through the main gallery, which interprets North Dakota history from the time of the dinosaurs to the present day. The State Historical Society has set up a new program called "History on Call" and we had intended to try it out by finding the parts that Ed and Don (the assistant site supervisor and one of the interpreters) had worked on. We found the man that Don portrayed, but couldn't find Ed's. After asking around, we realized that the "History on Call" program has sort of been put on hold.

Around 2:30, the lady that works in the Heritage Center gift shop loaded up Karen's truck with all of the stuff that needed to be transported to the Chateau. We soon realized that we wouldn't be able to continue exploring Bismarck because of the amount of stuff that we had to take back. So, we went to eat lunch and then went back to Medora.


Since that point, Samantha and I have had our first oral history interview with a man that worked on restoring the Maltese Cross Cabin (Theodore Roosevelt's first cabin in Dakota) and also on some aspects of the Chateau. It was really interesting and he had plenty of stories about what life in Medora was like years before I was born. I would have liked to have seen it.

Last night we had a really bad storm -- tornadoes were sighted in the national park and up at the golf course. It was very windy and there were sheets of rain for awhile... It was incredible!

We've also had quite a few bull snake and rattlesnake sightings in the last couple weeks. There was one over by the bathrooms near the taffy shop, and we apparently have a nest of baby rattlers under the porch, even though we've sighted bull snakes in the area, too...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Trip to Bismarck (Part One)

Today I went to Bismarck with Karen and Samantha. I've never been to the Heritage Center or met any of the people that work there, so it was an adventure. Samantha and I left Medora around 7:30 am (MDT) and went with Karen from Dickinson to Bismarck. We didn't arrive in Bismarck until 11 am (CDT), though...

Anyway, when we got there, we met some of the more important people in the Heritage Center and we took tours through the Collections and Archives areas of the center. We saw several of Medora's riding habits, and also some of the the drapes and bottles on the shelves. On the way to see "Medora's" horse (it was used in the Chateau in the 40s to show off Medora's sidesaddles), there was a double bass on one of the shelves. I gasped from surprise and excitement and Jenny (the lady that took us through) told me the story of what happened to the bass...and then told me that there was a Hardanger fiddle in the collections, too. And then, Jenny gave me her white gloves, and I got to HOLD the fiddle myself! :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Not What I Had Expected

Well, when I said that I was ready for the challenges that lay ahead, the last few days weren't really what I had in mind. Yesterday went pretty well for awhile, but then I ended up having to drive to Dickinson because my brother ended up in the emergency room for pesticide exposure. He's doing just fine now, but we (at the Chateau) wanted to make sure that he would be ok, so we sent him in the ambulance (a half hour drive). He was released about 2 1/2 hours later, and I've been trying to text him every once in awhile to see how he's doing. Hopefully he'll feel well enough to head back to work in the taffy shop tomorrow...

A couple days ago, my roommate had surgery on her back to insert some kind of a monitor. I think the surgery went well, but she has been having some bleeding issues and went into the emergency room herself last night. She seems to be doing a little better today, but she has to go into Bismarck tomorrow to get the monitor-thing removed...

Other than these things, work today went pretty well. I really enjoy Tuesdays and Wednesdays because Don, Linda, and Maxine are all up at the house at the same time. It's always a great time when those three are up there...and Maxine's always telling me how "cute" my smile is. :)

I've really been looking forward to going to Egypt this past week -- more so than usual. It's always there in the back of my mind, but I've just been daydreaming about it a lot. Maxine is going to try to work something out so that I can talk to her students while I'm there. I'm really curious to see what kinds of questions they will come up with...and excited to have something like this to share information. :)