A Typical (but great) Missoula Weekend

As I sit here late this Sunday night (technically Monday morning) I can’t shake this soothing feeling of content that has filled my body as the result of this past weekend. Mind you, I did nothing special. I simply stayed here in Missoula and lived out a couple of normal but awesome days in God’s Country. But you see, right now is bar none the absolute best time to live in Missoula. The summer is young, the days are long, and the living is awesome. So if you don’t mind, I want to quickly recap my enjoyable weekend.

On Friday night I went over to my girlfriend’s brother’s house for a big family BBQ. Paige’s sister was in town all the way from Hawaii along with her husband and two kids. Throw in Paige’s dad, her aunt and uncle, and her brother’s family and you got quite the gathering. Paige’s brother has a beautiful large backyard so we had a great time hanging out back there while eating burgers and visiting. Later in the night we all gathered around their backyard fire pit and roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. While that activity was mainly to make the four young children happy, I had just as much fun trying to make the perfect golden brown marshmallow as they did. At a little after 10 p.m. with a fair amount of daylight still in the Montana skies, we called it a night.

I had a great time making s'mores...and eating them!

I had a great time making s’mores…and eating them!


Saturday morning came and I awoke with great energy and eagerness for the busy day ahead. It all started off at Missoula’s farmer’s market at Caras Park. Paige and I walked around enjoying all the hustle and bustle of health minded Missoulians scouring the plethora of fresh produce covering tables all around the market area. When everyone from Paige’s family who attended the BBQ the previous night arrived we greeted them and I assisted in taking about a dozen different family portraits with all of their cellular devices.

After the Kodak moment I walked about 100 feet over to the Missoula Carousel to cover a great event that our student-athletes were involved in. Called “Griz Day at the Carousel”, several members of our football team were on hand to sign autographs and pose for pictures with youngsters. The players even hopped on the carousel themselves and rode side-by-side with elated children who couldn’t believe that they were hanging out with Griz athletes.

Our Griz football athletes helped out the community once again this past Saturday at "Griz Day at the Carousel".

Our Griz football athletes helped out the community once again this past Saturday at “Griz Day at the Carousel”.

After about 40 minutes at the Carousel I had to leave Downtown Missoula and head off to the next thing on my agenda. I hopped in my car and drove out to Southgate Mall where the Garden City Shootout, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, was taking place in the shopping area’s parking lot. My main objective was to cover and support the best mascot in the world, Monte, as he entertained the youth at center court. He put a smile on every kid’s face as he shot baskets, sprayed silly string, and rode a bike. After about a half hour of bringing a lot of joy to the event, the mascot from Red Robin showed up and the bear and the bird played a game of Thunder with the children on hand. The silliness and fun that ensued was pretty entertaining.

Monte interacting with the Red Robin mascot.

Monte interacting with the Red Robin mascot.

When that Thunder game concluded I was off again, this time traveling to yet another different part of town to Paige’s workplace, Pattee Creek Market. The store was having a community BBQ and after not eating the whole day, I was ready for some lunch. Paige and I got a burger, chips, and drink for the low price of $2 and sat up against the outside of the store under the shade and gobbled up our food….and then went back for seconds! After we filled our stomachs Paige still had about 45 minutes before her shift was to start so we went to a nearby restaurant and had a cold drink while watching the U.S. Open. Work time then came for Paige and I returned back to my apartment where I watched the rest of the U.S. Open third round.

Paige and I under the shade enjoying the BBQ.

Paige and I under the shade enjoying the BBQ.

I then transitioned nicely into watching Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals and by the time that game hit overtime it was 9 p.m. and I was hungry again. I met my friend Dallas and his roommate at Buffalo Wild Wings and we watched Boston even the series at 1-1 while scarfing down some great food. Paige later joined us at the restaurant and from there we checked out a few places downtown before ending a great day.

Today I rose up at 8 a.m. and read the paper and did some housekeeping items. I then hit the pool! At my apartment complex we have a pretty decent community pool area and besides just a brief time last week, it was my first time really getting to enjoy it. Paige bought us milkshakes and we had a great time getting some rays and splashing around in the water. Long after Paige had left to go to work, I myself exited the area at a little after 4 p.m., probably getting a little more sun than what I needed. Sweaty and exhausted from the heat, I settled down into my nicely air conditioned apartment in time for the last six holes of the U.S. Open. I was pulling for Phil but congrats to Justin Rose.

Not long after the conclusion of the golf tournament the NBA Finals (Game 5) came on. I watched the first half at my apartment and then I went and watched the second half at the Silver Dollar where Dallas works. I took great pleasure in watching the Spurs destroy King James and the Heat to take a 3-2 series lead. I came home and did things to get ready for the upcoming work week and here I am now…writing this blog post. These are the best days to live in Missoula and I am not taking them for granted. One great weekend down, many more to come. Don’t Blink.

That Time of Year Again: VEGAS

Probably one of the reasons why I have written some 320 blog posts in a couple short years is because I have written this very similar post about six times now. Yes, it is time to go to Las Vegas again.

Today I embark on the summer half of my bi-annual Vegas getaway. Maybe I tried too hard to find a deal this time because instead of my usual non-stop two hour flight from Missoula to Sin City, this time around there are a couple more obstacles. I will fly out from the Garden City at 1 p.m. and land in Denver at around 3 p.m. I will then sit through a FOUR HOUR layover and then finally board a plane that will take me to Vegas. With the two hour flight and the change from mountain time to pacific time, I will be at McCarran Airport at 8 p.m.

Besides the roundabout way of getting to Vegas, I know this trip will be a blast. Accompanying me this time around will be my girlfriend, Paige. Except for a very short time ten years ago, Paige has never really experienced Las Vegas so I can’t wait to show her around the crazy city. Staying true to how I always arrange my summer trips to Vegas, we will stay at my favorite hotel, the Flamingo. This trip is mainly to explore the city, lay by the pool, and eat some good food.

Taking advantage of the Memorial Day Weekend, I will be in Vegas from today through Wednesday. As is custom when I go on trips, I will not be contributing to Don’t Blink. But it never fails, whenever I come back from Vegas I always have one or two good stories to write about. Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend, everyone! Don’t Blink.

Making Pizza At Home!

One thing that I am really appreciative about my girlfriend is that she is a great cook. She comes over and cooks me meals all the time which is a pretty sweet deal because otherwise I would be indulging in a Subway sandwich, soup, or Chef Boyardee for supper. I couldn’t cook myself out of a paper bag. Paige on the other hand is the exact polar opposite and does wonders in my kitchen. Spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, meatball sandwiches, sausage and potatoes, chicken, and yummy rice dishes are all things she has whipped out for me to enjoy. I am definitely a lucky guy! Tonight though, we will be eating something for dinner that both of us can help prepare!

When Paige is in my kitchen, she does amazing things!

When Paige is in my kitchen, she does amazing things!

Paige and I both thought this evening would be a great time to cook homemade pizza! We had talked about it for a while but it kept getting bumped off the menu for one reason or the other. However, tonight the meal will come to fruition. We will have the dough, sauce, cheese, and toppings….and then our hands. Yes, I might struggle with making the most elementary of dishes but I am capable of spreading sauce on dough, laying cheese over the sauce, dropping toppings down on the cheese, and then putting it into the oven. Tonight I will be co-chef with Paige and I am very excited!

Of course tonight’s pizza baking adventure takes me right back to my childhood days when it was a BIG DEAL when we made homemade pizza at our family home. Like Paige, my mom is an excellent cook. We would eat dinner as a family at our kitchen table every single night. Usually us three kids would not have much of a role in any of the cooking but when it came to homemade pizza night, things changed. Suddenly we got to use the sacred cooking utensils and create our own pizzas. This event probably occurred three times a year so it really was a special event and something that me and my sister and brother really enjoyed.

Now please take into consideration that my mom did not let “kids take over the kitchen night” turn into a complete goat rope. She made sure the potentially catastrophic event was well under control. If she had not already flattened the dough for us, she watched carefully as we stretched it over the pan we were using. She placed all of the sauce, cheese, and toppings in separate bowls for us to easily access and use. She called each of us up one-by-one to make our pizzas individually. With three kids all making pizzas at once there is always the potential for messes, distractions, and fights. After we were all finished making our pizzas my mom would put them in the oven and set a timer. She would make sure we were all upstairs when she took the pizzas out so we could proudly watch our creations come out of the oven and see for the first time how our smiley-faced pie looked cooked or whether the pound of cheese we had put on had entirely melted. It was kind of a magical time.

The peak of the excitement on homemade pizza night in the Reser household was definitely the preparation part and the coming out of the oven part because to be honest, the actual eating part was always a little anticlimactic. Now I am sure my mom already knows this, but I always preferred the taste of delivery pizza to that of homemade pizza (probably because my taste buds were not as sophisticated back then). But let that statement not take anything away from homemade pizza night because it really was all about the experience as opposed to the taste!

Before I wrap up this post I would like to make mention of something unique that my mom would always do on homemade pizza night that has a special place in my heart of memories. In addition to our regular sphere shaped or square shaped pizza pies we would make, my mom would also take out her cupcake pan and make PIZZA CUPCAKES! The process was super easy…she would just shape the dough inside each cupcake spot, have us add quite a bit of sauce, top it with quite a bit of cheese, and then add toppings. She would then throw it in the oven and out would come pizza cupcakes! Simple, yes, but also a great idea. Such a great idea in fact that my mom submitted the recipe to Taste of Home Magazine and they featured it in an issue.

Check my Instagram account for pictures of our homemade pizza tonight. The one I make for my dinner might look a little goofy but just give me points for trying. Unlike years ago, I think tonight I would rather trade the experience for the taste! Don’t Blink.

Glad for 2012, Optimistic for 2013

At midnight we ushered in 2013 and now we have 365 fresh days to make our mark on this year. Last night I had a great time celebrating the arrival of the New Year with Paige and another couple. After a fabulous dinner at the Depot, we joined hundreds of other Missoulians in downtown to welcome yet another resetting of the calendar. For a variety of reasons I have a great feeling about what this year will bring. I have had this feeling since Christmas ended and it was just reinforced this morning at mass as I just had positive and calming vibes running through my veins. I am excited for 2013!

I do want to touch on 2012 just a bit though. I will count this past year as a success mainly because I ended the year better than where I started it. At the onset of 2012 I had just wrecked my car and was feeling pretty low. However, as the first few weeks passed I started to regain a little bit of my swagger and my personal outlook of myself slowly started to improve. By the end of the month I had purchased a new car and I had pretty much moved on. From there, 2012 was not that bad at all.

Highlights from 2012 include attending the NCAA Tournament in Albuquerque with the Griz, developing this blog to its current state, watching www.gogriz.com grow substantially, guiding the Griz social media program to the top spot among all other schools in the FCS, seeing some amazing concerts including the American Country Awards, traveling to various different places across the country, and meeting my wonderful girlfriend.

In the broader picture, 2012 was circled for me simply because it was the year of the Summer Olympics and of the Presidential Election. Both of these events provided me with great entertainment and a heavy sense of patriotism. Unfortunately, 2012 will always be tarnished because of the sickening tragedy in Connecticut. No matter all the positivity and prowess our country exhibited from winning the most medals at the highest valued world athletic competition on the planet or from pulling off another flawless example of democracy, we were faced with the cruel reality that we still have much to work on.

In talking about New Year’s resolutions today, my priest reminded us all to take each day one at a time. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself and look days, weeks, and months down the line. We need to focus our attention on 24 hour intervals. It is easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged when we see that we have a long road in front of us but if we chop that road up into little blocks, it makes things much more manageable. I do have my resolutions ready to go and I might (not 100% sure) share those with you guys tomorrow.

Let me give a BIG THANK YOU to all of my supporters who took time to read this blog in 2012. This past year was a big one for Don’t Blink. I quadrupled my average reading audience per post and underwent a major site makeover. You guys are a big part of my motivation and I will continue to try to get better and provide more interesting content in 2013. Happy New Year! Don’t Blink.