Archive for August 2014

Dollar Dollar Bill Ya’ll

Dollar BillsDan is currently spending every last dime of his wedding money on a San Francisco honeymoon. Austin and I are pretty sure this whole “wedding” thing is an elaborate money laundering scheme, but our private detective hasn’t returned any calls.

Anyway, Dan will be back next week with an emotional post about his wedding. After that, we’ll start talking about the other aspects of our lives again. We’re almost there!

As always, thanks for your continued readership. We appreciate all of our readers, subscribers, and commenters – you really make this whole writing thing a wonderful experience.

– Clark and Austin

Day Late, Dollar Short

The days are are starting to get shorter, and the familiar chill of Autumn is sneaking through the windows of unsuspecting sleepers. Tonight, I’ll be using a blanket on top of my usual bed sheet.

That happened fast.

It feels like everything has been fast-forwarded. The wedding weekend will be talked about for years, but it already feels like it’s slipping through my fingers. It feels unfair. These are the memories I want to freeze and analyze, to view from different angles. I don’t want to forget the look on Dan’s face when he first saw his bride, or the smell of cigars by the bachelor party’s campfire, or the bitter taste of coffee the morning after the reception.

But time freezes for no man, and my memory has never been strong for details. I will have to relieve the wedding weekend through stories and photographs, remembering only snippets of first-hand experience.

For now, the most I can do is be thankful for what I have – my friends, my house, and the beautiful state I’ve called home for the last 25 years. I may not be able to remember every joke, every beautiful view, or every friend I’ve met – but I will always remember what it feels like to have a family. And that is more than enough for me.

The Return Voyage

Clark, Dan, and I are back, and one of us married to boot. We’re all tired, emotional, and happier than we’ve been in a long time. Pictures and stories are inbound. Until then, here’s the toast I gave to Dan at the reception. People tell me it was a hit.


What can I say about Dan that he has not already told you about himself?

I first met Dan when we were both about eight years old. We lived in the same neighborhood, and one day we happened to be walking the same direction at the same time. We’ve been inseparable since.

I’ve been Dan’s best friend through the highs and the lows. I’ve been a confidant, a cheerleader, and the keeper of several secrets that would utterly destroy Dan if they ever got out.

If anyone wants to know what those are, come see me later, we’ll work something out.

Seriously though, I remember a conversation Dan and I had late last year, I think around November or December. We were talking over the phone, and Courtney came up, as she has in every conversation since. And Dan said to me, “It’s not a matter of if, dude , it’s a matter of when.” And I thought to myself, ‘wow, I’ve never seen Dan this in love,  this serious, or this authentic.’ It was then I knew that those two had something very rare, and very special.

I’ve never seen Dan as happy as I’ve seen him in the last few months. I’m looking forward to seeing the life these two will create together.

I consider Dan family, and am overjoyed to see this family grow.

So, here’s to Dan and Courtney. May the rest of their lives be as special as it is right now.


Sharing is Caring

Sharing is hard, especially sharing something you consider irreplaceable.

Yet, as I pack my bags to watch Dan walk down the aisle, I’m realizing that I will soon be sharing something incredibly hard to find – a best friend and a good man.

I’ve known Daniel Crary for over four years, and lived with him for half of those. I’ve lost count of how many nights we stayed up late, lounging around in bath robes, eating quesadillas and granola bars. I could fill several notebooks with the skits, songs, and screenplays we conjured up after splitting a bottle of wine. The laughter we shared (and still share) was my main source of cardio for years. We had many adventures filled with youthful recklessness, where part of us still believed we were invincible.

Then there were the dark times – the snow drifts, the sick days, the heartaches. Our minds, much like our apartment, were cold, messy, and dark. We saw each other at our absolute worst, yet we still made an effort to pull pranks on one another, creating much-needed excuses to laugh.

Where many friendships would have fallen apart, Dan and I grew closer. We took the ugly, messy moments in our lives, and turned them into a mortar that binds us together. For that, I will always be thankful.

Fortunately, Dan and I still have plenty of years ahead of us. He’s marrying an old friend that I’ve always respected – someone who’s quick to jump in with her own stories or adventures. His bride is so radiant, even his darkest times will be full of hope. She’s the one person capable of making Dan feel invincible again.

Thank you so much, Courtney.

So when I move back in with Dan this October, I realize I will no longer be the first person Dan greets when he comes home, or the first person he calls when he gets a night off. I will have to share my best friend’s time, attention, and creativity. Our notebooks filled with ideas will become thinner, and our nightly talks will slowly turn into weekly talks.

As hard as these changes will be, I still can’t wipe this smile off my face.

Congratulations, Daniel Crary, you found someone so cool that I’m willing to share. I’m honored to be a part of your wedding, and I look forward to seeing you this weekend.

Your friend, creative partner, bird, and brother,

- Clark

P.S. Don’t expect the pranks to stop – she’s on my side.

My Best Friend’s Wedding

When your best friend gets married, their world changes. And when your best friend’s world changes, your world changes.

Except, I haven’t really been feeling that pressure.

Here’s the honest truth. My best friend is getting married to a girl I’ve only met twice. Which means, brass tacks, I haven’t made enough of an effort as a friend. Growing up means growing apart from everyone but yourself. Figuring out how to get out of that is one of the biggest challenges of life.

Most of my friends are, or will be, time zones apart. For a while, this was fine. I had grad school to deal with.I was stressed out, so I was largely absent from the people I care about. It got better, so now I have to own up.

It’s time for me to stop putting my life on hold with flimsy excuses.

Even after Dan and Clark go back to New York. Even as I try to get a job and dig myself out of my own debt pit. Even as, on top of all this, I try to realize that work and money don’t matter, so long as I find something real to live for.

Which brings me full circle. Friends and family, which I consider to be the same thing, have to come first. I forgot that for a while.

I’m not dwelling on it, and I’m not blaming anyone. I’m moving forward to my best friend’s wedding, and I’m damn sure going to be there for the rest of his new life beyond.


People let me tell ya

Austin and I have known each other since we were 7 years old. We met while out riding bikes in my neighborhood, where his grandma happened to live. We just ran into each other, and started talking. He came over and played later that day, and the rest is history.

For the last 17 years, I have had a friend like none other in Austin. Though there were ups and downs, hard times and hurt feelings, we are still friends after all these years. Best friends, in point of fact.

Austin is going to be my best man at my wedding. Some people would think of that as the pinnacle of a friendship. I see it as the latest, greatest moment in a long line of great memories. A Moment in time, that I will remember for ever. But, the greatest moment of our friendship? To quote Sinatra, “The Best is Yet to Come.”

It was not a surprise that I would have a blog with Austin. And writing with him and Clark every week, has kept us closer as friends, though we are hundreds of miles apart. And as I start my life as a married man, and Austin begins to navigate the post grad world, we are going to need each other more than ever.

All this to say, I love this guy. He’ll be giving a toast at my wedding, but here is mine for him.

Thank you for being my closest friend, my oldest chum, and the only brother I ever had.

Cheers, buddy


Clear a Space

I’m a creature of habit, and living by myself for a year gave me complete freedom over these habits. In my old apartment, I sat in one of three places, left my glasses on the same end table, and put dirty dishes in the same place after every meal. My apartment was filled with loud music, and the television existed purely for video games. Nothing changed, and very few things surprised me.

All of that is quickly grinding to a halt.

Now that I’m living with my family, my office has been replaced with a couch and a small folding table in my parent’s living room. My floor speakers have been replaced with a single earbud, allowing me to respond to the random barrage of questions from my family. Music and podcasts have been replaced with the background buzz of television game shows. This is my life now.

Like Austin, I’m struggling to find a new flow in this old town. I want to retreat to my Missoula habits, but I no longer have the luxury. I’d retreat to my Billings-tailored habits from 5 years ago, but they carry all the baggage of a naive and lazy teenager.

So I guess I’m starting over. I need to find a way to push myself forward in a town that’s terrified of change – to find color in a town filled with white walls. I want to find new friends and adventures, while still visiting old friends and haunts.

I fear that by the time I find a new niche, it’ll be time to leave again.

But even if that’s the case, at least I’ll be leaving Billings with new friends, new memories, and new habits. Hopefully, the habits I develop over the following 1 1/2 months will lead to an even more productive lifestyle with an emphasis on relationships, physical health, and constant creation.

 At the end of the day, I want to leave Billings with a good taste in my mouth, ready to take on the Big Apple.

Past and Present


One of the most stinging lessons I’ve learned is just how easy progress can be undone. Moving back to the town where I grew up has brought out old habits. I’m a different person, but old pitfalls are trying to creep back in.

As I’m rediscovering, nothing makes you backslide faster than coming home.

I remember high school, when it was much easier to spend weeks at a time in the basement of my parent’s house, leaving only for food and scarce contact with the outside world (read: Dan). And while I think I’ll never get that bad again that bad again, I have been putting off job applications for a couple weeks now.

Luckily, My friends have kept me from getting anywhere near my previous level of shut-in. Hell, last week I saw a Beatle live. Take that, past basement dweller me!

Of course, it isn’t fair to judge teenage you by present you’s standards. I think a lot of people make themselves miserable when they compare themselves to the past. It’s important to keep moving forward, so that I don’t backpedal into an identity which is not only limiting, but also doesn’t really fit me anymore. Good thing too, because the things I got away with at 16 will definitely not fly at 24.

A 24 year old with no job who lives in his parent’s basement is not an identity with much dignity.

Now for the tricky part, I have to find a way to translate that new self-concept into something that meshes with my hometown. Without the laziness, lack of self-concept, and general “meh” that haunted my teen years.

So, I’ll keep moving forward as a person, get off my butt, apply for jobs, and bring all I can offer to Billings. After Dan’s wedding, of course.




A lot has been going on in my life this summer. Wedding planning, planning new creative endeavors, training for a race, and my 24th birthday. Along with new work opportunities, moving and finding a new apartment, I’ve been busy. But, through all the stress and chaos, I have come to appreciate my friends and family, more than ever.

I have been terrible at calling people back. Picking up extra work and planning details of a honey moon and wedding has made me impossible to get a hold of. But, my friends understand. They text me short questions and tell me its no big deal. I have had to cancel on people more than ever, and even at the last minute, the level of understanding I have received from people is beyond charitable.

And while I have been distracted and unavailable, my friends and family have been doing more for me than ever.

My older sister surprised me with floor seats to see Billy Joel for my birthday, which was a life changing event. My fiancé planned a surprise birthday party for me, which was a blast. The men from my community church group through me a bachelor party, from which I am still recovering. My co-workers have covered for me, and wished me well before I fly back to Montana. And my family has been helping with wedding details and logistics, which is a total life saver.

I am blown away by the support that I have received from my parents to one time co-workers, and everyone in between. I feel as though I finally have a strong support system in New York, and my friendships back home are as strong as ever.

I have never been this stressed, having a lot of big life changes happening in rapid succession, but I have never been this grateful either.

Courtney, Austin, Clark, Adair, Alyson, Ashley, Mom, Dad, and so many others, thank you all truly, and deeply.

I hope I can pay it forward to each and everyone of you going forward. But not out of some sense of obligation. I can’t wait for the day I can be a great friend to you, because you are all great people who deserve great friends. I just hope I’m half as good at it as you are.


New Features – Subscribe and Share


Much like our writers, is growing and learning from its mistakes.

While the site looks about the same as when it launched, there are a few new features that have made their way into the sidebars and menus. For example, we now have an “Our Friends” section, which features some of our favorite bloggers. We also have a more detailed mission statement, and clear ways to contact individual writers.

Very recently, we added a way to share individual posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more. We really, really appreciate people sharing our stories, so we want it to be as simple and convenient as possible.

We also have a new way to Subscribe to Gold in them Hills and receive an email whenever a post is published (check the sidebar). Expect more subscription functionality in the near future. Eventually, we’d like to make the comment process more intuitive, allowing for multi-person discussions with minimal moderation.

But there’s still plenty of room for improvement, and we want our readers to be a part of the process. So we’ve added a Contact Form where you can send blog feedback, suggestions for new features, and links to potential Friends that share our interests. Please send us a message, and we’ll take your feedback into consideration when we add new features.

Thank you for your continued readership, and we’re looking forward to sharing more stories, guests, illustrations, and more!

- The “Gold in them Hills” Crew