Friday, February 27, 2009

Waiting for Summer

When I snapped this shot, I imagined that these boats are waiting for summer. They love their summer job, working on a Kenai Peninsula beach site, helping to net salmon and rocking and rolling in and out with the tides. They love the midnight sun, the long hours, and the feeling of being needed to help somebody earn their living fishing.

But for now, they sit covered in snow, gazing longingly out at the Cook Inlet, waiting for summer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Consistently Inconsistent

I like random. I like crazy. I tend to be spontaneous and fly by the seat of my pants. The seat of my pants isn't the greatest pilot, but somehow I manage to be functional.

I like to be organized but its not often I master it. I have three calendars, my blackberry, my dayplanner, and my children as reminders. I still fumble. I still fail. I still show up for events a week early. From the outside looking in you might think I've got it together, but I'm just really good at recovery and big smiles.

I've been thinking about how often I do not follow a pattern. I am very very good at starting one, but very very terrible at being consistent. I cannot seem to find even a simple routine, or at least one cannot find me!

I start things on Monday that I assure myself in my quiet little thoughts, I shall do EACH and EVERY Monday, because whatever it was I was doing just works so well. Especially on Mondays. Soon I am doing it every fifteenth Friday, and eventually I remember it only once a year, and soon it is gone forever from my puny mind. Because, you know, that just works SO WELL. Sheesh.

I would love to be always on the ball, right on the money, predictable as taxes. But its just not me, I guess.

I comfort myself that I'm probably having more FUN in my life, than those super organized, logical, predictable types. Oh sure. Because those types are not losing books called "Simple Tips for Getting and Staying Organized" from their local libraries, running up huge fines, and eventually returning the book in the book drop in great humiliation in a rental car, and never returning to the library again? Sure, that's fun alright. I'd relocate towns but I like this town, and I'd probably never be able to find my way around a new town. I'd also cheerfully lose books from their town library...consistently.

Patterns rather bug me. I am drawn to things that are off-kilter, unique, and dance to their own rhythm. Quirky completely captures me! Give me something unusual and I'm drawn to it, fascinated by it, love its defiance of normal. Numbers are not my friend. I don't like to play with numbers, in fact Sudoku makes me want to walk off of a cliff! And my splatter pattern would be, well, irregular I'm sure.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mt Redoubt

We had such a busy weekend, but I had to snap this picture last night on the way home. Only had my phone with me, but could not resist. Looking out over the Cook Inlet at Mt Redbout, I was thrilled at how late the sun was going down. Spring is on its way! And the bright colors of the sunset seem to shout it.

This is my favorite mountain, and I am lucky enough to get to see it every day. The news says its about to get active again as a volcano...but even if it blows its top, I will still be its biggest fan.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Valentine's Day Road Trip

When I heard that my mom and aunt were going on a road trip, my little ears perked right up. You see, I am a FOOL for a good long road trip. I don't know what it is, but I feel so energized to hit the open road, see new country and eagerly anticipate adventures and mishaps. Its a sickness of mine. But truly a passion!

I love being with my mom. She is just kind of a hoot. And my aunt, her sister, is a blast too. So we spent lots of time in the car, simply cracking up. Sometimes over nothing. Okay, usually over nothing! Just sisterchickin.

See this room? This is a nice room. This is not Talkeetna.

We drove the first night to Talkeetna, and spent the night there. It was a great place to stay, especially if you don't care about sleep. Or roasting to death because our room was over a bar and they kept the bar nice and toasty. Or if you love the sound of trains, which seem to be running right through your room. Or if you want to be kept awake all night from snowmachines and drunks, or drunks on snowmachines.
But as I mentioned, I love adventure and mishaps, so I happen to love Talkeetna.

The room above is in Cantwell, where we stayed on the way home, for one night.

All of these scenery pictures were snapped from the car as we drove along. Luckily I was not driving, so I had 14 hours each way to relax, eat almonds and Pringles, and snap pics.

The country is so vast, so isolated, so hard to describe. The pictures do little to show it.

We went to visit my mom's dear friend along the way, in a town called Cantwell. (pretty much the middle of nowhere..population around 60) Here is Violet's house. She lives alone, is in her 70s, hunts her own caribou, and was thrilled to see us. Visitors are rare and unexpected. She showed us all the beadwork she has been doing, and boots she made.

I had a blast in Fairbanks with all my friends. I used to live there, and teach school there, and the place is still rooted deep in my heart. I really love it.
I wish it were not so faaaaaaaaaaaar away.
But then again, I love a good road trip.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Goodbye to Our Next-Door Noah

Monday morning we woke to a nightmare. I literally roused from sleep to the sound of siren, and the sight of six emergency vehicles from my bedroom window, looking down at our neighbor's house. Michael and I stood in shock, looking at the people running frantically around, in a chaotic jumble. We knew something terrible had happened to one of our neighbors, and we prayed.......

When the ambulance pulled away, I noticed it did not seem to be going fast. And then the troopers started showing up. It didn't look good at all. I urged Michael to run over there, and find out what was happening..and we found out that our neighbor and dear friend, Ron...was in that ambulance. He had gotten up early, eager to go ice fishing. He sat in his garage, drank a half cup of coffee, said good morning to his dog and his rabbits, and then had a massive and fatal heart attack.

We are incredibly sad. Its hard to explain what he meant to us, because words are not our friends in such times as these. And besides, words turn into tears. We loved him. He loved us. Life around here will never be the same. He was always buzzing around...we used to tease him because with his Sheltie, Buddy, at the front of his four wheeler we told him he was ever trying to teach that dog to drive. He spent his time between our house, his house, and our other neighbor's house. He did his rounds, we called it. We could count on a quick friendly visit just about daily, in one way or another.

We called him our Next-Door Noah......and for good reason. One day we saw some wood being hauled into his driveway. The next day, he had built the hull of a boat. Day after day we watched his master the most elegant and beautiful boat you ever saw emerged under his hands. We should have been in awe, but we were used to his magic with wood, and knew that anything he built would be amazing.

Like our rabbit cage. He started building it for us the day we brought our baby bunnies home. He was such a tender-heart. He even asked us about our rabbit's habits, where they liked to spend their time, he could make the cage just perfect.

He was a close friend of Michael's too. Whenever he heard our plane landing he would race over to help put the plane away, then stay in the hangar, hanging out and talking about airplanes with him. They hung out there a lot together.

I could always count on Ron when Michael was gone for work, to help me with anything and everything. I could never list all the ways he saved the day for me! He knew what I needed before I even knew, and I felt safe with this big tough ex-cop, ex-bounty hunter, ex-prison guard around. We were in good hands!

I am so sad. I just find it hard to wrap my mind around the fact that he is really gone. My heart pounds hard when I look across our lawn at his house, and try to face it. My feet stumble when I try to walk the short distance to their house from ours. I ache for his wife, and her sudden and shocking loss. He was 64. And strong and healthy, we thought.

Goodbye our dear Next-Door Noah. We will miss you more than words can say.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New Family Business Website

I want to share our new website for our business here. You can see a TON of pictures, and I especially love the Iditarod section. (If you want to book a trip for this year, we still have openings).

For you Iditarod lovers, on the first page that's ME, standing under the famous burled arches in NOME, Ak....waiting for the winners to come in.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Could You Say No

Who could say no to an invitation like that? (from the Get Well Soon Comity)

Or these faces?

Not me.

You see, Michael flew to Anchorage just for the day, but as night closed in, so did the fog. I called to tell him there was too much fog for him to land, and he decided to stay up there until tomorrow.

I was feeling a bit down about it. I have not been feeling at all well, and I needed him to baby me. The girls whispered among themselves, as they often do...and then disappeared to their classroom. Soon after, they came out and handed me this note.

The outside of the envelope said this:

and there was this ticket inside!

I don't know, but I think life would be pretty dull without those two....

(we had a great sleep-over party!)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Not Me Friday!

Yeah yeah, I know. Its supposed to be not me MONDAY. But its Friday. Trust me.

I am NOT sick.

I did NOT have to go to the doctor, instead of enjoying my Friday agility class.

He did NOT get worried about how weak I was, and he most definitely did NOT give me a shot you-know-where.

It did NOT hurt like crazy and then make me limp.

I did NOT come home with a bunch of nasty prescriptions, and then crawl into bed.

I did NOT take a long nap in the middle of the day when I have a ton of things to do.

I did NOT change into my robe and jammies at 6 pm on what was supposed to be Date Night. Not me. Not me Friday.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Smarty Pants

I have never been too great at geography. I guess that's why I hit it hard in our homeschool.

Well, look at this little whiz kid! Pretty amazing!

What a cutie!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday Ride

This morning we woke up early, packed the airplane with survival gear, warm clothes, and lunch, and took off into the most pristine clear blue sky you can imagine. It was about -14, so the mountains were crystal clear as we headed toward the inlet, then flew up the coast toward Homer. Our destination? A tiny checkpoint along the, called Caribou Lake.

We landed after only about 20 minutes of flying, right on Caribou Lake. Our Cessna 180 was on skis, so we could taxi right up to the checkpoint. Only three people were there to check in the racers, two race volunteers and a small animal veterinarian to check over each dog.

As we flew along, I used my Blackberry to access the race website, and we were excited to learn that only two teams had passed by when we arrived, so we could expect at least seven more teams before we had to leave.

The first came flying around the bend and down onto the lake, the dogs trotting along, eager and happy, with ears flapping in the mild mountain winds. They came to a halt with all tails wagging, ready for anything. It was a sight to see! The racer, John Little (an Iditarod racer too), quickly signed his name, and was off with a slight wave in our direction. We were the only spectators there, as its rather in the middle of nowhere!

A few of John's dogs:


We headed up the hill from the lake, to a small cabin that belongs to a friend of ours.

We were eager to start a fire in their woodstove and warm up a bit...but we could see down onto the lake where our plane sat, and where any teams might come down the trail.

We were able to see several more teams. They were so beautiful, such determined and remarkable four-legged athletes, working together as a team and listening for the commands shouted up the line from their driver.

The view across the lake was stunning. I never tire of such scenery!

Musher Kristy Barrington "digs in" (plants their ice brakes) and heads up the line to untangle some dogs' harnesses.

The last musher stopped to "snack" his dogs (a quick meal along the trail to restore energy and focus) and as he spread out lumps of hay for each of his dogs, we were able to get close and enjoy their funny personalities.

Nap attacks!

Dogs look to see if food is ready yet!

Musher talks with the vet as he checks in.

Then we headed to the cabin, and ate our lunch of boiled eggs, smoked salmon, turkey sandwiches, and leftover gingersnappy cake. The cabin had warmed up and we didn't want to head back into the cold airplane!
Our plane from the cabin:

The girls found some sleds, and played happily on the hill while we finished loading the plane. Then we were off and flying along the trail!

We followed the trail and were able to locate each team that we had just seen at the checkpoint. The views that these mushers are able to take in, well it nearly leaves you speechless! The trail winds along up a hill, then peaks as they get a bird's eye view of the Cook Inlet, and Mt. Redoubt.

Mt. Redoubt from the air:

A musher down below on the trail:

Well, we sure had a super fun day, and are eager to make the trip again next year!