Friday, December 10, 2010

Another Quote

The Search for the Giant Squid: the Biology and Mythology of the World’s most Elusive Sea Creature
By Richard Ellis

“No one has seen a giant squid feeding – in fact, no one has ever seen a healthy giant squid do anything at all – so until someone sees Architeuthis chasing something, the debate about its speed and strength will remain unresolved. Frederick Aldrich, probably the giant squid’s most devoted advocate, assumed that Architeuthis is a powerful, aggressive animal, which at least in one instance was able to plow a great furrow in beach gravel before it expired. Precisely how the giant squid hunts – of what it eats, for that matter – is not known, but Aldrich believed that its prey consists mostly of sharks, rays, and skates; not the diet of a weak hunter.”

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Yet Another Great Read

I’ve finished the Whaling book and am now reading about the Giant Squid – a logical transition, since most of what we know about the Giant Squid comes from our whaling experiences.

The Search for the Giant Squid: the Biology and Mythology of the World’s most Elusive Sea Creature
By Richard Ellis

“Deep-water animals, whether fishes or cephalopods, usually have larger eyes than their shallow-water counterparts. Since Architeuthis has the largest eyes of any animal on earth, it follows that it must use these eyes to see where there is limited light. It does not follow, however, that the eyes are large simply because the squid is large. The sperm whale, which can reach approximately the sam length as the giant squid and, at least on some occasions, frequents the same depths, has an eye about 2½ inches in diameter, not much larger than the eye of a cow. The eyes of a giant squid can be as much as 15 inches in diameter, larger than an automobile hubcap. The eye of a blue whale, the largest animal in history, gets to be about 7 inches across.”

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Breakfast with the Stars

Sounds like a new reality show for television, doesn’t it. But no, it’s not a make-believe situation staged for our viewing pleasure – this really is for real, and actually happened. I know, because it happened to me this weekend!

There we were, innocently eating our breakfast at a local diner, when who should walk in the door and sit down right beside me at the bar?

Hobo Jim, that’s who!

Oh, be still my beating heart.


No, really. I do love Hobo Jim. My whole family has been known to follow him around from city to city just to listen to him sing. He plays a mean guitar, let me tell you. And as an added bonus: he wears a very fine pair of cowboy boots.

Those of you who know me well, know that I have a definite soft spot for cowboy boots.

We got to talking and I happened to mention to him that we’d followed him around in the past.

“So, you’re a stalker, then?” he asked.

“Yes!” I grinned and said.

Nonetheless, he went back out to his truck and got me a copy of his newest CD! How cool is that?

Rob’s favorite song: Fishing for Chickens

Monday, December 06, 2010

Update on Things

Well, a lot has happened lately that I just haven’t gotten around to writing about – so once again you’re going to get it all in one lump sum. While that is probably not the best way to deal with things, and certainly doesn’t give me much of an opportunity to stretch my writing muscles in any creative sort of way, it does keep you up to date at least. I have dreams of keeping this thing current on a daily basis, but so far that doesn’t seem to cross the border into reality very much. Oh well, I’ll keep on dreaming and maybe someday it will be an actuality!

Cat Sitting

I had two jobs recently in my pet sitting endeavor: one was for my Sister-by-Choice as she and her family went outside to visit her mother over the Thanksgiving holiday. I looked after her house and her cat Tommy. The other was for a gentleman named Craig who had to leave unexpectedly for a short 5-day trip. He had multiple cats, both inside and outside. Both jobs were very easy to handle, and they even overlapped each other by a few days. I’m fairly certain I’ll be hearing from Craig again, as he mentioned that he would like to be able to leave more frequently so was glad to find a good babysitter. And let me assure you, these cats are most definitely his babies! I don’t think it’s possible to spoil a cat any more than he does.

Giving Blood

After a year’s waiting period due to my trip to Africa, I am finally eligible to give blood again! So, at the first opportunity I had I ran down to the Blood Bank and signed up to give. But wouldn’t you know it = they turned me away! Apparently you can’t give blood when you have a cold. They told me I had to wait until I had at minimum 3 days of feeling 100% before coming back in. So I waited the required 3 days and then tried it again – and this time they took my pint. I had no problems during the procedure; the lady taking my blood that day was very good at it, and I was still well hydrated due to the week-long cold I’d had earlier. Afterwards, however, was a completely different story. By the time I got home I was completely wiped out. All I could do was lie on the couch and watch movies with my girls. Later that night when I took the bandage off I found that I was still bleeding at the injection site, which was worrisome to say the least. It was still bleeding when I woke up the next day even! I’m all better now, but am wondering if maybe I didn’t wait long enough, or maybe it’s due to all the weight I’ve lost? Heck, it might even be the stress… who knows?

Thanksgiving Dinner

Dinner this year was at my sister Noel’s house. She had just a few people over, so it was a nice quiet afternoon. She is a most excellent cook, too: I got to have grilled Portobello mushrooms instead of the turkey that everybody else ate! We normally have a huge family gathering but this year had decided to keep things simple and not go to such extremes with the holidays. I’m hoping that Christmas will be the same way. I love my family dearly, but 30+ people is a lot to deal with even when you’re related to them.

Breakfast at Mother’s House

The day after Thanksgiving Mother invited Rob and I over for breakfast. She invited the whole family, actually – not just the two of us. But we were quite happy to go as she was offering up her famous Sourdough Pancakes! We arrived just in time to get the last of the pancakes, and got to visit with my sister Kelly and her family (husband Danny, daughter Tara, sons Gareth and Robin, and grandson Corbin) for a while before they left. Then we sat and visited with Mother for another hour or so before taking off ourselves. It was a good day!

Dinner with Katy

My niece Katy came home for the holiday: she’s going to school down in Seattle this semester. She and I got to have dinner together the day she had to go back outside, which was really cool. Her father dropped her off at the restaurant (The Fireside Grille) and I dropped her off at the airport later that night. In between times, we chatted about this and that – and she got to meet Rob finally, too.

Lorna’s Art Show

My friend Lorna has some of her paintings up at Terra Bella’s this month; the opening reception was this past Friday evening. She had quite a lot of people show up, too, and even sold two of her pieces. Terra Bella’s put out a nice spread of munchies for people: smoked salmon with crème cheese and onions on crackers, hummus with chips or cucumbers, and chocolate chip cookies. I highly recommend you go see her paintings if you’re in the neighborhood – and while you’re at it, you can go to The Perfect Cup and see some of her photography hanging up on their walls too.

Christmas Party

Lorna invited me to be her guest at her company’s Christmas Party the other day, so I borrowed an outfit from my sister (YAY! I fit my sister’s clothing again!) and got all dolled up for the affair. It was fun: we each had a couple glasses of wine and watched all the people dancing. It was a catered event, of course, but I avoided all food so that I wouldn’t get sick like I usually do at these things. Lorna ate, though, and said it was quite good. She got her 5-year service award and had to go stand up on stage even. I’m wondering if my company will do anything for Christmas? The zoo’s party is coming up soon but I don’t know if I’ll be going or not. We’ll see…

Christmas Cards

I got my Christmas Letter done finally and all my cards addressed, stamped, and mailed out this weekend. This year I sent cards to:
     Alaska:  Anchorage, Palmer, Eagle River, Homer, Seldovia, Fairbanks
     USA:  AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, IA, IL, KY, MD, ME, MI, MN, NE, NY, OR, TN, TX, WA
     The World:  Australia, Finland, Kenya, England

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Who Knew?

The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea
By: Philip Hoare

“While I read illicit American comics under my bedclothes, fantasizing about a world of sleek-suited superheroes, new processes – sulphurization, saponification, distillation – extended and rationalized the use of whales in lubricants, paint, varnish, ink, detergent, leather and food: hydrogenation made whale oil palatable, sanitizing its taste. Efficiency ruled, in place of the early whaler’s waste. Whale liver yielded vitamin A, and whale glands were used to make insulin for diabetics and corticotrophin to treat arthritis. Nineteenth-century trains had run on whale oil; now streamlined cars with sleek chrome fins used brake fluid made from the same stuff. Victorian New Englanders had relished doughnuts fried in whale oil; now children with crew-cuts and stripy T-shirts licked ice cream made from it. Their bright shiny faces were washed with whale soap, and having tied their shoelaces of whale skin, they marched off to school, past gardens nurtured on whale fertilizer, to draw with whale crayons while Mum sewed their clothes on a machine lubricated with whale oil, and fed the family cat on whale meat. In her office, big sister transcribed memos on typewriter ribbon charged with whale ink, pausing to apply her whale lipstick. Later that afternoon, she would play a game of tennis while a whale-strung racquet. Back home, daddy lined up the family to take their photograph on film glazed with whale gelatin."

I’m guessing this is set in the early 70’s, since Britain began to ban whale products in 1973. Still, I had no idea so many products were made from the Whale? And the number of whales killed each year is staggering. It's amazing that any managed to survive at all.

I highly recommend this book, although it's not exactly an easy read.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Phone Service

I got my cell phone all hooked up with ACS; not because I particularly prefer ACS over any other service but because that’s who my brother told me to use when he gave me the cell phone. It wasn’t until later on that I thought about going with GCI, which is where I get all my other service from (internet, cable, and land line).

Wouldn’t it make more sense to keep it all bundled together, rather than have multiple bills coming in from all over the place?

So, I went to GCI and asked them about it. The girl behind the counter went thru all the options available, and showed me that the costs would be quite comparable – even though at first glance it looked like it would cost more.

But then I showed her my phone; that’s when she told me that GCI doesn’t work with that particular model and I would have to get a new phone. I don’t want a new phone! I just got this one, and I’m still getting used to it.

So that took care of that whole idea.

My next question to her was to see how much it would save me if I canceled my land line service: no point in having two phones. After going over all those options, we discovered that it would actually cost me more to drop it: when you bundle everything together like I have it now, it saves you quite a bit.

So, the end result is that nothing has changed. I still have my cell phone service with ACS and my cable/internet/land line service with GCI.

I do need to find out how much it would cost to have my cell phone service upgraded to include long distance phone calls, though. Wouldn’t you know it: the one number I call most often is an out-of-state number.


I have been feeling rather like a truck has run over me repeatedly lately, so thought perhaps a massage would help. Thankfully, I happen to know a very good masseuse: my best friend’s sister!

Her name is Rhoda Zanella, and she owns Heart in Heart In Hand Massage Therapy (907-746-7755)

She normally operates out of a chiropractor’s office in Wasilla, but also has an office in her house. Her rates are quite agreeable: $60 for 1 hour, $90 for 1.5 hours, and $120 for 2 hours. She can even deal with insurance, if you go thru the chiropractor first. Thankfully she was able to fit me in, so I headed out there this weekend.

Her house, by the way, is a gorgeous log cabin that she designed herself and helped her brothers build. I arrived just in time to join her for some salmon with fresh veggies. How could I say no to that? We chatted for a while and got caught up on the goings on of both our families, then went downstairs to get to business.

It has been quite a while since my last massage. I used to get them all the time, but with the weight gain and the lack of insurance, I stopped. Now that I’m skinny again I felt comfortable with the idea, even though my insurance won’t pay like it used to do.

I am so glad I went! Rhoda is very good at it, and I so needed it. I do have to admit that it hurt, however. I had a lot of knots that needed to be worked out, to say nothing of the rib that keeps popping out of joint.

But it’s a good kind of pain! And I really do feel a whole lot better now.

The Dog In Front Of Me

The other day, as I was on my way to work, I saw the most horrible thing.

It was on the day that the roads were so icy, people were driving slowly (appropriate for the conditions, but still slow) and were being extra-carful. The car in front of me had made it thru the light, but I had not; so I sat there and watched him make his way up the road.

Not 50 feet from the intersection, a dog ran out into the road. Its owner had just opened the door of their house. The dog ran straight for the road, and of course was run over. The car did everything it could to avoid the dog, but with road conditions being what they were it was impossible to do much.

It truly was a horrible sight to see: it actually took me a few seconds to realize it was a dog I had just seen run into the car. I thought for a moment that it was a coat (of all things).

The car stopped immediately, and two people got out. The owner of the dog met them and went to see what could be done, but the dog was most definitely gone. Nothing could have lived thru what I had seen.

I just sat there at the light with my hands held over my eyes, peeking thru the fingers at the scene in front of me.


To make matters worse, the day after that I saw 5 or 6 ravens at that very spot – so you know there was enough residual “stuff” left behind to occupy that many birds.

Again, I say - Shudder!

Mid Life Crisis

The other day my sister accused me of having a mid-life crisis. This was just seconds after I showed her my new tattoo, so it’s not entirely out of the question.

But it really made me think: am I going thru that mid-life crisis? I have done a lot of rather impulsive things lately. Things you normally would not expect from me, such as:
     I’ve lost over 40 pounds
     I’ve pierced my eye brow
     I’ve had a black widow spider tattooed on my arm
     I’ve climbed both the North Face of Mr. Alyeska and Flat Top
     Heck, I even went and got a cell phone

But honestly, I don’t think that’s what I’m doing. I think I’m just trying to counter a lot of the negative stuff that’s been going on with me lately. Things I haven’t had much choice in, but have had to endure anyway. And no, I’m not going to list them all out.

So if you do have to call it a Mid Life Crisis, then I say, “I’ve Earned It and I’m Going to Enjoy It!”

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Another Earthwatch Presentation

I was invited by the Eagle River Nature Center to give another presentation last weekend. They requested that I talk about my travels to Mongolia and focus on the Mongolian Ger (what we know as a yurt) since they have one up at the center that people could go look at after the talk. I was more than happy to accept their invitation; I love that place and am happy to help support it. I am also always happy to talk about Earthwatch.

The drive up there is just spectacularly gorgeous. If you’ve never been there, I highly recommend you go. Just make sure you have your winter tires on: it’s about 10 miles up in the mountains past the Wal-Mart in Eagle River.

Be sure to bring your hiking boots, too, as they have lots of really nice trails you can explore – from a short half mile stroll to a more adventurous 6 mile loop. If you’re the out-doorsy type, you might even be interested in the 3-day hike thru Crow Creek Pass. I haven’t done that one, but I’m sure it’s wonderful too.

My presentation was set for 2:00, but I got there early to ensure that I had time to set up the projector and have everything out and ready. I wasn’t sure what to expect in the way of an audience since it is such a drive in winter conditions. I was pleasantly surprised to see around 20 people sitting there listening to me! That’s probably one of my better attendance records for that place.

One of the guys from work even showed up. Patrick is very interested in the sciences, and I think I managed to hook him into the whole Earthwatch thing: he’s seriously considering going on the Mongolian Expedition himself someday. I brought some more information to work the next day to show him (and to set the hook more firmly).

I really hope he goes; I think he’d be perfect for it!

Zoo Boo 2010

It’s been a while, but I should at least mention the fact that I worked at the zoo on Halloween as they celebrated with their annual Zoo Boo event.

We set up at least 14 stations all over zoo grounds where kids could go trick-or-treating and have fun that night. We gave away tons of candy and other things like pencils, postcards, and glow sticks. We even had a big bon fire going to warm up at.

I don’t have the final numbers yet, but I’d estimate somewhere around 2,500 people came thru the zoo that night in just 3 hours. It was a madhouse!

Thankfully, the weather wasn’t as bad as it usually is at this time of year. I remember zoo boos in the past being held at 45 below! It was a more manageable 35 degrees this year. I had the added advantage of being assigned to the only station that was indoors at the Discovery Center! It pays to be the Volunteer Coordinator’s friend, I guess. I certainly wasn’t complaining.

Among other attractions that night was the Costume Contest: being inside at the Discovery Center meant that of course I wasn’t able to witness it first hand, but I did get to see a lot of the costumes as they passed thru my station – and I’m just glad I didn’t have to be one of the judges!

There were some really cool costumes; lots of Fairy Princesses and Ninja Fighters this year, with more than a few animals like a Giraffe and a Horse (that was my particular favorite). There was even a Robbie the Robot, although I’m dating myself by identifying it, I think.

It was a fun night for everybody, but I must say that many people really wore me out. I came home afterwards and snuggled up with my girls on the couch with a quiet movie and a cup of tea, and called it good.

Monday, November 01, 2010

I Finally Did It!

I have lived here in Anchorage for well over 15 years, and have never actually made it to the top of Flat Top.

This weekend, I finally did it!

According to the books Flat Top has an elevation of 3,510 feet, but trail head is most of the way up the mountain so the actual gain in elevation is only 1,350 feet. Still, it’s a very steep trail – and it was completely covered in snow and ice, which just made it that much more difficult.

I had my friend Noah pick me up so we would only have to pay one parking fee. Plus, my car doesn’t have its winter tires on yet, so I really didn’t know if it would make it all the way up there. As it turned out, his car didn’t have any on either – but he made it just fine.

We both dressed lightly, knowing that even though it was really cold at the trail head we would quickly heat up on the climb. I didn’t have the right gloves on, though. Those little cloth gloves I like so much really are not made to handle snow and ice: and I did have to actually handle it, too, pretty much the entire way back down was on my butt and hands.

Noah is a retired paratrooper with the army, and an avid mountain biker as well – so this was a piece of cake for him. He very gallantly went at my pace however, and even kicked toe-holds in the worst spots so that I could more easily make my way up. He made sure I stopped occasionally to ensure that my head didn’t explode from the exertion (well, that what it feels like it’s trying to do sometimes – not that it actually would explode) and kept handing me the water hose to keep hydrated.

With surprising ease, we actually made it to the very tippy-top!

First thing I did was text my Mother: I’m standing at the very top of Flat Top! The next thing I did was eat a protein bar and walk around the top and take in the view. OMG! What a view… unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me so couldn’t take any photos. Noah had his cell phone with him so got a quick shot of the two of us. Hopefully I can get him to send me a copy of it.

Then we had to make our way back down the mountain. That was a lot harder as the slope is really, really steep when you’re looking down at it instead of up at it. I developed a technique for some of the worst spots of crouching down and using my feet as sleds with my hands to help guide my descent. It worked really well, except that the snow and ice still managed to find its way inside my pants to thoroughly freeze my butt.

The entire climb took a lot longer than I expected it to. We started out at 11:00 and didn’t get home till around 4:00. I had planned on heading out at 10:00 and being home by 1:30 ish…

Oh my gosh, am I a sore puppy today. Rob laughed at me all day yesterday as we walked around town: every time we came to some stairs (which of course there were a lot of them) I would very gingerly easy my way down, biting my tongue the entire time so as to not groan.

But it’s a good kind of sore – the kind that reminds me at every step that I JUST CLIMBED FLAT TOP!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hiking with Guns

Rob and I went out hunting this past weekend. It was more a hike with guns, truth to tell, but we had fun anyway. He’s been dealing with some nasty legal issues and just really wanted to “kill something” so we were on the lookout for “anything that hops or flutters.” Of course, we didn’t see a thing. Or rather, we did see it, we just didn’t shoot it.

We drove out way past Sutton to the old Gun Site Mountain Lodge, then turned off on a little side road to park the car and get out onto the trails. We had planned to eat lunch at the lodge but found it to be shut down, so our hike ended up being on an empty stomach. Neither of us had had anything more than half a pancake for breakfast that morning.

I say half a pancake: we had gone to Gwennies for breakfast on our way out of town. Rob had been raving about their sourdough pancakes on the way there, so we were both really looking forward to eating them. They turned out to be just awful = not even fully cooked and practically inedible. Oh well…

By the time we got to Gun Site Mountain it was well past lunch time and both of us were quite hungry. Thankfully, I had some power bars in my backpack: we each downed one of those and half a bottle of water, and we were on our way.

We walked for an hour or so through the frozen swamp till we found the perfect dead tree, then got busy with target shooting. Rob brought his .45 and his .9, while I had my .22 pistol. I hadn’t ever shot my pistol, so got a lesson beforehand. It’s a nice little gun, I must say. Old, too: my grandfather used to shoot it back in his Mexico days. Rob’s two pistols are much newer, and much bigger too. We had fun shooting off several rounds with each gun and completely obliterating the rotten stump we were aiming at.

Eventually we meandered back to the car, taking our time and enjoying the scenery. We drove down to the King Mountain Lodge for a late lunch/early dinner, then headed on back home.

Pumpkin Carving Party

I threw another Pumpkin Carving Party this last weekend. I’ve had them in the past and do enjoy having everybody over. Honestly, though – the real reason I have them is so that I can get everybody’s seeds to toast! I do love roasted pumpkin seeds…

This year, hardly anybody showed up so I didn’t get very many. But we had fun anyway. Mother and Heather both came in from Palmer, my hiking buddy Tina (we went to high school together, way back when) showed up, and Rob came as well.

Yes, that Rob. We’re still friends, even if we’re not dating.

Anyway, Mother brought 4 little squash thingies (what is the plural form of squash, anyway?), while Heather, Tina, and Rob each had nice big pumpkins. Heather and Tina each chose rather intricate patterns from the book Tina had, while Mother and Rob each carved free-style. All ended up with very cool jack-o-lanterns!

And of course, we had food. Can’t have a party without food! Mother made a big pot of chili with cheese and sour cream on the side. Tina brought a big veggie tray with ranch dressing to dip into. I had Hot Spiced Cider on the stove with some smoked salmon dip & little round bread pieces. Rob brought some rum to add to the cider even!

The cats even had fun, helping everybody with their carving and making sure we were all behaving properly.

Monday Night Dinner

I’ve been meeting my niece Lauren for dinner each Monday night these past few weeks. She’s back at UAA attending college again this semester, and this is my way of keeping tabs on her.

It’s been fun. We try to go to a new place each week, but since both of us are somewhat limited in funds, they have to be cheap places to eat. I also like to stick to this neighborhood so that Lauren might be able to ride her bike to any of the places we try later on, should she feel like getting a bite to eat on her own one day. We sit and chat about her school, go over her homework, study for exams, and catch up on each other’s goings-on.

I have a plan for keeping our spending to a minimum: with part of my dividend this year I am going to buy one of those big coupon books (The Northern Lights Coupon Book) that gives a bunch of two-for-one deals on restaurants all over town. Then, Lauren has said that she can contribute $5 for each meal while I can pick up the remainder of the tab.

The only problem with my plan is that the darned book hasn’t been published yet! Lauren’s semester at school will be over by the time it finally hits the shelf, knowing my luck. I’ll probably still get one anyway, in hopes that she’s able to continue with her schooling on into next semester.

Another Good Book

Here’s an excerpt from the book I’m currently reading. It’s quite good; I highly recommend it.

The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea
     By Philip Hoare

“Whales existed before man, but they have been known to us only for two or three generations: until the invention of underwater photography, we hardly knew what they looked like. It was only after we had seen the Earth from orbiting spaceships that the first free-swimming whale was photographed underwater. The first underwater film of sperm whales, off the coast of Sri Lanka, was not taken until 1984; our images of these huge placid creatures moving gracefully and silently thought the ocean are more recent than the use of personal computers. We knew what the world looked like before we knew what the whale looked like. Even now there are beaked whales, or ziphiids, known only from bones washed up on remote beaches – esoteric, deep-see animals with strange markings which biologists have never seen alive or dead, so little studied that their status is “data deficient’. New cetaceans are still being identified in the twenty-first century, and we would do well to remember that the world harbours animals bigger than ourselves which we have yet to see; that not everything is cataloged and claimed and digitized. That in the oceans great whales swim unnamed by man.”

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jury Duty

I got called for Jury Duty this week. Actually I got called for three different Jury Duties, but since I can only be in one place at a time they excused me from two of them. The one I ended up with was to serve as a petit juror for the Alaska Court System on a Criminal Case.

Free parking was provided for everybody called to serve but there was some confusion as the parking garage normally used by the court house is undergoing reconstruction at the moment, so they had to reroute everybody to different locations. Even though the instructions were quite clear as to where we go and how we handle the parking fees, there were still a lot of people who didn’t understand or got confused about what to do. I’m sure it caused no end of headaches to the poor clerks in the jury office.

Once I made it to the actual court house, I had to go through a security check. They had told us ahead of time not to bring any knives, guns, or weapons of any kind – but I forgot that I had my pocket knife in my purse so got flagged by the x-ray machine and was sent back outside to dispose of the knife. Rather than throw it away (it has a nice abalone shell handle and was my grandfather’s from way back when) I stashed it in a planter on the front lawn in hopes that it would still be there when my day was over. Thankfully, it was!

In the waiting room, I joined a throng of roughly 300 others waiting to see what the day would bring. We all filled out the required paperwork, listened to the instructions given by the clerk on duty that day, and settled in for the long haul. I brought along my Kindle and some tea, so kept myself occupied well enough, but it wasn’t too long before my name got called and I was sent up to a courtroom to begin the jury selection process.

I was joined by 49 other people, so the room was rather crowded. The Judge welcomed us and introduced the Defendant and his lawyer as well as the State counsel and the police representative charging the Defendant. He explained the process that was about to take place and had immediately excused 5 people from the case. I assume it was because of something they’d written in the paperwork we all filled out down in the waiting room. Then the clerk randomly chose the first 14 people and the selection process began.

They had a microphone that was passed on to whoever was called on to speak so that we all could hear. Each person was asked the same 9 questions to begin with:

     What is your name?
     What is your occupation?
     What is your spouse/children’s name and occupation?
     Where were you born and raised?
     What are your hobbies?
     Have you ever been in court?
     Have you ever served on a jury?
     Is there any reason you should not serve on this jury?
     Do you know any of the participants of this court case?

After each person answered these questions and the judge excused any who didn’t qualify, the lawyers each got up and asked their own questions. The State Counselor was first up since the burden of proof fell on him (the defendant is of course presumed innocent until proven guilty). He was easy going and not at all boring to listen to. His questions were voiced in a hypothetical voice and were easy to understand and therefore easy to answer.

That was not the case with the Defense Counselor: man, he was awful. He kept asking the same question 3-5 times to each person. They would answer him, and he’d say “OK, but do you think…” and then he’d ask that very same question again. They’d answer him again, and he’d say “OK, but do you think…” and then he’d ask that very same question again. It just kept going on and on, to the point where it was agonizingly ridiculous. If I were the Defendant, I’d be very worried.

Throughout all this questioning, we began to see what the case was about, and it was very disturbing to say the least. The Defendant was charged with Attempted Sexual Abuse against a Minor. It was even more disturbing when you take into account the Defendant was perhaps 45-50 years old and the minor in question was only 3.

Because the Defendant’s counsel was taking so long asking the same damn question 5 times for each potential juror (why oh why didn’t the judge put a stop to it?) the selection process took two days. Two days of agony sitting on an uncomfortable bench, listening to the same question over and over again, and waiting for my turn to be called up to the stand.

Finally I did get called and was excused almost immediately. I can’t say I’m sorry about that although this would have been the perfect time for me to serve on a case. Court is held only from 8:30 to 1:30, and since I work part time in the afternoons I wouldn’t have had to miss any hours.

I still have to call in for the remainder of the week, but the odds of having to go back to court are pretty slim. I think I just may be done for the year!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Doctors, Doctors, and More Doctors

October is the month for medical appointments, apparently. By the time this is over, I will be sick and tired of doctors I’m sure. But since I’ve been without for way too many years and it just kicked in on the first of this month, I’m having pretty much everything taken care of.

Tuesday was for the general practitioner. I had a physical, a pap smear, and a consultation on other problems. She gave me a prescription for anti-depressants (I am so tired of crying all the time, I just want this to be over and done with), a referral for counseling, marching orders for a mammogram, and instructions for taking supplements like Vitamin D and Iron. She also tested for just about every STD that’s out there, but that’s a whole other story and one I don’t really want to go into at this time.

Wednesday was for the dentist. My insurance only covers a cleaning at this point in time, so that’s what I had done. Once I’ve been on the dental plan for over 6 months I can get the rest of the work done: I need a crown and have a filling that needs fixed.

Thursday was for the eye exam. I don’t have insurance for vision but I do have my yearly PFD that just got deposited into my bank account today, so I’m using that to pay for it. I went to Lens Crafters at the mall and had an eye exam and bought my glasses that same day. Wouldn’t you know it, I need bi-focals. But hopefully, once my eyes get used to it, I will be able to see so much better and can possibly even get back into my card-making crafts. They were having one of their best-ever sales, so I ended up with almost $200.00 off.

Monday will be my first counseling session, assuming that I’m not called in for Jury Duty that is. I have my orders to call in that week, but my case number is rather high so I’m hoping that I won’t get picked for a few days at least. I really need to go to counseling way more than I need to go to Jury Duty.

The following Saturday is my appointment for the mammogram. The Imaging Center is celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) by offering free exams, so I am taking full advantage of that. One less thing for my insurance to have to deal with.

After that, we’ll just see how things fall out with all these appointments. I may or may not be done with most of it by then, and will just have to deal with the HRA plan at work to see how much I can get reimbursed after the insurance pays for their portion.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Black Widow Spider

Back in my college days (okay, it wasn’t really college: it was more like a technical school) I was bit by a black widow spider. Not a real pleasant experience, let me assure you. The anti-venom was even worse. I sported a dead spot about the size of a quarter for 6 months afterwards; yet now, years later, I have nothing to show for it. No scar, nothing.

So, I decided I should get a tattoo put on the spot where she bit me. It took me several years to find the perfect picture, but I finally did. Then I had to wait several months more for an appointment with the tattoo artist.

But now, finally – after all this time – I have a beautiful Black Widow Spider on my arm! I’m pretty excited about that, truth to tell.

Having a tattoo put on my arm wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. It wasn’t painful at all, except towards the end when he filled in the body. I do have to admit, however, that 5 minutes in to the process my body started to go into full panic mode. He had to stop and go get me an ice pack for my neck and some apple juice to bring my blood sugar levels back up. I really thought I was going to pass out there for a few minutes, but managed to keep control of things.

20 minutes later, and he went back to work. I was fine for the rest of the appointment, and didn’t even have to wait on the chair for a while afterwards like I did for the piercing.

For the next week I am to wash it gently with mild soap and hot water and then rub Vitamin A&D Ointment on, it three times a day. I am to rub unscented lotion on it three times a day the week following that. The scabbing should be gone within 7-10 days, but I don’t even see any scabs yet – so maybe I won’t have any. It’s not that big of a tattoo, after all.

But it’s my tattoo, and I love it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Girls Are Like Apples

“Girls are like apples...the best ones are at the top of the trees. The boys don't want to reach for the good ones because they are afraid of falling and getting hurt. Instead, they just get the rotten apples that are on the ground that aren't as good, but easy. So the apples at the top think there is something wrong with them, when, in reality, they are amazing.”

I found that quote on a website where girls post questions for other girls to respond to. I copied it and sent it out to a bunch of people I know to get their reaction.

I found it interesting that almost all of the women thought of themselves as the apples on the top of the tree; not one of them associated with the apples on the ground.

That only makes sense, of course - no one wants to think of themselves as less than perfect.

Yet, to be honest, that’s exactly what I first thought : that I was one of the apples on the ground, good looking enough to catch some man’s attention at first, but not good enough to hold it so they toss me aside and go for the next one they see.

I also found it interesting that the one man who responded told me that men aren’t even looking for apples in the first place. They want “a real peach” not a “sour apple.”

Food for thought…


I was at the mall the other day, for my routine Letter-Writing session at The Perfect Cup. I had time on my hands so I stopped in at one of those jeweler chain stores to have my ring cleaned and inspected. After looking at it for a while, the girl behind the counter informed me that I needed to have the prongs replaced because the existing ones were wearing thin.

I went back a week later to have them do just that, having finally figured out how I was going to pay for it. This time a different girl helped me: she cleaned the ring again, filled out the paperwork, and inspected in thoroughly under a microscope.

She ended up finding a crack in the diamond, so had to call her manager to see what to do about that. They told her that they would not work on it because of the liability issues, so she recommended that I take it to a local jeweler to see what they said about it. So, just today I took a drive out to Michael’s Jewelry on 36th and Arctic.

Boy, am I glad I did.

They told me that not only were the prongs on the ring just fine, there was nothing wrong with the diamond at all. No crack, no chance of it falling apart on my finger, and no reason to spend any money on it.

They spiffed it up for me, double checked everything, and even gave me a rough appraisal on it. Come to find out the ring is worth at least $3,000.00!!!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

My New Roommate

My new roommate moved in this weekend. So far, she’s a very nice person. I think it will work out well this time around.

But boy, does she have a lot of stuff. I’m feeling very “invaded” at the moment; almost like she’s taking over the house. This will certainly take some getting used to. The kitchen is crammed to overflowing with her stuff – she likes to cook, so came with all her pots, pans, dishes, and supplies. I’ve given her a shelf downstairs in the garage, and it is full to overflowing as well. I lost track of how many boxes of stuff went upstairs to her room: I have no idea how she’s organizing everything.

At least the girls like her. They’ve been supervising the move to make sure it’s all inspected and kosher. They both slept like logs last night, too. They’re probably still sleeping, come to think of it.

Before she arrived, I had to get some furniture moved out of the room upstairs, and that’s not an easy thing to do when you have a bad back. Normally, I would ask Rob to help – but he’s made himself somewhat less than available lately, so I was rather in a quandary. Thankfully, one of the guys from work came to my rescue – for which I am very grateful. He had the bed taken apart and moved in no time.

As I left the house for my routine Sunday lunch at The Perfect Cup, she was actually heading out the door to bring ANOTHER moving van full of stuff!

Good lord, help me…

Friday, September 24, 2010

Who Knew!

Quite a few people complained about my decision to not send out Blog Update notices any more – so I changed tactics and went a different direction. I must admit, I’m surprised at the response I got.

I sent out an email asking people to let me know if they wanted to continue getting the notices – and got Twenty-Two responses.

Twenty-Two people actually read my blog!

Who knew my life would be that interesting, because from where I sit – it ain’t that grand.

But I am touched. Thank you all for caring enough to slog thru all the boring day-to-day stuff just so that once in a while you can glean something worth reading.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pet Sitter for Hire

I put an ad out on Craig’s List the other day selling myself as a Pet Sitter for Hire. I figured it was an easy way to make some extra money now that I have both the time and the need for it. It wasn’t 3 days and I got my first job!

I took care of the nicest dog: she was a 7-year old German Shepherd – Husky mix named Ojos Locos (means: Crazy Eye in Mexican). Her human had to leave the statue unexpectedly, so needed somebody to walk the dog just for two days until a friend could take over.

It wasn’t the best job ever: I am more of a cat person, after all. And it was only two days worth. But still, she lived close to Taku Lake so we got to go down to the park twice each day for our exercise.

That’s quite a busy little park, by the way. The first day we were there we saw two kayaks in the lake, a bunch of ducks in the lake, a juvenile eagle fishing in the lake, and an elderly (rather fat) black lab fetching a stick his human kept throwing into the lake. Not to mention all the other dogs making the circuit around the lake with us.

Ojos did so well, too. She’s very polite and quiet: hardly ever said a word or pulled at her leash. The only time she ever made a fuss was when a squirrel ran past us. Apparently we hate squirrels. With a passion. Even the moose on the side of the trail didn’t elicit that much of a response!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thick As Pea Soup

Anchorage has been blanketed in a thick fog for the past few days. Thick enough to have closed down the airport even. I look out my window and can’t see my next door neighbor. It’s like living in the Twilight Zone or something.

Very strange.

It does some very strange things to sound, also. The other night I was driving home from the movie theatre when all of the sudden I heard this very loud sound coming at me from every direction at once. I thought maybe my car was coming apart as I drove it. Obviously it wasn’t, or I wouldn’t have made it home in one piece to write this post. But it actually took me a while to realize what was going on.

Sadly, a woman was found dead this morning of a car accident. They believe that, while speed certainly was a contributing factor to her death, the fog also had something to do with it. Perhaps she just didn’t see the bend in the road until it was too late. She leaves behind twin 14-year olds.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Life, So Far

My Job:

My hours have been cut back to just 20 hours a week due to the winter season. This means that I go in to work each day at 1:00 and leave at 5:00. This also means that any other job I may find will have to (hopefully) accommodate that schedule: not very likely. I am looking for a part-time job somewhere else to supplement my income, but might actually have to quit so I can go back on unemployment because I just can’t afford not to.

My House:

While I am so very thankful to have not had a roommate these past few weeks (I simply don’t think I could have dealt with one, what with all the emotional turmoil going on) I have once again put an ad out for another one. I need that extra income if I am to continue to make my house payments. I had hoped I could sneak by without on entirely, but at least I had this much of a break.

My Heartache:

I have learned a thing or two during all of this. One: each person who has a broken heart (and I know several at the moment) wants to believe that their pain is the worst ever, and that no other person on the planet has hurt as much as they do. They don’t want to hear about your own heartache, and really don’t want to hear that they need to “just get over it” and “move on”. Two: well… shoot… I can’t remember number two. I’m sure it was very interesting and thought-provoking. Maybe if I stew on it a little while, it will come back to me.

My House Chores:

I’m not getting a red door after all. I don’t have the tools or the know-how, nor do I have the strength to do it myself – and the one who was to have helped me has moved on. So, I returned the paint and got refunded the whole $8.00 and am just thankful that at the very least I did get my peephole installed. I did manage to finish up the garage door by myself but have given up on the roof and gutters. They will just have to wait till later: I simply don’t have the mental strength to worry about them at the moment.

My Blog:

I’m not going to send out notices any more for the updates on this thing. Those of you who are interested know where to go by now, and those of you who aren’t interested probably don’t want to keep getting my little nudges anyway.

My Cats:

Djuna has finally come back around to me. She’d been avoiding me like the plague these past few weeks: she really doesn’t like stress. So that means either I’m getting better or she’s getting cold. Probably the latter – I’ve actually had to turn the furnace on a few nights in a row! Thing and Djuna both love to snuggle up in my lap while I watch movies or whatever.

My Weight Loss:

I dug out my old ring the other day to see if it fit: and it did! I haven’t been able to wear it in well over 4-5 years. I’m quite happy about that. I’m still in a size 10 but am still losing weight – soon enough I will be back into an 8 again. That will put me at the size I was when I graduated from high school, and that ain’t bad.

Green Building Council:

I have stepped down as chair of the local chapter. They really needed somebody who could devote more time and attention to their cause than I have been able to lately. I thoroughly enjoyed it while I was up there – but know that they will be just fine without me. I still support the cause, and really wish them the best – but honestly I’m not even in the industry anymore.

Making Cards:

I stopped making cards lately, too. Honestly, I just have no interest in anything at all – but do want to take it up again. I do enjoy making them, and have plenty on hand to work on. I did cancel my monthly kit, however – no point in paying for something I’m not even using. If and when I get back in to it, and work through all the back-log, then I can always sign up again.

Get Over It:

I know this is a lot of negativity here. But honestly – I don’t care. This is how I feel at the moment, and I’m tired of worrying about what other people think. If you don’t like how I feel at the moment, well… too bad.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back On the Market

My job at the construction company just went into winter-mode; meaning my hours have been cut back to just 20 hours a week. This will be until sometime in March or April, where they will ramp back up to full-time again.

In the meantime, I am back looking for a job. I would like to find a part-time job to simply supplement my income, but if I have to I will accept a full-time position and quit the construction company. If that does happen, I will either get re-hired again by them in the springtime, or simply continue on with whatever job I can find = it all depends on money.

It all boils down to the money.

Speaking of which, I’ve also placed another add for a roommate. I have a furnished bedroom with a private bath to offer for $600.00 a month, if you know of anybody looking for a place to live. I would prefer a female, but that is negotiable.

You know what would really be cool? I would LOVE to get a job down in Antarctica! I would go in a heartbeat… I don’t know what I would do with my house or my girls, but I would go.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I feel quite foolish, I have to admit. My emotions got control of me a few days ago, and it wasn’t pretty.

It all started innocently enough. I was reading the paper on-line, just like I always do. I came across an article talking about the body that had been pulled from the Kenai River earlier that day. They didn’t know who it was, but said the man was roughly 40 years of age, and that he was being sent to the coroner’s in Anchorage for identification.

Now, a logical normal person would simply mutter to themselves “How horrible for that man’s family…” and move on to the next article in the paper.

But no – my Emotions immediately started yelling at me “Oh My God! That’s Him! He’s Dead! That’s why he’s not answering his phone! He’s Dead!”

I got myself so worked up about it I had to call my friend Katie to talk me back down to reality. She agreed with my logical side by saying that the odds of it actually being him were so low as to be almost impossible, but then also said that she could not say with 100 percent certainty that it was not him. There was that slim possibility that he had actually gone and drowned himself, either intentionally or accidentally.

She surprised me – twice over – by making a few suggestions.

First, she said I should do a drive-by to assure myself that his truck was in fact parked in his driveway. She did stress that she was only advocating ONE drive-by, and that if I found myself doing another one that it would be a really bad thing. If I should find myself doing yet ANOTHER drive-by I should consider myself a stalker and get professional help immediately.

Then she advised me to call the cops! She said if I explained my situation, and told them that I just had a gut feeling that it was him, they could then assure me that it wasn’t.

Needless to say I did neither of those things. Instead I just waited a day – both to give myself time to find my own way back down to reality, and to see what the next day would bring.

It brought him.

He actually came to my house to drop off the key I’d asked for.

I cried for two hours after he left, but was at the same time so relieved to see him alive and well.

It’s a crazy mixed-up world I’m living in right now.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

A Much-Needed Reason to Feel Good About Myself

As mentioned in my previous posting, I have lost a bit of weight recently. While I am actively trying to lose weight, and have been for almost a year now, I do have to admit that these last few weeks have been so horribly stressful: I’m sure that has contributed in a very big way to my reduction in size. Regardless of how I’ve lost it, I am just going to go with the great good feeling of having actually lost over 30 pounds!

To celebrate, I treated myself today. I stopped in at Old Navy and got two new pair of pants – both a size 10. That’s 4 whole sizes smaller than I was a year ago! I only have one more size to lose to achieve my goal size. I am so very happy about that.

I also plan to stop in at Eddie Bauer’s tomorrow. I heard a rumor that they will actually take back ones you’ve worn that are too big and exchange them for ones that do. I’m hoping to prove that rumor true and walk out of there with several nice pair for work.

I also treated myself to a trip to the bookstore today, and got four really good books. Well, I haven’t actually read them yet, so don’t actually know that they’re good - but they at least look like they will be good books, and they all come highly recommended.

He’s just not that into you
     by: Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

Wesley the Owl: the Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and his Girl
     by: Stacey O’Brien

The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea
     by: Philip Hoare

The Windup Girl
     by: Paolo Bacigalupi

Seward By Train

I got to spend the day with my friend Lorna yesterday. She had a companion fare (two for the price of one) on a round-trip ticket on the Alaska Railroad to Seward and back, so we took advantage of that – and saved a nice $119.00 in the process!

It was horribly early, though. Poor Thing did NOT want to get up at 4:30 in the morning. She protested loudly the entire time we were in the bathroom brushing our teeth and combing our hair. I’m fairly certain she went right back to bed the moment I left.

The train left Anchorage at 6:00 and we arrived in Seward around 11:00 – with some very beautiful scenery in between times! Lorna had her camera out, but mine never even left my backpack. Oh well, she took plenty of pictures for the both of us, and much better quality ones to boot!

Once in Seward, we donned our rain gear and started waking. First stop was at the Railway Cantina for a bite to eat. If you’ve never eaten there, I highly recommend it. They serve Burritos and Quesadillas with home-made salsa – and have quite an extensive selection of beer to choose from. Lorna chose the Garlic Quesadilla while I had the Smoked Salmon Quesadilla (minus the cheese).

Once our lunch was consumed we took off for the Seward SeaLife Center, which is always my favorite thing to do in Seward. The seabird exhibit is my favorite: I think we spent most of our time out there with all the birds! We did get to see the entire place, though – and had a good time. She got some really cool photos of the Wolf Eel, a handsome looking fellow if ever there was one.

I need to take a moment here to brag a little bit – I need all the confidence boosting I can get at the moment, so bear with me.

A year ago, I was in Seward about this same time of year with my then-roommate Trish. She and I also went to the Sealife Center, and while there I stepped up onto the scales where you are supposed to compare your own weight with that of the male Steller’s Sea lion, Woody. At that time I am slightly ashamed to admit that I weighed 196 pounds (my worst ever).

Yesterday I again stepped up on the scales and found that I now weigh 165 pounds! Yay!!! This means that I have been steadily losing weight at a rate of an average 2.5 pounds a month, and also means that I will reach my goal weight within roughly 6 months - assuming that I continue losing at the same pace.

And that ain’t bad!

Meanwhile, back in Seward, Lorna and I then walked the coastline back to the harbor and then proceeded to walk up and down each dock to look at all the boats. By the time we’d seen everything there is to see in the harbor, we decided that some fresh handmade Gellato sounded perfect, so stopped in at the Sweet Darlings store and got us a little bowl: I had the Fruit of the Forest flavor (blueberries, raspberries, and some other type of berry that I can’t remember) while Lorna tried the Blood Orange flavor. Both were just scrumptious and were exactly what we needed.

We still had an hour left before our train was due to depart, so we headed over to the bar for a drink and a game of Cribbage. I don’t have a cribbage board, so we just kept score on paper. I need to get me one, actually – must put that down on my list for tomorrow’s shopping spree.

The ride home on the train was just as nice as the morning’s trip had been. Lorna and I talked the entire way back: playing cards, drinking tea, and laughing. It was such a nice reprieve from my own personal troubles.

I got home and put myself to bed by 11:30 that night, tired but happy.

Friday, September 03, 2010


It’s been a long hard week, but with a lot of help from my friends, I’ve actually managed to get thru it. Now the real hard part begins: getting through the weekend.

Honestly, I could not have done as well as I have without my friends. I really want to thank each and every one of you: your help and support has been invaluable, as well as your patience and forgiveness. I do realize that my sob story is getting old, and I am doing everything I can to contain it – or at the very least be able to manage on my own.

The tears still hit me at odd times, showing up unexpectedly and completely unwelcomed. It’s rather odd, actually. One day I’m fine: I can talk about it and analyze things rationally and logically – then the next day just the mere mention of his name can send me over the edge again. Trust me; I can’t wait for that part to be over.

I have lined out a strategy designed to help me make sense of the whole situation, and think it is actually working. It will take time, I’m sure – but eventually maybe someday I’ll actually be able to look at a phone and not think about calling him! Won’t that be wonderful?

I sincerely hope that he is dealing with this as well, and that he isn’t just ignoring it in hopes that it will go away. He has a lot of pain and heartache of his own that needs to be processed and dealt with somehow. Men in general aren’t known for their proclivity to reach out for help; but I think that is what he needs to do. He is obviously not dealing with it well on his own.

If any of you out there knows him, perhaps you can reach out to him? No, that’s meddling - and is exactly the kind of things I’m not supposed to be doing.

It sure is hard to let go…

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Complete 180

I got an email from Rob yesterday stating that he never wants to see or hear from me again.

How’s that for a nice way to wake up in the morning.

Honestly, it took me by complete surprise. I was not expecting that at all. Hindsight being 20/20 and all that - I should have known; but I was blindsided.

He wouldn’t answer his phone, either. He’d hang up when he knew it was me, and eventually turned his phone off. I did finally get to talk to him about 10 hours later. That’s when he told me that his mind is made up and it’s final. I didn’t have a chance to talk at all, hardly.


I bundled all his stuff together and took it over to his house. I just wanted him to tell me to my face, which he did. So I left him with these words:

“Always remember that I am your friend. And I’m so very sorry.”


Back at home, I was obviously distressed. I decided to distract myself by taking a walk about the neighborhood. That turned out to be not such a good idea. Apparently somebody saw me: I was crying and walking rather like a zombie not paying any attention to my surroundings. They got concerned: they didn’t recognize me as somebody who lives around here, and since I was obviously not happy they actually called the police!!!

By the time the police found me, I was sitting in my driveway leaning up against my garage just watching the traffic go by. I didn’t want to go back inside because then I’d be sitting and staring at the phone. The police parked two cars at my drive way and came up to talk to me.

Now really: the Police? I’m touched that a complete stranger would be so concerned about my welfare and that the police would take time out of their day to deal with such a trivial matter. But really: the Police?

They were very nice. They asked for my name, birth date, and phone number. They asked if this was my house I was leaning against. They made sure I wasn’t locked out, or that “he” wasn’t still in there (thinking I was perhaps afraid to go back in), asked if I had any friends they could call for me, and then left me with the assurance that I could call them if I needed somebody to talk to.

Really? The police?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Flower Child

It was such a nice day today! The sun was out, the sky was clear blue, the birds were singing, and all the kids were out on their bikes. I would have been on mine, too, except that something I had for lunch wasn’t agreeing with me so I really didn’t feel up to it. A walk around the neighborhood seemed like the perfect compromise.

While out walking, I came across a little girl riding her bike. She was maybe 6 years old, and just a cute as could be. Her bike was bright purple with pink flowers painted on it everywhere; her training wheels were white with pink stripes; and the clothing she had on were just about every color of the rainbow. Added to the whole ensemble was the fact that she had plastic flowers, of all types and sizes, attached to her bike in just about every imaginable place. She looked like a mobile flower arrangement!

She smiled at me as we passed and said, “Hi.”

So I greeted her back, saying “Hello. I like that bike. That is just beautiful.”

She smiled even bigger, and said “Thank You!” and then turned her bike around and went back to her mother.

Such a cutie…

Give Your Old Paint New Life

Give your old paint new life with PaintCare ( a new non-profit program based out of Oregon established to manage the reuse, recycling and proper disposal of unused paint. Follow PaintCare's 5-point plan and save money, save the environment, and save storage space:

Buy the right amount

Be a wise consumer and buy only what you need. Check with your local paint dealer for instructions on how to determine the correct volume of paint required for your project. When you purchase the right volume of paint, it eliminates the need to store or dispose/recycle paint when the project is finished, and it might even save you a bit of money. When your painting project is complete, take a look in the can. If there is only a small quantity of paint left, use it up. Paint out the last inch-or-two of paint in the bottom of the can.

Store properly

If your project is complete and you still have a fair amount of paint leftover, be sure to correctly store the paint. Proper paint storage will eliminate safety concerns and keep your paint fresh for touch-ups or future projects. For best results, cover the opening of the paint can with plastic wrap and securely seal the lid. When you are sure the lid is leak-proof, turn the can upside down and store it in a place with a moderate room temperature to avoid freezing. Be sure to choose a safe location that is out of the reach of children and pets.


Now that you have safely stored your leftover paint, don’t forget about it. Leftover paint can be used for touch-ups or for smaller projects. Record the room name on the lid for future touch ups. You can blend and mix smaller quantities of latex paint to use as a base coat on larger jobs. Perhaps, you know a neighbor or relative who could use your leftover paint; now, that’s being environmentally friendly!


If you can’t make use of the paint yourself, donate your useable leftover paint to a worthwhile community association, theatre company, church group or other local organizations that may be in need of good paint. Perhaps, your community offers a paint exchange event or a special paint collection program. Many communities collect paint for reuse, recycling or as a last resort, proper disposal through local Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection programs. Check the “Earth 911” website, or 1-800-clean-up, to learn about reuse, recycling and HHW collection programs that may be available in your community.

Dispose Properly

If there is not a leftover paint collection program available in your area, you may need to dispose of leftover latex paint yourself. Air-drying of liquid alkyd or oil based paint is not considered safe. In regions that allow it, let your latex paint air dry in a safe location away from children and pets. A small amount of paint, less than ½ inch, in the bottom of a paint can is easily dried out by leaving the lid off. Once the paint is hard, discard the paint can with the lid off, preferably in a metal recycling program. If metal recycling is not available or the paint container is plastic, dispose of the container in the garbage. Larger volumes of latex paint can be dried in a box with absorbent material such as shredded paper or kitty litter. Recycle the empty can with the lid off and dispose of the dried out latex paint as garbage. If the paint in the can is solidified all the way through, it may be disposed of as garbage with the lid off to prevent the build up of pressure in the can.

It’s Beautiful!

I had a most productive evening last night: one of those that make you feel really satisfied with the work put in to the efforts. I’m quite pleased with myself, even. All that time spent sanding on my garage door has finally paid off.

Rob came over after work and brought his air compressor. We spent maybe 15-20 minutes cleaning all the dust and debris off and then settled in to the staining. We really slopped it on, too: the wood just soaked it all in. Some of us were a bit sloppier than the others, however. On Rob’s side of the garage door there a considerable amount of drips on the concrete below. My side is, of course, much neater and cleaner. Which may actually mean that I didn’t put enough up there – time will tell.

It looks so pretty now! We finished just as the sun began to set (yes, the sun is actually beginning to set again finally: The Darkness is Coming!); the lighting was just perfect so that my door was glowing a deep reddish brown color. Fabulous! Technically, though, it’s supposed to be a Cedar on Cedar semi-transparent stain that enhances the wood grain yet still protects it from weather & sun. The red color was added by the sun – I hope. I’ll find out when I get home tonight.

While we were at it, we went ahead and stained the Front Entry Deck and the boardwalk leading from the drive way to the front door. Both desperately needed it, although we hadn’t stripped the entry deck so just applied the new stain on top of the old stain. It’s now a lovely shade of really dark brown – and is also still quite wet. Perhaps it will lighten up once it’s dried. The boardwalk soaked all the stain up almost immediately – I’m thinking we’ll have to put another coat down on it.

As an added bonus, Rob installed my peephole! We’ll of course take it out before painting the door, but for now I can see who’s knocking at my door finally. We also got the paint picked out for the door: a nice dark red color.

I had thought to paint both sides of my door – both outside and inside. What do you think?

Rob thinks I should only paint the outside. I have to admit, he’s probably right – but there’s something intriguing about having a red door even on the inside. It would really stand out, that’s for sure. All my walls inside are painted white, with lots of oak trim everywhere, and blue carpet.

Next on the list of chores to finish up on is the roof. The forecast is calling for a whole week of sunshine, so we’re tentatively planning on applying the bleach solution on Thursday evening. This will give the moss 4 days to dry out prior to application, and then the whole weekend to die before Rob gets back up there on Sunday (or Monday) to get rid of it all.

Gosh… I just had a disturbing thought. What ever will I do with myself once all these chores are done!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

House Chores

Am I the only person on the planet who never thought to wash her front door? I’ve been complaining about how dingy and dull my door was, to the point where I’d convinced Rob that we need to paint it bright red. Well, in preparing for the new paint – I washed it.

Wow! What a difference that makes. I’m almost tempted to not paint it now, except I really do want a bright red door. Don’t ask me why; I still can’t figure that out.

Now my door is the same color as the walls inside my house, where it used to be … gosh, I don’t know what to call the color it used to be: somewhere between volcanic ash and 12 years of fingerprints and grime. And for some reason, the inside of the door was dirtier than the outside. I really don’t understand that one, except that maybe the rain showers actually did some good out there.

I also managed to finish sanding the garage door finally today. I probably could do some more touch-up work on it, for at least another week or two – but really, I think it’s ready for the new coat of stain. Then it, too, will look so much better! At the same time, we might end up staining the front walkway and entry way while we’re at it.

And can you believe this weather! The sun is actually shining, without a single drop of rain to be felt. Rob told me I wasn’t allowed to go up on the roof myself – he seems to think I’m a klutz and will fall off and break my neck. I’m tempted to go up there anyway, just to spite him. But knowing my luck, I probably would fall and break my neck. He will be back in town on Sunday and can go up there and kill all the moss himself. I’ve got all the supplies on hand – just need to mix them all together and have it ready for him.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Cup of Tea

The tea I drink has different quotes printed out on the tags of each teabag. I thought I’d share some of the ones I thought were worth keeping:

When God made time, He made enough of it.
     Celtic Saying

Ignorance of certain subjects is a great part of wisdom.
     Hugo De Groot (1583 – 1645)

If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.
     Moshe Dayan (1915 – 1981)

It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.
     Alfred Adler (1870 – 1937)

First think, and then act.
     Wise Saying from the Orient

Whatever is produced in haste goes hastily to waste.
     Saadi (1184 – 1291)

A witty saying proves nothing.
     Voltaire (1694 – 1778)

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.
     Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642)

Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life.
     Herbert Henry Asquith (1852 – 1928)

All human actions have one of more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire.
     Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC)

‘Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.
     Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865)

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.
     Booker T. Washington (1856 – 1915)

In science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurs.
     Sir Frances Darwin (1848 – 1925)

Walking with Dinosaurs

My evening started with meeting my friend Heather at the Bear’s Tooth for, as she puts it: “the best selection of vegan burritos in town.” And I have to say, I do agree: they are quite good, even with my lack of appetite. We had a lot to catch up on, so spent a good hour talking about both of our personal roller coaster rides.

We left the restaurant with plenty of time to get to the Sullivan Sports Arena – or so we thought. Little did we know there’s be a line of cars, pilled bumper to bumper for blocks, all waiting to get into the parking lot. Man, I hate traffic. I didn’t even have my book with me. I should know better by now, and should always have it with me.

Finally, however, we made it to our seats. I am not rich so could not afford the “good” seats. Even the “not-so-good” seats were still $30 each, with a $7.50 fee tacked on for whatever reason. We ended up sitting up in the balcony section – but I didn’t mind at all. This gave us a view of the entire show!

And what a show it was! Oh My Gosh: they had flashing lights, moving sets, booming thunder, majestic music – the works. To borrow a quote from the movie Jurassic Park: “We spared no expense.”

The show opened with a paleontologist giving us the history of our planet starting back at the beginning of the Triassic period. One at a time, moving up thru the years, he introduced us to the various time periods and their respective dinosaurs. He talked about digging for bones, Plate Tectonics, volcanoes, mass extinctions, and all sorts of plants and animals. It was quite educational, assuming one actually listened to the talking.

Most people got distracted by the leading characters, however. It’s hard to listen to a boring old lecture when there is a 23 feet tall Tyrannosaurus Rex roaring at the crowd. Let me assure you, those life-size dinosaurs were incredible!

They had 8 dinosaurs recreated at life size:
     1 Plateosaurus (10’ tall),
     1 Stegosaurus (18.5’ tall)
     1 Allosaurus (14.5’ tall)
     1 Brachiosaurus (36’ tall)
     1 Ornithocheirus (with a 38’ wing span)
     1 Ankylosaurus (12’ tall)
     1 Torosaurus (13’ tall)
     1 Tyrannosaurus Rex (23’ tall).

They also had 5 dinosaurs that were “worn” by actors:
     3 Utahraptors (8’ tall)
     1 baby T-Rex (7’ tall)
     1 Liliensternus (7.5’ tall)

To give you an idea of what was involved in the making of this show, I’m going to borrow some information from their website to share with you:

Each large dinosaur contains: (based upon the construction of a Torosaurus)
     433 feet of hydraulic hose
     971 feet of fabric
     433 feet of foam
     53 gallons of paint
     7 kilowatts of power from 12 truck batteries
     1094 yards of cabling in each body
     24 microprocessors control movement along with
          15 hydraulic rams and 6 hydraulic motors each

Each large dinosaur:
     weighs 1.6 tons a piece (standard family car)
     runs on 6 roller blade wheels
To operate one dinosaur, it takes:
     A Team of 3 people:
          1 Driver,
          2 Voodoo Puppeteers -
               one operates head and tail gross motion,
               one in charge of minor movements: mouth, blinking and roars

If you get the chance to see this show, I highly recommend you do so! It’s worth every penny.

Car Troubles Again

I was driving home the other day from meeting with a friend for a cup of tea. Just past International Road, I started to notice that the car was pulling to the left – pretty bad, actually. I had to work at holding it on the road. I rolled my window down but didn’t hear anything, so didn’t think it was all that bad. By the time I neared the intersection of Dimond and Minnesota, however, I started to hear the thump-thump-thump-thump sound that only a seriously flat tire can make.

As luck would have it, Rob lives right near there – so I made my way to his house and pulled in to his driveway. Thankfully he was there, having just gotten home from his daily 2-hour bike ride. He and his roommate Bill came out to assess the damage.

I have to say, I was extremely upset. These are brand new tires I’d bought not three months ago; and I got them specifically so that I wouldn’t get another flat tire. Little good that did me… this tire was definitely flat. And apparently my decision to drive to Rob’s house was a really bad one. What I should have done was pull over immediately after noticing the car was pulling to the left. By driving on, I’d ruined it beyond repair, and there was some considerable doubt as to whether I’d be able to cash in on the warrantee because of that.

Rob and Bill got the tire off in no time and put the temporary spare tire on in its place. Rob could see that I was upset about it all, so he valiantly tried to cheer me up. He can be sweet at times. The tire shop was closed by then, so we made plans to meet after work the next day to take the car in and try to convince them to give me the warrantee.

Unfortunately having that temporary on my car meant that I couldn’t attend the Green Building Council meeting the next day: I felt that I shouldn’t drive the car any more than absolutely necessary, since the tire is a tiny little thing and I’m sure my car isn’t happy about being lop-sided like that.

Eventually the day ended and I headed on home. Rob showed up not 5 minutes later, and we headed down to American Tire, off the Old Seward Highway. The guy helping us at the shop was more than a little bit preachy with me (I had run the tire flat and ruined it, after all) but did finally agree to apply the warrantee – so I got a new tire for only the cost of labor to put it on. I suppose that’s worth having to endure yet another man telling me what I’d done wrong.

And Rob continued to be really nice to me, buying me dinner and hanging out with me to cheer me up. As I said, he can be sweet at times. Thankfully – because I really needed it that day!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Movie Night at the Alaska Zoo

Last night we had our first ever Movie Night at the Zoo! It wasn’t very well attended, however, and we got pushed out of the nicer room down to the classroom. But, it was still fun.

I brought my “LIFE” DVD series for us to watch: the same people that made both PLANET EARTH and BLUE PLANET (both of which I also have) made this series, too – and it’s just as wonderful. We watched the first two episodes: The Challenges of Life, and Reptiles and Amphibians.

The classroom has a nice big screen to watch presentations on with surround sound speakers, so even though it wasn’t exactly comfortable sitting on metal chairs at metal desks - and we had a spastic squirrel insanely bouncing off the walls of his cage the entire time - it was still a good evening.

Heather, our volunteer coordinator, had her friend Mindy with her; I had my friend Rob with me; and another volunteer named Desiree joined in with us. We had plenty of popcorn, too – Heather had hoped for a larger turnout. I’ll have to remember to bring something to drink to the next movie night – and maybe some chocolate, too. Can’t watch a movie without chocolate you know!

Next time, we’re hoping to be able to sit upstairs. They have 5 (count them, FIVE) big screen TVs up there, and nice cushy chairs to sit on. Heck, it might even be warmer up there – who knows. Regardless of where we end up though, we still have plenty of movies to watch.

This should keep us entertained throughout the winter months!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My House

There’s been so much going on lately that I haven’t been able to keep up on my blog here. Mostly because it’s be an emotional roller coaster lately, and I don’t want to bore you all with my personal disasters – but there are few things that I can write about without dragging you on the ride with me.

Most importantly, I’ve been working on my house. One of the perks of working for a construction company is that they have tools – and I can borrow them! So, I got their pressure washer and Rob and I set to work on the exterior of my house. We – or rather I should say He, since I mostly just stood there and watched – spent a good 2 or 3 hours getting rid of at least a decade’s worth of grit, grime, and volcanic ash off my house. While he was at it he stripped the stain off the garage door for me, with the intent of fixing the water damage to the lower left-hand corner.

Once he finished the pressure washing, he showed me how to run his sander to smooth out the garage door and prepare it for the new stain. I’ve been working on that about an hour each day after work (weather permitting, of course - rather hard to sand in the pouring rain). At the moment I have about one day’s work left to do before I call Rob back to help me with the next step. Let me assure you, sanding a garage door is not the easiest thing to do, even when most of the old stain has been already stripped off. For one thing, half of the door is way up high to where I have to stand on my tippy toes just to reach it. It’s been fun, though. And I have lots of eight-legged help, too.

The next step is to use the air compressor and blow all the dust off. I’ve already brushed it off as much as I can, but I’m sure the air compressor will do a much better job. We don’t want any dust in the stain, you know! Although Rob keeps reminding me “It’s just a garage door. It’s not a masterpiece, and it doesn’t have to be perfect.”

Once the garage door is finished, we’ll move on to the entry door. I’m going to thoroughly clean it with a Scotch Brite pad and some soap & water, and then we’ll paint it BRIGHT RED! I’m pretty excited about that, actually – although I can’t for the life of me figure out exactly why I want a bright red door. Once the paint is dry, Rob will then install a peep-hole for me. I have needed one of those since I bought the place 12 years ago.

Another job we have in mind is to somehow get rid of all the moss growing on my roof. Rob read on This Old House that you should get up there and spray it all down with a mixture of bleach & water to kill it, and then it can just be swept off with a broom. Of course, the trick is that you have to wait for it to dry out before you spray it with the bleach & water mixture so that it soaks it up. Those of you who live here will know that we are working on – what, 29 consecutive days of rain now? Whatever the number, its set a new record – and the entire world is sopping wet with no chance of drying out anytime soon! But as soon as it does, you’ll find me out on my roof with my spray bottle in hand!

Just pray I don’t slip and fall… that would not be good.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Highly Recommended

I am reading a really good book right now, called Poseidon’s Steed by Helen Scales, PH.D. I highly recommend it to you!

Below is an expert:

“What was so special about that encounter with my first seahorse? Why are seahorses different from so many other creatures I have gazed upon during hours and days underwater? It surely has something to do with their unconventional beauty, their unique combination of features, a demure down-turned snout and tightly curled tail, as sensitive and nimble as an elephant’s trunk. Was it the anticipation of seeing one and the satisfaction, after such a long wait, of finally spying one of these wily masters of disguise that can match themselves so expertly to their surroundings? Sharks are breathtaking in their nonchalant efficiency as they slice through the water like sleek torpedoes. Reef fish are instantly gratifying, colorful and brazen, flitting around like butterflies of the sea. But seahorses hold a secret intimacy, a special reward for the keen-eyed. And perhaps deep down I held on to a childhood suspicion, an irrational part of me that didn’t quite believe seahorses really do inhabit the oceans. Seeing one felt like glimpsing a unicorn trotting through my garden.”

Sunday, August 01, 2010


The place where I work now is right next door to one of the drop sites for Full Circle Farms CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Each Thursday, they leave all those boxes full of fresh organic produce for people to pick up. If by Monday there are still boxes there, we have been given permission to take them. Apparently the people at the office have been rotating each week, and last week was MY WEEK! I got to take the box home!

I got lots of really good stuff: a bunch of cherries, three nectarines, three plums, three pluots, two nice sized zucchini, 6 small turnips, a bunch of celery, a bunch of swiss chard, a small bundle of shallots, a small bundle of carrots, three nice sized potatoes, and a small bundle of parsley – and all of it organic! The only thing I had to throw away was the swiss chard – it had gotten to … squishy? Not quite moldy, but certainly not usable.

So, I just made a batch of really good soup! Started with a split-pea base, added a can of corn and a can of organic tomatoes, chopped up some fresh organic zucchini, carrots, shallots, celery, and turnips, threw in a few sprigs of fresh organic parsley, ground some black pepper in there, and added some lemon & orange peel and some allspice. I also added a handful of freeze-dried onions (because I only had 4 small shallots) and two heaping spoonfuls of chopped garlic. As a final touch, I put in a package of basmati rice - because apparently I felt it needed some more fiber. But really, I just like basmati rice.

I have enough soup to feed an army now for a week! Think I'll share with my new roommate, when she gets here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

It’s Actually Working!

I went to Eddie Bauer’s today to get a few more pairs of pants to wear, since my job at the construction company looks like it might actually turn in to something more permanent that what I first thought.

Last year, I couldn’t fit into a size 16. Today I found out that I now fit into a size 12. And, in men’s sizes, I fit into a size 33… I don’t even know what size I wore before because I stopped trying them on after I found that a size 36 didn’t fit.


While checking out at the register with my size 12 pants (did I mention I fit into a size 12 now?) the store manager commented on my T-shirt, so I got to talk about Earthwatch and how awesomely cool they are. I even gave them my name and phone number along with the Earthwatch website ( so they could set up an expedition sponsored by Eddie Bauer’s for their employees.

How cool is that?

I wonder if I can go, too. I am a very loyal Eddie Bauer patron, as well as being the Alaskan Field Representative for Earthwatch.

Hmmm… something to think about.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Won!

"I filled up my car this morning, so you don't have to worry about that" I told him as he got ready to trade vehicles with me.

"I filled up my truck last night, so you don't have to worry about it either." he replied.

"I washed my car the other day." I said.

"I washed my truck last night." He laughed.

"Mine's already dirty!" I countered.

"Mine is, too!" He said.

"Oh yea, well I have a giraffe cup in my hand!" I brandished it in his face.

"Okay... I don't have a giraffe cup in my hand." he sadly shook his head.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Goings On

A lot has happened lately, and I’ve been remiss in updating my blog – so once again I am reduced to clumping it all together in one post. Ah well… you get what you pay for, I guess. So, here it is: my life, condensed down to the essentials.


My job at Alaska Treeline, Inc. is going well. They like what I do, and I seem to be good at it. It’s rather hit or miss on the intensity scale: sometimes I have absolutely nothing to do, and other times I’m slammed with work. But overall I have to say I like the job, I like the people, and I really like the location. Riding my bike to work isn’t going quite as well as I’d hoped for; after the first week I had to wait another week for Rob to come fix a flat, then it rained for another week, and by that time I just got used to driving my car each day. Oh well, I’ll get back in to it eventually. I really do like my new bike, and really do need the exercise.

I am also back to work for the U.S. Census again: this time I’m to be verifying all the Vacants and Deletes that were identified in the NRFU operation (Non-Response Follow Up). My training day was today and I should have all the material I need by tomorrow so that by Wednesday I can hit the streets and get to work. The nice thing about this is that I can continue to work for Alaska Treeline, Inc. and do this after hours.

And I'm still on the lookout for a “real” job, meaning one that offers full time status and benefits as well. I’ve applied to several positions with NANA Worley Parsons and have even been called by ADT for a position with that company. We’ll see what comes of all this. In a perfect world, the “real” job would start conveniently right after my temporary job with Alaska Treeline, Inc. ended.


I haven’t been doing that much with the zoo lately. Not only does my schedule not allow for it, but I also seem to be a tad bit disgruntled with them. I can’t help but feel taken advantage of. I know, it’s not logical – because I know they’re not taking advantage of me at all… but that’s how I feel. Maybe I just need a break. I have been doing the Discovery Tour each Saturday, though. I do like that tour, and it’s a good excuse to get out there each week to keep up on what’s happening there.

They do have some cute babies now, being as it is springtime in Alaska. Maxine the musk ox gave birth to a bouncing baby boy about a month ago, and he is doing just fine. Amazingly enough, our ravens not only made another nest this year – but they also laid four eggs, and actually managed to hatch them! Who knew baby ravens could be both ugly as sin and still be cute as a button, all at the same time! And last, but most certainly not least, we have an orphaned Sitka black tailed deer fawn, conveniently named Sitka Rose. She is definitely a cutie-pie!


I’ve really been hitting the trails this year. You all read about the hike up along Power Line Pass last Saturday. That was followed by a hike up on Potter’s Ridge on Sunday with Rob and his kids, which was then followed by a most excellent day spent hiking up at Hatcher’s Pass on Monday – again with Rob and his kids.

This weekend, I went with my friend Lorna to Alyeska and hiked the North Face Trail, which goes straight up Mt. Alyeska, all the way to the top. Whew! I can’t believe I actually did it. Next weekend is a family hike out at the Eagle River Nature Center where we plan to do the Dew Mound trail. Feel free to join us if you’re in the area; we start at 2:00 and will meet at the center.


I haven’t done any presentations recently, but I have had several opportunities to speak to people who are considering their own Earthwatch Expeditions. That’s always fun: I get to share my own experiences and give them tips and advice on theirs. One gentleman called me from Canada while the other lady emailed me (I don’t know where she was from). Both were interested in the Medicinal Plants project, so I got to tell them all about my recent trip.

Several weeks ago, I got to listen to a scientist speak of her research with the Ice Worm (a totally fascinating creature!) and was fortunate enough to be able to talk to her after the lecture. It came out in our conversation that she was having difficulties finding funding for her project – so I offered to see if Earthwatch would be interested. I thought it would be a perfect match: she’s a female scientist, her project is ongoing, and it involves Climate Change issues. I’m still digging in to it for her, so will have to update you all later on the final word. Cross your fingers: you just might be able to participate in Ice Worm Research next year!


I have a new tradition: each year, I plan to filter through all the photos I’ve taken and pick out the best ones to be framed and displayed on my walls here at the house. I did that last year and ended up with 9 really nice photos – this year, I chose 10 and am in the process of getting them framed and hung. One photo was so good (if I do say so myself) that I printed it out large (16x20) and will be creating a special montage to display it on my wall. The others are 8x10, just like last years – but are still quite good. There’s just something about seeing your own photos displayed on the wall. It really makes one feel almost professional.


My current roommate will be leaving at the end of this month, so I am once again searching for a new one. I’ve placed an ad on Craig’s List and am getting a lot of responses from it. I am quite hopeful that the room will not go empty and I’ll have a smooth turnover from the old one to a new one. Of course, my true preference would be to not have a roommate at all – but since I really do need the income, I can only hope to find one as good as this one has been (despite a few bumps in the road recently). If anybody knows of a college student in need of a room, I’m conveniently located right on the bus route to UAA – feel free to have them contact me!

Do You Know The Answers?

Can you identify these famous first lines?

1. Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.

2. Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress.

3. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

4. Call me Ishmael.

5. Nihilism stands at the door: whence comes this uncanniest of all guests?

6. Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.

7. I am a sick man… I am a spiteful man. I am an unpleasant man.

8. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

9. In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Rose

A single rose
Stood all alone
Surrounded by a wall of stone

Behind the wall
Were roses, too
Yet neither knew the other grew

So often we,
Like flowers, dwell
So deep within our human shell

We pass thru life
Nor making all the friends we should

by: unknown

If You Should Leave Me

If you should leave me
I shall not die
Nor make grief a trumpet
To shatter the sky

I shall not ask
For anything more
Than to walk according
To natural lore
One foot behind
The other before

I shall use my brain
To earn my bread
Snarl when hungry
Smile well fed

If you should leave me
I shall not die

I shall be dead

by: unknown