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

Saturday, July 03, 2010


A nice easy day today.

Didn’t sleep well at all last night, though. I’ve been having a lot of trouble with insomnia lately. I’m actually taking over-the-counter sleeping pills during the week so I can work through the day without crashing – but on the weekends, I’m trying to wean myself off of them. It’s not really working.

So, I finally fell asleep around 4:00 in the morning, only to get up around 8:00 four hours later. I poked around in my computer for a while and then headed out at 10:00 to run some errands: go to the bank, go to the post office, go to the Saturday Market. I got 4 really nice big turnips and a bundle of organic kale for my soup this time!

Noon saw me at the zoo, ready to give my weekly tour. No one signed up for it, though – probably because it was raining. Honestly, though – that’s the best time to go to the zoo. The animals LOVE the rain!

I love the rain, too, so took the opportunity to head up to Power Line Pass for a nice little hike. Of course, up there it was pouring down rain. I started out the hike with my coat and hat on. By the time I was on the return trip, I’d taken both the hat and the coat off because even though it was raining, it was actually quite warm.

It’s so beautiful up there. I went quite a bit farther than I’d ever been before, making it all the way to the bridge that crosses over Hidden Lake Creek – which I think is about 3.5 miles from the trailhead. I had my newly fixed camera with me so got all kinds of cool photographs of the plants I found along the way. Most of them I could identify, but some of them were a mystery to me. I’ve posted them all on my facebook page in hopes that somebody will tell me what they are.

Once I finally made it back home, I started in on my Weekly Pot O’ Soup. I began with a potato soup base, and added in a can of tomatoes and a can of black beans, threw in a few handfuls of the freeze-dried soup mix (10 different vegetables) and one handful of freeze dried chopped onions, added two heaping tablespoons of chopped garlic, twisted my pepper grinder for several minutes over it all, chopped up the turnips and kale, and threw in a 5-Grain Rice blend for good measure.

I’m going to be eating good this week!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

A Great Unexpected Surprise

I was all prepared to spend my weekend alone.– Rob and the kids would be off doing whatever, and my other friend Lorna was up on the slope working her regular rotation, so I planned to just take it easy and relax the days away.

Saturday morning, I didn’t even get dressed until around 11:00, and that was only because I had a tour scheduled at the zoo. That tour turned out to be so much fun – I’m so glad I do them.

When I first got there the admissions booth hadn’t sold any tickets yet, so I thought it would be another day where I go home again – but with about 5 minutes to spare, they sold two and I had somebody to give a tour to after all. They were the nicest couple: a bit older than me and vacationing from New York. They had been all over Alaska in the two weeks they’d been here, and were spending their last day with us at The Alaska Zoo. They were actually interested in plants, too – always a bonus since I am so in to them myself.

You have to check this out: when they were in Seward, they took one of those whale watching cruises out in the fjords and saw a humpback whale breaching multiple times RIGHT NEXT TO THE BOAT! They got video of it and posted it on YouTube even. I was so jealous! In all my years of living here and taking numerous cruises just like that, I’ve yet to see even one breach… and they saw well over 15!

Sunday afternoon found me sitting in my usual corner table at The Perfect Cup, writing letters and eating lunch. I was just finishing up the last few bites when I heard somebody banging at the window behind me. Surprise! It was Trey, with his father and sister along with him. I had invited them to join me, but really did not think they would.

That was such a great, unexpected surprise!

After they all had a drink and we sat and talked for a while, we headed over to Toys R Us so Trey could get himself the Lego’s he’s been saving up for, only to discover that they cost $150.00. His father told him there was no way he was going to spend that much money for a box of Lego’s, so we went back to my house to see if perhaps Craig’s List had any for sale. Trey was not too happy about it all, but he’s such an easy going kid he soon moved on.

From there, we headed on in to town to the Imaginarium where we hoped to be able to see their new Planetarium. Unfortunately the show was sold out for that day, but we got to see everything else at least. And as an added bonus, I ran in to my friend Kristen (she and I used to walk the camel together at the zoo last year) who now works at the Imaginarium. She was kind enough to give us a behind-the-scenes tour where we got to meet all her critters that she’s in charge of. She has lizards, snakes, frogs, turtles, cockroaches, and spiders, as well as jelly fish, sea stars, sea squirts, sea urchins, and all sorts of things for the touch tanks. I thought it was really cool back there, but I don’t think Rob and the kids were as excited as I was. Some people just don’t have their priorities in order, you know?

Anyway, it was a great day topped off with dinner at the Burrito King.