Monday, August 31, 2009

Hello Alaska

Tonight I went out on the river and had THE Alaskan experience. The blob in front of the eagles is a seal, they kept popping up all over the river. They look like little curious, swimming dogs.
Saw more bald eagles than I have ever seen in my life. My new friend said that during the really cold part of winter, you can go to the dump and see 100 of them feeding on the trash. You know I'll be checking that out.

These two moose wandered out of the forest and crossed the river right in front of us. New Friend and her husband said that they sometimes see 10-13 on the way to work in the morning.

Caught a 10 lb silver salmon. Too bad New Friend's Husband cut his finger while showing me how to filet it and had to go to the emergency room. Hope it doesn't keep them from calling me to go out again.
Amazing day. Winter may be coming fast but today, I'm alive and well.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

River Walk

The theme for my charter school's curriculum this year is "A River Runs Through It." Here's the river that actually does run through it, this area that is. The river walk has lots of access for fishing. They call it combat fishing in the summer because so many people come here to catch the King Salmon that it's elbow to elbow.The largest King pulled out of here was 95 lbs and residents are allowed to fish using dipnets. I want to try it next year but I picture myself being dragged up stream by some beast with gills. You just know there'd be some kind of incident. But, as you can see by the lack of fishermen, summer is quickly coming to an end and the salmon run is almost over. They say it'll snow by the end of September. I need to get some studded tires soon. Crap balls, that's going to be expensive. For now the weather is perfect and I'm content but getting more than a little nervous about what's to come.

Will it all be ice in a few months? My parents are coming for Thanksgiving (blog material goldmine)and I imagine I'll be showing them a very different landscape by then. And possibly taking a break from posting since my entire fan base will be here.
Oh! forgot to say that I saw a GIGANTIC moose yesterday in a little valley off the highway. It was so big I really thought it was fake. Yesterday was also the first time I've seen the moon since I've been here. It was so odd, I'll try to get a picture soon but it's 9:15 and the sun is just going down. This lady in by then, gettin my new wrinkle cream on. And yeah, I seriously went and bought some today. Damn that kid!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Just Another Saturday Night

And I ain't got nobody. I got some money 'cause I just got paid. What to do?

Went to the Old Town today. It consists of a handful of buildings from the 1890's. Here they are.

The coffee shop where I spent an awkward open mic evening last night trying not to look like an anti-social jerk. I'm so NOT the coffee house type. Nice setting though.

Part of the Russian 'empire'. The crazy priest said that since I've been to Bodega Bay, I've now seen the entire Russian Empire of North America.
The Russian Orthodox Church. There are hidden communities of "Old Believers" here. They remain isolated on purpose and don't allow anything from the modern world in.

The crazy Russian priest was amusing and terrifying at the same time. He never stopped talking! If I didn't look at the scary cult priest regalia we were ok but, imagine being here. With him.
Sooo..... after my escape I definitely needed some fresh air.
Here are some views of the Cook Inlet and Redoubt Volcano. I'll try to get some photos on a clearer day but you can see the peak at the top of the cloud line. This volcano is still active and had a big blow a few years ago.
62 degrees and GORGEOUS. But the nice man who had lunch with me at the Buger Bus said it has gotten to 30 BELOW here. I'm going to die. Seriously.
He also said I should take flying lessons since everyone here is a pilot. I agree.
In an effort to get out and learn about the community, I went to a company picnic put on by ConocoPhillips, an energy company. They have a huge, free barbeque spread but I hate lines and can't resist food from the side of a truck (or burgerbus). Plus some kid in his late teens called me a lady. As in "Hey, isn't that the lady from...." Oh, Ouch! I was done with picnics after that.
Then tonight I went to a local hockey game. By myself. The game itself was entertaining, would have been more fun with adult company. Of course the crowd was all teenagers and people with kids. Damn, I thought it was hard to meet people in SF! Big Sister needs to ship me a kid so I can get in the club.
So now Sons of Anarchy is my hot date for the night. Never watched it before but it's supposedly set in the San Joaquin Valley and the Head Bitch has the same scar as me so it must be good.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

You Dropped a Bomb on Me

Today I returned a long avoided phone call and had a bomb the size of 2400 square feet dropped on me. A bomb with 4 bedrooms, specially ordered windows and arched doorways, designed and built by hand. A bomb that came way too late in the campaign but is unsettling none the less. I could be flip and callous and get some really good jokes out of this but the truth is, I can't live with turning someone's dream into a joke (in print). Even if they never see it and even if they do deserve a donkey kick to the head.
But, on a lighter note, I ran my first IEP meeting flawlessly. That's an Individualized Education Plan for those of you not working in Special Ed or products of it. Some of us are both. I also finally got the mailbox sorted out and the checks WERE in the mail so I'm back in toilet paper and soap and that's nice. I'm damn good at being poor but so tired of it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

God Bless the USPS

To avoid the explosion of my Post Office induced brain aneurysm and distract myself from what is sure to be a Grade A temper tantrum, I'm going to turn to my new amusement, the Matress Ranch commercial. I'm sorry, I'm not talented enough to embed the video but click the link. Do it! (don't forget to hit the back button after) Now whenever you're as pissed off at the world (or just a ridiculously inefficient and outdated bureaucracy staffed by a bunch of mouth breathing morons such as the USPS) as I am right now, you can watch the Mattress Ranch Dance.
My friends Kelly and Mike got stationed in Fairbanks right about the time I started "negotiations" for the job here. They kept tellng me about this commercial but since I'm obsessed with the Travel Channel and National Geographic, I never change the channel much. That is, until this weekend when I was stuck at home in a new and beautiful place because the extra chromosome crowd at the PO can't seem to get their heads out of their asses and I therefore have no keys to my mailbox which means I have made no deposits into the bank account and could not even spare the gas it would take to find just one of those brain dead retards and run them over. Ok, like I said, no temper tantrums. But, if you comment on my lack of syntactic skill, I'll file you in my brain with kyphotic government employees who wear yellow suspenders that look like rulers and have female pattern baldness. So there. Now I have to go practice the Mattress Dance because Kelly and Mike are coming to visit for Labor Day Weekend and I need to have it down when they walk in the door. Wait...Nooooooo. I mean the Mattress RANCH Dance. Sickos.

PostScript: After watching this 20 times I'm thinking maybe he has Chorea and I shouldn't be laughing so much.?

Friday, August 21, 2009

And With the Sea I did Abide

Last week we took a boat tour of the Kenai Fjords out of Seward and I'm finally posting the pictures.

Fjord- n. A long, narrow, deep inlet of the sea between steep slopes.

The Exit Glacier. We actually hiked right to it but this photo was the best. After the hike we boarded a 6.5 hour cruise.

The docks in the city of Seward. I love the Alaskan flag.

This giant thing is used to load coal onto ships. Everything is expensive here because it has to be transported from the lower 48.

A glacier seen from the boat.

Humpbacks! Little Sister and I were the only ones brave enough to stay outside during most of the trip so we were also the only ones lucky enough to see a group of dolphins jumping off to the side of our wake. They were too fast to get a good shot, but here's some whale action:

Sea birds on top of the cliffs.

There were awesome rock formations everywhere, this one is a favorite spot of a large group of seal lions.

Puffins nest in the cracks of the cliffs and dive down to the water to feed.

Getting close to Aialik Glacier. The air is cold and so still, quiet except for the sound of the calving of the ice. Everyone began using hushed voices as if we were in a church because we were so in awe.
There's a sea otter!

Aialik Glacier

More sea lions and rock formations.

I was a gorgeous trip and an awesome day. Next year I'll do it earlier in summer to try and see more migrating animals.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Apartment

The Good
Directly out my bedroom window.

The Bad

Hey Y'all! That's butter! 'Bout ready to fry me some chicken and everything tastes better with butter. Unfortunately, that's also an electric range. Damn.

What kind of loser complains about a king size bed? The kind who's 30 with no boyfriend, no kids and no pets. Although I do have a habit of sleeping with my clothes. My good friend Ashby, graphic novel illustrator, Psycho Cat sitter and tequila expert, dubbed it my laundry boyfriend. I guess LB will be putting on a few lbs. with the upgrade but it takes up alot of room.

Then there's the fake plants and the suede. I already stashed two fake plants in the hallway closet but that fakus just won't fit. And the suede! Don't get me started. But it's comfortable and I can actually stretch out on it so whatevs. Now let's get a close-up of that "art"...

The Just Plain Ugly

Wow. This is a fishing/hunting town in Alaska so I'd expect no less, it's just not really my style. But since I'm a broke ass 'til next week, I haven't been able to replace it yet. Trust me, it's at the top of my list. The very, very top.

and here's a new category- The Very Best
They clean my place once a week, change out my towels and linens and stock my coffee, toilet paper, paper towels, soaps, etc. I'd move back to the Dealor apartments in MethCentral, California for that kind of treatment. Maybe not.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Living in Fear

My neighbor, 3o years, three TBI's and about 4000 brain cells ago.

Today we went over emergency situations at our school's staff training. Just as the principal, (who kicks ass, by the way) mentioned earthquakes, we got hit by one. It was small but noticeable and I can expect many more. Then I got a giggle fit when he said we have axes, picks, and shovels in our preparedness kit, in case we have to dig our way out after. You wouldn't hear that in San Francisco. At one point they started talking about making sure we have enough masks in each class and I realized they're for the ash when the volcanoes erupt. Last year the community had a shooting 3 blocks from the school and one at the hospital. Our assignment of roles in an emergency includes a mortician and search and rescue. Gangsta.
But, all that is nothing compared to the fear I felt when I saw my new neighbor loitering around my apartment. When we met yesterday, she was carrying a poodle thing on her hip and speaking to it in that dumbass way that kooks do. She was having a little trouble walking and then she looked at me...crazy eye to the max. She informed me that she's had three brain injuries because she "just keeps falling on the concrete" and would have to write my name down on a sticky note. From the way she was acting and the cup she was holding, I can guess what the contributing factor to those falls was. Anyway, Old Kooky Hooch Guzzler has a million potted flowers outside. Kinda spruces up the place but I can see she's trying to creep over towards my crappy lawn chair and butt can area. Hopefully she'll forget we met and won't keep talking to me but that's just not the way it goes in my world.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hackey Sack and Scabies Anyone?

Antony Bourdain's show is in San Francisco! I love him. Not like I love Mike Rowe though. My love for Mike is, well....dirtier. Sorry Brother.
Anyway, Anthony Bourdain still has my heart because he travels and loves greasy food and meat and martinis and says things like, "If God has taught us anything it's that he wants us to eat oysters and bacon together with a martini." That poetic title above is his as well... the Haight, of course. Right now he's at House of Prime Rib, 2 blocks from my apartment. Excuse me, my OLD apartment.
There's a strong tradition of repression and denial in my cultural heritage that prohibits me from talking about my feelings on the subject of leaving my city, but here I am having a 'moment'A lot like the glacier photo, no? Just very different forms of beauty.

Cuban sandwiches in the Mission, crab in Chinatown! RED'S JAVA HOUSE!!! Anthony, how could you? I'm all verklempt, talk amongst yourselves.