Monday, October 17, 2011


Went to Fort Bragg a few weekends ago with Jessie Rae and Reid, my Olympic team. Little did we know that the town was in the middle of a full on manhunt for a 2x murderer. We did not get murdered and had a fantastic time. Pretended we were an earth conscious bicycle gang during coastal clean-up day. I was very grateful for Reid's ick stick when I found a sleeve, ripped off and abandoned in a private cove. I once dated an oyster farmer who joked about being stuck out on the flats at low tide with no TP. The ripped off sleeve was his favorite solution.Ran from a snake while picking berries. Reid may or may not have seen it and failed to give notice. He was just jealous that I picked twice as many berries as he and the missus put together.

Visited the North Coast Brewery. I felt their beer selection was one of the best I've seen at any brewery. And they have heavenly waffle fries with garlic sauce. Their abbey style Belgian, "Brother Thelonius" is delicious and Old Rasputin, Old Stock, Red Seal Ale, Pranqster and Scrimshaw are also very tasty. I got the sampler, ok. They're mini glasses, don't judge.

Ate a ton of delicious food raised and cooked by the members of Portuguese communities between Rio Vista and Fort Bragg. The gathering was for a festa and to celebrate my friends' engagement. Someday I'll actually make it to one of the festas but this time I just lazed around the campfire, ate goat, drank homemade wine and wished I spoke Portuguese. I do know "dĂȘ-me dois beijos" which means "Give me two kisses." Jessie taught me to say it to an old man at an SF restaurant. And I got two kisses.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Joined a hiking club. Met some good, fun people from the club and from work. I like where I live, alot. Like my students and my coworkers. Still love being a speech therapist but feeling the need for some inspiration. Hopefully I'll get that at our annual conference next month in San Diego. Work has been taxing, tiring and trying but really I just need to kick it in gear.
Here are the long ago promised photos of my cute little cottage. Decorations, curtains, basically everything you see by Older sister.
Love my Wedgewood stove and vintage sink. Still love my Alaskan brewery pint glass collection.
Love my bargain living room. Love my couch and extra storage coffee table. Everything bought second hand for $145. Top that.
Love my Formica table and the pink chairs Sister just happened to have sitting at her house. Don't love the ladder but getting used to it. Love the butcher block with drawers in the kitchen.
Love all the windows. Love that my dresser from my SF apartment makes a nice entry with more storage. And that it was free. Love Hieronymus Bosch painting in my old art book.
Love my Ball Jars as a solution for food storage. Love my tobacco tin as spice storage. Love my antique yellow fruit bowl. Love how my handmade by The Sister curtains let the light in. Love the view from that window. Deer, ravens, blue jays and squirrels like to hang out there. LOVE the stackable washer and dryer on the back porch.Love my split personality home. My pink alarm clock and my "side table." Don't really love the air mattress but a rug under and a memory foam topper were a big help.Love that my down comforter was retired and has been camping all through Alaska but made the perfect comeback in my tiny bedroom.
Love the view out the back row of windows. Love thinking that I'll have a fire with family around it at some point. But most of all, love that the beach is two blocks away and the sibs are two hours away.

But, don't go getting any ideas. I'm here for a good time, not a long time.

Thursday, August 18, 2011



Solved.A whole wall of closet space easily accessed and hidden. Perfect. Yes, that's my fishing pole and bear mace up top. Girl's gotta be prepared.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Beach Hut

Here's another reason, in my long list of fantastic finds, that I think I have fabulous Craigslist luck. Never saw this place, signed an agreement by fax, wired the deposit money and then wondered if my head would clear the sleeping loft. Turns out it does, but not the shower head. What's new.
I love my new tiny cottage. It's a very short walk to Asilomar beach and a little bit of a longer walk to downtown Pacific Grove. I've spent the last two afternoons laying in the sun on soft, soft sand, reading my nerd book to my heart's content. Soon I'll post interior pictures.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Ok, there are many things I didn't post on in the past month and to be honest, the future of this blog is hanging by a thread. But, I'll try to give it some attention for now. Where did we leave off? The brother came to AK, the parents came to AK, everyone had a great time and caught some fish. I had a magical summer and then it was time to say goodbye to AK and AK friends. That was rough.
Then I drove about 3,500 miles by myself in only 5 driving days. My ass may never recover. Here are the only photos I took. Next post: 100 reasons why my new place is awesome.
My friend, Blackbear. Somewhere in British Columbia.

Cousin dubbed this the "Rape Inn" when he saw the photo. Slept in my car and just used the shower house. No locking door and a black widow on the pipe. That's lodging in The Yukon.

Pioneer Plaza in Portland. Apparently, I could've driven to Times Square instead.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Juneau Falls

Pretty purple Lupine in bloom.

A glimpse of a lake below.

An eagle's nest high above.

Marty and I set out on this hike with the misinformation that Juneau Falls was a 5.5 mile round trip hike. Turns out it's actually 4.5 miles one way but, it was an easy walk with little elevation gain and some nice views. Nothing spectacular but definitely enjoyable. Juneau Falls is on the 38 mile Resurrection Pass Trail which travels between Cooper Landing and Hope. Like many hikes here, it was hard to tell when we'd hit the destination. "Juneau Falls" was not the waterfall I was expecting and we actually kept going for a while to make sure. Saw a great bear paw print past the falls but forgot to take a picture. The dogs loved the trail and we felt awesome when we learned we'd actually done 9 miles instead of 5. I would have liked to have taken backpacking gear and done the whole thing but the Moose Pass Solstice Festival awaited and time is of the essence this summer.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy 4th!

Click on the map to plot our travels and see how much driving you do in AK to get anywhere fun. Don't forget to notice the picture of the entire state in the lower right and note how big the Peninsula is comparatively.

We're headed to Girdwood today for their annual North Forest Fair and hopefully to hike the Winner Creek trail. I read an article that mentions a hand cart which traverses a gorge. Have to do it! Also picking up the brother from the airport in Anchorage tonight (!!) so I think I'll try to hold out until we pick him up and are headed back South. That way we can add extra weight to the cart and really test it.
The big 4th of July celebration and Mount Marathon Race are in Seward the next day so we're prepared to camp out somewhere near Moose Pass and head out in the morning. If all goes well, we'll get The Harding Ice Field Trail and some Independence Day celebrating in before heading back home on Monday or Tuesday. Wonder if brother is going to like the idea of sleeping on the ground for his first 2 nights of vacation?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Skyline Trail

My friend, Jade, came to visit at the beginning of June. We did quite a few hikes together and Skyline was the biggest beast of them all. It's a bit confusing because the trail head signage as well as trail guides say it's a 1 mile hike. However, the trail continues up past that mile to then traverse the ridgeline of the Mystery Mountains and eventually meets up with the Fuller Lakes Trail. Apparently, the "top" of Skyline trail is a view point a mile up but if you keep going, you come to a meadow type area with amazing views, wildflowers, and a cache box with a journal that hikers sign in to and also leave goodies in. We went approximately two miles (Jade was wearing a pedometer) but never reached that alpine saddle. A fellow hiker had told us of the cache box on the way up and I had wanted to get to it, but in the end, not knowing about the view, I decided two miles of nearly straight up hiking was good enough. Now I feel like I might have to do this bitch again, so I can get to the real top and not feel cheated.
The trail is at mile 61 of the Sterling Highway. It begins at an elevation of 450 ft and has a gain of 1800 feet in 1 mile. It is strenuous and one section in particular of wide, steep, loose dirt takes lots of careful navigating. Sliding down that hill would probably mean a trip to the ER. In all, the trail is more effort than I usually like to expend but the views, even at the fake top, and the feeling of accomplishment are worth all the cursing and complaining it takes to get there.

Not even close to the top and we started at approximately the same elevation as the lake.

A sample of the terrain, we had just come over that lip of rock you can see. Jade actually bloodied a finger at one point.

View along the way.

Jade waiting patiently for me to drag my wheezing carcass up another few feet. The man behind helps illustrate the angle. And that was an easy part
Yay! We're doing it!

Another viewpoint.

Another example of the terrain.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fuller Lakes Trail

Last summer my obsession was fishing. This summer I seem to be turning more towards hiking and have decided to share the trails I tackle on my blog. I recently joined up with the Kenai Peninsula Outdoor Club after finding their card in a coffee shop. This is a great group of people of all interests and skill levels that keep updated through a Meet Up website. Fuller Lakes Trail is the first outing I did with them.
This is a 2.9 mile hike one way with a 1440 ft. elevation gain. It was wet and muddy the day we went. We only went to the lower lake at mile 2 but that was still 1300 ft in elevation gain.
This is a nice hike but has been my least favorite so far this summer. The trail moves through vegetation and tree cover and you don't see much diversity in surroundings or get many good views. I just felt it was somewhat visually boring. This could have been due to the time of year (1st week in June) and the lack of wild flowers and berries. The lower lake was a nice resting and picnic spot. One member of the party opted to stay to fish for Arctic Grayling and camp out for the night.
The upper lake (1 mile from the lower) is said to be a good spot for Dolly Varden Trout and views of the Kenai Moutains. Maybe next time. Remember when looking at these pictures that is was a rainy and kinda gray day.

Mud on a flat trail is fine but at the steep parts it gets a little iffy. Thankful for my manly hiking boots.

The view from a break in the trees (finally). Skilak Lake in the background.
My regular hiking partners.
Misty Mountain hop

Portrait of a Lady

My favorite student art ever.

Apparently this is what I look like to a preschooler. When his teacher gave it to me, she said,"Hey, at least they're high and perky."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Busy Bee


Best part of the day! The "widgin." My adult Peter Pan hideaway fantasy come true.

Imagine the rowdy pirate parties.
The hike. The two streaks in the water are otters.
Beach Treasures
Beautiful table where we ate a delicious lunch feast. Still would have preferred the pirate table.

I have 10 minutes before work and have promised myself I would get something new up here. I've been very busy with summer and apologize for my negligence. We have about 22 hours of daylight right now and with a job (ok, partime job), dogs, flowers, guests, friends, etc, I'm burning them all.
My friend Jade was here to visit and started me out on a summer of local trail hiking. I'm going to post more about her visit and the trails later (I swear!) but for now, I started the story of Tutka Bay a long time ago and should follow up.
So... the city of Homer has an annual Shorebird Festival. One of the outings available through the festival was a Cooking Adventure. I'm all for anything related to food so I signed up. We took a water taxi out to Tutka Bay were there is a beautiful lodge. The owner is a very successful chef and was offering a short cooking class, a prepared lunch and a group hike. It was a beautiful day with great company. Not sure how many times I've said this but one of the things I love about Alaska is that I meet the most adventurous, accomplished women here. Here are some pictures of our day...
HA! Just kidding. The pictures are not loaded to my profile so I'll have to go searching for them later. Just one of the reasons this blog has become a little neglected.
To be continued.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

What would you do if I sang out of tune?

Lately, I have not been inspired to do this blog thing. My reader (singular) tells me it's time to post new material so I'll give an update.
I've accepted a job in Monterey, Ca beginning August 8. I have many mixed emotions about this which could be a contributing factor for this writer's block.
Alaska has been my home for 2 years and my friends here have become family. The thought of leaving is hard. On the other hand, it will be unbelievably nice to be close to my immediate family again.
Everyone tells me that Alaska gets in your blood. That once you've lived here, you'll always come back. I believe that to be true and there's already the option to come back next summer and pet sit for theses same labs. But, life has a crazy way of throwing out twists and turns and sometimes it's near impossible to get back to that one sweet spot. Lucky for me it always seems to work out, thanks to the friends who find me along the way.
Anyhow, turns out I'll be making the drive down the ALCAN because the job starts much earlier than anticipated and the ferry is no longer an option. Although everyone and their mother seems to be overly concerned about this, I don't mind. It's going to be long and boring but with a pace set that many people would not want to endure. You can help me out by giving me music and audiobook suggestions. 10-12 hours a day in the car leaves a lot of time for sing alongs.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Scavenger Hunt

I'm back at my favorite house with my favorite boys for the summer. Two weeks ago we took a walk along the river and found some treasures.

What remained of the ice

and what was left in it's retreat. My guys sharing a moose leg

Until Keetah found his own.

And Sabaka found something fishier. The riverbank was covered with various moose parts and fish carcasses. Today, they and the ice are washed away.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Taking The Waters

This image "borrowed" from the Facebook page of my friend and property owner, Debbie Boyle. Taken two days before we jumped in.

I had the best Saturday night! Friend Marianne is house sitting for the weekend at our friend's place with this sauna. We started the fire, made dinner, willed her little one to sleep and then she introduced me to the magic of sauna. Three rounds of serious sweating in 180 degrees, broken up by plunges into the icy lake. Let me remind you that it was 45 degrees out and other lakes in the area still have ice on them. Every time we ran into the lake, I screamed loud enough to wake all of Nikiski, or maybe just the one neighbor within miles.
When we were done, neither of us could stop talking about how wonderfully refreshed we felt. The baby was still sleeping like an angel and we were soon to follow. By the time I go home at 11, the sun was just going down and I fell into bed and slept until 8:30. Welcome back, summer! It's going to be a good one.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Alaskan Chateaus

A long time ago I said I'd post pictures of some true Alaskan type properties. These are two from Homer, more on Homer later. I meant to get a bunch of pictures to illustrate the independent, artsy nature of the community, but got sidetracked by my amazing day trip to Tutka Bay.
I went on the trip to Tutka Bay Lodge as part of the Homer Shorebird Festival to have a cooking class/lunch/tour/hike with the owner, Kirsten Dixon. I came across the event online and didn't realize it was a big deal until I met a baker at Bishop's beach (seriously) who was very excited for me. She confessed to having once stalked Kirsten in the Anchorage Costco but never worked up the courage to talk with her. Again, more on this trip later. I'm just waiting for one of the women from the trip to email me her photos because she had a fancy camera with it's own designated backpack so I'm sure they'll be better that mine.
Ok, back to the shacks. Don't get me started on the F'ed up priorities of today's Americans. Debt up to the eyeballs, worship of material things, more possessions than they can ever use, things replacing relationships, walls and technology replacing experience, no connection to nature, the worst nutritional choices possible... like I said, don't get me started. So, although these homes are unconventional, I admire them for the fact that they A)probably don't carry a mortgage and B) were probably built by hand.
I already sound like a raging, stinky hippie right now so I might as well go ahead and confess my obsession with all forms of residences that are: mobile, tiny, space and budget conscious, cheap, self sustaining, etc. My one requirement is a shower. Foregoing the right to shower is like one step away from patchouli, earth dancing and dreads on white people. Not ok.

This is really all it would take for me...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

She's Crafty

When Kell's Bells and I were in Juneau, I sorta made her buy a roll of bus tokens after a recommendation from our friends at the Triangle Club. Way more tokens than we could ever use on our short trip. I joked with her that I would either sell them to my other friends outside the liquor store (the ones that came to my aid when I smashed my face) or make jewelry.
Here's my handiwork. The plan was to give it to Kelly but to be honest, I really didn't want to hand it over. Unfortunately, this was the only coin shaped that way in the whole roll. So, if you're out there, riding the bus in Juneau, I'll trade you 5 shiny new tokens for one of these older, prettier ones.

Monday, May 2, 2011


It was the truck that originally caught my eye but that's a good question, Neighbor.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Beach Ice

That's the last of it. Spring is here and we're getting some much needed Vitamin D. Today we have 16 hours and 57 minutes of visible light and tomorrow will be 5 minutes and 29 seconds longer. 4 more weeks of school and then it's time to fish, walk dogs, camp, hike and cook. It's a rough life.