02 October 2013


Last week, Sadie and I decided we'd just swing on down to Seattle on the heel of receiving news that Grandma & Grandpa we're heading that way. If they were going to be on the west coast I figured it wouldn't be too hard to mosey on down so they could meet their first great-grandbaby! And to see Meg, Russ & Curren, and Amanda, Calais & Sonya. So much loving family for this new baby!

So we headed south. Sadie was a total champ on all flights, sleeping through just about all of them. Including the first, which was so rough the passengers applauded when we landed. Mom was more then a bit terrified, but only cried a little and didn't throw up! 

We were greeted in Seattle by Meg and Curren - how great to see them! Curren has started high school and we were lucky to be visiting to see his band play at the Bainbridge Harvest Fair. It was rainy and windy, but those guys were awesome!

Grandma & pa arrived the day after us, tired after a long trip, but elated to see us at the airport! They couldn't believe not only that we were there, but that Mom and Patty had known and not said anything! So much fun. We had a god time visiting, and Sadie was great at her first trip to an art museum!

Amanda and girls came over to the Island on Saturday. It was a short visit, but wonderful to see them all and introduce the newest Gibson. As Calais said, "baby Sadie is sooooooo cute!" We hit up the kids museum for a brief bit and I got a peak into the world of ushering these babies once they figure out how to locomote amidst a veritable sea of children and parents. Woah. 

Finally we were able to visit in Anchorage, at the airport gem Yogurtland, with Abby on the way south and Ian on our trip back home. 

And now here we are. And despite a fairly epically rough night, I'm feeling blessed and loved, and full of love for family and friends. And for this big world full of homes that can so quickly feel like a home away from home when surrounded by these family and friends. 

03 November 2012

New England, Part 1

After a week in beautiful, sunny Sitka (it's like that all the time, right?), I made it back to New England for a two week trip visiting family & friends. It's a fabulous time to sit back, relax, and *finally* update this blog! I'll try to get some older photos up from the summer, but for now here are some shots from my first week in Maine. Tomorrow I'm heading to MA to visit mom, grandparents, and friends there.

On my way from Sitka, I had a six hour layover in Seattle. We arrived on time, and I scooted on the lite rail downtown to grab a bite to eat and check out the art museum. There's an exhibit of women artists right now, and while I love the premise of the exhibit the bulk of it was modern/post-modern/neo-post-modern (I made that up) art which is just not my style. I know, I know. That sounds terribly old, Protestant and stodgy, but what can I say. I'm a Monet girl at heart (did you know in fourth grade we had a day to dress up as someone famous, and I chose Claude Monet? true story).

I had a great time wandering around the galleries, and was thankful for the airport reprieve.

Upon landing the next morning in Boston, I quick quick was on a bus heading to Portsmouth, NH. Chris picked me up around 10am and we had a fabulous morning in the sunshine, drinking coffee and watching crews trying to re-float a tug boat that had sunk at the Memorial Bridge site in the P. River. Can't spell it....sorry. It was fun to stroll around the brick of downtown Portsmouth, awed at what stores and restaurants are  still open and trying to remember those long gone. How very many many many hours I spent through high school on those streets, and how very different they seem 15 years later.

Up in Rockland, Chris went to the market for lobster, steamers, and mussels. So.Freaking.Good. I felt oh-so-grown up, as this is very much a family dinner for us. I don't know if Chris felt the same, but I do know we both had to look up on the internet how long to cook a lobster. That's just a dad thing in my mind...it was so fun to be in my little brother's house, cooking a grown-up family dinner. Love.

Chris, a terribly gracious host, slept in the barn and gave me his room. Our great-nana's quilt is on his bed, our mom's paintings are on his walls and her mixing bowls on the shelves, our dad's crazy found-art adorn random corners all around the house.  Love love.

 The coast of Maine is beautiful. Growing up in southern Maine, I didn't get north much beyond Portland. I loved the inlets and bays, rocky shores, heart and soul of commercial fishing. Just like the first time I opened "National Fisherman" and saw Perkins Cove and Homer Alaska on the same page, I could see home here as in there.

Maine, however, has ticks. Gross. Not up by dad, but when Chris & I went for a run with Shaemus (hi, buddy!!) we came back and found the creepy crawlies all over. Lime disease is hot up here, and I want nothing to do with it. Chris discovered that Shaemus doesn't really mind being vacuumed!  It seems he might kind of like it...

I stole down to Portland for a night (the night Sandy struck!) to visit Katie and Aaron, some of my few friends from high school. Katie since fifth grade, when we'd figure floor, play real live Clue, WWF, collect water, jump in the bushes, attempt to ski, lip sync, ouiji board, eat at LaStellas, ride JJ Supreme, suffer through school, play in the Valley, dress up, dress down, and just hang out. 

Katie is living in Portland, along with Aaron and a number of other folks from school - many of whom I'd love to see and am sorry to have missed. Next time....this time around we had some dinner and enjoyed the storm.

I headed back to Rockland, where dad and Donna picked me up the following day. On the way home we stopped in Bangor at Hollywood Casinos! My very first casino. Thanks, Dad!

I lost $30.

I learned that I hate the feeling of losing money. But, since dad gave me the $50 to start with, it's kind of like I made $20 since I got to keep the change. Right? Donna and I had fun at the roulette table. 

Last night we took the pontoon boat out with friends Debbie and Arthur for the last boat ride of the season. It was a most beautiful night on the lake, with laughs, family and friends. A most fabulous trip to Maine. 

 Tomorrow I'm heading south to MA, looking forward to a visit with mom, grandma & grandpa, aunt Patty and family, and friends. It's been a wonderful first part to this trip home, and reminds me that I just must prioritize this trip more regularly.

17 July 2011

Harambe(e) Gardens, July

P7150206 We’ve been blessed with sunny skies so far this summer, but not terribly warm temperatures to accompany the nice weather. Things are growing along, however, with various layers of protection and crossed fingers. As always it’s a grand experiment, and a venue for heaps of learning and note-taking. Feelings of over-planting here, and under-planting there, will bear themselves out over the season. It’s hard to believe that it’s already mid-July, but that’s how summer tends to shake out – full-on until one morning you wake up and it’s dark and November. And you start wondering when would be the best time to head to Mexico..

But here we are, mid-July and in full swing of garden-life. (in addition, of course, to the work-life and the adventuring-life) Yesterday I cut my first real flush of flowers.  I’ve been picking at them over the past few weeks, a small bouquet here and there for the house. But I held off for a bit to really see if I had any capacity to create a bouquet of flowers that did justice to their vibrancy and beauty.

P7150202 It’s no secret that I’m fairly enamored with this idea of cut flowers, but without much background to guide me. It may just be in the genes, as my dad decided one day to turn a field into a cut flower side-business while I was in college. I think I got the feel of it, although it took awhile with some serious back-and-forth. I made 9 bouquets, some printed tags, and off I went to deliver around to friends and family (and one to Wendell, since he was right down the road). The first delivery of Harambee Gardens! Woohoo!

P7160235 P7160239 P7160240 P7160241 In addition, I also ate my first strawberries from the garden this weekend. Still heaps of most-beautiful spinach (Tyee, the best variety I’ve grown so far), mustard greens, mizuna (mostly bolted by now), kale, and radishes. I think I see some wee-baby plums on one of the trees, and the mock orange and monarda rose shrubs that I got from Fritz Creek earlier this summer are beautiful in bloom.

P7100182 P7100184 P7100186 P7150199 The chickens are loving their new aviary/coop…they are much more skittish than they used to be, but that’s good since they are already such easy prey…no need to have them sticking their long necks through the chicken fencing to greet us when we walk up like they did at first.

P6250102P6250097 And anyways, I’ve found the key to their little chicken hearts – jewelweed.  They eat it voraciously out of my hand, so much so that it boarders on creepy. But I love our little chicken flock…I’ll get some pictures up here soon (the one above is from when we first put them in the coop, the “aviary” is above).  Many many thanks to Nola for chain-sawing their space into being!

Of Mountains and Halibut.

The summer has largely been gardens, growing, watering, weeding, harvesting and planting some more. During July we’ve made it out and about a couple of times so far to adventure beyond the innumerable house projects.


Over fourth of July weekend, Ben, Kaya, Pemba and I headed over to spend a couple of nights exploring up on Portlock Plateau across the Bay. We moored the boat at the Saddle Trail and headed over, across the tram, and up the glacier-side to Emerald Lake. Whew ~ that trail has not had much love lately. It was definitely in worse shape than in August of 2008, the last time I was up there with Rachel and Jen. Despite a brief period of bad-attitude (while mired in mosquito/devil’s club-uphill-hell), it was a most-fabulous trip. Sleeping in a tent again was fabulous, cooking out and having the dogs in the mountains. I love it all. We found snow, beautiful alpine plants, steep cliffs, sapphire lakes, mountains mountains, glaciers, and the Gulf of Alaska! Oh, and Pemba found a porcupine. We held her down and removed the 30+ quills from her face, but it begged the question – what if that were Kaya? It’s on the list to consult with the vet about bringing some doggie-downers out with us for extended trips.


These are long days for the dogs, who aren’t accustomed to 9 mile days running back, forth, up and down. Kaya slept like a champ, and definitely seemed to be in her perferred environment. Pemba had a lot more concern about the world, and spent a lot of time shivering. On the second night we let her into the tent…she was so beat from all of the running she didn’t even try to take over all of the prime sleeping spots like she normally does. P7030140 P7030142Looking east down the mountains to the head of Kachemak Bay, across the Portlock Valley and down the Martin River valley.P7030145 P7030148Looking west, down at Grewingk Lake, Halibut Cove, and the Spit off in the distance on the right. P7030151Ben, full of joy, pushing large rocks off of high cliffs....P7040168Last weekend, following our fabulous alpine-adventuring, we headed out into the Bay/Inlet with Jason and Annelisa to try our hand at halibut fishing. It was a glassy day out there, beautiful and chock-a-block full of boats! I actually just forget about the sport fleet – all of those folks who head out at the crack of dawn for a chance to bob around with a weighted, hooked line a couple of hundred feet down on the bottom of the sea floor. We spent nearly 8 hours, moving a bit from here to there, trying to “feel'” the fish way under.

P7090170 P7090171Pemba {hearts} fishing. P7090178 Charlie and Elias joined the efforts for the day, and caught 3 nice flatty fish. For our efforts we came home with 3 ‘buts and a cod. Some of which we froze, but also that night we had a good ‘ole fish fry and it was goooooood. It felt great to be out fishing, and to catch my first halibut ever! After scanning the heads of 150,000+ halibut, it was gratifying to pull one off of the bottom myself. I didn’t even check to see if it was tagged… P7090177Ben caught a halibut! P7090180And so did I! I contend that mine was bigger, but in all of the excitement I forgot to check. So….we’ll just go with mine was bigger.P7090181

10 July 2011

Southern Exposure

Earlier this summer I took a quick 5 day trip to Charleston, South Carolina.  After twenty hours of transit, I arrived to a heat wave that had the residents complaining of the temperatures and humidity.  Last I checked, 65F = shorts weather, so I didn’t have much to prepare me for the 90+ days with high humidity.  Nor, and I would say even worse, for the –15 air conditioning at the hotel/conference center where I stayed.  I was in Charleston (to be correct, it was North Charleston (and a strip mall)(2 miles from the airport)(not that I’m complaining)) for the River Network’s annual River Rally.  This year was no less inspiring than 2009 in Baltimore, and I’m ever-grateful for the opportunity to spend a couple of days with hundreds of professionals who dedicate their lives to saving our rivers, our fish, and our wildness, for our children and our collective sanity. 

The conference was great, but so too was the exposure to the South.  In many ways it felt like traveling to another country.  I saw and felt very little of my cultural and daily life reflected around me while there.  I took one day and strolled downtown, taking pictures, trying to not pass out from the heat, and generally loving the different-ness of it all.


I started the day at Waterfront Park, at a fountain full of gleeful children, surrounded by hot and resting parents.  There is something so special when the temperatures are extreme, in one way or another, and people come together to cool off or warm up.  City parks are fabulous for people-watching, and in the heat of summer, people-watching opportunities abound.


Of course, you should be aware of the park rules while people-watching, or cooling off in the fountain.  Specifically not permitted is “running, boisterous, or rough play.”  Lest we become too boisterous in the fountain.

If you’re feeling too boisterous, you might consider getting an Italian Ice.  From the Italian Ice girls, of course.  On nearly every street corner there was an Italian Ice cart, staffed by an attractive 20-something offering free samples.  This boy in the red shirt is partaking in an Italian Ice, and from the other side of the street I felt I was witnessing an integral part of downtown Charleston summer culture. 


Charleston is really old.  My hometown is also really old, and it was so enjoyable to read plaques on houses, street corners, and in the parks that told some snapshot of a long-ago history relative to that place.  Executed and buried gentleman pirates in the nearby salt marshes was one of my favorites. 

The houses were HUGE.  I mean really really large and excessive.  An often quoted statistic from this area is that along these streets are the highest property values in the country.  I wanted so badly to see a resident from one of these places.  Just see them, maybe carrying in some groceries?  Or going out to the movies?  Who are these people?  What is it like to grow up in one of these places, to come home after a trying day, or after a romantic date or after just another-day-at-the-office to a 10+ bedroom home? 

Apparently you don’t need a normal bank.  You need “wealth management” services.  We’re not in Kansas anymore…P6050320



As best I could see, peering in the gates and being as nosey as I dared, the gardens and yards were incredibly well manicured and lush.  The churches, which were plentiful throughout, offered an opportunity to stroll through some of the backyards into the cemeteries, which were similarly maintained.


But then I found the Unitarian Universalists.  If I weren’t buried on a hilltop, on a mountain or by a free river, this is the kind of place I’d want to be buried.  Beautifully wild and cared for, with love around every corner.  Here may have been as close as I felt to home as anywhere on the trip.