28 June 2008

family time!

summer solstice has come and gone, and i refuse to speak anymore on this topic.  too depressing, as the weather here has not indicated to me, or anyone else, that summer arrived at any time.

my little brother flew down to anchorage last week, and hitched a ride down to homer to spend a few days with us - me, kaya, and the new dog shaemus!


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on monday we drove up to anchorage to pick up our mom, who flew in from boston to spend two whole weeks up here!  we surprised her, both with chris and two dogs! i think the dogs are growing on her, and regardless she's been a great sport. 

we then drove up to fairbanks and brought chris back to work with the alaska smokejumpers.  he gave us a tour of the base, where the alaska fire service rents space for the smokejumpers. it was *so* cool.  i was super impressed, and really excited for chris.

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katie let us stay in her cabin, and it was great to be back on army road - aside from the freaking swarms of mosquitoes!  holy camoly they seemed bad. maybe i'm just getting weak now that i have a damn-near-constant sea breeze keeping them at bay. 

we went goldpanning at gold dredge #8, up in fox.  it was so funny - i've never considered going goldpanning, but it was fun - i could see the potential for grabbing a pan, some food, and heading up north to try my hand....really it was just fun to try taking some pictures inside the old dredge (they'll mostly be up on my flickr site).  the tour was pretty weak, but i did learn that issac newton invented .... gravity.  it's a little known fact, but there ya have it. 



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i seem to be an old pro at this!

for the drive back to homer we were blessed with incredibly beautiful weather!  not a cloud in the sky, and denali was in all of her glory on the horizon. it was awesome!  we stopped at wal-mike's on the way home along the parks highway and found some unique treasures...

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we were going to stay in anchorage, but the pickin's were slim...we ended up passing on the 'arctic bed and breakfast':


and moved on to indian, alaska, where we rented a little cabin on the side of turnagain arm - it was absolutely lovely! not to mention the store that was right next door:

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who says i am not able to show my mom a classy time in alaska? 

02 June 2008

spring = whirlwind of activity!

april and may proved to be amazingly busy months this year!  it's hard to believe that the craziness of "spring" is already over, but that being said it's  nice to be able to sit for a minute, drink some tea, listen to npr and look back on the past two months.

major happenings (some of which have been previously mentioned):

two new roommates!  jen moved in the first week of april, coming from hawaii to work through the fall on island conservation in the aleutians.  kaya and i have someone to talk to aside from ourselves and we are very happy about this development in the household.

blaine just arrived last week, driving down from fairbanks after successfully defending his MS and graduating - he marched and everything! 

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here's a picture of blaine, in case you weren't familiar with him. we lived together in fairbanks a few winters ago, and he is a dear friend if not a little bit gross and out-of-hand much of the time.  robin (my co-worker with the IPHC), myself, and jen (the new roommate) ran the shorebird migration 5k fun run...jen came in 2nd for women, and i was behind her coming in 3rd. yeah!

my little (not-so-little, but certainly younger) brother flew up to homer from bend, oregon in april for a visit before heading up to fairbanks for rookie training with the alaska smokejumpers.  i'm incredibly happy and proud to report that my brother is an ak smokejumper now, having survived training.  i had an absolutely amazing time with him, and miss him heaps.  he and kaya had some solid napping time together while he was here.

emily visited shortly after chris left, and then a few days after she headed back to fairbanks, i drove up to anchorage to pick up my aunt patty!  it is always so wonderful to see this place, my current home, through the eyes of someone new.  similar with my brother, my aunt just couldn't stop exclaiming how beautiful it all was.  "WOW!" was pretty much the narrative of the trip.  that and, "oh! can we stop and take a picture?!".  it was heaps of fun, and wonderful to be able to spend so much time with my aunt, who i see and talk to so rarely! she put up most all pictures from this trip (including many many mountains in duplicate and triplicate) on

her flickr site.  i also have photos from this trip on my flickr site (link on the right!)

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after patty left, blaine showed up, i dumped my dog with him, and i headed off to new england for my five year college reunion at mount holyoke. 

it was incredible.

 P1010126 gets and i & mhcP1010086                                          the delles - my home for three years

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things of note from this trip:

* new england in the summertime. i am always there in december, when it's crappy and cold and gray. yeah, well so's alaska but we have mountains.  but being there in the summer....oooh....i had forgotten.  this trip opened up the remote possibility of moving back to my home-region in the country.  that being said, how does one leave alaska?  this is a very serious question i have, and one that i would love to hear feedback on. do people read this blog?  what would be your thoughts on this?  where does one live, where do you look for work, what kind of sacrifices do you make and what is ultimately most important?  also, how hard is it to go back?

* i loved college.  a lot.  so i'm a big fat nerd. understood. but i loved it and i got to go back. and sleep in a dorm bed, and walk around my beautiful campus and breath in how grossly privileged and lucky i was/am and how happy i am do be able to always, always go back. at least for a long weekend....that being said, i was overwhelmed with the full understanding that my experience at mhc will never ever be touched by another similar one in my life.  living on campus, feeling so safe, and as if the entire world was at your fingers.  very good timing, as my student loans just went back into repayment and i best be remembering why i owe the government my soul.P1010104P1010121

* what fabulous people!!!  good friends, old acquaintances, all-around interesting people-dynamics.  i love it.  i talked for a long time with my roommate-for-the-weekend about her current MBA program at brandeis in boston, specifically in NGO management.  i am very serious in saying that i am strongly considering such a move...more on this later, perhaps, but deep interests have been sparked in the past year and it ain't about science-y sorts of stuff...

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i got to hang out with my mom and my grandparents while i was in western mass as well, which was wonderful! my mom is coming out to alaska at the end of june, and i'm really looking forward to the visit!

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here's my grandma, toasting marshmallows for s'mores on the grill. and a picture of my mom, from a hike we went on 4 years ago!  stay tuned for updated pictures after her trip north!!

emily and the band (the bac'untry bruthers) had arrived in homer while i was gone, and our household was joined by emily and emma, still lookin' for a livable place to kick it for the summer.  she's now off at her job training (job = naturalist at the wynn nature center. training = tidepooling across the bay. i'm going to puke. have i mentioned that i scan fish?)  and i'm watching ella-dog while she's gone.  it's kind of like a dog-daycare here, toys strewn about and a third dog that we picked up earlier on the beach (hannah's dog shaemus who we watched for the evening). 

i'm diggin my solitude for the next few days, however!  i have all of the lumbar to start work on my kayak...there has been expressed doubt, but all's i have to say is "whatever". yep, that's my comeback.

i'm using robert morris' book:


from someone's personal website, here's a picture of what i'm aiming for, as far as the frame goes:

morris kayak frame

so far, i've built two sawhorses.

i think i'm ready .....