Monday, March 30, 2015

my hero!!

 had MW snap this shot with my iphone.  hehe.  came out pretty sweet...it's a keeper.  through the year I try to get a few fun photo's for the annual Christmas card...this one is for sure in contention i'd say.
 more from Fairbanks and the trip.  always fun exploring.  Denali was peeking out despite the not the best weather or road conditions.
 fun having all these dog teams on the road with us.
 you can see the constant line of cars headed to Fairbanks for the restart.  for Alaska interior this is traffic.  we can probably expect much more of this coming this summer. with lower fuel costs i'm guessing many are planning their road trips north to Alaska!!
 stopped at this wood carving shop headed back from Portage Valley today, was chatting with the guy in there.  he's figuring the road will be packed this summer.  great to have this pre-tourist season of an early break up to get out a bit without the hoards of tourists and RV's.
 the ugly igloo "hotel" looks better in winter than summer.
 as i drove towards Portage the rain came harder and harder...good choice, right?  oh well.  i think nature may have taken a layer or two of dirt and grime off of the element.  still lots of dirt left on it.  also Blossom got to go swimming in the little lake thing before you get to Portage lake. our goal was to walk the blue ice trail and we did a bit...it was windy and wet and some fool hiker didn't think to bring rain gear.  time to switch over a few things in the day pack.
 Blossom swam and chased her tennis ball so a stellar day for the girl..Rio came along so she was happy to be out and about.  sniffing stuff...always fun.
 we cruised into the Wildlife Conservation Center.  so strange and empty with nearly all the wood bison gone!!  eerie!! i hope they keep a few around and re-build the stock for future releases. not sure of the plan that way yet.
 all of the animals they flew up last week are doing well in their new temporary enclosure.  they will keep them in for a bit to let them destress and settle.
 rain or shine, it's always a pretty drive anywhere you go in this state.
 a few less steps than planned the past few days but my week overall still averaged over 10,000 steps/day!!  yeah!! had one slacker day yesterday when i didn't walk the dogs and just rested.  it happens.  today i didn't make it back home in time for the pool...tomorrow i shall swim. can't wait!!
 may have to head out aurora hunting if it's not cloudy tomorrow, it's supposed to be nuts again.  solar flares..gotta love em!!
 watching caribou at the center today and i started singing Neil Diamonds, "sweet caribou"!!  okay so i changed a few of the words a bit.  hehe.
 these are in Fairbanks...the team above was staying at my hotel.  just a few teams stayed at my place.  loads of teams were at the other hotel that my friends were at.  i think they were in heaven!!
 that evening i felt the need to walk...having been trapped in a car for several hours.  i had to explore our viewing options.  above is the trail in front of my  hotel, i followed it down another street to the river...Chena River.
 i'm still chilled from my walk in the rain today.  may have to just do a tub soak in a bit.  rain is always a chill inducer. i think we foolishly think it's relatively warm outside so we really won't get too cold but that rain will zap your warmth if you aren't careful
 another team at the hotel.
 drove to my friends hotel to eat that night. they had this cool mushing ice sculpture...!
 look how open the water is here...this is why they re-thought their plans and took the first bit to the streets and hit the river past my hotel.
 thanks KH for taking my photo here...
 3 nights work down.  a few nights and then back for three more.  tomorrow morning i really need to just make a bunch of appointments.  just realized it's almost April...taxes are coming due.  yikes!!  when did that happen?
 worked ER the first night and then ICU the next two.  same patients two nights in a row...so odd.
 not much iditarod news to share anymore.  a dog that has already been returned to it's handlers apparently got loose here in Anchorage. hope it doesn't have the same fate as the other dog that got loose here.  scary.
 i still have pictures to post so i will share those, maybe start to mix them with pics i've taken the past few weeks just out and about.  not too much out there to take shots of with break up which makes it nice to have all these fun dog pics to share.
 the morning of...such a beautiful location to watch the dog teams go by.
 my friends attempt to get and stay warm out there.  temps were about 0, a bit of the wind on the river which of course, makes it colder.  fun to run into this pair and have a few laughs over the next few days.  they turned out to be my travel mates...i had a car and they were unable to find a rental!!  totally easy going folks...
 great news on the WARIS front.  outside funding is coming together it looks like.  very hopeful for this summer and perhaps next summer as well.  none from the State of Alaska, so will have to try and guilt them into returning at least some of the funding in the future..
 happy to get some positive though. not sure if anything i've done has helped this to happen or if it would have happened whether i started WARIS or not. i'd like to think our group had a positive impact on this, but we may never know.  you just do what you think is the right thing and then hope you make some sort of difference.
 i can be pretty fearless to a degree in many aspects of life. it's made my life very happy...being brave, moving forward despite nerves and anxiety.  it makes all the difference.  not sure i've done that in every aspect of my life.  i still say fear is one of the biggest things that keeps people from  being truly happy.  often it's just easy to stay with what you know, being miserable can be comfortable i guess.  best to break away and be who you are meant to be.  some may be alienated from you, but if people can't accept you and who you are then you are probably better off finding new people to be around.
 life takes different tracks for all of us...what a dull place this world would be if we all lived the same life.  what would we talk about?  we only have so many days on this beautiful earth.  they shouldn't be wasted waiting for this or that to happen so that you can finally be happy.  i'll be happy when...really means you have allowed your happiness to be taken away from you.
 some days it's a battle to accept myself for who i am.  self esteem is a hard fought internal war.  in the end, i try to just be the best me i can be.  i try to be kind and compassionate with those around me.  you just never know some one else's path or story.  you may never know but we all have different lessons we are meant to learn and we are given opportunities to grow in the way we need to grow.
 sometimes i think i was just meant to learn to be independent, to stand alone and not be lonely.  to learn to be brave and harness my fears and overcome them.  harness my doubts.  trust in myself.  i have for sure learned to be a more caring and kind person through my work as a nurse and as a vet tech in the days before that.
 i really wasn't sure i could do all the nursing stuff we do. the first time i wiped someones arse i remember it occurring to me that no matter how bad it may be to wipe up someone elses poop....it's always worse to be the poor person in a hospital bed, humiliated that someone has to wipe your arse. that thought changed my whole attitude.  tasks are just that...it's what we do...but it's how we do those tasks that makes all the difference to the people we care for.
 i feel sad for so many nurses who seem to be sucked into their phones for such long stretches of their shifts.  they are missing the opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of those in their care.  like the WARIS stuff.  i may never know the impact of just a few minutes here or there, words spoken or written...you do the good stuff anyway  because every so often, once in a while...the impact is huge.
 we are all super hero's to someone.  we may never know it but i have discovered that often, when you least expect it, you have made the lives of others better. a joke, a kind word, a touch...the truth...all you need to do is engage...put down the phone, turn off the tv, smile at people on the street, chat with strangers...
 this super hero ice sculpture was my favorite i think.  pretty cool.  so much details.
 there were some pretty awesome wood carvings at that store today. there was an octopus that was crazy detailed and amazing. the guy i spoke to does more of the furniture, which was also beautiful.  he said his son does the majority of the other carvings. loads of little bears...the money item for the shop not doubt when the tourist come through. there was a walrus head out by the work area.  i was chatting with the guy and forgot to take the photo.  maybe i'll look through those pics when i get out of the tub and am ready for bed.
 snow had fallen on the ice sculptures. you can see the detail underneath.
 on to Chena this day.
 cool sun dogs at the Freddies.
 all info out there was written in both English and Japanese.  i'm more used to the English/Spanish...
 make shift refrigerator in the window.  low temps out there.
 a few from the "ice museum".  fun place, wouldn't pay the money to do a return trip, but it's one of those things to check off the list of stuff to do in Alaska.  haha.
 the ice bar...kinda funny looking at the building it appears to church like and then the bar is the focal point of the place it seems.
 i'll have to meander over to the Anchorage Museum.  they apparently have a captain cook exhibit of his exploration of Alaska.  should be interesting.
 better enjoy the museum while i can...everything seems to be on the budget chopping block.  well all the good stuff it seems.  we have money to have free pregnancy tests in bars and  fancy legislative offices but a program to train and maintain MD's in Alaska and the Walrus and Public Broadcasting...those apparently aren't worthy.
thankful for:  A.  a safe journey for the wood bison to Shageluk. best wishes on a successful re-introduction in the weeks to come B.  a potential return of funding for the near future for Round Island...it's not over, there is more to be done to help protect this place and the animals there but i'm over the moon with joy for positive news.  C.  rain and spring...bring it on!!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

and then the clouds rolled in..

 until then it was a beautiful day today.  liked above action shot.
 above a  Sweede, Matts Peterson.25th place.  i think by the time these folks come from other nations they have already gotten a bit of mushing experience.  i think they all finished.
 Next is Randy Beals, he came in 11th..not bad, not bad.
 trying to figure non-icy places to walk the pups...so today we headed out to Lake Hood and did the loop there. a friend often bikes that loop, i've never actually walked around the whole thing.  always love the planes.  did see one land out there today despite the ice looking a bit questionable in places.  looked like the landing went fine.  saw a few out there changing their ski's to tires.  that time of year.
 Rio was pretty slow getting around there. probably not the most fun walk for the dogs, but they are happy to be out walking.  Blossom does love her tennis ball time and there was none of that today.  it just gets sketchy out this time of year...break up.  it's never easy.  it gets us to summer though.
 a better shot of Randy Beals.
 no moose sightings today.  was going to go for a swim...in the end i took an afternoon nap and then settled in and watched American Idol. it's been awhile since i had a lazy idol night.  Rio likes couch snuggle time too.
 have had a good week...like keeping records of mileage. it really does help you be more goal oriented each day...despite my skipping my swim today.  i really do like living a more active life and it's the best way to get my body a bit more in shape.  i'm better at exercising more than at eating less.  as you get older you can't avoid the eating less part of the equation.
 i find i just naturally eat less crap as i get older.  i tend to bake less so that means a lot less, cookie dough and cake batter...i'm more of a snacker than a meal eater.  i just need to select better snacks.  chips are my nemesis.  i can limit chocolate way better than chips.  the best thing for me is to just not buy bags of chips that are at home. then i allow myself a little bag of chips with a subway sandwich or some at a party (which i am rarely at, haha).
 some days you just have to take a couch day and chill.  i got slack in between shifts a bit and that i need to fix.  i like the 10,000 steps/day goal.  that will help between shifts i think as well.
 Jeff King.  a friend who volunteers doesn't seem to be a fan, i like the guy...not that i've met him.  i don't need to eat lunch with him though or socially interact with him.  he's innovative, seems to love mushing and his dogs.  he's got some cool dog gear.
 not sure where the outside funding is tentatively coming from for Round Island. is it someone i've discussed round island with?  have i made any difference at all?  i may never know. i do hope that the funding comes through.  then we can start working on next year and the year after that.  working towards finding permanent partners to keep Round Island staffed and safe.
 sounds like fish and game made a trek out there.  probably to check stuff over and start to get set up for the season.  no walrus out there yet is the report i heard.  i'll keep you posted as i hear more about potential funding.  fingers are crossed and i am having a hopeful day.
 dog team on his cool gloves...he's popular enough he gets some pretty cool gifts.
 WARIS has been a bit of a rollar coaster.  some days are great, others stressful.  am i helping?  don't think i've made anything worse yet...i still could i guess.
 nothing happens if you don't try though.  gotta be the squeaky wheel some times in life.  i love that line from this movie...can't think of the name right now... "sometimes all a woman has is being a bitch".  it's true some times. being nice doesn't always work.
 as the back yard and front yard melt i become more and more stressed out....i will have to tackle the yard work soon.  i am not as stellar at yard work as i had hoped to be.  i keep saying money needs to be spent to get  others to tackle it.  with spring coming early it may be the best year to pay for yard care, at least to get it started down the right path. a nice lawn and some general landscaping would be good.  also there are some repairs that need to be made out back.  the leaf pile is still pretty much frozen..i tackle the yard poop...i am a poop expert so that i can handle on my own.
 i have a yard, i'd like it to look nice and be a lovely place to chill in the summer.
 people are surprised at how tightly packed we are in Anchorage.  for all our wide spaces we don't have tons of buildable spaces.  i also don't want to see our recreation spaces taken over for homes.  progress...it's not always progressive.  people will keep coming and they will all want their little piece of Alaska.
 as you add all these people and build more and more, especially on questionable lands...well, we shall see one of these days when the big quake comes again.  it's so easy for everyone to forget about the quake damage potential.  they haven't been here to see the damage a big quake can bring.  to keep this a great place to live, they have to keep the wild in this city.  so say i anyway.
 it's looking like the Kincaid moose are safe for the time being. seemed a silly idea to me anyway.  the less we mess with nature and the natural order of things, the better off they are.  humans seem to have this arrogant opinion that we can and should control nature.  kill predators here, kill moose and caribou over here..we unbalance everything and then wonder why things get all screwed up.  subsistence hunts are fine, as long as everyone just takes what they need and isn't greedy.
 not sure how many from the lower 48 should be given tags...the earth will balance itself.  humans unbalance it all
 read a disturbing bit of news today.  a plane crashed in France, all aboard were killed. it originated in Germany i believe.  it's sounding like the pilot stepped out of the cockpit and then was not allowed back in.  suicide?  terrorists? we may not ever know, but how awful for all on board and their families.
 pretty sure this helicopter was carrying Iditarod photography Schultz.  he's been their lead photographer for years.  he's taken some beautiful shots over the years and has been in at least one plane wreck. seems if you fly a lot in Alaska you will find yourself in a wreck eventually..especially the smaller planes.
 there are often survivors but often times there are not.  many well known Alaskan's have passed in crashes.it's part of life in Alaska.  i've had  a few iffy flights but i have always landed safely...knock on wood.  there are some dang good pilots up here too.
 in the hospital things come in waves....some summers we have what seems like a lot of this sort of accident or that sort.  one year it may be climbing accidents, another planes, another motorcycles..or moose vs cars or bear attacks...what will this year be?
 a bit disjointed tonight.  sorry..i have these stacks of papers and some days i just find myself catching up and seeing if there is any exciting news  or stuff that i have opinions about. i often have opinions about things.
 my opinion on these dogs is that they are super cute!!
 i think this is the other cindy at the bottom of the pack.  she finished the race.
 not sure how i'd do in the -50 degree temps these guys dealt with. i can be a wimp in the cold.  you just carry on though in a thing like this...you have to.  the dogs need to be attended to.
 not sure running dogs at those low temps is as fun as running them closer to zero.
 Wade Marrs, ended up in 8th place, right behind Jeff King
 Ringling Brothers are phasing out elephants.  rights groups have for years battled the circus and it's treatment of the elephants.  they are not admitting to bending to the advocates but they are phasing out the elephants.  it can't be easy for the elephants living in close quarters, constantly on the move. for the elephants this is a good thing.
 my pups caused a stir today on the walk . a woman got out of her car with her two pit bull cross looking dogs.  they were on leash, saw my dogs and then went after each other.  she was able to break it up and it looked like she put them back in the car and headed away.  didn't sound like a usual experience for her, she seemed surprised by the behaviour.  my dogs remained totally chill...gotta love my pups. they are pretty mellow, which i love.
 there has been some training involved.  not sure these dogs know the sit-stay-come commands. they know gee and haw and other mushing commands. Rio has her own commands to help her due to her blindness.  over, under, careful, steps.  dogs are pretty smart and they know a hell of a lot more english than i know dog.
 Pogi is going after the newspapers on the ground.  all for the recycling bin.  i seem to have less and less trash.  that will change a bit once i start clearing the yard...the dreaded yard work.  haha.
 this guy has a sweet face.
 we are getting close to the end of the dogs...then i'll finish up the rest of the Fairbanks trip, drop in some Northern lights shots and then whatever i take on these little hikes.  took quite a few on the beach the other day..sure was pretty down there. there are pretty things to see even during break up.

 these next two are both rookies...one out of Kansas? and the other from Kotzebue.
 pretty dogs.  often these rookies are running with other peoples dogs.  gives bigger mushers a chance to let a young group of dogs make a slower run to Nome and get experience.  in exchange they get dog care and training at their kennels. taking care of a large number of dogs is spendy and time consuming. i have my hands full with my two pups.
 i can't imagine all those dogs and all that would entail.  let alone living with all the barking and the dog poop...OMG...the dog poop!!
 they are adorable...but that is a lot of poop!
 these dogs in the Iditarod are being studied more and more.  how do they do it?  researchers want to know. the more they learn the more it benefits the dogs as well.  it may eventually teach us more about humans as well.  dogs and humans are best buddies.
 these dogs eat 12000-25000 cal/day from what i have heard.  crazy amounts of calories. they are burning through them with all that running. now the dogs take prilosec to help prevent ulcers which are common in sled dogs.  dog deaths in the iditarod have decreased over the years.  pressure was a reason for this but i suspect attitudes about dogs have changed as well over the years.
 dogs have always been loved in general.  over the past 40-50 years they are seen more and more as part of the family, deserving of care and attention. there are still those who just ditch dogs that are inconvenient for them.  there is more social pressure in general about dogs and the care they require in all homes.  in some circumstances it gets a bit ridiculous.  people think all dogs need to be treated like pomeranians that live in little outfits and are "walked" in strollers.  different dogs are created for different reasons.  they are adapted to a variety of life styles.  a pomeranian would not survive if treated like a sled dog and a sled dog would be miserable if forced into a pom's life.
 there are bad folks in every aspect of life and there are those who still see all dogs as use and lose as needed.  social pressure is probably most effective in changing these attitudes.
 well, another good day to catch up on my reading.  it's relaxing.  i'll have to get a snack and head to bed.  back to work tomorrow.  my nights off seem to fly past with me accomplishing very little of the stuff i set in my mind to get done...life goes on though
we are like the dogs, just keep running.  eventually i will get to Nome, right?   grateful for...A.  lovely days and long walks B.  allowing myself to be lazy and letting go of guilt C.  safe flights..they are a gift.