Monday, August 31, 2009

eklutna lake

i woke up late today and took the girls for a walk in the bog. i think rio is limping from the walk the other day. when we got back i decided i'd head a bit north and take a hike in eklutna. the lake is glacier fed and i think supplies our city with some water. the setting is quite pretty and there were some fall colours. the trail starts as an old, old army road. i didn't read about the trail til i got home..couldn't tell it was ever a road, but did see an old car that has fallen off at some point and had wondered how any car had ever gotten up there. now i know. it's a fairly wide trail, but couldn't tell it was a road. the trail is supposedly 2-7 miles..depends on where you go. there were 2 benches on the main trail and then it splits. i really didn't feel like hiking higher...the trail is pretty steep grade at times. i suspect my buns will be sore...(they arent' the buns of steel sort..haha..). i have a nice blister on my baby toe from coming down so i'm happy i turned back after just over 2 miles of going up. i'd had some lovely views though i know the views up top must have been even more spectacular...oh well.
the trail is called twin peaks and there they are with some fireweed i think in the foreground. blossom was wishing there was some more water. i guess if you take the trail to the does lead to more water. she did fine and i brought her water gulpy with...there was a creek right before the car for her to lay in. she had a great day and is sleeping happily now.

love watching all the leaves change. just last week these were probably green.

used the timer and took a few pictures of blossom and i overlooking eklutna lake.

just had to add a few more fair pictures...well above isn't a fair picture. i got a surprise bouquet of flowers the other day. my mom's widow, rudy, sends me flowers on occasion...just out of the blue. very sweet. we chat on occasion. i have meant to call him and also playing phone tag with my friend quinton...he beat me to the punch with flowers. rudy, not quinton. quinton moved down to wyoming with his partner. boo hoo for me. i miss him. i'll try some phone calls tomorrow. was planning to do it today, but forgot to plug in my cell and there was no battery power. anyway...pretty flowers, eh? there was a flower display at the fair yesterday. i walked in and smelled all the lillies. those are actually my favorite. i could smell them for hours.

above is a cute goat from the fair and below is a very ugly turkey. i'm sure his mother loves him.
i couldn't not put a ferris wheel in the fair collection. i was just super tired by the time the pictures loaded and decided i was done for the night. finished watching "sophies choice". excellent movie, probably won't watch it again, but it was well done and the story was well written. selecting one of your children for the gas chamber is not a choice any mother could make and ever cope with. in the end both kids died anyway...would it have been better to just let them both go? of course, there was always the hope of survival and in those situations the smallest of hope is all one can hang on to. all seems pretty remote when you are looking at pictures from a fair i guess. we have such happy lives, but for so many others who have shared our earth life was not happy, it was filled with torment. i pray no one i know will ever know such horror. a life is long and things change.....
for alaska, anyway, life is still good and happy and i am grateful for this.

the alaska state fair..

so i don't like the rides at a state fair, but i do enjoy the action and lights. i was actually feeling woozey just trying to take the pictures of all the spinning and flipping rides. i have no stomach for carnival rides. the ferris wheel isn't too bad, but it's pretty high up.
went to the fair this afternoon. the alaska state fair. i don't go every year, but at work these past 2 nights those standard fair food favorites have come up and it seemed several people would be at the fair off i went. i have been eating cotton candy tonight and bought a funnel cake with powdered sugar. very healthy...but i only eat fair food on the rare occasion.
sadly, the merry go round wasn't running. the horses were pretty on the ride though. thought the picture turned out cool. alaska state fair is known for it's big veggies. when my brother, ross, visited i was surprised that he'd heard of the huge alaskan veggies and seemed very excited to check them out. the cabbage weigh in is still to come, but they did have some veggies out on display. this cabbage said it weighed some 90 pounds??

most of the piglets were sleeping so i just took a sleeping picture. gotta love the farm critters. baby anything is adorable, isn't it...well, those turkeys are sure ugly. i ended up meeting up with 3 co-workers by the chickens so we headed off to take goofy pictures with "hank" the moose. he's a real moose...stuffed of course. my friends husband asked a few questions and this moose is a pretty expensive guy. the photographer was the 3rd owner of "hank".

guess i didn't do a very good job at cropping my scan of the picture he took. i was trying to look all actiony. the moose was pretty tall and moved a bit when you sat on him. i get a bit nervous with the heights. we all had fun taking our turns on the moose though. not many people sit on moose...when at the fair you gotta be silly. i wanted a moose picture, but knew i needed some friends around to get it taken...who seriously gets on a moose for a picture if it's not mixed with a certain amount of laughter.
just finished 3 nights of work. i was mostly taking care of another head was a motorcross accident...the kid was fully decked out in protective gear, but going pretty fast. nothing in life is completely safe so you just gotta live it and hope for the best. sometimes luck just isn't with you. hopefully, he will recovery to some degree of normalcy. he is starting to move and all so it's not all bad. brains are just never know what the outcome could be. his icp's (intracranial pressures) never got crazy bad so that is a good sign.
the girl in the next room was made an organ donor, 5...very sad. we'll have to see how winter and all this swine flu pans out. could be another crazy flu year like we had a few years back. they seemed to be constantly flying babies in from remote villages who were extremely ill. if i recall, it was nuts at work, but none of those babies died so there is positive in my work at times as well as the sadness that seems to come with the job.
have done some bog walks and neighborhood walks and kelly called saturday so i opted to forgo sleep and take the pups out to n. bivouac with her and her friend. i took rio...hopefully, it wasn't too long of a walk. she seemed okay today so i took them to the dog park for a bit. i often think i'm not very social...then i go to the dog park or even the local trails and i must say i know many of the towns dog walkers. it takes me quite awhile to get around the dog park as i stop and chat with folks that i have known there for the 6-7 years i've lived in anchorage. it's amazing how many people you end up knowing that you don't know you know....hehe.
guess i'll get back to "sophies choice"....i've never seen it before. so far i like it...not a favorite though. watched a documentary last week, "into the arms of strangers, the story of the kindertransport". it could just be that i shouldn't have watched these two back to back.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

a mushroom explosion in anchorage...

i feel as though i am in alice in wonderland or in some sort of mushroom heaven. last year with so much rain we had very few shrooms. this year they are everywhere. i don't like to eat them, but i sure think they are cool. i seem to be taking loads of pictures of them so here they are. all types. i have no idea what the names of the varieties are. i know there are some edible ones out there, but not the brightly coloured ones. those are poisonous i think.
after walks in the bog and the neighborhood with rio,blossom and i have taken off the past two days to different parts of far north bicentennial park. there are multiple trailheads and they all interconnect. yesterday i turned back when i saw small black bear tracks in the mud from the days rain sunday. today i was wandering pretty far off and started seeing some bear scat. they are still out there and i'm still trying to avoid them. doesn't blossom look cute. i trimmed the hairs around her face. i'm not much of a dog groomer. luckily she's so cute that she can handle a bad cut.

some of these shrooms are so huge i thought i'd throw money on one to give some sense of size.

blossom enjoys a dip in the park.
loads of variety in the shroom department. i know there are books that help with identification...perhaps one day. i could take my old novels to tidal wave bookstore and trade them in..see what i can find. hmmm. i got all the recylcing in yesterday. it was risky....there were bee's buzzing all around the aluminum cans. so i did accomplish a few things yesterday. i have several family members with birthdays this month so tonight i made cake batter...great meal, eh? tonight i really need to get back to the bathroom remodel. i need to paint, get the tub glazed, change out toilet, light fixtures and then finish the floor tiles.

enjoy the mushrooms....

Monday, August 24, 2009

terror at the fireweed theater!!!

another picture from my drive the other day above. such a pretty week. below is a picture of denali from spencer loop trail the other day. friday i met up with kelly and we got some lovely views of denali and the alaskan range. the other mountain to the left of denali is foraker mountain. denali national park is a 5 hour drive north of anchorage.

above rio enjoys the sun on the deck the other day. below is blossom and one enormous mushroom. it had to have been about 10 inches in diameter. i was impressed.

i ran into a friend at the dog park today and he asked me to join him at the fireweed movie theater for a movie. so i zipped the dogs home, fed them and settled them in with their bones stuffed with peanut butter.

we were watching the movie, "up", and it was a bit long in the begining and frankly a bit depressing, but in the end the action picks up and it was getting really good...when suddenly the screen went blank and we were all told that they'd give us free tickets, but that there were "technical difficulties". it was all strange. as we exited under bizarre circumstances a few young men came in to make sure everyone left and i heard them say "have you checked the bathrooms". as we exited our movie we saw that they had stopped all the movies and all the people were leaving. my heart started pounding. i had no idea what was going on...was there a gun man, a bomb threat, was there some national event taking place that merited emptying out the theater. everyone was confused and a bit freaked out as we were escorted out without any explanation. i turned on npr immediately upon starting the car to make sure there wasn't some "9/11" event in progress. i was relieved that they were just playing music and drove home...when i checked the local news online i found out it had only been a bad roof leak related to the excessive rainfall of the day. why didn't they just say that!!!!

i slept like a rock today until 3:30 in the afternoon. i worked the last 2 nights so i do sleep during the days, but it's always odd to me that my body knows the weather outside. if it's sunny out i wake up much earlier and get outside, on rainy days, my body just sleeps longer. today...rainy. i got lucky at the dog park and it wasn't rainy too badly, but it did dump down this evening.

was supposed to be on vacay this week, but since i wasn't sure doing a roadtrip right after my back just got feeling great again, i opted to work 2 of my 3 shifts this week. our supervisor is out due to her son's death so i knew they were short. the other supervisor i told this to a week or so ago totally forgot. (i think everyone was more upset about the loss than we knew) ...anyway, i showed up at work thursday and they didn't have me listed. it was busy so they were going to have me stay and help out anyway...i knew i'd never leave til morning. i helped admit one patient, move another then got an admit of my own. then another nurse was totally going nuts with her pair so i ended up suggesting they move her spare patient over and i'd take him. we have loads of confused, impulsive people in the unit right now.

last night i worked again, my one patient was an almost 90 year old with dementia, alzheimers and sepsis. she was totally out of bed once, had previously already fallen at the nursing home. we'd put a urine drainage bag in her and there was just no explaining that to her. she just kept saying she needed to go pee....all night long...and trying to get up to pee. it was a long night. makes me appreciate those with the patience to work alzheimers units. it's such a tough disease and those nurses are saints who can really work with these unfortunate people.

watched "the life of david gale" the other night. as i watched it i realized that i had seen it before. he's against the death penalty and ends up on death row himself, wrongly accused of rape and murder. it is a good movie and i enjoyed watching it a second time even though i remembered the ending as the movie progressed. i'm not a person who would volunteer to die for any cause. guess i'm just not that crazy or passionate about any particular issue. the death penalty....for or against. it is final and i think there are some murderers who deserve to die because of the heinousness of thier crime. like a jeffery dahmer type where there is absolute evidence that he killed many people. it's not a good punishment for any sort of circumstantial evidence crime. i really think it should be reserved for absolute proof and especially horrid. my biggest issues with the death penalty are 1. that the financial costs are insane to actually go through all the court process required before the death occurs and 2. there seems to be some unfairness in how it's handed out. i mean a horrid serial killer in one state that has no death penalty gets life while a one time passion killer in another state could get sentenced to death.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

a day at the alaska zoo...

my day started early as i had a pick up scheduled for some old stuff i'd decided to part with. there is still much i could part with. i fed the dogs, read the paper and headed back to bed. yes...i still read an actual paper. i like getting the local news in the morning and i could read it on line, maybe one day. for now...i like to read the old black and white.
took the dogs for thier morning walk up the road and back. rio had a busy day yesterday so i decided to go easy on her. blossom and i headed off to meet my friend, lesley and her kids for lunch. first i dropped off another package at the post. i've been really lucky so far and no lines. so i was a little late. chatted with my brother, eric en route. we still don't have a don't talk on the cell phone while driving law. we may have passed a don't watch a movie and drive as some guy caused a fatal accident doing just this.
i headed to little campbell lake for a walk with blossom. it was a beautiful day out there. the big mountain, denali, was easily seen from the trail here in town. i always love getting a peek of denali.
then....the zoo! it's been several years since i've been to our local zoo. i support zoos though i wish there was no need for them. they do have a role in education and many have breeding programs as the species are killed off in the wild at least the gene pool can be saved. one wonders what the value is if the animal will never be allowed to be wild again. so i'm always a bit torn. i was trained as a zoo keeper through the los angeles zoo and was a volunteer zoo keeper there for years. the enclosures at our local zoo leave much to be desired in many cases, but i can see that there has been some improvement in these past years. this local zoo was started i believe when a local won an elephant, annabelle, in some contest. our zoo became the center of some controversy over the other elephant, maggie. it became a big thing to "rescue" her. she was eventually moved to a elephant retirement park. from the looks of it, she has adjusted well and is happy there. moving elephants is not an easy task and it was paid for by bob barker i believe?? i think there is more effort to have animals at our zoo that naturally live in colder environments.

above is a wolverine. this guy was playing. we have wolverines here in alaska, but i've never seen one. they are generally pretty shy. i'll say that they looked a bit different than i had expected. it was fun watching him play in the water with this log and a big burlap sack.

no snow leopards in alaska...well except 2. i love snow leopards. they are one of the most beautiful of the big cats. they have these huge, long fluffy tails that aid them in "flight". their enclosure could be larger, but i did appreciate that you could actually take a photo. most of thier cages make photography difficult.

the tiger enclosure was fairly large and i don't think we have to worry about one jumping out like one did at the san francisco zoo a few years back. i love the big cats and when i volunteered at the l.a. zoo i remember being totally impressed by the size of their heads. they are huge cats. i guess there are 2 here as well. amurs now, not siberians. i'd love to sight one in the wild, but an attack by one would be horrible. they are powerful and effective killers. i watched a show the other day and they said you can buy them online for less than $500 and this is a big problem as most private owners are ill prepared to care for a huge cat. people are such idiots some times. there are far more tigers in captivity than in the wild. few remain there.

a few more animals found in the wilds of alaska. i think all the animals that live in alaska at the zoo, were rescues from alaska with the exception of the second polar bear which came from russia originally.
so above is a musk ox...which i was on my road trip to deadhorse, i may see. below is a red fox. i think they are so sweet looking. they can sure cause trouble, these sly foxes.

a few more mushrooms pictures from todays walk. guess i forgot to put in the picture of denali.

this last picture is reeds from potter little road trip yesterday.
well...i think i may put in a net flix movie and crash. back to work for a few nights tomorrow night.

drive to seward

above is turnigan arm at low tide. it will totally fill up with the high tide. next is blossom swimming in seward. i like to go to lowell point and let the dogs romp in the sand . blossom loves to swim out there in the waves. there aren't really "beaches" in anchorage.

the sun was sneaking through the clouds on this lake. kinda looked like god had something to say to me. thought it was very pretty though.
gotta love reflection shots. these are just along the turnigan arm.

thought i would get out and see a bit of alsaka. it was a beautiful day out there and it was time to test out my road trip abilities. before that i called my sister and discovered one of the quilts i mailed yesterday will probably return here. apparently, my nephew moved and i never picked up on that or his new address. still live in texas right? hehe. here i was hoping to just hit the post office 1x and now it will take at least 3 tries. good thing i live near a station.

my friend kelly called while i chatted with my sister so we met up for a walk at prospect heights. rio's longest walk for weeks. don't tell the vet. we'll see how her shoulder feels tomorrow morning. her dog, mandee, was limping, but forgot about it soon after seeing blossom.

re-watched "thelma and louise" last night. haven't seen that for years. the first part was filmed at a bar i used to frequent in los angeles and used local bar folks as extras in the dance scene. i was working the nights they were filming so i didn't check into it. the silver bullet...that was the bar. i spent many a fun evening there two-steppin, swinging and tush pushing!! i do miss my nights out dancing. always had a great time and i must say...i was a pretty dang good dancer.

anyway, some movies are a bit of a disappointment when seen again. "thelma and louise" was a bit of a disappointment. thelma really just needed to be slapped for being such a ditz. i mean she nearly gets raped which results in a death and then picks up yet another man on the street and uses no common sense and their money all gets taken. i guess as i get older i have less tolerance for stupidity in women. there was another movie out at the same time as that one about 2 women that i really loved and still do. it was called, "leaving normal". it hasn't been made into dvd as far as i know. it never did as well at the box office. the two women happen onto each other and end up on a roadtrip to alaska. besides the fact that i wanted to embark on my own roadtrip to alaska one day, i loved the message that i found in the movie. it was about expectations and how life often turns out grander if you don't live it with pre-planned expectations of how it will all go down.

so anyway...drove down to seward and back. it's about 2 hours to seward. took me longer as i stopped to take pictures frequently. there are some fall colours starting up, just pretty out there. blue skies, fluffy clouds. there were a few pairs of swans. they were a bit off. may post more pictures in a day or so. it's getting late tonight. my late night seinfeld episode is showing credits....what now!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

walks, walks and more walks

so here are my friends from california, marcia,scott and lauren. they wanted to a picture with blossom so they could pretend they owned a dog. haha.
so it turned out to be a lovely day. i woke early to meet my friend marcia and her family one more time before they caught the bus to whittier to catch thier cruise ship. they got into town from california sunday so we got to hang out together then as well. since i woke early, poor rio had to wait til this evening for her walk today. i stuffed peanut butter in a bone and left her on the couch with the tv on. no tyra banks...i won't make my dog suffer so. we didn't have time for much but we walked a short ways on the coastal trail. i'm tossing one more picture in at the very top of marcia, scott and thier daughter, lauren.

after blossom and i met them we took off to kincaid park for another longer walk. we went to little campbell lake and then did the loop around the lake. i ran into a couple from scotland who were up here visiting thier son, who then had to take off for work for newfoundland...anyway, they were headed the wrong direction to get to the lake so i walked with them back to the lake.

above is from walk #3 with both dogs in my local baxter bog. anyway...the sun just came out more and more as the day went on. the clouds looked cool to me so i took the picture.

so the fall is starting to show up and probably will be blasting in within a week or so. the mushrooms are a sign of the times and they are popping up everywhere. i'm not a mushroomologist or anything, but i think they look cool. i've still never gotten into eating them and would have no idea which ones i should eat. i do know that the brightly coloured ones are on the toxic side. this mushroom in the tree is in kincaid today and the lake below is little campbell lake (old name beer can lake). some guy was out there swimming today, it did look like he had a dry suit on or whatever it is they wear.

more mushrooms from my walk saturday with chris, sharon and thier dog, cooper. we were on a north bivouac trail.

yesterday after i picked up marcia and family i took them to campbell airstrip trailhead for a walk. the 10 year old daughter was very excited about the dog being there and she happily walked along tossing tennis balls for blossom, which blossom happily retrieved. my friend marcia has always been highly allergic to animal dander. she seemed to do okay with blossom and driving in the element. the element is easy to sweep out and blossom, being a labradoodle, is probably a bit easier than some other dogs. i wouldn't let her near the inside of my house though.
after we walked we headed to one of my favorite local restuarants, the brewhouse, for dinner. i always recommend the king crab leg appetizers and the herb crusted halibut to guests and i always end up getting it myself just cause it's so good. they have other good stuff there, but when i stray from my favorite i find myself just a wee bit sad that i'm not eating the crab and halibut. they tried the halibut and salmon and her husband was wishing he'd gotten the halibut after he tasted it. we shared. the wait there is always a bit nuts and it's easiest to just head to the "bar" section and snag a table, which is what we did in the end. there is a wonderful shop right across the way from the restuarant that i love so i never mind waiting and drooling over all the great art and native craft there. they have great stuff there.
anyway, it was a fun day with marcia and family so i was happy we got to sneak in a few minutes again today. i hope they have a great vacation on the cruise.
so the mushrooms below are some of my favorites...seem like something out of alice in wonderland or something. i knew my friend marcia would love these and she couldn't resist taking pictures of them. we met in 7th grade. she's been a great friend. very influential for me. she always was asking questions....especially about religion. she wasn't raised with any religion so she was curious. her questions did begin to make me ask questions and see things in different ways. so many people that we meet in life have such influence if we only listen and learn the lessons that each person has to offer. i love meeting new people and i love getting to know people. my life would be in such a different place with out the great folks i've met along the way.
watched a fun flick last night. it was called, "the bands visit". it was actually kinda sweet. a police band from egypt goes to israel to play at a museum opening, but end up in the wrong town by accident. there is really nothing in this town and the locals end up taking this band in for the night.

was able to get the lawn partially mowed. it grows super fast up here. i often have to mow it 1-2 times/week. the weeds get out of control fast. i have no idea how those people with amazing gardens do it. when i walk by i don't see anyone working on the garden for hours on end, which it seems like you'd have to. today as i tried to get control of the raspberries that are falling down and the sunflower plants which had also fell over....the yellow jackets were out in force. when i went inside i noticed one had gotten tangled in my french braid. i'm really not fond of the insects. it took a bit of work to get it out and then i was so freaked out about the bugs i had to hop in the shower again.
below is another insect that's been out in droves. i actually enjoy dragonflies though. i think they are cool looking and i love when artists use them in thier various crafts. i did look them up the other night and they spend most of thier time in some sort of larval stage.
i looked up those salmon sharks as well. just curious. i guess they are closely related to the great whites and these types of sharks, along with just a few fish, are endothermic. they can get 6-8 feet in length. anyway...just had to check it out. i do enjoy the internet for such things. it said too that they tasted like sword fish , but must be gutten and bled immediately. now you know all i know.

these are just lillies from my garden. they seem to do well and are one of my favorite flowers. i tried to take them so you wouldn't see all the weeds. i think the orange ones snuck over from my neighbors. the old lady that lived there passed away a few years ago. before she got ill she had a beautiful garden and these lillies ran along her side of the fence. the new owners are a nice young family, but they can't be bothered with garden stuff...he's more into his trucks and engines....maybe doris snuck the flowers over. must have pained her to look down and watched them shred her garden to accomadate old engines.

last but not girl blossom. she found it unbearable hot today on the trail. she hates when it gets over 70 F. poor pup! who knew her tongue was so huge!!