Monday, January 31, 2011

monday dog walk...7 dogs, 5 humans!

happy dogs always bring smiles to all in contact. it's been looking and feeling like snow all day and yet the flakes have yet to begin falling down. perhaps in the wee hours the city will be recovered in a fresh coat of snow. love snow! you'd think living in a place with so many months of snow would make me dread it, but i really do love the white stuff. i love that the bears sleep through it and the mosquito's die. actually i think there are some mosquito's that winter over, but i've never been bit in the winter. the only season i do not enjoy in alaska is "break up". it's the unofficial season between winter and spring. all this snow must eventually melt and break up is when it happens.
above is boddhi, one of tanya's dogs.
andrea made it back out with nash. she's been picking up some shifts at st elias hospital. it's where acc vents go to finish recovering. i think she was just testing the waters and preparing for her return to work full time. it was actually warm out, must have been 20's at least and i think we were all overdressed, expecting snow.
a co-worker, michelle, joined us with her dog teva. she always says she'll come and this is only the second time she has. i think teva had a good time. of 7 dogs only 2 were lab free, boddhi and rio. it was a lab kinda sticks were very popular.
guess i'm accomplishing a few things this evening. have lots to do this week. trying to get the place cleaned up, get stuff ready to get picked up by the ARC of anchorage(for people with disabilities)...always stuff on the to do list. want to start getting ready to work on the bedrooms, re-do flooring. any project you start seems to lead to other projects. do the floors, well then the walls should be repainted and then the closets should be re-outfitted to accomadate re-organization of all the stuff. my plan is to get rid of the old, old spare bed to clear that room. then when that room is done, move my newer old bed to the spare room and redo my main bedroom, then buy a new bed for me!! it's daunting though as it means i actually have to go through all the crap that has collected in the rooms and purge. once it's done it feels great, but getting there being a lazy person it's tough to get motivated to actually DO anything.
really need to get the camera body in for repair as well. in addition they are coming wednesday to re- energy check my place. hopefully i can get money back on that. it's tax time as well. getting stuff together for that. not sure how that will all go this year with the refi and all that. paper, paper paper...want to get rid of all those peices of paper that have been piling up. books too. have a few bags of books to take to work and let others read. i'm getting tired of all the stuff in the house...freeing yourself of physical stuff can be so freeing!
even the dogs stuff needs to be gone through. luckily dogs are not sentimental about stuff. they can take it or leave it. dogs live for today, no momento's required.
what is that saying about hte lead dog always having the better view...loved all the dog butts ahead. blossom stays pretty close. she's is one of the old girls there now. blossom is 5 and rio is 6. all the other dogs are 3 or less i believe.
watching a favorite, "julie and julia". spoke with my friend michelle back east and we had discussed it. she loves to not so much. i told her i knew one day i would just become totally bored with the same foods i've eaten for years, stop eating and die. she thought i should get julia childs book and try some new recipes....guess she wants me to live a long life. i do like the idea of cooking everything in butter, what could be wrong with that. the french supposedly live long lives so all that butter can't be wrong. personally i think genetics and stress are a greater factor in longevity than the food you eat or smoking or drinking for that matter. there are many centurians who led less than steller lives when it comes to diet and exercise. i think your body reacts very negatively to stress. of course, you can do all this and get in to a car wreck so what is the point of getting stressed over stuff. it can all be over tomorrow and then what will all that matter. all my clutter, will just get tossed, my house sold and someone else will just take over my space, my job, my life.
but will the monday walk go on? stuff is fleeting. memories last a lifetime. these trips i plan...i do hope that they are memories that keep for years. i know they are for me. you can give someone stuff, but taking them someplace they may have never gone and seeing the excitement in thier eyes...that is priceless. dog walk mondays are a regular event that brings people together for a few hours, to walk, enjoy nature and talk about nothing in particular. those are the things to build a life on.
dogs and thier sticks. gotta love it.
trying to get dog pictures can be tricky. they are always on the move on the monday walk. don't want to hinder thier joy. i really should put the macro on one of these days and try for some fun dog portraits.
rio doesn't usually lead the pack, but what a cute face she has. she's pretty sleepy now. we were bummed as kaladi's was out of dog treats...horrors!! we usually go to kaladi's after the walk and get tea/coffee/cocoa. today i bought an iced italian soda as did andrea. it felt too hot out to have anything hot.
i took a side trail in order to avoid the ice dam overfloe on the main tank trail. as you can see my efforts were unsuccessful as there was flooding on this loop as well. it floods and re-freezes. i wasn't wanting to fall again nor did i want to risk andrea falling with the baby. luckily, it was pretty easy to skirt the frozen bits, though tanya took a little tumble on the ice. no harm done.
nash was awake for most of the walk but this is towards the end and he dropped off for a nap. such a cute baby!
not sure what blossom is barking at but i just looked outside and it's snowing!!! yippee!! would love to snowshoe tomorrow if we can get enough of the white stuff. i also plan to swim and then hit my computer class tomorrow night.
planning these trips has always been fun. one aspect that isn't as fun is making sure you get the right mix of personalities and no annoying people. some people can really dampen an experience for all. i'm not a fan of loud, look at me, sorts of folks. luckily, we've been fairly lucky on all our trips so far. in the early years it was much more difficult to get people to sign up for the trips, now that the trips are known to be fun, there are times i have to do selections. the goal is for everyone to have fun, no drama! i am completely anti-drama and refuse to be sucked into high schoolish games. we should all be too old for that crap, but it's amazing how little things change as you age when it comes to this stuff and certain people. as i matured i just assumed that everyone was growing up. the truth is some people only get so far in the maturation process and then stop. there are 80 year olds walking around who are still teenagers as far as maturity goes. it's so strange. whereever you go, there you are.
in kaladi's we all took turns holding the adorable baby!! nash is really a cutie and we all love having him along on the monday walks!! i got him first and then sandra couldn't resist his cuteness any longer. i'm sure andrea loves it, she can eat a snack without interruptions.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

a day of ice...

another day, another few hundred calories burned. the dishes are done and the laundry is loaded. it's the small accomplishments that matter. some people live by, what would jesus do. i'm more of a "if i died tomorrow.." kinda thinker. yes, someone would have to bulldoze the house, but it's better to get out and live life than spend all your time cleaning house. this i learned from my mother. though, actually, jesus didn't seem like the sort to sit at home and make sure the place was swept up so perhaps on this one i follow both creeds. find most of the people who live by the " what would jesus do" don't really get what jesus would have done.
my mom just didn't like housecleaning. it's a never ending task so i must agree with her in the less is best plan. i remember the sun had finally shown up in ketchikan and everyone was out enjoying it. everyone except this co-worker i guess. she said she hadn't gotten out there because she had too much housework to do...really?? in a place where you get over 12 feet of rain a year, when the sun comes out, forget the housework.
started my day in the bog. well started my getting out of the bed/house day. took rio and blossom for a loop there. blue skies and close to 20 degrees. there is talk of snow, we'll see, one can hope. after the bog i met my friend sandra out for play time at westchester lagoon. the lagoon is frozen over each winter and it's a great place for ice skating and family play. there are some big loops hot mopped. today it seems many others had the same idea we did. everyone looked to be having a great time. love seeing all the town out on the ice. great living some place where the cold doesn't hinder peoples activities. there are some barrels with a warming fire. no lights though, that would be cool.
as you can see, many different activities take place on the ice. above a woman pulls her baby in a sled. below..well that is sandra getting some lovin from blossom. that dog is pretty wiped out and sore i suspect after running on the slippery ice. i took her frisbee and tossed it on the snowy bits. i think that and all the people to say hello to was her favorite.
had her harness on and we did a loop with her "pulling". too many distractions though. she's a great dog out there in a crowd so i let her play solo after the first loop. the loop may be about 1/4 mile.
there you can see part of the loop. below is blossom and i with the mountains in the background.
there is a large round area and then 2 smaller circles as well that are also hot mopped. in the background the cross country ski trails run by the lagoon as well. you can ski/walk/bike from close to my place all the way here and then on to kincaid park. anchorage has miles and miles of trails. they are lit i believe on that whole stretch.
sleeping lady is easily seen out there. great to be here for sunset. we booked before that. sandra's feet were chilly and blossom was getting beat. besides i wanted to hit the pool. didn't get as many laps in today as my feet were cramping. probably a bit dehydrated. i'll have to rectify that tonight. thought about another ski this evening as well, but with the cramping i opted out.
pics with blossom.
this family was quite entertaining. they had a active and happy lab and an active and happy boy. the boy was getting dragged all over in the sled by the dog. there were some pretty good wipe outs with loads of laughter.
westchester is just a great place to be for views.i'm always a bit baffled getting down there though as it's tucked away in the neighborhoods and there are some one way streets and it's confusing.
hoping to get to bed earlier tonight. have some great cookies that i'll take to the monday walk tomorrow. never know if anyone else will show up, but i know i'll eat cookies. baked oatmeal/chocolate chip. the dough isn't as good as plain chocolate chip, but the cookies are quite tasty.
folks warming up out there on the ice with the train passing in the background. loads of tourists take this route in the summer, not sure what all was moving through today. lots of cars though. 2 trains passed while we were out there. with all the modernization in our world, trains and trucks are still vital to our society. will they ever be relics?
there were a few kicksleds out there today. you can see one in this group, along with another kid in a sled being towed by the family dog. the dad is holding the rope as that dog can book, the dad lost the rope once.
there is something for everyone out there. love the communityness of it. again, great to see kids out and about, away from tv and computers and such. gives one hope for the future.
since westchester is near downtown i thought i'd stop by the ice sculpture displays at the city center. have wanted to stop by in the evening when the lights are on, but will try and do that another day. fairbanks has a huge ice sculpture contest, international from what i can gather. would love to make a winter trip up there one of these years. i thought several of these came out pretty nice. there were several folks out here as well enjoying the ice rink and sculptures.
i really liked the walrus, i'm a bit of a fan of walrus.
thought the lynx was amazing as well. the details are always impressive.
need to have a shredding session. the paper in the house is piling up. always saving bits to be filed and then never looking at the files again, except to file more crap. every so often i have a purging party. since i want to start re-doing floors in the bedrooms, purging is going to be needed. we collect so much crap. great to watch one of those hoarders shows for inspiration. not that i'm anywhere near a hoarder, but i think most of us are pack rats. i'm more cluttery than others, but still not near pack rat status. not a goal i want to acheive though. my parents were definitely pack rats, of course, i think usually what happens to most people is that they just get busy and more stuff comes in than goes out and who has time to declutter. my parents weren't hoarders, just extremely disorganized. i tend towards an organized mess. i like stuff to have a place, i just am not always good at getting it to the place.
still have yet to see a lynx in the wild. have run across tracks a few times. not sure what i'd do if i actually saw one. i suspect it would be gone before i could get a lens on it though.
i believe that is the performing arts center. have seen plays there, though i'm not one to go to many plays/operas. the lion king sounded like something i'd enjoy, and i thoroughly did.
looking back from the art center towards the little ice rink and in the background is our wyland wall.
blossom was a good sport about walking around with me, but she was tired and sore i could tell. she is one of those once in a lifetime dogs. just perfect for me. she also looks so adorable in her harness.
no alaskan ice sculpture display is complete without salmon.
the mastadon was pretty cool too though. i'll have to go back at a later time. the sculptures always look cool with lights on them.
can't believe it's almost february....eek, time passes so quickly.
i hadn't noticed this before but they had made a maze out of blocks of ice for the kids.
wyland is an artist out of laguna beach. he paints huge oceanic murals on walls across the globe. always makes me happy to see his paintings. not sure how many are in alaska, but this one is downtown.
the signature in the right upper corner there says it was created in '94.
very cool.
well, as i said more laundry and attempt to retire early this evening....though as i say that it is already nearly 11pm. just a night owl.

walk, swim, ski...alaskan triathalon!!

okay so the distances were not nearly triathalon distances, but it's not too many days that i do all three activities in one day. took the dogs up to prospect heights, just for a change mostly as there wasn't going to be any big denali views. the views were nicer than expected though.
lucky for me this city has many miles of lit trails. after my swim (got in 30 laps) i drove over to russian jack for a loop of skiing. no moose encounters which was nice, no crazies either. i'm always happy to avoid the loonies out there. i wasn't the only one out skiing though, which is always nice. these trails are right in town which is great.
the snow was really sweet, despite my failings as a cross country skier, i had some lovely moments of great glide at times.
the loop we walked at prospect takes you up and up. saw this family with 2 young skiers on my way up...actually i passed the skiers walking on the way up. the kids seemed to be having fun, but the up was work. as you can see they were greatly rewarded in the end. the mom was still way behind me doing what i'd be doing, getting chicken and falling down. the boy was even tucked and booking. kids have so little fear. fun watching them fly past with big smiles. even better to see kids out enjoying the day and not sitting on computers or in front of a tv screen. the sledding hill at service was packed both times i drove past as well.
sleeping lady in the background...the trail i came back down is powerline trail, named for obvious reasons.
a few not to bad days at work. can't complain. cute babies for me. love getting paid for that stuff.
one co-worker apparently quit abruptly. he'd moved north like 6 months ago? anyway, i guess he emailed and said he was done and two weeks notice or nothing. i was totally surprised. i knew he wasn't liking alaska much, but most people would still give notice. just heard that was how he left his last job to. odd. alaska is a place that isn't for everyone. hard for me to imagine everyone not loving it as much as i do, but i have been here long enough to see that this place either gets into your soul or on your nerves. love/hate. those that hate it can't wait to leave it. those who love it may leave it, but they will forever long for it.
people also tend to come to alaska for many reasons. it's a great place to get away from everything and everyone so one never really knows the true story. easy to come here to run from law, family, ex's.
have been trying to download all my music from the old laptop and put it on the other computers. took 7 discs and when i loaded them the 6th disc came up saying it was blank on both computers. grrr. so now i'll have to figure out what music was on that disc and try again. not tonight though. my computer skills make me hesitant to try such things. my co-worker told me to get a flash drive, but that didn't seen to be working for the music, maybe that is better for photo's or documents. i'm fearful of sync'ing my ipod as i've heard if you change computers it could wipe out your whole music library.
dog park above...below is a chocolate waterfall. supposedly a very large one from what the sign said. it's located at alaska wildberry products, a local store. i stopped in there the other day. have to get some stuff off in the mail soon. i'm usual.
chatted with a few siblings this week, always fun.
happiness...there is so much to enjoy in life. it's hard for me also to imagine how people who have so much can be so unhappy. i'm not talking strictly wealth, just the basics under control. i don't really think happiness is luck. there are many who have been very unlucky, but still seem to just be able to rise above and remain positive. life is a series of choices and those decisions we make can lead us down a path towards increased happiness or not. i don't like to give advice, but sometimes you feel the need to lay down the truth. it's never your intention to cause hurt, but i'm sure it does. listening is good, but at some point it can be frustrating. you want to help, but have no power. you can't make decisions for others and invariably others make decisions that you just don't understand.
my feeling is that we all have things to learn, each unique to us. the no judging thing relates to this in my mind. since we don't have the ability to understand others life lessons we can't judge them the life they live. in the end you listen, give a little advice and hope people just find thier way.
life does need a shake up at times. it's in those times of great change that you learn the most of who you are and what you need to find your path and therefore your happiness. many people avoid those great opportunities of growth because they fear change, no matter how miserable thier lives are. to them, that misery is comfortable and known, change is frightening. it is scarey leaving behind things of comfort, whether it be a physical or philosophical things.
in my life i tend to steer clear of people who exude negativity. i'm not saying i run around glowing and laughing all the time, then you just look like an idiot, but negativity is like a bad germ. it spreads.
took the dogs out to n.bivouac trails the other day. liked the picture of rio above. days have been warm, in the 20's.
did work on my "to do" list so that is a start. i do have alot to get done this week. fear i'll wake a bit sore tomorrow, have been sore all week. that little fall torked up some of my muscles. keep moving i always say. once you stop, everything will go to pot. ouch...just got a leg cramp...should go load up with some water i think. probably a bit dry after all my activities today. i try to just load on water at work. my consumption of soda is always pretty low but i've been trying to cut out any at work as well as none in my day to day life. i just can't thing of anything about soda that is good. i do like a good root beer on occasion and if you know you haven't slept a cherry coke will help wake you up. do think it helps not drinking them often as then when you do they work better. usually there is some slice or 7-up on hand as well in case i get some stomach flu.
when i get that water i may have to pick up a couple oatmeal/chocolate chip cookies as well. made a few dozen of those tonight. quite tasty.
suspect my phone is coming to the end of its life. picked up some reading material at best buy the other day in an attempt to compare and contrast different phones. go with an iphone or one of the others, androids,'s all confusing. i think i'm the last person alive with a phone that is just a phone.
wouldn't mind getting an actual video camera by the trip this summer. not that i'm any good at video, but if we get great whale sightings that is often the only way to really capture them. i really wish i had taken a video camera to churchill. those bears sparred for hours and i had just gotten a digital. it had video capabilities, but people have gotten me freaked about how much storage/battery video blows through. everytime i get more camera gear i am bummed i didn't have this or that on trips in the past. scanned a bunch of photo's from '94 and loaded them on facebook. i try to do that from time to time. may post a few of the better quality ones from my days in south dakota on here.
can't believe january is almost over. the years sail past.
my pogi cat. i think he's waiting for me to go to bed. snuggle time. good night.