Tuesday, May 27, 2014

early Birthday party!!!

 thanks to sandra for arranging such a fun gathering at the Glacier Brewhouse!!  i was thinking a night out with a few friends but it turned out to be many more people than i expected.  thanks to all who came and made my big 5-0 start out fun and fabulous!!  i have been told that the tiara is to be taken kayaking.  the large bag had to be carried to the car which i'd parked several blocks away.  i really wasn't expected all of the fuss...but it's good for me to be fussed over i guess, at least every 50 years or so.  haha!!
 just wait til i turn 100!!
 our sun has been orange lately..the result of all the fires burning on the kenai mostly.  it's a huge fire.  i think over 100, 000 acres?  everyone is hoping for rain and it's finally starting to look like a possibility.  i have been hoping that it begins to rain here and that the sun shines instead in Ketchikan for our trip.
 i spoke with our guides Amanda and CJ today.  they seem super nice and excited!! weather looking great for the moment.
 i took these through these flowers in a flower pot on my back deck with my powershot after i  had worked all night.  not bad i think.  the air quality is terrible as you can imagine.  the next morning i think it was i came home and it was raining down ashes.  it's a crazy big fire.  no loss of human life though my heart goes out to all the wildlife and their new babies...how many won't make it out alive, i have no idea.  animals are smart and will move away if they can...but..i'm sure many will still be lost.  they are trying to contain it and prevent loss of structures as well as lives obviously.
 had a bit of a stomach bug this weekend.  canker sore diet all last week followed by gi bug this weekend...i should be down 2.5 pounds at least.  i'm sure i will quickly regain said poundage.
 it was funny tonight as people brought gifts and they had me open them in front of everyone.  can't remember the last time i opened presents with that many people around.  we had family birthdays but rarely did we have birthdays with other kids.  i do remember one slumber party that i had begged for i think.  my mom just was never keen on the whole birthday thing...she always would say you invite people over and require them to bring you gifts...truthfully, she had 7 kids of her own, maybe she just didn't want to hassle with a whole bunch more or feel obligated to have 7 kids attending multiple birthday parties and needing to bring gifts.
 it was fun to get a little attention...it's not something that happens in my life really.
 helped out a friend with her pups for the weekend.  took the girls over to hang on the deck as i let them out.  everyone got along.  every time i went i grabbed a few more of those super cheap tennis balls that come from the pet stores to take with me.  wanted to wear the dogs out a bit before leaving them.  nice deck, lots of sun.
 today i met up with the Amy's at University Lake. blossom seems a bit sore tonight so i know she got a good work out.
 i fly out to Ketchikan tomorrow.  i have stops along the way in Juneau, Petersburg and Wrangell.  we call that "the milk run".  i'm not big on take off's and landings but it does force me to get used to it more and deal with it.  my brother Tom won't ride the little planes and prefers the big jets.  i'd much rather ride those little planes.  irrational i know.  i take them both though. you can't live in Alaska and let a thing like flying get in your way too much. i do prefer to stay in Alaska though, those long flights south are more unnerving for me.
 the clouds/smoke today as i drove to the Brewhouse.  the colour of these almost looks like sunset but it was not even 7pm and the sun isn't setting these days until closer to 11.  it still looks like dusk out right now.  you could easily set up a tent in the ambient light this time of year.
it was getting windy out there tonight.  the streets didn't seem as crowded as they usually are this time of year.  not sure what the tourists are thinking of all this smoke.

 a few from the party tonight.  Sandra got the banquet hall.  i never even knew this room was there at that restaurant.
 delaine, vanessa, Kelly, me, Gretchen, Katie and sandra.  3 tables of friends and of course, all of the WARIS board members were in attendance so we called it our first official meeting of the Walrus Advocates of Round Island Sanctuary.
 did get a few Walrus related gifts.  what can i say...i do love me some walrus!!
 Bob, Tanya, Val, John, me and Jennifer.  a few friends that would like to be going to Ketchikan with us but for different reasons aren't able to this year.
 syd, Speedy, Kim, me, Lena and Karen... a wonderful guest list...some of my favorite people.  a few were for sure missing...some have moved away and some have passed away...they were there in spirit for sure.
 i ate some of my favorite dishes...king crab legs for an appetizer and herb crusted Halibut for dinner.
short and sweet tonight.  still some packing stuff to do...i think i've pretty much got it covered.  hoping for safe travels for us all and a lovely vacation in Ketchikan!!  thankful for...well so many things... 1. great friends who accept you for who you are even if you are quirky or cranky or sensitive or foul, cause none of us is perfect and we are all still learning and growing 2.  great food  3.  the excitement that comes when you are anticipating a vacation.  always anxious about all the details but excited for the quest.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

smoke and fire...

 woke up today to the powerful smell of a fire burning.  there are actually several fires burning right now in Alaska.  a few on and around the Kenai.  Funny River and one in Tyonek.  the one in Funny River has now burned over 44,000 acres.  today Anchorage became a place of smoke.  i thought for sure a house nearby would be in flames, but it's several hours drive south of here.  more fires are starting to burn.  we are paying for all this beautiful weather we've been enjoying. that is how it works.  mother nature giveth and mother nature taketh away.
 this is a letter requesting WARIS be given status to incorporate as a non-profit.  wanted to get this off as it would signify the process has officially begun.  hopefully we will have good news when i return from Ketchikan!!  then on to the next process.  of course with each step i take the to do list grows longer.  i'm trying to be brave and confident but it's a lot to bite off.  my one friend said i really can't make things worse, only better so that helps make it less to stress about.  i'm only trying to help.
spoke with someone in Fish and Game who has been super helpful, passing on my request for advice/assistance to several other groups and spreading the word to people who he believes would be supportive.  also gave me direction to others that should be included and knowledge that once we are up and running, we can request the names and addresses of everyone who had been to the island to enlist their support...that is public info...!! i appreciate all the positive feedback i get on the facebook sites from friends.  it all helps
 spent tuesday getting a new washer and dryer!!  i don't buy stuff like this very often so it is pretty fun to have quieter, better functioning machines that i no longer have to beat up to get them doing their job..i literally had to beat my washer with each load i ran.  found my brain really didn't like the slamming down of the lid and noise.
 that day i also hit the bog with Rio and later the old ski for women route with Blossom in Kincaid.  i donned painting scrubs and painted the lower cupboards in the kitchen, a yellow colour.  just trying to stretch out the kitchens life.  would love to remodel, but a can of paint is so much cheaper.  was going to paint them all but after i'd done the lower cabinets i decided the colour change had freshed up the whole look and the green colour still worked...at least until i return from my trip. i still have lots of paint so i can change my mind again later.
 yesterday i went to Campbell Airstrip.  seems well traveled and open so i feel fairly safe going along with the dogs.  a trail friend was out there when i returned to my car..this is his dog.  the trail friend is a sweet older guy who likes to chat and had been undergoing cancer treatments.  i always love to stop and chat with older Alaskan's....great to hear their stories.  he's funny too, he told me one day he's decided this younger generation is mute...as more often than not he gets zero response when he says hello or have a nice day or whatever.  it is true...many out on the trails seem mute.  haha.
 so Sunday and Wednesday i was at Gails place.  we were working on the Quilts for our friends little girls.  no idea really how else to honor her and help her girls get through the loss of their mother at such a young age.  Gail is magic on the sewing machine.  there is no way i could have pulled this off alone.  i bought the materials and collected/printed the photo's onto the fabric.  i had an idea of what i wanted in my mind and Gail was able to pull it off.  they are looking great i think...gail rocks!!
 took it all over to Lena's today, will take a few scraps to another friend Kim and she'll embroider something on a piece for each quilt and then get it to Lena so she can put together a back and then get them together...then i will meet up again with Sandra to tie them with yarn and then Sandra is in charge of mailing them.  it's a bit of a process but i think it will be well received.  i hope so anyway.  i'm still just sad and angry that this happened how it did.  just seems so unfair for our friend to have suffered through so much medical treatment only to pass away in the end.  so hard to know what to do or say in these situations...so sometimes all you can do is create something and hope it helps.
 it's a bit less smokey now than it was at 5 am when the smoke woke me up...can't say as i've ever been awakened by thick smoke like that. i 'd slept with my window part way open for "fresh" air...that was a bad idea as it turned out. couldn't ever really go back to sleep so i'll try and nap after this so i can make it through work.
 i imagine those with bad lungs will be having a hell of a day today.  i have a history of lung issues myself from growing up in the smog of Los Angeles.  i have not needed my inhalers at all though.  my lungs have grown healthier living here i can tell.
 i did opt to head towards the coast and take advantage of the light coastal breeze.  it was for sure less smokey at westchester lagoon than it had been at my place.
 blossom wasn't really in a mood to walk to far either. i headed out both directions and both ways she went a ways and then just stopped and sat down and didn't want to go that way any further so we just headed back to  Westchester Lagoon.
 eventually i packed it up and we headed to Potters marsh to see what was up there.
 these are still from Westchester Lagoon.
 some different types of ducks for me.
 liked the grasses that are growing back in.
 hard to see how smokey it is.
 you can see it a bit more looking back towards the east end of town.
 more cool and different ducks.

 and a different type of merganser type...i'm not very good at birds...these are duck like above and grebe like below.

 pretty markings though.
 i still have to pack for my trip. started to pile up stuff in an area to start down the packing path.  wrote a note for Val for the pets and overall i can say proudly i've made a dent in the to do list.
 it does grow longer now that i am involving myself with this non-profit stuff.
 i do feel i'll be able to ask help from friends and get tasks done.  i'm thinking several things would be best to do with others so more than one person has access.  things like email for group, po box for group, bank accounts.  those things i can start looking into once i'm in the process of moving forward and getting the 501 (c) 3 status that is vital.  talked with my niece Claire for a bit..just to catch up plus she has experience as a lawyer for non-profits so that will be totally helpful.
 was also thinking i may have to come across as a bit more professional from time to time once this gets going and perhaps purchase some clothes to that end.
 the sun is shining through across from Potters and you can see the smoke filtering through.
 the terns are busy getting ready for babies at Potters.  they are so fun to watch and listen too.
 did hear from the person over the Anchorage Refuge group and again from friends of Mcneil River.  a few suggested i change the name of the group...i just said it was a bit late as i'd already sent it off.  kinda happy i was able to say that and let it go.  some stuff you just have to decide and move on.
 will have to check and see how our logo is coming along.
 terns flying about.

 this gull was tending the nest while it's partner was out getting food. thought it looked cute peeking out from the grass.

 this guy is almost flying upside down?  looked strange.

 hopefully i can get a short nap in...otherwise i'll have to rely on some caffeine.  i tend to avoid caffeine.
 have been on a canker sore induced diet this week...just so uncomfortable to eat with all these dang sores in my mouth.  my face and jaw sore as well which i find happens with all these sores.

off to sleep.. thankful for....1.  amazing friends who come together when needed 2.  that my respiratory system is so much more healthy than it was in my 20's...a day like today would have been much more problematic for me in those days.  3.  grateful to be safe and clear of the actual fires...my thoughts and prayers go out to all those who are being impacted by this.  so scary...and i worry about all the animals in the fire zone.  no doubt many will be lost or displaced.