Friday, June 25, 2010

Change In the Weather

Things have been going really great here in Alaska. Time is actually going as time goes, passing each day mostly unrealized until one looks at the date and realizes that a whole summer month has almost gone by. It's been well-spent though.

The six of us girls still love each other dearly and have enjoyed many adventures. We hiked Mt. Roberts at midnight (using our head lamps) so we could get to the top in time for a 3:30 sunrise. The very peak of Mt. Roberts overlooks part of the Icefield behind Juneau, all up and down the Gastineau Channel that separates Douglas Island from the main city, as well as over Douglas Island. It was beautiful to watch each mountain top be lit by the rising sun.

We have also gone on many other hikes together, been camping, been climbing multiple times, had a series of dance parties in the car and in the living room, made very good use of the marshmallow gun, and continued to try our best to love and care for each other fully.

What strikes me most these days is the familiarity of Juneau. What was once just a summer fling with my sister, brother-in-law and roommate, has turned into a reoccurring theme that I can no longer deny a place in my heart. Juneau has become just as much a part of me as has any other home I have had. The faces that once had just a "that one summer in alaska" identity, have now taken on their own identity as the person behind the face has let themself be known. I walk around town and know people almost everywhere that I go. I drive past houses that once held people I love and others that still do.

The one thing that always seems to get me is the Tram. I know that sounds odd, but everytime I walk by the tram I am struck with this odd sense of familiarity. How weird it is that seeing it is normal and I can almost picture it perfectly in my mind. So many pieces of my time in Juneau have been spent around that building, all three years. Yet the building itself holds no significance to me, it is just oddly familiar.

And yet, despite the familiarity, I am still finding new things that excite me, either completely new in nature or things that have always been there yet still catch my breath every time I see them, like Mt. Juneau or the Shrine of St. Therese or whales breeching. Even my house, though I lived in it two years ago with the Chilkat family, is new and exciting to me, holding only the memories of this year while allowing the ones of old to be protected and unscathed in their own memory box seperate and apart from the one that holds the new adventures of now. As a dear friend of mine wrote "there is also a sense in which no one in the world has ever lived in that house, the past never happened, and the house and the neighborhood and the town and the mountains are all yours to experience brand new. because the winter came and went, and the new season begins" (Jackson Tandy). And this has been true for me every year, though I keep returning to the same place, it is always new.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


just bought my ticket to ireland tonight. we (april and i) fly out of nashville on november 1st to ireland!!!

basically we leave juneau sometime around october 1st-ish, drive through portland and down to oklahoma, getting there by the 7th. stay in oklahoma until the 17th-ish and go through tennessee and then to north carolina to see the boys (jackson, garrison, joel and brad, and meeting up with chris and jake [possibly] as well as seeing abby and dylan and evan and corey, maybe convince tabitha and jon to join us), stay for as long as it takes until november 1st comes around and we find ourselves in nashville (ben, i will be seeing you then for sure, or the first time we go through, or both..i wish you were coming to ireland with us!!!!) on november 1st boarding a flight to dublin, ireland.

the states will be seeing us again december 16th-ish. i might fly from frankfurt straight to portland. in time for rachel's birthday and christmas with the fam.

so excited.

i just started baking brownies.

and today i am in juneau, alaska baking brownies while its raining outside, my new x-tra tuff boots sitting by the door (thanks greg) and my gastineau girls making crazy comments that i can't focus on while they play backgammon on the floor (i helped them with the rules, i played a lot with my sisters growing up, i was homeschooled, i am also well-practiced in card shuffling if needed) and rosie thomas comforting our anxious spirits through our new tiny $15 fred meyer computer speakers.

only 16 more minutes till the brownies are done.
sometimes when i get anxious i just bake.
but its better when i have ingredients i have to actually add together instead of pouring most of it out of a box, but i still got to lick the spoon and smell it bake so that's nice.

see, i am not even capitolizing or anything. i am too nervous/anxious/excited.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gastineau Girls

All my roommates arrived, finally!! It's so nice to have everyone here!!

This year there are six girls living in the most perfect house up on Gastineau Ave, in the first house I lived in when I was in Juneau. We all get along really well and we love to be around each other. We have gigglefest every night, all of our abs are sore.

We have Alisha Butler, super chick who has climbed every mountain, snow climbed, rock climbed, soccer player and super super funny. She runs hills while buzzed and walks down. "I sound bad ass"

We have Vanessa Magos, the youngest of the bunch, bilingual, world traveler, expert glacier walker, and knowledgable in all things movies and really just in general. super genuine girl.
"just walk like penguins"

Alex "Michele", kansas girl in love with branson who came to work in juneau last summer after taking a cruise and going on the zipline tour. She loves to bake, giggle, owns 25 pairs of nike running shorts and we are teaching her to abbreviate. abbreive. "so crush"

April Scott is a beauty and a gem. Her hands are numb from starbucks work and she brought most of our coffee. Her and I composed a library and she studies about plants every night. We are roommates and talk to each other after lights out every night. "i love pillow talk"

Lynn Ashbey was a schoolmate of mine in Oklahoma City and is super music woman. Sometimes she plays ukulele on the porch and meets the neighbors. She can climb 5.8 climbs and has great hiking boots, things i never knew till we moved to alaska. "oh, ok"

Then there is me, third year returning, book nut and music snob, traning for my second half marathon and learning how to climb though it makes me very sore when i do. "oh whoops, thats perf"

We love each other and look forward to a perfect summer!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Duck Squad

So...I saved a duck.
Helped save a duck is probably the better wording as it was Greg who was the mastermind behind the operation. Here is what happened:

Greg and I were driving to the office after work, very late I might add since we had a super later whale watch going out that we were trying to fill. So it's about 6 pm and we are driving down the only four lane road in all of Juneau when a little tiny baby duckling, about the size of a baseball, runs out in front of us and tries to cross traffic. Greg swerved and just missed it and thought things were done when, upon seeing in his rear view mirror what is was that he had in fact dodged, he suddenly became very concerned and declared, "that was a baby duck!!!!!!!!! oh my gosh, that was a baby duck!!" I tried to make him feel better by assuring him the duck was probably ok since he didn't hit it, but he was not to be consoled. He pulled a quick U-turn at the light and parked on the side of the road, ran across all four lanes of traffic, and proceeded to lunge after this tiny, scared, baby duck, almost getting hit by cars in the process.

Once safe in the car he placed the duck in my hands and, realized the gravity of the situation, "what am i going to do with this duck?", he called his mom. She advised that we take the little duck to "swampy acres" a local farm that takes care of baby animals. She had to remind Greg that he probably shouldn't keep the duck since, "it probably wouldn't be happy in your home, it needs other ducks", even though he had decided that perhaps it was fate that he saved the duck and maybe he should continue to take care of it.

We took the duck to the office so we could finish the paper work we were originally on our way to take care of. When I asked Greg if he would take the papers so I could carry the duck in he said, "you are going to carry it? LUCKY!" So I gave him the duck and took the papers in, thoroughly amused by the amount of passion he portrayed for this duck. Since our bosses have a cat we decided that we would take turns holding the duck while the other did paper work. Greg did his paper work first, then we switched. When I gave the duck to him he took it the couch, plopped down, placed the little thing in the top of his vest to keep it warm, and contentedly pet its little head and convinced his friend Robby that it wasn't geeky of him to save the duck. Seeing how in love he was and realizing we would be getting rid of it so soon I offered to drive to the farm so he could hold the duck which he agreed to all too readily.

The ride out to the farm was kind of long and spent mostly just looking at the duck and talking about how Robby probably actually liked the duck when he saw it and didn't expect it to be as cute as it was. The lady at the farm came to the door after much knocking and amusingly took the duck from us, declaring it was a "duckling", not "baby duck" or "little chick" as Greg had been calling it, and said she would put it with the other baby birds and see how it did. Reluctant to leave Greg asked, "well, can we at least see where it's going to go?" Biting my lip, I smiled being actually a little curious myself but still completely amused by the extent to which Greg cared for and was passionate about this "duckling". She did let us see where she put it, in a trough with baby turkey's who were twice his size and ugly looking, which didn't really make us feel any better about the situation. We however thanked her and went home. When I asked if he was going to call and check on it he cooly said, "no" as if he could have cared less about what happened to it, and we left.

And so, we saved a baby duck, well, a duckling.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Journey North

I graduated college April 30th, 2010 and started to make my way north and the beginning of a new adventure. So far the plan is to live and work in Alaska for the summer season (into September), hopefully be able to take a road trip across the united states and then fly to Ireland and WWOOF followed by random travelings in Europe to hopefully return by the hollidays and see the fam. Whatever follows after is tbd.

After moving out of school I spent one last night with some dear friends and headed up to Tulsa to have dinner with the fam and spend a few days with the sisters, brother-in-law and new little niece. We had a few ice-cream and movie nights, trips to vintage stores, watched Tabitha do roller derby, went on walks, and were together.

Tabitha and I has the same flight out but at our lay over she boarded a plane that took her to Rhode Island and I boarded one that took me to Seattle where my friend Laura met me and drove me to Bellingham.

Once at the house she is living in with our friend Hillary and Hillary's grandpa, we discarded my bags, jumped on her scooter and went and grabbed thai food. They rest of my days spent there consisted of walks on the board walk, breakfasts with friends, time spent in book stores, dinner on the deck overlooking the bellingham bay, two trips to REI a day, a trip to trader joes, and rides in a convertable with the top down even though it was slightly cold for it (we turned the seat warmers on) and much laughter!

From there I boarded the ferry Matanuska and began my 2 1/2 day journey to Juneau. I slept under the salarium (sp?) on a lawn chair and read "Redeeming Love". The sky was clear the first night and the stars were bright and abundant. The whole first day was spent on the water and the second day we started making stops.

The first stop was in Ketchikan where I took a taxi to the Pioneer cafe for breakfast and got a small tour from my 80-year-old drive for free on the way back. He just wanted me to get my picture taken by a totem pole, too bad the shadows didn't help his photography much.

Our second stop was in Wrangel. The whole town was closed and the only people I saw were kids on the shore selling rocks to those of us who got off the ferry. I really liked Wrangel, its was really small and seemed community oriented.

Our third stop was in Petersburg but I didn't have time to get off so I bought myself some clam chouder (a nice change after a stict diet of nutella, bagels, and dried green beans) in the cafeteria on board.

That afternoon a younger native man sat by me in the salarium and asked me if I was interested in different cultures. When I said that I was he started telling me some history of the migration of his people through the very mountains that we were drifting passed. Then he took out his native american flutes and began playing and teaching others how to play. It was so perfect to lay back and listen to the native music float through the hillsides where it was once abundant. It was like an old friend had come back to visit home.

I woke up at 3:30 the next morning to get all my stuff together and prepare for our landing.

My dear friend Greg drove out to the ferry terminal at 4 AM to pick me up and take me home. Once I spotted his all too familiar beamer I realized my journey was complete, I was where I needed to be, at least for a few months.