"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Facebook Friends Frenzy

It's so nice to have Facebook Friends who find things like these:

from Kipidy Dawn

from Troublemaker

from Get in the Kitchen, BIT@HES, Cookbook

from George Takei

from The Hippies were Right

can't read the author, Imaphoto.com???

from Beware of Images

Friday, April 27, 2012

I am a Fist

(The prompt from Ann Linquist Writes:  This is a challenge in point of view and perception.  In this challenge you are a clenched fist.  You are not the whole person; you can only tell the story from the point of view and perceptions of that clenched fist.  Feel free to give that fist full consciousness. )

I’m the Recto fist, so to speak, the one on the right side. I’m getting along in years now and because I’ve had a varied life, I have a multitude of memories. I’d like to tell you about a few of them, so you’ll know what it’s like to be a fist.

Before I do that, however, I’d like to mention Verso fist, the reverse image of me on the other side of My Person. Without verso, my life would be so different, I cannot imagine it. So, my regards to Verso.

Some of my earliest memories are of things I held: My mother’s light brown hair, my father’s nose, my bottle (which certainly required Verso and I working as a team), my little black lamb and my brown and white teddy bear, the railing of my crib that I helped My Person climb over. A few years later, I grasped the wide brim of my father’s hat when he came home from a place called The War.

I learned to hold Crayons and then a pencil. I punched a boy in the nose once and gave him a bloody nose, even though we were wearing boxing gloves. It frightened My Person and I never wore a boxing glove again. I’ve wrapped around tree branches to climb higher and the handles of shovels to dig snow caves.

I’ve taken copious notes in solemn courtrooms where disintegrated lives were revealed and retribution was on the agenda. I’ve offered up countless tissues when My Person was sad or when she had a cold. I’ve opened myself and rubbed sore muscles, scratched mosquito bites, and applied aloe lotion to sunburn.

I’ve seen angry fists: black fists of athletes as the National Anthem played in an Olympic venue, white fists barely holding back barking, snarling dogs as marchers passed, fists of every color holding signs that read, “We Shall Overcome.”

I’ve seen fists push a pole that raised a flag in a devastated place called Iwo Jima, fists of soldiers kneeling in front of a bayonet-tipped rifle piercing the earth, with a helmet on top and boots beside.

I’ve seen fists raised in exultation by men wearing pocket protectors as they watched images of a man set foot on the moon.

I’ve held ski poles, the curved oak handlebar of a dog sled, the throttle of a snow machine. I’ve held cameras while one of my fingers pushed the shutter. I’ve held tools to build beautiful creations, and some not so beautiful. I’ve held utensils to create tantalizing meals.
I’ve stroked gentle animals and been bitten by a grouchy parrot.

I’ve held a cold beer on a hot day, a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day. Verso and I have been so cold My Person held us near the exhaust pipe of her truck to warm us. 

I’ve held the reins of mules and horses, the harnesses of sled dogs, the handles of fishing poles. 

I’ve held revolvers and rifles, and put five bullets out of six in the kill zone of a charging brown bear, one dead center between the eyes, though others would tell you it was a cardboard target being pulled towards us.

And then.

The disparate parts that complete me one night lay against the cheek of a dark-eyed man as my thumb softly caressed his lips. He was the only one who could take away the breath of My Person, and it was up to me to communicate what she could not. I hope, oh how I hope, I committed myself well.

That last is my most cherished memory, the softer side of being a fist.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sunset at Tern Lake

I was driving home about 9:30 last evening, and was captivated by the colors on the mountains as the sun was setting.

As I started to leave the pullout, I spotted a merganser pair on the shoulder of the road.  These photos were taken through a dirty windshield.   The russet-headed female merganser always looks like she's having a bad hair day.

And one last photo, taken a couple miles up the road while I was picking up litter.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Moonlight Madness

I received an Aurora alert from the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, yesterday afternoon.  They have a service that sends e-mails to those who are interested in watching the Northern Lights.

I waited until after 11 PM before going outside.  The sky on the western horizon was still too light for any dramatic auroral activity.  There was, however, a startling crescent moon just off the horizon (remember, I live in the mountains and my horizons are higher that those who live in the flat lands, and I don't mean that metaphorically).

Above, and to the left, was Venus.  Here they are.

Do you see what I see in that crescent moon?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Naked Pin Up Shot of Me

You hear about it often--some celebrity or otherwise well-known person is embarrassed by photos of them posing au naturel.  Perhaps the photo was made back in the day when they didn't know better, or needed some cash to keep pursuing their dream, or whatever.

This time, I'm the one who was caught naked.  See for yourself:  

Go to that column Visit My Friends on the right of this page.   Click on the link Living in Igloos under Growing Up Anchorage

There you will find a photo of me in my misspent youth, caught in the act of doing what I perceived to be the right thing at the moment, but now realizing how much better things could have been.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Oh, boy.  Blogger has changed its posting layout.  At least they don't change as often as Facebook---or Costco.

Pablo had a bad day.  Actually, Pablo had a bad night.  I think he fell out of bed again.  When I uncovered his cage this morning, it was apparent he'd fallen into his own droppings.  A big smear of green and white goo was on his foot and lower breast feathers.

A short time ago, Ann at Ann Linquist Writes, offered a writing prompt:  Are there things that don't translate well into words?   This was a perfect example.  A 40 year old parrot with a great sense of dignity sitting dejected on his perch, making half hearted gestures with his beak towards the mess on his body and foot.  Even someone who cannot read his body language as well as I can would know there was something wrong with him.

This time there was no fuss when I took him to the kitchen sink and turned on a fine warm spray to wash him.  He didn't like it, but he also didn't fight it.  The photo is after his bath, while he's still wet.  You wouldn't have wanted to see the "before" nor the look on his face.  He's a little huffy about having his photo taken.

He just wasn't himself the rest of the day.

That red stuff on the perch?  Not to worry.  It's the remains of a strawberry.  There's also a half a peanut shell.  He used it to clean his beak after the strawberry.

Went to Seward today to get the studded tires taken off the mini van.  Here's the price of gas:

Would you believe it's been only six weeks since I took the above photo at Tern Lake one night when I was chasing the Aurora Borealis at 2 in the morning?  That mound of snow is much higher than my truck and extends around the edges of the pullout.  Notice the branches of the birch tree on the right.

This is that same pull out today. See the birch tree?  See the yellow litter bag on the ground?  The birch is to the right of it.  The ridge of black is sand-covered snow, and there's open water in the lake.

Not much open water, but enough for Mr. and Mrs. Merganser to stop by.

And hot on their tail feathers were the Mallards.

Gotta love this time of year.

Oh, and that eerie thing I mentioned yesterday?  It happened again.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Changing Faces

(I'm working on a post about some eerie goings-on around here, so I'll leave you with some photos to look at until I'm done with the mystery.  Remember that you can enlarge these photos by clicking on them, then right clicking again on the enlargement, and left clicking on "view image."  If  you're lucky, you can make the photo bigger by clicking on it again,"  or by holding down your ctrl key and spinning your mouse wheel forward.)

This is a season of change.  Down on the valley floor where we humans live, snow is melting and determined little green things are popping out of the ground where sunny days and warm temperatures have eliminated the blanket of cold white.

There's still 30 inches of snow in most parts of my yard, more where the snow plow stacked it.  Up against the house, a shooting star has sprouted, and this afternoon I saw the first blades of grass on a south-facing slope at Jerome Lake.

High above where the mountains have some privacy, little seems to change except the light. 


The snow melts slowly and in certain places the mountains shrug off their loads of snow.

And there's much more where all that came from:

This huge cornice will break off one day and rolling down the mountain like a freight train.

Yesterday, the morning light revealed the masses of snow hiding behind craggy ridges.  Easy to tell which way the wind blows through here.

Now,, back to spooky-ville and the strange happenings in Gully's house.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring Fever

My neighbor has spring fever:

Day One (Sunday):

I think he wants to bring his airplane home.  He spent Sunday afternoon plowing the three feet of snow that's still on the airstrip.

This is what it looked like after he was done.

Looks like mostly ice, but the snow is gone.

Day Two (Monday):

Twenty-four hours later, there's some gravel showing through.

Day Three (Tuesday):



This is what I've been doing for several days, instead of posting scintillating, acerbic, erudite blog content, and it's also why I was perfectly positioned to see what my neighbor was accomplishing:

I've been in my loft, scanning, five-at-a-time, hundreds and hundreds of my mother's color slides.  I've sorted and set aside twice that many.  I've also scanned about a hundred photos.

And there are more to go.  I'm trying to get these family history photos all together in one place.  Hopefully I'll be able to get them scanned and organized, with copies made for my relatives.  This isn't as daunting a task as it seems, because my family history goes back only to the early 1900s immigration of grandparents.  Plus, when one grows up in Alaska during the time I did, most extended relatives are strangers to me.

If you want me, you know where to find me.

In the meantime, here's one photo I scanned:

That would be me, dipping a cup of water from Fox Creek on the Resurrection Trail more than forty years ago.  Obviously, this was in the days before beaver fever.  This cabin is no longer there as it was burned down by the Forest Service.  Intentionally.  Unsafe, I guess.

This photo was taken by a good friend, professional photographer Nancy Simmerman, who invited me to accompany her on hikes as she researched trails for a new book called, "55 Ways to the Wilderness in Southcentral Alaska."   For many years, it was the bible for hikers, skiers, kayakers, and anyone wanting to know about the various trails and non-trails into Alaska's beauty.  It went through many editions.

(The photo suffered some damage in the past forty years, coming up against some Scotch tape somewhere along the line, with the resultant scars.   Don't blame Nancy for my pathetic attempts to "repair" those areas on the photo.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

You know that old canard about mailmen and dogs?  Well, there's not a dog on the mail route that I have to worry about when I sub for Erin.  They all greet me with wagging tails, bright eyes, and goofy grins.

Why?  Erin has spoiled them with doggie salmon treats.

The only thing I have to watch out for is this turkey.

Really?  Wow.

 I was in Seward this afternoon.    Almost had a heart attack.  As Redd Foxx would say, "I'm coming, Elizabeth!"


Gullible's Definitions:  QUIETUDE--That wonderful result of having the studded winter tires taken off your vehicle. 

 Think I'll have to start mowing lawns soon.?