Under the Sea

We got out underwater camera film back the other day.  I laughed…because these pictures.  They are anything but the amazing underwater pictures I was expecting.

You know the type -the ones that look amazing and completely capture the awesomeness that is under the waves.  I’ve seen them all -I know what I was looking for -and then what I got?  Well, they just made me laugh.  But also because they sort of make me happy.  The time spent snorkeling (while challenging!!!) was awesome.

I am probably dating myself but if you remember using disposable cameras (and waiting for the film to get developed) you will have a general idea on what we were up to.  But you also have to remember that we had big rubber gloves on, so navigating the camera wasn’t exactly what one would call…easy.  There were a lot of shots of the glove!

I kinda want to go back, you know?

This guy was a really cool shade of purple when you looked at him under the water -almost like a neon, glow in the dark color.  Of course the picture just shows a little purple blob.  It was a sea urchin, for those wondering.

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An attempt at a thumbs up

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Under the sea!  See?

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While the hardly counts as “Under the sea photography” -I think I am going to work on brushing up on my “on land” photography before I attempt anything….well, professional.  So this will have to do for now.

A-Snorkeling We Go

I couldn’t tell you why exactly, but the idea of snorkeling has interested me for a long time. When we went to Australia last year we originally planned to go snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. After all, that is kind of something you have to do –right? Unfortunately our plans to go to the reef didn’t work out and we didn’t end up going. Still, the idea was there.

Making a very long story short –we got an offer to go snorkeling with a local tour here in Alaska that we couldn’t pass up. When Amanda and David started planning their trip here I knew it was something that would have to go on the list to accomplish this summer. This past Saturday, we checked that idea off the list.

Snorkeling here in Alaska is probably different than snorkeling in other places –one of the main differences is that you have to wear a wetsuit. Having never worn a wetsuit before we really had no idea what to expect.

Getting in the suit was a challenge in and of itself –pulling on a full rubber suit is challenging in the best of circumstances –but I started to panic while pulling mine on –and started sweating…it was a task that was more challenging that I expected! Then we had to make our way to the van and go for a drive –sitting in a wetsuit? Not the easiest challenge!

Once in the water things started to loosen up –but then the next challenge came: snorkeling.

They offered weight belts for those who were more adventurous and Amanda’s hand immediately went up. Thankfully we talked her off that ledge and decided to try it without the first time. It was probably a good idea.

Let me start by saying that the whole experience? Was awesome.

But getting started was a bit rough. My mask leaked, and I kept swallowing water. Combine this with the fact that I am 2 inches shorter than everyone else means I can’t always reach the bottom where others can and the flippers that kept flipping me onto my stomach and it was a rough start. But once the mask was sorted and I realized you shouldn’t open your mouth under water and waves going over your snorkel pipe are not good –it was all good.

It was quiet. And amazing. Seeing everything come to life under the water. To be completely honest –I didn’t think I was going to be that blown away by what we saw, after all –I have seen all the starfish and sea like animals from my 25+ years of living here in Alaska…but seeing the water from under the water? As odd as it sounds was completely different…and amazing.

When we first took off I was thinking “I never want to do this again” and by the time we got out I was thinking “I can’t wait to do this again!” It was a lot of fun, wetsuits and all…and now? I kind of want to go back to Australia and go snorkeling in the reef. Who wants to come!

We turned in our underwater disposable camera and have to wait a week for the pictures to come back…until then, here is proof we were, well, in wetsuits!

Amanda told me to stop making this face, but I feel it sums up the whole wetsuit ordeal fairly well!

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A much better selfie

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Summer Bucket List: Kayaking

A few years ago I signed mom and I up for a “ladies night” kayaking paddle.  We had a blast and has left me wanting to go again and again.  Things have never lined up for us tho, and we haven’t been back until last night.

When we started putting together a list of thing to do this summer while Amanda and her family were in town we knew that kayaking had to be done.  David didn’t seem convinced about going -so we went forward with booking the ladies night paddle again.

It was as much fun as I remember…we spent two hours out there -and it only seemed like 15 minutes max.

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Our new attire.

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This Alaska.  This is something I will never grow tired of.

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It was fun to get out and get a fresh perspective.  Ketchikan always seems more manageable from the ocean.

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We went under the bridge and had a quick paddle around Creek Street.

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Made it back safely.  No one flipped over -bonus!

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Here is to another fun time kayaking -and many more to come!

Summer Bucket List: Ziplining

When we first started planning the epic adventure, 2016 edition, we compiled a list of all the things we hoped to accomplish during the short few months Amanda and her crew would be here.  Among the work related tasks, we sprinkled in some fun things we really wanted to do -one of those things was ziplining.

We were able to score a real deal for the tour and had an absolute blast.

A few years ago we were on the same tour, and Amanda somehow managed to spin herself around and almost slammed into the tree.  She was a bit worried about doing it again, but we are happy to report there were no spin outs and no tree slamming either.

It was an amazing time -and one that we hope to do again sometime soon!

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Only Fools Run at Midnight

Ten years ago, we did what any good fool would: We ran a fun run. It was the first official race that we had ever been in and was something that excited us beyond belief. Since it was a fundraiser, we went around the neighborhood collecting money and making our speech. That night we ate what any good runner would: A high carb meal that would make us sick later on, donned our pajamas and ran our hearts out.

Fast forward ten years.

I had casually mentioned a time or two that we should “relive old times” and go on the fools run once again. No one seemed that interested until one night I went in the grocery store and saw this gem:

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What is a fools run, you might ask? I think this pretty much sums it up best: Over one thousand “fools” will take to the streets with hundreds more to cheer them on…

Basically you show up at midnight in a costume and run through the town. It is great fun. So long as you don’t pass out (it has happened before!)

Rushing out to the car I spilled the news that the run was “THAT NIGHT” and “WE SHOULD SO GO!” Amanda was game. David on the other hand, could not understand why would want to wait up until midnight before running downtown in our pajamas…better yet, why would we pay for this with money?

Once again, we did what any good runner would do: Ate a high carb mean that would eventually make us sick, don our pajamas and run our hearts out.

We waited until 11pm before loading up in the car, driving to town, pay money to get our bibs and free shirts, took a few pictures and the gun went off. We ran. We beat our previous time by 3 minutes. We had fun.

We ran downtown while those who were still up (read: Mostly those in bars) cheered us on and gave us high fives. We saw just about everyone we knew, and had no shame –running downtown in our pajamas. It wasn’t until the next morning did a little bit of embarrassment start to sink in. Not embarrassment for running in my pajamas, or being so slow…oh no, the embarrassment was for not HAVING any embarrassment!

To quote the lady who was cheering us on: Run you fools, run!

What can I say? Some run to get in shape. Some run during the day. Some run for fun. We run at midnight. In our pajamas. We run with our fellow fools.

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My look in the bottom picture, and Amanda’s look in the top pretty much sums out how we felt about that night.

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Up to Speed

I have a confession to make: I am a terrible person. Well, no, that isn’t exactly the confession I was hoping to make, just that, well, I have been slacking –big time on the blog front. You see, almost one month ago mom and I took off for a weekend trip. It was supposed to be “Just the two of us.” If you have been following any length of time you know that Amanda and I love surprises. Probably close to two years ago we started plotting and preparing for this surprise to take place. But since it was a surprise, and mom has been known to stalk the blog (Hi ma!) I couldn’t say anything about it…and well, writing anything else seemed pointless.

So back on track.

A month ago mom and I headed to Seattle for a “girls weekend” –she didn’t question why I had nearly 50 pounds of luggage for a weekend trip and I appeased her with “A girl needs stuff –even if it IS just a weekend” when really, my bag was loaded to the hilt with random bits…

The day we left home, David, Amanda & their crew were leaving England to fly to Seattle to surprise mom. But the surprises weren’t and didn’t stop there. From there, we bought mom a car, and made a road trip up through Canada where they would stay for a few months. Confused? Me too.

Pretty much every time I told someone about our big surprise they looked confused and asked some random questions about the logistics…logistics smogistics is what I say!

In the end, we pulled off the epic surprise with very few glitches. They showed up at the motel –shocked the socks off of mom and we spent the next four days searching for a car. It was a very long four days but to shorten the story -we eventually found one that fit the criteria, bought the car, and began our trip.

…and then everyone got sick.

I wish I were kidding. But the brand new car endured countless bouts of vomit. The whole way home.

We made it tho, and have been doing our best to fill the time and knock items off our “Summer Bucket List.” Which might explain my absence. That and the fact that these people are some of my favorites. Our days are wild and epic. Fast and furious. But it has been an amazing summer.

…and hopefully I will get around to sharing some of the epicness.

Until then!

Me + Softball

So about a month ago someone approached me and asked if I wanted to play softball. I didn’t put too much thought into it before agreeing to meet once I got a glove.

While this may not sound like a big deal -I should probably interject a little background. I am 26. I have never played sports. I actively run from balls being thrown at me. I played a few rounds of volleyball a few years ago.  I nearly broke my thumb at one of those games. I have never held a bat. Never thrown a ball (except to the dog) and have never been interested in how the game works. In short? I am a rookie that knows nothing about the game except what my mind tells me: Which is to run from the ball.

The first game I went to the coach told me I would just sit out and he would explain the rules as it went along. I sighed relief and took my position as bench warmer. That I could handle. Not two minutes later he called my name “You! Over there!” apparently the other team was short a player so figuring he wouldn’t be losing much -he farmed me out to the other team. My first time ever holding a bat. My first time ever swinging at a ball. My first time ever running bases. I hit the ball. Ran the bases. Scored a point. For the opposing team.

Yay?

I went home later that night and googled everything I could on softball.

Two days later we met for practice where I would spend an hour learning the rules of the game and having it drilled into my head “Run TO the ball” -after 26 years of running FROM a ball I was now trying to retrain my mind to run TO the ball. I was also trying to learn how to catch the ball, keep the ball from smacking me in the face and who to throw said ball to. We only covered about ½ the positions, but at the end he told me I had a great throwing arm and had potential. I assumed that was a good thing, because I really didn’t understand the other softball terms that were being tossed around.

I couldn’t walk right for a week. My hand turned blue and purple -because I had to learn the hard way that you do not catch a ball without a glove. I couldn’t lift anything for days.

…and then I went out of two for two weeks and missed out on a game and practice.

Last week was our third game, and my second.

We were short two players which meant that instead of playing outfield -I was put as catcher.

I will let that sink in for a moment.

Catcher. Perhaps the most dangerous place ever. No one explained the rules to me. No one told me what to do. There was no time for that. They simply said “Crouch there…” Right behind the bat. Right in the line of the ball. Right in the line of fire. Oy.

Last night I managed to hit the ball twice. We lost by one point. But from what I hear -we did a really good job as a whole. Considering the opposing team had all their players (and some really good ones at that) and the empire apparently took two points off our game.

I really don’t know why or how or any of that…I am still trying to understand the rules, the game and the ball. I still find myself cheering on the opposing team and only manage to catch the ball about ¼ of the time. But when the bat hits the ball, something about the cracking noise sends my legs flying as fast as they possibly can. To where? I am really not sure. I just run. Then run again. Then run again. And hope for the best.

There were more people in the dug out that belonged to me than the team last night -99% of the fam was there, cheering me own, squawking out random bits of encouragement to me and the other players. Grinning like bafoons right along side me as I stood at first base after hitting a squiggly ball that gave me enough time to run.

If nothing else, it will be an interesting summer with lots of flying balls -and at the end, at least I will be able to throw the ball for the dog a little further than normal…now if only she could throw them to me so I could work on my catching!

Amanda and her fam are in town for a few months and as a result she took a few…pictures. Of course she didn’t catch me hitting the ball or running like a fool…her pictures are probably the most accurate representation of what I look like 98% of the time.

Not so pro tip: Do NOT catch a ball with the hand that doesn’t have a glove.  Don’t ask me how I know, just don’t do it:

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Wait, where did it go?

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What am I looking at?  The ball that is not?

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Yay!  I caught it…oh, wait, no I didn’t.

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For the record I DID catch a few balls, and did manage to score the team a point…I think.

Thankfully the team is really low key -and everyone is just as happy to hit the ball as they are to make a home run.  Not that I would know -we haven’t exactly had any home runs.  But still!

Spring is Springing!

This Easter season has been a favorite of mine.

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For obvious reasons, of course.  But for not so obvious reasons as well.

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The promise of sun and 60 degree weather.

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There have also been flowers blooming, birds chirping and day light sticking around a lot longer.

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I am pretty sure that Spring is my favorite season.  It comes after a long winter and has the promise of summer to follow -where summer has the promise of fall and winter.

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Spring is in the air!

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(spoiler alert: Yoshi likes spring too!)

The Yoshi-nator

Someone turns five this month. That seemed like a good enough excuse to write about her.

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Yoshi is…simply put, a nut.  With all the nutty shells that encompass nuts…and then some.

She is our special nut.  With all the problems that special nuts bring.

She is scared of people, dogs and anything that moves suddenly.  I have taken her to doggy school, hired a dog therapist (seriously, I know), and done more research on shy dogs than I care to admit.  She has guarding issues -which turns up in the tune of biting any dog that gets too close to whatever she deems important.

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Oh yea, and she always has allergies.  To just about anything and everything and nothing all at once.

I have narrowed down a lot of her issues and tried to work out some solutions for the others -but there are only so many hours in a day and when it comes down to it, she sometimes has to take the back seat on things.

She has a serious obsession with pigs!

She has a serious obsession with pigs!

I’ve been able to narrow down her guarding issues to a few main triggers: Her space, her bed, her food and her toys.  While this may sound simple enough -that pretty much means anything she calls her own, at any given moment.  Whenever a new dog comes over we have to be careful to make sure that her toys are picked up and there isn’t any food laying around.  Also the pig?  Still around.  Still causing problems.

How 'bout 'dem wrinkles!!!

How ’bout ‘dem wrinkles!!!

Her being terrified of people is a work in progress -and something that I need to work with her on more.  She spends the day with us at the shop in the office so she sees a lot of people each day -her therapist said that she shouldn’t be allowed to hide and that I should make her stand beside me when customers are in the office -but when it comes down to it -I can’t try and handle and customer and wrangle a dog at the same time.

Every so often though, she gets a teachable moment with the right customer.  Slowly.

…and her allergies?  Are still an unknown mystery.  After spending a lot of last year chasing them around and around I thought I finally had them under control with a change of food (from chicken to salmon) and wiping her down every week.

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While I was gone, mom decided to change her diet to a more natural diet -which involved cooking for her.  I wasn’t game at  first, but she had appeared to have lost some weight (because yes, she is also overweight) so continued with it.

This past week she has been REALLY itchy -and by itchy I mean she gets uncontrollable.  She NEEDS to be scratched.  She rubs herself on chairs, desks, the floor.  She runs, she whines, and when all else fails -she lays there with the saddest puppy dog eyes.  She breaks out in red bumps that look so painful.  Sometimes the benadryl helps, and sometimes it does nothing.

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The last time we had her in the vet they said she had flea bites -but no fleas.  They recommended treating her with a $50 flea product, bombing the house and spraying all the furniture as well as treating the cats.  I almost went for it -but mom suggested we wait, considering how we had just given her some flea medication.

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Last night it hit me -the past week I had been feeding her chicken all week long.  Her rice had chicken stock, her protein was chicken.  The past few nights she hasn’t had  chicken -and guess who hasn’t been itchy?

Sniffin' out the pig (I think pig looks slightly terrified here -ha!)

Sniffin’ out the pig (I think pig looks slightly terrified here -ha!)

I told Amanda that every time I yell EUREKA! with her allergies -she breaks out in itchy bumps again, so here is to hoping she doesn’t break out tonight or tomorrow.

...because a good selfie with the dog is almost always, certainly a terrible idea!

…because a good selfie with the dog is almost always, certainly a terrible idea!

Either way, despite all her special issues -we love her and her nutty ways.