Alaska, Animals

Owl Myths

Earlier today I was on my way home, driving the all-to-familiar stretch of road, when something unusual flew out across the road.

While birds and flying things aren’t unusual -this object had a big, round head -and it didn’t look like an eagle. I quickly whipped to the side of the road and stared.

“Is that an owl?” I asked to no one in particular.

“It’s an OWL!” I answered.

Sure enough, sitting not a few feet in front of me was this guy:

Feeling brave, I got out of the car and inched closer:

I’ve always heard people talk about seeing or hearing owls here -but I have never seen one myself. In fact I always assumed they were simply myths.

But I guess it’s true! They do exist!  Until next time little guy!

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Alaska, Friends

This Alaska

This Alaska place.

I have had a real strong love/hate relationship with it the past year or so. I love Alaska. I love Ketchikan. I love the rain and the beautiful sunny days and the busy summers and quiet winters. I do. But standing by as friends come and go never gets easy. Being stuck on an Island, a million and one miles away from the people you want to hang out with is a challenge in and of itself. You may only be a few thousand miles away -but it doesn’t matter. You are separated by oceans and lands and miles.

Making new friends has never been a strong suite of mine…so being stuck on an island while your friends move in and out of your life is, well, challenging.

I haven’t done much traveling this year, so being ‘stuck’ on the island has taken its toll.

Yes, I love Alaska. But sometimes…

When it takes you 30 minutes to make a 5 minute drive. When you have to stop and go a million times. When tourist literally jump out in front of your car and give you a brief heart attack. When you just want to go into a shop and not see a billion and one faces -many of who you know and many of who you don’t. When you just want a moment of peace -yet there is none to be found…

And then you go for a hike. Into the vast wilderness. The great unknown. The peaceful calmness of the mountains, the silence. The cool wind and the beautiful scenery. The friends.

When you stand in the mountains of Alaska…you feel so small. You realize just how big this world is and just how small you are. You realize just how small your town is, and the problems in it. You realize there is so much beauty -even in the smallness. You are reminded.

This place? This Alaska?

Is quite simply amazing.

Taking in a deep breath of fresh mountain air is sometimes the remedy that can make everything better again.

Alaska

Long Island

Perks to having pilot friends?  Seeing random islands from your childhood.

A few months ago my parents mentioned to one of my pilot friends that I was born on a little island not far from here.  Long Island, to be exact. (Alaska that is, not New York!)

Some 25 odd years ago, we left that little island and moved to Ketchikan for what I am told was going to be a “short stay.”  Yet here we are.  I don’t have many memories of the place -seeings how we left when I was around two, but a few days ago I got a text from my friend with these gems attached:

I’m told that’s where we flew into hundreds of times.  The place of my childhood.  Where my life began.  If you look closely you might even see the beach where we fished…just kidding.  I recognize none of it -but it was still pretty cool, you know – seeing that it does exist and all!

Animals

Round Two!

It’s official.  I might be just a little bit crazy.  Back in October I found myself watching a total of six dogs at once.  It wasn’t until after the fact did I realize just HOW crazy I might have been.  But somehow -I have found myself in the same position once again, only this time -the dogs are all big dogs.

It seems a little less chaotic this time, however.  Perhaps because they all live in the same general area, or perhaps because mom is back in town and can lend a hand.  Either way -we are back to having six dogs.

Round Two!

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Introducing:

Kilo:

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Kilo is a purebred lab.  She is one of the best dogs I have ever watched, and am terrified I will break her!  She listens SO well!  Her puppy dog eyes are because she is trying to tell me she doesn’t like plain dog food and needs more treats.

Winston:

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Mr. Winston is an good old boy.  We used to watch him -many, many years ago.  Probably 10 years ago.  He is old, but still good.  He got himself stuck in the bushes this afternoon, took me about ten minutes to coax him out!

Bob:

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This is Bob.  Bob has been here before.  He is surrounded by female dogs -and enjoying every minute of it.  Don’t let his sad look fool you!  Every time I see him, I see Scrat:

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He is a good boy too.  He is easy going and gets along with every dog.

Harper:

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Miss Harper has been featured here before.  She is still hanging with us.  These sad eyes are brought to you by the word “sit.”  She loves to run, jump, play and do anything BUT sit.  Don’t worry -she was back to smiles and kisses after the picture.

Belle:

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Belle is a husky.  She has one brown, one blue eye.  She is a beauty.  A nut.  A wild girl who loves to play in the snow…I guess being a husky it runs in her blood.  She was more than happy to smile for the camera -perhaps because I was holding a treat?

and back by popular demand, Yoshi!:

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The ringleader of it all.  Her look says it all.  I have been super happy -she has done VERY well with all these dogs in her house.  The only casualty has actually been to her -I let Yoshi into Harper’s area and Yoshi came in with a bit too much gusto.  Harper bit her ear.  But she is healing nicely.  She is going to be one lonely nut when all these pups leave!

Life

Until Next Time…

When I was younger, making friends was easy. People often joke that I was friends with everyone. I suppose most little kids are. I befriended neighbors and strangers alike. I’m not sure I really had a best friend -because everyone was my best friend. When I got a little older I had a close group of friends.

Then somewhere over the years my friends moved away and I fell into a comfortable area of life where my sister was my best friend (and really, still is). Then she grew up, got married and moved away. While nothing much changed (other than the fact, of course -that she moved a billion and one miles away, got married, has kids and started a life of her own!) I am still here. She is still there.

I guess I lost the ability to befriend everyone.

I don’t remember when, exactly -but a few years ago I had this prayer that I prayed on a regular basis. It went something to the tune of asking for a friend. I specifically remember saying that I didn’t need a bunch of friends -just one. One really good friend. I suppose you have to be careful what you pray for -because sometimes God answers those prayers.

Because I got that one really good friend.

One that quickly became that person that made me laugh. The one that traveled the world with me. Plotted silly things. Watched movies. Hiked waterfalls. That one that you exchange a look with over the table when teaching an especially difficult child -and know that they have your back. Over the years we have shared many different memories. Traveled many different places. Laughed about so many different things. Shared stories. Prayed with each other. For each other. We have shared more cups of coffee than I can count.

Both of our lives have changed over the years, ups and downs -ins and outs.

We started teaching Sunday school this year -in separate class rooms, but with a shared door. Early Sunday morning when I am going over my lesson -the door will slide open and she will march in.

Over the past few years I have stopped praying for that one special friend, and instead starting thanking God for her. Asking that I become a better friend to her. That I can be the same kind of friend to her -that she is to me.

Last year we traveled to England. France. Germany. Italy. And Ireland. We have memories and stories that only need one word to evoke those special times. To make us laugh. Remember.

But the thing about Ketchikan is that no one stays here forever. I knew that when I met her, they were only planning to stay a few years -but I pushed those thoughts aside and instead focused on living now. In the present. Not thinking about that day. Secretly hoping that she would stay longer.

…and then the time came. Where her family announced they were leaving.

It took me a few days before I could even think about it without bursting into tears. It’s hard to say good-bye. I’m still not entirely ok with it. But I am trying to be happy. To know that she is embarking on an adventure that will be filled with so many opportunities. I still get sad thinking about a life without her in it on a daily basis. I still am plotting ways to make her stay. But I am also thanking God for a wonderful friend that has made my life so much better.

A friend who has encouraged me over the years, a friend that God used to answer my prayer. That one special friend who it is hard to say good-bye to.

I’m going to try and be a better friend -a more open, willing, happy person -much like she was. To take these things that she has shown to me -and show them to others.

Thanks for being an awesome friend, Morgan.

Thank you for being a part of my life, and being a wonderfully awesome friend.

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Don’t stay gone too long -there is so much more of the world to see (and so much more coffee to consume!)