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!

Photography, Travel

The Grand Canyon

A few weeks ago, we were in Arizona.

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Mom and I had one day together, a car, and nowhere to be…so we punched “The Grand Canyon” into the GPS and took off for a mini road trip.

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After driving for about three hours we passed a sign that said something about the Grand Canyon, but the GPS said we were still a bit away.  We kept driving.

…and driving…

…and driving.

We came across this gem, and assumed we were close.

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But then the main road turned into a dirt road and we started going down…not up.  Finally, the GPS announced that “You have reached your destination!  You are now at the Grand Canyon.”

Except that it wasn’t the Grand Canyon.  In fact we were pretty much the opposite of the Grand Canyon.  We were at the base of some ugly looking rock hills, with a dirt trail snaking around them.  “Isn’t it BEAUTIFUL!” mom gasped.  I was less than impressed.  I chucked the GPS in the back seat and took off back up the dirt road.

“Are you sure we are going the right way?” Mom asked.

“You are heading the wrong direction.” The GPS piped up from the back seat as if answering mom.

“I think that was the Grand Canyon.” Mom said again

“Turn around, you are leaving your destination.” GPS continued.

It took some maneuvering but finally, after a few wrong turns -we found ourselves at the Grand Canyon.  The real, Grand Canyon.  The Grand Canyon West.

It was much prettier there.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought my good camera -all pictures are camera phone pictures which I suppose is better than nothing.

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When mom tries to use the phone to take a picture it goes something like this.

Mom: Smile!

Me: Cheese!

*Silence*

Me: Mom? You taking the picture?

Mom: ….

Me: Mom?

Mom: SMILE!

Me: MOM TAKE THE….

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Animals

Dogs, Dogs, Dogs!

I don’t have anything against any breed of dog, or at least, I didn’t until about two years ago.  The pit bull breed has always gotten a bad rap -and I have always done my best to stay away from choosing sides.  But two years ago I dog sat two pit bulls and vowed never to do it again.  It was the worst two weeks of my life.  The money I made was not worth it.  I am all about following through with my jobs, but this was one job I actually threatened to leave.  I’m not entirely sure what was wrong with them -I just knew I would never watch a pit bull again.

Fast forward a few years.  A few weeks ago I got a phone call from someone asking if I would watch their dog.  I said yes then asked the breed.  A bull dog, she told me.  A sweet bull dog.

It wasn’t until she showed up to drop her off did I realize this was no bull dog.  This was a pit bull.  I couldn’t exactly back out, so I bit my tongue and braced myself for a hard month and ½.  It hasn’t been as difficult as the last time -but it still has been a challenge and one that has made me agree more than ever that I will never watch a pit bull again.  Nothing against them -just that they are not smart.  They have no brains.  I don’t mean it to sound mean -it’s just how they are.  They destroy everything in their path and don’t think about anything else.

I figured however, that since I am going to be watching this bull dog, er, pit bull -for over a month that I would buckle down and try to do some training.  While it hasn’t gone well -it has gone ok.  Which is more than I could have hoped for.  I make her sit before getting her leash on or off.  I make her wait before going in the door and I make her wait before eating her food.  We are still working on “Be quiet.”  I’m not sure that will ever happen.  It might not sound like a lot -but believe me.  It is a lot.

She is a sweet girl.

As a bonus -Yoshi, who doesn’t get along with ANYONE has taken a liking to her.  They enjoy playing in the snow and chasing each other around.

Introducing, Harper, the ‘bull dog.’

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It was all fun and games until Harper stole Yoshi’s snowball.