Friday, December 16, 2011

Quote of the day

"How do you know when Santa's birthday is?"

Robin's response when I said, "Saturday is Janet's birthday."

Note: Robin just met with a hearing aid specialist last week ... I think this clinches the deal.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Computer error message of the day...

Received when Robin tried to check his work (i.e. government) e-mail:

"The requested service is temporarily unavailable. It is either overloaded or under maintenance. Please try later."

Monday, December 5, 2011

Kodiak Shuffle

Snow. Slush. Rain. Ice. Snow. Rain. Ice.

Waaahc, waaahc, waaahc. Everyone walks around like penguins shuffled across the ice. Through the gravel strewn across the top.

Only our friend Jimmy wasn't so lucky ... he slipped on one tiny spot of ice on a grassy yard. Sloooop! Down he went and tore his quadriceps tendon off his kneecap. Ouch! He had surgery Friday and went home from the hospital today.

A long, slow recovery is in store.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Turkey Day

We celebrated the day by being thankful we didn't have to cook! We joined friends at the Coast Guard base for a turkey and ham dinner with all the trimmings. Between the two of us, Robin and I ate 6 pieces of pie: pecan, pumpkin and cheesecake. Now we have bellyaches but it was worth it.

Last weekend, our friend Liz celebrated her last night in Kodiak (at least for now) with an ice-skating Olympics at the awesome public rink. Right here in Kodiak. What a great rink! I dusted off my skates, pulled out my roller blade pads, donned my poncho and skated away.

Here are some photos of skating, our boat and Robin's deer hunt on Raspberry Island.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Failure to appear: Juror number J62324

The stupid City of Lakewood court wanted to have me in contempt for "failure to appear for jury duty" on October 28.

Not that it hasn't been almost 5 years since I lived there.

I e-mailed them a copy of the muzzleloading newspaper article, with the date, and told them that I now live in Alaska.

That wasn't sufficient for the "Judicial Specialist" and I was not excused. Librarian!

I served on the court as a juror once about 6 years ago. The case was a riveting, he-said, she-said thriller and someone's pet rabbit died in the middle of an apartment dispute.

Stay tuned ... I hope they don't press charges!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fall trip to East Coast

We traveled to D.C., WV, MD and PA in September. Most of the time was spent at Robin's training facility in WV. We traveled to Robin's home town near Gettysburg, visited with friends and Robin's brothers.

Robin took some time and went hunting for whitetail deer, bagging 3 or 4 and carting the frozen burger back to Alaska.

I took some time and visited battlefields, Harper's Ferry (home of John Brown) and the National Apple Museum. That's where you can get your own personalized tour for $2 and spend 8 hours with the old couple who do the tours. (Yikes, I don't THINK so!)

See pictures of our trip out east.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Leathermans make headlines again

We made the front page of the paper again ... this time for a muzzleloading class. It was a two-day class and a cheap $20 to pour powder down a barrel, pack it with a roundball and fire at a target. Robin fired off his rounds and qualified before everyone else had even loaded their guns.

It was fun and we both passed. The instructor did accuse me of cheating on the written test because Robin and I both missed the same question. I said, "Wow, that's weird. I didn't even cheat on that question."

Read the article.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Possible Bag

For those of you who know Robin, you ~know~ he is a hunter. For those of you who don't know Robin: he's a hunter. And I do mean a hunter. He has a particular passion for archery and muzzleloading (aka black powder). Muzzleloading involves more of an old-fashioned approach where you actually poor black powder down the barrel of a gun, followed by a round ball/bullet/or whatever you want to call it.

A necessary tool of any muzzleloading hunter worth his flint is called a "possible" bag. When Robin first talked about it, I asked why the name, "possible bag."

He responded with, "Because with this, anything is possible."

I am compiling a list (for my book) of what should be in a Possible Bag...and not the typical muzzleloading Possible Bag. I'm talking about a Possible Bag for getting by in Life!

Please comment on what you would pack in your Life Possible Bag.

Moose on the loose

I received this came at work from the regional office in Anchorage (intended for Anchorage employees as there aren't any moose here in Kodiak):

Reminder: Watch out for moose

Moose have been seen on our campus recently. Please be extra cautious, especially during the dark hours, and keep a watch out for them. If you see a moose, please alert Security and stay away from it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Robin makes headline news

Robin built a public use cabin on Uganik Island in August/Sept. and the local paper covered the story.

The total cabin materials weighed about 6,000 pounds. Robin and crew moved those 6,000 pounds at least four times: once from the shipping container to the transport boat, from the transport boat to the little ferrying boat, from the ferrying boat to the shore and then from the shore to the building site. Whew!

The cabin itself was a kit consisting of 22 wall panels (weighing about 120 lb each), 30 roof panels and some other pieces parts. It took five people three days to build the foundation and another four days to build the cabin. If Robin had not been crew leader, it would have taken another 3 weeks and 10 people to complete!

See the presentation Robin will be giving at the Refuge Visitor Center.

Read the Kodiak Daily Mirror article.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Earthquake and fire

After being away for a couple of weeks after having only been in our apartment a couple of weeks, we were excited to have a nice relaxing weekend morning. We settled in for a nice cup of tea, still in our pajamas. The pans on the kitchen stove started rattling. We looked at each other, asking, "Is that an earthquake?" Then, one of the pictures on the wall started rattling. I asked Robin, "Should we get dressed? Should we go to higher ground?"

I then went to monitor the earthquake site to see what was happening. There were a couple on Friday but as of this morning, nothing was logged.

Then, we looked out the window. "Where is all that smoke coming from?" we asked. We went out on our balcony to see if there were flames. There were no flames and we sniffed.

"That's dryer smell ... someone's doing laundry," Robin said. We looked at each other ... "Laundry. I bet it was the spin cycle, not an earthquake!"

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rocket launch

Perhaps you know, or don't know, that Kodiak has a rocket launch complex (near where the buffalo roam). One launched this week and was reportedly pretty spectacular. I, however, missed it because I had just returned from my travels and had forgotten all about it.

It was a beautiful morning and the launch was something to see.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Boiler malfunction

Upon my return from the East Coast, I walked into our apartment and it was so hot in here, my eyeglasses fogged over. Literally!

I spoke to the landlady about this. The synopsis: a boiler zone valve is apparently stuck open. It is at least 90 degrees in here, quite a rarity for Kodiak.

Fortunately, heat is included in our rent. A repairman is on the way.


After six long months, I am back in the land of Internet connectivity. Wow, I can't believe it's been that long but hey! I now have phone, e-mail, blogging, streaming video, you name it! Here's a snapshot of how I've been spending my September:
  • Took a a two-week trip to the East Coast (D.C., West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and probably Virginia) with Robin. (Once he returns with the camera, I'll upload photos.)
  • Got a new best friend, Samantha, our GPS unit. She guided me throughout that clustered area of D.C., West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and probably Virginia.
  • Toured Harper's Ferry and learned all about John Brown, the Civil War icon, and could find nary a Park Service guide or interpreter, despite the high $ this park rakes in. I did add more to my knowledge of the man, whom I only knew that "John Brown's body lies a molding in the grave," (really, listen to this song) compliments of my weird elementary school music teacher and her course on Civil War music.
  • Visited Antietam National Battlefield. This place was awesome! If you don't watch the video at the visitor center or listen to their ranger (yaaawwwn, boring) talk, you can get away without paying a fee! Seriously, this was a little-trafficked battlefield so it was a great place to tour, learn and be away from the crowds.
  • Visited Gettysburg National Park, the site of Robin's very first Park Service job, and where all the crowds were.
  • Saw Robin's brothers, met Robin's high school buddies, saw my sister and brother-in-law and visited with friends in PA.
  • Saw my first groundhog, although I didn't get a picture of it. Those things are just as fast and elusive as that @#!! lame porcupine (aka Porky) in Gustavus!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quote of the day

"Rebuffering? Rebuffering? What does that mean?!?"

Robin in response to a message on the computer while trying to watch a YouTube video on the Internet. (It's been a very long time since we had Internet.)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A whirlwind summer

Since moving to Kodiak in April, we lived in three places. The first month we spent living out of our totes at a bed and breakfast. The second month we spent living out of our totes in a small house. Now, we finally moved into our permanent apartment and partially unpacked our totes before heading to Maryland/West Virginia/Pennsylvania for a few weeks.

In the midst of all that, I started a new seasonal job (Salmon Camp) which ended and started a new permanent job (as a communications and PR person at the hospital). We celebrated our Sand Ceremony. We had friends Hal and Lindy visit and my sisters and their husbands visit. And bought a boat. And haven't slept!

Here are a few of the photos from our whirlwind first summer in Kodiak.
  • 4th of July bash: We had a party at the Buskin Beach House (official headquarters of Salmon Camp). Everyone had the same 4th of July t-shirts on (Wal-Mart, the only place to shop, had $1.98 t-shirts on sale).
  • Visit with family: My sisters Mary and Sharon, along with husbands Carlos and John, came for the sand ceremony and fishing.
  • Bears and views: What would Kodiak be without brown bears and scenery? We've seen plenty of it and are lovin' it!

Friday, September 16, 2011

My first set net experience

Set netting is a type of subsistence fishing. You set a net on either side of a "fish highway" (like stringing a net from one side of the road to the other to catch any cars going down the road). You catch all the fish that are passing through. Only with the net there, they get stuck. Usually, they get stuck around the gills (which also kills them) and you have to wrench them out of the net (picking the net).

Once they're caught, you pick the net. You take your boat and keep working up and down the line of the net, pulling all the fish out that are stuck. We went with our friend when he set net for red salmon. We hauled in more than 75 fish in one day. It is a lot of work. Whew! But really good eating -- yum!

See pictures of set netting for red salmon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sand ceremony

What a journey these past four years have been! Alaska. Florida. North Carolina and back to Alaska!

We celebrated with a party and a sand ceremony, an Outer Banks, North Carolina tradition. During the ceremony, we poured two individual containers of sand into one. We also drank a special "unity" wine my sister Mary brought with her from Pennsylvania.

We had the ceremony in a lagoon near an island around Kodiak. My dress came from Colorado (Robin bought it without me and it fit to a T!). His tux was borrowed from the local dry cleaner, and it happened to fit to a T! Of course, what would an Alaskan celebration be without Xtra Tuffs, decorated by our friends Hal and Lindy.

See a few pictures, narrowed down from the hundred taken that day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wow, photos to enjoy

Just a quick note to share some photos. We've barely had a moment to sit still, let alone gather any coherent thoughts! Work, boat shopping, househunting and getting settled in our temporary summer home has engulfed us. I need a margarita!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sun up to sun down

The days are lengthening and our crazy pace continues with househunting, boat shopping and more. Days are currently 17 and a half hours long and gaining more than 3 minutes a day. Sunrise is about 5:25 am and doesn't set until 10:49 pm.

This weekend kicks off the summer season with Crab Fest, one of the most popular Kodiak events of the year. Robin and I plan to drive this year's float for the Refuge so stay tuned for what are sure to be some spectacular photos!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

Salmon camp

Today is my "official" start date as the Salmon Camp Director for Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. This is a summer science camp program for kindergarten through 8th grade. Started in 1996, this very popular program is the largest science-based camp in Alaska. It is one of the Refuge's top five environmental education programs in the nation.

Fortunately, I have three college interns to help me with a new group of 18 kids each week.

About the camp
More camp info
Alaska Geographic (camp co-sponsors)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Shotgun slinger

Ah, Alaska. Ya gotta love it.

I signed up as a volunteer with the Fish and Wildlife Service and they also hired me to be this year's salmon camp director! Whooo hoooo!!! One of the training courses is becoming "shotgun certified." Depending on how good of a shot you are, this enables you to either carry a shotgun to protect yourself in the field or carry a shotgun to protect yourself ~and others~ in the field.

The testing part is pretty fun, although my shoulder was sore after shooting about 30 rounds, including 8 big, powerful slugs. You have a stationary target: a bear poster stapled to plywood. You then test on a moving target: a bear poster stapled to plywood, rigged up on a pulley and it's coming at you! Aaahhhrrrgghh!

I actually qualified to carry to protect myself ~and~ others (although I'm not sure that is a good thing). Robin, of course, qualified to protect everyone.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Photos galore

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Quotes from the Roadtip

"I like to meet new people."
Robin in response to being asked if we wanted to stay with the parents of my niece's husband. (We had never met the parents ever before!)

"We don't need any of that stuff."
Robin in response to being asked if we wanted any towels during one of our overnight stays. (He didn't want to be a bother to the parents we had never met.)

"There is no bad weather ... only bad clothes."
Our friend Paul from Haines, AK as we watched the snow/slurry fall during our beach picnic and campfire.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Top 10 Roadtrip Tidbits

  1. The worst gas mileage was 4.8 MPG, going up an 8% grade in passing gear with our "light" load.
  2. Most interesting thing in our "light" load: a set of bear claws being salted down and dried out. (From Robin's bear he got in December ... the paws had been in the freezer until the week before our move when Robin took out the claws.)
  3. Another interesting thing packed was fresh bluefin tuna from Robin's latest 226 lb. + catch. (And some bear sausage and halibut, of course).
  4. Bowling Green, KY gas stations are all owned by one person. This monopoly results in an extreme gas hike on Thursdays (you can set your watch by it). Within one hour, all the gas station prices in town went up 33 cents.
  5. Do not, repeat, do not engage the border guards in Canada or in the U.S. in any sort of conversation other than the task at hand: getting across the border without inspections. It's illegal to take any sort of animal hide, rack (and maybe bear claws?) into Canada. In addition, this is not the time, repeat NOT the time, to ask about transporting firearms.
  6. Red beer is a delicious drink. I tried it and liked it, plus the recipe is really easy: One glass of cold beer and some cold tomato juice to taste. It sounds nasty but it's really good.
  7. Don't buy an atlas that is on sale. Robin found what seemed like a really good deal from Big Lots: $5 for a 2011 atlas. While looking up our route for Utah and Washington, we discovered that it was missing all the states that came after the letter "T."
  8. Temperatures ranged from 84 degrees in North Carolina to -2 degrees in Frisco, Colorado.
  9. We had snow in every state, including a record 5" in St. Louis, MO and white out conditions that forced us to pull over on the interstate in Oregon.
  10. It is still colder in Iowa than in Alaska. This week it has been unusually sunny with blue skies and 50 degree temperatures in Kodiak, while Iowa has it 20 degrees and 4 inches of new snow!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Adventures in Moving: Day 1

After frenzied activity getting prepped for the move, the mover arrived this morning, sans his 3-person crew. Despite Robin's strong recommendations not to do so, he decided to back his tractor-trailer down our long narrow lane on the Wanchese Superhighway.

Having chosen rush hour (7 to 8 a.m.) on the Wanchese Superhighway as his starting time, he hit the utility pole and knocked his trailer off-kilter.

With traffic building and building, the sheriff finally arrived and summoned a tow truck. Now it's an hour later and he's trying to get supplies and crew here.

Photos to come....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Valentine's Day Wedding

We decided to make it official and get married in a small ceremony on Valentine's Day.

We were married in the chapel on stage at The Lost Colony waterside theater, along with our officiant Carl, Kelly and Joe (our two witnesses), friends from the area and a whole slew of Park employees. Larissa volunteered to take photos and we have more than 400 of the wedding and reception!

See a mere 70-some of these photos.

The weather cooperated, with sunny skies, breezy breezes (it was blowing around 20 mph) and temperatures around 60. Robin and I wrote our ceremony and vows. It was very heartfelt, sincere and wonderful. (I could not ask for a better husband because he is the greatest...Robin says "ditto" for him.)

We kept it informal, "Outer Banks Style". I wore a scarf from my mom around my waist and a bracelet from Robin's mom around my wrist.

The people from the park surprised us with a reception, complete with wedding cake, champagne and gifts. It was wonderful. We could not have planned a better celebration.

We do, however, plan to have an Alaskan Celebration on July 25 in mark you calendars! You are invited.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Quote of the day

"I may be full of something but I don't think it's wisdom."

My response to Robin when he said I was full of wisdom

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Beautiful boat for sale

In preparation for our great migration westward and northward, we are selling our boat. It's a wonderful boat and we are sad to part with it. It is just not quite the boat for Alaska weather. If you or anyone you know is interested in a 21' offshore, awesome boat, let me know.

Delivery may be available!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Shoulder surgery

Robin underwent shoulder surgery yesterday to remedy an AC joint problem. Thankfully, the rotator cuff was not torn (much) and did not need repair. The surgeon removed a whole lotta bone and a whole lotta bursa that was causing impingement anytime he moved his shoulder. Essentially, she gave him an intentional "Type 1 shoulder separation".

The patient is resting comfortably, thanks to heavy-duty drugs. Keep your fingers crossed that the medication keeps the pain at bay! Last night was tough but we have a handle on things ... at least for now, anyway.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Anniversaries and Alaska

Robin celebrates his 29th anniversary with the Park Service today! (That doesn't include his 2 years of seasonal time.) It is a happy celebration, marked by an upcoming and momentous transfer to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

This transfer includes a move to Kodiak, Alaska! We are super excited to be going back to Alaska. Robin is excited to be transferring to the agency who's mission is "to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats." He will be in a new style of uniform, too.

More about Kodiak:
Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge

Stay tuned for exciting travel details and the Wanchese opening of Robin's Retail!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Flippin' Filipines

Since September 23, I have been working with Microsoft and their subcontractors in the Philippines to obtain my software disk, which I paid for, which the subcontractors insist could only be shipped to a physical address.

Because we have a post office box, this presented a challenge. The post office does not deliver to our home address, which the representatives in the Philippines could not understand. I tried to cancel my order, but they told me their cancellation policy was that they did not accept cancellations.

At one point, they told me to "talk to my facility." I told them I did not know what they meant by "facility" and needed more direction. They hung up on me.

Another time, I asked to speak with a supervisor, at which point they transferred me to no-man's land where the phone rang, rang, rang, rang and rang some more. I eventually hung up, after I figured they accrued quite an international bill for the call.

At another point, they told me to call "911" and ask to find out what address they send responders to...I refused.

Finally, just today, I received my software disk in the mail at my PO box. It only took almost 4 months but I did it!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Top 10 Symptoms of Fishing Fever

  1. Glassy, watery eyes (worn and tired from scanning the water for birds and boats)
  2. Red cheeks and nose (wind burn)
  3. All-over body aches (being on a boat all day)
  4. Raccoon eyes (wind burn and sun burn)
  5. Crazy hair (stocking cap)
  6. Crazy and erratic driving (the need to get to the boat launch first!)
  7. Crazy and erratic boating (the need to get to the fish first!)
  8. Crazy and erratic walking across the parking lot (forgetting boat keys and other essential equipment in the craze to Get There First!!)
  9. Unprovoked yelling and screaming (boat launches are notorious for this)
  10. Persistent cough (being immersed in diesel and gasoline fumes from all the other hundreds of boats circling around the same area time after time after time after time)