Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Convent Life

During my trip to Iowa in October, I spent time with my sisters at a convent. Yes, a convent.

Get off the floor. Yes, a convent. We visited my aunts, who are Sisters (nuns) and sisters with each other (my dad's sisters).

The visit started with the fire alarm going off and the arrival of the firemen. I think the nuns set off the alarm on purpose to get the firemen there. I think this is a regular occurrence. The firemen were happy to see us.

We did a craft project. Yes, a craft project, so get off the floor again. It involved winding a mess of thread around some ball thing, called a temari ball (Japanese). Anyway, the homemade Baileys helped get me through this. (Yes, the nuns enjoyed the Baileys, too.)

I'm not sure what the highlight of this part of the trip was. Did I mention they served candy corn at breakfast one morning? Did I mention the site overlooked several graveyards and there was a lot of, uh, activity?

See some pictures from this part of the trip.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Quote of the Day

"He died? The guy who does the Ford commercials? When did that happen?"

Robin in response to my comment about the one year anniversary of Steve Jobs' death. He thought I was referring to Mike Rowe, host of "Dirty Jobs."

Friday, November 9, 2012

Iowa's magnum squirrels

Ah, there's nothing like Iowa in the fall. The weather was awesome, and it was great to be able to drive more than a few miles.

One of the highlights of my trip, other than seeing my family of course, was seeing my brother-in-law's magnum squirrels. He feeds these "wild" squirrels, and they now outweigh the neighborhood cats.

See a squirrel in action and some photos of my family.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Other than seeing Robin's mom, of course, one of the highlights from our trip to Florida was seeing Sherman, the African spurred tortoise. (I don't know what the difference is between a tortoise and a turtle.) We visited him almost every day, and fed him his favorite food: apples.

See Sherman and a few other photos from Florida.

Fortunately, we left the state before all of the hurricane action started, although the bands of wind and rain were just starting to pass through Titusville.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Top 10 travel insights from my latest trip

I traveled to Iowa and Florida (more on both trips once I decompress) and gained some valuable insights during my journey to the Great Wide World.

  1. Seeing 30 baby strollers lined up on the jetway for a 6+ hour flight is not a good sign ... and neither is seeing the flight attendant reach into her pocket to hand out packets of earplugs.
  2. Yes, you can see northern lights from the plane in October! (It almost made up for the need of earplugs...almost.)
  3. Wow, I've heard of keyless entry cars but come on, pushing a button to start a car? And having to keep track of the lock-clicker thingy and remembering to push the button to shut off the car?
  4. Using the "reverse" camera in the car makes backing up even more difficult than trailering a boat. (It took me three tries to back into my sister's driveway. Don't even get me started talking about the touch-screen XM radio gadget.)
  5. Wireless internet is a wondrous thing, and I'm happy to see that most airports are now offering it for free (except O'Hare). But, it still does not work when it's windy. All the rest stops I stopped at along my route advertised wireless Internet, but it did not work at any of them.
  6. If you're driving on the tollway from Chicago to Iowa, the tolls have increased significantly ($12 each way instead of $2 when I lived there) and healthy food options simply don't exist.
  7. Chili's Restaurant marks which menu items are gluten free, offers wireless internet at the table and has a gadget at the table where you can slide your credit card to pay your bill. All good, nifty things!
  8. If you were born in or before 1937, you are now allowed to keep on a "light jacket" and your shoes when going through airport security. (I guess there isn't much threat from those 75-year old terrorists roaming around out there. I didn't have the guts to ask what a "light jacket" is....)
  9. If you are 12 or younger, lace up your shoes, because you can now keep them on when going through airport security.
  10. If you're into taking a nip out of the liquor on the shelves at your local Walmart, you will have to curtail that habit ... at least at the Walmart's in Iowa. They now have a locking mechanism on the pricier liquor items. Allow extra time at the checkout for the clerk to futz around removing it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Quote of the Day

"I out-folks-ed 'em."

Robin, who meant "outfoxed". He's been hiding the truck key in the vehicle to outsmart any thieves who might be looking to take the truck. I am not sure why he does not take the key and put it in his pocket. 

The problem is, he sometimes "outfolkses" himself, forgetting whether it's under the floor mat, in the ashtray, in the hole where the speaker fell out, etc.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bounty hunter update

To update on the bounty hunter story (see May's The Bounty Hunter), the "alleged" criminal was recently caught robbing a grave. Yes, robbing a grave!

Finally, they put him in jail and he is doing time.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Another quote of the day

"Ooolog? What's an oolog?"

Robin elbowed me while we were in a healthy eating class, and the instructor was talking about a "food log".

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Back to blogging

After many months of no excuses, other than fishing, enjoying the daylight, having visitors, enjoying time in Kodiak, etc., I am recommitting myself to regular blog updates.

Hopefully, I still have a few readers out there, so please comment!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Quote of the Day

"Fat old model? Why are they talking about a fat old model?"

Robin's response to a news story that was actually talking about a "bad role model" ... yes, we're still talking about hearing aids.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Summer photos from Kodiak

With nearly 20 hours of daylight in June and July, we have been going, going, going. Thus, the lack of blog activity. Work all day, then go fishing, process fish, entertain friends or look for bears.

Here are some recent and catch-up photos to enjoy.

  • Kodiak summer, with shots of the bee/hornet killer, a deer investigating our grill, fishing adventures and buffalo.
  • Fishing and wildlife, with photos of whales, puffins, sea otters and more, plus our fishing adventures with halibut, salmon, gill netting and more.
  • Hanging out ... with a hike on Father's Day and horseshoe playing, gardening (with Robin's first and only tomato), a bowling party, Mother's Day snowstorm and a bowling party (Robin got to use his new bowling ball that he's been moving around for seven years for the first time).

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Bounty Hunter

"You're a bounty hunter, aren't you?" asked the rental car clerk in the St. Louis airport. Robin had just walked up to the counter, and the clerk hadn't yet seen his gun case.

"I can't tell you," Robin replied, placing his gun case in view.

"I know you're a bounty hunter," said the clerk, completely convinced Robin was on a man hunt. It was late at night, and the clerk had been notified a latecomer was on his way and to keep the doors open. The clerk made a new pot of coffee for this "bounty hunter" who was up late and on the road. They upgraded his super-economy sub-compact car to a Volkswagen Passat with built-in GPS and satellite radio. "We know you're on a man hunt," he said. "Good luck, we hope you catch him!"

Premonition? Turns out that while Robin was turkey hunting in Kentucky, he didn't really see any turkeys. Which was strange, having hunted this area before and knowing there were usually tons of turkeys. He mentioned this to his friends, who were all mystified at the lack of turkeys. The second day he went out, he saw a couple of unidentified hunters ... who did not have permission to hunt in the area.

Robin's friends confronted the trespassing hunters, demanding they drop their weapons. Fortunately, they complied. Robin's friends called the sheriff, who summoned state fish and game and other law enforcement. Turns out these "hunters" had a warrant out for their arrest. The criminals had 80 turkeys in the freezer and several live cows they had stolen, among other things. In addition, they had a meth lab on the property. A trial is pending.

When Robin returned the rental car, a different clerk was working, but he knew the "bounty hunter" when he saw him. "Well, did you get 'em?" the new clerk asked.

"Let's just say that Kentucky is a safer place," were Robin's parting words.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tragedy in Kodiak

A tragic shooting at a Coast Guard facility resulted in two dead and a search for the killer(s). The FBI is on island and rumors are burning like wildfire. Several reliable reports said someone was stopped at the airport Thursday afternoon, although no official report has stated that information. Coincidentally (?) that is when the lock downs and lock ins at the schools ended. Here are the official reports so far.
It's very somber and anxious everywhere, as you could imagine. I guess all we can do is send thoughts and prayers to all the families, friends and anyone else who has been affected by this horrific event in our small, close and remote community.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Quote of the day

"I'm 50 now..."

Robin's response to just about everything ... And sometimes it's: "Now that I'm 50...."

Friday, March 23, 2012

50 Red Solo Cups for Robin's 50th Birthday

Thanks to all for your awesome ideas and the cards and email greetings you sent! It was fantastic and lots of fun! Here's what I put in Robin's 50 red solo cups.

See more pictures of this fan-tab-ulous birthday!

In addition to the items below, I also put in a quotation card (printed on a festive business card) in each cup.
  1. Scrunchie sponges
  2. Prell shampoo (childhood favorite)
  3. Birthday cake candles
  4. Flowers
  5. Birthday card
  6. Massage lotion
  7. Famous birthdays
  8. Swiss cheese picture (his favorite and was in fridge)
  9. Chapsticks with card
  10. Hair gel packets: May you always have hair
  11. Sharpies
  12. “Happy” pills (blue M&Ms)
  13. Memory kit: Post-it notes and pen with reminder, strings,
  14. Directions to change font size on computer
  15. Mini flashlight and keyring light
  16. Colonoscopy kit: gloves, lubricant and patient prep instructions along with a 1961 text book (compliments of my workplace) on surgery of the rectum and anus
  17. Hand warmers
  18. Fake daffodils in dirt
  19. Picture of our wedding day with date, place on back
  20. Map to house
  21. This day in history
  22. Fake dog tags with name, birthdate and social
  23. Bullets: May you always be able to hunt
  24. Gold fish crackers: May you always be able to fish
  25. 50 pennies: May you always be prosperous
  26. Pill holder
  27. Enema kit
  28. “Joy” pills (green M&Ms) and more birthday cards from friends
  29. Temporary shark tattoos
  30. 50 marbles: For when you lose your own
  31. Picture of me on my birthday with a birthday cake and birthday written on the back
  32. Anti-pain kit with advil, aleve, biofreeze and arnica: May you never have pain
  33. Gas X
  34. Dictionary: For when you can’t remember the word
  35. Aphrodisiac pills (yellow M&Ms)
  36. Wax hair removal kit
  37. Back brace: May you always have support
  38. Caffeine pills: May you always have energy
  39. Photos of some of our first dates
  40. Photo of Bellingham ferry terminal where we met
  41. Balloons
  42. Men’s senior vitamins
  43. Laughter pills (orange M&Ms)
  44. Cards from his mom and aunt
  45. Reading glasses
  46. Flarp noise putty (which made him laugh hysterically)
  47. Anti-itch kit: Gold Bond powder and hydrocortisone cream
  48. Tums antacid
  49. Ace bandages/wraps
  50. Fun pills (red M&Ms) and a card from a friend

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Robin's Big 5-0

Robin celebrates his 50th birthday today. He is just as fit and fabulous at 50 as he was at 25! Please e-mail, call or send a happy birthday greeting!

How we're celebrating:
  • Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Yum!
  • A happy birthday ad in the local paper with the picture from when he was 25 (don't you love all the trophies in the background? He won 33 of them over the years.)
  • Taking a picture of him posing and flexing his muscles, just like one taken when he was 25
  • 50 red solo cups filled with all sorts of fun items (thanks to all for your great suggestions)!
  • A trip to New Zealand (which will be next year due to planning and scheduling)
  • Some other things I can't share. ;-)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Paddy's

We saw the northern lights last night. Wow, how awesome! Thanks to some recent solar flares and storms, they have been really good. They are forecast to be really good tonight, too. This time, I will be better prepared. Just when I needed them last night, the batteries went out on the camera!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Quote of the day...

"How can you be hungry? I ate more than you did!"

Robin in response to me telling him I was hungry an hour after we ate.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Maestro

Robin, a.k.a. The Maestro, has gone to town with the new iPad.

He flips this, twists that, shuffles through the other, flicks over there and more ... all in the blink of an eye. Watching him is like watching Lawrence Welk conduct his orchestra. He'll even take it out of my hands to demonstrate how to do something. Amazing!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Top 10 Things Joe's Status Will Get You

Our friend, we'll call him "Joe", gave us airline guest passes for our trip to Florida. Although a very generous gift, we're now wondering if "Joe" really is our friend ... or is he trying to get us off his friend list? Here's what "Joe's" airline status got us:
  1. The only window seat on the plane that didn't actually have a window. Go figure, the seat across the aisle had a window.
  2. A loud, non-stop-crying, obnoxious 3-year-old. My ears are still ringing. How his dad slept through it all is beyond me. It's a miracle no one was hurt or killed.
  3. Three days to get out of Kodiak. Yes, three days. We were "outranked" by others with more seniority than "Joe." Really? How many people on Kodiak were using guest passes? At least we were at home. (Thanks, "Joe".)
  4. Another two days to get out of Seattle. Which meant we had time to kill ... so we spent money on an iPad. (Our bank account says thanks, "Joe".)
  5. The smallest seats on a plane I have ever seen or sat in.
  6. On the return flight, the last row of seats, which means no reclining for the 6-hour flight. (Thanks again, "Joe".)
  7. No refreshments, drinks or snacks during the flight east. Come on, how did they mark us?
  8. Mean flight attendants. They must have once considered "Joe" a friend, too.
  9. Sorry, no full cans of soda for you! We'll only give you a cup.
  10. We'll have to charge you extra for that overweight bag. It's overweight by 4 ounces, so unless you can take something out....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Top 10 Things Learned on Florida Trip

It took more than 4 days to get there, including 3 days of delays due to weather in Kodiak and a day and a half in Seattle, but we made it to Florida for our anniversary trip, hog hunting and seeing Robin's mom. Here is what I learned:
  1. AYCE means All You Can Eat
  2. It's hard to push a 15-passenger van out of sugar sand (yeah, our friend Bob got it stuck but we eventually got it out ... Robin only ended up with a few bites from fire ants, ouch!). It did take 6 if us, however, digging in some scraps of cow-dunged wood and several tries.
  3. You can survive a 5-hour red-eye flight with a screaming (and I mean screaming) 3 year old right behind you without killing anyone. (He did not let up, either, not even for 5 minutes!)
  4. Wild hawgs have vicious teeth and tusks! They can and do kill pit bulls that some people use to hunt them.
  5. You cannot keep red snapper when fishing in Florida at any time of year.
  6. Robin's predictions of calm seas continue to follow his usual pattern of accuracy (see previous post: Hangs, cobras and hawks)
  7. If you distract the person checking in your grossly overweight coolers with bizarre tales from your trip, they just might forget to a) charge you for the luggage entirely and b) forget about it being overweight
  8. You cannot have a wine opener in your carry-on luggage
  9. Traveling light, by Robin's definition, means two coolers full of 120 pounds of meat, a wheeled luggage bag weighing 60 pounds, a duffle bag weighing 53 pounds (including a ham and some pork chops), gun case with two guns and three carry-on bags.
  10. Pizza restaurants in Florida serve something called a "grinder", although we never did learn what a grinder actually is.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hangs, cobras and hawks

We celebrated our 1 year anniversary with an offshore fishing trip while we were in Florida visiting Robin's mom and he was hunting wild pig.

This time, despite Robin's assurances and predictions of calm seas, I loaded up on the motion sickness pills. Perhaps I overdid it but it was worth it. It certainly wasn't calm! Like 6 foot waves and swells, oh boy.

At the end of the day, we used our nifty new iPad to send an e-mail, typed by yours truly. My e-mail said: "Robin got 3 hangs and 1 cobra. I did not get any hawks, but did catch a bunch of little fish today."

Hangs = "hawgs" (wild hogs)
Cobra = cobia (a fish)
Hawks = also "hawgs" (wild hogs)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhog Day all over again

This winter has seemed like Groundhog Day, the movie. Snow. Snow. More snow. January was a new record snow month for Kodiak, with 48.6 inches of the stuff, snowballing the old record of 40.4 inches. Total snowfall to date this winter is 85 inches (normal is 34 inches).

So far, 4 boats moored in the harbor have sunk because the owners didn't go and shovel them off.

Robin has been on the snowplow all month, with hardly a day off. So far this winter, he has used:
  • 492 gallons of gas
  • 105 gallons of diesel
  • 60,000 pounds of sand and traction chips
  • 1,500 pounds of ice melt (that's 30, 50-lb boxes he himself has spread)

We head to sunny Florida this weekend, weather permitting, for a brief break from the snow.

Monday, January 30, 2012

30 Year Anniversary

Robin celebrated his 30 year anniversary with the Department of the Interior. (He started a seasonal job there while still in high school.)

We had a surprise party for him with cake (the decorator accidentally put the blue goose upside-down and a co-worker started cutting into it before I could take the picture) and entertainment (a slideshow I put together covering all 30 years). Thanks to all who submitted photos and quotes! It was great and he was very surprised and happy.

View the .wmv, complete with music (it's worth the download wait, but probably only works on a PC).

Download the PDF.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Remembering Mike Voshell

My brother-in-law, Mike Voshell, passed away on Sunday after a brief (but long), brutal battle with leukemia. He was only 62.

Please send condolences to Theresa, Allison and Josie.

I've known Mike since I was 6 years old! He was the first person to give me a motorcycle ride. He dutifully served in Vietnam and served as the local fire chief for more than 27 years.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Winter weather

We've been hit with some snow, wind, rain, snow, rain, wind and some more snow.

Did I mention we've had some snow? Not as bad as Cordova, the place with about 18 feet of snow, avalanches and collapsing roofs ... where National Guard went to help dig them out.)
  • Several deep puddles in the road, more like ponds, really, made for very hazardous conditions. Local officials finally closed the road when puddle depth reached 3 feet. Yikes. The airport was also closed for several days. (See the local paper.)