Friday, January 30, 2009

A Swing and A Miss...

Did you know "it's dumb it be deaf?!"

My office gives awesome freebies from time to time...fleece jackets, umbrellas, grills, roadside assistance kits, various things that are really nice little perks. Occasionally though, they'll offer something up that's a bit more..."inventive." Today, we got playing cards and a calendar...all good on its own, but when you add some slogans that I'm pretty sure might have been written by B.A Baracus, it's too good to be true! Oh, and that first card there, I hope none of the deaf employees take offense to that...oh well, they won't realize it...they're dumb anyway. < /sarcasm >

I pity the fool who don't use the right tool!

With this one I see we've gone with the "ancient Chinese proverb" style. Indeed, I bet it's just like a fork in a socket...just like it...and not at all like a large industrial machine sending several hundred volts of searing electricity through your mostly made of water body.

True. The autumnal equinox isn't until September 22...wait, unless you mean "fall" as in trip. Is that what you mean? You can't fool me with your unnecessary capitalization!

Who doesn't love a little Friday humor?

Monday, January 26, 2009

At the Canvas once again...

The original sketch for the last painting I did...

This past weekend was a good one. I went out with a friend, walked around, talked, and ate some killer Indian food. How do you not love curry? Seriously? I spent some time with some good girl friends and watched the Miss America pageant...where any group of girls worth their salt...ridiculed the answers, dresses, and general demeanor of the contestants. We also watched Sweeney Todd and I have subsequently had "The Worst Pies in London" in my head ever since. Johnny Depp, can you be in every movie? *girlish sigh!* Ok, ok, now onto the issue at hand.

A Duality of night and day, hot and would be nothing without the other, distinct, and yet irrevocably linked.

Also, this weekend, I got inspired. I have am currently part of a "mission" that remains at the moment, somewhat secretive, but it has given me reason to pull out the paintbrushes again. It's all too infrequent a hobby really. I'm working on a deadline and was really starting to sweat the fact that I hadn't even come up with a simple sketch yet! However, last Friday, I found the image of a sculpture...and one line in the form set off a firestorm in my mind. All weekend I simmered thinking about it and today, I put it down on paper. Tomorrow, I'll buy the canvas and over the weekend, work as I always do when I paint, for hours upon endless hours, not even realizing or minding the passage of the day. It's transportation in a sense, a complete collapse of structured time, a step outside of the self while at the same time the full internalization of self, a duality of the body and soul. (My gosh, I sound like some high minded artsy fartsy professor that deserves a good roll of the eyes from her students. LOL!)

Anyway, it'll be something I'll update when I'm done with it and the "mission" has been completed. It's no high art that I'm creating, but something deeply felt none the less...I honestly, just hope my skills are up to the task I've put before them...I suppose I'll find out soon enough!

...and the finished product of that sketch.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Back to the Emerald City!

In April, it really is the Emerald City...

No, I'm not going to see the Wizard...well, actually, if she's at the docks, I will! I just booked another trip to Seattle! This time, though, I'm not just passing through on my way to Alaska! I've always wanted to spend a few days just exploring the place and well, here we go. My friend Carrie and I, on a whim, just booked a trip for the day after my 28th birthday! It was one of those live in the moment kind of decisions. I got an email from Southwest airlines telling me fares to Seattle were 50% off and she had just said "I need a vacation!" I took that as a sign. So, off we go on a wing and a prayer! :D It's been a day for change to be sure, a new President, a new Boss at work, and a new trip to plan! These are the days I live for. I can't wait!!!

Here are some shots from previous trips to the awesome city of Seattle, Fisherman's terminal, and surrounding areas such as Ballard.

The beautiful park at the Locks in Ballard.Walking along the waterways.The F/V Northwestern freshly painted and ready for Kings.The Hall family boat, The F/V Provider.The deck of the F/V Time Bandit during the summer overhaul from the wheelhouse.The F/V Rollo tied up in the PFTThe deck of the Wizard about a week before it left for Kings, Crosby and Travis escorting a few other guests around the boat.
The F/V North American before Kings.

I find the fishing vessels extremely interesting (and dangerous!) places. I've been fortunate enough to have been on several and have had a look at the inner workings. What you see on TV doesn't really give you the best indication of scale. The decks are smaller, the stairwells are steeper , and the boat itself is not as large as it seems. There must be times on those waves that they truly feel insignificant in comparison. God be with all who brave the sea.

The spillways at the Ballard LocksThe Troll under the bridge on Troll StreetSome of the offerings from Pike Place MarketGorgeous flowers at the market.A street musicain outside Pike Place...I plan to paint this.

Pike Place Market is a wonderful center of activity! I can't wait to go back and sample more of the offerings. I love the atmosphere of the place and the smells and colors and frenzied action. There is music in one corner and fishermen in the other tossing salmon this way and that! It's really just a lot of fun and those flowers...$5. WOW!

Qwest Field....and last but not least, the famous Seattle landmark, The Space Needle!

I can't wait to see it all again! Carrie, get to packing!!!! :D

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pajama Satuday

These are the softest pants in the history of mankind.

Today was one of those days when it's cold outside and the clouds are hanging heavily and full of the empty promises of snow. My plan for this Saturday was to spend the day wrapped in fleece pajamas, watching old movies, reading books, and doing generally, nothing of great importance. I'm glad to say I pulled it off without a hitch. I'm almost done with Wicked and it's been a great read. I don't think I'll ever watch the Wizard of OZ with the same eye again.

I watched Seven Brides For Seven Brothers today too. Oh, all those red haired boys! I also got a good chuckle thinking of how absurdly unlikely it would have been to see a group of strapping, young, pioneers break out into song and dance at every...and I do mean EVERY opportunity. Still, I laugh everytime I think of "those sobbin' Sabine women!"

Other than that, I did a little cooking...

For lunch, some orange ginger chicken with carrots and broccoli. I've become a bit more bold with spices and least for my minor cooking skills. It's the first time I've used ginger in something that didn't need a coating of frosting! I was actually really happy with the results. I hardly ever use a recipe and cook like my Nana did by the "add it till it's right"method. Fresh oranges and zest really make a difference.

Supper was chili...which i love to make. It's easy and you can have done quickly or let it simmer for hours. It's also one of those "whachyagot?" kind of meals when it comes to ingredients and spices...and it turns out, a little grape jelly mixed in the pot adds a touch of sweetness and helps set the heat. Who'da thunk?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Fireworks in Panama City

New Year's Day is every man's birthday. ~Charles Lamb

Every year, lists are made, goals are set, and people resolve to become a better incarnation of themselves. Often, a short time later, those lofty goals, set with such rabid determination, become like a winter coat, cast off in the heat of the new spring. So why set them at all? I believe it's in our nature. We strive for greater than we are...we long to catch a piece of Victory's laurel. Even if the competition is only set against ourselves. Still, sometimes, the goals are kept and it is for those that we keep striving...because it is in the sweetness of that success that we see what we are capable of...and in the casting off what we still desire to run towards.

A goal does not have to seem extraordinary to be of value. Sometimes it is in the smallest changes that the greatest differences are made. With that said, here is my list for the year...great are small...and my reasons for each. There is no particular order here, I just enjoy the list making.

my current selection

1. Be a more avid reader. My father is a book salesman, I grew up with a healthy love of reading and have spent many hours transfixed between the pages of a book. Over the last few years, after completing school, I've let the habit lapse a bit and I miss it. I've added the Shelfari application here to hold myself accountable. I have no set number of books that must be read, just the commitment to continual practice. (Steve, this goal was actually inspired by your own desire to read more.)

The world isn't the's the pearl. Bahamas

2. Continue to Travel. There is nothing that will grow you more than expanding your horizons. As far as places, Alaska is always on my list. I love the place more than any other and any return to it is always welcome. I'd like to break the borders again this year...while overseas seems a bit out of reach right now, Canada and Mexico have always treated me well and I'd love to trip over the lines to them again. (Not to say I won't still reach for further locations!) Still, even small trips here and there...anywhere I've never been before and those comfortable places I frequent will be more than welcome. The point is to just keep in motion.

It took me a very long time to be comfortable in my own skin.

3. Continued Fitness. I decided not to think of this as "lose some weight" or anything like that. I believe that weight loss is the number one resolution made every year...but for's become more than that. This is one of those goals that flows from year to year. I have never been that girl with the svelte figure, the hourglass that the boys clamor for. I do however apparently "have a great personality." ;) Over the past few years, I've dramatically changed the way I view my body...and through it, my own self worth. I've made the effort to stop seeing the flaws and start seeing the strength. Of course that doesn't mean I don't still look in the mirror and sigh from time to time. Eventually this will deserve it's own post since it's been pretty integral to who I am...but over a relatively short course of time, I've lost over 70lbs. Faith, dedication, and self denial have all been factors. It has been one of the most difficult roads I've ever walked but one of the most rewarding. My goal is to keep continuing down that road, reaching milestones along the way, but never stopping. This is one of those journeys without end...

I can skate enough to not fall down every time I go...I'd like a little more skill than that though.

4. Learn to ice skate. It's fun. Really, what more do you need?

"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory in the face of Jesus the Messiah." 2 Corinthians 4:6

5. Grow closer to my God. I am a Christian and am unashamed of it. My desire is to grow closer to Jesus Christ and to tell others of the joy of a relationship with Him. Christ is my joy and my continued rock, my shield, and my salvation. He is not my crutch, He is my backbone.

"Bear ye one another's burdens. Help each other, sustain each other; if you see one about to stumble under his burden, hold him up." Galatians 6:2

6. Let people know that they matter. A letter, a card, a care package. The offer of help when someone's in need...a shoulder to cry on or a voice to laugh with...I just want to show love to those that need it.

Designed for the F/V Wizard of Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch based off of the concept by Capt. Keith Colburn's father. Available at

7. Expand my freelancing. One of the things I truly enjoy is freelance graphic design. T-shirts and logos especially. It's something I don't put myself out there enough, but I'd really like to get more involved in my own design. I work packaging design as a day job, but it doesn't offer me the enjoyment of freelance.

Ok, so I'm not skydiving here, but I imagine that's what the ground would look like from the skydiver's perspective.

8. Go skydiving. This has been a goal for a while and my best friend and I keep wanting to try it. It's one of those things you say "I'd sure like to do that" and then shelf it until you think "I'd sure like to do that" again. Well, this year I'd like to think "I can't believe I did that!"

A hodgepodge of dreams and ideas...

9. Risk security for a heart's desire. I can't get into specifics yet, but I'd like to think I have the courage of my conviction to give up on something safe and comfortable for something unsure yet deeply longed for. Hopefully, there will be an update of great significance.

Snorkeling in Sitka, AK.

10. Learn how to scuba dive. I love to snorkel, but I'm not certified to dive. I'd love to I should be.

I could keep posting for a while...but 10 seems like a reasonable number for now. I find it easier to keep life from slipping away in the day by day when I actually sit down and set out what I'd like to accomplish. I guess in a way, that's number 11. Live each day to the fullest extent. Some days, that may be a grand adventure in some exotic location. Others, it may be simply finishing the work day and curling up with a good book. The point is to just value the moments and what you choose to do with them.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Epic Alaska, Part 4

More from the Ridge in Salcha

Saying Goodbye

After the furious shenanigans of camp, it was back to the relative quiet of Salcha. I love Salcha, the beauty of the place is startling. I would be leaving in a few days and my heart was not ready. I savored each day. I spent the majority of my time outside, drinking in the landscape with the urgency only the knowledge of fleeting time can impart.

(Trust me, I'm good.)

Twister and I at an old trapper's cabin we found while out fourwheeling. It looked like someone may have been staying there recently.
A wonderful little stream just tucked away beneath the undergrowth.
The literal "end" to a good day in the outdoors.
Kayaking at the Brinks ...
...observing whatever came my way.

I discovered, while in Alaska, that I have a great love of fourwheeling...and surprisingly, a fair amount of skill. I spent most of my last days here riding with new found the tops of ridges, hidden woods, and well, mud filled puddles. I felt more alive out there than I had in ages. It was truly one of the happiest times of my life.

Risk standing in the sanctuary.

While we were at camp, a the church had continued to be reconstructed by helpers from near and far. Although the work was slow and the schedule lacked behind, there was some forward progress. It was good to see the beginnings of a new roof for the place.

Battleship, Cody, and Twister having fun and hanging out.

Dave-O and Alex!

Cody, my fourwheeling friend, was having a birthday while we were all in town so it was out to Fairbanks to celebrate. It was also my last night. I could hardly believe it. The dinner celebration was fun and Lena and Alex, a couple of the campers, came to join us...for which I was glad. The other councilors and by now, real friends were also was Alabama homeboy. Dinner was good, but the company was better. We laughed, we took pictures, we got other tables involved in singing.

Shiny disco shirt and stripper heels...
Twister in an outfit someone actually once wore...for real.

The sky in Fairbanks over Fred Meyer...I can't imagine stepping out and seeing that every day.
Lena "thuggin'."

After that, it was off to Value Village and Fred Meyer. Now, a trip to a thrift store and superstore might not sound like the best way to spend your last few hours in Alaska, but when in Rome... As it turns out, I could not have imagined the hilarity that was about to ensue. Value Village is a whole world of wonderful goods and we took full advantage of the offerings.They had everything from shiny disco jumpsuits, hooker heels, to gigantic grandma (new) thunderpants (which I later purchased and sent to a friend...hopefully those are finding some kind of shenanigans out on the Bering Sea.) Now, Fred Meyer, we decided to play a few games of scavenger hunt which is basically where you pull obscure items from the shelf all over the store and make someone else find where to put it back. We broke up into teams and went for it. (The Alaskans had the unfair advantage! We don't have this store in the south!) The items we chose for each other included, a small pack of nails, a girdle, gas relief medication, and other various delights. Good AK, was obviously, the winning team. Later, as we were checking out, the cashier saw us getting a bit emotional at the fact that I was leaving. I was standing there with Battleship, Twister, and Lena. She asks, "You're leaving...are you their mom?" She was serious. I was utterly floored. "Their mother? THEIR MOTHER?" Battleship is a couple of years younger than I am, Twister is 19, and Lena 16...I am TWENTY SEVEN! I asked her in a heated tone..."No, no, I am not, AM NOT their M O T H E R, how old do you think I am?" I was even more floored when she said "I dunno, 27 or 28." So, yes, yes, Fred Meyer cashier, I had my first child at 3. At this point, Lena made me leave the store, fearing for the employee...just as well, we had to get going to the airport anyway.
Risk, Dave-O, Me, Battleship, (who said I could NOT leave) Lena, and Alex. I love you guys!

The airport...leaving felt wrong. It just didn't seem like I should be going. We all tried not to get overly emotional, but we pretty much all cried. The TSA agents asked if I was leaving my family (at least they didn't ask if I was everyone's mother!) when I told them we'd only known each other a little over a week, they looked rather quizzical. I can't even explain it...there was a bond there...time didn't matter. As I walked to security and looked back at them one last time, I wondered if we would ever all see each other again... then I turned, handed my ticket to the TSA officer and...was denied entrance into the terminal. Apparently, the ticketing agent hadn't given me enough tickets...according to the ones I had, I wasn't leaving I turned around and headed right back to the group. Confusion was pretty much the order of the day at that point. Well, we got the ticket situation done and then we had to go through the goodbyes again...but this time for real. Lena followed me as far as she could and I looked back until she was out of sight...and then I allowed myself to cry as hard as I wanted to. I cried for hours, constantly, unable and unwilling to stop. I felt as if I was leaving a piece of myself behind...and in a way I was...but that's not so bad, because I carried so many new pieces home. As much as the tears flowed, as much as I missed the people, the place, the feelings it all imparted, the tears were not cried with a sense of loss, simply a sense of being overwhelmed. I try to live with the thought "don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." Still, I might...perhaps...cry a little.