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April 2011
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May 2011

MEMORIAL WEEKEND, ALASKA STYLE

The hardest part about moving to Alaska right as the summer was starting is that we had to spend the first couple weekends we lived here unpacking, buying things for the house, cleaning, and other equally not interesting things INSTEAD of running around exploring this amazing new place we live in. 

We knew though that this long weekend meant we were going to finally do some "Alaskan" things. We were committed to exploring as much as we could, and checking off some things on our "Must Do In Alaska List." 

First things first? Catch a salmon. 

Salmon Fishing
Adam fishing
Man did we look the part! We spent Saturday running errands. Picking up a king salmon fishing pole for me (these fish are beasts! None of our small poles would work), picking up those boots I said I needed, line, do-dads, you name it we had it. 

On Sunday we got up, packed the dogs and our gear in the truck and headed south to the Kenai Peninsula; the land where the king salmon run. 

The drive was nothing short of spectacular of course. Mountains, mountains, and more mountains. Rivers and wildlife, stunning beauty every place we looked. I saw about 24 hikes I want to try, 12 campgrounds I need to check out, and a tiny river town that is BEGGING for me to come spend some time in. 

Sadly, even with the gear, the books, the recommendations and the drive, we came home salmonless. We also spent a good 1-2 hours driving around Soldotna, AK with a map yelling at one another. Which is a highly reccomended way to begin a day of fishing. 

"WHERE THE HELL ARE WE GOING?"

"I DON'T KNOW I NEED TO GET THE LAY OF THE LAND."

'WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? ARE YOU FUCKING LUIS AND CLARK? PICK A SPOT AND FISH GOD DAMN IT!"

Ahhhh we're so sweet to one another when we're lost. 

 

 

After all that, driving, yelling, checking about 4 access points that were suddenly for no reason CLOSED, we finally found a spot. A great spot. A spot I'd like to return to and do a little camping. So after all the nonsense we gave that river hell I tell you. Fished like we meant it. But, turns out the salmon are running ESPECIALLY slow this year and have barely made it into the rivers yet. 

THANKS ANCHORAGE FISHING BLOG FOR TELLING US TO HEAD TO THE KENAI FOR "EXCELLENT" KING SALMON FISHING. 

Oh well.

Watch yourselves salmon. We'll be back. 

Keni River

Now that I can officially say I've fished (fished, not caught. There's a difference!) in Alaska, on Monday I wanted to tackle another item on my list. Hike in Alaska. 

I picked up a great book on hikes in our area, checked out some websites, and found about 700 trails I wanted to checkout. But you see, we own Stella. The worlds most high needs pup in America. I can't predict how she'll do with something new, and I had this vision of being four miles in on some hike in the middle of nowhere and Stella just laying down and refusing to walk any further. 

So, fearing the worst we decided to take it slow and pick the easiest hike in the book, closest to home that still guaranteed we'd have an amazing view if we only actually made it 1/4 mile in. 

I give you, Eklutna Lake. 

Eklutna Lake

Eklutna Lake 1

The hike is up to 26 miles walking directly next to this AMAZING lake. Plus, the trailhead was 25 minutes from our door! Delightful really.

The hike was basically like walking on a dirt road along a lake, which doesn't exactly give you the feel that you're "hiking," but it was a good starter for Stella. 

Granted, on the walk back she did lay down twice and had to be coaxed into standing up and finishing our walk, and at one point she started swerving on the trail like a drunk, BUT she did it. I have a feeling Stella wont be reaching the summit of any mountains here soon, but I'm hoping we can build up to it throughout the summer so that soon she's tromping along after 8 miles like it's nothing. Either that or we'll send her to the pound. 

Cards are in your hands, Stella. 

 

 

After all the driving, the fishing, the hiking, and the picture snapping I finally felt like I lived in Alaska and I was so excited about what the rest of the summer might look like. 

So, I went to the store and made it official. 

Garden
Hiking, salmon, gardening. 

Yep, I live here. 


Now for the good part.

Come visit. This place is as amazing as "they" say it is. 

I have a guest room. Now use it. 

(not joking. Please come visit me. Especially YOU blog friends!)


YOU MOVE, DECLARE YOU HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF, AND INEVITABLY GET SETTLED AND DECIDE YOU ACTUALLY NEED TO BUY EVEN MORE STUFF. IT'S A VICIOUS CYCLE MY FRIENDS.

Before we moved to Anchorage I was the DEBT REDUCTION QUEEN. I had actually managed to quell my desire for stuff. New clothes, misc house items, random crap, I still wanted it sure, but I wasn't buying it. I was going to do my garden up with the least amount of spending on my part, plant my flowers from seeds instead of buying starters, I had decorated my home to a point of content, the dogs had what they needed, I had enough clothing to last a lifetime, overall the spending was on hold. 

Then we moved. 

Moving is a money PIT. 

Even though your life fit perfectly in one home, even though you have more junk than you could possibly need for your move into a smaller home, somehow you always end up buying crap. Tons of it. Rugs, pictures, chairs, candles, bathroom storage, curtain rods, bla bla bla WHY DO WE NEED ALL THIS STUFF AND HOW DO I CONVINCE MYSELF I DON'T ACTUALLY NEED IT? 

I can't help myself. I want. Suddenly I want so many things! 

So here it is. My wishlist for the new house. I give in. Don't judge me.

 

 

I am so in love with this twist on normal herb pots. These will go on my deck and I envision some will have herbs and some will be annuals.  

Chalkboard flowers

Also in the gardening theme, even though I miss my old garden and yard terribly, the ennui has passed, and damn it I'm dressing up my deck. No more wallowing! First things first, I must acquire deck railing planters. LOTS OF THEM. 

Maybe they'll be homemade, but I assume they'll probably be something I pickup from the gardening store. Wham-bam-thank-you-mam!

(image from renest.com)

ReNest

I also desperately need a rug for my office. The office has the door to the backyard, and even with my door mat the dogs are tracking in TONS of dirt. So I need a rug to cover the crap carpet, to brighten my office, and then once I cover the backyard in gravel we'll be set.

This beauty caught my eye. I love it since my office is now mostly black and white, and since I can no longer rely on wall color for my "pop," rugs will have to do!

Rug

For our main bedroom wall I'm having these four pictures printed in 8x10 and framed in a simple black frame with a nice thick white matte. One or two images below might not make the final cut, but the idea will be the same. Black and white, and all four from our road trip.

I think it will be a great reminder of how our "adventure" started. Even if it did require many many hours in the filthy car! 

Sign

Sheep
Ak Mountains
Moose

For our dinning room wall, I want an antique map of Alaska professionally framed. Bigger the better.

Sure, I had talked about trying to find one on my own, but I'm impatient as hell by nature and I have a feeling I'll pull the trigger on a well framed print before I dig through thrift stores and Etsy.

Will I be as proud of my find if I buy it online? Will I have a fantastic story about my map hanging on my wall? No and no. BUT, will it be up there in the next month instead of sometimes in the next year? Yes. And I am a sucker for instant gratification. 

Map of AK

Turns out our second couch, the most comfortable of the two completely does not fit in our living room. WAY too big. Insert sad face. 

So, I feel a chaise or oversized chair in our future... 

Detail-KLS1299

And lastly, I need me some XtraTuf boots. 

Like yesterday. 

In Alaska these boots are known as the "sneakers of Alaska." Fishing, camping, gardening, dog walking, you name it. People up here get married in them they love them so much.

I see a lot of fishing, camping and dog walking, not so much special events use, but who knows. Maybe they'll grow on me! 

Forest_Boots

 

So in conclusion, this move is trying to break the bank.

The bastard. 



 


FLYBALL BABY

Sunday morning I packed up Oly, treats, a tug rope, and our enthusiasm and headed to the park to meet up with Alaska Dogs Gone Wild Flyball team

ADGW logo

 

Flyball for those who don't know is a dog relay. The easiest way to explain it is you release your dog, they run over a series of jumps, they hit a springboard that has a tennis ball in it, their feet hitting the board releases the tennis ball, they grab it, and return over the jumps. When they cross the line the next dogs is released. The fastest team wins. 

Need more? 


Watch the video on YouTube

 

I wasn't sure what to expect for our first day. Would Oly be overwhelmed? Would she go over the jumps? Would she be able to pickup the teachings? Would she be able to focus?

Turns out Oly's a natural. After her first training exercise the club leader looks at me and says, "We've got a flyball dog on our hands." I wont lie, I was proud as hell. 

I'm excited to see how Oly progresses, to practice with her, to give her easily bored mind something to focus on, and to put her energy to work in a productive way.

 

 

But more than watching Oly excel at a new activity I'm excited to be putting myself out there again. When it comes to relocating somewhere new the fastest way to build a community and make friends is for me to force myself out of my comfort zone and get involved. 

When we moved to Olympia I was a mess. Being laid off and being unable to find work in Seattle in the middle of the "great economic shit storm" had destroyed every bit of self esteem I'd ever had. I knew I needed to put myself out there in Olympia if I wanted to meet people, but I was like a shell of myself. I second guessed myself, I had social anxiety like you wouldn't believe, and more than half the time all I wanted to do was just stay at home with my wine, my books and my tv and ignore that there was anyone in Olympia worth trying to meet. 

Two years later, and over a year in therapy here I am. Less than a month after moving to Anchorage I'm heading off to flyball! By myself! No hand holding for this lady! Bring on a new challenge!

As I pulled up to the park where we'd have our practice I felt, calm. It was new, and I wasn't sure how Oly would do, but there I was comfortable in my skin, anxiety non existent. 

One of the things about therapy is you're always talking about progress. Someone can tell you a million times over that you've made progress, that you've changed, or that the hard work you've put in has paid off, but until you find yourself once again in a situation you once struggled with you can't actually see how far you've come. 

As I stood there, dogs barking around me, people swirling setting up and catching up I simply stood, watched and waited. I didn't feel the urge to crawl home, give up, declare it was a failure. I wasn't concerned about what people thought of me, if I was doing it right, if I would fail. I just existed. 

It's been so long since I just, existed. 



 

So my dear bloggy friends, here's to change, to flyball, to meeting new people, to new experiences and to putting myself out there. And most importantly, to Oly running and running until she completely and utterly exhausts herself! 

 


BELUGA POINT

Beluga Point

Before we moved here the only thing I knew about Alaska is that it had bears, moose, and Sarah Palin. Other than that, it was all a mystery.  

I knew deep down that we'd get along, Alaska and I, but I'll admit there was a part of me that was worried I wouldn't be a good fit with this wild country. 

But now, now I worry that I'll never want to leave. 


NO MORE GARDEN

Anyone who's been reading this site for the last year knows that I have got a THING for gardening. Our first summer in our home in Olympia I had a little baby garden and a few flowers in pots and called it a day. But then last summer I decided I was through messing around in the little leagues and installed a real life GARDEN

I had flowers, my roses were taking off, I was planting things in my front yard, and I had zucchini bounty like you wouldn't believe. Fresh cauliflower, sunflowers, mutant carrots, tomatoes, fresh herbs, lettuce, you name it, I was growing it. 

This spring (before I knew we were moving to Alaska) I was itching to get started. I was working on my eggshell seed starters, I'd tilled compost into my garden, and I'd even built the garden rows. My roses were coming back to life, I had planted some new flowers in my front yard, and I was thrilled to get to work filling all my containers with flowers for the summer. 

And then we moved to Alaska. 

And I had to give away every single houseplant I own (Canada wont let you into the country with them). 

I dumped the soil from my containers, replanted my perennials that were just starting to come back to life, and fed my roses one last time. 

I threw away my eggshell seed starters, and I gazed longingly at my perfect garden rows. 

I threw away the hand drawn diagram I'd made of planter boxes, which veggies I was going to grow, and how I'd space out their planting to ensure optimal bounty. 

I got in the car on April 29th, and seem to have left my green thumb in Olympia. 

 

 

I have the worlds smallest backyard now, a yard that can't even grow grass well because of the bad lighting, and the only thing I'm thinking of doing back there is covering the entire space with gravel. Just cover the damn mess already.

I have a second story balcony with great light, but I just don't feel motivated. Maybe I'll grow a flower or two from a window box, but the urge for produce simply feels lost. 

I was the woman with all these wonderful houseplants. My house was perfect for houseplants with wonderful lighting, and everything just flourished. Now, the woman who used to be unable to go to the grocery store without buying a new plant comes home week after week to a home without vegetation. Adam's mother got me a houseplant as a welcome gift, and it's dying. Me, killing a houseplant. It doesn't make sense. 

My front lawn has room for pots, and a large planter, but... it isn't mine. I can't rip out lawn, I can't rebuild, construct, change, well any of it. I'm a renter. All the time and money I put into a project is something I know I'll walk away from. I mean, I knew I wouldn't live in Olympia forever, and I still spent time and money investing in my garden and my home, so maybe it isn't as different as it feels... But something about it feels worlds different.

Or maybe, maybe I'm still just mourning the loss of my garden. My big beautiful backyard that held all my flora dreams. The place that I looked upon on Sunday mornings while I read and sipped coffee. The spot that held my dreams of flowers, upgrades, changes and beauty that I gazed at every night while I ate dinner. The space that was all mine to love, change, grow and learn in. The little bit of our house that I helped turn into a world teaming with beauty.

 

 

It's entirely possible that I can't find the desire in me to make this new place team with life simply because I'm still too sad that I had to leave this all behind. 

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(sigh)

Garden, I miss you. 


OHHHHHHHHHHHH REALLY

Shingles

So then.... what does that say about ME? 

OMG, am I aging faster than normal? 

Am I going to end up like that kid in the movie Jack

What's next? Osteoporosis? Hunching over? The suddenly desire to wear flower swim caps at the pool? Will my skin develop that thin as paper feeling old ladies get? Am I going to find myself standing in my front yard in my robe and slippers yelling at kids to get off my lawn? Where does this horror end?

First shingles at 26, next WHAT EXACTLY?????

It's the beginning of the end my friends. 

 

 

HA! Wait! That's perfect, "the beginning of the end," since all those nuts think the world is ending on Saturday, May 21st. Maybe I'm prematurely aging to catch up with the fact that the world is ending this Saturday on Adam's birthday. 

It all makes sense to me now. 

And I mean hell, if the world does end on Saturday, at least I don't have to pay back my student loans. 

WINNING. 


STELLA THE TYRANT

Between the packing, the road trip, and moving to a new home, Miss Stella has not been adjusting well. 

And when I say not adjusting well, I actually mean, falling the F apart. 

Turns out girlfriend is sorta like her Ma. She likes order, stability, and a regimented schedule. 

Suddenly my sweet puppy that walked SO WELL on a leash, who had mastered house training, the puppy that LOVED her crate, who learned commands quickly, and who was a general delight to be around has turned into a mess. 

Bonified 100% hot mess. 

Hates her crate. Messes, everywhere! Scared of every noise ever made to the point that I have stopped taking her on walks for fear she'll have a doggy panic attack. Submissive peeing like nobodies business. Barking, barking, suddenly always barking! And a general heightened level of tyrant behavior. 

Behold. 


 Click here for the video on YouTube

 

Sure, I know in the video that looks so sweet, but this high level of destruction is honestly a new trait for her. And it's not just killing toys! Oh no. Trying to kill Oly, jumping on our bed when we're sleeping, knocking over Oly's crate and barking her head off at 6:30am, NONSENSE.


We have hardwood in the living area, something we didn't have in our old house, and so the only place she can really get into the toy destruction game is in the office, or in our bedroom. Suddenly it's not uncommon to be watching tv and look down the hallway to see Stella in our room, by herself, trying her best to kill this toy for no other reason than she seems to be very pissed off at the world. 

I'm about ready to have the bitch committed. 

 


I CAN SEE THE FINISH LINE

Every time my mother called to see how I was doing last week I nearly took her head off. 

"How is the unpacking coming?"

"FINE."

"Ok... anything new happen with your landlord? Did he finish his repairs?"

"NO."

"Um, alright... how about your shingles? Are you feeling better?"

"NO. STILL ITCHY." 

 

 

Thankfully when I called the poor woman on Sunday I did NOT bite her head off. I'm sure she was relieved. 

The house is finally resembling a home and less of a disaster zone. We have a working kitchen, a bathroom with things in their places, we've decorated, hung pictures, and generally set up shop. I mean, granted our bed is still sitting on the floor because the movers THREW AWAY OUR BED SCREWS, but thankfully they tracked down some replacements and they should arrive this week. 

That's sort of how this whole move has gone really. One thing will go smoothly, and then other will fall apart. 

Like, "Yeah our things are here! But oh, they threw away the screws to our bed." Or, "Thank you thank you I no longer itch like crazy! But yeah, I think I have a cold." Sometimes even, "Great, our landlord is coming over to finish the repairs and painting in the house. But ummm, he built the steps for the deck, but didn't finish the painting, and didn't replace the laundry door that HE put a hole in last weekend when he was supposed to be finishing up." 

Get what I mean? Three steps forward, two steps back. 

It's been such a long couple weeks and all I want is to get shit at the house wrapped up. Put it all away, get the landlord to finish up his mess and let's just LIVE already! I mean, I want to spend my weekends exploring this city not hassling a grown man to follow through with the repairs he said he was going to do in the first place. 

But I know we'll get there. 

Each day something more gets put away, something finds a home or makes it into the trash, groceries are finally procured, and first homemade meals in our new home are lovingly made. 

First Meal

Deep breaths I tell myself. One day at a time. We're almost there. 

We can't be in moving mode forever. 

RIGHT?


FRIDAY PHOTO BOMB

Foot nose
Smart Time
Cuddles
11pm daylight!
11pm daylight
Moon Jellie
Walk in the woods


Just a photo look into the last week. 

 

OH, and if you use Instagram, look me up, "accidentalolympian" and follow my feed! AND! I want to follow you! So tell me in the comments if you use this app and who you are! I want to stalk you! And see what you take pictures of!

YEAH PRETTY THINGS AND EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!