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July 2011

June 2011


As I mentioned on Twitter, I'm anxiously awaiting the day when instagram releases the "DMV filter." A filter that when applied to an image turns the subject into a child molester, homeless person, crack head or homicidal maniac. All with the click of a button!

DMV photo
Ok, I will admit my new AK drivers licence picture isn't all THAT bad. I do look like I've got some naughty secret I'm hiding, like maybe I'm a middle school teacher who recently discovered I'm pregnant with my 11 year old student's baby, but definitely not the worst I've got. Nothing can compare to my CA license. NOTHING. Man I wish I still had it... 

I think Adam goes down on record as taking the worst DMV picture. His WA license picture had him suddenly gain 40 pounds and appear to look so sinister you'd never want to encounter him in a dark alley. I'm not entirely sure how he managed to pull that one off. Sometimes I would ask to see it just to brighten my day it was that creepy.




It's always weird to pass these milestones. The day I turned in my CA drivers license and became a Washingtonian, and now after 8 years of identifying 100% with being a Washingtonian suddenly I'm an Alaskan. 

I live in Alaska. 

We have Alaskan drivers licenses, Alaskan plates on our car, pay utilities in Alaska, and when I was in Seattle friends introduced me to new people as their friend Ashley from Alaska and I had to fight the urge to correct them and remind everyone that I lived in WA, before remembering that I did in fact live in Alaska. Which made my brain tired and I'd have to sit down for a second. 

But I figure, now that I'm an Alaskan this means that on Saturday when we leave for our one night backpacking trip, when we see a bear (Yes, I said when because there's no chance we won't see a bear at least once) the bear will see that I am not a tasty tourist any longer but actually a fellow Alaskan and will leave my tender flesh alone in search for someone here visiting from the Midwest.   

I hear they taste better.


If I don't post something on Twitter by Sunday night it means I was eaten and you should check the Anchorage newspaper for details on how it all went down. Maybe they'll include a really graphic picture of my mangled corpse. 


What up MOOSE?

We recently went to the Anchorage Zoo where they had two moose that had found themselves walking on the road like this dude and WHAM car collision. Thankfully they were not killed, and after being rehabilitated found cushy lives at the zoo. One of the moose there might have been rescued after being found abandoned by its mother, but it's all a little hazy. All I know is that the two moose living at the zoo (and 90% of the other animals there including a 40lb baby polar bear OMGSOCUTEWANTONERIGHTNOW) had been rescued in some capacity or another and it made me warm and fuzzy inside. 

Bears fighting

This sight made me warm and fuzzy inside to know both brown bears were rescued as cubs, but also terrified to look at those CLAWS and those TEETH and know that this weekend if we do indeed head out on a backpacking trip with friends that the bear spray we're wearing and the gun Adam will be carrying will be there because we're worried we might see these guys. 

Bears Fighting 

I mean, it was cute to watch them playing, and the animal lover in me really appreciated that they had been rescued as cubs and all, but I really would like to have all my bear sightings from now until eternity happen while I am standing safely behind zoo fences thankyouverymuch. 


Sticking with the theme this week of me holding large food items I realized I totally forgot to share this picture with you last year! 

Zukes from hell

Yeah. I grew that last year. 

Completely on accident I might add. 

Not only did I have about three zucchini plants too many last year, I also did BLASPHEMOUS things like go on vacations in the middle of harvesting time. Zucchini plants do not like it when you vacation. 

No matter how diligent I was about picking any and all zukes that looked ready before we left for a trip, low and behold I'd come home TWO DAYS LATER to find shit like this growing in my yard. TWO DAYS. 

I have a serious knack for growing fucked up looking veggies

And it makes me fairly proud. 


My first Salmon
This is my very first salmon and if I do say myself, QUITE A BEAUTY. 

Also, can we talk about how hot I look in fishing waders? 

Please control yourselves, I know it's hard when I'm looking so FINE. 



Yesterday's fishing trip was a ton of fun. Adam and I got off work, jumped in the car and about an hour and a half later we were standing in the Russian River trying our hand at a little salmon fishing. 

I have been fishing most all my life, and until I went salmon fishing I never realized the sport could feel, well, like an actual SPORT. You're standing there in the river and you can actually see HUNDREDS of salmon just swimming by you. HUNDREDS. There are people above you in the river and below you and I swear every 15 minutes someone is hollering that they've got another one. And when you get one yourself? OH BOY hold on. 

We had some issues of course, because, well we're Adam and Ashley and when does our first try at anything go smoothly? 

Turned out we forgot our fishing net. Which makes things very very tricky. 

Imagine standing in rushing water on slippery rocks and hooking something that is going to do everything in its power to get the fuck away from you. Now try to walk backwards through the river, don't fall by the way, while also trying to keep this monster from freaking out and running up or down the river and breaking your line. 

I had this one HUGE fish on and I'd gotten him (for some reason fish are always boys in my head) almost into Adam's hands and then suddenly the line broke. So what does Adam do since he doesn't have a net? JUMPS ON THE FISH. 

Which of course doesn't work. Have you ever touched a fish? Those bitches are slimy. 

As it went through my legs I also tried to nab it which only soaked my shirt and made us further look like incompetent fools, but damn it I wanted that fish! 

All in all we learned a lot. What to use, what to bring with us, how to catch the buggers. I was surprised as well how my idea of fishing seems to have shifted. As we stood in our kitchen at 1am cutting up our salmon and placing the perfectly red steaks in vacuum sealed bags I had so much respect for this animal that gave its life to me. Watching all these salmon run up the river was truly amazing. They have lived in the ocean for most of their lives, and instinctively they suddenly realize it is time to return to their birthplace, swimming up stream against currents, bears, damns, and fishermen to breed and die. 

An absolutely remarkable animal. I don't think I'll look at salmon on a menu or in the grocery store the same ever again. 



So all in all it was an amazing day. We wrapped up around 9:30pm, the sun was still shinning bright on the longest day of the year and we had a beautiful salmon in our cooler. It's a shame we only got the one this time, but don't you worry, we'll be back. 

Next time, with a net. 

Russian River
Adam Fishing


As I've lamented before, leaving my garden at the Olympia house was tough. Probably harder than leaving the city itself. 

For a while after we moved into our new place in Alaska I refused to do much of anything related to gardening. REFUSED. But once the sadness of leaving the old garden wore off, and the itch to plant things got stronger I found myself once again wandering the isles at the local nursery and walking out with flowers, seeds, dirt and a whole lot of dorky excitement. 

My main arena for veggies is the front of our house since it gets the best light, and I wasn't about to plant corn in my front yard, so all veggies need to be cultivated from our little second story balcony. It's a step down from the square footage I had only a few months ago, but seeing as last summer I planted FOUR ZUCCHINI PLANTS, maybe less actually is more. 

Already I have beans, two types of lettuce, onions and baby spinach. Soon I'll also have oregano, parsley and basil, and I'm thinking of tossing another pot or two up there to increase my yield. My lack of tomatoes makes me feel like I'm cheating, but unless I find a way to turn my balcony into a tiny greenhouse, I don't think tomatoes and I shall be very good friends up here.

WHICH I MIGHT ADD IS A CRIME. Have you tried Alaskan shipped in from God knows where tomatoes? They are terrible. TERRIBLE I TELL YOU. They ship them in from South America somewhere, and if you buy the organic ones they are pretty much all sitting there rotten before you even buy them. If you find one that isn't bruised you have about 20 minutes to eat it at home before it turns to mush on you.


And that will be the conclusion of my Alaskan tomato rant.

Look! Pictures of things I grew!  

Baby Spinach
Lettuce and onions

Who knows, maybe next summer after a long and very cold winter I'll tear up the whole front yard and just grow zucchini and corn right where the grass used to be. 

Bet my landlord would LOVE that. 

Wait, on second thought, that sounds delightfully evil. 

Stay tuned for next summer when I try to piss my landlord off by turning my entire front yard into a veggie garden. To make up for the fact that I can't get a decent tomato to save my life up here and the fact that my landlord STILL hasn't finished the painting they started 7 weeks ago.

It's only fair. 



But if you think about it, working from home in a new city means I know basically no one, so in reality, these two are kind of my best friends. 

Shit that's pathetic. 

Whatever, I'll be home on Saturday after this crazy week of travel and odds are I wont answer your phone calls or texts because I'll be too busy snuggling these two and asking Stella if our delicate little flower is ok after spending a week in boarding. 


That's pretty much what I've been up to. 

Post over. 

You can all go home now. 



This week is insanity. Three cities, two states, no sleep.

I was recently in Eugene, OR where I celebrated for the longest two days EVER my sisters graduation from the University of Oregon. Being a University of Washington alumni I have been trained to hate the University of Oregon, but I had to hand it to the Ducks, they sure beat us Huskies when it comes to graduation ceremonies. 

Would you rather sit for 6 hours in either pouring rain (as seems to happen most years) or in the beating evil sun (which happened to my unsuspecting family) to watch a bunch of people graduate? Remember, you'll be sitting there for SIX HOURS. 

OR, would you rather sit in a nice covered section for 2 hours? 


For two days all I heard was, "Emmaly this graduation is SO MUCH BETTER THAN ASHLEY'S GRADUATION." 

I get it family. I'll alert the UW about your grievances pronto. 


There were the traditional college graduation moments. Walking through campus, the taking of a million photos, the running to the front to film my sister getting her diploma, the making fun of bad speeches, the laughing hysterically as they mispronounced Emmaly's first and last name (which I think means she doesn't have to pay back her student loans, right?), graduation lunches and dinners full of congratulatory toasting, and the best part where a selection of overly dressed family members hit the country karaoke bar till 1am. 

I have officially decided that all family events are 700 times better if you all end up singing karaoke till 1am. Talk about family bonding. 


Oh, and while in Portland last night my mother and I took my father to a vintage store where we picked him out the BEST OUTFIT EVER for his 40 year high school reunion. 

I couldn't help but be jealous. 

What the hell would I wear to my 40 year high school reunion? 



That's what. 

In Southern CA in 2003 we wore jeans, Reef flip flops, and tank tops with zip up hoody seatshirts. 

Wow. Wont that be fun to pick out at a vintage shop in 30 years.


Our house is technically a townhouse, I think. It is one of those layouts where you walk in the front door, climb steps and hit a landing. Either proceed down some stairs to the garage, guest room, office, and backyard, or head up the stairs for the 2nd floor living area where you'll find the master bedroom, living room, kitchen, dinning area and deck.

Now that we have that clear, let's go on a tour!

I give you the stairway landing. The place where decisions are made. Do I go up to the main floor? Or downstairs? CHOICES!

Oh, and fun fact, Adam built that bench/shoe rack. He's crafty this one. 



Welcome to the 2nd floor!


Bar Stools
Couch Pillows
Reading Nook
Coffee Table
Living Room
New Rug
Guy Who Looks At Us When We're Sleeping


Now we head downstairs. Office, guest room, garage, and the backyard. Which I hate. 

Guest Room
Grandpa's Guitars


Backyard of death


There you have it. A few snapshots of this place I now call home.

This one goes out to Tori who asked me right after we moved in for some pictures. 

Now all I have to do is decide if I hate the backyard enough to actually put money into making it look less, well disgusting. We're still on the fence. So I put the question to you, if you knew you were going to rent for 2-5 years in the same place, would you invest money in making the backyard less horrid? Even if you hated the landlord for being lazy and the idea of making his property look more appealing made you cringe? It's worth it right? Since you'll have to look at it daily? But you don't own it! 

(sigh) I'm so conflicted. 

Tell me what to do. You always have the best ideas.  



Look pretty flowers! I must say I love this place about 700% more now that I have flowers growing in my front yard. The house came with this large circular flower bed in the front yard, and when we moved in our landlord told us that what was beginning to peak up from the soil were some lilies. 

How lovely! 

Then he told me that he really loved them and he hoped we wouldn't dare remove them. 

"Sure thing!" I said to our landlord sweetly. 

Then I realized he hadn't finished painting the inside of our house. Or that the smoke detector was still hanging from the ceiling. Or that he hadn't cleaned the floors. Or that he was completely cheap and only repaired things half assed. Who needs a rain gutter that brings the water from the roof to the floor? Why not just leave a big hole in the gutter where the spout goes so what when you walk on the deck you can be hit with a shower of gutter water. YEAH! 

So when I showed up a few weekend ago with my new flowers you have NO IDEA how much joy I felt in digging up his precious lilies. Pretty sure I was actually grinning from ear to ear as I dug the shovel into the dirt and uprooted his little flowers. 

I'm not totally heartless, I did keep about half of the lilies they planted, I just moved them to the back of the planter to make room for some of my flowers up front. You know, for cemetery, with a splash of spiteful indignation. 

I love looking at my new flowers, but more than anything I love knowing I threw away half his pride and joy. 

Now I'm just hoping he says something. 

"Oh no, I see you got rid of a lot of the lilies! I loved those."

"Oh no, I see you never finished painting the walls inside our house."


My little sister is graduating from the University of Oregon on June 13th. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! OMG the pride you guys!

Because of this amazing occasion many members of my family are flying in from all corners of the world (no joke, one is coming from the island of Santorini!) to celebrate. As is customary most of us are picking out special outfits and thinking of the perfect graduation gift.

Both items have given me pause. What to wear to two outdoor ceremonies and one fancy dinner? And more importantly, what to get the grad?

In my quest to get the perfect “YEAH you graduated college and never found yourself locked up for public intoxication!” gift I have searched online in many of places, and shamefully actually found myself reading those, “What to get grads” articles written by people who obviously have never graduated from college themselves.

After reading one too many gift guides it dawned on me. I know what grads really want but are ashamed to ask for. So here we go.


Things College Grads *Actually* Want As Graduation Gifts

  1. MONEY. Don’t beat around the bush, this is what they all want. They are poor, most likely in school loan dept and probably personal credit card debt and have held down 1-12 part time jobs while also going to school. They’re fucking poor. Give them cash. Or gift cards. No gift cards aren’t tacky, money towards gas is always appreciated. Especially when gas is $17 a gallon.
  2. RENT. Bypass them depositing it into their accounts and spending it backpacking through Europe, contact their landlord directly and offer to pay their rent. One month, two months, a year, whatever you got they’ll take.
  3. A NEW CAR. Odds are they are still driving the car they were given or purchased themselves in High School. It is most likely broken down and pathetic. I’m not saying get them a $30,000 car, but even a used car that’s in good condition is going to feel like an upgrade of epic proportions from what they’re probably driving. Instead of 12 small gifts, why don't you get your whole family together to pool resources? One awesome sauce gift is going to feel much more amazing than 12 new things for their apartment. 
  4. A JOB. Preferably making a decent salary so that for the first time in their adult lives they can breathe. It doesn’t even have to be in the field they studied in! If you know someone, who knows someone, who can get them a job with BENEFITS, and an actual SALARY they’re going to want it. Especially in this economy. Ok, if you can’t GIVE them a job, at least help them get an interview. Who you know is a big deal, and if you know someone, help a sister out!
  5. A TRIP SOMEWHERE TO RELIEVE A LITTLE STRESS BEFORE STARTING THE HELL THAT IS LOOKING FOR A JOB. Do you live somewhere amazing? Invite the grad to come hang out. Because they need a break from you know, spending the last few decades in school. Plus, they know they have job hunting to look forward to, and I’m sure your pool house is looking like a great place to forget about the future for a week or two.



I won’t even continue. This is all they want.

They do not want your special thoughtful gifts.

Ok, I mean I’m sure they like them when they open them, but it wasn’t what they were hoping for. Right now in this economy, if you’re graduating from college you’re TERRIFIED. The future is a bleak bleak place and you most likely struggled to find even part time work while you were going to school.

So give a grad a break. You don’t have to be a baller, but if you can alleviate some of their stress, they’re going to thank you.

So go forth and enrich the lives of a terrified college graduate.

And if you MUST give them something thoughtful, a set of steak knives, a bracelet with their name engraved in it, AT LEAST also throw in a gift card for groceries or gas. Or pay their electric bill. Or throw in the business card of your friend at such and such company who you already forwarded their resume to. That bracelet is going to feel a lot more special next to that potential interview. 

Don’t look at me like that, the truth hurts.