Monday, July 30, 2007

Fire trucks, umpa-lumpa's, and wild life!

Sorry Dan, no pics of 'Sparky'! Don't ask why. Maybe the photographer was distracted by the presence of so many of Central Emergency Services' fire engines....or maybe it's because Sparky ditched the lens....I don't know man. But. There is a nice photo of one of the big trucks! Woo hoo!

Although not real clear in quality, there is also a pic of Maryann in the survival suit that so ranked her among her cohorts as an Umpa Lumpa, if you remember the post from a couple weeks back. She is the stoic looking one in the fore front who is thinking right about that point..."Oh crap. What have I gotten myself into now?" Cute. Johns behind her with that Kool-Aide smile thinking, "oh boy, I get to save mom...I hope...wait a minute...I'm not sure how to save anyone yet....oh crap!" The "oh crap" expression photo is the one we won't show.

Then there is one of our local resident bats, who apparently resides in our logs (the house) every season. Apparently this fella got impatient. What with so much daylight, they are left with a small window of night flying time, seeins how they don't like to fly during the day. He jumped his gun a little prematurely, got out of his 'bat hole' and realized that his navigation equipment was going awry. For the duration of his daylight cameo appearance, he essentially squeeled at Michelle (like she understood what it was saying), walked across the lawn, up a small tree, and waited impatiently for night to finally come around, oh say, 12:30AM! We haven't seen him since!!

Now there is a funny story about the 4th pic. The other day I was talking to my mom, while I was walking down the drive (I walk around alot while I am on the phone....a nervous tick....) and made to her the comment; "could you imagine walking down your drive and all of a sudden looking to your right and seeing a moose peering through the wildflowers at you?" After all, the wildflowers out in the side of the drive are, no joke, over 5 foot tall! Well, guess what mom!!! The next day....... =) Pretty cool this wild life, filled with big fire trucks, Umpa Lumpa's and other creatures! Good night and pleasant thoughts from Alaska.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Runnin' with the Nikiski mud walkers

What an eventful night here in Nikiski! Nobody in the lower 48 could imagine so much fun and excitement at 11:00 at night....but it happens. After a trying evening with a mechanical failure which followed a bauched tune up on Johns truck, I finally got the beast tuned and running smooth. So I was led to believe. Ironically it was right as John called from Ocean Beauty to be picked up, as he was done with work. So I decided, no better time than the present to take his rig for a test run and pick him up. So I crawl down the gravel road outside our driveway to the road into Nikiski, just impressed with the performance. I open it up once I get onto the road there and as I crest the peak with no warning the rig spits, lets out a sputter and starts losing power. Instantaneously I notice out of my peripheral this red 4x4 rig stuck in the mud off the side of the road. You see, along side most of the roads here, are narrow trails for ATV's and dirt bikes as alot of the younger folks here use them for their transportation...and fun. Occasionally some overzealous off road freaks will try and maneuver full sized cars and trucks down these trails, thus the red rig sucking mud. Usually the fateful outcome of such a daring feat! So as I am coming to a rolling death these two kids mouths drop partly to the sight of such a sique ride...and partly to the glowing aura of this savior rig that will hopefully pull them from the mud. All of a sudden as Johns truck is now coasting on gravity only, it lets out a deafening backfire that about floors these two guys on their knees puts the hair on the back of my neck straight out and those expressions of timely rescue turn to expressions of utter disbelief. I was able to coast the truck off of the road onto a gravel road right where they were down. To say the least nothing but potty flowed from my mouth as I am trying in vain to start it up again. So as I am trying to turn over the truck these two guys cautiously come out of the 5 foot grass separating us to see if they can help. As I figured they saw Johns truck and knew for sure it could get them out and when they heard the engine cut they thought I was slowing down to save them. That whole hope went to pot when the backfire almost caused them to soil themselves, and they watched me roll to a stop. I was able to call Maryann on the cell to get her to bring out my truck so I could chain up Johns rig to tow it back home for the night....I am about through. Meantime she dispatches Michelle to go get John as she comes out to save me. Michelle's expression was priceless as she drives past me with these two guys stuck in the mud and Johns truck lifeless on the side of the road. What the hell is he doing now she thought! Once Maryann got there I was able to get it started and just told her to 'go" and don't stop til she gets home. I did follow her and let the guys know I would be back in my rig to help them as soon as I got Johns' home. On my back out Michelle dropped John off with me and the two of us proceeded to go back to help these guys out of their pickle. I drove in on the trail and chained him up and the fun began. Oh it was a blast man. Four wheel drives engaged, engines winding out, tires spinning, mud flying, John and this other guys friend jumping around with looks of excitement cheering us on as I pulled and he gunned. We were finally able to walk him out of the mud hole and get them on their way. John talked about it all the way home as if returning from a triumphant victory at some major sports event! The things that excite these guys!! Anyways, dude thanked us profusely and made sure to let me know he would have my back covered when we met again on the road. That and they told John they would catch him at school in a few weeks, like they cant miss John in his rig! So we made some friends bonding in the roadside mud puddles of Nikiski Alaska tonight. An odd end to an eventful day. We did get our new water system in today and my god, what a joy it is to finally have water pressure, no pooh smell anymore as the water usually would smell like a really bad egg fart! And it is so soft now. OOOHHHH! So ends the chapter of the failing water system here at the compound. With an efficient heat source, a growing wood pile, and palatable H2O that is softer than Charmin, we are feeling pretty good about progress. After several days of rain, we had a freaking gorgeous day of sun today. Just to die for! Earlier this evening the fog was rolling across the bay and just reminded Maryann and I of so many memorable times at Pacific Grove when the fog would roll in off the sea. Was kind of dreamy. Tomorrow John is going to be inside the Central Emergency Services inflatable "sparky" costume for the 'Soldotna Days' parade. Maryann will be manning the information booth for the department. That ought to be fun for them. John is looking at possibly taking his OSHA course next week which will put him one step closer to becoming a cadet with the department. Well, have a great day and stay out of the mud! Night!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dinner's Ready. What the hell..........

Well, I never would have imagined that I would be doing this...... Have you ever said that? :0)
I have been a lacto-ovo vegetarian ( dairy and eggs only) with an occasional seafood snuck in my diet for good measure. Now I prep and cook poultry and some pork for John and Greg occasionally. Although for the most part they will eat anything I cook which is mostly veggie and seafood dishes. But I would have never imagined I would be doing this.....
We met our neighbor, Scott a few weeks ago who is not only an oil platform engineer (off of the coast of our town Nikiski) but he is also an avid fisherman and hunter, would you have ever guessed? So I had to hold my tongue when he gave us "Backstrap" (otherwise known as the tenderloin of Moose) and ground round of Moose. He also snuck in some Halibut that he had caught with our "Welcome to Nikiski and our Neighborhood" basket. Now being vegetarian I have a hard time even considering taking a bite of Moose because it's a vegetarian ( yes they only eat grasses, young leaves off of the Birch, Alder and Ash trees. ) Now if I eat moose isn't that Cannibalism? I know what your going to say, but think about it. Since we've been here we've seen Scott maybe twice and he always asks me the question. So have you had the moose yet? Being in Alaska I'm in a very small population of vegetarians here. It's like trying to find a Chevy when everyone buys Ford. We have many meat eaters in this state (they eat all kinds; beef, moose, caribou, etc.) which I already knew prior to moving here. I just feel really uncomfortable telling our neighbor thanks for the moose but I'm vegetarian. Eventually this will come out but I have to watch how I say it due to the many adverse comments I could get back. Like, "Lady your in the wrong state for that. " Or, "Why did you leave California then?" And so on.
So, guess what I'm cooking at this moment? Aaahh yes, my coveted, adorable, vegetation eating, comical, Bullwinkle. Yes, we're having Moose Stroganoff tonight. Or shall I say, Michelle, Greg and John are having it because, you know my stance on the whole thing..... So while we're now Alaskans or Sourdoughs (people who haven't lived through there first winter in Alaska) I am pretty proud of myself that I will be able to confidently say, " Scott, I made your moose and everyone said it was delicious, Thanks." Hopefully he will not pick up on the fact that I didn't have it. ;0)
So on that note, I live in Alaska now, I am considered a Sourdough by the natives and you just never know what I will be cooking next.... Ding, Ding, Ding, DINNER IS ON!!!!!!

Love ya, miss ya M.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

All work and no play....makes Greg a dull boy

You remember the movie "The Shining"? I make a real good impression of that twisted teeth-bearing smile that Jack Nicholson made before he lost it. Its not that bad...yet. I keep wondering about the darkness of winter. Hee, ha, hee, hee! The point I am making is that this is becoming alot of work re-establishing the basics of life at the new home. Maybe its that I am spoiled that we had everything up to date and in tip top shape at the cabin in Dorrington, and the only worries I had there was what I "wanted to do next". Or maybe its because the previous owner of this place didn't do a thing to keep up on it or do things right. Oh, I am not going to say it's a 'money pit', or as uncle Bob would say...."a diamond in a goats ass". No in fact it is beautiful here, and very livable. But. There is alot to do to bring it to the comfort level that we had and somewhat want again. And as I mentioned the fact that it was not kept up on isn't helping matters much. So my list of projects and chores is growing, and I am becoming a tad frustrated. I would really like to go join the 'head-bobbers' ' out in the river and catch some salmon to stock in the freezer that we haven't bought yet because we have no reason to.... yet, for the winter. The list of wants could go on I suppose. But things like the woodpile for the winter, situating the well which is all but sucking mud, the on-going job of setting up the garage with all of my tools and making work space so's I can take care of other looming projects, and more. This all has a priority. And we cant forget work as it comes in. Ahh yes, the all mighty buck! Good news on the 'buck' subject is that we were spending....and this is no exageration...$850.00 a month on gasoline, petrol, before we left Dorrington. Here we dwarf that amount at around $200.00 a month. Mind you we aren't working full time yet, but at that we are going into town almost daily to work or network, or run errands. Gas is at $3.03 a gallon here, and has been that price since we touched down on June 14th. Hasn't budged. What is it down there???????? So after yesterday being just flat out and simply, "one of those days", Maryann took me out on a date last night around 10:00PM. She took me to the cafe at Safeway in Kenai to have a scoop of Dryers ice cream. The cafe was closed and the ice cream locked up. :( I guess some folks here have no tolerance for 'daylight endurance'. So then we trekked over to Fred Meyers in Soldotna to hit the Starbucks.....guess what. More intolerance! We eventually just got grocery shopping out of the way, and Maryann....clever as she is...snagged a pint of Ben & Jerry's and a, 3 spoons after the way the day went, for the two of us for the road. We ate it in the parking lot and watched the local cop letting his 2 dogs, one at a time, out of the cruiser to go potty. It was cheap entertainment. Wasn't like Roscoe P. Coltrane or anything, but nonetheless entertainment. The fun thing about coming home at midnight was that it is getting darker at that time now and you get to see all of the lights that you never got to see when the sun was up til 2:00AM. That and moose are out grazing that time of night! As of today there is 17 hours and 44 minutes of daylight. It is overcast today, after several days of beautiful weather, 50 degrees and a chance of rain tonight. Anyways, we have only been here a month and a half, and as I stated earlier it's not like we didn't already know it would be work, so it is not surprising. It is just taking alot of patience and some dedication to making things right. My suggestion to anyone who wants to pick up their entire life and move to Alaska....DON'T. Naw, just kidding about that! DO. And do so knowing that it is a task man, remembering that 'knowing' and actually 'being one with' is two different things. You aren't sensing any regret in my words here, by no means. Just wanting to convey to all of those 'tiny grasshoppers' out there who dream of following our que, that it is one of the biggest tasks you may take on in your life. When you want something bad enough, like we wanted this, you will make it work. But just make darned sure its what you really want, otherwise.....'all work and no play, may make you a dull boy'! Hee, ha, hee, hee!! :#

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The new mother nature

I think most of our friends and family in the lower 48 think we are nuts when we try and describe life with little to no darkness. It is so different, and although you do get used to it, it is a hard beast to tame. Daylight Endurance Training has become a very important part of life here. It's not like we force ourselves uncomfortably to conform, more that it is a great opportunity to accomplish alot in your long day. For instance, here it is 10:30 PM and we are just now stumbling in from today's projects and chores. By the time we settle down and check out it will be around midnight or so. It is just incredible how the daylight 'charges' you. It is really hard to get tired at night! It's the new mother nature takin over!! Mind you once we hit the sack, it is no problem finding zzzz's. Michelle is with us again here, and really helping with the work we have around home. She is a real motivating force for getting things done, and she is well adjusted to Daylight Endurance since she was raised on a farm in Canada. I think it brings back good memories for her as she often reflects back to stories on the farm. John had his Explorer training tonight at the fire station in Soldotna, and is really liking it. The red salmon are making their way up into the rivers now, which means that thousands of fish are gathering around the rivers' mouths to start their trek upstream to spawn. As a result, the commercial fishermen are hauling in tons of fish to the processors....and this means that John is working some 16 hour days. He comes home smelling like a salmon egg, and usually doesn't say much as he drags back to his room. Poor kid you might say....but I think he loves it. He handles himself well. Fish and Game just opened up 'dip netting' to sport fishermen so parades of Alaskans are flocking to the rivers with their dip nets. It is a sight to be driving along Bridge Access Road outside of Kenai and as your coming over the Kenai River to see a long line of heads sticking out of the water along the bank for damned near a quarter of a mile. These guys wade out along the banks up to their shoulders hanging on to these dip nets extended out in the water 10 feet in front of them. The idea is that there are so many fish swimming along the banks that they literally swim right into the nets. When the counts are high, Fish and Game will periodically open up the limits and methods to catch the different breads of salmon. Maryann is in her studio painting tonight...and singing to herself. She doesn't realize she has an audience! I think she has her ipod on. You know how when you have earphones on you tend to carry your voice louder than get the point! Hey, she is happy and as long as she is happy, I am happy. That's all I want to see is that she is happy. I think this move has been a good thing for her....rather for all of us. She seems so much more relaxed and centered. I find it easier for me as well get my hemispheres into phase. Work is starting to pick up for me. It is just so difficult at times for me as I am not used to having to look so hard for business. After being dug-in down there for so long my name and reputation was well around and work tended to come to me. Now it is all about getting my name out again and starting from ground up. But, that is how it all started 15 years ago in Arnold. Its not like I didn't already know it would be like this! Well, that's about it for now. I am going to go shower and get ready for bed. Good night to all....and to all a good night! (Isn't that what Santa said....?) Oh well....ho, ho, ho!

Monday, July 16, 2007

The latest and greatest

Tonight marks another chapter in this adventure and a new addition to the compound....Johns new truck! This guy has been patient as he has searched for weeks for the right Chevy (another Chevy man). Everything we have looked at has been either the wrong price, or something wasn't right with the truck. It has been a long disappointing road for Johnny. Yesterday as we were hauling the old heatalator to the dump, I had that "the right one will come in its time" talk with him. After the dump we went to the gas station here in Nikiski and I did something I have never done. I was walking out the door of the gas station and then for some reason turned around and went back in to get a newspaper. When we got home John of course hit the truck sales add. He comes to me with this truck for $5000. and I call the number. Minutes later I get a call back and it is my main contact and friend Mark. He tells me that he just put it in the paper and it is his project truck that he has to sell. Now if you saw Mark, you would never in a thousand years think that he would drive such a tricked out rig. It just would never click. In fact when I was out at his house it was in the shop getting some work done a couple weeks ago, so I never even knew he had it. It has a top of the line stereo system in it which of course is a dream for John. The kid is in seventh heaven. It is exactly what he would have wanted, it did come at precisely the right time...and spiritually I might add. 'All good things in all good time'. Weather here was absolutely gorgeous today. Blue skies all the way around for the first time in days, temp here in Nikiski got up to about 70 degrees. The snow capped Aleutian Range was clear as a bell across the bay.....was just to die for. We are now finding out what Alaskans mean when they say that days like this you just drop everything and go out and bask in it! Have a great day.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

How loose is your moose?

(Note: This was last nights post that didn't load until this morning.)
Greetings! Its about 10:00PM Ak time and we were just letting the dogs out to do their thing before we all checked out for the night. As I was walking past the family room window I had to call out a 'moose alert'. This is a familiar drill around here when one of us sees a moose on the property. A loud and brief announcement is made throughout the house when a moose is spotted. It goes something like..." the dogs, the dogs". It is followed by a short and detailed report on where the moose has been sighted. This is done to get the dogs distracted and back in the house....before they see the moose. Not sure what would happen if they did, but definitely don't want to find out. Would more than likely become a spectacle. In any event, I was able to snap a few photos from the back deck and wanted to share them. There were actually 2 moose's. The mama was is the woods watching me, and the calf at the water. Somebody made biscuits and sausage gravy at the art show today. It was really good. Have a great night or rest of the weekend for those non-nocturnal dwellers of the night who see this post in the morning!

Friday, July 13, 2007

A familiar old flame

Yes, it was a pleasant sight to see an old flame in Alaska. Those of you who had been to our cabin before will recognize our old wood stove....those of you who hadn't, that is our old wood stove! Our buyers, Phil and Leann, were generous in allowing us to take out our wood stove and bring it with us here. They wanted gas heat in the old cabin.....we wanted to ditch the heatalator and put in an efficient wood stove. Funny how it all works out sometimes, ain't it?! The picture to the left is the old heatalator that the previous owner had. Served absolutely no purpose other than to see a "nice fire in the fireplace". It was encased in rock all the way up to the ceiling, so we demolished everything and yanked the thing out. We will eventually be re-rocking the old stuff that you see now, and then running rock up behind the wood stove. Was just more important 'now' to get an efficient source of heat in, besides the oil sucking furnace we have. Which brings me to exhibit C.

My ever growing woodpile. Oh this is nothing. My goal is to have 4 times the amount you see there before the end of August. And I will! This past week our friend Michelle (from the ferry) was over. Now she was raised on a farm so she fears not work. The four of us felled dead trees on the property, bucked rounds and hauled them, then split what we yielded. This is where 'Greg's Daylight Endurance Training' was initiated. Scott, you would have been proud, man. We would be up working wood until midnight! Long days....hard work....warm asses in the winter! ;) So the quest for wood has begun, and although daylight is slowly lessening (today was 18+ hours) there is still plenty of hours in the day to get the chores done. The other photo is of some of our wildflowers blooming along the side of the house. Mind you, these are our wildflowers. Do you see how tall and bountiful they get in comparison to Dorrington?! Wild. Flowers.

It was a long day today. The show went well for the first day. We made enough money to pay off our space and then some. Hopefully tomorrow goes as well or better. John is working until midnight tonight at the processing plant, and we are hitting it early to be ready for a long day tomorrow. So I leave you tonight with a thought. We did something not many would even concieve as even a notion in their minds. I will admit at times, only for a moment, even we wondered if we were crazy for doing it. But all along the way everything has been opening itself up to us. Even through the mind numbing events of retrograde, never once did anything signal us that we made a bad career decision in doing this move. We have been very happy, finding it so much easier to pursue those things that we yearned to change in our lives. We have absolutely no regrets. True, times may get rough yet. But everything has moved us in this direction, and we will only believe that despite the odds....we will keep moving forward. This is the best thing we have ever done. There is so much more detail to that of what we post on the blog. Not all good....and some even odd. I have a dream and desire to write a book someday on this adventure. I also had a dream and desire to one day move to Alaska. Everyone reading this will always be in our hearts, as you all meant and will continue to mean the world to us. You are an important part of this adventure in one way or another. Be it before the move, during, or after.....we couldn't have done it without all of you. Good night.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

And just as quick as it was gone.

Hey all. Yep, it's true. My very special Alaskan REtrograde is done and gone. How do I know you ask? Well, it was like day and night really. One day everything was going awry.....the next, everything started going right. I only have a moment tonight, as I am tired, man. But let me update a few of the recent events here. Tomorrow and Saturday, Maryann and I are showing our art and pottery at a show over in Sterling. It is called "Christmas In July"....which is ironic because the whole Christmas spending thing irritates me. However, in this case we are potentially making money as opposed to spending it! That may make a difference. Tonight was Johns first night of the Central Emergency Services Explorer Program. He came home lit up like a Christmas tree! I guess he loved it. He has been offered a position with the department as a cadet. All he has to do is become certified in C.P.R. and he will be able to start riding along on calls and have minor participation with any calls he is along with. Maryann tonight learned how to dawn on a survival suit, and was rescued from a lake by the Junior Explorers.....she has happily informed us she will not be on 'Deadliest Catch' anytime soon! But she was amazed at the rescue technique and the skill in her mock rescue tonight. She has been invited by the whole team to participate in next weeks rescue. I guess she made a good victim! The team felt that she looked like an 'Umpa Lumpa' in her survival suit, but were all the same pleased with her recuebility. The day my retrograde departed, I got a position as key maintenance person for a local tax man/investor and will be taking care of his 4 fourplexes in Kenai and Soldotna. I am still working independently, but will be his key maintenance guy. He also promises this to lead to "more work than I know what to do with" as many of his tax clients are also property investors, and come to him for referrals for service people. Keep in mind that through retrograde, my efforts to introduce myself to him were constantly thwarted, but I kept up with persistence and eventually mailed him a packet that I have been distributing about, that introduces me and my business, as well as includes many letters of reference thanks to all who took care of us on that! I was given a hot tip that he was the guy to get on with. He told Maryann that the letter from Barry Ward is what sold him on me. Thanks Barry! I am bummed that I had no letter of reference from the United States Postal Service, as I logged in many miles and hours taking care of several post offices through many years of loyal service. They never could get my mail to me anyways. Just a bummer, but as my Italian grandma used to say..."whata me gonna do?" So there you have it. The latest and greatest. Stay tuned for more adventure to come in the next 2 days when the art show is done. Good night to all. We do miss you.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


I wanted to take a moment today to tell you of someone special in my heart. I picked today because today marks a 3rd anniversary. Unlike most 'anniversaries' which usually are symbolic of celebration, today's anniversary marks that of a void in many peoples lives. It was 3 years ago today that I lost a very important figure in my life. My young cousin TJ, only 19 years old had his precious life taken away by a misled soul in Iraq. I think the sad irony in this was that 2 people who both were doing what they each believed to be right, crossed paths 3 years ago today. Both fighting for a cause. One man there only to free a man...that man killing him, for doing so. It never has made sense to me and probably never will. I think that it reinforces that realistic fact that there is both good, and evil in this world. 3 Years ago today, evil won.
Let me share with you a little bit of my cousin. I first met TJ when he was a baby, 2 years old I believe. His mom, sister and he came out from Indiana to start new lives in the central valley where most of our large Italian family lived. The first time I met him he did nothing but cry!! I thought to myself....what! I watched this 2 year old over the years through many....and I mean many family get togethers, grow up to be a spunky, bright young man. I remember how excited he used to get when "cousin Greg" pulled up in his Chevelle and he would always be out the door to show me something or to share a 'kids' story of what was new at that moment in his life. Always well behaved, at least when I was there ;) , and well mannered. I would always address him as 'mister T'! TJ by no means had an easy raising as his dad was absent most of his life. Fortunately he was surrounded by several friends of the family as well as a couple family members who served as male roll models. I just know that TJ always had a special place in my heart, maybe because I watched him grow from what I remembered him as a baby to the bright young man I was seeing before me, maybe it was his personality which definitely was unique. Maybe I knew him in some other life, I really don't know. I just know that I was drawn to TJ. Fortunately I have many memories of some times we shared. One in particular was the Friday night ritual. Every Friday night without fail, I would go over to their apartment to watch the Ren And Stimpy Show with him and his family! I mean this was an important deal with this kid! After we moved up to Arnold, we only saw each other at family get togethers, but he would occasionally hitch a ride with me back up to Arnold to stay for a couple days, and then I would drive him back down to Stockton. In later years when he got his license and a truck, he would come up to see us on his own. Did I mention that he was an honorary graduate of 'Camp Greg'? This kid worked harder and with more motivation than any young man I had seen up to that point of my life. He took great pride in holding a job while going to high school, and the ability to buy his truck as a result of his hard earned efforts. This truck was a Dodge if I remember correct. Nothing special only that it had a 'Tommy Lift'. TJ was always talking about his 'Tommy Lift'. He loved the fact that his truck had one. As he grew up he began to serve as a very important roll model in my son Johns' life. John looked up to him. When TJ was at family functions John gravitated around him always. And when he would drive up to stay with us in Dorrington and work with me, John was always excited like no other to spend time with him. In fact John has a few pretty memorable times with TJ in Dorrington. Maryann and I do as well, and we all 3 feel blessed that he spent the time with us that he did.
You know, it is true sadly that you always seem to learn so much about someone after they are gone. I know that we can brag about TJ from our own experiences, but at his funeral we learned from many of his friends and the people in his life of how incredibly remarkable he was. He touched so many people and was such a loving and gentle soul. It made me feel proud even more so, to know that I grew up with him.
The last time I saw TJ was at my parents' house at Christmas Eve. He arrived in uniform and was very stoic, and looked so mature. A very handsome guy. He told John and I of some stories from boot camp and of what his current duties were. I remember him telling me that night that he wanted to go into combat because the pay was so much better. I literally told him he was crazy. Maybe because I loved him and who wants somebody they love to go into combat. That was the last time I saw him. I did speak to him by phone a couple times after that night while he was stationed in Germany. I was always confused with the time difference and would call him around 9:30PM our time in the states....which was roughly 8:00 AM or so there. I woke him up! I mean he was asleep and I would wake him up!!!! This is the Army??!! Incredible! Those calls stopped probably about the time they began to move him into Iraq.
He wanted to go. He truly believed in what he was doing, and like so many others of that time felt the calling after the 9/11 incident. He wanted to put down terrorism. He believed in the people he was being sent to free from the tyrant who ruled over them. How can you not respect someone for what they want, even though in your heart you wished they didn't. I thought like many, "it could never happen to him". The odds played me a fool 3 years ago today. And now every time I hear on the news of another casualty, I feel all of the pain I experienced, roll through me again, as I know that somewhere, somebody is going through what I and my family experienced.
I am in Alaska now, and won't be able to visit his mom today as she sits weeping at his grave. I have been there each year since....but not today. Does it hurt....yes, it does. Maybe that is why I wanted to take a little time today an share who TJ was, and what he is even today. He is an inspiration to me. I look up to him for his courage, and his determination throughout his short life to do what he wanted to do, and the responsibilities that he continually took so seriously. I once told Maryann that I believe he has been here before. For as young as he was, his wisdom seemed to span a longer life than that of a 19 year old. I do believe he has been here before, and I am proud to say that I knew him and loved him the time that I was able to spend. If you are reading this today, do me a favor. Remember whom I have shared with you today. Remember those of us who were so blessed to have known him. Remember what he stood for and despite the obstacles in his life how he overcame and succeeded at everything he set out to do. Remember. Lets share some peace today.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Why do I shake my butt to "Stayin Alive"?

Can anyone answer this bizarre phenomenon?? Why is it that as we age we tend to find our bodies' extensions grooving and wiggling to music that we couldn't otherwise stand when we were younger and more spry? We have a really good radio station here, KBAY, which plays oldies from the sixties and seventies, and twice this week a couple different Bee Gees songs came on and I found my head gyrating and my extremities in sync with the rhythm of these songs! I couldn't stand disco, and didn't really favor the Bee Gees back when, yet now I somehow have reverted to some sick impression of Denni Terio (I don't even know if I spelled his name right that's how much attention I paid to this era) minus the 'doo' and the blinging jewelry....lets not forget those skin tight polyester knickers! Oh that is a scary sight... Interesting aint it?! Am I alone in this unconscious ritual? Maybe now others will pay more attention to their body language in the presence of such memorable oldies. Do you remember what you were doing when "Saturday Night Fever"came out? What really gets to me is when they refer to "Devo" as oldies but goodies......
I have been in seclusion this week. Yep, you guessed it. My special retrograde in Alaska. And it just keeps going. Not as dramatic I am proud to express! Just major communication flaws, dead ends and shut doors, and alot of RE iterating myself and RE checking things.....constantly. Oh I wont tell you details. Naw, your going to have to wait for the book. Been giving that alot of thought this week Kristi! Pity....I look not for this. Awareness. That's what it's all about. I love KBAY. I have some good news and some bad news. Good news is we got Dish network the other day so we have t.v. again. We didn't miss much. There is never anything good on except after midnight it seems. Get to see Deadliest Catch again! Bad news. We were lied to....twice. We cant get high speed Internet through Dish like the conniving sons of guns said we could. Funny how they tell you anything you want to hear then say to you after they have ya... "well sir, our satellite for high speed is at the wrong position to reach Alaska's horizon..." ARRRGHH! We still are holding out hope for DSL through our telephone service. Apparently we are on a 'hold' list and they cant say when we will get it. Could be tommorrow, could be months. So we are once again official kin of the 'Slowskys'.
All in all everything is going good here and we still have no regrets. Our friend that we met on the ferry, Michelle, is coming to meet with us this weekend. We are stoked as we miss her, and are excited to get the chance to visit. Speaking of Michelle, thanks for the comment Michelle! We miss you as well. Thanks for your words of advice, as I have always looked to you as a source of positivity and spiritual enlightenment. Although I have to say that every time you tell me "This to shall pass" I picture 'Gandalf the grey' standing on an apex with his mighty staff..... Very cool! Take care and we'll be keeping you 'posted'! My love.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Hi, 2 more photos, both of my studio in progress. Excuse the mess for I am still in the process of organizing and figuring out what placement is best. The one photo of my work area over looks the lake, to the left of that is 2 large windows overlooking the yard and sauna and moving more to the left is 1 bay window overlooking the front yard, greenhouse area. The second photo is the entrance leading from the studio into our master and the rest of the house.

It's raining and beautiful out. John just got home from working today, he's enjoying his job even though it can be a tad monotenous. I think he just loves handling all of the fish and learning about the different species. :0) Take care. M