Tuesday, December 21, 2010

5hrs 40min....

As I sit in my chair, I watch as the sun which rose just several hours ago, begins to set.  I find a subtle joy in seeing this, as today marks the shortest and darkest day of the year, the winter solstice, which means tomorrow will see a gain of 5 seconds of daylight.  Still I find a sadness about me as if an old friend, utter darkness, has once again left us until he returns to cast a cold and dreary shadow of solitude and despair, upon our S.A.D.ened heads.  Yesterday found me in the darkest corner of the basement, by the light of one flickering solitary candle, scratching the clicks of days into the sheetrock....tomorrow will find me waking to a new day and counting the hours that await with a promise of warmth and an abundance of life giving light...although I have about 4 and a half months to go still...

5 hours and 40 minutes of daylight today!  This is the time of the year that depending where you are standing, the sun never makes it to the treetops.  Last night we had a spectacular view of the lunar eclipse!  It was -0F degrees so we would watch for a minute or two...go in and warm up.  Go back out and watch for a minute or two....go back in to warm up.

This morning, worn out from last night's brilliant ecliptic display, the moon began it's descent behind the trees at 9:45AM.  I woke last night at around 1:30AM and the full moon cast such light reflecting off of the snow that it seemed as if it was the middle of the day.

The sunrises the past few days have been so intense.  As if the sky had ignited on was on fire!  The colors and hues that are cast into the morning sky create an impressionable memory both in my mind and my heart this time of year.  It reminds us both, every time we see it, of how fortunate and blessed we are to be able to live amongst this kind of God given majesty!

Along with the intense sunrises,there have been some pretty warming alpenglow skies in both the mornings and evenings.  It has been so amazing to us both how the sky takes on such enhanced and brilliant colors in the winter.  It has inspired me to work on mixing glazes that somewhat reproduce some of these natural hues for my pottery.  I am kind of thinking of running a line of wares that represents the cool and soft tones of winter!

I was drooling over some scenery the other morning and caught the sight of 3 moose grazing in the morning cold.  It was -14F below zero this particular morning, a day after some seriously torrential winds battered the peninsula for two days straight.  There were times when I sincerely thought that the house was going to lift off the way the winds would roar in across the lake, getting louder and louder before they would pummel into the house and literally shake it.  Judging by the calm of this mornings picture one would never realize the stress both man and animal had withstood just hours before!

Despite the cold Maryann and I have been indulging in much snowshoeing this winter and have caught some pretty nice scenery while exploring different trails.  I am not going to say that the temps being below zero necessarily discourages us, but it sure takes some serious motivation to get out and be active when it is that cold.  It most certainly makes you appreciate a warm truck heater when your done, or a wood stove to thaw in front of!  This next pic is of the sun in the sky at mid day....12:00 noon give or take 15 minutes!

All in all this winter seems to have a sort of grip on me.  Although I really haven't been scratching out hash marks in the sheetrock down in the basement to count the days, I have had somewhat of a difficult time with the lack of light this year.  I have found once again that since I started loving up to my happy light more often and increasing my dosage of vitamin D-3 to 10,000 IU's per day it has helped.  Typically this time of year seems to become a hibernation for many people.  Life definitely slows down.  I find myself sleeping in until 8:00AM or later on some days depending on what cookin for the day.  The cold plays a huge part in making me slow down and unfortunately my motivation starts to flounder.  I have found personally that it goes from winter to winter on how I react to the cold and the lessening of light.  For instance, last winter seemed to be great for me.  Lots of energy, motivation...although I had some periods of very mild depression.  Yet, this year I seem less energetic, not real motivated, sleep like a big ol bear but have had no depression at all.  I think we have learned to cope with things the best we can here.  It is by no means all bad!  And for those who have been counting the years until we finally broke and decided to head back to the lower 48....keep counting!  It aint gonna happen, man!!  We both love it all too much to even entertain such thoughts.  All of the pluses in this life here far outweigh the very few factors that we have to just compensate for and re-calibrate from time to time.

We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and if you get offended by that then for your sake we wish you a happy whatever it is that you believe in your hearts!  It really doesn't matter what it is you celebrate as long as you are celebrating it in the way that suits you, and for this we hope the next couple of weeks are a safe and good time for all.  And for anyone who sent us a card but haven't received one back...this is all part of the unmotivation I spoke of!  I have studied on writing one of those prefab Christmas letters for the past couple of weeks, but just haven't had the gumption yet.  It may end up being a Happy New Year card this year!

A winter Solstice moonrise just minutes ago over the lake....which is an iced up snowy meadow until around May!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A touch of thanks.

It just dawned on me last night that this is the week of Thanksgiving.  As it usually seems, time has flown past and here we are again, another year of over-indulgence, family, friends, thankful reasoning and a serious sugar high to end the nights festivities.  As I sit here this morning thinking of the coming risks associated with this holiday, I ask myself, what was the original reason of Thanksgiving?  A day to celebrate the pilgrims faith in God, an abundant growing season and their survival of their first brutal winter in New England.    Hmmmm.  The pilgrims who escaped the tyrannical grips of  England to set forth with a new and free society independent of heavy handed rule.  Now, it may just be that it has been a long and busy month for me and being that I am relaxing today, my mind may be waning a tad.  But isn’t it kind of ironic that on the holiday most Americans associate with food, freedom and celebration, that many of us will be subjected to heavy handedness….or a light touch if you elect the personal groping… if we choose to travel via the airways?  Hmmmm.

But fear not, the courageous, all knowing and unwavering leader of our nation has assured us that we 'need'  to subject ourselves to this unwarranted personal molestation to “assure the safety of our fellow airline passengers“!  Since you really have no choice in the matter, you might as well have a little fun while doing it.  In the name of tomfoolery, the worst that will happen is they will jail you temporarily  as a terrorist suspect.  But when they realize the obvious….that you were just being a jackass…they will more than likely only fine you heavily and put you on a no-fly list.  Here are a few of my recommendations to make a TSA operatives’ day:

- Pack a 3 ounce bottle of  Vaseline (contained in a zip lock baggie to follow regs) in a readily available carry on bag…..you’ll more than likely need it!

- Ladies, test the intellect of your TSA cavity search associate.  Stuff a tightly bundled sock in your pants….this will certainly jolt them back to life.  Look for their reaction….it should be priceless.

- Men, go out and get that prescription of Viagra before your departure.  Make sure to take a couple of pills 45 minutes before going through the security checkpoint.  This is one time you may appreciate an erection that lasts longer than 4 hours!

- If you choose the full body scan, insist that you be able to where your lead lined body suit.  Did you know that the odds of developing cancer form these “safe” scanners is likely greater than the possibility of being hijacked on a plane?!  But then again we are poisoning our bodies daily by the food we eat, so what does it all matter anyway?!

Some rogue groups have stated they will assemble a nationwide protest by conducting a national “opt-out day” during this Thanksgiving travel holiday.  What is the point?  Your just gonna piss off the people behind you in line and one of them may end up having the seat behind you on the plane.  The increased tension as a result of all this will make the entire flying experience memorable.  If you want to really stick it to the man….stop flying!  If everyone in the nation decided just not to fly this Thanksgiving holiday, imagine the financial loss that the airline industry and all associated parties would experience.  Do that a few times in a year and someone most certainly would find a way to reconsider how the TSA conducts it’s security interrogations and invasive tactics.  But….nobody wants to do that!  It would be an inconvenience to everybody not being able to fly this Thanksgiving holiday.  So, in the name of the safety of all air passengers, just like he stated it would be….,get up there on that pedestal show some pride and shake your wee wee!  Hell, most people are walking around half naked most of the time these days anyway…so what is the big deal!

What it all comes down to is that this is just another chip off of the old block of personal freedom and another way for the government to control your life.  Isn’t this what we all stated that we wanted back in 2008?!  Get up there and shake your wee wee!  Those of us who chose to sit home and watch all the fuss from afar will be thankful we did!

In all seriousness though, we wish everyone a happy, safe, and uneventful Thanksgiving!  Although there is plenty of cynicism in this post, there are a couple of points not to be taken litely; reasonable cooperation and personal freedom.  This year I will be thankful for my personal freedom, and for all those who have made it clear through their efforts and personal sacrifices that freedom is the foundation of our country.  God Bless America!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A twisted tale of the baby and the conviction of gravy!

One thing that has had me perplexed for some time, is the Alaskan and the absolute unconditional fascination with.....gravy!  My first encounter with the overindulgence of gravy was at a restaurant down in Homer a couple of years back.  Maryann and I were down there for a two day two night hiatus from life at the compound and some relaxation.  It was the middle of winter and there isn't much of anything open in Homer, in the middle of winter, in the way of food establishments.  Homer thrives off of the tourism of summer and provides minimal existence for locals in the winter months.  So, hungry, we went to the first place we saw open, next to the bowling ally.  Now this is an important fact, so, pay attention.  It looked like a "locals" joint, that served good comfort food and as we pulled in the parking lot, we noticed all of the cars parked about which at least seemed to confirm our suspect, especially to be so crowded on a weeknight.

What we were soon to discover was that the cars in the parking lot were not there for the restaurant but in fact were all patrons, at the bowling ally!  This factual light became solemnly apparent as we walked into an empty restaurant.  Oh, we should have turned face and ran at this simple fact, but being the courageous and optimistic adventurists that we are, we took our chances.  Maryann had ordered the turkey and mashed potatoes plate with stuffing and green beans, thought in mind being that it is really hard to screw this plate up so she can't go wrong!  When the waitress arrived with our food, she put Maryann's plate down and submerged somewhere in the pool of gravy, lay sunk the mashed potatoes, turkey and green beans, with the lump of stuffing listing like a waterlogged buoy floating in the sea of gravy!  This became the center of calamity for Maryann who found the whole episode a point of laughter and boisterous jokes!  The girl just couldn't stop laughing!  Such laughter and attention that we almost got 86'ed, which probably would have been the best thing that happened to us that night.

In short, dinner sucked, we walked out far from "happy, happy".....although we giggled on like kids.... there was absolutely no 'comfort' in the food and the only reason I asked for a box for my leftovers, was to keep it for valuable evidence...just in case I got sick or worse overnight!  The one positive that came out of this night was our first example on the indulgent importance of Alaskans and their gravy!

I once heard a story of a bush pilot who got stranded out in the bush after his planes' engine leaked out all the oil.  The one thing that saved him and got him back to civilization, was the the tub of his wife's gravy in his ice chest of leftovers for lunch.  As folklore goes, he used the gravy to replace the missing oil in the planes engine!

This past weekend at one of my string of pottery shows, a woman walked up to my space and went berserk with glee, over one of my mix and pour bowls.  You know, the ones you can mix about a gallon of batter or what not in and has the handy handle with the pouring spout.  Only thing was, she immediately sounded out to her friend that she finally found something big enough to serve gravy in!!  Of course this episode in itself brought about the need to tell my story of gravy.  Coincidentally, the inside joke for the few that know the story of our gravy dinner experience is, "do ya want some food with your gravy"!  One friend of ours heard the story and now every time Maryann see's her the woman starts cracking up and asks if Maryann has had any gravy lately!  Another woman who heard the story last year,  has seen us in public a couple of times and addressed us simply as..."gravy"!  Frankly, I can't even make the comment that "at least it is a healthy habit..."

The other day we took two of the three dogs to the doggie wash to bath them.  The doggie wash is in the back part of the pet shop, and much like an eager little kid, Kenai was absolutely intrigued by all of the little stuffed toys that lined the pet toy area shelves.  When she was younger, she used to love those little stuffed squeaky toys and every time she would get a new one, she would  kill it and rip out the squeaky!  Referred to as "her babies", she had literally at one point a pile of dead and spent babies in the corner of the deck.  John would even go so far as re-sewing new squeakers into her babies and bring them back to life.  We were fortunate to have found a source that sold bags of 'replacement squeakers'!  Apparently our dog wasn't the only animal with doggie psychosis!  The age of the baby came to somewhat an abrupt halt around the time we adopted Seska.  You see, Seska found the spent and torn carcasses of Kenai's babies as tasty treats.  Keep in mind, she would eat anything.  But this didn't fare justice to her digestive system, and after a few unfortunate explosive situations in the house overnight, we figured it was best to keep the babies away from Seska's insatiable appetite, which meant for poor little Kenai, no more babies.

Getting back to the pet store, me seeing her child like fascination with the toys on the wall, I bought and snuck out a little squeaky rubber duck for her being such a good girl during her bath.  Later that night as I pulled out the toy and squeaked it, her reaction was priceless as she ran into the kitchen with her head bobbling on a 360 degree pivot, in search of this baby that needed her!  Although her comical little ways with her babies haven't changed much, her demeanor and 'pro-life' stance towards them has!  No longer does she kill the baby to get to the squeaker, but rather she carries it with her everywhere in her mouth, squeezing out little squeaks every now and then.  She goes potty with the baby in her mouth.  She lays on the floor with her head resting on the baby.  She sleeps at night with her body inches away from the baby and positioned between the baby and Seska....who seems affixed on the potential appetite before her.  All the while, Seska lurks and waits for Kenai to screw up and leave her little green rubber duck baby alone....just for a moment.  Just long enough to snuff the squeak out of it and claim victory to a free meal!

Oh, to say the least, there hasn't been a dull moment around here since the baby came home.  It's fate or survival will surely continue to be a menial doggial controversy!  Our first snowfall came with a vengeance, as it snowed....and snowed....and snowed.... about a week ago.  It was a wonderful shot in the arm for early winter plowing, and we only hope that it is the beginning of a bountiful season.  John unfortunately missed the opportunity all together as he ran into an unfortunate chain of events with a bad radiator, and a new one that must have fallen into some strange vortex....or huge bowl of gravy...  No, he was doing good getting the Dodge together, but learned a lesson about the availability of radiators in Alaska.  Finally, after a long and depressing week for the boy, his radiator arrived today, and he also found a used set of marginal snow tires for the plow truck to get him through for the meantime.  So, now....we wait.  We wait eagerly for snow and the glory of white gold.  The days are getting shorter, the nights longer....darkness is slowly beginning to rein and after a week of mild temps in the 30's we are experiencing single digits and teens.  It's just beginning, man!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The first dusting and the birth of a meadow.

                 A secret pumpkin patch in Alaska.....we're not talkin....

                                            Some nice melons!

With the fall being almost as fickle as summer....we finally got our first dusting of snow!  This will reinforce the local saying of  "it has to snow on Halloween"!  The lake is slowly transforming into a meadow, of which it will be for the next 6 months or so.  Studded tires are on the trucks, the plows are lubed.  Wait, he said "plow(s)"....plural....  John decided that this winter, being semi retired and going to school part time, that he wanted to join the ranks of the nocturnal plow crazies.  So, with his hard earned cash, he found himself a 91 Dodge Cummings Diesel, plow included, and has worked diligently the past several weeks restoring the ragged interior, tuning it up, a getting it set for the snow season.  The kid is amazing really.  He is 19 and already owns 3 trucks....and they all run, which is uncommon for a typical Northroader!  He helped his friend rebuild a Toyota engine a couple weeks back and as payment, his friend gave him the interior of a Dodge, the same year as his, that was broke down and growing weed on his property...see what I mean!?  Amazingly it was the same color as his and he was able to take out all the ripped up and ruined seat, carpet, and door panels and replace it all with the same in better condition!  It looks great, and  now a guy could stand to actually sit in it!!  He and his friend welded a new battery tray so he could double up on his batteries, which will be helpful in running the rig and plow as it gets colder.  Did some re-wiring and other mechanical fixes and has transformed the truck into something workable, and is ready to  make money with it now.  As we wait for serious snow!  Meantime, Jennifer is experiencing buyers remorse.  She took an engine rebuilding class at the college and just spent $1000.00 of her hard earned cash to buy pistons, bearings, crankshaft, cam, ect for her rebuild project!  That is some expensive homework...  I am so proud of our kids!  They do well at everything that they set out to do.

I am pretty stoked, as last week I started a new paid position as a freelance writer!  Mind you it is not so much the pay so much as it is continued advancement towards one of my goals.  I have been given the position as an Editor for Stage Of Life, the site I have been a featured writer on for the past year and a half.  I get paid quarterly for my assigned stage as Editor of the Empty Nest/Retirement stage.  It is my responsibility to edit and moderate posts submitted, and to provide a weekly 'Editor's piece' to set the tone for the stage.  Another task is to find talented writers to contribute stories and posts to the site.....so, if you like to write and would like to be a part of a growing site that is informative and offers discounts and deals through all kinds of national merchants, check out the site and I will point you in the right direction!  It is very exciting and so far has opened up a new outlook and experience for me.

I am also pumping out the pottery this past month getting ready for several shows I will do in November.  I am excited about some new pieces I will be trying out this run, and the overall enjoyment of selling pottery.  In fact, I need to get on it now to start glazing a kiln load that needs to be fired by tomorrow night.  One of several I will be doing over the course of the next two weeks!  Hoping this finds you in goods spirits, with a tub full of candy for all the little ghouls and goblins....that is old school....I mean, the vampires,  Lady Gaga's and Snooki's...  which seems pretty scary in itself!  Remember to get out and vote!  People have died to secure this right!  Our future depends on this.  Oh, and click on the link to see what I think....
Parental influence to get out and vote. - Retirement Blog - Stage of Life - Stage of Life - Rewards for Life's Journey > Stage - Retirement > Posts

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"There's no place like home"....as we click the Ruby slippers....

As fun as it was to get out and vacation, it sure is great to be home!  Mr. Winter made no effort to hold off for a few days before casting his cold and blustery allure upon us.  With the night time temperatures down to 20F most of the past week and daytime temps trying in vain to reach the 50's, there is a definite change abounding us!  The lake began to freeze last Sunday, with all of the water fowl and lake life all but gone.  A lone straggling tundra swan showed up very briefly today.  Until he realized that the lake was about 80% frozen, in which he was quick to move on!

Back tracking by a week, we were coming home from Anchorage last Saturday morning about 1:30AM from a concert and witnessed a spectacular display of the Aurora Borealis!  It filled the northern sky, an amazing green and blue iridescent curtain, flowing across the sky like drapes gently being blown by a crisp winter breeze through an open window.  We were both awestruck, as this was the best we have personally seen since our arrival almost 4 years ago.  It lasted for about 15 minutes before it gently faded into the starry night sky as mysteriously as it emanated.  How mysterious is that you ask?

Our experiences have been, generally, the Aurora initially appearing as a slight misty cloud that appears in  the night sky.  This night I thought I was seeing a cloud of smoke in the sky, figuring it was someone burning a debris pile late at night.  I realized within less than a minute that this cloud was turning green and beginning to slightly glow, and was not as low in the sky as I originally thought it was.  As I told Maryann to check it out, before I could finish my sentence, this glowing cloud burst into a colorful array which filled the length of the sky and began to dance at will amongst the stars, ruffling, and furrowing about like a skater elegantly flowing across the ice.  No words can describe!  They are saying that this year, unlike the past couple, will be a good year for the Northern Lights.  Being such a brilliant display so early in the year....one can only hope!

In the late 60's and early 70's, many bands and music which shaped a generation as well as the future of music arose out of the California Bay Area.  Bands such as the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin....the Jefferson Airplane, played the local scene, there,on a consistent and regular basis.  Jorma Kaukonen, lead guitarist and Jack Cassidy, bass guitarist for the Airplane, both founding members, spread their wings and started their own band, Hot Tuna in the early 70's, while still playing shows with the Jefferson Airplane.  The duo's music, a fusion jam of rock n blues became popular with fans and over the years has grown into a following.  Often playing as an acoustic trio, the band busts out periodically and tours with a full ensemble in what is deemed an "electric" performance that will almost always set the venue smoking!  As was the case Friday October 8th at the University of Alaska Anchorage.  Their first "electric" performance in Alaska in 40 years was sure to be one not to be missed.  Coming off of two weeks at Love Fest, it was definitely a superb way to send off summer, and call in the winter!

There was a time, only for a moment....about an hour to be exact, that we thought we wouldn't make it to the show that day.  After a conundrum with the rental agency at the Kenai airport over a rental car, something we wanted to take up to Anchorage this trip, and a near bru-haha with the idiot behind the counter, we found it best suited, 'in the name of the music' to just take our rig up to Anchorage.  We arrived to the campus early.  Now, being well rehearsed in the concert circuit over the years, 'early' is the choice for those who want the best seats for a General Admission concert, such as was this.  We arrived so early, that we got front row parking just feet from the door.  In fact, we were the first at the door!  This made us the first to be let into the lobby....which made us first into the theater.  This of course gave us first choice of seats, which put us front row center stage at the show!!

We got 7th row seats at a Grateful Dead show in 1993.  I got within 30 feet of the stage at a Heart concert in 1989.  But I....we, have never been front row center stage until this night at electric Hot Tuna!  And what a hot show it was!  Punching out some old favorites and classics from over the years, as well as a few new songs from their soon to be released new album, it was a performance to behold.  As the band left the stage for the night, a standing ovation and powerful applause brought them back out for an absolutely amazing encore of "Water Song", for those who know the music.  This was a very appropriate and pleasant way to end a great night!  Then, to see the Aurora later that early morning on the way in.....as I said, words cannot describe!

This time of year has always been our favorite.  This is when the temps are cool to cold, the fall breezes open to winter winds.  The ground and grass begins to freeze indicating that the rush to do all that needs to be done before winter sets in...is done!  If you haven't done it by now, it won't be done until the spring thaw!  There is a weird romance to me with the lessening daylight and the encroaching darkness.  The moonlit and starry night sky, the brisk mornings of waking dogs doing the morning potty potty in the frozen air and human nipples pert to the late rising sun.  I wish I could put it into understandable terms.  Fall was my favorite time of year in Dorrington, and is most definitely my favorite here, only with different perimeters and a more tangible presence.  Tonight finds us with the wind wildly blowing in off of the bay, and snow imminent in the next few days.  We both are loving it and enjoying our 2nd winter with the 'empty nest'!  As I said, it was divine to get out and vacation ourselves with no boundary's or responsibilities, but "there is no place like home".  And the magic around us during this season bears witness to this simple fact!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


There is definitely something to be said of the airline industry these days.  I have yet to understand why the government hasn’t taken that over ….yet.  Sarcasm.  Today marked the end of  Love Fest 2010.  That can only mean one thing….a day of flying!  Oh boy!!  Our flight out was just loaded with delays, grumpy  and cranky people and heat happy flight attendants, when we flew out to Love Fest.   Lets start there, shall we?! 

What is with flight attendants that feel so compelled to always have their flanges on the upward position of the heater knob in the cabin?  It seems like every single flight I have ever been on is hot and muggy.  Why in today’s world do the cold and chilly people always seem to prevail over the heat intolerant?  To these human heat seekers, I say this, “layer, man!”  It is easier to layer on the clothes when you get cold.  Here is why:  Stripping down equates to  public nudity.  To achieve a comfortable body temperature in this fashion is socially unacceptable, and furthermore would create a scenario for an Air Marshall takedown in the aisle of a crowded plane, 38,000 miles in the air.  So, for those of us who like to be cool and comfortable and who for obvious reasons like to consider ourselves law abiding citizens during flight, we just have to be hot, uncomfortable and deal with those who just can’t handle anything less than sitting in an easy bake oven.

I won’t even begin to get into the price of air fares, because that is a given.  I suppose there may possibly be an acceptable reason for higher fares these days.  Not that I am happy about it, but taking into honest consideration the cost of doing business, I will give them that one.  For now.  However, I find it continually irritating for a few reasons.  You would think that for the cost of a ticket, you would at very least get free Wi-Fi.  No, it costs $4.95!  The cost of one checked bag has gone from $15.00 to $20.00 just in the year that this program has been in operation.  Hey, I have an idea, lets just cut through the chase and raise the fee to $50.00 per checked bag!  This way you greedy bastards get your dollar and your CEO’s can get their bonuses and all of the other things that the increase could buy you, and maybe if you have an ounce of decency you can stop the increase for 5 years so at least we don’t feel so misused when you throw us over the fence post with no petroleum jelly available!  Sound harsh?!  How is this for fiber.  I thought I had seen the day when they stopped serving real food for in-flight snacks, and started handing out packaged tablespoons of  Red #40 with cinnamon flavoring, bicarbonate sodium, Yellow Lake #20, ect.   Whaaat?!  Have you ever really read what they are trying to pass off as a snack?!  When it comes down to it, do me a favor and keep my packet for someone who feels adventurous enough to chew it themselves.  Funny, you never see any of the flight crew munching on it!

Now, we apparently have a real live Chef that makes the in flight meals you can purchase, for a fee.  Chef Clifton Lyles creates only the finest dishes for us flight customers with Alaska Air!  You can even email him to let him know what you think or give him suggestions!  He wants to hear from you!!  Which, by the way, I would gladly do, while I am scrunched up hot, uncomfortable in these crammed seats, dieing of thirst from the chemical sodium treats in a bag they serve you. if I felt like paying the $4.95 to go online in the first place to do that right now!  I would rather just write an airing of grievances for free on Microsoft Works, to be posted when I arrive at the airport and get Wi-Fi at no charge!  Today’s special is a Chicken Teriyaki sandwich with swiss cheese….for only $6.00!  Cash is an unacceptable form of in-flight currency anymore, which is cool, because I never really have any cash on me anyways!  But hey, that is 6 air miles for that delectable sandwich for those who are counting!

But despite all of this and more, the pilot informs us this will be a short trip home to Alaska today.  Due to some good tail winds, we will fly less than 3 hours.  Woo-hoo man!  This simply makes up for it all!  Alaska Air always tells me how important I am to them, and they continually thank me for flying with them, so I actually do feel special.  That is why I was in shock when during the first leg of our flight before the lay over, that I was mistreated by an overwrought flight attendant.  I think he honestly thought I was a terrorist getting ready to storm the cockpit the way he blocked me from the first class commode and pointedly directed me to the rear of the plane facility.  Come to find out later when I literally pulled him down to a more earthly level to let him know he bites, that there was a member of the flight crew….a pilot or co-pilot…using the head in first class at the moment I wanted to.  Funny, I watched a woman come out and I began to make my way up the isle the entire time, my eyes affixed on the prize….the commode door….and never saw anyone else walk in, much less a pilot.  I just think that there are ways to inform an allegedly important customer , as I have been repeatedly told I am, that he is going to have to use another toilet closet to relieve himself than the way this guy did.  I let him know this!  I think it was about the time in the conversation that he began to tell me that there was no need for me to get belligerent about it, that I realized, “ok…here we go….now your going to tell me to “calm down, sir….“  I have seen this in movies; the conversation escalates now because the customer is having a contest of wits with authority, who has a problem with portly men to begin with, and the next thing you know, some large pumped Air Marshall is coming down on you to see if there is a problem, tasers you in your seat, then cuffs you to the back of the plane, you are blacklisted from future flying on the ‘No Fly’ list, and your lucky if you make it out the cabin door  without Homeland Security waiting to escort you to the body cavity search facility.  No, I just put on my headphones, smiled and gently told him that I understood, and just wanted to point out my opinion to possibly help him in the future.  I think that  he just wasn’t happy with the eyeful he had coming towards him…my ’junk’ wasn’t impressive enough… and he discriminated against me for being straight.  Just a thought!  The whole scene offended me! (snicker)  Anyways, I suspect that they are giving me a line when they try to tell me how important I am, after that episode.

      ~ Minutes go by as I entertain the food and beverage service.~

Ok, I changed my mind just now.  Chef Clifton impressed me to no end with his gourmet Teriyaki Chicken sandwich with swiss cheese, and a little bonus…..a one time fresh piece of pineapple!  Not fresh as in ‘one time only’, but rather, as in at ‘one time many weeks ago’ it was fresh.  Couple this with the exemplary beverage service I just had….no joke…friendliest plastic cup of water I have ever had the opportunity to drink….I am bought again!  I feel important once again, just like they tell me I am.  Joy!  Oh, and Carrie, was quick to make sure I received the bag of, Hawaiian Kettle Style Potato Chips: Luau BBQ, which the food service attendant forgot to give me with my sandwich!  Carrie, you are the sizzle!

Then there are the prisoner transports.  This is always a cause for concern.  I watched this huge dude, who made most linebackers look like patsies, come on board with a full suit, and briefcase complete with trademark bulge on his right hip signifying the concealed weapon he was carrying,  lead some guy in cuffs and shackles to the back of the plane….most likely where I almost ended up….and cause a bit of a commotion for a while trying to fit himself into the seat along side his prisoner.  Don’t forget the many times he needed to get into his overhead bag, drawing continuous attention to the matter, and the several rounds of musical chairs they played, he and the prisoner!

I suppose it could be easy to sit here and find all of the things that burn most of us out about flying these days.  I haven’t even tapped the Security Checkpoint scene yet.  Trust me, I got time as we still have a couple of hours of flight before we land, but as to not bore anyone with the obvious.  I guess when you want to get somewhere fast, flying is still the best way to go….and the flight industry knows this!  That is why they have you trapped in their web! I figure that if they ever burn me out enough, I will start giving my hard earned coin to the Canadian’s and tour Canada when I want to get away.  For now I have developed some skills to help aid my experience while flying.
- You don’t have to be a member of the ‘Mile High’ club to be important….they have repeatedly told me so and I truly believe it!  Wriiiight!
- A smile begets a smile, so pack patience.
- They don’t let you bring Vaseline on board, since it doesn’t come factory in a 3 ounce container, so take a few Valium before you get to the airport if you don’t like the fence …
- Window seats are nice, but the roomiest seat is the isle.  More room to spread.  But take note, and this is very important.  Elbows and ass don’t mix!  And invariably your elbow will almost always seek out some poor unsuspecting ass.  Good thing is most people are tolerant of this!  Some may even sickly enjoy it….
- Remember that old bumper sticker that read, “question authority”…don’t!  As Adonis most  agitatedly pointed out, “when a flight attendant instructs you to do something….do it!!”  This is important for the safety of everyone.  If we all behaved, who would need TSA?!
- Bring nose drops….it will help!
- Avoid the ‘soilent green’ in a sack, which they serve you for free….it will only make you thirsty, which will invariably lead to the urge to drink water, which will make you have to pee, which could cause you to be incarcerated for 'out of control behavior on board an airplane', while trying to dash to the head to relieve yourself!

All said, it was a great trip and I...we, will be so glad to finally get off this plane and be home, in Alaska, the one place we truly love, and so miss.  For those most recent comments, thanks for your support!  We both love to hear from our friends... new and old, and those who leave comments!  At least the good ones!!  (wink)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Phun, calamity, and bending the sliding scale of "normal".

It is hard to believe that we are nearing the final leg of the Love Fest 2010 tour.  But it’s true.  The lights are dimming, the finale and the encore is on the horizon, but the love….still alive!  To say that this has been an exciting trip would be an understatement.  To state, ‘what a long strange trip it’s been’ would be oh so true!  The bottom line is that it has been very relaxing and very spiritual.  We had no commitments or obligations really to speak of other than our home and dog sitting gig here in paradise….like this is a real obligation especially considering that people pay to be able to vacation where we’ve lived virtually for free the past 14 days….I aint complaining!  We were truly blessed!!  There is a story behind it all and it will all be in the book.  Which brings me to a point.  How many of you think that this is just a coined phrase, this “in the book” thing?  Uh huh, this is what I thought.  Truth is that the book is being written already as we speak!  No deadline or publishing date.  No worries.  But there will be a book some day down the road be it sooner or later.  The names will be changed to protect the innocent and as not to screw the guilty, but the content is real, and hopefully it will sell.  Fact is there is a lot on my plate in general, so I have to try and manage time the best I can, therefore it sometimes seems to take the back seat.  But this vacation has been an inspiration to say the least, and I have been blessed the opportunity to find my mind silent for a change.  Reflection is a good thing!  I have been able to do some writing this trip which has been fulfilling for me.

I could detail some highlights to this trip but in the true “undisclosed” nature of it all, this would be too much information, or at very least could give up the secret location!  I can say to you this much though.  It has been like going from B block to General Pop being outside of Alaska!  It seems the longer we are living in Alaska, the more difficult it is to adjust when we go outside.  Alaska is so low keyed and in general most people are ….normal!  Life in general is somewhat of a testimony or set back, to like 25, 30 years ago.  Simple and basic! 

People on the outside in general seem so much different and there is so much that is….for lack of words, annoying here; outside!  I mean people can just flat out be freaky!  I haven’t figured out if the dope their on is legal or not, but whatever the case they may find some light out if they get off whatever they are on, man!

I thought that in Alaska, I have seen some things that were odd….or at least that is what I used to think until I realized that Alaskans are just resourceful.  Take for instance the time I was pumping gas out on northroad and this worn and worked over Honda Civic comes pulling in, with the front windshield completely missing.  Enough in itself to turn heads, especially when you consider that it was about 15 degrees outside on this particular afternoon.  But what amazed me was the resourcefulness that the driver and what I presume his girlfriend, the passenger, were geared with.  Most people would go out and spend the money to either get a car that actually had a fully functional windshield intact or go out and pay the bucks to have a new one installed.  Instead, in the true nature of ‘resourcefulness’, these two improvised with what they already had at home, more than likely for their 4-wheelers.  She jumps’ out of the passenger door, takes off her padded down jacket and scarf just to reveal her other big jacket underneath, pulls off her motorcycle helmet complete with tinted full-on face glass, and runs into the mini mart to get milk, while dude sits in the car, engine still running with the heater on….and no windshield… pulls off his helmet and has a smoke!  Minutes later she returns… all the while me still pumping gas in utter amazement at what has been unfolding before me… suits back up into her billowy down jacket, zips up, they both put their motorcycle helmets back on, put it into gear and take off, out the parking lot and flying down the highway!  But I mean, this is resourcefulness, man!  They saved money by not buying a vehicle equipped with the standard equipment (a windshield) and utilized what they had at home for off trail riding, to second for the missing front windshield!

Today we saw something that takes the whole “I thought that in Alaska, I have seen some things that were odd” theory and just tips the scale of ‘normal’!  We come around the corner cruising in our vehicle at like impulse speed, windows down, morning dew in our hair, shaking our heads tapping our toes, listening to the Grateful Dead on XM radio (a huge caveat to Love Fest this year) with nothing left to do but smile, smile , smile… and along comes this guy doing like warp 5 in a small pick-up truck, about on our side of the road, his entire head out the drivers door window with some kind of lost and spaced look on his face, completely unphased at the fact that he nearly is running us off the road, without so much of an expression, other than his blank stare into…nowhere!  Mind you, we were never in any danger other than being bewildered and beside ourselves on just what was going through his mind at the time….if anything at all, and I seriously wonder about that!  Remember the two guppies we are sitting which I remarked earlier in the week that are smarter than some humans I know….?!  Now with every kind of lifestyle drug available on the market from capsules that can give you a 4 hour bionic woody, or pills that can make one so happy that even a catastrophe such as world war III couldn’t wipe the smile from your face, all the way to legal marijuana that can be delivered to your front door within an hour, with a pretty bow wrapped around the labeled sack, complete with a receipt and a smile….it is no frigging wonder that people on the outside can sometimes be just out there, and man, I am here to tell you that we have almost seen it all this past 14 days, and there is still 3 more days to go…. and we haven’t even gotten to Bozo’s big top yet!

But all the same, despite the antics that seem to gravitate towards us at times, like for example the woman  that was doing 5 mph down a main road which the speed limit was 35, constantly stopping her vehicle, backing it up for absolutely no reason before she would put it into drive and resume her 5 mile an hour romp….and she was wearing rubber gloves…. Or the mindless man that bumped himself in front of a little old lady in line at the local market, to purchase his 1 good, only to go back out into his minivan parked outside with the headlights on and the engine shut off, just to sit there combing his hair in the rear view mirror for what amounted to almost 3 minutes…. No, despite all of this and so much more in the way of weirdom, we have had a blast!  The time at the beach, the time at our little bungalow, hitting the sidewalk cafĂ©’s and coffeehouses, the street markets, our time together every single day…everything we have done has been so relaxing and so very recharging for us.

Take for example the game of miniature golf at the local indoor miniature golf  house.  A calming sport to say the least.  Check this out, it was not only indoors, but the entire experience from the minute you walked in the door was under black lights, with everything….and I mean every single thing, glowing fluorescent….even your balls…. (wink) so you could see them!  It was the first time in probably 20 years or more that we played miniature golf.  This was made painfully apparent as I, the first to putt at the course of the1st hole, got a little too happy with my swing and sent my peach glowing  ball flying past the sign in front of us that said in big, bold…fluorescent letters… “This Is Not A Driving Range!"… only to ricochet what I recall to be four times, us, only seeing  a peach streak rocketing about the 1st and 2nd courses, before it safely landed behind some blue glowing dolphin, standing in the middle of the 3rd hole.  Maryann and the other person playing through with us, covered their faces with their hands and silently walked away trying hard to contain their laughter and from losing control all over themselves….at my expense…but despite it all it was fun!  After I toned down my swing a few or more notches and got the feel for it, we all golfed our asses off but had a hell of a time doing it!

Tomorrow marks Maryann’s birthday, and our 15th wedding anniversary.  And for those of you smart ones that think you have that figured this one out by thinking to yourselves, “what a clever little jackass he is….marrying her on her birthday so he will never forget the date of their anniversary”.  All I have to say to this nonsense is, “now we know what ‘your’ story is”!  At the risk of sounding mushy, she never really felt too much importance with her birthdays growing up through the years.  I wanted every birthday for the rest of her life to be special for her, because she is so special to me…that is why I married her on her birthday.  ….and yes, she does get two presents!  This years’ birthday is actually a very special one for her, as she actually will turn one year younger….in her mind.  She thought…no, she feared, that this year she was going to be __.  But, one night about a couple months back when she was sulking about turning __ this year, I pointed out to her that she really was only going to be__, not__!  She sat there in denial until we started with 19__, the year she was born, and counted up to this year, 2010.  That is when she had this huge sigh of relief, her facial look of remorse shifted and she has been happy again ever since!

There it is in a nutshell.  True stories from the road, as we begin to wind down 14 days of fun, music, complete irresponsibility, and….LOVE… with 3 more days to go!  I wouldn’t change anything about Love Fest 2010, but I cannot wait to walk out the door of the airport in Anchorage and kiss the ground below my feet.  I miss home, I miss the kids, I miss the dogs, and surely, I miss Alaska, our one true home!  There is more to come though…but not in this post, only because I am to tired to write it tonight, and...it hasn‘t happened yet!  Signing off for now, live from the undisclosed location of Love Fest 2010.…with a time lapse of 12 hours from this posts completion until press….due to no internet connection…. we bid you good night!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Trail That Never Was

I met a man today.  Actually I knew this man…or at least I met him one day some many years ago.  Today I came to know him.

It was around 14 years or so ago that our paths crossed.  We met on a trail, on a hike, both strangers yet so much the same.  He had a desire that day to hike this trail to the end.  It was said that the trail led to a secluded cove and a hidden beach.  Nobody ever went there and it was always welcoming and unpopulated.  I too was on this trail and seeking the same destination, following the same spoken rumor.  I was intrigued at this legendary beach and it’s alleged splendor. 

I never made it to this hidden spot.  This man had the desire but lacked the determination to make the full length of the journey.  For him, it was more of a challenge to hike this distance than he was willfully ready to commit to.  His reasoning not to continue was fair I suppose.  Or at least I felt enough empathy that I decided to alter my own course and accompany him, that day, back down the trail, back to the beginning never to reach the end.

For almost 14 years I have wondered from time to time where that trail actually led.  I have pondered what lied at the end.  I have visualized in my mind many times what that secluded beach in that hidden cove may have looked like, and how I would have felt that day on that beach, to myself with nobody around.  And I have looked back to that encounter with that man on that trail.  He was strong, in his prime, confident so it seemed yet he lacked something.  That 'something', prevented him from ever reaching his destination that day.  I have wondered through the years what he would have felt had he made it to the end, and more so what he has felt, if anything, that he gave up.

Today, I found myself, nearly 14 years later, on that trail again.  Today I did what it was that I set out 14 years ago to do but never quite accomplished due to circumstances that prevailed that day.  I followed this trail to that legendary beach in that hidden cove and discovered what I missed before.  Actually I discovered a couple of things there.  I discovered that if that man 14 years ago on that trail would have walked another 100 yards or less, he would have been at that beach in that hidden cove!  What he didn’t realize that day was that although he couldn’t hear the surf in the distance, it lied only a mere walk ahead, the sound of the surf blocked by the ridge of sand between the water and the trail.  I also discovered that this man was standing there, at the end of the trail today!  Apparently he as well had wondered for many years what that walk on that trail would have led to.  The fact that he never continued forward that day was apparently enough through the years to vex him into wanting to face the trail once more. 

Now, years later, older, a little slower, much more wise and seasoned with life experiences, he came back to this trail to seek out the 14 year answer to a question he never satisfied.  As we stood there today, we were both perplexed!  The trail it seems has gained some popularity through the years because the beach was far from being empty and secluded as people lay about the sand, surfed, and enjoyed the sun.  We never waded across the lagoon that separated us from the end of the trail and the beach and surf.  Not that we couldn’t have waded through the calm water where the creek met the ocean waves, not necessarily that we didn’t want to!  Instead we chose to just stand there, ponder and silently tout the days accomplishment!

He shared something with me on that walk today.  Simply,  had he known then what he knew now….he wouldn’t have changed a thing!  I suppose that logic may dictate that, had the circumstances in his life been different he may have made that journey 14 years ago, to where it was that he stood today.  But had circumstance been different then, he may have not stood where he stood today, and may have never shared nor realized his wisdom of “today”. 

Today I completed the walk I started to take 14 years ago.  I was bummed really at what I found yet very excited at the affirmation of my own personal experiences in life.  I affirmed that I don’t regret what I didn’t do, because had I done it, it may have changed the fiber that culminated the series of events that made me who I am and put me where I am today!  Life is a series of decisions and choices, some good, some bad, but all part of a culmination of who I am today.  I wouldn’t have changed a thing!

At the time I felt empathy for this man and altered my course that day to accompany him back.  As I walked down that trail today to that hidden beach, I wondered how it was he couldn’t make it that day, how it was that he wouldn’t want to.  After meeting him at the trails end today, at that dead end in the lagoon that separated us from Shangri-La, my wonder had faded.  I understood that there was a reason, and that reason helped to make him the man who he is today.  Standing there, he shook his head in disbelief….”had I just walked another 100 yards that day” he said.  “Had I only realized…”!  “ But had I the will that day, we would have never met here today….”  “How different life may have been?”  I personally parted company from him and that beach today, happy as hell with who I am and how far I have gone.  That I chose not to go the extra few yards that day....I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What if the Hokey Pokey was ‘what it’s all about’?

A very good question, and sometimes I wonder!  How stupid are we all feeling about now if it is!  This was the quest that Maryann was on tonight at the local street market at our undisclosed location for Love Fest 2010.  One of the street vendors was an old hippie selling old hippie attire and goods., and what else, but…. bumper stickers!  Some years back, M saw a bumper sticker on a bumper in La Honda that read, “What if the Hokey Pokey was what it is all about?”  From that day forth she fell in love with this and has been passively searching for it ever since.  Tonight she scoured through boxes of bumper stickers searching, only to find out that this is apparently a hot commodity and dude was sold out.  However, all she had to do was say “Hokey Pokey” to him and he knew immediately what….it was all about!  She found one that I particularly thought was a concept….
Big Truck, Little Willey”.
Brings to mind the whole theory behind ‘Napoleon Syndrome’!

Another stop at the market was to the incense dealer….  Got a huge deal on 250 rams of Nag Champa, which for anyone who knows a lick about incense knows that a pure grade India import like Nag Champa is very pricey….we got  a deal!!  He even handed it to me in a plain brown paper bag!  I felt so underground!  Along with the purchases of locally grown fresh vegetables, home grown tea, and a taste of some local fare, it made for a good evening roaming the streets of…..  You thought!

Meanwhile back home, news is that the temps are dipping pretty low in the nights now.    Fall is definitely in full swing.  We got all of the firewood stacked and covered before we left, so we are feeling ok.  That is the single most important thing for us, as heat is vital.  But we are a far cry away from home and that is the furthest thing from our minds at present.

Meantime we have been hitting the beach quite a bit.  Today Maryann was befuddled at a spectacle.  A duck hanging out in the tide pools with a bunch of seagulls.  Yeah…  Only Maryann would be so perceptive as to observe and bear witness to such an oddity of nature.  Later in the day, we both found the answer to the lack of aviary segregation in this instance as we witnessed a seagull, swimming in the pond with the ducks!  Seriously though, when was the last time you would have ever even paid attention to something like this?!  It does raise some serious questions in regards to civility and eliminating the racial divide.  If ducks and seagulls can get along, why cant we?!

Aside from nearly being taken out by a stray golf ball on a walk to the beach this morning from some novice with a bad aim, or a pro who tied one over the night before, whatever the case may be….the past two days have been enjoyable and we are soaking in the sun, the sea breeze….and the love!  The outdoor garden showers are still the sizzle for us both.  Our accommodations have also come with a hot tub, an in house full on artists studio at Maryann’s complete disposal, two guppies who are amazingly more intelligent than some humans I know, and a dog.  Yes, a dog!  And no, for those who think they have us pegged, we aren’t in Hawaii!  Far from it!  That’s it for now, and for the fortune of local coffee houses and juice bars with free WiFi, with a slight delay between the actual writing and posting on the blog, we will stay updated.  For now….life is good today!  Oh, here is something to try at home….wok your eggs!  Why scramble them, why fry when you can wok your eggs!  It should be a delight…..

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Love Fest 2010: The forbidden fruit.

In following the tradition of the Bohemian lifestyle, I just enjoyed an experience I can honestly say I have never enjoyed, much less did.  If it's not enough that we are in a wonderful place  this year to celebrate Love Fest 15, and too much to say that we literally upped and bailed on the society, impending issues and surroundings that we revolve around daily, complete with all of it's demands.

 I found myself off the back deck of our ocean bungalow tucked against the towering sand dunes of what we deem to be paradise, showering in the open air amongst the native fauna, an open bamboo arbor ,  the sea breeze tauting my pert nipples, and fern fronds litely brushing my naked ass, I, in sheer delight!  All though this thought may frighten some, offend others, and still excite a few, it is my opinion that if you ever get the chance to try it....do it!

We have found ourselves in merry celebration of Love Fest 2010, or what would be the 15 year celebration of....LOVE!  For those out of touch with this whole Love Fest gig, it is simply our yearly annual anniversary of the beginning of our marriage that has been come to be known as 'Love Fest'.

Back in the day, 15 years ago, we were married in a small and private ceremony of just our most immediate families, on the beautiful Carmel coast, literally at the oceans edge in some of the most spectacular scenery that the California coast has to show.  It was an exciting time for two young lovers starting 'forever' together.  Throughout the years we have spent each and every anniversary going places that we love to be, for the time allotment of our choosing.  It is always a time to not only celebrate 'love' but to let our hair down and just be the free spirited souls that we are.  No obligations, no responsibilities, no care, no nothing....just reflection, fun, spontaneity, excitement and, yes, love!

This year finds us doing much of the same, but in a secret location known to nobody....but a chosen few...and they aren't talking.  The kids are living at the house while we are gone, taking care of life at the compound and of course taking care of the other kids, the dogs.  Now your probably asking, "why, Greg, is this a secret location this year".  I cannot answer that at this time, nor will I attempt to explain why I cannot.  It will more than likely be in the book.  But, I can tell you this much.  Since this is our 15th wedding anniversary, we decided to hold no bars and to just break away, in solitude, to enjoy the time God has given us together.  No commitments, no plans, just free to roam and touch base with each other after a wild and very busy summer.

 Fact is that although some traditionalist's settle for huge celebrations on the 25th and 50th anniversaries, we decided to do so on the 15th.  In today's world, it just seems fitting to be grateful that we have been able to traverse the hard times, bond together through life's challenges, scope out a path of success in chasing our dreams, and fulfilling each of our needs and desires.  Crying yet?!  It just seems that there are alot of unhappy people out there, many who just 'settle' for what they have.  we are blessed to have been able to find that we were pre-wired for, and that is compatibility in every sense of the word, thus we have found that everyday of our lives we are blessed to have one another to share and walk this path of life together.

This trip however did not go without it's events.  Our flight out of Anchorage was at 1:00AM, the bloody red eye, and we had reservations to fly out of Kenai on the last flight out at 9:30PM the night before, up to Anchorage.  Due to the nature of the past week and the work related drama's and angst, we decided that flying into ANC would be easier and less stressful.  * Just a quick footnote, Maryann is on her way out right now to try out the outdoor shower experience for herself....will be interesting to see if she comes back in and states that we need an outdoor shower at the compound....  Anyways, the entire week has been fogged in on the peninsula.  After a summer of nothing but rain, we finally got some much awaited sunshine for a few days and everyone thought, 'wow, a late summer before Fall'.  This was not to be.  Mother nature, the sometimes cruel manipulator that she can be, made the decision that we would instead be socked in with fog.  All week.  This was canceling flights at the little airstrip in Kenai all week long.  We figured that getting out at mid-day, since that was the window of a couple hours that the fog was least, might be the trick to avoid the last minute flight cancellation and the contingent drive up to Anchorage late in the evening.  Our calculations worked.  We made it out and up to Anchorage easily and with no problems.  Only thing is now, we have 8  1/2 hours before we board our flight outside.   *Another footnote....I just got the return feedback from M.  To quote, "That was fabulous!  Holy cow!".  Hmmm, what a testimonial....  So the impromptu solution to a long and drug out wait in the airport, and for those who have never been to the Ted Stephens International Airport in Anchorage before.....it aint much... was to rent a car and go out on the town.  So we did!  We did dinner out, Maryann went clothes shopping.  We just had a nice night out.

The flight out of ANC was great.  For the first time ever, we had a flight with no babies on board, no offense to baby bearing parents, we realize that there is a high stress level on infants when they fly....and so too is there with the adults around them trying to sleep in cramped miserable seats!  So there was actually some sleep that went on, not much, but a little.  Our connection is where it all went awry.  Due to the secrecy of our trip, I cannot state where our connection was.  I can say this, the airport needs some serious 21 century upgrading.  We were in a dank, climatically debunked closet off the main terminal to catch our connecting flight for an hour and a half.  It was almost like part of the airport where they would cast out lepers or something.  Restless and just wanting to get past this, we waited, restlessly, tired, muggy and nasally deprived of moisture .  Minutes before our flight was to board, a delay came up on the board.  Angst!  Another hour and a half before we could depart, stuck in airport purgatory.  So we waited.  Again, only to find out at the precise moment that we were to once again begin to board, that we had another 45 minute delay.  Major sucksville!

At some point with less than a thread of patience left to our fiber, we finally did get out and on our way.  But in the theme of 'the wait', we were once again to run into a fiasco.  A line unlike that I've ever seen at an airport rental car agency, and us, having to stand there with our thumbs conveniently tucked away in a dark place we don't speak of, for 2 hours!  I'm telling you, when we were next up in line to go to the rental window, it was like a cross of disbelief, excitement, denial, and exuberance all in one!  It was like that moment in 'Wille Wonka And The Chocolate Factory" when Charlie Bucket begins to slowly peel back his cherished Wonka Bar wrapper, in complete suspense and anticipation, hopeful for a glimpse of the 'golden ticket'.  But aghast!  They threw up the "Closed" sign right before we stepped up to the window!  Well, no, not really, but that would make for a hell of a story, huh?!  Eventually though after literally waiting in line for two hours we did get our rental and off we ran!

I can't share anymore though because that would reveal our secret location.
One thing I can say is that I am blogging onto Word Pad due to the lack of Internet connection, and will have to post this later when I find some kind of 'hot spot' to connect to.  That said, I am off and running, reporting to you with a slight variation of real time, live at Love Fest 2010!  Stay tuned, there may be more to follow!  Take care!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A whole lotta oops.

Oops!  That is the only reason I could think of....oops!  I guess it has been like months since I posted?!  Actually, from personal observance of the tests and trials of another, Blogger shuts you down after 3 months of no activity!  Anyways, for anyone still out there...sorry.

Let me tell you about my stint in hell.  I went on a secret mission....to 'metaphoric' hell...several weeks back.  Actually, it was to my folks' house....no, wait, that came out wrong.... my folks' house is not the hell to which I refer, rather the location where they live, which is just about that hot in mid August.  And I know this.  It is common fact that that area of California is classic 105 degrees in August.  However, it slipped my mind when I had set the dates to go there.  Senility, maybe!  OOPS!  However it was nice to see my folks.  In between the hours of....'secret work'....we had some nice visit time.  They don't realize it but I do miss them, being so far away.  But our life, our little family unit here has become so much more seasoned and we are so much better off  and all very happy being here.  Still, after so many years after the move of our lives, we have absolutely "no regrets" of what we did, and have no plans anytime soon of ever leaving this awesome place.  But this visit was not a vacation.  No.  It was a working trip.  A 'secret' working trip......

 Let me tell you about sweat.  I think, not positive but suspect, that I had to have lost about 35% - 45 % of my body weight from sweating in the miserable heat.  The skeptics will tell you that it was only in the high 80's most of the week, a fact to which I will concur.  But when you haven't lived in anything over 65 degrees for the past 4 years, the high 80's or especially those days that it got up to 93, 94 degrees, can be wretchedly intense.  I am pretty sure my internal thermostat broke that week.  Because, when I returned home, I was still sweating.  It was raining and 55 degrees when I landed in Anchorage the night I returned, and as I was standing outside the terminal waiting for my puddle jumper back to Kenai, I was pouring of sweat.  In fact a week later I was still sweating out in 45 degree weather!  I have noticed in the past few days that my sweat glands are either finally closing, or have depleted themselves of any drop of sweat I have left in me.  Oye!

Summer here has been both busy and a bit depressing.  This was by far the busiest summer for my business since we arrived.  There was very little time to relax, and nary time to fish.  I did manage to squeeze in time back in July to fish during the heavy sockeye salmon run.  I also went out a couple of weeks ago on a 12 hour multi-species trip out of Seward, catching 2 nice sized halibut, a really nice sized ling cod, and 3 sea bass.  Yummy, yummy!  Our full deep freezer bears testimony these successful fishing gigs.  But for the most part work has been very abundant and demanding of much of my time.  Not many projects got done this summer here at home.  Partly to the fact that free time to do so was little.  And, partly in fact to the simple fact that since our friends Ted and Patty left here the end of May, it has done nothing but rain.  And rain.  And rain.  And rain.   Oh, there has been a few days of partial sunlight and less than that of nice sunny, spectacular days.  But Rain has been the theme of the weather this year.

Firewood.  Yes, firewood.  The life blood of comfort and cold survival in the winter.  Oh, did I mention that we hauled, bucked up and split an estimated 11 cords?  We did, Maryann and I.  But it hasn't had much chance to dry.  That requires sunshine and heat....we aint had that luxury here!  We have been doing the 'tarps on, tarps off' drill most of the summer.  Sun comes out for an hour, we are out uncovering wood to let the sun shine on it.  Check Doppler or see clouds coming in we are back out covering it all again!  Yup, this has been the program all summer long.  Now, evened though most of the wood has been slowly drying and seasoning, we still have a concern over how effectively it will burn.  The only thing we can do at this point in the game is keep a large quantity stacked in the house as fires are going in the wood stove, allowing it to dry as we go.  A pain in the ass, but worth the effort....well worth it!  With the days getting so much shorted and the weather not getting any warmer, it will be the only shot we have this winter.

John.  Well, there is a long story to John, and there is a short story.  The latter is the easier to tell.  The boy is in early retirement.  Yes, just seems like a few months ago he was going in with the Alaska Division Of Forestry after quitting his day job, and already, he is retiring.  Hmmm.....  Yeah, well, let me say that a wet summer makes for a lousy fire season.  Good for most, not so good for an aspiring young firefighter.  I have to be honest though, I think once again he was kind of expecting the to grab this one by the ba!!s as well, but as it always does, it grabbed him by his.  We have spent what seems like an eternity preaching and teaching the boy, you have to go out and get what you want, if in deed you are passionate about getting it.  This and only this is how we got to where we are, where we have been, and where we will go in life.  But, he is young.  And the fact that we just fell off the turnip truck doesn't help!  He did do commercial fishing again this year.  He did well, making some good coin in the few weeks they fished.  Other than that he has worked a bit with me and spent alot of time waiting for work to come to him.  Hmmm....  He did start school a couple of weeks back.  This is a good step in the right direction.  He is taking EMT training.  So all is not lost.  He is wanting to join the ranks of the nocturnal plowing crazies this winter.  I can see his desire for this kind of odd and twisted love, being amongst the ranks of  such myself.  But this too takes a certain amount of money, something that someone, retired like he is, is finding hard to come by.  Hmmm.....  Have you noticed I seem to be a little suspicious with all of the "Hmmm's"??  Hmmm....

Maryann.  Beautiful and a ray of sunshine that she is, she is hanging in there.  It has been a rough sector of the year for her.  With some family issues, alot of stress with the lodge, and a woop load of no sunshine for her greenhouse this year, she is stymied!  She has been plagued by some kind of bogus scam artist company trying to rake the payola out of the lodge this summer.  She has taken it lightly, and laughs at it as they are a bunch of buffoons, but nonetheless it is aggravating.  Business although much slower this year has been somewhat active and oddly full of drama and events.  As of this week she is officially working out of home again, and will be only going out to the office at the lodge once a week until they get hopping again in the spring.  Woo-hoo, she says!  At last, all of those phone calls at 4:00AM from people on the east coast wanting to inquire about the lodge and trips....done.  All those excited happy idiots calling at 2:00AM to announce that they finally arrived at the lodge after being stuck in midnight construction delays on Alaska's highways....done.  All the phone calls from guides at 5:00 and 6:00AM, waiting on their boats for the lodges guests who are late, the guides wanting sleeping Maryann to give them adequate answers....done.  Getting my angst!?  Even the dogs are happy now because they have company during the day!

Seska, being the newest and youngest attended 'Day Camp' all summer.  Her itinerary consisted of waking in the morning, pooping, eating breakfast, pooping again, and then getting to go "bye bye" in M's truck, bound for Day Camp at the lodge.  There she would be tethered to the office porch where she would greet guests, provide a teddy bear like atmosphere for those dog owner guests who were missing their own dogs, needing a warm and fuzzy muzzle to nuzzle.  Afternoon would bring what we would call, her snack of juice and crackers (usually a moose burger, or some kind of leftovers from the lodge kitchen) and of course, a day full of whoring love from anyone who would give it to her, which were many!  Arriving home at the end of an exciting day at camp would entail her jumping out of the truck, excitedly running towards the lawn as her brother and sister excitedly ran out the door to greet her....her totally blowing off the other two dogs as she ran past them and into the house to look for her dinner....!  You can tell she is a happy dog and loving life here at the compound!

So, this brings up to speed the events of the summer.  We are excited about the coming of Fall, which is close here as I write.  I suspect there will be more thoughts and writing to follow.  At least try not to take 8 months between posts.  Oh, dickster, the little trickster....seems he doesn't really like Vaseline much!  He has been a little low keyed as of late, not knowing who is, or when, the 'Petroleum Jelly Bandit' may strike again......  "Hmmm....."

Thanks to those of you who catch me on Stage Of Life!  I always appreciate your silent support, by clicking on the colorful link, to see what I think!
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A dog and her human.

I have often found it hilarious to sometimes try to see life through a dogs eyes.  In fact, we usually see them as, "our dogs".  The reality of it is that we are "their humans"!  This is a very present philosophy here at our home.  We have three dogs.  All three are Alaskan Malamutes, with one being a female husky/malamute mix with a hint of lab in her, one being a male wolf /malamute mix, and the third being a female pure bread malamute.  If you google the word 'stubborn', surely 'malamute' will come up somewhere in that description!  But they all three are good dogs, very loving, obedient....most of the time...and very protective of their pack....their humans....their family.  This story is about the first dog I described, the alpha of the pack.

Around here we refer to ourselves as a pack, rather than the traditional 'family'.  This is because our dogs see us as a pack, as pack oriented animals usually do.  In order to understand them and for them to understand us, simple human/dog communication, we often have to interact with a pack mentality.  All this dog logic set aside, more times often than not, we have watched our dogs' expressions in any number of given situations, and can actually see the wheels in their brains turning, looking at us as 'their humans'.  In know, unless you are a dog person you are probably thinking I have lost it!

When we moved to our new home it was an out of state move, a complete transition....a life change for us all.  Many relatives thought we should rent before we bought a home just in case we didn't like it here or things didn't work out.  Among many other reasons that we decided to stick with our gut and purchase a home during the move, one huge thing on our minds were our dogs.  At the time we only had two of them, while the pure bread malamute joined us a couple of years after the move.  But they were a huge part of the family and what if the place we rented wouldn't take dogs??  No, we needed to have a place of safety, a sanctuary were we could live, with our dogs, freely with no conditions or restriants.  Besides, being homeowners for so long we just couldn't imagine renting.

Our little alpha girl has always been the protector and has overseen our safety.  When we would all go out and hike, she would always be the one to run around like the little general, making sure we were all in sight, and when one of us wasn't she would make sure to it that everyone else was aware of it until we all rejoined.  She met her match one cold morning here with a cow moose protecting her calves here on the property.  That was an eye opener for her!  She had to swallow her pride and walked on eggshells for a couple of weeks after that episode!  She was never hurt in the ensuing melee, but had to stand down turn face and run from that one.  Now she will bark at the moose, but at a good distance, just to let them know she is still the chief around here and for them to mind their P's and Q's while on our property.  Funny girl!

One thing that has baffled me about her since we moved here is the way she will absolutely watch over me like a hawk whenever I am splitting or cutting firewood.  We need a steady 12 cords of wood each year to keep our home comfortable through the cold winters.  Most of it is dead beetle kill or stands that are undergrowth and don't stand a chance to grow.  Some of it we pull up from our property, and some we obtain in other areas where we can access it freely.  But no matter, it all ends up out front in the processing area where we buck and split the rounds and wheel it off to be stacked.  And every single time this process is done, no matter the day, time of day, or weather it is done in, there is our little alpha girl, watching over me.  I mean she literally doesn't take her eyes off of me.  An occasional twist of her head into the breeze, but she lays there with her paws crossed....she is very much a lady...in an upright position watching me sometimes for hours at a sitting.  Occasionally she will walk up to me while I am at work with the firewood, tail wagging, almost as much as to say, "ok dad, it's time to take a break....".

And the point to this story is??  Well, I don't really know!  It just seemed like a cute story to tell.  And being that I have been splitting wood for the past 2 hours before she came up to me, tail wagging, telling me to break this afternoon, I decided to take my appointed break and tell the story!  Mind you all three dogs are always laying out when the pack is out in the yard working or playing.  They are all right there in the mix.  Being that they are trained they are always off lead and free to roam about the yard with us.  They know their bounds.  Well, the newest one, you know, the stubborn pure bread...she is still work in progress at times, but gaining a sense of understanding....slowly!

The utmost love that these three guys give to us is amazing, and would have to be seen to be fully understood.  But our little alpha girl definitely seems to be my guardian angel when it comes to processing wood.  She fears not the saws, or the splitter....she will stand there being sprayed with wood chips from the chainsaw to no avail....she knows what it is all about.  I have watched her over the years and she knows when we start working wood heavily that the cold is coming.  She absolutely loves to curl up and lay out in front of the wood stove!  She has even been known to sit up in the bulldozer with our son or myself when we are skidding out logs!  She will stand up on top of a log pile, like king of the heap, looking over the pack when we are all outside.  She seems to be a real wood dog.

Which brings me back to the thing with her watching so intently over me when I am working firewood.  When I think back on it, even before we moved here to Alaska, we lived in the mountains and firewood was a huge staple for us there as well.  But she never seemed to be so vigilant with me there.  No, there is something about being here.  Since the move here she has become so much more watchful, and most especially when I am wooding around.  Maybe it is something simple like she is just doing her job.  Or, maybe she knows I am not getting any younger and senses the physical exertion I'm putting out.  Maybe it is because she knows there are animals that roam about that are much bigger than her!!  I really don't know, but I am here to tell you it fills my heart with warmth knowing she is always watching over me.  I never feel alone out there with daddies little girl very close to me.

I remember one night many years ago I was working under my truck late at night trying to fix a wiring problem.  Our male wolf/malamute was then and still is very much my buddy.  He may sit back and let alpha watch over me with wood cutting, but every other time he is right there with me.  This particular night I was tired and didn't want to crawl back out from under the truck and called my wife to see if she could work the controls in the cab whilst I traced wires underneath.  I called out to her several times, as the front door to the cabin was open, but still, she didn't here me.  Low and behold, our male comes crawling under the truck with a look of concern and semi-panic in his eyes.  He had been laying up on the deck watching me.  He wouldn't leave my side!  I think he thought something was wrong.  I pet him and assured him I was fine and told him to "go get mama".  He did....he crawled out and ran to the front door screen and acted erratically until my wife who was on the phone, noticed him and came to open the door for him to come inside.  He wouldn't go in though, instead he ran down the steps and stopped looking back at her until she came outside at which point I heard her and called her over.  It wasn't until later that night when I came in that we compared notes and we both realized what had just transpired there!

Dogs are amazing animals, and ours have proven more than once over the years how they truly are man and woman's best friends.  We couldn't imagine life without them.  They are a huge part of what makes our home, "our home".  There are dogs scattered and spread out all over the floor behind me right now!  It's hard work watching over their humans!!  I can see where a little rest is imperative for them before I head back out for round two of wood splitting today.  But I won't be alone.  Whatever it is that drives them, most especially my girl, it is a mystery to me, but assurance that I...that we, are never alone.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The slick adventures of the Petroleum Jelly bandit.

And so he set off on an indefinite spree.  Cashing in on paybacks, his intention was to get back for the senseless assaults cast upon him.....no matter how long it took, or how long it went on......

As all good fables begin, so to will this begin with: 'Once upon a time'.  There was a man.  He was a boy.  He was a young man...trying to be a man, yet caught up in his boyhood like antics and tomfoolery.  He meant no harm, but would continually set out to play games and pranks on the people around him.  No care, no respect, no thought to how he made these people feel.  For why, he knew not.  Much less doubtful that "why?" ever even crossed his mind.  As a child he was probably exploited, picked on, a target himself....and for this he would make it his personal duty to wreak havoc on all whom he had access.  On all whom he knew he could have the upper hand on.  For the most part it was much like being in grade school again when he was around.  Your cocky buddy who would taunt and propel you.  But all fun has it's limits.  A concept this young man was yet to fully comprehend.

From small acts like spraying his co-workers with water while washing the company vehicle, and everything in between to the obnoxious  bite of a punch in your arm for attention, he was always essentially a little dick to people!  His actions mean, and his words sometimes bitter.  He was mean as a snake!  He never was one to give much thought to his actions, really.  He had a job as the grounds keeper and On Site Manager of a lodge.  A job laden with responsibility, to much time he would lay lax to.  Although liked by most of his friends and co workers, he carried a reputation as a slacker and a bit of a jackass, to which all who were around him would observe and comment.  Even the owners themselves were onto him.  All who were around him were very aware of his reputation, and they were very cautious to say the least.

Enter the man who would inadvertently become the latest unsuspecting target of this young mans silly and senseless shenanigans.  A guest to the weekly cookout dinner offered for all of the paying clients of the lodge each week.  A guest who frequented the weekly event every summer.  The husband of the Operations Manager of this lodge.  The Operations Manager who was the boss in charge of this young man struggling to be taken seriously in a world which he claimed as his own personal 'big top'.  The dinner which would begin a downward spiral in the safety and familiarity of this carefree little prankster and his comfortable surroundings.

The Petroleum Jelly bandit was a good man.  Meek and mild in his manners.  A professional with diplomacy in handling all affairs.  Doing deeds of kindness and caring for most people around him, the Petroleum Jelly bandit had a firm belief in life.  Simply put, "do unto others as you want them to do to you".  "Don't start none there wont be none".  "Don't step in something you cain't wipe off".  "Keep to yourself and let others do as they do".  But these beliefs would be tested this night.  They would be put through the gauntlet.  You see, the Petroleum Jelly bandit was not always the mild mannered logical thinking man that he is now.  In fact, until this night he was anything but the Petroleum Jelly bandit.  In times forgot, he was a rebel, a loner....the keeper of light for those who could not see.  He fought the good fight for those who had the disadvantage.  His past had seen plenty of action.  He walked softly yet carried a big stick....and he used it to!  Well rehearsed in holding his own in the face of adversity, this night this man of honer would be tested, by a young man who had none.

Minding his own business as he usually did, the honorable man enjoyed his delicious cookout meal.  He looked forward to this every week in fact.  Savoring the Halibut Olympia on his plate, his peripheral caught a foreign object, airborne, heading towards the lateral extension of his right eating utensil.  Thinking quickly, he adjusted the angle of the fork full of Halibut Olympia, just in time to avoid the flying mass landing in his food.  Now, deflected and still in mid flight, this foreign object was mobilized and headed for this mans shoulder.  As the man looked down on his shirt, he saw what equated to an insult.  A slap in his otherwise calmed face.  An attempted assault on his plate of food.  Someone flicked a piece of table scrap at him.  The man looked up to see the snickering grin of this little trickster across from him.

For a moment, his senses shut down.  All at once he flashed back to the school lunch room.  To the sounds of his 4th grade friends frolicking and laughing as they ate their lunches, flicking food at unsuspecting kids around them.  The man saw things that he had put away for a very long time.  Things that had scarred him as a child.  As he came out of this surreal and distant state, he heard only the laughter of his attacker, and the surrounding voices of those at the table making silent comments about what he had just done.  The one voice that stood out to this man, the one voice that brought this man out of his stuttered state of disbelief and shock was that of his wife.  Slow and almost drawn out, as if the speed of a tape reel had been cut in half, he heard the slowly muttered words escape his wife's mouth ".....oh, you are going to get it now....".  And so, from this single act, from this unprovoked attack on this mans plate of food, life would never be the same for this young man, this little trickster who found such entertainment on everyone else's expense.  For the young man who thought he was funny, life was about to forever change.

Scanning the isle in Safeway, the man searched diligently for the one thing he felt would avenge him from the actions of the trickster at the table the night before.  He was quick and nonchalant , hoping that  Doug, who was posted at his work station in the pharmacy, would not see him purchasing this item.  The product that would find him relief in his frustration.  The product that carries an awkward reputation.  It is a wonder what the cashier thought when he placed a jar of Vaseline and a muffin from the bakery on the conveyor belt?!

Many people can't really say for sure what Petroleum Jelly or Vaseline really is used for!  Nobody really knows for sure what it is.  It has association in this mans mind with fence posts and such, and acts of injustice to dark places which no one speaks of.  But it is the main staple for this mans revenge....and a fence post will have nothing to do with it's use.  Now in his truck, with a new large container of Vaseline, the Petroleum Jelly bandit sets off to seek the vindication he so desires.  He sets off to begin his campaign of revenge for the foolish act cast upon him the night before at the dinner table.

That night, with swift resolve and pointed determination, the Petroleum Jelly bandit makes his strike directly in the heart of his aggressor.  He attacks the young mans sanctuary, his home base.  His trailer.  Totally undetected, the Petroleum Jelly bandit slips quietly into what is known as 'Trailer Acres', the lodges trailer facility for on-site staff.  The facility that houses the young pranksters summer home.  The young mans trailer otherwise known as 'the hole'.  And he strikes.  Quick, hard and with complete stealth, the Petroleum Jelly bandit leaves his mark.  The mark which will surely make the little dick think twice.  And as quick as he moves in.... he is gone without a trace.  The Petroleum Jelly bandit has struck his first blow!

The young man walked into the office almost forlorn.  With a look of disbelief he begins to tell the story to his boss, the Operations Manager, and to the office receptionist.  Apparently after returning from a fishing trip, he was going into his trailer and as he slipped his fingers into the door pull, he retracted with sheer panic and angst.  Someone had put "some kind of yucky stuff" inside the door pull!!  And then if that wasn't enough, he discovered, somewhat in the same fashion as the door pull, that someone had smeared the same "yucky stuff"on the backside of the the hand support used to pull up off of the trailer step!!  He just couldn't understand who did this to him, he stated to them both.  None of his friends would come all the way out there to do this kind of thing to him.  Both girls were oblivious and unaware that the Petroleum Jelly bandit even existed, much less had struck with his slickery justice, and could offer no suggestions and comfort to the confused and frustrated young man.  The little trickster had been tricked!

A similar attack would take place the following week from the Petroleum Jelly bandit, as once again he would inadvertently find himself victim of the little mans hijinks's.  This time being a cold stream of water poured slowly over his head as he sat, again, minding his own business at that weeks cookout!  This young naive and foolish man doesn't learn easily.  The response was once again the smearing of Petroleum Jelly on the door holds of the little dicks trailer door!  This second attack went without comment to anyone from the little man. Only a look of disdain and grief over who could be doing this to him?!  Days later...

....Nobody knows for sure how it went down.  It became known the next morning as he came into the office with a pouting grimace upon his head.  Apparently the Petroleum Jelly bandit had once again struck the night before.  This time the bandit lay attack on the young mans rig.  After picking up one of the lodge owners from the airport and bringing him to the lodge for his two week stay, the young man got into his Ford Explorer to leave for the night.  A Saturday night out to his friends.  A rainy Saturday night...and the Petroleum Jelly bandit must have known it was raining.  As the young man went to open his truck door....aghast!  His fingers slipped off of the door pull of his truck and the pull slapped back into position.  Once again this young man found his fingers cross contaminated with the 'yucky stuff' that was seeming to plague his life as of late!  Apparently shortly after cleaning off his door pull, feeling a bit defeated I imagine, he climbed into his truck on this rainy night.  As he started his truck he began to pull out of his space in front of his trailer, in the rain.  Sometime shortly after, he turned on his windshield wipers, in the rain.  I am not sure personally what happens, in the rain, when someone turns on their windshield wipers in which the rubber blades have been smeared with Vaseline....  But apparently the young man had a first hand encounter with this plight, to which you could probably see the word "sucker" emblazoned across the poor saps forehead......and the Petroleum Jelly bandit knew this.  He knew where and how to strike this little trickster.  And the office receptionist got the chance to watch in delight the next morning in front of the office, as the little trickster spent only lord knows how much time trying to clean off his windshield, with no luck at getting the 'yucky stuff' off.   Apparently the Petroleum Jelly bandit not only got the front windshiled wipers, but also the back window wiper.  We are not sure yet if the little dick knows that all the other truck door handles got it also....but he will know soon enough.

You see, the kind and sweet receptionist enjoyed this moment to whcih she was laying witness to.  She too has fallen prey to this jackass a few times.  He sprayed her with water several times while she was doing her work on the grounds.  He duct taped her truck antenna.  You see, the Petroleum Jelly bandit knows better than most how much this young man is in need of a serious reality check.  He needs to develop the common knowledge that the Petroleum Jelly bandit lives by.  The creed he lives and breathes.  "Don't start none there won't be none".  "Leave people alone and they will leave you alone".  No, this young man chose to 'step on something he can't wipe off'!  The Petroleum Jelly bandit knows no bounds, and will show no mercy to this brand of trickery.  He will avenge the receptionist and every other innocent employee of the lodge.  he will continue to defend himself from such unwarranted attacks.

And so he set off on an indefinite spree.  Cashing in on paybacks, his intention was to get back for the senseless assaults cast upon him.....no matter how long it took, or how long it went on......  The Petroleum Jelly bandit lives infinately!  Stay tuned.....lessons not learned will yield stories to tell, and tales of woe to prevail unto those who choose trickery over common decency towards their fellow man!