Sunday, August 31, 2008
With their presence throwing off the dog as he paces around the living room with his new chew toys (compliments of Gma and Gpa Cope), I curled up on the couch for a MUCH NEEDED day of rest: movies like Sound of Music and Thomas Crown Affair, and tv shows ranging from the Girls Next Door to Sopranos.
Too bad I don't have a new book to delve into. I'll have to stop by the library after the holiday.
My love to those in New Orleans and surrounding areas. I am thinking of you.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
It was a picturesque evening, save the drills by the plastic fantastic (see top right corner).
Here’s Roger with his biggest catch of the night: shells and seaweed.
I had to rescue his line a couple of times. Clad in my waterproof boots, I braved the Buskin River to until I stepped too far and filled my boots with very cold, very fresh water. The town of Kodiak acts as the backdrop to the mouth of the Buskin River.
There, 120 yards away, at the Sargent River, a Kodiak Bear plucked a salmon from the water, crawled up the bank, squatted on some nearby grasses, and began filleting his lunch.
Without my camera.
Without my binoculars.
I just stood there. Watched him. Beheld the sparkling water behind him. Felt the wind at my back. And I marveled at the size of his claws and how clearly I could see him with the naked eye.
I have to admit: I am glad I was without technology. I just absorbed the moment.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
I met Madam Mayor; ISC CO, Capt. Carmel and his wife, Amy; Mr. Anderson from the bank; Nick from the USPO; Mark from AK Airlines Marketing; Jack from the Best Western; and Chris from the Rookery. Throw in a few Board Members here and there, and I met about 1/3 of the crowd who attended.
In all, I had a good time, albeit short and hard to chat with people due to the layout of the ballroom. Nonetheless, I smiled lots, handed out a few cards, and learned about a potential teaming partner.
How about some polite, attentive expert screeners for your designated lanes, huh?
My meetings went well, despite my blood sugar drop. The flight to San Fran did not have food for purchase other than snack packs, and I rushed to the BART without stopping for a bite. By the time 1630 rolled around, my famished face pleaded with Brian, Flo’s boyfriend, to stop and get me something to eat on the way home.
As luck would have it a 40 minute commute took 20, and Flo hugged me and watched me raid her fridge soon after entering their abode. Flo found out that San Fran was supposed to be packed that night: music fest, convention, and Giants game. Alas, she opted to take us to dinner in Napa. I changed and loaded into the Camry for the hour's drive to the vineyards. We arrived at a lovely culinary arts school that boasts one of the best restaurants in the region. We dined well, and had great conversation, highlighting their upcoming vacation to Hawaii, Brian’s new spreadsheet reviewing skillz at D11, and wine, wine, and more wine snob talk. The Greystone would make a beautiful reception site, and in fact, a bride, her new hubby, and their two witnesses dined next to our table.
Since Flo is jetting to Oahu, she has not downloaded all the pics or the video from the recent evening out, but when she does, I will link to them.
Although short, I am delighted that I have had the pleasure to see her and Brian twice this year. Flo is a fellow Coastie Chick, and on our online network, she and I bonded due to our age, budding careers, and lack of kids. Her support, love, and dedication to responding to someone in need of uplifting remarks, supportive comments, or even electronic hugs, endeared me to her from the start. To read her stories is to be whisked away; she continues to hone her remarkable talent and can bring her readers to tears from sobs in a blink of an eye. Her tone and diction surpasses nearly any level of pleasure reading I have taken up over the years.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Whether it be an article you read or a program you view, keep your perspectives in check. Time and time again, friends have lost arguments with me by stating, “I read it in a magazine somewhere.” After less than five minutes of researching, I was able to dispute what they said: no matter the topic, frivolous or otherwise.
But what ruffles my feathers worst: presumptions about character. If you are a dear friend or a loved one: you know I take great pride in my private life being private and my life organized to the T. Period. To assume that I do not have all my bases covered while running a household, raising a puppy, manicuring my lawn, hauling waste to the dump, and traveling like a maniac, making tons of money for my company, all without the aid of my dearly beloved is, well, outrageous. I got this. More than you know.
So, the next time a reader desires to make a personal comment: email me. Keep it personal. Do not display your presumptions in such a public fashion, for my husband to see and then start to worry. For those of you who know what is like having a husband deployed: the last thing you want them to do is worry. Through this blog, I strive to connect with loved ones far away. If others read it for fodder, so be it. Keep your own fodder.
For those of you who saw said, now-deleted comment, and sent me a personal email regarding its message: thank you. Your respect of my character, life and subsequently, the absence of presumptions conveyed a worthwhile message that put me at ease.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
In our introduction, the Auxiliarist learned that I was a spouse, so when he brought our group to the RADM, he pointed me out, "Hey, this woman's husband is Ops on Munro." I extended my hand, "Christina Anderson. Nice to meet you." "John Currier." We started the tour, learned about the light, the houses' history, and chatted about ropes/knots. Letting others up the narrow steps before me, I stayed behind to ask the RADM if he would be attending the MACC Industry Day, for which I am in town. "No, I have a change of command to attend in Oregon, but some of my people will be there." With that, I handed him my business card and asked him to call me when he came halibut fishing in Kodiak. With a smile, he accepted my card, told me that if Barkley (Brad's CO) did not have room, he would be sure to do so. "Be sure to tell your husband thank you for me." "It will be my pleasure, sir. I am very proud of him."
Next stop: gift shop where I purchased two postcards (shoutout to Jennifer and Kate) and introduced myself to Mrs. RADM Currier. She was delighted to have a fellow spouse visit and lovingly bragged about her son and daughter back on the east coast.
Sigh, all in a day's vacation, eh?
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
As the minutes ticked by, people started to show up, asking for Danielle, and the receptionists pointed to Exam 1. Each time the door opened, Tok whined, loudly. When Danielle emerged, tearfully and visibly broken, she came and sat on the bench adjacent to us, put her head in her hands, and wept. Tok eased over, licking her hand, sniffing the collar in her palm. It read: Lily.
Danielle's 18 mo old pit bull had liver disease and had lost her fight for life. Following Tok's lead, I scooted over to the next bench, put my arm around this complete stranger and just held her. Tok sat at our feet, trying to nuzzle in, too. Admittedly, tears poured from my eyes as her sobs grew heavier. When you relax in the comfort of others, the emotions let loose. We finished the box of tissues, and the receptionist came to our aid with a roll of TP.
Danielle's arm stretched out for the TP and then rested on Tok. He brought her comfort as she stroked his soft fuzz. A few moments later, her dad and the doctor emerged. "She went quietly, and she is in a better place now."
Even my heart felt ripped out at the reality of those two sentences. As I looked down at Tok's masked face, I could not imagine having to let go of him so soon. I wept with the family, gave this complete stranger a hug as she mumbled thanks. Her dad put his arm around her to practically carry her from the waiting room; as he did, he turned back to me and just nodded. No words. Just a gesture.
Dogs are so intuitive, and humans are just as emotional, just in a different way.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
He asked if I were interested in Rotary, and I replied that, indeed, I am but I knew I had to be invited. He smiled and said he would send an email. Here's what he sent:
My company is in the process of being acquired by the URS Alaska, LLC division of URS Corporation. In a meeting today I met one of their newest Alaska employees, Christina Anderson, who resides in Kodiak. Her husband is a Lieutenant in the Coast Guard and they were transferred to Kodiak a month ago from Washington, D.C. In talking to her this morning
I asked about Rotary and she said that she would love to join but she knows that she must be invited.
This young woman is a ball of fire and I think that she would make a wonderful Rotarian. Can you direct this to someone who might consider inviting her to attend one of your Clubs. I’m sure that you won’t regret it.
The recipient of this email replied that he would call me next week and extend an invite. It's not what you know: it is who you know.
Still reeling from the cost of groceries here, I drove home and began the dough for the pie crust. I had harvested the rhubarb in the back yard and decided to make a strawberry-rhubarb pie. The new mixer is no longer a virgin! As the dough chilled, I sliced the strawberries and put the sliced rhubarb in the food processor to pulse ever so slightly. I prepared the filling, rolled out the dough, haphazardly placed it in the pie dish, attempted and failed at a decorative edged, scooped in the filling, and placed a lattice top on the pie.
While it was baking and making the house smell -oh-so-good, I spray painted the rest of the lattice I had brought home from Anchorage. As I nailed up the last of it, the puppy moped on the opposite end of the yard; I had boarded up his hideaway underneath the porch. I was tired of the digging and cleaning off mud. With his new squeaky toy, he disregarded the sunsail I set up instead. Once he realizes that I placed his water dish there, he will learn. The buzzer dinged just as I drove in the last nail. With the backyard projects finished, I attached the garage.
My goal: fit in both cars and all of our leftovers. I made a lot of noise, grunted a few times, talked loudly on my cell phone for all the neighbors to hear the echo in the garage, and paused for 20 minutes to chat with Cynthia (next door neighbor) about the coming school semester. In the end, the tubs of clothes, golf cases, and the smaller academy trunk line the wall adjacent to the boiler, enabling the serviceman to open the door that encloses the boiler itself. On the opposite wall, the previous owners built a workbench. Underneath it resides our smaller tubs of misc, the large academy trunk, and the suitcases. Stacked on top of the bench itself are the bags and tubs of linens, motorcycle helmets, empty boxes for high value items (ahem, my kitchen aid box), and a box of Brad's clothes.
In our old apt, we had a second buffet in the kitchen. Now, it is the car items buffet, housing our cleaners, oils, wipes, etc. On top of the buffet sit my tool box. Brad's sports equipment, our camping equipment, and our Holiday decor are stored next to the boiler, on a raised, built-in platform. All the yard equipment hangs in a small nok near the actual door to the garage.
All in all, after 4 hours, I fit in both cars comfortably. Now, Brad won't have to clear off snow from the truck each morning he leaves for work. Until we get a four wheeler with plow attachment, and then I will be at square one again...
I know all of this was confusing without pictures. I promise, I will keep searching for the camera charger.
The pie was a MARVELOUS SNACK esp since I missed lunch. After delivering the remainder to the Dorvals to feast on (read: no fat boat wife) and thanked them again for the fun time yesterday, I fertilized the yard with the new broadcast seeder, and showered for a party for us Munro wives.
All in a day's work. Damn, that pie was good.
We stopped at Java Flats, a new cafe that opened south of the base, near Bells Flats. I ordered a sandwich for our picnic: toasted bagel with garlic and herb cream cheese, piled with brie, turkey, green apple slices, and spinach. So good. It was a good thing Brad was not there to kiss on me; but, I dare say, he would have had a feast on the jalapeno bagels that the Dorvals ordered...
We enjoyed gorgeous weather as we drove to our destination. On cue, the buffalo were just south of the Missile Silos, cupped in a valley. Armed with her camera, Becca took some great shots (Editor Note: my camera battery charger grew feet and walked off. Once her parental units depart, I will download Becca's pics and update this post).
As we parked our rears on the drift wood, we all commented on the cool cloud along the base of the mountain and how it stretched across the bay. About two bites into my sandwich later, we were transported to a Stephen King novel as the "mist" blew in and covered us.
While Jason played, ahem, operated the chain saw, the gals and I marveled at the fossils in the eroding cliffs: tiny bivalves and whole shells imprinted into the geologic formation. Once the drift wood and loaded and secured, we headed home. As we drove away from the missile silos, we had a Yellowstone moment: buffalo crossing the road-- right in front of the subaru. Again, we took some great shots and from then on, I kept my eyes peeled for more. I did not see more buffalo but instead saw lots of ripe salmonberries.
We salvaged a bag and parked the car on the side of a cliff and proceeded to walk up and down the patches, picking berries. We had to watch out for the poisonous blooms -- and buffalo patties -- one of which Becca slipped in... Us girls giggled and joked about "gathering" as the men left us to "hunt" (aka fishing on Buskin River).
We ended our long day with a crab feast, where I saw Beth and Zach, our neighbors who had spent the past two wks in Cordova. With my traveling, unpacking, and their travels, I had not seen the people who live 20 feet from me in nearly a month-- crazy!
Despite the fresh air, the camaraderie, and the views, the highlight of my day was a 10 minute phone call from Brad, who let me know they had made it to Japan safely. More to come from him soon.
Post-9/11 realities reshape Coast Guard Stars and Stripes
Now in transit, the boat and crew are encountering warm waters: 88 degrees to be exact. With the speed at which they are traveling, the engine room air temerature has been 130-140 degrees. The Corpsmen are monitoring the engineers to ensure no one is down there too long.
P.S. If anyone can stop by a local base and purchase a copy for me, and then send it to AK, I will be forever grateful for a hardcopy!
Friday, August 8, 2008
I called Maurice, our Vet/American Legion recruiter/seasonal handy man, who is able to squeeze me in next Monday. "Alright, baby, you have a good weekend, and I will pick up your carpet on Monday and see you later that afternoon, k?"
Gotta love a handy man that is already calling me baby. But you know: he can call me whatever he wants as long as he installs my dern carpet.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
1. Three Real Workouts
2. No Food Poisoning
3. Talk to Christina
Being that I'm now an AK resident there were some things that I didn't realize as I drove cross country.
1. My body adjusted to the Cold that we encountered
2. My body was no longer acclimated the DC and 90% humidity.
These are two very important things to consider when an AK resident goes to Korea in the summer. Upon mooring, the temp was 89degrees with 93% humidity. I quickly remembered going from Cape Cod to DC and how I could sweat through a perfectly good uniform roughly 35 seconds. Now even worse than that is working out on a treadmill in a concrete building with no fans. Talk about a debilitating workout, but I did get all three in... Maybe even number four if I'm lucky.
Food has been awesome so far. We all went to a Korean BBQ. They steak (or at least that is what I'm calling it for my sanity) was marinated in a little bit of soy sauce, ginger, and sesame seeds, sliced thin and brought to the table raw to be cooked on the BBQ housed inside your table. Important thoughts, being too big for the table is a problem when there are hot embers inside of the containment section right by your legs, and you don't get your own plate. The food was awesome and even better with the exchange rate 9$. So far so good... I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
Talking to Christina..... Hmm try 1: Dialed on the cell phone they handed me and got thorugh, but had to limit it to 10minutes. Next Step purchase phone card..... 18$ dial a US cell phone ..... 6minutes of call time. A fair trade, but the pay phones just won't connect. I finally think that I can take a break and call the little lady, and I am able to get through using ATT and my credit card. It was honestly the best 23minutes I've had since leaving the pier.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Perhaps if I sacrifice a chicken in Anchorage, that will remain true.
Here's to Take Two.
Soon, a care package containing one of the Tikis will head to Bethesda, MD, just in time for the much anticipated birth of Ana Sofia.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Getting off the island was no big whoop for me. I was in Anchorage next wk. What hurts is that this was supposed to be my time in the limelight. The VP of my region specifically requested my presence in these working meetings among colleagues. Sadly, I have no option but to wait for my boss (who left from Anchorage directly) to conference me in when conversations turn to my forte.
Can I make an impression on the phone as well as I would make it in person? Let's hope.
Once again, I sit in the Kodiak airport awaiting a departing flight. When booking my flight to Portland, the 0800 jet was full, so I opted for the 0845 prop, operated by Era, a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines. As I pulled into overnight parking, the jet took off, headed to Anchorage. Because of the clouds and rain, the prop plane never left Anchorage, bound for our Emerald Isle.
So, after two delays, Era cancelled the flight. I rebooked for the 1600 jet and am standby for the 1130 prop. It is 1125, and that flight still has not left Anchorage. If I do not make my 1345 flight to Portland, I am stuck in Anchorage until 0050, when the next redeye leaves for Oregon. I would arrive at 0500, and my meetings start at 0800. I wonder if Marriott would let me “check in” at 0600 to shower and still charge me for the night prior?
Alas, I need to start flying to Anchorage for an overnight if I have a connecting flight to the lower 48; but, with cruise season, to stay in Anchorage costs close to $200 a night. Now, for this business trip, I could get away with that high cost, but I just figured that come August, the weather might clear up a bit. And indeed, it has brightened here on the island. The beautiful weather we had in the past week prompted wildflowers to bloom, berries to ripen, and people to smile more. And then we get a day like today…
Sunday, August 3, 2008
As we unload from vehicles at the trailhead, her enormous yellow lab jumps out with sleigh bells around his neck. Tok practically flew from the truck to meet the new four legged creature. Per usual, he immediately stood on his hind legs and tried to paw the large, dominant animal in an act of play. Growling insued and the unleashed, more disciplined lab decided that he wanted no part of the puppy and headed to the trail. The other four woman on the hike started uphill as my whiny, desperate for attn dog yelped and barked, trying to get up to the front of the line and play with the jingle-belled beast. I was not having any of it. He needs to learn how to hike with me. Period.
Well, Mary, the leader and other dog owner stopped at a nice lookout to chase a stone from her shoe. Her lab met up with Tok, more growling insued and he lunged at Tok. No teeth made contact, but it was obvious the lab did not like the whining and wanted to show dominance. Hell, he did exactly what I was trying to do. We took a few more steps, and I had had enough of the whining. It was not making for a pleasant hike, and I am sure it was annoying the hell out of the others. I called out to Mary to make my pardons, bid everyone a happy hike, and turned south.
I placed Tok in the truck, turned around, and took to the trail again. I wanted to see if I could catch up with them-- and I needed to get away from my dog. The anger I felt was too much for him to witness. I was embarassed more than anything. So, off I go, busting butt to ascend the first hill with an ear listening for the bells. As I got half way up, I realized I was being foolish-- no gun, no bear spray, no cell phone. Just my whistle. I shook my head, took some pictures at a nice stopping point and headed south, for the second time.
I drove home with a puppy sleeping in the back. I was foolish on two counts today and missed the opportunity to meet some new people and behold views and wildflowers from a great trail. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to do more soon. The puppy training classes start next week, thankfully.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
This morning, as he darted up and down the yard, nipping at my heels and wagging his tail as he "beat" his sharp toothed opponent to the other side of the yard, I pined for Flo's camera.
Recently, she featured this adorable clip of her puppy, Bruno, shamelessly wagging his tail as he ate her popsicle. She entitled the piece, Puppy Bliss. I will not wax poetic about how much a clip of our puppy running along side my mower would have been just a cute if not cuter, but instead, just leave you all with a laugh and the thought about how innocent the world seems through the eyes of another.
CO Trike Race, complete with Capt in flight helmet
See the "dead body" outline on the course?
They dressed up the cutters
Neighbor, Jason, and my date for the day, Mike, laughing at lunch
Friday, August 1, 2008
The puppy is laying underneath me, asleep, tummy gurgling. He is SO my dog.
I cooked her the now defrosted pork chops and made some applesauce. After dining in a picturesque evening on the porch, she went home, clutching the cell phone-- willing the repair man to return her call.
Today, after finishing some important documents, I headed out to a series of errands: library, USPO, Chamber of Commerce, etc. I got into the bug and let down the parking brake, and it landed with a thud. Perplexed I tried to set it again, and the damn thing just dialed up and down on its own axis, resisting nothing, not even the cable to which it is supposed to be tied.
I carefully made my way to the local repair shop, with whom I have an appt in two wks. I convinced the owner to check out my car, for safety's sake. He assured me that my brake pads are adequate and that, yes, defintely, when in transit, the company who secured my car aboard the containers yanked on my brake so hard that they stressed the cable. This cable is now severed, and no, he could not get me in any earlier. I offered to drop off my car on Monday, on the off chance he may be able to squeeze me in...nada.
So, tonight, after hosting Roger and Margo for beers and eco-speak, I will make room in the garage to park the bug (read: move the boxes and paper still left over from the move and somewhat organize "storage" to fit in the bug), and I will drive Brad's truck until the bug's appt.
I pulled into the driveway just as Becca came home. She informed me that the compressor on switch had blown. A $24 part and $90 worth of labor, she is happy to deplete my fridge of its temporary contents. I can only hope that: not only will the repairs be that unexpensive but that the third "oops" happens far from here....and away from loved ones. Selfish, I know, but "it always seems to happen when their gone" as boat wives say....