Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wordless (almost) Wednesday- Anigaaq

Cape Krusenstern National Monument


Give Me a Break

I am not the kind of blogger who usually writes about Alaska politics. I don't really have enough interest in politics or the intestinal fortitude to debate about it at any length. I'll leave that kind of thing to Ish over at Kodiak Konfidential...but today I read something so dumb I can't pass it by. This morning in the Anchorage Daily News there was an article titled Gift of Kidney to Ailing Lawmaker Against the Rules .

State Rep. Richard Foster (Nome) needs a kidney. The article states that "his many friends at the state Capitol want to do more than send flowers. A half-dozen offered to donate their kidneys to the ailing legislator. Sue Stancliff, an aide to Fairbanks Rep. Mike Kelly, appears to be a match."

What a lucky guy to have so many people wanting to give him such a life saving gift. Things are looking up for Mr. Foster.....right??? WRONG!

I don't know how many people outside of Alaska are familiar with the shenanigans of our state lawmakers recently, AKA
The Corrupt Bastards Club . The ADN article explains,

"Alaska lawmakers tightened the ethics laws last year following the FBI raids on legislative offices and the criminal charges against former legislators. The changes included stricter limits on the gifts that state legislators can receive.The Legislature did insert a "compassionate gift" exemption into the law to cover items meant as comfort in times of tragedy or a health emergency. But even those gifts can't be worth more than $250, and donating a kidney is figured to be worth more than that."

You have got to be kidding me!!!! We are talking about a life saving kidney transplant....not a complete house remodel or a few acres on the Kenai! The last time I checked the brokering of organs for profit is illegal in the United States so I don't know how they can put a monetary value on a KIDNEY. I understand the stricter limits on "gifts" to legislators, but I highly doubt some lobbyist from BP is going to say to a state lawmaker "hey buddy, vote against big oil taxes and I'll give you my left lung."

Monday, January 28, 2008

It's still stormy. They actually let out school early today. Even during extreme cold snaps and blizzards school rarely delays or lets out early. In the 10 years I have lived here I never remember school being cancelled due to weather. When they do delay or let out early it is due to near zero visibility.

Today was one of those days. Depending on what part of town you were in you could not see beyond the front of your car. I almost smacked a snowbank at least 5 times today. I took some pictures but this doesn't show the worst of it.

I was glad that I didn't have to be walking around in it. Some people weren't doing a very good job of driving in it either. I saw several people with their cars stuck in the snow.

Even when it is windy the ravens are out. They seem to love windy weather. You can always find them flying around in the gusts. Often they seem like they are having fun.

During a brief beak in the snow I took this photo of my apartment building.

Here is my office. No more complaining from me about our lack of snow.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

We are having another blizzard. Well more of a blow than a blizzard as the visibility is still pretty good at 5 miles but the wind is 37-45 mph. The last blizzard had a lot more snow in it.

The good new is it looks like it is going to warm up a bit next week. Maybe I'll get a chance to take the snowmachine (snogo) out in the country without freezing my butt off. I don't ride around on the snogo much until February. The days are too short before that. I like to ride around and see the scenery, not ride around in the dark.

Since today was another indoor day I decided to try and cut the boredom by playing with my camera (instead of doing homework which I have PLENTY of). Here are a couple shots that I took.

This is a shell I picked up off the beach at Sealing Point (Cape Krusenstern National Monument. I set up a piece of Aluminum foil on the coffee table to use as a foreground/backdrop. I used a single votive candle (Yankee Candle Siberian Silver Fir, YUM)for light. I put my camera on the tripod and experimented with shutter speeds. I like what I got, but I am not pleased with the amount of noise. The ISO was pretty high at 1600. Not sure how to adjust that yet.

I had the same problem here. This is a green jar filled with sea glass from the beach at South Tent City here in Kotzebue. I put the candle behind the jar to give it a bit of glow. I think it would be a really nice photo if I could do it again with less noise.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I seem to have hit the wall with blog posts. The flu really knocked me out and I'm still recovering. I haven't spent much time outside since I have been sick. Being out in the cold air still makes me cough, so I haven't been taking pictures outside. I'm wondering how long it will take to get back to normal. I's still longing for April weather. Watch out, you'll end up with a months worth of sheefish pics.

Without pictures to post I am at a loss at what to write about. Sooo I guess I'll take requests. Anyone have any questions they are dying to ask??? Any picture they want to see??? Anything? Throw me some suggestions otherwise I'm going to bore you all to death and you've stuck with me this long, I'd hate to lose you.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thursday 13- You Know Your Alaskan If.........

1. You have aluminum foil over your bedroom windows.

2. You can tell how cold it is outside by the frost on the inside walls

3. When you have fly 550 miles in a Boeing 737 just to go to Wal-Mart

4. If you refer to a trip to the “Lower 48” as going “Outside”.

5. If you cannot imagine life without duct tape.

6. If you consider a blue tarp as an essential survival item.

7. If you’ve ever been refused service because a company says it doesn’t “ship outside of the United States”.

8. When you use your frequent flier miles to go school shopping.

9. Driving is better in the winter because the potholes get filled with snow.

10. You know that the term "Break Up" has more to do with the weather than personal relationships.

11. You know that a honey bucket really is a bucket, but it's not really full of honey.

12. If you like spam on your Sailor Boy crackers.

13. you know what Sailor boy crackers are.

(Bonus) 14. The police report is all about dogs, bears, and drunks.

Thursday Thirteen

Monday, January 21, 2008

I'm Still Alive...

.....just barely. Today has been the first day in a week that I have been able to stay out of bed for more than an hour at a time (with the exception of the 6 excruciating hours I spent at the Maniilaq House of Horrors Health Center). I had a brief relapse yesterday and spent the entire day, once again, in bed. I was feeling a bit more chipper today. I actually got on my 4 wheeler and took poor Kaija for a run. She had some serious cabin fever.

It didn't take me long to wear out but I needed to stop at the store before I went home. A few people had heard I was sick and asked how I was feeling...expressing concern from as far away as possible...hahaha...I felt like a leper. I don't blame them really...that was the sickest I have been in probably 10 years. I think it almost matched the time about 10 years ago when I was living in a cabin on the Noatak river with my then husband and his family. I was down and out for a week. I was sooo sick and I was too weak and the weather too gnarly to travel to town. My mother-in-law spent the night rubbing my chest with some concoction she made out of kerosene and vegetable oil, force feeding me stinkweed tea and praying that I wouldn't die. She still mentions that night to this day. She likes to make it sound way more dramatic than it actually was....I don't think I was as close to deaths door as she tells it, but I was pretty sick.

Friday, January 18, 2008

100th Post!!!

I'm still sick. Not quite as wretched as before, but still pretty bad. I have asthma so I have to be careful about things like the flu turning into pneumonia. Since my inhaler was getting low and my asthma getting worse I figured I better go to the clinic and get checked out. Hahaha.....I'm so dumb. I should have gone to the ER after hours like I was originally planning on doing...it would have saved me the hassle. The good news it I don't have pneumonia, the bad new is I had to spend almost 6 hours at the clinic to find this out. If I had gone to the ER early this morning I could have been seen and gotten my inhaler in probably less than 2 hours. I felt like Typhoid Mary sitting in the waiting room infecting the whole Northwest Arctic with my disease. The place was plum full of elders and babies, just the sort of folks you don't want marinating in my Flu germs.

Anyway...as I signed into blogger I saw that this was to be my 100th post. Wow. Whoever would have thought that I would stick to blogging that long. So, in honor of my 100th post I have decided to do the 100 Things About Me thingie.

1. I was born in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.
2. I grew up in Peyton Place. Really.
3. We had a first grade teacher who used to tie children to their chairs with nylons.
4. Thankfully I was in the OTHER 1st grade class.
5. When I was little I was on the Uncle Gus Show.
6. I bet you don’t know what the Uncle Gus Show is.
7. I love 80's music.
8. I also love show tunes.
9. I am not ashamed.
10. I have one brother and one sister
11. I am 4052 days younger than my sister.
12. I am 2246 days younger than my brother.
13. I am 12,882 days old
14. I have 9 cousins.
15. I have 8 nephews and 2 neices….I think.
16. The kindest person I ever knew was my gramma Nella.
17. My Gramma Nella used to catch hornets in the house with her hands and put them outside
18. I love Alaska.
19. I will never live in any other state ever again.
20. Sometimes I feel I am out of the loop with my family in the lower 48.
21. My favorite place is the Noatak River.
22. My favorite months in arctic alaska are April, July and September
23. I have nightmares where I have left Alaska and I am trying to get back but I can’t.
24. When I was a kid I didn’t like Barbies because they couldn’t sit right on my Breyer horses.
25. My He Man action figure could
26. One of my favorite toys was legos.
27. The first boy I ever kissed was named Jeff White.
28. He was from Chelmsford, Massachusetts.
29. I was ummmmmm….12?
30. How embarrassing.
31. I hope he doesn’t read this wherever he is….hahahahahahahahaha.
32. I graduated high school in 1990.
33. I hate math.
34. I cannot type without looking at the keyboard.
35. That’s what I get for cheating during Mrs. Ballou's high school typing class.
36. Watching people type without looking at the keyboard fills me with envy.
37. The adult who most positively shaped my high school years was Scott Piddington.
38. I wonder if he knows this? Thanks Scott.
39. I had chicken pox when I was three.
40. I once met Sean Penn.
41. He’s an ass.
42. I thought I would fill this list out in some kind of order.
43. I realize now my Attention Defecit Disorder makes that impossible.
44. I can’t believe I have made it this far down the list.
45. I have never broken a bone.
46. I like to take pictures.
47. Sometimes they look nice.
48. I’m not much of a writer.
49. I often struggle to write in my blog.
50. I have had 4 surgeries on my left knee.
51. I need one more.
52. I have been putting it off.
53. Knee surgery sucks.
54. I am a professional procrastinator.
55. That sometimes causes me stress.
56. I mean well.
57. I am a loyal friend.
58. Sometimes I stick my foot in my mouth.
59. I am loud.
60. I’m sure that can be annoying.
61. My earliest memory of a family pet was our dog Matthew.
62. He was some kind of mutt.
63. When I was a kid I was obsessed with horses.
64. I read every Black Stallion book Walter Farley ever wrote.
65. I am friendly but reserved with my friendship.
66. I make lists
67. I always forget my lists
68. I am a Libra but don’t believe in astrology.
69. My favorite book is A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving.
70. I am listening to the book The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan on my iPod
71. I love Grey’s Anatomy
72. …and CSI
73. …and CSI New York
74. …and Cold Case
75. I often DVR a show and then forget to watch it.
76. I take my son to Kindergym on Wednesday and Saturday evenings.
77. I like scrapbooking…..
78. but I never get around to doing it.
79. My favorite drink is Diet Pepsi
80. Dr. Pepper is yucky
81. So is any other kind of cherry flavored cola.
82 I loath raisins.
83. Cooked raisins are worse.
84. Liver is gross.
85. I love feta cheese.
86. I dislike being photographed.
87. I do not have very many pictures of myself.
88. I am terrible with names.
89. I can be pretty bad with faces too.
90. I like looking in people’s windows whele driving down the road and seeing inside and wondering what those people are like.
91. No, I am not creepy.
92. Reading people’s blogs is like looking into windows.
93. I spend too much time reading blogs.
94. I can spend 3 hours in Walmart, no sweat.
95. I wear size 10 shoes
96. I am not a grudge holder.
97. I do not own any dresses or skirts.
98. I like my job.
99. It took a long time to think of 100 things
100. but not as long as I thought it would.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thursday 13-What's Playing

Just the other day I was having a conversation with a a friend of mine about ilnesses. I said that it had bee years since I had the REAL flu or strep. Well I am paying for that statement right now....I have the flu. Fever, chills, head and body aches, cough....the REAL flu. I can sit up for about 15 minutes before I have to go lay down.

For Thursday 13, because I am sick and tired, I decided to do something which doesn't take any thought. I took my iPod, pressed shuffle, and wrote down the first 13 songs it played.....NO CHEATING. It was kind of fun so I went to 20 before I ran out of steam. Here's what I got.......

1. Away From The Sun, Three Doors Down
2. Higher Ground, Red Hot Chili Peppers
3. Fly Like an Eagle, Seal
4. Seven, Prince
5. Over My Head, Fleetwood Mac
6. Bless the Broken Road, Rascal Flatts (I almost cheated and denied this was on my iPod)
7. Savin’ Me, Nickleback
8. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor Op.67 Allegro Con Brio
9. Rock Lobster, B-52’s….(this song ROCKS!)
10. Your Body is a Wonderland, John Mayer
11. Hungry Like the Wolf, Duran Duran….(hubba hubba)
12. Hymm L’Amour, Edith Piaff
13. Family Affair, Mary J. Blige (geez who put that there)

Here's the extras......

14. Live to Tell, Madonna
15. Black and White, Three Dog Night
16. Babylon, David Gray
17. Big Country, Big Country
18. You Learn, Alanis Morissette
19. Far Behind, Candlebox
20. Never Going Back, Fleetwood Mac (AGAIN!)

So there will be no new photos until I get better, but I have some older ones I can go through.


Monday, January 14, 2008


I was out driving around yesterday looking for pictures to take when I happend to drive by Darin Nelson's dog yard.


He was out with the dogs and I decided to stop and take some photos.


For those of you who don't follow the Iditarod, Darin is training for his rookie run this March.

It will be a family affair. His father Louis Nelson Sr. is a veteran Iditarod musher at the age of 65. Darin's brother, Robert, will also be racing as a rookie this year.

Darin is one of 6 mushers from Kotzebue that have signed up for this year's Iditarod

Iditarod 2008

Moody Monday- Lofty

Nalukataq (blanket toss) Point Hope, Alaska June 2007

Click here for more Moody Monday

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Night Photography

I love my Nikon D40, unfortunately I still have barely a clue how to use it outside of Auto mode. There are a lot of really great features that I would like to learn how to use, unfortunately little things like being a mom, working full time, taking classes, and watching Grey's Anatomy keep getting in the way. So basically I have been learning as I go a little bit at a time.

One of the things I want to do is night photography. So the other night...when it was thirty below zero I noticed that we had some ice fog and that it had created light pillars. They were not especially dramatic light pillars so I thought I might try and photograph them.

Here is a really great picture of my neighbor's junkyard in the dark. If you look in the background you might see some light pillars.

I have been wanting to take some aurora photographs but it's not that easy. When you have your camera already attached to the tripod and ready to go there will be no aurora. When you are out riding around behind town looking at the sky, there will be no aurora. When you are driving home from work at thirty below and you have no camera there will be really great aurora. So you speed home, get your camera, try screwing it onto the tripod and cuss when you can't get it threaded right, finally get it on, run out side, and guess what? No more aurora. Well I did manage to catch a piece...a small sliver......

See it? See it? Well....it's a start.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Here Comes the Sun

Took a few photos today. After 3 months low light pics it was nice today to take some photos that had some highlights from the sun.

The sun if finally going high enough in the sky to light up places that haven't seen the rays for over 60 days now. We are gaining about seven and a half minutes of sunshine a day.

It was about -29F while I was out. I was trying to take some close ups of the sun highlighting various grasses and willow bushes. I was finding it necessary to manually focus and the cold is just brutal on my hands. While the rest of me does just fine in cold temp, my hands won't last 20 seconds uncovered at -29. It's hard enough to operate the camera with big gloves on much less manually focus. I had some thin gloves and tried using those but it only bought me about 15 extra seconds before my hands cramped into uselessness.

It was a beautiful day. So nice to be out enjoying the sunshine. Don't let the light fool you though...this time of year the sunshine holds no warmth. The clear blue sky brings COLD. I'm looking forward to April....fun, sun, snow, and ice without all the deep freeze.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Feast

What is your middle name? Would you change any of your names if you could? If so, what would you like to be called?

My middle name is Sandra. It's ok. I have no problem with my middle name. Changing your name is such a monumental pain in the ass so no, I would never change it.

If you were a fashion designer, which fabrics, colors, and styles would you probably use the most?

This is a silly question. I hate buying clothes and I have never even given a thought to making them. If I had to design them I guess I would say long sleeves because that is the most practical year round garb here. Darker colors so that the blood, seal oil and fish gut stains don't show. Rugged fabric so I don't have to go through the agony of picking out new clothes and buying them that often.

What is your least favorite chore, and why?

I dislike all chores pretty equally...but for some reason I really hate putting folded clothes away. I don't mind washing them and folding them but there is just something about putting them away that I just don't like.

Main Course
What is something that really frightens you, and can you trace it back to an event in your life?

I would have to say heights. Funny, when I was a kid I wasn’t afraid of heights. I would climb trees and ladders and play in the hay loft with not even a thought of falling. Not anymore. No ladders, no ledges, no steep hills beyond a certain height. I can’t even go on the escalator on the 5th Avenue mall in Anchorage because of the open architecture. I do ok on escalators with walls on either side…as long as the handrail isn’t moving faster than the stairs! Glass elevators make me cringe. I even start to swoon when watching movies where people are hanging from the edge of a building. The older I get the worse it is.

The weirdest thing about my fear of heights is that is does not pertain to air travel. Small planes, medium planes, big jets, they are all no problem. I can look out the window at any altitude and have no fear of heights…..go figure. It’s a good thing though considering the thousands of miles I fly every year.

Where are you sitting right now? Name 3 things you can see at this moment.

I'm sitting at the computer desk in the "dining room" which is more like the dining nook. Geez I can see a hundred things.....most of which is quite boring and ordinary. It's hard to pick three? Ummm....1. A bottle of Cantu Shea Butter Super Shine Hair Silk.
2. My iPod 3. Two pairs of my son's outgrown mukluks hanging on the wall.

Photo Friday- Mountain

Noatak River, Northwest Arctic Alaska


Thursday, January 10, 2008

A few days ago I wrote about a polar bear that was shot in Noorvik, far out of the usual polar bear hangout zone. A couple days after that I received an email that had pictures of the bear and I thought I would post 'em up....

(photo credit B.Zibell)
This picture gave me the heebie jeebies. It's just not right to be seeing that beastie sniffing around in the TREES. I really have no desire to see a real live polar bear. If I want to see one I'll go to the zoo.

Here is the beastie after he had been dealt with. This whole thing cause quite the stir in the comments section of the article in the Anchorage Daily News. Scroll on down and check out the comments, they are full of the usual vitriol that is common for that forum. Isn't America a great place....even the crackers and the tweakers are allowed to have their say.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Poor Dog

Look at this dog....doesn't she look pathetic???

What could possible make this dog so sorry looking? Could it have something to do with....


Here I thought I was being nice buying her dog booties so her feet wouldn't freeze when she's out running. Instead she looks like she's been beaten with a stick.

Ungrateful brat.



Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Wordless (almost) Wednesday- Bones of Summer

Kotzebue, Alaska

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Becky asks......"I've got to know, I know your town must be kind of small, but does Starbucks have a shop in Kotzebue...yet?"

Starbucks?!?!??? HAHAHAhah ho ho ho ho hehe haha... awwww Becky...your so silly.

Monday, January 7, 2008


Awwwww crap........

....there goes my ride to Wal-Mart!

Sailor Boy Blues

Some of you may have read my previous post on Sailor Boy Pilot Crackers. These indestructible crackers have been an Alaska bush staple for many years. These buggers could give the fabled shelf life of a Twinkie a run for it's money. Little did I know that post would become my biggest generator of Google hits. And here I thought people came to my blog for my nice pictures, witty humor, good looks and charm. Alas, no.....they come for crackers.

These hits come from people from all over.....Shady Cove Oregon, Kenmore Washington, Pocahontas Arkansas, New York City, and Paris Tennessee to name a few. I get at least one pilot cracker hit a day. The only thing I can think of is that they are poor displaced Alaskans jonesing for a snack. Poor things.....lost bush souls floating around like flotsam and jetsam in the big Outside.

I pity the poor fellas who no longer live in our great state and can't just pop over to the store and pick up a blue box of crunchy goodness....but there is hope!!!!!! Span Alaska Sales sells Sailor Boy Pilot Crackers in bulk. So, those of you who come here drawn by memories of pilot cracker and Akutaq....or pilot cracker and goober.....or pilot cracker and smoked oysters (mmm...my favorite)....know that you need no longer suffer. Head on over to Span Alaska and order yourself a half case of Home.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Photos From Today

Took a ride behind town to let the dog run and take some pictures.




Saturday, January 5, 2008

Polar Bears

Polar bear's village visit ends in its death
NOORVIK: Residents are warned that two others have been seen.

jhalpin@adn.com | jhalpin@adn.com

Published: January 5th, 2008 12:12 AM
Last Modified: January 5th, 2008 04:52 AM

A polar bear that wandered uncommonly far inland to the Northwest Alaska village of Noorvik and tore through some trash has been shot and killed because of safety concerns, according to village officials.

At least two other bears have been spotted near the village, 45 miles east of Kotzebue and miles from the nearest ocean ice pack, prompting officials to warn residents of their presence and urge caution. (you can read the rest of the article here)!

A friend of mine told me about this a few days ago. She said her grandma in Noorvik said someone had shot a polor bear. I didn't believe it. I told her that maybe those fellas in Noorvik had been drinking to much left over egg nogg. I guess she was right.

I've seen a lot of animals around here....some big scary ones. Polar bears, in my opinion, are the Mac Daddy of the big scaries. Relatively speaking, Noorvik is prettty close to Kotzebue....close enough to make me look over my shoulder.

Oh look...it's Knut the cute cuddly baby polar bear. Isn't he Charming? Uh-huh.

Then they turn into a thousand pounds of fur, claws and teeth that like to eat.....lots. They think nothing of killing a seal just to eat the blubber off and leave the carcass for the foxes. Last time I looked in the mirror I was none too skinny, so blubber eating bears hanging out in the neighborhood make me reeeaaaaaal uneasy.

Arctic Junk



Friday, January 4, 2008

Friday's Feast

When was the last time you received a surprise in the mail, and what was it?

Usually if I get something in the mail it's because I ordered it.....or it's a bill. I don't usually get surprises. I did, however, get a small package in the mail from my sister in New Hampshire with my neices school pictures.

If you could have a summer and/or winter home, where would you want it to be?

I would like a camp on the coast somewhere around here. It would be great to spend time on the coast during the spring away from the inland mosquitos. I would like a camp on the Noatak that doesn't require hiking up the big cliff hill I have to hike to get to our cabin now.

Pick one: pineapple, orange, banana, apple, cherry.

Ummm......maybe pineapple.

Main Course
Describe the nicest piece of clothing that you own.

Hahaha....this is funny. I think I talked about my lack of nice clothing in my post about going to the Nutcracker in Anchorage.

If you could forget one whole day from your life, which day would you choose to wipe from your memory?

I'm not a grudge holder....against people or life in general. Sure there have been plenty of times when I have had bad days but time softens them and they don't seem that bad anymore. There are a few here and there that I could still do without, but nothing that has traumatized me so much that I still dwell on it often.

Time Worn