Tuesday, May 28, 2013

DjuKnow Anything New In Juneau?

I mean besides the fact that you're not in Kansas anymore?

I was in Juneau for a couple of days that week in May that we had such lovely, warm weather in the Southeast.  You remember.  Everyone commented upon it because we were all ready for a respite from that long, drawn-out winter that just went on and on and didn't seem like it would ever be over and dragged on into eternity and just would not let go of us and kept being winter instead of spring and we were all getting tired of it.  Yeah, that one.

This wasn't my first trip to Juneau and I've written about at least one other trip there, so I don't really want to repeat myself.  I looked for something new to note and this is what I've got and it's all I've got.

And My Heart Became Refreshed

After spending that sad time with my sister and others in the hospital with her husband, I went to Utah for a few necessary "happenings." The kids and I took a couple of little day trips. I was a bit perplexed at the Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival where I expected to find rolling fields of brightly colored tulips showing off for us.  I didn't even see enough to take pictures of.  Wierd. 

We also journeyed up through Ogden Canyon.

And then just because I really like shiney things, here are a couple of pictures I took at the airport on my way home.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Not Really A Tribute But Remembering A Rider's High

     When my sister's husband, Dave, died a few weeks ago, it was such a shocking and horrific experience that I think no one knew quite how to deal with any of the "in the trenches" experiences or the aftermath of it all.
     After a few tragic events in our family, Dave had proclaimed after our other sister's funeral that hers was the last funeral he would attend, including his own. So, there was no funeral for Dave and the newspaper wanted more than half a thousand dollars to print an obituary. Scandalous, in my opinion.
     His remains were cremated and I'm not sure whether it's happened or yet to happen that my sister and the "boys" send his ashes adrift out over the mountains close to where they are now living in Colorado.
     I feel remiss that there has been no traditional marking of his passing, as if I should somehow not let it just have happened without commenting or writing or something, but it is just such a personal experience that I didn't want to put it out on facebook, although I know the people I'm friends with on FB are mostly really my friends...or at least friendly towards me...and not just strangers. But if it was a personal experience to me, it's all the more personal for my sister and their sons and she is so much more private a person than I am.
     I know that they are still reeling from the experience and loss and my heart is quite heavy in their behalf which does nothing to alleviate their sorrow and that's one thing that makes grief so immeasurably frustrating...the painful inability to help those you love the most,--in this case, my family--in their most agonizing time of need.
     When someone dies, we have a tendency to start remembering the distant past of their lives, the time when we first started to know them.   So of course, I have a story about Dave to tell about the early days of our getting to know each other.
     I was a college student when I wanted a motorcycle badly enough to just get one. I didn't know anything about motorcycles, but Dave the mechanic brother-in-law did.    He found a used Honda for me and I took the bus over to their house for him to teach me how to drive it. We went to the parking lot at the school and I learned to ride my very own motorcycle. He showed me how to start it, how to brake and steady it, and I gave it a few turns around the parking lot. It was getting late, time to quit for the day and I got on the bike to take it home. Dave was surprised when he was usually unflappable, and told me I needed more lessons/practice.  He didn't think I knew enough to keep myself safe on the road, and he didn't know me well enough at the time to have expected that from me. 
     But I insisted. I had that finally-materialized dream already in my hands. I couldn't let go of it.  So he went home and told my sister, who hustled their children into the van with them and they followed me from their house in Layton to my apartment in Ogden, a distance of about 10 exhilarating miles!  My sister said she laughed at me the whole way because she thought I looked funny on the motorcycle as I was laughing at them for being such fussy mother hens following me all the way to my door! 
     Dave, did you ever know how getting me started with those first ten miles propelled me through some of the best times of my college days? In and out of the canyon, on sunny summer days, on less than ideal road conditions, to school, to my sisters' homes to give rides to their little boys, to my folks' house a town or two away, to classmates' riverside cabins for "literary" gatherings, on weekend break-aways on the open road...wherever my heart led me, Baby, I just rode!  Baby, I just rode.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Fixin' To Agitate The Gravel ONE MORE TIME!

Three weeks is all I have left at my current job and place of residence. Then I'm heading down to Olympia Washington to begin a new job with the Washington State Division of Services for the Blind on June 17. It's another one of those itinerant-style jobs but knowing nothing about the state of Washington, the map my new supervisor sent to me to show my "area" doesn't mean a whole lot to me at the moment--some few counties on the Peninsula. I think my territory is called the South Sound. That might be for Pudget Sound...???  

I did stumble upon this fine piece of paradise in my new territory.

Tumwater Falls
If anyone wants to know how hard it is to move into or out of Alaska, just ask me. Otherwise, I'll keep it to myself for the time being. Well, you know I'm not really keeping it to myself, but I'm not going to burden anyone here with the worn out whine of it at this time.
Howsome-ever...I will say that just getting ready to prepare to get ready to get on the road is another one of those "testing your mettle" kinds of experiences.
I'm quite eager to be there already, though. I was there a couple of weeks ago checking the place out and that was a very happy day. A sunny, happy day, at that. The Pacific Northwest is prettier than I can explain and there's something about living at sea level that helps me be especially happy and content and optimistic and cheerful. Not to mention, some certain lovies from Utah will be joining me VERY SOON!
I had a very uninspiring  deli lunch in a supermarket because it was the best parking place I could find at that hour.  I sat upstairs gazing out over and making up stories about this view.  How's that for something to look at while eating a Safeway Reuben and a bag of chips?

And plus...they grow orange-hued trees there!!  SCORE!

I still have a couple of Alaska entries left to post--Sitka and Juneau in the spring--but it's probably not too early to say "I bid you a fond farewell, dear Land of the Midnight Sun!"
Eight stars of gold on a field of blue -
Alaska's flag. May it mean to you
The blue of the sea, the evening sky,
The mountain lakes, and the flow'rs nearby;
The gold of the early sourdough's dreams,
The precious gold of the hills and streams;
The brilliant stars in the northern sky,
The "Bear" - the "Dipper" - and, shining high,
The great North Star with its steady light,
Over land and sea a beacon bright.
Alaska's flag - to Alaskans dear,
The simple flag of a last frontier.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Prince Of Wales Island--POW. And HOW! WOW!

Ready for another stunning geography/history lesson, kids?  POW is one of the islands of the Alexander Archipelago in the Alaskan Panhandle, the 4th largest island in the US after Hawaii, Kodiak and Puerto Rico.  Another lovely location in the Tongass Rainforest.

POW is home of the Kaigani (crabapple country) Haida and later--or earlier--Tlingit people, who named the island "Sea Lion."  Then even later around 18th Century times, Mexican, British and French explorers overnighted here, too. I think the Russians just sort of waved on their way by.  (Aren't you happy that I'm not your real history teacher?  I'm pretty shabby at this part.  But if you're really interested, you can wikipee it.)

We flew in on an unusually sunny day in May about a week ago.  By "we," I mean the pilot, a woman going home to Hydaburg from her chemo treatment in Anchorage and me in this little B-1RD:  (That means I don't know what kind of plane it is.)  Not the smallest one I've been in since I've been traveling here in Alaska, but small enough to make me smile about getting into it.  That's a big deal, because I seldom smile about flying in planes--you know, the ones with all those people and their elbows.  It's an interminable, crampy, stiff drudgery for the most part.  Ick. 

Flying in these smaller birds is a noisy experience, but this Island Air pilot had some smoothe music piping through these head sets for us to listen to on the way over from Ketchikan. 

The airport is in Klawock which is where the clinic is where I worked for a day.  I didn't take a picture of the eye clinic building at the Klawock mall because, well, BORING.  But I did take a picture of the Dream Catcher B&B where I stayed in Craig about seven miles down the road.

Let me correct myself here.  I took SEVERAL pictures of this B & B. 

Being the 4th largest island in the United States doesn't mean this little sand bar is big by any means.  And being small doesn't mean it doesn't pack a punch with it's abundance of fjords, steep-sided mountains, dense forests, Tlingit culture...bears, to name a few delights of Prince of Wales Island.

I'm still trying to learn how George Vancouver's "Prince of Wales Archipelago" became "Alexander Archipelago" and the island came to be called "Prince of Wales" island.  Something to do with the treaty discussions between Russia and Great Britain, I presume.  And who named the towns Craig and Klawock and Hollis and Thorne Bay and Hydaburg?  

Alaska has some very interesting place names-descriptive, possesive, incidental, onomastic, commemorative, -from a number of cultural sources.  I might just have to do some more research and see if I can share some of it interestingly.  With pictures.  Later.

Oopsie.  How did Pookie Pye get in here?!  You little wascal, why are you always popping up in my head space?!