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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Town H2O

Yesterday Patrick made his first trip to the town pool with the kids and I. He spent most of it underwater with Nora, while I sat atop the divider (above water) trying to warm up. The pool was closed for a week and the water is taking time to warm up....

Tomorrow both kids start swim lessons. They are 1/2 hour in the aftrnoon. I"m excited to see how it goes!

(Also, a note about my prior home schooling post-I was so thrilled with all the comments from people with homeschool experience giving their words of support and encouragement. Its fun to hear from people who read our blog--and to get their insight and ideas. Many thanks, everyone!) Zoya

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fog Inversion

Today when i went skiing it was pea soup fog in town. It was so thick I had to slow way down, and I was very happy that on coming cars had their headlights on. Then when I got near the pass it started to clear and I could see the mountains shining in the sun looking up through the fog.

Up high it was a bluebird day. I just wish it had been better skiing. I tried to skate ski because the crust seemed solid at the parking lot. But as I skated up into the mountain it got less solid as I climbed. It looks like we had a temperature inversion and it was only freezing down low. But I managed to posthole on up above the ski chalet and eventually I got up to a crust that would hold me up on top on my skate skiis. And I did sakte ski around for a bit. But it was pretty bad skiing.

Good thing the visuals were outstanding!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Got Lice?

ZOYA"S VERSION of the story
I don't think we ever really "got lice".

It was 10 days ago. I was at work, when I head footsteps and voices outside my treatment room door. I exused myself for a moment, as I could hear Patrick's voice. The door was left open a crack as Patrick told me that Nora had lice and he had to take her home. He asked me what to do and if I could come home to help DDT our house. All I could think was, "I have to go back into a treatment room and treat my client...she is going to think that I have lice too! EEEEKKK". I kept the conversation as brief as possible, got back to my treatment room and finished the session. Thankfully my client didn't leave the clinic running AND she returned for her next appointment. Phew!

When I got home, we all did the RID shampoo, washed linens etc. The Preschool caught it very early, and I never truly saw an egg in her hair...and boy did I look. Better to be safe than sorry!


(This part of the post was written 10 days ago-the afternoon Patrick returned home with Nora. We thought it was worse than it actually turned out to be.)
I thought about titling this post 'Head Lice Eek!' or 'Stay Away from the Saltonstalls'. Suffice it to say, we got lice. Now we are in the process of cleaning everything in the house and dousing down the kids in strong chemicals. I gather we'll soon be grooming each other with combs like the apes on a National Geographic special.

Today started as a normal work day (albeit - a normal Martin Luther King work day). I dropped the kids off at their various day care facilities and went on in to the Museum. Then I get the call from Nora's Day care - they were checking the kids for lice and found 'knits' in Nora's hair. Time to go pick her up.

I arrived to find her already in quarantine - reading by herself at a table. She tearfully informed me that she 'has bugs in hair'. It really did disturb her having to leave all 'her friends'. She asked me if I'd ever had bugs in my hair, 'when you were a kid'. She also asked if my sister had ever had bugs in hair - now where did that one come from?

From there we went and picked up Stuey, and then a quick visit to Safeway to pick up the 'bug eradication kit'. Now we are at home and in the midst of the 'bug eradication process'. Wish us luck - and it probably is a good idea to stay away from the Saltonstalls - at least for a day or two. Patrick

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thoughts of Homeschooling

I've been writing this post in my mind for several months now, and have finally worked up the courage to put it on paper....

My thoughts lately have been full of thoughts of home schooling Nora for kindergarten. When I told my sister, Ella, this I could hear her gasp through the phone, in disbelief. She, like many others, asked me how could I teach my child better than a trained educator? I am glad for her honest response. It is good to have a devils advocate in my life-and that person is often Ella.

Nora turns 5 this coming August 19th-she'll be a VERY new 5 and not ready for kindergarten (both her speech therapist and director of the preschool have noted this as well). Everyone in her life believes that waiting a year before kindergarten would give her better footing. So I figure, why not try to do a little homeschooling next year? From what I've learned, such a large part of preschool and kindergarten is free play and learning how to read. That part is intimidating to me. I looked at a few homeschool phonics programs online and was freaked out by the intense phonics lessons. A conversation with a client who homeschools assured me that the beginnings of teaching reading is reading a lot to kids, working on letters then progressing gradually. She put me at ease that I didn't have to necessarily follow a regimented phonics curriculum for the kids to succeed. Recently when I read books, I make letter recognition a fun game and say, "in this book, when you see a W, point it out to me!". The kids LOVE this and start getting excited about pointing out the letters.

Recently, in doing activities with Nora and Stuey, I"ve noticed that Stuey loves doing whatever Nora is doing. If Nora is writing her name, Stuey writes his version of his name. If Nora is reading books, Stuey will sit down and flip through books. They are so close in age, that I don't think it'd be a far stretch to teach to both of them at the same time. And they are able to sit and do an activity fov 20-30 minutes, which has been such a relief for me-to have larger chunks of activity time.

The thing I've learned in my basic home school research is that it can be done on a continuum of highly structured to less structured. I think I'd be somewhere in the middle. And as many of my friends and clients who homeschool have reminded me, learning occurs best when kids don't realize they're learning. And that some of the biggest benefits of homeschooling is the 1:1 teacher, child ratio. In a classroom, it can be anywhere from 15:1 or 20:1. And much of the time can be spent re-directing, regrouping kids.

My reasons for wanting to investigate home school further include a desire to be with my kids, to cook, go on walks, read, do fun things together. Yes, you can do those things with kids in school, but the reality is that after a long day at school, they are going to be tired, hungry and ready for a break. I"ve read several books on homeschool and have leaned so much from friends (and friends who are educators). Everyone offers a different perspective and it has been a fun topic to ponder. It just seems like it would be fun. I like being with Nora and Stuey and they like learning from me (and Patrick and other adults!). I know it wouldn't be fun and roses all the time, but I think I at least want to give it a try.

The biggest concern people have about homeschooling is socialization. I'm not concerned about this with our kids. We have plenty of people around our house and if they are involved in a few activities, that will be plenty. Not to mention a home schooling group sometime during the week where they could learn from another adult. Nora's first long time babysitter was home schooled and Patrick and I were always impressed by her maturity, intelligence and work ethic. Plus, she had friends of all ages-from 8-18. Not just friends exactly her age.

So where does Patrick stand on this, you may ask? He doesn't have rose-tinted glasses. He knows there will be difficult days for me, and doesn't want me saying, "I'm busy this week, can you do the homeschooling?" Patrick is Mr. Science/Math guy, which will be really fun to tap into as we start learning all about the world together. Take home message is he supports me in the endeavor. Patrick's the best.

My family will largely disapprove-I'm prepared for this. And thats ok. I've done things with my parenting which I'm sure they haven't always agreed with (co-sleeping and breastfeeding a toddler, to name a few). But when you feel something deep inside---I can't ignore that feeling of at least exploring this option with the kids. At least I'll be able to look back and know that I tried it. Plus, its a decision which can be taken one semester at at time. Its not as if once you decide to try homeschooling, you sign a dotted line for 18 years of homeschooling. You can change your mind along the way if its not working.

I'll start the journey and see where it takes us....


Monday, January 25, 2010

'A Pass By' by the Kodiak Killers

Today after work as I was driving out the road to go skiing I looked out over the harbor from my car window and saw orca (killer whale) fins. I parked the car and took some really bad pictures and video of the orcas just to prove to everybody that I had actually seen them. It was like video taping a submarine race - I'd get the camera on them and they would go under water and all that I'd catch on the video was the surface of the water with no nothing on it. The photos aren't much better - but I did get this one of one of the orcas with his/her fin silhouetted against the mountains. All the while people drove by on the highway and it was just an ordinary day in winter in Kodiak. I wanted to shout out to everybody to stop what they are doing and to look at the killer whales.

'Aint it great to live in Kodiak - a place where orcas are nothing out of the ordinary?

I gather from attending some Whale Fest lectures a few years ago that the orcas that frequent the waters around Kodiak only eat sea mammals - no fish. The biologists have nicknamed the pod the 'Kodiak Killers'. They cruise by the harbor and eat a few sea lions now and then. Usually they drop by a little later in the spring. Patrick

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Kodiak's Real Ski Chalet

A couple of weeks ago I was going through a collection of slides at the museum trying to ID people and places when I came across this one - it was taken by Nick Nekeferoff sometime in the 1950s. At first I thought it must be Anchorage or some ski area near Seattle. But the background looked pretty familiar - and then it hit me. It's the old ski chalet at the pass on the way to Anton Larsen Bay.

It was built during WWII to help the troops train for winter warfare and for a place to recreate. After the war, according to Don Clark who went to Kodiak High School in the 50's, it became a 'snake pit' - a bar. And later it burned down. The ski chalet up there today was built much later.

What's cool is how elaborate the building looks. Too bad it burned down. It would be nice to have a place like that to hang out in 'apres skiing'. I am also struck by how different the hillside behind the chalet looks. The hill in the background is the bottom of Pyramid to the right (south) of where we climb up today. The photo was taken above where the current chalet is located, looking towards Pyramid (the gravel pit would be to the right and the parking lot to the left). Today there are groves of tall spruce trees and the alder is much thicker. You can see the baby spruce trees just getting started. I wonder if there is more alder because of global warming? Patrick

Saturday, January 23, 2010

White Balance

I'm still getting used to my new camera, and have been experimenting quite a bit with all the features I read about in the manual. One cool feature that I know I will use a lot in the future is the 'White Balance Calibration'. Sounds like a topic for MLK day, but what it means is that I can calibrate my camera to recognize 'true white'. I've always know about the settings on the camera that you switch to depending on whether you are shooting under fluorescent lights, outside, in the shade etc, but I've never had a camera where you could customize this setting.

In the past, I took pictures of sunsets, mountains etc and then had to play with them in iphoto and photoshop to get the colors right. I always had to warm them up with a bit of red. Now I think I know what was going on. Today I took these two photos at the outlet to Buskin Lake. The top one I calibrated the white balance by using snow in the shade as the true white. In the second photo I just set the camera to average white balance (AWB), and I think the camera chose to made the pink snow on pyramid white. So instead of a photo showing the glorious pink sunrise reflected onto Pyramid I just had a white mountain.

In the future, I still think I will play with the colors in iphoto and photoshop but it certainly is nice to be taking photos that are far more true to the real colors. It also makes me feel better about all the 'photoshopping' I did in the past to get the colors right. I had always felt like I was cheating somehow, and creating an alternate, more beautiful reality. Now I realize I was just getting the colors back to where they were supposed to be.

The bottom photo is doctored a bit (not with the colors though) while the top two have only been resized for the internet with no doctoring at all. To make them perfect I would probably have played a bit with the contrast and light levels so that you can see a bit more in the shadows. By the way, 'aint it scary that there is no ice on Buskin Lake in January? Patrick

Friday, January 22, 2010

Home Times

This past week I had lots of home time with the kids. I"ve shifted my PT schedule to seeing clients primarily on M & W which is working well for me and the kids. We all really enjoy our home time-to cook, go to the the pool, draw, go on walks, do puzzles, see friends. So many great ways to spend the day together! Yes-there are days in the week where its tough-and they're in bad moods, and I'd rather be at work. I'll admit that. But we muster though-often with me suggesting a new activity-or getting outside. Another trick that I learned from Ella! When the going gets rough, get the kids outside for some fresh air. It seems to work wonders.

All in all, I am really enjoying how Nora and Stuey do activities together now, drawing, playing, biting & hitting, doing puzzles. They're so close in age which makes it easy. And the periods of time where they can go off and play get longer and longer. Some mornings and afternoons, they can play for close to an hour (if they're both in good moods and well rested!).

In 2 weeks, Nora and Stuey start swim lessons at the town pool, which I'm excited about. They both love going underwater with their goggles and Nora is starting to doggie paddle a little ways. My hope is that swim lessons are a fun way for them to try out new things in the water.

The pool is closed right now for repairs--sounds like they're going to address the corrosion and deck drainage issues which have plagued the pool since it opened in October. Its a bummer that our new 14 million dollar facility has problems such as this, but good to see that they're being addressed promptly. I'm glad I wrote the letter to the editor months ago--it was a perfect way to get the concerns off my chest and start the community discussion about the concerns of the facility.

Off for a good weekend ahead!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Camera

A couple of weeks ago I sat on my old camera and broke it. I could not be too sad. It had done pretty well to last a year, pretty much always in my pocket. That's what durable point and shoots are for! So I decided to buy the same camera - Pentax Optio - only I got the upgraded model (the W-80). And it arrived a couple days ago.

Since then I read the owner's manual and have been experimenting with it. It is truly amazing what these point and shoots can do! I learned all sorts of things while reading the manual. For instance, I now know how to set the white balance for the particular conditions (see photo of Stuey on the floor doing a puzzle). I also learned how to use a tripod, set the ISO and take long exposures at night. Pretty good controls for a point and shoot.

In fact, I learned so much that I went back and re-read the manual for the Canon G-9 that we've had for almost 2 years now. One of the cool things I discovered was color swap and color accent. I took the two photos of the aloe plant behind our kitchen sink, and by accenting the green color only I made it seem like it was an alien taking over our kitchen - a la the plant in the 'Little Shop of Horrors'.

I think I'll be taking better pictures in the future - I definitely know the controls a bit better. Patrick

Monday, January 18, 2010

Helping Friends and Family

Lately I've had the chance to help lots of friends and family.

Physical therapists in general get asked lots of "I have this pain, that won't go away...what should I do?" types of questions. I never mind answering a few questions or helping someone decide whether or not they should see the doctor. Its gratifying and usually straight forward.

The upside of helping friends and family is when my advice or treatment really helps. They are grateful and it is feels great to help the people that mean a lot to you.

The downside is when your advice or treatment doesn't help. This happenend about a year ago with Patrick. Every time I tried to help him with back pain, he got worse. I was so bummed. The one person in my life who I really, really wanted to make better just got worse and worse. He had back pain and would walk around the house in pain. I cringed inside, wishing there was something more I could do.
I told him, "I don't think you can be my client anymore. You're not totally honest about how you're doing with your symptoms. You should get treated by someone else. Want to try a chiropractor?" Part of the difficulty was that he didn't tell me if a treatment I did didn't work. He was afraid to hurt my feelings.

He was just as disappointed as me. He replied, "No, Zoya. I trust you the most. I don't know that anyone can help me if you can't." Fortunately shortly after, his back started progressively feeling better. He just avoided the aggravating activities and stuck with things that were painfree. Letting nature take its course was the best treatment for him.

For some people that works, but for others, they greatly benefit from a little "kick-start" towards healing. This often is in the form of manual therapy, looking at ergonomics (someone who sits at a desk for 8 hours and has headaches, arm pain, neck pain would benefit from making sure their workstation is set up egonomically correct), sometimes exercises, posture and education on pain, source of pain and how to help their body progress with healing.

Lately family has presented with back pain, plantar fasciitis (sister training for marathon), traumatic skiing knee injury (very recent injury of family member). I"m glad to be able to offer advice here and there-even if from a distance. Sometimes people just need a listening board to get a gauge on how serious their symptoms are or if there are some simple exercises or something that could be done to help.

I'm always honored when friends choose to come to me, and I maintain confidentiality just like my regular clients. This always baffles Patrick-if he hears from someone that they're coming to me for PT. He says, "Zoya never said anything!?" I"m true to my confidentiality.

Since my sophomore year in high school, I've wanted to be a physical therapist and I truly love my job. And who ever would've guessed I'd be back in my home town with my dream job?


Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Snow & Saturday night dinner

This morning Patrick and I took the kids to the golf course to go cross country skiing. This was the first time this winter we've taken them and the trip went well. Stuey walked along on his skis for about 35 minutes and Nora actually started to get the hang of skiing. Patrick and I were amazed by the improved confidence Nora had in the one year time since she last skiied. It was so much easier today than ever before. And there were no tears from Nora and Stuey! Yeah! A successful family ski trip by all measures. Stuey kept saying he wanted to "go to mountain"...Will he be a downhill adrenaline junkie? I had to explain to him that he has to get first skiing on flat area before he goes downhill.

Last night Jeremy and Karen came over for dinner-Patrick made quesadillas filled with deer burger and onions/peppers. It snowed outside and the kids served us spoonfuls of snow. They were on a mission to keep us full with snow.
After dinner Jeremy read a few books to the kids and taught Nora a song from one of the books. It was a 4 line song and Nora really enjoyed memorizing it and singing it to us. It was a fun time with Jeremy and Karen-they are moving to Portland at the end of the month. We will be sad.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Snow Cycle

It looks like Kodiak might just have turned the corner on all that rain and 40 degrees. Now it seems to be raining and 35 degrees. But I'm not complaining. This photo shows what a difference a temperature drop of a few degrees makes - it may be raining in town but it is all snow on Pyramid. Yesterday I even went skate skiing at the golf course.

I've noticed that Kodiak develops weather patterns that last about a month. For the last month we've endured a cycle of 'pineapple expresses' that tipped over backward - hence the rain in Kodiak while it stayed cold in the interior of Alaska. Now it looks like the interior is seriously cold while the moisture is traveling east to west (Juneau to Kodiak) along the edge of the cold. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping this means lots of snow! Patrick

Friday, January 15, 2010

Who's on the phone?

Are polls biased? I got to thinking about this when I realized that many of the people I know no longer have a land line. Who's polling them? Also lots of people out there are screening their calls and do not answer the phone unless they know who it is. I seriously doubt that the segment of the population with land lines, no caller ID, and who answers the phone to whomever calls is the same as the one who lacks a land line and answers the phone to whoever calls. I bet the former tends to be a single person who lives in the city and lacks the time to answer the phone, while the latter has a family and home and lives in the country and has all the time in the world to talk to a pollster. I also bet the former tends to vote 'blue' while the latter votes 'red'. Anyway it is an interesting thought. I wonder if the pollsters have already thought about it and account for it somehow?

Anyhow, this line of thought also got me thinking about how as a country we have changed in the last 30 years. I remember in the 1970s listening to Walter Cronkite on the evening news. Everybody watched the news. Everybody also had a land line and always answered the phone when it rang. I bet in those days polls were very accurate and that everybody was on the same page when it came to the latest news. Today with the internet, 'smart' phones, twitter, facebook, cable and Satelite TV etc I very much doubt everybody is on the same page. People don't even listen or read the news unless it is coming from someone they already agree with! We have become a much more segmented and divided nation, and I wonder how anyone, in this environment, could ever create an accurate poll. So next time I read the latest and greatest poll - I'll be thinking about who they polled. Also, since media polls might well be biased I don't think our government should rely on them when creating public policy. Elections are the only poll that should count in this regard. Patrick

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dogs and Kids

When we first had kids, or even before we had kids, Patrick was talking about the similarities between having dogs and raising kids. I must say, I initially found this quite insulting. How kids possibly be so similar to dogs?

In our four-and-a-half years of parenting, I"m afraid to admit that I've actually discovered a lot of similarities. And tonight i couldn't believe I heard myself say, "Patrick, the kids need more exercise. An hour every day. Just like the dogs do." Geez. Could he be right?

Dogs and kids both need love, care, food, water, sleep, consistency, discipline, follow through and as Patrick puts, "The Pack Mentality". They need to feel like part of the pack--with attention and love.

When I first met Patrick, I wondered why he didn't put his dog Katie on a running line.
Patrick said, "Oh thats so sad. Katies' part of the pack. I could never put her outside by herself in the cold"...(so much so that she slept on the bed with us for years until she passed away. And Patrick believes that dogs should sleep on the bed-even 90 pound black labs...I had to put my foot down on this "pack" behavior when my sleep was disrupted by the dogs having nightmares, going in and out of the room, etc...)

Kids and dogs are quick to pick up on body language and are very sneaky as well-another important similarity. You say, "walk" around the dogs or go for your shoes and the dogs are already headed out the door. You say, "popcorn" around the kids and they are planted on the couch ready for a video. The Pavlovian response!

As of late, the kids have a hard time going to bed unless they've had seriously good exercise-such as a walk down the road to the park or a trip to the pool. Lately because of the weather (RAIN RAIN RAIN RAIN RAIN) we haven't been great about the outside time and I haven't taken them to the pool for about a week. So that leaves us with Stuey and Nora playing games and giggling at bedtime not wanting to go to sleep. Argh. The joys of parenting. Kids that won't go to sleep.

(And yes, Ella---I take your advice to heart. This post is dedicated to you because I believe you're right!!!...she always recommends hard core exercise to make bed times easier. This advice comes from my twin who would know-she has 4 boys under her roof!)

Tomorrow I get off work at noon. I"ll be packing up my car with some beach treats and taking them for a drive to a beach or park or someplace where we can do some mileage-by FOOT. Burn off some energy and maybe tomorrow night bedtime will be easier. And come the weekend, getting back into the pool with Nora and Stuey will be hopefully remedy the bedtime blues at the Saltonstall house.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dismal Days

This weather is beginning to get a little monotonous - 40 degrees and raining for what seems like forever. Today on my way to go skiing I noticed that Boy Scout Lake is ice free, and Buskin Lake mostly so. We have lost almost all our snow below the 1000 foot level, and lately it has been melting all the way up to the 2000 foot level. Up until last week at least when it rained we were getting new snow above 1500 feet, but not anymore. I can't wait for it to get cold again. One thing for sure - when it does get cold again, it will brighten up.

I find cold winters in Kodiak to be so much brighter. The light reflects off of the snow and when it is cold it also tends to be clear. So there is more sunshine. People who say they prefer warm winters tend to forget that in Kodiak warm in winter means fog and rain.

The photo above is of the snow at the 1000 foot level today on Pyramid. The skiing is actually pretty good down to this point. I have been trying to go skiing every day because I am still hoping to race in the Tour Of Anchorage cross country ski race this coming March. I have not gotten in much cross country skiing but at least I'm climbing mountains. The bummer is that all the Anchorage skiiers have had great cross country skiing conditions this winter. They have been training like crazy. I'll have my work cut out trying to get competitive this year. Patrick

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Ashes, Ashes All Fall Down

Today Stuey made his dancing debut in Nora's ballet class. He LOVES dancing. I think next week I"m going to start him in the 3 year old class.

Tonight Nora requested "Ring around the Rosie" on Itunes, so we put it on and danced around the kitchen. Stuey did some crazy moves in the kitchen. He is quite the little ham...and gets lots of smiles from us.


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Puzzles and Water

Lately I've spent a lot of time doing puzzles. Stuey and Nora love puzzles-especially Stuey. I got them their first larger puzzle back in November when I returned from my triathlon in California. I remember the first time the kids were exposed to a larger puzzle, it was quite difficult for them. Now, Stuey can do a puzzle for over an hour-again and again and again. After he finishes a puzzle, he says, "lets do it again, lets do it again" (really fast) and quickly breaks up the puzzle to start it again. The great part is that I really enjoy puzzles. In some ways, its meditative. To see the pieces come together-to be on the floor doing something productive with the kids. And it is challenging...even though its only a little 60 piece puzzle, it takes a few minutes for us to put it together. The puzzle in the photo is a large 24 piece puzzle, which Stuey can put together by himself fairly quickly. I'm all over playing with legos, blocks and puzzles. Good times!

The other thing we've been doing lots of recently is swimming. Nora LOVES swimming. She puts on her little pink goggles and likes going underwater to search for the plastic rings on the bottom of the 3 feet deep kiddie area. There is another young girl the same age in the pool who is extremely confident in the water and just the other day did the breaststroke the entire length of the regular pool! Wow! Nora sees her and has become more driven to do all the things that the other girl does. She says, "mom-I want to go to the deep end and swim like her".

I like taking the kids to the pool for several reasons:
-its an easy hour for me-kids are COMPLETELY thrilled, happy and entertained. And they don't fight there. Yeah!
-Its great exercise for the kiddies. A solid hour of kicking and swimming around is so good for their bodies and minds.Makes them go to sleep easier and sleep longer, too!
-Swimming is a wonderful life sport for Stuey and Nora and I support their love of water. We have a strong kingfishers swim program and a new pool with a great kiddie area---all the makings of water being a great source of fun and exercise for Nora and Stuey!

The house is quiet-everyone is asleep. I just returned from teaching birthing class. Seems like there might be an end to the rain-THANK HEAVENS. Seems like nothing but strong winds and rain lately. I'm not normally one to complain about weather, but this has been a bit of the pits. I'm ready for winter to resume! :)


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

2 Cool Blogs

I recently found out about 2 blogs that I think local Kodiak folk should find interesting. I have put the links on our blog's 'blogs of interest' sidebar.

One is a blog called 'Deckboss' that keeps up on Alaska Fishing issues. Here's the address -
It's updated daily by Wesley Loy a reporter from Anchorage - and seems to be on top of anything related to fishing.

The other blog is titled 'Stewards of the Buskin River State Recreation Site' -
And is dedicated to keeping track of the Kodiak airport runway extension. It's possible that the airport might have a runway extended in front of the Buskin River mouth. This would obviously impact a great many subsistence and recreation related activities for both locals and visiting tourists. This is a project that I think everyone who lives in Kodiak should be following closely. The plan will come up for public comment soon - NOW is our chance to submit our input and to make sure something terrible does not happen.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Canning in the New Year

On Saturday Erin H, Zoya, Ryan J and I canned up over 80 jars of Red Salmon. Ryan provided the fish, Zoya kept the kiddos corralled while Erin and I fed the pressure cookers. We had 4 pressure cookers going all at once on the stove in our kitchen. Nedless to say, but our kitchen got a little steamy and all the windows fogged up. According to the weather station Zoya got me for Christmas, at one point it was 76 degrees with 66 % relative humidity. What a job! Now we got all the canned salmon we'll need for the winter. Whoo Hooo!

The top 2 photos are me and Erin emptying the first load of canned 'product'. The bottom photo is Nora and Zoya at sunrise on the dawning of the new decade.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Frosty New Year Morning

Today was a 100% completely lazy day. And it was fabulous. We didn't leave the house until 11:30, at which point we drove to Near Island and went walking on the trails and down to the beach. The kids packed serious beach gear (kitchen utensils, primarily)-but once we got there, the ocean was at full tide and there wasn't any beach. (With the full moon, there have been incredible high and low tides lately.) The rest of the day was spent relaxing around the house and later in the day Nora and I went for a walk down the bike path.

This afternoon, I made some Beet Bundt Cake from my vegan baking cookbook which was really good! It used 2 cups of cooked pureed beets in the recipe-and also had 1/2 cup chocolate chips, sugar, flour, baking powder, etc. I liked how it turned out because it wasn't TOO sweet, like cakes often are! Plus, it has a healthy veggie in it! Woo-hoo!

Stuey and Nora PHRASES of THE WEEK
Stuey says, Way-way for Safeway. When we work on him saying Safeway (with an emphasis on the "s") he deviously smiles and says, "Sssssssss." "way-way". He knows how to link them (we've heard him do it), but he likes to be cute about it. Pretty funny.

Nora asked the other day, "Mom, do you have any doula clients right now?" I looked at Patrick and said, "did she really just ask if I have any doula clients?". She soaks in everything she overhears!

Noya & Stuey's Decade

It's not the dawning of the Age of Aquirius or anything, but it is the decade that Stuey and Nora will remember as their decade - much like I remember the 1970s. Everybody has their decade - think of the TV series 'The Wonder Years' or the movie 'A Christmas Story'. It's the decade where you become you, and for the rest of your life you sort of define everything against it. I remember disco, Watergate, the end of the vietnam war, Patty Hearst - even hippies, AM radio and womens lib. Now Stuey and Nora will have their decade. I wonder what events and trends they will think back on in 30 years?

Anyhow, this is what I was thinking about when I watched the sunrise over Mill Bay this morning. Nora even took her own picture of the sunrise. Let's hope the bright colors portend great things for the decade ahead.

The bottom two photos I took while climbing Pyramid mountain yesterday. I can't resist a good 'A Balanced Approach' tree (check out and compare with the logo for Zoya's business). And the other photo is of Sheratin Mountain glowing in the last sunrise of the 000's decade. Patrick