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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Travel Jitters




In 3 weeks we leave for France to see Balika, Sven and their two girls. The plan is to fly from Kodiak to Paris, meet up with our prior babysitter, Hannah (She has been living in Germany for a year) have 1 day in Paris, then take the train to Southern France (Castelnaudary) and do a 1 week canal boat ride on a boat we've rented. The boat is a small one and Patrick and Sven will drive it down a canal with lots of locks. After the canal ride, we'll go to Barcelona for 4 days then fly out of Barcelona home.

This is my first time out of the country since we went to Costa Rica when Nora was 6 months old. And I"m nervous about it. Stuey is a definite 3.5 year old boy and the thought of being on an airplane for a seriously long 2 days gives me a small pit in the bottom of my stomach.I'm also nervous about the language differences and making our way around from train station to airport, etc. This is something Patrick is very confident about-PHEW. He speaks a small amount of French and is not concerned about making our way around in Paris. SO thats a relief.

I have to remember that the journey will be a big adventure for them AND us. New sights, sounds and smells (hopefully of chocolate croissants) around every corner. The big bonus on this trip is that there will be two wonderful girls close to Nora and Stuey's age they can play with.

I know once we're on our way-there will be no turning back and it will be a fun adventure!!

Zoya

Photos are from trips with the kids over the years.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Stormy Fall Weather & NO HEAT


It's getting to be fall - Termination dust on the mountains, temperatures in the 30's at night, and the lawn has finally stopped growing. All the cottonwoods are turning yellow and it seems we've gotten into the Fall weather pattern of a big storm every three or four days followed by clear windy weather. This year cool weather has been late arriving - I don't ever remember the hills around town staying so green so late. Patrick


NO HEAT
As of late, I'm on a mission to not turn on the heat.So far, we haven't turned it on. Not sure what has gotten into me this fall. I think if we can get by with little or no heat, then its energy cost savings.

Late last fall we had the windows replaced in our kitchen and last spring the windows in the back of the house replaced. Since this was done, our house is much less of a tent. Our kitchen warms up even without heat on-especially when food is on the stove or in the oven. And we spend most of our time in the kitchen, anyhow.

The key to doing "no heat" living is warm baths. I take one in the morning before getting ready and a really hot one right before bed. It doesn't have to be a long bath-even just 5-10 minutes does the job. Getting ready for bed in the cold bedroom then climbing into a cold bed is the part that is the hardest without heat. Something about being heated to the bone by the water keeps my body warm for several hours. And I sleep so much better, too with a bath before bed. Plus, Nora really enjoys the morning baths with me--she calls it her "mommy time".

Over the years, I have become more accustomed to a cooler house. When I first met Patrick, I remember insisting that the thermostat be at 70. I cringe when I think back to those days. Patrick must've been roasting.

Zoya

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kodiak's Roadsystem Buck to Doe Ratio




Yesterday Gregg and I went deer hunting on the Kodiak Roadsystem and saw around 30 deer. Sounds pretty good right? But they were all does and on the roadsystem you are only allowed to shoot bucks. So there were no dee for us to harvest.

To see so many does and so few bucks has become fairly typical on the Kodiak Road system and I think it is a result of the 'bucks only' harvest rule. Elsewhere on Kodiak you are allowed to hunt does after October 1rst, and up until about 10 years ago on the roadsystem you were allowed to harvest a doe during the last week of the season. It is over the last 10 years that the sex ratio on the roadsystem has become so skewed.

I believe that the new 'bucks only' rule is the cause of the problem. Just 4 or 5 years ago you could still find bachelor groups of bucks up in the high country on the roadsystem. But no more, in the last two years I have not seen a single bachelor group of 3 or more bucks. On average, these days when I am hunting the roadsystem, I generally see 15 to 20 does and fawns before I see a mature buck. That's why I was so devastated yesterday - after just 15 does and fawns I should have seen a big buck!

I gather that a skewed sex ratio hurts the chances of bucks surviving the winter. They get worn out servicing the does during the rut and then die during the winter. So the fewer bucks there are in relation to the does, the harder they have to work and the more likely they are to not make it through the winter. It is a self-accentuating feedback loop. And every year near Kodiak we are seeing fewer and fewer mature bucks. I actually think there are now not enough bucks to go around. These days does without a fawn are a common sight, and fawns are getting born late into early summer (rather than spring) because the rut has to last longer before bucks can get to all the does. Fawns born later in the year also have less of a chance to survive their first winter.

A couple of weeks ago when Gregg, my brother , and I went goat hunting at the south end I was struck by the number of mature bucks in relation to the does. It was really amazing to observe a more normal sex ratio - big bucks were everywhere! On the Kodiak Roadsystem I think they should go back to allowing people to harvest a doe during the last week of the season. We need to get the sex ratio back out of whack. Patrick

Photos: Some scenics from yesterday's fruitless deer hunt.

Friday, September 24, 2010

How old are these bones?




Over the last month I have sent in 22 samples of charcoal for radiocarbon dating analysis. This is how archaeologists find out the age of the things they excavate. At 3-600 bucks a sample, it is an expensive process, and this is far and away the most samples the museum has ever sent in for analysis. But we did a lot of digging and the samples are from our work at Alitak, King Salmon River, Cliff point, and a few from our surveys on the south end of Kodiak (the USFWS gave us some money to run a few dates of samples we collected for them in years past). Now comes the exciting part - getting the results back!

This week I found out the age of the midden we excavated at Mitksqaaq Angayuk during Community Archaeology. I had hope it would be 2 to 3 thousand years old and it turned out to 3400 years old (see older posts on dig from August for details). Perfect! This is really exciting because it means Molly can study how Alutiiq peoples' subsistence changed over the course of 3400 years in one place. Finding a midden that reflects 3500 years of hunting and gathering shells, fish, and sea mammals in one spot is really difficult. It is important for Molly because she can now argue that any changes that she sees in the midden composition reflects overall climate/human behavior and NOT differences in the location of the middens (i.e. if she had to study various middens from around the island to look at subsistence changes through time).

So the bones and shells in the above photo are 3400 years old! That is pretty darn old, and I only know of one midden on the entire archipelago that is older. It also means that Miktsqaaq Angayuk is the oldest continuiously occupied midden on the whole archipelago. No other midden, that I know of, on the whole archipelago has such time depth. It also means that the harpoons Leslie found at the bottom of the midden are over 3000 years old (see posts on dig from August).

Photos: Top: Close up of bones (fauna) from the 3400 year old midden. Second photo is of the midden after we 1/4 inch wet screened it. We had to wet screen it to find the charcoal we used for radiocarbon analysis - note the little black blocks of charcoal mixed in with the shells and bones. Finally the bottom photo is of one of the excavation walls and shows the midden stratigraphy. The shell and bones from about the middle of the wall on down are all older than about 3400 years (everything below the top rocky layer). Also note beach shingles at the bottom of the excavation - that is the 4000 year old beach that the people living at the site dumped their trash onto. Patrick

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Changes




WEATHER
Fall is in the air here in Kodiak. Rain returned after weeks of sunny weather. The leaves are coming off the trees and it seems that Kodiak is in full fall-mode! I rather like the return of darkness...its a bit easier to put kids to bed when the sun is starting to set. They're more easily convinced, lets say. (anyone who spends time around here during bedtime knows that its not the most smooth parenting part of our day).

SPEECH
Today I took Nora back to speech therapy, as she had the summer off. It felt good to have her walk into the speech therapists room and be excited to be there. She just seems extra confident. It made me realize how much progress she has made with speech in the past 3 months.

Nora also had an improved attention span with speech therapist Jean and I had a moment where I thought, "wow-Nora is blossoming!". We've still got a ways to go with her speech therapy, but I'm starting to see a little light at the end of the tunnel.

STUEY
Stuey gives me a run for my money lately. He is getting over the cold Nora had and is slightly run down from it. The past week he wakes up in the middle of the night coughing, comes to my bed, coughs for about 20 minutes and finally returns to sleep. This makes him a tad (well, a LOT) grumpy during the day.

He screams loud, and is demanding. Its something else. He just starts screaming louder until he thinks he'll get what he wants. My strategy? Well, we use time outs pretty heavily. But I'm trying to shift to putting his toys to time out. He HATES it when toys are put to time out. It seems to be working.

Tonight at bedtime he was threatening to get out of bed, so I held a favorite train pamphlet he loves and told him that if he got out of bed, his pamphlet would disappear forever. He knows that I stick to my word, so he said, "ok, mommy" and laid in bed and didn't get out.

I remember he went through a challenging time about a year ago. Nora and Stuey go through their phases of change. I think with the start of preschool, this is a time of change for Stuey. Hopefully things will stabilize in a few days (or weeks!).

BYE BYE VERTIGO
The vertigo is on the out. Thank heavens. Now I only have very rare vertigo...infrequent. And usually related to rolling over in bed. And even that is getting better. My energy is back and I"m back to work this week and loving it. Taking a week off really was the pits. I love what I do too much. But I really did need to the break to fully get over the vertigo.
I won't be returning to my full on yoga practice for a while--no downward dogs unfortunately. I'm really nervous to try it. I'm doing some yoga, but very, very cautiously. I don't want to trigger a temporary spell of vertigo.

Zoya

Photos: Exercise Equipment camp when at dinner at Lisa and Gregg's house. Stuey loved the exercise balance board, stuey loved the ball.
The yoga photo was before my vertigo. I loved doing a short series of sun salutations and the kids loved joining me. Looking forward to returning to it!

More Goat Hunt Scenics






Just a few more scenics from our recent south end Kodiak goat hunt. Top photo is of the camp and fog forming on the bay. In the evening fog formed on the bay and slowly got closer and closer to our camp. Second photo is of our camp at dawn. As usual we had a Kifaru Teepee and woodstove for shelter. Sometimes in the morning it was hard to leave the comfort of the woodstove. Third photo: The hill behind camp - every morning we glassed the hillside and the deer popped out in the sunshine. Fourth photo: Alpine meadows - this is where the deer hang out. Actually, the deer were on the very tops of the mountains during the heat of the day. Bottom photo: Boarding the raft to cross the bay. Having an inflatable raft increased our options when it came time to hunt. After crossing the bay we would deflate the raft and put it high up in an alder so that bears could not munch on it. Patrick

Sunday, September 19, 2010

South End Goats






On Friday My brother Dicky, Gregg and I got back a day early from a goat hunt on the south end of Kodiak. All went well and we harvested 2 goats, but, surprisingly enough, no deer. For the first few days while we hunted for goats we ran into HUGE bucks everywhere, but once we had our goats and started to hunt for deer they suddenly became hard to find. So no deer, but what a place - Great visuals!

Top photo is of our teepee with the moon rising behind it in the evening. Second photo is of the rocks we called 'Stonehenge'. Third photo is of my goat and the view. I took the picture while I was talking with Nora and then Zoya on the SAT phone while waiting for Gregg and Dicky to join me. I had gone ahead to stalk the goat alone. Nora was VERY happy to hear we'd have plenty of goat meat for winter. Fourth photo is of my brother while on the lookout for deer and goats. Finally the bottom photo is of the sunrise on our final day before we got picked up. Not one rain day - amazing weather. The weather might have been too good because by the time to go home we were worn out from hiking every day with no down days in between due to weather. Patrick

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Relief.


Today I'm really feeling much better. Phew. I think the kids sense my increased energy as well. They are more positive today and we had a fun time. The weather has been spectacular--temps in the high 50's and sunny. Very little wind. It is dream fall weather!
This morning I still had quite a bit of lightheadedness and it persisted into the afternoon. Then I laid down for a few minutes in the late afternoon, and when I work up, the lightheadedness was gone. For the first time in 12 days, I thought, "Thats right-this is how normal feels!". So hopefully there will be more "normal" and less dizzy in the days to come. Seems like things are coming together.

Patrick called from the field-they got two goats and are going to work on deer then head home. I'm hoping Friday.

Stuey has been a cute little affectionate guy lately. He does pucker lip kiss and says, "I kiss you, mommy" then gives me a cute kiss. Today he gave me lots of cute little kisses-it felt good to have the kick in my step to laugh and joke with the kids again today.

Stuey is really enjoying preschool. He has a friend, Bren , whom he plays with a lot. Today Nora stayed home sick (again) and as we left to drop Stuey off at preschool, Nora chimed, "I get a mommy day". Stuey retorted, "I get a Bren day". Pretty cute. He and Bren are little buddies. It surprised me because Stuey doesn't mind going to preschool even when Nora is going. He really does like it! I wish Nora shared that love for preschool. It makes me sad that she continues to sulk about going. She has two little friends who are currently gone, so when they return, hopefully her mood about it will improve.

Patrick will be proud of how many times I've posted on the blog since hes been gone! Sometimes when he is gone, once the kids are in bed I have little motivation to do any writing. This time around, seems like there has been lots to write about!

Zoya

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Talk the Talk and Walk the Walk

Today I'm feeling much better. Thank heavens!

Two nights ago, I went to dinner at MJ's house with the kids. Not feeling great, but it was nice to be with other people for a few minutes and the kids had fun spinning around on MJ's mod George Jetson chairs.

During the conversation, a friend of mine (E.) whom I treated many months ago said, "Zoya, you're not considering working this week, are you?".

I replied, "Well, yeah. I'm probably going to cancel out tomorrow morning then see clients the rest of the week." My sister Ella had been asking me the same thing earlier that day.

E. looked at me with a stunned look on his face, and said, "What? Zoya, you need to take time off and rest and let yourself recover from this. I would be very disappointed to find out that my physical therapist doesn't follow her own advice."
These words really sat true with me. I didn't want to disappoint him, or myself by not giving myself the time to heal. Its funny how all day on my job, I am an advocate for letting the body doing its healing, scaling back activities for a while and setting the stage for healing. Then, more often than not, healing does occur.

But when it comes time to my own health, I have a hard time seeing how that same advice should apply to me.

I was surprised how E. told me how he would be bummed to find out that I don't follow my own advice. And he told me "....you have to make that initial investment in healing those first few weeks, but then it pays off later in a more complete recovery." These were my words to him during PT. Words that I tell folks on a daily basis as a physical therapist.

They were words I didn't WANT to hear, but I needed to hear them. When I got home that evening, I called up my office manager and gave her the heads up that I would need 1 full week without clients to make sure that I healed up strong from this vertigo. Thus far, it feels like the right decision. Vertigo and lightheadedness is lessening and I"m feeling on the mend.

Thank you, E.and Ella for joining forces to help get me on the mend!

Zoya

Monday, September 13, 2010

Vertigo

The past 10 days have been frusturating-I have been suffering from an unexpected bout of vertigo. (Vertigo is the sensation of spinning or whirling that occurs as a result of a disturbance in balance). Two weekends ago, I got a very brief stomach virus, which was quite mild, but caused the room to spin very intensely one day. Since that time, I felt lightheaded and dizzy. I didn't have any fever or other severe symptoms from the virus, but this continued feeling of dizziness. I was drinking plenty of water and was well nourished and rested, so I wasn't sure what to attribute it to.

Then last Saturday, Patrick had left hunting for a 1 week goat hunt trip. I looked up to the top shelf to get a plastic bag off of it, and the room started spinning intensely-so badly I had to hold onto the cabinet to not fall over. It happened once more later, and I thought "I have bengin paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)"...a condition I'm familiar with from my work as a physical therapist. Over the years I've treated clients with BPV with a maneuver called the Eply maneuver which repositions the crystals in their inner ear canals and it works quite quickly.

So I Googled "Eply Maneuver" to make sure I got the specifics right and tried the maneuver on myself. After doing them. the vertigo got MUCH worse. ALl of a sudden I couldn't walk without feeling like I wasn't drunk. My friend Roxann came over and we decided that I needed to go to the ER. Mary Jane met me there and I had to close my eyes for much of the car ride because looking out the window was too much. In the ER, I could barely walk-but fortunately I got a doctor who has worked with clients with vertigo in the past and he knew just what to do. He did a very similiar maneuver to the one I did at home--except it was fine tuned. It worked. Thank heavens. I was about 80% better after the visit. I was able to walk out of the ER without problems!

The maneuver consists of these different head positions which are held for 30 seconds. It works to shake the cantaliths back into place. The mistake I made at home after doing the maneuvers was that I "tested" out whether the technique worked by putting my head in the challenging positions, which caused the vertigo to get worse and worse. I should have kept my head in neutral after doing the maneuvers.

I was sent home with home positioning program and advised to sleep at an incline and avoid the positions of my head which caused the vertigo for 1 week.

Unfortunately, this meant canceling out my week at work. This bummed me out terribly, because I really love my job. But I have to put my head in many positions up and down as a physical therapist and it wasn't worth causing a bout of vertigo.

Patrick is still gone goat hunting. When he called, I told him that I had been to the ER and am not working this week. I hope he comes home ASAP. Taking care of the kids with the lightheadedness is challenging. My patience is low and I feel tired and low-grade crummy.

My friends and family have been wonderful with calling and checking. And offering dinner and helping with the kids. Tonight we went to dinner at a friends house, which was wonderful. And on the day I went to the ER, I came home and Roxann had stocked the fridge full of food and was vaccuuming the house! Incredible.

Dr. Walters today re-assured me that this will take some time (1-2) weeks to fully pass, as it is most likely a virus that affected my inner ear somehow. The mechanism of BPPV is somewhat unknown, but it is usually self-resolving. I can't wait to feel normal again!

In the meantime, I'm holding my head fairly still and moving slowly. And trying to keep my chin up till Patrick returns home!

Zoya

Friday, September 10, 2010

Radical Reels II


It's that time of year - I'm off on a remote goat hunt and the Radical Reels Film Festival is once again coming to town. Last year Zoya and my favorite films were the ones about the lady who climbed REALLY scary stuff all by herself and the group who tightroped over various abyss. Check out this trailer at YouTube. It looks like it will a good event this year too. Read below for more info. Inspiration to make our own movies for the local film festival next spring!



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=py9g1cAU5jM

Fast, steeper, higher, deeper! Island Trails Network presents The Radical Reels Film Tour Saturday, September 11th at the Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium. This division of the Banff Mountain Film Festival focuses on dynamic, high-adrenalin films featuring sports such as skiing, climbing, kayaking, BASE jumping & mountain biking. Box office opens at 7pm on Saturday at the Auditorium. Come see what all the excitement is about and get a chance to win some awesome door prizes!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Birth. Choices.

This post was written quite some time ago, several days after returning from a doula client labor which ended in Cesarean birth. I hastily wrote the passage below, then decided to wait a long time before posting it. Primarily because I didn't want there to be any connection to a hospital staff member or situation surrounding a specific birth, as this town is very small. I want to put some thought into what procedures are done to newborns the first hour after birth--what is required? what is optional? Also, in reflection, I will discuss my personal dilemna about whether I could've done something differently...


The mom was down in recovery from ceserean and the dad was up in the nursery with the baby. A friend of the couple and I watched through the window as the nurse did the babies vitals, weight etc which she did as quickly as possible then swaddled the baby up and handed him to dad. It took dad a solid 15 minutes to bounce the baby around to get him calmed down and not crying.

Then the nurse comes over and says, "Ok, hand him over. Its time for his bath." I was thinking to myself, "Bath? Hes not dirty?!" but I didn't say anything. It wasn't my place to say anything. By this time the dad, his friend and myself were in the nursery. The dad looked at me a little confused and handed the baby over. I think we were all a bit speechless.

The nurse took the baby from the dad, got the baby naked on the counter, and put him a small plastic tub filled with hot water which sat in a large cold stainless steel sink. The bright nursery flourscent lights were on and as soon as he was naked, he screamed so hard he stopped breathing (seemingly--you know how when babies are really mad and nothing comes out of their mouth they are crying so hard). The bath was quick, but watching it seemed like it took forever. I understand that babies need to be bathed at some point (in the days or weeks following their birth), but they are born from moms sterile womb and to induce such shock on them during their 1st hour of life seems unfair. That first hour of life is so precious, and such a transition from the womb to the world. Why not save some of the weight, foot prints, etc for later and just let the baby be near his dad in a dark, quiet place?

Some Afterthoughts...
--I later asked a Kodiak OB Nurse if it is to bathe a baby after a cesarean and I learned the answer is "No". In fact, if parents request, most or many post-partum procedures can be delayed 1 or 2 hours to give mom and baby bonding time. Of course, if something is wrong with the baby's function, then things change. In this case, the dad had the option of waiting on a bath indefinitely...so he could've taken the baby right to the hospital room to help sooth and quiet the baby.

--The second topic of conern with this scenerio was the interruption into the first hour of birth. The first hour is a time which can never be given back. Mom and Baby have the highest levels of Oxytocin (Love hormone and the hormone that causes uterine contractions) then they'll have at any other time in their life. This first hour of bonding is such a critical one--as the stage is set for mom and baby to connect and initiate breastfeeding. When this is interrupted with optional medical procedures that could be done at a later hour (or day) then this precious bonding time is lost and will never be recovered.
Research shows that if the time is delayed for mom and baby to spend together after birth, then breastfeeding is more difficult for them in the first few weeks of life. Here in Kodiak, mom is able to request that the baby stay with her after Cesarean birth, and depending on the situation (staff and circumstances surrounding the birth)-this request may be granted. This means the baby can stay down in the Recovery Room with the mom. If this isn't able to happen, the next best thing is for baby to be on the dad or birth partner, where baby can feel the persons warmth and hear their heart beat and voice.

--As a doula, I ask myself, "What could I have done differently? Should I have done anything differently?". A doula works with parents during labor to help support them emotionally and physically during the hours prior to and following birth. In that moment, perhaps I should've tapped dad on the shoulder and gently let him know that he has the option to hold on the bath. Or not. At the time, I wasn't 100% sure that the bath was optional, so I didn't say anything. Even if I did know it was optional, maybe I still wouldn't have pointed it out. In general, I don't give information unless it is requested from me by parents. Some parents like to have their little ones bathed right after birth, and others prefer to wait. The important part is that the parents had the ultimate say in what happened to their little one AND they were presented with options. Choices.

This post gathered dust sitting in my drafts folder. In all honesty, I've been nervous about publishing it. Birth topics are so close to my heart--and yet I don't want to upset staff or offend anyone, so this post is one I've needed to sit on and decide how much it really meant to me. In the end, if writing this means that 1 person in Blog World is able to look at the first hour after birth with a new perspective, and perhaps share in discussion with 1 other person then it will have been worth it. Its important to keep the healthy birth conversation going!

Zoya

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Holiday Weekend Happenings







FAIR
Labor day weekend brought fairly nice weather to Kodiak and Sunday afternoon was perfect for heading to the Kodiak Fair and Rodeo. Patrick's favorite part is always looking at the food and animal entries in the 4H contest and seeing which veggies won ribbons. He is bound and determined to enter a potato next year! Many friends of ours made entries, which was inspiring to Patrick.

BIKE MANIA
On another note, Stuey is learning how to ride his bike with pedals! For several weeks, he would say, "I want a bike with pedals" (as he rode his pedal-less run bike). Now he has a small-framed pedal bike that he is in love with. He can go down our driveway without assist and is starting to attempt turns. I believe within a week or two he'll be able to go up the driveway as well.

A fun part of biking in the evening with kids is that a neighbor boy (M.) always comes over on his bike and joins Nora and Stuey. He is so pleasant and listens to Nora and Stuey as they talk to him. Yesterday we saw that Nora was starting to stand up when she was biking, imitating M,--as he stands up a lot when he bikes. Then I saw Stuey try standing, and I said, "Stuey-you need to learn how to ride your bike sitting, then try standing." I think he got it.

As we parted our ways in the evening, M. said, "Good night Nora". The kids said, "good night, M." He pedaled off and said, "Don't let the bedbugs bite!!".

JULIE AND JULIA
I saw the movie Julie and Julia over the weekend and just loved it. I identified with Julie's enjoyment with blogging AND it got me inspired to start cooking more again. I would love for Patrick watch Julie & Julia, even though it has one of his least favorite actresses (Meryl Streep) in it. (I personally love Meryl. She scares me). Meryl did such a fabulous job as Julia! Very believable. Last night I said, Patrick-sometime this week do you want to rent a movie? His reply?
"Sure. As long as it not critically acclaimed. And nothing foreign. Or with subtitles." I had to assure him that Julie and Julia is neither of those. (but I didn't want to break the news that Meryl Streep is in it. I think he loves Julia Child enough that he can let that one slide...)

Zoya

Camping with Lisa & Gregg



I spent Sunday night up on the mountain with Lisa & Gregg. We took along my Mega Light teepee tarp and a woodstove, lit the stove, and life was good. I usually bring along a firestarter (one of those wax soaked cubes) to help start the stove, but this time I forgot. I discovered that the 'pocket rocket' propane stove works great as a blowtorch! Probably not the safest way to light a stove but it is a good trick to know for when times are desperate.

Yesterday morning I woke up well before dawn, lit the stove, heated up water for coffee and tea and cooked up Rice-a-Roni for breakfast. The stars, gibber moon, and sunrise were all spectacular. And best of all, less than an hour after sunrise we harvested a deer. I love camping, but bringing home meat brings substance to a camping trip - gives it a purpose. Tonight I'll go to Lisa and Gregg's to butcher and wrap the deer, and, hopefully, we will have deer ribs and liver for dinner.

Photos: Top - Gregg and Lisa drink their morning brew (tea with sugar and cream) while they contemplate the sunrise. Bottom - Teepee tarp and the sunrise. If you look carefully you can see the stove glowing red underneath. We usually set up the teepee a bit off of the ground to create more room - and also everyone can just slide out from under the edge to get in and out. No need to navigate through the crowd to use the door. Patrick

Saturday, September 04, 2010

The many faces of Nora

Recently we got Nora a 'Hello Kitty' camera for her birthday. Actually, to be honest, we got the cheapest digital camera we could find at Walmart and then put a 'Hello Kitty' sticker on it. Nora loves to take pictures of herself mugging for the camera. It's quite funny to see the various poses she strikes for the camera. Most of the pictures are blurry and it seems every time we download our cameras to the computer I have to spend an inordinate amount of time deleting REALLY bad photos. But put them all together into a video and they are rather funny.

I can't help but wonder if camera self awareness is a bad or good thing? Will this behavior influence her in some way? Will she become a model or movie star (Yikes - I certainly hope not!)? Or will she simply learn to control her facial muscles to make various funny faces and grow bored with the camera in time? Somehow, I think the latter scenario is more likely. Patrick

UPDATE: I just noticed that Youtube disabled the audio for my movie. It worked when I first put it up and now it does not. Oh well - try to imagine 'Freeze Frame' by the J Geils band while you watch the video. And since the band blocked my audio I will no longer purchase any music by them ever again! So far this means I will never again purchase music by the Grateful dead, the BeeGees, Gloria Gayner, Paul Simon, and now The J Geils Band. I would think artists would want people to hear their music played on youtube because then other listeners are more likely to buy it. I still do not understand the downside, as far as copywrite issues go, of allowing people to use your music on personal Youtube videos.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Hunting with Bruce




Last weekend Bruce D came down from Anchorage for a visit and a deer hunt. The kids loved seeing 'boose' (rhymes with moose), and on Saturday afternoon Bruce and I headed up into the mountains for an overnight deer hunting trip. It was quite the trip. We went up into one of the more scenic and inaccessible parts of the Kodiak roadsystem - a place where neither of us had ever been before. And best of all it was not foggy or raining when we woke up! There were deer everywhere - we counted at least 20 deer and saw 3 good sized bucks.

Then comes the part I am not so proud of - we shot and lost a deer. I shot a rather large buck perfectly and it promptly died and fell to the bottom of a 1500 foot deep chasm. I climbed about 500 feet down into the chasm and realized that even if I found the deer at the bottom that we would not be able to climb back out again. It was a REALLY scary place, and I did not want to slip and follow the deer down into the abyss. I was also worried about getting stuck half way down into the cliffs. So with great reluctance we left the deer to the bears. I am quite sure it will get eaten; this year the salmon are late and the bears are rather hungry.

It has been very hard to lose a deer. For a couple days it was all I could think about. It seemed like such a waste. But as the week progressed I moved from denial to acceptance and now feel good enough that I can even write a blog post about it. In my defense I have harvested almost 80 deer and this is the first one I lost. I have come to realize that despite trying to do everything right sometimes things go horribly wrong. It happens. Occasionally deer do fall off of cliffs.

Photos: Top 2 photos - Bruce contemplates the abyss whence the deer fell. Bottom photo is of me and the small woodstove we brought along. Tent and woodstove weigh a little more than 3 pounds all together. Patrick

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Life on the Peninsula AD 500


Tonight at 7 PM in the Alutiiq Museum gallery I am presenting the results of our summer's archaeological excavation over on the other side of the Alaska Peninsula at the Penguk site. We spent 4 weeks excavating a 1500 year-old Norton village on the King Salmon River near Pilot Point. Mosquitoes, bears, and really cool archaeology. If you are interested you should come to my talk! Patrick

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Stu Moves

video

A short video of Stuey's first day in dance class. Stuey picked out the white shirt...he said, "mom-I want to wear this to dance class". When we went to get him ballet shoes, there were no black in his size, so we got him pink. Hes happy with them!

Zoya