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Friday, December 29, 2006

My niece, Cami, with her first quilt

Over the Christmas Holiday, I taught my niece, Cami, to quilt! She received a "learning to quilt kit" on Christmas day which got her started making bean bags and small creations. This also was her first time sewing on a sewing machine!

Cami was a quick learner and became comfortable with the sewing machine very quickly. And she didn't bum out too much the first time she had to do some seam ripping (I told her the story about how I cried the first time I had to rip seams out on my first quilt!) I was thrilled to be able to teach her how to quilt, as I recently learned in August and have completed 2 quilts in that time.

It was like an episode of Extreme Quilting...the sewing machine purring away for 2 days while Cami watched her masterpiece come together before her very eyes!!

The lady at the local fabric store graciously loaned us a rotary fabric cutter, a cutting mat and a book with a beginners pattern. I just love small towns!!

I look forward to seeing more of Cami's future creations... :) (ZAS)

Present Opening Christmas Morning

Everyone opened one present in front of the group, then it was a "free for all" where there was a mad flurry of wrapping paper and ribbons and within 15 minutes all presents were opened. This made the kids very happy....and didn't give the babies time to fuss. (ZAS)

Group Shot Christmas Dinner

Christmas dinner at the McCarthy's in Homer, Alaska-2006.
The group photo:
From Left clockwise: Cami and Bern Kohler, Bonnie Stark, Patrick, Nora and Zoya Saltonstall, Mike and Cathy McCarthy, Kellen, Ben and Todd Stark, Peggy and Bryan Kohler. (not pictured-taking a nap-Aiden Kohler).

Patrick and Nora at Christmas Dinner

Nora had a bowl of Christmas dinner goodies and especially enjoyed the mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce!

Towards the end of the meal, Patrick showed us how he feeds her like a Robin bird-she tilts her head back, opens her mouth and he drops in food. She laughs and gets such a kick out of it! For the most part, she is a self feeder now, but she'll let Patrick and I occasionally feed her chunks of food.(ZAS)

Nora, Zoya, Peggy and Aiden

My sister Peggy and I with our little ones. Peggy has 3 kids, Cami, Bryan and her youngest, Aiden. Aiden and Nora provided ample "excitement" between them getting into things, crying, and occasionally taking part in "parallel" play with eachother. At one point Patrick asked, "When will they do right angle play, or even 30 degree play??" :) (ZAS)

The Moose Caboose B & B

Homer Alaska Sunset

My parents place in Homer was at maximimum capacity so we stayed at the Moose Caboose, a converted rail car B&B.

The sunset on our first evening at the Moose Caboose was spectacular!

The first two nights we called our B&B the "ice cave" because the heating was minimal. I had to bundle Nora up in her fleece hat, fleece pants, etc....and put her playpen near the heater. By the third night, we requested an extra heater which made a world of difference! All in all, we enjoyed our stay in the Caboose (ZAS).

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Deep Powder

Yesterday we got another 7 inches of cold powder. Went for a quick ski this morning - last chance to downhill ski because tonight we leave on the ferry for Homer. And wouldn't you know it - I forgot my climbing skins! The road was impassible past the golf course so John Larsen and I skinned (and hiked) up from there. I kept on falling in up to my chin, and had to crawl up the hill using the skiis and poles has 'hand snowshoes'. It took me an hour and a half to climb 1200 feet. Today I earned my turns. Needless to say, I only did one run. But It was worth it. (PGS)

Friday, December 22, 2006

More Snow

The day before yesterday we got another 7 inches of snow. Best of all, it stayed cold the entire storm. Generally, in Kodiak, it rains at some point during the storm. But not this time! The snow bending the spruce boughs and blue ski above made for great visuals during my ski through swampy acres. I broke trail the whole way and the snow was so deep I was sweating pretty good by the time I got back to the car.

Right now it is snowing again, and it looks like another 'cold' storm with no rain attached. Life is good. :-) (PGS)

Pyramid Mountain Rip

Yesterday the skiing on Pyramid was pretty good, but with all the recent wind you had to look to find places where the slopes were not wind scoured. In this photo John Barklow skiis down into the South Bowl. Up near the top (as in this photo) it was packed powder, but down near the road (at the bottom of the 'cornice run') it was knee deep powder. With the alders and salmonberry patches as obstacles, it was tree skiing in Kodiak! (PGS)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Winter in Kodiak

Winter has arrived and life is good in Kodiak. It snowed for the last two days and more snow is in the forecast for tomarrow. It is my favorite time of year. Roads are icy, sidewalks slick, but the skiing is great - I'm loving it! (PGS)

Pyramid Mountain

The recent cold temperatures and snow make it difficult to decide what to do after work. I could go downhill skiing on a mountain, skate skiing on a lake, or cross country skiing up a river. We do not usually have so many options! Today I cross country skiied up the Buskin River, but I was looking up at the mountains and wondering if it would have been an epic day of powder skiing on the peaks. It was a day where I could not lose, and I'm sure I'll get to excersize all my options by spring. (PGS)

Buskin River Ski

With all the new snow the cross country skiing is great. Today I skiied across Buskin Lake to the old military road on the far side. From there I went up and explored the headwaters of the Buskin River. I came upon the tracks of an old bear still feeding on the spawned out silver salmon remaining in the lake. I was surprised by how many fish I saw - the Buskin would have been a good place to hang out in winter for prehistoric Alutiiq foragers. During the whole ski i was in awe of the contrast between the mountains in the alpine glow and the dark woods down below. (PGS)

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Big Rooster - Costa Rica 2001

The last 24 hours in Kodiak has been sleet and snow. Not that we mind this type of weather - The skiing has been spectacular - But it does feel appropriate to insert a little tropical fun to the blog.

This photo was taken when we were returning from a deep sea fishing trip with Tomas in November of 2001. Tomas and I had basically been shut out on sail fish (not totally true - we did have a double hook up but the skipper decided Tomas was the more important client and backed up over my line to help Tomas catch his sail), and the crew decided to have one final try for surf fish just outside the harbor at Quipos. Needless to say, it was Zoya's turn on the rod when we got a strike. Zoya fought and fought and Tomas and I waited for her to tire so we could grab the rod. The skipper and crew could not believe we were letting the 'chick' catch the fish. And she did! Only person shut out on that fishing trip was me.

Rooster fish are famous for their fighting abilities, and Zoya got a big one. Many people travel to Costa Rica just to catch a big Rooster fish, and they often return home dissapointed. Not Zoya. Back in Kodiak when she returned to work her co-worker Skip, a fishing fanatic, was particularly impressed with the photo. (PGS)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Visitors From Anchorage-Family Friends

Last night we had a visit from William Watson and Zebila Hering. William is living in Anchorage and Zebila is from Germany. Wil is the son of Peggy Watson, a long time friend of Emmy Lewis, Patrick's mom. He has been living in Alaska for many years and this is our first time meeting him.

Wil and Zebila are on a 2 day trip to Kodiak and last night they camped in the snow in 20 degree weather with high winds. We insisted they stay at our place, but they were eager to try out Kodiak winter camping. I am eager to hear how their night went. I'm impressed with their passion for Alaska winter camping! (ZAS)

Monday, December 11, 2006

From the Archives - Durban 1989

Since our friends Gregg and Lisa are off to South Africa for Christmas I thought I'd post a few pictures from when I lived there. This picture was taken on the very first weekend I hung out with Philip Kemp. The night before I had climbed a coconut tree on the beachfront in downtown Durban to gather a coconut. I had never actually seen one growing on a tree and I wanted to pick it. Philip is using a machete to cut it open while his dad watches. It turned out to be a dud. But I was happy because I did get to pick and eat paw paws and avacados and even bananas that were growing in Philip's parent's yard. My coconut tree climb also impressed Philip and everyone watching. (PGS)

From the Archives - Capetown 1990

Actually, I believe this photo was taken at Charlie's house in Somerset Wes. I was visiting with Dean and we went out crayfishing in really rough weather. That was the only time I did not snorkle for them - generally you'd go snorkling and dive down and look for them. All the time thinking about Great Whites (lots of those around South Africa) and sticking your hands in holes looking for crayfish but sure you'd grab a moray eel. Then you would find a crayfish and you would have to relax and wait for it to release itself - all the while you'd be running low on air. Great fun - and crayfish are VERY tasty. (PGS)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Girls Holiday Party...No kids allowed or guys allowed (but Babies were OK)

Today I held my annual holiday party...different from previous years. In years past, we've done a cookie exchange but last year I ended with with so many left over cookies that I knew that wouldn't work again.
This year everyone was in favor of a girls holiday drink and appetizer party without kids. How peaceful it was! There were 3 beautiful babies in attendance, all of whom got passed around and oooohhed and ahhhhed at.
Some of the favorite drinks involved egg nog, rum, coffee, mulled wine, cider, etc....Homemade chicken wings were also a big hit.
It was a cold, rainy day outside-perfect for staying inside and catching up with everyone!
In this photo is (left to right) Balika Haakanson, Melissa Dover, Libby Eufemio with daughter Janie and Alexis Jackson. (ZAS)

Alisa Abookire, Baby Elias and Betsy Lund

Baby Elias is 4 months old and he is a "guy Smiley"...just SO smiley!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Dressing up like Mommy

Lately one of Nora's favorite activities has been to go into the dressing closet and try on all of Zoya's clothes. Generally she is not very good at putting them on, and simply sticks her head through a conveniant hole. We'll be wondering where she she went and why she's been so quiet when she'll appear all decked out and very proud of herself. (PGS)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Happy Dogs

Jake has made himself at home. The doggies like to sleep on this bed so that they can watch who comes to the backdoor. Roxy is much happier with a constant companion. PGS

From the Archives - Christmas 2000

Another blast from Christmas' past. This was our first Christmas card and we were quite proud of it at the time. We even figured out how to print it on both sides on our home computer. Now-a-days Zoya has shutterfly print the photos and she pastes them in at home by hand.

The Christmas tree in the photo is from our back yard. I still try to cut one from the back yard every year. I figure it will help keep our view of the ocean clear. Nothing like a home-grown 'Charlie Brown' tree. (PGS)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Cheddar Bunnies

Nora loves her cheddar bunnies (PC version - organic and healthy and all that - of old school goldfish), and if I'm feeling lazy I'll set her on the floor with a bag of them. She'll happily entertain herself chowing down and feeding the dog. Hands off entertainment! The problem is that Roxy seems to be gaining weight. (PGS)

Little Miss Busy Bee

Nora loves the phone. Mommy loves the phone too. The phone is one of Nora's favorite toys. This is the real phone I am talking about. She wants to be just like Zoya. Nora has already called the operator and gurgled and squeeled to the operator's confusion. We believe it is inevitable that she'll call 911. But, heh, it keeps her occupied and entertained - better than most toys. (PGS)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Zoya at 28 weeks pregnant

I'm feeeling the baby kick a LOT now. I can see my belly move as our little one moves! (Patrick isn't able to feel him kick...I think taking hot pots off the stove without a hot pad have possibly hurt the little nerve endings on his fingertips). At least hes honest about not feeling anything!

From the Archives - Homer, AK 2000

This Christmas the we are off to Homer to spend the Holidays with Cathy and Mike and family. So we figure it is time to post a few photos from the archives on past visits to Homer.

This photo was our first trip to Homer as a couple. Ella met up with us in Anchorage for the Anchorage-Homer flight. We had the luxury of occupying the last row of the "puddle Jumper" airplane from Anchorage to Homer. Patrick-sandwiched between the twins. Ella to HIS left, me to HIS right. Patrick was in twin heaven. :)

The flight was VERY rough-High winds. I had to use the airsickness bag....and Patrick was kind enough to carry it off the airplane for me upon our arrival at Homer.

From the Archives - Homer, AK 2001

Generally, the twins eat all the stuffing or desecrate the turkey (stealing the choice bits) before the big meal. But in this photo they are getting an early start on the salad. It's a good thing they are smiling - a little earlier there had been some tears and recrimination when Zoya had diced rather than sliced some apples for Ella's pies. (PGS)