Search This Blog

Friday, August 31, 2007

4th Anniversary

This morning Patrick's first words to me were, "Zoya, Happy 5th Year!" What sweet words to wake up to!
Yesterday was our 4 year wedding anniversary. Weather was gorgeous and somehow we managed to sneak off to dinner quickly at the Powerhouse.

Getting out of the house was a different matter-Nora was napping, the plumber came to fix a water -on- the- floor problem in the kitchen, Stuart was needing mom. So we took Stuart and left just Nora with the sitter.

Patrick got me red roses and chocolate haagan daaz ice cream yesterday afternoon. PERFECT anniversary gift. The day before we had agreed to not get eachother anything, but Patrick-being the good husband he is-knew the way to my heart! Chocolate and roses all the way!


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"No", Raffi and Parenting Musings

As of late, Nora has started saying "No". As a parent, I know that soon I'll wish she didn't know that word, but I am just enjoying her new ability to say "no". She shakes her head very sweetly and softly says, "noooo". I don't mind one bit when she says no, as she has an opinion about it and she is (finally) able to express it. I smile inside and out.

Tonight I introduced Patrick to the world of Raffi-popular child acoustic musician since the 80's. We got a Raffi in concert video in the mail from Cathy and Mike for Nora's birthday and tonight after dinner we watched it. Nora digs Raffi -big time. When Raffi says, "stomp your feet" or "stretch your arms up" Nora goes right along with him.

And amazingly enough, I don't get sick of it one bit. Raffi is an acoustic solo guitarist who engages kids (and adults) with his children songs. Patrick made jokes here and there about Raffi during the video but by the end, Patrick said, "I have to admit...he is pretty captivating."

The other day I was in the hosptial for a meeting. I brought Stuey and by the end of it, I had nursed him to sleep. Since the meeting ended I put him on my shoulder and he stayed sleeping. I walked out to the elevators. Several people walked by including a nurse. The conversation went like this:

Nurse: Ohhh....what a cute baby.

Me: Thanks. He just fell asleep.

Nurse: Ohh.....I just miss those days of when my guy was small.

Me: (sigh) Do you remember how much work it is?


Then I felt really bad for replying the way I did. I wanted to belt out, "I think you have selective mommy amnesia."
Granted, she caught me on a morning after a VERY rough night of sleep, with Stuey in a case of serious diaper rash, teething, etc...

Me: Oh, well you remember-sleepless nights, teething....

The nurse just looked at me and smiled as she got in the elevator to go down.

I don't know who the nurse was-she must be new on the floor since I have been at the hospital.

So many people tell me how they miss the baby days, and I'm sure they do-but they probably don't remember the fatigue, sleepwalking feeling which can accompany the first few months.
And I know I will miss the baby feel, snuggle, coos....and I do wish I could bottle that to experience forever.

That said, I learned to just keep my mouth shut, no matter how tired and sleep deprived I am.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Fall is in the Air

Lately it's begun to feel like fall. All the pushki has bloomed and are dying off, the leaves are turning in Bells Flats, and the fireweed is beginning to 'sprout cotton'. Today it is raining hard and blowing almost 30 out of the Northeast. The first big storm of the fall? It certainly feels like it. Soon the hills will be brown and we'll be getting our first frosts, and I'll start thinking of ski season. But first there is still some hunting to do.

On Saturday I got up at 4 AM and climbed up to the alpine with John Barklow. A chilly (42 degrees in town!), spectacular morning. We started our hike through a spruce forest in the dark with stars above. The occasional murrelet winging by on his way to the sea to feed. Once we got above the trees, the sunrise lit up the mountains with pink. Not a breath of wind, everything soaked in dew - a great day for deer hunting.

In the first bowl we came to we counted 7 does and 8 fawns. No bucks but it certainly seems like the deer survived the winter in fine shape. We made our way to another bowl where I had spied a herd of deer from afar while hunting 2 weeks ago, and we found a bachelor group of bucks hanging out in the same spot. At this time of year male deer like to hang out in 'bachelor' groups in the alpine - later on the groups break up and the individual bucks get more territorial. But for now it's 'guy time' in the alpine while the does and fawns hang out in the lower bowl 'nurseries'.

John hunts with a bow which means he has to get within about 50 yards of a deer before shooting. This is no easy feat on the wide open alpine tundra. On Saturday John snuck down a steep (he measured it at 40 degrees) slope to within 21 yards of a deer. I was a lot less sporting and used a rifle at 220 yards to harvest my deer. As you can see we are both very happy with the deer we got. Later on we had to hike 2 1/2 hours back to the truck with very heavy packs. At one point John remarked that when he thinks back about hunts he always seems to forget about the agony of the back pack out. And he's right - by the time I had my deer hanging in my shed and went for a walk with Nora, the pack out was already a distant memory. My memory of the hunt is the deer in the bowls and the pink light on the mountains. Patrick

Sunday, August 26, 2007

1/2 marathon race training

Karen and I are training for the half marathon on October 6th.

The first ever "Run the Rock" is sponsored by KMXT and it is the only big fall season race. My friend Erin spearheaded the project last spring when she wanted a local fall run to train for.

Training for a race has felt so good. I haven't done a race since the Tour of Anchorage many years ago...2002 perhaps? Or was it 2001? Anyhow, the race course for our half marathon is from the end of Anton Larsen Road to the golf course.

Patrick says there is about a 500 foot elevation climb over the pass-past pyramid and back down. Karen, Jeremy and I decided the best way to practice for that would be to do a run on a long elevation such as pillar. So thats in the mix in the next few weeks. Jeremy has run many full marathons, and karen many half marathons, so I much appreciate the expertise on how to train for it!! Karen reassures me that we'll be ready for race day. I get really excited thinking about race day!!

We're up to 6 mile runs and hope to get an 8 mile one in over the next week or two and do a 10 or 11 mile run before the race. Karen and I run at the same speed which is nice. Its a good balance. I don't feel like I'm always chasing her and she and I take turns taking the lead.

I've never felt healthier in my life. After we do this race, I'll look towards the Tour of Anchorage in March. Thats the 16 mile ski race where Dicky and Ella will come up to do the race as well. Talk about sibling competition-Patrick and Dicky and Ella and I....yowsers!! :) Hopefully we'll try to keep the competitive juices at a minimum and just focus on the fact that we'll all be together on the days surrounding the race.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Dinner at Karen and Jeremy's!

This evening we went to Karen and Jeremys for an event filled, DELICIOUS meal!

Jeremy's friend, Jack, was in town from Portland. He has two kids of his own, so he understands the craziness which can surround little ones!!

The night started off on the beach in front of their house. Patrick taught Nora how to eat the various plants on the beach and Jeremy was giving a try at catching a salmon off the beach.

The wild times began when we headed back to the house for the meal.

Nora was out of sorts, screaming, crying-tired perhaps. Very sad and wanting to be held lots. So patrick and I (and Jack, Karen, and Jeremy) took turns holding Stuey and Nora and doing our best to keep Nora from melting down before the night was over. Jeremy put Nora on his shoulders, Karen danced with Nora and they both held Stuey when Nora needed mom time.

Somewhere in the middle of the evening, it was just a comedy of errors-perhaps it began with Nora toppling off the back of the piano stool she was sitting on...she was fine. Just a bit shaken up. (luckily we didn't need the expertise of the ER doc and nurse in the room....)

Then Patrick backed his chair up into the piano, dinging it. Ouch. I felt really bad about that one. Took a significant chunk out of the piano.

Stuey was burping up over and over again all over their floor (and Jeremy's parents are arriving tomorrow!!).

When I inquired about turning on the ceiling fan for Stuey (he LOVES looking up at ceiling fans), Karen attempted to turn it on, and the light fixture on the light came out, so Jeremy had to pull out the ladder to get it back into place.

When it was time to go at the end of the night, I saw that my keys were locked in the car. The guys discovered one window which was slightly down, and Patrick was able to nudge it further down. I was convinced we'd have to call the locksmith. The task of finding an appropriate object to unlock the car began. Karen and Jeremy didn't have any wire hangers, so Jeremy went under the house to look for something and we tried various kitchen options. Spatula didn't work. Karen suggested the fire poker. At first we dismissed it as being too unflexible, but by golly-it worked! Got the door unlocked. Thank heavens. By that time the kiddos were most definitely ready for bed.

Admist this semi-chaos, we had an amazing meal of salmon, roasted veggies and home made rhubarb strawberry pie by Jeremy. The food was all amazing, as well as the spirt of the night-conversation and good times.

Karen and Jeremy had so many little touches for Nora- They had little gold fish crackers for Nora, a juice box and even a mini Ben and Jerry's on store for Nora for dessert. So sweet! And when Jeremy had made the rhubarb strawberry pie, he crafted an "N" for Nora out of left over pie crust. Such thoughtful touches for Nora.

I told Karen, "hopefully we'll get invited back again before the kids turn 18!!"

I have to remember that these times will indeed pass...and that we won't always have a toddler and baby around. But boy is it hard sometimes!!!


Photo Credits: Taken by Jeremy and Karen
Top: Left to right, Jack, Karen, Patrick, Zoya and Stuey
Middle: Patrick taking Nora outside to help diffuse the screaming
Bottom: Stuey enjoying all of the evenings festivities

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hebrew National

The Kodiak chapter of the Audubon Society has a summer hiking program where knowledgable locals lead hikes into the backcountry and on the various paths about town. I am proud of our hikes - they are not your typical tourguide leading a bunch of tourists on a dog and pony show. Rather they tend to be an eclectic mix of locals and off-islanders getting together to check out a new trail. And the leaders are locals and NOT professional tour guides. Your leader might be the local radiologologist, archaeologist (me), or even a doctor. Off-islanders who join the hikes get to actually mingle with us locals as well as see Kodiak. Every summer as a form of community service I try to lead one or two hikes.

This year I lead a hike up Mount Monashka. A tough climb up a 1900 foot mountain with spectacular views out over the ocean and town. There were all the usual locals - the radiologist, John Mahoney, a former crab biologist who now works for the halibutt commission - along with a visiting couple from Israel, Leah and Moshe. I got to talking with them about hot dogs; I wanted to know why kosher hot dogs are so much better than all the rest. I also mentioned that it is very tough to find kosher dogs in town.

Anyway, the hike went well, a few weeks passed, And then a big box arrived at the Alutiiq Museum. Overnight priority mail from a company in California. It had a keep refrigerated sticker (symbolized with a schematic penguin), and looked vaguely medical in origin. Both Zoya and I suspected it had to do with her plans to ship breast milk to Africa (whole other blog entry there!). Imagine our surprise when we opened it to find Kosher hot dogs - Hebrew National brand. They were amazingly well packed, nestled in gel packs and dry ice, and NOT frozen. And so good to cook on the grill. Now I think I know the secret to Kosher dogs. I bet they get a lot of extra care, are well packaged and not frozen! Thank you Leah and Moshe. Patrick

Fishing Out Front

Here on Kodiak, it's Silver Salmon season. Every year Zoya and I like to catch and freeze around 6 silvers for winter consumption. That's around 18, omega 3-filled meals and, eating salmon once a week with a few misses for Thanksgiving etc (who wants fish for Thanksgiving?), those 6 fish generally last until March. And by March silvers have generally lost their appeal and are beginning to taste like the freezer. So through trial and error Zoya and I have come down to freezing around 6 fish per year. This is tough because silvers are so much fun to catch! It would be easy and a lot of fun to freeze 20 - but also wasteful and irresponsible. However, everybody loves to catch fish and this time of year it is hard to pass through downtown without someone offering you a fish.

So the fish are returning to their home rivers, and it is time to stock up. Last night Mike Pfeffer and I took one of my inflatable canoes out into Mill Bay (photo is a view of Mill Bay from our porch), and managed to catch 1 halibutt, 2 silver salmon and numerous small cod (I kept one for dinner tonight). Mike caught his halibutt about 20 feet from the beach on the first cast, and he hooked (and lost) a silver on his second cast. I love fishing out in front of the house. While waiting for Mike to arrive I looked out the window and checked for 'jumpers'. And Zoya gets to watch us fish - if she needed us to come home early she could have gone outside on the lawn and hollered. How many people in America are lucky enough to get to fish right outside their living room window? Patrick

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lovin' everything baby

I'm loving all the baby things about Stuart-his soft hair, baby smell, soft skin, chunky legs, rubber band wrists. If I could bottle all these aspects of babyhood, I would. When I hold him, he snuggles his head into my neck and does his little "baby bats" on my arm with his arm. SO CUTE!

His coos are so tiny and so cute. They do exactly what they're supposed to-get my attention and give him lots of kisses. Lately he has been babbling a lot more and having little conversations.

Stuey is an easy guy to have in our bed at night. Sleeps pretty hard, doesn't thrash around much and when he wakes up in the morning, he dishes out the first smile of the day. He looks over at me and looks at me as if to say, "Hey its you, mom-you're my favorite person in the world!!"


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Nora's 2nd Birthday

Today was Nora's birthday and i was more excited for it than I ever would've imagined! The anticipation of Nora seeing her cake, eating dinner with friends and just talking with her about her birthday!

The morning started off with her wanting oatmeal for breakfast-something we haven't had in the cabinet for a week. So we went to Safeway, she sat in the little fake car in the front of the shopping cart. I picked up several other non-essential items along the way-some fruit, carnations, a donut for me. Nora squealed when we reached the oatmeal section and she held on tightly to her oatmeal box. We breezed through the checkout line and I was on our way out the door when it occured to me that Nora was still clinging to her oatmeal ox. We hadn't paid for it. So we stood in line and paid for the oatmeal. Close call!!

After a leisurely breakfast, Patrick and I decided that a road trip to Kalsin bay beach for fishing and walking along the beach was in order. The drive went smoothly-Stuey slept and I loved the opportunity to take my Forrester for a spin and put the car into 5th gear a few times! Patrick tended to Noras needs in the back seat-the game of charades of trying to guess what she wants. Food? Water? Toy?

Stuey awakes and we arrive to Kalsin Bay. Perfect timing.

The beach was so quiet. It was 11 AM and no one was there. Patrick walked along and looked for jumping silvers. There were jumping fish-but they were humpys. He gave a few casts and walked on ahead further down the beach to scout for better fishing.

Nora and I hung behind. I think it didn't take her long to want daddy around so I ended up carrying Nora until we were reunited with Stuart and Patrick.

The crashing of the small waves along the beach was so calming and beautiful. There wasn't the sound of people or cars to cloud the beauty of the water.

On the drive home, we repeated the song "ba, ba black sheep" on the kids CD and before we knew it, both kiddos were asleep. yeah!

For dinner tonight we had Karen and Jeremy and their friend Jack, Gregg, and Mary Jane. Deer roast, salad (homegrown lettuce and carrots), homemade bread (by Gregg), roasted garden veggies (potatoes, beets, thyme, rosemary). Nora was quite excited about her cake. I asked the cake place to make it in the shape of a watering tin-like a garden watering tin. Their pink rendition turned out pretty cute. Except the licorice meant to be the handle broke. The ice cream cone was meant to look like a spout.

Nora opened her first gift all by herself tonight. Lisa McCormick made her a silver bracelet-and she loves it. We put it right on her and she hasn't taken it off. She walks around the house with it on, rather proud of herself! It fits so cute around her chubby wrist!!
I only wish Lisa could've been there to see her open it. Fortunately we got it on video, so we'll show it to her. (Lisa is out of town in Juneau on a business trip.)

It was a fun 2nd birthday. I couldn't imagine a day more perfect. Now Nora winds down by playing in the sink as I write this, Stuey sleeps away in our bed and Patrick is only 100 pages till the end of Harry Potter. He was up until 1 AM last night reading it. I think he is as eager to finish it as I am for him to finish it!! Zoya

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Kid times

This past week has been an exciting one-between me going for training to be a breastfeeding peer counselor, Nora's speech therapy, a trip to the ER for me for Mastitis, and houseguests....never a dull moment. The past several nights I went to bed early for 9-10 hours of MUCH needed sleep. The sleep seems to have recharged my batteries. Thank heavens.

Now all is quiet. Patrick didn't go hunting this morning-he reads the latest Harry Potter at the moment. Nora continues to sleep and Stuey makes cute baby coos on the floor. And he flashes me big smiles. Such a smiley guy, I tell ya. When I had to go to the ER at midnight several nights ago, I brought him along. He just flashed smiles to everyone around. He made me smile and laugh as well. He didn't seem to mind the midnight outing one bit!!

Nora is finding her groove with her speech more and more every day. Lots more babbling and imitating of words going on. It is so fun to listen to! Her confidence is growing. If I knw it is a cracker she wants, I say, " say ccccrrrrrraaaaacccckkkkeeeerrrr". The Then she may say, "Craaaaa" and I praise her and give her the cracker. The speech therapist discovered that if we draw the word out she can grab on to part of the word. It really seems to work!

Another thing with Nora is she will drink any fluid (including essential milk!!) if it is in a shot glass. Its just a perfect size for her!! She can grab it with one hand. Only problem is that we have to refill it several times. Pretty funny, actually!


Friday, August 17, 2007

Bears in the 'Hood

Kodiak is famous for its large brown bears. And amongst people who study these things it is also well-known for how well the city folk and bears get along. In general people in Kodiak rarely see or have problems with bears - despite the large number of bears that live in close proximity to town. Places like Juneau, Girdwood and Anchorage (lots of problems with bird feeders in spring there) do have problems with bears. Partially it is because Kodiak is more bear aware, but the authorities that be have also made some good decisions. Our dump is fenced off to bears, all of our dumpsters are bear proof, and you do get fined if you do not use the dumpster properly. Some credit should also go to the bears. Around town they are generally nocturnal and very very shy. Elsewhere on the island they are generally out and about in broad daylight. According to ADF&G bear biologist Larry Van Daele bears have adapted and changed their behavior so that they can live close in to town. It is very rare to see a bear close to town - by far the majority of Kodiak residents have NEVER seen a bear close to town.

So imagine my surprise while walking with Nora and the dogs to Abercrombie to see a set of fresh bear tracks. Sometime today, in broad daylight, a young bear walked the entire length of Cliffside Road. Best of all, I called the biologists at ADF&G and it appears no one saw the bear! The tracks were so fresh when I first saw them that they were still wet around the edges where the weight of the bear had 'squigee'ed' the water out from under the paw. It rained this morning and the tracks were on top of the car tracks of people going to work. So the bear did walk down the road in broad daylight. Amazing. Just a gentle reminder that we do live in a special place with bears all around. Its just that the bears usually choose to stay hidden. Patrick

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Com Arch Ends

Community Archaeology ended last Friday after a day and a half of backbreaking backfilling. All the dirt from 3 1/2 weeks of excavation went back into the hole. Why is it that we have our smallest crews when we backfill? For the stretch run of week 4 we lost 2 of our veterans Chase and Rose but gained Molly Odell. Molly came down to join us from Fairbanks were she has been working with Justin Hays at a contract archaeology firm (top photo). Nothing like professional help! Molly got her start as an archaeologist as a Com Arch intern at Zaimka Mound back in 2002. Now she is at graduate school at the University of Washington. We're proud of our hometown product and it was good to have her back.

On the second to last day we had a crew lunch at the Rendevous to charge up for the backfilling to come, and Zoya, Nora and Stu joined us (second photo). And yes I am wearing a tiara. I promised the crew I would wear one out of solidarity for our all female intern crew (I really wanted a 'Power Puff' teashirt). It got a little embarrassing later in the day back at the site when we had visitors and I forgot I had the tiara on. Half way thru my site tour spiel I was wondering what the big smiles were all about, and then I realized.. ..It's the tiara. How stupid I must have looked!

During the last week we also finished excavating what we hope will be a 7000 year-old house. It had stacked sod walls, a stacked sod bench and huge postholes. It measured almost 5 meters across! The big discovery for the week was that the house is associated with a thick layer of midden (trash). It indicates that this was more than just a temporary camp 7000 years ago. In the bottom photo you can see this house in profile. It is the black layer near the bottom. In the photo above, Don Clark takes a break while Mark Rusk directs and and everybody works on uncovering the house floor. Patrick

Go Barney

What a heck of a morning. Trying to get Stuart down for a nap in with Nora running around the place. I got him down and I hear crying several minutes later. Nora had gone in his room and was kissing him. This morning it dawned on me that I should have Nora watch a video while I get Stuart down for his nap. This afternoon that seems to be the ticket. Nora is happy, Mommy is happy and Stuey is sleeping. Thank heavens!!

Today Amy, the photographer who is staying with us, discovered that Nora has a back molar poking through. That would explain the full day of crying Nora did yesterday and lots of drooling. She was just a mess-That can't feel good! :( So this morning I gave her motrin which seemed to hit the spot.

Oh geez. Nora just started crying which woke stuart up. Being a stay at home mom is serious work. Patience, patience, patience. lots of patience. Arghhh.....


Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Wild Kingdom Hunt

Community archaeology ended on Friday with a backbreaking day of backfilling in our excavation (more on this in another post to come), and after a quick dinner and shower Mike Pfeffer, Mark Rusk and I headed up in the evening to go deer hunting and to rejuvinate our spirit. We chose to hunt an area we have nicknamed the 'wild kingdom'. A few years ago while hunting there with my friend Justin Hays, he commented that there were so many deer he felt he was in a scene from the old TV show 'Wild Kingdom'. The moniker stuck.

The hike up the mountain with camping gear was a slog, but the wildflowers and views at the top were worth it. A dense fog rolled in from the sea and covered the low country with a white blanket. Friends told us later that they were surprised we were able to see anything the fog in town was so thick. But up high it was glorious. The top photo shows the wildflowers near camp in the evening - fields of fleabane (asters), arnica and paintbrush. After an epic sunset that reminded us of what we missed in the rain while hunting last weekend we hit the sack with visions of big deer dancing through our heads.

We woke up at 5AM to a red horizon over the fog blanket with islands and mountains poking up through the mist (second photo). The snow topped volcanos of the Alaska Peninsula were clear on the horizon 50 miles away. Over coffee we glassed the surrounding bowls for deer (third and fourth photos). Finally it seems the deer have moved up into the alpine - the late spring had delayed their annual summer migration to the high country. This morning there were deer everywhere!

By 7:45 we had harvested two sitka blacktail deer, and Mark and Mike (who had done the shooting) had to restrain me from harvesting a third. We were too far back in the hills to even think about carrying out three deer. And two deer were hard enough. In the bottom photo Mike and I admire the view on the way home. Tomorrow we will cut the deer up into tasty packages to savor all winter long. When I open a package of deer meat I always like to check the date on the outside indicating when we harvested it. This date will bring back memories of a camping trip on the top of the world. Patrick

Friday, August 10, 2007

Quiet Friday Night

A few moments to myself as Nora and Stuey are finally in slumber land.

Tonight Patrick is out deer hunting, so the bedtime routine for Nora is my responsibility. Patrick is a tough act to follow with smooth bedtimes. A bit of crying from Nora, but not as bad as it could've been. And Stuey was quite tired himself.

Amy Johnson, a photographer from Colorado, arrived this evening. She will be taking photos of about 10 families here in town this week. She is staying at our place. Her website is . How fun-a real time professional photographer at our house! Wow!!

Good weather forecast for the weekend. Summer hangs on. Yeah!

This evening Roxann came by for a bit and we caught up while sitting on the floor in Noras bedroom. Cecilia is on the go. It is so fun to watch her move all over. Stuey's pork chop figure weighs him down a bit, I believe.

Now that I'm not working, I don't get time to just chat with Roxann. So moments like this evening are treasured. Just fun, spontaneous friend time!


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Bad Hair Cut

Today I got the worst haircut of my life. And our family photos are next week. I cried. (Patrick is appalled that this entry will overshadow his radio carbon dates. )

My usual hairdresser was out of town and next week we have family photos taken. So I figured I should get my hair trimmed up a bit before the big photo day. My student hairstylist trimmed away and I had hopes that I would walk out a new person-a haircut with an edgy, new modern twist. Or even just a cleaner version of my usual look. But, no-I didn't get either of those.

When she was done with the back, I felt the back and said, "Its all one length. Oh, no. I look like plain jane." I think I said that about 5 times. When she cut my bangs, i sat in horror as my bangs had vanished. No more sweeping bangs to the side. No more sophisticated bangs. Back to a more 5th grade look. I think my bottom lip trembled for the rest of the haircut. I just bit my lip trying to not cry.

My student hairstylist kept apologizing and she didn't let me pay. She offered to have me come in the next day to have it fixed up. No way, Jose. The tears flowed at the check out counter. I got into my car and cried on my drive home. I remembered how horrible a bad haircut is.

Patrick says I should apologize and pay for the haircut.

Mary Jane says its the worst haircut she has ever seen on me. And she was very serious.

So woe is me. At least hair grows out. I can get hair 911 when my usual hairdresser returns. Not in time for the family photos, though.


Olga Lakes Dates

Today I finally got the dates back from Beta Analytic, Inc for our survey down on the Olga Lakes. We sent them samples of charcoal from various sites and they told us long ago the various trees, whence the charcoal came, died. Now we know how old the various sites actually are. I already had a pretty good idea about how old the sites were based on the style of artifacts we found and the types of houses at each site, but it is always exciting to get back the absolute dates! I know, I know I am a science nerd. I must admit I have been checking my email daily of late, just hoping to get one from Beta Analytic.

Now I know that the house pictured in the top photo was occupied by an Alutiiq family around the time of the Battle of Hastings. While the Normans were invading England in 1066 an Alutiiq Family was happily building a multiroom house on the Upper Olga River. Processing fish while their European counterparts were busy shooting arrows at each other (Harold the King of England caught one in the eye if I recall correctly).

The big surprise from the radiocarbon results was that the housepit Brian and Justin are excavating a test pit into in the lower photo dated to 5500 years ago! That's older than the Pyramids of Egypt. I guess people on Kodiak have liked to fish for salmon for a long long time. No real suprise there. But we had expected a 2000 year-old date for that site. A pleasant surprise to get a date so old. Usually housepits that old no longer show on the surface. It's the oldest housepit I've ever seen that still showed up as a housepit on the surface.

Today we finished with our Community Archaeology excavation at Salonie Mound. You can bet that I'll be eagerly awaiting the radiocarbon results from a new set of charcoal samples I will be sending off to Beta Analytic. I have hopes the house we excavated last week will be over 7000 years old. But I need the radiocarbon results to be sure. I'll keep you posted. Patrick

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Busy days

Stuart and Nora are both sleeping in. Stuart has been sleeping better at night-5 or 6 hour stretches. I have to watch that I don't dress him too warm as he over heats easily-especially since he is in bed next to me. As long as he is cool, he sleeps fairly hard.

Jane, at Just Janes Quilt shop, calls Stuart her little Pork Chop. That nick name sticks. I LOVE it! He is my little pork chop. I like bringing him into the quilt store as he gets passed around from lady to lady. Stuart likes dishing out the smiles. Quite the little cuddle guy.

Sunny weather this week which is so wonderful. Summer is hanging on. Over the weekend we had a day where there was a strong, cool breeze and it felt like fall. I rather liked that! I love the colors of the mountains in fall and the crispness in the air during September and October.

These past 2 weeks have been remarkably busy for Patrick and I. Hard to find any time to do anything together. Patrick is very busy with the dig and hunting and I was busy moving the Spin Studio. Now thats all moved and done with, thank heavens. What a big project it is getting settled into a new space! The dig is done in the next day or two and then life will resume on a more normal course. Phew!!


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Hunting Season

Ski season is over and Hunting season begins! Last Friday night Mark Rusk, Chase Tingle, Mike Pfeffer and I headed up the mountain to go deer hunting. Rain in the forecast and actually pretty dismal even when we hiked up - but hey, it's deer season. Who knows what it'll be like the next day. Only one certainty during deer season - You will not shoot a deer if you stay home.

So we went up the mountain, and it was pretty dismal. We camped in the last spruce trees before the alpine. Little meadows full of blooming arnica, monkshood, canadian dogwood, and alpine leutkea. Beautiful, but very wet and foggy. We set up the shelters and hunkered down for some fine scotch, miso soup and later tea. Not a bad way to spend the evening (see bottom two photos).

Of course it was raining the next morning so we slept late. But just after breakfast it cleared up enough that we were able to go hunting. And we found deer! In the top photo I am hiking home with half of the deer. Chase Tingle carried the other half while Mark and Mike carried back camp. On Sunday night we had my long-awaited favorite meal of the year - fresh deer liver, new potatos, bacon and onions. Patrick

Stu Feeding Time

Stuart began solids a week or so ago and he definitely puckers and spits out a lot of the rice cereal and canned baby carrots. Last night, however, I tried canned baby bananas and he seemed to take to those better! And boy are those yummy. I had a little taste of it, then I had to hold myself back from not having more of them. Its just bananas in a jar, no sugar or anything but it was so sweet and smooth. I never thought I'd hear myself say that canned baby bananas are good, but they really are!!!

There is a bit of a dilema over the wooden high chair. All of a sudden since Stuey is using it, Nora wants to use it as well. Sigh. And telling Nora, "oh thats the baby chair, thats just for babies" doesn't mean anything to her. I think left to her own devices she would love to do all things baby!! Yesterday when I was getting her into the car she climbed into Stueys rear facing car seat. And didn't want to get out. Telling her that she has her own big kid car seat doesn't make an ounce of difference.

Yesterday at the post office I took Nora in to get the mail and there was a couple minute wait for our package. As we waited, nora kept wandering away. I had to guide her closer to me. When it was time to go, she laid down on the floor in protest crying. Classic post office scene. I just smiled and laughed somewhat as I 'kid wranged' her under my arm and out the door. One of those classic moments any parent knows.

The photo on the bottom is of Mark Rusk, the archaeologist who is here for 5 weeks for the dig, and Chase tingle, who is a college student from New Hampshire. He drove out here from New Hampshire for the dig! Ambitious and adventerous. He left on the ferry several days ago and is heading back out east.

A Parade of Quilts

Brandi received 3 quilts at her baby shower...
-the yellow and white is an antique quilt and it has embroidery on it (so intricate and gorgeous!) From Darla Merritt
-the pink and green floral is one I made her ( I still have to put the binding on it)
and the umbrella theme quilt Paula Ensign made her (perfect theme for Kodiak! She also has to finish hers...).

Gosh I just love quilts. My friend Karen says quilting is very "holly homemaker". I suppose it is, but gosh I just LOVE doing it!!

Brandi's Baby Shower

Over the weekend I had people over for Brandi Norkus' baby shower. Several ladies (and kids) came over and there was lots of laughter, fun, presents to open....I know Brandi from working at the hospital, as she and I were pregnant at the same time with our first kids. Her son Matthew was so fascinated with the balloons at the baby shower. He loved reaching up to try to get them!! Zoya

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Com Arch Week 3

Another week of Community Archaeology in the books, and we actually got to dig every day! It did rain pretty hard on Thursday, but we did put in some time on the excavation anyway. And 'putting in time' is about the right choice of words. On arrival at the museum, I had actually called it a rain day and everybody was happily cleaning artifacts. But it stopped raining. A visitor to the museum even expressed surprise that we were not out there digging. According to him, 'the roads are dry all the way to Chiniak'. So at 11AM I decided to go for it - and as we drove out to the site it started to rain again. But hey, we were on site so we dug. Before long it was a slippery mess and the crew looked like pro mud wrestlers. I decided to quit early and as we drove to town the sun came out. Some days you just can't win.

Nonetheless, while we might have lost a battle on Thursday we certainly won the champaign for the week. We got to the very bottom of the site and partially uncovered what looks like a fairly substantial structure that is over 7000 years old. It appears to have had an outside hearth and is surrounded by numerous large post holes. The holes you see in the photos once held wood posts that supported the roof of the structre - when they rotted away they left holes in the dirt for us archaeologist to uncover. They basically mark the outside walls of the structure; it was almost 15 feet across! Quite the pad for the Alutiiq foragers at the head of Womens Bay 7000 years ago. It may end up as the oldest complete house ever excavated on Kodiak Island, but I'll wait until we get radiocarbon dates back before making that claim (last year I had to eat crow about a similiar claim).

In the top photo Mackenzie shows off a 7000 year old basalt lance head that she found on the floor of the structure described above. In the next photo the crew works at uncovering the structure's bottom layer. The bottom layer is a smear of charcoal spread out all over the floor - the inhabitants later refurbished the floor of the structure with grass sods and the later floors were smeared with red ochre. In the bottom photo Don Clark takes a break while the crew enjoys their Friday afternoon energy drink break.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Busy Week, Hunting begins for Patrick

What a busy week since returning from the mainland. We moved the Spin Studio this week to underneath the Little School of Dance. Its so wonderful to have it all done with! phew!! I hooked the stereo and computer up today-so now we can go ahead with classes next week. I got some used plastic food and toys along with a used kid chair there and Nora can play there and stay occupied for a good 1/2 hour or so. I put Stuart on my back in the back pack and he falls asleep as I walk around and organize things. Nora seems to enjoy our new location quite well.

I've been sleeping so hard at night-between taking care of kiddos, cooking, cleaning and moving the studio I'm zonked by the end of the day. This is the busiest I've been in a long time. I become more efficient the busier I get. I get crackin' on my to-do lists. Funny how that works!

I'm training for the KMXT 1/2 marathon in October with Karen-so thats been a great reason to keep focused with exercise. Karen and I are going to run tomorrow and we have a 9 week 1/2 marathon schedule that we're going to start taking somewhat seriously.

Patrick is in archaeology and hunting modes. First deer hunt of the season tomorrow. They'll camp tomorrow night and hunt Saturday morning. Weather has been crummy-lots o rain and wind right now.