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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Nora phrase of the week: Binky is My O-eee O-eee

Anyone who has been to our home lately knows that Stuey's big word is "O-eee", "O-eee" meaning he wants mommy nursing time. Yes-my two year old still nurses. Its good for him and for me, the mom, too! Anyhow, when he wakes up in the morning, he says "O-eeee", "O-eee" over and over again until I sit on the couch with him. This evening in the kitchen, Nora wanted her binky from its hiding spot on top of the cabinet. Nora said, "I want Binky Mamma. Binky is MY "O-eee, O-eeee".

Got "O-eee, O-eeee"?

Spring is in the air and out comes the tricycle from the shed. Noras first moments on the tricycle...caught on tape. Our neighbor who drove by (who has 6 kids) probably thought we looked ridiculous getting so excited over such a moment...but we're allowed, right?!


Kodiak's Local Ski Mountain

This morning the kids got up at 5:15 AM, and woke up Zoya and I too. So to kill time until I have to go to work I ignored the kids and made a ski map of Pyramid Mountain. I tried to put all the runs that we regularly ski and all the local names and lingo onto it. Features marked in blue are places, in red are ski runs and yellow marks the trails we use to climb the mountain. I guess you could say that yellow marks the 'lifts', red the 'runs' and blue 'locations'. Just like a real ski area trail map! I am not the greatest photoshop technician magician so not everything is exactly where it should be - but I feel it gets the job done.

I love Pyramid because it is so close to town. After I get off of work I can drive to the mountain, climb up and get a 1700 foot ski run, and be home in just 2 hours. As Zoya puts it - it's just like going to the gym - but better. Patrick

Monday, April 27, 2009

Seaweed Salad Recipe

Finally, a seaweed salad like they make at the Powerhouse restaurant! It's something I've always wanted to make, but the seaweed part intimidated me. To make seaweed salad it seemed I needed to know which seaweed to pick, how to dry them, and then I needed to find a recipe. So I've been saying I'll pick my own seaweed and make a salad for years - only to never do it.

This past Saturday I decided to just wing it and try. Go on a guess and a whim so to speak. I've had the Powerhouse seaweed salad enough times now that I figured I could 'back' engineer the recipe.

So I took the dogs down to the beach to see what I could find on the rocks at low tide below the house here on Mill Bay. I picked a bunch of what I later determined to be ribbon kelp. I took it home and rinsed it in fresh water for about an hour. Then I dried it on an oven rack on the counter. I tried to dry some in the oven too - but this was a miserable failure. The stuff I put into vinegar turned into a sublime salad.

Here's how I did it:

1) I only picked the smallest ribbons of kelp that lacked the rib down the middle. I also snipped them off the plant rather than pulling the whole plant up - this way I did not kill the plant and depopulate Mill Bay of my new found garden greens supply.

2) I soaked the fronds in freshwater for about 45 minutes and changed the water once. At the end of the 45 minutes, I took all the fronds out and spread them out on a rack (Pictures 2 & 3).

3) I let the fronds air dry for an hour or so at room temperature and then cut them up into thin strips (as thin as I could cut). I saved time here by layering a bunch of fronds on top of each other and cutting them all at once.

4) I put all the strips into a non-reactive bowl and covered them with rice vinegar. Just enough vinegar to cover them. Then I put them in the fridge for 3 hours.

5) After 3 hours I poured off all the vinegar (I used a sieve) and then coated the seaweed strips with sesame oil. I used a tablespoon or so - a good hefty dose anyway. At first I could not find any sesame seeds in our cup board so I added some 'Aji Nori Furikake' that someone had left in our spice cabinet (perhaps a tablespoon or so). It appears to be a mix of ground up seaweed, salt, sugar, bonito extract, and sesame seeds. I also finally found the plain sesame seeds and added a bunch of those too. I guess since it all depends how much seaweed you pick that I should just say that seasoning 'is to taste'.

6) Then I stirred it all up and ate it (top picture). Zoya was impressed with it too. And I must say it actually tastes fresher than what they make at the powerhouse. And hey, it's free for the picking! Patrick

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Auntie Ella Leaves :(

What a fabulous weekend with Ella. Makes me realize how I haven't had enough time with Ella over the years--the distance between Maine and Alaska is great and I am so glad she made the trip up here for 3 days.

She is a true Auntie to the kids--helping buckle them in, helping them speak, rejoicing in their cute phrases or actions and helping me problem solve the tougher moments. Ella has such a resilence, sense of humor and sensibility to her--she is a strong, loving person. She gives the kids so much love and attention and yet has a firm, consistent edge as well. I felt like the weekend was "mom-camp" where she got me re-invigorated about parenting and taking my kids to the next level with their speech, independence and play abilities. She showed me how to do more annunciating so Nora repeats after, therefore giving her more language practice. She suggested we go to North Star park, which the kids LOVED. We have spent close to 2 hours there between yesterday and today. And she reminds me how Nora is turning into a "big" little kid--she is starting to thin out and has big kid ways of saying things now.

Oh how I miss Ella. There is nothing quite like your sister to hang out with, to discuss the nuances of life, to reflect, predict and rejoice in the highs and lows that happen in the world.

I vow that I will now make it out East without my kids so I can be a true Auntie Z to Leo, Zeke, Brooks and Davis. And to get some more 1:1 sister time in!!


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Barb's Visit

"Barb" (alias name) is here from Maine and we're having a great time together. She planned the visit with little notice-after the death of a high school classmate. We attended the memorial service yesterday and have had a chance to hang out and catch up with eachother. She came to Kodiak without her husband ("Rick") and kids, which gives her a chance to be Auntie "E***" to Nora and Stuey.

The other night we had a dinner with our friends Meghan and Bruce and meghans parents from the midwest (Deb & Tom). They brought home made deer pepperoni, which was just fabulous--especially when paired with wonderful midwest cheese. Preston and Wendy & their daughter Maddy were also in attendance--we're going to miss them terribly when they move from Kodiak in a month or two.


Spring Corn

Yesterday I went up Pyramid with Preston. Perfect conditions! The snow has corned up and these days it seems like it is light forever. We checked on the snow cave and found that it has been expanded. We also met John S who has recently moved back to Kodiak. Another day on the mountain. Photos: top 2 - Preston skinning up the 'yak track'. Third photo is of John ripping it into the South Bowl while the bottom photo is of Preston doing the same. Patrick

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Buskin Goats

After a week of completely soggy conditions we finally got a couple of hard frosts. And the snow set up enough for me to go skate skiing again. I had not gone skate skiing in almost 2 weeks! In two weeks it has gone from powder on a hard crust to corn snow. I skiied way up the Buskin and got above the canyon where I found these goats. It was pretty darn cool to look down on them from so close. I also noticed a few deer on the same snow free slope. I guess all the animals are moving to the south facing slopes to get the first greens of spring.

On my way back I also noticed that the classic cross country skiing up the river and into the canyon is done for the year. The river is now free flowing and no more ice bridges (bottom photo). Sad day. Patrick

Beauty and the Beast

The first crocuses appeared in our yard 2 days ago and spectacular spring skiing yesterday. Just remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I know which one I want to pour clorox onto. I swear, those guys were ready to go under the snow. I wonder if they bloom under the snow? Patrick

Monday, April 20, 2009

Beach Chariot

A couple of pictures from the day before yesterday when I took the kids to the beach. I also took the dogs. Nora and Stu love having the dogs on leashes out in front of the stroller (no photos unfortunately). I'm undecided whether the dogs on leashes make the stroller more like a dog sled or a chariot. It actually works pretty well and the dogs do help with pulling the stroller up hills. Only issue is that my hands get tired holding onto both the leashes and the stroller handle bar.

The kids love the beach. They fill cups up with pebbles, and they fought over who got to carry the backpack down to the beach. At the end of the visit when we packed up for home, Nora and Stu put quite a few beach rocks into the backpack to 'take home to mommy'. Back home they played with the rocks - setting them up on various window sills etc. Patrick

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Whiteouts, Snowcaves, and Slush

Yesterday during the wedding shower at our house I headed up the mountain with Lisa and Gregg. Great snow, but pretty much a total whiteout. A most happy surprise to find a ready built snowcave waiting for us on top. It was such a white out that at first all we saw was a black square hovering in the air. We investigated and found the cave. We hung out inside waiting for it to clear up - it never did so we skiied on down. Once below about 1000 feet it finally cleared up so we could see. The bottom photo is of the avalanche debris coming out of the canyon into the old gravel pit at the bottom. Lisa actually did not pose in front of it - but I needed something for scale so I took her out of the photo immediately above and pasted her into the avalanche debris photo. I know, I know I'm a total cheat. But rest assured I always fess up when I cheat. Patrick

Saturday, April 18, 2009

kids beach

Wow. What an incredible day. I was at a birth as a doula all day today-- and arrived back to the house just in time for the bridal shower that was underway here for Melissa Dover. Thanks to Anne, MJ , Patrick and Rose for getting the house together in my absence! I was helping with the throws of labor when the bridal shower started here at the house. So many wonderful blessings in one day. So much joy and love.

Patrick took the kids to the beach while I was at the hospital--and took the following video.


Deer, avalanches and Sashimi

The top photo is from my ski on Pyramid yesterday. I love when I look back up the mountain after a run and see only my own tracks (click on picture to enlarge view if you want to see the tracks). Unfortunetly, it may look good, but the skiing was not all that great. We've recently received a dump of super wet snow and it was very gloppy. We need it to freeze up and turn to corn snow. Also note the HUGE pile of avalanche debris in the bottom left corner of the photo. Up high on the mountain a cornice broke off and created an avalanche that almost reached the road.

The next picture shows what you do not want to see when walking the dogs to Abercrombie Park. Lately, I've had to put the dogs on their leashes before we get anywhere near the park. Deer are taking over the neighborhood. We've even had deer walking through our yard. Late the another night, I had to chase one off with snowballs. I do NOT want my dogs chasing them. It gets a little hairy when walking on the ice in the park when they see a deer and pull me off my feet. Worse yet, when they see a deer in the yard and freak out barking and jumping at the windows. Needless to say, but I do not like urban deer.

Finally, the bottom 2 photos show Mike's birthday sushi and sashimi from last night. I loved the wasabi 'leaves'. We took the kiddos over and had quite the meal. It was supposed to be a surprise but Mike sniffed it out in advance (he saw the order in Roxanne's handwriting on the wall of the Powerhouse sushi station). Zoya snuck out a little early with the kids, and I did not notice for a full 15 minutes (the kids were acting up and Zoya thought I'd like to stay). So I stayed an extra hour and then walked home. It was a beautiful evening - I wondered why we always drive places when walking is so pleasant. Patrick

Thursday, April 16, 2009


We're a bit late writing about our Easter Day. So many things going on this week!!

We had a wonderful evening with friends here at the house and a dinner which included a potluck style meal--scallop ceviche, a shrimp-feta dish, a broccoli mushroom casserole, roasted deer leg, roasted veggies, wild rice, a corn pudding dish, yummy salad and dessert, of course. :)
Roxann and Mike brought some plastic eggs with stickers inside so we hid those around the house (well, actually in plain sight, but that was hard enough for the kids). Stuey, Nora and Cece ripped around the house with their baskets and squealing with delight finding the eggs. Simple pleasures.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another Public Lecture

Last week I did the adventure lecture thing; this week I do the archaeology geek thing. It's a wonderful life. To whet your appetite for my lecture tomorrow night here are two of the slides from the talk. I hope to tell all about the use of sea mammals through time on Kodiak. The lecture it is at 7 PM in the Alutiiq Museum gallery. Patrick

A note from Zoya
...Please come to Patrick's talk. I am so bummed I can't go because I'm teaching my childbirth class at the same time. I tried to think of ways I could abstractly relate sea mammals to birthing, but the stretch was a far one. I was thinking that perhaps I could convince my birthing class to attend Patrick's talk, but I don't think there are enough ways to connect sea mammals to human birthing. Oh well. at least I got to see his talk last week!! :) Zoya

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Betty & Al

And no, 'Betty and Al' are not new aliases for friends who wish to remain anonymous on our blog. We always call Lisa 'Betty' when we go skiing because that is what it says on the back of her skiis. I think 'Betty' might be the hip term for women among the ski bum crowd at resorts. Hence ski marketers put it on their skiis in the hopes of selling more to women. I just like calling Lisa 'Betty'. And since Lisa is Betty - Gregg has to be Al. We got the latter from the Paul Simon song, 'You Can Call Me Al'.

If you'll be my bodyguard
I can be your long lost pal
I can call you betty
And betty when you call me
You can call me al
Call me al

Anyway, the pictures are from our ski on Easter Sunday above the golf course. Pretty nice day for a ski in mid April! Patrick

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Yet More Snow

Yup - we got more snow last night and I love it! Kind of weird because we got around 6 to 7 inches at our house but downtown got half that much and the airport only got around an inch overnight. I think our end of town got a blast of 'ocean effect' snow. It made for good powder skiing on the mountain. Patrick

Saturday, April 11, 2009

It's White Out

This is what it was like on Pyramid around noon. When you ski in this stuff you tend to gravitate to anything dark. Your mind thinks, 'look I can see something - let's go there'. Basically you are in a world that is all white and has no bottom - except occasionally when you hit a bump or drop off of a lip. Up higher there were no dark objects at all and it was very disorienting. Patrick

April Powder

I'm in Heaven and probably everybody hates me for it, but I'm loving this freak snowstorm. Another 1/2 a foot - woo hoo. Today I went up Pyramid and went downhill skiing. I skiied up to the top and met Lisa and Gregg on my way down. Up high it was a total whiteout and I had to use my altimeter and compass just to find the way down. Sort of weird going blind and not knowing quite when you'd fall into a hole. It's even weirder when you ski by the viewfinder of your digital camera. That's what I did when I shot Gregg for this video. The quality is a bit jumpy because I shot the video at 15 rather than 30 frames per second. Also it was snowing pretty hard. ... .. Patrick

Goings on Around Here - and more snow

Lots happening this weekend in Kodiak. Last night Patrick gave a presentation as part of the Island Trails Network adventure night. Patrick presented on his trip to the South end of the Island several years ago with 'Ricky' where they encountered lots of bears. It was fun to hear him present on it--and hear the whole story from start to finish.
Last year when he presented at the ITN meeting, I didn't go because I had heard the "rough draft" several times the week before. This time, he didn't practice with me around, so it was all new at the talk! I was so proud of him--with the energy and enthusiasm he has about his trips. His curiosity about the land and the world really is contagious--and I imagine it will be passed on to our kids. It is definitely contagious to me. I love learning from him. He has so much excitement and desire to know more how and why things happen in nature. I love it.

Sharon W. presented on a glacier exploration trip and Philip T. presented on his kayak trip from Homer to Seward. All amazing adventures. I can't imagine hiking up a glacier, crossing crevasses nor can I imagine spending 6 weeks in a kayak. Its fun to see more about these amazing trips people do.

Melissa D. is in town from California for two weeks, so we have enjoyed catching up. She is staying next door and I enjoy our coffee hour in the morning when she walks over in her pajamas. Melissa left Kodiak 1 year ago, and is engaged to be married this August in California.

T & R
Thomas and Rose K. have been in town with us for a week-and today Thomas took off for his fish and game job. He'll be back in a few weeks before leaving for his summer post in the field. Rose will be here in town until she leaves with Patrick and the archaeology crew for digs.

BIG snowflakes fall as I write this--winter hangs on. Its so wild. There is so much snow on the ground and it continues to snow--I believe there was one day this past week where spring was in the air. The temperatures got into the low 40's and I had small hopes for some signs of spring. At least its not raining!! The snow keeps things bright.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Public Lecture Tonight!

The Island Trail Network is having a Membership Drive/Fundraiser tonight at the High School Common, and I am on as a public speaker. I'll be talking about a float trip I did down the Sturgeon River with my brother back in 2004. Needless to say, but we ran into a LOT of bears. Other talks include a glacier travel ski trip on the Alaska Peninsula and a Prince William Sound kayak trip. There will also be a silent auction. It ought to be fun, and you get free big Al's pizza with your yearly membership. The price of admission is signing up for or renewing your membership to ITN. So see you at 6 PM at the High School Commons. Patrick

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Power Post

I love eating at the Powerhouse. The food is great and the views of the channel like nothing you could ever get in the lower 48. Where else can you sit and watch sea lions cavorting while you eat sashimi? And inevitably there is an eagle on the fence looking in at you - checking out the human world from outside. I wonder if he/she is interested in us or just our food? Patrick