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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lion King Anchorage Weekend & The Deep End

This past weekend Nora, Stuey and myself ventured to Anchorage to see friends, family and watch the Broadway musical, The Lion King. For years I've wanted to see the Lion King, and figured we should take the opportunity to watch it here in Alaska. Meghan and Bruce, Nora and myself all attended the show. It was spectacular. Amazing. Breath-taking. Tear jerking. Whimsical, modern...words really can't describe what an incredible production it is. Nora loved it as well-I was concerned about her not sitting through a 3 hour production, but she did great. There was so many dynamic animal characters that kept her laughing!! In between scenes when the crowd clapped, she would clap enthusiastically then give me little kisses of joy on my cheek. And she was a very enthusiastic laugher at the funny times I had to rein her in a little bit. :)
(Stuey stayed with my brother in law, Todd, and had a grand time as well!)

In Anchorage, we stayed with Patrick's cousin (now my cousin, too?!) Will and his wife, Beth. We enjoyed many meals with them and the kids really enjoyed going down the stairs on the stomachs, as we don't have stairs here so they are quite the novelty. Fun times and great conversations were had.

I think I may have conquered the deep end at the pool.
Tonight I did lap swimming for the first time in 5 years and by the end of the session, it occured to me that my heart wasn't pumping any faster as I swam over the deep end. Part of me thinks that doing the ocean swim in Mill Bay really helped with that.

As I was swimming in the pool, I would think "Zoya, you swam in the ocean, which is much scarier than this silly deep end. You're strong. You can conquer this. You're doing a triathalon. Swim like you own the pool" and the more I told myself that, I really started to believe it.

Also, what helped was having Jennifer Eubank in the lane next to me-she is training to swim the English Channel next summer. At one break, we talked for a few minutes, she asked me about the Catalina Triathlon and was very encouraging.

"How long is the English Channel Swim?" I asked her.
"Oh, 26 miles, but probably more like 28 or 29 with the tides" she replied.

Oh my. All of a sudden my VERY MEASLY 1/2 mile ocean swim seemed even more measly compard to what she is training for. 1/2 mile is like a speck in her WARM UP program for the english channel swim.
Makes you realize how race challenges are all relative. For instance, when I did the ocean swim in my wetsuit, I got tons of facebook replies of "wow-you're crazy, you go girl, etc...". However, thats NOTHING compared to what Jennifer did. She was doing long ocean swims this past summer in the waters of Kodiak without a wetsuit! Now thats hard core. Serious hard core.

It feels fabulous to get back in the water. I love the whole body workout feeling which comes with swimming. And Jennifer had the name of a gal who is giving swim lessons and was a collegiate swimmer, so I'm excited to get on board with her for a couple of lessons the next month. I'm getting more and more confident that perhaps I will in fact finish the triathlon. Yes, thats right, just finish. Thats my goal.


Nora, myself, Meghan and Bruce at intermission Lion King.
Will and Stuey
Beth pouring drinks for a wonderful dinner.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Time for some subsistence

In less than 48 hours I leave on the annual Afognak elk hunt. Every year a group of us motor north to Afognak on a 50 foot seiner to chase elk and fish for halibut. It's time to fill the freezer because pretty soon it will be winter.

Last night I was reading the latest 'Field & Stream', a hunting magazine, and they had an article all about 'hunting camps'. Those places where a group of guys and the occasional female go every year to hunt deer, ducks, play cards or whatever. I suddenly realized that our 'hunting camp' is sort of unique. None of the camps described in the article were on a boat. I doubt there are many places in the United States where you can motor around in a large fishing boat and hunt elk that are running around in a wilderness setting.

In the 'Lower 48' your typical hunting camp appears to be a tar paper shack or wall tent at the end of a long dirt road. At these camps filling the freezer does not appear to the number one priority. The article had plenty of pictures of guys playing cards, wearing deer antler hats etc. The emphasis appears to be on guy camaraderie. Not that we don't have plenty of that on our elk hunt - we do bring plenty of 'Ben's Beer' (Ben is the local brewer in Kodiak and he is one of the guys on the boat). But really when it comes down to it - bringing home the meat is our number one priority.

If I don't bring back a substantial amount of meat Zoya will be bummed. It'll mean a lot of time off from work, Zoya alone with the kids, and gas money wasted. I'd be crushed too - let's keep our fingers crossed.

Photos are from last year's elk hunt. Patrick

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Another Staycation at the Buskin Campground

We survived! Another staycation at the buskin beach! This time we remembered the paper towels. Good times were had last night as Nora and Stuey did creative dancing around the camp fire, Nora had her first attempts at fishing with her pink fishing rod, and we woke up to a big storm this morning.

Its good to be home, showered, warm and cozy while it howls outside.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Breakfast out the road

This morning, out at Bruhn Point on Womens Bay there was a beach clean up sponsored by theIsland Trails Network, Sun’aq Tribe of Kodiak, and The Ocean Conservancy. The clean up began at 9 AM so we thought we'd have breakfast first at Java Flats and then move on over to Bruhn Point to help with the clean up. Nora and Stuie were quite excited by the prospect of breakfast out the road and the change in routine.

And what a day to go out the road! We ate outside on the deck at Java flats -in the morning sun. I had the carnivore breakfast burrito while Nora demolished her breakfast bean burrito all be herself. Stuey was more into the toys at Java Flat than eating breakfast. Nora enjoyed drinking the foam off of Zoya's latte.

At the beach, the kids picked up a few bits of trash but what Nora really wanted to do was climb the cliffs. It seems she is gravitating to cliffs. We really do seem to have a Lynn Hill on our hands! I do believe I will buy her a climbing harness and get her climbing cliffs safely! The water was flat calm the and all the hillsides are turning red.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Zoya Braves the Waters of Mill Bay

Today I swam in Mill Bay. The Kodiak City Parks and Recreation Department made me do it. Really. The new pool is built and not available for public use. The Coast Gaurd pool is closed for maintenance. So that leaves me with 7 weeks to train for a 1/2 mile swim, 10 mile bike and 3 mile run with no pool. Triathlon on November 7th on Catalina Island, California.

So Patrick dared me. A sister of mine feared for my life with the sea lions. Today I donned our wetsuit and walked down to the beach. There was a little bit of surf and a LOT of kelp to battle through as I headed out Mill Bay.

I could hear Patrick cheer from above off the cliff, which gave me energy. It was quite liberating to swim without the prospect of getting into a swimsuit, worrying about the pool lap schedule, etc, etc...all those little details. In the next few weeks I want to swim across Mill bay with Patrick in a boat next to me. He says its about 1/2 mile.

We made a 1 minute mini-movie of the adventure...


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Somwhere over the rainbow....

For years I have been quite loyal to a certain bank in town but over the past several months, I have received annoying phone, e-mail solicitations for this and that product. So annoying. I"m someone who wants to have my money safe and not be bothered by people offering supplemental this and that. Today I decided to cut the cord (spoken like a true birth professional) and fully transfer my personal account over to where I do my business banking (Credit Union One).

I went in to the bank (to remain nameless...) and explained that I wanted to close my account and briefly explained why.

"I get too many solicitations from this company and its too annoying. I want to have my money safe and not be bothered by people."

I expected the teller to try to reel me back in...use some good marketing tactics with me---offer me a trip to Hawaii or something (for the record, I would've buckled and given in, had that been the case).

But no. She said she had the same problem!!!

She said she had a pending payment on her credit card (it takes several days to process) and in that processing time, a representative from the bank kept calling her repeatedly on her cell phone, work phone and home phone asking if she'd like to make the payment sooner. Isn't that crazy?! Even the teller was annoyed and she had to tell the phone guy to quit bothering her with phone calls.

Anyhow, the sun came out today after 2.5 inches of rain yesterday. Wow. Fall is here in full force. I love it.


In Ten Years Time....

So much has happened in 10 years. It was 10 years ago that I moved back to Kodiak from Ithaca college in New York, met Patrick, got my first job with the school district and housesat for Barbara Rabold.

In high school I NEVER imagined coming back to Kodiak after college, and I'm so glad I did. It is a simple way of life here with incredible people. I remember when I first met Patrick, I thought, "Oh, he won't think anything of me because I"m just a small town Kodiak girl" ....little did I know that he LOVES the fact that I was born and raised here. And now our kids are too!

The top photo was taken by Ella, when we were dating early on. I've always loved the photo-it is such an action photo full of good energy. The bottom photo is of Patrick reading by the window here in our ktichen. For people who have been to our house, note the lack of trees on the cliff. Our cliff trees are VERY thick now and protect us from the winds! So cool to see such changes in only 10 years!


Monday, September 14, 2009

"Can you get me a gun, Daddy?"

Recently everyone has been asking how Nora likes preschool. She was in the 4 year old group and it wasn't going well. I noticed that on the evening of days she had been at preschool, she was quite tired and crabby. I attributed this to the fact that she was just tired from all day at preschool. Whenever we asked her how preschool was, she would scowl and turn away. This started concerning me as well. Whenever I asked her who she played with at preschool, she would say Bella, who is in the younger group. The two groups are split for most of the day but there are 1 or 2 hours where they are together for play time. I called up the director, we talked and decided to move her to the younger group.
It turned out to be a great decision. Nora had such a smile on her face this morning when I dropped her off with the younger group and when I picked her up tonight, she was confident and happy all evening. I think it made a big difference for her to be the "big kid" in the group instead of the girl who couldn't quite express herself well with the older kids.

Last weekend we decided to get Nora a little kid fishing rod, to try for some silvers. More for the experience of fishing really. Nora has started saying, "Dad, can we get fishing line?"
So we drove down to Macks Sport shop for a fishing rod. On the way out the door, Nora said, "Dad, can you get me a gun, too? For deer?". The look on Patrick's face was PRICELESS. The moment he has been waiting for for the past 5 years. I told her, "Nora, your dad already got you a gun." Little does she know that he spent a pretty penny on a special "260 remington" for Nora-supposedly-that he bascially uses for himself. Pretty funny. Nonetheless, it is fun to see Nora getting excited about fishing and hunting at this early age without any real prompting from us. She just hears Patrick talk about his hunting and fishing trips and she wants to be part of it.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Harvest Home

This morning Patrick took the kids outside and harvested potatoes, carrots and beets. The kids helped with putting the potatoes in the bucket and pulling the greens off the carrots. Nora and Stuey eagerly carried their bins of goods into the house. Fall veggies are the best. Patrick is preparing a roast, salad and veggies tonight for dinner-a whole hearted Kodiak meal.

Last night I was at the hopsital for a birth-what a wonderful night it was!!! How I love doula work.

Patrick and I had planned a family camping trip, the car was all packed but at 5 PM I got the call that a doula client was in labor. Evidently Nora and Stuey were (understandably) quite distraught about the change in plans. Patrick said they cried for quite a while about not being able to go camping. Makes me realize how I really need to coordinate with Katie (also a doula) so if I plan such an event, I can go no matter what. Being on call ALL the time has had some challenging moments the past 3 months. I am learning that I need to find a better balance my family with doula work-which I so love and enjoy. And fortunately Patrick supports me in the doula work, but after last night he sees that having back up, or a loose "on call" schedule would help. And my doula clients will know in advance that they will have either Katie or myself. Doula work is a strong calling of mine and after 9 months of having clients, I am just starting to learn how there is a schedule balancing act... :)


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lynn Hill and Fishing with Bob & Matt

No that's actually not Lynn Hill that's Nora. The girl is a climber. Last night we went to the Banff Film Festival 'Radical Reels' and both Zoya and I were most impressed by the woman free soloist climber. That woman was confident! (I did not catch her name, but Lynn Hill will do as the prototypical awesome female climber). The female free soloist was the coolest person in the whole show. And now I find Nora likes to climb. Do we have a Lynn Hill on our hands? That'd make daddy proud! Top 2 photos of our own little free soloist climbing the slate cliffs at the mouth to the Buskin.

The bottom 2 photos are of Matt and Bob fruitlessly casting for silver salmon at the mouth of Buskin River. We fished at the mouth right next to a fly fisherman (a purist). He caught 5 and we caught none. You had to love it, but it hurt. But we did catch 2 silvers yesterday - so at least we will not be shut out. Perhaps the fly rod might join the mix tomorrow?


Friday, September 11, 2009

Bob's Back

Bob's back in Kodiak! Bob was an archaeological fixture on Kodiak from 1997 through 2003. He joined us every summer for the dig season and generally stayed at our house. But he has not been back since. Yesterday I picked up Bob and his friend Matt at the airport in the pouring rain, and drove back into town. Bob pointed out all the things that have changed in the last 6 years. Wow! It's been 6 years!

Bob had never seen the new windmills, eaten at the powerhouse, met our new dog jake, seen our new addition, or experienced our house with kids. I did not realize how much had happened in 6 years. It certainly does not seem like Bob has been away all that long. I guess as I get older time starts to fly faster.

Due to the weather, cancelled flights etc - Bob was not able to give his talk last night at the Museum. But it has been rescheduled for Saturday at 3:30 PM at the Museum with dinner afterwards at the KI. See you there. Also don't forget that tonight is the showing of the Radical Reels film fest at the Auditorium. Tickets go on sale at 7PM. Patrick

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bones, Bones, Bones

Tonight at the Alutiiq Museum archaeologist Bob Kopperl will be talking about all the recent zooarchaeological research that's been done on the Kodiak Archipelago. The talk is at 5:30 PM - not the usual 7:30 - and that's because the Best Western Kodiak Inn is sponsoring the lecture and afterwards everyone can go over there for dinner and to talk with Bob. So dinner and a lecture - I recommend the shellfish appetizer.

Bob has been doing archaeology on Kodiak since the 1990's and studied the fauna (bones) from various Kodiak sites as part of his dissertation research at the University of Washington. He's the only guy I know who used to have his own personal bug colony for cleaning animal bones. When he was here he'd go done to the canneries just to see what random species of fish they had laying around as by catch- then he'd take them back to Seattle to clean in his bug colony. He used them for comparative purposes to help with the identification of the old bones from Kodiak's archaeological middens.

Anyway the title of his talk is "Zooarchaeological research on Kodiak Island", and it is at 5:30 PM NOT 7:30. See you there!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Faster Steeper Higher Deeper

The Banff Mountain Centre's 'Radical Reels' film festival is coming to Kodiak! Coming this Friday (September 11) to Kodiak's own Gerald C. Wilson auditorium. Pretty exciting stuff - You will NOT catch me doing any of this on skiis! Except maybe the bit where they chase the reindeer while wearing old time gear). Check out the Youtube trailer at:

Here are the particulars:

Showtime is at 8:00 PM at the Gerald C. Wilson auditorium. $10 admission gets you a seat for the show and access to door prizes from Patagonia, Deuter, Petzl, Werner, Black Diamond and more. Tickets in advance at Orion’s or beginning at 7 PM at the door.
Hosted by Island Trails Network.
Sponsored by Orion’s Mountain Sports and the Alaska Kayak School

Monday, September 07, 2009

Ray's Deer

Friday evening Mike P motored Ray and I off of the 'Road System' to camp and hunt deer. He left us at an isolated beach and we said goodbye and then hiked from there up into the trees to camp (top photo). I was excited to try my new tent - a Kifaru Paratipi that came with a tiny woodstove. Tent and stove weigh less than 6 pounds and we were excited to discover it is also very roomy. I think that 4 people could share it quite easily. We set up camp and lit the woodstove (second photo). Good lord how did I ever survive camping without a wood stove?

Saturday morning we woke up in the dark and lit the woodstove. Rather than a glum breakfast in the dark we enjoyed a cheerful meal by the glow of the woodstove. Ray even heated his cup of coffee water on the stove. Plenty of heavy whipping cream for the coffee set us up for the long hike in the dark to the alpine. We arrived up in the alpine tundra at dawn, and immediately saw does and fawns everywhere. We caught a small buck watching us from a short distance away and he ran into the alders. I took chase and caught him through a hole in the alders. Now we knew we were not going to go home without at least some meat! (third photo).

By the time we had finished cleaning up and packing our first deer into our packs it was mid morning and all the deer had bedded down. It did not look good for getting Ray his deer. I was glassing the high steep slopes that looked devoid of anything when I noticed a deer head sticking up above the rocks. I put the scope on him and a big 4X3 buck with eyeguards jumped into view. He was bedded down and chewing his cud. Later I took a 'sasquatch like' photo of him from almost a kilometer away through the spotting scope with my little point and shoot camera (fourth photo). Ray and I scanned the slope and made a plan to go and get him. A little looking revealed an entire bachelor group of bucks was up there on the slope with him. The bucks were all far too high up the slope to approach them from below.

Ray took off to climb the mountain up behind them and to, hopefully, get a good shot down at them from above. I sat with the spotting scope and watched the deer. Two hours later I had really gotten to know the deer. I hate to admit it, but I had even begun to root a bit for the big 4X3 buck. All this time Ray was high above having some death defying adventures while trying to get to a good spot for a shot. He finally did find such a spot, but could only see the other deer. He shot a big boy (bottom photo), but the big 4X3 lives on. Judging by where we were hunting, I bet he dies of old age.

After Ray shot the deer the real work began. We cut him up on top of a big flat 'alter-like' rock, and then headed for home with very full packs. They got even fuller after we packed up our camp on the way to the beach. Three and a half hours later we reached the beach and Mike P was there to pick us up. Thank You Mike! Ray made it back to Kodiak in time to catch the evening ferry back to Seward. What a hunt! Patrick

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Horsey rides, blow up Dora and Kodiak veggies

Yesterday Hailee and I took the kids to the Kodiak Rodeo and Fair. (In years past, I"ve gone without an extra set of hands, which has been a big mistake.) The main attraction was the toddler horsey rides which the 4H group sponsored. Nora was a little more tenative about the whole thing and wanted to watch Stuey go first. Stuey had a smile on his face and was chuckling as we went around the cones. Good thing I had a solid hand on him the entire time, because at the very end, the horse shook a flea off of himself--and the power involved with it was enough to potentially shake Stuey right off the horse. That pretty much ended the exursion for Stuey, as he turned down the final lap and went right to my arms. (He wants to go again today, so I"m thinking he doesn't remember the horse shaking part!!)

The other fun attraction for me was seeing the veggies that people submitted for the fair. Cool to see what people grow here in Kodiak! There was a huge cauliflower there. Some pretty big carrots, too!

The Alaska state fair was in Palmer last week and I must say, I"m completely happy with our Kodiak Rodeo and fair. Almost no lines, lots of kids, animals, friends and things to see! Just perfect. A little less is a lot more!


Friday, September 04, 2009

"Good Bye Salmonberries"

This evening the kids and I took a walk down the road after dinner. Stuey and Nora eagerly got their yogurt containers to hold gathered berries and we went out the door with Stuey chiming "booberries, mamma". I just love the kids enthusiasm for berries-for something so simple and natural which brings so much joy. The berry season has REALLY winded down. Almost all the berries Stuey gathered caused him to do a serious pucker. There were a few edible ones-mainly strawberries which we find along the bottom edge of cliffside road at the end.

Nora really understood today how there are few berries left. I told her that winter is coming. And with it brings snow. She got excited about sledding and going down a hill "really fast." As we walked some more, I could hear her saying, "good bye salmon berries. I will miss summer." I think she thought that winter will be tomorrow, as when I talked about going to bed, she replied, "Ok Mamma. So its really dark, we'll go to bed and when we wake up there'll be snow outside?" I chuckled to myself and explained that it will probably be a while before snow.

The house is quiet as I write this--Patrick and Ray are on a hunt and will be back tomorrow. The moon is bright and full tonight and I am ready for bed. The week began with me helping a mom in labor and ended with giving a presentation on ergonomics at KANA today. Lots of great times with friends in between as well as work! Time for some zzzzz'ssss.


Butcher Boys

For every deer carried out of the mountains there is also the time spent cutting him up. This past Monday it was so nice that we did this outside on the deck. Nothing like homegrown and butchered meat. Patrick

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Friends Visiting

Nora had her first day of preschool on Tuesday and it went really well. Dropping her off was a little hard on me--she insisted on wanting to use my old lunchbox-which I was COMPLETELY flattered and thrilled by. But the fact of the matter is that it made it harder to say good bye to her. She was walking off in a little line of kids towards a different building, holding onto her snoopy lunchbox. I got serious tears in my eyes and a little choked up as I got back into my car.
On the evening of the first day, she was a mess. VERY tired and cranky. I think its a lot for such a little person to process-new expectations, new teachers, students...everything about it is new!! Last night she was asking to not go back, said she is scared. Patrick and I re-assured her that sometimes doing new things is a little scary and it takes a while to get used to new experiences. She seemed to be somewhat re-assured by this. We'll see what happens when it comes time to drop her off this morning... She goes 2 days a week.

This past week we've enjoyed the company of Ray, Julie, Lars and Ilsa-in town from Seward. I first met Julie 5 years ago when she was doing traveling medical work--filling in at one of the local clinics. I was recently married at that time and she was single. We would go on walks, skis, cook dinner and have such a great time. Now we both have two kids and she is in Seward...her husband Ray enjoys hunting with Patrick and going fishing here in Kodiak so we see them at least once a year! Their kids are almost 3 and 18 months, so close in age to Stuey and Nora. All four of the kids are showing the beginnings of playing together, which is SO fun! We talk about how in a few years it'll just be easier and easier because the kids will be off playing and probably won't want us to interfere at all!

The other day we all went to Mill Bay beach with kiddies. Ilsa was such a trooper as the first thing she did when she got there was sit down in a stream for a while, then proceeded to walk into a minil-wave in the ocean and get wet. She didn't mind being soaked one bit!

Lars, Stuey and Nora enjoyed rock climbing up a little crevice. They did it several times-I could tell from the look in their eyes that they felt like they were on a little expedition. Fun times.