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Monday, February 28, 2011

Back into Cooking

A while ago at Safeway, there was a FIne Cooking BREAKFAST edition which I picked up and I've made 4 recipes from it. It has all different types of breakfast and its been fun to break out of my standard French toast/pancakes/eggs mode. Around our house, Patrick typically cooks dinner and I often make breakfast for the kids and myself. Patrick doesn't like traditional breakfasts so he usually makes a can of soup or some leftovers for the night before.

Recent choices I've made from the magazine have included
-Spinach Crepes with goat cheese and herbs (excellent and very easy. Kids liked them too! Good way to sneak greens in)
-Pan-fried Southwestern Hash
-Fastest Ever Cinnamon Buns
-Individual Cinnamon Coffee Cakes with Chocolate Cherry Almond Swirl (this was like dessert for breakfast!)

I like being inspired by new recipes and so far they've all been good. Nora likes flipping through the magazine and looking at the pictures. She is excited about making bagels someday...we'll see if we get around to making those. Looks like SO many steps! (and the bagels at Safeway are so good!!).


-Individual Cinnamon Coffee Cakes with Chocolate Cherry Almond Swirl
-I made a quiche-not from the magazine-but looked at various recipes online to use up roasted peppers and onions. It was good!
-Stuey with the Breakfast edition and some of the spinach pancakes!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

St. Mary's

I finally decided to put Nora into St. Marys for kindergarten next year. As some of you know, I've put a lot of thought into where to send Nora to school, or whether to homeschool. I tried home schooling for a very short period of time and I quickly decided it wouldn't work for us...for two reasons.
For one, with my job and owning a business, committing to the time would be hard. Even though I don't work full time, it would be challenging to create a homeschooling friendly schedule.
Secondly, it was tough when the kids woke up in a bad mood. I know that moms who home school full time would just defer to another time of day or day when kids are more ready to learn. But with my hours of work, that just wasn't possible.

After deliberating and visiting schools, I finally decided on St. Mary's, the local small catholic school. They have K-8, kids wear uniforms, go to mass 1X a week, parental involvement is a requirement of enrollment...lots of good things about it.
The deciding factor was class size. The classes are somewhat smaller than the public school near us, which is very appealing. The kindergarten teacher at St. Mary's also has her Masters in Special Education, which is a bonus. She'll be comfortable with any speech therapy needs Nora has.

Now that we've decided, I"m very excited for Nora to start in the fall. Her birthday lands on the first day of school! Fun!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blasts From Past

This morning I was at the computer looking through old photos - or rather, digital image files - and I found a few that I thought I'd share on our blog. There really is no cohesive theme or point to this post; except that time passes and you hardly notice until you look back and see how everything has changed.

My sister took the top photo when she visited a year or so after I moved to Kodiak back in 1997. I took her out to Narrow Cape to check out the bunkers and cliffs, and she took this 'Heathcliff' photo of me on top of the cliff. I remember at the time I was really worried that Katie dog, my first dog, would fall off of the cliff.

The next photo is of Don Clark and Mark in our 'cook tent' during the Alutiiq Museum's first remote river survey for the USFWS on the Ayakulik River back in 2002. We went super light weight with no electric fence or even cook tent. When it rained we created a shelter by pulling a tarp over our transit tripod. Some fishermen staying at Bare Creek visited us and I remember feeling proud when they commented, 'you boys are hard core'.

But we did learn and the next year we brought along a lightweight teepee - the megalight (I still use this teepee - see october elk hunt pics). Compared to the transit tarp teepee the megalight was a HUGE step up. But today with the teepees and wood stoves that we bring on these surveys for cook tent, I can't help but think, 'man those boys were hard core'. And actually, not everyone was a boy. That is Catherine W on the left. This was her first river survey with the Alutiiq Museum. Patrick

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Swim. One lap at a time.

Today I overcame an obstacle--It may sound funny to many of you (especially seasoned swimmers in the mix), but I finally swam a lap of freestyle without stopping to catch my breath. Rewind to a year and a half ago when I was prepping for my first triathlon. I had significant fear of the deep end and would go into minor panic attacks swimming over it. My short term goal was to make it one length of freestyle without any breathing difficulties (i.e.drowning) and my long term goal was to swim 1/2 mile in the open ocean (any which way...doggie paddle, sidestroke, etc..) during the triathlon.

Lately I'm over my deep end fears and have been able to comfortably do a LENGTH of freestyle without difficulty. In the past month, however, I"ve hit a wall with wanting to do a LAP of freestyle and being too out of breath to complete it after 1 length.

And thats where Cortney comes in.

Cortney D. moved here almost 2 years ago from Florida with her husband who is in the Coast Guard. Cortney was on a NCAA winning swimming team in college and she gives lessons. She also helped with the morning Masters swimming group before she had her child. When I was triathlon training, I took 2 lessons with her to help me with my freestyle stroke. She was able to stand on the side of the pool and see what I was doing wrong and give me good cues to correct the errors. My big mistakes at that time was kicking from my knees instead of my hips.
Today I had my 3rd ever lesson with her. And for the first time, I swam a lap--in 52 seconds. Nothing at all fast about it, but we timed it so I know where I"m starting from. Cortney was so excited for me. She said, "so thats the first time you've ever swam a lap without stopping for rest?" Yes, it was.

I went back to our blog from winter of 2009 when I was training for the triathlon in California...and its fun to read about the things I was working on at that time with my stroke. At that time I was working on how much air to exhale, and turning my body side to side in the water.
Today Cortney got into the water with me and was able to critique what I was doing with my form under the water. I watched her swim several times, above and under the water which was helpful. Watching her helped me see the rhythm and momentum she used with her strokes...very similar to cross country skiing, actually. Reach, pull, reach, pull... Swimming and cross country swimming are very similar in that they both involve arms and legs, which is great in that it is a full body workout. But hard in the sense that if you are thinking about the form with your arms, you are forgetting about the form with your legs, and vice versa.

Next on the agenda with swimming will be increasing my endurance to do 2 or 4 laps without stopping and at that point, learning flip turns. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There is something about doing a flip turn that will make swimming feel more official...


Photo: While I swam...Nora and Stuey went on a drive to Pillar Mt. with Sara. Gorgeous weather we've been having.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekday Afternoons with Sara

Since last November, Sara F. has helped with watching the kids and being on call in case Zoya has a doula client who goes into labor. On many weekday afternoons, Sara watches the kids for a few hours until Zoya and I get back from work/skiing. Sometimes Sara takes pictures of their daily activities and I love seeing what they have been up to. It's sort of like a secret look at how they're doing when Zoya and I aren't around. Here are a few such pictures.

In the top 2 pictures Sara took pictures of the kids with their homemade valentines. Then they took the camera to Walmart and had prints made of the pictures and they used the prints to complete their Valentine's Day cards for 'Mommy' and 'Daddy' (Zoya and I each got one).

In the 3rd photo the kids are at the NMF's aquarium out on Near Island. They got to check out the touch tank and then examine the crabs and fish in the big tank. I always love Kodiak's aquarium because it is filled with only local species that the NMF and NOAA scientists catch while doing their jobs. The kids obviously love the results too.

And finally in the bottom photo the kids make Green Bay Packer cupcakes for the Superbowl. I gather that Sara and her family are Green Bay Packer fans. We don't watch the big game at our house (no TV), but the kids were interested in the results. They had me check the internet periodically to follow the score of the game. And they were rooting for the 'Packers'. Patrick

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mother Earth Goddess Card & Visitors

Last night was the monthly Goddess party, where gals get together under a full moon to share food and drinks and draw a monthly "goddess card". For several months I've had the "Butterfly Maiden, Transformation" card. Last night the card I drew is Mawu, the Mother Earth card. The meaning of the card has to do with taking care of the environment--gardening, recycling. I wasn't too excited over this card, as its not nearly as exciting as some of the other cards in the stack (such as Aphrhodite), and I believe Patrick and i already do quite a bit for the environment with recycling and gardening.
Well, I was very wrong and my thinking was short sighted.

This morning I I took the kids to the refuge center for kids film festival and we watched 45 minutes of films about nature and the environment. The last film centered around chemicals in the water table and how frogs are highly impacted by this --causing birth defects and decreased reproductive rates. At the end of the movie, they said, 'Heres what you can do to help reduce chemicals in rivers, etc...' Then they showed a scene of someone reaching for shampoos at the grocery store, and the narrater talked about being a wise consumer of products with chemicals. In the scene was bottle of Nora's hair detangler--Nora said VERY loudly, "Hey mom-We have that at home!!". That got a good laugh, but made me realize that maybe I do need to step up to the plate more with cleaning our house of toxic chemicals and making cleaning products out of vinegar and borax.

Two weeks ago we started the kids with a 1/2 hour, 1x a week ice skating lesson. Its a LOVELY service offered by the city. Patrick and I have tried many times to get the kids going on ice skateing on ponds, and it was hard. Part of our difficulty was that there wasn't other kids around to motivate or be a "model" for Nora and Stuey.
At the ice skating lessons, the kids inch along (literally) the ice...going in a line, around cones. And they learn how to get up correctly when they fall. In the two sessions the kids have had, there have already been improvements. I believe that it will make ice skating trips to local ponds more fun in the future!

The past 2 weeks we've had several visitors, including Thomas and Rose visiting from Seattle and Dicky visiting from Maine. Thomas and Rose came to Kodiak for the weekend for a friend's 40th birthday party (Happy Birthday, Rob!). Dicky (Patrick's brother) also paid a visit from Maine.


photos: Dicky and I at the Powerhouse restaurant
Patrick and the kids at the Powerhouse.
Stuey at the ice skating lesson. nora in the background.
Thomas and Rose over for dinner.
Nora and I walking at Spruce Cape Trail.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jeremy M.D. & Karen R.N.

In St.Lucia, I was visiting my friends Karen B. and Jeremy L, whom I first met in Kodiak 4 years ago. Jeremy is a doctor who was working at a local medical clinic here. They lived in Kodiak for 3 years and Karen and our family became friends with them during the course of that time.

Karen and Jeremy recently moved to St. lucia when Jeremy accepted a job as a contract doctor with the Peace Corps--a 1 year position providing medical care for vounteers in St. Lucia and the surrounding islands. There are 6 islands (I believe) that will be under his care--His job duties include ordering supplies and equipment, seeing volunteers for medical care as needed and fliying to surrounding islands and making contacts with doctors and clinics. This is in case a volunteer on an island needs medical attention-they can then be referred to a known, reputable provider.

Jeremy was in the process of setting up his office and clinic in St. Lucia when we were there (see photo). The peace corps provided the hosue we stayed in and the car Karen and Jeremy used. Jeremy was a peace corps volunteer in Ghana (I believe) for 2 years many years ago, so he has experience with the organization.

Karen is a nurse, with a speciality in Emergency Room nursing. She has worked in ERs throughout Alaska and in Portland. She is looking into working in St.Lucia and deciding on where to work (there are several hospitals in the area of Castries where they live). The process to get her license could take several months, as she has to get a work permit with her visa. Fortunately, there is a great need for nurses (as always!!) so hopefully the process will be smooth for her! I"m eager to hear about where she ends up!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Patrick's favorite photos

Patrick put these photos on our blog and requested I write more about St. Lucia. The best part was sleeping in every morning, and enjoying the sunset from Karen and Jeremy's deck every evening.

I'm finally feeling recovered from returning...I am caught up on sleep from the 2 nights of little sleep when I was at the hospital and the time change/jet lag. Wow-i really hit the ground running when I returned! It feels good to be home and back to work and with my family. At work there were lots of new physical therapy referrals and birthing class requests when I was gone, so that was fun to return to. Its nice to see that my business was purring away when I was gone. The fax machine was busy!

The evenings in Kodiak are much lighter now-I really like it and Nora noticed it tonight as well. She said after dance class, "mom-normally its dark now but today its light." The days are getting brighter and brighter...makes me get spring fever. I know Patrick will not want to hear me say that!

Oh-and Karen and Jeremy have a blog--check it out! Its


Pictures are of us ladies in St. Lucia!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jumping Back into life with Both Feet

My trip home from St.Lucia was smooth and uneventful. I read 2 books, watched a movie, and slept. For 29 hours of travel, it was amazingly smooth.

I arrived home at 8:30 am on Saturday, and at noon headed to the hospital for a doula client who was in labor. Katie had been with her for 12 hours, and I went up to help so Katie could have a few minutes at home and take her daughter to dance. I felt guilty for not just arriving home and having to go to the hospital, so Katie and I "tag teamed", taking 3 hour shifts with the mom. I was there for the final 6 hours--from 6 PM till midnight. The mom ended up having a 36 hour labor, and I was glad to have Katie to share the shifts with.

I slept for about 3 or 4 hours, then woke up, on St. Lucian time-I believe. It took me a while to go back to sleep. Typically when I hit the bed after a long birth, I"m OUT until sunrise. It is a 5 hour time difference between St.Lucia and home.

Coming home to the family on Saturday was wonderful. Patrick and the kids came to pick me up at the airport, and it was so fun giving stuey and nora little squeezes and hugs. They kept saying, "I love you, mommy". Patrick said that yesterday morning at 6 AM the kids went racing into his bedroom excited with squeals as they said, "mommy's coming home!".

The time away was very rejuvenating. I definitely went into it with the mindset of just enjoying the rest, and peace--which I did! Kodiak is cold and snowy, which is fun to come home to.


-Karen, myself and Mary Jane at lunch on our last day in St. Lucia...dessert! Coconut rum-cheesecake, coconut tarte....yum.
-Mary Jane, Karen and Jeremy atop Pigeon Island in St. Lucia.
-An interesting food find at the grocery store-1/4 lb veggie burgers!
-Going to the local market down town in Castries.
-One of my favorite dining experiences in St. Lucia-Dukes. A yummy outdoor grill spot where locals bring in the catch of the day and grill it right there! They serve marlin, tuna or durado with a side or rice topped with incredible garlic sauce. We ate there 2 times. In the photo is Karen and Jeremy's friend, Susan, as we waited for the fish.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pete Jackson Built this House

Every House has a history including ours, and if you ask Stuey who built our house he will tell you, 'Pete Jackson built this house'. He knows this because we showed him where Pete Jackson signed his name in the cement of our mantle piece. And Pete and Louise Jackson did indeed build and live in this house from the early 1970 or so up into the 1980s. Pete was a crab biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game while Louise Jackson was a teacher and president of the local gardening club. And I should add, while Pete might have built the house, everybody knew it as Louise Jackson's house. That's what people told me when I bought the house in 1996 - 'Oh, that's Louise Jackson's old house' and inevitably, 'She had beautiful gardens'.

To this day, remnants of her gardens still exist all around the house. Old stone walls, crocuses and primroses everywhere, and 2 very lush spots in the yard that need mowing twice as often as the rest of the lawn because they were where she kept her geese and had a vegetable garden. But we really did not know much about the early history of the house until Zoya contacted Louise and sent her pictures to show her how much we loved and appreciated her house. We learned that Louise was very sick (she has since passed away), and we received a letter in return with some old pictures (second photo from top).

Today I was showing Nora and Stuey all the old pictures and Stuey kept on getting Pete and Louise confused with me and Zoya. But he sure got excited each time when I told him the man was Pete Jackson. Each time he'd say, 'Pete Jackson built this house'. Nora was also captivated and even asked if she was in mommy's belly when the pictures were taken. The pictures intrigued them. Indeed, they intrigue me - it is amazing how different the house looked 40 years ago. No additions, or neighbors and spruce trees all around.

I love knowing the history of our house. It will always be Louise Jackson's house, and someday I hope people will also know it as Patrick and Zoya's house. With the history and pictures in mind, I can admire Pete's mantle, realize that Louise set up her Christmas tree right there (and that like us - she preferred to cut down her own tree), and even imagine Louise in the corner reading a book. We even have a bookshelf in the exact same spot that she did. The history brings extra richness and depth to the house.

Photos: Top is of the house from the front yard soon after it was built (Nora thought the car looked 'funny'). Second is of the letter we received with photos and Louise reading a book in the corner. Third is of Louise's cold frame greenhouse. Fourth is of Pete's Mantlepiece and chimney soon after he built it. It looks exactly the same to this day - only as Nora and Stuey commented 'the fan worked back then'. Bottom photo is Louise setting up the Christmas tree remarkably close to where we set up ours each year (she seemed to have liked taller trees than we currently set up).

This is not the first time we have posted old photos of our house - if you want to see more old pictures of our house or a picture of Pete holding up a monster king crab down by the harbor then check out our old blog posts from November 2006 and January 2007. The links are pasted down below, but you could also get there using the archive on the side (open 2006 or 2007 and then hit to open either January or November. Patrick

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Adventure to Soufriere

Before our arrival to St. Lucia, we had booked a few days in a Soufriere hotel-Mago estates as a little getaway.Yesterday afternoon, Karen, Jeremy, MJ and I drove through gorgeous hilly country side, through small St.Lucian towns to the town of Soufriere (pronounced Sue-fray), where the gorgeous "Piton" (prounounced Pee-tong) mountains reside. (there are 2-a grand and a petit).

The Pitons were breathtaking-so stunning and unique in their presence right on the edge of the Caribbean. The day was a hair hazy/misty which left the Pitons looking even more spectacular.

After driving through the town of Soufriere, we went to lunch at a place called Ladera, which is hotel/restaurant nestled right close to the Pitons. Jeremy and I had fish burgers, which were small mini-burgers on buns...with sweet potato french fries. There was a light rain during part of the lunch, and it was so lovely and relaxing.

After lunch, Jeremy drove us to Mago Estates, where Karen MJ and I would stay in Soufriere for several nights for a little getaway before heading back to Castries. Jeremy was going to head back to Castries to return to work today.

As soon as we arrived at Mago Estates, we were concerned. There was only 1 other car in the very small lot. The place had a very negelected, sad feel to it. There was not another guest to be seen on the property. It felt like a "ghost" hotel.

When we got to the room, it was quite dark and no direct sunlight hit our deck. The "plunge" pool which was guaranteed with our room had not been used for years, as evidenced by the dirt in it and the state it was in.

On the web, Mago Estates looked like a lovely nestled-on-the hillside getaway...with little plunge pools in each room and views of the gorgeous Piton views. The lighting was so bright on the web. Our room was very stagnant and well-sad. The thought of being there for several days made us reconsider and we decided to go back to Karen and Jeremy's. We first asked the receptionist if there was any chance of being moved to a room with a functioning little pool and more light, but she said she would have to talk to the manager. (later we found out she was not able to call the manager because the office phones did not work).

I believe that 4 or 5 years ago, it was a thriving hotel. But it has more or less died.

After arriving back to Castries last night, Karen and Jeremy both independently e-mailed the manager, Hans, and he replied this morning saying we would be refunded. Hans said he is going to leave the hotel because it was overwhelmed by the project of trying to refurbish a hotel in despair. It was quite a sad reply from a defeated sounding hotel manager. We could tell we were not the first customers to be displeased.

Karen and Jeremy's place in Castries is so lovely and bright. We love our routine of water exercise, then coffee, reading...beach, drinks on the patio, dinner. Its so lovely and relaxing.

This afternoon we're going to head to the local downtown market. Karen and Jeremy are excited to find out that some of their air shipped goods have arrived and are ready for inspection at customs...Karen is thrilled with the prospect of having her full warm weather ward-robe in hand--and their car! (They've been using the Peace Corps car...a cute Honda!).


MJ, myself and Karen at a stop along the way to Soufriere
Another stop along the way--to enjoy the view, talk with locals and do necklace shopping.
Karen in front of one of the Pitons
The "Plunge" pool which was promised at Mago disrepair.
One of the interesting features of the room we left--a butterfly suspended over the fold out couch. It was kind of scary, actually.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Quinine and AC

Zoya is in the British West Indies and it got me to thinking about the Patrick O'Brian series and other historical novels I've read where when they get to the West Indies or West Africa half the crew inevitably dies of yellow fever, malaria or some nasty water born illness. In those days the tropics was a place one did not willingly go to for a vacation. These thoughts made me realize that the only reason the tropics became a popular destination in the 20th century was probably due to medical advances and air conditioning (maybe airplanes too). It was not until 1900 that scientists figured out that yellow fever was carried by mosquitoes, and that, and not advanced technological know how, is why Americans were finally able to build the Panama Canal.

In the old days people went to the tropics and sort of wasted away. The heat sapped their strength and eventually they usually got some sort of fever. Most of the colonial inhabitants were generally partially disabled with malaria - life was short in the tropics.

An interesting tidbit is that gin and tonics were developed by the British as a palatable way to drink bitter quinine. At that time Quinine was the only thing going for malaria.

It's funny because today I think we take air conditioning and advanced medical care for granted. We think nothing of going to the tropics and lying on a beach knowing that we're not going to die of a fever and that we can always get cool if we want to. Another funny thing is that I gather Yellow Fever and Malaria are making a comeback. ... Or rather that's not so funny, but is good food for thought. Patrick

Memories of Hong Kong

Yesterday was a blast in St.Lucia...we started the day off with water aerobics/lap swim once again followed by coffee and breakfast at a little cafe on the water. In the afternoon we went to Karen's friends' pool for several hours. There was a nice small waterfall pool which we sat in for close to an hour (see picture). It was nice and cool!

We've been to the grocery stores many times here and I"m struck by how similiar they are to US grocery stores. Not sure why, but I found this interesting. I guess because US grocery stores have so many processed/fast foods and the same applies here. Yet they have a huge aisle of rice and beans, which was very refreshing!! Karen told me that many of the foods are imported from England, because this is a former english colony.

Some of the more interesting finds was canned bread pudding (blog post and picture to come when I eat it...I bought a can to try it), and yesterday I found Banana Cream liqueur...made here in St. Lucia. I poured some on ice as a cocktail last night, and it tasted like Banana Cream pie in a cup-absolutely wonderful. And the whole bottle was about $6.

There are an incredible number of local rums here. And a St.Lucian Coconut Rum for $5 a bottle which is delicious! Many veggies/fruits in the produce section aren't familiar to me, but overall there are all types of foods available throughout. There are several "regular" grocery store and then one that we went to that is more similar to Whole Foods, but not quite as fancy.
(...and no Tortilla chips to be found!! Karen tried to buy some yesterday for the super bowl party and we couldn't find any at the two large stores we browsed. They have potato chips, cheetos, etc...but no plain tortilla chips.)

Last night we went to "Memories of Hong Kong" for dinner and had a fun time! It is an open aired restaurant with delicious food and drinks. We shared lots of plates of delicious oriental food, followed by warm washcloths at the end! (see photo!). There were wicker laps hanging over each table which would swing the the slightest of breeze. It was a lovely touch!

The restaurant was on a road which had lots of eateries on it, so after dinner we walked down the road for Gelato. One lovely feature of St.Lucia is how warm it stays at night--the temperatures only dip into the high 70's at night and then into the mid 80's during the day. After the sun sets, the breeze is still warm. No need for sweaters here!


Friday, February 04, 2011

Beautiful day

A beautiful day today from dawn to dusk. On my way to work I took a few pictures of downtown and the harbor from the Hoser bridge. I am trying to figure out the best view and angle so that when we have the full moon on Valentine's Day I can get the perfect shot of the full moon over Pillar Mountain and town. This was a practice run. I kind of like the 'backed off' picture a bit better.

Then after work I went for a skate ski into Kodiak's backcountry. The conditions actually were not as great as they have been. We've had some wind and it has created areas of bare ice as well as drifts with wind pack on the top. When I hit the wind pack at high speed I'd break through and stop instantly. There were some impressive wipeouts. But it sure was beautiful. And once I got to looking out for and recognizing the wind pack, the skate skiing weren't too bad either. Patrick

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Sledding at the pass

After reading Zoya's post below I feel compelled to add that this is my little slice of heaven. Sledding with the kiddos on the hills up by the ski chalet was pure Heaven. Or at least it was up until Stuey crashed into a creek and got soaked. Weirdly enough it has been sunny for the last couple of days and is supposed to be sunny tomorrow, but while we were up sledding we got slammed by a freak snow squall. By the time we drove home it was sunny again.

This is my favorite time of the year on Kodiak. The snow pack is getting deep (peak depth is usually in late April) and the days are getting long enough so that you have the time and sunlight to enjoy it. Yesterday I went skate skiing in short sleeves and my face actually got sunburnt from the reflected sunlight off of the snow.

Stuey and Nora loved sledding up on the BIG hills. WAY BIGGER than the little hill we've been sledding on in our back yard. On the way home they pointed to all the mountains (Barometer and Erskine) they wanted to climb up and sled down. On Nora's first run I kind of under estimated the size of the hill and was horrified at how quickly she picked up speed and all the little jumps she took - and she went a LONG way. But at the bottom she was shrieking with delight.

And then there was Stuey's run. Mid slope his sled suddenly turned about 60 degrees and went straight for an open hole in the snow where there is a small creek. He crashed right before the hole and then fell into the creek. It filled one of his boots with water. However, to his credit he did not want to quit sledding. So we emptied the water out of his boot and did several more runs on the hill across the road by the ski chalet (where there are no creeks to run into). Eventually Stuey's foot got cold so we had to quit. I had to promise Nora that we'd be coming back lots just to get her to leave.

Pretty soon they'll be joining me for my climbs up Pyramid on skiis. I can't wait. Patrick