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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Coast Guard Transfer Season

Kodiak is home to the largest coast guard base in the world, as it has around 2500 people on it. Considering Kodiak Island has around 9000 people on it total, the coast guard population is a large portion. When spring transfer season arrives, there is a shift in the population of the community. Houses are sold by outgoing coast guard families and bought by incoming families (sometimes sight unseen!!). There are lots of garage sales by outgoing families and a HUGE Flea market on the coast guard base as well.

In the past I"ve noticed this flux, but this spring I am particularly sensitive to it and am bummed with the number of people I am saying good bye to. There are 6 or so families leaving with whom I've grown quite attached.

I"ve been back to Kodiak for 12 years and am wondering why it is hitting me harder this transfer season. I believe it is because since owning my own business, I get to know people and their families on a deeper level. Between teaching the birthing classes, being a doula and doing physical therapy with the coast guard community--I have more opportunity to get to know people and their families better than in the past.

The good news is that there is a good chance many of them will be back to kodiak in a few years for another tour. That will be so fun!! To reconnect and hear all about their lives in the "inbetween Kodiak" years.


-My friend, Kim and I on the coast guard base last weekend. She and her super-piolot husband Nahshon gave us an INCREDIBLE tour of the hangers on base. (See next post....).
-The kids and I sitting on the back of a C-130 plane....where they are able to lower the back part and drop supplies out of!!
-Going inside the helicopter hanger on a gorgeous spring day in Kodiak!
-Stuey's liking the pilot seat...
-Kims son and Nora standing next to the basket which is lowered to rescue people from the ocean. So cool!!! I'm completely in awe of the work the coast guard does to keep our waters safe.

Helicopters and C-130's

Last weekend we had the most incredible opportunity of touring the C-130's and Helicopters. Our friends, K. and her husband N. (who flies C-130's and helicopters) are transferring and they offered to give us a tour of the two hangers. I was in awe. I was born and raised and Kodiak and have never really seen the heli's and C-130's from such an up close perspective. The kids were in heaven--sitting in the seats, looking out the windows. Their son came along as well which was so fun--he is so saavy around the aircraft.

Nahshon was an incredible guide. he knows the plane inside and out and would so articulately answer every single one of Stuey's "Whats that?" question. Every single hole and knook and cranny--he knows the purpose of.

A few facts I learned....
A C-130 plane can fly for 12 hours on 1 round of gas!!!
Nahshon was once called out for a mission and from the time the call came in to the time he was in air was 12 minutes! Pretty darn fast!!!


-Kim and Nahshon in the control room where the missions are dispatched used to all be done on the magnetic board behind them until 3 months ago when they got a google earth computer. Amazing, eh?!!
-rest of the photos are kids and airplanes!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Very Important Meeting About Trails

Finally, after years and years of discussions Kodiak has a trails plan. This is something that is VERY important to anyone who uses trails and recreates in the wide open spaces of our road system. It's a plan for the future and my hope is that it will allow continued access to the places where we all love to play and hunt. I fear that without a plan the road system will get developed willy nilly and the places where we all love to play will become closed to the public. A trails plan is our only hope to maintain the great thing we got going here on Kodiak.

A rough draft was released just last week now it is up to the public to comment on it. On Wednesday June 1rst at 7 PM at the Kodiak High School commons there will be a public meeting to introduce the plan and a forum for people to comment on it. You have all summer to read over and comment on the plan, but the guy who wrote the plan will be at the meeting on wednesday. This is your chance to express your opinion.

Remember what happened with the Public process for the improvements out at Miller Point in Fort Abercrombie? Too many people missed the meetings like the one coming up for the trails plan. Let's not let that happen again. So read the plan - see online link below or go to the Community Development Department at the Borough Building and pick up a hard copy.

Read the plan and then GO to the meeting! We need to hear your voice.


Friday, May 20, 2011

RIP Subi

Today my subaru was involved in a very serious accident and it could very well be the end of the life for my 8 year purple-blue car. Today my friend was driving it and she was struck by a very new driver who was attempting a U-ey in the middle of the road. He only had his license for 2 weeks and after the accident, his friend (who was in the car with him) even said, "Man-he is a bad driver." Thank heavens neither driver was badly injured.

I was pretty shocked to see my Subi so tattered when I arrived to the accident scene. The trooper said it will most likely fit into the "totaled" category, and it now sits in the back yard of the auto repair place. This afternoon as it poured down rain, the kids and I went to look at it. I thought it would help them make sense of it all--to see the Subaru in such a state of despair. Nora's reaction was quite strong--she broke into tears and was so sad. She cried almost the whole way home. Stuey was in the back saying, "stop crying, nora". He didn't seem affected by it at all.

This afternoon we've been making up lyrics for a "bye bye subaru" song to the tempo of the Scooby Doo song.

Nora made up other song lyrics which included...."I will never forget you in my heart. I'll keep you safe and warm in my heart..."


One funny kid quote moment--this afternoon I had to go to the troopers to get insurance information for the person who hit the car. The kids were asking why did I have to go to the police? I said to get information so we could hopefully get money for the car. Then this evening we were driving to a party, and I was going a bit over the speed limit. I said outloud, "Oh, I should slow down so I don't get stopped by the police." And then Stuey replied, "Yeah. If you go to the police, you get money.." I got a kick out of that.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An Hour for New Moms...

For the past 8 months, A Balanced Approach has offered a mom-baby hour for moms and their new little ones. I hold it on Fridays right before lunch, and it has been so fun to see the moms have a chance to catch up, talk about new baby topics and be together. I bring in guest speakers periodically--massage therapists to do chair massage, occupational therapists (to talk about oral motor development), and a variety of other speakers. Sometimes I talk about back care, abdominal exercises, etc.

I started the sessions last fall, because there wasn't such a group on island. The first 6 months post-partum is such a unique time in a woman's life--she is learning so much about herself and her baby, and its nice to have a group of ladies to help talk about milestones with. The group has been especially lovely for 1st time moms and/or moms who are new to Kodiak.

I'm taking the summer off with the hour, because of travel schedules for the moms and nice summer weather (hopefully) but will start it back up in the fall season.

In these photos, Amy S. (Occupational therapist) and Genevieve C. (physical Therapist) shared their knowledge about oral motor development in infants with us. I learned so much as well!! All about binkys, sippy cups and more... 3 moms and their little ones were in attendance.


Some More Pretty Pictures

Here are a few more pretty pictures that I found while looking through my photos from the last 3 years. Another thing I've noticed about my own pictures is that I seem to like the panoramic format A LOT. In the old days I used to use a point and shoot film camera that only had a 28 mm lens. I had to learn to make the landscape fit. Nowadays, I have a zoom and my camera can even make pans for me. It's amazing how far cameras have come in just the last 10 years.

Anyway - here are the photos: Top is of Gregg on a ski tour above what we call the blueberry bowl. Second photo is of the North Sister cirque that I took during the Christmas bird count one year. Third is from the same ski tour as the blueberry bowl picture and is of the valley behind Pyramid with Nipple Peak in the background. Fourth is from a hike at Abercrombie. And finally the last picture is of Lily Pad lake on Afognak taken during an elk hunt. Patrick

Sunday, May 15, 2011

First Salmonberry Blossom

On Saturday I saw my first salmonberry blossom - in my own yard no less. And on the same day I mowed the lawn for the first time. Year after year these 2 events seem to be closely entwined occurrences. I keep a close watch on the day-to-day happenings related to our yearly climate. Such events as the ice letting out on a particular lake, the first crocus blossom, the last day I skiied to the road at the pass, last snowfall, shorebird arrivals, the last frost etc. This way I know how the particular year stacks up against the norm. It also helps me know when to plant the garden and when the deer will go out of velvet (early springs mean the deer also go out of velvet early), and much, much more.

This year has been pretty average. No extreme cold during the winter, but no extended warm spells either. A bit drier than normal, and we did not get much snow up high this winter. As a result, of late the snow has been disappearing at an alarming rate because we never had much to begin with. Still it has been a cold spring - winter has lingered a bit longer than usual. In years past I've seen my first salmonberry blossom in April. Mowed the lawn in April too. In terms of the average I think we are about a week or a little less behind.

But as far as I am concerned the further behind the better. Go winter! I was very happy to find new snow on the mountain when I went skiing today. Patrick


Yesterday was the two Cinderella dance performances. I'm so glad it is over. Last week was rehearsals almost every night...some of which we didn't make it to. With a 4 and 5 year old, I was a little selective about how many hours of rehearsal into the late evening that they could handle. Dance weeks are rough on our family...Nora got progressively more tired and needy as the week went on. She started crying from the moment she woke up. Tired. Tired. Tired.

Last night Patrick and I went to 1/3 of the show and watched Stuey as a bee and Nora as a mouse. The bumblebees were something else...such a cute little bunch. There are 3 guys in Stuey's class. As part of their role, they were to flutter their arms like butterfly wings. Stuey adapted the move to do a shoulder--wing--shrug. He did it almost the entire dance and had a funny smile on his face. Patrick and I were laughing so hard---I had tears running down my face I was laughing so hard. I wasn't sure if it was just us that found Stuey and the bees so funny--but the whole audience was laughing.

I got a facebook message this morning from someone in the crowd that said they were laughing so hard at Stuey's bee moves that they had tears running down their face. I really look forward to watching the video of it all so I can relive it. The older dancers did such a good job of shuffling all the younger kids around. They are so gentle, patient and positive through it all. Its a big job for them to not only do their own dances, but to help corral the younger ones. :)

Nora was in her regular mouse dance, and then a second small dance where 4 mice dance around one of the older dancers. You can see this in the picture. It was fun to see Nora in a smaller dance. She looked so pleased.

Patrick and I joked that during the remainder of the performance, we half expected Stuey to randomly sprint across the stage with a helper chasing behind...when he gets tired he most definitely needs 1:1 supervision!! Fortunately, Sara was behind stage with the kiddos so we didn't have to worry at all about them.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Pretty Pictures

I love to see my pictures in print. So the other day I was flattered when a lady who creates newsletters and annual reports for various local Native Corporations asked for some more digital images to use in their creation. She has used my images before and I am very happy to supply her with some more. So for the last few days I have been roving through all my old pictures looking for pictures she might want. Needless to say, but it has been kind of cool to peruse through my pictures from the last few years.

It has also been eye-opening. I realized that I take fewer pure landscapes than I used to in the past. These days I always seem to try and put a person somewhere in the photo. Also my older point-and-shoot is WAY better than what I currently use. It may have only been 6 mega pixels but the quality far surpassed my current 12 mega pixel point-and-shoot.

Anyway, here are 5 of what I consider some of my best pure landscape photographs in the last 3 years - ones with no people in them. Top is sunset over Lower Olga lake. Second from top is the sunset over the tidal flats at the head of Uyak bay. Third is kayaking home from a successful deer hunt in Sheratin Bay. Fourth is a dreary day at upper Olga Lake. Finally, the last photo is of a pond at Old Afognak Village on Afognak Island. Patrick

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Shy Stuey?

It has never really occured to me to call Stuey shy. At home he is not shy at all--but lately at dance class and at preschool I see the shy side of him come out.

It was first brought to my attention when his preschool teacher somehow found our blog. She said she liked seeing Stuey quotes, as he is so quiet in preschool that she enjoyed seeing what he said at home. I thought, "wow" he must really not be talking much at preschool!!

At dance class during Cinderella rehearsals I have once again seen Stuey's little shy side. He does this thing where he puts his head forward and his hands at his side and takes really small steps if he is being asked to do something. At some points the dance helpers (high schoolers) have to actually lift or carry him. Once the music starts and his dance starts going, he is good to go. There is something about the waiting in the groups of kids and older girls that makes him shy. Maybe its somewhat overwhelming...everyone waiting for him to do his little bumble bee moves--to be shuffled from one high school helper to another. I notice a lot of the girls say "Oh hi Stuey!!!" and he looks down at the ground and gets very shy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A few kid quotes

When reading our old blog posts, some of my favorites are of funny quotes from the kids. So, this is probably boring to most, but I must document here so their quotes can be archived. Our blog serves as their baby books... :) I write the quotes down exactly as they were said...

"How can this be? Going to preschool?!!"-Nora questioned this of me on my birthday. A serious injustice in her mind!!

"How do you get this fire away?"-Stuey as he watches the steam come off the top of his tea....waiting for it to cool down.

"How can them get back to their boat?" -Stuey talking about Sven and Balika--in reference to the France Spain canal trip we took. I believe he thought it was Sven and Balikas' boat we were on in France...or perhaps they lived on it here.

"Apples grow us tall" -Stuey, upon eating his apple. Referring to how I tell them fruits and veggies help them grow tall if they eat them.

"Daddy-it isn't winter."-Nora on May 9th, when Patrick is looking at internet weather forecast---complaining about projected several days of sun.


Pictures are from the kids trip with Sara to Hidden Beach this afternoon. It really isn't winter anymore.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day

No one believes in Mothers Day here at the Saltonstalls on Cliffside drive. I woke up expecting a little sleep-in time and was reminded that Mothers Day is a hallmark holiday. Oh well. I can't complain...considering I got to sleep in on my birthday two days ago. Nonetheless, its been a nice relaxing morning and soon we're going to head out the road for a little drive to a beach. Time to get some beach peat (ground up alder and cottonwood leaves mixed with eel grass and seaweed) to fertilize the garden.

Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there!


Stuey and Nora--Stuey doing silly faces
Nora and I on my birthday
The kids with Sara at the beach.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Birthday's Past....30th

Last night we were talking about our various 30th birthday, so this morning Patrick looked up photos from that celebration. What a blast from the past! My 30th was shortly before we started our blog, so I thought it would be fun to put a few of the photos up...especially since many of the people at the party have moved from Kodiak (sniffle, sniffle).
Mary Jane hosted the party and had a Margarita/mexican food theme. The cake was in the shape of a Margarita Glass! Too funny! Katie and Alisa were quite pregnant and I was just about to become pregnant with Stuey!
(I think Nora was at home with a sitter for the couple of hours, as I don't see her in the photos. She was about 9 months old then.)

Photos: Includes....
Alisa and Mike, who are now making their second sailing crossing across the Pacific Ocean to Australia with their two young boys!
The Matt and Chris J., who moved to Seattle Recently.

Birthdays Present....35~

Yesterday was my 35th birthday--it began with 30 minutes of sleeping in (YEAH!!), followed by a 2 minute birthday recital by Nora and Stuey.
I took the day off from physical therapy, spent lunch with my mom-baby hour that I do weekly at A Balanced Approach. The weather was 59 degrees yesterday-the warmest its been all year!!
Last night Mary Jane had a few gals (and Patrick) over and we shared in some delicious food MJ made and everyone brought. Then we went to Jenny P. and Sara L. college Masters graduation party at a local art shop. It was a lovely venue with lots of people and delicious food. I rolled into bed last night...full from so much yummy food yesterday!! So fun! So far I'm liking 35...