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Friday, March 30, 2012

Making tracks

I love being the first one up the mountain to go skiing after a big dump of snow. There is nothing quite like driving home and seeing your tracks, and no others writ large down the face of the mountain. It really was an awesome day for downhill skiing. On my second run I dropped 1600 feet to the road without stopping in one big fell swoop. Spring skiing has arrived. Patrick

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Translating Patrick's Ski Report

Over the past years, we've learned how our friends have a translation system for interpreting Patrick's trail report. Since I met Patrick almost 13 years ago, I've learned how to loosely interpret what the ski trail conditions actually are based on what he says.

-If Patrick says, "When we ski today, these conditions will really help with your technique" ...I"ve learned this translates into "Taking Zoya on these conditions will be hard on our marriage"

-If Patrick says conditions are "fast" it actually means "icy".

-If Patrick says, "Its not too bad" it translates into "Bad for Zoya".

-If Patrick says, "This is sort of advanced intermediate conditions" it "means "I'm the only one on the island who will enjoy this"

We all very much appreciate Patrick's trail reports...we've just learned the art of interpreting what he he has a different idea of "fun" sometimes than the rest of us. To his credit, he doesn't take me out to the back country unless he is VERY confident that the conditions are going to be good. And for that, I am appreciative!

(And thanks to Philip T. who helped with this post!)


Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Snow

So far so good, while the weather pattern has changed and it has gotten much warmer - it still has not turned to rain and ugliness. It has even been snowing on and off. Judging by the weather satellite photo the storm lows have been tracking just East of Kodiak and sparing us the warmth we'd have received if they had tracked just a little further to the west. Let's pray that the storm track stays to the East!

Lately I've been doing a lot of classic cross country skiing and my favorite route of late has been through the valley pictured above. I love the cottonwoods, and the mountain in the background is Pyramid Mountain where I usually go downhill skiing. Patrick

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sledding on Pillar

Yesterday we went sledding at the gravel pit on Pillar mountain. It was super sunny and warm. I even wore sunglasses. It was quite the scene with people getting towed on ATVs and some VERY steep sled runs. Of course Stuey again wanted to go from the very top and when he had his inevitable wipeout he did cartwheels. I did not let him know that he should have been hurt, and all was well. Again the whole competition between Nora and Stuey was to see who could go further. In the bottom 2 photos (taken with the camera's paparazzi setting) note that there is no track behind Stuey - that's because he is landing a jump. No fear. Patrick

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Me'an the 'Kid'

Zoya and I checked out the online Tour of Anchorage ski photos (by Michael Dinneen photography and available online at ), and I loved this one of me and the 'kid'. I raced practically the entire race with the 13 year-old 'kid' you see behind me in the photo. I beat him in the end, but I doubt I'll ever beat him again.

What I find funny is that I am so obviously the 'old grizzled veteran' while the thirteen year old is the fresh faced kid. I'm 10 years past my fastest race times while the 'kid' is still probably 10 years from his fastest time. One of us is on the up track while the other is going down.

It reminded me of that scene in Greek mythology where Oedipus meets the Sphinx and has to answer a riddle correctly or get eaten. The Sphinx asks the riddle, "What walks on four feet in the morning, two in the afternoon and three at night?". And Oedipus correctly answers: "Man: as an infant, he crawls on all fours; as an adult, he walks on two legs and; in old age, he uses a 'walking' stick". And so Oedipus survives to go on and do some pretty awful things, or at the very least, some cringe worthy things.

Anyway, so here I am in the photo one step removed from the 'three at night' stage while the kid is barely off of all fours. Patrick

Get it while you can

The snow is GREAT now. But, you better get it while you can because it might not be so great for long. I checked the weather forecast and they seem to be predicting a warming trend. Still they could be wrong. I certainly hope so.

In any case, the Pollyanna in me says that if it does warm up - at least we'll finally get some snow up high on the mountains and the downhill skiing will be good.

Photo is of Pyramid Mountain that I took yesterday while cross country skiing. Patrick

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Snow Pictures

It really has been an incredible winter. It is late March and we have powder on the ground in town - and best of all it has stayed as powder for weeks. Usually it turns to ice pretty quickly - especially in late March. But not this year! And this has put in a very good mood - a good mood all the time.

Here are some photos I took yesterday - the top 3 I took from the Hoser Bridge at dawn before work. It was flurrying all day yesterday - even when the sun was shining. The bottom 2 photos I took when I went skiing in the afternoon. In one of the pictures you can see my ski tracks. This winter I have been mostly cross country skiing, and yesterday i found my legs are out of shape for downhill skiing. Patrick

Monday, March 19, 2012

St Patrick's Day Ski

On St Patrick's Day Gregg, Lisa, Philip, Adelia and I cross country skiied up the American River. It was a gorgeous day and superb skiing conditions. And also at around 15 miles round trip a VERY long ski. But it was mostly flat along the dry river bed of the American River. Once we got a ways back in there were no more snowmachine tracks and the trees closed in on the river. We gradually climbed up to 450 feet elevation so the homeward bound portion with an already broken in trail was MUCH faster. I think my favorite part of the trip is the huge canyon at the head of the valley. As we were skiing home realized that I have not done this particular ski trip since the day after Gregg and Lisa's wedding 6 years ago! Patrick

Sunday, March 18, 2012


At 8 PM, the furniture was pushed aside and the dancing started!


The morning after clean-up...Stuey helped. I found a tray of rainbow cookies from last night. I loved the time that someone put into making them and presenting them on such a unique tray!

St.Patty's Fun!

Last night we hosted our first ever St. Patty's party! So fun to celebrate all things green and irish (and scottish) with good friends!
~Patrick made a corned elk roast with cabbage and carrots
~Dawn brought the fixin's for "car bombs" and made them throughout the night for the group. Combo of guiness, irish whiskey and baileys.
~Matt, our friend and neighbor played a song on the bagpipes and WOW'd the crowd! We always love hearing the bagpipes on Cliffside road and over Mill Bay. Thanks, Matt!


Friday, March 16, 2012

My Physical Therapy Guru

This summer I am going to meet my physical therapy guru and how it all came about? --I'm still amazed.

When I was in Anchorage several weeks ago, I received an e-mail from Elizabeth Noble. 99.999% of blog readers aren't physical therapists, so let me explain who she is. As it says concisely on the back of her book, "Elizabeth Noble is the mother of two children and a graduate in physical therapy, philosopy and anthropology from Australia. She moved to the United States in 1973 and founded the Women's Health Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. The author of eight books including Having Twins, CHildbirth with Insight, and The Joy of BEing a Boy, she has trained over 2000 instructors in prenatal and postpartum exercise."
The work she has done is so far reaching.

She also wrote, "Essential Exercises for the Childbearing Year", a groundbreaking book on fitness and physical therapy for women prentally, perinatally and post-partum. This book was my BIBLE on starting with womens health when I graduated from college in 1999. I read it cover to cover multiple times and used so many of the techniques in the potions of birthing classes I taught. Her written work inspired me to pursue childbirth education as a physical therapist. She has trained and taught all over the world in her career and helped start a large women's health continuing education training program (the one I came back from last weekend in Seattle).

The e-mail read something along the lines of, "Dear Zoya-I am coming to Kodiak this summer in July and would be interested in doing a community presentation or training in Kodiak. It is great you are teaching childbirth classes." I was in disbelief. THE Elizabeth Noble had e-mailed me and was coming to Kodiak! She is touring Alaska and loves islands. I started crying tears of joy. I had to hide behind a pillar in the airport to compose myself before calling a few girlfriends and squealing with delight. It is a once in a lifetime moment, to have a celebrated author, professional to make contact for a visit. A dream come true in so many ways.

Since that time, Elizabeth and I have been in contact sarranging her trip here (she has a lovely Australian accent!). She has never caught a salmon before, but loves to eat salmon and seemed very enthusiastic about going salmon fishing. It will be so neat to spend time with a woman who has made such incredible change for women in our country and all around the world with health. How the work of one person can cause such a ripple effect to a small town therapist as myself who felt inspired by her work to pursue womens' health topics.

Excited for the summer and to meet Elizabeth!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Kid Quotes

Today is Patrick's 47th Birthday! For his birthday, it is snowing nice big flakes.

Here are a couple of kid quotes from yesterday...

Nora ate breakfast and then proceeded to dance in the kitchen to music for a bit. She then said, "Side-aches are good! You know why? Its because you are working out!" Thats my girl! :)

"When I go to heaven I can see the Little House on the Prairie people. Do you think Mary will still be blind? Maybe Jesus will un-blind her?" -Nora


Sunday, March 11, 2012

In Seattle I am thankful for...

What an incredible weekend in Seattle!

Things I am thankful for during my Seattle weekend (in no order of importance):
-That I made it through airport security with my disclosed multiple face lotions, toothpaste, etc. I forgot to put them in my check in luggage. Several of them were over 4 ounces. I would've been quite sad to lose those. I am known for getting pulled aside at security for having lotion, lip gloss, etc in my bag. It almost never fails that I have to have my bag closely checked!
-My amazing girlfriend, Marias, with whom I got to visit with. What a gem she many good laughs together. What a blast it was to catch up and cherish each moment after not seeing each other for 4 years. I love the soft occasional scent of patchouli which surrounds her! Missing Marias, big time!
-My physical therapy class lab partner, Rachel, for her patience with me in practicing my manual therapy techniques on her. In manual therapy classes, its all about a killer lab partner who is patient and can give good feedback. My class was on the sacroiliac joint...if you're not sure where that is...give google a go. Its one complex joint to work on. Rachel rocked it with her knowledge and expertise. To all the painful sacroiliac joints in Kodiak-here I come...armed with my new techniques!
-Whoever found my lost purse at the hotel and took the $70 cash was kind enough to leave my ID, credit card and photos-and leave it at the hotel front desk. Very bummed about the lost money, but thankful to have the ID card, credit card and purse to travel home with. Karma will catch up with them...
-The fun "retro" furniture at the vacant hotel sitting area upstairs from the check in desk. Marias and I took advantage of the space and took a few "girl power" photos with self timer.
Fun Retro furniture+reunited girlfriends+no one around=photo shoot!


A very tired Zoya, mini sacra-iliac joint and rockin' lab partner, Rachel, at the end of our class.
Marias and I!

Sledding at Abercrombie

Yesterday it was very windy and cold - not the sort of day to take the kids out onto a windswept lake. So we headed for the shelter of the trees at Abercrombie Park. I thought we would try sledding on the road out to the old bunker on Miller Point. It is a longer walk than I remembered (walking with kids always extends distances). About halfway in to the point Nora gave me a suspicious look, and asked, 'hey is this a walk?' I assured her that we needed to walk a ways to get to the long hill near the bunker on the point.

We got there and the hill was way steeper and longer than I remembered. Stuey wiped out pretty quick but Nora picked up some serious speed and shot around a corner and out of site. Huge trees lined the road and I feared she might 'jump the track' and pop off into the trees. Of course they both loved it and wanted to do it again. But i figured it was time to go back to the less steep hill and far safer hill closer to the car near the start of the road.

The less steep hill proved much more than adequate. Those plastic sleds really fly without much help! Stuey and Nora would start at the same time and have races down the hill. It was a cross between demolition derby and ski cross. Overall distance achieved seemed to matter more than placement. Rarely did they make it to the bottom, however. And once I saw that Stuey was going to go past Nora at the bottom and Nora moved her sled in the way to wipe him out. For some reason I found this sort of competition hilarious. Yes, they were fighting, but somehow it was very, very funny (and not very serious fighting either). Best of all, I got to stand at the top of the hill and do nothing as they raced back up the hill each time to start their runs again.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

More Kids Skiing

Well after all the fiasco of a ski a few days ago, it really does appear as if things have gotten better quickly. And best of all it seems the kids actually like to go cross country skiing. We've gone every day of late, and each time I gave them the option to go sledding. And each time they have chosen to go XC skiing on Island Lake instead of sledding.

I am amazed how much their skiing technique has progressed. Yesterday they barely fell (well one or 2 falls each) and we covered twice the distance we did the first day. Stuey still has the annoying habit of freaking out if he is not in front. But no cold hands, and no urgent needs to pee. They are probably setting me up for a major ski melt down. But so far so good. ... .


Quote of the day while eating lunch:

Nora: "When you work, Stuey, you work at McDonalds - (teasing voice) 'Hi, my name is Stuey, I work at McDonalds.'" Later on Nora adds, 'When I work, I work at school'. And Stuey rebuts Nora to add that 'when I work, I work at Taco Bell.'

Where do they come up with this stuff?

Seattle Trip

Yesterday morning Marias and I leisurely woke up and walked down to Pike Place Market looking for breakfast. None of the pastry places struck our fancy so we did an alternative style breakfast. There was a small outdoor Chinese walk up bakery where I spotted sesame seed coated red bean paste buns. Marias and I each got one then went to the outdoor fruit stand and got a container of raspberries which we ate while looking for some place for coffee. It was so nice not having to be anywhere, not plans or commitments. To just see where the day took us.

Which was to the dress section as Nordstrom.
We went dress shopping~Marias was looking for a dress for a Coast Guard promotion ceremony for her husbands work. I forgot what fun dress shopping with a girlfriend is! We spent hours just talking and trying on dresses....looking for the perfect one.

As we left the hotel for dinner, it was raining heavy and fortunately there was a bin of tall navy "to borrow" umbrellas by the door. We each grabbed one and there is something so fun about walking through a city using umbrellas in the rain. Even though it rains all the time in Kodiak, you just don't use an umbrella. Marias and I laugh that it is probably only tourists that use umbrella's here.

Walked to dinner at Chinese restaurant and dessert consisted of banana spring rolls and ice cream (see picture!). So delicious.

When deciding what to do for the rest of the evening, the bartender told us that there was either a jazz club or small irish bar with live music in the close vicinity. To the Irish Bar (Kells) we went, where live music began shortly after arriving. The dance floor was small and the band was a small 3 piece Irish Jig group. The girl played an irish whistle instrument that looked a small recorder and played the high pitched melodies. It was just lovely.

Great ending to a fun day enjoying Seattle with Marias.

Its 6:45 am..Now off to breakfast and to start my physical therapy class.


Marias and I with dessert last night. She got the Mini desserts which are served in large shot glasses!
Falafel Plates for lunch