Search This Blog

Monday, December 30, 2013

Learning to watch Football

Today at the Golf Course

Last night I taught Nora and Stuey about American football.  The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles were playing 'Sunday Night Football' and the game was streamed live on the internet. We do not have a TV in the house so the kids hardly ever get a chance to watch a game.  Last night Zoya actually encouraged me to have a beer and sit in front of the computer with the kids 'watching football'.  She thinks it is important that they learn about mainstream activities like watching football on TV.

Nora and Stuey were totally engrossed in the game and asked lots of questions.  Nora and I rooted for the 'green guys' (the Eagles) while Stuey chose to root for the 'White guys' (the Cowboys).  I am pretty sure he chose to root for the 'white guys' because he picked up on how much I despise that particular team.  I did not make a big deal of his choice in the hopes that it does not become a permanent allegiance.  I think we will just try to forget about the Cowboys.

Anyway, today while driving to the golf course to go skiing I asked Stuey how he liked watching football. He replied that he 'really liked it', and then added, 'I also liked the cheerleaders.  They cheer and wear shorts'.  I almost drove off the road.  It seems Stuey may have a particular reason to stick with the Cowboys after all.


Island Lake ski over the weekend

Nora enjoys her new skis

Friday, December 27, 2013

Stuey's sunset riding lesson

Saddling up Bob the horse

Yesterday Nora and I took Stuey out to his horse riding lesson out at the Fairgrounds.  The indoor riding area was crowded with other riders so Becca decided to give Stuey his lesson outside.  Normally the inside area is freezing and lit with a greenish fluorescent hue.  Outside it was hovering around 30 degrees, but I bet that was warmer than the inside area.  And outside there was a spectacular sunset going on.

I was very happy with an outside lesson.

Nora and I walked along beside Stuey and Becca as he went about his lesson.  Nora and I got a walk,  Stuey got a horse riding lesson, Bob and Becca got a change in routine, and we all enjoyed the sunset.


Stuey learnes how to lead a horse

All saddled up and mounted

We did 2 loops around the outside of the Fairgrounds

Stuey practices telling Bob what to do

Awesome sunset!

And back to the stable we go

Same View Different Composition

Here on Kodiak after scraping by for over a month on minimal snow pack we finally have good cross country skiing.  A good solid base with a half foot or so of powder on top.  Grab the old wooden skiis and slap on some extra blue wax kind of snow.  Perfect.

Yesterday I tried to capture the mood of the trees and snow with my camera.  Mostly I tried different panoramic compositions.  After stitching the panoramics together back at home I am amazed at how subtle compositional changes can make the view look so different. Each of the panoramic pairs belowwere taken from the same spot.  But in each case, the resulting image looks very different.

It just goes to show that having a great view does not necessarily mean you'll get a great picture.  And I don't think I quite captured the views yesterday.  But I did get some ideas about how to take a better picture next time!  Patrick

Thursday, December 26, 2013


24 hours from now, Kelsea arrives on the ferry. She is the Physical Therapist who is moving here to live in Kodiak and work at A Balanced Approach. I'm giddy with excitement about her arrival.

Yesterday when I was down with the stomach virus and Ella and I were texting back and forth. She had me guessing on what was arriving on Friday...I thought she was bringing me a secret health elixir from Seattle.

Kelsea' arrival...even better!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Times

This morning the kids woke up "late" for opening presents. I believe Stuey was up at 6:15 and Nora didn't awake till nearly 7:00. This is in stark contrast to years past when they would awake at 5:00 to open presents with no chance of going back to sleep!

opening presents this morning

Stuey searching and sorting

The year of the Red Sox gifts from Patrick's parents! Red sox hats, bracelet, grill set, ornament.... 

Lots of activity books to occupy time over Christmas Break. 

Yesterday I stayed home from work because I wasn't feeling quite right and then last night I was struck with a stomach virus. Fortunately it was a short lived, 24 hour virus but this morning I wasn't feeling top notch. Our initial Christmas dinner plans included having some friends come over here, but this morning I could tell I didn't have it in me to host dinner. One phone call later to our friends Mike and Roxann and they offered to have dinner at their place.

I was so glad I felt well enough to go; Mike cooked up a tender, delicious elk roast, Patrick made mashed potatoes and Roxann had a great spread of appetizers and desserts. Brooks brought smoked white king salmon-my favorite.  The kids all played together and laughed from upstairs. Bless the hearts of Mike and Roxann to have such flexibility to throw the dinner at their place so last minute. And with such grace and kindness.


White Christmas

Yesterday a big storm blew through Kodiak - High winds and snow.  At Abercrombie Park where I took this picture it was mostly rain, but here at our house we got an inch or two of snow.  And the further from the coast you go the deeper the snow gets. Inside the house this morning it has been a blizzard of wrapping paper.  The layer is deepest by the tree and thins towards the margins of the living room. 

Best of all it is white outside.  Snow is my favorite Christmas gift.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Holiday Treats

This Holiday season has brought with it some fun surprises. 

I just celebrated my first year as the PT on the Coast Guard Base! The time has flown and I've really enjoyed being the PT for the base.  
As part of the holiday tradition, the clinic has a door decorating contest. This was my first year participating and the PT door won first place! I was thrilled and surprised because my door didn't have any lights or anything jazzy on it. The sign says, "Don't be a Frosty- Remember your Ice Grippers!".  The prize is a $25 gift card to the pizza parlor. 

Contest Winner for Door Decorating Contest at USCG Base Clinic

The office manager, Kate, at A Balanced Approach designed a holiday card which highlighted a lot of different aspects of A Balanced Approach to celebrate 2013.

Happy Holidays from A Balanced Approach

Stuey's horseback riding lessons are going well. Ms. Becca is his teacher and we go rain or shine! I"ve learned the art of bundling up super duper good to keep me warm- as well as Stuey. Lessons are in the indoor arena, but we have to tack up horse Bob in the stable area and walk him over to the arena. Brrr….but fun! Becca lets Stuey ride bob bareback without saddle which helps warm Stuey up more also.

Ready to ride! 

A member at A Balanced Approach surprised the instructors with a bouquet of flowers. This was such a fun, thoughtful gesture for A Balanced Approach. Its fun to help people with help and fitness and rewarding to see people so appreciative.

"Merry Christmas everyone! Thanks so much for all the help with my workouts. Your all awesome! Thanks Jason"


Friday, December 20, 2013

Play and kid-isms

Stuey saying one of his lines. 

Stuey and Nora have said some funny things lately~I'm trying to get good about writing their quotes down again.  When I look through our older printed out blog books, its the kid quote parts that I enjoy the most.

-Recently I made oatmeal with brown sugar, milk and butter. Stuey sat down to eat it and I asked him how it was. He took a bite and shrugged his shoulders quite dramatically. He said, "It doesn't really taste like anything. It just tastes blank." I chuckled to myself…his choice of words.

-I've been working with Stuey on his R's. My sister warned me that if we don't take care of his R's now, then he'll be still having issues with them in 7th grade. Its funny…I'll gently correct him with an R…he'll repeat with improved R…then if I give him feedback he doesn't like he says,
"Mom-WHATEV-AH!" I say, "Stuey, you can say whatever but you need to say "What-ev-R""  This cracks us both us.

A few nights ago was the school holiday play. Nora and Stuey both had a really fun time in it. Stuey was a Star and had 2 lines. He said them so loud, clear and articulate. We could hear him in the back of the gym. I was really proud of his confidence with saying the lines. Half way through his first line, the girl standing next to him started making funny faces and laughing at Stuey which cut Stuey off. Stuey stood there choking back his tears, trying to compose himself before finishing his line. He was able to finish his line, which was good. Later on, Stuey said that the girl next to him was just really nervous and he wasn't upset with her.

Nora was a camel and had a camel routine/dance which she was really smiling all the way through. She seemed so happy up on the stage performing, having fun with her friends.


Nora behind a star.

Sweetest Camels ever! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pre Christmas Activities

Cutting the 'yard' tree that Stuey picked out
The Christmas season is starting to ramp up.  Last weekend we cut down a Christmas tree from our backyard.  Zoya and I agree that picking out and cutting the Christmas tree is one of our favorite memories of the Holiday Season from childhood.  So last year I was devastated when the kids cried with my choice of a backyard tree.  And we ended up buying a tree.

So this year I had decided to just get it over with and buy a tree.  But when it came time to drive to the 'tree store' the kids wanted to go outside and find one in our yard instead.  I was delighted, and very happy to oblige.  I had also learned my lesson.  'Charlie Brown' trees make the cut when the kids are tots, but a big tree is needed for kids who take an active interest in decorations.  A big tree is needed for lots of decorations.

Out into the back yard we went and Stuey picked out a HUGE tree that was partially blocking our view and needed thinning. I cut it down and only used the top of the tree.  But inside the house it still comes close to the ceiling.  No waiting to put ornaments on the tree either - the kids were ON it.  Patrick

Decorating the tree immediately after getting it inside the house

Checking out the drive thru Christmas light show - the kids got the front of the car while Zoya and I sat in the back

The light show is VERY elaborate and is choreographed to Christmas music that you tune into on the car radio

Stuey and Nora play at building really tall towers and then knocking them down

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Skiing the Lawn Snow

On Friday we woke up to an inch or so of new snow at the house.  It was one of those 'ocean effect' storms where only the north end of town gets any snow.  There is no snow out at the golf course or airport.  I had high hopes for more snow but the predicted 'Blizzard' never arrived.

But no problem, it turns out that at our house we can make do with very little snow.  The hill on our lawn is getting a little small for exciting sledding but it is still an exciting downhill rip on skis.  I actually did some sprint work on my own.  It's time to get in ski-shape for the Tour of Anchorage!

Still after 2 days of lawn skiing I think we'll go looking for a snow covered lake for today's ski.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The World's Best Dog Food

Tank is liking what he sees (and smells)

Yes, this is a recipe for dog food - for canned dog food no less.  And I must add it looks so good in a jar that I have been tempted to turn it into people food.  The dogs REALLY love it and it is good for them - it has to be better for them than commercial dog food. Basically I can (put in jars actually) all the scraps of meat that are left over from processing all the deer, goat, and elk meat harvested during the fall.

In the old days we used to put some of these meat scraps into the burger, and inevitably while eating burger at a later date you'd get the occasional off taste or strip of sinew in the teeth.  By feeding the slightly 'off' smelling, bloody, dirty, or whatever, scraps to the dogs you are making the best use of a valuable resource.  And you are making your own burger so much better - all it takes is one pack of bad burger or deer meat to destroy the family trust in tasty wild game.  Turning iffy scraps into dog food means there is no guilt about wasting meat.

Up until this year I used to feed the scraps raw to the dogs.  But our new dog Tank will not eat meat raw (go figure).  So I have started to can it.  And I think it works out a lot better because now the frozen dog food does not take up freezer space.  The canned dog food is much more convenient too.

Anyway here is the recipe:

large canner (I have 2 'American' brand canners)
Canning jars and lids (for convenience I have been using quart jars)

For every 2 pounds of scraps figure on one quart jar (a quart equals 2 pints and a 'pints a pound the world round').  My canner fits 7 quart jars on the bottom or 14 pounds of meat.  Today after filling up 14 quart jars I still had a couple of pounds of meat leftover.  So I filled some 1/2 pint jars to fit in the top of the canner.

Meat scraps
Tap water

The process is pretty simple.  Stuff all the jars up to about an inch from the top with meat.  I then add a little water to each jar (so it looks about 1/2 filled).  Then I wipe the rims and put on the lids.  I boil the lids in water first.  Then put on the rings and fill the canner.  Check your canner directions for details.  Then can for 1 1/2 hours at 10 pounds pressure.

Pretty easy and your dogs will love you.


Packaged up and well-labelled scraps from the freezer

I un-package all the scraps into a cooler and then fill the jars

Jars all stuffed with meat scraps

Finished product - 14 quart jars and 6 half pint jars

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Destruction of the Karluk One site

Karluk River mouth in 1957 with old canneries on the spit.  The Church is on hill to the right.  The Karluk One site is on opposite side of river just above the docked fishing boats.  At this time the river flowed in front of the site.  After the  storm in 1978 the river broke a new channel through the middle of the spit.  Image courtesy of the Alutiiq Museum - Christiansen Collection.
Lately at work I have been helping put together a book about the excavation of the Karluk One Site.  This was the excavation that first brought me to Alaska as a bright-eyed-20-year-old way back in 1985.  The site had incredible preservation and we found stuff like wooden masks and dolls, spruce root baskets and ulu knifes with wood handles - things you do not ordinarily find in archaeological sites.  We found everything from the floorboards and posts of the house to the grass matting the inhabitants put on the floors. Needless to say, it was a very important site.  Sadly, the site no longer exists.  All that remains of the site is photographs and descriptions, memories, and the artifacts and documentation in the collections at the Alutiiq Museum.

For the last few days I have been documenting what happened to the site.  I looked at old photos and created the crude figure below showing how the river cut through and demolished the site during the 1990s.  I have heard through the archaeological 'grapevine' that some archaeologists believe that the large excavation itself contributed to the erosion and demise of the site.  As you can see in the photos below, the site did not erode away because of wave action from the ocean along the front of the site.  It was wiped out by the river changing course and migrating through the site.  It was destroyed by a force of nature and not the hand of man.  In fact the location of the main area of excavation did not erode into the river until 1996 when the site had already been mostly destroyed.  The site eroded from the tip south and not from the side facing the ocean. 

In 1978 a winter storm breached the spit in front of the site, and created a new river channel to the sea.  After the breach there was no longer a spit to provide protection between the lagoon and the sea, and the site and the shoreline all around the Karluk Lagoon experienced severe erosion. The front of Karluk One eroded a couple meters back at this time.  But after the beach stabilized and created a berm in front of the site this erosion largely ceased.  What destroyed the site was that the river tried to find its old channel and in doing so migrated through the site and destroyed it.  The same process has probably occurred a few times in the past couple of thousand years.  In fact I wonder if the old pond behind the site in 1983 was an old river channel from the last time this happened.

The photos below document how the river destroyed the site between 1983 and 2008 - a sad story for your enlightenment. Patrick

Crude map of site showing rate of destruction.  The map is based on a base map made of the site with a transit in 1983.  The green represent the site.  The red lines represent the river bank at various moments in time while the black lines on the site represent the eroding face of the site.  The small graph squares are equal to a meter (the site is around 140 meters long).  The church is in the lower left corner.

The site in the early 1950s (left) and in 1983 (right).  A comparison shows that relatively little had eroded prior to 1983 - one or two meters along the front (left side) and maybe 10 to 20 meters off of the tip (far end). Images courtesy of the Alutiiq Museum.

An aerial view of the site in 1983 - note the bulldozer in the middle of the site.  This is the same bulldozer going over the edge in the photo of the site from 1995. Image courtesy of the Alutiiq Museum - Karluk One Collection

The site in 1995 - note bulldozer going over the edge and how close the river is to the edge of the site.

Poor quality aerial of the site in 1996.  This is the year that the river channel started to cut into the site.   The pieces of concrete along the site's erosion face is where the main excavations took place between 1983 and 1987.

View of the site in 1998. Very little of the site remains.

Another view of the site in 1998 from the hillside above the site.  Note that  the river  channel is REALLY cutting into the site now.

View of the site from 2001 - the site is now completely gone and the river is starting to cut into the hillside behind where the site was located.

Another view from 2001

2008 - all that remains is the church on the hill and the river continues to cut deeply into the hill. Image courtesy of the Alutiiq Museum.