Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Sorry this post is late, between work and class it has been a whirlwind. You know I'm busy when I miss the annual craft fair on Saturday!
We had a great Thanksgiving - you can see Goldfish's turkey came out perfect, the dogs played and ate to exhaustion, the boys got creamed in Wii bowling and tennis, and Elaine now has the distinction of being the only person in history to ever appear on two different Unalaska blogs in the same week . . . .
I have a lot to be thankful for this past year - I got to see all my family (some of them several times), we flew a couple people out to the island for visits, Chico remains healthy despite his age, I married the perfect woman, and I remain in love with where I live.
To all my on-line friends, thanks for your kind words and all the great posts on your own blogs. For all my island friends, thanks for all you do to make our lives out here special. Cheers everyone and all the best for the holiday season!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another Good Island Dog

If Chico has a partner in crime out here, it would be Cali. Cali is a bit less "complicated" - she loves to chase leaves, wallow in mud puddles like a hippo, and catch snowballs. Chico is slavishly devoted to her despite their large gap in ages.
As for Cali's human (Keri), we are all more than a little fond of her as well and look forward to her joining us for Thanksgiving again this year!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Icy Paint

Normally, ice is white in color due to air bubble inclusions introduced during the freezing process. I have to think there is more at work for this very thin skim of ice on the creek emptying into Morris Cove to be so very opaque . . . any ideas?

Life has been a blur on the island with class and work and the holidays fast approaching. We had a doozy of a wind storm today, even by Dutch standards - I bet we had gusts approaching 100 knots at times with pretty long periods of sustained gale force. I was in class for most of it; by the time I got to walk the dog tonight things had calmed down considerably.

Quote spotted in the Unalaska Fire Chief's Office - "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do do him absolutely no good" - Samuel Johnson.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Anywhere, Anytime

My all terrain, all season, all weather walking buddy, always up for an adventure . . .

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Horses at Morris Cove

Last Saturday was the last day of my vacation time for the year and it was a beautiful day so took a break from homework, loaded up Chico and headed to Morris Cove for a long walk on the beach. The horses were there and relaxed - Chico doesn't faze them a bit - and we had a great time for a few hours.
I have a new reason to love Morris Cove - it connects me with my sister. I think it was her favorite spot when she visited this summer so every time I am out there I think of the time we spent walking that beach and her great attitude and sense of wonder. How a water baby like my sister ended up in the midwest is beyond me . . . . miss you Sis!

Monday, November 17, 2008

So I Was Trying to Take Eagle Pictures . . . .

. . . . . . and this boat kept getting in the way . . . .
F/V Northwestern has made their Akutan deliveries and was in Dutch over the weekend doing exit interviews with the Discovery Channel crews. There were also interviews over at the Unisea plant dock involving lounge furniture from the hotel and the crew of the Cornelia Marie . . . . and now back to your normally scheduled blog programming of scenery, dogs, the odd pumpkin, eagles and horses . . . . . . .

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Passing of the Seasons

Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, each season with its own colors and smells and seasonal activities. Not seasons like "the Holiday Season", seasons like the season for fishing, the season for berry picking, the season for gathering firewood. The peoples of the Aleutians have honored these seasons and more for over ten thousand years, and sometimes if you listen and watch carefully you can sense all that has come before, and all that lies ahead, and the fleeting nature of the present . . . . .

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More Summer's Bay Horses

These are the horses I found earlier this week when I was following tracks. You can see this is a different group from the ones hanging out at Morris Cove and they were quite a bit more skittish. You can see in the bottom photo how far away they were, and I left them alone, life's tough enough out there without fools with cameras chasing them across the field.
Chico and I had a nice walk tonight in this same area; I'm trying to get out there as much as possible lately because soon the avalanches will close the road and it will be a few months before we can drive out there again. Goldfish and I are itching to start snowshoeing - just a bit more snow . . . .

Friday, November 14, 2008

Expectations Dictate Perceptions

I was reminded of this recently when I admired a photo on another blog and assumed it was taken in Alaska when in fact it was some where in the lower 48, taken before the blog author moved to Alaska. I expected to see Alaska, so I saw Alaska. Our expectations can sometimes blind us to life's details, and color our experiences in a negative way. I want to try to take each day at face value, and be open to changing my mind.

I just wanted to take a moment to point out a few other blogs from the area, in case anyone has missed them. My favorite is Darryl's blog, Notes from Akutan.

Darryl is a physician assistant on Akutan which is the island directly to the east of Unalaska. As near as I can tell, Akutan is like a parallel universe, the scenery is very similar, and DC folks will be happy to know that is where Sig and crew make their deliveries. Darryl hikes and takes great photos and generally seems to embrace life on the island, his blog is worth a look.

Another blog from Unalaska is Lauri's Life on the Rock. Lauri is WAY more socially connected that I am - she has been here 10 years, works at the library, and hangs out at the airport bar. If you want to know what is REALLY happening here, or get the first word on DC stuff, Lauri is your gal. Lauri may not realize it, but she knows me. I see her on Ballyhoo sometimes when I'm walking Chico, she and I have some of the same friends, and her picture is actually on my fridge in a group photo with Goldfish taken at Elaine's birthday party. What can I say, it's a small town . . . . Anyways, Lauri just started blogging last month so be sure to check her out once in awhile.
There is also Dan's blog. Dan is a busy guy, he does a music program on on the local radio station, he is on the management team at the hotel, he plays a mean guitar, and he dives a lot. Plus he takes fabulous trekking vacations all over the world. His blogging is a bit sporatic but worth checking out because when he does post, it is always talking about doing something way cooler than most. Dan and I carefully coordinate our activities so that we never actually meet in person, but we do share a couple friends. Check Dan's blog out when you get a chance, he really embraces life.
There are also a few folks that have an Unalaska blog but don't really post. And of course, there are, I'm sure, some great blogs from out here I just don't know about - I'm so busy it is usually someone else that points new blogs out to me, so if you know of any drop me an email or post a comment, I'd love to check them out!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Okay, Maybe More Than A Taste of Winter

Normally out here winter doesn't really settle in to stay until December so I was reluctant to let go of fall. This year seems to be different . . . I've been sick the last few days so I've been able to watch wave after wave of snow showers roll up Illiuluk Bay with periods of bright sunshine in between. Today I decided to call an official end to the motorcycle riding season so I went on one last tour of the island. I've found that gentle riding on snow is not much different than aggressive riding on dirt - be easy on both the throttle and the brake and you'll be fine. With that said, some of the back roads out here are pretty steep and there just isn't enough traction to get to some some spots in the winter safely.
In the top photo, you can see horse tracks in the roadway - I was on the hunt for where the wild horses were spending their time. The bottom photo shows Summer's Bay - I just love how the colors of the bike match the colors of winter out here . . . .
Sorry I've been missing in action, we had company over - not really company, they were all dear friends - and I've been deliberately staying away from the camera and computer. I missed some amazing photos - an eagle on top of Little Bishop rock with the moon in the background comes to mind - but you have to step away once in awhile to remember why you're there in the first place, right?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Taste of Winter

We got our first real dusting of snow today that stuck around for a bit - all three of these boat pictures were taken in the last week but the top one I took at lunch today of the Western Dawn shows the snow all the way down to sea level on the mountains. Sorry about the Time Bandit, they were hauling butt up the channel and by the time I got the camera from the window sill they were almost past the house.
We're seeing more eagles around these days and I saw a fox crossing the road on the walk home from class tonight. It is hard to be upset with the coming of winter with the mountains looking so regal in their winter coats and the prospect of snowshoeing adventures with Chico and Goldfish!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Chico Says "Don't Forget To Vote"

I listen to National Public Radio a lot and in all the clutter of the election the moments that stood out for me were interviews with folks from countries where elections were either not allowed, or were corrupt with a predetermined outcome. Sometimes it takes a look at the alternative to appreciate the freedoms we enjoy; voting is an enormous privilege, and even though the national election will no doubt be determined long before we get to the polls tomorrow (after all, we can "see Russia from our house"), Goldfish and I will make the trip over the creek and up the hill and cancel each other out, a proud family tradition I learned from my Mom and Dad.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Backing Horsing Around

I'm happy to see the horses are back, hanging around Morris Cove. They were missing for months after a gelding operation to keep their numbers stable - can't say as I blame them! I'm sorry Sis missed them on her visit this summer - maybe next time!
"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." - Eleanor Roosevelt
One of my favorite quotes and one I try to remember when I post something on here - unfortunately I'm usually stuck in Average Mind territory, especially given I post right before bed after some pretty long days. Sometimes I do discuss what I'm up to, because the these posts are essentially an open letter to my Dad, my siblings, my sons and their families, keeping in touch. What I try to never do is discuss anyone else that lives here - I don't even take pictures of other people, as a rule. What happens on the island stays on the island . . . .