Opportunity, I Choose Door Number 1!



Not much of this going on lately! 

I haven’t gotten around to posting my latest Fowl Adventure 2013.  My trip to Chickenstock and then up to my friends outside of Eagle on the Yukon River went wonderfully.  This was the first time I have gone without kids and while I did miss them, I had a great time.  But I have been so dang busy, I haven’t time to post about it right now.  

I am leaving this weekend to visit my friend Susan.  She runs Kavik River Camp north of the Brooks Range.  She is flying a few of us up for her 50th birthday party.  I am also transporting a retired sled dog for her.  So yea, prepare for some fun pictures!  You might recognize her as she is one of the participants of National Geographic’s Life Below Zero.  You might see me in a future episode as the film crew came along last time Sue was in town and I took her out to the Howling Dog Saloon to celebrate her purchase of her camp.  

Anyways, fun is on the horizon!


PS.  I love comments.  I like getting to know the people reading this.  It’s fun.


February, You Were a Tricky Wench!

Yes my dear readers, I know it is now half way through My Favorite Month of March, but I have either not been inspired to write or when I was, life has just been too busy.  So onward we go and I’ll try to catch you up.

After a bitterly cold January, February actually wasn’t that bad.  The -40 and colder at my house made me long for my cozy little waterless cabin.  It did get to -50 but then my temperature gauge broke so I don’t know exactly just HOW cold it got.  Being on the river means that we are often colder than the surrounding hills due to inversion.  Trying to keep water and septic fluid in those temperatures is exhausting, and expensive.  I’m still paying on my electric bill as are many in the area.  Heat traces on water lines still don’t keep the water pumps themselves or even the septic lift pump from freezing.  This is my 9th winter here in the magic land and by far my most difficult in many aspects.  It’s ok though.  Not once did I ever consider moving to warmer climes.  I am still in love with the Interior and awed at our extremes.

As always, working on the Yukon Quest was one of the highlights of my winter.  So here are some pictures from that.

While I didn’t have a flat in a blizzard like last year, my tires were very much on my mind.  I was very thankful for the studded snow tires my friends Jan and Eric helped me get as I journeyed 100 miles up the Steese Highway.

Steese Highway

Steese Highway

Mile 101 Checkpoint, Yukon Quest

Checkpoint Manager Peter Kamper and his son Lucas who kept the fires burning in all the cabins.

Mile 101 Checkpoint, Yukon QuestThis is the couch that is normally in the cook shack.  They took it out to give us more room and it made a nice conversation piece as well as a place for the checkers to sit.  The checkers spend long hours waiting for mushers to come into the check point and to check them out before they leave.

Mile 101 Checkpoint, Yukon Quest, northern lights, aurora borealis

We did get a very nice aurora show.  I didn’t bring my tripod so here is a picture from my camera sitting on a bale of straw.

Mile 101 Checkpoint, Yukon QuestCheckers waiting for mushers to come in.

Mile 101 Checkpoint, Yukon QuestBrent Sass coming in.

Mile 101 Checkpoint, Yukon QuestI know most of the mushers running the Quest but some of the rookies I still do not know.  Sometimes it is difficult to tell who is the musher and who are the handlers. This year all that one needed to do was look at their boots.  If their boots were covered over in frozen ice, they were a musher.

Mile 101 Checkpoint, Yukon QuestBrent Sass of Wild and Free Mushing. Brent is known for being a pretty cheerful guy.  Even tired, this guy is happy.  He’s just one of those people who is fun to have in the cookshack.

Mile 101 Checkpoint, Yukon QuestAllen Moore of Skunk’s Place Kennel, being interviewed by the media.  I don’t know him well but he seems to be a really nice guy.  He’s married to Aliy Zirkle who is the only women so far to win the Yukon Quest.  She also just got second place in the Iditarod.

Mile 101 Checkpoint, Yukon QuestEveryone knows Hugh Neff, this years Quest champion.

Mile 101 Checkpoint, Yukon Quest

Mile 101 Checkpoint, Yukon Quest, Lance MackeyLance Mackey cutting off the frozen bottom portion of his pants.

Mile 101 Checkpoint, Yukon QuestBrent’s interview.

Mile 101 Checkpoint, Yukon QuestAbby West of Cosmic Canines. 

Mile 101 Checkpoint, Yukon QuestSonny Lindner, who I must admit I do not know much about.

Mile 101 Checkpoint, Yukon Quest Sue Ellis, wife to Mike Ellis who ran the Quest.  They have Team Tsuga Racing Siberians.  Sue’s just about the nicest person I’ve ever met at the checkpoint.

Mile 101 Checkpoint, Yukon QuestMy friend Scott Chesney of Loco Lobo Photography. 

Mile 101 Checkpoint, Yukon QuestIs this a future leader that came to visit?  We’ll see.  It sure was nice to have some puppy love.

Mile 101 Checkpoint, Yukon QuestWe had some amazing sunsets and sunrises.

Josh Cadzow, Yukon Quest, 2012Doug Grilliot, YQ300 Race Marshall and Josh Cadzow, winner of this year’s Yukon Quest 300.

Yukon Quest, 2012Norweigian Joar Leifseth Ulsom, what a cutie!  He was racing for Team Racing Beringia, a distance learning program.

Yukon Quest, 2012The always awesome Sebastian Schnuelle, of Blue Kennels.  He was not racing this year.  Instead, he was the “Armchair Musher on the Trail” for both the Quest and the Iditarod.

Yukon Quest, 2012Race Manager for the Beringia Team.  Yea, sleep is hard to come by, especially with 3 teams.

Yukon Quest, 2012My German friend Sui and his “Goat Team”.

Yukon Quest, 2012Jimmy Lebling and my friend Jan Denapoli-Cosmuto.  Jimmy was running Jan’s dogs in the Yukon Quest 300.

Yukon Quest, 2012Did I mention that our checkers are the most dedicated people!

Yukon Quest, 2012Me, Jan, and Eric.

All in all it was a very nice race.  The mushers had a lot less heartbreak and difficulties from the area this year.  That makes me happy.

Now on to the rest of the month.  We have been having awesome magnetic storms producing some magnificent aurora shows.   Unfortunately I have been missing most of them since taking myself off of Facebook and having access to the Aurora Notifications page.  But I still am able to track them on our Geophysical Institute Page.

Auroras 2012, AlaskaJan, Eric, and I, along with my daughter Olivia and another friend set up an arctic oven tent out on one of the ponds we normally drive dog teams to.  Wow that was an awkward sentence.  I was using one of Jan’s cameras because she has a wide-angle lens.  Well of course, most of my shots did not turn out as well as I would have liked but here is one so you can see the setting.

Auroras 2012, Alaska, arctic oven

We had fun playing with light drawing while waiting for more auroras to show up.  This is Olivia and I, walking like Egyptians.

Me throwing a lightning bolt.  Ok ok, I know Batman doesn’t normally have lightning bolts at his disposal but I’m assuming Alfred came up with a contraption to harness all the electromagnetics in the air.

Home made chicken noodle soup has been a favorite this winter.  Ever wonder what cabin fever looks like?  Well, this pretty much sums it up.  Yes, we are crazy in Alaska.  What would you expect to happen with a swimsuit, feather boa, and fur boots at -45.  And with that, I am going on a diet.  Last year I cut out Cokes from my diet and lost 20 lbs.  I ran all winter long, some weeks every day but at least 3 days a week.  I didn’t lose any more than that first 20 lbs.  So now, I will diet.  I’m not a “dieter”.  But then again, I was never a runner before either and thoroughly enjoyed that.  I refuse to end up a fat old lady!

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thank you all for reading.  You life my spirits and make writing and sharing worth it.

We’re going.

Angel Flight can get two of us to Dallas.  That is where my sister Char lives.  I’ve asked her to help me coordinate this because at this point I am just too overwhelmed.  That’s as good a word for it as any.  So we are just waiting for his nurse and or case manager to fill out the paper work from Angel Flight and get it back to them but we are pretty sure it will be approved because we do qualify for it.

So anyone that wants to donate can go to paypal and enter her email address and send any donation as a “Personal Gift”.


I promise this isn’t any type of scam.  Most of you know me personally or on other places on the internet.  After being unemployed for over a year, I just went back to work not even two weeks ago for the Interior Alaska Center for Non Violent Living.  Needless to say, we haven’t gotten our feet back under us yet, much less any savings built up.  Death is so inconvenient.

Thank you so much for all the outpouring of love, prayers and support I have gotten.  I am blessed with so many caring people in my life.

This morning’s update.

One of his doctors called me this morning to get consent to start dialysis as his kidneys have shut down due to the blood loss yesterday.  I of course gave it.  He also gave me more information on what happened yesterday.  They tried to put the “rubber bands” on the varices that ruptured (esophageal varices are extremely dilated sub-mucosal veins in the lower esophagus. They are most often a consequence of portal hypertension, commonly due to cirrhosis; patients with esophageal varices have a strong tendency to develop bleeding. from Wikipedia) but that didn’t work.  They put in a shunt to bypass and relive the pressure.  They gave him 18 units of blood.  But now his kidneys have shut down.  They may kick back in or they may not.  We can only wait to see how much damage was done.

Both kids went to school today.  I am looking into Angel Flights to get us down there but they only do trips of 1000 miles or less.   From Fairbanks to Oklahoma City is 2,855 miles so we’ll see if we can do the trip in two legs.

Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers.  I am so tired but am about to go to the laundry mat instead of try for a nap.  After all, regardless of what is going on, we still need socks and underwear.

Leaking sadness from my beloved Alaska.

I am thankful that I am in a location that gives me strength.  How many people get power and comfort simply from the location in which they live?  I keep sadness and lifely problems out of my blog as a general rule.  After all, everyone has problems.  Mine are certainly not the most tragic by any means.  No one wants to read about sadness, as it is catching.  I myself often insulate myself from other’s troubles as not having enough emotional energy to deal with them when I don’t have to.  It’s a protective response.  But this is also a place to put my thoughts and to reach out when I can make myself reach out to the general public.  Did you know that puts me in a position of feeling vulnerable?  That is not a condition I often allow myself to be in.  It’s strange, but here I am, writing.  And not only here, all over the place I am reaching out to my friends and support networks.  So feel free to read or not, whatever you are able to do.

As most of you know, well maybe not, my husband and I are permanently separated. We were together over 20 years and he is the loving father of my children. We had many good years together before things started going south. He is going through liver failure so I can’t say this was unexpected. It doesn’t make it any easier.  Last week he was admitted to his local hospital.  They drained 3.5 liters of fluid from his abdomen.  To spare you all the details, this is a normal situation from liver failure.  He has been home for a few days but not feeling well at all and in a lot of pain.  His esophagus ruptured this morning. This is also pretty common in liver failure. They life flighted him to OKC (thank God). They did the TIPS procedure, repaired the tear. He is in a coma and has a 50/50 chance of surviving the next 24-48 hours. I talked to his ICU nurse earlier.  A note about that:  I really now have a great respect for ICU nurses.  She gave me the information that I needed very matter of factually.  The information itself was not reassuring, but she was.  Just that she could say these words in such a normal tone of voice was a comfort.  She wasn’t condescending at all or sappy either.  She offered me as much information as she had as well as what I might expect in the upcoming days.  I appreciated the straight talk.  She didn’t ask me if I knew what I was asking when I asked for the numbers from his blood gases where even.  How can you tell these things to someone and still be comforting?  Now that is a unique skill.

They said he might have renal failure and the amount of ammonia in his brain is problematic.  They can give him medicine for that though.  They don’t know what his cognitive level will be if he survives. He lost almost 3 liters of blood so they had to give him a lot. They will do a CAT scan in the morning to check on his abdomen.  These are also all common in this situation.  That doesn’t mean it’s easier, just that it’s not a mystery.

Jordan (13) didn’t want to go to school today so I didn’t make him of course.  That is his normal reaction to stress.  Home is comfort.  Olivia (9) wanted to go to school which was fine for her of course.  She loves school and the distraction and support she got there was good too.  It really makes me wonder about gender differences.

So, that is all for now.  We just have to wait and see.  So if any of you would like to say a prayer, light a candle, or send out good thoughts to the universe, please feel free to do so on our behalf.



Getting strong.

“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength”

Charles H. Spurgeon

We’ve returned from our trip to Chicken and Eagle.  What a wonderful trip it was.  Yes we were able to get the tent out of storage.  More on that later.  I am working on that blog post right now but it is a big one and taking lots of time.

The visit with my friends up the river from Eagle was good for my soul.  We are making some tentative plans for future adventures.  They loaned me the book, A Land Gone Lonesome by Dan O’Neill.  Oh what a book!  It fuels my dreams.

I ran my first 10K, the Midnight Sun Run, and ran it as Batman.  My goal was to finish in one and a half hours.  My time was 1 hour 30 minutes and 52 seconds so I am very satisfied.  This is the biggest race in the state with over 3500 racers, the Midnight Sun Run is a 10K race that starts at 10:00 pm.

Batman, Midnight Sun Run 2011

I ran as a member of the Justice League, an idea I came up with this winter to keep me going to the gym.  Why I am Batman is a story that some of you know but I will not be writing about at this time.  There is a reason though.

Midnight Sun Run, Justice League, 2011
Your friendly neighborhood super heroes.
There were over 3500 entrants in the race.  Costumes are optional.
Midnight Sun Run 2011
Feel free to view my other photos of the race here.  The ones taken of runners during the race were taken by my 12 year old son.  He did a good job, caught lots of costumes sitting in the yard of my aunt’s house at the two-mile mark.


We won a prize!  I had registered us as a group, The Justice League of course.  Unfortunatly the prize is TWO tickets to El Dorado Gold Mine.  I’m voting to give them to Janice and Michael.  I’m just tickled for us to have won something.

No tent camping?

So, as we prepare for our next adventure, we are having to accept the fact that we may not have an actual tent to camp in.  All our camping gear is in storage which has a combination lock on it.  The combination was set by ex who now lives in another state.  He is having some medical issues so between the pain and the morphine they have him on, his brain is too foggy to remember the combination.  He remembers that there was a 1, 2, 3, 2, 4, and 6 in it but we have tried all the combinations we can think of with those numbers without any luck.  We can make do and sleep in the back of the 4 Runner but of course, but it wont be as comfortable and will defiantly take away a bit of the fun factor.  My daughter is also very concerned about being able to see moose through the windows of the truck.  Having had a bit of a moose encounter on her way home from the bus stop once, she is still very scared of moose.  She doesn’t want to see any, even from a distance.  While I explained to her that any moose around Chickenstock will run away when they hear all the music and people, she is hesitant to trust in that.  That’s a pretty tough situation for a child growing up in Alaska.  Being a bit of a minimalist while camping anyways, I can do without all the other camping gear but not having the tent is really going to suck.  At least I have our good cooler which has been sitting on our front porch for the winter doubling as extra freezer space.