I promised myself that I would add one of these stories here every time I told one. I tell them at one point or another throughout the summer. There will be no chronology - not yet anyway - nor will there be much of a schedule. You never know; I might add a story every day and I might not. This is my life. Every day is an adventure.


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Global Warming Hoax

Before you get your hackles all in a burr, no, I haven't read up on all the latest studies. In fact it's been a long time since I looked into the issue at all, shy of watching the occasional TV program on the issue. All I know is what I can see right here at home. Is the world warming up a degree or two a year? I have no idea. It doesn't seem like my winters are getting any shorter or warmer, but what is happening is someone (and I do mean a person or persons) is trying to alter the weather patterns, and for us here in Alaska, it's not a good thing. We aren't a farming state suffering from drought. That's not to say we don't have farms here in Alaska, we do, though I couldn't tell you what is grown.

What's been happening is (or seems to me like) they (the elusive they) are seeding the clouds now two falls in a row (at least), causing it to rain buckets from roughly August through September. Now that is normally our rainy season so no one will take much notice, but lately, I've been worrying that all our precipitation is falling in liquid form and not so much of the snowy variety.

For two to five years in a row it has flooded dangerously here - not at my house; I live up on a high hill - but down on the river damage to the lodges is becoming of great concern. Too high a cost to keep repairs up and businesses will close (and I will be out of work). The last lodge I worked at is losing their front yard by the foot and very soon the river will be running under the lodge itself. Need I speculate for you what will happen to that lodge then? Already some of their buildings are on state land behind them. They just can't move back any more. The lodge where I work now is still recovering from the flood five years ago as they continue to work to replace floors and jack the guest cabins up out of the mud. Admittedly, some of those projects are things that should have been done years back, but that flood did other kinds of damage too. Next summer I'm going to need to take a scrub brush to some lower walls. Wood grain hangs onto silt pretty well.

Back to the farce of global warming

Rain in the fall is a norm, but I will bet that it probably messes up the harvest, especially if it comes down like twice normal. That's not the issue. You see, their whole proof is based on the receding glaciers, and if you think about it, it's snow that created glaciers, and it's snow that maintains them, so if it doesn't snow, the glaciers run out eventually. So it equates that if you can suck all the precipitation out of the air before winter sets in... Well, you see what my logic is. I don't pretend to know anything about weather models, so I have no idea how it all works. I just know what I see, and this is what I think.

For two winters in a row, we've gotten a pitiful amount of snow. This is Alaska. Our whole winter is geared toward winter sports and activities. There's the Iron Dog, and the Iditarod. There's even a winter biking race on the river and a I think there's a hiking thing as well. That's not to mention entire businesses geared to promote and support play. If snow goes away, all that goes away too. Though it might seem kind of funny in a way, I'm sick and tired of hearing how everyone down in the lower 48 is getting the feet of snow we are used to while we eek out an inch or two. It's December. It's after Christmas, and we have less than a foot of snow on the ground. Once was the time when this much snow was already on the ground by the end of October and four to five feet of snow was on the ground by now.

So, next time you hear about receding glaciers, look into how much snow has fallen in the area as opposed to how much rain has fallen earlier in the season.

Oh, and the seeding thing - I know it's seeding and not just random jets flying over because random jets flying of is just that -> random. Seeding - especially like we've been getting lately, is planes flying in a grid. Yes, I really mean a grid - multiple planes flying back and forth in one direction, and other planes flying back and forth in another direction. By the time they're done the sky looks like someone strung a pig wire fence up there that slowly dissipates. Oh yeah, and the worst part about that is when that crap reaches the ground, it stinks.

Once upon a time the air up here was actually sweet smelling. It's been months and months since the air has smelled like that.

Now, the really concentrated seeding - when I finally put all of this together - happened like three days after Obama toured the state last year. I know that this whole global warming thing is a multi-million dollar thing, so they gotta keep it going somehow, but they really need to lay off. Give us back our snow. If the globe is warming up a little each year, it will happen one way or another, but putting an entire state out of business can't be a good thing.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Weight Loss

For years and years - pretty much ever since I had kids - I have battle my weight, constantly gaining a little each year over the year before. Back in July of 2011 I tried a diet that worked wonders for my best friend from high school. It worked wonders for me too, for the first go-around. I'd bought 2 go-arounds and the second one didn't take off a single ounce. I lost 50 pounds with the first round, so I was happy with that. However, I couldn't keep the pounds off. I tried many strategies - eating less, not eating this or that, avoiding that or this if possible. Keeping an eye pealed for something I could get that might work. Living out here, I am handicapped by what I can eat. I can't run to the store for fresh veggies or salad fixings and I can't keep such things here for very long - I don't have a refrigerator, but even if I did, I still can't keep fresh things here. If it isn't frozen, canned or dry, I can't keep it around.

This last winter, the lymph nodes in my face flared up for some unknown reason and it got a little scary so I went to town to see a Dr. However, by the time I got there it was all done and over, so I turned the trip into a shopping trip. I wasn't about to shell out $200 to chat with a Dr. about what might have cause them and I had no other reason to visit one. Anyway, my son juices so he was juicing things for me. Tasted good, but it didn't have the desired affect on my weight - quite the contrary.

During my shopping, one thing I needed was vitamins so I was looking for the Centrum ones I'd always had (at least for the last few years). When someone else does your shopping for you, you kinda take what they send you and these seemed pretty good so what the heck. They were one-a-day's, but I took one in the afternoon too (if I remembered to take one with me) at work. During the winter I mostly didn't take them at all. They were (hopefully) my energy source to get me through the day. Taking one also helped me remember to drink enough water throughout the day - something I'm not so good at, but I'm getting better.

Long story short, my son scoffed at the manufactured vitamins I was after and had me get instead these all natural ones. The brand name is CODE. You should seriously check them out.

The OCD in me wouldn't let me just throw out the old ones, so I religiously took them twice a day like always starting shortly before going back to work. I'd reached 200 pounds again and I was looking forward to working off a few pounds at work. My sedentary life here during the winter does me no good. I know this, but my little 1/4 mile walk to the boats and back doesn't really accomplish anything but to get me out of the house for a little while.

I know I'm strong. I believe I am stronger than most women my size and age, but carrying around 50-60 extra pounds every waking and sleeping moment of my life kinda wears on me after a while. Never call a fat person weak; depending on how much weight they're carrying around, believe me, you wouldn't want to do the same be it extra weight or a rucksack.

Work starts out with me trying to figure out what goes where and where it all is, that and catching up on all the laundry fast enough so incoming staff can have clean bedding. I swear everyone just packed up and left at the end of last year - I don't know - maybe they did. After I got the laundry-room caught up I started getting the flowerbeds tilled. I have a garden claw for this, but it's still work and my back and feet would ache after not very long. Then, to interrupt my work, the girl hired to clean the lodge wasn't doing her job. Her definition of cleaning was to clean what you can see, which might be fine most of the time, but to start of it needs to be move everything and scrub everything - there's a whole winter's worth of dust and bugs and whatever to clean up before you can get away with taking shortcuts. Anyway, she got fired and they really needed help in there so that's what I did until they got a new girl in. It set me back about a week, so baby plants weren't getting planted and weeds were having a field day, not to mention getting into cabins.

Cleaning in the lodge meant crawling around and checking under things, and cleaning under things. Going over every piece of furniture and cleaning them from one end to the other. Wiping down walls (I didn't get to all of them). You get the picture. I was mostly done with what I could do around coming and going day fishermen when the new girl arrived and then I had a week to get the gardens all done and move on to the cabins. Millions of thanks to the guys for helping me with the rocks around most of the more up front gardens. After that in was into the cabins where I wiped down the walls, crawling around, on top of, and under the bunks in search of cobwebs and dust. I even found some left over flood silt here and there (after 4 years I was surprised and disappointed by that, I can tell you). It wasn't bad though - not where it really counted. After that it was making beds. That entailed up and down a ladder for each layer if it was an upper bunk and there were 2 in most of the cabins. Thank goodness I only had five cabins to worry about at the time.

On top of all of this exercise, our 4-wheeler decided it didn't want to go anymore. That left me hauling things back and forth with a 2-wheeled cart. I had to carry barrels down to the boats in order to take some to work to be filled (they didn't have barrels to be filled with gas; their gas was pumped directly into big tanks). I also had to haul down propane tanks (thank goodness we aren't using the big tanks) and to add insult to injury, we ran out of gas here so I was hauling five gallons at a time back up to the house as needed. I was starting to feel like a mule (and wishing I had one). Groceries were supposed to come last week and I was seriously dreading the ordeal of figuring out how I was going to get it all to the house. But now the 4-wheeler works again so I'm spared most of that worry. No idea what the issue was with the darn thing, but it works - no more cart.

Long story - longer than I intended - but the gist of it all was that through it all, I didn't lose more than maybe a pound or two. Never try to tell me that exercise and eating right will melt the pounds away. Don't try to tell me that muscle weighs more than fat and I must have been building muscle as I was losing the fat. That may be true - a little - but it certainly didn't make my feet hurt less.

Finally, about 5 weeks after I started work, I ran out of my old vitamins and start those new ones my son wanted me to get. Also during that time, I was getting a little desperate so I asked my best friend if she had any of that hcg stuff that worked so well. She did so I bought it. I guess it's hard to come by these days, having gone out of style or something. Maybe it worked too well and the FDA put the pressure on them. I also ordered some diet stuff from a neighbor out here. And some tea my daughter-in-law had given me a while back but I'd used up. The tea and some of the stuff from my neighbor is cleansing and the pills do whatever they do. I just got it, but I haven't opened any of it yet.

Back to those CODE vitamins: Ever since I started taking them (I went with the one pill twice a day at first), I started losing weight SLOWLY. That was fine with me. Slow is good as long as it goes. I also recently learned that I might be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency at least during the winter. I get scaly spots on my face during the winter and I ran across an article that indicated that might be a D deficiency. Well, guess what - If I take these vitamins as recommended, I get 100% of that too. Hmmm Something to see about anyway. So I decided to take the 2 pills in the morning and 2 in the evening (when I remembered - most of the time) and see how things develop.

Yes, the weight is coming off and I have energy. My feet still hurt if I'm on them all day, but that's getting better. I have my finger crossed. Wouldn't it be a hoot if my weight problem was some kind of enzyme or probiotic shortage? Just like with hcg, my hunger and cravings have decreased, my energy level has increased, and the pounds are coming off. I don't lead a toxic life. I don't eat manufactured foods more than maybe once a year, so cleansing isn't necessary. I SO wish this keeps working. Needless to say, I've asked my son to get me more of those vitamins. I mean, seriously, if they're actually a benefit, I'm all for it. Wish me luck.


Monday, June 20, 2016

A Beaver's Life

I went down to the boats to bail them out this evening since it rained pretty hard all day. Every morning for probably a couple weeks now, I've had a friendly discussion with a local beaver I've dubbed Mr. Beaver, usually consisting of "Don't you let me hit you." I"d hate to accidentally hit one with my prop. And then I'm off to work. I don't see him when I come home.

This evening I discover that he'd brought Mrs. Beaver over likely touting the lush feed and quiet water that's clear farther up. I'm sure he even warned her about the noisy neighbor (me) that showed up briefly every morning. It's certain she had her doubts, but she was there to check things out.

Enter said noisy neighbor to splash water out of her boat. Within a few minutes, Mrs .Beaver stuck her nose up in the air and left. Mr. Beaver decided to stick it out, likely thinking to give her a little time to cool down and think things over.

I'd decided to bail out the rest of the boats even though they were still sitting on the ground - the water was getting high though nothing was floating yet. Mr. Beaver decided to chew on a juicy stick scarcely a boat length's distance from me as I bailed out a second boat, but when I moved closer to bail out the last boat, talking to him as I moved about, he decided to join his lady friend. A few minutes later I heard them chattering to each other. In my head they were saying something like this:

Mrs. Beaver: You said it only showed up in the morning. You said it wasn't a bad neighbor.

Mr. Beaver: It has always been very polite and quickly leaves every morning. It's not a bad neighbor. Come on back inside, baby. I'm sure we can find us the perfect place to raise our kits.

Mrs. Beaver: That's all you guys ever think about, building a new house and having kits.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Good Substitute

About a month ago, an ermine moved in under the house. We'd seen him (or her) before, but then I think, when he discovered the abundant hunting ground under the house, he hung around. When we saw all the tracks, we started leaving a few crumbs of leftovers out by the steps where the plastic that skirts the house during the winter is open.

Yep, he scarfed them up, so we left more. Soon we had a bowl out there, not to fill, but to keep the scraps out of the snow. Soon, we discovered that he doesn't really like dry ramen noodles, but he'll make short work of bits of fish sticks, hot dogs, and bacon. The latest offering, a half biscuit with butter and a little tuna mixed with mayonnaise disappeared quickly.

He seems to go on short hunting trips, but of late he has always returned. I guess he's unwilling to pass up a free meal.

He's a cute little sucker. We've tentatively named him Trouble, but today I couldn't help but call him Sweety. You see, today was the first time he showed himself to me, and for about five minutes, we played peekaboo. He popped up a couple times to peek at me through the steps, and then half a dozen or more times from the gap near the bowl. Every time I moved, he darted back out of sight, but then popped back out to peek at me again.

We were on our way to get firewood, and I couldn't play any longer. I put a piece of meatloaf in his bowl and we took off. When we got back, the meatloaf was gone. I do hope to see him again soon. I think, if he's still hanging around this summer, I'll order some ferret food. Not to have that as a stable, but to give him a slightly better diet than people food, which, I'm sure he'll get plenty of as long as he's around.

I do hope he stays. If he does, the mouse population will take a header. Who knows, maybe he'll actually become friendly, or at least friendly enough to take food from my hand. And if I'm really lucky, we'll get a second generation here. I'm not sure if he's old enough, and I haven't more than the one, but it would be hard to tell with all the tracks he's left around.

But, I can't have a cat or a dog. Where my son lives now, they don't allow pets, and the day will come soon when I can't live out here anymore. There's really no point in trying to get one now. Someday, when I've relocated to wherever (Eagle River, AK, or more likely Kingman, AZ), I'll get a cat then. Who knows - Only the future will tell.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Summer of Changes

I hate change,  I really do, but after only two and a half years, I'm changing jobs again. I finally get the place organized and functioning the way I like and I can't work there anymore. Why? you ask. Because there is nothing in it for me anymore. Sure there's a nice paycheck, and I'll be taking a pay cut at my new job, but the benefits to me otherwise are priceless.

You see, my old boss decided he wanted nothing to do with helping me get my supplies out here. Course he didn't tell me this until I asked when I could submit my list. His reasoning was that I needed to take more 'responsibility' for my life. What exactly does that mean? In his mind, it meant running to the store myself. Of course there is no store anywhere around here. For me to just pop into a store somewhere and do a little shopping - something my boss does when he's home all the time - I would need to charter a plane to town at around $400, or seat fare of maybe $100 if I was lucky. Then I'd have to hire a taxi driver for the bulk of a day of mad shopping for a couple hundred dollars if I was lucky, and THEN charter that flight out after spending $3000-$4000 on groceries. Now, understand, my lists are groceries for a whole year. I might have to fill that taxi 3 or 4 times in order to fill a plane. Back on this end, me with my little boat, the only boat we have running, I'd need to make 4 or 5 trips to get it all home.

Now, since I'm working every day (almost), I'd kind of need to accomplish all of this in one fell swoop or I'd miss work; I certainly couldn't afford to go shopping more than once. Needless to say, though I was willing to do this, I just couldn't figure out a way to accomplish it all. I stressed about this for a long time, until finally I decided I'd had enough. I called the competition and asked. Then I went over there and talked to the owner's wife. I've known them for some years. She was utterly thrilled to have me come back. As I said, I'm taking a pay cut, but I hope it will be less than quoted. I was told that was a possibility. I have over 15 years experience at that lodge. It will be nice to be back over there, though I will miss this place. But just to make sure, I asked specifically about getting supplies. I don't need to get a whole planeload at a time - half a dozen boxes at the most every time (every week) is good enough for me. She knows my situation; I order far more than the occasional shampoo and toothpaste, or maybe a new pair of pants and socks. She said, "Oh my gosh, yes. That is no problem at all." You have no idea how valuable that little gesture is.

This place, where I worked last summer and a summer and a half before that, is the very first place we stayed at when we first came out here. In a sense it will be home, and I did make friends here. I will make an effort to visit, but in truth, it will be a relief not to work there. The hours were just outside of my abilities what with me needing to take care of a home too. It was like working two full time jobs in a twenty hour day and still have time to wind down and actually get a little sleep. Trying to explain this to my boss earned some interesting responses though. One, which stunned me, was the recommendation that I leave my husband since he didn't help around the house. So my husband doesn't wash the dishes and he doesn't cook. I spent YEARS figuring out how to do the things I do around here efficiently; I have no interest in trying to teach someone else the job. My working a 13 hour day had never been in the plans when we got married. In fact, my working at all had always been of little more worth than getting me out of the house once in a while. I never expected to be the main bread winner of the family. I would never consider leaving him for those reasons, or any reason, for that matter. Needless to say, I couldn't believe my boss would even utter such words. I mean, are you telling me he would leave his wife if she suddenly decided not to wash the dishes (in the dishwasher)? It made me wonder.

Once was the time when we used to go to town for our supplies. It was such an ordeal and usually involved an overnight or two at a motel in order to get it all done without going nuts. When I first started working at the lodge under it's original owners, I don't remember how the subject came up, maybe she asked, but when she offered to bring out my supplies on their planes, I was brought to tears by the generosity. I mean, they hire their planes and though they were cheaper than now, they were still expensive; it never occurred to me to ask - I was just another employee. That tiny gesture (for them) save us hundreds of dollars a season, and never until this last summer did I have an issue about it. Summer before last was stressful, but I chalked that up to a new boss doing things differently - for the most part, it was, but apparently it was more than that.

So, how did I get my supplies out here? I didn't have to go to town for them. Another friend of mine (a lodge owner) listened to my woes and stepped up to the plate. I paid my share of freight and my share of her expediter's fees like always, and I got a boatload of supplies roughly once a week. Thanks to the late start, my lists had to be larger than I liked but it worked out. Of course, I could go on about her incompetent shopper, but really, I was just relieved to get what I got out here. I'll run out of coffee beans and creamer, but really that's a small issue. This time of year, I can order more. I usually order a plane of supplies at some point during the winter. I already went to town and got some things. I went because I was intending to see a doctor, but by the time I got there, what I needed to see the doctor for was all but cleared up, and I wasn't about to spend over $200 for nothing. I suppose I should have picked up coffee and creamer too, but it might stretch, or we might order another plane - time will tell - maybe we'll just endure until summer. I do have instant, and I do have milk. We would survive. hahaha

So - I'm looking forward to getting back into my garden, which has been beautifully modified since the flood. And I'm also looking forward to doing the modifications I'd planned before I found out I wouldn't be working there anymore. I've also come across a few new ideas too. I've told all my bosses - they're lucky they don't pay me for ALL the work I do, because I'm always thinking about improvements or some other issue. Worrying about the place over the winter and such. The hours are more sane - eight to five for the most part. Life will be easier on a daily basis because of it, the best part will be no more idle afternoons. When my work is done, I can go home and do the things I need to do, and what I want to do at home too. A pay cut will put a pinch on things, but not that much really.