April 23, 2011

Update--with links, but no pictures

Last week it was like summer came overnight to Juneau, at least at my house in the valley.  I hear that town has been ice-free for much longer.  Which is not to say that it is ice-free here, but I no longer park my car in a snowbank, and there is enough open water on the pond for the ducks to swim pathetically along the edges.
The sun was shining, the snow was melting, and things were starting to grow.  I rode my bike downtown to meet Ernie after work, and it was warm and beautiful.
Also, last week was Folk Fest, which I have been looking forward to for about ten years or so.  The music is good (mostly), and the people watching can't be beat, at least not in Juneau (unless you prefer the Eurotrash from the cruise ships).  I went for three nights, and I loved it.  The atmosphere there is so much different than it is at music festivals in Oregon (there were less hippies, actually), and there is an interesting mix of really good musicians, and 6 year olds that are on stage for the first time ever.

This weekend it feels a little less like summer, but it is above freezing, and it hasn't snowed in about three days.  The bears are awake, and the leaves on the blueberries are budding.  And there is already an obscene amount of daylight, even if it is diffuse.

I have spent most of this day making a mess.  Not because I like to make messes, but because that's what I do.  Besides, I cleaned the whole house last week, and this will be a nice surprise (or not) for Ernie when he comes home from studying.

First of all, the planting:
Two weeks ago I started my first seeds.  I used a heat mat, and everything germinated in just a few days.  I also learned a valuable lesson about starting broccoli seeds using a heat mat (leggy seedlings).  Along with broccoli I planted kale, cabbage, swiss chard, parsley, cilantro, basil, peppers, mexican sour gherkins, oregano, thyme, and pak choi.  I'm gonna wait on the zucchini.
Many of these things had to be thinned and repotted today, which is done on the kitchen counter since we have nowhere else to work.  And I planted more broccoli and some onions.  And I planted radishes, spinach, lettuce, arugula, and mustard greens in my cold frame.
All of this gardening is very exciting, except that I don't have a place to put most of the plants.  To further complicate things, when I went over to my friend's house last night (to celebrate Good Friday by watching Jesus Christ Superstar--wow), her mom had a ton of seeds started in the windowsill (cause she has, you know, a yard) and started telling me which ones I could have when they were ready.  Some of you may know that even though I don't eat tomatoes, I have trouble passing up free tomato plants.  Or any other plants, really.
So now I have to find a place to put everything, and we don't know where we will live this summer, or even if we will have a yard.  I guess I had better call the community garden on Monday, and see if there are any plots available.  Cause I have more seeds...

Then, the cooking:
I also tried to make tofu for the first time.  I realize that the idea of making your own tofu doesn't thrill most of you, but these days it is the closest thing to cheesemaking that I can do.  And I needed a fix.  (There was actually a posting on the local craigslist a couple of days ago for a milk goat.  I really, really wanted it, but moving is hard enough with two cats.  Especially if we move onto a boat.  Ernie is not sure we need a boat goat.)  Anyway, I'm pretty sure that the tofu failed, but mostly because plain soymilk still has sugar and vanilla in it.  While that could make a good dessert tofu, I'm not sure it is the flavor profile that I want with my broccoli.  Oh well.
The next thing on my agenda, as soon as I get done typing to you, is to make some habanero hot sauce.  There are two reasons for this.  Reason the first, I am down to my last tablespoon of Aardvark sauce, and there is no one on the schedule to come visit us from Portland and bring me more.  This is fine, for now, because again our lease is up at the end of June, and we don't know where we will be living or what the guest accommodations will be like.  I'm not saying I need a hot sauce care package, or anything like that, just the ability to create a replacement.  The second reason is, I find it impossible to get a decent burrito in this town.  Yes, it has been almost 10 months since I have been to ChaChaCha, or anywhere similar.  Since I can make my own rice, and beans, and even tortillas if I want, I have decided that what I really miss about burritos is the red and green sauce in little squeeze bottles.  So I shall make my own, starting with this http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/condiments/habanero-hot-sauce/.
There might be additional mess involved in the process.  Just hopefully not pepper juice in my eye.

After that, I want to start a new knitting project.  http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEsummer08/PATTseascape.html.  I have wanted to start it for weeks though, and haven't yet, so I may not have built up the activation energy.  We'll see.

Also, I bought a new coffee mug today at the UAS pottery sale.  I accidentally dropped my favorite owl mug down the stairs a few weeks ago (sorry Meagan!) and although it appeared to have survived, I found that coffee was slowly seeping out the sides, which was a problem.  I found myself browsing the squid mugs on etsy (http://www.etsy.com/shop/skybirdarts?ref=pr_shop_more), which are far too expensive to put coffee in, so I decided to get a mug that was handmade locally (and not $45).  Maybe next time there will be a picture of this mug.  Maybe next time there will be a picture of something at least.  Congratulations if you made it this far with no images to distract you.

So that's what has been going on, at least recently.  Ice skating is over, but the good hiking season hasn't started yet, so it's all about the home life.  Tomorrow we are going over to have Easter dinner with friends, and between now and then there is lots of candy to eat.

Happy Easter and Happy Spring everyone!

UPDATE:  I have finished making the habanero hot sauce, and it is incredible!  So spicy!  So delicious!  And yes Matt, I am sweating.

March 25, 2011

Almost out of hibernation....

Soon I will start writing real posts again.  Probably.
Here's a quick one for you:

Spring is slowly making its way here.
It's sunny, and above freezing, so the snow pack is melting off.  Cautiously.
There is much more daylight than there once was.
The tour buses are out in circulation, and dangerous with new drivers.  I even saw an RV today, but I think it is here for Gold Medal.
I have traded my down coat for my green fleece hoody, though I haven't put the down coat in the closet.
Nothing is growing yet, and the cats still don't want to play outside.

That's pretty much the news.

It's not that we haven't been doing anything bloggable, but if I had gotten around to writing a new post before this, is would have gone something like this:

Hockey, hockey, hockey.  Hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey.  Should I play womens's league or D league (the "D" is for awesome, btw)?  Hockey, hockey hockey.
Hockey, hockey.
(I'm thinking about playing hockey next year.  Maybe it is time to learn the rules (and how to stop).)

January 30, 2011

Finally. . .

Hello.  Hello.
It has been awhile, I know, but not because I haven't been writing blog posts.  Just because I haven't been posting them.

Things are good here.  Quiet, but that is nice.  We are headed into the slump, the beginning of the time when winter seems to last forever, and even I start planning imaginary vacations to Hawaii or Mexico.
Except, I guess, I do have a honeymoon to accomplish, so maybe it is not entirely fantastic.

The news of the day is that we finally got ice skates!
I have wanted a pair all winter, and today we were walking around at the glacier and went out on the ice (cause everybody else was doing it...) and I decided that I must have some skates.  Now.
So I informed Ernie of my decision, and told him that there was a free pair of skates in it for him, and we drove straight to Play It Again Sports in Lemon Creek.
The very nice salesman helped us pick out some pond/hockey skates and fit them properly (there almost wasn't a pair left that fit Ernie, but I found the last size 11's in the bottom of a pile--I was not to be derailed), and within minutes we were skated.

Sadly, the guy who sharpens the skates does not work on the days when people are most likely to buy them, so we left with our blades dull.
The other salesguy seemed to think that it would be hilarious to watch us skate without our blades sharpened, but we figured it would be hilarious whether or not we had dull blades, considering neither of us have skated in over a decade.

We stopped at home to change our clothes, and headed right back out to Skater's cabin on Mendenhall Lake.  We were hoping that there would be no one to watch us, but on a sunny, cold, day like today, there were a lot of people on the ice.  Oh well.
So we strapped on our stiff new hockey skates, and gave it a try.

Skating is awesome!!!!!!!!

It took a little bit of time to get used to the feeling, but soon we were flying across the ice like we knew what we were doing.  Until one of our skates hit a crack and got stuck, that is.  But we would just pull our foot up and keep going.  We both fell a few times, but it didn't really hurt (we were wearing our puffy coats), and we would just slide across the ice.
Skating is so fast and fun, and a great way to get out in the sun during the winter.  Of course, we still have a ton of room for improvement (especially in the backwards skating department), but it should just get better and better.
And maybe next year I can play hockey.  I hear the girls can be quite aggressive.

Here I am, gracefully figure skating on the lake (before I bought my ice skates)

January 01, 2011

Happy 2011!!!

All over the webbers, people are putting together recaps of the year 2010, and outlining their goals for next year.  Although I have not been blogging for an entire year yet, I thought I would share my thoughts on 2010 as well.

2010 started out a little on the rough side for us.  I was still unemployed, and Ernie was in school, so we had very little money coming in.  But we had just enough to make it.  I started teaching Human Anatomy and Physiology at Portland Community College, and although I was working, I made less while teaching than I got from unemployment.  Teaching was an incredible challenge for me, but I learned a ton, and I am happy for the experience.  I'm sure that it built some character.

At the same time, I also kept my eyes (wide) open for jobs in Alaska.  We were planning on moving to the Anchorage area, or if we got really lucky, Homer.  In May, with perfect timing, a job was advertised in Juneau, one that I knew I had a serious chance at getting because, well, I had worked with the same group before.  We had to sit down and decide if we could move back to Juneau and truly be happy, especially Ernie, who grew up here.  Juneau is in a beautiful location on the inside passage, with lots of recreational opportunity, but it isn't in all ways perfect.  It is also small and isolated and expensive and a little weird.  Luckily we are both a little weird, and I got the job, and three weeks later we were headed up the highway towards our new home.
I don't mean to imply, however, that one can drive to Juneau.  We took two and a half days to drive from Portland, Oregon to the Alaska Marine Highway ferry terminal in Prince Rupert, British Columbia in what was the longest and most stressful road trip of my life.  We left our families and everything we had known for the last ten years, and took a brand new (used--life history unknown) truck and two cats, and headed north.  At that time we didn't have anywhere to go once we got here.  But like everything else about our return to Alaska, things worked out better than we could have imagined.

After our arrival and our move into a house, we spent the summer enjoying the copious amounts of daylight and amazing surroundings, and aspiring to get our life in order.  I was working were I worked when we left Juneau, Ernie got a job at the place he was working at when we left, and the wheel of ka rolls ever on.  I picked lots of blueberries, and we went hiking and kayaking and camping.

This fall and winter have been largely quiet and relaxing.  Ernie is attending school and is busy in the evenings, and I use my many powers to keep myself well-entertained.  We have been able to get out on the weekends and enjoy the snow and ice that have surrounded us so far.  We closed out the year with a bonfire on the beach with a couple of close friends, a glass of delicious champagne, and a platter of brownies.  Ahhhh.

2010 has ended well, and we are very happy with our life.  We are hopeful for a good 2011, for ourselves and all of you.

And now I have some resolutions for the new year, or at least some ideas.  I want to:

                                            Buy something big (a house, property, and/or a sailboat)
                                            Go on at least one multi-day kayaking trip through the inside passage
                                            Explore the area in an ever-widening circle
                                            Write more
                                            Take better care of myself
                                            Get involved with the local community somehow

We wish you all peace, joy, and happiness in 2011!