Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Holidays

Last minute Christmas tree and stockings
Veterinarian kit, complete with patient
Never a dull moment with us, even staying home for the holidays and not having visitors we still manage to make life difficult.  We are half way through a move, on Christmas.  We thought we might be in the new place in time, but my work schedule and the needs of a three year old conspired against us and it just didn't make sense to have things harder than they needed to be.  Most of our stuff is in our new apartment, but because clothes and food are still in the old place we decided to stay there to celebrate and use the upcoming weekend to move.  Anyway, some much requested pictures of Miss Madeline opening gifts and overall just being her cute self.  Thanks to my mom for the toys, clothes and books, and brother for the thoughtful gifts.  Thanks to Dave and Judith for the new boots.  Thanks to John and Rose for the Duplos. Thanks to Nicole's Aunt Pat for the polar bear and book.  Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays and that all is well with you and your families.
Books, books, and more books

New Bogs boots, thanks Dave and Judith

One of many boxes of Duplos

Polar bear with book

Monday, December 7, 2015


I'm just going to say it, Baraka no longer exists.  Legal ownership of our sailboat changed last week, and with it the name of the boat changed as well, so she is gone.  Bittersweet doesn't even come close.  It was the right move to pass her along to someone that would use her.  Sitting in the yard wasn't doing anyone any favors, her least of all.  But we had a lot of dreams wrapped up in that boat, so now comes the time to let go of those dreams and start formulating some new ones.  Instead of trying to describe my thoughts and feelings in words, I'm going to let our photos tell this story, this chapter in our lives.

Our first day together, bringing her home.

Puget Sound Cruising Club raft-ups

Great Friends
Old acquaintances at Goddard Hot Springs
Windy Bay

Milltown Sailing events

Squirrel Cove

Wonderful sailing companions


Poulsbo 3rd of July festivities

Great sailing
The best mate

Packing for travel

New crew

Elfin Cove

Fjordlands fun

And the rain

And the snow

And the yard work

"Any port in a storm" port tasting


Red Bluffs Bay

Impromptu gatherings

The best times

Dock life  in winter

It really doesn't get any better than this

Exploration in Tracy Arm

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Family Visit

Several hints in my last post about family visiting, and then nothing for months.  I've been busy, and lazy, and overall just unmotivated to write.  I started to write a different post (which will be coming right after this one), and then remembered I should make good on my previous promises first.
Earlier this summer, my mom and brother decided to fly up and visit while we were still in Juneau.  We filled the time with the usual touristy things, went to the Mendenhall glacier, went out on a whale watch tour, rode the tram, went to the hatchery, visited the city museum, ate at all the decent restaurants, drove out the road to look at the wildlife.  The days were packed with activities beyond just chasing a toddler around.
Their timing was good for salmon watching, the fish ladder and holding pens at the hatchery were filled with salmon and it made for some great viewing.  we really took advantage of the tour company I was working for.  We tried to go on a beach safari trip that they offer, but unfortunately had mechanical issues and had to turn back.  We did get in a good whale watch trip, with lots of humpback activity including a mom and calf doing simultaneous breaching.  My brother and I also got to go on a hovercraft tour to a nearby glacier, a very interesting experience giving a different perspective on our surroundings.
Some of the highlights that are shown in the photos included a great show by the humpback whales on our tour (photo by my brother), an up close visit from a bear while we were taking pictures out the road, and a panoramic shot from the hovercraft trip.
Even though we had seen my family recently when we stopped in MN on our way to AK, it's always nice to have folks put in the effort to come see you, especially when you are a moving target like we are and tend to stop in pretty remote locations.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Moving (Again)

I started to write a blog post about my family coming to visit us here in Alaska, and realized I am way behind in blog posts and didn't ever write about our move West and North.
Another long few days on the road
As a quick summary of the pre-move happenings, the looming expiration of our rental lease in Maine happened to coincide with an alarming downturn in business for the company I was working for, so Nicole and I decided to explore other options by putting out feelers for a possible move back to Seattle.  The day after we made that decision I got a call from my old employer in Sitka, letting me know one of my old co-workers had passed away and asking if I wanted to come back to work there.
M is finally big enough
for her own seat on the plane
After a lot of talking between Nicole and myself and a lot of negotiating with the company, I accepted a summer position at their location in Juneau that would transition into a position in Sitka in the fall.  Unfortunately they needed me as soon as possible, and thus began another cross-country move with too little time to prep and travel.  Our moving scheme to get to Maine (not even a year earlier) had consisted of me driving across the country with a Uhaul trailer while Nicole and Madeline flew, visiting my family in MN along the way.  It worked out well so we decided to do the same in reverse this time, with the girls spending a few days with Nicole's family in Maine, flying to MN to spend a couple days with my family, then flying on to Seattle to visit friends before getting on the ferry together.
Summer fun with Seattle friends
The family visits were all nice, and our very short time in Seattle was busy with visits from friends.  When our time in Seattle was over, the truck and trailer were so stuffed with our worldly belongings that I ended up having to pack Nicole and Madeline in to their seats for the short drive up to Bellingham to catch the ferry.
Whale watching from our
cabin on the ferry
The next few days were quite enjoyable, letting someone else drive the boat while we relaxed, played with the other kids on the ferry, and watched the scenery roll by for a couple of exceptionally good weather days until we arrived in Alaska.
The apartment we were planning to move into in Juneau was still being built as we traveled from Maine, and the timing couldn't have been closer, as we stood outside the building the morning we got off the ferry waiting for the building inspector to sign off on the apartment so we could move in.
Play ground fun in Juneau
We had a day to move all of our stuff in before we got to celebrate Nicole's birthday, then a few days of unpacking, exploring Juneau, garage-saleing, and relaxing before I started my crazy summer work schedule.
For me, the next few weeks consisted of a lot of time spent at work.  For Nicole and Madeline the time was spent becoming acquainted with the libraries, playgrounds and parks in town.
M's first fish
A few weeks after we arrived was the kids fishing event in Juneau.  Several organizations work together to stock one of the local lakes in town with fish, then provide fishing poles and bait and let the kids loose for a day of fishing.  It was a pretty crazy event but Madeline managed to catch her first fish.
4th of July parade
A few weeks later was July 4th, and we lucked out that it fell on a Saturday, my only day off.  We planned to participate in as many of the events as we could, but having a toddler has pushed our chronic tardiness to new limits.  We got out of the apartment and headed downtown for the parade, but quickly realized we were already late, with no chance of finding parking anywhere close to the parade route.  Luckily there are two parades, one through downtown Juneau and a later one across the bridge in Douglas.  We opted to skip downtown and be early for the Douglas parade instead.  We played at the park, watched Madeline have fun in the bouncy house, ate cotton candy, and then headed up to find a spot for the parade.  Having a cute kid is definitely a plus for getting candy at a parade, so we made out quite well.  After the parade we found more junk food and spent more time in the bouncy house.
Ready, set, go
They had running races for the kids, and Madeline took second place for her age group, winning her fame and fortune (otherwise known as four dollars and her name in the paper).  After the race we checked out the sand castle contest and then decided we were all worn out and headed home.
Our next big event was my family coming to visit, but I'll save that for the next post.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


So we've been getting some snow.
You probably already know this, because for some reason it is national news-worthy that New England is getting snow this winter.  How ridiculous all the sensationalized news media crap is still baffles me.  It's winter, in Maine, and it snowed.  Really!
Anyway, I'm not doing a post to bitch about the snow.  I'm not writing to say our life is hell because it snowed here.  I'm writing because we spent a few winters in Sitka, and a few more before that in Seattle, and I've really missed winter.  As far as I'm concerned the snow can keep coming, which is good because they have another couple feet forecast this weekend.  To give you some perspective on the pictures, our trucks are about 6 1/2 feet tall, and the snow banks around the driveway are at least another three feet above that.
I'm not really sure what the plow guy is going to do from here, there is nowhere to go with the next snowfall and the driveway is getting pretty small.  Thankfully not my problem.
This is severely limiting playground time for Madeline, but she has her yoga class once a week to keep her in shape until spring, and her choice of winter footwear gives her quite the workout as well.
So, sorry to all the MN and AK folks that are still looking at grass and wondering why they bought new skis for Xmas.  Maybe you should come for a visit.