Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Can I get a Witness?!?!?

So, finally I have posted pictures from my trip to India... you can take a looksey at my picassa site

There are 5 albums of the individual sections of my trip and a "Best Of" Album with slightly less than 200 photos... hope you can handle it.. I tried my best to break it down, but you all know how I am with photography and I think that the photos, at least in the best of album, are good enough to hold your attention.

Since I got back I have been decompressing and will wrap the process up this weekend in Charlotte for the Allman Brothers and Widespread Panic Shows... yay! I will be reuniting with my dear friends Anna Huffman and Cliff Paulin... sure to be a good time. Details to come..

Enjoy the photos and if you happen to like any in particular, please let me know.. I am trying to get a gallery exhibit up by mid November and need some help choosing what to print.

Much Obliged. Heart of mine...

Monday, September 14, 2009

kiss the ground, hug your dog...

Can I just tell you how thrilled I am to be back in Alaska... how thrilled I am to hug my sweet soft dog... I am going through pics and will post some new entries along with some choice photos and links to more, if your lookin... soon... likely by the week's end... keep yo'self posted!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Scramble

Whoa... I feel like I just woke up out of a haze.. been slightly sick for the past week here in Bhatsu.. I have a number of ideas why, but most of it boils down like the slightly treated water in all of the guest houses I have stayed... this is India..
India has finally caught up with me... now after three days of 'mild' rest at my ashram.. one of which involved a 5 hour hike to a grassy knoll with Lutkas (prayer flags) and glorious views of the snowline on the Himalaya (perfect for napping)...I am itching (both mentally and physically due to various flea bites) to get on the move to see just a few more places before I head out on Thursday evening.

This morning I head to Amritsar to see the Golden Temple... then maybe to visit my fiend Vid in Jaipur then on to Delhi in the afternoon of Thursday to catch my plane that night. Hoohaa! let's pack it all in!! Really I will probably just head from Amritsar to Delhi on Wednesday evening and arrive Thursday morning in Delhi to try to find some trouble to get into there for the afternoon... sounds like a plan. No sleep till Brooklyn... :)

And I really can't wait to get home to decompress and fill this blog with the best pictures from the trip... and hug my dog...

Thursday, September 3, 2009


My mind is already racing after my first day of cooking class... Pulled Pork stuffed momos with Mango chutney?? This is all I can think about right now.
Today was a good day. I hiked to a waterfall in the dreadful wind and rain (and thunder and lightning) it was awesome.
I had my first Ayruvedic medicine class and cooking class. Tomorrow I hit repeat and do it all over again.. with Somosas and Dal Mahktani and Chapati this time instead of Veggie and chocolate momos...

I think I will start the day with yoga... this morning I started the day telling myself that I was no longer young enough to be afraid of thunder and shadows made by lightning. I haven't experienced a thunder storm like that since I was young enough to be scared of those things. Living through such a storm this morning (for the first time in nearly 15 years) took me back to a feeling that I thought I had lost ages ago. It was exhilarating... I laid in bed and listened to sets of rain falling in waves across the forest canopy, slowly moving over the tin roof I slept under. It was lovely, peaceful, and almost musical. All morning long... all day long... the rain stopped about an hour ago. A nice end to a gloriously lonesome day in the mountains... I am headed out to have a "Bhatsu Cake" which is something like a nanaimo bar or whatever you call those things with butterscotch and chocolate... damn good?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Hello from the forest near Dharamsala in a village called Bhatsunag (or Bhatsu)... also know as the official home of all Isrealis in exile.. I mean Tibetans... no wait.. I mean Isrealis... wait.. I am confused... Am I in Isreal? I thought I went to India, but there are nothing but Isrealis in these backpacker towns and half of the signs are in Hebrew...I met a man this mornign that explained to me that all Isrealis are terrified of being alone and pack together which happens to have the quazi unfortunate effect of turning places they travel to into little Isreali villages... interesting indeed...

I spent the morning reading in a cafe while it poured down rain all around the terrace with some really good Neil Young album drifting from the cafe speakers. then Pink Floyed, then the Chantrelles, then Annie Lenox.. I left after the Chantrelles and started down the lane just in time for the rain to end and the terrible music to begin... perfect timing as usuall.. sun is now shining.. living is easy as I drift like a little leaf today wondering around the vilage and into the woods...

I had a really good stuffed sweet sweet roma tomato today.. stuffed with a delish panner, golden raisins, spices and cashews.. the sauce was I think tomato, cashew based with onions, garlic and turmeric...maybe some pureed chickpeas. I am really putting it down to a focus on the food for the last week of my trip. Tomorrow I start a cooking class and will be making Veggie and chocolate momos among other things... I also will begin 3 day course in Ayurvedic Medicine in the morning. Living is easy.. drinking apple wine in the evenings and hiking and eating the days away... hope the balance isn't tipped too far to the plumpy side by the time I get home ;)

I think I am going to wake up to yoga and maybe a laughing meditation lead by my friend Maitreya (Ashish)... I think his real name is Ashish, but whatever, he is one of the nicest most free people I have ever met and he and his lady Layla are so sweet, so I suppose he can call himself whatever he wants... I am staying with them in the woods outside town... well, I am done with my internet business for the day...

More food stories to come...

Friday, August 28, 2009

sweet sweet baby trek

So it took me two days to recover from my altitude sickness. I felt the worst I have felt in about six years... it felt like I had a bad case of the flu while riding a really radical carnival ride for about a day and half. I had to leave Vid (my sweet Buddhist Slovenian friend) to his own devices in the Markha Valley and opt for join my German friend, Mierko, on what the locals call the "baby" trek. Likir to Nurla.. however, this was quite a long trek and we didn't have pack animals and although the highest pass was around 4K meters, it was pretty hard in the midday heat.. hottness.... It took us two days and it was lovely and I can't wait to share pictures. It is starting to turn to Autumn here, but it is still super hot during the day.

Now I am back in Ley for a bit. I am actually thinking to maybe leave for Manali/ Vashist tonight... I just feel like getting a move on... time to see something new and I want enough time to do some trekking in Dharamsala and maybe see the Spiti Valley too.

I have 12 days left. Today in the midday sun I missed Alaska. Did I mention that it is really really hot here? I need a swimming hole.

The people that I have met in Ley have been interesting. This is a hippie/ tourist/ trekker town and the different nationalities tend to stay in different areas of town. I found a wonderful guest house in Chanspa, away from the hustle and bustle of people an the hundreds of Kashmiri shop owners that try to get you to buy pashminas.... The owners of the guest house that I have been staying at are darling and their garden and view are both amazing. I was grateful for that the two days that I could not move from the sickness...

Being out of Ley for the past few days has been a great feeling. Being in the small Ladakhi towns is quite nice the people in the villages that we have stayed in and passed through are so welcoming. I slept under the stars last night and hummed myself to sleep under the most starts I have seen since the Blue Range in Arizona.

My trek partner Mierko and I have had some interesting conversations. He is 26 and has been thinking about his future and his life in Germany... what he really wants and needs to be happy... we have had some interesting conversations indeed. It has been nice to trek with someone, as opposed to all by my lonesome...

Maybe tonight I say goodbye to Ley.. maybe tomorrow, but soon for sure.... onward I go.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Tried to leave for my hike today in Markha Valley and got shut down by a mild case of altitude sickness.. I feel awful!!! off to bed with me.. more pics maybe tomorrow when I am resting. :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

what you have been waiting for..

More to come!! I have to run to grab breakfast then head to the Markha Valley for a 5 day trek... oh, and bad news.. the shutter on my good camera broke :( hopefully it will somehow fix itself... you never know....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The kind of Beautiful that takes your Breath away and brings a Tear to your eyes...

I arrived in Ley, Ladakh!! yesterday... coincidentally, so did the Dalai Lama... it is good to be in good company. I saw him speak with a couple thousand exiled Tibetans this morning in a field outside town. Truely, truely... this trip has been one pinch of sweet luck after another... The drive from Srinigar/ Sonamarg was what inspired the title to this post. I have had some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world burned into my retinas by the intense rays at 12,000 ft bouncing off of the areas in of the mountainsides that were not covered in drifting cloud shadows. I will post pics just as soon as I can. promise.

On the way to Ley I stopped in Sonamarg, Kashmir... where I was promptly harassed by a man at the dirtiest guest house I had ever been in... I scoffed at his 1000 Rps price ($20) and turned around when he followed with an offer for a 'free' room... I laughed out loud at this one, as I thought he was making a joke... hah ah... he then grabbed my boob and tried to shove his dirty Kashmiri tongue on my face to lick my cheek or something... I am not making this up...

I ended up finding a great place to stay down the road where I was only slightly harassed (we'll call it pampered) with a trip to the Thalegewas Glacier on horseback by the guesthouse manager, then given countless bottles of orange soda and mango juice in an effort for the young manager and his helper to try to catch a glimpse of my in my night clothes... no harm no foul, I guess. I will call it.. frighteningly endearing?

I am so so glad to be out of Muslim Kashmir and into Buddhist Ladakh. It is glorious. Kashmir was beautiful.. caught 5 brown trout and hiked some amazing forests, but was asked if I was married by EVERYONE (men) that I met, as I did not meet any women, despite the fact that I am wearing a fake wedding ring to stave off the crazies (Thank you Dave Griffin for that idea... where would I be without you, I do not know)
I have also concocted an elaborate story regarding my husband... this has been fun... dare to dream, I guess... true love in my mind... I digress.

So, I have made some friends finally as there are actually tourists in Ladakh.. however, my first friend I made here was actually my age... and local.. and promptly propositioned me as well... love those tantric Buddhists... :)

One of my new friends is a rather interesting Slovenian fellow and an equally cute German dude whom I have persuaded to hike Markha Valley with me in 4-5 days. Tour groups do it in 6-10... Alaskans do it all day long and in the dark. (my new bumper sticker... pretty clever... would have been more clever, but I am tired, cut me some slack).

I ate at this guesthouse in Changspa with a couple from Vienna and my new hiking partners tonight.. the owners make food all grown from their garden. Delish!

Everything about this place suits me... I was told yesterday by my tantric Buddhist friend that I must have been from the Himalaya in a past life.. by the way I walk and how I carry myself and my way of thinking... who knows.. it brings a smile to my face to think so though, and it feels good to be home(ish). hmm... writing that last last sentence just now made me think of something I once told someone very close to me... that I could feel at home anywhere in the world with that person... oddly enough... they could be here now, but aren't and it still feels good to be home(ish). great actually. a nice full circle closure to the long evening/ year... to bed with me... with a smile :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

oh, let the sun beat down upon my face.....

I am in Kashmir after 25 hours of the scariest adventure bus ride of my life... we drove through a torrential thunder storm in the middle of the night near Jammu and I swear I felt the tires break contact with the road under about 2 feet of water .. althought the bus was fairly comfortable, it was abit nerve racking being the only white person on a bus filled with local people goign to a region most of the people in the world think is filled with terrorists...

Kashmir is glorious and the people that I have met on the bus and while I have been in Srinigar have proved to be very sincere and solid... I am going trout fishing in the mountains tomorrow and then heading to Ley... Kashmir is amazing. so so so lovely.... and some of the most beautiful people I have ever seen.
I am staying on a lovely houseboat in Dal Lake.. I stumbled upon this hookup in Delhi and it has proved to be an amazing connection... so serene this little houseboat is with the most amazing family... I sit in thier kitchen and they let me cook with them I am learing a ton about Kashmir and it is most interesting to be in a region that is 'occupied'... if you catch my drift.. Indian soldiers everywhere... everywhere...
the eldest son of the housboat family is my personal tour guide and took me to see bears ad a snow leopard at a wildlife sanctuary and tomorrow he is taking me 2 hours into the mountains to go fishing near some Mogule ruins...

As an aside... I need to get the hell out of Kashmir before I buy the most beautiful silk rug that I have ever seen and ride it straight back to Alaska... I swear to god that rug was made especially for me... everything about it is perfect.. it's truely magic.. I was joking with the organizer of the carpet cooperative that if I buy the damn thing, it should come with a pack unicorn so I can carry it around the rest of India with me... only in my dreams...

going to eat some Kashmiri Lamb. I probably will try to be out of touch for a bit now.. just wanted to let some peoples know that I am safe and settled.

Friday, August 14, 2009

India it's your Birthday!!

I awoke early this morning to the sound of rain and wet dogs barking in the street, so I headed up to the rooftop terrace to see the day before the dawn. I am apparently a bit jetlagged because that was at 2:30 this morning and I haven't been able to go back to sleep... There were Indian military police everywhere. One on every rooftop watching guard as the VIPs were to arrive in the area within a few hours.

Today is the Indian Indepandence day. This morning I watched the news as the Independence day speach was made about two blocks from where I laid in bed, at the Red Fort. I didn't understand any of the speach because it was in Hindi, but every so often I put it on mute and I could hear muffles of the actual speach through the walls of my room.

I am sitting in the lobby of my hotel waiting for the rain to stop so I can head to the bus terminal to get the heck out of Delhi. I am either headed to Srinagar or Dharamsala. Flip of a coin will determine when I get there, I guess.

A cute little Indian boy is reading this post over my shoulder as I type. He is pretty good at reading English. I just smiled at him and told him so.

Oh Delhi....

Safe in India... utterly exhausted after having had about 8 hours sleep in the last 40 hours of living... I had a delicious dinner of some vegetarian item that I have not a clue as to what was in it, except for the homade paneer. hmmm... can't wait to get some cooking classes under my belt to help crack that code!

Today is lord Krishna's birthday (Janmashtami) happy birthday Krishna... Krishna, it's your birthday.. (shout out to the late MJ) this has lead to a very festive day of walking around the old city, spice market, an numerous alleys filled with smiling children and many many friendly men.

Delhi smells like either Nag Champa or sour urine, depending on which way the thick wet breeze is shifting at that particular moment.

Highlights of my first day: finding Prickly Heat in a maze of stores in the Chandi Chowk; eating pickled carrots and drinking rose water with the nicest little old man at the pickled things stand... we chapped for about 45 min, he reminded me of my grandpa... really sweet smile, square glasses, and really long earlobes; free breakfast of curried potatoes and fried bread; and Cardamom from the spice market in my bottled water... anyone who really knows me knows that I NEED Cardamom in my water when it is swelteringly hot outside... it just eases my constitution...

I think I saw more kites today from the rooftop of my guest house than I have ever seen collectively throughout my whole life. Today was the day of kites. Tomorrow is the Indian Indepedence Day!! Tomorrow I take a long long long bus to Srinagar, Kashmir. This was not in the original 'plan' but I didn't really have a 'plan' anyway... so whateva. (Cousin Jenny, are you still worrying? I hope not, but if you weren't you probably are now)

I have had pretty rad luck since I started traveling and things have just been falling into place, so with the grace, all will stay on that course.

So, I am really really tired.. going to watch some Indian cooking show that is like a cross between Giada's Everyday Italian and the movie Mama Mia...

Yes, I do like India.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Don't take it personally...

Here I am blogging from my amazing iphone in the Portland airport before heading out on a plane to Amsterdam then Delhi. There is an Asian woman in front of me with the sweetest My Little Pony backpack on..it's even got real pink pony hair coming out the side. Reminds me a bit of Jenny the second night at the Phish show. :)

This week has been much fun and a little cloudy. It was great to reconnect with some of my Vt peoples. This brought back a ton of nostalgia that I definitely did not anticipate. Twinges if sadness for what was being overwhelmed by gratitude and the good times of the present moment. Knowing these people for 5 or 6 years and coming back together like no time had passed...makes me have faith in my ability to cultivate patience, and brought my favorite cheesy girlscout singalong song into my head..."Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold" :) I know...so cheesy, right? But I love it!

So I am pretty excited about my travels here and there... I will be wondering from the moment I set foot in India with no set plans.it struck me a bit ago about how liberating and terrifying this is.. All at once. It makes me smile. Goodbye comfort zone, goodbye iPhone. Please don't take it personally....(did I mention this will be my mantra until I master the fine art of not taking things personally.. It recently occurred to me that much of the recent drama in my life has been a result of me taking things too personally...done with that for a while...there is 'no self' in India) :) flying away!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Where would I be without the Popsicle Incedent?

All is fairly well in my world today... went for an amazing hike. I will post pics as soon as google adds my extra storage... are you listening google...big brother??? That may sound a bit like a schizophrenic rant, but anyone who has a gmail account knows that google knows everything about you...
Anywho.. Mary, Holly, Brian, Ben and I hiked lost lake. It was lovely... serotonin replenished and my sunburn came back as well. Yes, much sunshine, many lakes, dogs, mountains, glaciers, marmots... what else...

Lots of unencumbered thinking (16 miles of it). Which leads me to the subject line of this post. Where would I be without the popsicle incedent? The popsicle incedent is the name that I gave to one of the most influential experiences of my childhood.. short story long... just kidding :) ...
So, basically I turned down an opportunity to eat a popsicle and color with the boy that I liked, Grant, who had just had his tonsils out and needed some company... I had such a big crush on him that I said no to eating a popsicle and coloring ( two of my favorite things) just because I was a little dear in headlights and had no idea how to handle the situation. Then I sat in my yard and swang on my swings while he stared over at me from two fences away looking all sad b/c I didn't want to play with him. Well, this made me feel so bad.. not only did I hurt his feelings, I hurt my own... just because I was too afraid to go after what my heart really wanted. I was 6 and this made such an impact on me.. it was my very first life lesson and I vowed to try to never let fear stop me from anything... love, friendship, travel, riding home at 2:00 am past 8 randomly screaming people on the bike path near Sullivan Arena... ok.. maybe I should have let fear stop me from that one... :) but it turned out all right this time...

So, I see people in my life now that have maybe never had a popsicle incedent...and I think to myself, where would I be without mine? Maybe a little less assertive, adventurous, reckless... maybe a little less passionate. Well, these attributes, if anything, help me appreciate what I have in my life. Because I got there by following my heart.

I am getting ready to leave for India.. Thursday I travel to Seattle to visit with some friends and then off to India from there on August 11th... I have a lot on my mind as of late and I am not sure that travel right now is the best thing for me... I felt like this would be bad timing around March when I got my tickets, but I kinda went for it anyway... I am a bit afraid to travel on my own for a month in India, but I think it will be a rewarding experience, and since I at one point did have a travel partner, I feel like they maybe backed out for a reason.. I am probably supposed to do this on my own. Anywho, I am not really fearful at this moment.. I actually kind of feel like I am being carried along on a train with no say in my destination... good feeling I guess when you have no where you have to be for a bit...

So the things on my mind... some of my closest friends have been a bit more distant than usual lately. And I have been a bit more kneedy as of late( I spelled that wrong on purpose) . It's kind of a 'chicken or the egg' situation, but life is always changing and things happen so you can learn from them, so when I get back I am sure life will be on the upswing. I will likely learn more about myself in the next two months than I have in the past 4 years... and more about Indian cooking as well. Hopefully I will come back a bit more settled and a lot less kneedy.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Can I borrow some of your serotonin?

I have had so much fun this summer I think I am spent... does anyone have any serotonin that I could borrow??? seriously... this summer has been amazing, lovely weather... great bike rides, hikes, and sunshine!!! I think I am all cashed because with the gloom and rain of the past week, I am a little under the weather....

Yes, when it rains it pours and it seems little warm drops of rain are coming at me from all directions... It's like walking around in a hailstorm. Going about your daily business with momentary pangs of sadness that sting your cheek or hit you square on the head.

Serotonin please!!!?!?! (with a half joking, but only half, and somewhat cynical smile)

So, I am going through a bit of a rough patch of life at the present moment. I just had to end a very nice relationship to save an even better friendship. Timing timing timing... that is my main lesson for the year... with a side lesson on how to love with my whole heart and then let go. Pretty big ones..heavy...

Well, I am getting ready to leave for the Phish shows at the Gorge and then on to India!! I will likely only post text entries while I am in India and will try to update photos and send out a link to an album during the first few weeks of my return (late September). I will be moseying around Ladakh for about 3 weeks (gone 4 weeks total).

This trip will be alone. I may meet people to travel with, I may not... I am open to whatever. I plan on really focusing on settling my mind and my self on this trip. I hope to kind of come into my own after everything that has happened with me in the past 4 years. I want to do some looking into how I feel about this past, looking into my future, and trying to affirm a solid ground. As one of my old bosses used to love saying, 'terra firma'... A platform to go forward. I hope to come back with some new energy while at the same time I hope to settle into my self and my life. I have at times been a 'grass is greener on the other side' kid of girl... I think I am coming out of that... I can feel it...it feels good. :)

Well, here are some pics from the past month of me being too happy for my own good. Didn't know there was such a thing...

Pictures to come tomorrow. check back... I have to buy more storage :(

Oh!!! and the big news...almost forgot to tell you... I am no longer moving from Alaska... it just didn't feel right at the present moment... I hope I am not screwing myself over because I will very likely have another long.. lonely winter....full of backcountry skiing, skate skiing after work, yoga, good dinners, salsa dancing, and whiskey.... maybe I will try to get a roomate....hmmm....we shall see....

Monday, June 15, 2009

just let go

So it has been a while again since my last post.. not too terribly long, but I was on a roll there for a bit and now I find myself with life swiftly moving once again... not too much to tell since the last post. Today I saw a red fox and a moose on the golf course while I was at "work" you think about that one and smile for me...

In exactly 32 days I will be on the most intense, lengthy and phenomenal vacation (adventure) of my life...India!! and.... I have decided that I don't want to move from Alaska, but I am going to do it anyway. Because I have to. Because you can't have the good, until you'
ve said goodbye, and although I consider myself a very grateful person... although I have thought every day of my life for the past 6 months how much I love this place, I have to go... for now.

So, yes... my life is good in Alaska. Sun is shining, livin's easy. I love my friends, they are my family... I love my mountains, they are my sanity... yet I am throwing myself into Denver with an open heart... here I come people, traffic, great music, good food, fresh powder... the good with the bad. After 4 years of being in AK I need to leave for n
ow... I will be back.

Ok, enough of my sentimental ramble... seems to be a theme with the past two postings; I can only imagine that this will get worse as the big move approaches.

On to some activities.. last weekend was a wash.. I did hit some golf balls, but the weekend before that was superb.

Jeff snapping a photo of the valley up Couer de'lain


Nama on Peak 2

Thursday, June 4, 2009

it's been a while since I knew you...

been a bit lazy with the blog posts lately.. trying to get my money's worth out of life and dealing with an upset stomach and a sore throat.... sore throat from my surgery on my vocal chords Monday... upset stomach from the butterflies that have been let loose to flutter by with abandon... in just a few shakes of a little lamb's tail I will be leaving Alaska and I am not too sure how I feel about that... indeed.

The woman that was supposed to buy my condo backed out last week. My friends may rent the place but I am left with the feeling that I should not be leaving.. I can't help it.. I love my life here. Where else can you climb a mountain after work and be in bed with a book by midnight? Where else can you skijore for two hours at lunch? I love my life, I love my friends here, for the first time in my life... I am scared to move. Not completely excited and open to a new start... for the first time, this move is coming with a bit of regret. I have an amazing quality of life in Alaska. A big part of my decision to leave is that I have no one to share this with.. but lately I have been feeling that this fact is pretty alright with me. The excitement of a new place is quickly being replaced with thoughts of regret... I keep telling myself four years is enough to have stayed here for now... four years is a long time and I need a change for sure... but I kinda feel like cutting my hair was enough for right now.. I am super stoked to go to India, but I have no idea what my life is going to be like when I return to the States in October... this insecurity is good for me, as I have always been one to need to know how I will nest. I have always needed a base that feels like home... shaking things up and letting the best fall out can only be good for me right? All good things in all good time. Don't get me wrong...I am excited, but can't shake the feeling that this move may be just another detour that my life may not particularly need right now... What if all I really need is right in front of me? I suppose this confusion is all just a natural response to change. Maybe this is a sign that I am getting more settled in my old age... in that case, I do need to shake my life up! I just hope that I am making the right decision... I suppose that I shall see in good time.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Y'all two are Lonesome!"

This is one of my favorite quotes from Connor... it was referenced to a story regarding a certain Chicken Biscuit Indecent... but when I think of this picture sequence below, that is the only phrase that pops into my mind... This is what happens when I take the day off to study.. scary stuff...


And one more for good measure ;-)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I Wanna Rock Your Gypsy Soul....

This weekend I was provided with a ticket to see the Dead and the Allman Brothers Band at the Gorge amphitheater in Washington state. Highlights? yes, there were highlights... let's see... musically: Blackhearted Woman with an Other Ones tease was pretty epic from the ABB and the Dead started out a bit sub par, especially from what they had been boasting in San Fran (ehem... Scarlett -> Fire...need I say more?) but they brought out a string of goodness that put a smile on my face... Dire Wolf, Tom Thumb's Blues, and a little Into the Mystic with Warren belting that tune... (loved that one) So, here is a little visual journal of the crazy weekend that took me from bluegrass in AK to the Classics in WA to the hot springs in Idaho... enjoy...

Ladies and Gentleman... Cold Country (with Bryan and Marta dancing in the foreground)

Welcome to hot hot Washington in May!! if it looks hot.. that is because it was smoking! 90 degrees, I felt like I was on a barb~e~que!!!

These cats were the two biggest Doobie Brothers fans in the entire world! Did I mention that they doobies were there? I wasn't too concerned, but these kids rocked the air guitar to every song. Take a gander at the chick's cut-off&roll-up jean shorts! love them!!

Ladies and Gentleman.. the Allman Brothers Band...

Rockin' the concert Tee!!

The Dead

Set break.

Although this is a lovely picture of Eric and Jess, let's be honest... this picture is really about the dude behind them... really? Yes, really.. this is the Dead show after all...

"Bobby" Weir Hot Spring on Weir Creek, Idaho! First time in Idaho! Loved it!!!

Tom, Jess and Eric.. Waiting our turn at the spring... we ended up just getting in with the rest of the peeps.. hey, it wasn't getting any less crowded! The hot spring was awesome, one of the best I have been to and paired with quick runs into the freezing river and some PBR, it turned out to be a great couple hours.

Me, Jess and a bigole Doug fir!

End of the Trip on the way to Bozeman... so lovely!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Strawberries Coltrane (these are a few of my favorite things)... oh yes, I did!

I just made a new dessert up because I needed some sweetness... It is called Strawberries Coltrane. It's basically just Angelfood Cake with cut up Strawberries in a simple syrup and Chocolate sauce, but it involves putting on John Coltrane and eating the strawberry shortcake~esque dessert while taking a bubble bath... it's pretty good...and yes, it could quite possibly be one of My Favorite Things...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Maybe Spoke too soon...

So I have good news and bad news... which first... well, I will start with the good news that I am pretty excited about.. Got my India Visa today!!! One step closer to the trip of a lifetime, version 2009...

On the bad news tip... I have to cancel my trip to climb the Granite Tors in FBX and soak up the Hot Springs at Chena at the end of the month because I have to have surgery on my vocal chords! No I am not kidding... I have a polyp on my vocal chords... this does not mean cancer and should not be that big of a deal.. I had a polyp when I was about 4 and was all fine for 25 years after that. The problem now lies with the stupid healthcare system in America... So, right now I have great insurance because I have the golden handcuffs of a corporate job wrapped pretty tightly... 90% coverage, and it's all gravy, right? Except for the fact that I plan on moving to Denver this fall (after a two month leave of absence to road trip and trek around India)and as of right now I do not have an authorized transfer in place.. this means if I am forced to abandon my healthcare coverage, then I MUST pay for Cobra, as any lapse in healthcare would throw this condition (along with any others that I have) into an uncovered pre-existing condition... brother! It's enough to make you want to move to Germany! And that is just what I may do someday!! hmph!

Well, this is the first 'knocked out completely' surgery that I will have had in 25 years (the last one was the last time this happened) and only the second ever! I am a little scared as I have to go to a real hospital this time and that is going to suck! I hope I don't get swine flu... time for some more BBQ to build that immunity up!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

In a Dream...

The waves on Eklutna Lake are currently frozen in time... I was at a one year old's birthday bash at the lake today and upon walking down to the shore I saw the most amazing sight. The snow has melted off what is left of the ice on the lake and it has formed the most amazing phenomenon... waves frozen in time, azure ruffles frosted in white capps. I felt like I was in some sort of sci-fi dream world. It was gorgeous. I want to burn it into my retinas so I can see it forever. The next time I am in a swelteringly hot tropical country this is where I will go to find my mental happy place.

Friday, May 8, 2009

In order to be "too good to be true" it has to be "too good" first, right?

I have been thinking about this statement for about half a year now... in a way I have found comfort in the fact that when I find a flaw in something, by this logic above, it is real and true...nothing is perfect, and if something seems "too good", then you probably just don't know it well enough yet. Very pragmatic of me... if I do say so myself. In a strange way I am comforted by imperfections. As imperfect as the world is, finding and dealing with issues, loss, and emotions is a necessary part of life, and I have come to realize over the past 4 years that handling these imperfections has made me gain a certain clarity about my relationship with the world and others. I am stronger and more solid and so are many of these relationships. My heart has opened and I have become more free...

Enough waxing for today...

I got the results of my diagnostics back yesterday and there is apparently nothing wrong with my digestion or really anything that would be causing my weight loss... as I had hoped, I am merely just pretty healthy I guess... yay! I have thought about this a bit and am kind of cynical about the situation... after the bouts of depression that I have felt over the past 4 years.. all the loss of people dear to me, frustration in personal relationships.. I could go on... anywho, after all this strife, I finally start to feel happy and healthy and smile and... gasp! silence.... something must be wrong!!!!

All I can do is laugh at this.. I am quite silly with myself sometimes. I look and feel great (for the most part) and I swear something must be wrong with me... but to be too good to be true, it has to be too good first, right? Good thing I still have a little loss and frustration to keep me in the true.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bird Ridge

Monday Namah and I took up Bird Ridge to achieve some clarity... Namah almost ate a marmot... I did get a bit of clarity, so success all around! Here are a few pics...

The gray dirty looking stuff on the snow is volcanic ash deposites...mmm...

Evening Fog on the Turnagain Arm

Moonrise.. it is itty bitty.. can you see it?


This picture doesn't do it justice, but the drive home was magic! Pure turquoise water in the Arm and a pumpkin orange sunset over Sleeping Lady.. my favorite colors together at the end of a lovely day...

The Office...

Lisa wants to see more pics of my new hair... this one is of me at the Office... I woke up this morning after a heavy sound sleep (a bit late off the alarm) and realized, to my amazement, that my hair looked super cute! I didn't even have to wet it down... just shook it around and day it is! This evening after 40+ hours and one sound sleep in the middle, it still looks pretty cute! I am slightly amazed... this makes me happy. I like low maintenance anything.

check out the sweet whale pic behind me...It's a southern hemisphere Humpback!

Cinco de Mayo was on Tuesday!

Megan, Mary, and I at Megan's going away party/ Cinco de Mayo!! I am very sad that Megan is moving... now I have no single lady friends to hang out with in Anchorage... I am currently interviewing people to back fill this position. It requires being available for breakfast some Saturdays and Sundays, but not all... and being available to hike, run, bike, climb, go to yoga, have dinner, and drink libations at a moments notice...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Two things...

Just to let y'all know... sporty haircuts and Puma wristbands definitely make you better at playing soccer... my first game with the new doobie (that is street slang for hairdo)!

Oh the Ponies!!!!

So, have I mentioned that this spring has been the most wonderful, lovely spring in Alaska?!?! Seriously... there has not been a cloud in the sky for the past week and temps have consistently been in the high 60's and yes... low 70's. It has been a dream... There is still a bit of snow on the North Faces of the mountains... but all South aspects are free and clear! Needless to say this has proved to be quite an impediment to my studies... I am crossing my fingies that I pass this LEED exam in a couple weeks... I am forcing myself to study today (lovely, warm, sunny Sunday) as there is not change in this weather for the foreseeable future and I have a big week ahead of sweet thangs to do... Also, there is a down side to the lovely weather... my sinuses are totally messed with all kinds of dust and volcanic ash that has been blowing around Los Anchorage... I have been riding my bike everywhere for the past week... only hopped in the car last night to take the pup to a bbQ... my throat hurts! but at least my buns are getting nice and firm...(snicker)

Ok, so... about the ponies..this weekend was the Derby!!! and I hope that y'all had some luck with the Ponies! Steph, I was sending you good vibes this morning!!
The picture below is me after accepting a dare on Friday night to ride the Pony wheel that was set up downtown... needless to say I got the big one... and yes, I have no shame.. it was actually pretty hilarious... Check out the super cute lil girl riding the lil pony behind me....

Here's to Sweet Tea Vodka and Mint Juleps!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hello, Karma... please send me some love...

My hair is now shockingly short... This morning I donated all my hair to Locks of Love... yep. I did it. No tears as of yet... I think I was ready for a change. With the way my mop grows, I should be back to long and lovely by the time I settle into Denver in October, anyway... It feels pretty good.

"I'd have cut it myself, if I knew men could climb hair" - Sara Barielles

Friday, May 1, 2009

Pobres Cerditos!

This story broke my heart...
What is Egypt thinking!?!?!?! Meanwhile.. I am operating with business as usual and am using my friend Chris's approach to building my immunity (he's from South Carolina)... Eat more BBQ! (see post from yesterday) Wow.. two posts in one day for me! I must be real busy at work or something... :)


I came across this story today on CNN... Women in Lahore are trying to stand up to the Taliban... even through thought that the Taliban may just go ahead and bomb them if they organize!! The situation of oppression in this area of the world really grips me. Last year I remember hearing of the assassination of a female police officer right in her own yard.. with her teenage son looking on... She was the leader in the Kandahar police force and overcame all odds to rise to a high level in her career.. and the Taliban took her away just because she was a woman, just because she fought for what she thought was right and true. I cannot fathom how some people can harbor and harvest so much hate. I hope that the women and people of Lahore stay strong and stand up for what they believe in... the people of this area of the world do have a common thread... their passion... whether it be passion for oppression or freedom... most of them are willing to die for what they believe in.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Come and get your lonesome...

So tonight I took the night off and went to drink Whiskey with my good friend Jeff at the Snowgoose... It was a much needed relaxation, and although I missed my first Capoiera class it was just too sunny and warm to pass up the snowgoose!

After Snowgoose we went to dinner at Gumbo House to have Roberto fix us up some tasty Pulled Pork Po Boys, Jambalaya, and Bud Light...

Oh... and to sneak a little excitement in... as if the pulled pork po boy wasn't enough... I Sold my house this week!!! Yes I got the earnest money check in the mail today and at age 28 I have officially bought, loved, and sold my very own house... without the help of a realtor... all by my lonesome!

this is a little thing I saw on the side of the road today... I think it is like 10 square feet! Only in Alaska...and maybe Appalachia...

I am so glad to be free of my condo! yay!!! I close on the 30th of May and then I will be homeless... it actually feels pretty dang good... This was the good news I alluded to back about a week or so ago... nothing was final and I didn't want to jinx myself... but all is good and well and on its way!

Now after my first week of warm season in AK, I am a bit of a tired pup and am going to bed in a blink. I am hitting the pillow with abandon... waiting for my warm sunny weekend...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Here Comes the Sun

I'm sitting here listening to Allison Krauss sing Can't Find My Way Home... worked! (It is not as good as The Smile on Your Face, love that song)... I just got back from climbing a bit above my level on Goats Head Soup with Lee. Ok, so now that it has officially reached 60 degrees!!! (yes, can you believe it!! is already warmer than it ever was last summer!!!) Ok, so now that it is warm, sunny and daylight nearly all night long, I think I am going to have to start getting up at like 5:30 so I can bike to work, play frisbee or go to yoga at lunch, and still get out of work by 3:00 to climb mountains, hike and hit up the miles and miles of new single track in bicentenial. Ha!! I am starting to sound like Kristin ;-) gonna give you a run for your money, sweet pea! You just wait till I get to Denver! I will have you moved to the Rockies in no time and out and about with me everyday!

And thanks to everyone that has contacted me to check in recently... I will keep y'all posted on any happenings with my health... Who knows... I am at the mercy... hope this gets cleared up before I disappear (and potentially loose my insurance in a few months) ....I have been eating bacon at every chance I can get!

Monday, April 27, 2009

One year has passed...

On April 27th, one year ago, my Sweet Gram passed away from pancreatic cancer. I awoke that morning from a dream of rebirth...my eyes gradually opening to see the golden light of morning shine through the baby spring green leaves of the oak tree outside her bedroom window. Gilded.
I remember smiling, despite the emotion of the past week, having watched my loving grandmother fade away, moment by moment, in hospice. I thought to myself, what a lovely golden spring morning as I watched the light dance through the leaves. Two minutes later, as I laid in bed staring out the window, Hospice called to say that her light had just faded completely away.

It feels like ages ago, but I remember every detail of that morning like it was yesterday. Every detail of that week really... like a photograph I can recall every minute in my minds eye. She left such an impression on everyone she met.
Her simplicity was a guide,
Her kindness was an inspiration,
Her strength is my standard,
Her smile is my light.

She raised me from scratch and never gave me anything less than absolute unconditional love. I will always miss her so much... Namaste' my Sweet Gram.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tired Pup!

Today is Namah's birthday!! We went hiking with Mary and Amos, Megan and Jill from McHugh Creek to Rainbow on the Turnagain Arm trail. Right now Namah is sleeping on the couch snoring, squealing and barking in his sleep... love that dog... So the old hound is seven! I find it hard to believe that I have had him seven years already... sweet lil'thang.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


For one of the most lovely sunsets that I have seen in Alaska. Friday night 4/24/09. Followed by a shot of Knob Creek. Neat. Gotta say it was a good day...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I know better...

So, today I had to have an outpatient minor surgery thingy to help diagnose some abdominal pain that I have been having recently... It was definitely like being in a hopsital and I was a little nervous and scared, to be honest... The nurses kept putting warm blankets on me and that was nice... I think they thought I was cold because I have been loosing so much weight lately and I am just a little thing... Hopefully what comes out of this diagnostic will tell me if I have any significant issues that may be causing my weight loss too... I could just be really healthy, I suppose (hope) but I have lost about 8 lbs since I went to Thailand and really I didn't have the weight to loose... If I lose 5 more lbs I will be below healthy for my height... So hopefully there is nothing substantially wrong with me...fingers crossed.

It was truely humbling to have an iV in my arm and to be wheeled around on a hospital bed this morning... The thing about humility is that when you experience this feeling, it hits you like a brick wall. I don't think there is anything gradual about it... humility must make an impact in order to get the full benefits of the concept. And a strong dose of humility is good for everyone once in a while... Most of us just go about our daily days and adventures until something comes along and slaps you in the face, serving to remind you that you may not be as indestructible, omniscient, or as wonderful as you may sometimes think you are...

I will be home from work today to recover... the tasty mix of mild sedatives has caused me to be a bit lucid here and there... I am currently working on my first Waltz, so it will be nice to get some mid week home time to finish my song. The picture above is of my shadow on the way up Rainbow peak on Tuesday. The tundra looks a bit like fall actually. Like it was frozen in time, under the deep snows of winter. I love fall....It was the loveliest day of the warm season thus far, almost 60 degrees! I have decided to stop calling "summer" in Alaska by it's real name... I will now refer to it as only "warm season" I figure sounds better than "mud season" although sometimes the warm season here feels like the mud season in VT... I think the vallum and demorral are making me ramble...

So the title of my waltz is "I know better..." maybe when it is finished I will share.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I never said I was a victim of circumstance....

Ooh lalalala....This morning I heard "my life" on the radio on the way to work... great song. Billy Joel will always be classic... So, I got to work and my co-worker, Steven (he's Australian = very cheeky), had finished editing my resume, as I am getting ready to send it to the Denver office... Anywho... in the area where I have my "skills and interests" he put, 'men with brown beards and blue eyes' hahaaa!!! I got a big kick out of this and laughed for like 5 minutes... we are just cube mates, but he knows me so well... I guess I do spend 40 hours a week with him... and maybe it was the picture of Kyle and I on our hike up Ship Creek that has been on my desk all winter... who knows... well, it is spring now for sure, as evident by the outrageously warm and sunny day we just had!! AND I have some really good news to tell, but it will have to wait because nothing is final just yet...I don't want to jinx myself, but let's just say I may be free of a certain substantial obligation! Stay tuned...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Secret Forest Sauna.... shhh!

So, last night turned into a pretty fantastic Thursday evening... I was all set to head out to yoga after work when a friend called and invited me to go ski out to Portage glacier... I rushed home packed the dog and some snacks and we headed off... a lovely sunny afternoon in Anchorage... warm and sweet. We got to Portage lake and it was snricing! For those of you who have never heard this word (snrice) before, don't worry... I made it up. It is the delightful form of precipitation that comes in spring and fall, a mix of snow/rain/ice... Anywho... Steve forgot his rain coat, so we bagged skiing out to the glacier and headed a little closer to Anchorage to check out this secret forest sauna that I had heard of once apon a time...

I had a little map drawn in teal marker in my Gazetteer that Moksha had drawn up nearly a year ago. It consisted of a straight line, a couple squiggles, some dots, the work 'log' and an 'X' that marked the "spot"

"Who knows if this thing even exists," I thought to myself. But it seemed like a plan. A bundle of wood and a sixer later, Steve and I were headed off on the trail. The log was in the exact location it was supposed to be, so I knew we were on the right track. The dots turned out to me the most lovely grove of white spruce with Spanish moss hanging down... and across a couple creeks (squiggles) later, we were there! This little shack was snug into the side of a mountain, almost entirely cloaked in snow, moss, and the rest of the immediate surroundings that blended so seamlessly into the small structure.

We lit a fire in the make~shift stove and started to heat the lil place up! We both thought that it was going to be a bust, but all of the sudden heat started to radiate inside and the rocks on top of the small rusted caged barrel started to get hot to the touch... success! It was a surprisingly warm, surprisingly funny adventure to the lil hippie sweat lodge in the wood. Next time we decided we would bring two bundles of wood instead of one, a case instead of a sixer, a stove and some dinner, and a gold pan for activities while the place is heating up. Next time...