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Tag Archives: journey

It's a stretch to get us all in one shot!

One thing a sourdough usually has is time to ponder. Generally in the darkness of winter, when there’s little else to do.

Since I embarked on this series I’ve spent some time pondering what being a sourdough means to me. I suppose it starts with a grandiose sense of adventure, with a stubborn persistence bordering on the insane. More than a can-do, but a will-do-or-be-damned spirit, the sort of determination you don’t run into every day.
If one is successful and survives their first Alaskan winter, (and doesn’t high-tail it for the lower 48,) they begin to shift into a more refined sense of adventure and wonder but still plenty stubborn and maybe a little cantankerous now. One’s mind will be full of a new found respect for Alaska’s fierceness and unpredictability. Hopefully, if said stubborn person is wise, they develop a better prepared can-do spirit that begins to ready for the winter right after break-up. It’s like feeding the sourdough and keeping it warm, it takes diligence and constant care to keep it going.
Get ready, “winter is coming” is their mantra.
After each winter survival the individual acquires more character and unique qualities, not unlike sourdough starter..
Before long they may even start to smell like a sourdough. Much to the shaggrin of the city folk. No worry, by this time, there’s not a care left in the world for what others think.

Time passes, and there’s no real measurement for this period as it varies with each sourdough, at some point the sourdough is perfected, working in harmony with Nature, ebbing and flowing with Her tides. Full of wisdom from experience, maybe not so full of themselves and their abilities but quietly confident & determined. Or maybe damned proud of themselves and more feisty for it. Either way, they’ll be quite content in their own existence.
It’s taken failure upon failure, possibly even a near death experience or two and quite a collection of “awes” and wonders to get here. There will have been a plethora of lessons learned. Many annoyances experienced. Lots of paths crossed and one or two well worn.
It’s a work in progress. A neverending tending to keep your culture. It’s a lifestyle, a journey.

Somewhere around this time, half a century ago, my existence in this realm began. Newlyweds and Valentine’s Day and all…

This being a milestone year I’ve been thinking a lot lately about things like accomplishments, unfinished business and future things. Thinky things.

Thinky things.

I like to think about this being the time that my parents were happy.

It was the only time, so far, that I’ve been to Canada. And with Canada’s draconian behaviour of late, I’m not planning on going again.

I was born in the snow and cold. (Well not literally, like my mom was inside the hospital.) But is that why I’ve always loved the snow? Is there a genetic reason why I love the snow? A geographical one? Or just a generic one?

I loved the mountains, even before I ever saw them in person. They were the subject of many of my juvenile drawings and again in my adult art class experience with Beverly years later. Mountains with pine trees with a log cabin. I need to live near them.

My first painting, circa 1993, after my first visit to Alaska.

Is all of this coincidence?

I’ve been on a health kick recently. Which has been building for quite some time. Trying to improve my overall feeling of wellness, increased energy, etc. They all say everything is harder to do after 50, so… Best get to it!

This phase of life has me seeing my first born graduating highschool and eventually moving out on her own. Of course I knew this day would come. I’ve tried teaching her all necessary skills and instilling what wisdom I have to impart. And yet I find myself wondering how we got here, quite so fast. It’s hard for me to imagine daily life without her right here, with me, in my house. At the same time I’m looking forward to having an adult child to experience life with. I’m excited for her and all the new things she will get to experience.

Then the second one will follow in a few years… And before I know it, they all will be out in the big world on their own. Whatever will I do with myself?

Oh, I have plenty of ideas.

But I’ll think about that tomorrow. Along with those other inevitable things I don’t want to think about right now.

So thanks to my Mom & Dad for giving me life. Thanks to G-d for bringing me to this season, and with HaShem’s help, I’ll get through it.

Besides having insomnia last night

I was tired but for some reason sleep would not come easy. Oy. (I actually started this post at 1:50 am.) So automatically I know today is going to be harder since I’ll be sleep deprived.

But I made it.

Stopping for that post work soda and snack on the way home, I was good, I opted for water and beef jerky.

I’ll be ready for bedtime.

Thing 2 has been interested in kayaking for several years now. I bought him a starter kayak about 4 years ago I think. We don’t often use it but every once in a while a kayaking opportunity arises and we must go!

We’ve been kayaking to Cain’s Head out of Seward, across Kachemak Bay out of Homer and on Arc Lake and Stormy Lake. Once again we had the opportunity to kayak to Cain’s Head with IDEA for our beginning the year field trip.

We booked a cabin for the night before at Miller’s Landing. It’s a quaint little Alaska campground. It started out as a family homestead and the campsites are named after people. There’s a Wes and a Janet among others. I don’t recommend “Matt” as he’s a muddy mess with lots of tree roots!

Our cabin was a “tree” cabin, Alder, and sleeps 4. Me, my teens and one extra: Thing 2’s buddy, since it was his birthday trip and all. Trips like this are always the best because our friends are with us.

Staying over the night before is important, a 7:30am roll call on the beach with a two and half hour drive before isn’t very fun! So overnight it was.

We managed to get to the beach on time and started out paddling at 8 am.

Our crew on the beach.

The weather wasn’t awful but it wasn’t stellar either. Overcast and light to moderate rain all day. We had a brief moment of partly cloudy skies then the rain returned. But we managed to stay mostly dry with good rain gear. There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.~ old Norwegian saying.

Five miles out to the North Beach access. A nice uneventful paddle. Lots of birds and jumping silvers. We saw a jellyfish waiting to make our landing.

All that’s left of the Army’s dock at the North Beach site.

Then a two mile hike up to Fort McGilvray. An altitude gain of 650′, a “moderate” hike on the difficulty scale.

A scenic vantage point along the trail. The Seussical trees bordering a wetland.

We saw so many berries on our way up. Thing 1 was taking photos every other step. Moss, mushrooms, flowers, berries, her boyfriend, me…. Trees and rocks and … Everything.

Me and my girl on the Fort Trail.

We made it to the top and a quick walk through the Fort and then lunch break. Thing 2 discovered that he forgot to pack his lunch in so we all shared a bit of our lunches to help him out.

While eating lunch he spotted a porcupine up in the top of a tree above us. Strange creatures porcupines. Stellar Jays we’re fussing at us the whole time. We were in their space.

Then we started our descent. The trip back is always quicker. Too quick to pick all the berries I saw. I hate walking past berries and not picking them.

Safe to say that we’re all pretty tired at this point. Five miles kayaking, 4 miles hiking. Now another 5 miles back. Oy vey

Settled into our kayaks, ready as we’ll ever be.

All the muscles fussed at us on the way back. Even those we didn’t know we had. But by 3:03 pm we were back on the beach at Miller’s Landing.

These children decided they deserved ice cream after their efforts. We headed into Seward for ice cream and coffee for the Moms. There were still some congratulatory posters and banners up for Lydia Jacoby which was cool to experience.

Looking forward to the next kayaking adventure! But maybe not so far next time? Maybe.



Last Thursday morning, early, we embarked in our journey to see family. It Has been 2 1/2 years… Too long.





Our first sunrise before 10 am in quite a while.
On our way to make a surprise visit to Grammy and Papa, my seester and lots of folks along the way. We’ve been going nonstop since.
I stumbled upon this sweet poem back on my step-brother Mike’s birthday. It was a great find. This is a beautiful poem and one that resonates with me. If I Could Send A Birthday Card To Heaven by Kathleen Viaes.

Link over and read the full poem. ❤

Today marks our second anniversary in the great state of Alaska.

It’s raining.

Sorta dreary.

But I’m not complaining, because everything is so green due to all of the rain. It has been a dry two years.

Life is a lot like the weather. It changes. Sometimes it rains. Other times the sun shines, for 16 hours. Learn to enjoy it all. ❤


Grief is one of those words that means so much, yet still not adequate in its definition. It’s an action, a state of being, something that we do and yet just happens to us, that is not one-size-fits-all. We all grieve differently.
Some people are doers, they express their grief by busying themselves with doing good things to remember those who have passed on and to help those who remain.
Some people get lost in their grief and need others to come along side them and walk through the grief with them. Maybe even to pull them out of their despair.
Some people ignore their grief and suppress it, only to have it rear its ugly head later as unwanted anger or resentment.
Some of us are all of the above I guess. You can’t really label grief entirely.

Love is another such word. It is an action, a state of being, it is not simply an emotion, no OSFA definition to the word or how people apply it in their lives. People express their love in various ways. Some are doers, some are “talkers” (who like to express via words rather than deeds), some are touchy-feely types who want to hug you all the time… 😉 We are all different and even different in various times and circumstances.

When someone is grieving and they express their desire to do something to honor the loved one, and/or the surviving loved ones, it is a disservice to deny them. If I’ve learned anything from my bereavement doula training it is this, people need to express their grief. Don’t shut them up. Help them to do so in beneficial and appropriate ways.

This does not mean to take advantage of generosity of course. There has to be a delicate balance.

Growing up I was greatly influenced by my Grandparents who believed that one should not take “charity”, as they called it. If someone offered to do something for you, or give you something, you should not take it, you could buy it from them, but not accept a gift. However, they would have been highly offended if someone didn’t accept a gift from them. Smacks of double standards to me and this mind-set is one that is quite contrary to Biblical thinking in my understanding. Certainly there is truth in not taking advantage of good-hearted individuals. Yet the whole of the “new testament” is about helping one-another. Feeding others who have no means at the time. Giving, helping, doing for others. Selling your own goods to help a brother/sister in need. All of this “charity” stems from a heart of love. How do you tell someone to not show their love? I can’t imagine that. Yeshua (Jesus) says that this is how the world knows we are his disciples, by our love for our brothers. It is the heart of the entire Law.

Now abides these three: Faith, Hope and Love (Charity), but the greatest of these is love.

Expressing our love during times of grief is paramount to the healing process. I want to honor my Father, do things that keep his good name alive, to keep his heritage alive because I love him. I guess I’m a type of doer in this regard. Many people are. I can’t imagine how I would feel if someone told me I couldn’t do that. It’s out of that place that I gratefully accept the love and honor that others give to my Dad, in his memory, to me and to others. And in time, I hope to return the love and honor to them in whatever ways possible.