Monthly Archives: August 2012

A milestone in a marriage…

Got back Sunday afternoon from a really great weekend with my family.  My parents were in their glory as friends and far-flung cousins joined in their celebration of 50 years together.  Dad’s musician friends sat and played and sang into the evening, the younger cousins took off briefly for a couple of hours at the local go-cart track, and the rest of us meandered about, acquainting or re-acquainting ourselves with one another.  My free-spirited aunts were a big hit with my camping friends!  

An impressive shot taken with a self timer and a lot of determination!

Dad pulled out a bunch of old photographs family and of past gatherings, laying them on a table in the entryway of the apartment we were using for the party.  In one, he pointed out that of all the grown men in the photo (taken nearly 40 years ago) only he and an ex-husband of an aunt (does that make him an ex-uncle?) are still alive.  The women, especially on my Mom’s side, are very long-lived.  If I can dodge the family bullet of breast cancer, I can expect to be around for another 30-50 years!  Even with two bouts of that miserable disease and a terribly sedentary lifestyle, Mom is looking great at almost 75. 

 In the spirit of protecting unsuspecting family from public exposure on my blog, I won’t be posting any pictures of the party, but the drive to Soldotna and back was lovely. 

This is not a dog that had to be tricked into liking to swim!

On the way down we stopped at a campground to let Filson out of the motor home for a potty break and a chance to run for a bit.  The sunshine felt glorious and the lake was beautiful. 

You still here? Why won’t you play with me?

Filson found a dead fish carcass and kept trying to get it to play with him.  He would swim out to fetch his tennis ball and then would detour on the way back to show the ball to the fish…”you sure you don’t want to play?”  (Apparently during his week on the Kenai River he got used to the freshly caught salmon flopping on the bank.)

 

When the top buds bloom or “top out” we say we have six weeks til winter

The fireweed is especially brilliant this year, probably because there hasn’t been a great deal of sunshine to fade the blooms, although Friday’s weather couldn’t have been more perfect. 

 The day of the party, Saturday, the rain came and went all day.  Luckily, prepared Alaskans that we are, we had a total of four canopies between us, so there was plenty of shelter over the outdoor eating area.  Filson was a hit with everyone, even the assorted little dogs brought by other family members.  He had no trouble finding people to throw the tennis ball for him, and of course he loves the rain!

 Sunday’s drive back to Anchorage was not quite as nice as the trip on Friday.  Although it didn’t rain, the sun never quite overcame the thick layer of clouds.  Still, my stop at Tern Lake netted me some nice shots of spawning red salmon and king salmon (sockeyes and Chinooks) in Dave’s Creek.  And you should have seen the one that got away!  Friend D. came back to town Monday and said the kings were thick in the creek.  The red coloration occurs when they hit the fresh water after living the bulk of their lives at sea.  They are literally rotting to death as they make their way upstream to lay and fertilize eggs in the gravel beds.

 

Not good for eating at this stage, but beautiful to photograph

I was once again thankful that my Cabin is NOT on the Kenai Peninsula as I fought miles of steady traffic all the way home.  I hope to make a quick trip up to the Cabin this weekend.  Although I may endure some heavy traffic – 3 lanes deep and as far as the eye can see – on the way out of town at rush hour, I will soon have the whole highway to myself.  I lived in Los Angeles for a few months and I understand that some folks will find my definition of “heavy” traffic amusing, but everything is relative. 

Raven on the chimney of Summit Lake Lodge on the Seward Hwy

Anyway, a weekend trip is something to look forward to regardless of traffic.

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Craft overload

I was working in my craft room yesterday morning before work and had to dig for a specific part to repair a bracelet.  In the course of my search, I once again realized that I have too much stuff.  And, as happens often, that thought led to thoughts of my future life at my Cabin. 

 The new cabin is going to have to be bigger.  Much bigger.

 I have several friends who are quilters and I have spent years resisting their efforts to get me to try quilting.  My current list of hobbies and crafts is full and there is literally no room for another space, money and time intensive hobby.  The list is as follows:

Books – The Kindle is great but I also have a lot of money invested in old books just because I like the way they look and smell and feel.  I have two large bookcases full to overflowing, and I can honestly say that I’ve read almost every book on the shelves…many of them more than once.

Photography – Again the digital world has reduced the physical footprint of this hobby, but I still have three large bins full of slides and negatives and another with photo albums from the decades before I went digital.  I’ve backed off of this hobby a bit as the expense of a truly good digital camera isn’t justified by my abilities!  Maybe if I get really good at the WordPress photo insertion thing…

I have barely made a dent in the project of scanning thousands of negatives and slides and prints.

Camping and road trips – This takes up less space in the house now that I have a little motor home.  I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t going to do any more real backpacking trips and sold my tent and my beautiful Eagle Creek pack a couple of years ago.  The motor home is small enough that we can take it all over the state to remote locations that the big rigs can’t get into.  I promise some of those stories are on their way to the blog!

“Winnie” as she is affectionately known. She has many stories to tell…

Papercrafting – Card making mostly.  There are digital techniques that can be used for this, but that would rob me of the delight of opening my scrap bin and digging for just the right shade of green to embellish that birthday card.  Friends who know me are amused that someone who rarely sends cards spends so much time and money making them.  There has been a small financial return on this hobby.

Trying to combine two crafts here…making my own earring cards for display

Jewelry making – This is my most current creative passion and the financial return has been considerable, though it doesn’t quite pay for itself yet.  Again it amuses friends who used to rarely see me wearing any jewelry!  I’ve been able to incorporate papercrafting into this hobby, making little gift boxes and display cards for my pieces.

Writing – mostly the blog now, but I’ve always doodled.  I had several notebooks of such doodles packed in a box that disappeared after a move many years ago.   Journals going back to junior high school, stories and poems written for various classes, even old resume’s all gone.  I suspect that the box got into the goodwill pile by mistake, but as I didn’t even miss it for several months after the move, it was far too late to do anything about it.  I couldn’t even remember for sure where I donated those things by then.  Going digital was supposed to keep me from doing that kind of thing again, but I still have my old laptop from three years ago because I haven’t gotten around to transferring old documents off of it! 

Watercolor painting – sigh.  I have literally dozens of books and magazines on the subject.  I’ve invested a tremendous amount of money in Arches and Fabriano paper and various brands of paints, both in tubes and pans.  I even have some decent brushes.  I faithfully take it all up to the Cabin every summer and then pack it all back out in the fall.  The punch line?  I’ve completed one painting that I liked well enough to frame.  (And then gave it away before I photographed it…) I haven’t yet learned how to “see” a painting in an everyday scene or photograph.  My hope is to have time this winter to take a class to help me break the block.

 Quite a list, huh?  You can see why my little craft room is overflowing!  Oh wait…in addition to these hobbies, I tried this summer to do a little gardening in there!  I have three monstrous cherry tomato plants, a lovely arrowhead vine that was left by the previous owners of the house, an Aerogarden (currently full of flowers), and some kind of non-flowering begonia that I’m fostering for a friend who is remodeling.  (She may not get it back…)

Chitters is running out of surfaces and windows from which to supervise the neighborhood!   

Designing a work space always has to include making room for Chitters!

Re-reading this list I’m skeptical about fitting it all into any one room!  Or any one Cabin for that matter…

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