Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How to survive an Alaskan Winter

1. Spend as much time writing a play about yourself in your head as possible. Make sure that you fight mythical battles and ride a dinosaur at some point. Flying would be acceptable as well.

2. Eat fatty foods. Coconut? Yes. Bacon? At least a pound per week. If it can be fried, you should totally fry it and dip it in mayonnaise. (Yes. I am a fry in mayo person. It's my awesome Euro persona.)

3. Bitch incessantly about the weather. Carp that sunny days are too short, that the snow is too cold, and especially about 36 plus rainy is the worst weather on God's Green Earth. The communal suffering through natures worst warms my cold, dead heart.

4. Watch the worst movies ever made and feel good about understanding why they are hilariously bad. This is also called liking things "ironically." As I am not a hipster, I like things in the regular way. I am not cool enough to experience things at an ironic level.

5. Turn on all of your lights. Crank up your favorite jams. Get stupidly drunk. Dance in your living room. Exercise would work here but I like when my walls throb with Blackalicious and I'm dancing like a saucy penguin.

6. Try not to lick the garden catalogs that always arrive while you are buried deep in the asshole of January. Slow dancing like you're in 7th grade with the Burpee catalog outside manages to take care of #5 above so try it.

7. Practice not stabbing anyone with a "Think Spring" sign or attitude. Maybe make up a dance routine where you instead practice your CPR moves? Try remember if it was 15 and 2 or 30 and 2 or if you even have to breathe for the other person. Going into the wayback machine to all of the training that you have for actually saving a life may keep you from stabbing the Pollyanna.

8. Get the Internet. Seriously.

9. Remember how hard you worked in the 18 hours of daylight in the summer. Heeey. That kind of sucked and you were actually looking forward to winter when all the skin peeled off of your hands from all the salt water. Think about how relaxed you are as you are crawling the walls with cabin fever and seasonal affectiveness disorder.

10. Think Spring!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Point Conception

TDF called me last night just as I was meeting a friend for a glass of wine. Axel was up and running and they just reached Port San Luis. Rather than anchoring up for the night they decided to run all the way to Ventura. I could hear the relief in his voice, he was out of Morro Bay and finally moving Axel toward hauling out. He and his brother were running all night, they figure it will be about 18 hours to get from Port San Luis to the Ventura Harbor. I know adrenaline and giddiness will keep them awake. Still I worry.

This trip takes them past Point Conception, where the cold Pacific meets the warm Pacific. I have heard tales from my Dad's Seascout days about the nasty waters. I've only seen it from the safety of land, never from salt water. The weather is fine, the seas are calm.

Hope to hear from him soon.


They arrived safely at about 1 pm this afternoon. Whew. Axel ran like a top.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Plants of the day

Galium aparine--Sticky-Willy
Cakile edentula-- American Searocket
Bidens tripartite--Three-Lobe Beggarticks
Impatiens noli-tangere--Western Touch-Me-Not
Orobanche uniflora--Naked Broom-Rape
Primula cuneifolia--Pixie-Eyes
Najas flexilis--Wavy Waternymph

Monday, January 17, 2011

Shovel wars 2011

We share a passive-aggressive relationship with our neighbors. It seethes throughout the year, but it burbles forth during snow storms. We live on a steep, privacy drive shared by our 4 houses. The city doesn't plow so we are all responsible for snow removal. I could give a shit about driving to my house and would prefer to build a snowboard jump and play. The neighbors behind us feel the need to drive to their house EVERYDAY. Who will break down and shovel first? It's usually them.

When we let them shovel the drive first, it sets a pissy mood that persists until the herring spawn in march. One year we got a "talking to" when they felt we weren't pulling our weight. We explained our desire for an ATV with plow to clear the whole road. Neighbor man freaked out about that method. "it makes things icy," he whinnied. Apparently the only way to clear the snow on our unravelling gravel road is to use the human snowplow thing he uses. He also has a well-documented fear of gas-powered tools. They finished off the conversation by neighbor lady telling me about how my life is incomplete and I don't understand anything because I don't have kids.

Now, I am about as stubborn as they come. Like dig my heels in and keep fighting even when I realize I'm wrong stubborn. I also managed to marry they only person more stubborn than I am. We are a helluva pair. After that, I vowed to never use the stupid tool they suggested because I also don't like anyone to tell me what to do. Also, I promised tDF an ATV.

Welcome to the shovel wars.

Things simmered down after the supersnow year of 2008. We shared an uneasy peace. I know they don't like us so I always smile sweetly and wave whenever I see them, forcing them to acknowledge me. (This is a tactic I learned from a bless-you-heart southern woman, queen of passive-aggressive.) Obla-Dee, life goes on.

It snowed yesterday, as it often does in the hell month of January. It's supposed to snow more today and tonight. I shoveled the driveway.

I shoveled it my way, and with a snow shovel we got out of a dumpster a few years ago. I should probably add that uphill neighbors don't actually shovel the whole drive, but just the wheel tracks. Plus his shoveling manages to create a river down the center of the road that contributes to the further degradation of the gravel. (I am many things, but I am a soil conservationist and engineer first.) I cleared the whole damn thing. Cleared so that the snow melt will drain off the road and not down the middle of it.

I win. I don't know what I actually proved, but I still won.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

It was very cold today.

But it is no longer dark when I drove home at 4:30.

Small things.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My least favorite body part

We all have one thing we would change about our physical selves. Many women, like that mascot of all women Cathy, are dissatisfied with their thighs. Other people want to be taller, shorter, thinner, or curvier. Me? I want my sinuses to be functional. My sinuses are malformed enough that they don't drain correctly. This leaves me in the enviable position of having virtually no sense of smell and a chronic infection.

I stayed home sick again today because the ick clogging my nose descended into my throat, removing my ability to talk. I have sat around for two days eating, hacking, and watching Friday Night Lights. I am ready to cram an endoscopic surgical instrument up in there and root around until everything is smooth like the LA river.

I will never win Americas Next Top Normal Nasal Functionary.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Noodling is my eigth wonder

(Photo from here at

As I'm sure you've figured out, I like fishing and weird things. When these two combine, it's a veritable Voltron of Awesome. I can hardly speak, there is so much awesome. Fold in legitimately crazy people and women with big hair wearing Joe Diffie T-shirts, and I am a puddle on the floor. I am speaking of Noodling. This is where you stick you hand in a muddy hole at the bottom of a river or lake and wiggle your fingers until a catfish bites down. Then you yank the poor critter up and heave it into your awaiting Bayliner Capri.

I discovered Noodling while we were living in a USFS bunkhouse. We had like 9 channels of television luxury at our disposal and PBS aired the most interesting material by far. One wintry night, I was washing the dishes while the Noodling Documentary played in the background. It is a hour long story of three brave men/families who noodle in the wilds of Oklahoma. The three groups couldn't be more different. I have named them according to several distinctive traits:

The Catfish Whisperer: This guy is like a goofy little kid with delusions of how famous he really is. Once, he was on Letterman and he released videos of his exploits. He tames a snake by having it repeatedly bite him and spends the bulk of the documentary wearing bandages from a copperhead bite (he was playing with it).

Family Plumber: Family plumber is a big redheaded guy who noodles with his dad and son. They launch the family Bayliner and root around in muddy holes with their buds. Plumber's wife is appropriately big-haired and sports a Joe Diffie shirt. (Joe Diffie sings the best country songs about gravy.) Plumber notes his introduction to plumbing was fishing out some turds blocking a sewage outlet for $10. "Either way, you're noodling."

ZZGearhead: This is an uncle/nephew team who have that exact look you would expect of aging gear heads. ZZNephew has a partner named Tami, the first-ever crowned noodling queen. (You can totally see her arse through the netting shirt she wears around.) ZZNephew is afraid of letting his young son participate in sports because that would take him away from the lake.

All of these guys are super-proud of the fact that they are men who work with their hands. Doctors and Lawyers don't noodle, just these salt-of-the-mudhole men.

I must add that freshwater situations where noodling occurs is scary-ass water. Water is murky, full of leeches, copperheads, snapping turtles, or beavers. There is also the very real possibility of drowning while participating in the dumbest way to catch fish ever. At one point, they show the piece of asphalt that their buddy drowned under. You can get yourself stuck and drown with your fingers in a hole. I refuse to enter a body of water with leeches or to participate in an activity where drowning is common. (Yes, I know people drown in salt water often. But that is LEECH-FREE water.)

After this first introduction, I bought the dang DVD and made everyone I know watch it. I can't recommend it enough. Short of watching the DVD, you should totally google image search "noodling."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Figuring it out

We got the internet last Wednesday. The great leap forward, it is a heck of a thing. Thank God for my brother who is actually caught up with technology. He hooked up our situation. Now, I can blog from the comfort of my home and not the library. We still need to hook up our big old Mac desktop, but the iPad is a-workin.

I've been catching up on the past 7 years of internet. I have been visiting the place where he drinks tequila and she talks dirty in spanish. And the place where I can prove that is really what Dolf Lundgren looks like now. Oh and get to watch the Sylvester Stallone arm wrestling trucker movie with child sidekick (Over The Top). It is the gold standard for 80s vanity projects.

And trying to refigure this whole blog thing. More things to come now that I can easily upload photos and whine from my old Stihl bar stools. Need to get the power pc online to fully interface with the rest of the world.

I'm glad to have the distraction, though. Today I put my husband on a plane down south for who knows how long. He's going to fix up Axel and bring her home. It's a bit of a rabbit hole since we don't know how bad or not so bad it really is. All I know is that we're going to paint her grey and blue and I've got to configure a galley. Netflix instant watch will keep me warm.