Flying Fish

inspired by nature, fueled by irony, life and art in Alaska


Small town Alaska  usually can’t sustain an economy without outside help. We have tourism in the summer for those of us who don’t commercial fish, and our clinic is federally funded. The same funding that the egos in Washington couldn’t agree upon so they let the sequester happen.  There’s a chance, a good chance, that two of my favorite people and two of our town’s best assets will be leaving due to budget cutting at the clinic.  On a personal note it’s heartbreaking on a medical note, scary as hell.  She is the heart of the ambulance team, the one that teaches all of our EMTs how to respond to an emergency, the calm in a storm.  He is the clinic director, her boss at times her husband all of the time.  If his position is cut, they go away.
No more game nights, no more laughing over dog antics… no more walking the beach listening to them no talk about the chronic inebriate they had to scrape off the sidewalk again.  No more holding the thought in my head that if I wrecked my car the ambulance crew would have a lieutenant that knows I pass out at the sight of blood but laugh inappropriately when traumatized.



and so it goes

I turned 50 on June 16th. I went from years of being 35 to suddenly being 50 years old! What the hell? All that existential angsty stuff just caught up with me. It’s not like I’m suddenly wearing a blue tinted curly hair do or un able to do things I could do yesterday but I am overly sensitive to references to age. I do hope I get over it, I find myself annoyingly ageist. Suddenly it’s not like everyone is acting/being so young, the tables have turned. Sheesh. Get over it, you still aren’t the center of the universe no matter your age!

On the artsy craftsy front, I’ve been making clothes ala Alabama Chanin. I bought all 3 of the books at 40 something dollars a pop, I should be doing more than looking at the lovely pictures. The basis of the books and the clothing is hand sewn cotton jersey. T-shirt material made into lovely clothing. The first thing I made is a double layer skirt with reverse applique circles, pink on the outside, blue and grey on the inside. Now I’m working on a grey dress… I’m thinking single layer but it’s pretty clingy and looks more like a night gown or prison shift. I was imagining dandelion seed heads embroidered on it… still pretty damn grey.

Also earrings are selling well at both Extreme Dreams and the bookstore.

Back to back tours

In the summer. during the tourist season, I take on a second job.  Alaska is a great big feeding frenzy in the summer with whales coming home from Hawaii to eat as much as possible so they can go south in the fall and bears coming out of hibernation to eat as many fish as possible for next winter’s hibernation.  It’s the same with humans, we work and hunt and gather as much as possible to get ready for next winter… so I take a second (or third) job to pay for next winter’s fuel and wood and food and with any luck at all vacation.  You know, so I can visit the humpback whales in their winter homes.     This year I am driving a bus and yakking at tourists with Alaska Nature Tours, today was my first back to back tours 8.5 hour day.  It was actually a fun day, I got to work with two of our best naturalists and both sets of passengers were lively and interested.  One of the guides I worked with is the man who was superintendent of Glacier Bay National Park in the early 80’s when the rules regarding motor vessel traffic around the Humpback whales was created.  He’s a park service legend in Southeast…and a pretty damn funny tour guide. 

     It was mixed weather, rainy and cloudy at times windy and sunny at others, but it’s all in the presentation.  A temperate rainforest needs a little rain and a little sun.  That mud… it’s soil in the making…  ahhh the art of the tour.

again with the spring time in Alaska

The days are over 16 hours long, the sun is out, temperatures are above freezing at night and the seasonal work is upon us!  Right now I’m holding on to 3 jobs but one will be going away soon.  The soon to be extinct job is for the catering service, “Groovy Girls”, for Chilkat Guides.  I’m trying to get the new manager up to speed… she’s a mom so she won’t listen to this non mom person.  I know, not all moms are like that but L. thinks I have no credibility because I haven’t spawned.  What ever, if she doesn’t hear me tell her what we learned about the wheel that is g.g. she can reinvent it all she wants.

CDL training for Alaska Nature Tours is the second job, it’s humming along… if we keep the boss on track.  He tends to wander off in a haze of former workers and ancient colleagues.  A good guy though, it will be good working for him.  Today, with luck we get to drive the busses after another practice walk around.  To get a commercial drivers license you not only have to drive a bus but have a small level of understanding of the mechanics of the vehicle and air brakes and (who’da thought?) safety.


Norman in the Haleakala crater…Obligatory Maui shot.

When it’s spring time in Alaska…

…is probably the most common blog title you’ll find around here these days. It is (checking the little date thingy at the bottom right) April 26th and we are going on our second day of serious snow fall. I think there’s 4 inches of new snow this morning, a lovey October day.  Too bad I need to do things like drive to get a C.D.L. soon and put out some plants in the garden soon.  Sheesh.

On a lighter note, I finally got Adobe elements and am learning a new photo editing program… pictures from Maui are out of the camera and coming back to life!  Just in time for spring snow.Image

This nene can’t believe it’s snowing in Haines!

Beading season

Am busily sewing beads this time of year, getting ready for the opening of the Extreme Dreams gallery.  They’ve given me a bigger display this year… the woman that makes the same damn bead necklace and sells them for way too much isn’t going to be there.  ImageImageImage

All of these pieces will be there plus a few more… as soon as Adobe Elements gets here, I’ll be able to share more.  For some reason the 15 year old version of Paint Shop Pro isn’t working any more… weird.

Photos of old dogs across the land

| This is a place where I can share the photographs and stories from my travels across America photographing senior dogs. I will feature some of the wonderful dogs I met along the journey and share them.

Old dog blog… first photos I saw here were taken in Juneau, AK at Sandy Beach, the only sand beach I saw for the first 18 years of my life!

house sitter…

The weather let up for a few hours Friday afternoon so I was able to get home on time.  Not early like the house sitter thought.  He didn’t have time to clean yet, he was too busy watching t.v., the cat box was full, the bathroom a scary mess including the remains of his last (oh god) coffee enema, and the heater he was going to fix still broken.  Not so broken that he couldn’t empty the oil tank heating the house. Ok, maybe the coffee thing freaked me out so much I’m casting a really bad light on the whole situation… but he house sat for my friend down the street too, our experiences match up, but she got stuck with 100’s of dollars in extra bandwidth bills because he watched the movies on line instead of renting them at her house.


Just a little pink…

Great day at Little Beach at Makena… sun burn and a chance to get over my “I live in southeast Alaska where waves are small’ fear of getting my head pounded into the sand by waves.  Norm finally understood that when I say “they scare the crap out of me” I’m talking about the very waves he skims along on his short board.  He held my hand and calmly talked me through ‘duck and bob’  I had fun with waves bigger than me!

Last week we spent two nights up on Haleakala volcano, cool thin air, more stars than seems possible and my favorite birds the Nene.  We hiked enough for this nearly 50 year old woman to wonder if she’d be able to stand up again then we hiked enough for me to feel pretty damn strong at the end of our trip up Switchbacks.  Nearly 2.8 miles from the floor of the volcano up to the car… air getting warmer and thinner as we marched along.  The last part got my better than last time blood pumping, my marching steady chant was “Ashtanga breath of life”.  Corny but needed when the body is not as willing as the mind.  …and the mind has a tendency to say what the fuck?  A little subtraction and we have the elevation change of: a thousand fifty feet.  That’s why it’s called switchbacks.

Photos pending.

Lucky Me

There’s a cabin south of Juneau on the Gastineau channel with a plywood sign that says “Lucky Me”.  The cabin must be tiny because I’ve only ever seen the sign, and it makes me happy to know someone with a modest cabin is so happy.

I am feeling very “lucky me” right now because my guy is using his air miles to buy me a ticket to Maui! Holy crapoly!  Image

Repeat performance, swimming ovation, an Alaskan body bathed in daylight…2 weeks starting Feb. 26! Lucky me indeed.

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