Thursday, September 10, 2009

9/11/2001 in Anchorage Alaska

While driving to work we heard that a plane had hit the World Trade Center and there were ongoing news reports via NPR regarding what had taken place in NYC. Our take on it was "wow, they are really big buildings and probably nothing will come of this; freak accident and hopefully everything will be okay (except for those that were initially impacted by the rogue plane)

I dropped my partner off at his workplace in downtown Anchorage and then headed to my office in South Anchorage. As I was driving I was listening to NPR, as we had been our our way to work. News became more grim as I was listening and it became rather intense.

As I was driving to my office I noticed military jets flying low around downtown/west Anchorage and then local radio hosts broke into the NPR feed to let us know that a Korean Air plane was possibly hijacked and that downtown Anchorage was being evacuated.

I turned my car around and called my partner and picked him up at his office downtown. We proceeded home to Wasilla listening to NPR while on the road and we spent the rest of the day on the internet or watching horrific accounts of not one Trade Center impact but two and two buildings falling and then we learned of flight 93 grounding in Pennsylvania.

It was a surreal day. The thing that brought it all home for me was when I was picking my partner up downtown in Anchorage and military jets were literally screaming through the air around the inlet and the downtown buildings. I kept thinking to myself "who would target downtown Anchorage, of all places, for a terrorist attack", but after hearing what had happened elsewhere, I also began to think "why not"?

Luckily the KAL hijack was a mere miscommunication between tower and pilot, but the surreal feeling of that day is still something that I can recreate in my head whenever 9/11 is mentioned.

It was a strange day in Anchorage and every September 11 I remember the feelings of fear and disbelief that ran though my head on that day.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We Don't need no Education

I just realized this was a title of a post I'd done many months ago...I guess that post also had to do with a certain political party not recognizing the value of education. Now here is another post, about a certain political party not recognizing the value of education.

Well, here it is in a nutshell. To those people that are so afraid of our President giving their children advice on why it might be a great idea to remain in school and excel educationally as far as their intelligence will allow, well, keep your kids home. I don't care because even if you deprive your children of a chance to become inspired and perhaps excel beyond your educational level, that's a family issue, within your family.

Me, I'm happy, because so many parents will allow their children to become inspired by our President's speech and they will go on to make advances in medicine, technology, and a whole lot of other fields that will benefit me.

To the parents that keep their children home and ignorant of the importance of education. That's okay too, because the US military-industrial-war-machine always welcomes C students and dropouts as "fresh meat" in their latest war, heck they even recruit them heavily at the local Army/Navy/Marine office here in my town. Wal-Mart also needs your underachieving children; it welcomes them with open arms and pays them $7.15 per hour with NO BENEFITS. Same with any fast food joint.

Here's my heartfelt "thank you" to the parents that keep their kids from hearing Obama's inspirational speech tomorrow.

I'm very happy to know that there will always be dupes to fight unjust wars for me, sell me cheap crap at Wal-Mart and hand me my favorite "guilty" fast food snack through the drive thru window of my local burger joint. These servants will always be here for me because their parents denied the importance of education.

Actually, really, thank you, thank you and thank you again to the parents that are fearful of Obama's pro-education message, because I don't know what life would be like without having your little underachievers in MY life.

Please, keep your kids home, perhaps watching Faux News with you...yes, please do, because if you let these kids get educated, well, it may very well create a disturbance in MY way of life and that is just too horrible to comprehend.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

On Ted Kennedy and The Kennedy Legacy

I realized today watching the eulogy for Ted Kennedy presented by President Barack Obama, that we wouldn't have an Obama, a chance for change, a new face in politics and an opportunity to overturn the status quo in this great country, if not for Ted Kennedy.

He was born a child of privilege and certainly faced his demons in his life as did many in his family. Yet, something in this wealthy and entitled family made them think as much of those that have little as those that have much.

That is the legacy he left us. He truly believed in country and had hope that all of us might actually be able to live our lives as Americans based on an idea of equality, regardless of his genetic gift of being born into wealth and fame.

He surpassed the gifts of wealth and genetic "fame" by always thinking of those that were not born into such circumstances.

If only all people could be so kind and so considerate, we might all become "one nation united" for a central cause.

Now is certainly the time to reflect upon the gifts that this man bestowed upon our country; the gift of ignoring race, of ignoring the American "caste" system and treating all human beings in this country and in this world as human beings worthy of being listened to and human beings whose causes are worth fighting for. The world that Ted Kennedy envisioned is one where we all might one day be, to use a sailing euphemism, all be sailing on an "even keel".

There aren't too many people born into a life of privilege that use their voice and power to try to make the world better for the "little guy" that didn't have their advantages. I must applaud Ted and the Kennedys for sticking up for those that were not born under that same golden cloud. I also must applaud them for overcoming much grief yet still continuing their agenda of "liberty for all".

I can't say enough yet I hope I've made my point. This family has had more extraordinary members than any other in our last 6 decades. They could have decided to just be rich and hedonistic and live their lives for themselves, yet many in the Kennedy family have decided to use their voice, their wealth and their power to help those that were not born into such a situation and it makes my heart happy that there are people that are willing to do this.

I can't honestly say that I would be so altruistic had I been born with wealth and power, but I have to admire those that will go the distance for the disenfranchised. Someone in the Kennedy family at some point planted a seed that grew and that seed gave us many, many great politicians and community activists within the Kennedy family. This family gave us people who actually cared about other people and the environment and used the wealth that could have afforded them endless days lounging about in the world's greatest vacation destinations. Instead of hanging out in Ibiza or other destinations of the rich, they spent most of their time fighting for the little guy, and using their loud and powerful voices and influence to help those that weren't born under such great circumstances and this is wonderful.

We can all learn a lesson from how the Kennedy's lived their lives. Detractors will also find unsavory episodes within the lives of the Kennedy's. I still can't help but believe that all of the good that they've done WAY outweighs the personal demons that they have faced down.

Monday, August 17, 2009

So much screwin' up in such a short time!

The earth has been around for 4.5 billion years. Humans, Homo sapiens, for only 2 million years. Organized somewhat "modern" humans for only 10,000-20,000 years, depending on what criteria are used for defining what "modern" means.

In those 10,000-20,000 years we've created cultures and cities and multitudes of gods and religions. We've also fought each other and undermined each other in at attempt to push one agenda over another. We've fought wars over the gods and religions and political agendas that we've created.

We've created countries and within those countries we've created cliques. Some examples of these cliques are religions and political parties. We humans that share so many similarities love to fracture ourselves into cliques or groups. These groups are then destined to war against each other. It's one of our tragic flaws as a species. We first united as a species tribally and we continue to operate tribally, the tribes continue to battle each other but our weapons have "advanced" from spears and rocks to rhetoric and words.

As we've evolved our brains have grown larger. I am hard pressed to find any significant proof that our larger brains have served us in any beneficial manner. All too often we've used these big brains to to fracture our human society rather than create a cohesive environment that would make us all stronger as a species.

A species. Humankind. A miracle of nature that will perhaps never enjoy the 160 million year reign on Earth that even the small minded dinosaurs enjoyed if we don't work together for a common cause.

The dinosaurs didn't have religion or politics yet they ruled this Earth for 160 million years basically operating on instinct and a brain stem. The big ones ate the little ones. We can do better than this.

Yet us humans, this happy accident of evolution, we will most likely not have such a long and prosperous future because we've created a scenario in which our life is just too complicated.

It's in our nature though, human nature, to make things too complicated. We are too superstitious and too war mongering. We are too distrustful of each other.

Until we can "fix" some of the basic flaws in the human makeup we are destined to fail. We'll fail at politics, we'll fail at maintaining a healthy planet whose conditions allow us to flourish, we'll fail at preserving our species in a healthy manner because we as humans are programmed to disagree based on concepts that we ourselves have created. Concepts of inequality and the idea that one religion, skin color, nationality or political affiliation is better than another.

Any human on the face of this Earth shares more than 99% of our DNA makeup with any other human. We are a happy accident of nature that, because of no catastrophic climate or asteroid/comet events in recent history, have been given a window of opportunity to survive here on good old planet Earth.

There are few guarantees in the future, except for the fact that our sun will turn into a red giant and engulf the Earth in another 5 billion years. The other guarantees are that something big from space will hit us again at some point and mother Earth herself will cycle through ice ages and climate changing volcanic episodes. The continents will once again join together and pull apart.

If we don't start becoming a cohesive unit regardless of religion or politics or race, then we won't be around to witness the next global challenge that mother Earth or even our solar system will send our way.

This is not just true for the USA but for the world as a whole.

I want to put the healthcare debate and this great fractioning of America into perspective and this is the best way that I know to illustrate how absolutely ridiculous our behavior is.

We are one species, Homo sapiens, united by DNA, yet fractured by our ideas, courtesy of our big brains. If we can't agree to take care of each other in this time of relative calm here on Earth, how will we ever make it though a global catastrophe?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Please don't judge all Alaskans Based on the behavior of one.

Please don't judge all Alaskans by the standards recently set forth by a certain ex-Gov lady.

Please don't paint all Alaskans with the same conservative paint brush.

We are a diverse community of human beings; a small community of humans occupying a very vast stretch of global real estate.

Alaskans deal with problems that run the gamut from urban decay and homelessness to rural subsistence cultures still attempting to live from the land and enjoy modern conveniences as well.

There are Sierra Club members that live next door to avid hunters and snowmachiners. There are people living in upscale neighborhoods that share their woods with homeless camps. There are Libertarians living down the street from Republicans and Democrats and Alaskan Independence Party members.

We 600,000+ Alaskans all share this 600,000+ square mile patch of land and for the most part we agree to disagree but all take pride in the fact that we are "Alaskans".

One would be hard pressed to find a city of 600,000 people that has the same diversity as our Alaskan population.

Alaskans are Yupik, Inuit, Inupiat, Inupiaq, Aleutiiq, Aleut, Ahtna, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Gwich'in, Athabascan, Eyak, White, Black, Latino, Phillipino, Pacific Islander, and more European cultures than one could imagine.

I apologize if I left anyone out of the list above, or messed up the spelling of your cultural identity, but what I'm trying to say is all of us here have one thing in common and that is we are Alaskans, and there is a certain amount of pride associated with that.

This is a melting pot of humanity and we all have something to offer.

And that's it folks, I will not address the crazy lady by name any longer because she has done more damage to the reputation of this fair state than, well, than anyone else ever in it's history.

I just wanted to make sure that people know that we are a vast and varied state full of a myriad of different cultures and races and we all seem to make it work because we take pride in being Alaskan and helping each other.

It doesn't always work and we have the same problems as any other state but we don't deserve to be judged based on the actions and words of one person who was given a national platform on which to share her views and spew hatred.

We're not all like that, in fact the majority aren't, so please don't judge us based on the Palin yardstick. Also, don't be afraid to travel here. It's beautiful and we are friendly and we love to share our state with visitors.

We are NOT all crazy.

Palin has broken herself AND flip flopped AGAIN!

Palin has broken her image and turned herself into a joke; a political joke.

The higher calling that she resigned her Governorship for, well, has turned into a lower calling; she is now spending her days pandering to the lowest common denominator of the GOP. The portion of the GOP that do not have the power or the numbers to ever "progress" her political career. Regardless of her family issues: Todd sleeping on the couch, another wild teenage girl to control and the constant Trig maternity speculation, Palin is doing herself in politically with every word that comes from either her mouth or her keyboard.

I think we can all rest assured that she is done politically. Now we can all sit back and just look forward to the latest "pearls of wisdom" that drop from her Facebook. (what, no Tweets, Sarah, oh why, oh why?) I no longer worry about Sarah Palin being a political force in our country, however I do worry about her "base" and how passionate and well-armed they are. She will incite bloodshed at some point with her ill-informed rants.

I wrote this last night and did not post it. Now today it comes out the Palin has issued another Facebook statement, so obviously not written by her. We know it was not written by her because it actually states text from the Healthcare bill, which means that she actually would have to have read it, and really, how many hours does she have in a day to actually read anything other than blog entries that she must show to her lawyer, and tabloids that question the solidity of her marriage?

So now, she has someone on the payroll doin' the readin' and the fact findin' and the writin' on the Facebook, but oh, there is something that her readin', fact findin, and writin' team was not told before this latest Facebook entry regarding healthcare....wait, wait, wait...

Yep, Sarah Palin was FOR the same thing that she is now against. She basically had a Death Panel Day here in Alaska. That is, she declared a "Healthcare Decisions Day" in Alaska back in April 2008. A day dedicated to encouraging people to make known their wishes for end of life care before they were unable to speak for themselves.


Yep, she's a flip flopper again. Just like the bridge to, wait, where was that bridge to again, oh yea, nowhere, the bridge to nowhere....Sarah Palin is her own bridge to nowhere, she just doesn't realize it yet.

In her heart of hearts I hope she knows that the God she says guides her in all of her decisions would not agree with some of her recent behavior. I cannot believe that she would be found worthy of the kingdom of Heaven when her life was presented to her God for judgement regarding her place in the afterlife.

When Heaven's "Death Panel" reviews the actions of Palin, I can only feel that it will be "thumbs down", rather than "thumbs up".

Too much talking the talk Palin and not nearly enough walking the walk.

Good to be done and rid of you. I just really thought it would take much longer than 17 days after your resignation from your elected position of Governor of Alaska for you to become a complete political joke and now, well, nothing more than tabloid fodder, oh and a BIG FLIP FLOPPER, AGAIN!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Like Minded People Meet on The Trail

I've met many people via my participation on national and Alaskan blogs, but well, I had met them all in cyberworld, and really hadn't met very many in real life (I'd met a few in the "real world" before we all began blogging, but that is a story for another blog entry.)

At any rate, I had the pleasure of meeting "The Rubber Room Hotel" on The Mudflats (see my favorite blog list for link) last night and learned that she was here in the valley and wanted to meet and do a dog walk at Hatcher Pass with my brother and his wife and some of our furry friends.

We met up at the Willow Creek trail over Hatcher Pass and enjoyed a few hours of fantastic conversation and fun hiking, all while watching our furry friends frolic in the high mountains. (Note: Higher areas of our mountains are becoming "colorful" and somewhat fall-like at a rapidly increasing rate...the "f" word, Fall, that is, is not very far away.)

But, the "F" word is not that bad, really. The "F" word means that our favorite trails will very soon become much less crowded. It means that our highways will be less burdened by traffic. It also means that it's only 2.5 months until the snow falls. The same snow that will hang around until April, but hey, that means that skis and snowshoes will be part of our lives soon, and really, that's a good thing.

So, here are some photos from The Rubber Room Hotel and AKPetMom and friends on the Willow Creek trail.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Stupidity, Personified

Palin graced the world with a Facebook entry today....Oh she of much wisdom, NOT!


Do ya think this Facebook from Palin from "out of the blue" is really meant to deflect attention from the bribery charges just filed against her?

If not, then perhaps she has been silent for nearly two weeks post resignation because it's taken her that long to pen this little gem.

That's my guess, cause ya know, it's a whole lot more that just a 140 character Twitter! It's a whole Facebook post and a big one at that!! (We understand, it's hard to move from the Twitter world into the world of Facebook and actually harder to move from the world of Facebook to an actual blog or website....but why Facebook? Why no Palin website where she can share at length her very astute insight into how this country should be run????)

If this Facebook entry took her two weeks to write how long will it take her and her to pen her memoirs???

She uses another Ronald Reagan quote in her Facebook rant. (recently she loves quoting Reagan; she must have picked up the Ronald Reagan "book of quotes" at some point in the last few months, as she quotes him more and more often these days).

However, I'm amazed that she keeps using Reagan quotes because as we all know she could have been down there at the Reagan Library very near where her quote giver and apparent hero lived, on this very weekend, if she could have shown some class and not really freaked out the classy women that run the little shindig that is the event hosted by the Simi Valley Republican Women at the Reagan Library. Instead, Sarah Palin has chosen to Facebook hatred.

I can just see those "ladies that lunch" with their pinkies extended and their noses turned up as if they'd smelled something "a little off" when they heard that Palin might rear her head in their neck of the woods.

I know, it was reported that she was actually "invited" to the Simi Valley Republican Women event at the Reagan Library this coming weekend, but the whole thing went off the rails a few weeks ago...

What I think happened was one of the ladies had a few too many Bloody Marys with breakfast and ended up inviting Palin. Obviously that didn't go over well with Nancy Reagan and the rest of the Simi Repub women. SP will never ever be part of that segment of the Repubs, no matter how hard she tries.

Sarah's place is with the "base". The not as well-educated and not as well-connected segment of the Republican Party. The more blue collar and evangelical, crazy talking-in-tongues segment of the Republican party. Ah yes, they love her there. They think she is smart and speaks well and would make a gosh darn great President. Ahhh, yes, feel the love emanating from that segment. Heck, they even send her $5 to $10 bucks at a time, from their minimum wage paychecks! That's love if I've ever seen it. I hardly see the Simi Valley Republican Women being quite as impressed with Sarah Palin.

Sarah's supporters don't "do lunch", they do McDonalds. These people don't give a rats ass about a big fancy shindig at the Reagan Library, they watch Glenn Beck and eat a frozen burrito, then go off to crash a healthcare event and make a big fat stink about something they know nothing about. Yup, 'cause their heroes told them to and that's all these people need to know.

Personal Note to Sarah Palin, also too (sic). When the US decides to start killing old or sick people, I'm sure they'll call you to be in charge of that program because, well, because a whole bunch of old and sick and infirm and disabled Alaskans died UNDER YOUR WATCH!


Yes Sarah Palin should be in charge of the new "death panel" that she speaks of in her Facebook entry. Sarah Palin should be in charge of triage for our new healthcare system! She has proven that she knows healthcare and can take care of her constituents.....NOT!

Sarah Palin, you have the deaths of over 200 Alaskans over your head because you were "too busy" to address the issues concerning coverage for the elderly and disabled through Medicaid. The system wasn't working and you were paying no attention. Put that on your much touted list of "successes" during your abbreviated term. Your much hated Feds had to step in and try to fix the problem that YOU IGNORED yet you proclaim to be so in love with old people and disabled people in your latest public statement.

In your Facebook you proclaim to love "the disabled" and "the elderly" equally. If I was your grandson Trig I'd head for the hills immediately after witnessing how well your love of "the elderly" and "the disabled" worked out for the over 200 elderly and disabled Alaskans that lost their lives during your tenure as Governor of Alaska! If I was elderly or disabled I'd not want you in charge of my healthcare, that's for certain.

It seems that Palin's job now, her higher calling, is to run around the country and Facebook hatred and stir up the base into a frenzy so that no real work can get done healing this country.

Great reason to quit the job of Governor of Alaska. A job in which Palin could have actually made a difference. But hey, that job is hard and that job takes time and smarts that Palin does not have. Instead she has chosen to join the fringe and try to make Obama's job harder than it should be.

Obama will prevail, and it will do nothing more than piss off Palin and the GOP base even more, but they have to realize it's OUR TIME NOW....They had 8 years. They can stomp and whine and cry and lay on the floor beating their little hands and feet and scream until they are red in the face but the will fail, epically.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Twitter Quitter

Alas, the Twitter Quitter, has also too, quit Twitter, for what 10 days now, leaving her Twitter Followers, well, much a-Twitter as to why the Twitter Quitter has not Twitted to her peeps.

Once a quitter always a quitter. That's what my Daddy used to tell me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rant of the Day

In response to blind followers of the religious right, and to people who applaud at ridiculous things just because they feel like they have to, or they are surrounded by people who just might look at them askance if they do not applaud. Screw those people.

As far as the “polite applause” goes, I don’t do that, ever, no matter the circumstance.

I also, when pledging allegiance, do not recite the line “One Nation under god” because I don’t believe that we should be a Nation under any god and firmly believe that the combination of church and state (under the guise of separation of church and state) is one of this nation’s fundamental flaws.

A country practicing separation of church and state does not have “in god we trust” on it’s currency.

No wonder so many feel that it is appropriate to run on platforms of religion and incite their followers with religious rhetoric, which in turn breeds hatred for things not accepted by their particular religion.

Until we remove god from all aspects of anything associated with our government, we will never be free from the zealots that threaten our freedoms.

In order to be a truly free country and one that can hold the title of democracy, we must remove any god from the equation.

Ok, that’s my rant for the day, back to flu bed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Here's how I REALLY feel about Palin

,I have to sum up my feelings before I go back to my flu bed.

Sarah Palin is unintelligent and incapable.

I was very disappointed when she was elected Mayor of my town.

I was even more disappointed when she was elected Governor of my State.

I was even MORE disappointed when McCain picked her as running mate for the highest office of my Country.

Right now, I'm still disappointed because even though she has resigned she has left behind a cadre of appointees, committee members and other loyalists that will prevent Parnell from governing on his own terms.

In 2010 Alaska needs to finally make the right decision and elect a completely Palin-free candidate as Governor. We need to put someone in the office that respects it and can do the job and can clean all of the dark corners of the administration and insure that the office of Governor is finally a "Palin-Free-Zone".

I haven't thrown my hat into the ring for any candidate yet, but will be paying close attention and "you betcha" if there is one that is worthy, then this time, for certain, I will work hard for that person and spend lots of time campaigning for them because I stood by blindly thinking that THERE WAS NO WAY IN HELL that Sarah Palin would achieve the title of Governor of Alaska in 2006, and boy, was I wrong.

I personally will not let it happen again, if there is anything that I can do to prevent it!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wasilla Governor's Picnic


Hi all, figured I'd better get a new post out here as someone from Mudflats said they wanted to leave me a comment, and I could never forgive myself if I missed out on some social interaction with any of the Mudpuppies!

I took some photos at the Governor's Wasilla Picnic yesterday and they are posted on my flickr account here:


I also did some video, albeit with my tiny little Canon Powershot A570IS, but I thought it did a respectable job for a little "digi" point and shoot. Way to go little Canon.

Best of all Mudflats was nice enough to post Sarah's speech video on her website and even use my version to transcript. Thanks AKM, and I'm glad I could help out. You do so much for us it's nice to do something for you!!

At any rate, here is the link to my YouTube account that has all of the videos on it from the Wasilla Picnic. Except for the Sarah's speech, the other three from the picnic are just of me wandering around mumbling and talking to myself and making other picnic attendees stare at me in either mirth or consternation, depending on what I was mumbling at the time and if it was favorable to the Governor or not.


Thanks for visiting my photos and videos; I expect we'll be seeing similar things from the "boots on the ground" in Anchorage this afternoon, and Fairbanks tomorrow. I can't wait!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Morels! In my yard!



For the second year in a row I've accidentally stumbled across morel mushrooms growing in my yard. This year there are 7; last year there were 2. There are probably more that I haven't run across yet and I'll keep looking.

Where I grew up in Virginia morels grew under tulip poplar trees. My father goes hunting and finds quarts of them, many 4-5 inches tall. I'm happy to just have a few and the one in the second photo I broke while clearing brush because I didn't know it was there. It was only 1.5 inches tall. Luckily it has 4 "siblings" that I will closely guard until they get larger. There are three others I've cordoned off in the front woods and will let them get to a bigger size as well until they are harvested.

Don't know if anyone else reading loves morels but I think they are the best thing known to man! Sliced in half and coated with egg wash and corn meal and flour, then fried in butter til crisp: YUM!

Anyway, Mom and Dad will certainly get a kick out of my finding morels in the yard. If you don't have them where you live, I suggest purchasing some at your local grocery store when they are in season and enjoying the best mushroom known to man.

Here in AK, the morels can be found in areas where there has been fire activity, or near old buried wood remains, as in my yard. Near Tok there was a large fire maybe 15 years ago and the morels are very abundant in these burn areas. The Tok area is so productive for morels that people come up from Anchorage and even from Seattle to stake their claims and harvest these delights. These folks end up selling the fruits of the labor to gourmet restaurants in Alaska and Washington state. They fetch up to 19 dollars a pound if large and in good condition. Must be why I've heard rumors of people guarding their hunting areas with firearms!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cool Garden Stuff

Some eye candy from the gardens. Please enjoy!

Strawberry bloom

Arctic Poppy

Columbine (rock garden variety 6 inch tall plant. Bloom 1")
Aquilegia flabellata? (not sure if this is right and if you can help me verify please chime in :-)

Closeup Beautiful Jacob's Ladder

4 inch tall rock garden Iris (sorry can't remember actual name)

Pasque Flower
Pulsatilla vulgaris

Fragrant Crab Apple (genus/species unknown)
at Palmer City Hall across from 1st Nat'l Bank on Cobb St.
If you live near, go see it and smell it; it's a wonderful tree and the only one of it's kind in all of Palmer and Wasilla. Smells like spiced apples and has so many blooms that you can't see the tree for the blooms! Full branch view of the tree below this photo.


Net Leaf Willow (ground hugging alpine plant, leaves 3/4 inch long)
Salix reticulata

Trollius europeanus

Shooting Star

Meadow Rue bloom (unopened)
Thalictrum aquilegifolium

Euphorbia epithymoides
"Cushion Spurge"

Friday, May 22, 2009

Alaska the Beautiful

Okay, multiple posters from many progressive blogs have pissed me off today. Alaska is not defined by Sarah Palin, as a matter of fact, many of us think that she is not worthy of our attention.

Please remember everyone that Alaska is a beautiful wonderful place that should be visited by all. I wish that every commenter on every Alaskan blog or others that mention our fair state would come here and see the magnificence that is here to behold. I'm serious; when I moved up here in 1990 I went places that made me cry because they were so unbelievably beautiful. I still get tears in my eyes when I head to certain places in this state. IT'S AWESOME AND WORDS CAN'T PROPERLY EXPLAIN IT'S APPEAL....

That's why we have to focus less on Palin and who's baby was birthed by whom and how someone so stupid could govern this lovely state. We just have to be here and be, and be present and revel in the beauty that is unmatched by any other place.

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's Cat Time!


Sorry I've neglected to post for a while but I'm back to work, and work it is; physical "digging in the dirt" and "hauling heavy things around" type work. Not only at my job but in my own yard as well! Busy time of year here in Alaska and the nice weather has certainly put the pressure on to be productive and get everything looking lovely.

So finally pulled the latest photos
off the camera and here are the cutest of the kitty photos.

Jimbo has adopted one of my terra cotta planters as his "nappy spot". Hmmm, wonder if he'll still be trying to nap there once I put plants in the pot? I sure hope not, but I have a feeling that he's still going to have his naps in this pot, plants or not.

Here's Hemingway, in another one of my planters. He jumps on the trash can and then onto this cedar planter that I have bolted onto the side of the shed. He too will have to curtail his activity in this planter once I plant things in here. Although, I seriously doubt that a few little green things will stop him from sitting here. After all, he has a great vantage point for hunting mice!


BELOW: Funny Hemingway, caught in mid-yawn.
So that's it for now, I hope to post at least once weekly but we'll see how energetic I remain this summer! It's been so beautiful here this spring. We've more than made up for the soggy summer of 2008 by having twice as many sunny days within a two week period than we had from June-August of last year! So, don't hate me for not blogging!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

For the Love of Dogs-part 2!!!

Great story from Colorado regarding a Valley dog that was caught in traps and lost parts of his front and back left legs.....

Get tissues, you'll need them.

DOGS: They teach us so much about overcoming adversity, hell, they teach us so many things regarding our own humanity. Living life 10 minutes at a time; that's what dogs do and perhaps that is what humans should do. (someone at some point named our companions DOG. Is there more to it that DOG spelled backwards spells GOD?)

Click below for the entire heartbreaking, but then heartwarming story.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

For the Love of Dogs!



There are a few geriatric dogs in our family now. My brother has Oskar, who as you can see isn't as strong in his rear end as he used to be. He has some sort of spinal degradation and just can't get around without dragging his back legs and falling down. Other than that he is good; his mind is strong and his will to go out for daily walks is even stronger.

At our house we have Mo. He's a 14 year old 120-lb Newfie mix. (He's the dog on my lap in my Profile photo). Mo's body is still pretty good, but his mind is a little compromised. Plus he has a wicked cough because the "flaps" in his throat are decaying thanks to the effect that the passage of time has had on his tissues. Mo's cough was "cured" by a moderate dosage of steroids, but the same steroids have given him urinary tract infections because they so heavily degrade his immune system. No more steroids for Mo; he has to take Robitussin for the cough now and daily doses of Dannon immune boosting yogurt drinks to bring his immune system back into balance. But he's still a joy and his cough won't kill him and well, getting old can sometimes be a BITCH!

When I look at the old dogs that are still kicking around my family and my brother's family I am reminded of the ones that did not have the honor of aging but were taken out early in life by various illnesses that we (and they) could not control. I'm reminded of those whom I had to make the ultimate decision for; those are the saddest. My happiest memories of losing a furry loved one are of my 12.5 year old Basset Hound, Rosebud, who passed in her sleep a mere 2 hours after I'd let her out for her morning constitutional. If there is a good way to go, she chose it. (she always did have style!)

Anyway, the photos above are of Oskar, the 13-year old Anatolian Shepherd and his new "legs". My brother tried to build a device to assist Oskar but ended up spending a hefty sum on someone else's engineering prowess to provide Oskar with a means to get around.

Oskar has bagged many peaks in his lifetime; some that he probably should not have ventured onto at all. Now Oskar gets to enjoy the "lowlands" with his trusty new legs, and he seems to really like it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Spring Ski Day at Alyeska Resort!

View from the restaurant at the top of the mountain (looking towards Crow Pass)

Ah, Spring skiing; it's a wonderful thing! Skiing is just soooo much more fun in the bright daylight and warmth of Spring as opposed to the flat, low light and hideous cold of winter! (I'm such a wimp!)

Here are a few more photos from the mountain:
(they were taken from my camera phone so they are not the best quality)

On the Spirit Quad lift to the top
View of the town of Girdwood, Bird Ridge and the Turnagain Arm

There are more photos from this trip to Alyeska located on my Flickr account.



Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter

It's Easter. Now it's snowing. Thought we'd get through this Easter without snow, but no, it's 6pm and it's snowing.

Brief history of my Easters in Alaska. Been here since 1990, first Easter in AK was 1991. Easter usually means snow up to your butt and more snow coming down on Easter.

Spring seems to have sprung a bit early this year but still, the snow is falling on Easter Sunday.

It's still Spring; it's light at 5:00am and light until 11:00pm, but still it is snowing on Easter, April 12.

Snow in the woods is only up to my knees so not so bad; walked with the dogs in fields of last year's grass and no snow, except in patches.

Friends in other places have photos of daffodils and forsythia on their blogs. We'll be there soon, but for now, it's snowing, and snowing hard on Easter.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

They're all going to Pop!

There was a good bit on Jon Stewart last night about the right having their knickers in a twist because they think that our country is going to hell in a handbasket. The right keeps talking about the "tyranny of the left". Jon Stewart reminded them that it's not tyranny, it's called losing. Get used to it. You're not on top any longer. The other side is not being "tyrannical" and picking on you. We on the left put up with being on the bottom for a long, terrible time. A time in which we watched lesser minds run our country into the ground.

Now it's someone else's turn to be on the losing team.

Here's what I see as being their biggest worry, aside from the left picking on them: I don't think that many of them are going to survive their anger!

Watching some of the overweight pundits and far right supporters get all red-faced and angry makes me realize that they are not going to survive even Obama's first 4 years. We're going to lose most of the far right to strokes and heart attacks before the first year of Obama's first term is even up! After 4 years of this only the few conservatives that don't live on just bacon and sodas will remain. If there is a second term for Obama, well, let's just hope that these people drop some weight and improve their diets because their hearts are not going to be able to take it.

If this trend continues, saner minds may just prevail after all, for the long haul, not just for the next 8 years.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Strange week for Alaska's Governor (A quiet week, if you ask her)

Stims, Dems and WAR, Oh my!

Sarah Palin is still holding out on not accepting 100% of the Stimulus funds offered to Alaska. Everyone knows by now that the portion of the Stim that she was most opposed to would go towards education. I still don't know how we are going to accomplish the "shovel ready" projects that she is accepting stimulus funds for unless we have an educated work force to man the "shovels". Forest, trees? She can't see either the forest OR the trees.

Dems, pesky bee in her bonnet! She found herself a brand new shiny Dem to fill Kim Elton's vacated Juneau Senate seat, the one he left to go work for Obama. Her choice to fill the seat was Tim Grussendorf. She found him all on her very own and offered him up to the Alaska Democratic Senate members for approval. "Looky here guys, I have Democratic friends too, so there ya go." Problem was, Tim Grussendorf, her choice to fill the vacant Senate seat had only been a Dem for a few weeks. He, like totally, accidentally became a Republican a few years ago when voting absentee or in a Republican primary, or something like that, and chose not to correct his party affiliation until two weeks ago, when he was offered a position that had certain requirements attached to it, specifically that he be a DEMOCRAT! Our Governor is now pissed off and wants the entire process to be changed so that she can have her "magical Democrat friend" get the job he deserves. (please excuse my 15 year old gossip girl commentary above; couldn't help myself)

Because she didn't get her way she's also questioning the process that led to Grussendorf not getting approved. Namely, the same process that allowed her to fill a vacancy in the Alaska House with her Republican friend and churchy bud, Wes Keller. I guess if the process gets the desired result it should not be questioned. If the results are less than satisfactory, certainly the process should be questioned. It was questioned before; the Governor made us aware of this in a press release yesterday. I guess if the process doesn't work, then perhaps it was less than fair at all points at which it was employed and all Senators or Representatives that were appointed by this process should all just step down and we'll do a "do-over".......

Speaking of "do-overs", our Governor thinks it would be a good idea for our US Senator Mark Begich to step down and agree to a "do-over" of this fall's election since Ted Stevens had his ethics trial tossed out of Federal Court. She and the other "koolaid" drinking crazies believe that Begich only won the election because Ted was on trial. They neglect to mention that the courts did not find Stevens innocent of any wrong doing, they basically decided to drop the matter because of a technicality. This dismissal in no way says that Ted is innocent of all charges, merely that the performance of the legal system was not up to it's usual standards. Perhaps Sarah doesn't want Ted to have his seat back in the Senate, perhaps she would like to run.

Guess she perhaps saw God opening another door and put a doorstop in it for future reference. God opens so many doors for this woman that smart people should be buying stock in doorstops! This would be certainly a recession proof investment if God keeps being a gentleman and opening doors for Mrs. Palin! Provided that she can keep the "witches" from showing back up. A monthly appointment with the African "witchdoctor" Thomas Muthee could be considered. Maybe she should change her hair; a lot of witches could hide in that "updo". Better yet, perhaps she can even get the state to pay for it. Can you expense "witch removal"? Just get rid of them, we don't want no witches in our Governor, no way, no how! (There was a great piece from Bruce Wilson on HuffPo a few days ago regarding the Gov's religious leanings. Great read, go get it!)

WAR, Wayne Anthony Ross. Governor Palin's new pick for Attorney General of the State of Alaska. Loves the NRA, hates queers, drives a big ass Hummer with vanity plates, wears camo, thinks big game hunters should get more rights than the Native Alaskans that use game for sustenance, not just as heads on walls....get the picture yet? The Legislature still has to approve him but he's already hard at work down in Juneau, presumably writing press releases for the Governor as she talked about some legal stuff in her last press release. She's never been one to talk about legal stuff before, like when Katie Couric asked her to name some important Supreme Court cases that had relevance to her or to our state. Sarah had nothing. No court cases she could quote, no newspapers or even magazines that she could say that she reads. Good that Palin has a mouthpiece that actually knows something and can help her PR team put some "legally" things in her press releases, bad that his credentials are so far to the right. If the powers that be don't approve WAR's appointment, I guess Sarah and WAR will just have to go shoot something so that they can get over it. That means more homecooked meals for the mainstream media; more mooseburgers, moose hot dogs, and moose chili for Matt Lauer, Jon Ziegler and Greta Van Susteren and her hubby John Coale. Did she feed Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric too? I can't remember, perhaps she didn't and that was why they were so hard on her! A little moose meat goes a long way towards forging friendly relationships with the media.

I think there is a big pissing contest going on: Sarah Palin vs. the Legislature. The last card in her hand is the stimulus money. Today is the deadline for accepting it. She is probably not going to accept it unless she can have the assurance from a majority of the Legislature that they will accept WAR for Attorney General.

If Sarah can have WAR, then the State of Alaska can have 100% of it's share in the wealth of the national stimulus plan. No WAR, no dollars. (Hands on hips frowny face, from Sarah Palin, that is. Progressive Alaska blog has a great photo of her that they use frequently that shows her looking frowny and unhappy, sullen, not sultry....all of you 50-60 somethings that think she is hot can just go watch "Nailin' Palin. Those Russians are really randy!)

THEN, Mt. Redoubt has the audacity to blow at least every 36 hours since 3/22, threatening to destroy or flood a Chevron tank farm at it's base. It only has over 1/2 the amount of oil that the Exxon Valdez spilled. Any comments? Nope, not in her "quiet week".

SO TOO ALSO, (not my words, you know who is famous for that string of words), a big "frufrah" has ended up going down regarding the Republican House/Senate fundraising dinner in June and whether or not our Governor would speak at this function. She says that she never confirmed, function organizers said she did and called her a "disaster". They picked Newt Gingrich to speak instead. The organizers called him "a leader" and a "great speaker". They didn't bother to call Sarah Palin to tell her they'd hired Newt. She had to find out just like the rest of us, by reading the Huffington Post! Just kidding, it was on Fox News first. They're eating their own over there....

THIS WEEK'S POPULAR CULTURE ROUNDUP FOR GOVERNOR PALIN: (It's not all just politics, ya know)

The icing on the Governor's weekly cake is that Levi Johnston, Bristol Palin's "baby daddy" has filmed an episode of Tyra Banks, to air on Monday 4/6. His sister and mother are there with him. There is a preview on the Tyra website. He talks about what is involved when teens get pregnant. Should be enlightening. I always wondered how teens managed to produce offspring. Levi is going to tell us, stay tuned! Sounds like it might have happened right under the Governor's nose, right under the roof of the Palin home! Guess she thought that kids wearing "purity rings" could just sleep together as good friends, ya know "besties" as they call each other now. Guess God was there to open some doors for Bristol and Levi too. You just never know where He will be or what doors He will open. Teens, beware......

Oh, another not to miss moment in the Governor's week, the first Dude, Todd Palin, will have an article in the May issue of Esquire magazine. A very odd video promo came out this week as a teaser. Google it, you'll find it. You'll also wonder if it was an "April Fool's" joke. It wasn't.

The Dud also did an article for Men's Journal. Google also, wow, he's such a Dude!

The last bit of irony in all of this is that the Governor said that it's been a quiet week for her. Hmmm, makes you wonder what a CRAZY week is like for her.....

I'm not linking any info to specific sites right now, you can either trust me, google stuff, or check out the blogroll on my website. Those folks have done all of the hard work; I'm just doing a funny post about it all.

Peace out everyone and have a great weekend.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Palate Cleanser




After too much political musings one must have a palate cleanser. Here is a photo of Sam, Brian and Annie on the loveseat. An after dinner mint to cleanse the palate of all distasteful political hate-mongering. Dogs are good and remind one of what's truly important in life!

Banned from teamsarah.org

I dared speak my mind on the blog that is teamsarah.org and gosh by golly, I am now banned! Banished; forever sent forth into a realm where I am unable to communicate reason to those neo-con crazy fundies that do not share my vision of the world and how I see it. It's really not that we don't agree, it's that they will not allow anyone to express an opinion that doesn't agree with their own. Fine, wallow in your own ignorance and by the way, keep taking out second mortgages on your double wides to help pay Sarah Palin's legal bills. You go, run with that. Perhaps you'll start to donate some money to Scientology too, since Sarah Palin is romancing another religion besides your own. Wow, we'll soon have a minority of far right fundamentalist christian scientologist supporters. Who will you pick on then? Oh, Mormons, that's right, you can always gang up on them.

Actually, I commented to another poster on this website regarding "reproductive freedom". This poster was a male and he presumed to dictate that he and other males of his ilk and the illustrious champion of the rights of the unborn (Sarah Palin, that is) should have the power of "choice" regarding a person's reproductive imperative.
I was nice, I even mentioned that I had read recently that conservative folks were being somewhat more open to listening to other points of view, especially in light of all of the 1st Amendment questioning that is going on lately regarding a person's ability to speak freely.

The teamsarah website is exercising their right to censor me and my opinions, but I must proclaim that their behavior is getting them no points, both with the right or the left.

Go ahead, enjoy your little garden of truth, as you see it. Only speak to likeminded people and only allow posts that do not contradict your beliefs. See where that gets ya.

Oh, I know where that gets ya, it gets ya sequestered in your own little bubble; a bubble that is growing smaller and smaller and smaller, until there is no more oxygen left for any of you to breath in your tiny little bubble of minority conservatism. What will you do when the bubble runs out of air? Will you all suffocate in your hate, or will someone break the bubble and set you free?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Electromagnetic Spectrum as Applied to Politics


Some political issues, both in Alaska and in the country have me up in arms, not knowing what to think or what to do. I've been spending time reading about our local progressive (read left-leaning) blogger, Alaska Muckraker, being outed by one of our local politicians (Mike Doogan). Apparently she (Muckraker) did not want to have her identity known because she feared retribution from those that did not share her views. I must say after another local blogger, Celtic Diva, filed an ethics complaint against our Governor and she shared some of the comments that came to her via email from the far right, I can understand why Muckraker was concerned. The comments to Diva were hateful, off topic, and less than gracious to say the least. It's a sad world when people have to live in fear of speaking their mind.

I have spent a bit of time perusing both left leaning and right leaning blogs and websites and I have to say that sometimes the far left gets my goat as often as the far right does. I spent some time on Team Sarah today just to check out what was going on at the far right. They were up to the same antics that they berate the "godless far lefties" for engaging in. "Pots calling kettles black" on both sides of the fence. Sick of it all around and on both sides.

I don't agree with the tactics of the whale warrior people that sail the high seas and act like pirates towards the whaling boats. I don't agree with whaling but the tactics employed by this group that protests the practice are unsavory, in my opinion. I don't agree with the anti-abortionists that bomb clinics and take photos and jars of dead babies to our Alaska State Fair. I think it's over the top. Both of those groups are on the far blue and red ends of the political spectrum and they feel that the ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS. IT DOES NOT. The whalers keep whaling and women keep having abortions. No amount of anti-whaling pirate behavior or dead babies in jars changes anyone's actions. Change happens through the moderate behavior of the majority of people acting together to make a difference.

That's where the graphic above comes into play, for me at least. This is a graphic representing the electromagnetic spectrum. It represents how we can "visualize energy", both energy we can see (the visual spectrum that our human eyes can perceive) and other forms of energy both to the far left and the far right of what our human eyes can discern. As you will notice, the amount of energy visible to the human eye as "light" is a very small part of the spectrum. There is much that we cannot perceive on both the left and the right of what our eyes can see. We can see these energy streams by using special instruments but we as humans only have perception of one small segment of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Blue is on the left, and red is on the right. Our eyes can only "see" a small bit somewhat to the left of the center of the spectrum, in the Green/Yellow part. This is what we visually know as humans and I've decided that this is what I will politically know as a human. I'm growing weary of both the blue and the red and I think that this country will only succeed if we rest somewhere in the green/yellow area of our political spectrum.

I don't mean to use "green" as in be a greenie. I don't recycle everything and I don't drive a hybrid. I do use fluorescent bulbs because they cut my electric bill by 2/3. I also don't prescribe to the "yellow", as in I'm not afraid to let either the blue side or the red side know when I find their ideas unpalatable; I'm not afraid to stand up to either side. I am always willing to listen to a good argument from both sides and if either end of the spectrum, red or blue, can present a good enough argument, including proof to back it up, then I might just have to agree with them.

Crayon calls this green/yellow color Electric Lime. I think that an Electric Lime country might just be the best option for all of us.


We finally got ASHED!


Ash on the car this morningAsh falling in the yard last night.

Not very much, just a dusting, but still strange. By strange, I mean that something instinctive kicks in when one sees an giant black cloud heading towards your home; first turning the sun the shade of orange usually seen during forest fires, then obscuring the sun completely. Something in the cerebral cortex says "run", or "do something now", when there is nothing to do but wait and see.

I was just out this morning watering the ducks and the strangest thing about the ash is the lingering odor. It's a mix of the mineral smell of the pulverized rock with a whiff of sulfur and ozone thrown in. The smell triggers some deep seated instinctual "fight or flight" response from my cerebral cortex. The morning seems somehow "off" and the gray light of the cloudy day is ominous. A little part of my mind is is telling me that "vigilance is required, so don't let your guard down". Interesting feelings generated by just a little ashfall, but I'm sure that through the ages our brains have given us these "red flags" that trigger this fight or flight response whether it be because severe weather, fires or even volcanic eruptions.

The really cool part of it is that parts of a mountain 120 air miles from us are now in our yard. The power of Mother Nature is never less than spectacular!


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Something set me off today so I have to talk about it....

I was reading about Scientology today and many christian people were commenting about how "stupid" the Scientology creation story is. For those of you who don't know about Scientology here it is in a nutshell:

They believe that an evil overlord named Xenu shipped a bunch of people from his home planet to Earth when overcrowding there became a problem. We humans are the descendants of these aliens.

It's a creation myth, there are too many to count. They all have merit, only because most were created wayyyyy back in a time where we didn't have a scientific method of explaining where the hell we came from and why we seem to be more "intelligent" than the other creatures that are here with us. ("seem to be" is the operative phrase here; we really haven't been able to quantify the intelligence of most species because we don't really know how to test them on a "human level".)

I've always believed that if people can buy into the bible myth, then they can buy into any creation myth that is presented to them. The same lack of logic, inability to embrace proven scientific standards, and lack of personal curiosity must be employed to accept any myth relating to how we humans came to be, except the one that states that we EVOLVED, over more years than we as the evolved species can even comprehend. Evolution is occurring right now under our very noses and is even speeding up because we are in a cycle of climate change. (Who knows if that is our fault or not, perhaps it is partly due to human influence, but the earth is very dynamic, so I don't think we can take all of the credit)

We are in the 21st century and science is giving us real answers regarding our existence. It's time to put away the fairy tales and accept that we are a happy accident of "evolution" and that perhaps we do not have a universal purpose and that we're lucky to get a chance to have our go around on this big blue marble. The creation myths that we call religion have caused too much blood shed and dissent among the human residents of this planet and it's time for it to stop! We have a purpose here, on this earth, for however long we get to be here and our purpose now should be to embrace harmony and acceptance and work together to cure what ails us as a species and what ails our home planet.

Faith is great, don't get me wrong. I have friends that are very strong people in the face of adversity and they always give ALL of the credit to God. I think they are selling themselves short, but if God helps them to be stronger, so be it. I just wish that everyone wouldn't believe EVERYTHING that they read.

Debating posting this, but what the heck, I'll just hit send. (I'm not going to censor myself just because everyone doesn't agree!)