September 29, 2009

Soul food

We've always been quite a social family, but something has changed since the death of our friend last summer. Especially within me. We've been reveling in this Fall with good friends...old and new. Weekends full of hiking, fishing, eating great eats, enjoying new wines and happy margaritas, a DEEPER way that I haven't experienced in the last year or so. I am so grateful.
I thank you, Bret, for this.

Hiking the ass-end of Flat-top Mountain and relaxing after

Hiking in April Bowl up Hatcher's Pass

September 27, 2009

Halibut fishing and the bounty of Resurrection Bay, Alaska

(Wands at the ready!)

Alaska is truly heaven on earth for me. I'm one of those people who's soul is drawn like a magnet to both the ocean and the mountains. In this magnificent place, the two are wedded.

Even if this trip had yielded no fish, the boating out was totally worth it. I have missed the water and just ache for more. Part of me says screw the expansion on the house, let's get a BOAT!!!! Or at least start making serious financial plans for one down the road. Next summer, there must be trips in the kayaks. It's been 6 years , but Lo is old enough to sit in a double now and Dea can handle her own. I'm so excited to introduce this wonderful activity to Lo. I was fortunate to have been able to spend a lot of time on the ocean when I was a kid. I want to give my kids as much exposure to the water as I can. Dea already has designs on becoming a marine biologist. ...So why not have a boat docked down by the Sealife Center, right?!

The owner and captain of the Ranisong is also a fellow financial planner with Huz. We had been out fishing on this boat 3 years ago, before they were both with New York Life, and had no idea it was Randy's until a couple weeks ago. The crew is top notch and these guys ALWAYS find the fish! Shameless plug: Seward Fishing Club .

We headed down to Seward on Friday night and spent the night on the boat. There's lots of bunks to sleep on- very fun! Huz and I enjoyed a plastic camping glass of wine and a stroll around the marina. The stars were blazing-saw a couple shooting-and the water was like glass. Sorry, Huz, for ruining some of the romance by dinking with my camera.

We were up by 6:30 the next morn, and everyone started showing up. Since it was the last official run of the reason, it was "family and friends" day and the boat was packed! The 3 1/2 trip out to the "sweet spot" was chilly but exciting. We spent a lot of time riding on the front of the boat in the wind, spray and glorious sunshine.

Once we got to our destination we weren't exactly "killin 'em" like we did on the trip 3-ish years ago. That time folks were limited out within an hour! Plus we pulled up all kinds of stuff-rockfish, bass, ling cod, salmon.... But this was the end of the season. Most people on this trip caught something, and my family was fortunate to have caught 7 halibut. I was still working on the 8th when the deck hands started mentioning it was about time to head back. Huz knew I was really hoping for a good challenge and that last fish, so he really dinked around with the pole, manipulating it around the bottom-wait a sec! This sounds NAUGHTY!!! ...Basically he dangled the bait at the bottom around the rocks in an enticing manner and we eventually had a bite. So, I'm hauling up this last fish of the day. I'm thinking, EH...this is gonna be a small one. I wanted to reel in a barn door! Oh, well... Then suddenly I feel this intense yanking...I crank the reel harder-fore arm burning now-after a few minutes color emerges from the deep... Yay! A yellow eyed snapper! Sweet! Quite feisty now for a little sucker-or maybe I've gotten WEAK?!?!? A couple more cranks and I realize a mammoth prehistoric FREAK (ling cod) is latched to the body of my lil snapper! I've got a two-fer!!!
PERFECT way to end that fekkin' awesome day!

(I HATE leaving an endless string of I'm trying the collage thing. Just click to view them in LARGE.)

(Dig that huge ling cod behind the snapper!)

(This was great wildlife viewing experience as well! Humpback whales, sea lions, porpoises playing with the bow, jellies, and otters. I STILL have not seen a puffin!!!!)

September 18, 2009

Road trip to Mother Ocean!

I'm ECSTATIC that we are taking an impromptu trip to Seward to go halibut fishing! What an AMAZING drive down this will be! Gorgeous fall in full swing. I've been craving the ocean, her waves, her smell, her bounty... HALIBUT TACOS WITH A SIDE OF MARGARITAS!!!! I can't wait to get on that boat tomorrow and TAKE OFF!!!!
It's been 3-ish years since we had a freezer loaded with the 'BUT! Here's some pics of our last trip....

Ok. Um....never mind? I click the photo link and NOTHING happens? WTF.
Oh, well! No time! I'll post upon our return...

Oh! Well here we go! Never mind my "never mind"!!! Photos! Can ya tell I'm friggin GIDDY!!!!

OMG, they (the kids)were so small 3 years ago!!!


September 11, 2009

9/11. Never forget... And ONWARD.

I've been to Ground Zero twice. Both visits evoking powerful emotions of grief, horror, and anger. Memories of groggily turning on the radio that morning in September '01. KNBA and a distraught yet even-keeled Camile Conte reporting that a second plane had just crashed into another NYC building.
Paper skyscrapers...

When I brought my 14 year old daughter to Ground Zero last month, I steeled myself for another affecting blow. When I caught my first glimpse, I was quite surprised to see find how much had changed from when I had last seen it on Election Day of last year. In November, there had been a 2-3 story pit, not gaping and piled with the destruction of that day, but cleared out and reinforced with a skeleton of intricate interlays of cement walls and steel girders. There were enormous ramps set up to transport the many huge construction vehicles down into the pit.

The pit. Election Day Nov '08

I admit I was relieved to see the busyness of construction and not the carnage of those two collapsed giants. I had once stood on the deck of one of those towers on a high school photography field trip (THANK YOU for the opportunity Jane Garnes!!!) taking photos of that fantastic city and beyond. Incomprehensible to think of them both coming down...
When I returned with Dea last month, the pit was gone. What we saw from our vantage point was the ground floor of the future. Solid. Stable. They had just that morning lowered into place a 60 ft long, 7o ton girder shaped like a crucifix, one of 24 forming the core of the new skyscraper.

Ground Floor. Aug '09

Sure...NO physical structure is indestructible. We are engulfed in impermanence. But what remains and endures is the collective human spirit and the drive and strength to forge on. I think of our friend who survived to go on and marry and live a wonderful life with a beautiful child... I see brutally gouged earth and hearts rising from the ashes...

Mock-up of the future Ground Zero sight.

September 11th 2001, and the brief weeks after was the last time I felt America united, partisanship aside, embracing one another. I hope to feel that unity once again someday. Under joyful circumstance.

September 9, 2009

Fall emerging, changes within... and thanks

I wanted to thank everyone for the comments left on my last post regarding our schooling dilemma. I appreciated them all. For those who lent support and kind thoughts, it has really helped me along the last couple of weeks. And they have been ROUGH. This is the one place where I haven't felt alone and floundering at sea...

One comment that really hit home for me was this one left by the wise and wonderful ANTHROMAMA:

"PS: I don't think it's elitist to recognize when something doesn't match your values. Same as if you were fundamentalist Christian and didn't want your kids in public school because of what you felt were immoral influences. You want what you feel is best for your children, period."

THANK YOU. After reading that, I felt like kicking my own ass for being self-deprecating. I'm not some superficial metro-mama stomping my foot because my daughter didn't get into the pretty school I wanted. I have always strived to provide what I have felt is best for my children's needs. My educational, LIFE view has evolved and metamorphosed in the past 2 years to the point that the mainstream public school educational paradigm simply goes against the grain of what resonates as RIGHT in education ,with me. No offense to those hardworking dedicated teachers who do make a difference in many children's lives. I know my child will do well wherever she attends-but at varying degrees. If given the opportunity to offer what I feel is the best education for her, I will take it. Because I know that the person that she will become as a result of Waldorf education would eventually offer that much MORE to the world around us and she would be that much more of a grounded, joyful, whole person. This I know in my soul.

Many changes are happening around us. The trees are taking off their green summer dresses in favor of the colors of fall. Our magenta fireweed has turned bright red and gone to fluff. The dogwood, a deep red as well. The blueberries are in full swing and the birch, poplar and alder are just donning their bright yellows. We've been blessed with sun and unseasonably, but pleasantly warm weather. Lo's inner changes are just as intense. I have been joking that aliens have abducted my kid and exchanged her with another. I knew to expect some regression but both Huz and I are dumbstruck with the intensity of it. What was the occasional unpleasant behavior has become a daily occurrence. Arguing, backtalk, pushing buttons and limits, some days it's constant whining... And heartbreaking turmoil as well. Lo often will say things like,"I don't feel like myself anymore. " "I feel....strange." "I feel like I'm in a dark scary place and I can't get out." "Can I take the day off from school?" "I just start missing you too much by lunch time". There have been a few nighttime bed wettings and she is so embarrassed. I can hear her fitful sleep through the monitor.

She has had so much trouble staying on task and I think it's because she gets so distracted by the need to play. To imagine and create. It's like she can't get enough of it once I pick her up from school. "Please get your jammies on" turns into a game of "baby". She wraps her bottoms in the top and rocks it and talks to it. If she's anything like her mama, then she needs that space, that time to recharge her battery with using her imagination. I've tried to give her that as best as I can. Bedtimes have been earlier and I have renewed my commitment to keeping rhythm and routine in the house as best as I am able. I have much work to do on remaining calm and anchoring during the rough times..not being afraid to lower my expectations of Lo for a little while as she tries to adjust to this huge change. This is the hardest thing she has ever gone through-probably for me as well(we won't go into my own pain of separation and sadness)- and I haven't exactly been the bastion of calm accepting support that she needs so desperately and I feel ashamed. Parenting..loving so intensely... can be so frightening at times. I worry. Is this who she is going to turn into? Do I need to be tough and nip this crap in the bud? My gut tells me she needs stability, firm but validating guidance, unconditional love, tenderness, an even keel. But then there is that insidious worry and the old dysfunctional tapes playing from my own childhood that sneak up and intrude on the hard work I've done on my own approach to parenting. I need to revisit some inner work as well. If anyone has a book, website, etc to recommend on inner parenting work I would appreciate it. So many questions come to mind. Is she too young for Kindy? She turned 5 in May and will be one of the youngest of her class...Would she be better off back in 3 1/2 days and then jump into full day first? On and on it goes...

And then there is blowing off steam by hunting for magical mushrooms! No, not those of the Terrence Mckenna ilk! Last week, Lo and I went out for a journey into the woods to look for some bolete mushrooms to add to our pasta. Looks like we missed the season for them because all we found was bolete MUSH. But these gorgeous orange amanita mushrooms abound! When Lo found this whimsical shroom with the perfect climbing vine next to it, the searched was ditched and the imagination soared.

We must have spent over an hour playing in that tiny enchanted place. Lo used some leaves as fairies who lived on the mushroom. I improved upon them by showing her how to make dogwood leaf fairies. Later we made another out of old-man's-beard moss.
It was just the creative release we both needed. I'm inspired to try and recreate this mushroom to scale-but not sure HOW yet! I wish I knew how to turn wood!