Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Beginning of Dec in Homer

December is going by quickly. I am pretty busy at work and all is well there. We started the month colder than usual with single digits for a week straight and a bit cloudier than Nov. 
No auras yet for me. It seems when there's good activity, we either have a full moon or clouds that night.  It also does not help that I am southern facing and in town. 
And when the moon is full here boy is it bright. I have never noticed it before when living in the city. Just the other night, I was woken up by the moon. At first I thought a bright light turned on outside then looked out and up and there it was. Pretty unreal....
I have been having car battery issues, long story (even with a brand new battery), but I am learning a lot about cars and hopefully the mechanic figured the issue.  I thought I would get more writing done here in winter, but its just as busy as summer. We made it through solstice and now the days are getting longer, slowly!  
I started a Dec album and its getting full so here it is. I will post xmas-new years separately next week. Enjoy! And in just 3 days we got about 2-3 ft of snow. Pix of that coming soon... Rose

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Being Green in AK - It's an Awesome Feeling!

As an environmental "human" conscious being, living in AK has been a fun experience. Because you pay for the water, no matter where you live here (unless you have a well), you really come up with ways to catch and re-use it.

I now shower with a huge pot to catch the cold water before it turns warm. I then use that to water the plants or even boil for tea. Also catch running water in the kitchen sink while doing dishes to reuse for the other dirty dishes.  Or have a small bowl of water quickly rinse my hands constantly while cooking or wash veggies in all together vs washing veggies under running water.

Also, I am finally set up to compost and even set a small one up at work. I actually have friends that need it for their soil. There's such a need here; its sad we have not set up a system that could work for all to compost and farmers to collect. Its so darn easy and feel so darn good not wasting good stuff.  Homer has banned plastic bags from stores starting Jan. It's a small start that we ALL should TAKE! There's no need to wait for law and gov't to slowly enforce these small, easy behavior changes that we so badly need to do ASAP!
I started making my own kambucha! It's a raw food antioxidant, high in Vitamin Bs including B12 and a probiotic. All good stuff for you and tasty and now making it instead of buying it at $4 a small bottle. Thanks Robbi!

I've also started appreciating mason jars and need to start collecting some. It was popular in PDX but it is much more in demand up here. It's handy for just about everything especially in the kitchen. I would never have imagined in my wildest dreams that this is my life and this is what excites me. I can just vision all my NYC friends shaking their heads in disbelief.

Every day at least once, when I walk outside I say either "wow" or beautiful". I know some of my fellow friends don't understand my living in Alaska. And you can't, until you experience this amazing feeling this place gives you for yourself! I am making a December album and will share it at the end of the month. I posted a few of those pix here but no album link yet.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Homer Fall

Thanksgiving was great, which I expected :) Lots of good homemade, local food, and even seafood with great friends. I've been winter house sitting for 2 out of 6 weeks and it was a little weird at first, but a welcomed adjustment.

I now find myself indoors more often, solo, with lots of time vs summer time. It's dark by 5 so by 8 I feel like its bed time but happy that I have more hours to burn. Been catching up on pix and writing, cooking and hopefully reading soon. But amazingly with so many nonprofits events and volunteering, artists, and musicians here we are such a busy town and I just can't keep up.

Work is also keeping me super busy and I am so jazzed up about it. I have not felt so excited about work since five years ago. It's not all fun and games but lots of opportunity to meet local businesses and come up with some new, creative programs for members, community, and fundraising. I feel so lucky.

People say its been a cooler winter than usual just as summer was. I think summer is actually harder for me than winter b/c winter is expected to be cold, but summer just doesn't feel like summer to me.  We have not had much snow yet but we've had sunny days all week, which I just don't recall during Portland's winter. Sun rise and sets are amazing here, so much pink in the sky. Its still getting dark till Dec 21st. Loosing about 6 mins of daylight a day.

Every day at least once, when I walk outside I say either "wow" or beautiful". I know some of my fellow friends don't understand my being here. And you can't until you come here to experience this amazing feeling for yourself!

Well here's an album packed full of pix for u to enjoy from this Fall (more like winter for me. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Learning to drive and live in the dark

So far winter in AK has not been too bad. Mind you that I am in the SW part of AK and further north is way colder with winters from -40 to -70 degrees!! Yes, that's some how possible. And in Homer, I am not up on the bluff at 1,000 ft elevation. We have gotten to the single digits at night here, some icy roads and snow on and off.

I'm learning to drive on ice and in the dark. The roads don't have the street lights on the side that I am spoiled with; so I feel like I am really driving on country roads when driving at night and watch out for those cute bunnies! Not to worry, I am taking it slow! I've never lived on a road with one lane each way and not use to all the school buses either. Also learning to live in the dark. Its dark when I leave at 8am and dark before 5, before it was awesome catching sunrise and set, now I gotta remember to leave work to see it. But I was loaned a very bright sad light, so that should help with the blue moods. I also gotta get use to wearing my headlamp from the car to the house, gotta watch out for black ice even when temps are fairly descent. So much to learn :)

Well, its still an active community and enjoying dinners with friends. It;s rad as I get home grown potatoes, chicken eggs, and other random good stuff. I'm also testing out making my own batch of kambucha with help from a friend. And, after it coming up many times in convo, I am gonna start watching Northern Exposure. I was a bit on the young side to watch it when it came out but remember my mom watching it a weird.

It's been neat living w/ such great people as I am in between housing. It's a good thing as I am learning how to live here. Some houses are regular L48  style, while others had its quirks with plumbing but no septic tanks, which means I get a shower but no toilets! Water, heat and toilets are a main topic on discussion here. This Sat I move to my first winter house sitting gig for 6 weeks and its right on the beach. It smells like beach on the door steps and has many ceiling to floor windows looking at the beach. I am stoked b/c as much as I love people, I have had only a hand full of nights completely alone since I left PDX in Feb 2011. I know that sounds unreal but being a vagabond/woofer/volunteer/nanny/roommate etc it happens.

Oh and work is going great. Lots to do and learn but I love that. And its SO NICE to be working at a place I really like, doing things I enjoy, and for an org that is so integrated with the community. "Work" comes up all day and night while out and about with friends. So many cool, new things to do.  I just gotta get use to hearing my voice on the radio. agh...

As for pix, here's an album of jewelry making I witnessed at two different friend's studios. And Happy Turkey time and remember try to keep it real with these tips!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

First AK Snow

I most likely will keep the blog posts short and do 1x a week or 2, unless there's something new and awesome to share. But I will continue sharing pix via the blog. And I have a feeling there will be some cool, winter albums created this year.

I am still scared of winter as I am cold now and its Fall. I hear everyone's first winter AK is a fun experience. I also heard from various people and sources that this will be another unsually cold, snowy winter like last year. yeah me!

But I am also excited to see the sky. It's just so beautiful here. It was a nice surprise in summer. I had my first AK snow experience. I realize NY had cold, snowy winters, but I left in 2006. PDX is a milder, less snowy climate and I never liked the cold/snow in NYC :) But so far so good and I have so many people here looking out for me, I am very lucky to have various support. Here's a link to my first snow AK album.

I'd like to add a note to my New Yorkers: I have no clue what its like there but I see pix and posts and have a long distance connection to it. It's so strange seeing and hearing the stories and not seeing this on my own in my hometown. I know things will get better and its a difficult time as there's so many variables that turned upside town. I heard there's lots of good going on and people bonding. I only hope that will last long after the disaster. Community is key for us to survive and I think there's a lot of good personal lessons being learned from this chaos. Be well!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Job and Fun in Homer 10-12

It's great for me to be out and about with friends as I am reminded of why I stayed in Homer. Yes, its pretty here, but the community is also kick-ass. I find myself relating to people of all ages, as usual, but in Homer most of my friends tend to be older than my parents. Young at heart, full of life, energy, smiles, dancing, making things, its hard for me to keep up! check out this fun 56th bday party pix album.

In other news, I was offered a full time job as Development Director with KBBI, the local public radio station. There's two major fund drives to manage as well as the 2 day Concert on the Lawn event in July. Oh and there's also underwritting contracts to initiate with local businesses. Yeah, leave it to me to find an office job in Alaska. But there's lots of community networking involved which I love. And yes, my voice at times will be on the air, which I have not done since college days.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

End of Sept & Burning Basket

Well the last official Farmers Market ended 9/29. It was a very cold day even though the sun was out a bit. Its sad b/c now I don't know what I will do for fresh veggies. They just taste so much better from the market than the store. If I had a stable home and huge freezer, I could have frozen some veggies. I know that may sound strange, but actually some veggies are healthier after frozen! I did hear that some farmers brave it out through fall and winter and continue to sell their veggies through Dec. Probably more root type stuff, but worth checking out.

I've been slowly preparing for winter, talking to people about what gear/clothes I will need and also suiting the truck up with things for an emergency situation and making sure everything is in working order. So much time and running around for this but good in the long run.

Sept was a cold, rainy month so I have not been exploring the outdoors much. Its dark till 8:30am and sunsets around 7ish, so I find myself more indoors, slowly waking up etc. This will be good so I can focus on my writing and pix. I  look forward to the beautiful winter, colored sky during the day and hopefully at nights with the Northern lights.

In mid Sept, there was the annual Burning Basket which is just a few hours in the evening, but it took a group 6 days to build from gathering materials. Kinda like the Burning Man, but much less intense. It was a nice, cool community and spiritual gathering. click here for pix.  Also, here's a small album of Homer Farms that I took over the summer, hopefully I can grow this album some more next summer, click here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Homer "Rose" News

Well things are coming along here. Actually its been a whirlwind week. I got a few viable job options literally 3 in a week. So I am training, exploring, shadowing, and thinking how to make this all work into a realistic schedule. I won't go in to all of the details just yet, should know more by the end of the month/early Oct.

One of the jobs is working with a talented website guy. I would basically bring in new clients and assist with front end stuff so he can concentrate on the programming. There's a few other cool business projects we can connect with and create here. In the long run, this will offer me flexible work that can be done anywhere. I can do this at my own time and pace so this is a great side job to do. I am excited about working w/ my friend and learning more. I also plan to spend time on my own projects, which I have a hand full of ideas. I figured Alaska is a great place for home projects in the winter time and Homer is a supportive, creative community to do just that! Busy busy winter for me, which I am totally excited about.

I'm also just got a used 93 chevy from Rick's son Ben. It's small (just a 2 seater) w/ 100K miles, 4x4 and studded tires which is great here in winter. It's not in excellent condition, so I am working on fixing it up a bit. Yes, I know it's not the greenest thing to do and wish i could get a hybrid but that would not work on the roads out here. All we can do is what we can to have a lesser footprint, but I still fly and use oil, so not many (including myself) strive to be completely green.  I just don't want to make my winter harder than it is going to be with the cold and dark. It also helps to have a ride for work. I plan on using it in town and biked this month. I've come to enjoy the biking as u get to see so much more than when being in a car. But is has been rainy (almost flooding in some parts) and crazy winds lately, which I don't like to bike in.

Anyway, lots of changes and just figured out the housing thing. I was being picking wanting something close/in town and with running water to avoid using an outhouse all winter long. Looks like I will winter house site starting mid Nov which is a common thing to do here b/c lots of people leave for most, if not all of winter. This is a friend's friend and is a pretty sweet place and gig. But I will need to couch surf a few times in oct, nov and jan and have kind friends that will host me. Can't have it all as they say :)  but it saves me $ that went to the truck....

Well, as summer has ended here I am posting a pix album of some random Homer hikes I got to explore. TX Homer!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Glacier & Homer

After Talkeetna, we pushed on through and passed Anchorage to make the long way down to Homer, which was 7 hrs more of driving in that day. About an hour south of ANC, we took a nice break to take a 1 hr boat ride to see Portage Glacier. Another first experience for the rents. It was chilly but they enjoyed it.
Then I drove down to Homer. At dusk, you really need to watch out for moose, which we saw a few by the road. We took it a little easy in Homer. Visiting Neil & Kyra's cool place, checking out the market which I worked and doing small drives just to show them the different parts of Homer.

On Sunday morning, we crossed to bay to visit my friends. Did a little bit of fishing on a windy day. Then kayaked the next day on a calmer, sunny day. The weather really held up for us overall on this trip. We had about 2 days of rain out of 10. Parents left on Tues and I am trying to catch up on things. It was cool that they came up and tried a lot of new things. I wanted to how them why I love AK so much. We had a whirlwind trip so its hard to take it all in and enjoy the moment.
In other news. It looks like I have to move so I am looking at lots of housing options, applying for jobs, and even looking into a used, cheap truck as some jobs needs a car. It really depends how close to town I live. But in cold winter it would be nice to have one to food shop and visit friends so I don't become a complete hermit. I've been talking to everyone about winter here so I can mentally prepare. Looks like I need to buy cleats too as the roads and sidewalks get icy. The weather varies so its also tough to predict here nowadays. Click here for pix.

Friday, September 7, 2012


We made pretty good timing in Fairbanks with all the sights, so we headed to Denali a day earlier than planned. It was an early day at 5am as we drove 2ish hrs to catch the 9:30 bus to Eilsen. Denali is all by bus and you should book them in advance. 
We went about 4 hrs in to the park. It was cloudy and rainy at first but then the sun came out. There were heavy winds in Homer, Anchorage and even Denali. We did not see the mt but saw lots of wildlife at east, including some grizzlies. We then spent the night there and headed all the way to Homer the next day. 

On the way to Homer, we stopped at Talkeetna for breakfast at the road house for famous sourdough hotcakes. I wanted them to at least see Talkeetna and enjoy good food. And lucky for me, I ran into my couch surfing friends from last year. Then back on the road to Homer.

More soon, for now enjoy the Denali pix, by clicking here.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


We stayed in Fairbanks 3 nights and did a few side trips. Great weather overall, but long, early days for us. We knew this would be a jammed packed trip, but its hitting us. I had no idea how early my parents like to wake up. It’s killing me.
We visited the hot springs, which was the parents first time ever. Could not believe it. We also went to the north pole as we had some spare time. Then the botanical gardens and hiking and birds. Click here for pix.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Drive from Anc to Fairbanks with the rents

I had to take a flight to Anchorage from Homer after work on Sat. which was short and sweet; a 40 min flight vs 5hr drive. I got to hang out with my couch surfing friend, Kerby, which was great. Just wished we had more time to chill. The next morning I met the parents and we headed for the long drive to Fairbanks. Dad wanted to go there and I have never been that far up in AK.

The 6.5 hr drive was beautiful and we had a nice sunny day. Dad loves to drive but goes pretty darn fast so we made good timing. I was taking tons of shots from the fast moving car and dad would get excited over the sights that he would pull over and order me to take pix! We were all exhausted when we arrived in Fairbanks, so after settling in to the b&b, which was my parents first time, we headed out for dinner.

Click here for great pix of the drive. We were welcomed by a full double rainbow!

And the winner is????

I’ve decided to continue with my crazy path and stay in Alaska. It’s hard to understand if you never been to AK or even to the North West. I just connect better with the lifestyle and mentality here than in the East Coast. The community in Homer is just awesome. Super nice, open minded, creative, unique, and fun (u know the drill). You can be yourself here, invent yourself. I’ve met so many youths in their 20s doing their own thing for work. It’s unbelievable. People are content here and it’s a catchy thing!

I don’t have a job yet, but applying to some. I am planning to spend my free time exploring my own creative projects that I have been meaning to do since last year! Here, there’s support and a nurturing environment.

Can’t say how long I will be here 6 months, a year, 2, but if I make it through winter, I should stay next summer. Will see what happens. I won’t be visiting the East Coast till probably Oct 2013 for a family wedding. Honey will still stay with my parents as it’s a better place for her. I miss her dearly and that’s still a hard part of all this.

This will be a winter like none other and should be an interesting experience in numerous ways. I guess after this, I can live anywhere cold in the US. Homer does not get as cold as the North like Fairbanks but we all know I dislike the cold and this is cold nonetheless.

Here’s a homer hikin album I have been slowly collecting all summer long. I figured I will make a fall/winter one to post separately. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Orcas, Whale & Berries - Sadie Cove

On Sunday, I went across the bay for a day hike and berry picking. It's awesome knowing people with boats here and who I trust driving as the sea can change at any moment.

We saw orcas by the harbor and even a whale closer to Sadie Cove, which was my first time visiting. The trail goes on and on about 5 miles one way, we stopped at 1.7 for the berries. It's a steep hike with tons of bear poop on the trail, some were fresh!

As for personal update, I am hoping to make a decision by tomorrow whether to stay or finally make the move to HI. I ruled out SE asia b/c I am not excited about it for some strange reason. I also ruled out NYC b/c I am just not ready to go back. I am nervous about wintering here and the move to HI. It's been getting darker here and I am just not sure if I can handle only 4-5 hours of daylight. The community is great here and I get sad when I think of leaving the relationships I have developed in such a short amount of time.

In the meantime, I did a work for trade for acupuncture which I love and also been trying EFT, Emotional Freedom Techniques via our Time bank here. I had 5 hours worth of credit and it was great timing for me as its been a tough week.

I am working all week at a store gallery on the Spit which is nice but tiring talking to people from everywhere. My parents will be in Anchorage this Sun early so I need to catch a ride up there. We will be going to Fairbanks, hot springs, Denali and hopefully Talkeetna before coming to Homer. Busy Busy!
Will update when I can. Click here for pix.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Kayak, Clamming & Berries

My schedule is filling up a little as a have a temp job at a cool local, art gallery on the infamous Spit. Working random days 11-7, so I will be volunteering a little less the next few weeks.  Before that started, I went across the Bay again to visit my friends. This is my 3rd time across and I am pretty lucky for that. Many locals want to go but summer work is just too busy. I struggle to find the balance of work and fun in the long run in AK.

I spent 3 nights, got to see and assist w/ fishing, met 2 more woofers, kayaked, and take a sauna. Back on the Homer side, I finally went clamming. We did not catch clams, but grabbed some mussels. And also tried to make berry jam.

The Farmers Market job is till the end of Sept. After that I honestly do not know what I am doing. At times, I like the idea of staying here b/c it will be a winter like none other. The community is great and I feel winter has something to do with it. Yes, it will be cold and dark. I would like to get a car and do not know much about living in such coldness. I probably need better gloves too. You need to go outside during the day to get some light on you. Daylight is 4-5 hrs starting at 10am :( But I need to get a job to pay rent. As I look for work that interests me, its pretty limited in a small town that people love to live in. So do I just get any job to stay here?

AK is not an easy place to work or live. Its more expensive here and I am finding the pay just does not cut it. Also for friends with office jobs and benefits, you are lucky to be offered health insurance but you have to pay for that at times too. Most of my friends run their own biz and almost everyone I know of all ages do not have health insurance. Its like double the cost here!

I've been thinking about going back to nyc as its the cheapest place for me to live. Get a job and start saving again. OR do I finally got HI and see what's its like to live there? Jobs are even harder to find. It's funny that I love the two most expensive states in the US. Or do I finally do my SE Asia trip. Its cheap to travel there once there and its perfect timing. But I have not done any of the medical prep for it. I know poor me with lots of great options. I battle with going with logic or with what excites me. The thing that is exciting is also a little nerve-wrecking b/c its unknown.

Well hope to find the answer in a few weeks. I can't believe its almost Sept and time for me to decide! In the meantime, click here for some pix.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Native village kid's camp

Coal mining is becoming a frequent issue here in Alaska. The Tyonek village, I visited last week, is facing one on their doorsteps. I mention some info in the photo captions, click here for even more info.  

My friend from the farmer’s market organized a kid’s camp for the natives last year. This year he did the same with less funding. The kids get to be outdoors camping and a little bit away from home. We don’t stuff the kids with things to do or not do; we just allow them to be kids and have fun. He works with the tribes to stop the coal mining. I think this trip helps him continue to build relationships and earn their trust. He's is a Jewish guy from Long Island, not a native :)

The natives have endured so much change, not long ago, and u can't blame them for not trusting outsiders. Their way of life has changed significantly. Some elders eagerly shared their stories with me. Unfortunately for me, it was hard to hear them b/c of their lack of teeth and mumbling, though they speak English perfectly. One elder was telling me he was taken from his parents and village at 8 years old and sent to boarding school, on the other side of AK. He did not know English, at the time, and was very scared. The intent was to civilize the young. First the Russians came for the animal fur. Next the whites came for timber then oil, and now they want to destroy their river and land for coal.

The teens and youth do not speak their native language. They are very Westernized. The village homes had satellites, everyone had an iphone, lots of teens had colored hair and piercings. Many of them are looking forward to leaving the village for a bigger city. I was not expecting teepees, but I was shocked at what I was seeing.  Not that there’s anything wrong with colored hair and piercings (I had my fun as a teen too).

Two huge health issues are: the poor dieting and alcohol problem. Families are broken. I am not sure why they turned to junk food. Maybe it was the parents way of keeping the kids happy or when some (not all) parents are wasted, the kids are on their own at times. Research indicates that natives do not have a gene that metabolizing alcohol as we do, for more info click here I think the village is in mourning and have lost hope. I do not feel the freedom and joy of life I felt when I was in other places in AK last year. I do not know the full history and psychological implications; these are just my quick observations and guesses.

Alcohol is also a huge problem in AK among whites as well. I think it’s the cold, dark winter months. If you don’t get outside, don’t have a hobby, don’t socialize, you can get easily depressed here. I am still concerned about the cold for myself, as August has been cold, but people keep warning me it’s the darkness that can get u.

We camped 4 nights and had to head back towards home quickly. Dana was playing the 2nd annual Salmomstock Festival, a weekend long music festival supporting clean water etc for healthy fish. We got in for free that night with Dana. It was such a change from village camp and we started bumping into Homer peeps. We stayed for the last act that ended at 12:30am. I was very cold even with all my layers and pretty beat. It was about an hour north of Homer.  I was glad to be home, in bed. Overall, it was a great week with great people! Thank YOU all! Click here for more pix.