Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sick Holiday

Since my fun Talkeetna excursion nothing major has occurred in small town Homer. I got to ski once and saw our local creative Nutcracker play with hoops and techno music! We have not gotten much snow, but we have icey roads with cold weather then rain and cold following.

Last weekend, I was asked to photo shoot the winter Burlesque show. I was nervous as I don;t usually shoot people or indoors. Two nights of fun and clever entertainment from a handful of girls and two guys. Most I know. I took about 600 good shots out of at least a thousand. Took tons of time to crop em and had fun playing with some photo tools I never use.
On the last night my friends had an ugly sweater party and i was able to attend both. And then at 4am my throat was sore. In a few hours full blown flu with achy back, headache, hot and cold, and a painful wet cough. One day I awoke from my nap in a pool of sweat completely drenched but I felt better.

Not until the 4th day I felt somewhat like myself but still not 100%. I missed a few days of work and cancelled xmas and been home for six days and counting. It was a sunny xmas day and I so wanted to ski or at least go out for a few mins but it was 15 def out!

I tried all sorts of new remedies like neti pot, which is an ancient method and odd experience of putting water down one nostril and coming out the other. Also swishing sesame oil in my mouth for 10 mins. And put Oregano, Thyme, and Peppermint oils on my feet. I know some people make be thinking Jes what a hippie.

Gonna take it easy even when better to ease into things which is not easy to do in this town. I've been wanting to sleep in before i got sick and now that's all I have been doing. Roomies and friends helped coming by with food and remedies. So I was not completely alone. But this nasty bug is making its way through town and most of my friends have it.

Thanks for all the well wishes and hope everyone else had a better holiday! Click here to view my 30 sec holiday photo slide.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Talkeetna Bachelor Ball & Wilderness Women's Competition

Last weekend I flew to Anchorage and hopped in a car with my friend Maria to drive 2.5 hours in the night fog to awesome cute, quaint town of Talkeetna! I love visiting these AK places in winter as they are sooooooo different from busy touristy summer.

Why the heck did I go so far in winter to a town less than 1,000? To check out the 33rd annual Bachelor Ball & Wilderness Women's Competition of course. So this was not any normal small town winter weekend experience. I'd like to visit there again in winter sans events.....My new friend, Ed, describes town as "It's cozy and quiet, relaxed, sleepy, beautiful light on the mountains, dry snow that doesn't often turn to slush and everybody feels a bit like family but with an independent streak."

The event has a long story but most funds go to women and children crisis in AK who need to leave a bad home situation. Also funds some local nonprofits in Talkeenta. It started in 1981. Click here for history.Last year they raised $10K! It's a great way to get a bunch of girls to an AK town in dead of winter.

Click here for lots of wild pix and a video. Well worth the watch for all sexes but not for lil ones :)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Homer November & Thanksgiving

Things are still pretty busy here and time is zooming by. It got cold to the single digits and pretty white snow is on the ground and dark green trees, which helps give us some light during the pitch black mornings and night.

Sunrise is at 9:40am and sets at 4:10 now. One more month of getting darker. In earlier Nov the sun was so damn bright during sunset, i had to look the other way.

I am hoping for a more relaxing, less event filled December so I can get back to art and writing. Winter time is a good time to finally catch up with friends with potlucks and saunas/hot tubs. I am so lucky to have a variety of friends who love to share their homes and luxuries.

Thanksgiving was a long food eating weekend with a ton of new and old friends. Lots of newbees coming to Homer and we all share stories of how we ended up here.

Wish there was more time to chill with all my friends :) We had a cold time but the sun is feeling so nice. We all can't wait for more snow to start skiing again.

Click here for  some sunsets, beach/waves and party pix.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Homer Fashion Show

Homer has a neat art gallery that hosts a bunch of fun event like last year's Edible Arts new years (people made art out of food and then we ate it after voting in categories) and May's art burn beach party were artists burnt an item they created.

Last weekend they hosted their 30th Wearable Arts Fashion Show. Tons of creative peeps submitted a variety of clothing, jewelery and accessories that they made. I so wish I knew how to make something just to be apart of this wonderful community.

There was a call for models, half of them I knew. I could not dare being on the stage to "perform" and of course I wanted to snap some shots. It was so fun to see my friends sport these awesome designs. Many of them were very Homer and Alaskan themed.

The after party at our own small "night club" was a blast. I danced till 3am and was not drunk. As most of u know I don't dance and no metal or good techno was played, sadly....

Thank u Homer residents for keeping this place special! Click here for pix.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Homer October & Halloween 2013

Well I spent about 2.5 weeks in Homer in October and managed to cover a lot. Great sunsets and sunrises. I am still chasing the sun with my camera. Halloween was fun, pretty much a week-long party. It's my fav time and happy so many people dress up here. Wish it was halloween everyday so I can wear my high monster boots w/o strange looks :) oh well.

People said its been a warm fall, no snow yet! It's been rainy here which keeps it warm so I have not been outdoors much or hiking. I started yoga on Staurdays though so thats good and a real workout too. Lots of breathing stuff which i am not so good at.

Also started "working out" again at the circuit training and will go 2-3x a week. Oh and been drinking green smoothies with either kale or spinach, water and fruit. so yummy. Helps with energy and b/c it is blended u can better digest it. Super healthy and easy to do too!

The past 2 weeks been waking up at 6:33am (an hr before my alarm) even in the pitch black with stars out till weird but better than struggling to wake up!

Happy Halloween! Click here for pix.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

NYC Rose blizzard 10-13

NYC came and went! After my brother's wedding, I headed back to nyc with the fam. Had a billion errands to run like visiting good old Apple store and got a new macbook air finally to replace my heavy 7 yr old lap top (thanks to dad's help).

Also had to go through more stuff to see what to do with them. I was sicken by how much stuff I still had and how I can't seem to emotionally detatch from some crap!  I ate like crazy: chinese, italian, sushi, indian etc; things we don't get in Homer. Saw friends, but I never get to see them all or have enough days to chill longer and for that I wish I could do more. But I got to see a "metal" show (Soulfly) which was super awesome timing for me as they are one of my fav bands.

I checked out the new REI store in Soho; the emptiest I ever seen an REI.  Basically my only shopping was practical stuff I needed tech and gear wise like a super duper headlamp so I can easily get to my truck in the mornings. It's already dark as I head to work :( super sad and still not adjusted to the crazy light/darkness in AK.

Good to spend time with the parents and of course my angel Honey! Sad thought occured that this might be the last time I see here as she is 14. But she is still kicking strong. I miss her badly but know she is in better hands with the parents.

I walked about 100 blocks in a day which took 2 hrs and 80 blocks the day before. I so miss walking. The best way to see a place and workout! Gosh, I wish nyc was closer to AK. The trip airport to airport took 17 hrs (including time zone change. And my two layovers were only 2 hrs each....

Click here for more city pix.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Brother's Wedding in PA

So my younger and only brother got married last weekend in Gettysburg, PA. Him and Tiffany have been together for years and live in Philly. I flew in to NYC and drove with my parents and cousins for 7 hrs! Should have been a 3.5 hr drive but tons of traffic and floods on the highways as it was raining nonstop. I could not believe how the rain created such issues, car crashes and so on.

The next day luckily no rain. It was cloudy but temperate. Very pretty fall colors. It was my first outdoor wedding, which I much prefer, but still had some Christian stuff to it. Everyone had a great time. I got to see some of my old friends and met alot of my brother's friends. We don't have much family in the US. But a cousin from Australia came with his wife. Also my little Honey attended and she was a hit as everyone can't help but love her.

I got to tour Gettysburg briefly. The Military NP was closed b/c of the shutdown but still ventured a bit around the park trails. It was also Gettysburg 150th anniversary. After two nights, we headed to Honesdale, PA where my parents have a house and most of my stuff is stored. So i to sort through it. I can't believe how much stuff I still have. I so try hard not to buy anything as it just sickens me how many things I have. Got rid of some stuff and some will be useful in AK and some will stay in NYC b/c I can't imagine wearing platforms in AK.

People keep asking me, will I ever return to NYC or how long will I stay in AK. All I can say for now is that I have been at my wonderful job for a full year and that along with the people in Homer and the spirit in AK will keep me there for at least another two years if not more. Even if I despise winter in AK, I really can't imagine living anywhere else. But never say never and I know that I can't plan out my life.

Click here for some Gettysburg and wedding pix.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Quick Fall

Seems like fall came and went already. We had sunnier days  this month than in August and not as much rain, I think. But the air is crisp. I had to start scraping frost off my windshield!  Sadly, I have not hiked much this month as I hoped. 

It's pretty funny I never imagined life would be so busy in Alaska. But in a way when you know half the town and most are creative and motivated beings, surrounded by so much beauty and space, it's easy to get lost in time. Not to mention working for a nonprofit that is all about community can keep one pretty pretty pretty busy :)
I learned what it was like to be a single mom for a week while caring for a friends two kids. Great kids but wow I missed my alone/free time. Not sure how a single parent work and care for their little one(s). The cat kept me up lots of nights so that was the worst of it. I also learned never have a schedule with kids, it won't stick.

We went across the bay and picked raspberries then late attending a naked goddess clothing exchange party. The best shopping ever. It's so odd how much free stuff there is here. Food from my farming friends, fish from people with boats, and all sorts of clothing and winter gear from friends and even strangers at times. And this town is hands down the best potlucks ever.

Click here for some colorful pix! Happy Fall!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fishing and Burning Basket

Gosh it's been 2 weeks since my last post and I can hardly recall what I have been up to. I did start going to what we call the training room, a circuit training thing 2-3x a week an hour at a time. I despise workouts, never been a gym fan but this is not a gym. No machines, no pool, no come as you please. There's a few classes a week and you can't be late.

It goes by fast as you do various activities to work out different parts of your body for 30 seconds at a time. I hope to not only get in better shape, maybe get a little strong but to also get some energy as winter approaches. So far my abs are sore!

It's been rainy but still busy with events and bdays. We just had our 10th annual basket burning. "..experience of community interactive, impermanent art..." ""Follow the nose of your curiosity, the sparks of your imagination, and the desire of your hands to engage the natural world in a unique way, and deepen its mystery." 

I will be taking care of Kammi's two little ones for a full week. I suspect my next post will contain cute images of them :)

Click here for some boat trip/fish pix and huge ass basket burn on the bech.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Grace Ridge Hike Across the Bay

Jackie, her friend Megan and I set off at 9 am to drop off our gear and food at kayak beach yurt then the water taxi continued down to let us off at the South end of the Grace Ridge Hike. We hiked one way 8.9 miles, 3,100 feet up and down back to the yurt to camp the night. We started around 10:30 and got to the yurt at 7. We took our time, had lunch, rested in the meadows, picked and niblle on some wild low bush blue berries. Jackie had to be pulled away as she is a berry nut!

It was steep once you got near the top and a little muddy so i was mindful not to slip and fall back onto my friends. I was worried about my knee; it has been aching again this summer when i walk some times. Knee was fine but my heels burned and I was wearing the hiking boots I wore for a year all over the US...I borrowed one of Jackie's hiking poles, which I do not like to use b/c your hands are even less free for pix, but I am sure it helped.

The day was cloudy in Homer and started raining but it stopped and later in the afternoon we even saw patches of blue sky and some sun rays! I felt like i was on one of my out of country travels, which I use to do yearly and now its been almost 2 years since i left the US. There's so many great things to do in AK and even in Homer, but visually speaking this was the most epic for me. I would love to do this at least annually just  should get more in shape beforehand to avoid ache legs. Click here for pix.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

August Wrap up

Dad is now back in NYC. We had a good few sunny days, the only ones I enjoyed this month! We got some fishin in, even river fishing. Dad says its good that we don't depend on what we catch. We got nada in the river. But now I got my own fly fishin rod so I best be learning soon :)

On the rainy days we did some errands, visited a huge art gallery that I never been to outside of Homer, and walkin in the light rain look at boats in the harbor; always a fun passing of time. It was interesting be a tourist in my town. Got to see it in a different way. We had dinner at a friend's house and dad ate a whole bowl of bear stew that I made!!!

It was neat hanging with dad as an adult and on our own. I noticed some of our similarities (past and current). Kinda got to understand myself better in a way. Even my friends said that after meeting him they understand me better.
Now I am off to an 11 mile hike across the bay that I wanted to do 3 summers ago and stay in a yurt with two chicas...Girls night in the woods!! Soon I will find time to rest :)

This album is a random collection of August pix that did not have their own album.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bear Viewing with Dad

On Monday, I took off of work and again woke up around 6am. Headed to a float plan to go to Katmai NP where there is a large concentration of brown bears. Lots of fish to eat.

It was a long day. I kinda new what to expect but was not sure entirely they don't tell you about the cloudy/windy/rain atmosphere and that you will be sitting laying low on rocky beaches most of the time.

I had 2 pairs of pants, thigh high rubber boats, smart wool socks, foot heat warmers, some whiskey and I was still chilly mainly b/c of sitting a lot. However, we got to see 3 cubs, and big bears chasing fish.

No danger for us. So oddly calm I was b/c so close to a bear. These bears are in the wild and there not human trace so they do not connect us to food...they are just there for the salmon. Its neat not to be scared of them and to see them in their playful ways. So darn cute

Click here for awesome bear pix.. I did ok considering my lens goes up to 250 we were with pros who had lens up to 600.....

Monday, August 26, 2013

Seward with dad

Boy in 3 days with Dad we have seen a shit ton of wildlife and have been on the move all day long. To keep u with the daily big pix albums I will post a few times this week. I met dad in Seward Sat at 11am and we spent two days there.

Did a quick nice hike to a Glacier after lunch. After dinner he was pretty tired and caught up on sleep by 8pm. I walked around town a bit before callign it at 10pm. I am not use to waking up at 6am. aghhh.

Next day we did a water tour from 8am till 2. yeah lots of hours on a boat doing touristy stuff. Not what i normally do but thought it would be good for dad....he gets a little impatient and is not so into things as the typical tourist.

i kinda see how i use to be like him and how we are similar. Inpatient, don't get excited easily, and bored quickly :) But we saw so many puffins and i got some great whale shots....Also we had a very sunny day. The boat goes fast so out on deck was windy and chilly...Good start to a visit in AK!

Seward pix click here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Camping Skilak Lake & Rafting in Copper Landing

Last weekend, I went camping one last time but got caught up in the rain at night time. The mosquitoes and no-see-ums, tinier than mosquitoes, were just terrible. No wind by the lake and the little no-see-ums got into the tent. 
It was actually warm even without the sun but I wore so many layers and clothing to protect my skin, but still managed to get bites everywhere. It kinda killed me wanting to camp again in AK during summer...we'll see. I got to do 2 hikes and pick some wild raspberries and see a bear print, owl, and beaver.

On Sunday went to Copper Landing for a scenic float in the rain. It was nice but 3 hrs with not much rapids was a bit too slow going for me.

 I am off to Seward this Sat to pick up my dad who will be here till Thurs night.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Summer Wind Down

The end of July seems like a close to an awesome warm summer in Alaska. It's been cloudy and rainy for days now, which has been nice as that keeps me home after work. I find it hard to find a balance here and summer is just maddening with the light and energy. I am still not use to the traffic we now have and in a way look forward to a relaxing winter and spending time cooking and chilling with friends.

I survived my work's 2 day music festival that is a fundraiser so I was heavily involved in it. Learned a lot and glad it is done. People always have fun but it takes so much work to make that happen. There were a few snafus like almost loosing our sound system in an accident but we got lucky and the show went on.

The weekend after was a huge anti Pebble Mine, save the salmon, music festival drawing 5,000 people. So to learn from these nearby events, I volunteered and helped a friend vend her booth. Saw tons of friends, did not party, and tried to sleep; so overwhelming. I don't care much for the music Alaska has to offer so next year I am taking it easy with all these music events except my work one. I'd rather be with close friends exploring nature.

I am still recovering as I have been working regular hours in between the festivals trying to catch up etc etc. I look forward to November when I finally will have some down time at work.  In 2 weeks I will take a few days off when my dad visits!

Click here for some July pix in Homer and festival pix.