Sunday, March 30, 2014

AK in Texas!

My mom is turning 60 this May and wanted to go somewhere. I was headed to TX in March for AFP's fundraising conference so i told her to meet me there and I will take off a few days earlier.

We spent a few days Austin. Heard it is similar to Portland and it was with the hipsters and  slogans: "Keep Portland weird",  "Keep Austin weird". I thought why didn't I move here to a warmer portlandia? But I did not know about Austin in 2006. There were more bars on one block than in my town.
People everywhere drinkin in the day time, lots of happy hours (no happy hours in Alaska-it's against the law to promote drinking), live music blasting outside. Streets closed on weekends so people can walk on the street from bar to bar. Not even NYC is like this. But it was downtown and felt it was very touristy. Austin also had so much outdoor seating and awesome huge tree. So not use to the humidity and I got sun burnt on the first and only sunny day!

Then headed to San Antonio, no more sun and even got a bit of rain. Texas has been in a drought for years!  I only had one free night there to explore before the conference started. Then mom went back to NYC.

The fundraising conference had 3,000 people vs my town of 5,000. I was overwhelmed with nice people from the nonprofit sector and amazing workshops. So intense! I still need to process this information. At times, I was frustrated because I can only do much with my time in my department of one. Possibilities are endless if I had more help. Wanna never be bored? Work for a nonprofit :)

I saw the work (and meet the people connected to) so many amazing causes and feel proud to be a part of so much positivity in this world. Not everyone chooses to work for a nonprofit, but if you are passionate about a cause, I encoruage you to volunteer (even petitioning or sharing info on facebook etc. helps) or donate to that cause.
And yes, some of that money goes to pay the overworked/underpaid staff that are needed to make things happen and keep the lights on in the office to get the work done. Investigate orgs that align with your passion. Be part of something positive with an impact. We might not all have the luxury of time (I sure don't and I don't have kids), but when you prioritize your finances, you realize you probably can financially contribute.

 I am actually going to leave my savings and IRA to a few nonprofits. I am super excited about this since I don't have kiddos. I will become a major donor when I pass on and then get invited to all the major events hehe...

Ok enough on that, you get the picture. Click here for fun Austin pix. and here for nice San Antonio pix.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Winter Fishing and Boating

My friend, Jim, has a boat and is a water taxi guy. Actually met last year on my bday when he was my taxi driver to the yurt solo getaway weekend. He wanted to make a trip across the bay to a Seldovia to network as not many taxis go out there.

 The water got choppy so we did not make it to town, but we went to a more protected area to try fishing via trolling. My first time winter fishing. Two hours went by, the warm sun drained me through the window as I watched the rods to see it go down when we get a bite. I think i passed out for a few mins. it was so warm and cozy.

Jim yells "Fish on". We jumped up and ran out. What do we do now, I screamed. Grab the rod and jerk it to release it..... from the rigger. Did it and then the fish swam like nuts. Keep the pole up, line tight. let out some line if the fish starts to pull.

Oops, fish went under the boat. Oops he got tangled with the other line in the water. He was hooked on well so we did not loose him but we did not know that yet. Jim grabbed the net and i brought in the king salmon.

Boy what a rush. so exciting and so much involved before, during and after. we went back home and Jim filleted it on the boat in the harbor and we split our winnings. Everyone says king is the best and fresh king is divine. So lucky i am.

Weekend next, we made it to Seldovia in the snow. Had some beers at the one bar, talked to some locals which was actually good for me for my work as we reach out there. Tried fishing but was not pleasant with the cold and waves.

Click here for pix.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Film Jam & African Drummin

I went to my first film jam event and was not sure what to expect. Yes, lots of old school film clips. 3 running at the same time. Sometimes in their own space on the wall and sometimes bringing them together and overlapping.

Lots of clips: from a 70s school bus safety one to bears fighting, to seeing a fish hatch in a fish hatchery which seems they are always in a form of prison. that was hard to watch. no blood, but seeing their life in captitvity and crammed. very unnatural but that is how we are able to sustain the billions of mouths on this planet...

there was also yoga in art. An awesome yogi here mediated before us while sounds and color covered her. it was very trippy and cool. sounded a bit new age but still new cool to be in the room and see this first hand. I have pix and a video but its not the same.

There was also of course Kammi doing her LED hooping to West African live drumming. There's been an artist in residence here for 3 weeks offering free drumming workshops 3 nights a week that I have been able to attend. This was all thanks to our lovely art gallery one block away from my place!

Awe so much going on here and it's still "winter" time. I worry how crazy summer will get, work is already in full busy mode. Click here for pix and clips of the drumming and film jam

Monday, March 10, 2014

Solo Cabin Night Getaway

One of my winter goals was to go across the bay by myself and stay in a cabin or yurt. I wanted to see the other side in winter. I also want to try to do a few solo retreats each year. Get a way from busy town, busy events of all kinds, away from computer and facebook.

Thankfully the state cabins are available for rent in winter and my generous friend with a boat gave me a lift. We made sure the wind/water conditions were goo and tried to fish on the way there and back since we were out on the water. I am so lucky to have such great friends.

One thing I love about Alaska is the feeling of time and space. Being connected to nature, but being in town and with my "public" job, I am always surrounded by peeps; awesome peeps. And, I am a social butterfly still trying to learn the word NO.

The funny thing was even being away from those distractions on my own, I was still able to distract myself from reading and writing. Constantly counting the wood left to burn, checking the fire in the stove, checking the hours left of daylight, looking at the tide book. I hardly sat down. And every time I did, I had to get up within a minute. Oh that door is not full shut, where's the lighter, put in batteries in headlamp before it gets too dark...Boy living simply takes a lot of time up :) But this took me to my bare basics of living. I am so spoiled in my living lifestyle and this took me down a bit. 

I was well prepared with 5 gallons of water. I used about 80% of it to make tea to keep warm. Also had the right warm gear and wit. My adopted parents, Rick & Dorle, gave me firewood. That's it. I was not sure how much I would need though.

Luckily winter here is super mild this year. But across the bay in the woods, closer to those beautiful fat white mountains, it is colder. I got cold in a a few hours and was super worried about how long the wood would last. So I was conservative for hours. I did not realize it is best to heat up the cabin then use little wood to add on.

I learned a few things like make sure your pen works before packing it, and always bring cheese and crackers for snacks, bring the double the amount of heat and hand warmers (i should know this by now). It was a great test of myself, know how and gear.

Next time would love to go for a few days. I took about 200 pix and posted 8. Click here for ice on water, ice under water and other cool AK winter shots.