Running Away 2 (to, too, or just two?)

At the Sea Life Center, I wandered all over the place and completely enjoyed myself. (On my last visit, Pippi was rather young and got a bit bored in a short time. I wanted to just bask in birds and fishes and the ocean dwellers!)

I think my favorite place was next to the aquarium where the birds were on top and fishes were on the bottom. It was soothing to sit there in a dim relative calm watching fish float along, knowing that up above was daylight and busy water fowl. I did feel sorry for the super long wolf eel. (she’s in the second photo, flash is bad for the critters)  She’s gravid, but since there isn’t a male, her eggs are infertile. Being pregnant and not fitting into her den and it is for naught. I didn’t ask how she got pregnant, I was too surprised and then the center employee left. Before she spoke to me about the eel, she told me about a young horned puffin who is a year old. You can sure tell how much these animals are loved. The woman acted like a doting aunt as she shared stories about the young bird with me, videotaping the little busybody diving and swimming to the glass as if to say hello!

I spent time with sea lions and the biggest male was roaring, so apt where they got their name. The littler seal are so pretty, they do look human. It is easy to see how they can become a selkie.  The Center had only two sea otter. (It seems otter are too mischievous to keep). The pair at the center are on their way to Denmark eventually, I believe. They were hard to take photos of because they are in a pen outside and I was inside behind glass. Sea otters are more common than land or river otter, so facilities in the rest of the US don’t have sea otter, making room for land ones that might show up. (I think I’d like to stay at the Nauti Otter hotel next time I visit-unrelated to the center, and probably also quirky!!) Another creature hard to contain is the octopus. Octopi are sneaky and can crawl out of their water habitat and into others to eat the residents inside, then return back to their own home without anyone the wiser!!! Thank goodness for security cameras!  This is Ophelia. She’s made up of ocean debris. I love her, but it makes me so mad the things she’s made up of that are used almost every day.

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All in all, I had a beautiful time. I’m very glad I did this. It was worth every penny.

That night I stayed at a bigger, slightly more expensive, place. The room was on the second floor with enclosed stairs, it was quiet, it was spacious, it had great internet and outlets, and its shower head was nose crinkling. BUT, it was so nice to be in a tub with warm water that wasn’t going to flood anything. I only wish I had taken a bath!!! I was so sore and tired, it was good I waited til the next day to leave. Eating in the lounge that night was also very cool. It seems they support Turning Heads Kennels cuz pictures of the teams and logo were on one wall! (oddly, it appears their logo was’t loaded onto my laptop!!) The jukebox left a lot to be desired (a neon rectangle that looked entirely too high tech!). I also had excellent fries again (Fish and chips the night before was stellar, the chips this day were just as yummy!)

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In the morning, after waiting for any ice on the roads to melt (it was very chilly!), I was on my way. I met some friends from CA when I got back and they helped move a couple of boxes. Later, my sister interrogated me cuz I’d been too quiet on FB and seemed depressed (insert eye roll!). And she wondered why I wanted to run away!!??!!

I probably should have saved the money. (It is crazy how a couple of hundred dollars seems like a fortune!) I’m glad I didn’t, though. I’ll find the pennies to get things ready for me to leave. It will work.

Running Away Part 1

I’m a bit sad at the moment. I was wrong and I’m cold. (I didn’t realise I had an estimate of where the problem was for Digman. I told him the wrong spot. He was close, but not exactly. I’m also saving pennies by not turning up the heat, I spent too much last week!) So, since I’m sad, I am going to share a smidge of my running away in a few posts. It was an absolutely splendid incredibly expensive time!

Wednesday, I decided I needed away. I didn’t want to go where I knew anyone (I did know one person, TnT.  Great fun and  tons better than many!). So, I started out that morning. It was a meandering trip north!!! I had to make an appointment for mom’s car (The Craftsman told me I should check the oil, which told this non mechanic nothing. I sent a picture and he said he was pretty sure I’d be ok, but to make an appointment for it). That is for next week. I then went to a bakery that is closing and spent almost 100$ on presents and a couple items of baked goods. It is called The Moose is Loose and sells only baked goods and moose merchandise. It will be a much missed spot in the area. After that I stopped to get a bra fitting. I’ve never ever done this, I’ve always wanted to, and so I did! (It was also expensive!) I’ll write up a post for that stop by itself. I learned a great deal!

While I drove, I stopped where and when I wanted to. It is pretty late in the year, so there isn’t much out there. I did see a flock of swans. It was a lovely day and I was entirely enjoying myself. However, I discovered I was taking too long and got to Seward much later than I’d anticipated. So, I resigned myself to staying two nights. (I wasn’t planning on it, but I had sort of thought I might!)

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I hadn’t planned staying anywhere. I really should have. The first night I was in a quirky place with a bathroom that left a lot to be desired. Even at 5’2”, I had trouble sitting properly on the toilet! The internet was good, but when I plugged in my iPad, the outlet sparked!! The shower was lovely, however. I very much liked that!

The next day I visited two local dogsledding spots. The first was for the Seavy team. I didn’t get to see any of them, I did hear the dogs. As you can see, you need to go online to make reservations. I wasn’t sure I’d have enough money, but tentatively thought about trying to get in the next morning. I had been texting a friend and she told me about another team nearby. These guys I had wanted to meet, but never imagined I would. I drove in their lot and Sarah was outside with a bunch of puppies! She let me in the pen free of charge and was a dear. When you see Iditarod mushers and their teams online, you don’t really actually see how nice a person is. As I was leaving, her partner, Travis, showed up. TWO of them in one stop!!! I was in Iditaheaven!!!! I met several wannabe sled dogs and a couple of adults. I should have taken more photos, but I was in a bit of a …I cannot even say what I was!!! Excited is too understated. (I’m still excited just typing about it!!)

Before I left, Sarah had suggested I stop at little place in town for lunch and said to definitely have the cake. I ate in my car, but since I my next stop was near the shop, I did get cake. Strawberry cheesecake that took my two days to eat!! (8$) After that, I went to my main destination. The Sea Life Center. Which will encompass the next post!!!

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A year later-

I was pretty apprehensive about Sunday. My sister and I were taking mum’s ashes down the inlet and well, yeah! Many people sent prayers and covered me with care and love. It was absolutely beautiful and I thank those on WP who did this for me.

Sunday morning, I got a text from Jake asking me to meet her in a park. Not at her house. I was confused, but did so. It appeared Gigman wanted to sing to his MiL for one last time (I’m pretty sure mum didn’t like his voice!) before we went and scattered her ashes. I had NO idea he was going with us. (I was fortunate I’d made up 3 bags of ashes and one bag I made little peat pellets into ash holders for Pippi cuz ashes gross her out a bit. Except Jake told me the poppy seeds I used were invasive. So, those didn’t get planted til I got home).  I was actually glad Gigman went. I think it annoyed Jake, but we found a lot of the same sorts of things funny and laughed about them. Anyway, we were looking for a cemetery to put the rest of dad’s ashes with his mom and missed the first exit, thankfully it had a loop. We never did find our Grams. We aren’t even sure she’s in that cemetery, Gigman scattered dad’s ashes anyway. Then, we went down to Homer. The tide was out, that meant mom’s ashes would settle into the muck and get picked up later. Perfect.

 

They also decided they wanted to eat at mom’s favorite place, I reminded them it was fairly expensive, but they said it would be ok. (I meant to pay for my dinner, but got sidetracked by going outside) I’d asked Pippi to take photos of me scattering mum’s ashes and showed her how to use the camera. Except, I told her to press the silver button..I should have said to DEPRESS the silver button. She was excited that she’d taken several and didn’t get a single one. I laughed. (OK. Depress means press harder when it seems it should mean to unpress something. Oh dear, then we get to repress, which doesn’t mean at all what it sounds like it should.) At any rate, it was an entirely amicable event. Probably one of the best times I’ve had with that family.

Monday was slightly irritating, so I was glad Sunday went so well. Jake is a managing sort. Sunday, when we were choosing meals, she asked her daughter what she felt like eating and named off menu items. (Pippi is almost 16 years old!!!!!) When the girl’s burger arrived, Jake asked if she wanted it cut. I defended Pippi and my niece ate more for dinner than she has in ages (because Jake says Pippi doesn’t eat very much). So, Monday Jake calls me. It appears the oldest, Princess, has shingles. I commented that it unfortunately happens when a person has a low immune system. Which got her defensive because her daughter is as healthy as she can be (she wears the same size as her 15 and a half year old sister). Then, she went on to say that Princess wanted Mommy time and wasn’t feeling good and couldn’t get a hold of her all day on Sunday. So, once again mom got in the way of her family. I got mad at that. (I even said a bad word!!!) I replied that Princess is 30 years old, you guys talk every day, she knew you were doing something you will never get to do again, she has been married for at least 10 years and has a husband. And a cat and a dog. She could certainly be ok for the 6 hours you were busy with mom. (I wanted to say, ‘I know this is a horrible disease, but don’t complain about mom when I’ve been doing stuff by myself for the last month and more.’ I refrained.) I was glad I wasn’t seeing them for a while. She did invite me over for dinner Tuesday after I posted that morning how odd I felt on the ever sharing FB, but thankfully I was doing something else. (she said it was one of mom’s favorite dinners. I had no idea mom liked dinners at my sister’s.)

Tuesday. Mum’s been gone an entire year. Her hairdresser (who also spoke at mom’s service) came with me to a different portion of the inlet to scatter a few more ashes. She also prayed with me and reminded me that I was the favorite child. (apparently people tell hairdressers everything!!!) I knew mom ‘liked’ me the most, it is why I was allowed to live with her.(Jake is not an easy sister, I can imagine she wasn’t an easy daughter!) I’m still tired and ready to cry from too much.  I am going to try to distance myself from everything for a day or so. Leave the house and my sister and Oregon. I’d say I was looking forward to it, but I’m only thinking it is a good idea at this moment. I wanted to leave Wednesday. Any time much later, I won’t have the chance!

Except when I was speaking to The Craftsman about mum’s car, he reminded me it’s been a while since the oil was checked. So, I will look at that tomorrow and top it if needed and hope it doesn’t need anything else. Living with a mechanic, I don’t think of these things. Sometimes I think I’m not as responsible as I believe I am.

A Little Bit Low

Tonight I’m feeling a little bit low. I know in the end, everything will be ok. Yet, at the moment, I’m sad. And angry. This time last year, mum was dying. My aunt and cousin had finally decided to come up and see her and were on the way. I had no idea how much sorrow for myself I’d have towards mom a year later. She has taken so much from me. It was my choice to let her, so I really shouldn’t be mad at her.

Today was rainy. The house is so chilly, but I choose to keep the heat down as much as possible cuz of cost. I have so much to do and will be gone in less than 20 days. I’ve only seen my sister twice, that I can recall, since the 30th of August. Once to pick up tables we’d used in the sale (I had cleared them off and folded them up) and once to hand over her half of the money we’d made. We were going to take mum’s ashes down to Homer sometime this week. Jake already told me that the 24th wouldn’t work, her family has things going on. She mentioned Sunday might be a good day (she calls once in a while or texts or sends me a comment on FB), but I’ve not had that verified. I scratched my eyeball when my alarm went off this morning and I reached over to turn it off (that REALLY hurts!). There was a slim chance I’d see a good friend today and didn’t (although, that isn’t something to be sad about. Good things are happening in that life and the roller coaster is on a smooth spot!). I want to take photos of mom’s ashes in the lake and it cleared up this afternoon and was lovely, but I’m alone and can’t spread and shoot at the same time (OK…that just sounds wrong!!!). I haven’t spoken to The Craftsman in a couple of days. He called tonight, just a little over 10 minutes. I got a few texts from the Jukebox guy, but not one concerning when he’d come down and get the boxes. Last Sunday (was it just a week ago???) I was hoping to attend a program and didn’t get there. I was invited to go to another presentation the last weekend I’m in AK. But, I’m afraid to. Because of mom.

You see, Mum was secretary of the local Historical Society for years and years. I’ve been trying to return things I’ve found relating to the society. I keep finding checks and letters and notes and documents and notebooks and all kinds of things. The last time I tried to take some back, I was told no. I threw the stuff away. I’m not even spending money to shred it anymore. Tonight, I found MORE documents and checks and an unopened Alaskan flag. (I have one, so I don’t need another) The presentation I’m invited to is for the local Historical Society. I’m so nervous they’ll realise who I am. Mum dropped the ball and this is one I cannot pick up for her very easily. If I go, I’ll sit as far away from the speakers as possible and ask the person who invited me to not introduce me. (I laughed when she sent an email invitation. She said, it would be fun and ‘your mom did so much for the Historical Society.’) Unfortunately, I look a great deal like her. (odd note: I had people ask if Jake and I were twins at the estate sale!!!!!!) They also have a potluck lunch that I will also avoid if I go.

I’m either waiting or busy doing stuff I don’t want to do or wanting to cry. And the tears are hurting the scratched eye!

Gracious! What a terribly whiny post! (Actually, I think I need one of those for my Oregon yard. A sturdy post with holes in it to hold empty wine bottles..that I’ll get from somewhere!) I’d better share something cheerful.

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The Electric Company

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What a crazy run of days. Until Wednesday it was a series of Mondays that started on Sunday! I had the yard dug up again, but the problem still isn’t fixed. Digman thinks it is, I’m fairly sure it isn’t. He dug down, cut open the pipe, cleaned it out, sealed it back up, and filled in the holes. And also knocked the power line over the house. I thought it was an earthquake! The house shook! (he asked if I had power and when I said yes, he said it was ok. A couple of friendly souls suggested I call the power company, and I did.) So, I give you the couple of hours with two Power Rangers, or maybe Chip and Dale, or better yet, Ground Man and Sky Man. There was also another character I’ll call Odd Man, for obvious reasons!  I told this story in text to TnT, so I’ll go back and read the texts to see if I’ve forgotten anything!

When I was a kid, I watched this GREAT TV show called ‘The Electric Company‘. These guys were about as much fun. Plus, they were in my yard and cute. Win/win.

I was in the process of waiting for the electric company when someone drove in the drive. I thought it was my friend from Anchorage who said she’d visit. Nope. It was Odd Man. (I thought this guy was in his 70’s..it appears he’s not even in his mid 60s! He says he is handicapped, wears flip flops cuz his feet are swollen-they are- and knows almost everything.) I wasn’t sure what he wanted, I first met him during the estate sale. He is a neighbor, so to speak, and was asking me if I had sent him a friend request on FB. He said he didn’t accept requests unless he was sure the person was a real request. He knew my avatar and he knew my name (that isn’t a surprise, but I had NO memory of his! I’ve had some odd fb issues since trying to sell stuff on fb, so problems didn’t surprise me either!). I hadn’t and figured he’d be on his way, but he came inside and STAYED. I explained what had happened and he decided to wait with me. (I am still rolling my eyes!!) We chatted a bit and finally the electric company arrived.

These two men were wonderful and absolutely hilarious. (Perhaps working in hazardous situations means silly?) I got outside as Sky Man was getting into the basket.

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Ground Man looked up at the lines above and said, ‘That doesn’t look good.’

Sky Man responded, “I don’t think she wants to hear that!”

He went up into the air and Ground Man shouted that he did NOT want to open the breaker box if it was hot. He wasn’t sure what had happened and was nervous about checking. Sky Man shouted back down that the third foot looked like it was secure (whatever THAT means). So, Ground Man gets out this funny yellow pole from the back of their rig. (Odd Man had pulled a yard chair from his car and was sitting down while I was taking pictures.) While he was doing this, I told him a bit of what had happened. I named no names and said my excavation worker snagged the line. He stopped mid pulling of his extension rod, looked right at me, and said ‘Digman?’ It appears Ground Man is familiar with Digman. I laughed.

Anyway, Ground Man tells us that this pole is new, each emergency rig gets called out frequently and has an extension pole. But, the one that was in this particular rig had a sticky section and drove them nuts. They finally told their yard crew guy to get them a new one or they’d break this one on purpose. They got a new one for this run. The pole is rather clever. It is used to unhook the power thingy so it is safe. Much faster, easier, and safer than climbing poles. Unless you have a guy like Sky Man on the other end of the lines. Ground Man extends the pole and attempts to hook it on whatever he was trying to hook. Sky Man starts tugging on the lines he’s holding on the house. This jerks the entire power pole back and forth. Ground Man starts yelling and the rest of us are laughing. (Odd Man suggests this is better than Laurel and Hardy) Eventually, the power pole stills and the crucial piece is unhooked. Ground Man now heads for the breaker box. He’s pretty worried. The loop in the wires was large and that might mean something in the breaker box was loosened or worse. Sky Man thinks it looks ok from his end, Ground Man wants to make sure. Sky Man moves his basket to wrap the wires, you can see in the photo where one was nicked. Ground Man is relieved to discover everything is ok.

Soon they were both standing on my freshly dug up drive. Ground Man kept reminding me to call the power company and tell them this wasn’t my fault. Then, Odd Man piped up. I was a little bit irritated anyway. At first, the two linemen thought we were together cuz we both came from the house. I soon sorted THAT thought, but Ground Man kept looking at Odd Man when he spoke. (It is a good thing Ground Man was cute and entertaining!). Odd Man did ask some questions I’d not have even imagined to ask. Yet, if it had been any other male in my circle of friends, it wouldn’t have bothered me so much. One of the questions he asked was if the seals on the pipe holding the power lines had been compromised. Ground Man laughed and said Digman should check that out and since his tractor was still here, I could keep it as collateral. Sky Man took pity on me and shared that the seals and shingles looked secure. (since it is raining, this is a good thing) Once more Ground Man told me to call and Sky Man reiterated it. Sky Man also smoothed out the divots in the soft sand of my excavated drive and told me to call if it got messy again. I just laughed, hugged them, kissed them on their cheeks, and waved them away. Odd Man finally left so I could call since it was getting close to 5 pm. (I was so glad.) Before he left he wrote down his name and number, in case I needed someplace to stay!!! (I said thank you, but knew that wasn’t ever going to happen in a million years!)

When I called, it turned out the operator was waiting for me to do so. It appears Ground Man had called him to give him a heads up I was going to call! He was glad I was prompt. I still have a tractor in the yard, I think Digman might be mad at me for calling the power company who charged him for their visit when my power was working just fine (He left before the linemen arrived!), and my drive appears to be stable at the moment! I’m not putting the rocks and plants back, I think it is going to need completely dug up again next summer.

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Achilles and Angels

I recently thought about how each of us probably has an Achilles heel. A place we are vulnerable and a spot that gets us every time. Granted, we don’t get killed from this place of weakness (I hope!), but it exists and generally isn’t good. Then, today, while waiting for a friend, I started a short story in an erotic anthology. (this is a fairly good anthology series. I enjoy a short that is fairly well written and makes one think. There are some typos, a few bobbles here and there, and the editing isn’t as good as I’d like. I think those come within the territory of ebooks in this age) This story, it made me think. And so, you are getting a post about Achilles and Angels.

The story is titled ‘Bringing Angels to Life’ by Chloe Thurlow. A little bit like ‘My Fair Lady’, but not exactly. (oddly, until typing those words, I had not even noticed how similar it was in genre to that classic musical or even the story of ‘Pygmalion!) The story is about a man who sees a woman and awakens her, the author litters the short with pithy sentences that I ended up highlighting (I wonder if that is why my iPad went from full to 14% in just a few hours???).  Thinking about my own Achilles heel of being responsible, of doing for those around me and not as often myself, these phrases showed me places I need awakened. This will be a long post. Bear with me!!!!

This first quoted started my words winnowing, ‘What is life for, but to be lived?’  Mum made me aware of this and in the last months, I’ve forgotten it a bit. She always planned or said she would do something and it never was done. I have wanted to do things this year, they generally are pushed off because of responsible.

Was I living life? Or was I like the hands on the clock, just going through the motions?’ ME in Oregon or taking care of mom. I didn’t want to come back to the house today, because I am doing the same things over and over. (granted, as I work by myself or with others, I am making a bit of progress) ‘I wasn’t sure if chances came or chances were something you made happen yourself.’ Exactly true. In my Achilles heel, do I wait for chances or do I reach out and grasp them? ‘You only fail when you stop trying, stop believing. I was waiting for something to happen without realizing I was waiting. It was like I was dreaming of winning the lottery, but neither had the ticket or the intention of buying one.’ OUCH!!! I look at where I am with The Craftsman, dream of where my life could be, and do not do a thing besides what I’m expected to do. (I have had affairs. They have taught me more about myself than 30 years of marriage. Odd!)  One of my friends is changing his life, I’m so proud of him. I need to not just follow his example, but strike out onto my own path of change.

I laughed at this next quote I found. It was so me. Except I don’t look for new shoes, I look for books. The main character is wondering what she wants to do and glances down. ‘Some new shoes, I thought, that’s what I need.’ I highlighted it because it is so easy to find important things one needs that are useful for our daily life, but not what our soul needs.

The tired working woman character meets the Angel Maker after work and he says, ‘Come.’ She ‘realised I had been waiting as if on a cliff edge and just needed a push.’ When we are bent on one pattern, it takes something major to move you out of that rut. I have many places that trip me up. I don’t have a very good self-image. Mom didn’t encourage me much, my spouse doesn’t, and I absolutely crave being told I look nice or am pretty (I know, women are supposed to be beyond that. We are supposed to be lauded for our brains or achievements. I figure I can start with pretty and go from there!). The Angel maker tells the female character, ‘you are more interesting than you think you are.’ When I’m told this, I am flabbergasted. I often excuse the person saying it because they don’t know me in ‘real every day life.’ He then tells the woman, ‘You are here because you want to be.’ She’s not so sure. ‘You are crossing a bridge that is burning behind you as you go, he said. You don’t want to go back into the flames, the what’s the word, the ashes. And you are afraid to go forward. Is true?’ I nodded, ‘Yes.’ ‘I learn in this life, we do not regret the things we do, only what we wanted to do and never did.’   Powerful thought provoking words, those.

The secret of life is to discover what you are good at, then do it, whatever it is.’ I’m not sure what I’m good at. I do like to make others happy. I should not do it at the expense of myself. I need to be the chocolate chip cookie maker and not the doormat. (I was sad last fall when I went back to Oregon and learned the guys sort of weaned themselves off of sweet baked goods. Now what do I do?) ‘I had been waiting for something to happen. I had grown used to waiting, and you grow tired of waiting.’ Actually, that isn’t exactly true for me. Sometimes I get tired of waiting (most of my blog posts the last couple of years! Or getting the pipes dug up—there is a tractor in the drive as I type!), generally I carry books to help me during waits. Escape into another world is a good way to make time vanish.

In her transformation, he begins by sexually loving her. I liked how these scenes were written. It wasn’t graphic, it was beautiful. He accepted her for what she was, saw her desirability in her work environment and her clothes, removed her from the former and removed the latter—not because they were offensive, but as a part of who she was– dressed her in those same things the next day, then took her to buy new clothing and be guided into the woman she should have been.  He accepted her and guided her. (I’d probably do anything for a person who accepted me for myself.) ‘He made me feel wanted, beautiful, special.’ ‘I looked sexy but, more than sexy, I looked in the warm yellow light almost beautiful, and more than that, I looked happy, and thought those things go together like a matching handbag, shoes, and gloves.’ He pretends to be startled by the transformation and she laughs. He notes, ‘There is nothing sexier than a beautiful girl laughing.’ (NOTE: I had no idea sexual intimacy could be fun until I experienced it! I am a great flirt and giggle often while doing that, but laughing and giggling during sex? Blasphemy!) This last quote, I have experienced. KK told this to me years ago and it is a card I pull out every now and then. ‘If you think you’re beautiful, and special, if you lift your chin and hold your back straight, you are a desirable woman.’ ‘Remember at all times, and never forget it: you are a lady, not a tart.’ Then, the Angel Maker reminds her to ‘Never complain, never explain, and never apologise. Some famous lady said that, it’s good advice.’

As in ‘Hello, Dolly!’ ‘When you wear beautiful things, you do feel beautiful.’ I wore black sparkly tights today and my split jean skirt with a favorite flannel top that has a black velvety collar.  Warm and I felt it was pretty. (It was pouring rain today. When I texted The Craftsman that it was raining cats and dogs and I thought a St. Bernard landed in the lake, he responded with ‘A St Bernard?’ I should have just stuck to basic raining! Lol) Since I was meeting one friend for lunch and hoping to see another and shopping, I wanted to feel good and I did. This story I started, it helped me realise I need to wake up and shake off the clinging arrow in my foot.

I don’t need to keep waiting for something, I need to do. Whether I go back to school or move to Alaska or what, staying inside the house cooking and cleaning isn’t all I was created for. Taking care of mom won’t last forever. (I hope!)  I’m good at being responsible, somewhere there must be a different shoe for this Achilles heel of mine.

Harvest Moon?

This Friday was a bit frustrating. I was supposed to have the drive dug up and Digman didn’t arrive. He did call at 11 am to say he was waiting for his tractor to be moved. I’m not entirely sure, I take people for as I see them. (He’s nice in many ways, but sometimes I’m just not sure! Oh, I said that….) Because I was a tad disgruntled, I ate some not food that was delicious. Alas, it mucked up my glucose and I ended up taking a nap. When I woke, I knew I’d wasted most of the day just waiting and decided to get a few things done.

The night before I had finally emptied mom’s closet completely into two large garbage bags I’ll donate next week. (I was a bit sad, I think I must have gotten rid of most of the nice scarves and ties which were used during one lovely intimate memory this summer. Although, I might also have moved them. Which means I’ll never manage to find them! Lol) Anyway, since the closet was empty, I moved mom’s fur and fancy under sized winter coats upstairs. Most of them. The sad part? Now the closet is full again and a couple of the coats are downstairs hanging up in a small area of the store room. She had just too many and a bunch are from her aunts who are all dead. (I really need to get rid of those things and will most likely need to try Craig’s List or something like that.)

It had stopped raining and there was a chance the moon might be seen. (I did get glimpses early in the morning on the 13th, but I ignored it because I was hoping a dig would happen on Friday and I wanted some rest!) I did a few more things and kept checking the sky. It was eventually dark, but so very cloudy. Annoyed, I went downstairs and did more sorting and clearing so we can get to the AMI jukebox at the end of the week. (hopefully, that person will be here to get those!) The sky never did clear up, you could see it was light, but you could not see the moon. I went outside to verify and discovered something amazing. It was WARM! (Ok, probably not warm, but it wasn’t cold.) I knew the neighbors were gone and realized this was one of the only times I could go out in the kayak naked again. It was an incredibly freeing experience the last time and I wanted to do it again.

I decided this time I’d really be bare. I did take a zip up hoodie, mostly cuz of the pockets for my flashlight. (do you know when you are naked, you don’t have pockets! Kangaroos have it very good!) I also had on my boots and socks (muck is NOT fun on bare feet!) and my gloves I always wear when gripping the yak paddle. (I did take off the hoodie once on the waterI) didn’t paddle very long, a brisk wind slipped past and it grew chilly. But, oh. How much fun!!!

The ground was wet and slick as I hiked down to the lake. I was hoping I’d not see any moose, I’m sure I’d have fallen and lost the paddle and the flash and injured myself in more than one locale since 98% of me was uncovered! I reached the kayak without incident and got it in the water (another not so easy thing to do in the dark. Flip and launch a boat). I had thoughtfully brought a towel out for me to sit on and positioned it carefully on the cold plastic seat. I got in, pushed off, and magic happened.

It was as quiet as a church full of old people on a summer night (no snoring, though!). My bare skin was tingly with the rising mist and the cool air. Owls hooted back and forth, a few of the later loon called, and, when I lifted the paddle to just listen, the water played a nocturnal sonata. I couldn’t exactly see where I was going. I knew the lighter parts of the area were open lake surrounded by the dark jagged silhouettes of trees. I tried to keep my craft in the treetops, I didn’t have on my life jacket and I knew that water was cold. (If I tipped in, I’d prefer to be knee deep rather than neck or further!) I discovered another beautiful sound as I hovered near the shore. Along the edge of the lake many kinds of grasses thrive. Most of the ones further out are hollow. The tunes they played as I skimmed through were haunting!  I heard a few frogs, leaves or something falling from the trees (it was a liquid sliding sound), and once I thought I heard something moving. When I picked up the flash to shine it in the woods, I don’t think it was anything. Or if it was, it was gone.

This is about when the wind swirled around me and I decided to head back to the house. I had also heard a vehicle and was seriously hoping the people next door weren’t coming home late! (They have had lights on inside and outside for more than 24 hours.) I got back to where I ‘park’ and realized the little light that used to be my spotlight is out. (or it fell over) I’ll check it in daylight when I go and fix the kayak. Launching it was not easy, getting it back on land and turning it over was more difficult! I had to use the flash a LOT and that caught the attention of the dogs next door. (who have not stopped barking for the last 45 min or more!) Hiking back to the house wasn’t fun on the slippery hill and my hair kept getting in my mouth!!! I was huffing it out from my face, sounding a lot like a moose in browse! Thankfully, a real one still didn’t show.

I was glad to have this beautiful chance to do something almost in touch with nature (almost cuz I did have on some cloth and did not touch water or earth with flesh). It was truly one of those golden bead moments, even if I didn’t see a bright harvest moon.

UPDATE: I woke before 7 and saw not a cloud in the sky and the sun starting to rise, it is halfway down the trees across the way as I type! (photos from earlier this week)

Ongoing Care

As I was cleaning today, I ran across an envelope that I was about to toss. I opened it up (it was addressed to me) and the first page was The Caregiver Bill of Rights. Rights that I was supposed to hold to as best I could while caring for mom. While reading it over, I realized my caregiving isn’t over. I alluded to this in The Long Goodbye, but damn it! I am still taking care of mom at the cost of my own life. I leave Alaska in a bit over a month and, in a small way, I’m glad. I have a ton of crap to go thru once I get to the states, but at least it is crap I’ve already sorted once. Stuff I can decide to sell or keep or recycle into something else (like the sweatshirts made for mom and dad with handprints from the grandkids. Jake doesn’t want them and suggested garbage.). As much as I love and need to be here, I’m so sick of waiting for things to happen or opening up a closet and discovering I hadn’t emptied it yet. I am going to do that next week. Just empty closets and take stuff somewhere. I’ve been doing it slowly cuz there is such a clothing glut in the few stores we have. I have cookbooks I’m taking in and the most frustrating part is storing it to haul off! (I do not like clutter and piles for this and piles for that makes me want to just walk away! Note: That is an ELO song from ‘Xanadu’. Fun musical! Gene Kelly, ONJ, and some random dude that apparently roller skated in from somewhere.) I need to make some more cash before I leave in October. I am sure it will show up from somewhere. It is obviously NOT going to be made this fall from selling these things.

The lake is gorgeous this month. In between raindrops, it is frequently calm and often glassy. I haven’t seen the bulls lately. But, it is still moose season for a few more days. I wish the guys would just bed down in my yard and hide out! Others are scared of the critters, but if you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. (Generally!) I had to laugh last week. The neighbor’s dogs ran to the lake edge barking like crazy. I figured there was a moose around and walked down with my camera. A cow was on my side, not very close, but I got her photo. The dogs continued barking and two of them were wagging their tails. I think they wanted to play! There are still loon, I hear them often and I just looked up to see a flotilla of mallards paddling past. Last night, I was out on the water and spied three golden eye. (Oh, I just noticed there is a single out there on the water! Poor baby. He doesn’t fit with the others, but there is probably safety in numbers. Picture is of golden eye diving-) 

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Bloop!

Speaking of mom and this incredible place, when her ashes were put in the lake after the sale, no one took photos and the single picture I thought I took, didn’t take. It is sunny at the moment, Jake isn’t due to be here til after one … I saw her briefly at a party we were both at, but otherwise I have not seen her since the sale. She called to say she needed her folding tables. Tables that when she left were covered in things that needed put away. Which I did. There is still a lot to tidy, but I’ll do it when the drive is getting dug up. (yes, it might really happen the end of this week!!!) BUT, the lake has been beautiful, so I am going to wait for someone to visit, do ashes again, and have the person take photos of the experience. (Hoping the whomever will visit when it is daylight, not raining, and the lake is calm!) I won’t do it when Jake is here, she’s too busy. (she has arrived and gone again. She’ll see me probably around the 24th when we take the rest of mum’s ashes down the inlet) I’d do the photos myself, but the swirl of ashes will look better from up high. Or at least, I was told it looked interesting when it was done the first time.

I keep wandering off into bunny trails in this post! And I completely forgot to mention my busy Sunday or that I made the scrumptious halibut! (I am sure you are all waiting on tenterhooks to find out what I did.—Tenterhooks sound extremely uncomfortable!) Sunday I did sell some rolling carts that were stashed in the rig. (They take up a lot of room, I needed to move the carts and so, and I put them in the vehicle!) After church, I dashed off to the store, met a gal and then TnT in the parking lot and chatted, high tailed it to my next engagement, realizing I was not going to have time to put gas in the Pacifica, and got to the church anniversary in time to miss most of the service. (yup, after church, another church had an anniversary party at 2pm.) I sat with some stellar older folks and the majority of us left around the same time to attend a retirement party at 5pm. Where I sat with some of the same people (Jake was at this one, she sat elsewhere)! I love the people in this area! I learned ‘Poor man’s lobster’ is a delicious old fashioned way to cook halibut (since I didn’t have any clean forks, I used chopsticks to dip it in a butter that definitely needed flavoring), the icing on the cake I sampled (I like tasting how different people bake!) was ridiculous, and the donuts had WAY too sweet toppings on heavy rings. The desserts were very pretty, though!

These last two pictures are ones The Craftsman took. He went to a car show this weekend with over 600 cars and found a 56 T Bird to match the 56 Mercury. How cool is that? A turquoise T Bird!!!!

I have been thankful to thread many golden pearls on my string of memories the last couple of days. I’m going to need them to roll in my fingers when things are less bright.

Annoyed By Debris

You would think after getting stuff ready for a sale, most of the debris would be tossed or sorted and only the cream would be left. Not. Jake said she was going to go through and ready the shed for use for the sale. She had the shed and her bedroom to do (granted, the shed was a HUGE task!). The room was pretty much full of lightly organized boxes, except where I had officially organized things. The shed looked ok, but when I went in it to clean it up, I was startled. (I have to constantly remind myself. My sister gave me as much time as she could, it must be enough. She came over the other day while I was gone to take down the old tent she used for books. I am glad I had her move the books to her bedroom, the tent was wet inside. I’ve not seen her since last Saturday.) Anyway, I was consolidating boxes and sorted an entire large garbage bag full of junk. I also found stuff I’d made mom that I wanted to keep. (One was a tiny wooden nativity set I seem to have made for EVERYONE except myself or my boys!) I hope most of the jingle bells are gone, I did find a few more. A rather disturbing Santa candle was gently placed in the garbage (gently, so it might not haunt me!! I have read way too many stories in the Deathlehem anthologies to treat even a candle badly!). Some horrible, mostly stuffed, snowmen were sent to the garbage bag. One adorable small one I kept because it matches a larger one I decorate with every year. I put all the winter/Christmas dolls in one tote. Gathered up more light houses of different kinds (she has a large one, NiB, identical to one in her bay window!) to bring inside and hope I can do the other holiday stuff this next week.

I’m also throwing away kitchen things. Ages ago, I shared a post about spiders in a toaster. Mom’s toaster stopped working, so Jake gave us theirs. It was filthy, but usable after being cleaned. Mom had a blender in the cupboard. Way back in the cupboard, covered, and it looked ok. I took it apart to move it, since it had not sold, and was appalled! It was very dirty and gross. I’m not even going to try to clean it. (Why on EARTH can’t people clean things before putting them away? Although, there is a cute coffee pot I am sure I cleaned after its last use that doesn’t look like it has been cleaned….)

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I was thankful mum’s car didn’t look like this one I parked near when I had to stop at the Sr Center. This one made me cry. There was barely room for a driver. From the scissors among the papers on the dash to the empty drink containers stashed everywhere, it shouted negligence. The Craftsman said he has had to work on cars like it. It makes me wonder. Do those people have no children to keep an eye on parents? Do the adults need housing? Mum’s rig is bad now, mostly cuz it is full of things I hope to sell on Sunday after church. (that sounds blasphemous!)

I have trash outside in bags getting rained on (hooray for rain!!). I made the decadent canned cinnamon roll pull apart cake today and have eaten about half of it (BAD) because it was cold in the house and there is just something comforting about warm cinnamon bread. I am going to make halibut for dinner tonight. A friend texted me a recipe that sounds easy and scrumptious. She called it poor man’s lobster. You boil halibut cubes in water with a smidge of sugar and then serve it by dipping it in melted butter. I’ve never cared much for lobster, but I absolutely love halibut! I’ll see if it needs garlic and lemon. Now, my phone has lost signal. I can’t text my neighbor across the lake! (definitely a modern problem! lol) I reckon that means I should probably go and move some more stuff. I need to do a paper chase and see exactly how much cash I have. (I also just discovered today, I don’t have a receipt for the digging work done last fall.) BUT, first I really want my dining and living room somewhat tidy looking. Then, I can move the stuff that got stashed in mum’s room (where I’ve been sleeping) because it was the catch all for important stuff. (did I mention I’ve been hiding the estate cash not deposited in a drawer, under my ‘toys’?) I’m sure my bear (I end up sleeping on him!) is helping keep an eye on things. Even if I did dream last night about burglars. I think I woke up after I hid in a pile of stuffed animals—very ET! (although, I AM home!! If you look close in the lake picture, you can see a small garden light reflecting in the water, not a heart light. A garden one. I was in the kayak around 9, just as it was deciding to get dark.)

The Long Goodbye–a long post

The Long Goodbye is a ‘neo-noir‘ movie and is EXACTLY  what I’ve been doing since May 2014. I didn’t know it then, but those weeks were the opening scenes. Mom was the main character, I was a strong supporting actress and changed the most. My neighbor said this is what I’ve been doing, saying goodbye for a while. She is right.

I came to Alaska that spring because of a comment a friend made. I’d mentioned I rarely came home since dad died and he asked me why. I could not answer! Completely dumbfounded, I made my first foray north since February 2006. I didn’t stay very long that summer. Mum seemed to have most of her oars in the water, usually! We did a few excursions and I wish I’d pushed her to do more. I do remember the septic was being horrible and was dug up and replaced by something like a crib. The next year I arrived after Memorial Day and stayed til October. That was the year of the sewer flood. When the kid reversed the flow, pumping 22 hundred gallons of raw sewage INTO mum’s basement instead of sucking it out of the holding area. That was truly a memorable summer. (Shudder!) My whole family came north to help sort and work for a week. They took back so much stuff, including several jukeboxes and the Mercury (which is going to a car show this first full weekend in September.). I ended up leaving in October. It took that long to get mom’s stuff from the containers in the yard back into the house. I think that was the summer she finally changed her will to have me be the executor (I had no idea what that would mean, but I am so glad it was my job and not Gigman’s-my BiL!).

I didn’t go north in 2016 til mid-July. I waited til The Craftsman’s birthday was over and then flew home. Mum had started chemo that May and wasn’t doing quite as well as she thought she might. (in all her years of colon cancer and breast cancer, she’d never gone through chemotherapy. She had radiation for those, but not chemotherapy). We also had a brand spanking new septic system. That summer was ridiculous hard. I finally was able to get her to sign papers for me to become her Power of Attorney, they were dated wrong, but gods…the darn things had been sitting waiting for her signature for MONTHS! I knew mom was sick, she kept having delusions of what she wanted instead of what she could have. (She did that til the day she died.) Doctors seemed to ignore her and my frustrations. Everyone insisted mom was ‘fine’. (I HATE that word)

I left for Oregon in mid-October again. I flew back home November 3, 2016. I stayed with mom in the hospital for weeks. This was when we realized the POA papers were wrong. This is when I got a tiny inkling that my goodbye was going to be full of responsibility. I have to admit, I am thankful mom hung on as long as she did. I grew up a great deal, but I also got tons done that may not have been as easy if she’d not been alive.

This is also when my blogging worlds came to my rescue. My followers (I had no idea I’d get any, I was so stressed and upset and tied up in things I didn’t understand. I just wrote!) became friends, some of you very good friends. My live friendships touched on me now and then, you sustained me. For more than two years you have encouraged and lifted me up in every facet of my new normal. A normal I’d no idea was even possible. Each day I was certain mom was going to go, each day brought experiences that showed me how ridiculous mom’s life had been before I stepped in, and each day mom resented her loss of complete independence.

On September 3 of 2018, (photo in jacket is August of ’18) I brought mom home from the hospital. Again. I know she went back on the 8th, but for some strange reason I have little in the way of photographs or even notes during the month of September 2018 about mom. I’ve looked in all my blogs, my photographs, my journal entries….I didn’t look at any of the emails and texts I sent and haven’t deleted yet!! It appears she was only home for 5 days. That was the week she burned up her microwave and I had to buy a new one she absolutely hated, partly cuz she had not chosen it! (I admit, I’m not fond of it either. It cooks too hot!!!)

After her death, I had to plan her memorial service, Jake was too busy to help much. That was when the septic went out again and it needed dug up. That was when I discovered what a freaking money pit this house was. I’m so thankful I had gotten it paid off and that she died after the taxes were due on it! I’m also glad she put it in my name, I’d hate to try to juggle repairs and bills with someone else. I started going through her things then..

Which leads me to this year. I put some of mom’s ashes in the lake on Saturday. The last of the ashes I have here will go on the Homer Spit in a few weeks. My sister wants to shoot her from a potato cannon. I just want to spread her. It will be a very fast trip up and back. Jake can’t take much time off for that since she took her entire week off to help me with getting mum’s sale ready and doing the sale (not exactly true. She was here on Tuesday afternoon for 2 hours, Wednesday about 3 hours, Thursday about 3 hours, Friday she was here from 830-3, and on Saturday about 2 hours. I guess it was a lot. She had to take care of her family, animals, and had a spouse date on Thursday night at a super fancy place, as well!)

Anyway, it has been a long goodbye. I’m the not so bouncy core in ball of tired wrapped up in thankful with a dinged up coating of WTF? (that coating is purple by the way) This was a long post—but it does sum up 5 plus years of a past leading into an uncertain present. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. I’ve no idea how to pay for this house over the winter, but not rushing to get it ready to leave by mid-October was a restful decision. I’m so damn tired of making decisions, not being able to eat our cuz I’m tired of rice cakes and eggs, not being able to do errands cuz it is too expensive to go anywhere, and being surrounded by clutter that does NOT seem to vanish!!!

 

I am making progress of a sort. Donating is looking better and better, although I sincerely need the money. I think I have enough to do exactly what needs done, for now, so why want more? As Mary Poppins said, ‘Enough is as good as a feast.’ Even if I’d love more jam with my bread/rice cakes and tea. (Laughing, same actress, different nanny!) I’m more than thankful for the hope and encouragement of all of you and knowledge that somewhere there will be an end to this particular journey. Someday….

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Photo from a few weeks back. taken  by a friend who boat fishes for a living-