31 July 2010

Friday Photo Shoot-Out: Things Barry Made Me Think Of

This is a very special Friday Photo Shoot-Out. Its topic, "Things Barry Made Me Think Of", was suggested by NanU as a tribute to one of the original Friday Photo Shoot-Outers and blog friend to all, Barry. His recent passing has been a huge loss for all of us, but I think this is a fantastic way to honor him. He'd be bashful about it, but very, very honored.

A word of explanation on my interpretation: adventure. Literally, that's the word. I thought about this theme for awhile, careful to respect the difference between "Things That Make Me Think of Barry" (anything to do with Canada, dogs of all shapes and sizes, the cancer treatment center in town, wonderful elderly gentlemen, laughter, Scotland...) and our theme. Barry made me think of a lot during his years of blogging, but what he made me think of most was adventure. Everything was an adventure to him, especially if it involved getting out of doors with his dog, Lindsay. And so, in honor of Barry, I took an adventure this week that I'd been meaning to for a long time: I put on my galoshes, grabbed my camera and sloshed around the tidal flats from which the Gastineau Channel recedes during high tides. If only I'd had an English Springer Spaniel to accompany me!

Here are my photos of my adventure for Barry:

29 July 2010

Ten Things...Thursday (again)

I didn't forget this time, I was just too lazy to do it. Many thanks to Christina, whose kind reminder inspired me today :)

Ten Things That Made Me Smile This Past Week:
1. Meeting Father Scott at church on Saturday--he and Kip had been pretty close right when he and I started dating, but I never got to meet Father Scott because he was sent to Sitka before I came to Juneau. It was exciting to finally put a face to the name.
2. Pretty much the most generous week of my life: Kip's parents brought up the new Jeep (you know, the one with such superfluous items as room for a car seat and, um, airbags) for us and it was loaded with baby swag from them, my mom and sister. To say it was touching would be a vast understatement.
3. Finally getting a haircut again. Let's put it this way--I hadn't had one since I've been pregnant.
4. Realizing that I'll be eight months pregnant on Saturday. It resulted in the face from Munch's "The Scream" as well as a smile.
5. Natalie came back to Juneau! And she's leaving again next week...but she promised she'd stay for awhile after that.
6. The glider that was part of aforementioned baby swag. It's glorious and I have the feeling Bean and I will spend many, many hours in it.
7. The copy of McCullough's "John Adams" that I got at the library in an attempt to combat third trimester insomnia. It's wonderful to read and is doing an equally wonderful job getting me to sleep at night.
8. Cherries in our produce box this week.
9. Three days of sunshine!!!!!!!!!!!
10. The Shirley Temple that I had at dinner a few nights ago. It was nice to drink something pretty again, and I happily didn't feel like a twelve year old like I'd expected.

26 July 2010


Finally! Photos of my trip to Norway with my Aunt Verna!

Click to enlarge (I suggest clicking twice and then scrolling down)

24 July 2010

Things That Have Made Me Happy the Past Few Days

Just because it's not Tuesday, it doesn't mean I can't make a cheery list of things that have made me happy as of late. I had to send these out into the universe:
  • This post on Tessa's blog--a bloggy friend sent her an Aerial Armadillo of her own! It makes me so happy because:
1) That is a fantastic little guy!
2) Tessa's description of her English husband's reaction to their new pet was priceless
3) I've been thinking of and praying for Tessa ever since she wrote a post a few weeks ago about her recent downturn in health (and, in my opinion, how beautifully and gracefully she's dealing with it)
  • The habit Tillamook's gotten into of curling into a ball next to me during the wee hours of the morning. There are few things sweeter than waking up in the morning to a loving husband on one side, a purring kitten on the other, and seeing your baby's crib all set up at the end of the bed. Potential downside: I have to pee as soon as I get up (thank you, seven-month-pregnant bladder), and being sandwiched between two really cute sleeping mammals is a difficult situation to wiggle out of unnoticed.
  • All the crafting that I've been getting done. This week features flannel and terry cloth burp cloths that I'm quite proud of, more scarves, and aprons for the mercantile.
  • Our childbirthing class tomorrow! We're getting so close! YAY!

That is all :)

23 July 2010

Friday Photo Shoot-Out: Shoes & Feet

Shoes, omigah shoes. I am SO glad that JarieLyn suggested "Shoes and Feet" for this week's topic because, let's face it....I love shoes. I love wearing them. I love looking at them. I love photographing them. So kick up your feet and enjoy these shots of shoes and one very special pair of feet. :)

If you want to know more about the wonderful My Town Friday Photo Shoot-Out, click the link in my sidebar!

We have many different types of shoes in Alaska:

Shoes that are boots...

Shoes that are cute...

Shoes that stand on snow!

And in Southeast Alaska, home is where your galoshes sit waiting for you by the door!

Bean even has a pair waiting for him or her

Closed-toed shoes are the norm year-round, whether you're at a lake...

...or hanging out with friends on the porch at home.

Occasionally, it gets warm enough to wear open-toed shoes and stumble around the tidal flats.
And I get really excited that, with proper positioning, I can see my feet past my belly once again!

The most wonderful pair of feet in Juneau: the two little blobs on the right side of the black mass--those are my baby's feet!!! They are VERY good at kicking.

See you next week for a special theme in tribute to Barry, one of the original Friday Photo Shoot-Outers: "Things Barry Made Me Think Of".

22 July 2010

An Explorer's View of Death

He was the first blogger I ever followed. I'd been looking for a blog to read, to enjoy, to get inspiration for life and writing from, and when I saw "An Explorer's View of Life" as Blogger's featured blog almost two years ago, I knew I'd found someone who was worth reading. Barry was funny and eloquent and humble and, as his title suggested, a wonderful explorer who saw life through a different point of view. His Friday Photo Shoot Outs were insightful and witty; his posts about his dog, Lindsay, carried almost as much life as the adventurous dog herself; and when he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in March of last year, he approached it with vigor, not fear.

He took his diagnosis as an invitation to a duel, not a death sentence. He fought the cancer with all the surgeries and radiation and chemo that the doctors had prescribed, but also with vitamins and meditation and tai chi and good humor. The duel between Barry and Cancer was an epic one, in which Cancer fought dirty and Barry retorted with a gentlemanly charm and honor that left Cancer looking like a petty fool, pathetic and lowly. "An Explorer's View of Life" began to take on Barry's new view of death as well--and it wasn't a fearful one. It was, in typical Barry style, nothing more or less than a new adventure.

So when I read the news of Barry's death this morning, I wasn't struck with an immediate sense of despair or hopelessness. Sadness, yes. Loss, certainly. But not bitterness at Cancer's supposed victory. I think his wife, Linda, put it best in her post announcing the news:

"Barry did not loose his battle with cancer today. The cancer is dead and gone forever now. Barry however, will always live on in our hearts.
I consider Barry a hero, not a person who has lost anything. "

Barry Edward Fraser
April 3, 1943 to July 20, 2010

20 July 2010

Ten Things Tuesday

Ten Things That Made Me Smile This Past Week:
1. Father Thomas is back! Most people feel pretty apathetic about their local priest, but he's seriously one of my best buddies, and an entire month without his antics was a month without sunshine.....literally as well as figuratively.
2. That being said, the sun shone yesterday. Coincidence? I think not. I even got to wear flip flops.
3. The Frozen Yogurt place that opened up a mere half mile walk from our apartment. It makes me smile because:
a) FroYo is delicious and somewhat more nutritious than ice cream, and therefore way more justifiable
b) It operates on a pay-by-the-ounce system, which means that you actually get what you pay for, be it a tiny dollop with one sprinkle or an entire mountain of frozen yogurty goodness
c) It is living proof that a local business with the right attitude can thrive in Juneau
4. Thinking about what my day would be like if Bean were around (well, outside of my anatomy, I mean). It was fun imagining what a walk to and from the store would be like. I imagined lots of toothless smiles and confused looks when the wind blew.
5. The "waddle" that Kip and I went on when he got home from work on Sunday. Apparently we don't go on walks anymore because walking has gone the way of the dodo in my life, along with seeing my feet and sleeping in a comfortable position.
6. The nursing cover that I sewed in about an hour. It's adorable and has a strip of terry cloth on the bottom for easy clean ups. I'm psyched!
7. The chocolate cake that I baked at midnight in a craving/heartburn attack/insomnia-driven stupor
8. The amount of motivation I felt yesterday.
9. The Jeep stroller that Tina and Casey sent us! It's big pimpin' and if Bean doesn't absolutely love it, I'm going to start wondering who switched it at birth. There's a baby-sized steering wheel in the front. How can you not love that?
10. Three words: newborn-sized diapers. I've been cooing over them for a full week now and they're not getting any less adorable.

18 July 2010

Don't Freak Out, It's Fake Blood....

A few weeks ago, Kip and I were victims!

Not of anything sinister, though, we took part in an emergency situation drill at Bartlett Regional Hospital. Basically, we got to get all fake-bloodied up and walk into the ER along with 35 other "tour bus crash victims" and see how they handled it. Plus we got a free barbeque afterwards.

I was crash victim #25, who sustained a 3-inch head laceration and bruising. It took forever to get the red corn syrup out of my hair, but I still hold that I got the best treatment out of all the volunteers because of the whole being extremely pregnant thing. They wheeled me up to the OB-GYN ward and gave me juice while everyone else sat in the hallways of the ER watching the madness. Kip, who "sustained" only chest pain, kind of got the short end of the stick, but I did offer to share my juice, so he can't complain too terribly much.

16 July 2010

Friday Photo Shoot-Out: Transitions

Okay, I'm really back this time. With so much travel, Heather's visit, and epic third trimester exhaustion setting in, I haven't been doing much other than laying on the couch when I have a free minute but I was determined to participate in the MTFPSO once again, so I pulled a few photos from Heather's visit and from a recent trip to Ketchikan for today! Yay!

This week's theme, suggested by Redlan over at Redlan's Web of Arts, is "Transitions". For more info on the Friday Photo Shoot-Out and the gang, click on the "I'm With the Gang" photo in my sidebar.

Transitions in Alaska have mainly to do with water...

...it transitions from high altitudes to lower ones...
(check out the teeny tiny people standing at the base of this waterfall, btw)

...and it transitions from ice to water to nourishing plant life.

There have been a lot of transitions for the native peoples of Alaska:

And here, an eagle transitions from air to land:

13 July 2010

Ten Things Tuesday, In Prose and Photo

I feel too much like actually writing a post instead of just writing a list, so my Ten Things That Made Me Smile This Past Week will occur in prose and photo. Because I feel like it. And if you can't do what you want on your own blog, then where can you?

(1) Heather and I had a good laugh over putting Tillamook in a harness this week. It was suggested by our vet because he gets sort of obnoxious when the weather's nice and he wishes he could be an outdoor cat, but since we live on a busy road and eagles would consider him a tasty appetizer, being an outdoor cat is out of the question. The vet suggested putting him on a harness and leash when he wants to go outside so we have a happy cat who isn't flat as a pancake.

Yes, I now walk my cat.
Sort of--it's more like I stand on the stairs holding the leash while he sniffs the flowers on the stairs and occasionally eyes the woodpile in the neighbor's yard.

When I first put the harness around him, Heather and I sat laughing for about ten minutes while he tried to figure out how to get out of it, forgot about its existence, moved in such a way that he saw that it was on him, remembered that he should be upset about this, and then tried to wiggle out of it again. He's gotten used to it now, as evidenced by the above photo in which he was taking a nap in his new favorite accessory. I think we should put a bow tie on it, to snazz it up a bit.

Also making me smile is the legion of crafting projects I've taken on in a nesting fury, including:

(2) The felt jellyfish I'm making to hang along with an orca and a salmon above Bean's crib (here, it's in the middle of being embroidered before I add some tentacles);

(3) The absolute cutest hat EVER;

(4) Washcloths, burpcloths, and a scarf for a friend made out of the most fabulous yarn ever...check it out at A Tree Hugger's Wife on Etsy. These yarns are dyed so amazingly, they're art in and of themselves. I am lucky enough to live in the same town as the weaver, so I bought it at Skeins instead of ordering it online (a rarity!);

(5)....and a shadowbox full of JPD stuff for Kip. No photos yet, but I might take one when I'm done.

(That's all for crafts.)

(6) This is probably a little lame and non-"cool, accomplished blogger" of me, but I'm going to put it on here anyways: an acquaintance/friend of mine from college who I consider to lead the coolest life ever (wonderful Christian marriage, beautifully artistic apartment, a fantastic writer and artist, I could go on...) recently commented and said she loves my blog. She loves(!) my blog! It made me feel really good. :)

(7) This bib, which I found downtown at Annie Kaill's and immediately fell in love with (as much as a person can love a bib, at least). I vowed to return to get it later. A friend miraculously agreed (without knowing of my vow) and gave it to me on Saturday at the baby shower. It's so fun and quirky that I hung it on Bean's little bulletin board because I like looking at it. You, too, can enjoy it--the woman who made it also has an Etsy shop: Home Made Pretty.

(8) My mom and dad sent us the crib we registered for, and I was so excited when it arrived today....until I opened the box and realized that Babies R Us sent the wrong one. It was disappointing, but I'm still excited to get the right one and put it together.

(9) Bean has taken to stuffing him/herself underneath my ribs lately, which doesn't exactly make me smile since it sort of hurts, but I think it should count anyways. Also, I had a really vivid dream last night that it was born and it was a boy! He looked just like Kip, except he had my eyes and the same unibrow as my dad. And he was HUGE. I'm hoping that part doesn't ring true...I mean, fat babies are cute and all that, but this was a little extreme.

(10) Kip, Heather, and I realized that, with proper practice, we could pay for Bean's college tuition by becoming the next YouTube wonder. How, you ask? Eight words: Tillamook. Laser Pointer. Miley Cyrus. "Can't Be Tamed".

08 July 2010

Lazy, Not Quite Hazy Days of Summer

It's the kind of summer day in Juneau where a glance out of the window rewards you with a view of trees so green against a sky so blue they look like pieces of fabric laid next to one another on a quilt. Even the float planes, shuttling tourists to and fro along the Channel, sound lazy and content. Yesterday was our first sunny day in two weeks or so, and was therefore accompanied by the usual "first sunny day in awhile" jitters of an entire town who felt it necessary to get all their outdoor plans finished in one day while the good weather lasted. But today Juneau relaxed, having gotten its chores done yesterday. It took a walk or skipped out on work. It hung its laundry out to dry in the sun. It finally wore the sundress it's been saving for months, letting its skin enjoy the feel of the sun and 70-degree air.

Today, I woke to Tillamook arranging himself in the sill of our open bedroom window, a position he had no intention of leaving for the majority of the day. Kip was at work, and Heather came over for a quick breakfast before we headed to the Birth Center for a tour (she's training to be a doula) and my now-fortnightly appointment. Bean's growth was declared to be 'perfect' and we celebrated with a slow breakfast at the Sandpiper. Later, the breeze poking its head through our living room window whispered, "A nap!", and we both took its suggestion. The afternoon might include a hike up Mt. Roberts or galoshing around the tidal flats. Or maybe those will be tomorrow; the weather is supposed to hold out for a few more days before we all cover ourselves back up with moss and trade our Tevas for Extra Tuffs once more.

07 July 2010

When Pregnancy and Real Life Meet, or Why I'm Insanely Glad There's Not a Babies R Us in Juneau, Part 2

Part 2

Superfluous (usually plastic) baby crap. It was a fear that hadn't inundated Real Life until I started experiencing Pregnancy Life.

Behind "Omg we're pregnant", "Really??????", and "You know you're still going to grad school, right?", "Oh goodness, we're going to get stuck with all sorts of superfluous (usually plastic) baby crap now, aren't we?" was approximately the fourth thing that echoed against the bathroom walls when the pink plus sign appeared on the supposedly most technological thing I will ever pee on. (Side Note: I kind of want to go find a molecular collider or something of that sort at CERN and pee on that, just to prove the kind people at Clear Blue Easy wrong.)

It's not that I'm ungrateful for any potential plastic baby-related gifts that might be coming our way, and I realize the danger of blogging about this four days before our baby shower, it's just that it seems to me that babies need few things: a place to sleep, a place to poo, a way to get fed, items to keep it warm. And pretty much everything past that is gravy. We don't need a contraption to warm the baby wipes (I think the sooner my kid learns how to deal with a chilly bottom for a few seconds, the better--we do live in Alaska, after all), we don't need fifty rattles (one will do, and maybe a spare for car trips--I am a rational woman, thank you) or a hundred hanging crib toys or plastic safety covers for absolutely every surface of the house (would I really be the same woman I am today if I didn't have that dent running down my forehead from running into a door when I was six? No.) And until I read this article, I felt that the mere idea of a baby bath tub was laughable (although now I'm seriously considering taking up a friend on her offer to lend us hers).

I suppose it boils down to a few things:
1. I am easily stressed by superfluous amounts of clutter in my living space.
2. Plastic kind of freaks me out--it's fake, it's non biodegradable, and every six months we find out that it causes cancer.
3. We live in an incredibly small apartment.

Therefore, superfluous amounts of plastic things in aforementioned small apartment cannot possibly ever produce good in my life. So for the past seven months, I have been tortured with visions of aisles upon aisles of sleep positioners and "discovery stations" and non-PVC or non-BPA or non-LMNOP bottles that all say they're the safest. But I have learned how to cope. I've picked my battles--we will probably have a set of plastic bottles at some point for sanity and safety (you know, once Bean gets into that "I can throw things!" phase), and I'm achieving a Zen-like state about that. For the first time, I have become insanely thankful for Juneau's isolatedness--there is not a Babies R Us for literally a thousand miles, and I love it. And we have thoughtfully chosen what to include in our (purposefully small) registries: glass bottles, cloth diapers, a Boppy pillow (because I hung out with my newborn niece for three weeks and holy crap was that thing useful), local toys from our family members so that we can show Bean a cow and say, "Moo! This is a cow, they have lots of those in Texas, where Grammy and Grampa live!" so it knows that just because family isn't around, they haven't forgotten about him or her. (And so Bean can know what a cow is. There just aren't any in Juneau. Seriously, there is a risk that this kid will be the only one in kindergarten in the Lower 48 who knows what a narwhal is but is lost when it comes to farm animals.)

And if we get a ton of battery operated, plastic toys on Saturday and when Bean arrives in September, then I will smile and be thankful. Because as much as plastic freaks me out, I have some really great friends who are the perfect remedy to that.

06 July 2010

Ten Things Tuesday

I can't believe it's been a week already, but...

Ten Things That Made Me Smile This Past Week:
1. Heather's been here for a week already, and she's staying a week more. And that makes me happy.
2. Our baby shower is on Saturday and I am so excited to be around a bunch of terrific ladies for an entire afternoon! It's kind of rare to get a big group together these days. Plus, somebody bought the crib off our registry and that is HUGE.
3. It's trash day. I don't think I've ever blogged about it, but I feel about trash day how other people feel about New Year's; I just get to have that feeling of starting anew every week. It's quite the deal.
4. The salmonberry yarn that I bought with Heather at Skeins. It's literally the most beautiful textile product I have ever seen, and I smell a new vice. Check out the artisan's store on Etsy: A Tree Hugger's Wife
5. Actually getting into consistently crafting again, now that I've been reunited with my best crafting buddy. An unbelievably cute crocheted elephant has been the highlight thus far.
6. The prenatal yoga DVDs I ordered. They're super spiffy.
7. My baby belly! It's gotten so big because the baby is so big! And I still don't look like a whale (contrary to Kip's teasing when I get stuck in couches). If it ever gets to be nice weather again, I'll go outside and take some photos.
8. The Fourth of July parade. Sure, it was raining and in the 50's and absolutely dismal outside, but that doesn't mean we didn't have fun getting hit by candy and making Kip laugh as he marched with the JPD Honor Guard! Plus, there was the Juneau perennial favorite: meat on a stick. Seriously, these people go gaga for street food. It's a little strange, in a fun way.
9. The flowers that I got from The Plant People shop to celebrate Heather's arrival. They're pink and yellow and orange and fabulous, plus the shop lady told me I was definitely having a boy and that I should believe her because she's never been wrong, and neither was her mother. Wouldn't you be convinced? This was after I took about a minute to catch my breath when I stumbled in the door because I had to walk up a hill to get there. She just thought I was really out of shape until I turned to the side, then she made her boy prophecy.
10. The box of Cocoa Puffs that also contained a really sweet card that Kip brought me after I was Mrs. Cranky-Cravingpants one morning and the first words out of my mouth were, "Cocoa Puffs." He's the best husband ever.