Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

We're gathering at Mom & Dad's - Sonny, Danny & his wife & a friend, J and I - for our family feast. Happy Thanksgiving all! Happy Turkey Dreams!

Friday, November 19, 2004

Simple things

This house thing is just so frickin' cool! It's silly, but... as I leave work and think "Do I have my keys?" I get excited - they're MY keys to MY house! Every little aspect is MINE - OURS (though J has tried to call dibs, I've told him that's against the rules)!! Even the lawn, which someone was kind enough to rake for us - thanks whoever you are!
This is just so cool. :)Heeeeeeeeeeee

Maybe this weekend we'll find all the computer pieces and I can post those pics I've been promising.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Back in the swing

Well, it looks like the retribution only lasted part of Monday. Things are now back on track. Still a bit of finishing up at the old place. Lots to do in the new to get boxes and furniture where they need to be, do the necessary cleaning before full unpacking, think about painting, appliance, rug, lamp shopping, etc....

I spent last night shifting boxes from the nearest possible setting place inside the door to roughly where they belong, after bringing the second-to-last carload from the old. I love the feeling of settling in! J isn't feeling really well, but when he feels better we'll get into the zone... :) Once we get a bit more settled, we can start having some visitors - those who want to scope out the place or meet Molson before the housewarming (which will likely be after the holidays).

Read all of The Blue Sword on the flight back. Good fantasy story. Nothing really deep to discuss, but good read for escaping or whiling away long hours on a plane.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Return and ... retribution?

Wow. I definitely will return to Alaska. Hopefully with J. Definitely in summer. An incredible trip.

I haven't had the best time since back, though. It's got to be some sort of sign, but whether a sign that I shouldn't have gone or one that I should have stayed I haven't figured out yet.

When I left we were filled with excitement and wonder at our new home and what it meant. Everything was whole and happy and glorious. When I returned, that seemed gone - and short tempers and irritations prevailed. I'm sincerely praying it comes back tonight. It was not pleasant,especially after the feelings I had left behind.

Then, I woke up with a stomach ache and migraine. Ate a little, took some pills, slept a bit more to kick it. Finally ready to get back to the grindstone after a crazy last week and my car doesn't start. Once the guy jumps it, I decide to take it to a shop - to a Nissan dealership in case it's a warranty related issue (the car is only 2.5 years old) - and they basically tell me they'll look at it but doubt they'll even find anything wrong. Didn't get to work until 1.

Maybe I should have stayed there. Maybe I shouldn't have gone. Can I rewind time?

Pictures soon, still no operating PC at home.
PS I just posted what I wrote while on the trip, since I couldn't get to blogger, scroll down for posts back to 11/11 (my first post is just below Sonny's latest, sad note)

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Took a longer walk about more of downtown today and again want to come when the weather is warmer. What a neat place!

I checked out the Oomingmak Musk Ox/ Qivut knitters co-op. They make yarn from the soft fur on the underbelly of the Musk Ox and knit it into the softest, warmest hats and scarves I’ve ever felt. Unfortunately, the craftsmanship involved in every stage from raising the Musk Ox to knitting the products results in a very high priced hat. Another time, perhaps.

I’m in Alaska for the annual conference of the American Indian Science & Engineer Society (AISES). Not in either of those vocations and not of Native heritage, I felt a bit out of the loop at times. I am here as an officer of the Native employee network in my company – someone highly interested in the culture and cause. It has struck me here that storytelling and prayer unite and conquer.
Storytelling can make your experiences real for others – no matter how different their lifestyle may be. It brings the mix of experiences we have down to the common human traits that we all understand. It is the power of words to teach a lesson without the audience feeling like they’re being taught. This even was also very spiritual.
Spirituality plays a key role in Native culture. Each major event or gathering began and ended with prayer here. Even though each group might have their own beliefs, even though prayers were often in Native tongues that only a select few understood, everyone participated and felt the reverence the practice leant to the entire proceeding. It sealed the import of the event and the depth of the sense of family.

One of the Elders today told us to “choose your spirituality”. It doesn’t matter what particular belief you choose, he said, but choose it, “do not let others choose it for you”. That was big for me. I don’t necessarily believe in or understand his Nez Perce faith system, but I respect it all the more for valuing my right to decide how and what I feel is true and right to believe in.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

First full day

Anchorage is a city of mixes. Cottages mixed with high rises in the downtown. The ocean mixed with mountains. Wildlife mixed with people. Four hours different from home. In an extended network area for Verizon that compels you to use a credit card for cell calls. It feels like another world, a foreign land. And yet, its spirit harks to that of our founding fathers, of the pioneers and of the Native peoples. The blend is fascinating. I’ll need to come back at some point when the streets don’t ice over of an evening. When the sun rises before 11am. When I can maybe spot some whales in the Inlet or the Sound.

Oh, and the Alaskan king crab is mouth-wateringly awesome!

Friday, November 12, 2004

Heart of Darkness

An in-depth look at how man copes in a world of no boundaries. At man’s failures. At the power of personality to overcome the atrocity of deeds, Heart of Darkness misses many opportunities to bring these points home – if those are, indeed the intended points. Most of the book deals with the journey to find Kurtz – the subject of the study above. But that journey is non-eventful. Conrad could spend less time discussing how to maneuver around river snags and more fleshing out this personality that is so key, but of which the reader sees very little first-hand.
I find it disturbing that, despite all the evil Kurtz seemed to have done (the man had heads on spikes outside his house for Pete’s sake), and his realization of it at the end of his life, Marlow still feels compelled to be loyal, compelled to call him friend, compelled to think of Kurtz as a great being. Is this due to Kurtz’s power of voice? Did his words (which comprised so much of his identity) contain such power that one forgot his evil deeds – that one could dismiss them as unimportant in the overall scheme of things? This ability, its roots, its power, its ultimate impact, this is what I’d like to see explored more. Where I think the meat of the novel really lies. And it feels like Conrad chose instead to brush over it.
I’m still disappointed with this purported classic. But it does strike a curious chord to explore if voice can truly have such pull. Maybe I need to do what Conrad did not.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

richard kalter

hi, everybody should go to the maryland institute college of art web site ( and read about my friend richard kalter. there are two really nice things written about him there. richard passed away this week at the age of 79. he was one of the nicest, smartest people ive ever met.

Flying out

1:25pm Rochester time
In the air to Alaska (posted later, of course)

Moving is HARD! Especially with all of the books, furniture, and dust we seem to have! The timing got so messed up with the move that I’ve had to leave J to finish everything himself, with some help from Mom and Dad – for which we are extremely grateful.

I’m hoping that the PC will be up and running in the new house when I return, so I can post some pics both of the house and of Alaska.

It should be a good trip. I just wish I didn’t have a migraine and a sore head from a whack last Sunday that I seem to be really good at bumping on other things.
Can’t type any more. Words are making me ill. I will likely finish quite a few books if I can get over this motion/migraine-related wooziness. It’s going to be a long flight.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

We have a house!

After all of that nonsense, we are the proud owners of a new home. We love it - it feels so ... right! The first night there, I was walking around barefoot in the dark, moving boxes - it's like it was meant to be OUR house!
Can't wait until the hauling is done and it's just unpacking and cleaning and settling. I ache in so many places, I'm hobbling around today like someone three times my age.

Pictures soon, I just need to find my USB cable/dock....

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Should we summon the hero archaeologist? Hmm - primatologist??

A temple in India is under pressure. Perhaps some evil has awoken. Perhaps someone has angered the monkey god, Hanuman. Some 300 children have been attacked outside this remote temple in the last few weeks. Attacked by "blood-sucking" monkeys gone berserk. At least 2,000 monkeys roam near the temple, but only recently have they begun to turn on the children. The poor children. Imagine, running home from school and a monkey drops out of the trees onto your back - knocking you over and takes a bite! Yikes!

This sounds like a case for today's Indiana Jones. Or maybe there's an Indiana Jones of the animal world? Oooh, oooh! I vote for Mireya Mayor! She looks way cool:
I am a thrill seeker with a cause learn as much as I can about our fragile planet and do what I can to protect it. - Mireya Mayor
Alright. J always thought I had it so together about what I wanted to be when I grow up. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do. But I'm finding that last week I wanted to be an archaeologist on the hobbit find and this week I want to be a primatologist solving the vampire monkey problems.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Brush with fame

My friend, Kat', in India at the moment- met the Dalai Lama! Cool....
What do you say to such a man whose religion I do not practice, but clearly is an incredible human (supreme?) being?

Peace be with you.

Afterwards, we all stood for a photograph, careful not to get too close to him. But, he laughed and grabbed the woman to his left and right in a side hug and said "Come closer, I won't break!"

What a day.
Living vicariously....