Category Archives: travel

Hallooo…

Crap. It’s been forever since I updated this thing.

We took a trip to TX in late June/early July. Went to my in-laws’ 50th anniversary party, saw J’s side of the family, got some vitamin D. Loads of fun.

After flying back to Alaska, we had an interesting time getting back home. Flew into Anchorage, landed late at night, drove all night toward Fairbanks, arriving at Nenana sometime after 7 am. Couldn’t go any further since a wild fire had blocked the highway. Backtracked an hour or two, took a gravel road connecting the Parks Highway to the Richardson Highway, got a flat tire about 70 miles in. We only had one spare on us, no cell service, no sleep, and just a few bottles of water and some junk food. Amazingly, a few miles after changing the tire, we came across a lodge/tire repair stop. Got a room, got the tire patched, ate, slept, and resumed the journey the next morning. Another 40-ish miles and we were on the Rich, then another two-ish hours and we were finally back home. All in all, it took about 60 hours to get home from Texas.

I lost the rest of July and most of August due to some fun medication complications. JR started 1st grade at the end of August, turned 7 in September, and can now read, write, add, and tie his shoes. He’s such an amazing big boy.

J has had a couple of back operations (to repair a bulging disc) and is recovering slowly but well enough. I’ve had a lot of doctor appointments in my bid to finally find a diagnosis, as well as dealing with part of my Social Security disability appeal. Little to no progress has been made on either front.

Autumn is here, brightening my mood since it’s my favorite season. The kids discovered the simple fascination of a Coleman lantern last night in the backyard. JR very much wants to go camping, though I know that he’d be freezing and unable to last the night through if we actually did it. Next summer.

I got to see Bill Maher and Dave Chappelle when they came up here, got to visit briefly with my dad once, and meet some new people. Also have some new furniture — two new couches, and a matching coffee table/end tables set. Looking forward to rearranging the rest of the house when I have a good day or two; I plan on bringing up a twin bed from downstairs to put in a now-vacant upstairs bedroom, moving a dresser and some shelving units, and changing around various wall hangings. Eventually, I’ll get my china cabinet and antique sewing table from my parents’ house in Anchorage. When it’s all done, home will feel much homier.

Lately, I’ve been sucked into books, predominantly 18th and 19th century lit. I’ve done some writing again, and touched up some paintings. I have lots of ideas for new paintings, and hope to actualize them soon. I’ve also been making some hand-knits for this coming winter.

Ultimately, I just felt like it was time I posted something to say, “Hi. I’m still alive.”

1150188_10201008391745382_20271575_n

Again

I’m posting a picture again, taken in September 2010. It’s that pretty.

(In other news, we’ve had mounds of fun out in the snowy backyard. Snowshoes are our next must-have. Stay tuned.)

Photo by Crystal S. McDonald, 2010.

 

Randomly on a Tuesday

I like Random Tuesdays.  Because they’re random.  Like me.

I’ve been in contact with one man I suspected of being my biological father.  His name isn’t quite the right match, but his age is, as well as his location at the time of my conception.

I’ve found a few other potential bio-dads.  One was a definite ‘no’, one was deceased, and one looks like me.  The one that looks like me lives in Lugoff, South Carolina.  He hasn’t responded to me yet.  Good thing I’m persistent.

My cousin Stephan committed suicide last week at age 26.  He left behind three young sons, and a lot of loving family and friends.  We drove to Anchorage last Friday for his memorial service, but didn’t quite make it.  We stopped for brunch at Rose’s Cafe in Healy, where Mia fell on her front teeth.  She bled a bit, chipping one top front tooth and loosening the other.  We debated whether we should continue to Anchorage or turn back to Fairbanks, and decided to keep on.  We hit up Alaska Native Medical Center as soon as we got to town, and good thing.  Poor Mia had fractured both top front teeth down to the nerve, and they had to be pulled.  She’s fine now, though she pronounces a few things differently, and won’t have any lasting damage to her adult teeth or rampant love of running.

We stopped at Stephan’s wake, where the place was teeming with my extended family and lots of good food.  I saw family members I haven’t seen in years, and learned that a couple of them live up my way.  We were all exhausted from the trip down so we didn’t stay long, but I was there just long enough to give my love and sympathy to Stephan’s mother, Aucha.  My most beautiful, smartest cousin, just like me.  May G-d bless you and keep you.

The kids got to hang out with a few of their cousins, Faith, Caleb, and Victoria, as well as Aunt Jessie and Grandpa.  Mia was completely captivated by all the mountains around Anchorage, poor little mountain-deprived Interior girl that she is.  We were going to take them to Beluga Point before we left town Saturday, but opted instead to take them to Valley of the Moon Park.

That’s where I got to finally catch up with an old friend, Amanda, and finally met her beau Todd and adorable son Mason.  River had fun on the swings, JR climbed on everything in sight (and has declared it his favorite park), and Mia was so taken by Amanda and Mason that she kept talking about them on the way home.  There are many, many more friends I want to see; I’ll be back in Anchorage before too long!

It was fantastic to come home after such a short trip.  My home stays messier than I want it to be, but it’s mine.  Mine, mine, mine!  The animals gave us a great greeting, as has the laundry pile.

John has a new-to-him motorcycle this summer — a 1991 Harley Davidson Sportster.  He got it late in the season, got it fixed up, and takes it out whenever he gets a chance.  I keep pushing for him to get chaps, but possibly not for the reason he wants them.  I picked up a helmet this weekend, so I’m ready just in case I get a chance to ride with him.  Hopefully he can take a long ride this coming weekend since there probably aren’t a lot of riding days left.

I’m still knitting — I have a lot of finished projects that I haven’t pictured because the kids got hold of my camera, leaving me unable to point-and-shoot at my leisure.  That’s also why there are decidedly fewer photos here on the blog.  I have a lot of knitting projects lined up, including a shawl for Amanda (because she admired the ruffly one I was wearing at the park), hats/scarves/mittens for the kids, hats for the nursery at Fairbanks Memorial, items for the upcoming homeless youth shelter, and items for various auctions like the Toys for Tots one held in Anchorage.

I’ve been reliving some drama from 15 years ago in my dreams several nights in a row.  Rather, I should call them nightmares, more appropriately.  I’m pretty much ready for that to stop.  Though last night I dreamed I was the star in a recital, and had all manner of dance training to undergo before the big show.  It was strange.

I’ve been reading about Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, tarot, and the Torah.  When I’m not reading about spirituality, I’ve been lost in Kathy Reichs books with Margaret Atwood bringing up the rear.

My cholesterol has come down over 50 points, possibly 70, since the beginning of the year, and I’m thrilled about that.  I wasn’t sure if my approach was working.  It’s still not great, but I’m getting there.

Fibromyalgia pain comes and goes.  I feel like I’m finally on the tail end of a flare.  If I hadn’t had two root canals that need to be retouched, I’d probably feel pretty good.

I’m going to scrounge up some dinner now, then hopefully finish a sock I’ve been working on for what feels like forever.

Randomly, and in no particular order:

Femmer is getting bigger and more rambunctious.  He’s a very pretty, very talkative kitty.  He really loves it when I take the pet hair slicker to him, usually comes when called, and will stand on his hind legs to get a yummy treat.  Camilla is his favorite person though.  He tried to curl up on her when she’s sleeping.  Sometimes this wakes her up, which makes her furious, and then they both cry.  Still kind of cute.

Femmer, sleeping on the couch. (Click to enlarge.)

Buffle is bulking up, and is totally happy hanging out in the back yard sniffing at strange things.  Surely spring has sprung.  She’s a bloody stupid dog, but she’s mine, and she makes me smile anyway (even if she can never find the ball once I’ve thrown it).  She puts up incredibly well with the kids using her as a jungle gym and trying to ride her like a horse.  Stupid horse dog.  She just licks them.

Muttley, the ferocious pine cone chaser. (Click to enlarge.)

I found out last month that my baby sister Melinda died of dilated cardiomyopathy.  Miss you, Sissy.

Dad fell, broke his ankle, spent a few days in the hospital, gave us all a scare.  We went down, spent some time near him.  The kids, of course, love playing with their Grandpa.  It was bittersweet for me to spend a few days in my parents’ house; I miss my mama terribly, but I enjoyed having my kids play in the house I grew up in.

There was inevitable bullshit drama with my sisters.  I give up.  I hope they find peace and happiness because, until then, they’re just going to continue to tear others down to make themselves feel better.  Sad.

I finally got to hang out with my dear friend Kelley and her daughter Jazmynn — twice!  Our kids had a great time together, and I’m so glad to have reconnected with Kell.  We need to make damn sure we don’t let another 4 years go by without seeing each other again!

I never showed off my new ink here!  I’m absolutely in love with my new tattoo (that I got at the beginning of February).  Custom work done by Jedidia Reid, owner of Element Tattoo Studio in San Antonio, TX.  I vow to only get work done by him, or by an artist recommended by him.  I hope he comes up to Fairbanks to do a guest spot!

Photo by Jedi Reid, owner/artist at Element Tattoo Studio, San Antonio, TX. (Click to enlarge.)

I’m trying my hand at a garden for the first time this year.  I’ve started seedlings for cherry tomatoes, basil, green onions, summer squash, spinach, carrots, and butternut squash.  This weekend, I’m going to get a prefab mini-greenhouse and some planters, start transplanting a few things outside.  I love love love the idea of fresh homegrown food!

River can crawl!  And pull up on people/furniture!  And cruise around it!  Poor little guy has another ear infection, but he also has 8 big teeth, and insatiable curiosity and charm.  I’m a sucker for him.

River, at a rest stop on the way back up from Anchorage. (Click to enlarge.)

JR & Camilla are getting taller, smarter, funnier, and more charming every day.  They have new rain gear and XtraTufs, and just need to search out some huge puddles now.  I’ll definitely share those pics once they’re taken!

In summation…

Randomly, on another Tuesday:

  • I miss Melinda.  I’m talking to my little brother Michael again.  I’m talking to my sisters again.  I miss mama.  Loss is lonely, and each one exacerbates the others.
  • The flights down to Texas weren’t too bad.  Long, but not bad.
  • San Antonio was extremely warm the first several days, then cooled off to something tolerable for this Eskimo.
  • The kids had heaping tons of fun with Mimi, Popo, Aunt B, Uncle Schim, and cousins Matthew/Chewy, Nolan, and Colin.
  • They also had a great time with Uncle Lawrence, Aunt Susan, Brennan, and Uncle Ables.
  • Fun was also had at Chuck E Cheese’s with Uncle Alex, Aunt Kimberly, Adriana, Pops, Kyle, and Camden, Aunt Tasha, and cousins Morgan, Trent, and Natalie.
  • Miss Sally liked being chased by the kids, though she tried to pretend otherwise.  Lucky adored Milla.
  • Camilla is “kah-MEE-lah”.  We call her Milla (MEE-yah).  I’ve also written it as Mi’a.  She calls herself Illa/Iya/I’a (pronounced EE-yah).  Aunt B noted that it’s spelled/pronounced like tortilla.  I think this is going to stick with my poor girl forever now.
  • I got a tattoo by Jedidia Reid, owner of Element Tattoo Studio in San Antonio.  I LOVE it.
  • There will be a ton of photos uploaded in the coming weeks.
  • I hated the trip up to Chicago more than words can capture.
  • I loved being in Aurora/Chicago with Aunt Cara, Uncle Mike, and cousins Maddie, Ryan, and Tori.
  • The wind and humidity there make their winter just as cold and unforgiving as ours.
  • They have so much snow that I’m jealous.
  • I didn’t think I could be jealous of precipitation.  I am.
  • The trip back to Fairbanks was long, but nowhere near as bad as the one to O’Hare.
  • We picked up some kind of icky flu-ish/cold-ish bug that has us all feverish, with deep, racking coughs.
  • That hasn’t diminished the pleasure of being back home.
  • We all miss our friends, family, and travels.
  • We wish y’all were closer, and that we could see you more often.  Preferably through teleportation.
  • I’m trying to put the house back together, and will update with more details and pictures when I can.
  • And lastly:

  • Bubbles are awesome.  (recorded in summer 2010)

Random on a Tuesday

  • My youngest sister, Melinda, died at 25 on January 14, 2011.
  • We drove to Anchorage for a small memorial service for her, held on Friday, January 21, 2011.
  • It’s got me mourning my mother all over again.
  • The kids got to play with Grandpa, cousins Faith, Caleb, and Vicky, Aunts Jessie, Tasha, & Sandee, and Uncle Darrell.
  • We took family photos at my parents’ house, courtesy of Sandee Rice Photography.
  • Back at the hotel, we took the kids down to the swimming pool.  They had a blast.
  • The chlorine in the pool did crazy tightening things to the dreads forming at the back of my head.
  • Bouncing Bears is the coolest place to get kids worn out before a long road trip.
  • The living room floor is the greatest place to roll around after many long hours cooped up in car seats.
  • The wolf and the orca share the same animal spirit in Yup’ik lore.  These are the two animals I debated between in trying to identify the animal essence of my youngest child River.  JR is a polar bear.  Camilla is a lynx/mountain lion/fox.
  • I’ve spun 4 oz of a pinkish-purplish wool/alpaca batt by Bohoknitterchic Spins into 400+ yards of a fingering weight single.  Melinda loved pink.  I’m going to knit a shawl out of this yarn.
  • I’m knee-deep in laundry that needs to be done before we leave Thursday night on vacation.
  • I get a kitten after we get back.  It will go nicely with the litter box and cat food I got from John for Christmas.
  • I’m planning on getting tattooed in San Antonio and Chicago during the next couple of weeks.
  • I’ll be starting a Little Acorn Learning curriculum for JR and Camilla after our trip.  I’m excited.
  • I definitely need to get back to daily workouts.  They’ve fallen by the wayside with a marked increase in fibro pain.
  • I nearly forgot how comfortable Vans are until I bought a new pair the other day.
  • I am very clearly doing anything possible to avoid laundry and packing.
  • I have to start all that now, before Thursday gets here.

Sigh.

Second Trip to Anchorage

We headed down to Anchorage again over Memorial Day weekend to meet up with John’s parents. They came up to spend a few days in town before heading on to Whittier for their cruise to Vancouver. We had a great time, and the kids had a blast with MiMi and PoPo.

We took the kids into the pool one night at the hotel, and had absolutely fabulous fun. I didn’t bring my camera down there, but it was awesome. JR got to go go-kart riding and pony riding again. We also checked out the Saturday Market where I picked up some cool handmade birch trucks for JR and some pretty hippie duds for myself.

The Sunday before Memorial Day I went to mama’s grave site. It was heartbreaking and surreal but I’m glad I went.

Reading Sports Illustrated on the drive down

Reading Sports Illustrated on the drive down

MiMi and Camilla

MiMi and Camilla

Grandpa and JR

Grandpa and JR

John & JR riding go-karts

John & JR riding go-karts

PoPo, JR, and Grandpa at the pony rides

PoPo, JR, and Grandpa at the pony rides

Grandpa and Camilla

Grandpa and Camilla

My little cowboy!

My little cowboy!

I miss you, mama.

I miss you, mama.

Catching up

because I haven’t written in a bit.

The day we were flying back from Texas, I went into false labor. We had just gotten to my sister-in-law’s house, and I realized that my “stomach ache” was turning into something quite different. I had a gut-wrenching, can’t-stand-still-can’t-move-well-can’t-breathe-well contraction. Out of nowhere. Then, like 3 minutes later, I had another one. And then another one. We decided to bag it and go to the hospital seeing as how I was just 32 weeks along and could barely breathe through them. We left a confused JR with my in-laws, and drove off into the unknown parts of Ft. Worth to find a hospital. After getting sort of lost downtown, and me having 9 or 10 super strong contractions in an hour’s time, we got to the hospital’s ER entrance. Everything stopped. Not another contraction.

I talked to the on-call OB who stands in for my OB when he’s out of town, explaining that we had a plane to catch and that it’d been over half an hour without any activity. I signed a form to get out of being seen at the hospital, and we headed back to my in-laws’ house. We loaded everything up, said our goodbyes, got to the airport, dropped off the rental, then were given the runaround by TSA agents who were clueless about where the Alaska Airlines ticket counter was located. After walking like 1/2 a mile through and around the airport just to be sent back, it turned out to be right next to where the damn agents were standing when we asked. We checked in, checked our bags, got some Taco Hell, and made it to the gate just in time to board the plane. Whew!

The flight was fairly uneventful, and we switched planes without a hitch in Seattle. It seemed like it took forever to get to Fairbanks, and we were so ready to be off the plane when we finally landed. Holy crap was it cold though! It was -43*F when we landed. That was heartbreaking, given that it was 88*F when we left Texas. My nose started bleeding as soon as we hit the baggage claim area, it was so dry.

John left to get the truck from the parking garage downtown, we stopped at Safeway for groceries, then drove 100 miles to get home. Oh, the relief to finally be home!

John had to leave insanely early the next morning for work. JR and I were still sick (and still are) so we took it easy the first day. I had (and still have) so much cleaning to do though as we trashed the house in our extreme hurry to get ready to leave in the first place.

Thursday I woke up super early and went on a mini-cleaning spree. I scrubbed the downstairs bathroom, cleaned the living room, did the dishes, the laundry, the diapers, swept and mopped the kitchen, and decluttered the countertops, all before noon. I managed to get dinner in the crockpot (which was super yummy: beef short ribs, slow cooked in barbecue sauce) and had it ready to be served when John walked in the door that night. So tender it was falling off the fork!

Friday I was up early again (gotta love pregnancy insomnia), and had showered, eaten, made and drank coffee, checked all my usual websites, and straightened up the kitchen before anyone else even woke up. We went to town that day for our usual shopping trip. I went to Joann’s and got some cool new knitting supplies (thank you Bec) as well as a baby elephant and hippo for JR that he adores (they’re Schleich, and I love them). We ate at Chili’s because I was craving buffalo wings like nobody’s business, which was so not worth the final ticket price we paid for dinner. Doubt we’ll go back (John had a ribeye, I had shrimp & chicken). I discovered later that night taht I must be allergic to shrimp.  Nice.

Then we picked up a doggie coat & booties for our wussy indoor dog — and before you make any snide comments, those things are totally necessary for creatures in -40* and colder weather. We went in search of a new winter coat for JR too, though kept coming up short. FYI, Big Ray’s had a sign saying they were open until 8 (it was 7:15) and they turned us away. Frontier Outfitters is entirely too floofy, too. Sears was dead, and we speculate that they’ll be going under soon. Then it was off to WalMart for some random crap, then Freddie’s for groceries, then finally back home.

Saturday I was going to try to get together with M (who is this sweet woman that we’re trying to get to watch JR when I go into labor), but I started feeling even sicker and decided to nap with JR. John went back into town to pick up my meds and a handful of other things we’d forgotten (as he’s working this coming weekend and so won’t be home until next Thursday night).

Yesterday was a mellow day, thankfully.  John cleaned up our files downstairs, JR played, and I worked on a fun new knitting project (the Noro Striped Scarf).

Today, John headed back to work.  JR and I have just been hanging out for the most part.  I’ve scheduled John’s sinus surgery/pre-op/cat-scan, and also renewed my belief that Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center majorly sucks.  We got our home heating fuel delivery, and we’re now settled in with some simple snacks to watch the Fiesta Bowl (Hook ‘Em Horns!).

And we’re off.

Sort of. Almost. Not quite yet.
I’m all packed. Each suitcase is at 50 lbs. We haven’t weighed the duffle, but whatever it’s at is what it’s leaving at because nothing will fit anywhere else.

John left with John the Elder and JR to go to the airport and mail back some of the stuff that just wouldn’t fit. Like the statuette. And the Bevo that we won at Dave and Buster’s Christmas night (by the way, having dinner alone and playing games was awesome).

Yesterday we had exchanged a gift, done some shopping at Babies R Us, got a new prescription for me and my new amoxicillin allergy, ate at Dos Julios (formerly Old San Antonio Cafe, and better under old management), stopped at the S’s to say goodbye, came back to the house, and all passed out. JR’s cold is worse, or sounding worse at least. It’s settled into his chest. Started packing last night, and finished today.

We’ll be driving out of SA later on, headed toward Dallas/Fort Worth. I had wanted to stop at Ikea for some beautiful fabric, but probably will not do so as we have no way to get it back. Bummer. Maybe I can talk someone else into going for me. (Jenn?)

I think we’ve managed to get everything. My head hurts just thinking about 16 hours to get back home.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...