Saturday, July 12, 2008

Just a Few Notes

1. Just want to say that I feel ridiculous talking to myself as I hang clothes on the line. Actually, I don't talk to MYSELF, really. I talk to the bears that are out there, but I haven't seen yet. I tell them to go away, that I don't need help hanging my laundry, and that I really am not as tasty as I might look. Really. I'm not.

What I want to know is why do Survivor Man and Bear Grylls look so cool tromping through the Alaskan Wilderness yelling things like, "Yo Bear! We don't want trouble! Yo bear!", and I look and sound like an absolute moron?

2. Wanna know how to maybe have an accident in your pants? Well, do you ever catch yourself driving on "auto-pilot"? You know, when you suddenly snap back into reality and realize you are driving and probably should be paying a little more attention to the road instead of daydreaming about who-knows-what. That happened to me today. Only the thing that snapped me back into reality was glancing at the passenger side window and seeing a MOOSE running along side of me. Nothing says "Yikes!" like having a mammal as tall as your van trying to play "tag" with you. Mental note to self: Alaska is NOT the place to daydream while driving.

3. I love yard sales. Beans and I meandered through a few of them today and came home with fabric remnants galore. Lots of new little projects creeping through my brain now. LOTS.

4. I don't know how I ever lived without aprons before. Seriously, I know. I sound like a dork. But do you know how HANDY they are???

5. My last mental note for the day: Bushy has to move. Or die. Period. Stupid squirrel chewed up one of J's favorite shirts. I mean, beyond repair. And then smuggly chirped her territorial chatter when I tried to retrieve the clothes off the line. Stupid squirrel. I tried throwing rocks at her, but I have lousy aim. The landlord still wants to humanely relocate the squirrel. (WHY??? It's a RODENT, people!) I think Bushy is going to accidentally, suddenly dissapear one day. If my aim improves, anyway.

Ok. On the agenda for my week:
-Practice throwing rocks at a target. Namely, Bushy.
-Sewing, sewing and more sewing. I'm on a roll! Also have a small business venture in the works, if I can get a few projects done up. More on that later.
-Sneaking off to Post Office to retrieve the first Christmas gift of my shopping season. I'd tell you what it is, but my hubby reads the blog from time to time.
-Meeting a new friend this coming week! I finally get to meet the infamous Susan Stevenson. (Check out her blog about thier summer travels through AK. She's an incredible photographer!)
-Maybe being brave enough to take a walk. J was discussing walking to the playground (about 3 miles). I would love to, except for the bears and moose. The wildlife is in full effect out here, ya know? Ok, seriously. I might brave the walk, at least to the coffe shop anyway (about 1 mile). Besides, I need to cut some more wildflowers for my table.

Speaking of wildflowers: I have corrections to make. A friend was curious as to where I found wild sweet pea. And, um, I didn't. After showing her what I found, she told me I have finally met the infamous "fireweed" that I keep hearing about. Whatever it is, it's beautiful and lasts a long time in a vase!
Saw a huge patch of wild purple clover by the coffee shop near the dump today, and mean to go back with my vase and scissors. And the Queen Anne's Lace (my very favorite!) is in full bloom just about everywhere.

Allright, off I go. Bushy is taunting me, peering into the window. Time to find some rocks. Big ones.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lions and tigers and BEARS, Oh my!

Um, only without the lions and tigers.
Yes, we are talking about BEARS. In North Pole. On MY street.
At least that's the official word from The Borough.
J and I headed to town this morning and noticed a bright yellow sign attatched to the stop sign on the corner. "BEAR SIGHTED IN AREA, make sure trash is secure". Complete with a drawing of an angry looking, foraging bear who looks like he is most likely contemplating eating a human, namely, me.

I called the landlord and IMMEDIATELY discontinued any further feeding of my avowed squirrel enemy AND decided to remove the food-baited trap. Last thing I need is to see a bear on my deck, waiting for me to refill the trap-which wasn't working anyway, as Bushy figured out how to get food without triggering the trap. The only thing the trap WAS successful in was attracting a couple field mice, who also escaped capture.
Though if I could lure the bear into EATING Bushy, I may reconsider. Oh wait, no, I won't reconsider. Since the bear would consider Bushy as a tasty appetizer and follow up with the main course: um, me.

The landlord was kind enough to call the Borough and find out more information about the bear sighting. Apparently on Tuesday there were THREE (Three?!? Holy Expletive!) sightings of a "small" black bear, about a block or so from where we live. Um, yikes!
And for the record, in my personal, very humble opinion a "small" bear is either lost and scared enough to eat me, or has a not-so-small Momma Bear nearby, who will probably eat me.
"Small" bear.
And for those of you who are thinking, "Well at least it's not a grizzly", think again. See, a grizzly will pretty much mind his own business. And if you play "dead", might actually leave you alone. Black bears are known for STALKING and PLOTTING thier attacks. For all I know, this "small" black bear knows when I will be out there hanging my next load of laundry on the line, and has already figured out that when I hang the sheets- and am all tangled up trying to get the queen sized fitted sheet on the line- is probably the best time to sneak up on me and eat me.
Even scarier than that: J and I spent all afternoon yesterday traipsing back and forth to the woods with tree debris, as we started cutting up our felled trees for firewood. And since J was the one operating the chainsaw, it was mostly ME traipsing in and out of the woods with debris.
In the woods with a bear. A "small" bear who probably wants to eat me.

WHY did I decide that the best place for the clothes line was right next to my rasperry patch?
Especially now that the plants are dense and tall, and berries are starting to form. WHY did I put my clothesline right next to a bear's favorite summer time treat?
Oh, yeah... I thought the sun ripened berries would make the laundry smell nice.

And another thing... since I've moved here, I have shared my fear of bears with almost anyone that will listen to me panic about them. And EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM has sworn that they have lived here for years and years and years and (I quote), "NEVER seen a bear outside of Denali park" or outside of areas like Anchorage that are known for bears. NEVER EVER EVER in town. They promised and swore they weren't lying to make me feel safe.
So WHY are there bear warnings posted on my street????

**** ANYHOO***
Enough on that. No offense, but I hope I DON'T have a bear update for you. An update would imply that the bear is still on the loose. Or has eaten me.

This week has been incredibly busy. Last weekend, the landlord brought a few dead trees down in the yard. J's new chain saw has been getting quite the workout, and so have I. Forget fancy diet plans and expensive gym memberships. I've been getting buff the old fashioned way. J cuts the wood, I haul it to the wood pile. Add Beans in the baby backpack, and I was getting a SERIOUS workout.

So, as I was hauling and stacking firewood, the following thoughts (in my usual dorky ways) crossed my mind:
- I have even more respect for Charles Ingalls than I did before I stacked firewood.
- I do not have enough "oomph" to split firewood, especially with a baby on my back.
-If you strike with an axe, you should have a really good, firm grip. Otherwise it's going to hurt.
- My husband DOES have enough "oomph" to split firewood, and showed me how to do it.
- In a strange, lumberjack kind of way, it was kind of sexy, watching him split firewood. Very manly.
-I told him that. (teehee)
-He said he would do something about that later, but first, we had to get the firewood stacked, so I should get back to work instead of watching him. (Well, phooey.)
-Hauling and stacking firewood is hard work.
-I was relieved when the baby finally needed to nurse and dinner needed to be made. I'll take baby duty and housework to cutting and stacking firewood any day!

I would like to add that running into MOOSE crossed my mind while I was hauling the debris into the woods, but a BEAR never crossed my mind. Not once. Until this morning.

Coming up for the rest of our week:
Sending J back to work and enjoying some down time with our friends. Trying to make a sourdough starter. Seeing if I can sew some shorts before the weather turns cool again. Hanging more laundry, copying directions for making a "rag rug" from a friend's magazine,a trip to the library. And hopefully all of that WITHOUT sighting any bears.

Happy and Bear-Free Moose Trails, y'all! (I hope!)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Domestic Goddess

Um, that's me.

So... ever have one of those days where you feel a tad unappreciated? Without making my husband look like a real jerk (I already did that yesterday), yesterday was one of those days.
And when someone makes me feel like I'm asking for too much help, I have a tendency to go the polar opposite and demand nothing, then work myself into oblivion.
Anyone tracking with me on that?

Yeah. I'll spell it out in plain english... with the baby being sick and contagious and J working a lot of overtime, I've been stretched a little thin. Yes, even I, SuperWomanExtrodinaire, am prone to the debilitating powers of kryptonite (a.k.a. Beans screaming for 10 days and hubby only being home for 3 of those days, NOT consecutively).
Well... I asked for help. Silly me, since when does SuperWoman need help, right?
The answer was, "Um, I just told them I'd work another overtime shift."

So, you see my dilemma. My solution was to cry. When that didn't work, I got mad. REAL mad.
*DISCLAIMER*- J knows I'm typing this, so I'm not just being a big gossippy jerk!

Ok. So after my getting mad, I decided I didn't "NEED" anyone to help me. I tackled everything on the Honey-Do list with great gusto. I got most of it done. I took down and (re)hemmed curtains, and hung them back up. I started some of the yard clean-up. I said I didn't need any time to myself and figured out how to get some sewing done with beans in the room. It took a little longer than it would have with a helping hand, but I made one apron, got another cut and prepped for sewing, and sorted through my sewing room. I finished a novel. I washed all the dishes, mopped the floors, went to the dump, and even took Beans to the playground.
Help? I don't need no stinkin' help!
The only thing I DIDN'T do was cut firewood, and that was because I couldn't come up with a way to do it safely with Beans in the baby backpack. No sense chopping off my arms with the chainsaw just to prove a point, right?

Um, another disclaimer: even though I didn't cut the firewood, I feel it's only right to be honest here. I was so outraged at being left to hang solo with a sick baby for another day when I was REALLY desperate for a break that I DID tell J that every dime of his overtime was going to be offered to a guy down the street to come cut and stack the firewood. For the record, THIS DID NOT GO OVER WELL.
And NO, I didn't really offer the overtime money to our neighbor. I didn't have to. J was so ticked that I didn't wait for his help on things that he is outside cutting wood. In the rain. I know, I know. I feel mean enough already. I'll apologize when the wood is done being stacked. (KIDDING, KIDDING!)

Ok. So this is NOT a gripe about my husband. Really, it's not. It's about how domestic I feel. I needed my house in order, and I put it there.
And while I was at it, I tackled a few projects I wanted to get done. This left me lacking in the "projects to-do department" (though I'm sure J would disagree), and warranted a trip to the fabric store. Good thing I didn't give the overtime money to the neighbor, right?
On the agenda for my next "I don't need your help!" day is enough material and the patterns to make 5 pairs of shorts and who-knows-how many aprons. And enough chocolate chips to maybe put the Girl Scouts out of the cookie business. Cookies make you feel better, after exposure to kryptonite. It's the ONLY thing that works.

Speaking of APRONS, I have decided I desperately need them. Not only that, I WANT them, I CRAVE them, I MUST have them. And they must be homemade.
Oh gosh, I know, I know... I'm a big dork. I don't care. I like me.
Even if I am a dork in an apron.

And once my aprons are done, I will keep my new shorts clean while I bake dozens and dozens of cookies, only this time, I REALLY hope my baby is done being sick!

Okay, okay... I'm making my way out to the woodpile to apologize, and see if J needs any help stacking wood. Or at least see if he'd like to come in out of the rain.

For those of you anxiously waiting, PICTURES are REALLY coming soon! We bought the new camera today and as soon as I get the manual read, I will be picture happy, and uploading as much as blogspot will allow me to entertain you with.

Muchas Smooches to family and friends, and Happy Moose Trails to all!