Friday, June 29, 2007

I Will Never Smell The Same

I just had a once in a lifetime experience this evening, and I will never smell the same again. Well, it actually started yesterday afternoon with a family beach combing trip, and I must remind you that I live in the Alaskan Arctic because this kind of thing really couldn’t happen anywhere else.

Hubby and I were up to our routine get-on-each-others-nerves-with-boredom thing when we got this great idea to borrow our neighbors “free” four wheeler to head across town and “comb” the beach on our way back. It didn’t take long to figure out why it was free. The machine is literally held together with industrial staples and there are a few issues with the exhaust, fenders, seat, ignition and tires… Oh, did I mention that it doesn't have four-wheel drive and the brakes don’t work at all? Well, it's all that and more we don't even know about.

So, we bundle up in hats and gloves, coats and sunglasses, find a piece of cardboard to be the make-shift 2nd-man seat and away we go, baby and all. Within 10 feet I, was smelling like 4-stroke exhaust and was speckled in mud (now, you would think this is the stink I couldn’t get rid of, but there is more… so much more). I couldn’t do much about the exhaust stink at the time, but by golly I was going to keep the mud off my pants. So I pull my knees to my shoulders creating a human cage around baby strategically placed between Hubby and me. Yah, like that makes this death trap any better of an idea.

Anyway, away we go to the rock pit and down onto the beach. Within ¼ mile we come across a dead seal rocking gently in the lake-like surf. We poked at it, wondered why the Natives hadn’t relieved it of its pelt and blubber, and moved along. About a mile further down the beach, we come across the fairgrounds where the whaling crews had been celebrating the harvest. Among the slabs of whale fin and other remains, I find 2 huge whale vertebrae, just what I was looking for!

Of course with the sea-mammal protection act, we weren’t sure if we could even take the “scraps” from the Native harvest. So again, we moved along. When I got home, my Native friend Jeanne called and I told her about our exciting little trip. She asked why I didn’t pick up my fabulous finds and I explained the stipulations of the sea-mammal protection act and the fact that we didn't have a vehicle. She then said “Well, let’s go!” to which I replied “Um, go where?” which of course led us on our once in a lifetime experience… mind you it was 10:00 lastnight when we were having this phone conversation.

Immediately following our converstation, Jeanne and her sister piled into their barely-working truck and head over to pick me up. Hubby jumps back on the barely-working for wheeler, the neighbor lady comes over to keep an eye on our sleeping baby, and we all head back to the beach for our treasures. It took us all of 45 minutes to load this 200 lb. seal and the 100 lb vertibrae into the back of her truck and get back to our place.

We weren’t sure if we had good finds as we weren’t sure how long that seal had been there on the beach, and had no idea how to get the remaining whale flesh off the vertibrae, but Jeanne "knew peole." After calling her dad and performing the “freshness test” on the seal, we got the “go-ahead” to skin it and bag the blubber for a tasty treat. I didn’t even know which end to start on, or how long it would take.

I was concerned about the potential stench and was certain it would make a huge mess, but on Jeanne’s orders we hauled this beast up onto her front porch and started hacking away. Surprisingly, I gutted fish that smelled worse so the smell didn't bother me all that much... till later. It was a distinct smell that only a fish-eating predator could emit and Jeanne closed her eyes and breathed it in with meaningful reminiscence. It was so amazing to share this experience with someone who had such a history and love for the sea and all the resources it yields.

The blubber was amazingly soft, thick and so very cold, but I was surprised at how quickly it melted from the heat friction of the knives and our chilly little fingers. There was very little blood and once we got started, I didn’t even think about it being a living thing once upon a time. It took 2 hours of pulling and slashing and about a million questions, but we got that animal skinned! I had no idea how they got seal oil from blubber; now I know. I had no idea how you would skin a roly-poly sea mammal; now I know.

We finally removed the entire pelt, a whole lot of blubber and were left with a puddle of oil and a mangled carcass on Jeanne’s front porch. Now what to do with this mess? Unlike many of our neighbors, we opted NOT to leave it on Jeanne's front lawn (I think she was a little embarrassed by the hack-job we did on it but am pretty sure she wouldn't have displayed it even we did it right). Anyway, we figured we would just bring it out to the beach and return it to its maker near the landfill, but found this dumpster marked “CARCASSES AND BLUBBER ONLY.” What do you make of that!?!

I can’t find a single recycling bin anywhere in this entire town, but they have a bin specifically marked for carcasses and blubber! Whooda thunk it? We responsibly dumped the remains in the designated place and wondered what they do with carcasses and blubber once the bin is filled. Humm, some things I think are best left to mystery.

At any rate, I am convinced that seal harvesting is one of the world’s dirtiest jobs and should be featured on Discovery channel’s “Dirty Jobs.” When we got home, we figured we would just jump in a hot shower and melt the oily stink off ourselves. NO SUCH LUCK! We tried the industrial GoJo used by mechanics to cut the oil and grease of engine work, astringent-type cosmetic soaps, baby wipes, smelly bath and body soaps and really-really hot water. Nothing worked!

I have a whole new “Only in Barrow” list, but I would have done it all over again in a heart beat. Where else could I have the opportunity with such amazing friends to come out so late in the night to scavenge a seal off the beach, share so many traditions and ways of her people and teach me harvest it? If I hadn’t had the guts to go for it, I would have really missed out and regretted it forever. It was a whole family experience and is decidedly going to stay with us for a while... a long, LONG while.

Thanks to all who made this experience so amazing!

P.S. If anyone has any idea as to how to get seal-oil stink out, it would be most helpful.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New Milestone

We have officially reached a huge milestone that is undoubtedly going to cause us some trouble over the next few days. Kaia escaped her crib for the first time last night. We knew this day was inevitable, but we expected it to be closer to her 2-year mark than today.

Hooray for her mental capacity to problem solve, her emotional capacity to take new risks. Hooray for her physical capacity to pull herself up and over a railing over 3/4 her height, and yae for her sense of humor to pop her little head around the corner exclaiming “there she is!” when she surprised us with her new accomplishment.

But damn if it doesn’t present a new set of training challenges when it comes to putting a girl on the go down for the night. I swear she never walks a step anywhere; she is ALWAYS running! We have been working hard on getting her trained to obey our verbal commands, but it is a hit and miss when she is passionate about things. Bed time just happens to be something she is passionate about.

She is definitely suffering from I-don’t-wanna-miss-anything syndrome and going to be while it is still light outside is just more than she can handle. Unfortunately, the sun will not go down until sometime late August, and she can’t stay up that late. Last night was rough with 3 escapes and a screaming fit. Naptime today was a little better, only one escape and minimal fussing. We shall see what happens tonight. Wish us luck!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Big Dreams and Inspirational Twists

Have you ever had one of those inspiration moments when something that was never even a thought in you mind suddenly becomes your path? Or even the opposite when what you thought was your path forever, suddenly makes no sense for you at all? Well, I must be attracting a lot of that lately because the my most recent inspiration is a combination of the two.

My big dream for at least the last 10 years was to build a family adventure lodge somewhere in Alaska. Now I am thinking that I need to further develop my life coaching skills and make that my business somewhere in the lower 48! I am pretty convinced that my niche in that market has something to do with an adventure framework and I am certain that nature has a lot to do with my coaching environment. But outside of that, it is all VERY new to me.

I haven't given up on the adventure lodge and will probably still build it, but I think the purpose of that dream is for something bigger than vacations, and the timing of it is not quite so urgent. In the long run, my vision should look something like a life coaching spa with a focus and flare for adventure. The funny thing is that I see it much later than previousely invisioned. Something about the delayed timing makes more sense to me and I feel more peace about that.

I am interested to see how this new adventure plays out, and I am excited about the meaning and focus this new line of inspiration is bringing me. I will keep you posted on any big developments on this new twist to an old dream.


On the training dream: I am still in training and have increased my resistence strength by 10% and my distance endurance by 100%! Yae for me! I am still only 1/2 way to my weight loss goals, but even if I'm not lookin' super hot in my runnin' shorts, I am still going to be able to run it! Hey, I can always wear yoga pants, and no competitors gotz-da know that I didn't reach my goal weight when they are eatin' my dust!!!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Gratitude Sunday: Hubby's Work

I don’t know what happened in town, but people went nuts and got into a LOT of trouble this weekend. Hubby was workin' for 16 hours yesterday and is going on 14 today taking felons and other troublemakers off the street.

I am so grateful he has a career that is rewarding and fulfilling and so contributing to everything that is important to us. Thank you Hubby for being such a great Everything!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Mystery, Intrigue and Homemaking

I noticed that the vacuum wasn’t doing its job effectively when I was literally going over and over the same spot only to find new and unfamiliar lint and crumbs. In the mundane tasks of keeping the house functional and clean, I had the exciting infrequent duty to change the vacuum cleaner bag. Yup, the one task that reveals all the disgusting grime that my family and friends track in and spread around all contained in one bag.

Wow, I can’t believe how much dirt my vacuum sucks up! I am not sure if it is the Barrow dirt, the baby traffic or the snack-time crumblies, but I swear that dirt weighed 10 lbs. I have never in my life changed a bag that heavy and the scary thing is that I had only changed it 3 months ago! I know that I have vacuumed more since moving to Barrow; the dirt and the grit is unavoidable up here. But Kaia didn’t start walking until just before we moved up; that could also be a large contributing factor.

Ooooh, an intriguing mystery. What is the source of the 10 lb bag? I didn’t want to redistribute that yuck in my house so I got the brilliant idea to throw it off our front porch into the trash bin (conveniently located just below our front porch… welcoming, I know, but what can we do?) Anyway, the bag was so full that it literally popped open with the impact and exploded the contents of our many times dirty home all over the bottom of the bin in one fantastic “Pooof!”

When the dust settled, I investigated the contents eagerly to determine who was the biggest culprit my vacuuming workload and wouldn’t you know it everything in there looked exactly the same… and nothing like what I know I have been vacuuming up. The mystery deepens. What is the source of all this dirt, and how does it transform into a contiguous mass of gray, dusty fluff?

I know I can’t be alone in this so I would sure love to know your thoughts on the matter. If you can't solve it yourself, please share any clues you may find in your own vacuum entrails. It can only help.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Gratitude Sunday: Fathers

I realize that I didn’t post my Gratitude Sunday, and really did have something composed to post. How could I forget to honor fathers on father’s day?! So here is the post a few days late:

I am continually amazed by my husband and how good of a daddy he is for Kaia. He is so fun and loving and conscious of her needs. I couldn’t dream up a better partner to raise our daughter and am so excited about what is coming in the future. It is amazing to me how much my love and honor and respect for him has grown since I have discovered more about who I want to be and how he inspires that. He has been more of a leader, friend and confidant for me and I am so grateful that Kaia will have that kind of an example as the male role model in her life.

I am also very grateful for my own father, for his amazing sacrifice and example of determination and integrity. I have always thought of him as superman and am proud that he is my dad. He has taught me valuable lessons about life and truth and discovering my true potential. He has also inspired and nurtured my character growth and independence, and I have never doubted his love for me. I know that if it ever came down to it, he would even give his life for mine. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be who I am without his influence in my life and I like who I am.

I am a lucky, lucky girl to have such wonderful men in my life!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Only In Barrow!

I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes Barrow so unique and thought I would make a Top Ten list to share a little piece of my world with you.

Top Ten Reasons You Should Need a Passport to Come to Barrow:

  1. You can’t get here without paying air-fare equivalent to traveling to another continent
  2. English is a second language and acceptably butchered by alcohol or poor dental hygiene
  3. The words “DARK” and “COLD” take on new, intense and powerful meanings
  4. There are only 2 seasons: Break-Up (a muddy, smelly, trash-thawing mess lasting 3 months) and Winter (the DARK and COLD other nine)
  5. Health Care options are comparable to a 3rd world country
  6. It is not uncommon to see VERY unusual fashions and shorts and t-shirts are regularly sported at any temperature above 0 degrees Fahrenheit
  7. Homes, automobiles and other vehicles of transportation are commonly “home grown” or “home modified” meaning there is no way they would pass any safety codes or inspections by normal US standards.
  8. Frozen or rotting carcasses of seal, whale, duck and caribou are standard front-porch ornaments
  9. The prices of goods and services appear to be stated in some form of foreign currency. (Can they really charge $25 for a gallon of Soy Milk and say it’s on sale?)
  10. A four-wheeler and snowmobile are commonly primary sources of transportation (even for families of 5 and especially with fuel prices expected to reach $7/ gallon by August)

When I first moved here in November, I really thought that I had moved to the surface of the moon. Since then I have discovered a few interesting things and some of them are quite wonderful. The most wonderful things have been realized in personal perspective and experience. All in all, it is an amazing place to strip all the chaos of the regular world away and discover who I am and what I want. It has been a fantastic adventure and it will always hold a special place in my heart. It is definitely not for everyone, but I am grateful for the time I have spent here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tell Me What I Want...

Do you ever wonder if you are spending your time and energy developing what you really want? Sometimes it is hard in the mundane, every-day tasks to know if I am really on course with realizing what I want most... And then there is the ever-impressive question of what that really is in the first place.

As the Spice Girls song requests, ‘tell me what I want, what I really, really want!’ Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, wants something. Some try to "inspire" me to take action like ad campaigns, while others are just inspirational because they are doin their own thing. The problem is that nobody knows what I really want (including me sometimes) and what someone else (or myself in a moment of insanity) may think is inspiration is really more of a distraction. The trick is discerning the difference between the two.

I think that is where the intuition comes in; that deep sense of right or wrong that helps me discern what is good for the development of my true self and the life I want most. Great! So all I gotta do is trust my heart… right?

Well, not entirely. My experience has proven that the Law of Attraction applies regardless of whether or not what I want is aligned with my true self, the potential self a loving God created me to be. Not only do I have to trust my heart, but define and know my compass on which I define what I really want.

There have been times when I thought I knew what I wanted and the knock-myself-out path to that end sucked all the joy out of my life. There have also been times when what I thought I didn’t want was exactly the fall-in-my-lap, joyful path to what I really do want most of all. In either case, there has always been an abundance of “inspiration” to encourage compliance with what others want, but not always what I want. So now the question is: If nobody can tell me, how do I know what I really want?

I used to rely on my parents, friends, spouse or church to define, or at least heavily influence that for me. But now I am thinking ‘DON’T tell me what I want!’ I have learned that defining my true self is far too important and personal to trust to someone else. If I don’t make defining what I want a personal quest with God, I am vulnerable to a lifetime of distraction, error and chaos. So how do I have a personal quest with God?

Some people believe that the answer is in the Bible or other religious texts, but I do not feel peace that any one book is a direct fax from God or unlocks the door to my true potential. Besides, there are too many interpretations, translations and different opinions supporting what someone else wants for it to be personal. Others think that it can only be found through trial and error, but I have wasted too much time in error and that hasn’t brought much peace either.

I feel that my God gave me purpose, inspiration and intuition. With those gifts, I believe He expects me to seek out my own purpose then think through the various “inspirations” and use my intuition before taking action. So now I have come to a place where I can be open to and respect what others want, get support from those that want the same, and make all my dreams come true. Perfect!

I am beginning to realize that knowing what I really want isn’t a destination, it is a life-long journey that is made beautiful by the friends and adventures in my life. To help guide me through that journey, I have taken the initiative to define what I know of my purpose and outline a few wants that I feel are in line with my true potential. It's a work in progress, but it gives me confidence that I can take any "inspiration", study it out with all the resources I can get my little hands on, measure it against something meaningful to me, and trust my instincts to keep me moving in a more joyful, fulfilling and spectacular direction.

May you too find your way to what you really want, find meaning in it and enjoy the adventure.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Chivalry is Alive and Well!

Just when I think my life is too boring and my thoughts too blah for post-worthy materials, I get an experience like tonight. Hubby and I were headed into bed with one of those weird conversations about body smells. He mentioned something about his smelly ass and I made some comment about my stinky pits. We were discussing whether our stinks could wait till the morning when my hubby interrupted that powerful thought with an apology.

He said “Sorry Honey” then let one rip! At first I was appalled that he would have the nerve to apologize before he made the offense. He is just like our daughter and her “ut-ohs” it’s just not sincere if you apologize before you intentionally drop something… especially if it is as offensive as a Daddy Fart! Anyway, just as we were laughing about that ironic parallel, he got very serious and threw the covers over my head.

I couldn’t believe it; not only did he have the nerve to blow it up, but he was actually going to try to magnify the offense with a covered wagon! I don’t remember how the conversation went from here, but apparently he was “protecting me” from his green fog funk that was wafting my way. The covers weren’t intended to keep it in, but to shield me from it’s toxic powers… Now, who said chivalry is dead?

Our conversation drifted to something else and we began our normal nightly routine. I tossed around a bit and tugged at covers and pillows while Hubby scratched and rolled over. Just as I was getting comfortable, there it was. Hubby reached his arm over me to snuggle up and the most atrocious smell was right there in my face. “Oh, tell me that wasn’t the hand you were just scratching your ass with!” Sure enough it was, unmistakably o’ de Hubby. Needless to say, we unanimously decided on the shower before bed option. So there you have it folks, chivalry is alive and well in the Hunsaker household.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Linky Dinky Meme

I was tagged by Slacker Mom and thought I would share the fun of this linky dinky meme:

Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so:

  1. Daddy Forever
  2. Almost Somewhat Positive
  3. Maggie at CoffeeShopMofia
  4. Slacker-Moms-R-Us
  5. Big Dreams and Pixie Dust

Next select 5 people to tag:

  1. K.B. Squared
  2. Smile, Play, Dream
  3. A Million Moments
  4. Never Enough Time
  5. Delightful Distraction

What was I doing 10 years ago?

I had just graduated from High-School and believe that on this exact date I was driving from Portland, OR to Provo, UT with everything I owned in an ’84 Honda Acord with a brand-new, custom, barney-purple paint job. My teddy bear was buckled into the front seat on top of a laundry basket full of shoes. I was screaming down a highway in the middle of the desert at 90 MPH with the radio blasting some ungodly Honky Tonk that just happened to be the only thing I could find on the dial. Chances are I was singing along at the top of my lungs, my left leg was definitely hanging out the window and I’m pretty sure my pigtails were flappin’ around in the wind. Looking back, that was probably the best road trip I had ever taken to that date.

What was I doing 1 year ago?

I was on vacation in Portland, reevaluating my beliefs and restructuring my lifestyle. I was nearly ½ way to losing the 100 lbs. I had set out to lose the previous January, and was stoked that I had support from Mom while Hubby was in what seemed to be endless months of police training.

5 snacks I enjoy

  1. Smoked Salmon, Moose or Reindeer (so, I’ve been a little bit spoiled up here in AK)
  2. Fruit (Nectarines, Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, and Tuscan Cantelope Rock!)
  3. Nuts (Cashews, Macadamias and Pistachios are my favorite… especially if they come in cookies or chocolate)
  4. Cosmo Corn (The most amazing caramel popcorn I have ever tasted in my life! I’ve only seen it at Bale’s Thriftway and The Tillamook Cheese Factory)
  5. German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream Concoction from Cold Stone (Sweet cream ice cream, fresh-baked brownie, toasted coconut and chopped pecans with caramel and fudge topping swirled in… Yah, it’s heaven in a cone)

5 songs that I know all the lyrics to…

  1. You are My Sunshine
  2. Twinkle Twinkle
  3. Give Said the Little Stream
  4. The theme song to “It’s A Big, Big World”
  5. Star Spangled Banner

5 things I would do if I were a millionaire

  1. Build my Family Adventure Lodge
  2. Launch my dream business of sharing my passion for Family, Nature and Adventure with the world
  3. Take annual family adventures to all the cool places I would love to go visit (stay tuned for a top 10 list in the near future)
  4. Start up a Education Trust Fund for my kids and their kids
  5. Give 10% to charities (probably ones benefiting the needy, or supporting personal development, families, arts and education)

5 bad habits

  1. I share too much information
  2. I make too many excuses for not taking care of myself
  3. I cuss too much
  4. I spend too much time on the internet
  5. I talk too much

5 things I like to do

  1. Backpack
  2. Trail Run
  3. Blog
  4. Plan Adventures
  5. Hubby

5 things I will never wear again

  1. Church-Lady Panties
  2. Acrylic or Press-On Fingernails
  3. Cowgirl Boots or Pants
  4. Skater Pants
  5. Mom Jeans

5 favorite toys

  1. Computer
  2. Camera
  3. Scrap Booking Gadgets
  4. Um… well, in attempt to break bad habit #1, I will keep the rest between me and my hubby

Monday, June 11, 2007

Good, Healthy Sex

As I was posting my Gratitude Sunday experience, I heard my neighbors having sex. Not just a quickie, but the "haven't-seen-you-in-a-month" or "make-up" sex that rocks the universe. I would have mentioned something about it in yesterday's post, but didn’t want to label it Gratitude Sunday and Potty Talk… something about that just seems a little too naughty… Well, unless it is me having the great sex, then I guess I could be grateful for that. But I digress.

It was strange because I knew exactly what was happening, I just couldn’t identify exactly where it was coming from. Was it downstairs, or right next door? I couldn’t help myself but to solve the mystery. I never really considered myself a nosy neighbor, and certainly not a porn fiend, so I guess it shouldn’t really matter; I just had to know. In case your curiosity is nagging at you too, it was our next-door neighbors who happen to be an attractive couple about our age… maybe a little older, but with no kids.

Once I identified who was getting lucky, I actually said to myself out loud “Good for them!”

It makes me happy to know that two people who have been together for over 12 years can still passionately love each other and find such enjoyment and intimacy. Besides that, it IS good for them physiaclly. Dr. Oz says that healthy people have sex 200 times a year. That is 4 times / week! Wouldn’t THAT be nice?

Hum, great sex about every other day with no stress or exhaustion limitations, no time constraints or interruptions? Sounds like a great health plan to me! I just hope that when Ben and I get to our 12-year mark we can still experience that kind of rock-the-universe sex in our marriage. Hum, I think it is a goal worth shooting for. What do you think?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Gratitude Sunday: Living in Barrow

I have been asked many times “What brings you to Barrow?” Usually my response is pretty bland and impersonal as many people who ask are just making small talk. If I want to keep a low profile or feel a little untrusting of the person asking, I respond with an ordinary “My husband’s work.” If I feel more trusting and want to continue a conversation with them, I respond “Big Dreams and Pixie Dust!” But usually keep the real feelings and reasons to myself because I didn’t think that anybody really wanted to know.

Yesterday, I was asked in such a way that required a little more thought. I was with a group of women that I feel comfortable sharing more personal things with, and was met with “Why are you here in Barrow?” It was asked in the context of personal development and challenges we all face in our life path. My experience has taught me that every challenge is a lesson in personal development and once the lesson is learned, the challenge is over. So, I had actually been digging for a reason so that I could learn my lesson and get the hell out. It had been the topic of many, many prayers that had thus far gone unanswered.

I can usually flow with the awkward social situations and still come out feeling like I say what I mean and do so articulately, but not this time. My response was more a scattered rambling of learning to find God in a different way, finding new things about myself, my beliefs and my potential, strengthening our family and supporting my hubby in his career path. It surprised me how much the question rattled me. I don’t know if it was the question, the situation or the sudden epiphany of the real reasons I am here that made the whole thing so scattered, but I don’t really care. I am just ecstatic that I got a sneak peek into why I am really here and why these lessons couldn’t be learned another way in another place. It has given new meaning to my suffering and somehow made it a LOT more bearable. I actually feel gratitude for the experiences I am having here… Not the obvious loooooong winter and extreeeeeeemly harsh conditions, but the miracles and perspective those hardships are working in my life.

I have always gotten the most inspiration and direction in my life from the wilderness. This is, by far, the biggest, craziest most difficult wilderness I have ever experienced. At first I thought that Hell froze over and I moved there, and that God and inspiration had flown south for the winter... which by Barrow climate is a long-long time. But, my relationship with God has become a LOT more personal. At first I thougth that the sacrifices I am making would make me resent Ben for listening to my advice when encouraging him to apply and take the job. But, my love, respect and appreciation for him has grown immeasurably. At first I thoguth that the lack of outdoor opportunities would diminish our family identity and we would no longer have fun together. But, we spend a LOT more family time without the distractons of all the work of camping and entertaining and eating out... plus, I get to be a bigger part of Kaia’s development because I get to be a SAHM. At first I thought that Ben wouldn't get a lot of job experience or advancement opportunities up here. But, I was really wrong on that too. I can only imagine what more amazing insight and inspiration can come through our challenges here.

For the first time since I moved here, I can honestly say that it is a good thing. Not because of the amazing scenery, incredible recreational opportunities or the friendly weather, because those are a rare find here. It's a good thing because of the perspective it has given me, and the BIG step it has been toward what I really want. Whodathunkit?

Friday, June 8, 2007

Old Journal Entries and New Insights

I found this journal entry from back in January in a strange e-file titled on my hubby's lap top. I think this thought process was triggered by a show on Oprah and I just started writing. It was good to re-read it and reflect on my true definition and meaning of motherhood.

Jan 4, 2007

It is difficult to anticipate the life changes that come with having children. For a long time I thought that having my own kids would severely interfere with my plans for success. However, I wasn’t quite sure of what success really meant to me. When my 12-month old daughter Kaia was born, my perspective on just about everything changed in a big way. I went from feeling like I had all the answers and knew exactly how to get what I wanted, to deciding that what I had just about knocked myself out for, was empty and didn’t really mean much in the long run.

I was doing good things to help my community and was working hard toward my goals, but I didn’t feel like it was quite the right fit for me. I wasn’t fulfilling my purpose. Being around Kaia brought things into perspective for me. She teaches me new things every day, and I am learning more and more what my purpose really is. Though I don’t have all the answers I thought I had, I have definitely put a lot more thought and meaning into the decisions I have made. These decisions have really brought on a lot of change.

Rocking my baby in the wee hours of a January morning, I defined my priorities and for the first time, how assertively I needed to defend them. I came to the conclusion that Kaia is my legacy and everything I do needs to reflect what I want to leave behind. She is the most important thing I can do to leave a positive impact in this world. So, after much thought, budget maneuvering and a big leap of faith, I decided to quit my job and pursue a bigger challenge. The challenge of raising a responsible child according to the best truth I know, has brought more meaning and purpose to my life than I could have ever imagined. I still have big dreams and my plans for success may still yield some of the same outward results, but my priorities, motives and timing have changed.

I don’t regret leaving my job, though the transition is still quite the crazy adventure. When Kaia was born, my husband Ben was just getting started with the application process for an entry level position in law enforcement and we literally had no solid leads for supporting our little family. Without my job, we could not afford health insurance and there was a period of about 3 months before we had any real hope of being able to provide that. That alone was a stressfull transition, but there is more.

Only 5 months after Kaia’s birth, my husband was offered a position with the North Slope Borough Police Department in Barrow, AK. He began training immediately and I was left to my own defenses as a stay-at-home mom with no chance for relief for 8 months! I found comfort in the great outdoors and enjoyed what I could of the Alaskan summers and relied heavily on my family (3000 miles away) for balance and sanity.

In November, I packed our belongings and moved the household to Barrow where it is more than extremely difficult to get out in the elements for even a visit to the supermarket. I haven’t seen the sun since I moved here and from what I understand, even in the season of the midnight sun, we may not see it through the dense fogs of the arctic. So, the transition has had its little bumps on the trail of life, but you can't put a price on family.

I intentionally forfeited my job status, financial security and psychological escape route to take responsibility for the welfare and development of our baby. Don’t get me wrong though, I don’t consider myself a martyr. I have lost much, but have gained much more. My decision to quit my job has given me the opportunity to evaluate and prioritize my life, and it has given me the courage to defend that decision in the face of judgment, ridicule and degradation.

It is amazing how judgment comes from all sides, even from inside at times. I have faced judgment from peers at my old job in that I am not woman enough to juggle work and kids at the same time… even though many of them admitted to working too hard or too long and being “spent” before they even make it home to the kids. I have also faced judgment from peers at my old church in that I am not fulfilled with the traditional subservient role as wife and mother. But the judgment that hits me the hardest is my own. I never imagined that it would be so tough to know the right thing to do for the welfare and development of a child, especially when it requires taking care of the child's mother.

The ridicule I have faced from women’s liberation propaganda and women who have chosen different paths to fulfillment are also a challenge. I have been mocked as a traitor to the gender for giving up my potential to have a successful career for a go-nowhere babysitting job. I have also been laughed at for finding meaning in teaching my child to love and forgive and share or learning from her how to giggle and play and enjoy life again. But the hardest thing to take is not the judgment of my decision to stay-at-home or the ridicule for finding fulfillment in it, but the degradation of the occupation itself.

Motherhood has been degraded to life of servitude in diaper-changing, laundry-folding, toilet-bowl cleaning monotony. Jokes about watching soaps and eating bon-bons minimize and desecrate the awesome beauty and responsibility of providing all the tools for building the character and essentially the potential of another human being. It can be a full-time job to manage the day-to-day operations of an average household, but those are only small peripheral tasks that fall under “other duties as assigned” on the job description of MOM.

The way I see it, my job is NOT about servitude, though it can feel that way sometimes, it is about teaching my children to understand right from wrong and make a difference in the world in their own way.


Today, I feel the same and am encouraged by my January self. However, I can't help but think that I have learned something since then. Here are a few new insights.

  1. I learned that I can't put all of my worth in my baby and any future babies because they are only in my stewardship and will some day achieve what I am working so hard to teach them... and they will leave at best, but may reject what I teach them or be taken from me at worst.
  2. I learned that I must take control of my identity as a person first, then balance my definition of the motherhood role with that. Tricky concept, but I think it is more of a journey than a destination.
  3. I also learned that there isn't much else I really control. Yup, it's kind of depressing, but being a mom only complicates the hell out of developing my own personal identity. I think that it can be done though, and I am looking forward to a more focused journey to that end.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A Girls Night

Tonight was the first of what I hope to be many Girls Nights. You can imagine all the wonderful and exciting things that a couple of moms could do in an Alaska bush village... that is damp (no buying or selling of alcohol but quite literally full of water and mud), but it was really fun.

We went down to the local Bingo Hall and stamped our little hearts out on those crazy numbers. We laughed, we cried, we wet our pants… well, not really, but almost. We were clearly the only people under 50 and as if that weren’t enough to make us stand out, we were also the only white people there. It was a little awkward when we first walked in, but once we got settled and the games began, we were all having so much fun that it just didn’t matter anymore. We even made friends with a few older ladies sitting next to us and got a kick out of winning some of our money back. They call those numbers fast and we could barely keep up. I even came out $2.50 ahead; what a kick!

I was thinking that we could find other fun things to do on Girls Night, like go to the local rec center for a sauna, or borrow some four wheelers and head out on the tundra. Hey, I could even wear some crazy goggles and get a fun helmet! Well, that’s all that I got in this wild and crazy town. I really don’t care what we do, but it is fantastic to just be me and not worry about what Kaia is climbing into, onto or out of.

It was fun to play with other moms and not talk about, clean up after, finish projects for, or be interrupted by our kids. I was able to dress up and feel great about just being me. No snot on my shirt. No food on my jeans. Real time spent on hair and makeup. I felt hot! Good therapy, and I hope that I can find other opportunities to get some more of that.

Childhood Scars, Addiction & Self Discovery

Dr. Laura Smith (a psychiatrist that Oprah frequently features) had once mentioned something about childhood wounds. She says that nobody escapes childhood without some kind of battle scars and I never really thought too much about it. I had always considered my childhood pretty uneventful. I guess I had a few issues with my hot temper and some mean grade-school kids, maybe a situation or two in high-school with a friend or boyfriend, but I really can’t say that it was all that rough… always dramatic, but not really all that painful. I always had my mom there to help coach me through it and I knew that my home was a stable and safe place for me to recover.

I always considered myself pretty successful and happy through at least junior high and high school. In fact, I considered myself part of, or at least accepted by the popular crowd. I even ran into some old school mates when I was visiting at home last time and they told me that I was the girl that every girl wanted to be, and every guy wanted to be with… (What?!? Why didn’t I ever catch onto that?)

Anyway, I digress. The point is that it wasn’t until just this week, in Barrow of all places, that I realized that I do have childhood wounds! I was having a conversation with one of my newest real-life friends at the gym and discovered that we are both feeling like we don’t measure up, that somehow we aren’t good enough. It was something about the way that she said it that made me snap back to all the great successes that I have had in my life and the feeling of insignificance… the feeling that my hard work and sacrifice were never good enough.

Good enough for whom? Who was I trying so hard to impress? Why did I so desperately need that validation? Then I remembered a letter I once wrote my dad using those exact words in relation to not feeling good enough or not measuring up to his expectations. I remember feeling really rejected and frustrated that I wasn’t enough to make him proud. I must have been about 17 when I wrote that… Whoda thunk that a 10-year-old memory would sneak up and kick me in the ass?

I can’t really pin-point one experience, but a long history of constantly feeling that my best was never good enough for him. My graduation from high school was met with “good, now you can move out of the house.” He even handed me $1500 and said “make sure that lasts till you get a job ‘cause that’s all you’re getting.” Even my graduation from Dad’s Alma mater was undermined by the impression that my major wasn’t hard enough, or profitable enough or respectable enough on some level. My most recent was last August when I had lost 100 lbs. and his response was "Great! How many more do you still have to lose?" Wow! That really hurts. I didn’t realize how painful all that was until just writing it out now.

There was a time when I stopped caring. But those were the roughest years of my life. I looked for approval elsewhere… and got it… but you and I both know how empty addictions are. Boys gave me all the approval I could ever need until they got what they wanted. Alcohol only clouded my judgment, and "everything looks fine with beer goggles on." I even tried some mysterious brownies once, but all that did was really convince me that drugs are NOT, nor ever will be my thing… but that story is for another post.

The crazy thing is that it wasn’t until I weeded out those “addictions” and became the equivalent of a Catholic NUN that I felt that I truly had my dad’s respect. I felt like he respected the fact that I had the guts to completely change my life and dedicate it to helping others. I thought that this was a turning point and that he was going to start approving of my life choices from there out. But mission life isn’t real, and it doesn’t last forever… Thank You God! So then I got married. Dad was having some issues with the church he raised me in, and the fact that he wasn’t sure about the whole temple gig probably played into the stress of the event. Then there was the bit about him not liking Hubby AT ALL. At any rate, he made it perfectly clear that he didn’t approve… and that story too is for another post.

So, I have been thinking about the long-term effects of these life-long feelings and discovered that there may be something in them holding me back from reaching my potential. I am not going to sit here and write about how my daddy didn’t love me… because I know that he did. I know that even today, he would lay down his life for me without even thinking twice. The truth is that it all comes back to the spirit of the intention vs. the result of the mistake… or series of mistakes. I know that often times, his intention was to protect me and teach me and love me, he intended to be encouraging and loving and inspiring in so many ways. I actually told him once in a good heart-to-heart “Dad, your intentions are good, but your delivery sucks! You might wanna work on that.”

At any rate, I thought that I had chalked most of it up to his issues and gotten over it, but now every time I don’t feel like I am good enough, I am driven to the cupboards… I call it addiction transfer: From indiscriminate boinking to indiscriminate eating. (Well, not all that indiscriminate on either, I have my standards. I prefer fun and tasty… men and food. It is actually pretty ironic how my favorite addictions have had and now have the least substance.

So, why do I write all of this deep craziness? I am trying to get to the bottom of why I am addicted to junk food, and what I can do about it. I have the feeling that no matter how many diets I go on, or how many pounds I successfully lose, they will always come back with interest because the root of the problem is not being addressed. I can treat the symptoms of flabby abs and chunky butt, but they will keep coming back until I have the courage to deal with the source.

I recognize that as much as I love my dad, he isn’t the most important influence in my life. I rarely speak to him, and never really feel rejected by him anymore. I cherish the time we get to spend together and am really looking forward to our trip next month. So what is rejecting me now… ME!? I would much prefer to think that it is triggered by something outside myself, something that I can easily identify and eliminate.

Is it the media? I already have enough evidence to say that THEY don’t know anything and aren’t worth basing my worth on. Is it genetic OCD, once repressed but now catching up to me? I can get counseling and meds for that. Was it a lifetime of being Mormon? Well, I decided that this was part of it and eliminated it, but it didn’t entirely fix the problem, it just helped me see and admit that there was a problem.

What is it? How do I beat this monster? How do I overcome an enemy I don’t even know and can’t see? Oh, I wish there were an easy button. Maybe I just need to face the fact that though I am not mad at my dad, and don’t blame him for my troubles, I still want him to know how it made me feel. Maybe I just need validation that he thinks I am okay now. But why would I be basing my worth on his opinion? It’s important to me because I love and respect him… but is it really where I base my worth? NO. Plus, I wonder what good it would do to hurt him like that. He too suffers from OCD and I think it would really eat at him to have his mistakes from 10+ years ago regurgitated and thrown back in his face. I really don’t feel like this is going to get me the results that I am after.

I could blame it on my hubby. Maybe it has something to do with losing myself since we got married, or not getting enough support. Maybe we don’t have sex enough. Hey, maybe I should try to transfer the addiction back to sex!?! That sounds fun… But what if it is too much pressure on Hubby and he doesn’t want to perform, or the performance isn’t passionate enough of validating enough to fill the void and one or both of us start looking elsewhere? THAT would really suck. Plus, I am trying to get to the root of the addiction, not transfer it back to another destructive behavior.

I know that I am not the only person in the world that feels this way. In fact, I know that a lot of women, especially mothers, have similar feelings and addictions. I don’t want to focus on the problem, but the SOLUTION. I want to know how other mothers fight it. I would love any advice anyone can offer. Post a comment, post a post on your blog and direct me there, send me a private e-mail, anything could help. Even just knowing that I’m not alone is comforting.

When I feel this desperate, I talk to my mom. She said that she put all of her worth into her children and THAT didn’t work… I don’t know what she was trying to say… either that she thinks her kids aren’t that spectacular or successful and therefore don’t give her enough worth as a mother, or that placing the control outside herself put her in a state of helplessness and worry. I tend to think the latter is truer than the former because she fights her own vicious battle of food addiction.

HEY! THAT’S IT! I have to base my worth on what I control. Looks like the monster IS inside me… it is some sick way of thinking that has chained me to my addiction and I think I may be on to how to fight it. I have to retrain myself to base my worth on something that is meaningful and substantial and IN MY CONTROL; I have to retrain myself to get my validation from the Universe, or God or… or Myself!

Crap! Now I am starting to sound like that Smiley guy from Saturday Night Live who always says "I’m good enough; I’m smart enough, and dog on it, people like me."

Anyway, now that I have identified the “stink” I can work on getting it out! I know what is meaningful to me, but what do I control? THAT, my friend, is another post. I will probably be starting a new label called “beating addiction” for this and other related posts. Stay tuned for more ramblings self discovery and the saga ov beating my addiciton.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Counting The Days

I am so excited to get out of Barrow and get some good camping in down in Colorado. I will be acclimatizing for about a week before the big race and will be catching these spectacular views! I was able to find these great pix of the places I will go and the things I will see. Enjoy!

View from the top of Grant-Swamp Pass [12,920'], looking south.
Fuller Lake can be seen in the extreme upper right.
And note the string of runners below in the grass at the far left.

Zoom-in of Bridal Veil Falls from Virginius Pass.Somewhere up there in the clouds on the right is Oscar's Pass, which our trail crested 11.4 miles ago.

Spin around 180-
degrees, and this is the view north from Virginius Pass.
The green ridge at dead-center is Stony Mountain [12,698'], and our trail decends straight ahead, down the valley to it's base.
The low saddle on the horizon, at the extreme left, is Blue Lake Pass [13,000']. The peak to the right of the pass is Mount Sneffels [14,150'].
Peak on the right side of the picture with the spikey nub on its left side is Teakettle Mountain [13,819'].

At the top of the switchbacks, the trail leaves the shale and enters the igneous. Miners blasted this route out of the side of the cliffs just outside of Ouray.

View from Upper Blue Lakes basecamp
(12,980 feet) for acclimitizing and training climb up Mt. Sneffels (14,150 feet).

Looking back at Upper Blue Lakes basecamp from 1/2 way up the Blue Lakes Pass (ridge before the climb up Sneffels). Check out those yellow flowers!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A Fun Meme and The Secret

Have you ever hit the “next blog” button on the blogspot toolbar? I did and it brought me here. Amazing what I found about the law of attraction! Where does the "next blog" take you?

I have actually been thinking about the topic of my "next blog" a lot lately and trying to apply it to my goals. It's funny, but I think the law of attraction actually brougth me there. Anyway, here are a few good questions bolded and itallicsed I kyped from Million Dollar Project and attempted to answer. It actually inspired me to think through another Top Ten list of what I want. Unfortunately, it also left me with a few big questions of my own.

Do you know what you want – your desires?

1. I want to be healthy and strong enough to run 16.1 miles of the Hard Rock by July 13th 2007.

2. I want to renew my wedding vows with my hubby on our 5-year anniversary in August 2007 somewhere beautiful.

3. I want to live below the Arctic latitude by January 2008.

4. I want to own my own investment property/home by January 2009.

5. I want to run a successful Adventure Lodge and start sharing my passion for Nature, Life and Adventure on a commercial scale by December 2020.

6. I want to teach my daughter healthy and happy life skills by December 30, 2023.

7. I want to have the financial freedom to travel to amazing wild places every year or so.

8. I want to be an inspiration and teach and be taught by everyone I meet.

9. I want to help others find peace and joy in their life path.

10. I want to leave a legacy of love, leadership, integrity and many shared adventures.

Do you know how to ask for what you want?

I think I do but I can’t be sure. I spend a descent amount of meditation time imagining how I will feel and what I would be doing on a daily basis when these dreams come true. I also speak to others as though those things are in my forecast. I also pray for guidance in setting my goals and strength to live the life that would get me there. But I wonder if I am jinxing it by putting time limits on the universe or putting too vague or too specific a desire out there. Am I close?

Are you able and willing to allow it to manifest in your life?

I think so, but sometimes I think I am self defeating when I am OFF and make posts like this. But when I am ON, I feel like some of these things are already mine… or at least that I am on the right path to making them happen. How can I make myself MORE able to allow it to manifest in my life?

You will learn the answers to these questions by taking inspired action.
You learn what you want and don’t want by acting in the world, by doing things. If you have never tried painting a picture, how do you know if you are passionate about it or not?

You learn how to ask for what you want by acting in the world. You learn how to allow it to manifest in your life by taking inspired action.

Okay, time for a deep question. How do you know it is inspiration and not just butterflies or excitement to do something impulsive or stupid? I think we have all misinterpreted inspiration and found ourselves in a bit of trouble… A certain spring break trip to Seaside and more than a few boyfriend disasters comes to my mind. Yah, those didn’t end so well, but things could have ended a LOT worse. But I digress. This is something that I have given quite a bit of thought to.

How do you know what God/ the universe wants for you? How do you know when you are on track with the plan? I think there are some actions that aren’t inspired and really set us back, so how do we avoid these and still live life to the fullest?

All I got for answers to these questions is that I have to trust my personal relationship with God/ the universe and that Christ/ grace and love will compensate for the impulsive and stupid things I mistake for inspiration. I also have to think that God will at least be understanding of my uncertainty in his methods of communication. Inspiration isn't always clear and the Bible just doesn’t help much with helping me define my personal life path toward leaving my mark and achieving my dreams.

The infinitely powerful universe wants to help us create what we desire. The universe has you on this earth right now so that you can create your desires.
We are not here to be miserable and live a life of struggle. The universe will help you create your desires. When we flow with this energy we become co-creators of our lives with the universe. The universal energy flow is working with you to create what you want. The universe does not fail. Inspired action takes your magical thinking and dreams and manifests it. It aligns your thoughts, feelings and actions.

If you stop struggling and relax and start flowing with the universal flow of energy, imagine the peace you would feel without having to struggle everyday in your life.

I partly agree with this. As I consider myself somewhat spiritual, I consider the universe to be a personal and loving God. I think that there is more to this life than our own desires. We have to align our desires with the desires that God has for us. That is a very personal and intentional quest. I know that we are not here to be miserable, but sometimes the valleys of our lives are where we learn the most powerful lessons, come closest to the truth of who we really are and what we can become and gain the sustenance and shelter that just aren't up there on the mountain top. I am a bit of a believer in “no pain, no gain,” but know that this life is meant to be enjoyed to the fullest. I also believe that I am a co-creator in my life. I am NOT a victim or a pawn, I am an active participant with real intentions and can create what I want with God’s help. It is all about that inspired action thing. And what is with the magical thinking? Is that like big dreams and pixie dust? Now it is just up to me to align my thoughts feelings and actions with what God really wants for me… yah, not so simple.

I completely agree with the stop struggling idea. I think it is like the sweet spot on driving a clutch; you have to struggle a little bit to find where it is, and that road is pretty rough, but once you find it, life is sweet and flows much more smoothly. Sometimes I think I am fighting too hard for something that really isn’t me. But growing up in sports, I’ve been taught that quitting the fight is loosing the battle. I guess it all comes back to picking my battles and aligning my life with God’s desire for me. I still haven’t found the sweet spot, but I feel a lot better about the road since I left Mormonism and showed up for my personal driving course with the manufacturer… God. Now if I can just learn His language...

Monday, June 4, 2007

A Rough Go of Training

Okay, so last week was a flop as far as the positive changes go. I have been working so hard to lose some extra pounditos and get myself physically strong enough to do this 16.1 mile leg of the Hard Rock 100 with my dad. Well, I did get 4 days of exercise in last week but I only went 1/2 ass on the training regiment… and don’t even get me started on the nutrition program. I kept to the plan of eating every 4-5 waking hours, but effectively replaced the high-nutrient foods with ice cream, doritos, french fries and yes, even a little rum & full-sugar coke. Ah, the luxuries of spending a weekend in a real city!

Barrow sure tries to be a real city, but I think it falls short by a few thousand conveniences. It’s not that bad, but coming back has driven me to the cupboards and fridge and pantry. I should just put big signs all over the kitchen saying “IT’S NOT IN HERE!” Because deep down, I know that it is NOT. I don't even know what IT is. Something tasty? Something empowering? something motivating? I don't know, but I keep looking anyway. The good news is that we don’t keep junk foods in the house and I am really not tempted by raw ingredients. The bad news is that I gained a pound on my Anchorage binge and am pretty sure it wasn’t muscle gain. I am hoping like hell that it's just water retention from all that salt and that it will be gone and then some by next Monday.

I’m also hoping that the lack of motivation is just the sugar detox talkin’ because I am white knuckling it right now and don’t know if I can hang on to what little determination I have left. The truth is that nothing tastes as good as success and I really want to reach my goal. I have 5 weeks left to lose 21 lbs, run 168 miles and climb up and down 7740 flights of real stairs. I’m confident that it can be done, but not if I sit on my ass only to get up to check in the cupboards for something tasty. If any of you have tips or encouragement, I could sure use some.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Gratitude Sunday: A Sunny Day

Today was a day of sunshine after a long stretch of dreary fog. I am not writing metaphorically or poetically, but literally. I haven't seen a day this bright in about a month, and I am really enjoying it.

It was amazing to see how many people were out on foot, bike, trike four wheeler and yes still snowmachine (snow mobiles for you lower 48 readers). I can’t believe that it is June and we still have snow on the ground. What blows me away is that there is still ice pack on the ocean! I thought they said that summers were great up here… I’m still waiting for that to happen.

I took Kaia to the park and we had a great time on the swings and the slide. There were about 40 other park goers and it was fun to watch the kids get creative with the mud and the water still accumulated on the playground. We could only stay for about an hour though, because Kaia's little fingers were turning purple from holding on to all those cold metal bars and being exposed to that danged wind. At any rate, it was a good time and I am glad that we went.

When we got back to our apartment, there were about 10 kids in swimsuits running around trying to get a tan... which I thought was really funny because it only got up to 38 degrees today and the neighbor kids are Alaska Native, Polynesian and Black. If anyone needed a tan it would be us Tunuk’s! (Inupiat word for the color white that they endearingly call the minority white people... I am pretty sure that it is not intended as a racial slur.) I have been feeling a little pasty lately and have been thinking about venturing out in a tank top. Even while exercising, 38 is still pretty chilly!

Anyway, the sun is still shining and will keep shinning until the clouds move in or September rolls around… which ever comes first. I am just grateful for a day of relative warmth and brilliance. I think it does good things for the soul.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Top Ten: Personal Ironies

I haven't done a Top Ten list in a while and found this meme topic quite interesting. I would love to read a few of your personal ironies in the comments. So, here they are, my top ten personal ironies in chronological order.

  1. For the longest time I said I would only eat wild game. Then I despised killing animals and decided to stick to beef, pork and chicken. Then I discovered that beef, pork and chicken come from cows, pigs and chickens and I went vegetarian for about a year. Now I prefer wild game or organic meat (but I do enjoy a good greasy burger once in a blue moon).
  2. For the longest time, I said that I would never be a runner, I actually hated running. Then I joined sports and it became part of the price to play the game. Then I got in shape and it wasn’t so painful. Then I started running on Mountain trails, Desert trails, Arctic trails and began to enjoy it. Now I get excited anytime I think I might get to run a trail and am planning on pacing my dad on a portion of his 100 mile ultra-marathon.
  3. For the longest time, I said I would never go to a Mormon Church College. Then I went to BYU for a year and then swore I would never go back. I graduated from BYU with Recreation Management and Business Management Degrees.
  4. For the longest time, I said that I would never neglect my physical health. Then I let myself go and put on 130 lbs. I have since taken off 100 and am working really hard to get rid of that last stubborn 30.
  5. For the longest time, I said I would never go on a Mormon Church Mission. Then there was a period they wouldn’t have let me. I was the first of all my girlfriends to actually do it and served an amazing 17 months in Europe and Africa, learned 2 new languages and learned a LOT about myself, others and life in general.
  6. For the longest time, I said I would never get married or have children. Then I was voted most likely to get married right out of high school and start a family. I was the last of all my girlfriends to actually do it, but have a wonderful hubby of 5 years in August, a beautiful baby girl of 17 months and I wouldn’t trade ‘em for anything!
  7. For the longest time, I said I would have an adventurous career like an Astronaut who discovers intelligent life on other planets and travels to new galaxies or a Marine Biologist who discovers new life forms in the ocean deep. Then I discovered that I’m not all that good at math but have an affinity for the mountains… on earth. I am now a stay-at-home mom living on the Tundra… no mountains, but I have created new intelligent life in a place that is like another planet… that should count for something.
  8. For the longest time, I said I would accomplish big dreams of running my own business. Then I signed up for several of those pyramid businesses and NONE of them ever made me any money. I still have plans to run my own adventure lodge, and it is closer now than it has ever been. Now we just have to decide on a place to build it.
  9. For the longest time, I said I would move to Alaska and make that my home. Then I vacationed in Alaska, worked a summer in Alaska and honeymooned in Alaska. Right after college I moved to Alaska. Now I count the days till I can get the hell out of here and am debating on whether or not I really want to make it my home.
  10. For the longest time, I said that I would never even think about leaving the Mormon Church. Then I questioned the integrity of its members, left and said I would never come back. Then I realized the members aren’t a perfect example of the doctrine, came back and said I would never leave again. Then I questioned the doctrine and seriously considered leaving again. I finished my mission, got married in the Temple and continued a strong-active member for 5 more years. Then I questioned the effect of all the doctrine on my personal relationship with God and how the contradictions would ultimately affect my children. I have since left again, but have no intention of predicting the future. If God leads me back, that’s His business.

Friday, June 1, 2007

A Bit of Drama & Vacation Mystery

Sunday night we decide that we need to get out of town. We had been feeling a little cabin fever and needed a chance to reconnect with each other and with normal civilization… that, and we had a serious opportunity to get a $2000 trip to Anchorage for about $200.

Hubby usually gets 3-4 day weekends as he works 12-hour shifts, but it had been 3 weeks since we had one, and we had gone much longer without REALLY seeing each other. As this was the first 4-day weekend in forever, we booked the tickets Sunday night for the following evening flight out of Barrow. I packed our bags and straightened the house, canceled the play date and workout plans I had set up to break the monotony of agonizing over keeping myself and baby from insanity and waited… and waited… and waited.

Hubby was supposed to leave work at 6:30 pm, and the flight was scheduled to leave at 7:12. Yah, didn’t think that was going to work out from the beginning, but Hubby assured me, it had in the past because Barrow is “special.” Anyway, he said he had made arrangements to come home and help me get the bags to the airport and that I should wait for him vs. meet him there… I thought it was pushing it close as it was, and I REALLY wanted to get out of town, but I kept giving him the benefit of the doubt. 6:30 rolls around, then 6:40 and Still no Hubby. At 6:50, I get a call from Hubby saying he is on his way and I should call a cab.

A CAB!?! What the Hell!?! Was he freaking out of his mind!? I couldn’t believe that this was his arrangement. Anyway, the cab shows up to our house at 7 and I am certain that the plane is buttoned up and taxiing down the runway. Of course the cab driver knows where we are going, that there is only ONE flight out of here and that it leaves in 12 minutes and takes his sweet time getting there! Again… What the Hell!? Anyway, at 7:06 the Alaska Airlines personnel meets us at the front door of the airport and says “you must be the family we couldn’t wait on any longer. You’ll have to wait till tomorrow.”

I was pissed! I really wasn’t all that surprised, but kept biting my tongue and gritting my teeth as Hubby kept making all of these crazy ass statements about how accommodating they are here. Again… What the Hell!? I have been here since November and NEVER had anything outside our small group of friends come anywhere near accommodating. Maybe close to coherent, or even civil, but NEVER accommodating.

All I really wanted was to spend some quality time with Hubby, let him get some quality time with Baby and recharge my psychological battery. What I got was “You’ll have to wait till tomorrow.” I’ve been waiting till tomorrow, till next week, till next weekend for over a month! The last thing I wanted to do was wait. Then Hubby get’s this brilliant idea that he will take this opportunity to catch up on all of his paperwork at the station. What the Hell!?! Couldn’t he see that I was a mama on the edge? Couldn’t he see that I was desperate for a little attention and, God forbid, a break?

Apparently not! He dropped me off at home with 3 boxes of groceries he picked up while waiting at the air cargo, a whiny baby and the ½ of our luggage that didn’t get loaded on the flight I so frantically wanted to be on. Of course he kept the laptop (my only link to the real world) and away he went. I understand that he was late because of a serious call he had to take right before 6pm. I understand that paperwork on such calls has to be processed quickly so that it can go to the District Attorney and through the court systems. I understand that things don’t always work out… especially at the last second, and I definitely understand why he would want to get all his case paperwork done before leaving town. What I don’t understand is why I was so angry.

I think it was a bad combination of PMS, cabin fever, pent up frustration toward Hubby and exhaustion from being a stay-at-home mom who actually has to stay at home. At any rate, I tried my best to hold it together… AND FAILED. Hubby must have thought the place had been bombed when he got home. The T.V. was flickering some muted nonsense with subtitles, the luggage had been opened and its contents scattered, all the grocery packaging materials had been pulled out of their boxes and flung across the front room, the remote control was shattered in 6 different pieces on the floor against the wall and I was in a puddle of tears next to a sweaty baby in our bed. He may not have seen signs of needs unattended before, but he was NOT going to miss this one. I haven’t had a fit like that in a long time, and can only thank God that Kaia was in the other room or asleep for most of it. No doubt she had been feeling the tension though, and for that I am still beating myself up.

I was just so furious and frustrated and had been for some time. When Hubby rolled in at midnight, I just pretended to be asleep like nothing had happened. The next morning I looked like hell and couldn’t find the words to start a conversation without making things worse. I noticed that he had done some cleaning and taped the remote back together. We worked around each other trying to get our stuff together to leave. Finally he broke the silence when he delicately asked me what had happened. All I could say was “sorry about the remote.”

It took us 2 days into the trip to start a conversation about what was at the root of the problem, but I still don’t think I was really understood. Maybe I need to write it out to understand it myself… I don’t know. But this is not the end of the saga.

On the bright side, the trip was good for us, and I was able to take a mini vacation from my frustrations and the demands of being a cop’s wife and full-time mommy. At least now I think that we are in a better state of mind for discussing things, and I have learned a valuable lesson: I am NOT going to continue putting issues off until Hubby gets a weekend, because sometimes weekends are delayed and when needs back up, things don’t end well for the remote.


Now about that mini-vacation. We ate good food, visited great friends, climbed a gorgeous mountain with a fantastic view and enjoyed amazing vacation nookie. Why is it always better in a strange place? And how can a baby sleep through somethin’ rowdy in the next room of a vacation rental, but not in the next room at home? Ah, the mysteries of vacation