Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I did it! My first ever winter hiking/camping trip. My cousin, Jason, and I hiked into a undeveloped hot springs (can't remember the name of it at the moment). It was a 3 hour drive to the trail head and a 7 mile hike in. It was totally exhausting but completely worth it! We hiked in on Friday (the dogs hauled our gear in on a sled), set up camp, soaked in the hot springs, and slept in a tent at 0 degrees or colder! Woke up Saturday morning, had breakfast, soaked again, talked and napped all afternoon long, and slept another night in the tent. Woke up Sunday and cleaned up camp, hiked back out and drove back into town. It was a fabulous weekend!

I've met my cousin lots of times at the coffee shop for a visit and have visited him at his house and him at mine but we haven't done anything just fun together since we were in high school. It was great to just be with him and get lots of visits in! I learned a lot about camping, especially in winter. This is piddly stuff to him since he has done hundreds of these trips in his lifetime, ones extremely more difficult and longer. One of the last ones he did was for 100 days! He is a true outdoors man!

Here are some pictures. I would have taken more, especially of the hot springs but 0 degrees and lots of steam really isn't conducive to pictures, on top of the fact that you don't soak with clothes on. At 0 degrees you don't want to be messing with trying to take off wet clothes and then trying to get them dry, not to mention that there isn't another person around for miles.

Hiking in. Got the camera out to snap a few pics but that didn't last long at 0 degrees.

Pretty pooped out and we still have 3 miles to go!

Finally make it to the campsite and the dogs are just as tired, or more tired, than I am.

Setting up camp, just made it by dark.

Home safe and sound.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Be The Change You Wish To See In The World

There has been a lot swirling in my mind lately but something that has taken up a lot of space is how my lifestyle and the things I purchase and eat effect the world, or at least effect my conscience.

Most of you know that Kev is vegan and a big animal rights activist so I hear information all the time about how our choices effect other beings. For some reason this last couple weeks it is weighing on my mind quite heavily. I choose to be vegetarian, partly for the HORRID way that animals are treated, partly for the effect that raising that many animals has on the earth (environmentally), and partly for the fact that it just grosses me out to eat dead animals, especially when we have so many other food choices.

The thing that has been weighing on me though is that even though I don't eat meat I eat cheese and some other dairy products, I have a down jacket, and ewwwwww, even leather furniture. All those choices add up to the same horrible treatment of animals that eating meat does. I just want to become more aware of EVERY choice I make, the products I buy, etc. We quit feeding the dogs IAMS because of their reputation for inhumane treatment of animals, yet I'm wearing a down jacket; just doesn't add up for me. I'm warm, I'll give you that, but at what cost?

Just to clarify, I don't judge others for eating meat but do you know where your meat comes from and how it is processed? I believe that most people would be vegetarian if they were forced to watch their food be processed. I understand that people have been eating animals from the beginning of time but I also believe that every being has a right to live a life free from pain and suffering until they die. I understand that nature can be cruel but to purposely treat another living being so horribly just because they are animals? Do you really believe that they don't feel pain? Do you honestly believe they don't have a right to live a good life just because we are more powerful than they? And it's funny that most people would find it disgusting to kill their pet rabbit or dog, for that matter, to eat but what is the difference? That you have a more emotional connection to them? Maybe spend some time researching where your food comes from and how it is processed and see if it changes how you feel about your food.

Getting back to the vegetarian thing; dairy farms treat their animals just as cruely as the slaughterhouses, so every time I take a bite of ice cream, eat cheese, etc. I am supporting the industry that treats these animals so horribly. I can choose to buy organic/free range- that would help. I could also buy from local farms that farm humanely. I just want to be more conscious of the choices I am making.

Sometimes it seems that the choices I make, as an individual, don't really make that big of a difference and it probably doesn't but I keep coming back to my favorite quote, "BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD." Ghandi I want to make my corner of the world as joyful and peaceful as possible. It might not make any difference at all but I do it because, as my sister once said, "It's the right thing to do, damnit."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Well, we are on to the next phase..................

Kev got his license yesterday morning! It's a strange feeling to have a child driving himself around. I'm not prone to worrying but I have to say that it has crept into my being. The roads aren't slick yet but when they are it's going to be tough to not worry all the time. I guess that is what we are supposed to do eh?

He is a good driver and I'm really proud of him. I'm mostly proud of the man he is becoming.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Life is just grand, most of the time!

Well, another fabulous weekend. I know everyone is probably going to get sick of me singing the "life is grand" song but it honestly is just good!

Friday night we went into Anchorage and had dinner with my bosom buddy, Sheli, who rode a bus down from Fairbanks with 45 or so swim kids. Her daughter is on the West Valley High School swim team (the school I graduated from) and they were down for a meet on Saturday. It's always good to see her!! Calista was a little, no a lot, disappointed that Maija couldn't come with. Calista and Maija have been BFF's since birth and Sheli was just a stark reminder of how much she missed Maija. So we had to listen to her ALL weekend long, scheming how she was going to get up to Fairbanks and visit Maija:) We are going to try really hard to get up there in the next two weeks.

Saturday Kev had the swim meet in Anchorage so after my yoga class we went and watched that. He didn't do all that great ,so he was a little bummed, but they've been pushing the swimmers pretty hard in practice this last week and I think they were all a little broken. This week they are supposed to get a bit of a rest. After the meet we came back to Wasilla and did some chores and then went up for our weekly hang-out at Pandemonium, the coffee shop that I work at. They have music every Saturday night so we go hang out and heckle the musicians (mostly Chris Alvarado) and hang out.

Sunday I had an Acroyoga Workshop. I was very hesitant to go since I don't really care for all these things that people create, based on yoga. It seems like hype, marketing, whatever you want to call it, to me. But I went anyway and surprisingly I had a wonderful time!! It was pretty cool! This couple has taken their love of acrobats, yoga, and thai massage and melted them together. It was so much fun and such a good exercise in trust. There is a "base" who basically flies you like an airplane, they way we did it with our children when they were small. It's a little more technical than that but not much, and instead of just flying you do yoga stuff and then when you come off you get thai massage. If you are interested watch acrolicious, pretty incredible. I've also posted pictures of our group (I'm the one in the pink tank-top and black pants).
After the workshop I met one of my sisters friends, from Pensacola, at Pandemonium for lunch. Bonnie lives in Pensacola where my sister, Ren, and her family lived for eight years. She was up visiting another friend who used to live in Pensacola. She knew Ren's family lived here so she got our info and called. It was fun to get to know someone that I've heard my sister talk about so much but have never met.

This week is going to be a busy week, as I'm filling in for some shifts at Pandemonium; one 2:15-10:15, which is going to be hard on Calista, and one evening shift. The great thing about being a fill-in is that I can always say "no". I won't do the day thing too often, this week being an exception. My yoga classes are picking up also. The studio opened in April and we never did any marketing, just word of mouth, so we have just been chugging along, not knowing whether we were going to be able to keep all of our classes. We did an open house last weekend and, during the month of September, did a 7 days for $7 special. It just took off! I've had 15 people in my Saturday class the last two weeks and my weekday classes have had 4-5 people. Before the open house I had a month of no-shows to my weekday classes so that is exciting. I may not have to cancel them after all.

Hope everyone has an AWESOME week! I know I'm going to, starting with guitar lessons tonight:)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Wonderful week, as usual! Lately it seems as life just couldn't get any better!

It's nice to be home again. I forgot how wonderful my life was at home! I'm a little spoiled, I have to say, and I can thank my husband for giving it all to me. He has been so willing to work hard and ensure that I can be home with the kids. I know it isn't always easy and I know it's hard to watch us having all the fun. And kudos to all you working moms out there. I honestly don't know how you do it!! I certainly wasn't able to find the balance. Well, maybe I take that back because I have been filling in for sick people and doing some training with the new people in the evening hours but it isn't anything like working full-time. I don't think it can even be considered part-time at, hmmm, let's see, this week was a total of 9 hours and most of that time the kids were hanging out at the coffee shop with me.

Kev has been participating in a teen political talk, at the coffee shop, every Tues. night. He has been very impressed with how informed these kids are and how respectful they are of each others' opinions. We live in a very conservative area with some pretty conservative, fundamental Christian views so his views aren't always welcomed with open arms but he says it's been very nice. He has done it for two weeks now and plans on continuing.

We've all been continuing with our guitar lessons. My left hand fingers are totally numb at the tips but it's all good:) I'm really enjoying it!! Calista gets a little frustrated at times but our teacher is SOOOO encouraging with her and that helps. Josh is an incredible human being, in my book, and plays into her dreams and aspirations as if they are very real. She always leaves with a big smile on her face!! It helps that he home educates his children and is very relaxed, seems like an unschooler.

Winter is quickly approaching! The snow is coming down the mountain and is going to be on our doorstep soon. We went out, this last weekend, and started gathering up winter gear. We still have a few things to get but we are mostly ready for the cold weather. The kids are excited that I'm all geared up because, pathetically, I've never had really warm gear. I've lived in Alaska all my life and really never got out and enjoyed it. We are trying to arrange for a trip, with my cousin Jason, up to a hot springs in which you have to hike 7 miles to get to it. He brings his yurt on a sled. I guess it is best to do it right after the first snowfall, when there is enough snow to pull the sled but not so much that it makes for difficult hiking. I hope we can arrange to go because I've been dreaming about it for a few years now and want to make it happen. His wife is pregnant now though so we will see how it goes.