Monday, August 15, 2011

There is a great deal to catch up on . . .

I'm so naughty. I see now where I was many weeks in arrears. At some point, I might try to go back and fill in a few blanks. Jill and I will endeavor to collaborate on our  f o r e v e r  drive home on the Al-Can later. But the short version for the moment is that we arrived safely back in Bremerton August 5th. Midway through our drive we received the sad/bad news that my sister Sue's partner, our dear Jackie Hudson, died. We have since had a very wonderful memorial celebration for Jackie and have had much family and friend time that has been very good. Sue is doing well, considering. And when she isn't, her sisters and brothers and lovely children and friends will give her all the love and support we can.

Today (sad/glad) would have been mine and Bob's 30th anniversary. I always love and miss him, sometimes more consciously than others. I very much felt his presence with me on my Al-Can drive and thought about how great it would have been to be on that journey with him. And how proud of Jill and Jeff he would be, how dang tickled he would be with Melanie and how much he would have loved and enjoyed Amy, too. Jeff is absolutely where he belongs and he and Mel, and now Amy, are building very good lives for themselves in Anchorage. We have such a great network of family and they are very close to their generation of Campbell cousins along with other growing friendships. Jill's next adventure is to be experienced in Seattle. She has matured into such an awesome young woman. We really enjoyed our Alaska time as roommates and friends. She's going to continue to bloom in her beloved Seattle.

Today (happy/glad) is also Jeff and Mel's first anniversary. Just in case you didn't get to see any of the pictures from one year ago, I got these for you:


                                                                                                           I know. 
It makes me really happy, too.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Here's hoping everyone had a good 4th of July!

I hear tell that summer has finally landed, for at least three days in a row, in Kitsap. It has greatly improved here lately, too, which for the likes of me and my bro Pete means: time to golf! Mel's Grandy and Papa are here visiting. I'm hoping I can talk Papa into a round out in Palmer tomorrow. I've never golfed there and I'm hoping to hit as many courses in the greater South-Central region as I can. I've now played O'Malley, Eagleglen, and Moose Run in Anchorage (along with the goat ranch that is Tanglewood and the "Are you shitting me? You're really calling this a golf course?" that is Russian Jack) in Anchorage and Settler's Bay near Wasilla. Week after next, I'll be joining Jeff at the Kenai for a few days and there is a course not far from there that is supposed to be decent. I brought my golf clubs when Steve and I went to Denali but, as previously reported, the weather was uncooperative, for both golfing (it poured) and viewing the mountain (when it wasn't pouring, it was very cloudy).

We have had some pretty great weather here the last couple of days, as well. Thomas and I did a little road trip to Seward early on the 4th (which means we missed their 4th of July fireworks display--they start at 12:01am to take optimum advantage of the "dark") but were there in plenty of time for the Mount Marathon Run festivities. That is quite an event and a super cool people watching environment, to boot. The weather was just about right, not too hot for the runners and not to cold for the spectators. (I've posted a couple of internet photos to give you the idea. I'll post some of Tommy's pics from this year's event in a couple of days. You'll get a better sense of what it was like. He has a great video of Kikkan Randall, the women's first place finisher, blowing snot rockets after the race before a television interview. It was gross/awesome and as a measure of respect and regard for her athletic accomplishment, we will not be posting it to youtube.)

The next two days were spectacularly beautiful. I remember Karen Ochs going goofy over Seward last year when they visited. I trust she was there on weather days that looked like these because I even thought about moving there (though I am acutely aware that those kinds of days are the exception rather than the rule in Seward). 

Seward also has an excellent Sea Life Aquarium. We took a behind the scenes tour and then spent some time touring the exhibits, including nature's exhibit out in Resurrection Bay with an otter sunning himself out front for his (and our) amusement. The night before, we had seen something in the water on a scenic drive we took around the corner from downtown Seward. Thomas thought it was an otter. I was quite certain it was driftwood. It was quite a ways out. I've gotta give Tommy props on this one. He knew what he was seeing even though it wasn't up close. We're pretty sure it was the same guy.

We ate some great leftovers we brought from home part of the time and had a lovely, leisurely meal at Ray's (apparently Ray gets around to these waterfront towns) in the marina. Our charming cozy cabin (run by the Seavy's, an Iditarod champion family) had a great, deep bathtub with windows to the woods. I took a hot, therapeutic bath (salts with eucalyptus, rosehip, and chamomile) two times each day. 

And the morning we left, after finding a truly excellent cup of coffee to go with our freshly baked ham and cheese croissants, we drove eight short miles out of town and walked one half mile (of a much longer trail) to get to an excellent view of Exit Glacier. It was a really fun couple of days.

(This is an internet photo. We have to get in way better shape to walk far enough to get this close. But later, I will be posting some of the nice pictures Thomas took for reals.)

And as though all that beautiful fun was not enough, when I got back to town we had a nice dinner at Renee and Mark's. Grandy made some spectacular ribs with the best coleslaw I've ever tasted (among many other tasty sides) and we had some nice family time, all topped off with a blueberry bread pudding Mel made (she experiments on us for future Roadhouse dessert recipes. We, for the record, are very willing guinea pigs.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I thought I was going brunette . . .

But my hair only took as far as brown.  My style will return to the usual tousled, curly-ish look. This is the straightened version that I always have Valerie do because I will never take the time to do it myself.

What do you think?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Isn't Denali spectacular?

Yep. That's what it looks like from inside the park, on a clear day. Isn't it nice that there are people that take these beautiful pictures and post them to the internet so that you, too, can see Denali. I'd have posted the pictures we took on our trip but the mountain that is Denali makes its own weather and the weather it makes most often is clouds. And apparently rain. Boo.

Steve and I did, however, have a lovely time. We packed a cooler and a little bbq and stayed at very a moderate but very clean and comfortable hotel. The weather was indeed lousy but the company was excellent. I did the driving (Steve is amazingly willing to fold up his very large body and put it in my relatively small car) and he did all the cooking (I happily supervised from a reclining position). We played a fair amount of cribbage (I was five games ahead of him when we started but he narrowed it to three before we were done). He was a great co-pilot on the long drive. He's retired from Federal Fish and Game and worked for many years as an observer on big fishing vessels all over the world and then worked as a detective for the agency (he was a "fish dick" ha ha). He had some pretty good stories from both lines of work. And there's nothing like a long car trip to find out what your communication skills are like. Steve is as good a listener as he is a talker and I really appreciate that about him. It would be swell if y'all could meet him but you'll proabably have to come to Alaska to make his acquaintance.

Thomas is still slogging around the Carolinas spending time with family. While he has been glad to have time with his mom, he is itchin to get back home. Jilli and I have been having some nice slumber parties at Tommy's, taking advantage of cable and DVR to watch So You Think You Can Dance. What a great show and what a great group of dancers on it this year. If you're remotely interested in dance, this is a must see!

Oh yeah, earthquake this morning around 10:00. A 5 point somethin. Even if there's no damage, it's always unsettling to feel the ground move under your feet.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I love it. Shot 9 holes today. If I play 18, I need a cart. I decided that I should shoot 9 so I can walk it. It's my hope that in a few weeks that's no big deal and I can walk all 18. But today, those three miles, swinging clubs were pretty challenging. But I shot a 46 and that's pretty dang good for me. I'm particularly proud of the fact that around the 7th hole when I was starting to get pretty fatigued, the wheels did not come off. My worst holes were just double bogeys. Tomorrow, I will be renting a cart and playing 18 with Jeff. That is always a good time.

Planning a little Denali trip with Steve for early next week. Because of weather, there is only a 25% chance of actually seeing the mountain on any given day. So we're going to go Monday and return Wednesday. I know it's math and I'm a girl, but I believe this brings us to around a 60% chance of seeing it. But even if Denali viewing is a bust, there should be moose, bear, caribou, fox, and the like. And we'll bring the cribbage board and the books we're reading. I'm working on a Robert Ruark book called the Old Man and the Boy. It really gives great insight to the values and skills of hunting and fishing. It's quite charming. And we'll pack a picnic and take a drive into the heart of the park. I will report back, hopefully with pictures to post.

Friday evening will be another fun family and friends game night. We've made that kind of a standard happening and it has been great fun. There seems to be less excessive drinking happening of late and I am very glad of that.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A little sightseeing . . .

Last summer, when they came up for Jeff and Mel's wedding, one of the side trips that Karen and Brian Ochs took was to Seward. Karen was all kinds of nutty about it. She talked at length about how charming and beautiful it was. I had been there a couple of months back with Girdwood Tom and it was nice but I couldn't really perceive what all the fuss was about. Well, Steve and I took a little getaway there from Sunday to Monday. It was a moderately quiet opening weekend but certainly more lively than in March. And it was blue skied, sunny, and breezy. Okay Karen. I get it now ; ) It really is lovely.

I hear tell they have the Mt. Marathon race over the 4th of July. The town swells with visitors and people come from all over to run the mile and a half to the peak of Mt. Marathon (usually takes 33-45 minutes to ascend) and back down again (not surprisingly, this is a 10-12 minute trip). Reportedly, many past winners crossed the finish line bloody and bruised. They say it is the place to be in Alaska on the 4th. Sounds like fun. So I'm going to try to return for that. Maybe with Tonmy. Or Steve. So many men, so little time. . .

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Vestibular Neuritis

That's what Tommy had. It is a vertigo issue but it's caused by a virus. So the bad news is that it is sudden, intense, and debilitating. The good news is that it was simply a virus that has run its course rather than an ongoing condition. What a relief.

Windy but a beautiful day today in Anchorage. 64 degrees today and supposed to get to 70. It's supposed to be even a bit warmer in the next couple of days. I believe I need to rustle up a golf partner.