Thursday, November 14, 2013

Snow Daze

It's a snowy, snowy day here in the 'banks. Was yesterday, too. So snowy and blustery and icy that school has been cancelled for the second day in a row. What a treat! For all the times I prayed for snow in arid Calistoga, I'm now getting the coveted snow days.

Friday, November 1, 2013


After years of wonderful service, I've retired my Jelly Fish costume. It was a great costume and may return one day. But for now, a change-up was needed. 

Ladies and gentleman, I give you, the Franzia Wine Box. A fully functional, wine box.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

And Another One's Gone

This morning my uncle passed away from complications related to a brain tumor.  One short week after Little Sam. My fingers are crossed there won't be a third post next Sunday. 

I admire my uncle for fully living his life since being diagnosed 16 months ago. He has traveled to places he and my aunt have long wanted to visit, spent time with family and friends, camped, and ran numerous 10k's. 

Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Kevin

Sunday, October 20, 2013


This is a sad day for a friend of mine and her family. Her sweet boy Sam succumbed to an inoperable brain tumor this morning at the tender age of 8. Prior to cancer he was a vibrant, funny, beautiful child. 13 months of living with cancer stripped Sam of all those attributes, and more.

Sabrina has maintained a blog about this experience: Enough For Now.  It's miserably sad and Sabrina's pain over her boy slipping away is palpable -- more than anyone should have to bear. Yet there is much for us to learn from her experience, particularly about raising awareness for Childhood Cancer. I can't do anything to ease Sabrina's pain amidst this horrible tragedy but I can tell you this:

Childhood cancer is the #1 cause of disease-related death in children. 1 in 300 children will be diagnosed this year. The only risk factor for childhood cancer *is being a child*. To learn more check out these sites:
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation
The Truth 365

I have an eight year old niece. It was at her baby shower that this picture of Sabrina, and then baby, Sam was taken.

Thinking of my niece's sweet, goofy, curious self and what a precious thing she, her brothers, and her cousins are in my life, all I can say is, hug your babies. Great big bear hugs.

And to Sabrina, John, Ben, Abby, and their sweet Samalamadingdong -- may peace be with you.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Visiting the 'banks

Mom spent a few days with me in the 'banks. We hit all the hotspots: took in a play, went to Chena Hot Springs where we soaked in the pools and sat at an ice bar in the Ice Museum. We traveled the Chena River on the Riverboat Discovery with a stop at a re-created Athabascan village. Saw the pipeline, and viewed fall color. Unfortunately mom didn't get to see any moose.
At the pipeline outside of town.

Monday, September 16, 2013


"We have a runner!"

Anyone who has ever worked in the field of Special Education knows what it means to hear those words and feel your heart stop.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Got Milk?

As someone who used to write directions for a living, you'd think I'd be better at following them. You would be wrong.

Let me start at the beginning. I'm intrigued these days by the blog (Zero Waste Home) and the author's efforts to have a zero waste household. It's pretty amazing what she does. Yes, she is extreme, And yes, she does things that I am not likely to ever be comfortable doing (turning down a glass of wine at a party because it's in a plastic cup? Oh, hell to the no!) 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Dandelions, Pig Weed and Cats

These are three of the things I'm allergic to. Not to mention birch, alder, aspen, spruce and grass. All things Alaska has in spades. My reaction to the allergy tests were some of the worst the doctor had ever seen. I was told weekly allergy shots should take care of the plants and trees (and we know how that turned out!). But the cats? No cure for that aside from getting rid of them.

I've had the cats now for nine years. I don't think I'm going to dump them because of some post-nasal drip. Besides, how can I be allergic to this?


Sunday, August 11, 2013

No Chickens Were Harmed

Yesterday was the Crossfit Fitness Derby. And unlike last year, no chickens died (click here for that story). This year, the fair folks made sure the Derby was on the opposite side of the fairgrounds from the Cluck Hut. And unlike last year, I participated this year! I was going to wax eloquent about the metaphor one can draw between sports competition and life; not believing your own stories about what you think you can do (I even found a nice Bruce Lee quote). Blah, blah, blah, whatever. I'm tired. Too tired to even hold a thought in my head.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Not Your Mama's Butter Cream

Alas...I was not a Blue Ribbon Winner at this year's Tanana Valley State Fair. I entered a flourless chocolate cake (one of my specialties) and it won 2nd place. It's hard to be satisfied with 2nd place when you know it should have been Fair champion. I was robbed.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"The Way We Talk"

As a speech therapist I have worked with clients who stutter, and I have friends who stutter. It is my belief that stuttering is not an affliction that needs to be cured or fixed. Rather, it is the societal belief that stuttering is wrong, that needs to change.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wildlife Tales

I use the term "wildlife" loosely in this post. Wildlife as in my cats. Last night poor ol' Flubber cat, Roly-Poly, got himself stuck in the neighbor's garage all night. He has spent the day recovering by not straying far from the food dish.

While missing, his sister, sweet Sugar Pie, consoled me by bringing me a live bird which she killed at my feet. Cats are great.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Another Excellent Alaskan Adventure!

My Super Twin Power, Julia returned to Alaska last week for another chronicle in the Heather and Julia Adventures. We did not disappoint! What a great time we had. We did a little bit of everything: tent camping, fancy-schmancy resort, a canoe trail paddle, hot springs in Fairbanks and a float down the Chena River. 

You can see more of my pictures here:  Alaska Adventure II

On Mt. Alyeska overlooking Turnagain Arm.

Still Summer

Each day that Fairbanks has another 80+ degree day I breathe deep in wonderment. Yet there is also a kernel of reality sitting in the bottom of my stomach, knowing this can't last. While it's here though, I'm doing my best to enjoy every second.

Yesterday was a perfect float day. Blair, Mark, Copper and I floated part of the Pile Driver Slough just south of North Pole.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Sunday's warm weather called for a float down the Chena River. I in my kayak, and Blair and Mark in their new-to-them canoe. It was their maiden voyage. In the kayaking world, double kayaks are referred to as divorce boats. I'm not sure if canoes carrying couples have the same association but Blair and Mark survived with their marriage license intact. Copper came too!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Solstice Camping

On a whim, I went camping at a boat-in site at Chena Lakes. I was yearning for some late night kayaking and solstice seemed the right time to do it. I threw caution to the wind to my usual check-list style of packing. I typically over pack for camping, wanting to be prepared for any given situation. This time I thought, "Nah, I know what I'm doing". This should have been a red flag. I need to remember that whenever I hear myself saying those words, it's a sure sign that no, I do not. Here are the results of my thinking I knew what I was doing.
I nearly went blind taking this picture. Shortly
after taking this I took off my sunglasses only
to realize I was a bit too close to a moose.
I thought she was a bush.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Kayaking, Kayaking, Kayaking

After a winter that would never end, summer has finally arrived in Fairbanks. Up until three weeks ago there was still ice on the lakes!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Summer is...

Summer is feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin, the heat softening your muscles making you feel you could melt into the ground you lay on.

Summer is hearing the tree branches rustle before their soft breeze blows a strand of hair across your cheek.

Summer is hearing neighbor kids giggle as they jump on the trampoline.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Allergies - 1/Heather - 0

Today started out as such a productive day. I was up by 7:15 in time to have coffee before my 8:00 live webinar CEU class; I was at the allergy clinic by 10:00, I was going to wash window screens before going to the gym at 11:30. Man, was I off to a good start!

Nothing like a trip to the ER for it all to go to hell.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Snow? On my Birthday?

I've always known that living in Fairbanks is essentially living in bizzaro world. Nothing is quite "right" in Fairbanks. This has been confirmed by the dumping of snow we had yesterday.

Snow. In May. On my birthday.

The trees are no where close to "greening up" and night time temperatures are still well below freezing. It ain't right, I tell ya. It just ain't right.

Not feeling inspired to write (blame it on the snow) I leave you with a repeat of the story of my birth: Boys and Their Equipment

Friday, May 3, 2013

Other Writings

I wrote a little something for the Tabata Times. Check it out: Traveling Without a Box.

You may remember the great pictures they took (and I borrowed) for Cluck Hut Casualties. Still, one of my favorite stories to tell.

Monday, April 29, 2013

B and B

A bed and breakfast in rural bush Alaska I isn't the same as in the lower 48.

Because I complained about having to sleep on a classroom floor I was put up in the local B&B of a village I'm visiting this week. I'm literally in the bedroom/office of a families house. Now I'm wishing I was at the school.

At least I have the sweet sounds of the VHF radio to put me to sleep. I can listen to mothers telling their kids to come home over the radio as I drift off.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Oosik, Anyone?

The highlight of my week was getting to hold a Walrus oosik. That's right, I held the penile bone of a Walrus. Good week? You be the judge.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Rules for a 6am Flight

There should be rules that everyone must abide by when flying in the early morning hours:

1) No talking. Period. There is no reason why anyone needs to be talking at 5am while waiting to board a 6am flight. Don't do it.

2) No eating muffins from crinkly wrappers.

3) Turn the sound off on your smart phone and iPad. No one needs to hear the keyboard sound effects every time you type "LOL".

4) No announcements from the flight deck. I don't need to know that our cruising altitude is 30,000 feet. Or how long it'll be before we begin our descent. Just fly the plane. That is sufficient.

5) No whistling to airport lounge music (actually this rule should be enacted all day long.)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tired Iron

Tired Iron. That's been me all week. After not working out for 10 days getting back into it has felt like slogging through mud with cement shoes. Breathing during a workout is like sucking pudding through a straw. My hip flexors complain and my lungs scream. It hasn't been pretty. I've tried my best not to roll my eyes every time something is asked of me. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Fool's Day

How's this for an April Fool's Day? Got up at 3:45am to catch my 6am flight. None of my 3 bags made it to Dillingham including my food for the week. And I got a letter from the IRS saying I owe them an additional 2k on top of what I already paid them for 2011 taxes.

Calgon, take me away.

At least the scenery on my snowmachine ride across Lake Alegnagik was pretty.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Conversation with a TSA Agent

Flying back from California this week I had a layover in Seattle. Upon going through security the machines beeped at me and I was pulled aside. The following conversation ensued:

TSA Agent: Do you have anything in your pockets, are you wearing a belt?
Me: No, no.
TSA Agent: Any big earrings, braces on your body or medical implants?
Me: No, no and no.
TSA Agent:  Any knee or hip replacements?
Me: You know, I fly every week -- I know the drill. The only thing I'm wearing that's metal is my necklace.
TSA Agent: Well if you fly every week why are you making the machine go off?
Me: You're the security expert, why don't you tell me?

Sarcasm is not appreciated by TSA Agents. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

AK Champ!

Folks, you can now say that you know an Alaska State Record Holder in Olympic Weightlifting (for my age/gender/weight class). There are two lifts in Olympic Weightlifting: the snatch and the clean &Jerk. My record for the snatch is 66lbs; and for Clean &Jerk 93.5lbs.To be clear, I'm not *the* record holder. Each age group is broken down by weight classes and there is a record holder for each of those groups.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Forgive Me Father, I have Sinned

Tonight at Crossfit I almost cheated on Fran. First, let me explain. Fran isn't a who, she's a what. A benchmark workout in the world of Crossfit. Periodically we do these benchmark workouts to measure our progress. Tonight we did Fran. This ecard says it all:

I'm in Love...

...with frozen bananas whipped into a frenzy until they are blended into creamy goodness. Sublime. Absolutely sublime.

If you don't like bananas then this isn't the dish for you. But if you do like bananas, this will change your life. You can find the recipe here at Our Full Plate.

Next time I'm going to add frozen strawberries. Lord have mercy.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday, January 7, 2013

Feel Again

When I see this:

I want to sing this:

Today it was light at 4:00 and I saw Denali. Good day. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Hot, as in Bikram Yoga hot. The room is 105 degrees while you move through a sequence of 26 poses. Like Crossfit, I have goals for Bikram yoga: don't throw up and don't pass out. Unlike Crossfit I don't need to worry about peeing my pants. During hot yoga you sweat so much that the studio floor has to be mopped before the next class. If I even had water remaining in my body to excrete no one would notice if I tinkled in my pants.

I did Bikram yoga this past week while visiting my friend Hollie. I blame this on her. She convinced me to go because of the "scenery" in class. I wouldn't know if there was scenery or not. I couldn't see due to my vision being obscured by copious amounts of sweat. After being in -40 temps for weeks immersing myself in 105 degrees may have been a shock to my system. At times I felt dizzy, nauseous and like I was going to hurl. The heat was oppressive -- it hurt to inhale. But it felt good.

I found Bikram Yoga to be equally as hard as Crossfit albeit in a different way. Very technical, like Crossfit, and the intensity is similar. You get little breaks but they're never long enough to recover. And as I mentioned, there's the whole passing out and puking elements that tie the activities together. Apparently these are things I enjoy about exercise. Go figure.