Friday, November 6, 2015

Grandma Mary

My mom's mother, Mary, passed away on Wednesday. I wasn't particularly close to her but she was certainly the matriarch of the family. Thanksgiving was the big holiday for my mom's side of the family to congregate. My mom was one of nine children, although not all biologically belonging to Mary. My mom has one biological brother and sister. The three had been in and out of foster care most of their young years before going to Mary's house. Mary took my mom and her siblings into her existing family of six. They were never formally adopted but Mary treated them as her own. I only knew her as my grandma.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Table Top Mountain

Fairbanks has been having great weather this summer. Yes, the entire state has been on fire and that has made for some smokey days in the 'banks, but in general, it's been a terrific summer. Days at the lake, paddle boarding, kayaking and most recently a lovely hike in the White Mountains.

My friend Hilary, her dog, Cedar, and I tackled Table Top. Getting out of town was an endeavor all on its own. We returned her husband's cell phone to him at work, dropped her son off at daycare and lastly got coffee. I'm impressed with all we did pre-coffee. It is not easy to answer a three-year old's questions sans caffeine. We should have had a pre-coffee coffee but therein lies the dilemma: how do you think clearly about coffee when you haven't yet had coffee? Thank goodness for Fairbanks' many, many drive-thru coffee huts. If you can just get yourself to the coffee hut, it will all be okay.

We hiked to the top of that plateau. 

Fielding Lake

In June I stayed at the Fielding Lake public use cabin for two nights. It's a great spot. I was glad to have the cabin though because the wind was ferocious. And when it did stop the mosquitos came out in full force. If I'd been tent camping I would've been miserable. I kayaked one day. The wind was just tolerable. Not so bad that I couldn't get anywhere, or was worried about tipping over, but strong enough that when I stopped to take a picture I was blown back and lost ground.

The cabin. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015


It's taken seven months but I have finally written a blog post for 2015. It's been a good summer with local trips and ventures to the "outside".  Yesterday I drove to Circle. It's a small village at the end of Alaska State Hwy 6, the Steese.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Meditation School Drop-out

I went on a 10-day Vipassana meditation course over my winter break. I used to refer to it as a retreat but it was nothing of the sort. It was work. Why go, you ask? Many reasons but mostly the timing was right. I've been wanting to do this for several years and since the course coincided with my winter break, why not. 2014 wasn't the best of years what with my dad dying and all. Seemed like a good way to clear my head.

The basic premise of the course is to learn the technique of Vipassana meditation and to practice sufficiently so that you can incorporate it into your daily life. During the course you must observe noble silence. This means: no talking, no non-verbal communication of any kind including eye contact, no reading, and no writing.

Men and women are segregated and we took a vow of celibacy for the 10 days. You could talk with the course managers if there were problems with your accommodations, you needed aspirin, etc. You could also sign up to speak with the teachers during lunch break but only to discuss questions about the technique we were learning. All of this was meant to help you focus on the meditation and to eliminate distractions. Noble silence was important to help you have your own experience so you didn't feel the social pressure of wondering why your experience wasn't measuring up to the person next to you.