Some photos for the road

Some very fond pictures of one of my favorite places on Earth and the last months living there! Starting as long ago as Oct 2011 with the sunset from the base of Flattop to Feb 2012 just a few days from flying out! When my poor old camera would focus I got a few keepers.

After work I couldn’t not drive somewhere close and scenic to try to get a few pictures of this sight.

And on the other side of the sky, a different color scheme was taking place!

Another great shot. The sun was slowly going down, the wind picking up and making it very hard to use the camera’s buttons!

And directly across was the full moon rising over the mountains.

By Nov we had plenty of snow. I took this interesting shot while at the Williams house for Thanksgiving.

Dec 2011. Dark days and long nights. This is out in the neighborhood walking River.

Feb 2012. The days are longer, the sun higher and brighter! While staying with Kathy and Dave I got to view the sights from their wonderful house!

The coldest month was January and the most snow in February.

Another Sunset!

The snow formation looked more like cotton in the low lying bushes and trees.

The snow just kept coming!

End of February was warm. The snow was doing all sorts of interesting melting. We had so much the it would avalanche off the roof. Here you can see the layers as the ‘sheets’ of snow slowly slide off the house.

I’m going to miss snapping pictures of Alaska! *click  photos to see full size*

~Joannie

Flying to Seattle

A whirlwind of things to write about and very little time and even less energy to do it! Tomorrow (Saturday) I am flying to Seattle WA. To live. Goodbye Anchorage (insert omg). It’s kind of daunting but good. The details of it all tend to overwhelm me as all the people who watch my inability to deal and attempt to help me through my creation of chaos (Kathy Gardner, Reuben, ect) can attest to. If it weren’t for my helpers I’m not sure I’d ever quite get my shit together with this sort of thing 😦   Everything has been mailed ahead or is flying with me tomorrow besides the Subaru which will be parked till the snow clears (road trip!). Yes including River (she is flying with me in the cabin-not being shipped or mailed). I’ve whittled my belongings down to clothing and essentials so I’m not too badly burdened. My outrageous amount of books were sent ahead so I only the last 3 weeks worth to deal with (still another box even though I tried NOT to pickup more..). Wow I am flying tomorrow. Weird.

I am moving out of Alaska. Weird. It’s been 16 months since I MOVED to Anchorage Alaska. Shit. My thoughts are something like a whole freaking lifetime has passed since that day AND it was a few minutes ago all tangled together. The curse of living moment to moment is the distortion of time. The curse of my life is how much is packed into one year. Every year I feel further removed from most people. In the span of five seconds I stumble upon five things that not only has that person never experienced but cannot fathom being reality. It’s not actually this empowering or liberating feeling that many seem to think it would be. Its weird. It’s a red flag to people and alienating to me. Many think it’s great, but not as many seem to stick through the ‘experiences’. Either way I’m diving into yet another extreme example of change and challenges that I find.

Moving to Seattle tomorrow. Just another day in my life.

The tears no one sees & the pain in my heart no one hears.

The dark days are ahead. About this time the memories start to stir, to flicker in and out of sight but never fully leaving. It starts with an uneasiness that won’t go away. I myself become more withdrawn and a cloud of sadness seems to follow me.  I do not like these times. Such much pain comes back.

I just found out that Jackie was involved in a car wreck with some friends on their way to get food. The SUV flipped at least 3 times and is scrap metal. Thank the gods everyone had seat belts on and only minor scrapes is the list of injuries. My mind whirled with how close I had unknowingly almost lost a brother. I’m so SO happy he is just fine and his usual stubborn self is here with us. But the feeling that he was so close to dying lingers. Maybe I just can’t let go and be thankful for what I do have like many have hedged at. But to my way of thinking, we’ve already lost quite a few people and that anyone could be next. So how would I deal with it? With Jackie, my big beautifully handsome little brother I don’t think I could deal and be sane. My Brothers and Sister mean the world to me even when I am so far away. Losing just one would tear apart the pieces of me that are left and big enough to shred.

I’m so so beyond words that Jackie is just fine. But I am crying anyway because of how close he came to not being so okay.  All I can really do I know, is to tell the idiot to drive with safer people, KEEP wearing those seatbelts and try to make the best choices he can. I’m his big Sister though, so I want to make everything okay for him and keep him safe if I could. I have concerns along these lines with all the kinds, and the little ones I feel like I should be there, with them, for them, so that they know I love them. It sometimes feels like staying one more day away from them will kill me. But the idea of going back and facing that area and a few people (not family) and the memories there…is so much that I don’t know if I could survive it let lone be a good sister who the boys and Janna deserve. So I stay in limbo and nights like this I cry. They depth of despair in my heart makes black holes come to mind. The dogs I am house sitting have spread about the floor as I type. Keeping their doggy things quiet sensing that I need to get this out in as much peace as possible.

I don’t talk on the phone enough to the kids. I need to write more to them. I haven’t seen anyone in over a year now – since Dec 2011. I feel such a deep pool of guilt festering in my soul for not doing what needs to be done. I’m a coward for not visiting them. I hate that they suffer because of me. I have been tying so hard to muster the nerve I will need tenfold to make the journey and not just be thing crazy awful person for them. The older one’s say the know it’s not them, but I know that they don’t quite understand how it is for me, and then begin to assume that it has to be them. I hate that everything I do and say doesn’t make it any easier  or clear for them. Times like this, I despise my weakness. I’m not worthy of their love now. Someday I hope I will, soon.

February Full Moon

I’m house sitting the dogs for Kathy and Dave while they are traveling for work. So the pups and I pretty much just chill when I’m not at work. Not terribly exciting. River seems to enjoy being part of a pack again and doesn’t mind sharing me. Since the dogs aren’t used to being by themselves I am sleeping on a queen (or maybe even king) sized bed with all of them (yes all 5 dogs). Our night-time routine goes something like this…   Arrive home from work to baying beagles and a howling shepherd. They all have to say hello, tell me about their day (waiting for me to get home) greet River and basically dash around like idiots. I let them out, turn on some lights and get their dinner ready. While scooping the food they usually work themselves into a dancing frenzy (at this point River joins in). I measure everything out and start putting bowls down. Everyone has to wait for THEIR bowl. No musical bowls here. The race is on to see who can gobble their food down first. We stand around until everyone is done and then we go upstairs. The dogs usually meander around wondering if the parents are going to show while I do some things. There is a bought of barking when the neighbors drive by and some serious carpet rolling to relax. They slowly settle keeping an eye of where I am at. If I sit down on a chair or the sofa there is some jostling to see who will get the feet, who will get the lap and who just has the floor. Once it’s officially bed time I collect the old man of the group and the rest follow me. Everyone has to work out where they will be sleeping. River and Blondie usually end up under the blankets curled up next to me. The Shepherd Cassidy stretches out next to me and insists on being close enough to touch me. Beagle boy 1 sleeps at me feet (on usually). Beagle boy two sleeps next to my head on a pillow (ideally his own). I am cocooned by dogs. No tossing and turning here. So far no one has gotten snappy when squashed on accident and we have been fight free.

The full moon is out for the frosty nights and breath taking. Sitting in the hot tub under clear skies, stars and moon beams is pretty freaking cool. Being on the hillside means very little light from people and getting the northern night effect. Sitting in silence listening to the sounds of the forest is the best  kind of music to me. I always hear people say how quiet the nights are in the winter months but I have not found it to be true. It takes some tuning into but once you do the woods are alive with the nights creatures. Owls of different types call out in many tones. Lately one has been hooting next to the house and echos. Small furred animals chitter to each other (probably about the location of said owls). Howls of  a canine can be faintly heard from the other side of the mountains, whether is a lone wolf or someone’s sled dog I couldn’t say for sure, but from the sled dogs I’ve known I would say not. If you listen carefully you can hear the ripples of the concentric rings as if the forest itself was exhaling. To me this symphony of life at night is much richer than any iPod playlist or Tv show. There is rarely true silence. If it wasn’t so cold I keep my window open all night.

Living it up Alaska style

It was bitter cold for close to a month, hitting well below -15 during the day and even colder at night. We got snow a few times which is unusual for being so cold. As of the last 3 days it’s warmed up and now snowing furiously. Today we got over a foot and it’s still going. Getting to work tomorrow morning will be interesting. My Subaru does pretty well but watching the rest the city spin about gives northern roads a whole new meaning.  Driving down the mountain this afternoon the undercarriage was plowing snow and making the tires lose their traction. Kathy & Dave live up past Rabbit Creek on the hillside in South Anchorage. They don’t plow this far out!

Lucky me has a sweet outdoor hot tub to enjoy the woods and shake off the winter chill. I am a huge fan of Kathy’s idea of evening relaxation and have tea before sitting in hot water in the frigid air. River has a few dog buddies to run with and a yard to romp in. All and all we are doing great for being homeless this year. My last day at work is the 21st of Feb and I’m due to fly out that weekend. Orange auntie Suzi is coming into town for work related things and is flying in early to get in a day with me before I head out to Seattle. I’ve mailed my books off, given away the non necessities and unimportant things, continue to downsize to ship things on the plane with River and I. So I seem to making headway with this whole moving ordeal. Can’t say that after all these years of moving around I like it anymore.

The days are getting longer and the weather bouncing around more means we only have about a month of real snow left before breakup starts craving into the routine. I will actually be heading out right as the real fun of it starts (which I’m not upset about in the least). I go to work, spend time with the dogs (both at work and at the place I’m staying at), sit in the hot tub, read books, watch Planet Earth (Kathy has the whole thing on dvd) and try to make myself do the mundane society things like pay bills, go to the doctor, get River’s health records and such. I hate paper work. And I suck at getting things like change of address done (which I still need to do). But taking out the things I fail at I am doing pretty good for February Alaska.