Thursday, November 27, 2014

WEAR YOUR SEATBELTS OK


Hey you guys.
I just crashed hardcore.

It was bad.
I didn't think so.

But people who actually know things about cars were like, "WHOA... you're... you're.. how???"
The doctor was really really surprised.
I had a few chest scans and my lungs are ok.
420 degrees of flipping over and over.

Anyways.
More on this later, because I'm in shock and keep crying randomly ('cept not.. because doors slamming is a good reason to cry, right?).

BUT YOU GUYS! WEAR YOUR SEATBELTS, OK!?!! DO IT!

I don't wear my seatbelt a lot of times when I'm in rural areas, like Haines.
I wore it tonight.
Doctor said it saved my life - and I know it did - or at least preserved a huge part of my well being and kept me from going through the windshield or slamming my face against it. I felt it hold me in places as the car kept rolling over and over. I was safe and secure. I am writing this now.

That's it.


It was pitch black, but, my brother has a super camera that takes pictures like this where the camera can see better than yer eyeballs.

IAN WANTS YOU TO KNOW HE TOOK THESE PICTURES BECAUSE HE IS A CRAFTSMAN.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

81


Just did the numbers.
Somehow, this month, I sent out 81 pieces of mail.
Hmm.
That's a lot of mail...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Surprise Trip to Whitehorse :: the Drive


I was at Mountain Market buying a sandwich to eat before mid-terms (it's a celebration? right?) when I ran into the mom of one of my cello students.

She told me that they weren't going to be able to be at lessons, next Friday, because they were going to Whitehorse for a swim meet.

"I wish I was going to Whitehorse," I said, my inner-wanderer (that isn't so inner) doing a loop-de-loop.
"You probably could," she told me.

The next day, I called her up asking, "Hey... so when you said that I might be able to come, did you mean it?"

Turns out she did, and two mornings later, at 7 AM, I was in a car and on my way to Whitehorse.

Whitehorse.
Ever heard of it?
It's kind of a big deal with a population of 28,000 (less than my hometown in Kenmore, Washington).

The Guinness Book of World Records has it noted as the city with the least pollution. In Haines, they're well known for having the Salvation Army that will take your crap that you want to drop off (nice crap - mind you). To me, it's the last stop I made before I went to Haines for the first time ever.

We passed through and I wrote these words in the middle of the same landscape I was about to travel through -- same mountains, same sites. This time, though Haines was my home.


April 16, 2011 - Monday

We’re in the midst of a snowscape, thick with mountains. It’s incredible and my emotions are on overload as I try to take it all in. I punch the ceiling with excitement. This is my life.

“This is so awesome,” Andrew just exclaimed. I think his words were quite acurate.

We spent last night in below freezing, curled up in sleeping bags in a muddy  rest stop parking lot in the Yukon. The night before was spent at another muddy rest-stop, but that night we spent cramped in the Subaru. I switched between reclining from front passenger against the window with my legs surrounding the stick shift and curled up in an extreme vertical fetus position. The first night we got perhaps 4 hours of sleep, but the next charged us up with 9 hours of frozen rest.

I am committed to this trip. I’m going to Haines, Alaska and I am going to live there for the next month or so. I’m not sure what to expect yet.


Oh how amusing it would have been to have revealed the future to past-Margaret.

This time, the drive came with certainty, leg-room, and structure.
What luxury.

On the Alaskan side of the trip, there were eagles everywhere. You could easily count fifteen on a bank or six in one glance. The road was covered with snow.

I felt so excited to be using my passport again. I hadn't needed it since my last Canadian border crossing back in July. Four months, yo! Finally, it was getting some use.

Of course, it took them a while to let us through because I think Canada has had something against me ever since the first time I crossed with Tobbit, my truck. Ever since that day, each crossing is long enough to make you wonder if they really want you there.

As soon as we hit Canada, we hit the pass as well and started to climb upwards in the snow.

The sites.
Whoa.
There are certain landscapes that I'll never adjust to -- never take for granted. That's why leaving Haines is so hard, the mountains are always awe inspiring.

As we drove on, in the back, the folks I was traveling with worked on some of their homeschooling lessons and practiced the autoharp. Perfect soundtrack.

We passed through British Columbia and then made our way to Yukon Territory.

And, some five hours later, we were there.
Welcome to Whitehorse!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November Math Update

Photo by Dani
Just a few more weeks till I've completed my first school quarter in the past few years.
Whoa.

You know what? It feels like a huge step. It feels like I'm moving forward. It feels like I'm aiming towards something.

One of the grandest things about this class is that I'm completing it without taking my meds. Any idea how huge that is? Huge! The last time I tried to do school without meds, my mom called it the year from hell.

Not only am I turning in assignments, I generally can turn them in at least 24 hours in advance, just in case something goes arises.

It's an empowering feeling. It feels like slapping ADHD In the face and saying, "TAKE THAT!" Or, more so, slapping the meds in the face and saying, "I can do this without you!"

Well... sort of.

Thing is, I'm only doing one class.
And it's math.
I like math.

Should I keep running with it?

I'm not even failing (not that I generally fail). 98.46 on my midterm. Not perfect, but I'll take it. I'd be suspicious if I got 100%.

It's been great studying here in Alaska. When the weather's crummy, I feel especially motivated.

When I need to recharge, all I have to do is go downstairs and Pearl and Dani are there to cheer me on. Sometimes Pearl will watch the lectures with me. Most of the time, though, she's just interested in the calculator.

After my learning, I try to make time, each day, to read Pearl's books with her. I especially love it when she wants to hear the same story over and over and over again.

We're both learning. That's what we get to do. Learn each day.
I don't think I ever want to stop -- don't think I ever could.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Shot Throat and the Aurora


Gah.
Yes.
Of course I would get sick... or course.
Especially today.


Taking it as what it is -- which is a day where I'm obliged to stay indoors on the couch, all cozy, and eat vegan muffins dotted with butter and honey (because I'm not vegan) and watch Pride and Prejudice (the BBC version) and drink well over 19 mugs of tea (I kept track by holding on to all of my tea-packets -- I left my bulk tea at home).

It was one of the more rawther sick days. I was housesitting in a lovely home in a more secluded, but well known "neighborhood" of Haines. To keep me company, I had the jolliest of fluffy ol' companions, dear Ollie the cat. At one point, I pushed aside the table so I could dance and get out the wiggles that had built up in my hours peaceful rest.

I was warm.
Safe.
Content.

My friend Felicia even came over to tell me about her trip to Ireland and spend the night!

I was just about to go to sleep. exhausted to the point where it feels like someone spread out your brains on a broken chunk of blackboard, when I remembered the aurora.

Aurora Borealis.
Northern Lights.

One of the most amazing sights.

In Haines, it's not totally uncommon, but it's not a nightly spectacle that we get to see. This night, the conditions were perfect -- clear night, the moon wasn't too bright, and the forecast was optimistic. I know I'm not the only one in this town who keeps a frequent eye on the aurora forecast.

I was so close to sleep, but I knew that if I fell asleep with out witnessing them, I'd end up regretting it. Certain things can be missed, but this wasn't going to be one of them.

I ran out, barefooted, into the cold to start up Asher and get him warmed up for the drive. Where I was, there were trees all around and I knew I wanted to go to my favourite spot -- the one I was first introduced to for my first aurora. As he warmed up, melting off the ice that had collected all over him, I bundled up to be out in the cold at 1 AM. Luckily, at 31 F, it wasn't a cold night.

As I started to drive down the road, from one edge of town to the other, I could already see it whisp around in front of me. It was faint, but it was present. I needed to get beyond town-lights and any obstructions. Going 55 mph down the curving roads, the tiredness shook off and I felt a tingly-joyous-alive-and-giddy feeling.

Pulling into to the side of the road, I immediately silenced my lights and gazed up. The sight was rewarding. They were still faint, but ever-so-there.

None of the following pictures were touched up on the computer in any way. I wanted to give them to you raw raw raw.


A car rumbled past, stopped, and slowly backed up next to Asher. A man with a beard that screams, "Alaska!" hopped out of his van to take in the same view I had. What a wonder.

I took a few photographs, but mostly just stared off.

Patience was rewarded, and they began to dance.

This wasn't some subtle wave, the awkward human at the party who doesn't have the gumption to go into full wiggles -- this was a full on modern-dance in the middle of a silent library that you can't miss. The lights shot over and back, across the sky, over my head. They swayed back and forth and exploded into magical patterns that would never be reproduced in that exact way again. The awe took over and weaved into delight and I had to dance along with it. So I did. I leaped and spun and whirled with it and felt grounded and also like I was traveling thousands of miles beyond where anyone had ever been.



After a while of just standing in awe, I knew I wanted someone to come share this with me. I raced back into town and quietly dashed inside our home, gathering whoever wanted to and could come. Dani and Pearl were already in bed, Nik was about to crash, but Luke and Daniel joined me.

Our soundtrack for the drive was Electric Light Orchestra -- which Luke pointed out was the perfect name for what we were witnessing.

By the time we were back out there, they had dimmed down a bit, but the dancing continued. Luke pointed out the butterfly it had formed directly above our heads. It's hardest to capture them when they dance. In fact, I don't have a camera capable of capturing the dancing... so you're left with these blurbs of faint light that were in fact animated and vivid.

What a sight.
 I am so grateful.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pearl and I Had a Fort

I live with this sweet human, Pearl.
She's 16 months and generally has a strong desire to hang out in my room. I don't blame her - it's a pretty nice smelling place.

The other day, we made a fort.
Which means I made it.
And we went inside of it.

Curled up inside, we read National Geographic.
Which means we looked at the pictures.

And she is an absolute cuddle-bug.
So we cuddled.
Which means she wanted to lay on top of my face and try to lick it and whenever I got up, she'd protest and pat where I was laying before until I returned and then she would curl up on my face again.

She's a lovely human.
And that means exactly what it means.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Acts 2:35 : Footstool


Acts 2:35 "...until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."

I love living with families. As a single, solo traveler, I thrive on the community I find in each location.

Currently, I'm living with a rad family. That baby, the one with the crocodile tears, is Pearl. Everyone in the house is related to her. She calls me Annnne-TEE. Also in the house are two of her uncles, Luke and Daniel, and, conveniently, her folks, Dani and Nik.

Dani's pregnant.
Pearl is still a lil' baby bear.

Those two key characters traits, alone, keep things amusing.

Dani's feet were aching so we teamed up to give her relief. I jumped in as a footstool and Nik worked his magic. He gives fantastic massages.

Now Pearl, these days, hates it when anyone touches her mommy... especially Daddy. When he started to rub Dani's feet, Pearl flipped out. She also flips out when just about anyone touches Dani's belly, like the doctor.

She was quite upset in this circumstance because Daddy was touching her feet and that was totally unacceptable.

In case you were wondering, me being her footstool does not mean we're enemies.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

through the clouds


This picture pretty well represents this year.

See those clouds? That's where I was most of this summer and I just came out to where the mountain-tips are. I'm not in the sun, yet. I'm not as blind, though, as I was with my head in the clouds.

I look back and go, "SFDKJL."
Or something like that.

I was so foolish.
So stupid.
So stupid.
So stupid.

Crikey.

When will I learn?

I thought it was a summer breeze, painless and simple.
Ha! No. No.

Absolutely foolish.
And I thought it was good for me. I thought it was progress.

And no, I don't wan to talk to you about it.

In the past 48 hours, my perspective on the past summer has changed. My eyes have opened. I wish I could close them, but certain things can't be erased from memory, even when you close your eyes.

The growth and "progress" won't be in what happened this summer, but the healing and lessons that come after it.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Stayin' P.C.

Postcard from Tucker @ 37th & O.


Today I'm sending 16 postcards and three letters out to the world.

This includes cards to...

Bangkok, Thailand
London, England
Austin, Texas
Bowen Island, British Columbia
Liberia
Benin
New York, New York
Kent, Washington
Portland, Oregon
Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
Harrisonburg, Virginia
Lopez Island, Washington
La Mirada, California
Washington D.C.
Seattle, Washington
Hamilton, Montana

Hoorah.
Hoorah.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

I Met a Cool Old Lady in the Yukon When I Didn't Know Where I Was Going

On the road from Haines, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
Life's lately been a bit overwhelmingly wonderful and cozy (even in the 25 F).

The other night, I found myself in Whitehorse up in the Yukon Territory. I was doing that thing I do called wandering-alone-at-night-on-an-unfamiliar-road.

In this case, I was wandering to my couchsurfing hosts' home. He had offered to pick me up, but I felt confident that I could get there. It was a short distance.

I bundled up for the below-freezing temperatures (base layer + sweater + wool coat + shell) and started walking down Hamilton Boulevard. Along the busy street, a good number of feet away, there was a pathway in the snow for snowmachines, skiers, bikers (snow-biking is pretty big over here), and folks on their feet like me.

It felt like it had back when I was more actively wandering and placing myself in the unknown. Solo-strolls are nothing unfamiliar, even in the dark. Even though it was 6 PM, it was jet black.

Within the first 9 minutes, a very peculiar human came up to me. She opened her eyes wide in a terrifying manner and started to pump her arms and lunged towards me. I gave her a glance, and pressed on, only checking once to see if she was following me.

I kept checking for my turn-off, but it didn't appear.

After a ways, a kind woman stopped me saying, "Have you looked behind you yet?"

At first, I thought she was referencing the creeper, but, as it turned out, she wanted to make sure I saw the moon.

"It's just like a tapestry," she noted.

It did.
Vibrant, illuminating the clouds around it, dodging in and out of the fluff.

"Am I almost to Jade Drive?" I asked.
She looked at me a bit puzzled.

"Where?" she asked.
"Jade Drive," I said, "it should be coming here.

She was well in her 80s and a life-long citizen of this area and told me it definitely wasn't. I told her the neighborhood I was headed to and she told me I had long passed it.

"Are you sure?" I asked.
"Positive," she said.
"Oh dear..."

Google Maps.
You let me down.
You let me down hard.

"You can come back with me to my house and we can look at a map. I live just around the corner."

I followed the sweet woman up Raven Lane into her warm house, her small dog darting around our feet.

It turns out this woman, E, had been living here since the newspapers looked like this one in the 40s, when it was noted that "Mr. Dick White has left for the coast on a business trip." Farewell Mr. White!

We checked over the map and I got familiar with the layout of Whitehorse and the different neighborhoods. Sure enough, I had passed where I wanted to go and there wasn't the road that Google Maps said there was. To get there, via road, it was quite the road around, which E was willing to take me on in her automobile.

"Or," she told me, "There's a lit trail that will take you there that's quite close to here.

We got into her car and she walked me to the start of the trail. I didn't want her to make such a drive just because I had lost my way.

As she bid me farewell with a delicious hug, she told me that I should just come back to her place if things didn't work out where I was headed, that night.

"You can sleep on our couch too."

The path was easy to follow and, within minutes, I was there where I wanted to be and knocking on the door of my host, who quickly answered and welcomed me inside his home - an Army duplex container from the 50s.

It felt good to be unfamiliar with my surroundings again.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

359

This is our backyard. Our Alaskan backyard. Adding the word "Alaskan" to things make them sound a bit dandier. This is the Alaskan backyard with the Alaskan picnic table. I didn't realize Alaska was a novelty till I lived there and then left and folks went "Woowoo-Alaska."
It is 3:59 AM and I am not sleeping?
Why am I not sleeping?
Whyowhyowhy?

So I'll recount the day.

Today was testhigh... test high, not tes-theigh.
The today I refer to was yesterday.

Yesterday I took mid-terms. I hadn't done one for around three years.

Despite the time, I still kept up my same ol' ritual, including cardio w/in 1-3 hours before taking the test.

I got a solid night's sleep the night before (in bed by 10:13 PM, reading zines).

This is making me sleepy.. I'm sleepy... maybe I can sleep instead of finishing this...

7:34 AM

Good morning.
Sort of.

I think I have a sixth sense for earthquakes. That would explain why I didn't sleep last night.
Oh coincidences.

We had an earthquake this morning. The kind that is long enough for you to wake up, see things moving, and think, "This is an earthquake and it's super freaky."

There's different data reports, ranging from a 4.8 (just about intermediate, on the Richter Scale) to a 5.2. It was around 30 miles West of Haines.

Earthquakes are weird.
Maybe scary.
Yes, scary.

Because it's like the world is saying, "Ha, ha! You are so small and insignificant, I could just demolish everything in seconds." Which is totally true, but who likes to be reminded of something like that?

Last night I slept like... like.. like one of my housemates. He's an insomniac and his lights are almost always guaranteed on at 4:22 AM. I was exhausted by 8:30 PM but wasn't in bed till 11 PM. Then it took a while to fall asleep, then I woke up a few hours later, was awake a few hours, then asleep a few, then earthquake earthquake.

I think I was blabbing about my day, last night.

To re-summarize, it was fantastic.

The mid-term went over well. I felt confident going into it. It wasn't an over-cocky confidence that comes falsely, but the confidence comes with knowing that you prepared well and you feel good about how you spent your time studying and keeping up with the coursework.

This online-school thing is empowering this time-go-round. I think I can do this.

Before my mid-term, I taught one cello lesson to my student out the road. Crikey, she's doing great. She practices for 30 minutes 5 days a week! It's such an honour teaching a human what I know and watching them go from 0 knowledge of music theory (they didn't know what a scale, note, rest, and other terms were) to being able to play the Dreidel Song!

After lessons, I jumped on the trampoline for a few songs and danced with Pearl and, apparently, we almost broke the house. In Alaska, there's not really any building codes, so a lot of houses are sketch, including this one. There are big open rooms without any support beams underneath. As we jumped (ok, so I was the jumper, she hasn't learned to jump, yet), apparently the floor bowed underneath us to uncomfortable distortions. I like to jump on the trampoline for around 30 minutes each day. When I'm feeling low on energy, it's a good solution.

Then I packed up my bag, went to the market for a sandwich, and headed off to my test proctor.

I met one of the professors of math of the University of Alaska and she agreed to proctor my test. I'm really grateful!

The test went well. When I was handed it, I looked it over and though, "I feel pretty good in answering each of these questions."

After the test, I ran home with my test high. So good!

Dani bundled up Pearl so I could take her out on a walk. Pearl makes a very cute pink-fuzzy bear. Once we were outside, I handed her Data, the action figure, which she held onto for the entire trip... except for when she dropped him, then she would scream until I got him back in her hands.

We made our way to the post-office where Dani got an outlandish number of huge packages for me to push home (she didn't oblige me to do this and when I got home.. she doesn't do that). The stroller was loaded up and back home we went, Data in tow.

Back home, the other housemates were getting ready to head out to vote. On the ballot, this year was the legalization of marijuana (it passed by 2%). They set out, Nik, Pearl, and I stuck behind. I went upstairs and let myself have some free time, breathing and not thinking about math for an evening.

When they came home, they brought back the Grand Budapest Hotel. We tried to watch it, but all got wayy too sleepy... Luke made a delicious salmon casserole and Dani made smoothies. I live with pretty awesome people.

So that's what I was trying to say at 3:59 AM last night...

Friday, October 31, 2014

Pearl and the Calculator


There's this sweet little human who lives in the same house I do, right now. I'm in a house for a few months so I can be in Alaska during my favourite months. Bringing my truck, Tobbit, along wasn't financially wise.

Anyways.
Little Human.
Pearl.
the Muppet

Lately, she's had a strong infatuation with my graphing calculator.



Me and my calculator have been through a lot together, over a hundred tests, quizzes, hundreds of hours doing math homework. I received it as a gift in 7th grade. We didn't need graphing calculators yet in hi-cap math, but I was eager to have one. The new TI-83 Plus Silver Edition was out and I had to have it! The year was 2003 and the calculator would only be on the market for a few more months.

I fell in love with that TI-83+SE.
It sparkled. It looked super cool. It had a bajillion programs preloaded. It was magic.
96x64 pixel screen, 2 MB of flash ROM and 128 kB of RAM -- about four times what you got with the standard calculator. Perfection.

My birthday is in September, right when school starts, and I crafted up a pretty good case on, "Why You Should Give Me This Calculator For My Birthday." The main reason was that, for school, I had to have one next year for school anyways -- why not get it a year early and then they can act like they got me a huge present!


Well, I got it.
And I rejoiced.
And I took it everywhere, at first.
Square dancing. School. Friend's houses. Church. We were inseparable.

I used the programs, making flashcards for vocabulary words and keeping track of my homework and friends' contact information. There was Puzzle Pack, Probability Simulator, and the world map. It was bliss.


And now, 15-month-old Pearl has caught on to its splendor.

I'd like to think it's because she's into numbers, but it's more-so her fascination with buttons.
Whatever her folks and aunts and uncles use -- that's cool.
We use things with buttons, so she wants those buttons... especially the shiny ones on a TI-83+SE calculator.

It started out pretty simply, but I soon I realized what was up when I realized I could distract her from anything if I slid the calculator past her. She always followed it.

She's never turned down an opportunity to hang out with me in my room, but now, she had a mission. Get to my room. Grab my calculator. It got to the point where I couldn't do my math downstairs because this would happen:

Yeah.
That's not a happy kid.

When I had to leave to get some math help from a professor in town, she flipped out.
How dare I take the calculator out of the house!

She had expressed enough of an interest over a long enough time period that I decided we could do something about it.


I packed her up in the Subaru and off we went to the Salvation Army - home to most-things second hand, in this town. It was a soggy day as we bumped down the road and pulled into the gravel parking lot.

Inside, we headed towards the electronics and searched and searched but had no luck.
As we were checking out, Lieutenant Dave heard we had been looking for a calculator. He kept them stashed in his office.

"Is it for school?" he asked.
"Well, actually, if it's a scientific calculator than, yes, it's for my college course."

Which was the full truth. See, I have midterms on Tuesday and can't take them with my graphing calculator. We can only take them with a scientific calculator, which I hadn't found yet. I wasn't sure how I'd take the test, yet.

"Then it's free," he said and he handed it to me.

Back home, I handed it over to Pearl.
She approves.

It's a win win. The scientific calculator does what I need it to so we can both do calculations at the same time. I can use it. She can use it.

Such a swell object.

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