Saturday, September 20, 2014

Things He Did

Photo from 2012
I know sometimes I blog when I'm in a bad place. Sometimes I blog emotionally and while I try to limit those, I keep some up because it represents the broad spectrum of emotions I feel - not just chipper optimism.

I would like to note that this list is not made from any emotional extremes. I wrote it at 7:30 AM after a good night's sleep. I feel level headed. It's 2.25 years in the making and has been developed by talking to a lot of folks who are older and wiser than I am. I've avoided going into much detail about what happened a few years ago, but I decided to write it out now since I recently heard that he's doing similar things to his current girlfriend that he did to me. For some reason, that was healing for me to hear. I feel awful she has to go through it, and I hope she gets out soon, but it let me know that it wasn't just me. I had still, up until now, thought that maybe this was all in my head.

These were my experiences. I didn't know him, really, at all when we started to live together and I was in an isolated situation and didn't know anyone within a thousand miles.

1. Would invalidate my feelings. I didn't realize this was happening. I would tell him how I was and how I was seeing things and he'd tell me it wasn't so. I go so bad that I couldn't eat more than a bite of oatmeal for hours on end, and that was a struggle, and had constant stomach aches. He told me it wasn't that bad. I didn't realize this was happening until I was around guys who didn't do that.

2. He didn't ask consent.

3. When I was expressing emotional distress about a situation, he mocked me saying, "Meh meh meh, my name's Mägi and I can't handle social situations." It wasn't exactly those words, but something on that page and he definitely said, the "Meh, meh, meh, my name's Mägi" part.

4. When I would write out my concerns with him, and was very open and honest, about how things were going (I was miserable), at the end, he would just say, "I don't see it like that,"  and leave it at that or have nothing to say. I'd tell him, "To someone who's never dated, this really seems like a relationship," and he'd say, "This is nothing like a relationship." We shared a bed, I made meals for him to come home to, I did his laundry, he would make oatmeal and help with dishes. I was confused because it seemed like one, although I had never been in one before.

Even though he wanted to sleep with me (and was highly sexual), he would tell me, "I think of you as a sister." And I told him that was messed up and that he must not have a sister (he didn't) because brothers never treat their sisters like this.

5. When I told him I had to get away from him, he told me I couldn't. When I said I needed a break, he told me we had to work through it and not being friends wasn't an option. His friend was a mediator in this conversation. Us taking separate roads was not an option. When I said I might need to leave, he said that I shouldn't.

6. I realized he was really into this other girl. He'd invite her over to our place late at night and want to stay out late with her at the bar before coming home to where I was. He knew full well that I was struggling with an infatuation with him (which gets strong pretty fast when you live with someone) and in a lot of mental distress.

When I told him he needed to just pursue her and just let me be, he told me that couldn't happen because he didn't know, yet, if she liked him. I couldn't go until he had her secured. I was good for keeping him company until he had the next girl all the way lined up.

7. We were living together in Location A when he told me I had a week to find my own place. I found it. As soon as I found it, he asked if he could live in it too. My gut told me it was a horrible idea and I went with it. At the end of our time there, he wanted to keep living together in a new house. I told him this was a bad idea (although we looked at places) because I knew I was going to have a hard time getting over him - especially when he was sleeping with another girl in the room next door. He told me that he didn't see how that would be a problem.

8. There are a lot of things that were really unhealthy that happened in bed (luckily, we never had sex - never ever) that I don't want to write about here.

9. I was always apologizing. I was sorry for my feelings (for him) and I felt really guilty for feeling that way and ruining our friendship. It was all my fault that things went wrong, I thought. We had something so great, I thought, and then I had to go and mess it up by falling for the guy.

10. We had a major conversation, one day, where we talked about how I was in a really vulnerable state and wasn't ready to be living with him and have him pursue another girl while we were still living together. I thought that with more time, I could get over him. I asked him for time. He agreed to it and I thought he was so great to not be chasing other girls for a week or two so I could work on healing. That very night, we went to a bar together. Before, he had expressed frustration at me for leaving early, or leave without saying good-bye, so I made a point to stay extra long and be social like a good girl (it was this night that I met one of my current housemates). I saw him leaving near 2 AM without me and I went to go home with him. As it turned out, he was going to the dock with his new love interest. He told me he thought I had left. I biked away in hurt and in frustration -- he knew how fragile I was, at that point (remember -- barely able to eat?). I called him and he asked if I needed him to come home. I told him I did, because I knew what they were going to do at that dock. He came home with me. I thought he was so good to me, because he came home.

At this point, I was starting to think that I was the abusive person in the relationship because I had kept him from doing something he wanted to do. I thought I was becoming controlling.

11. He told me over and over that he cared for me. Now, looking back, I don't see care in his actions. Since then, I've had issues when guys have told me they care for me. I've had a lot of issues with a lot of things that have to do with guys, since they were things that he did.

12. In social situations, I felt absolutely ignored by him - like he was annoyed by me. I expressed that and he told me it was the opposite - he told me he spent more time with me in social situations than with any other person.  I told myself I was just over thinking, insecure, and stupid.

13. At the end of all this, I stopped talking to him for a while. When I did, he told me, "You were mean," and also told me, "Mägi, I didn't do anything wrong."

These are things I couldn't see when I was with him. I was completely blind.

Since then, I've talked to a lot of older, wiser folks (and some younger wiser or some younger and not that wise, just sensible) who opened up my eyes to the situation. Folks who knew him a lot better than I did started to reveal to me who he was - he was always portrayed as an insecure boy with low self-esteem. This makes sense.

I had thought he was so good to me. Good to me because he did dishes sometimes and got me a bike and would dance with me in the kitchen. I didn't realize that if being around someone ever does such damage to the point where you can't eat and have constant headaches, maybe you shouldn't spend lots of one on one time with them in a place where you feel absolutely isolated.

He's still with that other girl (since summer 2012) and I've heard from folks that he's pretty rotten to her - manipulative, mind games, and demeaning. I've also heard, though, that she's so in love with him, that she can't see it. I hope she gets out of that relationship soon.

I was only with him for two months and he did more damage than an appendicitis. I'm glad I got out.

The following year, an older-than-me-friend said, "Mägi, how come you have a hard time admitting you were in an abusive relationship."

I didn't think it was abusive. He didn't hit me, ever. He didn't do anything that was blatantly horrible. He didn't call me names. I thought it would be making a big deal out of something small. I didn't want to be "that one girl" who villainized a guy because things didn't work out. I mean, his last words to me, basically, were him telling me that he didn't do anything, anything wrong.

I still keep second guessing myself. I still have a lot of insecurities related to this situation.

It took me a lot of years to see different sides of this. For a while I thought it was all in my head. I thought that I was evil and didn't deserve to be with anyone because of how things went with him. I'm grateful for the humans who worked through this with me for hours and hours (and hours).

The Birthday Day

Sorry about that post, last night.
Sort of.
Well, I guess I'm not really sorry.
Not at all.

I'm currently at the Juneau Airport, two hours before my flight to Seattle. I know I don't need to be here this early but I'd either be here or at the hotel room.

Yesterday was my birthday and it was lovely.
Remarkable? Not really.
Pleasant? Yes.
Was I in good cheer? In deed.

I woke up and opened up my letters. Goodness, thank you, humans, for all that paper-love you sent me. Thank you for cards and letters and postcards and pictures and for Travels with Charlie.

A hot shower was taken and I got dressed for my first day as a 24 year old - paisley skirt and a dark green sweater.

Downstairs, I enjoyed talking with Dani. She's not a huge morning person and I'm not a night person so we make an interesting duo. After about 20 minutes, she realized it as my birthday and wished me a happy one. For breakfast I served up some leftover borscht I'd made the night before.

After breakfast, I got a call from a neighbour who asked if I had employment. I said that I was looking. She said she could use my help on something so I ran over to her house and worked a bit with her on organizing. We worked together for a few hours before I said I had to go back home to pack and clean. We made a good team and I'm stoked to see her again next Thursday.

Back home, I hung out with Dani and Pearl and then Alice came over. She was pretty shook up and had had a rough day with the news that Scotland had rejected independence. She brought over a chicken to eat because chicken makes people feel better, sometimes. Alice means a lot to me. We spent a lot of time together my first year in Haines but during the second year, I didn't see her at all. Now, I get to see her again. I really appreciate her

Before long, it was 4:30 and time to catch my 5 PM ferry to Juneau. I had to go to Juneau so I could catch my flight, the next day, to Seattle for a funeral. Dani was really sweet and drove me there and we were both in good moods. She's such a good friend to me. At the ferry, I quickly gave them $35 for the ticket and boarded the ferry with a large jar of borscht in hand.

I settled into my seat aboard and then looked out the window and.. and... who did I see?
Justin Riley.

I met Justin back a few years ago in Portland, Oregon. Next time I saw him was in Paonia, Colorado and then again in Bellingham, Washington. I hadn't seen him since.

Now, here he as on the same ferry I was on from Haines to Juneau up in Alaska.

The other thing is, I was a part of the reason he was up there. A few years ago during my first summer in Haines, I went to the fair and saw, near the front of the stage, a man dancing to the live music. I asked him to dance and soon got to know Daniel Martin. He as trying to start a dance scene in Juneau. Later, when he asked for suggestions for dance instructors to fly up, I suggested Justin Riley. Now, here was Justin Riley up in Alaska after teaching a dance weekend for an event Daniel was putting on. Voila!

We got to talking and soon met Anne, the woman sitting in front of us, who was on her way to a housesitting gig (sort of...) in Juneau. You're always guaranteed a good conversation on the Alaska Marine Highway if you want one.

4.5 hours later and we were in Juneau. A quick call and my ride to the hotel was there. Since it was for a funeral and I otherwise probably couldn't make it, my family was really sweet to me and paid for this trip. Hotels always feel like luxurious experiences. Giant fluffy beds and fresh soap. The hotel staff wished me a happy birthday and I made my way up to room 237.

I was surprised with how big the room was and, there on the table was a birthday bag filled with treats from my folks! It made me smile.

I slept like a starfish.

And, well, that was my birthday.
Happy happy birthday.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Why I Don't Blog Past Midnight

I know that I shouldn't blog after 9 PM, I know I shouldn't....



Twenty-four years old.

I don't even get it. I hate birthdays, I do. I hate that it comes. I hate that I even think it's worth acknowledging. I hate that I care.

I truly am grateful to the people who sent me letters on my birthday because, honestly, that's the only thing I've had to celebrate with for the past few years. My last celebration I had for my birthday was back in 2009, five years ago. Three friends came over to celebrate with me.

2010 - I went to visit a friend and we visited her other friend who was packing.

2011 - My twentyfirst birthday, but no one even knew. I was in this community in Canada and no one knew it was my birthday. Nothing 'cept my letters. We stayed in that night.

2012 - I was in Alaska. A friend was super sweet and made me dinner and took me on a hike and I read my mail.

2013 - I was in the same community, this one in England. I went and took a shower and I read my letters.

And this year will be the same 'cept I'll be alone in a hotel, I think. I don't know. I have a funeral to attend on Sunday so I need to get to Juneau by Saturday so I have to catch the ferry tomorrow.

Today I decided to sort of celebrate.

I made borscht and drank a little bit of Scotch and watched children's choir YouTube clips with Dani - that was good and made me laugh.

Then, another housemate mentioned going out. I wasn't sure if it was an invitation or not so I tried to sense that out -- but I guess it was because he talked about how I needed to get a shot at the bar for my birthday... but then we were all watching TV together and he left, so I guess I wasn't supposed to go...

I had talked to my brother about celebrating a day late, Saturday night, and he was in but I messaged him yesterday and he's totally busy so I guess he forgot or....

You know what? I sort of hate birthdays. I hate how, every year, birthdays just feel like a let down. Am I the only one that celebrates each birthday reading letters alone?

[[I am grateful for those letters. Thank you, you guys. Tucker - thank you for that package. I don't think you meant for it to be my birthday present but it's the only thing I have to open on my actual birthday in addition to the beautiful cards and letters. Also, thank you Hannah for celebrating my birthday with me early. I'm going to pretend that that day was my birthday, not today. I really loved cycling with you and wandering around San Juan Island.]]

But - in this moment now?
You guys -- I feel bitter and I feel lonely and I feel like I'm up way past my bedtime and should show up.

The end of this summer did have a turn for the worst and I've been trying to let it go, but something, today, reminded me of it. It was nothing to do with the opposite gender. Nothing to do with my job. Just a human and things turned sour and when it came time to patch thing up, I was spent. I didn't care. I wanted to, but I couldn't. Moving so often lets me think that I can leave things behind and forget that they exist, and then... I can't even go into this.

Sometimes I think I can write a person out of my life and, when they show up again, it frustrates me. I want to say, "Hey Human! I'm done with your existence -- ok? I don't care -- ok?" And sometimes I can make it work. Sometimes I can.

I don't know how to put the pieces back together.
I don't know what to do. Am I falling apart? Did I have anything in the first place? Am I anything?

No. I'm nothing, no one. Why do any of us matter? We don't.
Why do I need to exist? I don't.
I serve no role on this earth. I have no purpose. It makes no difference if I'm here or not.

Do I think suicidal thoughts sometime?
Nothing so far as planning -- but I do, seriously and honestly consider if it's even worth sticking around on this planet for another day. It doesn't happen all the time, but sometimes once or twice a week. I sometimes think if I could do it. I've taken enough plunges in this world, taken enough leaps.

And all I can plan to do is keep running on and on and on.
Things don't work here? Run on.
Don't like this there? Run on.

There's no reason to stay, anyways. No reason to stick around.

A lot of times I hate living.
A lot of times I feel like it's a bunch of pointless goals.
A lot of times I feel like it's a treadmill, a race that goes nowhere.

And then I get little happy bursts and all is well.
And then, within a few minutes, it all disappears.

So. I'm 24.
What did I do with my year, this year? What did I achieve?

Honestly? Nothing. Nothing at all.
I don't know what I'm doing.

Morning After Note:

I'm not always miserable. Today has been good so far. I know I shouldn't blog past my bedtime... I'm leaving this up, though, because it does represent a portion of my thoughts at times.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Toddling Housemate

So... I've got this new housemate.

I haven't yet written about the living situation I'm in, or really, much of anything of my life lately. Lopez got me really behind for a number of reasons (either super happy and busy and then there was that time when things got difficult and then I was moving and people were dead-ing). I'm hoping to catch up over the next few months.


The new housemate rocks (you'll hear about her folks later, because they rock too).

I've never before lived in a house where there's someone who laughs whenever they catch me going down the stairs (or at least gives an awkward glance) or when I come in the house. In doing all that, she makes me grin.

I love watching her run and fall down over and over again - and she gets a kick out of me running too.

I met her last year and enjoyed a few months of getting to know her. Since it's been a year, she's taking her time in warming up to me - but we're getting there. All in time. Yesterday she followed me thrice up the stairs and hung out with me in my bedroom as I wrote a letter to Hannah. It's nice having a human in the room who laughs that much.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Name Is Mägi

I wrote this over a year ago but didn't have the guts to post it till now...

Magi means "magic" in Polish, Indonesian, and Norwegian.
Mägi means "mountain" in Estonian.
Magi means "magicians" in Latin.
Magi means "stomach" in Icelandic.
Magi means "nuclear" in Hugarian.

The magical nuclear stomach of a mountain magician - I think that might be me...

I've been a “Mägi” for around 6 years now. The name origined back in 2007 during my time in Switzerland with the cafeteria ladies who I came to adore and got to spend time with as my classmates were in Chemistry class. One of ladies surprised me with a visit in Seattle. They wrote my name on the chalkboard as "Mägi." One day I asked, "Is that mean?" when I saw the name scribbled up there. "Yep!" They said. It stuck - especially after I left Swtizerland.

The topic of this blog is when people still write my name, “Maggie.”

I am not “Maggie.”
When I see “Maggie,” it doesn't feel like me at all. It looks foreign to me, now.
That's not me.

Don't you prefer it when people write your name correctly?
 I find it just as important as pronouncing a name correctly - written communication, these days, can come just as frequent as verbal communication and with just as much importance.

This makes me think of how we ought to respect the identities of other folks. If someone desires to be called Sycamore, by golly, we should call them that. They know their gender. They know their name. Our name can be a part of our identity and that is something we have a say in.

I'm grateful for my mom. When I've gone abroad and away from Seattle, my mom's told me a few times that I can, of course, choose any name for myself. I could go by Rita, Gosha (Polish for Margaret), or Gretle....

But I like Mägi.

I get sort of frustrated when people write my name as Maggie if they've seen me write it as Mägi for six years. I understood there would be a transition period to remember – but I think, by this point,  there's been enough time to remember how to spell my name. I especially get frustrated when it happens on Facebook because my name is spelled as “Mägi” constantly – they know how I refer to myself, I wish they would also refer to myself. Even my parents write “Mägi” now. Unless you've known me since before I was 11 years old, you've known me as "Mägi" longer than "Maggie."

There's also the issue of forgetting my umlauts.

I understand, on the computer, that folks don't always know how to get my umlauts, which is totally fine. Just write out Magi, I don't mind at all. But, in handwriting, why not? They're fun to write. They're like the smiley eyes of a smiley face. Without the “umlauts” I'm just the Magi which I always get a kick out of.

I don't mind variations on the pronunciations of Mägi.

In Portland, Zina calls me Maa-Guy.
I like that.
Others call me Maa – Jai, just like the wise guys who traveled to visit the Mary's boy child, Jesus Christ.

You can call me what you like but, please, please write my name as Magi or Mägi (or any nickname variation on those). I am not Maggie. I have not been for a while. I've spent my entire adult life being Mägi. Please respect that.

The name-spelling change symbolizes, to me, a powerful change that happened to me in Switzerland – a finding of my identity. Maggie is the name of who I was before Switzerland – and I'm not that person any more. I'm not comfortable with who that person was. I can love who I was, but it's altogether a very different human being.



P.S. I also still go by Margaret and am just as much a "Margaret" as I am a "Mägi." Margaret is the name that folks who generally have known me for a while or know me well call me Margaret. I have no objections to it.

Highbush Cranberries -- the Gathering

I live with five folks.

One of them is Luke.

Luke is the forager of the family, the gatherer (they are in a family - three brothers + the partner/girlfriend of one of 'em + their child and there's one on the way). He invited me yesterday to go with him to gather some chanterelles.

I took him up on the offer and off we went.

First -- a quick stop by the post office (thanks Audrey 1, Audrey 2, mystery person who sent me that one magazine, and Jessamy -- I only read the first letter from Audrey and am saving the rest for my birthday on Friday) was a good start for the venture. Mr. Postman (can I have favourite post men?) welcomed me home to Alaska, telling me they had all known I was coming back because of the letters arriving with my name on them.

It was a mile out of town, no too far, and before long we were in the woods. Wish I had pictures, it was beautiful.

We picked a bounty (so many of those things!) and then my mind wandered on to the highbush cranberry. Luke had already gathered a ton but they were there, they were plump, they were beautiful.. and they tasted so horrible, I couldn't stop eating them.

I'm sick of the term and embarrassed to use it -- but these little berries are considered, eh, uh... superfoods.

That wasn't very informative. Let's try to redeem this.

Ready for a citation? I know it should go at the end but I haven't made one in a few years and it looks so pretty!

"The Antioxidant Level of Alaska’s Wild Berries: High, Higher and Highest." International Journal of Circumpolar Health 72 (2013). US National Library of Medicine. Web. 16 Sept. 2014. .

That has to do with this upcoming information.

Let me try to get you the words of people who know things.

So these folks wanted to see about antioxidants in the berries. What good are those things? Good question. We keep talking about antioxidants but I think I rarely meet anyone who knows what they do. "Antioxidants are important in terms of their ability to protect against oxidative cell damage that can lead to conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and heart disease – conditions also linked with chronic inflammation. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of Alaska’s wild berries may have the potential to help prevent these diseases."

Well great.
That's cool.

Here's what they were checking out...
"This research centred on both the raw berries and products made from the berries. In the first year, a variety of wild berries were tested to discover their oxygen radical absorption capacity (ORAC) in the raw berries. The second level of the research project processed 4 different berries – blueberries, lingonberries, salmonberries, highbush cranberries – into 8 or 9 products made from these berries. The products were tested for both ORAC as well as specific antioxidants."

And the results?

"The Alaska wild berries collected and tested in the first experiment ranged from 3 to 5 times higher in ORAC value than cultivated berries from the lower 48 states. For instance, cultivated blueberries have an ORAC scale of 30. Alaska wild dwarf blueberries measure 85. This is also higher than lower 48 wild blueberries, which had a score of 61. All of the Alaskan berries tested have a level of antioxidant considered nutritionally valuable, ranging from 19 for watermelon berries to 206 for lingonberries on the ORAC scale."

The highbush cranberry was at 174 - only second to the lingonberry.

Well, that's also cool.

I know I didn't write all that (you saw that citation, yeah?).

So that's what we picked! It's super good for you.

Back home, I threw 'em into a blender, mashed 'em up a bit, popped them in the cheesecloth, squeezed them, and the juice keeps for a long time in the fridge or freezer. All set!

To celebrate, at the end, we did shots of highbush cranberry juice. This stuff is so tart, it's face contorting.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Moringa Tea :: the Smell of Me

 "Do I have any mail?"
"You know you do. You always do."
"Thanks. Ahey! It's from Liberia!"

I don't think I ever want to stop having "General Delivery" mail, I love having it handed to me.

General Delivery is a fantastic tool for travelers and nomads and folks like me who move around a lot. Letters can be addressed to you with General Delivery under the name (ex. M. Hubert // General Delivery // Haines, AK // 99827 < - - - my current address which works great for my upcoming birthday next Friday). Then, the recipient of a letter can go to the post office, ask for general delivery, and it gets handed to them. I like hand deliveries of the mail.

On one of those sunny Lopezian days, I was handed a letter from Liberia.

Liberia? West Africa Liberia?

It was a letter from my friend, Kyle, who had been living there for the past year. It was his first letter to try to send out and it had successfully made it into my hands.

The reason for the letter was that he had found my smell.

Back when I met Kyle, in 2012, Kyle learned that I was a bit frustrated because I could never smell the smell that is the smell of me.

A few years later, he was making tea, smelled it, and realized it smelled just like me. He sent me the recipe:

Liberian Honey

I found some freeze dried moringa on the internet (I couldn't find it at my local grocery store) and started to carry it around till I could find some Liberian honey.

About 2 months ago, I got a message that Kyle was unexpectedly coming home due to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. About a month later, he was spending a week with me on Lopez Island. With him, he brought me a gift of Liberian honey.

I was pretty stoked.
Despite my stoked-ness, it still took me a month to get around to making the tea.

This morning I squeezed some lemon juice into a jar, added some slices of ginger, a splash of honey, and a bag of moringa. A few glugs of hot water turned the thing into a generator of what I supposed smell like.

My thoughts? Well... if that's what I smell like, apparently I smell delicious.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mount Riley :: Day 1 in Haines

In case you didn't get the memo (or, more likely, I forgot to mention it -- I'll be time-travel blogging this upcoming week, blogging about events in the past and then posting them in the past), I'm back in Haines, Alaska. I left here about 8 or 9 months ago and it was time that I come back and check on humans and the mountains that I find pretty scrumptious.

I arrived on a sunny Monday which, apparently, was rare for this summer. According to the news or some human, this summer it's rained around 280% more than normal. It's just been a big soggy summer. I was grateful for the sunny arrival.

The next day was sunny too and I felt honoured to be invited to join the homeschoolers for a hike up Mt. Riley. Mt. Riley isn't too ambitious a hike... but it might be considered that when you've got ankle that roll even when walking on carpet or when you're hiking with 12 kids ages 6 - 16.

To respect the privacy of the families, this is the only shot you'll get of the crew.
The hike, if you were a crow, is only 2.6 miles - but switchbacks and meandering trails make the actual hike significantly longer. It also isn't too high of an elevation gain, The peak is at 1,760 feet of elevation.

Since I came to Haines a few year ago, I've wanted to hike Riley. Why hadn't I? My ankles. My ankles are nasty little funky-monkers who roll constantly and hiking can be a death sentence for them. Every, every time I hike, it's almost guaranteed I'll roll an ankle. Now, sometimes it's a wee roll that I can walk off - but other times it's a major one that takes a few weeks on crutches to heal and puts me back at square one. I never know what sort of roll I'll get so hiking sort of freaks me out.

I'd wanted to hike it, but it just hadn't happened yet. This time finally seemed like the right time. How often do I get the opportunity to go hiking with so many of the kids I've come to love in Haines (it was not difficult). It would also be good for my asthma. When hiking with certain folks, they want to run the trails (which some of the kids do) and it forces me to overexert my lungs and have my asthma act up. With kids, they went a pace that was comfortable.

At 9:50 AM, Mrs. G and N picked me up and took me to the trail head. None of the kids knew I was coming so my arrival was a surprise and it was a sweet reunion.

The hike up was a steady climb and I found myself in the finest of company. Games were played, like "A my name Alice" and songs were sung.

Wild blueberries were also picked. So, so many blueberries! This probably slowed us down by about 50% as the kids kept finding themselves having to leave the trail to pick another handful of blueberries. They were really sweet and kept handing them to me. S went to the back, where I couldn't see her, and picked me a huge surprise-bunch of blueberries! She has such a giving heart.

The view at the top was an amazing sight. Mount Riley is the highest elevation on the Chilkat Peninsula, where I live, so from up there, you could see everything! You could see the entire town of Haines, up the road towards the Yukon, out Lutak, up the Chilkat River, Rainbow Glacier -- everything.

The kids took to the trees and started climbing and some were even attempting to leap from tree to tree. I kept thinking, "This is their school. This is their school time." They were all hiking not just for fun but to rack up PE hours for the upcoming year. They've been hiking the past couple weeks, building up each week's hike in difficulty.

The way back down as a bit trickier for me, with the ankles. My loose ankles mess up my knees, so I plodded down slowly - luckily, I was in good company. In the last 25% of the trail, I ended up rolling my ankles three times. Luckily, I had a brace I could put on and I was all set to walk later that evening with Dani.

It felt really good to climb that mountain.
I think I live in the most beautiful place in the world.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


I think this may be the good life.

One of the families I work for knew that my week was a bit off, it was also a hard one for her kids, so she gave me Saturday off. I appreciated it. With my mind evening out again, I feel a lot more capable of getting things done.

I'm back to running around making noises in just my boots, a sun hat, and a little boy's t-shirt - bum bare and happy as can be.

I woke up with Hannah next to me. We ran about to gather apples, made French toast, enjoyed breakfast together, and then she was on her way to nanny.

Saturday was a day to get things done. I spent an extra hour with the goats, in the morning, cleaning the stall extra good after the pre-previous-day fiasco (those goats!).

Figs were eaten straight off of the tree...

Inside, I did all the dishes and tidied up the kitchen. At this point, Jed came home and we had a really satisfying, much needed talk.

I got the laundry going and hung it up to dry. That also always feels quite right.

I did a full Tobbit-cleanse, which felt good. It feels good to get rid of stuff and rolling things up and get everything in it's place. I like that I can get everything nice and shiny and totally set in just a short amount of time. It doesn't feel like a chore.

Then, Sawyer came over. He hung out while I finished up getting Tobbit all set to go. Then, it was time to take the goats for a walk. The goats aren't penned in - they could roam the entire island, if they wanted to - but that's the thing, they don't want to. They like staying close to home. They have fields and fields they can graze, but they don't... unless I take them on their walk.

We led them out to the fields and, while they filled themselves up with grass, Sawyer and I played badminton.

Sawyer used to live on a goat farm in California and was pretty chuffed to have some goats at his side again.

Back home, we picked some blueberries and corn for dinner and waited for the arrival of Carole. Carole is my best friend who I've always, always known and had in my life.

Sawyer was wearing my slip, so I decided I wanted to dress like him. I got a beard (burnt wine cork rubbed on the face) and he let me wear his hat. All I had to do was throw on overalls and I was set.

Its good to have Carole here. She brings out the best in me. She makes me laugh and feel secure and loved... and she's here, so I want to go and spend time with her...

I've been running around. Laughing out loud.
So blissed out and so grateful.
Life is life and I know I'm where I'm supposed to be.
(less than two weeks till Alaska!)

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