Sunday, December 29, 2013


I posted this before and three people saw it - two of them mentioned it to me. I decided to post it.

There are a dozen other things to write about right now. There's Christmas, walking, Tobbit, the joys of Seattle but what's in the front of my mind in this very moment is that...

Even when frustrated, I still use apostrophes.

I don't get it.
I don't.

I want to forget and erase and leap ahead and magically not be affected at all. How do people do it?
Stupid, stupid mistake.
Fell so easily, so fast, and so pathetically.

Foolishly, just went though old messages and came across the very, very first one this human sent me:


I think you might be the coolest friend for a day I've ever had in my life. And I had me a lot of those. Thanks for the photos. They're great and brought back a lot of good memories. You're so wonderful and I think Haines Alaska needs you.



It arises so, so much frustration in me. I feel ashamed.
Each time I think I've take a few steps forward, moved on, it's like my feet let me down.
I can logic it all out but that doesn't turn my heart off.

Since then, I still don't trust this heart of me. I detest it. I don't let it feel and try and keep running.

In other words....

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Poached Eggs

Thoughts feel like my first and only attempts at poached eggs.

I first made poached eggs for Ellen.
They never became poached eggs.
So, perhaps I've never made poached eggs.

But I remember, with frustration, chasing down egg whites that had solidified....

Which (oh man, this is going to be an awful analogy) is like these thoughts I have. First, it takes something for them to emerge into my mind. It takes hard times, boiling water, and moments of clarity for them to solidify and turn from goo to something I can see.

But then, once I have these present thoughts, I can't do anything with them yet. Some of them,sure, I can easily manipulate, just like the cynchy yolk. But with others, it's just not going to work. I chase after them, trying to wrangle them up, but they're content to swirl about in the hot water on their own terms for a while longer.

If I take the time to get these thoughts out, they're underdeveloped and useless, like soggy poached egg whites that are all stringy and wet.

I don't know.
Is it worth thinking about or could I go back to the routine. I can do that. I can go through the motions.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Farewell Haines V.4

For the fourth time in my life, I'm leaving Haines, Alaska. For the second time, I'm not in a position where I can tell or say when I'll be back. For the first time, I couldn't help but cry as I boarded the ferry. I've pretty much gotten over crying for farewells - I started numbing myself to the process back when I was 17 and learned how painful it could be. As a result, I decided not to care. And, despite how much I tried not to care this time around, I did.

I don't want to leave this place.
There is so much love here.
I feel so safe here. After months of going through the desire of wanting the rug to be pulled out from under my feet, I feel a odd sense of pleasure in this illusion of security.

These past two months in Haines have meant even more to me than the year I spent in Haines in 2012. I felt connected and rooted. My focus, this time in Haines, wasn't just on my job or cash, it was on the humans that make Haines what it is.

In this short amount of time, I went through a few seasons. I went through the honeymoon phase, I went through the phase of not having much to do, I went through the phase of having every minute filled with activities, I went through the phase of feeling at home and the phase of getting itchy feet that drove me into strong desires to go elsewhere, I went through the phase of feeling utterly wonderful and the low times that lasted day after day.

But, overall, this time meant a lot to me. It was so precious.

During this time in Haines, I got to build stronger relationships with the folks I had known before or merely brushed shoulders with. There was a core group of families that especially welcomed me into their homes. Last time when I left, there were certain people I felt like I had barely even begun to get to know, this time, I got to meet up with them again and that was beautiful.

It was a season of being blessed and being given the opportunity to bless others.

Over and over again, people welcomed me into their homes which meant so much to me. As a solo traveler, I crave connections with other people and need that daily encouragement to keep myself in a healthy mental state. I need those families that will casually have me over all morning as the kids chip away at their school work or the families that invite me over to make music or curl up in a blanket for a good film.

There are two things that will keep drawing me back to Haines – and I know, I know I'll keep coming back.

See that red building down there? That was my home.
I'll always come back for the mountains. Haines is surrounded by majestic mountains that dare you to not believe in God. They loom over us, demanding awe and admiration. Haines is like living in a set of postcards. There are views that I've seen hundreds of time and still can't get over their beauty.

It's also those humans that call me back to Haines. I was planning on not coming back to Haines for a while, but, after saying those good-byes, I don't know if I can stay away that long. There are a lot of folks that I like having in my life and, in share, I've been told they don't mind having me around. I like watching the kids grow up – I love them so much.

I was prompted to come back to Haines with the birth of Pearl. It all began with a culmination of reminisces and relationships, but it was her birth that stirred me to buy my ticket home back when I was in Ukraine this summer. She could get her own blog post as I write about how honoured I am that her parents have allowed me to be a part of her life. I could write for hours about daily snuggles with the tiny little muppet. I can't stay away and miss watching her grow up, can I? And she's one of many children I've fallen in love with in Haines.

How did I end up falling for this place? Will I forever be coming back here? I suspect so.

But,  for now, it's time to leave again. Maybe I'll be back in a month and a half, maybe in half a year, maybe in a year – I can't even guess anything older than that because a year would be much too long although, with the way my life tends to pan out, you never know. I do, know, that I'll be back.

Farewell, Haines, Alaska.

This Post Has Nothing to Do With Christmas

Sometimes my whole perspective flip-flops for a minute and I wonder if that is my one brief moment of true clarity.

I went to my folk's church twice today and heard the same sermon twice. During the second time, I certainly had a bit of brain-meandering going on. I'm not too comfortable writing out exactly what I was pondering and which side I was on, but it was a matter that had been on my mind a lot lately.

The situation involved a lot of hurt and over a decade of time and no reconciliation to soothe the unexpected pain that had come of it. I looked at the situation in a new, but simple, way and it made me wonder if I had been getting it wrong the entire time. It didn't make anything feel better, perhaps it was all even worse as I mourned the confusion of 14-year-old me, but it did trigger some more thoughts.

I wondered how much I get wrong.
How many of my beliefs are delusion?
How many cognitive distortions have I woven into unstable representations of a false reality that I treat as concrete truth?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December to April

"Where are you going after Haines?" asked folks.
"Well... I'm not sure exactly."
"I thought you were coming back."
"So did I."

I don't know.

I originally thought I was going to be coming back to Haines post-Christmas but I'm sort of scratching that plan. Work isn't going how I thought it would and due to a couple of things, I'm not thinking it's the best fit for me to try and work out for next season.

Which is sort of good - because I don't think I was meant to be in Haines (for now) beyond these two months. So much of me wants to stay here and continue with the rhythm I so comfortably slip into when living here - but that's not what I think I'm supposed to be doing for too much longer.

This season in Haines isn't what I thought it would be, but it is what it is and I'm grateful for it.

If you want to know what's up....

December 22 - Haines -> Juneau :: via ferry
December 23 - Juneau -> Seattle :: via aeroplane
December 25 - Christmas
December 27thish - January 12thish - work on Tobbit with Alex
mid-January to February 19 - do the rounds of visiting the folks I visited last January and other folks in communities I desire to see (Froelichs, Portland, Lopez Island, Olympia, Cle Elum)
February 19 - April 7 - Bowen Island, British Columbia :: L'Abri

Guess I better get my driver's license and start gearing up Tobbit for the road.
And here's a wishlist if you've ever thought, "Hey --  I feel like getting Margaret hanging bag dehumidifiers!" but wasn't sure if I needed 'em.

December Get Down

Been in a funk this week.

It's the sort of funk I keep waiting to be shaken off, but it doesn't. I imagine this is a slight, small  hint of what depression is like - a never-ending weird pit feeling in your stomach and a dullness that seems to coat every bowl of beans.

Part of it is, no doubt, hormonal.
Part of it, I've started to wonder, might be the lack of sun.

11 days till Solstice and the shortest day of the year where Portlanders get three more hours of light than us folks in Haines!

Seasonal hormonal funk?

I've been trying to keep myself moving - that always helps. Fresh air and wiggling. Normally music helps, but lately, no dice.

I've really been relying on God, on my Bible, on rad friends, and on snazzy moments to push me through.

When I want to sulk in a corner, I whip out the Bible. I call on the Lord for my strength. I trust him.

When things go a muck, Dani is a rad person to hang out with - especially combined with snuggling her daughter, Pearl. If I want to growl and laugh, I always feel welcome at the Dani-Nik-Pearl residence - same goes with a few other homes in town I've been frequenting (Greens and H-fam).

When I just don't know what's up, there's this great crew of short kids who run up to me and give me hugs that make me feel a whole lot better.

Today I fought the funk by pouring out as much love as I could muster up and more (thanks, God) into Ellen, my "client" (really, just a rad friend I adore) and playing cello for the lovely old ladies at the Haines Senior Center. Dani shook things up by making a lentil casserole (no dairy or white flour - it was exceptional) that made me feel fuzzy.

I find it odd. I'm not used to this. I've felt it before, but not so extended.

I kind of wish I could kick it away, now. I feel bursts of cheer and lightweightness every once in a while, but then I sink back low.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mundane Friendships :: Success

Here's something that makes Haines feel like home more than any other place.

Haines is the only place in the world where I've got friends I can hang out with and do just about nothing with without any pre-planning arrangements.

Not sure if that makes sense.

I know mundane has negative connotations - but when I use it to describe a friendship, I intend to indicate the sort of times where nothing exciting has to or is happening. It's the golden moments of just hanging out without an occasion. It's sitting on their couch reading a book while they get something else done and a rambling conversation intersects it all.

In Haines, I've got a collection of houses that I can go to at just about any hour to simply hang out and exist and relish the joy of being around other folks. I can show up with a book and read by their fire, hang out, stay for a meal, play with their kids, and enjoy being in a home.

I don't have that in Seattle, at all. I can't think of any home (beyond my parents) where I can just go to "hang out" without calling first. There's no place where I can show up and exist for hours without an invitation.

Seattle is full of schedules and agendas. It's deadlines.
For me to see a friend in Seattle, I frequently have to plan days in advance around every other event.

Now, part of that, I know, is because I'm rarely there and am packing so many activities into each day.
But it feels like a game of Tetris, trying to make everything happen.

Here, I get to relish the community that's here because, chances are, there isn't really anything to do at any given moment. There are "things to do," but nothing to ferocious or nightly. There aren't weekly commitments beyond women's choir and bell choir (for which I perpetually substitute, since I'm not available for any of the performances but can make it to every practice).

In Seattle, I never feel like I get beyond catching up with people. I think this is the point where some would interject, "But you never stay in Seattle long enough.."

I was in Seattle for over a decade. I know Seattle. I've been in Seattle.

I've never had that friend you can just hang out with at any hour there.
You know those folks where you can knock on their door right before bed because you realize "being social" sounds like a good idea? And all they seem is thrilled to see you.
In Haines, I do.

For me, one of the joys of friends is that when you get stuck in your head, you can call on them and they'll be with you. They don't say, "How about next Tuesday at four." I mean, friends can say, "Next Tuesday at four," but by that point, the moment is finished and pass.

I love that all I have to do is put on my raincoat and show up. In Seattle, it's not just a stroll across town - it's two busses a few maps and maybe a bike ride.

I value my Seattle friends - I truly do. They mean a lot to me and I love them so much and know they love me - this isn't to diminish that.

But Seattle, with it's bus schedules and distances, can't do for me what Haines does.

Seattle has its purpose. There are a lot of beautiful friends there I value, but, for now, Seattle feels like a quick stopping point - a vacation - and Haines feels like home.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Overstimulation and Tears

I don't know what this is.
It might be me just being me.
It might be, in part, attributed to my SPD.

This afternoon I tried to go to the Lighting of the Library Open House Thingy (that's the official name). I made it. I went inside.

And lasted about 7 minutes before I had to leave.

The library was packed with people and my brain started fuzzing about and started to prickle. I started to feel distant and unsettled. I tried to make conversation, I honestly did.

But I lost it.

I headed for the door, weaving around, still trying to convince myself to stay to no avail.

A few feet before the door, I saw one of the only, only folks in the world whose presence gives me a stomach ache or a stickly brain (only by association - swell person).

Soon as I was out of the doors, I started to cry.
I don't know why.

I have eaten today.
I slept last night.

Why am I crying?

Is it because of being overstimulated?

I've held it together for a while, now. I wonder what the trigger was. I don't get it. I really don't. Why would I cry?

It's now been 8 hours since that happened. No, I didn't enter into a funk. It was just a short-lived moment of peculiarity.

Within an hour, I had five joyous folks on my bed and I was feeling as loved and chipper as ever. It was a solid crew of folks, all with a positive outlook and spittles of joy that rubbed off onto my elbows.

We listened to around 9 versions of Auld Lang Syne and watched the 1995 Hayao Miyazaki film, Whisper of the Heart.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Yeah, Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has to be one of the keenest holidays out there.
It's got this forever-vibe of family being rubbed into your pores mixed with cinnamon sticks and essence of snuggly-bunnies.


I've got a lot to be grateful for. A whole lot.

Right now I could start listing it off, but I'm pretty sure most of it would come off as pretty predictable to anyone who knows me.

I'm grateful for a functional family that makes me feel loved and secure and that encourages personal growth and creativity.

I'm grateful for friends that gush love all over me. I'm grateful for those friends where, when you say, "You make me feel like part of the familiy," they say, "Mägi, you are a part of our family."

I'm grateful for the peace and confidence I have in knowing I'll never go hungry or without shelter, even if I were to give every cent I had away, I know there are folks out there who would take me in.

I'm grateful for a place to call home, my little cave.

I'm grateful to live in Haines, Alaska.

I'm grateful for this year of travel and all the unplanned adventures that I got doused in.

I'm grateful for a job that's never felt like work, not ever. I'm grateful to be able to describe my job as simply to be loving on and hanging out with the raddest folks in town.

I'm grateful for dancing feet and snazzy beats.

I'm grateful for the rice cooker on my counter.

So those are the thank-you's.

Thanksgiving away from my immediate family was swell. It ended up being celebrated within the homes of four different families who took me in.

I guess I sort of celebrated Thanksgiving with my immediate family back in October when I first flew from Iceland  to Washington. Since I knew I'd be missing this Thanksgiving, I gathered the family and they were sweet enough to make time to make it happen.

I know most folks think this - but my family is really dandy! It's a copacetic collection of musicians, comedians, and engineers with a lot of nerd/geek culture mixed in. We usually up for breaking out into song and laughter leaves my guts feeling all jiggled up.

After the meal, all the present-attending cousins went for a walk. We've got a lot more than this, on my dad's side of the family, but this is who could make it and was still around after a couple of hours. It's cool to be around people I'm related to.

So this is our non-Thanksgiving day that sort of looked like Thanksgiving:

We are the Hubert family.
This is our lemonade.

Then, about a month and a half later, I was in Haines and real Thanksgiving came around.

Pre-Thanksgiving occurred on Sunday with the Marquardt mob. We sculpted pierógi around the table, feeling oh so satisfied. I love this crew. They're super chill and really amusing to be around.

When Thanksgiving day came along, I got a call that I would be celebrating at the Jackson family's home with the lovely H family. I used to live in the H's library for a few months! I love them so much - ever unit of their 12-person family.

You could put me in a cabin with any of those folks for 24-hours and I'd be a happy camper. A lot of the time was devoted to making Fluffy Thanksgiving Rolls - a legend among those who know the H family. I remember my first Thanksgiving with them, last year, when I was converted to a true lover of these magical rolls stuffed with gooey delicious sweet nut guts.

I got to meet Olive who grew up in Elkins (shout out to Scotty!), used to work for the FBI, and then drove to Alaska and started living there pre-statehood. Haines is full of the raddest old folks!

A short jam session (super short) and it was time for me to move on to the next household - Byrne's place. At Byrne's, I got to celebrate with his awesome mom, Shirley, and him. I had only met Shirley once before - at her home when me and a friend made Christmas music.

I really appreciated the conversations I got to have with them - but am keen on seeing Shirley again so I can be the one to ask her questions. I know she's one of those rich human beings that's fun to get to know (rich like fudge, not like Scrooge). One of the highlights of the time was when she wanted to know if I ever was around "old folks." I got to inform that yes, indeed, a lot of my favourite folks and humans I spend a lot of time with are "old." Age doesn't make much of a difference.

Byrne made a delectable duck. I never knew I liked duck until Byrne roasted it up. Sigh. So grateful. The entire meal was delicious - especially the stuffing! He puts malt vinegar and cardamom in his which would make it legendary in my books (if I had books). He asked me for a hand at beating the whipping cream, but made it pretty clear that I was incapable of properly whipping it... I have so much to learn in this world.

After hanging out with Byrne and Shirley, I was driven over to the Green's home where a collection of Greens and Mackowiaks were all starting to make nests for a post-Thanksgiving film screening.

Oh Haines!
Feel the love.
Happy Thanksgiving.
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