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.

Little Human.
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:

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.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Keep This Till Thys Death - 2003

Age 15

Over a decade ago when I was 12, back when we shared everything by email, I filled out this quiz and sent it out to friends. I kept quizzes, like this, in a folder called, "Keep This Till Thys Death." Sounds pretty important, eh? It's now making it's way onto my blog.

Probably my favourite answer was this one:
-What is the best way to approach someone you love to ask them for a date? You are dumb, this is dumb, did I say that you are dumb.

NOTICE: 1. You may answer with multiple answers to any of these questions.
2. You do not have to complete this quiz all at one time. It is very long.
3. Copy and paste, don't forward.
4. Don't read and then write. Read as you write, because sacred things are at the bottom of this
quiz and if you read first you will be cursed for eternity.
-Name: Margaret H
-Age: 12 355/356
-Residence: K******, Wa
-School: K****** Jr. High
-Wearing: Blues tea shirt, jeans (shorts), white socks. I’m not telling you any more.
-Eating/Drinking: Nothing at all
-Listening To: Radio
-Thinking About: What is the point of this, homework.
-What You Want To Be When You Grow Up: Architect, mayor, tinkerbell.
-Goals: To be tinkerbell so I can fly!!!
-Zodiac Sign: Why do you care. (if you were wondering, I don’t know)
-Color: Lime and teal.
-Boy/Girl (as in, crush): NONE
-Friend: I can’t list them all, I have homework to do.
-Food: Bagel with cream cheese
-Food Group: FAT YUMMY
-Word: Tectonically
-Song: Why do you wanna know? I don’t.
-Quote: "Ora bora holea cheesea"
-Animal: Turtle
-Sport: Racket Ball (I’ve only played it once)
-Past President: What’s a president?
-Place: Tree Swing
-Country: Good question… the USA
-City: K******
-Plant: Heliotrope
-Movie: Peter Pan
-TV Show: Home Improvement
-Book: Good Night Mr. Tom
-Element (earth, air, fire, water): WATER (I can’t swim)
-Beatles song: I forget what it’s called.
-Are you vegetarian or not (explain) ? No ( I won’t explain to save my head)
-What is chubble, a trion, a dorking, and a lobcock (No, you are not considered an idiot if you don't know)? WHAT?
-What is your greatest phobia? Dirty socks that are size 83.928.
-Have you ever heard the song "Timothy" (Trapped in a mine that had caved in . . .)What is TIMOTHY?
Did you think it was a great song? I hate it.
-Do you think "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" is a great song? YES, it is the best.
-Can you dance worth anything? Depends on the dance. I can dance worth trophies.
-Do you ever crank your music up super loud and sing along? Who doesn’t?
-Have you ever punched someone? My brother… yes.
-Who would be the top 3 people you would punch if given the chance? I don’t wanna punch anyone.
-Where would you prefer to go on your first/next date and with who? No date, no one, no how.
-How would you like to die? While sleeping about pretty ponies.
-How would you like to be remembered? As Me.
-What is the best way to approach someone you love to ask them for a date? You are dumb, this is dumb, did I say that you are dumb.
-Who do your friends think likes you? No one at all… thank goodness.
-Do you hear voices? Who doesn’t, hey, I hear my mom.
-Do you see dead people? I saw my dead aunt once.
-Do you not like "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"? YEAH!!!
-Do you like "Timothy"? It’s dumb.
-Have you not ever cranked up the volume on your CD player and sung along? Yup.
-If you were in Japan, would you not take a picture of one of their toilets which is basically a toilet in the ground? Of course, I would want everyone to know about my experience in Japan.
-And how does it make you FEEL? It makes me feel very smart.
-Do you think the person who wrote this quiz is crazy? It depends, how does it make you FEEL?
Now, make 10 wishes.
Now write down what they were.
  1. To have a pony.
  2. To be tinkerbell when I grow up.
  3. To have lots of money.
  4. For someone to reply to this e-mail.
  5. That Tamrin won’t move.
  6. That I won’t get any more questionnaires like this.
  7. For lots of presents.
  8. For an updated Encarta CD-ROM.
  9. To have one million and two nose flutes. (they are fun to play)
  10. To own a library.
Now, put a number and write down your name if you're for the prevention of cruelty of animals. DON'T PUT YOUR LAST NAME but put your state BUT NOT YOUR CITY (this is for your own security). Make sure the people you are sending this to are trustworthy people cause I am putting my email on this and I don't want to have to change it. When it reaches 300, send it to  ****@******.com, so I can be sure that there are others out there besides some of my best friends. Then I'm going to hopefully do something with it, like, send it to some government official or something. I don't know, I'll ask around.
1. Ari S.-Z., WA
2. Tami G, WA (GO VEG)
15. Maggie, WA
Now for the wishing:
If you were an odd number, your odd wishes will come true.
If you were an even number, your even wishes will come true.
None of the previous applies: If you were a number ending in 5, your first 5 wishes will come true.
If you were a number ending in 0, your last 5 wishes will come true.
None of this applies: If you were the last person, all your wishes will come true.
Thank you for doing this quiz. If you wrote your name down, remember that you are just one of the many people who wish to stop just one of the small demonstrations of cruelty in this world. Spread the word.
P.S. If you answered yes to any one of the psychiatric questions, you are crazy.
Wahoo, I got my wishies true. I win I win… I am crazy to.

Age 15

October 23th, 2014

View out the front window of where I'm staying this week.
Tonight, I had the honour of calling into one of my favourite radio shows - the White Girl Radio Hour, but on by two lovely humans over Washington DC on WGTB, the radio station of Georgetown University.

One of the co-hosts is my friend, Tucker. I met Tucker back in 2009 after a dozen people recommended I meet him. Everyone seemed to know Tucker.

Since then, we've both gotten around since we met.

Two years ago, I believe, he started up the WGRH with his friend... a lovely lass whose name I forget. I've been calling in since 2012, if I remember correctly.

I love tuning in, when I remember. For me, it's 7:00 PM on Thursdays.

Tonight, they were talking about home. I tuned in with housemate, Nik, who is amicable and doesn't mind me blaring out show-tunes or shows like the WGRH. As each tune came on, a smirk came on - but not a cruel one. Each tune made me giggle when it came on.

Collectively, the show set a good mood for the room.

Then, it was time for me to call in.
I love calling into this show almost as much as I love listening.

The topic was home -- a topic I feel like I've exhausted on this blog. Just now, I thought I'd scrap the whole idea, but now I think I might throw it in again.

Or out.
or in
or out.

At the end, I was asked about my current daily rhythm up here in Alaska.

Here it is...

- arise
- greet humans
- make tea
- dishes
- dance (or later in the day... sometime)
- math
- math
- math
- outside skitter
- math
- visit humans
- dinner
- slow down
- sleep

Yeah... not too eventful, eh? But I like it. There's a lot of flexibility in it. I also get to spend a lot, a lot, of time with my niece, Pearl, and my dear friend, Dani.

So what did today look like?

This week I'm staying at a different house. It involves taking care of two dogs, a bajillion cats, and a few fish. I spent most of the morning working on a letter to Tucker and dancing around the house to this.

In the afternoon, I gave Dani a call to see how she was doing. We decided she needed to go out and that I should watch Pearl for a bit. I showed up, Dani left, Pearl and I chilled. Dani got a ton done and so did I. Pearl was sleeping so I did some math homework. It was a triple win. After her nap, we read through her Pride and Prejudice book five times.

Then we all three went for a walk around town - ended up at the post office to pick up a present I had designed/made online for the M family.

Dani made soup.
I worked on homework.
Nik came home.
Discussed household drama.
Ate soup.
I went back to where I'm staying.
Realized I forgot my laptop at home - which I needed for homework turn-in that night.
Drove back into down.
Grabbed laptop.
Back to house.

Exciting, eh?

Not especially - but it was a good day.
There's time to breathe in this town.

Introducing Asher :: Car #3

Despite only having had a license for eight months, yesterday I came into possession of my third car.

I'd like to introduce you guys to Asher.

Ain't he fine? He's on his final stretch. Apparently he spent last year dragging snowmachines up the highway in the snow and pulling a skiff out of the water while driving on wet sand. He is a beast.

I am truly, truly grateful for this car.
Asher was a gift and I'm blown away with the generosity of the humans who gave it to me.

This family already treats me like I'm a part of their family. I try to make it out to their house once a week to spend time with them. They've been a huge part of my Alaska-life since Fall 2012. Who knows how many meals they've fed me and how many hours we've spent together.

Anyways, they gave me this car. Their kids called it the Beater. It's a '91 Subaru Loyale and it is a legend.

These cars would like snowmachines (snowmobiles) when it snows, just riding up on top of the snow. Because of this, Subaru's from this time period are all around Haines. Folks know that they do well in this corner of the world.

Not only did they give it to me, they fixed it up before handing it over. There was one part that was off and C ordered the part and fixed it before giving it to me. Who does that? Crikey! They are so, so, so good to me. I feel so blessed. I don't feel like I deserve to have him.

When I'm done with Asher, I'm to pass him on.
He's also really old, on his last stretch, so he may conk out sooner than later. Hopefully later.

I think he handles great. He certainly gets me from A to B.

And what will those As and Bs likely be?

Well, I like to walk in Alaska and my feet get me just about everywhere I could want to go - but there are two specific households that are way out there that it'll be swell to be able to visit. Normally, the humans end up driving some 40 miles for me to visit them (over and back times two to pick me up and drop me off) -- now, that's reduced significantly to just one trip on my own time.

Also, sometimes the weather here is ultra, ultra crappy and it's dark and there are bears and... and.. I don't want to worry about bears at night. It's nice for that too.

And --- what about Tobbit, my truck down south?
He didn't come up north because it'd cost way more than I was comfortable spending. Asher is my Alaska car. Tobbit is my southern-truck. Simple.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ever-Abounding Energy :: Night Running with Humans

 I'm grateful. Running has been something, lately, I can do. My feet can move me places and fast enough speeds to hopefully physically exhaust myself.

The past few days, I've gotten wild shots of energy that make me (encourage me to) run around the house. Lots of it. It gets all bubbly and then I have to go (not to the bathroom).

The other day I took that energy and took it to run to B's house.

Another day, the energy didn't go away till late at night.

I woke up with it, cleaned the entire kitchen, and then started running around the house. Our house makes a loop in the lower layer so it was the perfect race track. After that, a friend came over and we walked 2.3 miles. 30 minutes after that, I left the home and walked up the steepest hill near me, 1.3 miles, to visit with L&D. There, I got to run around with Baby D.

I got home in the late evening, we watched a movie, and then I still had energy.

With a bit of convincing, I soon had with me, running in the rain at 10:45 at night, Luke, Daniel, and Alex. Our destination? The liquor store! 'cept we never went there. Well, we did, but we didn't need any

After our first few tenths of a mile, we came across a giant hill going downwards.

"Roll down it!" I declared.

Luke tried, but he tucked his hands down, so he didn't roll well.
I had a go and put my hands over my head and got some speed going.
It was raining and muddy and I had just thrown up apple pie onto the street. I don't recommend throwing up and then rolling down a steep hill in the rain.... or maybe I do.
Alex tried.
Daniel tried.

It was fun running with a crew of humans. It made me laugh and it felt really good. I generally run alone, but now I had company. It didn't feel like exercise. As Daniel commented, the next day, it felt like high school, running around town with your friends.

We took a detour through the cemetery, went down by Beach Road and ran by the fjord.
And then we made it to our destination.

Luke and Daniel each got a vitamin-water-thing and Daniel got some Good & Plenty and Shockers. We started running again and Alex was super keen on stopping. Normally I'd be a bit kinder, but back at home, he'd been making a bit of a fuss on how fit he was without encouragement.

We reached the bar and went in for a bit. Left. And then went back in. I saw my friend, N, there and she bought me a scotch so I stuck around for a bit longer until running home.

Back home, Nick, called and we talked for 46 minutes.
I met Nick back in April 2010. He's got five years on me and has been transitory since for quite a while. Our story-lines are totally different, but for the past year, have had similar flavors. Currently he's a nanny in LA.

Then, finally, I crashed.
Thank goodness.
Good night.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


This is month eight of no cell phone.

The report?
I like it.
It's nice.
That's also $400 saved.

I like not being able to be reached. I like keeping numbers written in a notebook and referencing the phone book a few times a week. Every call I've made, lately, has been after I looked up the number in the phone book.

In the city, I think they're super useful but, where I live, there's not really a huge use for them. In the city, it's pretty useful to be able to look up a bus schedule on the fly. It nice for checking if something is open when you're out.

But in towns like Bowen Island, Lopez Island, and Haines, you don't need it. If you want to get anywhere, you can stick out your thumb or walk or bike in any of those towns. You don't need a phone. Things work out fine. If you do need a phone while en route, chances are, there are phones in public places to use and folks with phones who'll lend you there's.

It's nice not having one. It's nice not constantly checking it to see if I got a text. It's nice to spend times with friends, never interrupted.

In case you were wondering, there has not yet been a moment when I've thought, "Gee, I really wish I had a phone." When I needed one, and it was urgent, I asked a stranger on the street.

I've learned that, for my lifestyle, I don't really need one. Not yet.
Someday I probably will, but not right now.
Maybe in a few months... but not right now.
They are useful tools, that is for sure, but I don't like how they're the absolute norm, now. I don't like how folks can't go long without checking it. I don't like how they're always listening for that sound and when they hear that sound, they pull the phone out of their pocket. Not all folks, but some folks. Some folks sometimes.

Note: I actually do have a phone. An $7 phone with a few minutes on it, pre-paid. It's always off and left in the glove compartment of my truck, left there just in case Tobbit breaks down on the highway. Just wanted to be honest. Currently, it's over a thousand miles away from me. Lovely thing.

Also just deactivated off of Facebook after 2-3 months logged on. I'm awful at managing it. I'm happier without it. Simple. It's been written about before.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Sometimes my body is [very] weird
and I start to think it's normal.

Then one day I look it up and learn there's a name for it.
How convenient.
It's nice to know other people go through the same things... especially the gross weird things.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Star Trek: TOS & 90° Glasses

Sometimes (not often), I consume a substance quickly (I had one beer and one scotch, nothing overboard, but enough to make me laugh) and then think it's a great idea to go online and go shopping.

In this situation, I really wanted a Star Trek hoodie so I could dress up like Data.
My first crush, as a kid, was on Data. I thought he was super cute.

Currently, I'm working on Star Trek: The Original Series.
It is wonderful.
Ha. Ha. Ha.

Just like that.

The other night, my housemate, Luke, asked if I wanted a salmon sandwich (I did!) and made one for me and then he, me, and Data watched two episodes. It was delightful.

In that uninhibited moment of shopping, I also bought a mug that lifes up, and these 90° glasses that make it so you can lay down and read a book without lifting up your arms or crinking up your neck. I also got a zombie doll for Pearl that can be torn into bits. She likes creepy toys.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Life is very math-y lately.
Wake up? Math.
Afternoon? Math.
Evening? Math.

And I like it.

A few weeks ago, I signed up for a math course on a whim. I had just attended Grandfather's memorial service and when they got to the part about him getting his master's, it struck a chord with me.

Lately, I've decided that I want to somehow obtain more bookish-knowledge. Last time I went to school was 2-3 years ago, long enough for a break and to miss it again.

I don't want to be academically frozen with the mind of a 21-year-old. When I think of the idea that all I might know in the future regarding math is what I know now, it's really disappointing, so I'm doing something about it.

It's terribly time consuming but wonderfully rewarding. Ever get the math high? Each time I get a problem right, it feels luxuriously delightful. When I get it wrong, I feel eager to try again and figure it out. If I don't get it and need to ask a question, it's still just as exciting as I discover the answer with another human talking me through it.

I don't regret this decision at all.

The only thing it'd done that isn't my favourite is I seem to always feel like I'm busy. You know that ol' school feeling of knowing you have work to do - that's always there. There's always something to be working on.

It certainly keeps me busy and antisocial. I try to get myself out of the house for social's-sake two times a week, maybe three. It's easy to stay at home because it's full of lovely people to hang out with and feel like I'm social.

Glad I'm in Haines. Glad I have maths to do.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fall Festival

One of my favourite social tracks in Haines is the homeschool-crowd. I feel honoured to have been welcomed in to their world. When the winter hits and my thoughts turn sour and dark, it's these families that I call up. There's a few of them that will, I know, go out of their way to pick me up and take me to their home and give me lots of hugs and tea. I know this because they have done this in the past. Some of them, if I don't show up for a few days, will call and ask where I've been. I am so grateful.

This morning I woke up with a call that there was a fall festival happening with the homeschool kids out the road. I was invited and told to wear warm clothes and wet boots, we'd be outside most of the time.

What happened out the road was beautiful. Indeed, it was just homeschoolers - and well over 30 of them running around, full speed and infectious chaos.

The kids got delightfully excited about three-legged races, scarecrow races, bean bag tosses, frisbee golf, leaf painting, capture the flag, bobbing for apples, and sack races. Even after the games were over, they would go back and play the same ones over and over again. As we were about to leave, Lil'L raced over to me and said, "Mägi! Want to do the scarecrow race with me?"

How could I resist. Soon, I was barefooted and preparing to run around in the grass with glee. For his game, there's a box of large clothes to throw on, then you race down to the cone and back, and try to strip down before your opponent.

Bobbing for apples was probably one of the most amusing events to watch the children attempt. See, this day was cold - frigid cold. The water was close to ice-cold and for anyone to stick there head in it for an extended period of time definitely took some guts. They would emerge sputtering, crying for a towel, and shaking off the brain freeze.

We were discouraged from spending too much time indoors, but when things got too nippy, there was the fire inside to warm up by and hot cider to sip on. At the end of the day, we all feasted on chili, au gratin potatoes, eggs, candied pecans, dried bananas, and anything else fit for a potluck.

It felt like a feast.
It was a feast.
It truly was a celebration of fall.

I was grateful to be in such a positive, encouraging environment. Five hours after arriving, the four folks I'd arrived with and I piled into the car with the post-excitement bounce.

Quite the day, eh?

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