Friday, October 28, 2011

Jennifer

Have you ever noticed that some people just seem to be naturally unlucky? It's not really their fault, not like some of the boneheads that took out a loan for a half million dollar house on a McDonald's salary and then complain that they're losing their home. No, I'm talking about people who do all the right things and still get the short end of the stick. I watched one fellow down at the harbor with his boys, trying to spend some quality  time with them fishing.  They couldn't get the rod to cast very far, so they asked their dad to cast it for them. He grabbed it, went to cast out and the rod went flying into the drink. I was across the dock watching this with mixed feelings of compassion and humor. He managed to get the rod back and decided to spray the reel with WD40. Somehow he got the can turned around and squirted himself in the eye. At that point compassion went out the window and I laughed my head off. Sorry- that's just the kind of jerk I am I guess.  I've decided to do a post on my oldest daughter Jennifer. When Jan was pregnant with her, we had recently seen the movie, Summer of '42. I had a bit of a crush on Jennifer O'Neal, the actress, and I wanted to name our daughter Jennifer, so we did, and so she remained until sometime back when she shortened it to Jen. Maybe it took too long to sign her full name, I don't know. Anyway, Jen is one of those folks who seem to experience bad luck or misadventure more than most normal people. Especially when she's traveling. On one trip to Oregon with  her family they were in a parking lot I believe, and parked near a car that was towing a sailboat. Well, somehow the mast fell over and smashed their rental car. How bizarre is that? Another time she was at the Hilton in Anchorage. I think she'd had some kind of surgery on her knee, so she couldn't get around that well. She had her luggage with her and was waiting for the elevator. She noticed a lady who was obviously inebriated leaning against the elevator door. Jen was afraid the lady would fall inside when the door opened.Somehow she managed to stay upright when it arrived and Jen motioned for her to go inside first. For some reason the lady took offense and started chasing Jen around the hotel lobby. So here she was hobbling around the Hilton Hotel lobby,dragging her suitcase like it was a pull toy, with a drunk chasing her. She finally found refuge behind the counter. Oh Lordy, always something. When our youngest daughter,Autumn got married in Anchorage, it was during the height of the tourist season, so most of the hotels were booked. Jen and her family had to stay in a hotel downtown. She said they could look down in the parking lot and witness drug deals and was a little freaked out, so when she went into the room, she locked the door with a deadbolt. Well, the walls are thin and someone knocked on a door down the way from them, but Jen thought they were knocking on her door, so she went to open it, forgetting that she had the deadbolt engaged. She ended up pulling the whole door out- frame and everything! While she was standing out in the hallway pounding the frame back in place with her fists, an old couple came by looking at her, mouths agape. I'm sure they wondered what kind of sluffo sleepery they were in.  I doubt that Jen or the old folks will frequent that establishment again. Her latest adventure involved a trip down to Craig, Alaska for a music festival. My granddaughter Ashia was in the honors band- first chair trumpet. Jen went down to be with her and enjoy the great music. She apparently went into the restroom and as she got to the stall, the door opened hard and smacked her in the face. The end result is this shiner she has. She's being awfully good natured about it though. For the Halloween fun walk at the school, she's thinking about getting some boxing gloves and dressing up  like a prize fighter. You go girl! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Deep Thoughts


I don't know how many folks who read this remember watching Saturday Night Live when they had a little performance called Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy. The announcer would come on and read a script that you could follow along with. It was always presented in a serious contemplative voice, but the content would be foolish, like: "I often wonder if I dug a deep enough  hole in the earth if I would reach China, or would it actually lead to the Phillippines?"  For some reason when I saw this picture of Jan and Kaylahni I thought of Jack Handy. They both look like they are in deep thought about something. This is another set of pictures taken out at Whitestone Harbor where Jan was a little concerned about being in a confrontation with a bear. She doesn't look all that worried here. Maybe she's thinking about what we're going to have for supper. I bet she's not even considering BBQ'd socks. She was probably checking out all those rocks on the beach and wondering how many trips I could make to the truck lugging rocks for the garden before I passed out. My granddaughter looks to be seriously in thought about something too, but it's probably not rocks or what she's having for supper. I really don't know what 9 year old girls think about. You'd think I would have some idea- I had five girls who all passed that age. I can't recall exactly what I thought about at that age, probably building forts or riding bikes or some such thing. I remember at somewhere around that age the guy up the street came back from California. He was a Beatnik. That's what they were called in the days before hippies.He had a pony tail and a beard and was a fairly interesting character.Now that I think of it, the Cheetos Cheetah kind of resembles him. He fancied himself an artist and set up shop in his folks garage painting nudes. That in itself was plenty interesting, but what really took the cake was that he tossed all his old Playboy magazines outside the garage door. Talk about something transforming your life! My friends and I went from knuckleheads throwing rocks at each other in the alley to sophisticated gents reading magazines.Actually I don't think we read a single word, except perhaps the title of the magazine. It told us all we needed to know. We retreated to a neighbor's barn with our treasure and had lengthy discussions of the female form. I can't remember what happened to our stash. No doubt some of the older neighborhood boys saw our repeated trips to the barn and made off with our prize. Ah well, after that childhood wasn't the same. We'd been exposed to another facet of life that left us with deep thoughts indeed.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Library

 I decided to do a post on the library today. Actually I wanted to do it yesterday, but then the internet crapped the bed so to speak. I had actually planned on doing a post on some deer ribs that I barbequed, but my camera battery was in need of recharging. It was an equipment rebellion. BBQ ribs sound good, but they weren't. No offense to my son Brian, but they were ribs from a deer he shot last year. The boys always like to get these monster bucks with the big horns. They look impressive, but if you wait too long in the season, they literally stink. The buck I killed last year was shot before he really started seriously into the rut, so the meat was great. I gave away the ribs to an older couple up the street because I knew that they liked them, and I usually don't eat them. It's a lot of work to get the meat off of the bones so as a rule I don't deal with them. For some unknown reason we decided to hang on to the ribs from Brian's deer. I had other meat in the freezer, so I kept putting off cooking them. Well, they've been taking up space for the better part of a year, so I finally bit the bullet and cooked them. What a mistake! The smell of that gamey meat cooking permeated the whole house. It worked it's way into my clothing and for most the night I kept getting wiffs of it. Frankly, it was rather nauseating. After it was boiled, I had to cut off as much fat as I could, and let me tell you- that deer was fat! Deer fat isn't like beef fat. You could easily make candles or soap out of it. You have to be careful that you don't clog the sink with it when you go to clean out the pot. I finally put the ribs in BBQ sauce and took them out to the grill. It helped to grill them, but they still tasted gamey. Fortunately Jan ate the lions share of them. She likes  most anything with BBQ sauce on it. If times get too tough I'll experiment with some old socks- socks and sauce, mmm, mmm. Probably pretty filling and no doubt lots of fiber. Of course none of this has anything to do with the library, which is supposed to be what this post is about, but how entertaining is the library? It's a pretty serious place, filled with pretty serious people.It's kind of like a hospital. You don't go to the hospital to hang out with your friends; it's pretty much the same with the library. No one says,"hey Bob, I'll meet you at the library, maybe have a few beers, check out an atlas and possibly research the Dewey decimal system. It'll be fun!" No, usually going to the library is a solitary event. You don't need friends along to look at books-heck no. They'd just try to influence your decision. You might be there looking for a good murder mystery and they're trying to get you to check out a romance novel. Friends at the library could be distracting. You might want Robert Fulghum and they're trying to steer you to Danielle Steele. That's where I think a good shock device like an electric cattle prod would come in handy. I think every librarian should have one; then if someone is talking too loud or a kid is running up and down the isles, instead of saying SHHH! or wishing the parents would control their kid, a quick little zap and a call to the janitor to clean up afterwards and order is restored.An astute librarian would see the dilema of an unwanted suggestion from a friend and with a threatening look and a gaze towards the prod, she would be able to deter the offender and you could continue browsing the "new releases" shelf in peace.Our present librarian is Terri Budke- that's her in the bottom picture. I think she's just pretending to be looking at the computer- I suspect she's probably contemplating writing a grant to get a cattle prod.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Whitestone Harbor

I spoke to my daughter Camille earlier today and she said that she was tired of looking at the picture of the spawned out humpie. I don't know why, I think it looks just great. In order to appease her though, I thought I'd do another post. The reality is, I was really wanting to do one several days ago, but this computer was moving at the pace of cold  honey when it was working at all, so my creative genius was stifled. I hate it when that happens. It appears to be working today though, so I'll see if I can get this out for all to see. On the day that I took the picture of the humpie, I also took these pictures- quite a contrast huh? For as beautiful as these pictures are, it was difficult to fully appreciate the view because of the smell of the dead fish that we were surrounded by. That and the fact that there were bear trails close to where we were standing and Jan always envisions worse case scenarios. I don't know why; although twice I was chased by bears while at the farm and once I had to swim out of an airplane when it crashed into Lynn Canal. The fact is, I survived so what's to worry about? Maybe she's just more afraid when she's with me. Heck, I'm afraid when I'm with me too, but I can't get away from myself. For the most part though, I try to stay out of dangerous situations.
 These pictures were taken at Whitestone Harbor. Back when they were logging this whole area there was a road built to here.I'm not sure why, it doesn't look like that much timber here, mainly muskegs. Its a popular place to anchor and when the seine season is going on, this whole area can be filled up with seine boats and tenders. Once in awhile I make my way down here to troll. I've never done great, but there a few fish here now and then. I caught a 41 pound white king salmon here once. Lots of people don't realize that not all salmon have red flesh. For some reason the area around Icy Straits/Glacier Bay is the only place that they are found to the best of my knowledge. Of course the farmed salmon that are raised in the pens aren't red flesh either. I understand that the flesh is a kind of grey color, but they're dyed red to appeal to the consumer. On this particular day there were six or eight whales working outside the harbor. They were too far away to get a picture unfortunately. Whitestone is a gathering place for feed and fish at various times. It's close to where Icy Straits and Chatham Straits converge so the currents seem to force the fish into the area. It's also been the location of several tragedies that I'm aware of. Some years back a fellow from out of town was hunting with some of the locals and got separated. The weather was frigid as I recall and when he was finally found some days later, he was dead. It seems like the troopers were involved in that situation. It runs in my mind that the circumstances of his death were somewhat shaky. There was also an incident where one of the local seine boats, the Johnny A,was fishing down in Chatham. The crew had anchored in Whitestone and in the morning, when they left to go back out fishing, whoever was running the boat at the time ran right into a reef. I believe everyone was ok and the boat was able to be salvaged, but I suppose it kind of messed up the rest of the season. That same year two other boats ran aground in this area. The Three Daughters ran up on the reef at Sister's Island, but was able to get off at high tide, and another seine boat, I think it was the Perseverence,ran head long into the reef at Spasski Island. I remember that one very well. I was on my way over to Homeshore to fish. It was early in the morning and a crabber was on channel 16 calling the seine boat headed to Spasski Island to warn him that he was in danger of hitting the reef. I don't know how many times he called, but the guy apparently was sound asleep at the wheel. A few minutes later I heard the seine boat calling the coast guard saying that he had hit the reef and was taking on water. They managed to salvage that boat too and just the other day I think they were coming to Hoonah to offload some black cod or halibut. I highly suspect that there is a different captain running it. In any event, let that be a lesson to you. If you're in bear country, stay alert. If you're running a boat, stay alert. If you're driving your car stay alert-and STAY OFF YOUR CELL PHONE! Thankyou.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Spawned Out

 Did you ever have one of those days when you feel kind of like this guy? It's obvious that he's seen better days. No more running with the school, chowing down on fresh seafood or chasing the ladies for this old timer, he's all spawned out. From the look on his face I would say he must have been having a great time- either that or the water was really, really cold.
 Today I feel kind of like this fish looks. Yesterday was one of those beautiful fall days that we get on occasion in October, so I couldn't stay inside. You never know when they will come again so any last minute yard work or outside projects have to be done on such a day. I had mentioned to my neighbor that I would trim her rose bush a few days ago, so yesterday I thought I would take advantage of the weather and get it done before the weather changed. I didn't realize at the time what a monumental job it would be. I set up  my step ladder and brought out the long handled clippers and went to work. Holy Toledo- that bush was huge! I could pretty much reach all the outer branches without much trouble, but trimming the inner branches was a bit more challenging. I had to reach in past the ones I'd just cut.By the time I finished cutting it and hauling it away, I had a couple hours invested in that project. I knew that I was brushing against the thorns, but it didn't seem too bad, a few scratches here and there. It wasn't until last night that I realized the full extent of the damage. My right arm looks like I tried to separate two tom cats in an alley fight. If I'd had brain number one I would have donned my old Carhartts jacket and done battle with that bush. Stickers and thorns are no problem for that tough fabric. I'll be sure to wear it next time I trim a rose bush; if there ever is a next time.
 Speaking of stickers and thorns, I'm reminded of the time I was served creamed nettles on the farm. For those not familiar with nettles, they are a green plant that grows wild here. They are usually residing alongside other plants, kind of pretending to be innocent, but they aren't at all. I don't know their proper Latin name, but their full name here is stinging nettles, with emphasis on the stinging. If you should happen to brush against them with your bare skin, the little prickly barbs get you and the stinging sensation can last for an hour or more.It feels kind of like an electric shock.  For the life of me, I don't know why anyone would want to eat  such a thing. We were living on a farm for crying out loud, instead of eating wild, stinging plants, why not grow something edible like spinach if you want to eat something green? I never understood the logic of some of the decisions, I was just the unhappy recipient of them. It was bad enough that we were served nettles at all, but one of the ladies who was sent to town to cook for the men working there decided to cream them and put them over mashed potatoes. Frankly I've seen better looking things in a litter box. Needless to say, I didn't eat supper that night. Ah well, I least I'm still around, which is more than I can say for that Humpie in the picture, but if you've gotta die, I can think of worse ways to bite the bullet.