dear folks,

in honor of my only having 3 weeks left at this crazy job, i present you with an opportunity:

anyone who would like to receive a postcard from alaska before i leave need only ask. the challenge is you must challenge me. pick a single word that i must put to coherent, if not relevant, use in what i write to you on the card. leave your word and mailing address (if i don’t have it) in a comment, or email me at

ready, set, GO!


surrounded by italian bikers


p.s. when i published this, wordpress dutifully informed me that this was my 100th post… not exactly a winner, but let’s make it memorable :)


i never return from a bike ride without something to share. today i have many things i want to share before i forget them.

the weather has been very chilly and cloudy here of late. when the blue sky and sun showed themselves this afternoon, i decided to make a break for it and head out on my favorite bike ride, to chilkoot lake.

as i’ll, hopefully, soon fill you in on, there have been many bear sightings outside the usual riverside hangouts on this route. a pair of three year old cubs, on their own for the first time this summer, raised amongst fishermen and photographers, have little fear for people and cars and meander all along the roadsides between the ferry terminal and the river. they hide out (not really, they’re just unseen) in the bushes along the road, then emerge into full sight, apparently out of nowhere, crossing at will.

having witnessed this multiple times firsthand from the safety of a car (while my wildlife-magnet sister was here), i knew i had to be on my guard as i cycled. and it of course didn’t hurt to return to my routine of singing songs to myself as i pedaled, to make possible bears aware of my approach. in fact, i composed quite a catchy little tune (we’ll save the melody for later):

no bear in the bush
no bear in the bush
no bear in the bush near me
no bear, no bear, no bear, no bear
just fishermen out to sea
to see, to see what it is they see
and bring back home what they’ll bring
up to the table, fresh to the table
fish for all to eat

i really hoped that the gill netting boats couldn’t hear me. the colour of the water was that unclassifiable swirl of blues and turquoises and muddy greens that happens at lutak inlet, where salty ocean water, mountain snow melt, and glacial silty runoff converge. the sun came in and out from behind clouds and the mountainside. my bike was in perfect working order.

i made it to the lake without great incident (not counting being in alaska a great incident). as i sat and ate my picnic lunch, i watched lines drop into the water, kayaks come ashore, and speedboats speed off for family outings. except i mostly watched the way the shadows of the clouds played off the mountains. i could watch that all day. every day. focus. okay, so i packed up and started walking back to my bike. that’s when i noticed the little blue hatchback in a line with tour vans and trucks with boat trailers. it had a NEW HAMPSHIRE license plate! my old man in the mountain surrounded by alaskan mountains, live free or die in the last frontier! i tried to take a creeper picture with my 4 year old tracfone, but the results aren’t too promising. if i’d had a pen and paper i totally would have left them a note :)

back on the road, refining the lyrics to my bear repellent tune, mixed in with bits from “do-re-mi”, “the song that never ends”, and “this land is your land”, i bent my body into the head wind and kept scanning the road for fuzzy wuzzy.

i made it to the ferry terminal without incident, so i was in the safe zone, only 3 miles to go til home. a crow jumped out of my way into a tree, and i (naturally) turned to make a weird noise at him. my exclamation made that poor bird loose his shit. literally. it wasn’t until i saw that and burst out laughing that i realized i’d never seen a bird relieve itself that close to my face before. i mean, come on, cranky crow with a jet of white falling behind him as soon as he lands on a tree branch that you personally made him flee to? funny stuff. yes, this is who i am. i’m sorry.

revelling in the absurdity of nature, i kept making my merry way. after about another mile, i saw a car pulled over to the side of the road with the directional going. my first thought was to wonder why they didn’t just wait for the next pull out to take a picture. i slowed down a bit, preparing to ask if they needed help. just then, on the other side of the road, my side of the road, BEAR OUT OF THE BUSH.

i’m on a bike going probably 15-20 mph towards a juvenile bear who just appeared approximately 15 ft in front of me. slam on brakes, turn around, head for the car and beg for entry? luckily, the bear’s reflexes worked faster than my brain. luckily, bears that aren’t afraid of cars and cameras are still afraid of innkeepers on bikes. he turned and bolted back into what turned out to be a driveway. i decided (if you can call it that) to just zoom by as quickly and as far from that side of the road as possible. right before i passed him, there was a rustle in the bushes. my guess is that it was the other one he’s always seen with. then, immediately AFTER i zoomed past the BEAR, a woman holding a camera, leaning out an upstairs window of the house belonging to the driveway, helpfully called, “bear!”. i turned and gave her the thumb. i could have given another finger to the car people who didn’t think to flash their high beams at a lone girl on a bike hurtling towards them and the bear they were watching which was obviously out of my view. i pedaled fast, and checking behind me revealed the bear to be wandering back out to the road, headed for the car.

1) the bear was probably just as surprised by me as i was by him.
2) i am seriously lucky there was no momma bear involved.

i had a bowl of ice cream when i got home.

BIG news of the very BEST kind: my one and only sib, olivia, is coming to visit me!

even better, she’ll be arriving on my birthday (june 19th) and staying for a week!

can i get another exclamation point?


there will be much joy in both our lives as i show her the wonders of haines, and she fills my ears and heart with praises of my wonderful good fortune and generosity. in real life this translates to us walking around town from food source to beverage source (liv, did i mention the root beer at the brewery? i have long wished you could taste it – and now you can!) staring at the mountains and pinching each other.

reasons this is wonderful:

1. ummm, can you think of a better birthday present? neither can i! (ha, the i and the ! look funny…)

2. i miss her (and if she wasn’t coming i probably wouldn’t see her til thanksgiving, which will be almost a year since i last saw her)

3. i love her (which guarantees a good time)

4. it’s about time one of the hundreds of people i know got to see this place (and me in it)

5. do i make too many lists? (even with lists i can’t stay on topic)

if you’re not excited yet, you have some serious reevaluating to do!

let’s be honest… i’m disappointing. i promise thrilling and entertaining alaska inn stories, and you check my blog for months without hearing a peep. c’mon, i’m not in school anymore, how else am i supposed to procrastinate?

speaking of me slowly losing my educated self – yesterday marked the one year anniversary of my college graduation. holy smokes. quick shout out CONGRATULATIONS to my dear gordon friends who graduated on saturday!

back on topic. let’s stop pretending i’m going to change. plenty of other character flaws are undergoing serious demolition work, so this one is going to have to be put on hold. this means no more nagging from you people (crap, we make fun of my grandma for saying “you people”). regardless, you people know you who are. please leave my poor parents alone; they’d tell you if i got knocked up or died (since these seem to be the most important pieces of news).

there may or may not be posts, which may or may not arrive in a very disconcerting flood. or we may all have to wait til i’m on my deathbed and finally decide to write the book.

i’m writing now because there is a series of big announcements from the winter that need to be made officially public knowledge. are you ready, kids?

…. i didn’t even like spongebob….


1. i decided not to renew my contract at the inn for a second year.

2. the summers put the inn up for sale.

2.a I AM NOT BUYING THE INN. whether you ask me seriously or in jest, you have already been preceded by DOZENS. humanity has never seemed so uniform.

3. they asked me if i would be willing to stay through the summer while it [hopefully] sells.

4. i said yes.

5. my contract now ends august 31st, rather than june 10.

all this being said, i do not know when or how i’ll be leaving, where i’ll be going next or what i’ll be doing there (believe it or not, this is progress for my plan-obsessive mind). the general thoughts of late have been to meander back to new england and set up camp in a new small town closer to family and maple trees.

my grandfather had a heart attack about a month ago, and there’s nothing quite like a medical emergency to bring the full awareness of 4,000 miles crashing down on one’s consciousness. praise the lord, he’s doing much better now. for me, it was akin to a last straw in making me decide i would like to be within a few hours’ driving distance from my flesh and blood for a while. though, given my itchy feet, who knows how long “a while” will be.

thus, i am open to ideas and suggestions and JOBS come autumn. for now, i am VERY open to VISITORS! seriously, i can find you places to stay for free, feed you delicious fishies and sourdough concoctions, and show you the wonders of alaska! if you’ve been waiting for a sign or an opportunity to visit the last frontier, THIS IS IT.

snap snap

this morning, if someone had been watching me, s/he would have seen:

in the late morning, a rather grimy specimen roll out of a bed she had never properly made it into, spend about an hour counting change, examine developing upper thigh bruises, all capped off with a self-injection before breakfast.

most likely conclusions: hungover domestic violence victim/broke heroin addict.

reality: wouldn’t you like to know?


*NOTE: i was the rather grimy specimen. due to a few concerned phone calls, i figured it might be for the best to clarify that point. this was all and only me, no october repeat.

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