Alaska Summertime


I’ve been back home in Alaska for two and a half weeks already, but haven’t taken a single picture! I’ve only seen one moose, and it was just crossing the highway. I suspect that they can find plenty of stuff to eat in the woods this year, it was a surprisingly warm and dry winter, and the breakup this spring is easy for a change. After an Easter season in warm Mexican weather, and an entire winter wearing shorts and sleeveless tops, suddenly I have to wear long pants, a jacket with a scarf and warm shoes, whenever I take walks with Cheyenne. The nights are still barely above freezing and the days only get into the 50s. But the snow has melted and spring is surely on the way, so we can hope for a beautiful summer. Fingers crossed. Today is Mother’s Day and I’m at the Elks Lodge after a big potluck brunch, using their fast internet for a while. I’ve had friends comment that I haven’t updated my website journal for a long time and they wonder if I’m okay. This amazes me because I figure nobody ever wonders how or what I’m doing, so I often forget completely about staying in touch at all. So at least I’ll start it now.

I think I’ve been somewhat traumatized about my dog Cheyenne. She’s still happy and alive, but obviously has something wrong with her right eye, and has a lumpy tumor on her stomach. Neither bothers her as much as they do me. Vets in Mexico and also in Arizona examined her, each with different theories about what is wrong, but it was a relief for me to finally have my own wonderful veterinarian in Alaska look at her. He says not to worry, it’s probably just normal for her age. The vet in Arizona said that she has only ever seen one lab like her more than 12 years old, but that one was 17 years old and in very bad shape. Cheyenne is 13 years old now and seems pretty happy, sometimes still acts like an enthusiastic puppy. We both have arthritis and hate stairs, but we can walk on the level okay so we can enjoy hiking without too much up and down.

Peter and Janek will arrive on June 18 and leave August 9 this year for the commercial fishing season. Friends might be surprised to hear that he will be here again for the summer, and will again spend a lot of time with his good ole grandma. I like being here in the summer and I’ve given up on saying I’m too old to have a child sidekick buddy. This will be his fifth consecutive summer with me, and we do have fun, always get along just fine.


I apologize for not posting a journal update since getting home to Alaska, especially since friends have been inquiring, so I’ll do it now. Of course I’ve been very busy with Janek every day, then somehow run out of energy when I finally get a minute to rest. I appreciate that distant friends check in often enough to remind me that I should keep writing. Today Peter took the day off and Janek went with him to visit old school friends, so I have a whole afternoon to myself for a change. I was able to spend time on the computer organizing my ebook library and sorting files, labeling pictures and doing other time-consuming busywork.

My old friend Irene bought Janek a remote control helicopter-drone and it’s wonderful, especially for good behavior incentives. Grandma Kristin didn’t take long to find Janek a little leatherman tool to carry on his belt, a camera to haul around his neck, a cap for his head, and books from the library to read. He is learning to cook and is getting pretty good at it. Since he’s not in school with the rest of his class, he has work to do every day in reading German, writing cursive and taking dictation, doing mathematics, and keeping a journal. He loves books at bedtime, when he reads in German and then gets read to in English. We take long walks and never get tired of yakking to each other about everything under the sun.

The good news — Cheyenne’s eye didn’t get any worse, and even seems to look better lately. Thank goodness she’s doing okay. Of course she’s getting kinda old and can’t hear too good, is creaky but happy.
The bad news — I received word from her son that my friend Theresa passed away in mid-June at her home in San Felipe, on Baja. I drove down to to visit her in March, while I was in Temecula to see my new great-granddaughter and visit grandson Michael. I’m glad I saw her then, somehow kept feeling that it might be the last time. What a wonderful, courageous, amazing woman she was, it was an honor for me to be her friend. She was so excited for us to travel together up to Barrow next spring, but at least she did finish a trip with a friend to Panama in February and completed a transit of the Panama Canal. She left a bit of a hole in my heart, but I know she had an excellent life and was in the place she most adored, happily living right on the Sea of Cortez beach. We emailed each other at least twice a week for over a year, and I’ll miss her so much.

I’ll attach some pictures to this entry, not especially stunning or exciting yet, so there will be more to come. I can say for sure that I’m glad I still have the house! It would be difficult, in fact awful, if it was sold before I learned that Janek would be coming again, and for at least the next two years! We’d probably be living under a tree instead of enjoying this lovely home. Unfortunately I packed up most of my things two years ago, so we manage with the minimum of supplies and equipment. I’m surprised that I actually like the “minimalist” lifestyle and don’t miss all the nice possessions that I’ve loved and accumulated over many decades. Half the time I search too long for something I know should be here before I remember that it’s probably in the motor home down in Arizona! That includes cooking utensils as well as clothes, first aid items and medicine, shoes, jewelry and even groceries. Then I laugh and realize how split up my life has become.

Usually I don’t feel like I’ll be 70 YEARS OLD this year, certainly my health has been better than most people my age, but then something happens that sharply reminds me! I’ve had my 4×4 pickup for more than ten years, and suddely this spring I couldn’t pull myself up into the cab! I never even thought twice about it before, but now I realized I’d need running boards for my creaky knees and fat ass to get up there! Thankfully the auto parts guy came out to install them for me –

P1090135 truck running bars

Here’s some of Janek’s pictures — my house from across the lake, Cheyenne and I on our daily walk –

IMGP0002 House IMGP0005 Grandma-Cheyenne

,.. and me looking up a recipe to cook (this looks a lot like MY own grandmother!) P1090255 finding recipe

We went out to my favorite Mexican place for lunch one day, the waiter took these pictures of us –

P1090259 Eating Mexican P1090262 Grandma and Janek

My nemesis squirrel neighbor is determined to eat all the birdseed, and Janek thinks he can eventually swat him (her?) –

P1090268 Squirrel Hunt

There’s nothing more adorable than a sleeping child –

P1090270 morning sleep

We went to the wedding of my dear friend Katie’s granddaughter Kandus in North Kenai.  It was a wonderful event, and I got lots of great photos.  Here are just a few of them, starting with more of Janek –

P1090440 Dog Kid P1090485 Boating P1090515 Argo 8 wheeler

The wedding had a Star Wars theme! Last is a photo of Katie and I together.  We have had so many pictures taken together over the past “going on 40 years” that we could make a whole album just of those!  Our now-grown children were just little kids themselves.

P1090327 Grandma-Kandus P1090332 Bride Boots P1090358 Henry-Kandus P1090377 The Kiss P1090394 The Grandmas P1090413 Kristin-Katie

And here are some more pictures from the summer activities –

P1090283 Refuge class P1090298 Bike repair P1090323 Bocchi P1090311 (Large) P1090308 (Large)

More to come!  SOON, I promise!

FIRST Great Grandchild – Ava Rose!

I was delighted to learn last winter that I would have my FIRST great grandchild in January!  My grandson Michael joyously told the world on Facebook that he would be a daddy, and my son Grey called me to crow about becoming a grandpa.  We are all delighted, and the baby mommy is a lovely young woman named Charlene.  They decided to name the baby Ava Rose, which is a beautiful name.  I decided to wait a few weeks to see the baby, in the hope that she would be looking around and maybe even smiling or laughing.  I hope to see her often enough to watch her grow, even though she will live far away.

So I made the long drive from almost 400 miles south of the border in Mexico up to Arizona and then over to California to meet her.  It was so worth it!  Mikey and Charlene were happy to have me visit and Ava is an angel.  She’s still tiny but is amazingly good, alert when she’s awake and hardly fussy at all.  Her personality is calm and curious and easy going, may she be blessed to stay that way for her lifetime.

After taking a short trip down to San Felipe on the Sea of Cortez in Baja to visit my friend Theresa, I returned to Temecula and it was fun to have Mikey and Charlie come out to visit Jojoba Hills RV Park, to see my motor home and to get a tour of the +55 facility.  They were impressed and all the residents were friendly and very happy to see a baby!

I am excited to share some photos –

P1090064 GMA w Mikey family 20160316_154705 20160316_154744

P1090032 Grandma and Ava

P1090034 with Mama P1090037 family P1080994 with Ava P1080999 Ava and Charlene P1090002 with Mikey P1090013 Mama and baby P1090019 with Grandma P1090026 with Daddy

And here are some earlier in her life before I got here –

Mama-Baby Ava Rose Jan 2016 Baby Ava Rose Ava Rose Ava Rose with daddy Ava Rose 2016 Jan 2 Ava Rose 2016 Jan 1 Anna Rose Jan 2016 Ava Rose 1Ava Rose 2

… and proud Grandpa Grey who managed to get there when she was born!

Grey with Ava Jan 2016