Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Of snow and a town built into a mountainside

It is nearly spring here in secluded, beautiful Ketchikan. Of course, with the giant piles of heavy snow everywhere you would never know it. That's right, folks, we got hit with over a foot of snow this past weekend. While this does not mean much to my family and friends in middle America, it is a huge problem for those of us living up the mountainside without a massive, environment-killing pickup truck or other heavy vehicle. My poor little Kia has had trouble all winter, even with 4WD. Ketchikan is drop dead gorgeous, and the snow is picture perfect from my living room window over the narrows and onto the mountains surrounding us on all sides. But navigating up and down the hills (yikes!) will be an acquired taste, I'm afraid.

I leave for another non-contiguous state, Hawaii, in a few days. We are off to Maui and Kauai to enjoy hot weather, warmer ocean water and adventures with my sister and our husbands. It will be my first time leaving Alaska since I moved here. The old saying around these parts is that if you can make it here to the one year mark, you will never want to leave. Coming from L.A., people never expected me to make it here one year. But with the one year mark fast approaching, I know that I have no intentions of leaving this quirky, wonderful town for more than a week or two at a time. The picture below was taken from my bedroom window last weekend:

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like the holidays

Life has been a whirlwind for me the last few months. Election season has come and gone, and now it is almost year-end. I have my trip to Maui and Kauai nearly planned, and cannot wait for the warm air and spending time with a couple of my favorite people in the world!! It sure is expensive to fly off the rock (as they say around here). I love how isolated our little island is, but the major drawback is that airfare is astronomical to travel. I had a conference last week in Juneau, and I was surprised a simple 40 minute flight was over $330.00. That's highway robbery, I say.

We are projected to get some snow tomorrow, which will turn slushy when the rain arrives. We are nearing the end of a cold, dry spell that I thoroughly enjoyed. The days are short now, with sunrise at 7:30 and sunset at 3:30. And we still have a month of the darkest days yet to come.

All is well in my little hamlet. I am looking forward to the holidays coming up. That of decorating my house, listening to carols and drinking egg nog next to my electric heating vent. Ah, the good life.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Summer in Alaska

I grew up in a midwestern city and am accustomed to hot, humid summer days. Summer in Los Angeles was long and my least favorite time of year because the sun was too hot, and it was too bright. I could only lay in the sun for an hour or so before the sunburn would arrive. But in Alaska, the summer is diverse. It gets cool and rainy, and then the sun comes out and it's warm and breezy with temperatures in the upper 70's. With the high humidity here, 78 degrees feels more like 88. I am LOVING this weather. Gosh I feel like an old woman on a rocking chair on the porch talking weather with the other old people. But weather is very important to me, and I love a good storm. Perhaps I was a meteorologist in a past life.

Anyhow, I am so glad we moved to Alaska. It is nothing like I expected. It's so much better. Personally, I have been promoted at work from my entry-level records job to a job better suited for my legal skill set. I work in government, for the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Clerk's office. I was promoted to the position of Deputy Borough Clerk. It's an honor and a privilege to work where I do, doing something I really enjoy.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

July update

I did not know what to expect when it came to the 4th of July festivities in Ketchikan, but I was very impressed. It full out poured all day July 3rd, and was still raining the morning of the 4th. But I guess everyone's prayers worked because the sun came out and we had a beautiful 4th. The parade made it's way down two miles on Tongass (the main road through town), from Tatsuda's IGA to the Plaza. PK had to work, so I went to the parade alone and took cell phone pics for him to see. Some of the floats/participants included representatives from the Prince Rupert city counsel, the little leaguers, Kayhi class of 1980, the mayors of Ketchikan, the Borough and Saxman, and even a float (Gross Theatres?) with a Twilight Saga: Eclipse banner on it. The parade was slow-moving, like herding cats, but it was a lot of fun and really well done. Afterward, I picked up PK from work, and we went to the booths at the Plaza to play games and eat cotton candy, followed by a party and fireworks at 11 pm.

I am continuously amazed by the beauty and serenity of my new home. We are starting to get to know people, and getting involved in the community. I don't think we will ever leave here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Land of the Midnight Sun

I think that the hardest thing about getting used to living in southeast Alaska is the early light and late setting sun. It is light in the 3:00 a.m. hours, and still light at 11:00 pm. Kurt goes to bed early now that he has to get up really early for work, and laughed about going to bed before dark for a couple months. It does make a big difference on my sleep patterns. I just feel off somehow. I know, I know... this winter I will be longing for long daylight hours once more.

One of the local organizations is holding a Midnight 5k/1 mile run/walk, presumably due to midsummer's fast approach. Interesting thought. I might have to go out and watch it, unless I can convince someone to enter with me.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer is around the corner

It has been abnormally sunny here lately, which is a welcome change from the grey 40"s and 50's we had been experiencing. It should be closer to 60 by the end of the week, and I can't wait!!

Uninteresting topics aside, I have secured employment here in my new town. I accepted a position with Ketchikan Gateway Borough, in a government position for the first time in my life. I am learning a lot, and although I am back on the bottom on the totem pole of hierarchy, I like it. I work with good people, and in a nice working environment.

Summer approaches, the tourists are milling the streets like ants on a daily basis, and I am gainfully employed at a job I like. I am very happy I moved to this little corner of the world.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Refuge Cove

I am sitting on a fallen tree listening to the waves hit the beach mere feet from where I sit, here at Refuge Cove SRA. Everything is named for a reason, and seeing the beach now, comprised of small strips of rocky beach, I imagine this slice of paradise was named as a refuge for sailors passing through the narrows. The trees likely provided some shelter from the harsh elements when mother nature was wrecking havoc on the early peoples here.

It is chilly here today, only upper 50's and cooler than predicted with a brisk breeze off the cold Pacific. The sun is out for a change, and the warm rays make the cold bearable, almost perfect. This beach is a refuge for me, and a beautiful place to seek refuge from the "city" and listen to the ocean lap lightly against the shore. A father and son are tossing rocks into the water about 100 feet from where I sit, hopefully making a lasting memory. A man with a large, giddy dog is making their way down the steep hill from the parking lot to the shore.

I am reminded that I am on an island, but are surrounded by other islands filled with mountains, nestled here at the bottom of southeast Alaska. The upper elevations of the mountains snuggling up to me on all sides are capped with the latest snowfall, towering over us, majestic and strong. There are two little islands in the middle of the channel that are visible from where I rest, toeing the midpoint between this island and the next, where the airport is located. It is a testament to our friend mother nature as those two islands are jam packed with tall, mature trees, subsisting heartily in the middle of the water. It is a testament to the natural desire of all living things to survive, and thrive regardless of the environment. This can be said of the people who have lived here in Ketchikan today and in days past.

This magical place is my home now, so long as fate allows. Everything in this place is smaller, cleaner and better taken care of than my previous home in Los Angeles, or really, most places I have ever been. I know my little world will change dramatically when the tourists converge, but for now, I will take refuge from my daily life here in this little cove.