Archive for the ‘Homer’ Category

Weenies

18 May

We went to Kindergarten orientation last night (KINDERGARTEN.  MAH BAYBEEE IS ALL DUN GROWED UUUUUUUP…) and they very adamantly advised the parents to dress the children warmly in the winter because if it’s above 40°F, they will be playing outside IN THE COLD.

40 degrees???

In Homer, the kids were playing on the school playground at 12°F.

But at least I don’t have to worry about buying snow pants this year.

 
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Posted in Culture Shock, Homer, School

 

P.R.

19 Apr

As I reached the guard rail on the overlook, I threw my arms up and my head back, and sent a holler of triumph out over the ocean.

(Then the awareness of other people hit me and I tried to make it look like part of a post-run stretch.)

(Hi!  I’m a dork!)

Y’all, I did it again.  I ran 2 5K’s in a row.  This time, whenever it started to feel “comfortable,” I pushed myself to take longer strides.  Not enough to exhaust me, just enough that my legs were feeling it the whole way.  In the end, I was rewarded.  I shaved 5 whole minutes off my time for the 1st 5K, and 6 minutes off my time for the second one.

Today was, very possibly, the last chance I will have to run the spit.  From here on out, we get into some hard-core packing to move, and the weather is supposed to go downhill tomorrow (supposed to…as though the weather report is EVER accurate around here).

So I am incredibly pleased that I got to finish strong.  While a 31:50 5K isn’t much to brag about in some circles, it feels fantastic to me – the kid who couldn’t run a mile in P.E. class to save her life.

I probably won’t be on the computer much from here on out, so if you send me an email I will get it on my phone, but you may not get a long and detailed response.  Cheers, and catch you on the flip side!

 
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Posted in Exercise, Homer, Moving

 

Bear With Me

17 Apr

I’ve been running (jogging – the term “running” seems a bit overzealous for what I do) the spit ever since the ice melted off it, and lately have been doing intervals of 1-mile-jog, ¼-mile-walk, wash, rinse, repeat until I run out of steam or time, whichever comes first.  I spent the majority of last week shaking my fist at the sky because the weather would NOT cooperate with my jogging efforts.

Jens was gone on business last weekend and most of the week, so my only opportunity to run in that 7-day stretch came Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings, while the kids were in school.  Monday, it snowed.  ALL DAY.  The sun finally came out and started melting the snow Tuesday afternoon – after the kids had come home.

Wednesday was utterly gorgeous, but the kids did not have school so I had no opportunity to take advantage of it.  We did take the dog for a walk, but I was craving a good solitary run.  Somehow, keeping pace with my 2-year-old while being lurched back and forth down a muddy dirt road by a spastic yo-yo on a leash doesn’t offer much consolation.

Thursday morning was, predictably, cold and cloudy.  I was desperate at this point, so I went jogging anyway but it was just short of misery.  It was bitterly cold and I had to pee the whole time, despite having gone just before I left the house.  The run was cut disappointingly short.

And then Jens came home.  The angels sang, the heavens opened up, and God decided to bless my weekend.

Apology accepted.

I ran long in the sun on Friday.  6 miles of actual jogging, plus another 1.5 of walking – I went all the way down to the tourist shops and back.

Saturday was still gorgeous but I took it a bit easier since my feet were sore.  I jogged 2 miles at a slow pace and walked 2 miles.  Then I walked up the hill to our house, which is a difference of about 650′ in elevation over the course of 2.5 miles.  I’m not used to walking uphill, so it was challenging and a good way to work a different set of muscles while giving my knees a break.  For the record, it takes me 50 minutes to walk home from the bottom of the hill.

Today, I decided to test myself.  Instead of doing my normal “run a mile, walk a quarter” routine, I pushed myself to run a full 5K (about 3.2 miles) without stopping to walk.

I did it.  In fact, when I finished, I wasn’t nearly as exhausted as I expected to be.

So I turned around and did it again.

And learned I was stronger than I was giving myself credit for.  Right now, my knees are a bit sore, my bunions are achy, but I’m feeling really good.

It’s funny, since moving here, I’ve never really felt “at home” in Alaska.  It just isn’t a part of me the same way it is for Jens.  We’ve been here for a year, yet mostly I still feel like a visitor… one who has perhaps overstayed the visit.  The quirky house we’re renting isn’t “home” – it’s just a place we’re staying for a while that belongs to someone else.   The sun is weak here, which makes me oddly uncomfortable in the way it never actually warms my skin.  I pretty much hate snow.  It’s foreign to me and evolves into ice, which seeks to destroy me at every opportunity.  The beach will always belong to the campers and wind surfers.  Seldovia will always belong to Jens’ family. The moose are amusing; the eagles are amazing, yet distant and untouchable.  The mountains are beautiful and powerful.

And then there’s the spit.  The spit is mine.  As though when I set foot upon it, I’m walking toward myself in some way.  My place of solitude, reflection, introspection.  My opportunity to listen to nothing but the thoughts in my head as I gaze out across water that is bluer than blue, and snow-capped mountains in nearly every direction.  My place to push and stretch my limits, to change my horizons, to do things I spent years ignorantly writing myself off of.  At the same time that it challenges me, it comforts me.  In the way that Home comforts.  The spit is the one piece of Alaska that has shaped part of who I am, and that I will take with me when leave.  It is mine.

The count-down is upon us now.  I haven’t done nearly as much packing as I should have.  I’ve been far too busy soaking up the sun… but I’m having a hard time regretting that just now.

 
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Posted in Exercise, Growth, Homer, Introspection, Nature, Self Revelation

 

Spring is Playing With My Mind

11 Apr

Jens was in Vegas over the weekend, so the kids and I hung out together – which was fine and dandy, except that I didn’t get the chance to go jogging because, obviously, there was nobody here to watch them.

This morning, they’re back in school, which gives me some much needed time to myself.  When I went to bed last night, I could see clear sky moving in over the water, which left me with some hope that I’d get to use this time down on the spit breaking in my new running shoes some more.

Instead, I woke up to this:

…Which left me feeling kind of like this:

Have I mentioned that I am SO OVER snow???  It was well on its way to melting, and was pretty much gone in town.  The spit was totally snow-free.

That isn’t the case anymore.

Boo, Alaska.  BOO.

The good news is that Friday, I had the best run of my life.  The sun was out, the temp was warm (38°), and I got to take my new shoes out for the first time.  They’re light as air (big contrast to my previous running shoes) and I ran 5 miles in record time.  Afterward, I didn’t even feel as wiped as I usually do.  It seems that the right shoes really can make a huge difference.

 
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Posted in Exercise, Homer, Weather

 

Who’s in Charge of the Weather Here?

25 Mar

Spring time in Homer is so weird. The temperatures are starting to warm up, which means a high in the mid-to-upper 30’s most days, so the ice is really starting to melt. It’s completely gone off the roads, except for our property, which is a mushy ice-covered slush-fest. The best part of the newly-cleared roads for me is that I can finally use the running trail on the Spit again.

I’m really a fair-weather runner, so my enjoyment of the sport declines dramatically when conditions are not sunny and 60°.

Yesterday was overcast and 34°.

However, I’ve been missing the ability to go for a jog these many months, and yesterday I couldn’t take it anymore.  I grabbed my shoes and headed out.

Well, ok, I bundled up in several layers and gloves, strapped on my newly acquired knee braces that I can’t live without (remember the part where my body started falling apart at 30?  Yeah…), did a million jumping jacks to warm my body up enough to survive the cold, finished syncing my brand new playlist on my iPhone and headed out.

It was cold and kind of uncomfortable at first, but I soon got into the rhythm of things and didn’t even notice the weather after about 15 minutes.  Being my first time back, I took it easy and only jogged for every OTHER song.  Even still, today every muscle from my lower back down to my toes is sore.

It was wonderful.

I fully intended to rest my aching body today, but this afternoon the SUN! CAME OUT! and I couldn’t resist it and headed back down for another go.  Running the Spit in the sun is seriously addicting.  It’s the only form of exercise I’ve ever experienced that feels more like an indulgence than an obligation.  My feet feel like they’re about to burst into some serious blisters and I probably won’t be able to walk tomorrow, but it will have been totally worth it.

So back to Homer being weird in the spring.  It was cloudless and sunny at my house when I left.  On the way to the spit (10 minutes from my house) I drove through a patch of sleeting ice balls.  When I got to the spit, it was sunny there, but the surrounding mountains were shrouded in low-hanging deep blue clouds with only the tops poking out.  I ran/walked for 30 minutes in one direction in the sun, then turned around to find that the cloud cover had completely covered every inch of sky behind me, and I was really concerned that I would get sleeted on again in the middle of my run.  I headed back and within 10 minutes the cloud cover had moved on and it was sunny and gorgeous again.  But I could see it snowing on my house on the hill.  By the time I got back home, it was sunny and clear at the house, but there was a visible layer of snow everywhere that had not been there an hour before.  And by the time I got out of the shower, the entire area had been overtaken by a super-thick fog with zero visibility.

I know a lot of places get a little bipolar in the spring, but I think Homer takes the cake.

 
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Posted in Healthy Crap, Homer, Weather

 

The Sun Sets Again

09 Mar

Thank you to P&G’s Have You Tried This Yet? program and Kroger for sponsoring my writing about trying new things and breaking out of my everyday routine. Click here to find great savings on high-performing P&G products at a Kroger store near you. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

* * *

A little over a year ago, my husband and I went on a Sushi date.  It was during this dinner that the conversation veered suddenly to Jens announcing that he missed Alaska and and wanted to move back (well, back for him – I have never lived in Alaska).

The first thing I told him was that I didn’t want to move.

We had a stable, happy life in our little corner of North Dallas.  I had just spent a ridiculous amount of time carefully choosing where the kids would attend school the next year, and had just turned in applications and deposits.  We had a nice house, a nice job situation, a nice group of friends, and everything was NICE.

And then I began to mull it over and the idea slowly grew on me.  I mean, WHY NOT.  We had lived in the same area of North Dallas for 7 years.  And as NICE as a place like Dallas is, it doesn’t have much going for it in the way of excitement or adventure.

And then in this weird way, everything started falling into place to make this impossible transition… possible.  A nice, fully-furnished place to rent in a quaint little Alaskan town, renters for our current house in Dallas, storage solutions, everything just seemed to fall into our laps to the point where we would have felt silly NOT to take this opportunity to move.

As you have probably read, this last year has been an adventure for us.  There have been many ups and downs, and we are officially moving back to our nice little life in North Dallas at the beginning of May.  But even through the challenges, I have never regretted making this move.  Our life here is nothing like our life in the burbs, and I appreciate the experience of knowing the difference.

As our time here draws to a close and we prepare to move back, there are a lot of things I’m looking forward to reintroducing into my life.  And there are also a lot of things about this little Alaskan hippie town that I will miss, and I thought I’d share them here.  Actually, there are several of these that I already miss because they are only available in the summer and I’m a bit sad I won’t get to enjoy them again this year.

But without further ado, here is a list of things I would never have experienced if I had stayed in my little comfort zone:

  • The view of the mountains and ocean from our house
  • Eagles
  • The moose that loves to nap for hours in our yard
  • Beach access within 15 minutes
  • The summer farmer’s market
  • Handmade soaps (I’m going to have to find a way to bring back a big box of this stuff)
  • Homemade jellies & jams from the lady at the farmer’s market
  • Fat Olive’s pizza
  • Fresh king crab
  • Cinnamon rolls and fresh bread from Two Sister’s Bakery, with which there is no comparison on earth
  • As much FREE! Halibut! as I can eat
  • Watching the kids play in the tide pools and scavenge the shores of Seldovia
  • Ferry rides when the waves are huge and the boat soars up and down like a roller coaster ride
  • Jogging the trail that runs down the spit on a breezy, sunny, 60° day, surrounded on 3 sides by the mountains and ocean
  • Fires made with real wood
  • Jens getting off work at 2:30pm every day
  • No wait at movies or restaurants during the winter

 

Spring

07 Mar

It’s Movie Monday, can you tell? Ok, I just made that up because I had a lot of videos to post.

However, today IS a special day because it’s the first time the temperature has gone above 40° this year.  AND, the sun is out, which is extra special because usually sunny days are colder here in the winter, so it appears that Spring is officially here.  I am relishing in all the melty-melty that’s going on outside.

In honor of the sudden warm weather, Jens took the kids out for ice cream.  Since ice cream is off limits for me, so I stayed home and took a little nap – which is a pretty good consolation if you ask me.

It was SO NICE to have it warm inside today.  We didn’t even need a fire this afternoon.  Spring, you are a welcome sight!

 

Snowwwwwwwwwwwwwww

15 Feb

The Walk of Death. Also notice steps with no hand rail. I fell (again) several days ago and nearly broke my hand. It still hurts.

There are no hills in our front yard. It's all snow. Oh, and a pile of firewood that's under there somewhere.

There are a surprising number of houses built in Alaska with no garage. I cannot figure this out.

Is it Spring yet???

 
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Posted in Homer, Weather