Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Sometimes, I have random thoughts. Those of you who know me well might say that my thoughts are random all the time. This is nothing new to me...my parents kept a book titled "Katieisms" when I was little. 'Nuff said. :)

Needless to say, I have things in my head that need to be said...or written...or whatever.

You're welcome.

To "scatter joy" is one of my life's goals. I feel like sometimes I do an ok job, and sometimes I fail miserably. For example...I shared a Mark Twain quote today about the dark side of the moon and the dark side of human nature (not the exact quote, but you get the point). One of my more astute students said, with a smile on his face, "Like you last week, right Ms. Kate? When you were so grouchy?" I had to smile, laugh a little, and agree--last week I was sick and I was probably a bit of a bear. Out of the mouths of babes, right?

On another note, I've started to wear a cloth napkin on my head. Now before you think me certifiable, hear me out. When I was little, almost every Saturday morning, my mom used to wrap my sister's and my heads up in do-rags, put on Bette Midler, James Taylor, or Bonnie Raitt, and we'd dance our way through the weekly cleaning of the house. I looked forward to that day all week long! We'd sing our hearts out and I'll never forget the joy I felt as long as I live. Having said that, I've had an old napkin of my mom's, one of the cloth napkins that was loving placed out on the table during every holiday meal, that I've been using as a cover for my rising bread dough. It used to be dark blue, but has faded to a lovely cadet blue and is covered in small pink, yellow, and baby blue flowers. 

This napkin makes me ridiculously happy. Isn't it so pretty?! I have honestly never asked my mom where it came from, who made it, or if she has any emotional attachment to it, and I probably should. I guess part of me just likes to think of it the way it is, the old napkin that only came out during special occasions and is now a part of my wardrobe. :) I have it folded in the way of a handkerchief and just wear it as a head covering on the weekends...usually when I'm cleaning the house. Carrying on a tradition, right?

Last ramble...We've had the strangest winter this year. When people think of Alaska and winter, they probably think below zero temps, blowing snow, ice, and fur hats. I.would.love.that! The last two winters have been really hard for us. It's been warm, windy, and not winter. Le sigh... It has made for some absolutely lovely tundra walks, though...

See what I mean? No snow makes for drably interesting colors and a happy dog. This means we get to chuck-it whenever he wants. :) Our little pup can't get enough of his chuck-it walks!

Welp...I think my ramble is over. Thanks for sticking with me. :) I hope your week is lovely and filled with good things.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 16, 2015


Last week was a bit of a stressful week, so Bill and I decided to take some time for ourselves this weekend. It was our Winter Carnival here in the village and while we participated in some of the events, we pretty much did our usual weekend wanderings out and about. We really cherish our weekends for the peace and quiet they provide. As teachers, we are ON all week long--we very rarely have a time when we can just be quiet and enjoy the solitude of this place, so on weekends we take complete advantage of our down time. Makes for much more pleasant Monday mornings. :) 

On Thursday of last week, we decided to go for a Honda ride and check out the Gorge. Bill had been there a few days before and had seen something really interesting occurring. The Gorge is an area where the water is usually flowing top speed, even in the winter, and is a reminder of the power of water. Not this winter...this winter, the first I can remember, there is an ice dam that has formed there. SO COOL. 

We love heading out to the Gorge in all seasons. Some of the best grayling fishing can be done here in the fall, winter gives a much different feel with low water, ice chunks, and a quiet that pervades even the most active of minds, while in spring, the water rushes through at top speed, turquoise blue and gorgeous to behold. We don't spend too much time out here in the summer--too much competition from the fishing lodges in the village. :)

Another one of our favorite things to do is shoot guns. I've killed a lot of cardboard in my day...a lot. Shooting is also a fabulous way to relax after a long week of being inside. You have to focus completely on your breath, what you're seeing in the scope, and the actual shot. It makes me slow my breathing, clear my head, and take things a little easier. Something that I struggle with sometimes. :) I feel pretty lucky to be married to a guy who loves to be out on the land and take me with him. I think that's one of the reasons we get along so well. Mutual love and understanding of the peace and calm received by heading outside. Sigh...I'm so lucky. 

We feel so fortunate to get out and play as much as we do. It is something that takes precedence in our lives and something we will do forever. 
We also got out this weekend and got some wood. We found a great stand of birch and cut and packed three trees worth of lumber. Birch is lovely as it burns slowly and you really get a nice even heat. My favorite fires are the ones that are started with spruce, but finished with birch. :) I'm still learning how to light a good fire--had some struggles this week with that--but I'm learning and will eventually get it down. 

We rounded out the weekend with a glass of wine last night (part of my Valentine's Day surprise from Bill) and a viewing of one of my old favorites--"In Search of the Castaways." If you haven't seen it, I wholeheartedly recommend it as an old Disney classic. Such a wonderfully cheesy story of adventure! :) Today is also day off of school and I plan to take complete advantage. 

Enjoy your week!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Liebster Award

My gorgeous friend, Natalie, at Circus and Bloom, nominated me for a Liebster Award and the picture above was literally the look I had on my face when I saw that this morning. Thanks friend! It's a little bit intimidating, but since you're probably the only one who will read this, I think I'll probably do ok. :) In case anyone else does read this, the purpose of this is to get to know a new online community and perhaps build a bit of a readership. It's worth a try in my book!

According to Natalie, the rules include answering a series of questions posed by your nominating blogger, then nominating another blogger with fewer than 200 followers, creating a series of questions for them to answer, and then letting them know they've been Liebstered. I don't know that I know of any other bloggers with fewer than 200 followers, but perhaps by the end of this I will... :)

Miss Natalie's Questions:

1. If you had to choose three words to describe yourself, what would they be? 
Geeze...start with the tough ones already... I'd like to say Caring is a word that describes me. Although, I think that sometimes I care too much--about people, about what they think, about what they say--but when it comes to the people I love, I would do just about anything to make sure they feel safe, secure, and completely cared for. Perhaps the second would be Adventurous. I LOVE being out and I love having wild adventures whenever possible. One of my favorite things to do is go outside and see what kind of mischief we can get ourselves in to. (See my last post for a few examples...) Since they can't all be great words, the last word might be...Sarcastic? Probably to a fault? My sense of humor tends to run on the dry side and I think that sarcasm is essentially my first language. I love it. Too much...

2. If you could go out to dinner with anyone (alive or deceased), who would it be and why?
Me and my Pops
Crap. They just keep getting harder. I just asked my hubby who he would choose and he said, "What?! You can't ask me that! I can't answer that! It would take a lifetime to figure that out!" I am inclined to agree...but if I had to choose...I guess it would be...my Grandpa Carl. He was my Dad's father and he passed away when my Dad was 14 years old. I've seen so many pictures and heard so many stories about him...it would be really cool to spend some time with him. I think he'd be proud of my adventurous spirit and the kind of person his son raised. I bet we could really swap some stories!

3. Do you have a quick, go-to dinner recipe? If so, what is it? 
YES! And it is delicious! Bill and I literally throw all kinds of marvelous things into a skillet, saute them up, add rice, and eat it like food. We start with some garlic and saute it until it's just browning, then add onion, continuing to saute until caramelized. Add sweet potatoes, corn off the cob, beans of any flavor (we love kidney and white), spinach...really anything...and continue to saute until everything is heated through. While it's cooking up, make some rice in a rice cooker and add to the mix when when it's done. Top with fresh cut tomato bits and eat until you're stuffed! It's delicious and so ridiculously good for you. Yum.

4. What's the most used item or appliance in your kitchen?
That's a toss up between the coffee pot and the Kitchen-Aide. The coffee pot is used on a daily basis, but the Kitchen-Aide is seriously amazing. Like, whoa, amazing. I honestly don't know how I made anything at all before we got the Aide. The day it dies will probably be the saddest day of my week. :)

5. What's your favorite color and how is it a reflection of who you are? 
Today, my most favorite color is aubergine. I know, I know, it's not technically a color, but another name for eggplant...but it just slides off the tongue so well. And it is such a lovely color. I think this is a reflection of who I am because, according to the color psychology website I just checked (ha!), having the color purple as my favorite means that I am sensitive, compassionate, understanding, and supporting of others...often to a fault. It also said that loving purple makes me introverted (We're here, we're uncomfortable, we're going home!), free-spirited, and relatively secretive. Well...that just about sums me up... :)

6. What's your favorite thing to do on a rainy day? 
Ooohhhhh...curl up on the couch or in bed and read a book or watch a sappy movie. Or bake cookies to deliver and sew something lovely. Or go for a walk and feel the rain on my face. Or...or...or... as you can see, I have a lot of favorites. 

7. What's your favorite scent? 
Bill. He's my favorite scent. Even when we've been out on a 2 week canoe trip...he's still my favorite. :) 

8. When you're stressed out, how do you cope?
Not well. I tend to get very emotional when I'm stressed and become even more introverted than I already am. I cry lots of tears, which is actually very healing for me, I eat lots of chocolate because, dammit, it just makes me feel better, and I take lots of walks. I find that going outside, no matter the weather, makes me feel immensely better. Fresh air always brings perspective and allows me to work through whatever it is that is stressing me out. I don't necessarily figure it out, but I feel better afterwards. 

9. What's one piece of advice you'd give to yourself in middle school? 
Don't worry. Your boobs are coming and you're going to be ok. Take a deep breath and love yourself for the little weirdsmobile you are. 

10. What's your earliest memory? 
Hmmm...when I was four, I think, I fell down our 15 wooden steps to the basement and landed on my head on the concrete floor. I remember seeing my Mom, my beautiful Mom, above me, and then my next memory is being put into a blue mummy case at the Dr.'s office because I wouldn't stop flailing around as they tried to survey the damage the fall had caused. This terrified me, obviously, and I remember looking up at my Mom and seeing tears falling from her face, splashing on my own as she tried to hold me still. I ended up with stitches in my lip and a permanently fat lip, but no other damage. I still don't like being wrapped up tightly to this day. I remember, after we got home, that I was treated like quite the celebrity in the neighborhood, and I got to eat popsicles. Love me some popsicles. 

11. How do you see yourself at 60? 
Gosh...living life. Hopefully not working, happily spending time with my family, wherever they may be, and just being. That sounds like a dream come true right now. Just living life. I've so enjoyed the journey of growing older that it's actually kind of exciting to think of life at 60...here's to birthdays! 

I'm going to save my nominations and questions for a time when I actually know some other bloggers... :) Thanks, Natalie, for making me think and take some time to answer these questions!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Life of Adventure

The one thing my husband always promised, is that with him, I would live a life of adventure. And, for heaven's sake, has he kept that promise! We've skied the Harding Ice Field, climbed countless mountains, pack rafted swift rivers, maneuvered steep passes, and canoed hundreds of miles together. We've traveled internationally and loved every second, but we've also spent years exploring our own corner of Alaska, learning everything we can about the land we inhabit. How lucky, right?! Some of my favorite adventures, though, are the ones that happen out our own back door. Out in the wilderness we are lucky enough to call home.

We live in a part of Alaska that is pretty special. We live on a huge lake surrounded by mountains, we have a river that is home to one of the largest salmon runs in the world, and there aren't many people to contend with. :) We often go out for walks on the tundra just to see what we can see. The land is ever changing with the seasons and always brings new excitement with it. In the fall, the tundra changes from green to absolutely exploded in color, while in winter, the grays, whites, and browns prevail. Spring is fresh, with no mistakes in it, and summer brings vibrant greens and bugs for days. I look forward to the change in the season as much as anyone else, if for no other reason than the feeling of a new start and a fresh outlook. As we settle into the bleakness of mid-winter, it helps to remember that spring is right around the corner, the geese will soon by flying, and the tundra will soften and green. Until then, the sunrises and sunsets will provide me with spectacular color, and life will move forward as it always does.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Scatter joy!

Hello. :)

My name is Kate. 

Kontrashibuna Lake in Lake Clark NP
I am a thirty-something teacher-adventurer-quilter-baker-reader-writer-backpacker-packrafter-canoer-wife-to-an-amazing-man, living in bush Alaska. I moved North to the Future in 2006 and honestly, at this point in my life, can't imagine living anywhere else. I grew up in a small town in Montana that did a most wonderful job preparing me for life in the bush. Although, had you told me in high school that I would move (willingly!) to a town smaller than the one I grew up in, I would have laughed in your face. Back then, I was headed for the glitz and glamour of New York City, baby! Thankfully, life doesn't always turn out the way you planned, and Alaska is where I headed after graduating from college. I moved North with the intention of staying and teaching for just one year, but here I am, nine years later, still in Alaska and just as in love with the land as the day I landed in Anchorage. 

Backpacking/Packrafting up Another River valley
Having said that, though, my life was turned upside down and inside out that first year. I learned so.many.things about myself that I probably never would have known had I stayed in Montana and worked at Barnes and Noble instead of jumping right into teaching. It was a hellish year, not going to lie, but I came out of it with a greater understanding of who I was as a person, and who I wanted to be as a teacher. That was also the year I met the man who, 7 years later, became my husband. He is honestly the most remarkable man I have ever met and I feel so lucky that he picked me. (Cheesy, I know, but oh-so-honestly true.) For now, I'll call him B. 

B and I both took to bush life like moose to the willows and have been ridiculously happy spending our lives in the relative peace and calm of village life. I know, I know...to go from dreams of NYC to a village of less than 200 people? You must think I'm crazy. I guess all I can say is that no one in NYC is lucky enough to wake up to this view every day, am I right?  

Good morning, Sunshine!

So here we are. This space will mostly be used for detailing the adventures B and I have had throughout the years, and the ones to come. Enjoy!