Archive for the ‘alaska’ Tag

Under Pressure   8 comments

Blog Hop Topic – How do you relieve stress?

First, I highly recommend that you check out PJ MacLayne’s website to see how she relieves stress and books for some great reads, which may be the ultimate answer to relieving stress.

Wow! Stress is a big topic. And this novelist relieves stress by … writing.

Okay, that was really easy. So easy that you might think I’ve not had a lot of stress in my life. You’d be wrong. I’ve earned my scar tissue. There are some people who would apply the label “tough cookie” to me and I’d wear that badge proudly, knowing that I had thoroughly earned it. I’ve been there, done that, and used the t-shirt as a tourniquet.

And, no, I’m not going to tell you about it. You can read my novels and decide when I’m being authentic.

The truth is there is nothing like creating a fictional world or setting and working out your stress there. I can blow up countries, punch bullies in the mouth, create solutions that actually work or … just go somewhere that is far away from my reality. Sometimes I work through forgiveness and redemption in my novels and other times I just kill the bastard … or torture him-her. Writing is also often where I am the closest to God, where I can hear His voice most clearly and follow His guidance most directly. I can also be my most human there, in that fictional world where I don’t have the face the consequences of my own impulses, but can let God correct me through my characters.

I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a stressful day of writing (formatting is NOT writing), but writers should live some life if we want something to write about, so I do take breaks. Hiking the Alaska wilderness isn’t exactly stress-free. There are dragons in those woods — well, okay, moose and bears — and even on a hot sunny June day, the weather can turn on a dime, drop 70 degrees and make you wish you’d never left home. We risk our lives heading into the wilderness, which might seem stressful to people who have never done it. When we return, we’re recharged and ready to face life again … or write a novel.
Listening to music and dancing to it, taking hot baths, sitting by the wood stove reading someone else’s novel while hearing the fire crackle, pop and sizzle, chopping firewood to feed that wood stove, watching series on Netflix, walking on the treadmill, singing gospel music at the top of my lungs where nobody else can hear me, throwing a stick for the Lab preferably in a fast moving body of water, washing walls …. Yeah, washing walls — anything mindless and physical is often one of the greatest ways to reduce and remove stress. It gives you something else to concentrate on while also allowing you to confront your thoughts. In some ways, it is an old-fashioned version of EMDR (you can google that). Try it sometime and see how it works for you. But if you’re a writer … you could just work it out in a story.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man, but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able” (I Corinthians 10:13).

If I put myself in the right place to listen to God, He really takes care of my stress for me, even when my life circumstances are still in turmoil.

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Canadian Company Set to Fill a Gap   Leave a comment

https://www.adn.com/article/20150921/canadian-company-considers-ketchikan-ferry-connection

In case you don’t know it, Alaska is experiencing some financial difficulties. This is partially due to Saudi Arabia pumping oil like mad to corner the international market again. As soon as they get enough market share, expect the price of oil to go up, up, up again. This is also partially due to the Parnell administration’s insane giveaway to the oil companies (good Alaska SB21 for details), followed by a seriously uninformed vote by Alaskans to allow it to go forward. Alaska runs on oil and we are caught in a double whammy right now.

We have savings. We’re running a deficit, but unlike every other state in the union, we have savings accounts to turn an emergency in a soft bounce. But to make it all work, the State of Alaska has to cut costs, so among many other things we’re looking at is a reduction in ferry service in Southeast.

(NOTE – The entire western half of the state has no road system and relies on barges to get their goods to them. Southeast has had a special deal for a long time where they had subsidized ferry service, due in large part because our state capital is located there. They are not being treated unfairly. They are being asked to join the rest of the state in fixing a problem).

So, Prince Rupert won’t be seeing the Alaska Ferry very often in the next year. Once a week, most likely. That impacts their tourism because a lot of people go to Prince Rupert to access the ferry because it is cheaper than Bellingham and a lot of Canadians go to see Alaska via the Prince Rupert ferry station. Yes, the ferry station the Canadians were all up in arms about because US (federal) rules say US transportation projects must use American steel. And, yes, it is possible that fight is in the mix with decisions.

But ….

A private company is considering picking up the slack.

You see, if government gets out of the way, private companies will do it IF it needs to be done.

Voluntary Works   2 comments

A guy named Dalton Hanson wandered away from a hunting camp last week. September in Alaska is dangerous times. It’s our hunting season, when we get two or three weeks to get a moose, when many of us supplement our income by filling the freezer with meat. It’s also hunting season for bears, who are packing on weight for the winter. Humans are as tasty a moose as far as a grizzly is concerned. The weather changes on a dime. It was pretty warm when he disappeared, but it’s been much worse — cold, rainy, snowing — since then.

So, last Saturday, Josh Bennett of Patriot’s Lament told the public about Dalton’s disappearance and asked folks to help out when they can. This week he and his teenage son have been dragging gear in and out from this camp to help with the search efforts for this guy.  It’s miles and miles from any road, the only access is Argo or helicopter. The Alaska Search and Rescue group is a completely voluntary group who go out in the worst of conditions, sleep under tarps and find folks. Their dogs must be trained for two years before they can be used in the field. It’s a big commitment and completely voluntary. Some of these people are flying in helicopters that have no business being aloft in the conditions we’re having right now, but they keep coming back, searching dawn to dusk.

What’s more, they keep track of anyone who comes out to help with the search. Josh put out the call to a Saturday morning radio show audience in Fairbanks, Alaska. He may have hundreds of listeners, but because he pays for the airtime himself and doesn’t rely on advertising, he has no real idea of his listenership. So he puts out this call and the Rescue squad asks people why they’ve shown up to help.

75 people said they heard the request for help on Patriot’s Lament.

They haven’t found Dalton yet, but I want to point out that the State of Alaska is involved through the State Troopers and other agencies (that crazy helicopter pilot may have been our DOT pilot), but the largest part of this search is being conducted by volunteers. Josh isn’t getting paid for what he’s doing. He’s a trucker and he has special skills and the State would probably pay him if required, but that’s not why he’s out there. The ASR group could be an agency of the state, but they’re not. They are all volunteers.

We have this idea that nothing would get done if government didn’t do it and we are so wed to that idea that we don’t even realize that there are folks around us who do things voluntarily all the time and things get done because of it.

Just a thought.

 

Posted September 19, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Anarchy

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Alaska Natives Embrace Drilling at Ground Zero for Climate Change Debate   Leave a comment

Barrow, Alaskahttp://www.eenews.net/stories/1060024122

It’s a rather long article that deserves a read, so follow the link, but the synopsis is that most Alaska Natives favor oil and gas development … especially if it is done by an Alaska Native corporation.

For the record, I do too. Alaska cannot survive on tourism alone. We need real long-term year-round jobs and the gas and oil industry, particularly if Alaska based, can provide that. Alaskans deserve the opportunity to support ourselves that every other citizen on the United States has … or had before the environmental movement decided to save us from ourselves.

Posted September 1, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Energy

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New Author Pic   3 comments

Author pic salmonIn case anyone doesn’t believe that I really live this crazy Alaska lifestyle — here’s me with a king salmon. I did not catch this salmon (Brad did), but I have caught ones as big … in a large landing net on a 15-foot-long telescoping pole from a wild Alaska river.

As I am the family photographer, you will usually not see me on camera.

Posted August 22, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska

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A Land of Characters – A Blog Hop Article   2 comments

10499395_10202912675492953_3236575078886050148_oDo you like to read? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the MMB Open Book Blog Hop each Wednesday and they will tell all. Every week we’ll answer questions and after you’ve enjoyed the blog on this site we’ll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.’

Hi, welcome to the blog.

This week’s topic:  What is special, unique and fun about where you live?

Okay, I live in Alaska. I probably don’t have to say much more than that. Pretty much everyone who does not live in Alaska thinks there is something exciting about the very idea. Imagine, however, if you grew up here and it was just home?

We’re the largest state with the fewest highways and almost the smallest population. 80% of our communities are not accessible by highway. We have the largest number of private pilots among the states. We have the largest percentage of gun owners. It is a felony offense to attempt to pet a polar bear in Alaska. We lead the nation in per capita ice cream consumption. The Territory of Alaska banned racial discrimination 10 years before Congress got around to it.

Interior Alaska, which is the part of Alaska I call home, is a place of extremes. Most winters it reaches minus 45 – 50 degrees for a couple of days with an average of 50 inches of snow. Some winters are warmer with 12 – 14 feet of snow. Others are colder with just a couple of inches of snow. It’s hard to predict which sort of winter it might be. Summers are hot and dry. This summer has had plenty of 80-95 degree days and the forest fires that come with it. You see, Fairbanks (my town) is surrounded by millions of acres of taiga — a stunted forest of black spruce and black spruce are just oil lanterns awaiting a spark to burst into flame. They need fire to create more black spruce, in fact. Hot summers mean lightning storms and that’s the spark black spruce is waiting for. Then again, last summer, it rained 80 days out the 90 days of summer. The sun shone so little that our gardens (yes, we garden) didn’t produce anything but yellow leaves. Again, you just never can predict other than that it will snow sometime in October and that snow will probably still be here six months later.

The extremes of weather isn’t what attracts most people to Alaska and it certainly isn’t why we stay. What is unique and different about Alaska is our culture. Non-Alaska Natives come from … well, everywhere. We rank in the top five states for diversity of races, but also 71% of adult residents moved to Alaska from another state, while only 28% of adults born in Alaska still live here when they’re 30.

That diversity has led to a unique culture in Alaska because we bring our culture with us from wherever we come from. In most cases, migrants adapt their culture to the culture they join because they are outnumbered. In Alaska the is always in flux as residents don’t just come from nearby states, but from all states and many foreign countries. During the construction of the TransAlaska Pipeline, our home-grown always-slightly-in flux culture was nearly overwhelmed by Texans and Oklahomans who were very proud of where they were from and not shy to assert their superiority. The Alaskan culture asserted itself by boldly confronting this tsunami of immigration and from that confrontation, we defined Alaska culture for future generations. The overriding characteristic of long-time Alaskans is a live-and-let-live attitude that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it’s okay to say when people are full of baloney … which tends to be frowned on by Southerners … except for those who found the honesty refreshing and decided to stay and thereby become Alaskans. Generally, Alaskans say what we mean and mean what we say and we don’t care if others don’t like it, but we are perfectly willing for those who don’t like what we have to say to state their own opinion. We’ll feel free to not like it and argue against it … or to mull it over for a while and change our minds … maybe, if you make a good argument.

Because you don’t have to be born here (or even grow up here) to call yourself an Alaskan, we don’t have a state accent. Sarah Palin’s accent is her parents’ Idahoan accent. I have kept people guessing on my accent for hours because my parents were from different regions. My neighbor sounds like a Texan, but she’s been an Alaskan for longer than I’ve been alive. A friend of mine is an Alaskan, though he clearly grew up speaking Korean before he learned English.

We are a very outdoorsy kind of state and our state sport is dog mushing. Yes, that’s a sport and not just for the dogs. An Iditarod or Quest musher runs a good bit of those 1000-mile races. It’s one of the few professional racing sports where women win about in proportion to the percentage of their participation. The meme here is “Alaska — Where Men are Men and Women Win the Iditarod.” Men are men, by the way, but we have a strong streak of hardy practicality that sees women changing their own tires and chopping their own wood as perfectly normal.

Currently, we’re in food harvest mode as my husband Brad just returned from Chitina on the Copper River with 45 sockeye salmon. Chitina means standing on the shores of a powerful glacial river holding a landing net on a 12-16′ pole in the current and hopping 10-15 pound fish will swim into it. Sometimes this takes hours, sometimes it takes days … and sometimes you don’t get much. Most years I would have gone with him and caught some of them, but I had to work for money this week. . Sometimes he takes the kids (who are now 22 and 16, so can pull their own weight … are at least a salmon’s weight). This year, he went alone. There is no fresher salmon in the world than Copper River reds. After driving 350 miles, he caught 45 fish in about 10 years, put them on ice and drove another 350 miles to come home. We filet these beauties, wrap them in freezer paper and store them in the freezer. We’ll eat salmon at least once a week until spring. We keep the heads because there’s some delicious cheek meat in them and we even retain the spines (what’s left after filet) because the “waste” meat makes salmon burgers.

Blueberry season will start in a couple of weeks. Alaskan blueberries are very tart compared to Lower 48 blueberries, but if blueberries are a superfood, Alaskan blueberries are a megafood with three times the antioxidants of standard blueberries. We freeze ours on aluminum trays and then store them in jars to eat all winter, mixed with honey on toast (creating a very healthy jam) or sprinkled on our cereal and in baked goods. We also pick cranberries closer to fall and freeze-dry them to make craisans.

About 12% of the homes in our community use woodstoves as their primary heat source. We’re no different. We have a diesel furnace as backup, but we use wood most of the time. It’s affordable and a great exercise program, as well as a more even heat. And you can cook on top of the woodstove if the power goes out. When we finish processing the fish, Brad and Kyle will be returning to my brother’s place where the electric utility cut down a small forest of birch trees along the right of way last year. Some years fire wood is more work, but this year, we get to harvest wood while catching up with my brother.

Of course all this outdoor activity in the summer is made possible by the midnight sun — which in Fairbanks is really the 22-hour sun. Although the sun does dip below the horizon, it never really gets dark from April through August. It’s not unusual to see people out at 11 pm, playing Ultimate Frisbee in the park, walking their dogs or sitting on the deck reading by the lingering sunlight. Boats run up and down the Chena River at all hours and there’s an irrepressible hot-air ballooning community. We even have a city-wide festival that goes until midnight and a baseball game played without the benefit of artificial lights, both on the summer solstice. Our family hikes at all hours and get to see some lovely vistas because Brad’s nickname is “Ridgewalker”.  There is something special about “sun dip” at 4,000 feet.

There are many more unique aspects to Alaska than I could possibly fit into one blog post. Some of my regular readers are familiar with some of those unique aspects from prior posts. You can check out the category “Alaska” for more articles.

Now that you’ve heard about the thoroughly wild place I live, you might want to hear about my colleagues’ cool hometowns. Just follow the link below and it will connect you to other blogs where this topic is being discussed.

Author Alexis Donkin tells the true account of one woman’s suffering which she transformed into opportunities for empowerment. Check it out.

****Follow the link to join the blog hop.

http://www.amazon.com/Thrive-How-I-Became-Superhero/dp/1512211486/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr&qid

To join our Open Book Blog Hop :

JOIN OPEN BOOK BLOG HOP -WHERE WE SHARE ALL SORTS OF THINGS ABOUT “LIFE”.

RULES:

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  2. NOTIFY YOUR FOLLOWING THAT YOU ARE PARTICIPATING IN THIS BLOG HOP.

  3. PROMISE TO VISIT/LEAVE A COMMENT ON ALL PARTICIPANTS’ BLOGS.

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Posted July 22, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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Group starts ferry between Bering Sea islands – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Alaska News   Leave a comment

If government doesn’t do it … people might.

Group starts ferry between Bering Sea islands – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Alaska News.

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