I’ve been 33 for seven days.


Usually, I’d have sat down and hammered out goals and aspirations for the next 12 months by now. What’s a new skill I want to learn? What bad habit will I break? What new place will I travel to? This year has been different.

Me, hiking down from Camp Muir in Mount Rainier National Park.

Me, hiking down from Camp Muir in Mount Rainier National Park. Photo by Allison.

Usually, I feel like I have a lot of learning to do. I need a kick in the pants. Some changes need to be made. It’s time to buckle down and focus. It’s not that I don’t, but this year has been different.

This time around, I didn’t wait for landmark dates to make changes, to initiate movement, or strive for a better me.

This time around, when I sat down to hash out next year’s goals, I came up empty. Not because I don’t have any, but because the momentum is already there and the goals are already in place. I don’t have anything new.

Usually, I would say something like, “Go on an adventure.” This time I say, “Have more adventure.” It’s not, “Go someplace new.” It’s, “Keep going.” Usually it’s, “Read 12 books.” This time it’s, “Keep reading what inspires you.”

Sometimes I pick a theme for the year. “Intention” was one, “Adventure” was another. “Solitude,” “Peace,” and “Reflection” were others. They were all chosen to keep me focused on what I needed to be doing, how I should do it, and feelings that I was trying to cultivate in my life.

today is a good day


Today is good because, for the first time in many weeks, I’m not working tomorrow. And that is lovely.

There are many things on my mind lately. And there are no links! Deal with it.

1. I covered a high school girls’ soccer game last weekend. It was different than what I normally do and write about, and I quite enjoyed it. It reminded me how much fun high school sports are, and I quite missed the days standing on the sidelines with camera in hand. Good times.

While covering the soccer games, one of the dads asked me if I was a scout from Juneau. I laughed quite loud. I hope I didn’t make him feel bad. Our girls beat Juneau-Douglas back-to-back in the season close last year. It’s quite the rivalry.

2. Texting with my brother about the soccer game brought on some nostalgia and hometown pride, and it’s stuck with me through the week.  I’ve enjoyed it. Down with purple; black and gold forever.

3. I finished watching Game of Thrones this week. It’s amazing. I finished just in time to pick up with the new season on Sunday, so that’s lovely. I’m still reeling days later from the Red Wedding. Red, indeed. Yikes.

4. I find it difficult to read a book during the month while binge-watching multiple seasons of a TV show. I might take a break from binge-watching during April so I can catch up on some of the other things I’ve been putting off. Like reading. And dishes. And calligraphy. And completing my taxes.

5. Speaking of taxes, I really do need to get that paperwork done. I know in the back of my mind that it’s not going to be so terrible and complicated, but I haven’t been motivated to get it done at all. But this is it; it’s happening. Tomorrow.

6. I made my first student loan payment today. A bit nerve-wracking. I’m trying not to apply for one of those “alter your payment” plans, and so far so good. But this was just the first month, so we’ll see what happens from here.

7. I’m 30 now. That means I deserve nice things. But, see #6? Sigh. Life on a budget.

8. I picked up quilting in the past month. I started two projects because I can’t seem to do only one thing at a time. Both involve hexagons and they are perfect, and cheerful and wonderful. Obvs, I love them. I need a couple more fat quarters to complete the more labor-intensive project, and a couple more packs of pre-cut hexies for the second. If you’re not gonna do it big, why do it? Right?

9. This weekend I’m watching three dogs, counting my own. I may just drive my neighbor bonkers. But she has a yappy little dog, so she had it coming anyway. After we all settled in last night, it was quite fun. Each furry thing is noticeably different than the others. And who would have thought a dog more nervous and Ellie existed?! But, so far so good.

10. I’m looking forward to vacation. I don’t know when I’m going, or where. But it’ll be someplace warm and relaxing, where I can read a book and go swimming and do a little exploring. Sounds beach-Like to me. Either way, I’ve been thinking about taking a vacation, and I’d like to do that someday.

11. I’ve been listening to #ThrowbackThursday station on Spotify. I suppose that is prolonging my nostalgia. It’s been wonderful.  The station is full of Third Eye Blind, Radiohead, Matchbox Twenty Alanis Morisette, 10,000 Maniacs, Deep Blue Something and Smashing Pumpkins. So if that’s your thing like it’s mine, listen to it.

In similar news, Weezer was labeled as classic rock this week, so there’s that.

Also, I was reminded this week that the first music video I ever saw was R.E.M.’s Losing My Religion.  For some reason, I feel like that might explain things about it.

desert soul


It’s been six weeks since I moved to this Southeast Alaskan rainforest. This small town is nestled on the edge of an island consumed mostly by the rock and forest of the Tongass National Forest.

I have had opportunity to wander into its borders by way of paths and trails, rarely stepping off for fear of sinking knee deep into the surrounding muck. The scenery brings countless varieties of moss, ground cover and giant first and second-growth trees. Shaded by hemlock and cedar, the bushes grow offering up their edible berries and neon colors.

The light here is magical. I rise early in the morning, catching my first glimpses of the Narrows at 6 a.m. and the sun is already above Deer Mountain, showing its light to the island across the water and bathing the town in sunlight. The air is still cool though and I open all my windows to let the breeze wake up the apartment and clear away the sleep.

Most days are overcast, negating the need for sunglasses or vision-obscuring hats. It allows for a spectacular picture because faces and spaces are absent of harsh shadows. Though my equipment is subpar and, even in the short while I’ve lived here, I have discovered the need for a faster camera lens. (To accommodate this I’ll be trying to save my pennies in hopes I’ll be able to afford one around Christmas.)

The community arts director recently said to me, “If you notice when the sun isn’t shining how many greens there are outside from neon green all the way to the deep dark mysterious green,” she said. I wholeheartedly agree with her. Since our conversation a few weeks ago, I have been more aware of the color, especially the green, since it is everywhere.

Literally, it is everywhere. Even the cement is green, playing host to various types of moss and plants that find ways to grow out of rock.

But in all this green and lush beauty, part of me misses the desert. The sand and dry heat that sinks in and warms my insides. The Joshua trees of Southern California and the bright orange poppies that blanket the hillsides in spring. I even miss the Utah desert. The red rocks and scrub oaks are calling my name, I can just feel it.

Though I sometimes wonder if what I am missing most are the memories and comfort that comes when you are someplace familiar. It seems that I am off on this great Alaskan adventure, determined to stick it out and at least really learn how to fish while I am here. But I find that I miss the warmth.

I haven’t missed the Mojave Desert in maybe… ever. I have missed the home I grew up in and has since been sold for new small children to live in and explore buried treasures in the backyard. But it wasn’t until moving to this lush, green rock in Alaska that I truly missed the dry, hot, vast expanse that is the desert. I miss being able to see for miles.

While I was in Connecticut a couple years ago I exclaimed that I had never seen so many trees, a statement that drew laughter after every retelling. That experience has been severely dwarfed by my current one.

And I miss my friends. They are all camping and boiling in the summer heat and I am unbelievably jealous.

A dear friend recently reminded me that the grass is always greener on the other side. But I think she meant to say sagebrush.

The sagebrush is always greener on the other side.

mojave desert

my home desert

snapshots: part three

inspirations, life

A moment from some morning April 2013:

“I catch the 7 o'clock bus where everyone is feeling a bit lethargic and keeping to themseleves and their earphone and books. Me included.

I notice a few rows in front of me a man with curly white hear, a beret balanced on his head. He is holding a Kindle mere inches from his nose and his head bobs left to right like a typewriter. The font on the device is set very large, I can almost read it from where I sit 10 feet behind him. I could see what he was doing and it was not strange.

But a few seats in front of him was a man who boarded the bus at my same stop. He had been pacing and wiggling his hand while he waited. He sat in a half-hunch half scowling around the bus.

When he notices the whote haired head bobbing while reading the Kindle, his scowl turns from a half-scowl to a three-quarter scowl. And then he yawns.

Slowly his three-quarter scowl turns to a Braveheart yawn. You know that face Mel Gibson makes while playing William Wallave in Braveheart? That face that just happens when he yells about freedom?

“They can take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!”

That face. As I sit upon this 7 a.m. bus, watching a white haired man bob his head from left to right, and William Wallace yawn in my direction, I wonder how many other senedipitous moments I missed while keeping my head down and minding my own business.”

 edited for tense and clarity

search and rescue

danelle landis, I went outside, Ketchikan, life, rain city 9, search and rescue, search and rescue dogs

Saturday mid-morning I met up with Danelle from Rain City K9 for some search and rescue dog practice. I had volunteered to “get lost” for the dogs. She mentioned that the dogs don't get a lot of opportunity to pratice in the heat so it was a good day to be out in the woods for a few hours.

When we got started I wasn't quite sure what to expect. 

I got “lost” four times and each time I found the dogs to be just hilarious. In theory, it is a game of fetch, but the dog has found something too big for them to bring to their master, so they have to bring thier  master to the thing. The dog finds me and then runs back and barks, letting the master know the dog found something. Then the dog makes these mad dashes back and forth between me and their master until she reaches me and “finds” me. The dogs get so excited once they find you, it cracked me up everytime.

After we were done working the dogs, all six went swimming in the pond and having a great time. It was so much fun and I'll definitely be looking to do that again.

I took a little video of Aida finding me. She was so funny and it's really fun when they find you because you can just tell they are so excited to do their job. And then when you throw the toy for them afterward they are just in doggy heaven.



 I didn't take Ellie with me since the other dogs were working dogs and Ellie would have had to stay in the car while they completed their exercises. I'm convinced she would love playing with the dogs, as long it is wasn't in the water and they didn't get too rough. Plus, I didn't think her little legs would do very well in the deep brush. She stayed home in the shade and napped off the hike we took earlier.