Sep 27

The phone rang not five minutes after leaving the voice mail wishing my niece a HAPPY BIRTHDAY:

“Hello” I said

“Heeey” her southern soft 7 year old drawl replied

“Hey big girl, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” I giddily wished aloud
“THANK YOU!” she said

“Did you have a good day sweetheart?” I asked

“Yes I did, you know what I got?” she asked

“What?” I replied

“I got a gi-u-tar” she said

“A what, honey?” I asked

“A gi-u-tar” she said again, exactly like that.

“You mean a guitar?”  I asked

“Yeah, a gi-u-tar” she said

My heart swelled with pride and love at her adorable pronunciation. She told me about her trip to Chuckee Cheese (oh my dog, my poor sister, I commend her on her ability to go there sober), and about all the other gifts she received.  She was anxious to get off the phone and enjoy her gifts, and she started to hand me off to her mother, but not before I told her I loved her.

“I love you sweetie” I said

“I love you more so la-la-la-la-la” she said with a self-satisfied little tone

I swallowed the lump in my throat I got because I couldn’t be there to see her say that in person.  The 3000 miles that separates us suddenly came into sharp focus.

Brittney was born two months after my pawpaw died.  Her birth was exactly the buoyancy we all needed to keep us afloat in our sea of grief of losing him.  I remember seeing her and holding her for the first time in the hospital and reeling from the fact that I was an aunt, that my sister was a mother for the first time.

I also remember hating the fact that her name would be Brittney.  It was supposed to be Jennifer.  Jennifer Ella.  But my brother in law suggested it at the last minute and my sister agreed.  Gah.  Like every other kid in the south isn’t named Brittney.  But, I got over it and couldn’t imagine her having any other name.

And it doesn’t make her any less unique, any less intelligent, any less beautiful.  She’s got a tender, soft heart, and has blossomed from a timid, shy, little toddler to an exhuberant, articulate (yes at 7 there is such a thing), amazing little girl.

I love every single hair on your gorgeous little head, baby girl.

I wish I could see you more, but I’m glad your mama helps you to never forget who I am.

Happy Birthday angelface.

Aunt Christina

Sep 24

Last Sunday I invited Dusty and Brian to breakfast because Howard found a block of livermush (something you can only buy in the mountains of NC) buried in the freezer, a present from his mom’s visit earlier in the summer and we really wanted to share it with someone. Dusty and Brian are adventurous eaters, so we thought, who better?

Dusty arrived sans Brian and said that he got called on an earlier charter to Anchorage. Brian is a pilot and owns a flying service here. Dusty said Brian was really upset he would miss it, breakfast was his favorite meal of the day.
We ate our breakfast without him. I served up mimosas. It was a beautiful day, it was nearly noon, why not catch a buzz right?

Dusty LOVED the livermush. He had two helpings. With our bellies full, we took our drinks outside on to the deck to stand in the sunshine and breath some fresh air. We heard a plane and Dusty recognized it as Brian’s. We needn’t have wondered either. Brian buzzed the house, and tipped his wing at us before landing at the airstrip. He got a good tailwind and made it back early.
He showed up minutes later, hungry, asking where the mimosas were, and I scrambled eggs for him and heated up a plate of leftovers. He was like a hungry kid. (A big kid who likes alcohol) It was so cute, we all giggled at him.

Later in our buzzed up brains and full bellied comas, Dusty asked Howard if he’d like to fly in to town the following weekend with Brian. Dusty hates to fly, he was more than willing to give up his seat. (read: he lives in the bush and hates to fly) I suggested Howard take Pepper in with him to have him groomed. Howard jumped at the chance.

I dropped him off Friday afternoon. I got my steak to go that night, but not without an obligatory shot of tequila while it was cooking. Damn peer pressure. I came home, ate my dinner, finished my homework assignment, and turned in early. It was nice having the house to myself. Lucky really enjoyed having Pepper out of the house and having his mom all to himself.

Yesterday I cleaned the house at my leisure, took Lucky for a nice long walk, and napped. It’s amazing how even though I am extraverted and love being around people, how I equally treasure my solitude and being alone. Interpersonal and Intrapersonal. It baffles the mind.

Later in the day, I waited to hear Brian’s plane fly over the house and then I met the plane at the airstrip.

Hearing planes every hour is nothing to me now that I’ve lived in the bush for nearly four years. Instead of knowing what kind of cars are on the market, I now know the difference in supercubs, various cessnas, caravans, beavers, otters, navajos, saabs, metroliners, and even a little bit about jet planes.

I thought about this after telling Howard I heard his plane fly over.

He said: “You know, on the road system, we’d say ‘oh I heard your car pull up’, but here in the bush it’s ‘oh I heard your plane fly over’.”

“Indeed” I replied with a laugh.

Pepper returned looking like a Schnauzer again, Howard bought six different kinds of Rieslings (can you tell this is the wine we’re in to now?), and few goodies for me. The biggest surprise was a bottle of Prada perfume from Nordstrom’s.

Howard has never liked any kind of perfume on me except for one: Coco Chanel. In all the years I’ve known him, and all the times, I’ve sampled scents, he always comes back to the Chanel. He buys me a new bottle every year. He says the smell still drives him nuts.

But a few nights ago, we were in bed reading magazines when he ripped out a Prada fold out sample and rubbed it on the inside of my arm. I was awaiting his disapproval but amazingly enough, he LOVED it. And so did I! I was pleasantly surprised and even more so when he came home bearing the 1.7 fluid ounce bottle.

What do you know, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Okay, you can wake up and move on to another post now. I’ve got a mimosa to whip up and more homework to do.

By the way, the warm weather is going away and the leaves are turning and falling off the trees. We got our first frost this morning and any day now, the mountains should be capped with snow, which means that winter will be here in less than a month. While I loved the summer on my boat, I can’t wait to dig out my winter gear and break trail on my snowmachine again.

It doesn’t take much to make this girl happy. Enjoy your Sunday everyone!

Sep 23

This is a country song but could easily be a cross-over into the “Power Ballad” category.

Power-Ballad on a really good hair day, mind you.

This is for everyone who has ever been in that place.  I often wonder if I’ll ever stop feeling broken myself.


“Broken” performed by Lindsey Haun

Wake up to a sunny day
not a cloud up in the sky,
then it starts to rain
My defenses hit the ground, And they shatter all around.
So open and exposed.

I found strength in the struggle. Face to face with my trouble.

When you’re broken
in a million little pieces
and you’re tryin
but you can’t hold on anymore.
Every tear
falls down for a reason.

Don’t you stop believing in your self.

When you’re broken.

Little girl don’t be so blue,
I know what you’re goin through.
Don’t let it beat you up.
Heaven knows that getting scars
only makes you who you are…only makes you who you are.

No matter how much your heart is aching,
there is beauty in the breaking….yeeeaaaahhh

When you’re broken
in a million little pieces
and you’re tryin
but you can’t hold on anymore.
Every tear
falls down for a reason.

Don’t you stop believing in yourself.

When you’re broken.

Better days
are gonna find you once again
every piece will find its place!

When you’re broken
When you’re broken

When you’re broken
in a million little pieces
and you’re tryin
but you can’t hold on anymore.
Every tear
falls down for a reason.
Don’t you stop believin in yourself
When you’re broken.

Sep 18

Boy, have I been completely uninspired lately. I really do have a good excuse though:

Fall Semester.

I started my class two weeks ago. While it’s not as demanding as the class I had last semester, it does take up a lot of my spare time and blah, blah, blah.

Plus, it’s hunting season here in my neck of the bush. And lo there come many hunters. And yes, just like last year, I am getting the inquisition of:

“Where are you from originally?”

“You didn’t pick up that accent around here did you (followed by a self satisifed laugh)?”

“What’s a young little gal like yourself doing in “man’s country?” (oh yes he did, I honestly didn’t know whether to be flattered or offended.)

“Why the hell would you move here?”

“Are you nuts?”

Of course, all the hunters who asked me that were from somewhere in the lower 48. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just that if you’re an Alaskan, you don’t ask such things. It’s more like: “How long have you lived here?”, “What brought you to our fine state?”

That idea that you’re crazy enough to live here is already established. There is no need to be baffled. At that point, it’s just “getting to know you” banter. None of this “What in tarnation?” bullshit.

Anywho. This is not the point of my post. I actually have something interesting to write about. Recently in my daily perusing of blogs, I’m reading a lot about past dates that either went awry or never amounted to anything. And that, my friends, finally inspired me. Because, lord god, do I have some stories. But I’ll only bore you with one.
I was in college and working at the drug store two blocks over. I became friends with the pharmacist’s daughter who also worked at the drug store. Her name was Holly. She began dating a guy who regularly came to the store to pick her up. I worked the cash register in the front, so he and I would often talk until Holly finished helping her dad shut down the pharmacy. One night, he brought along a friend.

I honestly do not remember seeing Benji the first time. The reason I know this is because when Holly called me later that night in my dorm room, she asked me if I remembered the guy that had come with Jeff (her boyfriend). I told her “no.” Then she proceded to tell me that he was interested. I really began regretting not seeing him. But I was a single girl, and willing to give this “quasi” blind date a try. We made a date for the next night.

They picked me up at my dorm and Benji met me at the door. He was, shall we say, not at all what I imagined. Picture Kurt Cobain crossed with Carrot Top. With no less than 10 piercings in his face. That was my man.

But, I was open minded and he did open the door for me when I got to the car. And he had a nice smile. We were crammed in the back of Holly’s Nissan 280Z. As uncomfortable as you can imagine. Luckily we went to an all night diner around the corner. Over dinner, Benji and I actually had a lot to say. The conversation came easy. I admit I was pleasantly surprised. I don’t know what I was expecting. I admit I judged him a bit too harshly in the beginning. We finished up dinner with dessert and coffee. By the time, he paid the check, we were snuggled up next to each other.

“Let’s go to Freedom park and play some music!” Holly exclaimed

Benji looked at me, snuffed out his cigarette, and asked if I liked acoustic guitar. I told him I did. We loaded ourselves back into Holly’s 280Z and away we went to Freedom Park. On the way there, Benji had his arm around my shoulder, I was leaned up against him, and he kept telling me my hair smelled really good. There weren’t sparks but I liked him. He might not have had long term potential but he was someone I could see hanging out with. He tried to kiss me. I gently turned away, and acted like I missed the signal. I liked having his arms around me, I liked that he liked my hair, but that was it. It was purgatory between being wildly attracted to someone and being completely turned off. I wasn’t either. It was weird. I still can’t explain it.
We got to Freedom Park, and he got out his guitar and played a song he wrote called “The Ice Cream Man”. Afterwards, he asked me if I knew what the song meant. I told him it sounded like it was about a woman who had an affair with the ice cream man and bore a child with him unbeknownst to her husband. This, apparantly, impressed him.

“Wow, no one has ever guessed what that song is about.”

“Um why not? It’s exactly what you sing about in the song.”

“I don’t know, but this is a sign, you’re the first girl that’s ever gotten it.”

“Wow. Cool.” (My vocabulary knew no limits that night, can you tell?)

It was getting late. My dorm had an 11:00 curfew and I had to get back. We drove back crammed into Holly’s 280Z as usual. It was the same scene. Me leaning up against him. Him smelling my hair, telling me how great it was. When we got to the dorm, he walked me to the door and kissed me lightly on the lips. I remember that between all three piercings, I thought he had really soft lips. Odd. I know.

As soon as I got to my floor, I had an entourage of interrogators asking me:
“WHAT WAS THAT, that just dropped you off?”

I told him “THAT” was a very nice boy named Benji.

Benji and I talked on the phone a few times and tried to schedule another date but I just wasn’t into it. He wanted something serious, I just wanted to be friends. We never went on another date. He eventually moved to California and met the woman of his dreams. I hear he’s now in an up and coming band in L.A. I wish him all the luck in the world.

It was one of those really good “one hit wonders”. A nice date, a lot of fun, but not one that needed repeating.

Sep 15

Your Seduction Style: The Natural

You don’t really try to seduce people… it just seems to happen.

Fun loving and free spirited, you bring out the inner child in people.

You are spontaneous, sincere, and unpretentious - a hard combo to find!

People drop their guard around you, and find themselves falling fast.

Sep 12

When you hear me humming a certain tune?  Ask me what I’m humming only to hear me whine about it being an awesome tune when I was in college, but for the life of me, I can’t remember the name of it.

Then be a gem and tell me not only the name of it but who sings it.

Then allow me to find the song on itunes and download it.

Thank you iTunes and dear friend!  I shall be reminiscing of 1992 to Digable Planets’ Rebirth of Slick.

Sorry mom but fuck yeah!

(Jenni, did we rock the house to this song or what?)

Sep 11

I feel bad that it’s now 10:43pm AST and I’m just now getting to the computer for a post on such a day.

You all know my thoughts on 9/11.  I posted them on the anniversary last year.  It’s pretty hard to top.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it.  I still tear up when I see the images replayed over and over.  I choke up when I see the children who were orphaned because of it.  When they cry, I weep.

I’ll never forget seeing ground zero up close just two months after it happened.  I’ll  Never forget the smell, the wreckage, the weary looks on the firefighters faces.

Sandra Teague was a passenger on American Airlines Flight 77.  She was born and raised in my home town back in North Carolina.  She was a niece of my great uncle’s.  (He was my great uncle by marriage)  I never knew her but according to all who did, she was an exuberant spirit, a lovely lovely woman, who craved an adventure.  I think if I had known her, we might have been friends.

They laid her to rest in the same cemetary my pawpaw is buried, just one row over.

My family described the outpouring of love during her memorial service and it amazed me.

She might have long ago moved away, but she was still fondly remembered.

I find myself humbled to be one of the lucky ones who didn’t die and didn’t lose anyone I loved that day.  I didn’t lose a parent, a sister, a brother, an aunt, uncle or cousin.  I don’ t have to worry about how I’m going to cope the next time another anniversary comes around.

But I will always remember and grieve with every one of those who did.

Sep 8

2 conference calls, in one day, scheduled to be only 45 minutes each, ending up being waaaay longer than that.

Someone please shoot me.

Wait, don’t shoot me, at least not today, it’s Friday which means steak night, which means, liquid therapy.  Hangovers, be damned.

The brother in law leaves tomorrow so after steaks, we’re having a big bonfire party, to send him home.

Ooooh yes.  He will be traveling back to NC with a hangover.  But dammit, he’ll be grateful for the experience.

Sep 5

Family is visiting.

Moose hunting season is here.

The weather is beautiful.

I FINALLY, after three and half years in this gorgeous state, went camping.  I didn’t want to leave those woods.

The amounts of beer consumed would make my family disown me.

Life is good.