Sunday, August 31, 2008

An Ode to My Grandparents

So while checking my e-mail I was told by my not so genteel, but pretty dang cute grandparents, "your blob needs refreshing," so I thought that that is exactly what I would do, refresh my blob.  Thank you Rudd for introducing me to another useless yet endearing term.  Above  is an old picture of me and my gradparents (Nancy and Rudd) from the archives, ahhh hum... yes that is a hint!  Below is a poem.  Just a head's up, I am NOT a poet, and what you are about to read will be fairly telling of just that.  What you do for those you love!

An Ode to My Grandparents:

To my Grandparents
whom I wish everyone could meet
they are a delight
truly a treat
They know how to live
enjoy the outdoors
play with the bees
sit in the sun all day long
eating fresh veggies
from their backyard
sharing their laughter 
with all that they meet

Goofer and siller they older they get
they count the smokers 
and talk about planes
sharing their stories
and their quick wit
they know so much
they'll make you combust
And they never forget
to shout their angst
reading the newspaper 
they throw their arms
cursing about Bush
And other alarms 

Though I do have one complaint!
Are they scared of the north
can they not read a map
do they have no umbrella 
afraid of the rain
I've been here a year ...

how can the fun in my life continue 
without a visit from them?
What I'd give 
to be like them 
at even twice their age
But they are two 
whom I could never repeat

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Epic Paddle

Gumdrop Island
Full Moon and Emily and I before we were leaving the night after our camp!
The seals after they had slide off the rocks (not quick enough to get them on the rocks)

            The otters before they saw us!

So when I wokeup yesterday morning I knew it was going to be an adventure day.  The sun was up, the full moon was on its way and nether Emily or I had to work the following day (rarity).   So when Emily got back from her bike and hike up Mnt. Edgecombe we were off!   I called John and Barb my boss to arranged for kayaks and we set sail  as the sun was began to set.  We paddled somewhere between 10-13 miles past Battery Island, the Parker Group (my typical trip), past the Chai Chis to Gumdrop Island following the sunset and hoping to find a place to pitch our tent.  

In vain we hoped from island to island only finding rocky cliffs.  We tried to find a camping site as we watched the sun sink on the horizon, the only option was to do an about face and head south back towards town.   We continued on in the moonlight landing on our first and original island camping option.  Though although small and covered with the "scarest bugs ever" according to Emily, it ended up being exactly what we needed, and the tent was bug free, with small exceptions, and extremely soft place to camp (better than any bed).  And it the perfect night to sleep out under the stars.  After strange dreams we awoke the next morning to rain.  I thought we were doomed for a dull creatureless paddle back to town.

Ha... that ended up being understatement of the century!  The creatureless paddle ended up being the most epic paddle of our lives (up to this point anyway).  No whales were sighted in the the paddle so this leaves us a glint hope that future paddles can be as impressive because what we saw on our return home will never be forgotten.  

A rookery of about 15 seals were on rocks sliding down on their bellies, and a raft of at least 150  male otters were playing and wrestling.  At one point Emily and I were 10 feet away from the raft undetected.  When they did see us finally about half of the little otter heads just turned and stared and the other otters took off to safer waters.  They sent the alpha male otters to stare us down and give us mean looks while all the other otters hung back.  The otter congregate in una sex groups called rafts.  

According to Wikipedia (I did some reading post trip) typically the males hang out in rafts anywhere between 10-100 otters, but rafts have been spotted of up to 2,000 otters!  The females outnumber the males 5 to 1.  They are polygynous creatures (sad) and the mating takes place in the water.  Often times while mating the males will bite the females on the nose leaving scares and many times keeping their heads submerged.  Yikes!  

After that otter raft nothing seemed as impressive.  A pair of porpoises swam with us back and a seal lion lay asleep unaware of our presence, other momma otters appeared with there young, but we were fairly unphased, our minds were still with the hundreds of little otters that let us paddle with them and that rookery of seals sitting on the rocks soaking up the fresh air.  

These pictures are compliments of Emily, I hope they help you feel like you were among the adventure.  

Friday, August 15, 2008

08'- 09' Sitka JVC

     Josef, Eileen, Andrew paddling
       group shot, after Andrew's handstands
sunset we saw from island
   cool moon picture, Zim Emily's friend took, this happened post paddle

Each year here in Sitka a new team of Jesuit Volunteers come to Sitka.  I have the pleasure of living with two former JVs, Emily and Megan.  The JVs come to live and serve in different communities across the US.  This is an organization I had never heard of until my move here to Sitka, but it is a wonderful blessing to our community here.  This year we have just recently welcomed the 2008/2009 JVs to town.  I had the privilege of getting to take 3 of them out after work this past week on a quick 3 hour paddle.  We went to the Parker group and hung out with the otters and laughed quite a bit.  2 of the JVs were unable to attend after I had to cancel the night we were suppose to go out, due to 3 foot scary swells.  
Located above from left to right are Eileen, Andrew, and Josef.  Eileen has traveled the world over and might have liked seeing the otters even more than me!  She was telling me on the paddle how much Sitka reminded her of when she lived in Norway!  She has also lived in Cairo, Egypt, actually she was born there.  Andrew, has an unusual habit of doing handstands on beautiful places. We had the pleasure of observing this strange behavior on a rock quarry on the island where we beached.  It was very impressive!  I thought he was going to take off and start walking around.  Josef with an F is apparently is a talented woodworker and has actually built two kayaks himself.  Teach me teach me!  I think we are going to have do a talent swap!  I have a lot to learn from these guys!  I felt like I was out with super talents.   I didn't know what sort of treat I would be in for when I volunteered to take these guys out but I am so glad we went and were chocolate coffee milkshake powered!  Thanks to former JV Caitlin for that hot milkshake flavor tip!  These JVs they know it all!  

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Do I live here?

So I just got back from my weekly Tuesday night dinner.  Actually I use the term weekly here pretty lightly because I am not known for my regularity in attendance, but I know it is there, and it is always a wonderful evening when I do appear.  

And while I was talking this evening one of the conversations that I chanced upon was one with a becoming more and more dear friend Brea.  Brea is an Americacore volunteer and so much more.  She is a great thinker and aware citizen, and I am glad to share this planet with her.  Everytime I converse with her I walk away with something that a. makes me laugh b. makes me think or c. both!

Tonight she shared with me she was checking out my blog links so Heang, Melanie, Betty beware, actually Betty she commented on yours, so keep up the good work!  And I told her the hardest part was keeping up with mine was the photos (surprise surprise).  Well low and behold when I walked in this evening in my e-mail inbox was a picture from Brea that I think I will share.  Brea actually sent the picture before the conversation had even taken place.  It is a picture of a Sitka sunset.

This sunset took place on Friday night at Arlo's house.  Arlo is a fellow Sitka musician and is my banjo twin.  We have the exact same banjo except that his banjo has a name.  Its name is Mercy.  I will share the story when I learn it.  It is such a great name, thinking on all the mercies we are given in this life.  I think that I will have to work hard to come up with a name as good for mine.  

Speaking of names, Aurora Rebecca was brought into this world as a gift to Candice and Sam Carter last night.  A hairy healthy baby, 8p 10 oz.  A picture of her will have to follow in subsequent posts.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Post Work Adventures

"So what I am going to do afterwork today?" was my thought coming home from work Wednesday afternoon.  Then I checked my voicemail:

 "Emily would you come down to the emergency room, Megan's in the hospital, the ER, she was in a bad bike wreck, I need to leave for my interview soon and she would love to have you with her"  -Emily's message on my cell

So Megan officially gave her roommates a heart attack this week. She was on her bike on Sawmill Creek dodging tourists, trying to get to work, when this crazy photographer, despite her yells, jumped out in front of her and she went flying.  The good news is, it could have been worse. The bad news, she has a broken elbow, nasty road rash, and will be in recovery for 8 weeks!  Yikes!  

Well that is not the typical way I spend my afternoons, and hopefully I will never have to spend an afternoon like that again. Generally my evening involve being outside in the great outdoors.  These are a few of the post work adventures my friends in I got into this week:

The first two are of a kayaking adventure out to the Parker group heading north out of town towards the Chai Chis.  This my favorite paddling spot.  You are guaranteed sea otters plus it's beauty is unreal!  The second is my favorite summer hike, Mnt. Verstovia!  It too, like everything here, is gorgeous.  This hike was a sunset hike.  We also brought up instruments so we could enjoy some tunes!  

Monday, August 4, 2008

Meet the Roommates!

So as a lover of writing, daily journaler, and person who loves to share life's adventures, I have NO IDEA why I am just now getting around to starting this blog.  Now that it has begun I really am having to HOLD MYSELF BACK from rehashing my entire past year here in Sitka.  But I'll try to practice self-constraint, huge weakness of mine.  Instead I will move ahead to everyday life.  

Often times people's well-being is caught up in their home life (and their job too, but I'll save that for another post).  As far back as I can remember minus freshman and sophomore years in college, I have been blessed with great living situations.  (Oh, except for the Spring Park House, eew, how did I live with those girls?) And this year has been no exception.  

Let me welcome you to the roommates, also known as Team Charteris: (from left to right bypassing me)

Rachel:  An amazing friend with an amazing smile.  She is the downstairs roommate that often times occupies one of our couches with a book in tote.  She is the most laid back calm personality I have ever lived with and she comes from arguably the most incredible family in Sitka.  Her dad makes home visits when we are sick and her mom brings over hot soup.  Her brother, Matt, is also a great hiking buddy of mine!  

Megan:  Megan is more personality than you would ever find in one person.  She is full on all the time, and she rarely ever sits down even to sleep.  She is the most giving and generous person I have ever known, and she continues to encourage me to live a life of selfishlessness.  I don't know where she came from, but I am glad to keep her around.

Emily:  We are known around town as "The Emilys" and we are often times found together.  We both have nearly all the same interests: running, hiking, biking, backpacking, snowboarding, cooking, reading, attempting but failing meserably at gardening, and our same save the world desires.  Emily loves to laugh and brings just that every where she goes.  

So there are the roommates.  We are resealing the deal on our lease for next year in a few days!  So it looks like team Charteris (our street name) will remain intact!    

Friday, August 1, 2008

August 1st

August 2nd a year ago I was on a plane heading back to the only home I had ever known, the sunny south, about move out of my beautiful Asheville home, leave my incredibly wonderful roommates, dear friends and family, sell my car, and put my beloved road bike in my parents shed.  I was embarking adventure that was going to end my life as I knew it.   

A year later I am so happy I did just that.  Saying those goodbyes meant saying new hellos.  Reflecting on my life here in Sitka I see that each day has been a treasure, and I hope to begin to share this treasure of my new home (but same me) with all who would like to see this life undeserved!   

(And to you Asheville folks out there make sure you look at the picture closely... Do you see what I see?)