Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Brittany Spears tackles purse snatcher

So much to tell, so little time. Actually, I'm on holiday, so I've decided the blog will be (kind of) on holiday too. Here are some teaser tidbits to get everyone wondering and pondering what ole Jilly is up to. I saw Brittany Spears catch a thief, I met the most fantastic people ever, I've been to Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas, I saw some nice homes between all the double-wides, I spoke with a ridiculously-twangy southern drawl and no one batted an eye, I'm staying in a mansion in the hood in KC, the mansion was the scene of a bloody murder many years ago, the mansion belongs to Sam's brother and sister-in-law and also houses 10 cats and four dogs, I stayed in Shell Knob on Quiet Lane and didn't see another soul besides Sam's family for two days, I celebrated Christmas in October, I'm about to go get some Kansas City barbeque....whew...ok, I've photos and hilarious stories a-comin' so hang in there, y'all! Wait, I'm not in Arkansas anymore, I better stop that now.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Uncle Jesse should buy the bar a round

Yep, that's right. Uncle Jesse was in the hotel bar last night. That's Uncle Jesse from Full House not Uncle Jesse from the Dukes of Hazzard a.k.a. John Stamos, a.k.a. the badass doctor from ER. He was, like, 20 feet away our table being all cool and Uncle-Jesse-like. We got some covert photos of him with an iPhone and some dinky point-and-shoot, but when one of the photogs went and got his real camera, the manager told us to respect his privacy. The girls from the newsroom were joking that I would be thinking of Uncle Jesse when Sam and I had some Jam-time later that night and then one photographer, Wales, piped in and said Sam looks more like the Uncle Jesse from the Dukes of Hazzard. We laughed until we cried. Things are great here in Indy. The people are amazing, the assignments are fun and I love the FFA, y'all! Amazing, smart, polite kids who love getting their photo taken. Life is good. I got to do some writing today as well as photos and I got an invitation to come back next year. I'm in, y'all! Love it, love it, love it. Anyway, I have an assignment tonight. I talked to Rich and the dogs are good. He's been letting run around and allowing them some quality couch time. Thanks again, BFF. We head to KC on Sunday. Hopefully I can get some pics of Uncle J and his posse.
Check out the convention website at

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blue coats, bright futures, indeed

We're in Indianapolis now for the FFA National Convention. I am blown away. Everyone here is so amazingly nice and the kids, well, the kids are well-mannered, articulate wonderteens. The city itself is clean and friendly, although I have only seen a tiny bit of it. There are six of us official convention photographers and the whole group is really cool. Some are editorial photographers and a couple are wedding shooters, so it's a good mix. There are 50,000 kids from all over the country and Puerto Rico here for this thing and man, blue coats are everywhere. My assignments so far have been good and I've met a lot of interesting people. I miss the dogs but from the sounds of it, Rich is taking excellent care of the brood. Thanks, buddy.
If anyone is wondering about the last post and why I deleted it, I felt that some of my comments were inappropriate. The reply I made to one particular comment was a kneejerk reaction and I should take up issues with my supervisors before spouting off online. It's a good debate in general but I went about it the wrong way. Mea Culpa.
Anyway, the door is open for ideas and opinions and it's something I'm looking forward to discussing further under more fair circumstances.
Peace.This is an example of where our photos will be going.

The happy couple. Our newsroom is in the arena where the Pacers play.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Flavoured water is not a treat

Sam and I leave for America tomorrow night. We'll be in Indianapolis for the first week photographing the national FFA convention. More than 50,000 young kids will gather to share their FFA, er, goodness. I'm actually not sure what it's all about. ('This tastes like the cow got into an onion patch.') I just know that I have photo assignments every day for a week and then I get paid. I will scout the kids with blue blazers and shoot the crap out of them. The second week we'll be in Kansas City visiting Sam's family and friends. I'm looking forward to meeting these people that I've heard so much about. I am a little verklempt about going Outside. So much so that I actually considered shaving my legs and underarms just so I, you know, fit in. Naw. I think, on this trip anyway, telling people I live in Alaska gives me carte blanche to be kooky. And hairy.
Anyway, Rich and I took the dogs for a walk today in the five inches of fresh snow we got yesterday.
I'll update from the cities, but I don't know how often. I'm sure there will be lots of funny antics with the farmer kids...maybe not... we'll see.



Sneaky Pete.


I call this one 'Snow on'

Me and my best lead dog Capiche.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Watch out for the above-ground Burmese tiger trap...

The above was said by Johnson, who wasn't even trying to stifle his laughter, after I tripped over a web of logs in the driveway. It actually really hurt. But we got a whole heap of firewood cut up to surprise Sam who is away in Chalkyitsik covering the funeral and potlatch for a Native elder who died recently. I hooked up Gus and Bully to a log, you know, just for kicks to see if it would make hauling logs out of the woods any easier. It didn't, but was totally entertaining. Especially because Johnson pretty much had to carry the logs behind the dogs and when he put it down, Bully would turn around and give him a look until Johnson helped out again. Gus pretty much just peed on the logs, looked at me like 'yeah, right' and then took off as soon as I unhooked him. He got moved to chainsaw duty. (see photo below)
Anyway, it was good afternoon of me falling, wielding a chainsaw and stacking firewood with Johnson. I was going to run the dogs again today and try a two-on-one-off schedule, but a couple of the dogs are sore from yesterday's run so I'll give them a day off. I realized it's too early in the season to push them. I want this to be fun for everyone. Gus wasn't having fun with the team anymore because he has arthritis in both his wrists, so he's pretty much a free-range dog now. I'll try skijoring with him later in the winter but nothing too strenuous. I'd like him to be an indoor dog but he still pees on everything. ...I swear to god, as I was typing this I just heard a huge crash was Gus...he knocked over the goody box where I keep the dog biscuits...
Anyway, I've got one day to write a massive feature, so I better stop procrastinating....maybe I'll do the dishes first...
Peace.Bully pulling a rather small log up the hill to the driveway. Notice Johnson's foot...

Is that a smile?

Gus got demoted from log puller to sulky chainsawer...a second after I took this picture, he ran off with Johnson's ear protection on. Funny, funny stuff.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

It's gettin' hot in here, so take off all your clothes

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, we have a sauna!!! Yes, that's right. We scored a cute little wood sauna for free! Ahhh, memories of Finland come flooding back. It took a full day, and it's still on the trailer in our driveway, but we have a sauna! I am so stoked! (pun intended) Here's a couple of pics with more to come. I have to go run the dogs...and then maybe I'll come home and take, oh I don't know, a sauna!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

She ionizes and atomizes and then turns to sunlight

I bumped up the miles on the ole dog team today. We're doing about seven miles now. Still not much, I know, but they did so well today, the added distance and two steep climbs didn't faze them, so I'll bump them up to 10 miles on Saturday. Rich commented that they looked the best today out of all the runs so far. Hooray! I ran Capiche and Bully in lead out of the yard with the pups, Sneaky Pete and Parker, in swing, then Happy and Hitchcock, then Strider and Sister, and Hazel and Sally in wheel. Hitchcock is a maniac with boundless energy. All the dogs were perfect today. Near the end of the run, just for fun I put both pups in lead to see what would happen. I've run Pete in lead with Capiche before but never just the two pups. I ended up running in front of the team for a while, but as soon as I stopped, the pups turned around. I ended today's training session with Parker and Capiche up front.
We got a little more snow last night and it's stayed below freezing for about a week now. Winter is here and there's no going back. After the run, I let the dogs run loose back here at home before coming into the cabin. It's an almost-euphoric feeling coming in from the cold to a toasty cabin and a crackling fire. The dogs are crashed out in their houses waiting for dinner so I better go.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hoisted by my own petard

I've never considered myself a crafty person. Well, ok, maybe crafty in a mildly conniving sort of way, but not crafty in an I-make-crafts sort of way. Until now, that is.
Hanging around with Becky has opened my eyes to a world of cool, crafty projects. She makes clothes and curtains, does coolio bead-work and tiling projects and has taught me a few things. So now, on Wednesday nights, a group of girls get together for craft night, aka stitch-n-bitch. Last week I made a tile-mosaic piece with glass pieces I salvaged from the scrap-glass bin at a stained-glass shop. Earlier this summer, I made two tile tables with broken ceramic tiles and river rocks that I collected from our river trips. Tonight I'm making some peyote-stitch hair wraps for my dreads. I made one a few weeks ago, but would like to try some different designs and Becky is full of good ideas. Instead of buying into the whole spend-money, commercialization of Christmas this year, I'm making gifts. Whether it's a crafty project or a photograph I've taken or homemade smoked salmon, I'm not getting caught up in all the angst, panic, spending, etc of Christmas.

Peyote-stitch hair wrap.
In my hair.

Mosaic tile piece.Mosaic tile tables one with river rocks, one without. I know they're both cracked, but it was my first attempt and the grout was too wet.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Birthday, Gran!

Today is my Gran's birthday. I won't disclose how old she is, but she's got the spirit, sense of humour and wit of a 20-year-old. Born in England, my Gran eventually moved to the Yukon where she raised two boys, learned to make bannock (traditional native bread), ice fish, hunt and run sled dogs. Years later, she wound up in Brockville where she worked at the hospital for many years until she retired. I still remember going in to visit her at her post on switchboard. She lived on Pearl Street then with a grumpy, old cat named Frisky. I loved going to Gran's house because she always had apple juice in these tiny little cans. I remember playing with her tupperware and on her exercise bike, which I would later inherit. Her house on Pearl was sweet because it was on the Christmas-parade route. My sister and I would just sit on her front step and watch, moving to the curb occasionally to get candy from the clowns. She moved to Park Street, which was also nice because it was across from Cowan's Dairy and the best ice cream in town. Now she lives at Sherwood Park Manor where she's made some friends, is well cared for and has daily visits from her gal pal, Inger. Today my parents brought her coffee from Tim Horton's and treats from Tait's Bakery on King. For my birthday in July, I got a birthday book from my friend Theresa. So Gran, here's a bit of what it says about you.
"Although you are charming and friendly, the urge for action and personal accomplishment revealed by your birthday suggest that you are a strong-willed and ambitious individual. With a quick grasp of a situation, you prefer to be honest and straightforward."
Happy Birthday, Gran! I wish I was there to celebrate with you.

Friday, October 05, 2007

If I had a nickel, I'd have five cents

I am bursting with pride today. Yesterday I ran the dogs out at Cripple Creek and they were fantastic. But the best part is, I tried Sneaky Pete in lead for the first time and he was amazing. This is only his third time running with the team and, just to see what would happen, I put him up front with Capiche. He didn't even hesitate, he just ran. This young boy is going to be a superstar, I just know it. He's got a great build, hilarious personality, he's smart and loyal, and he trusts me completely. (He does have super-rank gas, however, but I'm overlooking that.) So, when I put him up front, he didn't question it all at, he just went. Amazing. For just a young, inexperienced dog, I was astounded with his gumption. And oh so proud. The rest of the team was super. Hitchcock has the most energy I've ever seen. When the team is trotting along, she's still lunging to go faster. After the run, I let her loose just so could burn off some of those reserves and she still wasn't tired. The rest of the dogs were pretty knackered, but not Hitchcock. Happy is working out well. I ran him in swing and he pulls nicely, though he crabs to the left a little. Strider paced for a while early in the run, but his sister used to do that too, so maybe it's genetic. Bull ran in lead until I put in the Sneaky One but he was pooped anyway, so was happy to get a break. Anyway, I am more excited than ever about the upcoming race season. I haven't run Sally yet as she is still very shy. I think I'm going to give her back to her owner. I can't really have a dog that I can't even get close to. The rest of my dogs are friendly and are good when I let them loose just about anywhere, but Sally just isn't warming up to me. I take time each day to sit near her house, talk to her and try and coax her out, but she's not interested. We'll see.
Anyway, here are some photos that Rich took on yesterday's run.
Hitchcock eager to get going while I hook up the rest of the team.

Hitchcock lunging while the team is heading down the road to the trail.

Part of my new trail is on an old road, which is nice because the dogs can run a little faster.

There is a steep hill that the dogs have mastered beautifully.

Taking a break to canoodle with Gus and Hazel.

Up the hill.