Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cool town, evening in the city

Well, as most of you could have already guessed, I am most definitely a country mouse. Cities are nice for a visit, but I start to get all itchy and twitchy from the abundance of stimuli around every corner. I can hang, though. For a week at the most. Last week I went to Portland with four of my cohorts for a conference on all things reproductive health. It was fascinating and I learned so much useful information that I was giddy. In the evenings, we'd debrief over fancy cocktails and unbelievably fresh and tasty vittles. It was heaven. But, I missed my dogs and my Rich. And my outhouse. The hotel we stayed at was a five-star joint called The Nines in downtown Portland. With their bazillion-thread-count sheets and evening turn-down service, I felt like a queen. A bloated queen (I ate a lot!), but a queen nonetheless. It was almost a little too fancy. One evening after our meal, three of us ventured out to find some nightlife. We ended up at a drag show talking to one of the performers who was from, get this, Soldotna! Soldotna is a small town north of us and not very conducive to guys who wanna be girls and vice versa, I'm sure. So Alli/Dustin ventured to Portland where she/he now performs nightly in sparkly outfits and a bright blond wig. I'm back at home now and we're gearing up for our last tour of the season. We're crossing our fingers that the snow holds for one more week, because out last tour is kind of a big one...more on that later... Peace.

A nightcap after a great conference day.

A greyhound that looked like Roy. This guy's owner thought I was freak, but I needed a Roy fix.

Oh, Portland.
Heading into Chinatown for dinner at Ping.

The view from the 14th floor of our hotel looking down onto one of the hotel restaurants.

One of the trains near our hotel. We were all very excited to see this message.

Michelle, Alli/Dustin, Theresa and me.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The wayward wind is a restless wind

March means a few different things for us here at the dog ranch. Usually it means warmer temps, which in turn means running dogs with fewer layers on. Last year it meant a huge blizzard that nearly trapped us in the cabin. March usually means getting ready for new summer employment with the dogs. And it means heading to Anchorage for the start of Iditarod. This March is a little different. It's cold, colder than it's been all winter. And clear. No storms in the near future. And no Iditarod start for us. Also, we've found jobs we love and will stay put for the summer months. The dogs, it seems, have gotten over their little stomach bug thanks to a couple rounds of meds and a switch in food, and are healthy and strong. This winter has been nice and relaxing for mushers and dogs alike. We've been doing tours on weekends and have once again been lucky to have great and interesting people visit our kennel. On days when we don't have tours and on weekdays after work, we've been running the dogs lots on the great trails right out of the yard. With the daylight returning quickly, March is already proving to be a great month!
I'd like to take a moment to thank Mark Atkins for his ongoing support of the kennel. Even from across the pond, as they say, his contributions have helped us maintain the dogs and even helped us get closer to our goal of spaying and neutering the whole kennel. Last week, we were able to get three more males de-balled. Lil' Wayne, Linus and Ty have recovered from their minor surgeries and are ready to get back in the team.
I head to Portland later this month for a work conference and am really looking forward to learning from, and interacting with, like-minded folks from across the country. My job is going better than I ever could have hoped, by the way. I'm enjoying the work and the people immensely.
As for this summer, I'd like to continue training the dogs on the cooler mornings with the ATV, do a lot of loose runs and even try some swimming with them. We'd like to get back on the race trail next winter and hopefully, we'll be in a better place financially to load up the team and get to a few events.
I guess that's it for now. Below are a few photos from last weekend of our friends Theresa and Hez out for a visit and a dog sled ride.

Rich and I hooking up. Lahey and her brother Lefty in wheel.

Theresa sporting the latest winter fashion: Painted on, hot pink snow bibs and a camo balaclava...we call it Homer Couture...


Rich demonstrating the puppy kiss.

Theresa and I ready for a cold ride.