Sunday, April 27, 2008

Houston, we have a launcher

OK. It's 9 p.m. and I just got home from a day of collecting dogs and saying my good-byes. I have my 26 ready to go and am about load the truck with my gear. I'm freakin' out, man. No. I'm not. I'm ready. I think. Would it be too vain if I brought a mirror along? I mean, I'm pretty sure my cabin won't have one and if I head out to greet the tourists one morning with a giant booger, well, that's just not good for business, right? So, yeah, I'll bring a mirror. OK. Pack mirror. I don't know when I'll be able to post again but as soon as I'm able, you know I will. So, to all my homies in Fairbanks, have a good Interior Alaska summer. I'll be having a fun, albeit soggy, summer in Southeast. And to everyone else, wherever you are, have a good summer. OK, still lots to do. Wish me luck!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

If I were a flower growing wild and free

It's snowing. Again. Still. What the holy deuce is going on 'round here?
Here are bunch of random photos from the past few weeks. I'm pretty much packed to leave for the summer. If you can believe that one. Now it's time to relax and enjoy my final days of Fairbanks. In spring? Winter? Spinter? I hope the weather clears for the big drive. I've made arrangements to stay with musher friends Hugh and Tamra on Monday night to break up the long haul. My stomach is in knots.

My Gran. I only hope that when I'm her age, I'm equally as witty, pretty and smarty as she is. I also hope that I can wear pink as well as she does and that I have a hot red, electric wheelchair like she does. Woot Woot!

Sneaky Pete running wild and free.


My littles. Roy and Hazel cuddling on the couch.

My potatoes. Ruffles, Bully and Roy.

Snowy days are gone. Or are they?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

If you were a wink, I'd be a nod

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them all and there you have The Facts of Life.
I always felt like I could relate most to Natalie, the chubby, shiny one. She was always happy. At least she was in my mind's eye. These days I feel more like Joe. The greasy, surly, boyish one. I've been wearing Carhartts, a sweatshirt and my muck boots since returning from Ontario. I feel masculine. And not in a good way. Tonight I'm going out with my girls and I might be so bold as to put on some mascara. Probably not, though, but I might wear a bra and that always makes me feel like a lady. I also feel a little like Tootie today. Not because of her unforgettable characteristics but because of her name. I've been Tootie-ing for over a week now. My stomach is still wonky after single-handedly stimulating the Canadian fastfood industry whilst I was in Kingston with my sister. I feel dirty. At least (and I mean at the very least) I ate at Canadian chains: Harvey's, Swiss Chalet, Tim Hortons, etc.
My sissy and I went to Baskin Robbins twice in one day. Don't judge me.
I'm eating ice cream as I write this. Please, please don't judge me.
I'm contemplating having another bowl after this one. OK, you can judge me on that one.
I had pizza for breakfast. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME??
I'm not worried. In less than a week, I'll be working my ass off (literally) in Skagway while living on meager rations in a waterless, powerless cabin.
I always shed weight in the summer and especially while doing physical labour for someone else. In Finland, I dropped 30 pounds in four months.
You'd think I'd lose weight in winter what with all the physical activity, winter camping, chopping, surviving I do.
But the thing about working hard out in the cold is that when you finally do come inside, face red and burning from the temperature change, all you want heavy, comfort foods. And for me, I feel like I can eat anything after working hard in the cold. I can't and that explains my oversized ass and thighs at the moment.
Hazel's been in the house for two days. She was spayed Tuesday and is recovering nicely. She's been so good, I decided to just leave her in the house. For those keeping track, it turns out she wasn't pregnant after all. Good thing. I don't feel so bad now.
Anyway, I'm stressing over the move, so I should go and pack some more. And by pack, I mean eat more ice cream. Kidding. (wink)

Monday, April 21, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand bucks

Johnson and I spent most of yesterday loafing on the porch, drinking coffee and contemplating life. (That took all of five minutes.) Then we hauled out a bag of golf balls and a driver from the back of his Subaru and took turns whacking balls off the house pad into the woods. The sturdy thwack of the balls hitting the trees was extremely satisfying. Only one ricocheted directly back at us. It landed in Sister's circle. She picked it up and buried it in the straw inside her house like a precious egg. I promptly retrieved the ball/egg from its new nest and fired it off a snow-tee into the woods again. What fun! (Sister's still pouting.) After a while we got sick of the golf club so we switched to a Louisville Slugger. Believe it or not, it was even more satisfying.
The temps here are soaring and the snow is slowly receding. The dog yard is a soupy, poopy mess. I leave a week from today for my summer of dog fun in Skagway. This week, I am free and clear of assignments and am focusing on organizing my shit gear to get ready for five months in the Southeast. I have about 10 lists going and have done little, if nothing, on any of said lists. I've got time.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I am the very model of a modern Major-General

I have returned. Relatively unscathed. I got back to Fairbanks in the wee hours of Saturday to a heap of new snow and sub zero temperatures. Quite a change from 75 degrees in Eastern Ontario. The trip was fantastic. Quick and dirty. I got to visit with my Gran and stayed with my sister, her husband and my new nephew Jaden for three days in Kingston. I also visited with some old friends which was really nice. Of course, there were plenty of people I wanted to see but time simply did not allow. Next time, I promise.
I have a week until I leave for Skagway for the summer, so I'll be busy packing my winter gear away and organizing gear to take south. The dogs were really happy to see me. Sally and Kat actually jumped up on me with tails wagging...they never do that...
Sam is in Missouri helping his mother move from a big, lake-front house into an apartment in Kansas. He'll be back tomorrow.
Here are some photos from the trip with more to come when Sam gets back with his camera.

Me and my nephew...who looks more uncomfortable?

A happy boy, that's for sure.

Here's Buddy, my parents' dog, chasing ducks on our front lawn.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Every day is Earth Day

I'm in Kingston, Ontario, staying with my sister and her hubby and my new nephew, Jaden. He's frackin' adorable! He smiles ALL the time. I think it must be me. Sam's back in Brockville (Brockvegas, Brockapulco)with pops working at the Sugar Bush (that's a real place.) We went and saw my Gran and she looks great. Yes, T, I will show her the toque. So far, I've eaten my weight in junk food and have loved every second of it. I've visited some old friends and slept like a log (a snoring one) in my old bed. It's nice to be home. In Canada. More later with lots of pics.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Look out Gran, here we come!

We leave tomorrow for Ontario. I'm really excited to see my old hood. And by hood, I mean house in the country. Sam's visit will be cut short by a few days as he is now going to go to Missouri to help his mom move. At least he will get to be in my hometown for a couple days and will get to meet my Gran. I hope he passes her 10-point inspection. He's looking forward to showing her his teeth. Anyway, I have a ton to do before we fly away from here. I'll try to post from the airport in Chicago with some funny 'vanillas in the airport' photos.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tell me about the rabbits, George

One Christmas, when we were kids, my sister got a remote-controlled car under the tree. Actually, it was a Barbi Jeep, but that's neither here nor there. She opened the box, popped a couple of double-A batteries into the remote, crammed ol' Babs in the driver's seat and promptly, without hesitation, drove the thing down the stairs. It broke and we cried.
The act wasn't malicious, we didn't want it to break, we wanted to test it. But, sadly, the off-road trip was a little too extreme and we lost everything. (Except Barbi, that skank will be around forever.)
The reason I'm telling this story is because I think the commenters on the News-Miner site often go way too far. And if they keep testing the boundaries this way, the whole thing is going to go away.
Some of the people who comment start off OK, but inevitably these bored, sad souls end up bickering with each other and petty name-calling usually ensues. And most of the time, the arguments have nothing to do with the original story. (One story on the site about poaching in Denali Park set off a string of comments about Britney Spears...seriously.) I mean, at least with letters to the editor, people have to stop for a second to think about what they're writing and sending, but it seems people will write anything at all hours on the website.
The comments are controlled, and slanderous or vulgar comments are removed post haste but a lot slide through that are just idiotic and unnecessarily rude. It's amazing how people feel like they have carte blanche to be assholes when they hide behind the name 'Anonymous.'

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

This is one doodle that can't be undid, Homeskillet

Strange weather we're having, eh? It's snowing, it's melting, it's freezing, it's melting, it's snowing...make up your mind!!
Well, not much going on here.
Roy's still in a coma and Ruffles is one happy biddy because of it. Even though she was getting pretty good at the ol' tuck-and-roll every time Roy would push her down the hill, she's excited to have a little break from the obnoxious pup.
I'm working on a couple late stories for next month's issue of Mushing Magazine and I'm going out to Chena Hot Springs tomorrow to cover NBC's 'The Today Show' out there doing a weekend piece about the geothermal plant. I'm heading down the Steese to Chatanika on Thursday morning to visit with mushers Dan Kaduce and Jodi Bailey. Dan's going to build me a racing sled for next season. I'm working on a business profile about Cooper Sleds out of Minnesota right now and I kind of want one those sleds, too. They're $1800, ultra light and super flexible. I was also looking at a Prairie Bilt sled, which are a little cheaper, but we'll see how much cash I have when the summer's over. I'm also trying to put together a sponsorship package for next year's racing season. Oh, and trying to get a few late season runs in before the dogs and I head to Skagway for five months.
Sam and I leave Saturday for Ontario and we're both pretty excited. Our friend Julie is going to stay at the cabin and watch the dogs for us.
Well, I guess that's it for now.
Oh yeah, check me out here.

Poor Roy.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Roy: Same great puppy, now with less boner

Roy's been catatonic since his episode. Poor guy.
As I said before, break-up here is a yucky, messy time. I spent an hour yesterday picking up crap that has appeared since the snow started melting. No matter how diligent I felt I was this winter, there were dozens of poo piles scattered around the property. Like stinky little landmines. I know, I know, lately my blog's been all dog poo and boners, boners and dog poo...
On a different note, my story about Iniakuk, along with Sam's awesome photos, came out today in the News-Miner. Check it out here .
I realize there are a couple errors in it, but I'm not taking the blame for those. That's why we have editors, right?
Anyway, I'm thinking of taking one more overnight trip into the White Mountains even though conditions might not be great. I just can't let go of the season. I'm not ready. Damn you, Spring!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

A $300 boner at two in the morning

Whew, what a night. Not a good night. Not a fun night. A nasty, long, expensive, boner-filled, screaming, crying kind of night.
At around 11 p.m. last night, Roy got a boner. This boner was different. It didn't go away. I waited and waited. "Think baseball, Roy. Think Margaret Thatcher..." Nope, nothing. He was in pain and completely freaked out. After about an hour I called the emergency vet clinic. They gave me some suggestions. A cold compress. Sugar water on the, er, affected area. Distraction in the form of a car ride. And I even reluctantly tried the final option. I put on a latex glove slathered on some Vaseline and tried to put the urethral bulb back into the preputial sheath. I know, this is gross, but what choice did I have? An expensive trip to the emergency clinic? If I just left it, it could damage the tissue even more and result in amputation. Regardless, nothing worked and I brought Roy into the vet at 1 a.m. First the Doc tried exactly what I did to no avail. Then she knocked Roy out and tried again. More drugs, more pushing, pulling, boner jokes, etc. An hour and a half later, Roy was at the maximum dose of knockout drugs and still had a raging hard-on. They had to pull out the scalpel. The doctor, between penis jokes, cut the prepuce to get the penis back in. She stitched it up and then added a couple more stitches so that Roy will never get another boner again.
Needless to say, Roy is not a happy camper today. Neither am I. I hate seeing my precious boy suffer. Also, the whole fiasco cost over $300. For a boner!
Roy is sporting a stiff (har har) and very uncomfortable collar that prevents him from getting to his wounds. He's on antibiotics still and now pain killers and, starting tonight, tranquilizers.
I have to say that now, I've seen everything. And still nothing fazes me. That's the joy of dog mushing, people. You see things that will haunt you forever and you deal with it. If I hear one more boner joke I'm going to set someone on fire, I swear, so don't do it!
And let this be a lesson to all you horny boys out there. Keep it in your pants! For the love of all that is holy, keep it in your pants.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Tail Wagon has been parked

Well, I think my mushing season is officially over. It's been upwards of 50 degrees in the Interior and things are melty and mucky. Break-up is a yucky time here. At least the outhouse is was very, very full. It rained yesterday and the trails are soupy, so my last trip into the White Mountains is effectively canceled. Boo Radley Hoo.
The dogs are in really good shape but are happy to lounge around with these warm afternoons. With spring comes the promise of warmer, sunny days but it also means horny, horny bitches. That's right, I have five females in heat right now and they're impossible. They pine for some lovin' and are sweet to the boys and nasty to each other. Women.
Roy got neutered last week so now I don't have to worry about any of my boys knocking up the ladies. Just a day after the surgery, he ripped the sutures out and is now on a heavy dose of antibiotics. He got his first boner last week and had a complete meltdown. Sorry if this is too graphic, but it really was funny. So he got wood, ran down to the lower yard and screamed and cried until I finally went down, picked him up and brought him in the house. The darn thing wouldn't go down. I kept telling him to think baseball, but it didn't work. Our friend John was over visiting and I think the whole thing was pretty uncomfortable for the boys. Not me. I just laughed. Men.
I wrote a feature story for the paper about Iniakuk and it will be available online on Sunday.
Sam and I leave for Ontari-ari-o on April 12 to visit my family and then when we get back on the 18th I get ready to head to Skagway for the summer.