Friday, November 21, 2008

He's got more balls than a big, brass monkey

Sorry for the lack of posting. I was in Anchorage/Big Lake/Wasilla for the past week visiting friends, running dogs, buying a feminine pee know, the usual. I'm back now and waiting for my handler to come and help me run the dogs. I got my new sled yesterday and in a word, it's AWESOME! I never, in a million years, thought a 40-pound hunk of metal and plastic could make me squeal like an infant, but this, people, is what makes me happy. This year is going to be fan-freakin-tastic. I must thank another sponsor. My sister-in-law Rebecca gave a chunk of money to Spitfire Kennel and it couldn't have come at a better time. Thank you so much for your kind words and support. It means a lot to me. More than you can imagine. I also think I have a line on Lynden Transport, which would be my first corporate sponsor.
I'm putting together a sponsor package today and will be sending them out early next week. Don't be pissed if you get one. (By the way, if you're on our Christmas-card list, you're getting a sponsor letter.) If you would like a sponsor letter (or a Christmas card), send me your address and I'll mail you one. It comes with a photo of me and some good lookin' dogs. My email is Obviously, I don't want anyone to feel obligated to donate because I know your kind thoughts are with me and I appreciate that very much. I got my meat order finally and the dogs are filling out nicely. I'm going to Cantwell next Sunday to run the dogs on a sled for a few days. Should be fun. It's getting colder here. It was 23 below zero Fahrenheit this morning but has warmed up to about 12 below. Perfect dog-running weather. OK, must go wrestle the four-wheeler down to the dog yard.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Opinions are like kittens, I was givin' 'em away

Nothing really to report. I bumped the dogs up to 20 miles today and the run was spotless. I'm going to Anchorage tomorrow for a few days to pick up some booties, fish and beaver meat and visit friends. Umm, let's see. What else? I like long walks on the tundra and starry nights. I like tea, both black and chai. My new sled is getting shipped up from North Dakota and should be here next week. OK, that's it. My life is boring at the moment.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Baby, please stop crying. No seriously, shut the hell up.

Babies. Who loves babies out there? Can I get a woot??! Well, I for one, don't really care for babies. They're kind of - how can I put this so as not to offend? - half-tarded. No, wrong. They're...uh, babies are...annoying. There. Better?
There are a few exceptions of course, the first being my nephew Jaden. Cutest baby there ever was. Always smiling, always happy, always adorable. The Engman kids as babies were too cute for words and as bad as I am with kids, I could spend hours with lil Ella and Eli even now. They adore me, and that helps. Ella, of the Trish and Graeme gang, is very cute and looks remarkably intelligent for her tender age. Of course there are other kids in my life that I enjoy. Eva is a sassy 8-year-old who is always up for adventure. (I think her mom's still pissed at me for giving Eva a book of matches at our last bonfire. Oops. What?)
And Owen. T-Bird has raised this boy right. He's one of the smartest, most inquisitive children I've ever met.
And then there's Daniel of the Erin and Aaron ilk. He reminds me of an indignant old man and he's only, what, two? Hilarious. He's built like a brick shithouse and always makes me smile.
I'm sure there are more kids in my life. Oh yeah! Ken and Gwen just had twins, and though I haven't had the pleasure of meeting them yet, or seeing Ken change a shitty diaper (haha! sucka!) I've seen a heap of photos and Leif and Marais look adorable.
As we all know, I have 20 children (yes, down to 20) and I love each and every one of them with all my heart. Except when they don't listen. Or poo on the carpet upstairs. Or whine incessantly. Or fight with each other. Sound familiar? A parent is a parent even if their kids are furry and four-legged.
OK, here are some pics of the children in my life sans my four-legged babies.

My sister took these photos of Jaden. He's ready for Alaska!



Leif and Marais, Ken and Gwen's twins.

Ella, Trish and Graeme's babe.

Sam took this gem of Eli and Ella this summer. Apparently they just climbed into this old dog house on their own. Too cute!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Give a man an inch, and he thinks he's a ruler

Got up at 5 a.m. today. Guess why. That's right. Americans vote today! I got up, threw some pants on, (I tried to wear my Carhartt bibs, but Sam said they stunk too badly. Meh.) sloshed some coffee down my gullet and headed to Chatanika. The Associated Press wanted photos of the 'real' Alaska on election day. Which of course means stereotypes. Which is fine. Chatanika Lodge was a polling station for that area and has lots of dead animals on the walls, random dogs inside and hardened, yet uber-friendly locals milling around. I love that place. I think I could live there. But, in a word, it's fucked. But in a good way. The walls are packed with the aforementioned stuffed animals, along with photos, trinkets, and hundreds of christmas lights in every color. It's kind of like walking into an epileptic seizure. And at 7 this morning, loaded to gills with strong coffee and a whole lot of nervous energy, I was buzzing and very, very stimulated. I got some decent shots of voters and then walked around shooting anything that caught my eye. We then headed to Goldstream to shoot some more voters before I filed the photos to the AP in New York. And now here I am, home and ready for a nap.

A poll worker gets ready for the onslaught. Two voters showed up in the 90 minutes we were there.


The bar. Down at the end was Shirley, who, along with her hubby, owns the joint. She greeted us in her bathrobe, made coffee, stoked the wood stove and went back to bed before the first voter showed up.

One of the photos on the wall.

Dollar bills crowd the ceiling.

Night lights for sale.

And mirrors on the ceiling. Oh yeah!

The outside.

A voter named Elmer. I'm not shitting you.

A dog team parked outside the polling station in the Goldstream Valley.

Rock the vote, y'all!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage

Here are some photos of Roy and Sipsi this afternoon after our training run. Oh, and one snap of a hare in the drive this morning. I think I'll call him Tito. I might set out a snare for Tito to play with.
I have to get up at the crack of crowpiss tomorrow for this election coverage. I'm shooting for the Associated Press as part of the 'America Votes' project. I'm going out to the polling station at Chatanika Lodge where I'm sure to get the unique Alaskans they're looking for in NYC, Washington and SanFran. Hooray for Alaskan Freaks. United We Stand!....or sit! On bar stools! At 7 in the morning! More whiskey in your coffee? Mmmm, yes please!

Tito admires our copious amounts of wood.

Sipsi and Roy made out for a good hour.

Then Roy felt guilty and tried to make up for it by blessing Sipsi in the name of the lord...or was it satan? I can't remember. He looks possessed in this picture, no?

He can be cute. I had to lock him out last night because he wouldn't shut the hell up. I used the deadbolt because he can push the door open otherwise. He threw a hissy fit on the porch and Sam ended up letting him in around 3 a.m.

Sipsi eyes saying 'Get this freakshow away from me.'

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I'm turning in my old sinful ways

I did another 15-mile training run today - with the help of Lars - and it was uneventful. Which is good, I'm not complaining. Sneaky Pete has been running in lead with Capiche and he's turning into the superstar I expected. There was a lot of passing on the trail today as it's Sunday and the dog-walkers, skijorers and skiers were out in droves. The dogs did really well. Sister was in swing and lunged at a couple dogs as we passed by, but there were no incidents. Johnny Wagner, a photographer at the News-Miner, was out on the trail looking for a feature photo for tomorrow's paper. He was snapping away until he realized it was me on the four-wheeler. (I can't very well be on the front page of the paper, can I?) He emailed me a couple shots, so here you go. I think I'll train again tomorrow as I'm covering election day for the AP on Tuesday.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Foxes mate for life because they're in love-ove-o-ove...

I made Thai food tonight. It smelled really good, but it tasted, well, it did not taste good. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good. I'm dreading tomorrow's morning outhouse ritual. Too much info? Yeah. Thought so.
I took the dogs out yesterday and bumped up their miles to 15. I think I'll do one more 15-mile run and then bump them up again as they weren't tired at all. The run was spotless except for one minor glitch. I've been on this water kick lately and, as usual, drank my weight in coffee in the morning so halfway through the training run, I had to pee so bad I could taste it. Lars was with me so I geared the four-wheeler down to first, turned the machine off and told (no,, I told him) to hold both brakes while I scooted right behind the machine to take a pee. I was trying to hurry but I had to take off my parka, wool coat, fleece coat, then unbuckle my bibs and pull down my long johns and gitch before the sweet release of urine could begin. Mid-pee, the team (18 dogs) took off with Lars looking stunned.
Lars: 'Uh, Jillian?'
Me: 'Son of a motherf***ing, c***s***ing, s***e***ing biatch!'
Lars: speechless
Me: 'Lars! Use the foot brake! Turn the wheels! Steer into the willows! STOP!!!'
Lars: 'I can't!'
Me: 'Stop!!!'
Lars managed to get them stopped as I hurried to cover my bare (and might I add large and glaring white) ass, grab my layers of winter clothes and hobbled and wheezed my way down the trail back to the team.
I was almost there, pants at my knees, when they took off again.
Me: 'F***!!!'
Lars: 'Whoa! Whhhoooooaaaaa! Capiche!!!'
Again, Lars got them stopped and I caught up, with my pants up now. I stood in front of the machine, hurriedly putting on my coats. They bolted again. I grabbed the handlebars from the side and dragged along for a minute until they stopped again.
I hopped on, half-dressed, and we were off.
I feel like this year I've been much calmer with the dogs. After a summer of hooking up two teams a day I learned not to get excited. But come on, I was standing there bare ass a blazin' with my life running away and a neophyte dog guy trying to stop the missile. The occasion was ripe for a freakout.