How not to skin a bird.

(Warning! This blog contains graphic material disguised with questionable humor. Vegetarians and readers who only eat meat from cellophane packages are advised to proceed with caution.)

How not to skin a bird.


Step one: Completely ignore the possibility that you may one day need to skin a bird.

Close your eyes to the hunter gatherer lifestyle of the region you’ve chosen to live in. Pay no heed to the frequency that self slaughtered main dishes are served in your neighborhood each week. Disregard the fact that you married a man so enamored with the bounty of edible wildlife around you that, in lieu of lunch, he tromps through the woods daily “just to look”.

Step two: When the aforementioned husband informs you that the .22 rifle he is carrying is only “to scare away bears”, believe him.

Step three: When the day arrives (as it undoubtedly will) that this same husband wanders up the driveway with the warm carcass of a plump Spruce hen, assume the poor bird died of natural causes and that your husband brought it home to bury. Immediately. Then toss common sense out the window, unlock the door and let both husband and bird in.

Step four: Unwittingly volunteer to be a party to slaughter by stupidly exclaiming “And I suppose you think I’m going to cook that! (Note to self: work on your sarcasm and stop emphatic gesturing with flat up facing palms.)

Step five: Put bird down and make a drink.

Step six: Completely space out that you know at least five people in a two mile radius who would willingly take the bird off your hands and instead rifle through your books looking for a game processing guide.

Find one.

Kick yourself for ever making that purchase.

Step seven: Open the game guide to chapter on foul handling. Do not read. Lay book next to bird on the kitchen counter and attempt to butcher line by line.


GG: Grab bird firmly by the feet.


GG: Make incision around the vent hole.

? Get dictionary. Oh, vent hole.

(If you are still lost: a vent is the one hole in a bird that is not anywhere near its head.)

GG: Poke fingers through incision and into bird all the way up to its neck. Rotate fingers to loosen all the organs. Remove everything making sure to not puncture the intestines or gall bladder.

Step eight: Do none of this. Remove a store bought Cornish hen from freezer and compare with Spruce hen.

Spruce hen: tiny, wild, dark meat.

Cornish: fat, farmed, and white.

Chance of swapping the two and not being found out: 5%. Sigh.


Step nine: Remove bird innards.

Step ten: Take a moment to fling bird guts at children. Totally gross them out. Enjoy a good laugh at their expense. OK, that’s enough. They’re just kids.

Step eleven: Return to game guide. Read paragraph on cleaning a bird without using water because it encourages bacterial spread. Fight the urge to quit and take a shower. Continue reading.

GG: Pluck feather away from carcass. Avoid tearing the skin.

Pluck, pluck, pluck, rrrrrip!!


Step twelve: Reread last passage. Decided that authors meant ‘avoid’ as a loose suggestion. Continue plucking.

Pluck, pluck, rrrrip!


Pluck, rrrip!

Good grief.

Pluu, rip!

Stupid game guide.

Stop plucking.

Step thirteen: Violently tear every remaining bit of skin and feathers off bird. With a large meat cleaver whack off wings at shoulder joint. Do likewise with feet at ankle and head at neck. Raise cleaver high overhead. Swiftly lower it planting it between the breasts and cleanly splitting them in two. Wipe hands. Grab drink and sip until all psychopathic twinges subside. Replenish drink if necessary.

Step fourteen: Bake breasts at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Serve with fava beans and a nice Chianti.



Say what?

To be fair, Mowgli never claimed he was fluent. I just assumed it. See, the thing about not being able to speak a language is you are completely incapable of recognizing if someone else can. Or, as was this case, can only ‘sort of’.

Of course if I hadn’t been blinded by love and the thrill of exotic travel, I may have grown suspicious earlier. Like the minute we cleared customs.

“If we’re lucky,” Mowgli began.


“A company rep will meet us and escort us the rest of the way.”

Wait, if?

“Because I’m not sure I know where to go next.”

Not sure?

Knowing where to go next was important because we weren’t done going. Mowgli had taken a job with an airline on Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East. So far, we’d made it only as far as Khabarovsk on the mainland. Our instructions from Khabarovsk were roughly: find a company plane going to Yuzhno-Sakhalin and get on. I thought Mowgli had that part covered.

Call me a fool on the verge of becoming a sad state department statistic, but travelling like that didn’t bother me. It was my first time in the RFE, for all I knew this was how everyone got around. Besides, Mowgli had just returned from two months in the region and he was fine with it. Of course, he also expected someone to be waiting for us outside customs.

And that didn’t happen.

Standing in a mound of luggage with wide eyes and rosy “wealthy tourist, ripe for scamming” faces, I have to wonder if, at that point, he was a little concerned.

Then, from out of nowhere a 6 foot 5 inch tall, 250 lb wide Russian raced up, crammed his face into Mowgli’s and began screaming in turbo-Russian.

I think most people would have found that disturbing.


FYI I did attempt to learn Russian before we left. I listened to tapes, read books and labeled the entire house in Cyrillic. As a result, I was extremely proficient at saying “hello” “goodbye” and “I have two stupid dogs”

And I did have two dogs. And they were stupid. So, that’s something.

I admit, I wasn’t fussed about it. Mowgli spoke Russian, he had studied it in college. I figured, at least for the first few months, he’d be my crutch. If I’d known that the reality would be me hopelessly lost in spooky situations, I might have tried harder. Maybe picked up something useful like “Hey giant Russian! Stop yelling!”

But I didn’t and so there I was helpless as Ivan the terrible roared on at mach 2. I tried to catch something but  dogs with substandard intelligence were not mentioned. Not once.

Finally, he stopped. I held my breath and waited for fists to start flying. Then, slowly, Mowgli bobbed his head and smiled.

“Da, da, da!” he replied cheerfully. Yes, yes, yes. Oh praise God.

All was well. Ivan, (who was actually Slava and wasn’t yelling anymore than, I would later learn, Russians always yelled), had told Mowgli that foul weather had canceled all flights to Yuzhno. But have no fear! Slava and his good friend Igor were here. Just follow them and all would be taken care of until flights resumed.

Oddly enough no one appeared aware of (nor concerned about) when that would be. Not even Mowgli. But this was Russia, an entire country accustomed to being kept in the dark. We would know the flight as leaving when it actually left. Duh.

“It’s OK, no problem!” Slava said as he and Igor made our luggage disappear. Then he pointed outside and bid us follow. And we did. What else were we supposed to do? I was a little nervous but it melted away when, at Igor’s car, we met his beautiful and affectionate wife Tonya.

If Igor and Slava really meant to kidnap us, they wouldn’t bring the wife. Right?

Tonya immediately took me under her wing and after Igor and Slava started the car (a two man job) we tore away.

Like it was Nascar. Nascar in a Russian clunker on pothole riddles streets past armed foot politzia entirely too comfortable with the “shoot first” course of action.

Kidnapping shmidnapping. Clearly we were going to die in Igor’s car. I got nervous again.

But Igor drove on. And on and on and on. The city trailed behind us. In the front seat Slava and Igor babbled in Russian. In back, Tanya grinned profusely.

“Igor is good driver, no?” She would ask periodically. Each time Mowgli would laugh.

“Da. Very good.” Then he’d rib me and I would be forced to interrupt my mental rosary and agree.

Igor kept the pedal to the metal and soon we were far from the city. I started to worry about our flight and getting back to the airport. I nudged Mowgli but he only shrugged.

“It’s OK, no problem” He said, in such a way I wondered if he had gone native already.

An hour later, and in the middle of nowhere, we stopped. The only sights for miles were five Soviet style concrete buildings that looked past the point of serviceability.

The foreign kidnapee holding area? Surely.

The language switched to high-speed Rusky again as Tonya, Igor and Slava shuffled us inside. Sandwiched between them we traveled up four flights of stairs, down a short hallway and through a huge metal door.


And into Tonya and Igor’s apartment.

For dinner.

As their guests.

Stupid American.

What followed was the typically warm and animated Russian gathering of friends. Lots of chatter, (I learned several new words), lots of food (ah my exotic experience!) and lots of booze. (Vodka, of course, but that night I learned about the second most popular drink in Russia:  champagne. I started to think I would happily never leave.)

We stayed the night at Igor and Tonya’s and early the next morning trusty Slava ferried us back to the airport. He reunited us with all our luggage and escorted us all the way to our plane.

Das Vidanya mya druzye. Good by my friends


After take-off Mowgli ordered his standard vodka and relaxed. Then he looked at me and said one of the top five craziest things he’s ever said to me.

“You know, we’re lucky.”


“It wouldn’t have been a big deal if I understood what the hell Slava was saying yesterday.”

Wait, if?

“Ha, ha! Would you believe I’m still not even sure who he is?”





non-blog blackberry bloging


a hard days blog

Hello all! Happy Labor day and thank you so much for checking in for today’s non-blog blog.
I’d rather not leave you blogless but It’s fair weekend and we have children so, for now anyway, Mowgli and I are forced to deny our inner avoid-crowds-like-the-black-plague-selves and go.
In place of an amusing tale this week, I’m offering bits-o-life-enriching-stuff. Hope you enjoy!
First, the web guru has fixed the comment section! You can now opt to receive follow up comments! Read what others think of your own hilarious observations! Witty banter commence!
Second, the link to Richard Lau’s brilliant web site is on! Click on his name (below the photo on the lower right) and view the world through his talented eye. Go on. I’m serious, right now…see? Worth it, right?
Third, people have been asking about Mowgli. If you don’t know who he is and are curious, scan the blog archives and read “Build yourself an ark”. Trust me. You’ll be glad you did.
And this bring us to today’s last, but by no means least, hot tidbit; Mowgli is considering writing a guest blog! He is about 85% decided. If we all put our hands (finger tips) together (on a keyboard) and clap (write encouraging comments) for him, I’m sure we can get him typing. Aren’t you dying to know his thoughts? I am.
Happy work-less Monday folks!!
Tune in next week for the exciting story of the time Mowgli almost got us kidnapped…


Girls night, peanut butter, and oil

Last Friday, after almost two months of thwarted attempts, neighbor T and I finally executed operation “save my sanity”.

AKA: Girls night.

No easy endeavor. Remember my birthday? Yeah.


Leaving the kids in Mowgli’s care (be afraid, be very afraid, just not right now because we have to go enjoy ourselves) T and I stepped out for…

What I told my kids:

Dinner, conversation and maybe a drink.

How that translates:

Rich haute cuisine, some very serious bitching, and cocktail after cocktail after cocktail…

Guys, it’s time for a reality check. Bitching is not an unfortunate side effect of girls with booze. It is a sacred rite of womanhood. It is crucial to our survival. It’s cathartic, rejuvenating. Our attachment to it runs so deep that if a woman finds herself at a bitch session short on material she is very likely to make something up.

What’s that you say? Sounds like a silly waste of time? Fruitless distraction? Just a way for us to avoid you?

I have two words for you gentlemen: Preseason football.


Friday we were in sore need of a night out. Too much drama paired with too little sleep (and, for my part, the fact that Mowgli had shot down every one of my blog ideas, leaving me scrambling) had us in a ripe mood.

The restaurant (the most expensive one we could find because spending wads of cash increases the therapeutic effect of a bitch session) was packed. Incredibly a large table was cleared for us straight away. Pleased, T and I placed our purses on empty chairs while near by a family of five stuff into a booth.

Maybe our cosmic bitch was leaking and they wanted to give it room. I’m good with that.

Our bitch session, broken down:

Stage one: FML

“Everything sucks.”

“All of it.”

“Kids are hopeless.”

“A mess.”

“At least the waiter is cute. Maybe he’ll flirt with us.”

“He’s gay.”

etc. You get the idea.


I ordered a drink called ‘The Prickly Pear’. I don’t usually do fruity drinks but the name reminded me of Baloo the bear and simpler, happier times… T ordered a pink martini.


Stage two: one upping that culminates in peak bitch.

“The toilet broke when the kids flushed a teddy bear.”

“Mine flushed the cat.”

“I hate my job.”

“I wish I had a job to hate.”

“My youngest has a potty mouth.”

“My youngest has Tourette’s.”

“Lucky bastard.”

“Where the hell is the calamari?”

“Screw it. You should try the Pear.”


She does. We decide it is the superior drink.


Stage three: Alcohol induced silver lining.

“The thing about husbands is they’re men.”

“Yep, they can’t help themselves.”

“School started again.”

“Thank God.”

“This salad is heavenly.”



“Busboy, on your six!”

“He’s yummy.”

“Yeah. Probably gay as well but I bet he’s smart enough to know his tip is tied to our good time.”

Then we spend a moment or two trying not to look like dirty old ladies. At least, that’s what I was doing. T has a lot more class.


Stage four: Riding the wave

“This is, hands down, the best girl’s night ever.”


“Wouldn’t change a thing.”



“Maybe another Pear?”


Three hours, and one Pear short of “tiny bubbles”, later the restaurant closed. We left, not quite ready to call it a night, but revitalized enough to face the chaos that surely awaited us at home.

Miraculously, our houses were still standing. Not only that, the kids were fed, pajamed and tucked in!

OMG. It was the mommy version of a kitchen pass!

“Glass of wine?”

“Your bottle or mine?”

A short while later our night crossed over from tension reliever to the kind of fun that ensures a very unpleasant next morning.

But we didn’t care.

By then, our husbands were superheroes! Our children gifted! We were beautiful and charming and our lives so enviable EVERYONE wanted to be us. In fact everything that came out of our mouths that night was of such brilliance I was certain I had a years worth of genius blog fodder.

Somewhere between the Malbec and falling asleep in my cloths, I even took notes.


Yes, I woke to a hangover but it wasn’t anything my post bitch euphoria couldn’t handle. I floated around all morning on billowing clouds of ‘good time had by all’. Ahhh.

Plus I totally knew what my blog was going to be about. Snap!

Then I found my notes.

Mowgli's idea of funny


Instead of pages of witty banter I’d written only two words:

Peanut butter and oil


Well, at least the Pears were good.




PS. Thanks to T’s clarity Friday, I now know that “Peanut butter and oil’ referred to the time we met a guy in Russia who worked for an oil company and had a pallet full of peanut butter in his apartment. If that sounds like an amusing tale AT ALL, please let me know.


PPS, to save the innocent (and our marriages) the details of the bitch session are entirely fictional. No actual cats were flushed.








Parenting under the influence


If only the influence was a good one.

Ever have one of those moments when the firm grasp you have of the big picture flees and you find yourself transforming from sane human to inane whisperer of the absurd?

Then I guess you’re not a parent.

Sometimes it spawns from exhaustion (and admittedly, is occasionally aided by liquor), but mostly it seems to creep up and take over when the weather is really bad for a really long time. Cabin fever does horrible things to my mental equilibrium and that’s when thing happen.

It’s been kind of a crappy summer this year. Lots and lots of rain days.

My log of bad parenting moments is now quite impressive.

Oh snap. Helmets...




Like that day I told our 6 year old that if he absolutely could not bring himself to use the word “please” the only acceptable alternative was the phrase “I’m a moron.”

He was immediately 100% on board.

Cursed reverse psychology. Common statement now heard in our house:

“Mom, can you get me some milk? I’m a moron.” And “Dad, I’m a moron, can you move out of my way?” And my favorite: “Why not? I SAID I’m a MORON!”


Then there was the time I showed the boys that a microwave makes s’more’s faster and better than a fire. On the surface, not exactly a demonic activity but you know what happens next? Persistent, pervasive debate.

“Tell me again why can’t we have s’mores for breakfast?” (second breakfast, lunch, noonsies….all of the above)

The only way to win that argument is to tap into your inner idiot and scream, yes, you guessed it: “Because I said so!”

Stupid doesn’t win arguments. Trust me, if it sounded stupid when your parents said it to you, no amount of time or wishful thinking will make it sound any different today.


Let’s not forget that time one of the kids farted and I suggested they sniff each others rear ends to discover the culprit.

I think it had been raining for a solid week at that point. I was beyond thinking of educational uses for our time. My thinking came straight from the creative idea gutter.

The rest of the afternoon passed with brother chasing brother around the living room trying to contact butts to noses.

That might have been the same week I opened up the wonderful world of rubber band finger gun fighting to my sons.

Probably any type of gun fighting in the house is a bad idea. I should have known that.


Sometimes my failures are not entirely self produced. I mean, am I supposed to proof read every bed-time story before exposing the kids? Apparently.

We must have gotten this one at a junk store because I’m pretty sure sometime in the last thirty years George had a successful go at rehab.









Good gravy.

Other times I fall short in my mommy role because I simple just don’t think. Like the time I innocently Googled “images of new born babies” in my sons presence before pre-Googling and editing out all the porn.

And like the ONE-singular-solitary-never-happened-again, time I let third son pee on my car tire in a parking lot (He REALLY had to go, there was no bathroom nearby, no one was watching, he’s kind of a cry baby… I had my reasons). Following was unrelenting dialog on when and where it is appropriate to pee on a tire (because at that point “never” was out an optional response). Even today the topic is not dead. Every once in a while, out of the tranquil quiet third son will say: “what if aliens are attacking? Is it OK to pee on tires if aliens are attacking?”

And you know I want to say “Yes.” Why not? But then what if aliens really do attack?

The damage is done. All I can do now is pray to God I won’t screw up again.What’s the magic word? Oh right,

I’m a moron.




Old dogs, new tricks?

Two events of cosmic significance took place at camp Rishel this weekend. The first was we finally got a new front door! It is lovely white with nine adorable double paned windows that now shower our entry with light. It’s all new Christmas in August, the frame, trim, knobs, keys, and my renewed appreciation for the view outside. I have jonesed for this door for a long time. Long time. Think: years.

But this weekend’s other celestial occurrence was no less awesome and amazing. Mowgli and I installed our beautiful new door together, as a team and, for the first time ever, without wanting to kill each other.


This was not our first go at a joint project. Mowgli and I have worked together before. A lot. Matter of fact, we met on the job. Over the course of our united life we’ve been employed together on large crews, on small crews, as partners, as well as in the precarious combination of supervisor and subordinate. After all that experience there are two things we now hold as undeniable truths: One, we work wonderfully, efficiently, and cooperatively side by side, and two, we are utter crap at working together.

We have our reasons. Personally, I believe Mowgli’s attention to detail (itty bitty microscopic, totally inconsequential detail) and his tendency to put WAAYYYY too many fasteners in EVERYTHING could drive the Dali Llama into a violent rage. Mowgli, for his part, insists I have an irresponsible work ethic because I do pretty much everything in flip-flops and I may have, once or twice, accidentally left a sledgehammer on top of the ladder. (So?)

When the rare occasion forces us to work cooperatively, the minutia of matrimonial accord we have vanishes. Communication quickly erodes into something like a 9-year-old reading assembly instructions to another 9-year-old. “Pick up the left side of the door frame with your right hand. No, your right hand. No, your other right! OK, now tilt the door up. No, up. No, your other up!” It’s exhausting and, when at all possible, avoided.

Unfortunately, unless you are an octopus, installing a door is a two person job. And in our situation, an unavoidable job as well. At one time, getting a new door was a low priority “want” (the old one was ugly, dark, dented…). Then, last winter, it climbed the home improvement ranks to an absolute “need”. It’s threshold was missing. Where it once lay, protecting us from cold weather and creepy bug, was now a gaping, heat leaking hole. Last December, In an effort to gain access for a flooring project, I had ripped the old threshold out. Completely. Think: pry bar.

Did you know that a doors threshold is integral to the frame and that replacing one requires replacing the entire doorway unit? Well, it is.

On the up side, every day you don’t learn something new is a wasted day!


So, on Tuesday we bit the bullet and I brought home a new door-frame assembly. Then for the next four days we stood by silently as the tension in our house grow so thick you couldn’t cut it with a pneumatic sawzall. Did I mention that, on top of this project, we had recently decided to go low cal and had been (for the last two weeks) suspended in a perpetual state of STARVING? A good condition to work in? I think not. By Saturday morning the aroma of impending doom was inescapable.


But we did it! No tool throwing, no yelling, no cursing (well, minimal cursing and none of it at each other), no storming out of the room, no do overs, no lines in the sand, no “fine have it your way”, no “it’s my way or the highway”, no… wait, am I obsessing?

How did this happen? Maybe we’ve matured enough to deal with each other. Maybe the lack of food rendered us too weak to fight. We’ll probably never know. Our new door, with Mowgli’s 8,000 screws and three cans of spray foam insulation, is never coming out.

But it’s beautiful isn’t it?

Paint it to match?? Might just repaint the whole house.


Getting away from it all

Hello? Room service? A tube of deep woods off and a box of strike anywhere matches to camp site number 19 please…


a fine picnic basket


There are basically two sets of mind when it comes to camping: Set one: getting away from it all and Set two: getting away from most of it.

Set one is all thrills and no frills. Grab your pack and flee the rat race. It’s nothing but you, your wits (and maybe a sleeping bag) against the wild. This is primal living the way God (with a little help from REI) intended.

Then there is set two: getting away from most of it. Fleeing the rat race without abandoning all the creature comforts you run the race for. Sure you sleep in a bag, but the bag is on a queen sized mattress in a 25ft RV with air conditioning and running hot water.


I am mind set two.


But I’m not a little princess. I could go (and have gone) rugged, I just choose not to anymore. (The ground is very, very hard. Did you know this?) Give me a night on a pillow-top posturepedic and my soul will sing (not to mention my back, neck and chiropractor). I don’t even plan meals anymore. I transfer everything from the house refrigerator to one in the camper. Who wants to be locked into a set menu? I make sure there is plenty to choose from too. There is nothing more frustrating than having burgers when you are really in the mood for fish.

What? There are only so many weekends in this life. I intend to make them count.

But this last weekend changed everything. This last weekend I discovered there is (oooh, ahhh!) a mind set three: camping with a concierge. This style of camping is one infinitesimal step away from staying in a hotel. The two are so close that it’s questionable whether mind set three is actually camping at all. But I don’t care.

Besides the water/power/sewer hookup (which is not all that uncommon for RV campgrounds) last weekend’s campground came with showers, laundry, wi-fi, cable TV and a restaurant with a liquor license! The first night we slipped into the lodge for a bottle of Pinot Noir and the largest chicken Caesar salad I have ever met. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable and the atmosphere, warm and international (Alaska + Summer = a gaggle of Euroaustrailasian tourists). Later, Sated, tipsy, and happily bidding our fellow campers “Gute Nacht” we headed back to the Komfort for a fire and stargazing. (see? camping.)

The next day, I used the microwave. That may not sound like a lot to you, but to me it’s HUGE. The microwave only works when we’re plugged in and we’re NEVER plugged in. That day, when my coffee cooled to an unpalatable room temperature, in a short 30 seconds I nuked it back to life. (Yes, I could have ordered a latte at the lodge, but we were plugged in!) I even heated up sliced banana bread for the kids. If there was a grocery within 70 miles, I would have bought popcorn. But there wasn’t and so (eventually) I pried myself from the splendor of near instant cooking and got ready for a day outdoors (see? camping).

Matanuska Glacier is the largest glacier accessible by car in the United States, so I expected most of the people we ran into that day to be from anywhere, everywhere else. But their guides too? I swear one was Australian. Australian? What, no luck with the Sydney bob-sledding enterprise? I shouldn’t jest. It’s truly sad what the recession did to the international ice climbing industry. Or was that global warming?

but I should shut up about the things people choose to do. I mean there I was, an Alaskan, with her Alaskan family, in the middle of the miniscule Alaskan summer, purposefully vacationing on snow and ice.


But I digress and must take you back to our awesome camp. Upon our return that day things looked just a little bit off…Or was it that they weren’t off. The picnic table, left askew by us, was back in symmetry with the others? The edging bolder that had rolled into the grass, was back in line? The cigarette butt’s that littered the now empty RV site of our Euro neighbors were gone? The kid’s toys that are typically splayed out in a 6ft arc around the camper door were instead in a tidy pile??

No way. It’s too much. There is no way! Or is there?

yep, it's cold


A campground with maid service? I just may have found heaven.

Matanuska Glacier

The wonders of life

“We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons.” Alfred E. Newman

Because sometimes a firearm is not a weapon?


There was an upside to the frantic scramble of fishing last month. It kept my mind off the rest of life. Now, with the crazed pursuit of subsistence behind me, my vision clears and my mind refocuses on all the wonders of our daily world: energy flowing in a million distinctive directions manifesting in thousands of individual miraculous moments.

Most of which make me go….huh?

Have you noticed that if an average person does something stupid, says something stupid, or wears something stupid, he is generally considered to be…stupid, but when a famous person does the same he is called an artistic visionary?

Can anyone tell me why ammonia comes with a tamper proof safety seal? Are we afraid someone will sneak in to the grocery store and make it more poisonous?

Why do we use the same word for totally different events? A strike is a bad action in baseball, a good action in bowling and an inaction in real life. There are over a quarter million words in the English language to choose from. Not enough? (And even if that’s so, keep reading).

In our society, if a person makes up a word and enough people repeat it, that same word, no matter how bizarre, ends up in the dictionary. (Try it. Just make sure the word is ridiculous like flexitarian or pyskany. Oops, too late.)

Why do people put cryptic personalized license plates on their vehicles? Do you want me to know what “I8DFFG” means or not? (Because I’m tailgating you until I figure it out.)

Why is “poop” childish and immature but “S*&t” seriously funny?

Daylight savings? Isn’t it more like Daylight shifting? Because we’re not saving any, we’re just using it at a different time.

And finally, that quote at the beginning? I got it out of a book of quotes, but Alfred E. Newman is a cartoon character. Does HE really say anything at all?

My head is spinning. It’s OK, this will pass. Hunting season opens in three weeks.

F-ing High

Fishing. This blog is about Fishing. There, I said it. I’ll try not to anymore.

F-ing. The very thing I promised I would never blog about. Ever. I know. F-ing. I’m sorry. F-ing. I can’t stop myself!! F-ING!

This weekend was a F-ing extravaganza! No kidding! It was unreal! Absolutely incredible! Seriously, it was awesome. Even to a girl like me who, generally, doesn’t get much enjoyment out of f-ing!
(Stop it. You know what I mean).

It started with phenomenal weather. We have been getting way way too little of that this summer so when Thursday rolled around with a brilliant blue sky I was instantly in a great mood. Then, at Deep creek, we were able to camp on the beach. ON THE BEACH! The campground was near empty, sun was blazing, wind minimal, and kids happier than Lindsay Lohan in a security free department store!

Friday morning Mowgli and Uncle went out for Halibut while the kids and I went out for some of this…








Less than 5 hours later (which is pretty dang fast in deep sea fishing terms) they returned. The boys and I raced back to find out just how far into winter we would be eating h-but and chips this year and…

a plug for Ninilchik charters


Holy rod and reel batman! The smallest SMALLEST was over 35 pounds.

Hey Guys? I’m going to let you in on a little secret about women. Most of us, like security. It makes us happy. Sometimes, even turned on. And I’m not talking Dobermans. I’m talking everlasting love, a steady paycheck and a FULL LARDER. Friday afternoon while the men told tales of their heroic casting, I mentally packed our freezer. And smiled. Really big.

Mowgli as a beer commercial






Then, it was back to the beach for some of this….






But we weren’t done yet! Reds (Sockeye’s to those of you in the lower 48) were in! No winter in Alaska shall pass without oodles of that served (I think it’s actually a law). So, we left the beach for Kenai.

And landed… not on the beach, campground crowded, sun fading, wind picking up and kids more worn out than Lindsay Lohan in a security free department store.

High tide was at 9pm, Mowgli informs me, and he and Uncle are hitting it.

Here’s what I was thinking: you were up at 6, fished in the sun all day, then cleaned gear, packed and moved camp! You had one beer and can barely keep your eyes open, let along stand in the river and fish! There will be another high tide Saturday. Can’t you wait?
But here’s what I said: “You are f-ing crazy” (feel free to use your imagination on that one).

So they go. And stay. Late. So late that it isn’t until the next morning that I see….

Dinner. Lunch, dinner again...


I am a happy woman.


(OK everybody, relax. Alaska’s fisheries are WELL managed. We only take what and when they say we can. We are not depleting the seas. Call’s to your congressman will not stop the fishing. They will only increase our tourism.)

Donna Reed Crisis #57 (OR: why I didn’t blog yesterday)

I had a great weekend, really, see the photo. Saturday my phone broke and that was a bummer, but at the same time I was sated in fabulous weather, friends and beer, so it didn’t totally ruin the mood.

Then came Monday. Why is it always Monday?

It started simply enough: coffee, shower, typing the first few lines of a blog on how WONDERFUL life is…

the blogger as a beer commercial

Then I remembered Mowgli’s grandmother was coming to dinner. Not that her visit would cause anxiety. Grandma is wonderful, loving and complimentary. Still, she is the family matriarch and deserving of all the respect and a clean house, behaved children and impeccable meal, display. Therefore the “to do list”: the list of all that needed to be accomplished to guarantee Grandma was received in the manner she so deserves. And even that was no great cause for alarm. It was a short list and there was plenty of time.

Hmmmm…except there was all that laundry. We’d been camping all weekend. The laundry room overflowed. And, thanks to a recent remodel, our laundry room is doorless. Filthy smelly clothing inched into the hall.

Add to list: wash cloths. At least the stinky ones and enough of them so that the rest will fit into the hamper.


First thing to do was get into town for supplies. The fridge was bare and serving food at a dinner party, (they say) is kind of essential.

Oh, and there was my broken phone. Yes, that phone, my smart phone (see previous posts). Those things are like heroin. One taste and you are hopelessly addicted. By Monday I was missing it pretty bad.

So, Add to list: cell store. Didn’t really have time for that, but smart phone withdrawal symptoms are wicked. I was worried I’d hurt somebody.


I didn’t even make it to the car before, Brrrrrrummmble!!! Men in yellow hats followed by lots of heavy equipment arrived and set up shop on our tiny, dead end street. Whaaa? Remember that French drain that hasn’t drained properly since Oh, early 2003? We’re fixing it today and while we’re here, choking off the entry to your driveway. We’ll let you out but not until you ask and we move two dump trucks and a back hoe out of the way. Awesome.

But, I am not complaining. Thank you, thank you MOA for fixing it. Finally. It’s been eight years. Waiting one more day was out of the question. ?

Departure to town attempt #2. This time I left checking the clock. Yes still enough time. What’s that Mowgli? The guest list changed? Along with Grandma expect Cousin, Uncle and Uncle’s girlfriend who we are not entirely sure even likes us? Right about then, stress. Just a little.

The AT&T store was packed (when is it not?). I went anyway (I had no phone!) and when it was finally my turn who did I get? The trainee. Thankfully he was sandwiched between two experienced clerks. With the help of those two (when they could spare a moment), the warranty guy on the phone, and me (no, the battery goes in this way. Yes, I am an authorized user on the account, look here…) we got… nowhere.

Result: an hour gone, cell still broken and added to my to-do list is instructions from warranty guy to plug my phone into a home computer then call them back for more help. Again, not something I really have time for, but MY SMART PHONE IS NOT WORKING!!

At the grocery store I ran in to a girlfriend I’d been meaning to phone. Since phoning was no longer possible, I felt compelled to stop and chat.  And, spent more time doing that than intended. Next chance I got to view the time was at the check out. Yikes! Better move faster…


After weaving through the maze of giant diesels in front of our house, I plug in my phone and used Mowgli’s phone to call warranty while simultaneously putting away groceries, prepping dinner and making a late lunch for my starving children. (They’re not pleasant when they are hungry and we were having people over. Important people.)

Then I remembered I forgot to take the fish out of the freezer.

Outside: digging in full swing. Inside: warranty gal on hold, computer downloading a program that will (fingers crossed) fix my phone, PB&J sandwiches almost assembled and a fish brick in the sink under running water trying to rapid thaw. Oh and I still need to vacuum… What time is it??

Then I remembered I forgot to buy wine. Full on stress now.

I explain the situation to warranty gal who is incredibly understanding and lets me hang up on her. Fifteen minutes later I’m staring at rows of wine trying desperately to remember which one Uncle’s girlfriend drinks (see what happens when you have no phone? You have to remember stuff). Then I cry to the liquor store guy about my day so far and how convinced I am that this will be the worst dinner party EVER. I’m a chatterer, it’s what I do. That and I am inspired to explain to everyone within visual range why I’m filling a grocery cart with booze on a Monday afternoon.

That’s when the liquor store guy morphs into Gandhi and says the most sage thing I have ever heard from a guy who peddles alcohol:

“Usually when you think thing are going to be great, they suck and when you think they are going to be horrible, they’re awesome.”

Ah so wise. At least now I can be positive about harboring negative thoughts.


I race back. Zipping from the laundry to the vacuum cleaner and back again, I snap at everyone. The kids hide. Mowgli comes home and I tie him to the computer and repairing my phone. Thirty minutes later, nothing. Warranty gal’s program doesn’t work. The fish is still frozen and it suddenly occurs to me we don’t own enough chairs. That’s when the internal discussion begins: exactly how early is too early for a martini?


Guess what? The liquor guy was right.

Grandma, Uncle, Cousin and Uncle’s girlfriend arrived an hour later than we thought giving me copiousness amounts of time to finish my list. MOA repaired the drain and cleared the road before then too. The children were entertaining, the fish was perfect and I picked out the correct wine for Uncle’s girlfriend, who, it turns out DOES like us! The evening was wonderful.


But this is the best part. The icing on the cake. The thing that will have me smiling for the rest of the month…

Ten minutes ago all on his own, Mowgli fixed my phone.


Eventually, everything is funny