Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kodiak Day Part 3 (The Anti-Kodiak: A Rant)

Newton's third law of motion states: "To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". Perhaps I should make up my own laws of Kodiak "E-motion". For every good day in Kodiak there is an equal and opposite horrible one. Today was one of those days.
Actually it started out fine. Jake is on leave (hooray!). We (all) slept in. We goofed around here for a while until the need to get out of the house overtook us. It was rainy, which should have been my first indictation to not let house-bound boredom weasle it's way into my brain. I should have known to just stay home.

Kodiak on rainy days is horrible in my opinion. There is, simply put, nothing to do. Actually, I take that back. There are some rainy days where I am quite content to just hunker down, watch a good movie, play a game, stay in my pajamas and veg out. It's the rainy days where I've got cabin fever and no real agenda that get me every time. That's the key. You've got to have an agenda. See, in the regular world (aka anywhere but here), if you're bored on a rainy day, you can jump in your car and toodle around Costco...perhaps Home Depot or Target...have a nice meal at a good restaurant....maybe catch a movie....well, not here. I really wish you people could see this town. My dad has experienced it, so I know that he will know what I'm talking about. It, in my opinion, is not a very nice looking place. Everything is run down and disheveled. Humboldt county people: picture being stranded on an island with Orick being the only town. Orick with the crappiest Walmart.

Anyway, now that you've got that fabulous picture in your head, let's get back to my story. The key to not letting Kodiak Town get you down is to always have an agenda. For example: "I need to go to the post office, bank, dentist and Walmart (and here's the importnat part) to get toothpaste, toilet paper and a birthday present for Joanna's friend." is a picture-perfect Kodiak agenda. You're in, you're out, you're good. When you allow the boredom trip to lead you there, you're in trouble. That, my friends, is what happened to us today. For starters, Jake had some revelation about half-way into town that this place doesn't have any traffic lights. You should have seen his face. I'm not sure why, but for some reason it just dawned on him, and I thought to myself "Oh, no. This is not going to be a good trip to Walmart.". It wasn't.
While we wandered we encountered howling babies, high prices on crap we need but couldn't bring ourselves to buy, failed attempts to go potty in the filthy bathrooms and the utter lack of Neutrogena hair products. We somehow managed to spend $40 and left. Now our stomachs were empty which is a bad addition to the equation. Especially for my husband, who's crankiness is directly proportional to the fullness of his stomach. We didn't want to spend $50 on some mediocre (at best) meal, so we decided to stop at Safeway and ended up with some of the most crap-tastic chinese food we've ever tasted. We brought it home and ate it in silence on paper plates with plastic forks while the kids watched a movie. I managed to joke that we could call this the worst date we've ever had. Which led me to think that even if we had dropped the kids off with Christie or Kim and we had some time to ourselves...where the heck would we go??? There's nothing! No restaurants! No shopping! No good movies!! NOTHING!!!! Who the heck likes this place enough to beg the Coast Guard to let them stay another tour??? It's insanity!! There is not enough to like about this place to overcome the overwhelming amount of things to dislike about it. I am sorry, but I had to say it. I have tried SO hard. I try every day. Tomorrow I will try again, but I just can't help it. We are here because we have to be, but I can tell you that the Garris family will not be here one nanosecond longer than we are obligated to be here by the Coast Guard.

You know, I hate to be so negative, but I really have to validate these feelings. To ignore them and not give them merit does me an injustice. Yes, there are nice days. The evidence is right here in this very blog! I equate it to child birth (don't laugh, I'm serious...hear me out.). I've always thought that if God didn't give women some sort of selective memory about birthing children, we would be a world full of only children. Most women (me included) forget and are able to push the negative part of that experience out of their brains and are able and willing to put themselves through it again and again to have more children. The end result is enough to make us forget and want to do it again. In terms of Kodiak, I have not forgotten. No amount of nice, sunny, beautiful days can edge out the memories of this past winter. No amount of wonderful, envigorating hikes and trips to the beach is enough to extinguish the thought that winter is coming again. The next patrol is coming again...

Anyway, I guess if there is a lesson to be learned from all of this is that on rainy days when cabin fever rears its ugly head, we just need to not go to Walmart. Stay home and play a game. Tomorrow is another day, and I will wake up and think of 10 positive things about this experience just like I do every day and hopefully the next 2 years will go by very quickly. Good night.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A couple of random things

For Father's day I made Jake the ultimate omelette. It had lobster (it's what he wanted!), avocados, shallots, jack cheese, tomato and a little secret sauce I made. He thought it was so pretty, so he took a picture. I have to admit, it was pretty scrumptous. Who wants to come to my house for breakfast tomorrow morning, 'eh? Joanna is getting so big now that she can help with the chores and actually be productive! This is a real milestone in a mother's life, let me tell you. Finally the fruits of my labor (literally!) have come to fruition! :) She really wanted to vacuum, so I let her!

A Kodiak Day: Part 2 (Wildlife adventure!)

As we were walking back across the street to our cars, we saw these two eagles perched on a rock. They were pretty far away, so I zoomed in as far as my camera would go and snapped a picture about every 10 steps. This is the best one I got: The view from Fort Abercrombie was beautiful! Christie and I were really having a love affair with Kodiak this day. (WHAT??) I still don't think the views around here are as pretty as the Olympic Mountains in Port Angeles/Sequim or the Giant Redwoods in Humboldt County, but it's still beautiful in it's own right because it's Alaska and it's unique! Fort Abercrombie is actually an old WWII bunker and still has some ruins of gun turrets and stuff. It's pretty interesting stuff, actually, to think about the guys that were stationed there warding off the Japanese.

Wait....who's this WILD bunch???
Another mysterious creature seen 'round these parts. They tend to become active right around the time that I like to either go to sleep or watch Days of Our Lives...their patterns are very mysterious (and NOISY!).
Okay, so Christie told us about this little colony of groundhogs that live in the lawn by the Golden Anchor (where the galley is located right now), so after our lunch, we decided to see if we could find any. It reminded me of that game at Chuck E. Cheeses where you whack the mole on top of the head with the hammer! They were SO cute and kept popping up all over the place! The kids would run up to them and they would duck back down into their hole at the last minute. I caught this guy with my zoom.

Quick, they're coming!

Are there any in here?

I guess I got these pictures out of order...oh well. Back to the eagles that were on the rock. This is a picture of those same eagles in a puddle. It seemed too common crow of them to be walking in this ordinary puddle. They're way above such commonplace things, don't you think?
The eagles again

Anyway, I guess that's all for now! After we eat our dinner I'm going to post some more randomness from up here...I'm sure you all are thrilled! :)

A Kodiak Day

The other day was BEAUTIFUL, so we took advantage and headed down to the little beach here on base. Joanna loves it there because there are all these little washed up pieces of different colored glass that have been worn and weathered by the elements. They look like little jewels (hence the name Jewel Beach) and it's really fun to look for "treasure" there. Nate, of course, just likes to throw rocks into the water. It's lots of fun! Here's a cute picture I snapped of Graham when he wasn't looking. :) This was BEFORE he fell into the water and needed a wardrobe change in the back of Christie's rig. Luckily I had brought a change of clothes and some towels just in case some little boy or girl needed it, so we hooked him right up with some dry duds and we were on our merry way!
I thought the three of them looked so cute walking in front of us. Graham likes it when Joanna holds his hand. SO CUTE!!
This was on the lawn in front of the galley across the street from the beach.
Brudder and Sissy

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful fathers in my life!! First of all, to my husband, who is such a wonderful, loving father to Joanna and Nate. He is so funny, caring and strong; I know they will grow up to be a reflection of him in all of those ways. Now to my own dad...I love him so much, and am so thankful for his unconditional love and support. As a child (and even now as an adult) he always made me feel special and beautiful and that is a priceless gift. I also have a very special Father-in Law. Thank you, David, for raising Jake to be the man that he is and for the love and support you give us every day.

Here are some pictures I dug up to celebrate!

David and Nate enjoying a John Deer moment

Joanna and Jake at the Humboldt Co. Fair (2004)

Nate's first Halloween (2005)

Christmas Eve Blizzard 2007

Quiet Nappy Time Papa Carl is soooo silly!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Salmon Camp

Joanna went to a week-long science day camp here in Kodiak called "Salmon Camp". They spent the week exploring the Buskin river and beach and learning about local wildlife and other scientific-type stuff. (?) Her friend Katriauna also went, and they had a blast! It rained every day, but that didn't stop them from going outside for hikes! They learned songs, played games and did science experiments, too. I got a good mini-taste of what it will be like when Joanna starts school in the fall...having to be up and ready to get to camp with a lunch and in proper attire by....(HEAVENS TO BETSY!) 9:00 a.m. was more difficult than I anticipated it to be. I'm getting really nervous about the fact that Joanna will need to be to school by 7:50 a.m. Yes, you read correctly. KINDERGARTEN STARTS AT 7:50 IN THE MORNING! This will be an adjustment...one that I'm not willing to think about right now. HA!

So, I leave you with some pictures of Joanna's Salmon Camp goodbye BBQ. They sang us two songs and got awards. Joanna got the "Most Likely to be a Salmon Camp Counselor" award. I am so proud! I took a video of one of the songs they sang, but I'm having trouble uploading it, so I'll have to try that again later.