Saturday, September 26, 2009

off and running

A friend of mine recently returned from nearly two weeks away, and noted that there hadn't been a post in all that time. It seems hard to believe that I am busier now than in the summer, but it seems that way. Time is chopped into narrow chunks - 6 a.m. up (unless Thea wakes earlier, which seems to happen more often than not). Out the door by 7 a.m. to drive Liam to school. Liam gets dropped off at 7:45 a.m. Thea gets dropped off back at 8:10 at Nikki's. Then I have a little time. I can't get into the library until 9 a.m. at the earliest. So what have I been doing?


The first day I went, I barely made it a mile before I had to walk. The next time, maybe a mile and a half. By the end of that week, I had made a huge leap, running more than 3 miles. By the end of the second week, I was up to 4.5. Now I'm running 6.5 miles comfortably, with the exception of a swollen knee that I am ignoring with great resolution. It is, in short, the best thing I've done in months. I'm so excited to be seeing such progress. For years I chonked away at the gym and never broke 4 miles and never enjoyed it. But this, I love it. At the end of a run, I sometimes hit this point where I feel like I am flying. This week, I logged 24 miles of running. Crazy.

Some days, I go to Two Sisters and work, but more and more, I find myself turning the wheel toward the Spit, regardless of wind and rain. It just seems like a cleansing thing to do and I rarely regret it once I get out there. Now, if I can just get this knee thing under control.

But enough about me. Thea and Liam have been cruising through the busy weeks like typical American kids, rarely pausing long enough to breath. It's getting colder and darker, and since we've decided not to do Hawaii this year, that's intimidating. Thea is working on talking with great determination. She seems to grow a bigger personality every day, though that hardly seems possible. She's also very interested in being helpful, though not much of what she does actually is. It is a constant challenge to come up with new ways to include her in the day-to-day chores, as she loves doing them, and without direction, will gladly empty the entire dishwasher - the entire dirty dishwasher - onto the floor.

Liam has been experiencing cowboy poetry at school as a cowboy poet from Montana has been visiting the school. Tonight he was strumming his guitar and singing, "Oh, give me land, lots of land, under starry, starry skies, don't fence me in...." Too funny. He is also writing tons, much of it understandable in a wonderfully phonetic way. He's not as interested in reading yet, but writing seems to be his thing. Poor kid.

Matt's back from surfing adventures in Yakutat, and determined to get wood as the temperatures are dipping lower and lower. We've had one really hard freeze, and lots of crisp mornings. It seems early this year, but maybe it always seems that way.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Indian summer

Liam impersonating a Beatle from Sgt. Pepper

Liam and Nora, a very good friend of his with a similar dressing aesthetic

Karyn Noyes, one of the very first people to ever meet Théa, reading her a bedtime book

The Super-sized Swingset.

Alaska sure is putting on a show this summer, and gifting us with a Labor Day weekend like none in memory. Sunshine, t-shirt weather, gentle breeze to keep bugs at bay, so very very awesome. There might have been frost last night, but very subtle at best, but season's change is certainly in the air. The days are getting shorter, though it is still light until at least 9. The fireweed has all bloomed out, replacing its summer-time fushia blooms with crimson seed pods and white tufts of seeds. I am currently looking out onto the hills around the house where the setting sun is enhancing all these colors with an amber glow that makes it all seem a little surreal. The mountains don't have any snow-dusting covering them yet, and are more barren than I have ever seen them. The yard is so green it almost glows, thanks to volcanic ash and plenty of sunshine.

It's a fascinating thing about Alaska, though. Just when you start to finish your to-do list for the year, and can settle in a chair and enjoy it - fall hits, followed closely by winter. Fall in Alaska goes like this - one day, usually in October, it gets cold and all the leaves change color. About two days later, it rains and blows and all the leaves fall off. Then it is gray and rainy for most of the next two months. But hey, maybe this year will be the exception. One can always hope.

So today, instead of working on any of the practical things that need doing (windows in rental cabin, finishing painting of house, etc.) we assembled a gigantic swing-set. A friend of ours who moved to Anchorage said we could have their swing set, if we could move it. It turned out to be about 20 feet long and has room for a lot of stuff. Best of all, it has two swings, which both Thea and Liam loved so much during our time near the parks in Victoria. So I was thrilled. Finding a place for it, not to mention getting it here, took some effort, a few strained muscles and a couple of explatives, but we managed. We even finally buried the electricity line to the cabin that has been exposed for a very long time ... does the list of things like that ever shrink???

Anyway, we ended the day with a foray into the wilderness in search of blueberries. We found some - just enough to spend about 20 minutes picking and enjoying the warm, mossy ground, and the act of discovering and then eating straight from the source. Then we scooted into town and raided the sadly-ignored raspberry bushes of a nonprofit organization that will go unnamed to protect my family. It was an amazing day, a gift from the weather gods, really, and the cap to an extraordinary summer.