Elisabet is here! And my family is back too!

Holly and the boys arrived in Haines today on the slow boat Malispina, bringing Elisabet for the first time to Haines.

Below is a picture of the ship they arrived on, but it’s difficult to see that it’s a boat, as the tide is very low and much of the hull is obscured by the dock.

IMG_9278 She is very nice and easy going, and she is a very pretty young lady.  When they arrived, it was nearly dark and just starting to rain with a heavy dense humid feeling and fog forming above the Lynn Canal.  On the tin roof of the log cabin, I can hear the rain going pitter patter on in a gentler calming way and I can hear Elisabet unpacking her things in her room.  The two three boys are all asleep and Holly is just about gone too.

In the photo below, we have (Left to Right), Elisabet, Holly, Mark Margaret, Bob, and Luke Michael, I was taking the picture, and John Caleb was asleep.  The Ferry is in the background.  The Ferry is not fast, as ferries go.  It has a cruising speed of 17-19 knots, as do most of the slow ferries, so it takes about 4.5 hours to make the journey from Juneau to Haines.

IMG_9279c As soon as Elisabet got here, Holly showed her around every room in out small cabin: the

two bedrooms, one for us and one for her, the bathroom, kitchen, pantry, and living room.  It was a short tour.  Then we ate a light snack of fresh home made bread & butter, jam, water, and juice.  The boys were dead tired and while claiming to be hungry for this or that treat really were just needing to get to bed.  I put the older two to bed, putting them in their pajamas and brushing their teeth.

When Luke was almost asleep, Mark Daniel figured out that their sleeping bags were switched and tried to switch them back to their proper positions but of course Luke was not in any condition to either have the bag pulled out from around him or crawl out of the bag himself, so when Mark started to pull him out of it, he just cried.  I took mercy on him and lifted him up and put him in his bag and laid him right back down.  Soon he was fast asleep.

As soon as Elisabet could, she started unpacking her bags and putting things away in her closet and little drawers.  It is difficult to know exactly what she is understanding or not while I’m driving, because I can’t see her face. But when I’m not driving, I can see comprehension or a question quite plainly in her facial expression.  I think this language barrier will not be too big of a hurdle to leap.

My prayer is the same as my mother’s prayer: that this year together with Elisabet will be a good year for everyone in the house and that we will all bless each other, help each other, and learn from each other.

Everyone but me is asleep now all over the house.  And now, I think, I will join them.

Jeremy & Kathleen arrive in Haines!

IMG_9752Jeremy (little bird) & his wife Kathleen arrived (un-greeted) at the ferry due to an unfortunate sequence of events.  They were in Juneau visiting Jeremy’s sister, Jennifer and came up on the Fairweather.

I  hadn’t seen them for seven years but we had a nice first night together at the Southeast Alaska State Fair.  The weather was Terrible: 50 degrees F, raining lightly.  The walk-ways were deep with mucky Mulch, but we persevered and ate, tacos, burritos, and macho-nachos!

Mark & Luke evidently need more practice smiling at the camera, which is surprising. Oh, well.

The Bludance anchors in Port Chilkoot. What’s up?

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After the men of note practice, a large merchant ship (550 ft long and 85 ft wide), the Bludance, home ported in Malta, pulled into the shelter of Port Chilkoot and dropped her anchor then swung around into the wind.  She sits there now, looking rather conspicuous, if I do say so.  I’ve never seen any ship like her in these  waters.  I googled her and wound up with a link to Jane’s Merchant ships that requires a purchase.

She’s sitting very high in the water and is hanging off her starboard anchor, as can be seen in the photos.  Needless to say, I’m quite curious what she’s doing here in these waters empty, as she is.  It’s tempting to hail her on the VHF and ask what she’s doing, but I’ll probably resist the temptation.  It’s quite windy in the canal today and a number of fishing vessels elected not to head out to Boat Harbor this evening.  Perhaps she’s needing to get out of the wind for some reason.

Uncle John is home!

Bob and Margaret returned from Juneau today aboard the Greta with John!

IMG_8432cIt was sure great to see John again.  They made the trip from Juneau over two days,  anchoring up inside Mab Island last night and continuing on this morning.  Bob and Margaret aren’t prone to anchor up in unfamiliar spots, so it was nice that John was there to show them our favorite spot to anchor during the fishing season.  There was a very stiff south breeze blowing them along so they used the engine for only about 20 minutes or so on the trip home. 

John looks about the same, it seems. I suppose if one looks closely, he’s a bit older, but so is everyone else, self included. In the photo, he’s playing the local young folks in a friendly game of soccer.  Jack did the purchase on the soccer shoes that he’s sporting as he keeps the ball away from Chandler Kemp.  I was on the Windbreaker with the mechanic that is going to install the new engine when they pulled into their slip.  When I went to tie them up, the dingy was in the way and its rope was blocking the cleat, so I flubbed it and she rammed the dock.

The boys were sure happy to see him and play a little ball with him.  Of course Holly and John had a great time yapping about all sorts of things and I shoed him my Motion Computing LE1600 tablet PC and the cool stuff one can do with Art Rage 2.5.  He had a difficult time believing that I did the painting of Chandler, but that’s to be expected.  He’s been reading a book called Micro trends that seems like it would be worth reading.

Margaret fixed a wonderful meal for us and we had a nice celebratory repast.  Then the Men of Note rehearsed for the Saturday State Fair performance which will be at 2 PM.

Betty & Cliff!

Hey.

I got to see Betty and Cliff in Sitka for about 20 minutes on the way back from Nashville.  My Cellular Telephone was dead, so I went up to first class seating while we were in Ketchikan and asked one of the guys up there if I could borrow his phone.  He looked at me rather skeptically until I pulled my own cell phone out and told him my battery was dead, then he asked me the number, and dialed it for met then handed me the phone.  It was a pretty cool phone, too, that I didn’t know how to use since it was a touch screen model.

IMG_7866Betty got together a care package for me and they both met me at the airport.  We didn’t really get to talk about very many of the meaty subjects in life, but it was sure nice to see them again.  The last time we’d seen each other together was for thanksgiving this past year.

Hey, while you’re looking at the picture, take note of how Cliff’s glasses are hard to see.  They’re pretty discrete really, but then look at the shirt–that’s a ridiculous shirt.  I should have given him some nonsense about the loud shirt, I guess some people like loud clothes. 

IMG_7869Actually, it’s a fine shirt.  My shirt was a UAF sweatshirt that I got at a garage sale.  I’m not sure why I wore a sweatshirt–I’m not really a ‘sweatshirt’ kind of guy.  In the winters, I wear button up shirts (my teacher uniform), and in the summers, I wear second-hand T-shirts from the Salvation Army to work on the boat.  Cliff took the photo, but it was time to go, so we didn’t have time to refine the composition and the focus because my CF card filled up.

Also, look at the dorky light distraction in the background.  Oops.  I have another shot without the distracting light in the background, but I like these smiles better.  Often the first smile is the best–even for people who are quite practiced at smiling.  Note to self: Things in the background of a portrait should never be brighter than the subjects.  Also, take note of the nice lighting; this is thanks to a huge window with soft light coming into the airport, as you can see in the second photo.  I could probably adjust the WB for a warmer feel, but I’ve got other stuff to do right now.

Aquarium Restaurant!

I  went to the coolest restaurant (CLICK HERE!!!) at the huge mall in Nashville which is adjacent to the Opryland Hotel we stayed at.  There was a huge Aquarium in the center, surrounded by a salt-water fish tank with 4 inch thick polycarbonate clear stuff which hold 200,000 gallons.  Wow.

In the Photo below, you can see the tables on the left and the huge aquarium on the right Take special note of the 6 foot long shark swimming around and around and all the other huge fish.  This is one very impressive fish tank.  Also, take note of the imitation coral reef in the center.IMG_6948

This was a very impressive place to see.  If you ever go to Nashville, I’d strongly recommend swinging by the mall and going to this restaurant: especially if you have some kids.  The kids that I saw there simply loved it.  They couldn’t get enough.

IMG_7633 I just barely missed the feeding time when I first walked in, but was fortunate enough to see the feeding of the Manta Ray type fish which feeds of the bottom of the tank.  The odd thing was that they had to be fed by hand.  The diver had to lift up their heads (see the photo above) and put the fish in its mouth, which is on the bottom of the fish, otherwise they’d starve, as there’s nothing to eat off the floor of the clean tank.  Notice he’s feeding one with a black topside and there’s one off to his right with a spotted top-side.  Their underbelly’s were white.

IMG_7687  If you look really closely, you can imagine that you’re seeing his knife-blade proof gloves on his hands–I think they are a wise precaution.  Of course, the other fish were hungry too and were constantly trying to take the food from the diver.  It was quite fascinating.

The tank was so cool, I started looking around Nashville for things that 1-6 year old boys would like and found that they have a zoo too (CLICK HERE!!!).  It’s sure be cool to go down there during our Indiana Christmas break and spend 2-3 days checking out the sights in Nashville.  It’s just six hours from my folk’s farm down I-65.  Perhaps we could visit Nadine along the way and even hook up with the rest of the Way bunch along the way.

Devine…

 IMG_7388One of the most unique things we saw in Nashville was a performer who imitated a vine named, Devine–get it: the vine.  She came out to the Cascades Atrium at 11:30 pm and 4:30 pm and performed for an hour each time dressed as a vine with green make-up and really long stilts on her legs and arms.  Here you can see her with her arms out in front while standing on one leg with the other leg kicked back behind her with her foot nearly touching the back of her head.

IMG_7349Here she is doing the splits against a wall.  If you look with discernment, you can perhaps see her two legs up against the wall with one of her legs pointing straight up and one leg point down.  Her arms have long ‘crutches’ in them and are being used to hold her up on the floor there.

I  guess she was just one of the employees there at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.  It took an amazing amount of flexibility, strength, balance, and poise to do what she did. to help clear her away of pedestrians, “Stand back, may way for her,” she’d call out from time to time.

Making up the costume were leaves, grapes, branches and gloves.  The only part of her that was visible was her face, but that was green and purple, which was a pretty wild effect, as you can see.

IMG_7367One of her favorite tricks was to just walk up to something and wrap herself around it, then close her eyes and scan the crowd and stretch, then relax for a while. IMG_7482 Every now and then, she would single out a person in the audience and wrap her long limbs around them.

I guess the thing that strikes me the most about the whole thing is it begs the question, “Why do we have a person walking around impersonating an inanimate object?”  IMG_7292What would a feminist think of it?  Is there an underlying message here about women, or about vines, or large crowds?  How is it in society, that when we have a lot of people together in one place that it becomes feasible for a person to make a go of it dressing up like a vine and wraping herself around this and that with green make-up on. 

Don’t get me wrong here.  Everyone that I saw who saw her really thought it was cool. And I thought it was cool too.  But where is the place in society for this type of performer?  What role does this fulfill, the vine?  Obviously it’s a type of performer.

What about the objectification of women, is this something we need to encourage or not?  What is the roll of synchronized swimmers, or gymnasts, or dancers?

I guess the overall impression I got was that it was beautiful and amazing that she had that type of balance and strength and got to “show off” each day on a stage that she made for herself.  But I have to admit, it did have an element of ‘freak show to it.’

The Gaylord Opryland Hotel!

Six of us went to a phenomenal conference by ASCD (CLICK HERE!!!) at the Gaylord  Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN.  There were about 2900 attendees, and the hotel did not even seem full, except at lunch time when everyone was scrambling for a meal.

It’s like a cruise ship that’s 10 times larger than any other cruise ship, that has more to do on it than any other cruise ship ever built, only it never goes anywhere.  Quite an amazing place. It’s on a plot of land that contains 3.5 mile long mall (if you were to walk all through it, and is also adjacent to the Grand old Opry, so it’s got built-in entertainment that is top quality (if you like country music).

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The hotel covers 47 acres of land and is expanding this next year to include an additional 400,000 square feet, most of which will be conference space but which will include an additional 400 rooms.  Note that it currently has over 2800 rooms. Here’s a photo of the room I had a the hotel (see above).  Notice the 32″ flat screen LCD TV with on demand movies, notice the cool round pillows too plus the other four pillows on each bed–cool.  I talked to the maid for my room and she said that she was responsible for cleaning 16 of the rooms–she does a great job–almost as good as Holly at making the bed.

IMG_7585 Here’s a view of 1/2 of one the three atriums in the place.  The roundish brick structure about half-way back is a restaurant/bar that rotates!  Wow!  Notice the glass ceiling that encloses the plants–this area is climate controlled year-round and is absolutely stunning.

IMG_7513Here’s one of the plants  pictured below.  Obviously someone there, really knows how to grow plants.

I took a ton of photos here as you might well imagine and will hopefully find some time to blog about the rest of the hotel at some later point.  As for what we learned at the conference, that’s too long to blog about, but I will say that we should start heading in new directions on certain things this next year and in the years to come.

So I went through Chicago…

The photo below was taken in Chicago…

IMG_6849 I had to leave the fishing grounds early to go to a teacher conference in Nashville, TN.  It was tough leaving the grounds because we were making pretty decent money and the weather was still calm.  I hope that’s a harbinger of things to come.

I was really tired during the entire trip because I slept only three hours on Sunday and four hours on Monday.  It took three hours to get from the fishing grounds just off Mab Island to the slip where I tied up my boat in Auke Bay. 

The next day, I woke up at four and went to take a shower.  Note to self: bring quarters to the harbor next time I want to take a shower.  I got to the shower so early there was nowhere to get any change, so I started preparing for the shower without a towel from the sink routine, but then I discovered that my taxi arrived 15 minutes early and so I went outside and got some quarters from him.  They really do have some nice facilities there at Auke Bay (Juneau’s northern small boat harbor) and it was rally nice to get cleaned up.

On the way to Nashville, we went through SeaTac Chicago.  I love both those airports.  The hallways are so big and dramatic.  Above is a shot of one of the concourses.  What I really like is the curved glass windows

IMG_6837In Seattle, I ate a HUGE burrito at the Qdoba Mexican Grill at the food court Pavilion that overlooks the tarmac.  It was delicious, but ungainly.  Instead of making a tubular shape out of the burrito, they folded it into a square.  Bummer.

In general, I dislike traveling, but I do like seeing the airports and going into the bookstores to look at the new titles.

Haines defeats Eilson in OT by 6!

This was, by far, the most intense and emotional game of the tournament for the team, going into overtime to win, after coming from behind without their big man, Ame, who fouled out with over 5 minutes to play in the game, the Bears showed that they know how to fight, clear through to the end, and never give up. 

IMG_1258b Kyle Fossman scored 31, including 6 in overtime to edge out Eilson in the closing minutes of overtime.

IMG_0918_2n The game was played in the smaller court where often the smaller schools play their semifinal games.  ASAA tries to get as many schools as possible a chance to play in the big arena and so this is about as far as many of the teams go.  The big black curtain is an odd thing to have as a background. 

IMG_0988_2n It was an edge of the seat game with Haines trailing

So, we’ve really made it to the big time.  Championship on the big floor.