Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Have I ever mentioned that I love Alaska?

This trip has already been pretty epic, and we've been here for less than a week! The first 5 days were spent in Anchorage with Nate, who's a bush pilot and flight instructor there. Five days weren't enough. We packed a ton into that time but you always wish for another evening to chat, another day to bum around A-town or hike the woods.

And it's amazing...My 88 yr. old Grandpa joined mom, dad and I on this trip! Is he a trooper or what? He's having the time of his life. Having him along on this trip is so meaningful to all of us.

When we stepped off the plane in Anchorage, and were plunged into fall. (Is it really still summer back home?) In Alaska the tundra is changing to a thousand shades of gold, red orange and yellow.... and some of the highest mountaintops already have a dusting of snow.

Okay: I'll quit talking now.
Pictures do more justice. :)

We loved visiting Alyeska Resort and taking the tram to the top of the mountain.
Gorgeous scenery.

We stopped for lunch before heading out to visit Portage Glacier.
It's hard to describe the massive size of what you're looking at here... so incredible!

Nate saved me from being eaten by a bear.
What a brother!
And speaking of "What a brother," not everyone has a bro who can take them on a flight over glaciers and mountains! How fun!
This is the airport at which Nate teaches, Merrill Field.
We flew over the Knik Glacier. Over 5 miles wide!!
It was cool to see bear, moose, and beluga whales from the air.

The 6 hr. cruise out of Seward was also a highlight of our time. What a spectacular harbor!

The first half of our cruise was super rainy but Nate and I loved the rough seas. :) The second half was beautiful and we saw a ton of wildlife!
A fleeting glimpse of a humpback whale
Two seals... can you believe how they blend in? :)
A rock full of lazy sea lions

Driving along the Seward Highway we saw a bear.... MY FIRST BEAR!!!
How fun is THAT!? We were pretty much ecstatic.
Nate was ashamed of his touristy family. (Snobby sourdough!)

A parting shot...

Well golly, whoda' thought I'd see my good pal Sarah Palin while shopping?
She said she's heard of my famous Sarah Palin Imitation and begged me to do it for her.
She loved it.
She actually endorsed it.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A little diddy

This morning I was thinking about my brother and sister Carlee and Nate on their birthday today, and I was missing them.
At times like this it is the deep, raw emotion of the moment that births a song within my inmost being and thus, I found that the words poured from my heart onto paper. The tune was not long in coming (a very complex tune, as you will see) and now, I present to you, Carleen and Nathan,

An Ode To August 9th

...Sorta' in the style of Johnny Cash (deepest apologies to him).

Happy birthday, sibs!

Monday, August 08, 2011

In Which I Wax Eloquent About My Happy Place...

Ah, yes.
My happy place. Blossom!

The place that never seems to change, and when I'm there it seems as if nothing else has changed either. I've gone there with my family nearly every Summer since I was young enough to remember. we sit on the massive grassy slope and listen to the Cleveland Orchestra playing in the ampatheater below while gradually, as dusk sets in, a thousand crickets and cicadas tune up for an orchestra of their own-- my favorite sound in all the world, other than the voices of people I love.

And then, as if the two blending orchestras weren't enough, God sets his stars blazing one by one overhead while we lay on the blanket and gaze up at the sky.

There are always lovers sitting together and sipping wine and nibbling on cheese from the dainty basket they brought along (it's the most romantic spot EVER), and more than one family passing around munchies from their clunky coolers. Elegant couples light candles on the grass around their chairs and groups of young people in jeans and T-shirts pass around sodas. It's the quintessential meld of young and old, fun and formal, elegant and casual. It's a place of culture, which I always find reassuring in a society that has, I believe, lost much of its enjoyment of the finer arts and music. It's a place where TV and computer are absent and people are present; together; enjoying each other. (Except for the few folks I saw whipping around ipods. Come on people. Fer real?? That's just bad. It's a free country but not THAT free...The Blossom Police should ban it. In fact since it's so important to me they should make ME the Blossom Police.) Anyhow.

So Blossom is one of my favorite places in the world, because it's a mix of all my favorite things: my favorite people (family), my favorite sounds (crickets and the Cleveland orchestra), my favorite site (stars) and the nostalgia of tradition....which has become very precious to me. Yep, like Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof I'm all about traditions. :)

And one other cool thing about Blossom this year: I had a hot date.

...Yessirree! :)

Mom, Dad, Grandpa and I at Blossom

Now I know you must be DYING to visit Blossom, but perhaps you live too far away. If so, I've gone to all the trouble of recording a bit of last night's performance so you can catch a bit of the feel of my Happy Place. You can even hear the crickets too. :)

For anyone else who's reading this and lives in Ohio, you really ought to attend and take me along. I'd be a first-rate tour guide.

As long as you feed me.

'Cuz part of the tradition involves snacks.

(Cherries, among other things.)