Just playing

Another successful morning selling things I had not planned to sell, but am glad they have found a new home, this includes 4 lamps, a bookcase, small 3 drawer chest, a small round table with glass top, 2 rugs and my trundle bed.

My friend Cheri and I decided to take advantage of the snow today… so went snowshoeing. What a blast!!!  We went out to Haines golf course… one of the flatter areas in this area (the beach is the other flat area). Still had to get up and over snow berms, but oh my was it beautiful out there. The silence was absolutely golden.  Her two corgi’s were “swimming” in the snow, but we couldn’t get them to break trail for us no matter how we tried.  They had a blast too.  So here are a couple of pictures of me – decked out in layers…

My new snowshoes

These snowshoes – bought via L.L. Bean, are the best ones I have tried. Wish I had spent the money to get them before or maybe I would have been snowshoeing more often. Its a no brainer hiking in these. Happy to have them.

Almost look like an eskimo

My snow pants are now too big… have a belt holding them up, but they still keep me dry and that is what’s important. My winter coat tho… by the end of the hike, was not the best coat to wear. Hmmm… need to think of another type. I got too hot. Not exactly wise to strip down out in this weather, but I was tempted.

Happy to be snowshoeing

All in all, a great day to go snowshoeing. Been waiting all winter to do this.  When we got back to town, I went and broke a new trail to my rig…. deep, deep snow.  Hopefully it won’t rain tomorrow, but this is sure pretty today to go out for a hike. Happy, happy to be out hiking!


My freebie sale was successful. All but 2 small boxes of stuff is left. Impressive! There was no rush of people, but a steady line of people, despite the weather. Whew! Glad that’s done.

If you have been following my blog… you will note that I said if winter was going to show itself in Haines, it would wait until I was getting ready to leave.  Considering it has rain all winter so far, I knew Mother Nature was just waiting for this crucial timeframe.

Well… the hurricane forced winds finally settled down.  And a huge squadron of planes roared into Haines early yesterday morning during a quiet spell – as no mail, food, ferries or anything else has been able to reach us. The squadron of planes even impressed the locals.

Mid morning

Last night… it started snowing. The winds whipped the powder snow into a full blown blizzard, which has continued today. Egads is it ever gorgeous!  Its a treat for me, having not been around it for a few years out on the road. Its an even bigger treat – as I don’t have to dig myself out of it. I can sip my hot tea as I watch the heavy snow cover the landscape.  The temperatures have warmed up to 4ºF – yes, it feels quite warm considering the wind chill we have been dealing with.

The above picture was mid-morning and a whole lot more snow has fallen since that was taken. My footsteps disappear quickly in this. Note on the above picture – see all the windshield wipers sticking up? A classic example of Haines – almost everyone does this, as they don’t want them to freeze to the window. This snow is not particularly a problem, but if it continues to warm up, it will be ice and useless wipers if not left up like this.

Forecast… if one is to believe… it will be back into the 40’s by weeks end… and rain.  Well… may be that’s a good thing…  I won’t hold my breath just yet. Think I will go fix another cup of tea…

Too busy…

Yes, too busy but as my friend says… it keeps me out of trouble. So time is flying and has been crazy. I seriously have to be reminded what day it is and have to look at a calendar to know what week that day is in.  But I see a light at the end of the tunnel. A welcome relief is rapidly approaching.

So, I asked my friend Cheri to help me haul off the rest of the stuff to the dump. Not going to happen. Between Cheri and others that heard that I just wanted to get rid of the junk… I am now having a “FREE” for the taking sale tomorrow morning. Donations are welcome, but please help yourself.

Well… one of the items listed in the ad, was free rug wool on cones. Within 5 minutes of posting that ad, I had a taker. That was Wed. night. She came took all the rug wool and 90% of the office supplies that I had unearthed by then.  Had 3 weavers contacting me that night – wishing for all that yarn as well, but it was already gone. So yesterday, I unearthed some more yarns… it made it until about 10 this morning. All gone. Tonight, one of my immediate neighbors – took 1/2 of what you see in both pictures.  So I have been scrambling trying to fill the spaces/holes with other stuff.  Funny thing… I don’t have much more to put out here. The freebie sale is tomorrow morning. Well, it is what it is. Thankful it has all gone so smoothly.

Stuffed animals in the bags

Tonight, all my stuffed animals found a good home. I have collected Alaska critters in stuffed animals for years. And I had all of my Mom’s collection of Boyd’s bears.  If none had walked out the door, I was donating them to the police department and/or State Troopers. Found out, that is where most are headed. A very good cause.  And found out today, everything left will be picked up by Haines Hospice for their Annual Spring Auction. Wow!  And I found a zillion greeting cards – my Mom saved every one she was ever given, plus a whole lot of cards bought but never sent. They all found a home with the scrapbookers here in town. Good grief, I had no idea. A tip to others that might be going thru all this – double check each and every card… I found $20 bills, delicate handkerchief, little oil paintings and love letters tucked into the cards. Little treasures.

And I found a quilt that I had made back in the early 1980’s, but never finished. It was 3/4 finished on the hand-quilting of it (no machine quilting on this beautiful quilt!!!), then a bias binding and it would be done. I decided to donate to the quilters group here in Haines, when finished – it will be auctioned off at the Hospice Auction.  So exciting to be done with this aspect.  
Now to start packing in earnest. In the meantime, despite our outlandish weather – 114 mph winds posted today at the lighthouse, no sleep for the weary due to the howling winds, no ferry service, no mail, no food coming in. Bitter cold winds too – temp hovering in single digits – way minus numbers with wind chill. Melinda did something foolish ere…actually just stupid.  The gasket on my side door of my RV is frozen. The door now has a huge gap at the top – the weather is pouring in. Can’t do anything until it warms up. The gasket shattered in the sub zero temperatures, when I tried to shut the door.  I know about this, but yet I still opened up the door to put bigger stuff into the rig. Stupid of me. I got the door re-locked, but the gap is obvious on the top half of the door.  So here’s hoping that the temps warm up before I move into my rig at the end of February or it will be downright chilly living in my RV.  Will hope they carry this gasket here in Haines too.
So am counting the days now. I am so excited.

Gorgeous day!

A huge relief to be done with the shipment to Palmer. I have no clue when it will be delivered, as it is going on standby vs priority… but it is OUT of my house and I am officially done with it.  Can’t describe how happy I am with that task being done, once and for all. Its huge!!!

Mid afternoon – along Chilkoot

So today, awaken to sunshine… honest-to-goodness no clouds in the sky gorgeous, gorgeous sunny day. The blue sky is the bluest of blue in the north country when its cold.  Crystal clear blue. Cold, but breathtakingly beautiful after getting a foot of snow. Yes, I said we got a foot of snow. Our first – love every inch of it.  I was hoping to go snowshoeing, but if lucky will go tomorrow. Today, I had people picking up their purchases, clearing this out of my apartment. Selling a few more odds and ends – such as a bunch of acrylic tubes of paints I found and office supplies. Then delivered other purchased items, visited Mountain Market (a favorite hang out) for a mocha. Got into quite a conversation with a biologist friend we work out with. Picked up a delivery to Wings from Juneau’s U-Haul place I had ordered. And when I got back to my place, we couldn’t get the door to the van open – frozen shut to get the U-haul stuff out of the van. So decided to take a little road trip with the heat on full blast.

What we saw was just stunningly beautiful. My pictures do not do justice to what we experienced.  We decided to see if we could get out to Chilkoot Lake – the road is not maintained in the winter. Usually the only way in is by snow-shoe or skis.  But most of the road was semi-packed snow from others driving out there, so we lucked out. Oh my goodness…

A single swan is in this picture. Too early for swans, but it is at edge of the slushy ice
just below dead center of image.

We haven’t had cold temperatures, so the lake is not frozen. Normally you can ski on this lake in dead of winter – miles out there. Not this year.

Chilkoot Lake

Heavily laden snow branches

Smoking mountains (see the wind blowing at peak?)

There were warning out for today to be quite windy,  but the only wind that has materialized is at the peaks of the local mountains. When it blows, it makes the mountains look like they are smoking.

Low level of water with a low tide and green moss is exposed looking from Chilkoot bridge

Looking back up Chilkoot River from bridge

We saw a few eagles today as well.  It was a great day to go play hooky!  And I’m still playing hooky this evening. No going paperless, no packing boxes… I’m reading a good book.  Its been a great day!


A bridge near Palmer

The above photo was taken years ago by Susan Stevenson, a photographer from North Pole, AK, who was visiting. It was taken in early Spring just as the sun was coming up over the mountains. That use to be the old road out of Palmer, long since been replaced by a modern road.  But I love this old bridge that crosses the Matanuska River.  

The critical deadline is rapidly approaching and that deadline is Tuesday. Minus one set of microfilm boxes that remain elusive, everything else is packed and ready to head to Palmer. Yippee!  Once all this is out of the apartment… it will be a big sigh of relief…
I am now re-focusing on the immediate task at hand. Still going paperless. Packing. Packing the remaining stuff in the apartment and packing the rig.  I have taken advantage of the brief dry spells we get in the weather to haul stuff out to the rig.  Will soon need, to get out there, to process it. That is set up the rig. Dumping stuff on the kitchen table does not qualify as setting up the rig.  Laughing here.  
February is a short month.  The reality of that did not set in until last night, when talking to friends. My friends are returning to Haines February 24th… as our conversation closed they said “see you in 3 weeks!”  Three weeks??? Minor panic attack, then looked at calendar and its more like a month. Whew!  What is this mindset of weeks vs a month?  Actually, everything is running smoothly and I do still get out for Zumba and the Stretch/Toning – both twice a week, plus go visit with my friends.  So its not like I’m all work and no play.  So it could be weeks – as I will be long done by the time my friends come back to town.  

Status update

A touch of color

Well I am duly impressed with what I have accomplished since I arrived in Haines. I was wall to wall, ceiling to floor boxes when I arrived. Barely room to walk a narrow path between bed, bathroom and kitchen.  That was about 10,000 lbs of stuff.  The estimate on my load to leave with is 2,000 lbs and they gave that on the high side.  I know it will be closer to 1,500 or less.  Yippee!!!!   Before I came, my friends at Escapees told me to anticipate still having “stuff”, but to manage to get rid of the bulk of it. That I have done.

This estimate came today.  And further details of what to expect on this move. I’m not doing it thru a moving company. I’m packing it, taking it to the dock and I’m sending my household goods via Alaska Marine Lines, other words on a barge. It will be delivered to Seattle, then must get it across the pond (ere. Puget Sound) to Port Townsend.  All those fine little details will come in due time.  In the meantime….

Just found out Saturday, that my friend Natasha is driving to Wasilla vs flying. What this means is that all the stuff (genealogy books, weaving books, weaving equipment to be sold, etc) that’s heading that way, is going soon – like in 1 week.  So I am scrambling trying to make sure I have pulled it all from my stuff. Surprises still happening… but the bulk is ready to go. And I am now scrambling, more then I was, on going paperless.  I have a fabulous scanner. Its a Fujitsu Scan Snap IX500 – highly recommend this. And its small compact size travels well in the RV. Far superior to the flat bed scanners, altho there is a need for those in certain circumstances.  And when not scanning, am backing up my system on an external hard drive.  Super, non-stop busy.

Am dropping dead into bed at night… can’t even read, my eyelids are so heavy… but it is so worth it. So am hanging in…  vacation is on the horizon. Well, that’s not quite true.. or is it? I will once again be a full-timer and I can’t wait.  I will catch my breath, relax on the ferry trip south.

A couple of weeks ago… I took the Meyers-Briggs Personality Test.  Have you ever taken this? I happen to be the rarest of the 16 personality types.  INFJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging). I laughed, as I knew I was unique… but did not know I was rare!  Laughing here. Actually thought I was a little introverted and extroverted, but guess not.  Very interesting to study this.  See what happens when Melinda gets a little bored with downsizing… knew it was time to change my course in all this.

Haines has heavy rain warning out for Tuesday & Wednesday with high winds on top of that. Warnings about small stream flooding, landslides and mudslides are also posted.  Where is the darn SNOW!!!!

Enough already…

A spot of color

It is January in the north country and its raining, again.  Enough already!  Well, I am tired of this non-winter winter.  The locals said they’ve never seen a snowless winter. Ha!

So I am setting things in motion, therefore changes are happening. I will have a better idea after this coming Saturday but may cancel this next sale for starters. The gal that has been helping all these months is going to sell the rest of this when Spring or Summer arrives – when all the snowbirds come back to town. And I will get to leave early. I am now projecting end of February.
The amount left to sell – that may not be as much as I thought it would be. Yesterday, I sold 2 bar chairs, an end table, a small dresser, my canister set, the Depression glassware I had, a large lamp and 2 small lamps. That is the last of the furniture. Woo hoo!!!
So now am concentrating on fine-tuning the mess, re-loading the rig..  stay tuned.

Unique discoveries

Last June, when visiting an old friend in Palmer, Alaska, I learned about a veggie powder drink that one of her clients drank twice a day.  The client’s daughter in Seattle, makes it. She was really jazzed by it.  I bought a packet, which is enough for twice a day drink for one month. Cost $40.  You add it to juice (I do it with Tropicana Orange juice) or water. Or you could make a smoothie with it. Shake it up with juice – it was quite pleasant. My friend in Palmer thought it had a yucky taste, but she only mixed it with water or apple juice – neither of which I would recommend, its alright, but my least favorite.  Ok I figured I would just try it. Quality food in a small packet can’t be all that bad.

What I did not expect was how it smelled when I first opened the packet (a vacuum sealed bag). It smelled like I just walked into a garden.   Lo and behold, I was not hungry thereafter.  A barrel of energy I have not felt in years and my body functions became normal, instead of slow, sluggish crap it had become. And it became a wow, a huge WOW.   I can’t tell you how many times I re-read the ingredients list, thinking there must be some hidden ingredient to make me feel this fantastic..  Then I learned, due to the fact it bypasses the digestive enzymes and goes straight to your blood stream – you get the full benefits of this nutrition.  Double wow.  If you want the ingredients, just ask me.  She is working on a web page and will be starting soon to sell it from there. I will share that when it becomes available.

The instructions recommend the morning and evening drinking of this. Comes with a scoop to measure it. And for lunch you eat a quality lunch.  No dieting here. Eat a hearty lunch.  And drink plenty of water.  Its the best thing for me living on the road… so easy… and so very good.

Then I ran out and to make a long story shorter…. and as I was the first person, outside of the family and friends of the daughter, in getting this… its been a challenge getting it, until now. Or when I did, it was not the same formula.  Jenny (the daughter) has been working or tweaking it for a few years.  I met her in September in Seattle – a delightful gal, but was stunned to hear how old she was. I figured 30’s, not 50’s. She and her Mom in AK have been drinking this stuff for over 2 years – neither have been sick since they started drinking this. Her Mom is 94 years old.  I can’t say enough good about this product.  Am really jazzed by this discovery.

So onward.  I had injured my neck in Zumba a couple of weeks ago – or was it lifting all these books at the apartment… or was it slipping and falling on the ice…  I don’t know, but I was out of commission for a few days. Then winter decided to show itself (finally!!!) in Haines with raining/snowing 3 inches of slush – what a mess! That’s now rock hard ice. My studs/cleats have zero purchase with this ice, so no walking on it. Then it snowed on top of the ice and went into the deep freeze. Today, its misty rain on top of all this… whoa is me.

But today, I went back to Zumba.  I only did 30 minutes and without weights.  I did not want to abuse my shoulders or neck.  I just love this Zumba…  Today tho, was the first time since starting that I really heard the music. Before, it was just trying to do the fast paced steps. I’m hooked.

Small Zumba class in session

So have been seriously distracted with newfound friends, trying to re-focus to get back at the task at hand.  Probably will get my friend Natasha to come back in to push me along. Her significant other hit a moose a few days ago, totaled his truck. Life is constant change around here.

Hello 2015!

Greetings and all that jazz!

New Year came in like a lamb for me. Went off to bed early without so much as a cheer. Hey! What do you expect when you only have 2 cats to talk with…

Norm, my oldest cat at 12

I seriously believe my boys are just as ready as I am to get back on the road.  They are fighting more, restless and under foot more then normal.  They still won’t drink the water here, even tho I have found a source of well water – that I am loving having access to vs the city water. But… they won’t even drink that. Frustrating…  Their fighting is again triggered by something outside their domain.  Its Tucker that fights whoever is outside the window, but now realize that Norm sneaks up behind Tucker to see what is going on. It surprises Tucker, who growls at Norm then bam… I have another week of hissy fits. Norm is having nightmares too.  I would not have thought cats could have them, but Norm is.  Crazy stuff.

Its entirely possible that they are reacting to me hustling around here. I’m not idling sitting around reading a book. So no lap time, no extra scratches behind the ears… I will attempt to alter this and see if I can see an improvement.

I am very focused at the moment, going paperless on a ton of genealogical sources.  I can’t carry this in my rig, but need the data to continue my research.  I have bags and bags of loose paper heading to the recycle bin each day.  I have found some interesting stuff that I either didn’t remember having or have totally forgotten. Its all being processed and put in its pile (I have a few piles sitting around, aiming for different people).  I think by the end of this week, I will have mastered the critical parts of this… the rest will just have to stay in storage. My Mom’s research in particular.  I have taken photos of all her scrapbooks, etc. She had placed all the family data into archival data storage – its impressive what she did before she lost her eyesight to diabetes. I need to preserve all that.

Next task, is to get another sale set up and run it… it will be one of two big sales I definitely want to do. I have only a few furniture items left to head out the door, a box of old, old books have found a home too, but they are still sitting by the door. As a trade for some Henley rain gear, a guy brought me 8 pints of fresh packed salmon (sockeye & coho) – wow!  Overly generous… but he bought my Weber Water-based Smoker Grill back at the first sale and  he thinks I gave it to him too cheaply. Not! So he keeps coming back with salmon. I am not complaining!!!  Another gal, who bought most of my canning jars, pots and equipment for canning brought back some homemade chutney, salsa and tomato sauce to me. Yum!    And I have made my traditional batch of vanilla extract and have given this out to those coming to my sale. Its still a huge hit…and the word has spread because of it. As many have asked if I’m having another sale and ask about the vanilla. Of course, I am now out of vanilla extract once again. But will give the recipe out to those that ask.

I think I would be pushing it to get out of here at the end of January.  I need to do some more organizing – attempting to get rid of the miscellaneous junk that always collects in one’s home. Then to continue to reload my rig. Do I want to get carpet laid before I load it up??? Or laminate?  Or wait on this a bit longer? Then will call to set up an appointment with a moving company.  A few have suggested Graebel Moving Company… any feedback from my followers of this blog?  Send them onto me.

And a surprise of all surprises showed itself this weekend.  Do you remember me expressing my frustration with Alaska Permanent Dividend, how I would need to hire a lawyer to prove my proof was indeed proof?  Well…. drumroll….  the State deposited my Dividend on December 18th into my account. Shocking!  Absolutely floored the heck out of me.  I have not gotten the refund since 2011, I am just stunned by this, but am so relieved.  Then in another twist of mega proportions… are you sitting down…. the IRS sent me a refund of $1700 for the 2012 taxes they have been harassing me about since October. They had been claiming I owed them. I paid them in October, but continued to get threatening letters up to 2 days before I got the refund check.  I don’t believe the IRS knows its arse from… well, you get the drift. Laughing here.


Christmas tree of old

Merry Christmas everyone!!!  Hope this holiday finds you great joys and peace with your friends and family. Lots of laughter as well.  To all my friends on the road… hugs are in order, be safe and start a new tradition.  

My Christmas’s have been unconventional for several years. The challenge arises in finding a new way to experience it. This year, will be spent with long time friends, a different set from the ones I spent with last year in FL. This year its with John & Cheri, right here in Haines.  It will be relatively low key, but that’s just fine with me.  We might venture up the road to go find snow, so we can do some snowshoeing… or we may sit around the wood stove and spin some yarn.
Well, I’ve had two more sales since I last wrote and I am now done with the weekly sales. Competing with bizarres, the holiday sales, etc has not been in my favor as a rule. But I seriously have no complaints.  I still have a couple of more furniture items to sell – sofa table, end table, two bar chairs and could even sell my trundle bed that I’m sleeping on, but may wait on that for a bit. I managed to find a home for my microfiche/microform reader, donated to the local museum. And my Mom’s wheelchair, walker, bedside commode – donated to Haines Hospice! Thrilled to have found someone for those, as this town is over run with donated medical equipment.  I plan to have two more sales – one of office supplies (gads, I have a ton of that stuff) and then one more for my weaving and spinning friends – yes, I’m going to sell off some of my cones of yarn. Shocking, I know… laughing here.  I can actually see a light at the end of the tunnel.  My goal was to get down to 1500 pounds or less… I’m close, I’m real close…
And now that I have room to stretch around here… I am re-focusing on going paperless. Then finish putting my big loom back together to weave. I want to get some bigger items made that I can not do on my little floor loom in my rig.  May even make some yardage to make some vests, etc.  That will use up some of the cones of yarn (a weight I don’t need to carry in my rig).  And then need to decide when I leave here…
In the meantime… my new love is Zumba.  Wow!  I’m loving every minute of it.  I had wanted to take dance lessons this winter, never dreamed I’d take up and love Zumba.  My body is still rebelling with itself – you know what the hands are doing vs what your feet are doing, but each session its getting so much easier and I feel awesome!!!  Each hour session flies by… what fun!
So on that note.. have a very merry Christmas!