The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Teaching, Directing, And Other New Adventures July 22, 2017

Hello all!  What a hot, hot day here in my world.  So much has been going on lately, it’s quite crazy.

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First of all, I think I have probably posted before about going back to college, getting my degree after 30, my one year of teaching, the tornado, the house fire, how difficult it all was, and how I survived and grew stronger, but I didn’t really think I’d ever be able to teach again?  Well… I wouldn’t have believed it, but the Universe had other plans.  An opportunity arose, I seized it, and now I am the new 10th grade English teacher at my hometown high school!!  It’s almost miraculous, honestly.  I would probably never have gotten the chance without the help of a couple of amazing women and outstanding teachers, my friends D.B and D.J.  Between the two of them, they made me aware of the opportunity, encouraged me to go for it, prepared me for it, put in good words for me, and are helping make my first year back in about nine years easier by leaving a road map of lesson plans and complete units for me to use.  I am excited and nervous, and scared and thrilled and determined and ready.  I just pray so hard that I do a good job and make a difference in my students’ lives!!

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Theatre things are also cooking along like crazy.  I am now not only on the Board of Directors for the theatre, I’m the VP.  That in itself would be amazing for me, but on top of that, in their wisdom or insanity, I’m never sure which, my fellow board members voted to allow me to direct a show in the next season!  I’ll be directing a small cast play in March and April, called Ripcord by David Lindsay-Abaire. I am so, so looking forward to it, and I am so amazed and thrilled they gave me a chance.  In other news, the theatre is doing Oklahoma! this summer.  It has already opened and has five performances left.  I am planning to see it tonight and I’m sure it will be wonderful.

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Theatre is bittersweet for me now, in a lot of ways. It is one of those places where the faces stay the same but the relationships ebb and flow, and someone you felt close to in one show may feel like a stranger in the next.  Or you may feel you fit in, and then feel like a stranger peeping in the window of your own living room.  I miss certain people who used to be part of it all, and I miss feeling like I am close to the heart of it.  Oddly, I became VP and immediate began to struggle with my enthusiasm for it, in the face of changing friendships and allegiances.  But I suspect that’s normal.

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I’m really looking forward to tonight, though.  As I said, the theatre is doing Oklahoma! this summer and my mom and I are taking my 90 year old grandfather.  I think he will very much enjoy the show.  I was supposed to be shadowing the director on this one, learning and preparing for my directorial debut, but after I got the school job, everything else in my mind just kind of jumped into the backseat and I gradually faded out of the show.

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Also, my son has had a rough summer.  He did some summer school, which he hated, but he has also been struggling with his moods and emotions, and it has been difficult.  We struggle on a daily basis to be able to see his path and his future, and it is… well, difficult.  He is just not your average bear, and we have a hard time knowing what to do with him.

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Clearly I have a million things occupying my mind, so much so that sometimes, like now, when I want to be able to SAY something, my brain is nothing but drowsiness and white noise.  OH!  I have also been doing my best to plan another trip back to Alaska, AKA The Mother Ship.  If all goes well in school this year and I am rehired for next year, I am taking The Boy and myself, and we are going to the Great Northern Frontier, and we are going to have many, many adventures.  No matter what!

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I think maybe that’s all for now.  I’m going to do my best to write more often here.  Maybe I’ll find something worth saying.

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Until Next Time,

D.

 

Leaving On a Jet Plane… November 2, 2015

Filed under: Alaska Summer,Looking Forward — DDKlingonGirl @ 9:20 pm
Tags: , ,

Hello, all!  I have been back at home again for five weeks.  I had promised to share the end of my Alaska adventures, and so this post will include some final images covering the State Fair and the last couple of days at the lodge. I wish I could really articulate how much the experience of living and working in Alaska meant to me. It was truly a dream come true.  Not every moment was dreamy, obviously.  It was occasionally very hard.  The self-critical part of me has a tendency to say it was all in my head, and that if I had somehow changed my outlook, my perspective, my attitude, it would have been thoroughly peachy.  I’m pretty sure that is not entirely true, and that I did the best I could with what I had at the time, and that I need to quit ragging on myself.  I’ll work on it.

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For now, though, I am home.  Back into old routines, old job, etc.  There are some new things. About three weeks after I got home, Daughter J. got married.  Definitely not something I fully embraced at the time, but she is happy.  I also was able to get new vehicles for myself and Daughter S.  Not new, new.  New to us.  Definitely the nicest, prettiest cars I’ve ever owned- an ’07 and an ’08.

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Another thing that will stay the same, obviously, is that I remain involved in my beloved Ardmore Little Theater.  A few days after I got home I attended closing night of “Harvey.”  The next show opens November 12, which is “Of Mice and Men.”  After a break for the holidays that will hopefully include working on the parade float and doing some caroling at the senior centers, the major musical of the season will be “Fiddler On the Roof.”  A couple of weeks ago I was asked to be Stage Manager for Fiddler, and I am super excited but very nervous.  It will only be my second time to SM and it is a huge cast and a classic favorite of many people.  It is important to me to help make it excellent. I am very much looking forward to stage managing again.

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So all in all, things are good and I am happy to be home with my family and friends.  I definitely miss my new friends I met in Alaska.  I don’t think I ever expected to meet people I would learn to love so much.  I will forever be thankful for the time I had there, and hopefully I will get to return someday, maybe even bringing some of my loved ones with me to share in the experience.

Until next time,

D.

 

A Photo Walking Tour August 26, 2015

(Originally begun on 8/23)

Hello, all!  Things here in Alaska are still wonderful, and the wonderfulness quickly approaches an end.  One of the girls from the gift shop is leaving today, with three more leaving by the 31st of August.  It’s beginning to get pretty weird.

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BUT.  I still have time to share my adventures, and to write about all the things I see and do, so today I got up and took a walk through a part of the property I had never been through before.  Sure enough, it was a rewarding walk well worth the time.  The property is divided into two loops around which are situated the guest buildings.  The main lodge building houses a very few guest rooms, as well as the general manager’s home, the gift shop, the Mountain View dining room, and the Grizzly Bar.  Employee housing is above the upper loop, so that’s really the only one we ever have occasion to see, as we walk to and from work.  The lower loop I had never explored until today.

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Employee housing is out past T and the gift shop is G. That long road between is the one I am following in this entry.

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The weather is gorgeous.  The mountain is mostly out, and the guests are in ecstasy, posing proudly and taking pictures with that incredible sight in the background.  They are very lucky, as you might remember.  There is a thing here called the ‘30% Club’ because there is only about a 30% chance of viewing the entire mountain on any given day.  If you get to see it, you’re in the club.  A lot of people have visited here this summer wondering if the whole thing was a hoax, because believe it or not, there are days when you literally can’t tell there is even a mountain there.

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So as I mentioned before, it is a beautiful day and I only have so many of those left, and I want to be sure I don’t miss anything I will regret.  I took my shower, gathered my work clothes and all my other junk needed for the day, stuffed it all in my backpack, and set out on my walk.  The pictures I am going to be sharing here will include a sort of “photo walking tour” of the route I take to get to work, starting with the view from out my front door.

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Continuing on, I walk behind the housing and down through the maintenance buildings.  Behind the maintenance buildings is The Infamous Hell Hill.  This was the hill that I only take going to work.  I refuse to climb up it going back to the room afterward.  Yes, I am sure it would probably have benefitted me, but geez louise, that thing is steep and it feels like the chest wheezes it induces will last forever!

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I stopped halfway down and took another picture from the hill.  When I get to the bottom, I cross a little road where if you look back left there is more employee housing.  Then you have to choose to take either a rocky, rough little trail, or take a few extra steps on the pavement and go to the stop sign and turn the corner.  Before that though, I want to show you a picture of a very important spot in my experience here.  You can see it in the middle picture above, but I am about to show you another view of it.  When my friend was looking through my pictures of my walk this day, she was curious as to why I took a picture of something so seemingly random, but I am about to tell you the story.

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Looks pretty ordinary, doesn't it?

Looks pretty ordinary, doesn’t it?

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Well, I was going to tell you a much longer version of this story, but then I hit the wrong button and froze my screen and lost what I had done.  The point was, this was where I sat to catch my breath, the first day I was here, having walked up Hell Hill IN the rain, WITH a 20 pound box and a 5 pound purse, NOT knowing where I was going or how with any certainty I was to get back to my room.  This was where I sat and made probably the biggest mistake of this whole experience.  I sat there, drenched to the skin, huffing and wheezing and more or less in tears, and I told myself, “If I stay here and stick this out, it will be the hardest thing I have ever done.”  It was only much later that I regretfully realized what I should have said to myself in that moment:  “Wow.  That was really really hard, but I did it.  If I can do that, the rest of this thing should be a piece of cake!”

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Ah, well.  Lesson learned.  Moving on.

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Continuing down the hill toward the lodge.  Believe it or not, it is actually fall here.  The trees are changing colors and losing their leaves, and there are bright colored berries on some plants along the way.  My beloved fireweed has turned from beautiful bright pink blooms to spiky stalks of cottony fuzz, which apparently means winter is only a few weeks away.  So strange!  Anyway…

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This is the road down to the lodge, and a line of buses that were there one day when I went down for lunch. Some days there are a LOT of buses there at that time.  I am totally losing the thread of this entry, aren’t I?  Here are some of the images I captured on my walk around the lower loop on this beautiful day.

So those were some of the sights I enjoyed on my walk.  Here is a short clip of the water feature. Stay tuned for my next entry, where there is a strange but lovely surprise.

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Until next time,

D.

 

This Day Went to the Dogs! August 2, 2015

Filed under: Alaska Summer — DDKlingonGirl @ 4:26 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Hello, all!  Greetings again from Alaska!  First off, let me give you this awesome piece of news:  the videos are uploaded!  I edited the last two posts to include the takeoff for the flight tour and the glacier landing and takeoff vids.  There now, aren’t you tickled? 🙂  Now then, I am hoping you are waiting to hear what super-fun adventure I’m going to share with you today.  So wait no longer- today’s post is going to be covering the Sun Dog Kennel Tour!

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First of all, if you aren’t familiar with the Iditarod sled dog race, it’s an amazing event.  I can’t even imagine the stamina and perseverance necessary to compete in this race, both for the humans and the dogs.  But make no mistake- in this race, the athletes are definitely the dogs.  They are highly skilled, precisely trained professional athletes who also happen to have a natural gift for and love of their sport.  Wow.  It’s the Doggie Olympics, basically.

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So on this particular day off, I boarded the Talkeetna shuttle, as so many days off begin.  The ride to TKA takes an hour or so, and is usually uneventful.  The first few trips on that shuttle when we got here way back in May, we saw a moose or two alongside the road, but I haven’t been lucky enough to see another one since then.  When I got to town, I went to the Kahiltna Bistro, which is where both the kennel tour and the fishing tours offered by this lodge originate. The same family owns the restaurant and operates both tours.  I checked in, had some time to kill before the tour, went walking, blew money on a pair of earrings for myself from one of the gift shops, and returned to wait for the tour.

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Finally it was time to start and they loaded us into a big black van.  (Yeah, I know that sounds like the beginning of a really bad-ending story, but it’s not.)  We took a short drive of less than five minutes to the kennel site.  Their yard and buildings were beautiful.  There were flowers hanging in pots and planted in garden beds and the first thing I thought was that I wished my mom could see them.  Unfortunately, genius me, I wasn’t quick enough to take any pictures for her.  During the short ride I was able to discover that my co-tourists were from… Denton, TX, less than an hour from where I live.  It is always fun up here when I run into someone so “close” to home, so to speak.

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The led us into a little building where they gave their presentations.  There were little seats all around the walls and the floor was painted with a map of the race with all its checkpoints.  They had sleds and equipment hanging overhead and on display in the floor.

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After a short orientation in which the tour guide told us a little bit about how the race worked, how they took care of the dogs, etc., they divided us into groups and led us out to the area where the dogs were kept.  Dozens of them, all with their own little houses.  As they walked down among the dogs, choosing the ones who were going to get to perform that day’s pulling demonstration, the dogs just went crazy.  It was obvious that they loved to work and once the ones who weren’t chosen realized it wasn’t their day, they settled down and looked completely dissatisfied.

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The demonstration consists of hitching up a full team of dogs to a modified vehicle like a small jeep.  Don’t worry- they didn’t have to pull its full weight.  They were helped along by the motor running, but they were still definitely doing a lot of pulling. The teams we had been divided into before were the groups we would ride with in the vehicle, because it only held about six people.  The teams were named for checkpoints in the race.  I didn’t take notes, (because basically I’m a goober) so I can’t tell you our team names.

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Each team took a short ride behind the dogs, the rest of the people riding in the van, keeping up with the dogs until the next stop.  At one point they stopped and let them go down into a creek and cool off.  They were so cute rolling in the water and drinking.  It was a fairly warm day, so I know they had to be hot.  Their tongues hang out to the side when they run.  It’s kind of funny.

 

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When we had all ridden behind the dogs, we returned to the kennel and they were unhitched and we were allowed to pet and praise them.  They all looked tired but happy.  Finally, the most anxiously awaited part of the tour arrived: the part where we got to hold and play with the puppies, to help “socialize” them.  They have to get used to being handled a lot during their training and by vets and judges during the races.  There were two different moms with puppies; one litter was 40 days old and one was only 3 days old.  So.  Stinkin.  Cute!!

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As soon as everyone had had a chance to hold the puppies, the tour was over.  We loaded back into the van and returned to the restaurant where we were dropped off.  I knew I wouldn’t have time to get back to the lodge in time for supper, so I went in search of a good place to eat.  My friend Natti B enjoys eating at a little place called WestRib.  She says they have the best burgers there, so I decided to give it a try.  A short (5-7 minute) walk through town, and I was there.  I chose a mushroom swiss burger with sweet potato fries.  (Looking at the pic now, they may have been regular fries.  I don’t remember.  I just remember I was hungry and they were good.  I ate every crumb.)

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It was super tasty, but unfortunately they took just a little too long, and I ended up missing the 7:30 shuttle and had to kill time waiting for the 9:00.  I ended up getting my second scoop of fireweed ice cream.  Still not really describable.  I feel almost certain it must taste like some other kind of berry that I’m just not familiar with, but I have no idea.  All I know is that I truly can’t describe the taste.

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Finally the shuttle came and I caught a ride back to the lodge.  I believe it was on this shuttle ride that I began amusing myself by composing my bus driver safety speech to the tune of Les Mis music.  I haven’t finished it yet, but I will post it here in its own post as soon as I do.  I know, there is no superlative adjective for nerdy.  Nerdiest?

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Anyway.  Thanks for reading me, and for coming along on my Alaskan journey.  Look for my next post soon, which will be about my ride on the Hurricane Turn train!

Until next time,

D.

Bonus Video: Huskies Howling

 

Pause and Breathe Before the Wild Ride to the End July 28, 2015

Hello, all! Greetings from Alaska, again. Today is an odd day around here. People have begun to see light at the end of the tunnel. It hasn’t been an easy summer, I guess, for a lot of the employees here at Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. A lot of people have left the lodge sooner than they intended, whether due to needing better pay, a loss in the family, a year-round job offer, or just a decision that this wasn’t the place for them. Some will leave before the end of the season to go back to school, and some will be here until the end. For many of us today, the following image sums up the mood:

For a couple of reasons...

For a couple of reasons…

 

I think first of all, the realization that it will be August in just a few days has put the heart back into a lot of us.  Despite the difficulties, we are making it.  Time is passing and soon this summer will be behind us, for better or worse.

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Secondly, something was done today that made us realize that it will all be over before we know it.  They posted on the wall a list of all the employees and their departure plans- last working day and when they were scheduled to be on a bus.  Naturally some of them needed to make changes, inform management of different plans, etc., but for the most part, the crowd around the list of names on the wall reminded me of checking to see who made the cheerleading squad or got cast in the lead role.  It seeemed to catch people by surprise, either way.

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For the last few days, a quote has been flitting through my head, provided by my all-time favorite TV show, M*A*S*H.  It’s from the episode where they are interviewing them for the documentary, the black and white episode.  Hawkeye says, “I think…I’ll never forget the day I go home.  Right now I can’t imagine it.”  Now please don’t think I’m comparing a summer working at a cruise hotel to a tour of duty in the Korean war; I think you know better than that.  But the sentiment is the same.  The sense of anticipation, of accomplishment, is the same.  The sentiment.  Knowing we have made it through something that isn’t exactly easy for everybody.

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After we all spotted the list for the first time, I can’t speak for anyone else, obviously, but as I was walking up the dreaded hill back to housing (yes, it’s still not something we look forward to- I’m still red-faced and sweaty by the time I get back to my room) I was listening to my iTunes on my exercise playlist, and an oldie but a goodie came on: “Ain’t Nothing Gonna Break My Stride,” by Men At Work.  That one always seems to help push me, always makes me strut a little, and today especially, the lyrics “…the road behind was rocky, but now you’re feeling cocky” were particularly pointed.

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As anyone who knows me well could tell you, I can apply music to just about any situation in life.  For example, the last two times I have been on one of our motorcoaches riding back from Talkeetna, I have been composing my own version of the “bus driver safety speech” (which all the drivers have to give, and most put their own spin on) to the music of Les Mis!  I’ll share that one later, but it just serves as an example of how anything involving music fascinates me.  The point of all that was to explain why I was struck by another song lyric that crossed my radar yesterday.  It was my day off and I took the opportunity to ride on the Alaska Railroad.  I will cover that in a separate post, but the song lyric was from a great song I’ve always liked, “Time of Your Life” by Green Day.  Someone had scribbled it on a pizza box I saw sitting on one of the tables on the train:

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“It’s something unprdedictable, but in the end it’s right. I hope you have the time of your life.”

 

I was just struck by those words and how accurately they summed up this summer so far.  I also noted, for what it’s worth, that was my twin daughters’ senior song.  Hmmm…..

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Anyway.  I know I still owe you guys a post about my big flight tour and my other day-off adventures.  I will get on those right now.  I just wanted to share this day and this feeling with you while it was fresh in my mind.  I basically compare it to cresting the top of the highest hill on a roller coaster.  This is the pause before the mad rush to the final run.  It’s the light at the end of the tunnel, the second wind.  In other words… we’re gonna make it!

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Thanks again for reading!

Until next time,

D.

 

Picture Post: Three Rivers Tour July 9, 2015

Filed under: Alaska Summer — DDKlingonGirl @ 6:44 pm
Tags: , ,

Hello all.  Pictures.  Day off.  Three Rivers Tour.  Enjoy.

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This is Mr. Stubbs, the Mayor of Talkeetna.  Seriously.

This is Mr. Stubbs, the Mayor of Talkeetna. Seriously.

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Errm…

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This is my friend Courtney. We took this tour together.  She takes good selfies and she is leaving for another job today.

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Thanks for joining me.

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Until next time,
D.

 

A Cold Rainy Day Can’t Stop the Good Times! July 1, 2015

Filed under: Adventures in Gainful Employment,Alaska Summer — DDKlingonGirl @ 9:35 pm
Tags: , ,

Hello all!  Time to catch up on the adventures I’ve had on my days off.  It’s been three weeks since this next adventure, and unfortunately some of the details will escape me, but the important part is I had fun, right? Of course it is.  Here we go…

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June 9, on my day off it was cold and rainy, but I wanted to take advantage of the time I had.  I took one of several tours that starts here from the lodge instead of having to ride the bus an hour to Talkeetna. It was really a cute tour- a covered wagon ride!  They picked us up in front of the lodge…

I can't remember the horses' names right now but I THINK one of them was Snorty.

I can’t remember the horses’ names right now but I THINK one of them was Snorty.

…and off we went.  The first stop was at an overlook which would have had an unparalleled view of Mt. McKinley, had it been a clear day.  Instead we got a still-beautiful view of the cloudy, mist-covered valley and the trees bright with rain.  It was kind of magical.

Down in the Vaaaaaalley!

Down in the Vaaaaaalley!

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We continued on.  One of the other guests on the tour noticed that the horses were working so hard and creating so much heat there was steam coming off of them.  Not that they were really working terribly hard.  Their full strength could pull about five times the weight of the wagon we were in.  We came to the main part of the tour, where we met three really special characters:  Lucky, Baby, and He Whose Name I Can’t Remember.

They were shaggy but cute.  We would get quite up close and personal later. :)

They were shaggy but cute. We would get quite up close and personal later. 🙂

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First we all gathered around the gold panning trough for a turn at panning for gold.  Our guide, Monty, demonstrated the panning technique.  Each of us were given a little plastic gold pan with a small amount of rock and gravel in it and allowed to try our hand at it.  I had seen it done before, and actually own a gold pan exactly like the one we were using, which I got when I went to Colorado as a kid.  Each pan was guaranteed to have a few flecks of placer gold in it, and sure enough, mine had some in the bottom after Monty had helped me do it right.  (read: did it for me.)  While his wife Nina was conducting the next part of the tour with us, Monty fished the gold out of each of our pans and laminated it to a card that we got to keep:

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While Monty was laminating the cards, Nina was helping each of us prepare a s’more treat around the fire they had burning under a gazebo with log seats around it.  While we ate them and enjoyed the fire, she told us about a few of the different plants and flowers around us.  The s’more was tasty, and the fire smelled so good!

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While we were eating our snack, I was looking around at all the amazing examples of antlers and horns they had sitting around.  Little did I know what they had in store for us with those.  It began with Nina asking who had a special occasion, like an anniversary.  There were three couples on the tour with me- two who were old friends and neighbors from Georgia, and one couple from Bermuda.  So one of them had an anniversary not too far in the future, and it turned out that they made them wear the moose antlers and try to get a kiss.

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I was quite pleased I was on the tour alone and didn’t have any occasion coming up, until I realized they were going to get everyone under the antlers, one way or another, so of course I ended up with my turn.

Am I not the cutest little girl-moose ever?? :)

Am I not the cutest little girl-moose ever?? 🙂

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So then we got to the part of the tour I had heard much about.  Nina gave us a piece of graham cracker to hold in our mouth for the caribou to take from us, and we got our picture taken “kissing” a caribou.  See?  I told you we got up close and personal later.

Pucker up, Sugar Lips! :)

Pucker up, Sugar Lips! 🙂

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After the Caribou Kissing, we returned to the lodge.  My friend Courtney and I decided to go ahead and do the bus ride thing, and went to Talkeetna for supper and a little roaming.  We walked all around the vie, played by the train, took some silly pictures, and finally got back to the lodge on almost the last bus of the night.

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Stay tuned for the next adventure:  Courtney and I take the Three Rivers Jet Boat tour.

Until next time,

D.

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The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Broadside

Smart and surprising

Mostly Bright Ideas

Some of these thoughts may make sense. But don't count on it.

Mad Scientist.Crazy Mom

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A Clean Surface.

simplicity, organization, inspiration, minimalism, humor...and reality

Princess Nebraska

If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. If would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in a cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it. -Frances Hodgson Burnett

She Likes Purple

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Crazy with a side of Awesome Sauce

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

musings of a madwoman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Glam-O-Mommy

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

happily ever me

a life in progress

Our Little Geekling

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller

mighty maggie

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Writing Finger

Translations of Poetry from Galician and Spanish into English

The Better Man Project ™

a journey into the depths

An Unexplored Wilderness

A writer's journey