The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

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.

 

Flight Tour of Denali- Part 2 August 1, 2015

Hello all!  This will be part 2 of the adventure of my flight tour of Denali.  When I left you last we were headed for the glacier landing.  Again, I took a video of our landing on the glacier, which I hope to be able to post at some point, but right now internet is not too cooperative.  Anyway.  The landing was pretty bumpy.  If you actually watch the video you will be absolutely certain I am about to die.  But I didn’t.  We landed safely and piled out.  The pilot had told us from the beginning that there were a few men who had been working on a structure called Mountain House that had been built there by famed Alaska pilot Don Sheldon, or someone associated with him, and we were going to be picking up these men and their equipment at the glacier landing, which meant we were actually going to have just a little bit longer stop on the glacier than we normally would have.  Yay, us!

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So we all got out of the plane, and right away I discovered my lovely overboots, meant to keep my shoes and pants legs all nice and dry…were pointless.  The terrain was not as I expected.  I was thinking more of a solid surface with a covering of snow, like what you’d find on a mountain, like a ski field or something.  Clearly I wasn’t really thinking straight.  We were actually landing on a glacier.  Maybe what I expected was that the glacier would be frozen harder, but it wasn’t, at least on top.  What I’m saying is, I sank in slushy snow up to above my knees if I stood in one spot too long.  I am ashamed to say, I let this little fact make me somewhat crabby.  I felt embarrassed because I was the only one who was having this problem.  You get where I’m going with this?

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So anyway.  I took a few steps and sunk down, floundered around and got back on my feet again, took a few steps and here we went again.  One person finally gave me a hand to help me up about the third time I went down, but by this time I was pretty annoyed.  I tried not to let it ruin my experience.  After all, for what could be the one and only time in my life, I am standing on a freakin’ glacier, for cryin’ out loud!  So I tried to look around, take pictures, asked someone to take a picture of me by the plane.  Tried to breathe in the cool air and make it a good memory.  Meanwhile, the pilot was reconfiguring the seats and helping the men who had been working on Mountain House to load their gear.  I was more than ready to get back on the plane and was able to do so, despite the high step and my slippery boots and wet pants and lack of convenient place to grab onto for leverage.

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We took off again and headed back to Talkeetna.  The views were still amazing, and the trip back seemed to take much less time than the trip there, naturally.  I was struck by the fact that you expect snow-covered glaciers to be white and pristine, but as you can see from the photos, a lot of the glaciers were brownish and muddy.  I tried to capture pictures of the bright blue of the glacier, but never felt the pictures did justice to the amazing actual color.  So indescribable!

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We landed back at the airstrip and disembarked.  I claimed my purse and headed back to the lodge, trying to process the experience I’d just been privileged to have. It was beautiful and amazing, despite the little moments that I unfortunately allowed to detract from it.  I was blessed to be able to take that flight, and whether or not it ends up being the one time I ever do a tour like that, it will always be special.

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Ski tracks! Or rather airplane wheel tracks!

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This was a Native lady who had lived in Alaska for years and this was her first time to do this. She and her husband were interesting to listen to, and she rode in the co-pilot’s seat on the way there.

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Glacier Selfie!!! 🙂

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People on other planes had somehow brought sleds and were sliding down the hill.

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One of the Mountain House workers.

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It’s me again, Margaret!

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This is a sign we always see on our way back to the lodge from Talkeetna. It just always makes me think about staying in Alaska and which way I would choose to go if I could.

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Thank you all for reading and sharing my adventures with me.  Lots more still to come- my Sun Dog kennel tour is up next, and I think on my next day off I am going to do the Chulitna River Float tour, so look for that.  It’s still amazing to think that today is August 1st and there are still almost 7 weeks left.  I am looking forward to the State Fair, which runs from August 27 to September 7.  The lodge is supposed to running at least three shuttles there for employees during that time.  Can’t wait!

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Until next time,

D.

 

 

My Flight Tour of Denali- The Great One! July 29, 2015

Hello again.  Ok, I know it’s long overdue.  The next couple of posts will be covering the big adventure I had been looking forward to:  my flight tour around Mt. McKinley.  The date was June 21, Father’s Day.  I had a day off and was able to book a flight for 3:00 in the afternoon.  It was a very pretty day, mostly sunny, and pretty perfect temperature.  The company that Princess uses for their guest tours is called K2 Aviation.

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I went and checked in with the front desk, then was told to pick out my overboots for the glacier landing, which were about as lovely and fashionable as the boots I was sporting on my first tour here, my Talkeetna river float trip with Spiff.

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We waited for quite a while, but that was ok with me because I had found today’s technology nirvana: a place to plug in my phone and charge it. 🙂  I had brought my little regular camera with me, but I take almost all my photos with my phone up here because for right now, I don’t have a way to share the ones I take with that camera.  Finally the pilot came through and called us all outside.  I had placed my purse in a safety locker, because I decided I didn’t need it on the plane and heaven knows I didn’t want to add any more weight!  We walked out to the hangars where there were lots of little planes.  I was hoping ours would be yellow, but we ended up heading for this one:

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The pilot gave us the whys and wherefores and what to do and not do, and so forth.  I was the 5th wheel again, just like I was on the wagon ride tour- there were two couples on the flight, once again much older than I. We chose our seats and got our headphones on.  It was pretty exciting.

You don't have to tell me how cute I look.  I know. :)

You don’t have to tell me how cute I look. I know. 🙂

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Then we taxied out and got ready to take off.  I took a video, which I hope to be able to upload at some point, but the internet here is a little wonky and it never seems to let me upload videos.  So we took off, and it was a much smoother experience than I had expected.  The land was beautiful.  Some of the pictures I took of the winding rivers and streams below us were because they reminded me of the abstract art paintings of a friend of mine:

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Soon we began to get to the glaciers and the snow, and from there on it was just amazement:

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And unbelievable beauty…

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Soon we were headed for the much anticipated glacier landing!

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I will post the rest of the pictures and summarize the experience in a second post.

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

D.
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Edited to Add:  Video is uploaded!

 

A Good, Normal Day June 6, 2015

Hello, all! Today is not a day off, nor have I had any unusually exciting adventures.  I just thought it might make sense to talk a little bit about what everyday normal life is like here.  But first, let me just say I am super sad to be missing some of the Ardmore Little Theatre events that are going on in the next little while.  Tonight is the annual meeting and awards dinner.  A year ago at his event, I was honored with the MVP award, which was very special to me.  Tonight they will reveal the shows for the next season and choose new board members.  I hope all my theatre friends know how much I miss them and wish I could be there.  Also coming up is a show I would dearly love to see, a musical revue to benefit a local outreach center.  I know the show will be awesome and the Grace Center will benefit greatly.

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That having been said, back to Alaska.  I am currently seatimageed in an outdoor gathering area known as the Fire Pits.  Guests can sit out here and chat and look at the mountain.  Most of them choose to do so in the evenings after dinner.  The staff light the fires and make s’mores for the guests.  As an employee I am allowed to sit here, but only out of uniform, dressed in normal clothes to appear as if I too were a guest.  This is the first time I have sat here and there is no one else here.  It is partly cloudy and 56 degrees.

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I have to be at work in a liitle over an hour and a half.  In an effort to avoid having to climb the Killer Hill more than once today, I brought my work clothes down with me from my room.  I ate lunch, mailed some letters, and decided to sit here to blog.  I put on makeup this morning, something I don’t usually do.  Also dressed a bit nicer and threw on a necklace and bracelet.  Just for kicks.

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So it occurred to me that most of my friends and family probably don’t have muchof a sense of how a place like this works.  It is a huge operation.  First there is transportation.  Most of the guests who stay here are on organized trips through Princess or Holland America cruiselines.  They arrive via motorcoach, which is a snooty way of saying bus.  Some of them have come all the way here by bus and some of them have come part of the way on the Alaska Railroad.  Sometimes they are here following a cruise and sometimes they are here prior to their cruise.  Employee-wise, transportation consists of bus drivers, shuttle drivers, and expeditors- people who tell the guests where they are supposed to be and when, and help make sure they get there.  They are a bit like sheepherders.  Also, obviously, it includes all the people in offices who plan all those crazy schedules.

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Closely related to Transportation is the Luggage department.  These people blow my mind  They sort and deliver hundreds of pieces of luggage every day.  I don’t know how they do it.  Guests put their luggage outside their room at 7 a.m. on the last day of their cruise, and somehow it gets off the ship and onto a truck and to the resort and to the guest’s room here within a few hours of the guests’ arrival.  It’s crazy.  Sadly, some guests apparently are not as impressed with the magnitude of this undertaking and find it necessary to complain when their luggage is even slightly delayed.  They too blow my mind, just not in a good way.  Luggage guys can carry 100 lbs of suitcases at one time.  Amazing.

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There is a wide catgory called Hotel Services which encompasses housekeeping, gift shop, and guest experience hosts, who can be anything from front desk clerks to tour guides.  Food and Beveragfe is probably in there too.  There is a ton of work to be done, between cleaning the rooms, washing, folding, and delivering the laundry, prepping and cooking the food, serving, cleaning, and all the various aspects of all of those.

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My particular niche, as you know, is the gift shop.  There are about ten or eleven clerks, one manager, one supervisor, and one warehouse person.  We usually work one of two shifts, either 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or 2:30 p.m.p to 11:00 p.m.  There are a couple of in-between shifts but most of us only work the main ones. Up to now we have had one day off per week, but I just saw the schedule for this week and it appears we are beginning to get two days off per week.  This is most exciting news, as you might guess.

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You could say I occupy a bit of a unique place among the gift shop staff and the whole staff in general.  I am one of very few staff in my age bracket.  Most of the people I work with are twenty years younger or twenty to thirty years older.  This is a little weird for me but not too difficult to deal with, as I am usually either acting like a cranky old goat or a big overgrown kid.  One of my co-workers and I spent much of yesterday tossing Jim Carrey “Grinch” quotes at each other, for example. Looking and acting a bit younger than I am has never been more to my advantage than it is in an environment like this.  Most people are shocked when they find out my age. Actually, though, I feel like a weird outsider here.

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So anyway, on each shift we either have a “till” (a cash drawer) assigned to us or we are a floater, which means we don’t have a drawer and we just work wherever needed.  If we do have a drawer, we have to sign out our bank (the beginning amount in our drawer) and count it.  we start work half an hour before the shop opens. One thing that surprised me was how people are usually waiting outside for us to open in the morning, like a garage sale.  Once all three registers are up and running, we make sure everything is stocked and straightened, and then we open the doors.  It probably surprises some people to hear that we have three registers in that one tiny gift shop but our guests arrive in a fairly predictable pattern, hundreds at a time.  It is not unusual for four to five buses to pull up at one time.  They also depart in large numbers at the same time, so there are definitely rushes and lulls.

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Well, it is time for me to go change and get ready for my shift.  When I get off work tonight at 11, it will still be light out. I will listen to music that helps me to drag myself home and up the killer hill, (Like “At the End of the Day” from Les Mis) and I will have the same shift tomorrow.  Since I have two days off this week, I am going to be mentally planning what tours and adventures I want to try to have.  I really want a chance at a glacier landing tour.  🙂  More later!

Until next time,

D.

 

Another Day, Another Destiny, and Master of My Own House May 16, 2015

Hello, all!  Things are going well here in the Last Frontier.  Today is Saturday, and it marks a two-day hot streak for me, attitude-wise-speaking.  See, Thursday was rough.  It was the first day of the gift shop being open all day.  We were busy.  I was physically and emotionally tired, and I was aggravated about things beyond my control at home.  Now, I know there will be more days like that before all is said and done, but I’m not going to lie- that day… I was wondering if I was going to make it through the summer.  Obviously we know, that’s not an option.  If I were to have to go home before I am supposed to, I would be crushed.  It would be considered a failure of epic proportions, both by me and by everyone who has had to listen to me talk about this adventure for the last 5 months.  I would never live it down.  In short…an attitude adjustment was in order.  Needed to clean up my mental house, so to speak.

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So yesterday morning I woke up with a plan.  I decided that I was going to break out and get adventurous.  I packed my backpack with a change of clothes, my ID and my money, various medicines needed to get me through the day (for pain and for energy) and I went to work.  I worked all day, just as busy as the day before, but focused on trying to do a good job and keep a smile on my face.  I made sure to stay ahead of the ache in my feet by taking Tylenol and ibuprofen as needed.  I took some energy-giving medicine in the early afternoon after lunch.  And speaking of lunch, I had been astounded how much my energy had picked up on Wednesday evening after supper when I had been dragging so hideously, so I made sure that I took my lunch on time and that I ate as healthily as I could and drank more water.

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Finally, it was the end of the shift.  Lucky for me, I did not have a cash register in my name yesterday, so I was able to leave as soon as I finished my task.  I clocked out and went to the front desk to make sure I knew what I needed to do to make my plan happen.  Then I went straight to the employee restroom and changed clothes.  It felt soo good to be wearing normal clothes for once instead of my uniform.

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And then…I went back upstairs and out to the shuttle stop for the bus to Talkeetna.  Now, Talkeetna is the little tourist town that is near the lodge.  As the crow flies, it is only 14 miles from the lodge, but thanks to some stubborn townsfolk, apparently, as I learned on the bus ride, highway couldn’t go through the town and they had to build a spur road instead.  The result?  The aforementioned bus ride to Talkeetna takes a solid hour.

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Anyway.  No worries.  I gave the driver my ID and my shuttle slip for the trip into town and boarded the bus.  There were only two other employees going to town and I didn’t know them.  Prior to my departure, I had asked some very kind ladies at the Naturalist Desk what there was to do in town, and had received some stellar advice.  First on the list was Shirley’s Talkeetna Burger Barn.  I was assured the burgers were to die for.  Then I was informed that there was a special treat available there that I needed to check out. More on that later.  I also asked about the general store in Talkeetna, because I discovered, out of ALL the ridiculous amount of junk that I brought with me on this little Alaskan Adventure, the one thing I apparently forgot that I would need was laundry pre-treater- Shout, Spray N Wash, or some variation on that theme.  (I basically cannot get through a day without getting something down the front of my shirt.)  So I was going to try to locate some.

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So.  I got on the bus and enjoyed a nice ride into town.  I might have enjoyed making the trip with some new friends or something, but nobody was available, and for the moment I was actually more satisfied with my exercise in independence.  We pulled into town and stopped across the street from the Princess tour services office, in the parking lot of one of the tour operators, Mahays Jet Boat Adventures.  They do some of the tours offered by the lodge, so I know I will be going there again.  I got off the bus and after retrieving my ID from the driver, I walked across to the famous Burger Barn.  It was a little trailer like what you would see at the county fair, complete with wooden picnic tables out front and a refrigerator from which you choose your soda after you order.

$5 for anyone who spots the misspelled sign.  Ok, not really. :)

$5 for anyone who spots the misspelled sign. Ok, not really. 🙂

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So I ordered the McKinley, which had mushrooms and Swiss cheese and I asked them to add grilled onions.  It came with fries or chips, and I had some fries and I chose a Diet Dew from the fridge.  I sat at the table and waited.  It was shady and windy, and so cool I was getting goosebumps.  Finally my food was ready and it was as good as promised.  I finished my burger and most of my fries and took my drink and went walking in search of the general store.  Now, you may remember if you have read the trip report of my cruise in 2012, I am terrible with directions.  Like, so bad there should be a medical treatment for it.  But how lost can you get in a town that basically has one street?

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I had asked the driver for directions to the general store and it was easy to find.  This is the town that has a cat for a mayor, btw.  I think his Honor’s name is Mr. Stubbs.  Anyway. Talkeetna’s other claim to fame is that it is the town that Northern Exposure was loosely modeled after.  It is quite a cute place. The general store had no laundry pre-treater spray, but it did have a dog sled and animal skins on the walls.

View down the stairs in the general store.

View down the stairs in the general store.

I stopped in to a couple of other gift shops on my way back to the bus (comparison shopping our prices at work and theirs, if truth be known.). There were a couple of items I really wanted, but I decided to save my money instead.  The tie-dye hoodie with the moose in hipster sunglasses was really calling my name.

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The last thing I did before I went back to the shuttle stop was stop back by Shirley’s for a treat you can’t get anywhere else.  There is a plant here in Alaska that in the summer grows into a beautiful purple-red flower called ‘fireweed’ and Shirley, bless her creative heart, has found a way to make Fireweed Ice Cream.  I tried and tried to come up with a common flavor to compare it to, but I couldn’t.  It was sweet, creamy, and delicious. DD3 *

Soon the shuttle bus arrived and I was headed back to the lodge.  I had entertained my co-workers earlier with an impromptu performance of Master of the House, from Les Mis.  So on the bus ride back to my temporary home, I occupied my mind by singing to myself, all the songs from LM and then all the songs I had been learning in my voice lessons and hope to sing at auditions someday. Finally back at the lodge, I stopped in the gift shop to say a quick hello to my co-workers and to tell them that my adventure had been a success.  I hiked the killer hill to my room feeling quite proud of myself, both for the good day and the trip to town.  Once back in my room, I quickly collected my laundry and got it started.  I was in a hurry because they had posted a sign on the door that stated that the door would be locked at 10 pm and if your clothes were still in there at that time, they would just be held prisoner until the door was unlocked at 8am. I watched for them to come lock the door and I was prepared to beg and plead for the freedom of my clothes, but nobody ever came to lock the door.  My clothes were finally done about 10:30 and this was the sky:

This is 10:30 at night.

This is 10:30 at night.

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A peaceful end to a really good day.

Until next time, D.

 

New and Unexpected May 11, 2015

Filed under: Alaska Summer,Freaky Happenings — DDKlingonGirl @ 10:27 am
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Hello, all!  Life continues here at Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge.  Yesterday was my first day to actually see my work area, which as you may remember is the Gift Shop.  It was a long, busy day, stocking, placing bar code stickers, practicing with the register.  We had a lot of fun with that last part.  Most of the girls I will be working with have been here for several days already, and I felt like I had a lot to catch up on.  But we were practicing on the register, and we were trying to trip each other up.  “Can you suspend that sale for a second?  I forgot to get something for Great Aunt Gertrude?” “I want 20 of these, for all my Asian relatives.”  “What is this made of?  Is this REALLY an Alaskan product?”  “Which of these scarves goes best with my skin?”  “Why are the prices so high!?” “Can I charge that to my room?  Well why NOT!?”  But my favorite was when I pretended to be the other girl’s child: “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, buy me this!  Why not?!  I’m going to sit right here in the floor until you buy me that!  Nooooooo!!! I don’t wanna go back to the room!”

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It was awesome.  There are about 10 employees in the gift shop, not including managers.  What is really helpful to me is that we are all different ages.  Basically what I’m saying is that I don’t have to work with all fresh-out-of-high-school college kids and feel like on OLD lady.  Several of the other ladies are older than I, and they are a lot of fun.  One lady reminds me of one of my aunts.  She’s very funny.  But it was a very long, tiring day.  We were all absolutely dragging by the time we clocked out for supper.

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I got my uniform yesterday.  It is a long sleeved, blue button down shirt, fleece vest, and small black apron.  The pants, socks, and shoes were our responsibility to bring from home.  I had bought some pants from Walmart that were a little on the tight side, especially in my freakishly large thighs, and after 3 days of climbing these hills… yeah, they’re already loose.  SCORE!!! 🙂

An abbreviated glimpse at the uniform. Hi! :)

An abbreviated glimpse at the uniform. Hi! 🙂

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Today we are doing what we call ‘dry runs’ which is where we use all the fellow employees as guinea pigs to test our job readiness.  We were all assigned to eat our meals in the guest restaurants, free for us today only, so that the staff could practice before the lodge opens for guests, which by the way is Wednesday! My breakfast assignment was at the 20,320 Alaskan Grill, which is the upscale dining venue here.  And… I had reindeer sausage for the first time.  It was pretty good, not a lot different from a polish sausage, maybe a little more texture.  Another interesting feature of this ‘dry run’ endeavor was that we were assigned to sit at tables with other people so that they had practice with parties of different sizes.  So I had breakfast with two people I’d never met before.  That was interesting.  Both my table mates were in their early twenties, but we had a nice breakfast.

Yum!

Yum!

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I had gotten up way too early, and there was some confusion as to whether we were supposed to wear our uniforms to breakfast or not.  Our manager had told us yesterday that today was the first day we were to wear them to work, and to go ahead and wear them to breakfast, but then I was told that my work shift for today isn’t until 2:30.  So I had the impression that I probably didn’t have to wear my uniform to breakfast, but I did it anyway.  Just to be on the safe side.

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Having a roommate for the first time in years is taking some getting used to.  We are always trying to be super quiet for each other and I’m afraid it’s going to get old quickly, feeling like I’m always on guard, trying to be as polite and inoffensive as possible.  My roomie is nice, don’t get me wrong.  She’s been perfectly polite and amiable, just not particularly warm and friendly.  She’s not one of the ‘fresh out of high school’ variety, but she’s not my age either. I’m hoping we’ll get more used to each other, but right now it feels like she doesn’t like me very much.  Of course, I do still SNORE, apparently! 😦  So embarrassed about that, and it’s hard to feel like you’re resting well when you’re worried that your roommate is lying awake wishing she had the guts to smother you with a pillow in your sleep.

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Also, I don’t have any hangers in my room yet, and I haven’t had time to reorganize my things, so it feels like living out of a suitcase, and I’d really rather that NOT be my life for the next four months.  Four months.  Wow.  Part of me can barely envision the reality of being there that long.  I’ve only been here for four days and looking at the weeks and months ahead feels surreal.

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Speaking of surreal, get a load of this.  One of the girls I work with was wearing a necklace yesterday that read, “Keep Calm and Write On.”  When I noticed it, I had to ask the obvious question:  Oh, are you a writer?  She said she was an aspiring writer, so I told her I write also, told her I am a poet, and then I said, “And I have this blog I write, called …” and I named my blog, and she goes, “Oh my gosh! I’ve read your blog!  I feel like I’m meeting a celebrity!”  And she shook my hand and we got all squeal-y for a bit. It turns out she just likes to search random words and read a lot of different blogs, and she searched ‘Klingon’ and found me!  AND she said she thought mine was pretty good and she liked it.  So yeah, there’s your Incredible Coincidence of the Day.  It was a really fun moment though.

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So now I’m off to tackle the hills back to my room for a while.  Since I was early for breakfast I took a few pictures this morning.  It was sunny and bright today, and you could actually see the mountain all the way to the top.  What a lot of people discover when they visit here is that on any given day you only have about a 30% chance of seeing the full mountain due to the clouds and atmospheric conditions and all of that.  So it’s nice knowing we’ll have all summer to see it.  It really is an amazing sight.  I’m assigned for lunch at the 20,320 again this afternoon and supper at the Mountain View Dining Room.  AND… we are also going to be assigned to sleep on one of the guest rooms tonight so the housekeeping staff can get their practice in.  Looking forward to that, I can promise you!

The main lodge building with the mountain in the background.

The main lodge building with the mountain in the background.

FullSizeRender

Here is is- the Mountain Itself!

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Until next time,

D.

 

Guess I’d Better Get On the Ball! January 29, 2015

Soon to be Home Away From Home!

Soon to be Home Away From Home!

Hello ALL!!!  I have really got to learn how to do shorter updates here, more frequently.  There are so many times that something runs through my head and I’ll think, “Oh, that would be a great blog entry” or “I really have something to say about that, I should blog it” but then time gets away and I don’t.  The other day I wanted to talk about how much I love it when things happen like my son being pretty cranky on the way to school and then something reminding him about one of his favorite songs from the show I’m in right now for Ardmore Little Theater, and he starts singing it under his breath, and then we both do the whistling part, and then by the time he gets to school, he gets out of the car and says “Thank you for making my attitude better.”  I really like that.

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Or how one of my huge-est, most unbelievable dreams is coming true and I’m going to Alaska in three months to work at a tourism job (Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge) All. Summer. Long!  More on that later.

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But for right now I wanted to talk about my list of 101 Things to Do in 2015.  I wrote this shortly after New Years Day as a road map for the year and a reminder of things I wanted to accomplish.  I didn’t actually make it to 101 things, though.  I got stuck at about 89.  But here’s what I have so far:

 

101 Things to Do in 2015

1.  Get The Boy’s CDIB card and tribal citizenship

2. Make 2 new photo albums every month

3. Build bookshelves in the garage

4. Vacation Work in Alaska

5. Climb a mountain

6. Hang pictures around my house

7. Make theatre scrapbooks

8. Get Daughter S. to the doctor

9. Visit the Chickasaw Fitness Center

10. Use my grill

11. Haul off the junk on the north side of the house

12. Clean out garage

13. Really organize garage.

14.  Get new car

15. Feed a homeless person

16. Start and finish major writing project

17. Study philosophy (or philosophers)

18. Begin re-decorating house

19.  Price new carpet

20. Get a massage

21. Visit an Oklahoma tourist attraction

22. Take a solo road trip

23. Attend a writing conference

24. Build a yard shed

25. Give a random person $20

26. Continue taking voice lessons

27. Learn a song in another language

28. Send a card to Grandpa every month

29. Read 5 classic novels I’ve never read

30. Read 20 new books randomly recommended by someone

31. Exercise

32. Walk a 5K

33. Run a 5K

34. Try caviar

35. Read through the entire Bible

36. Memorize a psalm as a poem

37. Build a fire pit

38. Have/host an ALT party

39. Get a NEW dishwasher and microwave

40. Get a good yard sale couch and loveseat

41. Grow a plant and keep it alive (maybe a bonsai)

42. Attend a Mass

43. Attend a cultural event in Ardmore

44. Learn to cook again

45. Family game night once/mo.

46. Car headlight fixed

47. Road trip with each kid solo

48. Get to know The Niece

49. Random gifts (Dad, Mom, Sisters, Bros-in-law)

50. Get Charleston pics framed

51. Postcards to 3 cousins every month

52. Walk on a beach

53. Babysit for a friend so they can have a date night

54. Sign up for health insurance (Done)

55. Cure my toenail fungus

56. Special beauty treatment once a week

57. Teach Daughter S. to cook

58. Teach The Boy how to tie a necktie

59. Teach Daughter J. something important

60. Learn to make candles like Grammy did

61. Take makeup lessons from Elisa

62. Develop a character

63. Track WW 6 days out of every week

64. Road trip with all 3 kids

65. Buy The Boy a nice dresser

66. Try cotton candy grapes

67. Stage manage again

68. Attend an Open Mic Night

69. Sing with Community Chorale

70. Have Christmas presents bought by Thanksgiving

71. Clean and organize kitchen

72. Help build a Habitat house

73. Visit an art gallery

74. Write a love story that doesn’t have a happy ending

75. Learn to change a tire.  Actually do it.

76. Ride Amtrak to Dallas or OKC for a day

77. Offer to carry a baby for my sister and her husband

78. Buy a new Christmas tree

79. Wear a colored wig for a day

80. Use my PiYo mat and routines 2x/wk

81. Play in the rain

82. Rent paddleboat at Lake Murray Lodge

83. Transition TGOC to TN

84. Play ball with The Boy 2x/wk

85. Pay bills on time

86. Vote

87. Bury a dog (I only added this to the list after I actually had to do it in early Jan.)

88. Clean and organize bathroom and keep it

89. Be in a play (Done)

90. Learn to love myself for real

91. Go to one of those Wine and Art things (where everybody paints the same painting)

92. Raft the Chulitna river

93. Ride an ATV on a bear-watching adventure

94. Paddle a kayak on Byers Lake

95. Visit a place called Devil’s Canyon

96. Visit an Alaskan sled dog kennel

97. Float the Talkeetna river

98. Ride in a plane that lands on a glacier

99. Catch a salmon

100. Make a new friend

101. Live Out Loud with a Capital L

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So there we have it.  That’s my plan for the year. Those last few completed my list after I spent this morning looking at the CruiseTour excursions offered from my lodge location where I’ll be working in Alaska.  Employees get discounts.  I hope they’re good discounts, because otherwise I’m going to spend every dime I make up there!  I’m sure I will be starting yet ANOTHER blog, detailing my Alaskan adventures.  I can’t wait to get started.

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Until next time,

D.

 

 
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