Thursday, December 18, 2014

High noon, one week shy of solstice

Here is a couch photo:

Trout from the freezer, caught in Ballaine Lake by a friend of mine right before it froze:

All the presents donated by UAF faculty for homeless school children. Warm fuzzies!

Starbuck sez, "Hold my paw. Roooooo..."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Things are different with this girl

Starbuck looks like a wolf, but is paradoxically more domesticated a creature than either Autumn or even gooberdy Linden. I wonder if it's because she belonged to a musher who gave rides to tourists. Starbuck was born and lived her whole life there; essentially the only people she ever saw were people who came out just to visit dogs! Autumn and Linden, in contrast, lived on a farm, and I'm sure the farm from time to time has visitors who were not dog people. Starbuck had never heard of such a thing. ("A not-dog person? Rroooo? I thought everybody loved me! Rroooooo!") Differences observed so far:

1) When we are out and about, she sticks close and comes immediately when she is called.

2) She is very poor at catching small animals. When Autumn and Linden were her age, we could hardly leave the house without them killing and gobbling up critters right and left, mostly voles, but the occasional squirrel or rabbit as well. Starbuck tries, but she lacks hunting skills.

3) She learns human language and intent super fast. Autumn and Linden have learned my patterns, but it took months of observation and cohabitation. Starbuck generally learns things within a week. (For example, that I put on my coat before I go out, that my backpack means we are going someplace fun, that crinkling plastic means CHEESE!)

4) She likes more human interaction than Autumn and Linden.

"Hold my paw!"

"Pet me!"

"Hold me!"

"Cuddle me!"

5) She also likes more canine interaction than Autumn and Linden.

"Can I sit between you?"

"Will you snuggle with me?"

"Will yooooooou snuggle with me, too?"

Like Autumn and Linden, she has pretty much no bad habits. She doesn't steal food, she doesn't dig through the trash, she doesn't put her paws on the countertops and steal stuff, she doesn't chew up furniture or other objects, she doesn't whine or bark all day, and she's mostly self-housebroken. Since adopting Autumn and Linden, I've heard a lot of bad things about huskies--they are supposed to be quite aggressive, and very destructive. In fact, when I first bought my cabin, two insurance companies would not offer me insurance when they heard that I had two of them. Huskies also frequently end up on lists of "most dangerous dog breeds" in terms of attacks on humans. I'm glad I didn't hear of any of this before I got them, because then I might have missed out on the companionship of the World's Most Perfect Dogs. I honestly have never seen any of these traits in my girls, nor in other huskies I have known. *shrug*

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Misc photos

Starbuck sez: "Ozone depletion and peak oil and water shortages and ocean acidification and increasing atmospheric CO2 and we are out of yummy chummies rrrroooooooooooo..."

Linden sez: "Hi! I'm cute! ..."

Autumn looking sweet and snuggly, as usual:

Starbuck embracing couchal living:

Starbuck has grown white fluffy snowshoes!

Natural gas combustion--cleaner-burning, lower in CO2 emissions, but probably will only buy us another 50-60 years' energy supply....

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

One fine day

One morning in the spring of 2013, I woke up from a strange dream. I should tell you at this point that I tend to have *very* mundane dreams. I dream about doing the dishes; I dream about my commute; I dream about running or skiing; and I dream about work. Anyway, in my dream I was sitting in my usual chair at our weekly staff meeting (I told you!). However, after it ended, I got up, walked across the room toward the door that leads back to my office, and noticed my coworker DL sitting in a chair by the door. For some reason, I felt the need to hug him, and so I did. And he wrapped his long arms and enormous hands around me, I snuggled close, and then I woke up.

Weird. I promptly put it out of my mind and began my day. A few days later, at work for real, I was chatting with DL about something work-related. Then suddenly, I thought, "Whoa. Holy crap, it's you. I didn't recognize you at first because I kinda thought you'd be Asian and there you are looking instead more like a viking warrior, so it threw me off. But there you are... Well, I guess we'd better get on with it then."

When I brought him home, the girls said, "Oh. You found him. Cool."

It's been a peaceable, delightfully pleasant time since then. We decided somewhat arbitrarily that Thanksgiving should be our anniversary, and we have a lot to be thankful for. A few months ago, it occurred to me that we had never had an argument. I asked him, "Do you find it odd that we've never had an argument? Like never? Not once? In a year?" He said, "No. I think we paid our dues and deserve this now."

People say that passion fades, in fact leads to unnecessary drama, and that you should not look to fall head over heels and instead should find a partner with qualities that you value in a friend and a business partner.

That always sounded perfectly reasonable to me.

I've also been told by sensible, long-married people that a partnership that is based on ticking all of the "compatibility" boxes but with no spark of chemistry will never last. You need that bit of magic to get you through the tough times.

And that sounded perfectly reasonable to me, too.

I never understood how to reconcile these two things until I had my realization with DL. It turns out that passion can be also perfectly reasonable and peaceful and not come with pain or drama, and that that's how it should be. And I will pass along my own tip to add to these bits of wisdom: Trust your dogs. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Starbuck spends a lot of time moping and sighing, lying on the couch with her chin between her paws. DL says that retirement was too sudden for her and she gets existential crises because she listens to me writing lectures about climate change and peak oil and so on and so forth. He says that we need to get her a hobby, perhaps some balsa wood airplanes or a stamp collecting kit.