Thursday, March 31, 2016

Round 2 of Chinese veggie nostalgia

Since I discovered the new Chinese market in Fairbanks, I've been indulging in some food nostalgia.

This haul included jiu cai, nian gao bits, gai lan (Chinese broccoli), and lap chong. The latter two of these things are not, strictly speaking, the Food of my People. When I was a young 'un and asked my mother why we had these things in restaurants but not at home, she informed me that they were Cantonese food, while Our People hail from Northern China. In fact, the first time my mother steamed gai lan and poured oyster sauce on top--just like in the Cantonese restaurants--she expressed surprised delight. "We should do this more often!" she said. "It's healthier than always frying our veggies!"

So that is what I did last weekend. However, I reserved some of it to chop up and stir-fry with the nian gao and lap chong. The jiu cai, I diced up and fried with eggs, like my mother does sometimes. (Reaction from the very haole DL: "We should hide more vegetables in eggs." Said I: "You've never had a problem eating vegetables! Since when do you like to 'hide' them?" Said he: "No, I eat my vegetables. But still...")

I rounded out all the veggies with roast chicken thighs, and that was our Easter dinner! Actual Chinese food on actual Easter, and half-price ham a week later on Chinese Easter! I think this might be a new tradition for us!

Topic change: When you pet Booger's head, she smiles!

And... I've put away my skiing and winter stuff for the year. :(

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Spring. Sigh

Rosie Creek is once again becoming a problem for our trail access! Harumph!

The ladies enjoying our walk:

Oh... SURPRISE! DL and I got hitched while in Hawai'i! I had wanted to wait until we had the professional photos to share, but I thought this was a cool one:

DL liked this designer, and I chose the color scheme because it reminded me of him, and of the spruce trees. I've always said he looked like a spruce tree! Plus, the koa wood will remind us of our Hawaiian wedding. :)

My favorite fuzzy creatures at my favorite landmark:

Walking, walking, walking:

A red squirrel midden! They eat from stored spruce cones all winter, chucking the inedible parts right outside:

Autumn and Linden are horrible and pee on top of them! I always imagine how I'd feel if, say, a mammoth peed on top of our cabin! That's what the scale is like! Only it's worse since the dogs eat squirrels... so it'd be like a carnivorous mammoth!

The sky turns pure blue again, now that winter is over and the sun can fully rise:

Ooohhhhh Rrrrrooooo! She loooooooves snow and plows around in it!

Plowed right out of the camera frame!

Such diversity of paw tracks, from little bitty fox paws to giant malamute paws! There are more paw prints than human prints!

Aaaaaand we return to the couch:

The snow is sliding off our roof, and the birches are budding! Another year has rolled around!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hawai'i Photos, round two of three

Stereotypical tropical scene:

Welcome to Paradise, y'all:

Manoa Falls:

Bamboo forest, with primitive graffiti:

Camera timer selfie:

A fern:

DL walkin' through the forest:


Torch ginger:

Pink lehua:


Two very polite birds, taking turns at the papaya:


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Hawai'i Photos, round one of three

DL and I made a quick trip to Hawai'i over spring break. I was a bit nervous about kenneling the ladies, but they did fine. Our vet said the biggest risk was that if Autumn got kennel cough, with her heart trouble, it could be terrible. So all three ladies got updated kennel cough vaccines, and he told me that our kennel owner had his cell number, and said to tell her to call him at the first sign of trouble. What a caring vet!

Chinaman's Hat:

DL, Very Alaskan, still wearing his boots and long pants on the beach:

Leis at Aunty D's house:

Fresh lychees from a farm stand:

Kahuku wind farm:

My photos aren't terribly exciting, are they? I'll have more interesting photos from this trip up soon. :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Photos round the house

Sweet Autumn:

Roo-ful Starbuckeroo:

Gooberdy Booger Linden:

Some of my veggies from the Chinese market:

I looked at the twist tie the "water spinach" came with. Apparently it's called "Ong Choy"?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Notes from here and there

1) Inipiat woman surprised to here her voice in a major Hollywood film. I'm personally more surprised that they chose an Inupiaq recitation for a story set among Plains Indians. And lately I've been so pleasantly surprised by the increasing levels of historical faithfulness that Hollywood seems to be displaying. Oh well.

2) Two Iditarod mushers were hit by a snowmachine, resulting in the death of one dog and injuries to three others. It seemed so deliberate that both mushers described having been "attacked". Yet the next day, the snowmachine driver stepped forward and admitted that it had been himself. It had not been a deliberate attack, he said, but he had been driving blacked-out drunk and was shocked to realize he had hit two of his favorite mushers.

This whole story makes me feel so many conflicting things--shock and horror for the mushers, heartbreak for the death of a sweet-looking dog named Nash, relief to learn that it had been an accident instead of a deliberate attack, gratitude to hear that the guy seems full of remorse and wants to take full responsibility, and anger at the continued scourge of alcoholism in rural Alaska. Who the hell drives around so blackout drunk?? The last part of the story adds a cultural dimension. The Nulato Tribal Council has issued a public statement.

Six days ago when the Iditarod mushers left the starting line, we were eager to welcome the teams to our village-an annual event that we look forward to each year. We are disturbed and saddened that celebrated Iditarod veteran dog teams led by Jeff King and Aliy Zirkle were struck by a resident of our village.

The tribe has a deep respect and admiration for the “Last Great Race on Earth” and the dedicated dog mushers and their beloved dogs. It is with great regret and sadness that we offer our condolences to Jeff King for the loss of his dog Nash. We pray for the speedy recovery of the other injured dogs.

Nulato recognizes the complex behavioral health issues that impact our village and we ask for prayers as we seek wellness for all. We will be monitoring the situation closely and commit to work with law enforcement.

The First Chief Mickey Stickman stated “Over the years we have supported the race in all aspects from racers to dogs to logistics. Nulato has been recognized many times by the Iditarod Trail Committee for the community’s hospitality- we hope and pray this incident does not determine the future of the village of Nulato. The Native Village of Nulato apologizes for the harm to the mushers and their dog teams.”

The Dispatch article also states that "Nulato residents gathered into the gymnasium Saturday afternoon. Some posed for photographs with King, offering their condolences...
Kathleen Sam, born and raised here, said the community will host a fundraiser Saturday night for King and Zirkle's kennels. They will sell crafts like earrings and hats, she said."

I feel gratified that the people of the village feel responsible for the actions of their young man. These are clearly people who believe that "it takes a village", and that in this case, the village failed. I cannot imagine even the City of Fairbanks apologizing for the actions of one of our residents, were one to harm someone.

Edited Sunday to add: Apparently the latest reports don't mention alcohol and do indeed make it sound like an attack of pure malice. :(

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Top o' the Alaskan News

I'm not kidding, you guys. These articles I post are actually the top headlines. Anyway, today's roundup:

1) The bison needed to poop, and it wasn't about to move aside for an Iditarod team "'He pooped for about 20 minutes, and finally he just meandered away... I went around the corner, and there he is pooping still,' she said."

2) What's wrong with this Anchorage moose? Sad-looking moose. Disease? Lightning strike?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Springtime shennanigans

Autumn has begun shedding... a few months early! I guess it's been so warm. It's her Adaptive Capacity for Climate Change.

Starbuckeroo napping in the sun on her beloved couch:

We take walks with our sled now, although we have yet to deploy it as Autumn has not had any episodes of lameness in months! Sometimes on narrow trails, the ladies get trapped behind me.

Walkin', walkin', walkin'!

And walkin' some more!

Both Autumn and Linden walk a little stiff-legged nowadays, but they still enjoy getting out and having fun! We're walking 5 miles a day now. And no more running with them. My morning "run" is now half a walk (with them) and then a quick sprint around the block with just Starbuck.

Walkin' up the ridge!

My favorite old snag looks even cooler with DL and Autumn to give it perspective!

Aaaaand we come home to the couch.

We finally have an Asian grocery store now that is more Chinese instead of Korean. They even have fresh veggies! I found long beans, several other types of bok choy other than the two most common kinds that we usually get at Freddies, and--what a find!--water spinach, affectionately known by my sister and me as "tube veggies" since the long stems are hollow.

I've already cooked the long beans with tofu gan. As another dish, I stir-fried chicken with napa cabbage and carrots. Asian cooking is so laborious! Look at all of these little piles of things!

Mmmm tasty!