Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Best of Times .....

I know...I know...bragging is so tacky. But I just can't help myself. And I really wanted to post these pics and memories before I forget too much. Part of my job includes periodic visits to assigned outlying villages. My villages are Mentasta and Chistochina which have road access between Glenallen and Tok in the Upper Copper River Valley...at the edge of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

On an overcast spring morning (AFTER SCORING ELTON JOHN CONCERT TICKETSS!) I loaded up the Dodge pickup with the "Clinic in a Box" (one large suitcase full of disposable gloves, speculums, pap medium, assorted tools for obtaining various bodily fluids, doppler, drape sheets, gauze pads, IUDs, Implanons, etc...One tacklebox with prepacked antiobiotics, birth control pills, various hormones and other crap.), one large backpack with jeans/sox/underwear/tshirts/sweatshirt/hygiene products), 2 cases of bottled water, a small cooler with fruit/yogurt/cheese, large picnic basket of nonperishible foods and gourmet chocolates and utensils, large knitting bag with 2 projects, magazines and books, a map and 20 music CDs...filled up with gas (OWWWWCH!) and hit the road.



A long bit of the drive had me tracking the Matanuska Glacier...the edge of the sheet of ice you see there is 50ft tall in many places...gorgeous even with the overhanging clouds. Not much traffic heading north....summer places were just beginning to open for the season. Lots of sprucing up. On one roadside lake i noticed 2 large white duckbutts sticking up from the water. As I got closer, they righted themselves and I realized they were wild swans. I saw several more along the way. Gorgeous. I would've stopped and gotten pics but the lighting was just crappy. Also saw a 2 moose and a fox
along the way. Aahhh...I love Alaska.



I reached my destination for the night, the Hart D Ranch, a long time lodge and now B&B and RV camp. Located in Slana, it's operated for over 50 years by the lovely and gracious artist and
hunting guide ------- DeHart. This lovely little gem is really an oddity for the area. Art gallery, B&B, RV park, former hunting guide..wow. And it's for sale due to health/life/no family etc. Right on the edge of the Wrangell-St. Elias Park, it would be a great opportunity for the right person.

The next morning I drove another 20+ miles up the highway to the turn off for Mentasta......the tiny sign pointed to a narrow road..Mentasta 7 miles...



about 7 miles in...



Mentasta has quite a history of independence from the Federal Government and is one of the few remaining sovereign nations within the U.S. Reading these words causes an emotional response in many people..and controversy will always surround many issues of financial assistance, politics, and resource management. Amazing microcosm within America that few people are aware of. Check out the links for more info if you are interested.

Here is the building that houses the Clinic/Tribal Council Office/Community Center.



The clinic is staffed full-time by Nora, the Community Health Aide. She has worked there for over 7 years andis working on getting a larger, better equipped, stand alone clinic for the village. If she takes after her mom, notorious subsistence rights activist Katie John, she probably will get her way!

Overall the clinics both went very well. There are no microscopes, so you pretty much have to treat itches and drips empirically. Luckily Flagyl and Diflucan combined will cure a multitude of ills. And so will Zithromax and Rocephin. I also saw a lot of older postmenopause women. Which I've gotten out of the habit of seeing frankly in the last 4 or 5 months. Since we've been shortstaffed, management decided to bump the yearly exam patients over to Family Med Clinic. Set up LOTS of mammograms and colonoscopies. Did lots and lots of diabetes follow up and teaching and referrals. But all this means a trip to Anchorage for at least a couple or 3 days. Enough said.

I hit a few snow flurries in Chickaloon on the way back, but still a scenic and peaceful 5 hour drive. Had the weekend to catch up on laundry, but have been just crazy busy ever since!

I did finish weaving ends in on the Forest Canopy Shawl. And did catch up with my BFF MaryKay (mmmmwwwaaaahhh! Love you sweetie!) It was her birthday gift. She liked it very much I think!



On Friday night, May...., the man and I went to the Talkeetna Lodge for another fabulous "Wine Dinner"....mmmmmmm....6 course gourmet dinner.....7 lovely different wines to try....interesting and fun conversation with acquaintences old and new...and a nice hotel room with the husband I adore.

Have had LOTS of babies lately....


The remodel work at home is slow. The main floor of my house is gutted to the wall studs and subflooring. The dust is miserable. I have no idea where many of our belongings are. Cabinets should be going in next week or the week after. Floor should be releveled the week after that. The good news.....GRANITE counter tops. Yeah, changed my mind from the quartz composite after looking at over 170 different 8'x10' polished pieces of different types of granite at our local valley. This stuff looks like art. It took my breath away...swirls of deepest rust, charcoal, steel gray...and look, see those sparkling crystals...a half inch thick vein of amethysts running the length of the piece...stunning. I'll post pics maybe next week....

Oh...and I painted the exterior of my house over Memorial Day Weekend and the following few days! Whoohoo! Our house rises 3 stories on a very hilly lot. I have painted it with only an extension ladder in the past. Twice. But now I am older and much more fearful of breaking a bone. So...we rented...a BOOM LIFT! four wheel drive with a cherry picker basket...the man and i drove that thing around for 4 days. What a hoot!...Sadly, when I was at work one day...the man had a little run in with the back corner of our deck. We planned to paint the deck this weekend...but he'll be doing some board sawing and hammering for a day or so before we'll be ready to tackle that project.....

The Elton John concert last Friday night was INCREDIBLE. It was everything you could have hoped for. No opening act. No backup band. Just Elton and his piano. For over 2 hours straight. He was the consummate professional. Standing and bowing and waving to the audience. Taking sips of water between songs. His voice and music rang true even with the marginal acoustics of the Sullivan Arena. I was in awe. He opened with "Your Song" and crossed the decades with hits including "Crocodile Rock", "Benny and the Jets", "Rocket Man", "Candle in the Wind" and so many many many more. The tickets were well worth the money.

If you made it this far, you can see why I haven't posted much lately! I've hardly even knit much the past few weeks. Right now, in my WIP basket, there are the following items...

1) Soleil...almost finished but thinking about the frog pond...unless this softens up with blocking...i'm not going to like it.
2) Rippled Cardigan....Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece...the back is finished...not sure if I like it well enough to go on to the fronts. enh...but love the yarn.
3) Roped Shell cover from IWK Summer 08...in Elann.com's Luna. Love it. Finished the cable bottom and now through the first pattern repeat....oh please let this work...it's stunning and I LOVE the Luna...

So i will close for now. I plan to spend the rest of the day weeding in the perennial beds. I did make up the window boxes with pretty annuals. Due to the unusually cool weather we are having, few things have bloomed yet. I hope everyone is enjoying the summer and getting what you want out of your life right now....may it also be your "best of times"! Knit on!

10 comments:

smariek said...

You've been a busy girl. It is so beautiful up there. The photo of the road to Mentasta is breathtaking! Your work sounds exciting and rewarding, AND the best part is you enjoy it! Can't beat that combination.

CatBookMom said...

Beautiful scenery and babies! DH looked at the scenery and said "Yep, that's Alaska!"

I commend your fortitude with the remodeling; living with it is a major PITA. I hope someone took photos of you and the man on the cherry-picker! What a hoot! But to have painted a 3-story house in only 4-5 days - you move right along, dontcha??

Scrabblequeen said...

Wow....what a post! Thanks for all the catch-up. Oh, and pphhttt on you for the Elton concert. (wink)

Minnie~Knits said...
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aksunflour said...
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Milly said...

wow the pictures are just breath taking! the babies are so adorable! How wonderful to live in a place where native song and dance can just "happen"

Laura Jane said...

AAAhh that's what I wanted!

All the goss on your trip and a catchup on Elton John and work and your knitting. Thanks!

Great job with the painting Lisa! That's an amazing effort in 4 days.

I painted the outside of our house as a millenium project. Its still standing!

Trish - My Merino Mantra said...

My gosh, woman, you have been busy!!!!! Love the chronicle of your travels.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Beloved pal,

I LOVE MY FOREST CANOPY and I'm wearing it right now. I have trouble remembering the name. I keep wanting to call it Autumn Leaves, but I'll remember forest canopy now. I came on yer blog to find the name. I LOVE the succulent George those 9 lb babies are so tasty. And Ameera looks beautiful. I had kind of forgotten about that and am SO glad you could be there for her. Go her. JNU was FUN, mostly and interesting and some tedious. But we had suite 604 in the Baranof (of FBI Bill ALlen Pete Kott fame) and my candidate made the cut. I have buttons and a bumper sticker if you'd like one.

XXOO, the forest canopy is SO beautiful. love mk