Pinch Myself

Where has the time gone. June already.

The past holiday weekend we ventured to Otter Cove, a twenty minute water taxi across Kachemak Bay from Homer, AK. Nine of us shared a large cottage, five on one side, four on the other.

Some of the first to arrive, getting settled (reminder: clicking pics makes them bigger)

What, exactly, is the dog up to? I’m not sure, but I note HW’s wine glass is dog-tongue high, and empty.

A view of our digs from down below

Rustic, remote, and for sale. $1.9 million is what I heard. The place’d need some work, for sure, but the potential is there. The large main house (not shown) used to be a restaurant, plus there’s two or three other buildings for lodging, a small cook house, and a separate bathroom building (with shower stalls). Stunning views of Kachemak Bay, abundant wildlife (whales, otters, eagles, bears, fish galore, etc.), and for those with a kayak (the reason we came), endless stretches of coastline to explore

The reason it’s called Otter Cove

He (she?) was undeterred by our presence. Just kept on with his/her ablutions as we paddled by, not a care in the world. Nevermind that we earlier spotted Orcas surfacing a few hundred yards offshore.

It’s great to get away with friends on a holiday weekend, all of them otherwise busy day by day, still working, like ourselves. Unlike me and HW, most of them have kids, who are grown and forging their own way in this world. I know the benefit of having good parents, my own having just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Who does that anymore?

We were out there for three nights. The weather was variable. A hot shower cost an extra $3 (honor system). Not a frown in the house

Did we eat well? In fact we did. Each night one of three pre-assigned groups was responsible for dinner. Night one was pan-fried (Alaskan) halibut, homemade Anchorage beans, and a medley of vegetables

Honestly, experiencing where we get to live and play, there are times I have to pinch myself


Clean Air Challenge

Team Neoplasm Annihilators – Bo, Marilyn, Me, Happy Wife, Kari, John. 60 mile charity ride for the American Lung Association

Only one team flat

The Alaska Range looms in the background.


Taken recently, somewhere off the coast of Newfoundland.

Of course that’s just the tip, imagine what looms beneath. I wonder where it’s headed?

Internet Winner

Most tragicomic comment of the week (so far) at one of my favorite blogs

It reminds me of the story of the very elderly couple — the husband 103 years old and the wife, 101 — who shocked the entire rest home by divorcing a week before they would’ve celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary.

Someone asked the gentleman why they were splitting up after such a long life together, and he explained, “We wanted to wait until the children were dead.”


Mind Change.

Ford Edge.

Nissan Murano.

Honda CR-V Touring edition! Bought it off the showroom floor. Loaded.

Evidently, being Black made a big difference. That, and HW’s 2003 was also a CR-V (she doesn’t care for change).

Upsold us on the paint protection shield, and window visors

She loves it!

Although the vehicle has yet to learn her voice. Supposedly, nearly every feature in the car can be activated/deactivated by voice. Example: “Set temperature to 72o“. The salesman had HW repeat it over and over again during our pre-driveaway training, but alas, never could get it to work. The damn thing kept wanting to call some 800- number instead. If you have the keyfob close by, and do it just right, feigning a kick beneath the bumper opens the hatch. If you don’t do it right, and/or you’re on ice, you may fall on your ass. In small print in the owner’s manual it states Honda is not responsible for these misadventures.

I like that the drink holders are large and readily accessible.

Inaugural drive to the Nest this weekend. Salesman cautioned us about the break in period – keep it under 100 mph on the highway. You should’ve seen the look on HW’s face.

Strange Brew

Something brewing on our kitchen counter. Take a guess. Hint: Vinegar is involved.

At spin class three mornings a week now. Still waiting for winter to bleed out.

What’s spin class like? Here’s a few excerpts from Monday’s 45-minute class

I’d hoped to capture the perky Miss Jen doing the motivating, as she usually does on Mondays, alas it was Mister David instead. You may think we’re seated in the saddle for 45 minutes pedaling as fast we can. We are not. We stand and sit and sway and tap and pulse, and generally try to keep up with the beat of the music and mimic whatever the motivator does. The bike is really just a prop for a full body workout. Every bike has a knob you turn to increase or reduce resistance. You might have heard David say, “Now add some more gear.” (Along with a breathless WTF at minute 5). That means turn the knob to the right. It’s the honor system; you can ignore his command and take it easy on yourself if you want, but you wouldn’t be getting your money’s worth. Pain, you’ll recall, is nothing more than pleasure leaving the body. In that sense it’s like a trip to the dentist, except you’re not on your back.

The last two minutes of every class is reserved for stretching exercises off the bike. A lot people in the class also do Yoga, so they’ve no problem complying with motivator’s command to twist up like a pretzel and “Just Breathe.” I don’t do Yoga so I skip that instruction. It’s not so much I can’t put my ankle behind my head, it’s just I’m not so sure I could bring it back around. Not without crying out for help.

50 degrees and bluesky all this past week, and even warmer next week, so there’s hope. The snow disappears surprisingly fast. I walk around the backyard wearing a poop mitt, picking up easy to spot month-old poops coming out of the thaw. Easy to spot because most of ’em are covered in fuzz. Others are still half stuck in patches of ice in the shady areas of the yard. They break in half when you pull on ’em.

Hard to believe my bike tour is only two months away. Lots to do yet to get ready.

New Car Smell

I rode tandem with Joan Jett this morning – “I hate myself for loving you!” At least it felt that way. Our Monday morning motivator, Jen, does like to mix in some “old school” rock ‘n roll in her classes. The entire front wall of the studio is covered with a mirror. It fogs up when the room is full and the fans are on low, like this morning. A crowded room that starts out comfortably cool is like a sauna after 45 minutes of as many people perspiring profusely. Doesn’t smell too good either. Imagine you’re on a full elevator and someone who had Kim-chi for lunch lets go with a wide yawn.

And so, you may wonder, why spin class instead of riding my real bike outside? After all, it’s Springtime! Tell me about it. We got slammed with another foot of snow last week, on top of the mess still on the ground that won’t melt because this March has been cold. Supposedly, the third coldest March since 1977. Happy Wife takes Winter’s lingering contempt for Spring in stride. She still sometimes says, Isn’t the snow pretty?

She needs a new car. Her candidates so far are: Ford Edge and Nissan Murano

2017 Edge

2017 Murano


I’m partial to the Murano, plusher ride, but otherwise they’re pretty close in performance, price, and features. She also wants a manual transmission (go figure), but she’s going to have to give that up because it’s not available in either vehicle. And she wants a roof rack thingamajig to move kayaks about. She’s suspicious of many modern “features” in vehicles, especially the electronic gadgetry. She’s not amused by key-less start, prefers the confirmatory click of push buttons over touch screens, and generally distrusts cruise control. If Plymouth still made the Valiant she’d buy one in a heartbeat.

If you’re looking to buy a used ’03 Honda with 116K miles, shoot me an email.

Hello, Little Birdie

Many of you, I’m certain, have your own window-sill menagerie

In our case, a wishbone from a chicken was re-purposed as antlers. HW thought to affix it to our fuzzy ungulate wolf, thus transforming him, or her – female reindeer may also sport antlers – into an Alaskan reindeer. No sooner had we done so and it seems s/he took a fancy to vulnerable birdie, whose expression suggests, may I say, curiosity? As opposed to No-Means-No.

For those of you who were recipients of our annual newsletter, breathlessly wondering if I got the position or not, well, how does the saying go, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” Really, it’s okay. I was never sure it was the right position for me anyway, so I was spared the challenge of having to decide. On the other hand, the ego was hardly amused being denied its first right of refusal.

And so we move forward. Spring is nigh, Summer after that (60% chance say the forecasters!), Fall in tow, and then copy/paste Winter. Another year above ground. Plenty to be thankful for.

Isn’t The Snow Pretty

A pesky avalanche toed out onto the road to our Nest

For those of you who’ve not been to The Nest, this is along the last two miles you have to travel to get to it, looking south. I was on my way back last night after drinks and dinner at Thorns. Yes, I took The Dog with me, as I had promised Happy Wife I would – “What if the road closes from an avalanche, how will we get back to get Chester!” She’s right, there is no other road. Water taxi would be the only alternative. A beautiful drive by day, but it can quickly turn treacherous. Right over that snow berm on the left is Resurrection Bay – deep, cold, brooding, and merciless. On the right, a steep mountain face, from which an avalanche had crept back onto the road. All the while I ate my patty melt and tipped back a few glasses of wine, jawing the whole time with Sean, one of my favorite bartenders in Alaska. That’s how quickly conditions can change. It wasn’t like this earlier when I drove into town. To make it worse, the road was glare ice. I stopped the car and thought about it first. Snapped a picture and texted it to Happy Wife (still in Fairbanks). So she would know, just in case. Glare ice, a single car width to pass through, hmm. What if it decides to sluff a ton more snow the second I pass by? Then I think to myself, that’s the wine talking, Rod, avalanches can’t “decide,” don’t be silly. It’s the kind of situation where you want to close your eyes and go for it. But of course I was driving. Even The Dog shot me a concerned look, “Looks sketchy, Dad.”

I put it in drive and onward we went.