Monthly Archives: June 2011

Who Are You Really?

Who Are You Really?

By Lisa R. Conner

It seems as though

Most think we enter this world

As a blank canvas,

Not a budding Thoreau.

That’s not entirely true.

As we grow and evolve

Our journey

Our path comes through.

Who are you really?

Have you considered who you might be?

The baby, the teen

The older person who has been.

When you think of You

Which one are You?

This is how life goes

 When you have a clue.


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Croc Nappers

Are We Having Fun?

My five-year old daughter snapped this photo tonight after our impromptu dinner guest (hi Mark) left.  We had a wonderful and eventful day which is just winding down at 1:30a.m.  Earlier today we had a small earthquake which measured 5.2.  I was sitting in a very solid wooden chair, at the table, and it shook once then twice.  I told everyone, “hey we just had an earthquake.”  Of course nobody believed me, so we verified it on the website.  Actually Alaska had almost eighty earthquakes today.  Unbelievable!

My husband almost had to rescue two dogs, this afternoon, swimming across the lake.  We watched the swimmers chase after their owners as they drove away in their boats.  We kept a close eye on them with the binoculars worried they might become tired and drown or get hit by a boat.  It took them about thirty minutes to swim all the way across the lake and back home.  My husband took the boat over to check on them and about that time the owners returned.  We later discovered these dogs have been taking long swims for the past three weeks.  These are the same dogs which stole my shoe from a friend’s deck yesterday.  I took my shoes off (like all polite Alaskans do) before entering my friend’s home, but when I returned there was just one lonely shoe.  So my friends (hi Debbie and Gretchen) and Casey headed to the neighbor’s house to find the suspected criminals.  Lo and behold my friends caught the shoe nappers with the evidence under the porch.  I have teeth marks in my rubber Crocs to remind me of the juvenile delinquents living nearby.  If they find our cabin this could be a big problem, since we leave our shoes and boots outside every night.


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Whole Lotta Nature Going On

Moose Near Big Lake

Well, we are certainly not in charge of much here in the woods.  Mother Nature reigns supreme.  We left for a couple of days and when we returned Mama Bird and two of her eggs were gone without a trace.  I’m thinking a hawk or eagle may have swooped down and grabbed the eggs and scared away Mama (or even worse).  There wasn’t even a piece of shell or anything left in the nest as evidence of the tragedy.  Very strange and sad, because I looked forward to seeing three small beaks peeking out of the nest waiting for a meal.  Bummer!

I am happy to report that I have not seen spiders in the cabin since my husband sprayed around the outside of the building.  I have definitely learned to relax around here and having the spiders gone really reduces my stress level.  I know that sounds silly, but I was a little jumpy with spiders appearing around every corner.  Bedtime proved the most stressful, since I imagined bugs in my bed crawling on me as I slept.  Totally creepy!

My life feels very settled and calm overall (of course I have Mommy moments now and then, but those occur on or off the lake…) and my experience living here has surpassed my expectations.

Midnight Sunset at Starboard Cove
Nosy Neighbors
I’ve always worn makeup from a young age and now I find myself feeling so liberated going without it.  Actually I go “el natural” more than I wear makeup now and it’s okay.  My kids always tell me that I don’t look like Mom when I have makeup on and that surprises me.  In the past I felt more myself in makeup than not, but now my anxiety of being seen sans embellishment has vanished.  I do enjoy (and highly recommend) regular showers though just to feel alive and awake and socially acceptable.
Nature abounds everywhere and I’ve never felt more at home.  This is a significant revelation for me, since I wasn’t sure how quickly I would connect with the wild.  I’ve always loved trees, flowers, animals, and natural wonders, but my relationship now is very intimate.  Yes, it’s dirty (relatively speaking if you consider the mud stains, dirt and dust, and no water for conventional clean up) outside, but it’s also wild and natural and absolutely beautiful and so alive (everything is alive…I think the air we breathe might even be alive).
I love sharing photos (often more descriptive than words) of activities and nature all around the lake, so I hope you enjoy getting to know me and my community.  Starboard Cove is the private marina where we store our vehicles and dock our boat when we leave home.  This “staging” area is the gateway to the lake for us and access to our cabin (a few miles away).  Oh, and the chickens…just neighbors.

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My Own Reality Show

Then The Rains Came...

Each time I look out the windows (there are eight windows in the cabin, so I have many opportunities) I feel as though I’m seeing the world from INSIDE a television.  Imagine me inside tapping (you know…helloooooooo, is anyone out there?) on the glass looking out at the world and the world watching from the outside.  Is it possible that my life has become a reality show on the Discovery Channel?  Okay, not the kind of reality show that might star Sarah Palin and not the kind where I must eat bugs to survive.  A true reality show based on real life!  It’s beginning to feel a lot like w-i-l-d-e-r-n-e-s-s.  Wouldn’t you enjoy living as a bug on the wall watching all of this unfold?  (I personally wouldn’t recommend being a bug in my home right now, because you might get smashed.)

Some people (hi Vivian) call me a modern-day Laura Ingalls Wilder, others have tagged us a new kind of Swiss Family Robinson (hi Kathy), but I say True Alaskan (a.k.a. crazy person, have you seen the boys in white lately?) is the most appropriate label.  Actually “Spider Wrangler” might be fitting.  I know I promised to stop counting spiders, which I have, but for crying out loud what’s up with the spider convention in my house?  I’ve killed several spiders just sitting at my desk today, I had one swinging from a web that hit me in the face when I walked out the front door, and there is an endless line of them squeezing through the cracks and every orifice in this building.  Get out, I say!  Maybe I’m living in a spider’s nest and the spiders are spinning webs all around us to keep us cozy and warm.  Are we in a cocoon or something?  I texted my husband earlier, “get spray the spiders are taking over,” and he probably fell out of his chair laughing at me and my hysterics.  Okay, in the spirit of “living in curiosity” I will research spiders and find happy and positive things to report.  Stay tuned…

Have you ever heard that if you ignore a dog or a cat, and let them approach you, they will be your best friend?  Well, I attract animals like a magnet.  I ignore them, but it’s not because I’m being nice.  I’m really ignoring them.  Soooo, I’ve been so diligent ignoring the spiders, loons, grebes, shrews, etc. that they are flocking to me as though I am Noah reincarnated.  I’m positive the animal kingdom sent out a memo announcing the only thing I shoot is a camera (or maybe the breeze on a good day).  Remember, I’m no Sarah Palin and the only thing I eat with eyes are potatoes.

On the lighter side though life here is fabulous and exciting and peaceful and interesting all wrapped up in a web like a beautiful gift with a bow.  The fresh air keeps my mind crisp and sharp, the beautiful scenery reminds me every day how blessed I am being alive, my kids keep me on my toes, my clients keep me sane, and the rain drops hitting the tin roof practically send me into a trance.  There are no dull moments, because even the “dull” moments are glorious.  I remind my kids often that attitude is everything in life and I’m living proof that you can choose your perspective of all experiences.  I live by the saying, “thoughts become things so choose the good ones.”  Amen Sister!


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Life on Big Lake

A Growing Family

Life on the lake is becoming our new “normal” and we’re really getting settled.  Mama Bird has two more eggs and my husband has finally relinquished the idea of hanging our sun shower from HER roost. Hey showers are overrated anyway, right?  She does occupy prime real estate in the back with privacy and full sun. This bird obviously understands the ageless concept of location, location, location.

I’m feeling more rested and not requiring as much sleep as I needed when we initially arrived. We are establishing routines with sleeping, school, work, play, projects, showers, shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. I’ve realized how little “stuff” you need to truly enjoy life. We have designated areas of the cabin which serve all essential purposes: office, bedroom, kitchen, dining area, living room, library, and foyer. Yes, all of these functions exist within the walls of a four hundred square foot structure. The family room in the outbuilding has become a crash pad for the kids during rainy days and the other side serves nicely as a storage/pantry area.  Yesterday it rained for the first time in almost two weeks and the kids spent some time in the family room watching a movie, playing video games, setting up Allyson’s doll house, and anything else they could find in there to occupy their time (and there is everything you can imagine in that room except for the kitchen sink). Despite the wet weather we took the kids tubing, we cooked s’mores around the fire, roof work continued, and the outdoor grill proved once again the most convenient kitchen appliance. When you live in Alaska you go about your day in rain or shine (or wind or snow or anything for that matter…unless your dream is to live as a hermit).

Mysterious Lake Creature (a.k.a. leach)

I found another spider indoors (I promise to stop counting), saw two more shrews, and the loons and grebes
must have announced to all of their friends that we are animal-friendly.  Aaron ran up the hill today and screamed hysterically about a new “creature” he caught in the lake (turns out it was a leach).  Of course, once he calmed down it went into a bucket for closer observation (you can use your imagination to figure out a seven-year old’s idea of “observation”).

Casey's Birdhouse (finished product)


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Back on the Ponderosa

Heaven on Earth

I spent several hours outdoors yesterday in the beautiful weather and this was my view for most of the day.  My husband took the kids to visit a friend and I curled up in the swing next to the lake.  My intention was to read a book and enjoy my peace and quiet time, but I spent the entire time gazing at the water and daydreaming (and occasionally nodded off).  Wild horses could not have kept me away from this amazing place in time and space!  My family returned a few hours later ready to eat and stir up some fun (they were also ready for a good dose of sun screen in the seventy plus degree weather).

Today was an overcast day with a few sprinkles which proved to be a blessing, since we all had minor sunburns from the blazing sun the day before.  My husband spent the day finishing the roof on the family room, I spent the day indoors working with clients and organizing our space, and the kids explored everything that moved outside.

One of Aaron's "Pets"

I found another spider in the cabin and this time I calmly took care of business with one paper towel and no bottle of 409 (not even a scream).  We pulled out our bird book and settled the ongoing dispute of what kind of grebes are nesting out front, we verified Mama Bird now has three eggs in her nest (I think she might be deaf, because nothing seems to phase her…that’s it, she’s a Mom), saw a shrew run under the building (I’ve heard them chewing in the outhouse, but never actually seen one until now), and realized I have now been at the cabin for more consecutive days than any time in history.  Wow, I’m setting records and blazing new territory every single day.

Casey's Bird Habitat


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