It has been awhile since I have posted. No excuses. We are still anticipating moving to Panama November 2016. We have just been busy with work, Alaska summer fun, gardening, preparation for the move and miscellaneous other distractions. I will catch you up now.
Work has been interesting for me. I work for the State of Alaska as a licensing specialist on the staff of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. Alaska voted to legalize and tax recreational marijuana/cannabis in November 2014. The details are still being ironed out, regulations written etc. but the factor that affects me is our office will also be the staff for the Marijuana Control Board. Beginning early in 2016 the applications for marijuana business will begin to be accepted. This should prove very interesting.
Alaska summer fun for us always involves boating. Two years ago Ken built a 19’ canoe and this summer he completed two stand up paddleboards (SUP).
Two SUPs completed by Ken summer 2015.
Ken on his SUP on Mirror Lake.
This summer we took boating to a new level by becoming involved with sweep crew rowing. Ken had rowed recreationally in college and in 2014 he crewed for the Davis Constructors Team in the Dave Thormess Challenge. This year the Davis Team needed a last minute substitution rower. Ken asked if I would like to row. I was apprehensive but reluctantly agreed. Here was our crash-course training schedule: Thursday evening “on land’ training on an erg (rowing machine), Friday evening a lesson in the boat (my first time in a shell) with the other 8 team members (8 rowers and coxswain), then race on Sunday! And the pressure was on big time – Davis was the returning champions. Despite the addition of my inexperience the Davis Team took 1st place. And I was hooked on sweep crew. The Anchorage Rowing Association offers the Dave participants a deep discount for lessons in the month of June so we took advantage of the offer. I love my novice teammates, the coaches, and the master rowers. Additional the physical workout and being on the water 2-3 times a week after work is an awesome way to unwind. The Moose Nugget Regatta (yup, a race named after moose poo) was our first race. It was a 1k meter sprint race on Wasilla Lake.
The ARA 2015 novice 8 on Wasilla Lake at the Moose Nugget Regatta July 18, 2015
Next we raced a 5k on Bear Lake in Seward. Our final regatta will be this weekend on Big Lake in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, another 5k.
We usually schedule a couple of charted saltwater and freshwater fishing trips each summer. Unfortunately our saltwater fishing charter canceled twice because of rough weather. We will not have the freezer full of halibut and cod we have become accustomed to. Our freshwater silver salmon charter on the Kenai River is scheduled for September 19th and our fingers are crossed that the weather will be decent.
Gardening season is nearly over. This year I grew zucchini, lettuce (romaine, head and arugula), potatoes, cabbage and Brussel sprouts. I also had raspberries and apples. I have harvested the vegetable garden and frozen the chard and kale crops along with the raspberries. The potatoes and cabbage are in cold storage and the apples are in the dehydrator. The apple recipe: core apples toss in lemon juice and strain, slice in the food processor, then toss with cinnamon, finally dehydrate until crisp. My flower pots are still out but any night now the frost will get them then I will put the pots away to make way for the inevitable snow piles. I am so looking forward to gardening year round and not more snow!
A wagon load of Kale fresh from the garden.
After blanching the kale for 2 minutes plunge into an ice bath.
Prepping for the move is progressing nicely. We are selling and giving away all possessions we do not want to take with us and boxing up the rest. I am taking advantage of FreeCycle and Craig’s List for this. The biggest item we have moved so far was the 210 gallon aquarium complete with a 3.5’ eel. The tank weighs 350 lbs empty so moving it took some scheduling to have the necessary muscle on both ends of the move. The happy ending is Eli the eel is now residing in Wasilla and we have one less thing on our to-do list.
We just finished sprucing up the kitchen with a glass tile back splash
Tile back splash project in process.
and new flooring. We have a buyer interested in our duplex. They want to buy a bit sooner than we want to leave the U.S. so we may have to move twice, once to an apartment in Anchorage then to Panama. What fun.
Miscellaneous diversions and items of interest:
We had the privilege to host a charming young cyclist, Javi, from Spain, who is traveling the world and blogging about his experience through WarmShowers.org. We learned about Warm Showers, an organization which matches host families with traveling bicyclists worldwide, through friend and fellow cyclist and blogger Kris Cunningham. We became members, offered him our spare bedroom for a couple of nights. While he stayed with us we learned of his adventure, practiced speaking Spanish and enjoyed his cooking (he is a great chef). His travels will take him through Central America. Perhaps he will stay with Kris when he is in Panama.
My sisters and I inherited our childhood home and we have been trying to sell the property to help fund our retirement since March. The house was of very substandard construction due to age and neglect. We made the decision to demo the house and try to sell the lot without a structure. Prior to demolition we were able to donate most of the doors and windows to the Sockeye Fire Relief Effort. The Sockeye Fire was a wildfire which destroyed 55 homes in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough this June.
Spanish classes at Somos Amigos will resume September 17th and I will resume my weekly intercambio with Otto in Costa Rica once the rowing season ends (after the Big Head Regatta this weekend).
Hope you enjoyed this post and the photos of our beautiful state.
I am certain my posts will become more frequent as we approach our move date. I maintain my focus by reading blogs written by others who have made the move and by reading the emails I receive from the ExpatExchange: Panama. Thank you to all who have shared their encouragement and experiences.