December 5, 2016

Season of Kindness

Filed under: Aurora,Calendar,Everyday Life,Family,Wildlife — Susan Stevenson @ 3:41 pm

“No one is born hating another person…
People must learn to hate,
and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love,
for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

~ Nelson Mandela ~

I began writing this entry in mid-November. I would write, and then backspace and erase. I’d write again, and erase.  I had so much on my mind, especially after the election. I was saddened by the divisiveness in our country.  There was so much hatred and negativity.  The media was bombarding us with 24-hour fear mongering, and incendiary speech. No matter what channel you turned on,  election spin filled the screen. There was so much negativity on the air, and online, there was only one way to escape it.  And that was by turning off the TV, the internet, and social media.

I admit that I wasn’t as disciplined as some. I didn’t shut everything down permanently. But I did stop spending so much time reading things that made me angry. Instead, I focused on my family, my friends, and my day to day life.  I refuse to let hate win. I continue to live my life as always – smiling at strangers in the store aisles, letting people into my lane when traffic is backed up, holding doors for others, reaching things on the top shelf for people with mobility limitations, etc. It’s what being a human being is all about. If the only thing I can control is my life, than I want to live the best life I can live, and be the best person I can be.  I know I’m not alone, thank goodness.

“The world is filled with nice people. If you can’t find one, be one.”  (I love this quote attributed to Nishan Panwar)


I can’t believe it’s December already! The year flew by as always. I put our tree up this past weekend. We have a tabletop tree, so our Christmas decorations only take up two good size boxes now. I have a Santa collection (Old World, rustic, fancy, etc) that I like to put out. Steve calls them gremlins – assembling gremlins – as they are all lined up under a table.

Our birthdays are this month. It’s nice to have the tree up before we celebrate turning another year older. The twinkle lights help with holiday ambiance and make the lack of outside light a little easier to cope with.  Happy December to all of you!


We finally had a little bit of snow back in late October. Not enough to insulate our ground (septic and wells can freeze without enough snow accumulation), but enough to take away the dead brown look of our surroundings. It’s much prettier now, but we need so much more. An additional 2″ fell a few weeks ago, but still not enough. Now that the temperature has been below zero nearly every morning for the last week, there is additional concern.

While I was in WI with my new granddaughter, Steve told me that we had baby squirrels. We had a family of squirrels in our yard last summer too. Last year, the babies were presented to us when they were quite small. In fact, they were so small they were able to hide out in a birdhouse by fitting through the tiny 1.5″ opening.  Mama squirrel often accompanied them to the feeder pole where they would play with each other and scurry up and down the pole.

But this year, only the babies showed up at the pole. Mama squirrel wasn’t with them. They have both been frequent visitors, and we have welcomed them with treats of apples and peanut butter and other scraps. They are immensely entertaining, and such a happy diversion on a cold winter day. Unfortunately, they have been scarce since the temperature dipped below zero. (It is -20F this morning) I hope they are hunkered down in their warm midden, surrounded by food scraps they have *squirreled away*.

Added 12/4: Today it is -34F. Needless to say, the house is closed up tight against the cold. It’s much too dark in here for my liking, but staying warm takes precedence over staying sane on days like today. We also had another four inches of snow fall, which is perfect for adding that winter wonderland touch to the holiday season.

First snow - October 20th Baby Squirrel Baby Squirrel
Baby Squirrel Baby Squirrel Squirrel Acrobatics

These goofy baby squirrels climb INTO this feeder and eat the sunflower seeds while sheltered from the elements. They crack me up!
Baby squirrel in the bird feeder


October 25, 2016

Presenting my 2017 Alaska Calendar!

Filed under: Calendar,Interesting Things,Photography — Susan Stevenson @ 10:33 pm

In earlier posts, I mentioned that I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to offer a calendar this year, due to time constraints and increases in postage. Well, I am happy to announce that there WILL be a 2017 Alaska Calendar! I found a company that not only does the printing, but will also act as a storefront for me so that you can order directly. I created a separate webpage, with more detailed information, especially for those of you who have ordered a calendar from me in the past.  I have priced my calendar so that the total cost to you is the same as it was last year.

2017 Alaska Calendar:

2017 Calendar Images


8.5 x 11″ (11×17 hanging) – $24.00

11×14″ (14×22 hanging) – $30.00

($5.99 flat shipping –  no matter how many – anywhere in the US.
International also available)

Order your calendar today!
Link to StoreFront

If you have any questions or concerns, please email me directly.

Local customers/friends: Please email me if you would like to order. I am looking into the possibility of placing a bulk order which will save everyone on postage. Calendars are $25, as they have always been, and I will personally make delivery by Thanksgiving. If you prefer to have them shipped directly to you, please order through the website.

Many thanks to all of you who have ordered my calendar over the last 8 years. I do hope that my 9th calendar brings you joy.

Thank you!

October 8, 2015

Chris and Kimmie – August 6-13th

Filed under: Calendar,Family,Roadtrips,Wildlife — Susan Stevenson @ 5:33 pm

In mid August, my son Chris visited, along with his fiancee Kimberley (Kimmie). Unfortunately, due to work schedules, they could only get a week away from their jobs, so with a day of travel on the front end, and another on the back end, we only had about 5 days together.

We almost always visit Valdez in August, so that Steve can fish the silver salmon there. We had no choice but to use two vehicles for the trip, rather than cut Steve’s visit to Valdez short.

Chris and Kimmie arrived late on Thursday evening, August 6th. Steve and I spent that entire day loading up the camper so he could leave early on Friday with Raven. This way, Chris and Kimmie could sleep in and get a start on battling jet lag.

Their flight got in a little earlier than expected, which was nice. We brought them home, chatted for a little while, and then we all went to bed. They had a very long day of travel and were exhausted, and after our very busy day packing the camper, we were too.

The next morning, Steve was on the road before 8am. I let Chris and Kimmie sleep in a few more hours and we followed at 10am. We had beautiful driving weather, and the temperature was just right for three people who tend to be “hot blooded”. Chris and Kimmie were quite thrilled about the idea of cooler temps, as Madison WI (where they are from) was quite warm when they left.

(c)Gary Larson - The Far SideWe made our usual stop at Sunrise Bagel for breakfast. Sunrise Bagel is a franchise here in interior AK, and I start just about all of my roadtrips with some of their breakfast fare. As we waited in line at the drive-through coffee shack, a yellow jacket flew into the car and landed on my thigh. Of course I freaked out! I was screaming at Chris to “Get it off me! Get it off me!!!” What was he going to do? Whack it with a magazine or something? That would make it sting me. He wasn’t about to swat it with his hand and risk getting stung himself. It was a comedy of errors as I screamed, he freaked, and the car veered out of line when I threw my hands up in panic. I can certainly understand how insects can cause vehicle accidents – especially stinging insects. The entire scenario reminded me of an old Gary Larson cartoon. (Remember him and “The Far Side”?)

The day was beautiful, and we made regular stops along the way to stretch our legs and enjoy the scenery. This is Kimmie and Chris in front of Gulkana Glacier.

Chris and Kimmie at Gulkana Glacier