Advent candle hunting

November 27, 2014 at 11:33 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

My mom likes traditional Advent candles: three purple ones and one pink one.  These candles are usually not available in Dillingham.  This means that for the past few years, I, loving daughter and resident of Anchorage, City of Stores and Buying Stuff, have had adventures in Advent hunting for these candles.  A few tales follow…

Adventure #1: The last pink candle in the universe.

After going to five different stores, I finally found plenty of purple candles and ONE pink candle.  One. Pink. Candle. Possibly the last pink candle in the city.  Possibly the last pink candle in the WORLD!  And on the way to the register, I dropped it.  And it broke.  Do the math, people: four candles, three of which had replacements available, and I drop the only irreplaceable one.

Adventure #2: I put them in a safe place.

Determined to  avoid Advent candle adventures of the past, I started early.  As in, August.  Tra-la-la!  Pier One had perfect taper candles with perfect Advent colors.  Perfect.  It was all going to be perfect.  My mom was even in town to purchase the candles so any dropping would be her fault and not mine.

It was all going to be perfect.

And then I was placed in charge of the candles getting mailed to Dillingham so as to avoid putting them in airline luggage which is thrown about by snow apes upon departure and arrival in Alaska’s finest airports.  So I put the candles in a safe place.  This was not a good idea.  Because I promptly forgot where that safe place was.  Since I had now lost the Advent candles, the hunt was on.  Again, multiple stores.  Again, the elusive pink taper candle.  After going to every store within reasonable driving distance, I found the candles!  They were perfect!  It really was going to be perfect!

Taking no further chances, I sped home and packed the candles in a box.  The blankety-blank things were going in the blankety-blank mail before anything else could happen to them.  And then it happened.  Seconds, milliseconds, nanoseconds after carefully packing, painstakingly addressing, and thoroughly taping up the candle-containing box, I found the original candles in the safe place where I had put them.

And my head exploded.  I yelled mean things.

Mailed the original candles along with the replacement set.  Also found a set of candles I had purchased LAST SPRING to head off my annual Advent candle-related descent into madness.  Mailed them too because at this point, I refuse to have those things in my house.  So, my mom will be receiving three sets of Advent candles.  Hopefully she puts the extra sets in a safe place.

Okay, just found out that traditional Advent candles are available through Amazon.  Of course they are.  Amazon has everything except for the little bits of my brain that just flew out.

Happy Advent!  You’ll find me celebrating with nice, ordinary, easily accessible red and white taper candles because whilst I love Advent tradition, I think it is trying to kill me.


And now I am at nursing school.

October 28, 2012 at 8:54 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Please notice that I did not say IN nursing school.  I have switched careers!  I now work in the School of Nursing at our hometown university, serving as a support person for Alaska Native students in the nursing program.  Here are the benefits of my new job:

  • I don’t have to grade papers anymore.  I’ve become acquainted with these new things called, “weekends.”
  • I don’t have to explain to the iChildren that frantically copying a classmate’s assignment while I take attendance isn’t “working together on our homework.”
  • I do not have to tell anyone to spit out his or her gum, prompting him or her to swallow it and then open wide his or her gaping maw with lolling-out tongue to show me that he or she “wasn’t chewing gum.”
  • No one’s parents have called to complain about anything.
  • No one’s parents have said, “But you didn’t tell him he couldn’t stab people in the arm with a pencil!”
  • I can use the ladies’ room whenever I want.
  • I don’t have to explain to the iChildren that doing 45 Google image searches for “fart” isn’t a good use of library time.
  • No one has come back from being “sick” with a fresh manicure and new blonde highlights.
  • No one has informed me that he or she is going to Florida for a two-week hockey tournament and that he or she needs all his or her makeup work BY THE END OF CLASS TODAY.
  • No one has returned from a two-week hockey tournament in Florida without any of the work I scrambled together on the day he or she left because they, “JUST DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO DO IT.”
  • I don’t have to grade papers anymore.  I’ve become acquainted with these new thing called, “after work.”
  • I don’t have to grade papers anymore.  I love that part so much, I will marry it.

But I’m going to miss a lot of things too, including these actual statements (but not the actual misspellings) from real iChildren which will make me laugh for years to come:

  • “You were gone yesterday!  I thought you died!”
  • “You were gone yesterday!  I made you an origami shark.”
  • “Do you want my sandwich?  The news said teachers don’t make very much money.”
  • “My hamster died yesterday.  Can we bury him outside and read poems?  I can bring him tomorrow!”
  • “My personal narrative is about the best burp I ever had.”
  • “You can have this dime because class was fun today.”
  • “Can you make the kid next to me stop farting?”
  • “Oh!  I know who that is!  It’s Tu-PACK!  I’m so street!”
  • “You’re my nicest teacher and your class doesn’t suck.”
  • “I used to hate writing, but since you let me write about roadkill, now I kind of like it.  Not, like, a lot though.”
  • “I’m really into this new band called AD/DC!”
  • “Can I borrow those purple shoes you have?”

It’s been real.  Now I’m going to go and not grade any papers.

We have been fishing.

July 27, 2012 at 7:51 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


And now, we are eating.  My dad often says that even the queen of England can’t get fish as fresh as ours.  She’s totally missing out.

So cute right now.

February 8, 2012 at 10:47 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

She really wants to fit in.

Okay, I promise no more cat posts for a while.  This one will tide me over.

NotebookStories is being generous again!

April 26, 2011 at 8:03 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment is giving away a very cool blank book.  It’s called the Deafmessanger, so it’s an appropriate place to write your wise thoughts that keep falling on unhearing ears.  Or, if you are like me, you simply like to have enough blank books around to build an emergency shelter.

NotebookStories is also just a cool website.

Lots of Scary Shots, Treatment, Complications, Repeat.

April 2, 2011 at 3:08 PM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’m not sure what dark force of modern dentistry I offended, but that force is fairly annoyed.  Has been fairly annoyed.  Will possibly continue to be fairly annoyed with occasional launches into full, screeching rage.

Quick history of Stephanie and the dentist: lots of scary shots, treatment, complications, repeat.  Add in a number of impacted extractions just for fun.  The dark force really likes those.

Note: I am  NICE to my teeth.  No hard candy and lots of brushing, flossing, gross fluoride rinse, etc.

The latest round started in December with a cleaning and exam.  Of course, I needed a filling which the people at my dental office are now calling a “restoration.”  My dental office people are hip to the very latest dental jive.  Of course, I also had a tooth that had cracked and now needed a crown.

I had the filling restoration done.  I scheduled the crown treatment despite every panicky voice in my head that told me not to, that reminded me it would involve scary shots, and that demanded we run away instead of accepting the appointment reminder card.

The filling restoration hurt for the next three months.  Hooray for restoration!

The crown fitting appointment was supposed to take place on Thursday at 9:00 A.M.  I like to schedule my dentist stuff in the morning because otherwise, the panicky head-voices spur me into pulse-fast forward and hyperventilation as I wait for the looming appointment hour.  It’s better if the panicky head-voices don’t have a chance to get their performance together.  Due to an office problem, my crown appointment couldn’t take place in the morning.  The panicky head-voices began warming up as I was rescheduled for 4:00 P.M.

Note: I realize that most people are able to get a crown fitted without freaking out.  I realize that I qualify as a chicken-wimp.

At 4:00 P.M., the crown fitting did not go well.

I was back in the dentist chair on Friday to try and adjust it.  Drill, drill, drill some more, drill.  That didn’t go well either.

We all go back on Wednesday.  I am thinking about opting for a head transplant since I think that might be less invasive than my string of recent procedures.

The panicky head-voices have begun material for a new album.

Still Grading…

March 28, 2011 at 12:03 AM | Posted in Another Day Another Dollar, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Still grading research papers.  This is sort of like eating Grape-Nuts.  You bite and bite, but the bowl is still full.  It’s always full, despite your diligence.  Why won’t the Grape-Nuts go away?

I really haven’t done justified procrastination today which makes today way less fun than Friday.


Back to it.

The Dillingham Volunteer Fire Department is awesome.

July 23, 2010 at 10:41 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I am one with the slime.  I’m in Dillingham to do a little salmon canning, a little salmon smoking, A LOT of salmon vacuum-sealing.  The usual summer stuff.

What I did not expect was a raging inferno in the backyard that could be seen a mile away.

First, a little background info on hygiene practices in rural Alaska: a steam bath is a little building divided into two chambers.  One chamber, the steam room, holds a stove–usually a wood stove–that heats the room and the pan of water on the stove.  In the steam room, you sit on benches and get all nice and sweaty since the room is usually around 250-300 degrees, and then wash out of a dish pan to get all clean.  The other chamber of the steam bath is the cool room.  It has benches too and is where you go when you are getting too hot in the steam room.  You are a weeny if you go in the cool room before anyone else. At the end of the steam, you pour water all over the stove to create water steam in the air which feels better than anyone can describe.  As if every cell has been scrubbed.  Your spine feels clean.  Then you drink nineteen gallons of water because you’ve been totally medium-rared.  Then you sleep like a rock and feel awesome in the morning because you have been cleaned from the inside out.  This traditional bathing method dates back to the times before modern plumbing and is an efficient way to clean lots of people (we separate by gender, of course) with minimal water use.

Here's what our steam bath used to look like.

So, my mom and I were in the steam doing the usual chatter (taking a steam is the premier social event of rural Alaska) when I noticed that the roof around the stove pipe looked ember-y.  And smoke was wisping out.  So, Mom and I grabbed the garden hose and sprayed water everywhere so that we could finish our steam. And that seemed to be that until 3:22 A.M. when one of Dillingham’s police officers–Thank you so, so, so much, Officer Pasquerillo; you were good to us–started pounding on the door of my parents’ house to warn us all of the bonfire blazing up where the steam used to be.  And then, enter more heroes as Dillingham’s Volunteer Fire Department–volunteer; all guys with full-time jobs they’d have to attend in the morning–piled in the driveway to put out the fire that used to be our steam bath and kept my parents’ home safe.

The volunteer fire fighters called the next day to express sympathy for our loss and offered to come over to help us build a new steam bath.  Dillingham’s Volunteer Fire Department should have the word ‘volunteer’ in gold-plated, jewel-encrusted letters.  That’s the part that is gleaming through this whole event.

Since I don’t have any gold or jewels, I hope the volunteers will receive my deep thanks.  Guys, you are very, very, very cool.


July 12, 2010 at 10:35 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

F/V Free's how we roll.

My favorite radio show of all time is listening to my dad talk on the VHF radio during fishing season.  I thought I was going to miss it due to the birth of Thing 1 and Thing 2 interrupting my usual midsummer visit to Fishland, but in the background of a phone call to my mother today, I heard it:

“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that.  Please repeat.  I thank you.  Free Spirit clear.”

My father demonstrates perfect VHF radio etiquette.  He never signs off with the sloppy, “I’m out,” and he never, ever neglects to properly sign off.  He’s always polite and always full of “Good Morning” and “Good Evening” despite the fact that in Nushagak fishing it’s all really morning since you’re always waking up from a semi-coma brought on by the intensity of a three-week fishery.  And the clarity of my dad’s radio voice is even more amazing when you consider that there is a cigarette hanging out of his mouth since both hands are occupied by the radio and the ever-present cup of grindy, black-sludge coffee.

Also, he doesn’t have a full set of teeth.

I always get nervous in talking on the VHF because everyone on the channel can hear you.  What if I say something dumb?  What if I stumble over a word?  What if I cough?  What if I forget–eek, eek–to sign off or get the call signs in the wrong order (you always use the call sign of who you’re trying to raise first, then identify yourself) so that I sound like an idiot?  I get panicky.  It’s dumb.  Yes, I am a silly human.  I know, I know.

I suppose my ridiculous insecurity regarding the VHF is one reason I like hearing my dad so much; he’s totally with it, despite the tsunami-levels of caffeine and nicotine coursing through his scrawny little self.

And that’s just one more reason why he’s cool.

I have to remember this the next time he’s giggling his head off and referring to me as the “Anchor Wench.”

Thea Claire and Jayna Brynn

June 4, 2010 at 8:48 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Thea on the left; Jayna on the right.

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at
Entries and comments feeds.