Change of plans… Again!

While we don’t change our plans as often as we change our underwear, it sure feels like it!!!

It is a good thing we are resilient and flexible! Seriously! 

Our ultimate goals are the same, our location is needing a bit of adjustment. Disappointing? YOU BET! I can’t tell you how homesick I am for Alaska. There are so many things we want to do and dreams we want to fulfill… But alas, reality sets in and life is what it is.  

We don’t know if we are ever going to make it back to Alaska now. That makes me sad. At this point we are just trying to get by. Working non-stop to make ends meet. Not going to cry about it. Wouldn’t help if I did.

We still have dreams. Who knows if we will ever see them come to fruition. On a positive note, we are enjoying our work… Thank goodness for that because I cannot imagine working this hard doing something I hate…been there and done that and this is sooo much better!

I think it is time to revamp the blog a bit… I’ll be making some changes, so please stay tuned and if you have any suggestions I am totally open for feedback. TOTALLY!

~ Molly 

Advertisements

It’s no secret…

We are very open about the fact that we are moving back to Alaska. The original plan was to leave by May of 2016. Not gonna happen. 😕

Things happen. Sometimes they happen and aren’t what you were planning. In my case, I lost my high paying job (which was a blessing) and took a detour to get a degree that will help me reach our long term goals.

My new career pays a whole lot less than my old career but it is much more satisfying.  It also tends to be seasonal in nature… So, me being me, I ramped up a business I started in 2014 and took a huge leap into being “official”. This is no longer a “craft/hobby” business, we are now a full blown, serious, professional services provider.

We are licensed, bonded and insured as general contractors. Good golly Miss Molly! What have I gotten myself into now?!

When I was meeting with the insurance broker he made the comment “you sure have your fingers in a lot of things”, my response was “gotta make sure I stay employed”. I’ve got bills to pay and a future to fund.

Here is what we are doing;

* Landscape design and maintenance

* Pruning and weeding services

* Plant material selection and placement/installation

* Container design and maintenance

* Client Education & Garden Coaching

* General contracting

Why are we moving to the village? Why are we changing our entire way of life?

Now more than ever I am feeling called to make a difference. To help with a long-term solution to an increasing problem facing our small villages in Alaska.

Why? This is why… Angoon, Kake and Tenekee face ferry shut down

Even if this is a short-term issue, I foresee that it will continue in various ways and force people away from their homes and culture. It will force people to live in the larger communities in order to meet their basic needs.

When a community is only accessible by boat or plane, not having access is a huge deal.

I get it that people make choices, and that living in remote communities means that a person will not have the same access to services as they would in a larger community. I totally get that. I lived in Juneau for 11 years. A very different way of life than living here in Seattle, or even in Anchorage.

Fred and I both believe that people should not have to move away from their homes in order to survive. The subsistence culture is alive and well in these places. We aim to expand on that in a way that will allow people to access additional resources in order to stay where they are.

Our native communities/villages are shrinking. Children are seeking life away from the villages and the elders are having to leave in order to seek or receive needed medical care. With that exodus, culture is fading away. Fortunately there are efforts to revitalize the language and the culture… But is that enough?

Angoon

image

We will keep plugging away at our goals. We will get back to Alaska. We will achieve our dreams.

Here is another view of our future home –

We are stuck here for the foreseeable future, but not for forever. Where there is a will, there is a way… We have the will and we will find a way.

Angoon or bust!

~ Molly & Fred

 

“You are a prisoner of your own position”

As I was following my morning ritual (catching up on the various “news” of the day) I came across this article:
Thought-Provoking Photographs Of People Living Alone In The Wilderness

This quote pretty much sums up my life over the past 25 years.

Tkachenko’s work raises questions about what identity truly means when we are forced to live how society tells us to: “School, work, family – once in this cycle, you are a prisoner of your own position. You should be pragmatic and strong, or become an outcast or a lunatic. How to remain yourself in the midst of this?”

I became a prisoner of my own position… As I suspect many people have.

I graduated from High School, went on to college. Got my first degree, then my first “real job”, then I got married, I got another degree, started on my chosen career path (the real career, not my starter career), earned certifications, became licensed, hung in all the “right” circles, networked (as expected), gained credibility… And so forth.

Somewhere around my 45th birthday (maybe I had a mid-life crisis) I recognized that “this” was not what I wanted. AT ALL.

Besides the fact I had been in a loveless marriage for far too many years… I had also come to recognize that being trapped in the maze with the other “rats” was not what I wanted long-term. I had no desire to compete with anyone or keep getting things bigger and better than previously obtained.

No need to belabor that part of my life other than to say that while working in my profession a constant complaint heard from others was that they were stuck and had no choices when it came to their work/careers. People felt trapped because of expectations, standard of living and debt.

They stayed in jobs that made them miserable because that job provided them with the income to live at a standard they were accustomed to, or wanted.

Mind you, no one chooses the path for you… you choose your own path and how long you stay on that path is completely up to you.

I have always believed that we have choices. We are not truly “stuck” or “trapped” except by our own expectations.

It is hard to change your lifestyle when you have become accustomed to something.

It comes down to this; how badly do you want “it”… Whatever “it” is.

What are your priorities?

I’m not going to say that transitioning to a lifestyle where I consume less has been easy.  What I make today as compared to what I made just a few short years ago is staggering. Like 100K LESS type staggering.  But guess what, that extra 100K didn’t make my life any more enjoyable.

Sure I could afford things that I can’t afford now but I wouldn’t trade my present circumstances for anything.  I DO NOT want to get back on that treadmill.

I am fortunate that I did not feel trapped.  I saw an issue and I made the changes I needed to in order to change my circumstances.  Mistakes have and will be made but it is all a learning process.

The photos presented in the article mentioned above really resonated with me.  Not that I want to be a hermit. I am just at a point in my life where I am ready to disengage a bit and focus more on what is important to me.

I finally found a person that I can share my life with. Someone with the same goals and dreams. Someone that equally shares the joys and trials of life.

2015/01/img_0767.jpg

For many years I put on my “happy face” and did what was expected of me… professionally and socially.  I was exhausted.  By nature, I am actually an introvert.  I gain energy from spending time alone and even more energy is gained when I am out in nature and being active.

Before we know it, Fred and I will be back in Alaska.  No doubt we will struggle to make ends meet and learn what we need to learn to survive in a very different mode than what we have been for the past few years.

We are actually enjoying it.  Planning our next moves, making sure we are gaining the skills we need and gathering the resources to make our dream come true.

This isn’t a passing fancy, this is the rest of our lives.  Fred has a huge responsibility to his family and his community. I am there to support him. That is what partners do.

2015/01/img_0768.jpg
This is what we are looking forward to. This picture was taken from very near where we will be living starting in 2016. We met initially in 2008 on this canoe and became acquainted again in 2010. Cube Cove – Admiralty Island, AK

 

I am longing for the day when we will be on our own – away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The only part I am not looking forward to is being away from my mom. I really treasure the time that we have been having with her. It is a blessing for sure.

If you get a chance, take a look at the article and the photos. It is fascinating and the photos are quite stunning.

~ Molly

 

Re-springing Your Step

Daily Prompt: Tell us about the last experience you had that left you feeling fresh, energized, and rejuvenated. What was it that had such a positive effect on you?

Funny you should ask!  Today, today was the last experience that I had that left me feeling fresh, energized and rejuvenated.

Mind you it was 48 degrees out (pretty darn balmy for this time of year!), that alone left me feeling fresh.  Working with green living things also fits the bill – feeling fresh, energized and rejuvenated.

2015/01/img_0761.jpg
Home Pruning Assignment… Tot wanted to be in the picture… funny boy!

I had an assignment this past week.  I had to pick a plant at home to prune.  Well, it was harder to pick the plant than I thought it would be, although there were a number of choices.

I had originally thought about pruning our California Lilac or our Lilac or our Lavender.  Turns out none of those were good candidates. At least in the condition they were in and considering the time of year.  I ended up pruning our Forsythia.

We haven’t done much work in the yard… for a while… a long while. The lawnmower taken over by the berry brambles is a good example of how long it has been since anything has been pruned around here.

You can see the Forsythia was in pretty bad shape.  I did my research, made my plan and started at it.  Tot kept me company, nosing around the weeds and barking at the neighbor dogs, or maybe they were barking at him, he wasn’t really making very much noise.

It took me about an hour and a half all told.

I started by removing some of the brambles and other chokey vines.  Then I went for the deadwood, then the diseased and deranged limbs.  I probably could have cut it down further but the buds are looking pretty good and I thought I would see how it looks this Spring and then start the routine pruning to bring it back into shape.

The refreshing feeling of working/playing outside

One thing that I loved about living in Alaska was being outdoors, all of the time, in all-weather, all times of year.

What leaves me feeling fresh, energized, and rejuvenated? Cool crisp air and the smell of water – salt or fresh.  The smell of good soil, loamy and rich. Climbing mountains to see the wondrous views that surround me.

When my dad was alive and we lived in Alaska, Fred and I would hike the trails around us a couple of times a week.  We always made a point of taking a “kissy face” photo from wherever we ended up and texting them to my dad.  His health was failing and he looked forward to our text messages. If we had cell service, we would give him a short call to tell him where we were and what we were looking at.  I miss those days.

Enjoying some sun out at the Herbert Glacier (Juneau, AK)
Enjoying some sun out at the Herbert Glacier (Juneau, AK)

I never really experienced the seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that so many people describe, but I think it was because I was busy and outside.  Breathing the clean air made a huge difference.

We’ll be back in Alaska soon enough and back out in the woods.  I’ve been feeling a little off lately and I am sure it is because I am not getting out as much as I should. I wouldn’t be surprised if I am experiencing a bit of SAD town here in “Amerika”. Life is a little too packed and busy.  I want the relaxed life I used to have.

I am enjoying my program at school because we spend a good portion of each day out in the arboretum or in the green house. It just feels good. I’m hoping that will help me feel better.

~ Molly