Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Yad Vashem

Several years ago, they opened a Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. Time had never permitted me to visit until today. We went early this morning, parked in a proper makeshift parking spot in the underground garage, and ventured through several seas of tour groups in chinese, spanish and english. The main portion of the building itself is concrete and tent shaped. Inside is dark, with endless multimedia--you are bombarded and surrounded by images from the time you set foot in the door.

For me, the beginning felt extremely claustrophobic and antsy. I nearly ran through the first few rooms, trying to make space (perhaps symbolically as well as physically) to absorb the powerful information. I wondered, to myself and aloud to anyone who would listen, whether this was part of the planning---to create a disconcerting trapped feeling, pushing you out of your comfort zone and into the history of a people who were completely annihilated. The statistics were gruesome, as were the pictures. At every turn, there were stories of each family with heirlooms, stories of the resistance, stories of fighting against fate. My soul began to ache about half way through as we walked past a glass covered area of the floor beneath which were thousands of shoes from those who had been taken to the gas chambers. A guide nearby said the glass had been put down to allow people to peer at all the shoes, but now people walked around the glass like it was sacred. Passports, suitcases, pictures and stories lined the walls. Tears flowed from visitors I slunk past. My heart continuously broke at the thought of the hatred that it takes to commit such atrocities and the ability for that kind of hate to continue to exist throughout the world today.

At the end, there is a room--wherein are books upon books of the names of all the dead. It is a room full of light in comparison with the rest of the exhibit-and it left me feeling as through the volumes were heaven's great list.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


there's no pic of the cute dog this week...because i ditched her and Adam and took off for one last visit to see my folks serving in Haifa, Israel. Unfortunately, my visit coincides with the first bombing in almost three years.... from northern israel!
Maybe some pics in a few days.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Alaska Ski Train

We got up at 530am yesterday, grabbed backpacks full of provisions, borrowed snowshoes and our spirits (the in your body not added to the body kind), and headed to the train depot. It was our first trip on the Alaska Ski Train to Curry. The trip was actually a gift from a beloved co-worker of mine, Dena Brownstein, for our wedding. She wanted to give us a unique experience and this she DEFINITELY did.

On the train you see many of the following:
1. Polka Band

2. Costumes:

3. Great Views (Denali/McKinley on right):


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

ah, exercise, how i missed you

**for anyone reading this as a facebook note, the pictures have better layout on the actual blog:www. Go see!**

Neah is attempting to trick me into playing with her, coyly dropping tennis balls at my feet and putting her head in my lap with tug-o-war-triangle in it.

Lately we've been busy doing puppy training, trying to socialize her, and trying to break her of the instinctual drive to herd us. One night a week we shuttle her into the car (thank god we are beyond the puppy motion sickness now) and take her to PetSmart where a kind lady teaches us how to not kill her. It is a class of four: a terrier that doesn't like anyone, a pound saved sled dog that just wants to pull and hates if you touch its feet, and a german shepherd with severe anxiety. I wonder how people would describe us!

Here's Adam and Neah at our class working on loose leash walking. He does the practices, since i have all day to work on it at home with her. Some days are great. Actually, any time she isn't really interested in some smell or other is great. When there is a smell to be discovered my arms get one hell of a workout.

She's over 30 lbs now. They expect her to be just under 50lbs in the next couple of months. We are waiting for her massive coat and uber-shedding to begin :) We try to take her walking in the park--but she's super afraid of mountain bikers and cross-country it is a little daunting for just one of us.

Rhetorical question: How on earth did i let Adam talk me into getting this dog? For anyone debating Aussie ownership, you should know that she wants to be with us ALL the time, she sheds, and you really ought to have a good yard or trail nearby to haul her on. About the co-dependant thing, never more than 5 feet away (unless there's a yummy smell) is where she would stay at all times if we let her.

Anyways, that obviously doesn't stop us. So, we've been doing some classic cross country skiing on this trail. Well, not this section of it yet, but soon:
We used some of the wedding money (THANK YOU) to get me a set of cross country skis. The key to success with Anchorage winters seems to be to get yourself out in it. We figured having a sport we could do together, easily and cheaply, would be good both for our health and for our mental well-being. Alas, the bar kinda killed the plan temporarily, but we are back in full swing (having gone twice this week and hoping to get in one more before i head to Israel to see Bob and Lissa early next week). There are a lot of trails here in Anchorage and we have been exploring Kincaid park. Adam and I both really enjoy it, although I'm sure i need a technique lesson or two hundred. It is a great work out that doesn't leave you all burnt out feeling afterwards. Bonus that the scenery is beautiful. So, we were out on the trail and Adam whizzed down the hill and i followed, only to realize that there was a moose just off the trail. Neither of us can stop yet without falling just prayed the moose was not so interested in us going by. I did get a pic of the people that came after us, so you know how close we were:

 Also, i need to tell you that, despite my initial misgivings about the plethora of mooses...there really are a ton of them. We saw this one driving out of the park. He kindly stopped to pose for us, although he wouldn't answer to Adam's "moosey moosey" call, before wandering off when the car started up again.

Friday, March 11, 2011


My heart feels caught in my throat, helpless and wrenched from my chest. it is impossible to go back to the regularly scheduled mundane blogging about the dog when there is such great suffering. i realize this suffering occurs daily around the world and i do wish that we were paying better attention to sierra leone and others struggling each moment for their freedom. for me, Japan's suffering just hits a little closer to home.

A friend from high school was in Sendai. There's no notice of where, how or if he is okay. Another good girlfriend from highschool had to sleep in her office in Tokyo over night, her family is safe, but their home destroyed.

my thoughts and prayers remain with them and the rest of the country.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


We missed the start of the Iditarod yesterday (the ceremonial one) in Anchorage because i was taking the last of my licensure qualification exams--a professional responsibility one. So, today, we got in the car (sans Neah the motion sick) and took off for Willow, Alaska--12 miles out of Wasilla. This is the view from the car:

The start is held on Willow Lake, which is completely frozen over. There were 62 mushers and their dog teams competing this year, including Canadians, a Scot, and a Jamaican.

Each team had a set start time two minutes apart. In between, the announcers shared lots of personal information about each person.

Bonus is free hot cocoa--as long as you aren't fasting ;)

The dogs just want to run sooo badly (love the hot pink booties!!):

This series is one guy:

And proof of life:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fasting...ready, set...

It has been a while since i talked about some of the things i hold dear to me on this blog. One such thing is my faith ( The Baha'i Faith. We are in a special part of the year right now. Today is the last day of a period called Ayyam-i-ha, which are 4 or 5 days helping to align our calendar with the Gregorian one. During those days, we do service, give gifts and spend special time and attention being joyous.

Tomorrow, adult Baha'is begin the Fast. It is a 19 day period where we refrain from eating or drinking--usually from sunrise to sunset. Here in Alaska, we fast from 6am to 6pm.
"[Fasting] is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which [we] must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic - a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires." ~ Shoghi Effendi

The first few days are always a struggle for me--as i break free from my caffiene addiction and the headaches that accompany it. By about day 5, it starts to feel pretty good. What always surprises me is how much of my time a day is spent in pursuit of physical nutrients versus spiritual ones and how lopsided the balance.

So, i wish you all a month of refocus, rejuvenation, and inner peace.