Off The Top Of My Head

musings from my brain
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  • almost there… but too cold to work outside today

    Posted on February 28th, 2011 kevin 1 comment

    Headed for the house today to work on some things inside. Temps are supposed to be near record lows (14) and a windchill much below that (maybe 1 or 2)! I don’t have too much of a problem working in temps like that but my compressor does. No shingles today, maybe back at it on Wednesday when its a little warmer. I think I only have one maybe two days left to complete the exterior.

    So for today its time to work on electrical and plumbing layouts inside. Might even start to drill some holes for wire and media. Still facing the challenge of finalizing the layouts of both the bathrooms upstairs. The master bath is a big hurdle in my head, though most of that is just about going with what I have drawn up right now rather than trying to come up with yet another option.

  • Milestones…

    Posted on February 21st, 2011 kevin 3 comments

    This past weekend I jump into the deep end, literally the deep end of a pool anyway. It was the Alaska State Masters Swim Meet and there were 9 of us that came up from Sitka to compete, some for the first time and for some of us it was for the umpteenth time in our lives. I personally was a competitive swimmer in my youth and swam hundreds of races, though every time the race jitters would come up, and after every event I was excited to share with my family how it all went. This time around was no different. I stepped up on the blocks for every race with those same dancing butterflies in my gut. I also finished every race looking to either relish in the accomplishment of a great time or just for the mere fact of finishing the event.  I find from time to time going through moments like this feeling pretty content, though recognizing that there is one significant person missing from that moment of sharing, I still feel pretty balanced for the most part. Then there are the times when that empty spot, that lack of witness, is overwhelming. I so want that moment to exist when she could be present to share my excitement with me. To have her wrap her arms around me and share that accomplishment and to congratulate me and me be able to share gratitude back for her support and love. I don’t know when this goes away. I remember Beth talking about wanting that sometimes with her Mom, someone physically missing from her life for over half of her life and more at times. I struggle to see how this changes.

  • Happy Lunar New Year!

    Posted on February 3rd, 2011 kevin No comments

    2010 a look backslideshow of the past years highlights

    As I wrapped up 2010 and thought of all the changes and new surroundings that I found myself in I thought that I should share a little with everyone.

    As you know the year began with a move north to Sitka. Before heading out a jump in Lake Washington on New Years day seemed like a good thing, hence the 2010 polar bear patch at the beginning of the slides… The rest of the month found me entrenched in going through Beth and my possessions and collections from the last 17 plus years. With the help of many good friends and family I was able to pack it all into two trucks and a trailer, the rest tucked securely in a room in the basement of the house in Seattle. With that behind me I hit the road, with Jaime following behind me in the other truck, bound for Bellingham and the Alaska State Ferry. After 5 days of ferry time, little adventures in several town stops and new friends in almost every town, we arrived in Sitka.

    Life in Sitka has been a whirlwind at times with lots of activities in and out of the house, from playing in the snow, swimming in the ocean, boating and fishing in Sitka Sound and lots of time in the rainforest’s of the Tongass. No close encounters with bears though we did see 6 over a 5 day period on our trip to a cabin on Shelikof Beach for the end of school and May birthdays adventure.

    The summer of 2010 was a pretty nice one in Sitka, weather was great, I put in a lot of time on the house and by the time I ventured south to Seattle for the LiveStrong Challenge the house was pretty well underway with walls up and the roof trusses on. With a little plastic tarp we were able to keep it dry for the days that it rained though it wasn’t really all that much. Seattle was much wetter however, with Team Bear riding, running and walking the Seattle Challenge in a total down pour! Everyone finished their events a bit on the wet side but none the less energized and inspired by the event.

    Through the fall I made a few more trips down to Seattle for various events, including the dedication of and first annual Maternal and Child Health Lecture Series, a series dedicated in memory of Beth and the work that she did at the Gates Foundation. It was touching for the family to attend and inspiring for all who were present to hear the experiences and wisdom of Dr Pius Okong.

    Being in Seattle was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed seeing friends and getting some time to see family and play with Maddy, Sydney, Max and the new little guy Milo!

    The house build still progresses along nicely and I am currently in the final process of finishing the exterior siding and trim. I will, upon completion move to the interior and start installing the utilities and mechanical systems. I am very excited to begin that work and am really hoping to work towards insulation and dry wall very soon as well. At this point the plan is to move into the house in late May.

    Life in Sitka as been very good to me. I have begun to find a great deal of peace and comfort in this beautiful place. I have also found that I am really missing being in an airplane so am guessing that it won’t be long before I am back at flying again.

    I wish all of you a prosperous and healthy year ahead. Many, many thanks to all who have supported me in the past year in so many ways. Love to you all.


  • one year passed…

    Posted on June 26th, 2010 kevin No comments

    from some writings of June 24, 2010…

    I woke this morning thinking something would feel different, that I would have a moment of profound connection, or that through the lapse of time I would be visited by a spirit of clarity and peace. Really it isn’t like any other day, yet it IS like every other day.

    I really struggled with how to exist in this day. Beth wouldn’t want the day marked as a day to remember her. She would acknowledge that the day that she died, for those who knew her, their emotions might be raw, it might be a day that you are more reflective, sad, angry or miss her just that much more. But to mark it as a day for her, one reserved in some way in her honor… no, she wouldn’t want that.

    I did want to find her in some way. I got up at 3:50 this morning to be awake and aware at that same moment that she passed from this place to where ever she is now. Nothing in particular happened. I didn’t feel that much different than the day before, or likely how I will feel tomorrow. After dropping Michael, Melanthia and Max at the airport, I decided to head down to Alki and watch the sunrise over the city. The scene was very peaceful and I was able to clear a lot of space in my head to be with Beth. Beth would have never been up for the sunrise in the middle of the summer… 5:00 am, no way. Though I know the idea would have brought a smile to her face.

    After sitting for awhile, the sun just coming up over the tops of the city skyline I headed up to the Alaska Junction to have a croissant and coffee. Sharing a morning coffee with that girl was one of the best ways to start a morning. Remembering Beth, and in a similar way my Dad, often centers around food memories and favorites. Twiced baked croissants, a good cup of coffee, a nice spicy green curry, salted caramel ice cream. I had the first two and the last.

    There are certain parts of both places that I am in now that I wish I could combine. Sitka has been really good for me. My mind is quiet there, I can think without being overwhelmed. I am in great shape from not only building my house but also all of the activities that I can engage in there (sometimes more to the point have to engage in with Erika, Pete, Kobi and Anan). The past year is really hard to quantify or say how it really has gone in just a few words.


  • playing a little catch-up

    Posted on June 15th, 2010 kevin 1 comment

    sorry to all for not getting updates up regularly lately about the house… over the past several weeks Pete and I were working insanely long days in order to get the house buttoned up before my two week trip down to Seattle. I was at the house for at least 10 hours a day if not 12 or 13. We worked every minute we could up to a somewhat courteous 8pm curfew on powertools and hammering….

    Here are a few pictures of where things are now.

    Link is to a video of the trusses from the inside of the house.

    trusses up and a cover over the house

  • a few quick pictures from a big week so far

    Posted on May 20th, 2010 kevin 2 comments

    Driving the forklift to Wachusetts

    most of the floor is on! a little video look….

  • a day of appreciation

    Posted on May 9th, 2010 kevin 3 comments

    woke up this morning thinking about how much my mom has given me over the past almost 39 years. We take for granted a lot of times the things our mothers did for us in our childhood years. Some hard to remember, some very formative. I am very grateful for all of that. I am also extremely lucky and appreciative for how my mom has stood beside me in the last several years, supporting not only me but how she was there for Beth.

    There were many times when mom would drop what ever was going on here in Sitka and come down to spend time with us. She was there unconditionally for whatever we might have needed. I know for myself I would have been in an entirely different place had it not been for her support, love and understanding.

    It pains me too that we have that mutual understanding of how life can change as it has. We don’t talk about it much but I think we have an unspoken understanding about what each other might need. How to negotiate ourselves around in our new worlds, and when to step in and be there for one another. Though, as usual, mom is there for me more than I am there for her I think.

    Happy Mothers Day, today and always mom. Also, a very happy mothers day to Erika. A mom with the energy, drive and compassion of 100 moms! You rock! Many, many happy wishes to all of my other ‘moms’ out there! I love you all!

  • building on a good foundation

    Posted on April 20th, 2010 kevin No comments

    So this process of course has a lot of parallels in it that are symbolic in my life of course. I sometimes feel its a little too much to even admit or write about. Always referring to the grand metaphors, reflecting about how life tells us things about ourselves, feeling like there is some reason I find myself stopping to think back about what just happened and what lies ahead. It all can feel a little “whoo, whoo” sometimes! Ah, whatever… it is what it is.
    I found myself thinking a lot about foundations over the past couple of weeks. How starting with a solid, well planned, no corners cut foundation makes for  a much nicer base to build from. We spend a lot of time, and I am sure more money, in making this house foundation work right. I have a great pad to build on now, a great place to start creating the rest of the house and I guess what could become my home.

    The foundation of my life was very well built in my years with Beth. I feel like I wasn’t able to fully complete it, though think I have tried to continue with the solid platform I have so far. Every now and again I feel like I slip a little. Then I bring myself back to working it out right.

  • so much progress

    Posted on April 14th, 2010 kevin No comments

    So we have been working hard at pushing a lot of dirt around and have started on the forms for the foundation. I have had little time to sit and write. Well, I had sometime the other night but it was spent nursing a twisted ankle, which is doing much better though I still have to step carefully!

    this is from day one of the excavation…

    pictures from the next couple of days… I will get another montage put together tonight.

  • Life here in Sitka…

    Posted on March 10th, 2010 kevin 2 comments

    A view from the top of Castle Hill this morning.

    Luna and I are out on a walk. Just stopped in to the Backdoor Cafe for a cup of Raven’s Brew and a snack. Beautiful out this morning though the weather is supposed to pick up with winds howling in at over 60 knots later this afternoon. Snow and rain though out the day.

    The following is from my first week here in town. We all headed out for a little hike up Beaver Lake Trail. Being out in the old growth green of Sitka has been great for my soul. I can feel life creeping back in and the touch of my roots through the ground. Getting out there with the boys is fun!