My Muse

My Muse

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Our Last Day In Alaska

Mainstreet Wasilla. They do have a new shopping area down on the next block. Target etc.

Setting sun.....the light all day looks like it's 4pm .
This is Marc Polo, an ex sled dog adopted by a new friend of ours.

Roger and Ray walking with the two Tollers, Dash and Copper at Hatcher Pass.

We leave at 9:30 pm tonight. Long night and will be home tommorrow at 11am EST. Today we are going to Lake Hood to see the water planes take off, pick up Reindeer sausage for my son, and other fun things before our trip is over. I'll post more pics tommorrow then Thursday back to work. Not sure if I'll be awake but I'll be back to work. Chat again soon fellow travelers!!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ray's Blog

You really need to read this Blog too to get Ray's side of our trip. Hysterical!!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Great Photos!!!!! :-)

A few more images for you fromtoday's drive.

Majestic!!!! Needs a Lab there though doesn't it!!! LOL

The Alaska Pipeline

I wish I had photoshop with me to lighten the picture but boy the telephoto lense paid for itself today! What an image. The eagles are everywhere. We drove from Valdez to Anchorage today through Thompson Pass!!! The weather was one point it was -1 degree but who cared. Simply breathtaking!!!

Sunday in Valdez

The end of the Pipeline!!!!
Today we will be driving back to Anchorage and will actually see the pipeline. More photos tonight when we get back.!!

Pictures from the Ferry going into Valdez.

And Yes!!! Ice burg dead ahead!!!!

Bob from Alaska, Labrodite!!!!

Rebecca and Matt our hosts!

Entrance and tunnel from Whittier Through the mountain to the Ferry.

Well it's about 6:30am here. Yesterday we took the ferry to Valdez where we are now. We docked across from the oil refinery where the Pipeline ends and the freighters come in to collect the oil. Valdez is small but larger than some of the towns we saw. Nice houses since most of the workers live here. Surrounded by mountains they get about 50feet of snow here during the winter. Right now there is snow and icey roads...

I'll try and get some photos on now so you can see. One is the beginning of the tunnel to Whittier then inside the tunnel. Well this was backwards wasn't it!!! LOL

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Ferry To Valdez

Right now I am on the ferry to Valdez. The ride here from Anchorage was great..good photos, saw mountain goats then it started to snow. Right now we are in the middle of Prince William sound, I know surrounded by incredible mountains but I can't see a thing,. LOL..We went up on deck and it was freezing cold and blowing snow and the deck was ice..I actually loved it. Pictures later when I can download them.

The ferry takes 5 hours to get there. For lunch we had peanut butter sandwiches and a great chicken us warm.

There is a man sitting in the booth behind us ansd I gave him my card with the Labs on it. Wouldn't you know he has a Lab! Perfect. He asked me to take his picture with the card so you all could see Bob from Alaska, who has a beautiful Black Lab! What an experience this is..I've never been on a boat in a snow storm. I had planned to do some watercolors to show you however all I'd be showing today is a blank piece of paper.

Another interesting thing was on the way to Whittier where we would get the ferry you stop before the mountain. The railroad train runs through there and it's also a one way road for cars. You arrive at a specific time and wait. When the light turns green you drive slowly through the longest thinnest tunnel I've ever seen. I did take a photo....later!!

Friday, October 24, 2008


This where we went today. Chugach Mountain range in Anchorage. Absolutely beautiful!! The sun was hitting the center area in this photo and the wind was blowing the snow off. temperature was 19 degrees. The florida people were COLD!!! But the beauty was worth it!!

We're here!!!!

We're here!!! After 1000 hours it seemed of flying and traveling we arrived at 7:20pm Alaska time, 11:20pm EST.

We flew first class the whole trip which was fanastic!!! We were served wine as soon as we borded then again as we were in the air. Lunch was served ,with actual silverware, directly after that. Sandwhich, brownie, salad more wine. LOL... Our leg to Alaska was morw wine yet and dinner!!! Pasta primervera, dinner roll, salad and cheese cake...oh and yes..more wine.

We are arrived at the home of our hosts we had ..yes..more wine and popcorn! They have Tollers and we met them. Sweet, energetic but don't retrieve. We are still wondering what they do??? LOL.. They are delightul and much lighter on ones lap when sitting on it for one. Ray just told us their job was to entice ducks in to the the Labs could retrieve!

Today we are going to town. Oh did I mention that the sun hasn't come up yet?? It's 9:14am here. It was still dark at'slighter out will take a while to get used to it.

More later with pictures!!! Our adventure has started!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Alaska or Bust!!!!

Got all the notes for the dog sitter pasted on the frig. Judy our shipper has her assignments. That will be good so she will be over here during the days with the kids. I'm actually packed as everyone else.

Ray bought space bags. What a hoot. Piled tons of clothes into the bag and used the vacuum to suck the air out and it flattens to this weird shape. I could literally tuck it under my arm and walk down the street.

So everyone, grab your bags we're off on our adventure. I'll email regularly!!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Two days!!!

We're counting down for sure now. Sam's vet called today to tell me he has an infection, sigh, but the good news is the anti bacterial pills he's on will combat it. The stress of getting it all together to go is ungodly....remember this, get this for the dog sitter, pack the clothes...oh ya.and don't forget to paint. So that may be on hold til Alaska..I'm bringing my watercolors and ink pen so you may be seeing on the spot pieces on ebay and here. Could be fun!!

So this time in two days you will know Im sitting in a plane saying...."oh maaannn, I forgot this and that and oh well I'm on vacation!!!! reindeer sausage here I come!!!!"

Will definetly let you know how I like that delicacy!!! LOL

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Count down begins!!!!!!

Ray and Shaq arrived yesterday!!! The count down to our Alaska adventure begins. More giclees will go tommorrow. I do have my clothes ready but stressing since I haven't put them in a suitcase. Ray brought space bags, we just need to find out if the people we are staying with have a hose vacuum to let the air out when we get there. "here's the heavy sweater I brought, however I won't be able to wear it because we can't get it out of the bag!!!"

Sammy is having his stitches out tommorrow!!!! Yeahhhh!!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

LOOK..I'm Painting

Oh my word..I'm painting. !!!! Taking care of Sammy, getting ready for the Alaska trip has had me overwhelmed to say the least. I am behind...sigh.but tomorrow will write my list and stick to it. I loved painting this today...24" x 48" . A challenge since I really haven't done many landscapes. But I see more coming.

Sammy stayed close by. His collar wouldn't make it into the studio so he slept on a pile of laundry by my door. Oh..did I mention I was behind on that too??? Ray is on his way starting tommorrow and I need to shovel out his room...LOL..

My Dr. said I have you think?? LOL... I'm sure everyone has some semblence of lists help...

Dinnertime is coming, a glass of wine and relax. Sam gets his hood off for awhile then back on and get ready for our 3am adventure.

Thanks for stopping by!!! Sheila

My Own Grand Array

It's a tough life picking up signals from outer space!!! We did our 3am visit to the backyard the other night. I used the snap lead we have. It's perfect for that furkid that likes to pull. It's made with a heavy bungy inside a sleeve and when he pulls it stretches then corrects.

Fergus ran out the door with Sam in hot pursuit. That also means that I, being attached at the other end of the lead, am also in hot pursuit. The lead was working in reverse...he ran I snapped forward. The trusty flashlight was now pointing to outerspace as we ran over everystone and toy in the yard. We finally stopped. Fergus reported back that no critters or tresspassers were in the yard. Sammy did what he needed to do then sat. Sighing I stared at the full moon and thought about the positive aspects of being out at now 3:20am...the stars were beautiful, the moon was directly overhead and as I looked down at my Grand Array Sam..he was yawning.

He will go back to being a Lab next week!!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Spoke too soon!!!

Right after I posted earlier today Sam I thought split a stitch. Off to the vets!! He didn't but what was happening was the incision wasn't closing at one point. A tech had said when we were leaving the other to keep the incision clean with Hydrogen Peroxide but the DR said in some people cases it prevented the wound from healing. He did take a culture to make sure there wasn't an infection starting. More prayers please.....

Sammy's spirits are hgh so that was a great sign to the Dr. so he's thinking it' just drainage from the ...sorry I didn't catch what the term was but he didn't seem concerned..just to wash it with soap and water twice a day and keep his e.collar on. Yikes..I think somewhere long ago very young I may have wanted to be a's exhausting and worrisome so I really want to get back to painting. LOL...

Yet One More Sammy Update and Alaska Info

Hi everyone,
Ok...Sammy is doing so much better. Tommorrow I start to ween him back to his own food.

I have finally returned to the studio and today mailing Giclees out. Ordered a few more just in case..there were a few people that joined our adventure a little later. I am SO excited!!!!! Next week we fly!!! Get packed everyone.!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Patriots lost and Sammy update

Sigh..Our team The Patriots lost. Who elase would I be rooting for from Boston!!! They'll bounce back. I have faith!

Sammy did well today. He doesn;t have the e-collar so it's alot of "no Lick" and dobs of hydrogen peroxide. He doesn't Like that but it does settle down the redness and swelling around his stitches. I'm also getting good at dobbing them while he sits. Tommorrow is a holiday so Tuesday if it's still looking off a bit I'll get one for him. A little late but better than none.

We just did our "route". Thankfully because now it;s pouring out. I do have the umbrella by the door but I'm telling you I won't be a happy camper wandering around in pouring rain at 3am.

Rain in Florida is like no other rain. There is no sprinkle to lead up to a heavier just goes into a deluge. The land is flat so it just keeps getting deeper so soon you are up to your ankles in water..oh yes..if you are near a fire ant hill they float and grab hold to you for dear life. I always thought in the cowboy and indian movies it was silly that they would strap a cowboy to an ant hill. OOOOOh. Well I have been attacked by fire ants and they swarm and bite at the same time. nasty.

Tommorrow I am back to painting!!!!! Shipping Tuesday along with prints. ordering more for our new adventurers...leaving on the 23rd. !!!! I am so psyched!!!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Forgot to say!!

Thank you all for your patience..obviously I didn't get much work done this week at all. Thank you HUGELY for your prayers, thoughts and emails.

The power of people praying and thinking positive thoughts is amazing.!! Bless you all!!!

Sammy's Backyard Path

The night went fantastic. He slept on my feet and legs and like a ggod Mum felt his every move. he had to go out around 3am so wearing my "dog tired" night shirt, massive bedhead, bare feet I hitched Sam to a 7ft lead and out we went. Oh..I forgot, I had my trusty LED flashlight that gives a cold blue-ish shine.

Since he's black and has stitches I didn't want him roaming alone and one of his favorite things to do is sit in the pool before he comes in.

I never realized he had a path and pattern. First we went to the right of the house, stopped at the corner and christened that area. From there we reentered the pool are and went to the far side with Fergus almost knocking me in the pool. Fergus is Sammy's guardian and is always with him. Now the voyage takes us back to the yard and behind the pool area which is bushes and trees with a path. We took the path up then turned and he takes the inner path BEHIND the bushes.

Caught the lead on his way out and around into the pool area and we picked up speed..woohooo..out the other door now a sharp right to the end by the gate. That's where we did serious sniffing and a christening. Why am I following him around at 3am you ask?? His colon hasn't started to rework as yet so we are waiting for the big movement so to speak. The Labragas will knock you out so it's soon.

Now I think..oh thank you God we are going back to bed...not before we take the run on the other side of the pool back through that door just to sniff the air...and NOW we head for the door to the house.

Settle back into bed and Sophie, who felt she didn't need to join us got up and her thing is to shake, go into the bathroom and close the door on her self. Then she starts to scratch the door.

Thankfully I wasn't in the really comfy spot yet. sigh.

At 6;30 Sammy started being figity so I felt his pain meds wearing off and it was time for another. We slept til 9am... I was awaken by a Black Lab wiggling his whole body with a tennis ball in his mouth!!! Sammy is home!!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

SAMMY"S HOME!!!!!!!!

Well he's home!!! Thank you for all your prayers and thoughts!! It won't be a painting day because he won't leave my side for one moment. I feel bad because everytime I get up he does too and he's supposed to be after I do some paper work and emails I'll get a cup of coffee and sit on the couch for awhile til he falls asleep. He's on good pain meds so he's slow and tired.
Fergus is beside himself that his buddy is home. Sophie..."oh the brat is back..hi...stay away from my stuff" Kids!!! LOL

Friday Morning/Sammy

Dr Thomson called last night before 7pm to let me know how Sam's day went. He ate a bit, vomited but it was clear. If you have ever had a furkid with an obstruction you know what comes up. Yikes. Clear was good!!!

He said he still didn't have a fever, Thank God, and seemed better. I then heard the Dr. laugh abit and he said" that's Sammy is the background" Sammy has seperation anxiety, also doesn't like being alone so I could hear the barking and somewhat howly "voice" in the background. Good sign.

This morning he will call me at 8:30 am I'm sure when I will hear if Sam can come home today.
Thank you all for you prayers and well wishes...I'll give you an update and the welcome home photo later today!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Our Sammy

This is our Sammy. Tonight he is in the hospital. A few days ago I gave the kids the ends of corn on the cob. Sophie and Fergus chew...Sammy did not. After a few days of him being so sick, today the worst, I took him to the vets. The exray showed the cob in his small intestineand they operated. He's pretty sick, and I'm feeling so much guilt. The Vet said they'd see...48 hours will tell. Sammy is strong, young..focused, so I know in my heart that he will be home with us.
Please go to my ebay site..sophie316..and bid. His bill alone will be over and above what we have budgeted.. and any help for the Sammy Relief Fund would be so appreciative. I have 20" x 20" portrait being offered for 100.00...a total deal.
Ok..going to bed now because I'm missing him terribly.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hectic Day/Prints are Coming

Today was hectic. Fergus had some strange viral thing last week and last night and today Sammy had it The poor guy was so sick. On top of that my granddaughter had two procedures and I was worried all day. Happy to say she is fine.!!

Now good news , The Giclees promised for our Alaska offer are going out tommorrow!! Getting things in order..water colors, postcards, brushes,pencils, Just need to pick up the telescopic lense.

Tommorrow I'll post another Ray commentary. !! he'll also be an on going contributor on our adventure!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sammy On the Run!!

This is Sammy!!!! Behind the bushes is an old delapitated shed that lists to the front and right from hurricanes. We should have removed it a few years ago but.... For the past few weeks around 3am, the three kids bolt out the door and into the shed barking and scrambling. Sophie and Fergus come quickly but Sam focuses. This means I go into the back dark yard with flashlight and hose to spray it into the shed hoping the it's not some awful critter that will hurt Sam and the water may make him focus on me. sigh. Don't you all spend 45 minutes at 3am in your backyard??

This morning I heard Roger gagging and saying. Oh my's awful. Sophie, who loves to bring things in to guard on the couch brought in the half decomposed bird from the shed. Thankfully she dropped it on the tile.

I have been mopping, chloroxing, Febreezing and you can still get the faint scent.

So..the Artist living with Labs?? She is known to take power naps in the afternoon. :-)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

And Now a Message From Our Sponser :-0)

> Hi! Ray here from Ray and Shaq fame

I'm sure many of you are wondering how did this whole Grand Alaska
Adventure thing start? Why in the world would someone in their right
mind invite (by the way I don't claim to have a right mind so maybe
that explains part of it) Sheila and Roger to come to Alaska with him
and then inflict them on some of his best friends?

Well as it happens I used to work for a company that flew Northwest
Airlines a lot and every month I got the statement of how many miles I
had and every month it got tossed without ever being opened up. I had
not flown Northwest in several years. Then about a month ago I
actually opened one up and looked at it. Holy Cow Batman I have
160,000 miles and they all expire December 31, 2008. Knowing that
there is no way that my work schedule will let me take 6 trips or even
3 trips I had to think up how to use these miles.

So my first thought was that last year I went and visited some great
friends in Alaska (where I lived in the 70's and early 80's) and had a
great time. They had these cool dogs called Nova Scotia Duck Trolling
Tollers that they let me take on trips during the day around
Anchorage. They also had a wonderful Tripod named Sophie who got to
come along as well. Dear Sophie has crossed the Rainbow bridge since
then and I am sure the place will not be the same without her but she
is not alone on her journey as my own beloved Zoe, Shasta and Nanda
are there with her.

Ok, so I have all of these miles and it looks like I can get to Alaska
but the only dates that work are leaving October 23 and coming back
October 28/29. You know those small print black out dates. You can
only fly when there is a full moon and Venus is in the southern sky
and there is a left handed guy riding a bike across the Golden Gate
Bridge. So great trip is planned but darn it all the most miles I can
use is 50,000 and that is flying first class. So I still have another
110,000 miles to go so I start looking around for people to go with me.
So I had to look at the best case/worst case scenarios. Best case is that the weather is great and I am traveling with people who are fun and we go out and do grand adventures and have a blast. Worst case we are stuck in a blizzard and need to create our own fun and grand adventures and have a blast. Well after careful consideration the only logical conclusion was to bring Sheila and Roger with me. They are fun to hang out with and are easy going and frankly if you have to be stuck indoors with someone they are fun people who are easy to get along with. So best case/worst case scenarios are taken care of. Roger of course has one of those jobs where you actually have to show up at an office so I advise him to just use my patented excuse that no one has ever
question. (Sheila Changed this part..too graphic..LOL). As luck would have it he was able to
massage things around his schedule and not have to resort to using it.

So there you have the story of how Sheila and Roger are going to
Alaska. Next week I will regale you with Ray's theory on traveling
and how to have fun no matter what happens. and how to use Carrots to
get what you want. Maybe there will be another story in between that
one and the start of the adventure then I will turn it over to Sheila.

Ray & Shaq

P.S. Everyone thinks that it was Susan Butcher who was the first lady to win the Iditarod. But she was not, someone beat her to it. And frankly Susan passed away last year so meeting her will be a bit tough. Though there are a couple of clairvoyants on Spenard Road in Anchorage that we could use to make contact if we it we have to. So go out on Google and see if you can find who I am trying to line up a meet and greet with.