Jan Stafford Kellis

Frontier Vacation

I’m on vacation with my family right now, in the temperate rain forest of the Alaskan frontier. We’re visiting my aunt and uncle and witnessing their day-to-day lives, learning about their plumbing and electrical systems (there are 2 and 3, respectively) and gaining a greater appreciation for indoor plumbing and hot showers (we have hot showers here, but they require more effort than the one we’re used to). It’s a fabulous vacation from society, and a great place to learn about supporting oneself via gardening, fishing and trapping (crabs) and relying less on stores and other people.

My aunt’s place is comprised of several buildings: the Main Lodge where eating and sleeping takes place, the Powder Room, the Commissary where the refrigerator and some equipment is stored, the Workshop where my uncle does his woodworking and the Power Shed where the battery bank and freezer are situated. There’s also a garden of generous proportion ready to provide enough vegetables to feed all of us, and enough to can and prepare for the coming winter.

Did I mention the meals? We’ve enjoyed gourmet meals for dinner every evening: marinated salmon cooked on the grill; halibut served with cream sauce; tossed salads, garden potatoes, brown rice, homemade biscuits and jam, French toast. The offerings here rival any self-respecting high-end restaurant and at least 75% of the ingredients for each meal originated on the property or in the sea out front.

Since we arrived three days ago my husband has fished twice and brought home enough fish to see them through a month of winter meals. What a fabulous, mentally restful and physically tiring retreat!  I haven’t been here in 29 years–hopefully I’ll return before another 29 pass.

Mid-Year Resolutions

The challenge of maintaining a blog seems to be overwhelming–why else would I keep neglecting it for random stretches of time? A mid-year resolution might be prudent, might renew my dedication and commitment and provide motivation to continue posting blog entries. I hereby resolve to post something coherent, a minimum of one paragraph (don’t want to get carried away and fail right out of the gate) at least once a week.

At the moment I’m mired in a new job and still covering the old one; the new one is a traditionally male job, and I’m the first female at my company, aged 70 years (the company, not me) to hold this position. There are many extra challenges for a woman holding a “man’s” job, and there are many graces.  It seems bizarre and amazing that I now have a job requiring a shower at the end of the day rather than the beginning, and a job that involves math, design, working with the public and working alone.

I’m also dreaming of writing my third book rather than working on it because all of my mental energy has been directed into my job. We leave  Saturday morning for Alaska, spending the first week with my Aunt in the wilderness, and I’m planning to finish the book there, situated on her beach watching the tide come in and go out. My second book should hit the Amazon shelves within a day or two of this post.

Please stay tuned for my next post, in which I will reveal the new job and the progress of my writing project.