Saturday, December 31, 2005

woohoohoo Ms. Leo

LEO 2006 ASTROLOGICAL HIGHLIGHTS: It's your year for outrageous expression! Of course, you believe that you are outrageously expressive every year, but this year sets a new standard. Your daring comes from the fact that you have a mission that you absolutely must follow through with. When you're not living that mission or progressing it, you feel irritable -- like something is missing! Your mission needs you -- and never is that more clear than right now. Dedicate January to picking a project that allows you to be creative, a leader, and in many ways in over your head. The challenge will cause your talent to rise up. February is true to the Valentine's Day theme. Your heart goes out, and love is returned to you threefold, at least. Just be sure to pick the targets for your loving affection carefully. Those who are worthy will make your life heaven, but the opposite is also true. March is about teaching and being taught. Both efforts make you money! You enlarge your network in April. If you're in sales, your income takes off like a rocket. Brilliant ways of dealing with the public are featured. You're charismatic and will have many interesting offers, especially those having to do with love.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Love is a two way highway

Found Love on a One Way Street &
Lost it on a lonely Highway...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Short Blast

Before you know it another year will have gone by. Reflecting back on 2005.

Collected unenjoyment all winter until Valdez Heli-camp started up in February for spring helicoptor skiing on Thompson Pass. Cooked 2 nights a week, did the dishes/made the lunches 2 nights a week. For a fun group of guides, pilots and clients. We had a blast in the kitchen. Best commercial kitchen set-up in Valdez. Eventually there will be a hotel/restaurant on Thompson Pass. For now everything is transported.

By the end of May I was back working again for Eagles Rest RV Park getting the cabins ready for the summer. Plus cleaning 2 public showers & bathroom facilities. Right before Memorial Day weekend an RV/Camper magazine crew made a surprise visit and did a rating on Park bathrooms. For the first time EVER Eagles Rest RV Park scored a 10! The saddest part is only 4 Parks in the US had that high of a rating in 2005.

They were even sadder when I quit. My future mother-in-law was coming to visit in July and my husband-to-be asked me to stay home and get ready. We were busy up until the day she got here. I was so glad to meet her in person. Never had to do any dishes when she was here!

In August, I got married to her son whom I'd been with for over 15 years. It was painless and I am now happily married. Nothings changed!

Went job hunting in September, with no results, so I went moose hunting. Then up to Fairbanks (North to Alaska) for my nephews wedding, back down to moose camp with one of my sisters and showed her my favorite spot on earth.

And lastly for the year 2005, career wise, I'm back to cleaning toilets. Money wise that is good and I like having a year around job with bennies.

Lots of good things came about in 2005 for the FishTaxi.

Best part is I started a blog and people are reading. Long lost friends and family! With them aboard I am looking forward to 2006 with a lighter heart. Also making new blogger friends which is really cool.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Little River Band

The Other Guy, Time For A Cool Change and Man on Your Mind are some of the best songs on the planet.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Longer hours for sleeping half the day

Happy Winter Solstice! More daylight gained, by minutes, everyday for the next 6 months!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Zen & the art of vacuum cleaner maintenance

Ever since I installed the Norton anti-virus corporate edition my computer isn't doing what I want it to do. Here are a few irritating items.

Ctrl-N command does nothing
Some links open and some links don't
I can't access my bank account
I can't add an image to my blog

I use Mozilla/Firefox as my browser and a few days ago downloaded their updates. My ISP is a dial-up account that gives me grief with sending email. Have Windows XP as my operating system and a new Dell. ( Seriously thinking about DSL since the price went down. It will only cost me $20 more a month than I'm paying now and I can use my land line number again.)

Need to figure out whats up. The IT guy at work who gave me the Norton is in Japan for the holidays. I do have his cell phone number but that would be rude to call him. Hopefully I can figure it out before next year?!?

I am getting Whole Wheat Radio so I'm not going completely gonzo over these trying computer learning times.

Came up with the title of this entry while I was vacuuming at work tonight. With no images to show I figure I need catchy titles:)

Lets see if this posts.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Whose that girl?

From the 1992 Valdez Vanguard Dossier:

Name: FishTaxi

Occupation: Anything for money

How long have you lived in Alaska? Since 1980

What brought you up to ak? a 1971 vw camper bus

Where were you born? Mad City, Wisconsin

Why did you come up to Alaska? Because marijuana was legal.

Who are 3 people you would invite to dinner (living or dead)? Hoyt Axton, Barbra Striesand & the Green Bay Packers

Whats your favorite TV show? my fish tank

Who would play you in a movie? Candace Bergen

Whats the oddest item in your refridgerator? hot pickles

Whats your secret? can't remember

Your favorite quote? I know the early bird gets the worm but what about the early worm?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dinner Plate Dahlia

are one of my favorite flowers. Livingstone Daisys & Sunflowers are right up there on my favorite " annual " list. Perrenials are my all time favorite as they come back every year out of the ground. Notice we use pots on gravel as landscaping around here. We do not kid ourselves.

Listening to WWR and the rain pouring down on the tin roof. Its depressing as its not a spring rain. Alaska had temps warmer than 45 of the lower 48 states today. Does this mean I can grow oranges now?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Old Faithfuls

What a great picture of the FishTaxi's home can sealer and the American ingenuity of it all. Its electric, not a hand cranker, which takes 7 cranks per can. I have one as a back up or if I'm somewhere with no electricity.

The history of canning salmon goes way back. The wild days of fishing, at this time, are few and far between. More now since the USA/Canada Dispute over whose fish was whose was fought and we all lost.

I think off-shore (4-mile limit) pirateers are snagging the fish. For a million years nobody knew where the salmon went. All they knew was they came back every year up the same river. And I hear there are giant squids out there.

A King Salmon is gone for 5 years. A Sockeye is gone for 4 years. When the CRRs (Copper River RED sockeyes) come back they are the first wild run of fresh salmon to the markets of the world somewhere around May 15th.
What the commercial gillnetters fishing the mouth of the Copper River get is prime and the price is worth it. Where ever you are.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The coolest thing

happened to the FishTaxi last night. I get home from work about 7:10pm. Instead of my usual 10:10pm. First thing I do is log on and get Whole Wheat Radio going. Then I put the wax mop I brought home from work in the washing machine. I get a Hamms beer from outside on the porch and settle in and take my money makers off.

When all of a sudden JimBob & Esther start talking about my blog! On Whole Wheat Radio! Esther read the Maid in Alaska entry on the air and laughed her great laugh. JimBob read part of the Pennies from Heaven entry. How cool is that?

What they liked about my blog was the pictures and that its written like a real person with no agenda.

JimBob cracked me up when Esther Golton read the "On a three hour tour. Come along for the ride." He started singing the Gilligan's Island theme song. He got my drift!

Later on in the chat, where listeners of Whole Wheat Radio can go and request songs, draw in the drawing room and socialize in real time. All the while listening to WWR on the internet. You can also leave wheat grams that play on the air after the song. I just heard the one I called in on New years eve 2005. No surprise I sang the Hamms beer commercial diddy.

Tune in!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Maid in Alaska

Working 40 hours a week (cleaning a small college) has taken its toll on cleaning my own damn house. I spent all day Saturday trying to whip this place into shape. Then we had a deepfry party last night. I deep fried venison strips, french fries and salmon fritters. Green bean casserole & my famous tarter sauce on the side. And lots of Hamms beer and dirty martinis. It was fun and I love deepfrying for friends. We'll have to do it again soon.

Took my old computer over to my little buddy Dale's house for his new own room today. We decided it was an old piece of crap (wouldn't even take the Norton anti-virus) so next weekend we are taking it and their other old computer out to the firing range and shooting them to pieces. Told his dad to buy him a new Dell.

The next two weeks I work from 10am-7pm. It will be nice to get off 3 hours earlier for some evening time. I have a lot of special deep cleaning projects planned for this time while school is out. First on my list is stripping & waxing the bathroom floors. They look like crap right now. The custodian before me waxed over the dirt and scruff marks. yup, he was a man. heehee

Friday, December 09, 2005

Dream House

Isn't it charming? The second floor balcony would have a view of Valdez Bay. You can see the water standing on our roof now. Once you get above the alders or snowbanks.

There won't be a window that you'll look out of that you won't see a mountain.

Our plan is to put the foundation in this summer. Pay cash for that, then later on, get a construction loan and build it ourselves.

We live in the shop now. Started out bare bones on an acre of land living in a cabover camper. It was the 4th of July week-end 1990. We bought the property from the original homesteader. We worked for him at his gold mine at the time.

First thing we built was an outhouse. Then our Rockett dogs house. Before that first winter we purchased a 33ft trailer and added a 12x18 wannigan. Since then I've moved my kitchen 3 times as we got rid of the trailer and built additions. For 5 years we lived off the grid. Then electricity came down the street. Along with it lots of neighbors. But it was worth it. The outhouse days and hauling water were over.

The beauty of our little place now is that we own it. Other than that its a shack and I'm ready to start building my dream house.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Its raining. Theres big chunky ice ponds everywhere. Its like break-up without the zeal of spring thaw. My new sled makes a great boat. It floats!

Got my picture taken today to put on the wall. I joked with the media guy and asked if he could give me blue eyes. Then I asked if he could get rid of my double chin. And went so far to even ask for a skin touch up. Next thing you know I looked pretty good. I love Photoshop!

He's going to email it to me so I'll have a good picture of me. Plus, I'm going to start scanning my old pictures at work and emailing them to myself. I thought this was a great idea for a fun carefree winter project.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

From the Land of Sky Blue Waters

My little Sistor kitty cat loves to tear up in our empty halfrack boxes. Which there are plenty of believe me. In the summer I burn the evidence but in the winter I let them pile up for a while. Until I am flabbergasted and start looking for a BIG box. And take that to the city baler (dump).

We spend over $3000 a year on beer. ANd Hamms is cheap at $7.49 a halfrack. Obviously, we like it. Imagine if our tastes were Anchor Steam or St. Pauli Girl. Which I do like if someone else is buying. I'm a beer drinking woman, what can I say. The local club bar started carrying Hamms because of me. No, that isn't true. But there was enough of us that it was a sharp business move.

The guys gave me shit at work today. Told me they didn't get my message and thought I was there all day. They were pulling my pigtails:)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Makin' Snowballs

Well, we are out of the deep freeze, finally!! It warmed up and snowed about 18". Yeah!

The FishTaxi played hookie today. Called in sick and went back to sleep for 3 more hours. Got up about 3 this afternoon and looked outside. whoa nellie!

The plow guy showed up about 5 and I still hadn't swept the snow off my truck or started it. He's a smooth operator and politely went around it.

Pulled my leg warmers on & went out and shoveled the walkway and cleared the snow off my truck.

That was enough adventure for me today. I came back inside and researched my investments. I have a 401a plan at work that I needed to study. Perfect day to dream of my retirement.

ANd the best news is we have ALL the venison processed and in the freezer. Finished packaging the sausage tonight! We had some for dinner and it turned out good. A bit mild for my tastes but I can always add hot stuff to my plate.

Hope all is well in your part of the world!

Monday, December 05, 2005

'oil is for sissies'

There are wild & crazy people up here in Alaska. Some of them put studs in their tires and ride bikes all winter on the snow & ice. Up in Alaska 's blog tells all about it with great pictures to prove it. The link to 'oil is for sissies' blog is on her site.

The second bike below is what I like to ride in the summer! Except mine will have a tractor seat.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Snow Flakes

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The inside of a fern

I had this pic as my desktop for a while. Its a whacked off top of a huge fern on the Gold Creek Trail. We were bushwacking with a machete back when I had a digital camera. I have a cache hidden out there. Its a mountainside old goat trail that goes all the way to Shoup. 7 and half miles round trip from the trailhead to the bridge. Another 1/2 mile to the beach. If you want to hike all the way to Shoup Glacier on the Gold Creek Trail its a 20 mile round trip. I understand there are Forest Service cabins you can stay in out there reservations only.

The FishTaxi doesn't do reservations.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Employee of the Month

Thats right, folks. The FishTaxi was voted Employee of the Month for November. I get to work today and I'm doing my normal rountine which is water the plants. Then I clean the bathrooms. I do the womens first and then the mens. I'm standing at my cart when the President of the college comes up and announces the shocking news. He hands me a desk plaque that says "Employee of the Month" and I proudly displayed it on my cart. (I don't have a desk)

The perks are(you guessed it) an "employee of the month" parking spot right out front (which I won't use as I park by the light pole), my name engraved on a plaque on the wall with the other recipients and my picture taken to be displayed for the month.

I took it graciously with a smile and a few barbs. While I was in the maintenance shop the forman told the rest of crew the news and they clapped and one said the customary "speech, speech."

I replied, after gushing, "I am honored to clean your toilets".

Everybody cracked up and went back to work.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Deer Heart. wish you were here...

The deer hunters returned safe & sound from Prince William Sound last night with 28 deer on board the Double Trouble. With 6 guys and the limit being 5 each they did very well. (My hunter got his 5.)

This pic on the right is from a few years ago but the scene around here will be basically the same. For the next few days we will be skinning, butchering and grinding. The FishTaxi's freezer will be full of neatly wrapped & labeled venison backstrap, steaks, roasts, burger and sausage. And heart.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Northern Nights

If it wasn't so cold outside, I'd go out again and look up to see, if the Northern Lights are out. Perfect conditions for them. Clear, dark and cold. Hopefully someone will call me if they are. Thats what we do up here.

Before we had indoor plumbing I was always the one spotting them and calling everybody. Now, I admit, I am on the receiving end of those late night phone calls.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bear Bread Stump

My first geocache that I hid. It was also the first geocache hidden in Valdez. Now there is over forty.

If you want to find out if there are any geocaches in your area go to "hide or seek" a cache. Punch in your zip code and see what comes up.

Geocaching is the sport where you are the search engine. Lots of fun for the young and the young at heart.

Check it out and see you at the next waypoint!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Going to Girdwood

Captain Cook would be appalled at this map. Searching for the Inside Passage the Resolution turned into Cook Inlet then turned again into Turnagin Arm. Another dead end.

I am fascinated with Captain Cook. Not because of the mutiny or his demise on the Hawaiian Islands. Its the fact that he named Prince William Sound. The navigator for that trip was Bligh whom Bligh Reef was named after. A chartered rock that the Exxon Valdez ran into over 200 years later.

My comments sure have gone down since I changed the url to FishTaxi instead of my name.

And working 40 hrs a week has interrupted my computer time considerably. But I was sure happy with my paycheck today.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Who is Joey Chestnut?

From a hamburger today.

Love those guys blog. Its like taking a trip and never leaving the farm. They live in New York City and go around town to all the hamburger joints. Taking pictures, giving reviews and anything to do with hamburgers like this:

Kobayashi Wins the Krystal Square Off

Entry by Matty | November 21, 2005 | Link | E-mail This Entry

20051121_kobayashi-krystal.jpgAre you surprised? No, not that we actually posted, but that Takeru Kobayashi won yet another competitive eating competition. According to the official report, it seems that Kobayashi was actually behind the majority of the time. Impressive, young padawon.

Japan's Takeru Kobayashi consumed 67 Krystal hamburgers in eight minutes to win the 2005 Krystal Square Off World Hamburger Eating Championship in Chattanooga, TN.

To the amazement of the more than 2,000 fans gathered in Chattanooga for the event, San Jose's Joey Chestnut was in front of Kobayashi for the bulk of the contest. At one point Chestnut led by as many as 6 Krystals but finished 5 behind Kobayashi, losing ground in the final seconds of the Square Off.

Sonya Thomas finished third with 56 Krystals and Bob Shoudt took 4th with an impressive 51.

This year's square off offered a whopping $22,500 purse. Kobayashi took home the top prize of $10,000 cash, the Krystal World Champion's Belt, the champion's crystal trophy and the title of Krystal Square Off World Hamburger-Eating Champion.

For American eating fans, however, the story was 21-year old Joey Chestnut. He is the first eater to ever lead Kobayashi through a contest and to be well within range to beat him.

Who are you, Joey Chestnut? According to his IFOCE official profile, he is a rookie this year who has come on strong. In fact, he placed third in the annual Nathan's Hot Dog-Eating Contest. I'm impressed.

Oh, and I completely realize that photo of Kobayashi is freaky and not from this competition. You must admit though, that it is better than the played out "I'm-holding-a-gargantuan-fake-check photo". If you want that, IFOCE has it.

Monday, November 21, 2005

New sled once in a while

Its a cross between these two sleds shown. A long black plastic toboggon! Works great for taking the trash out to the dumpster at work. Not only does pulling those bags of trash on a sled, make it easier, work can be fun. I know my back appreciates my new sled.

Found these sleds looking for a pic of my new sled since no new digital camera yet...

I am very happy with my new plastic sled. Cost $17.99 and the workplace paid for it out of petty cash. Scoped it out yesterday and twas exactly what I wanted. Got to work, got it approved and left to go get it. I believe in making your own conditions. Now I get to go sledding every night at work.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Top 3 Trooper Dispatches of the Last Week or so...


Two Foreigners driving a Chevy Trailblazer.

Location: Haines
Case number: 05-95467
Type: Motor Vehicle Collision
Text: On 11/17/05, at 0847 hours, AST received a report from
the Haines
Police Department in reference to a motor vehicle collision at
15 Mile
Haines Hwy. Investigation revealed that on 11/17/05, at
0830 hours, Peter Kowatsch, age 35 of Austria, was traveling
north on
the Haines Hwy. in a 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer when he
lost control of
his vehicle due to the icy conditions of the road.
The vehicle crossed
over the center line and exited the west side of the
road into the
ditch. The vehicle then flipped over and landed
upside down in the
Chilkat River. Kowatsch and his passenger Miho Yonemori,
age 22 of
Japan, were able to exit the vehicle and flag down a
passing motorist
for a ride to the Haines Medical Clinic.
Kowatsch and Yonemori were
treated for minor bumps and bruises and released.
Seat belts were
utilized and alcohol was not a contributing factor.
Author: CJU0
Received and posted Thursday, November 17, 2005 1:21 PM



An accident on Eek Street
Location: Palmer
Case number: 05-95170
Text: On 11-16-05, at approximately 0911 hours,
Troopers responded to
Eek St. near Finger Lake Elementary School, Palmer,
for the report of a
two vehicle collision. Investigation revealed
Angela Marie Moehring,
age 29 of Wasilla, was driving a 1989 Chevrolet pickup
southbound on
Earl Dr. when she lost control of the vehicle on the ice
and struck a
1998 Subaru station wagon, driven eastbound on Eek St.
by Jessica Jean
Gipson, age 34 of Palmer. Gipson's vehicle received
$800.00 in damages while Moehring's vehicle was not damaged.
occupants reported they were wearing their seat belts
and were not
injured. Further investigation revealed Moehring was
Driving While
License Revoked (original charge of DUI) and was issued
a summons to
appear in court. Moehring was issued a citation for Basic
Reasonable and Prudent for Road Conditions.
Author: HAP0
Received and posted Thursday, November 17, 2005 12:58 PM

And the #1 Trooper Dispatch of the last week or so....!!!

This one is funny cos nothing was hurt but a light pole and only $2000 damage to her Ford p-u. Why did she take it out of 4wd in the first place is what I want to know.

Location: Palmer
Case number: 05-94021
Type: MVC-D
Text: On 11-11-05, at approximately 0940 hours, Troopers
responded to a
report of a motor vehicle collision between a pickup and a
light pole at
mile 33.6 Glenn Highway in Palmer. Investigation revealed
Goentzel, age 54 of Palmer, was driving her 1997 Ford pickup
south bound
on the Glenn Highway when she shifted her vehicle out of
drive and started sliding on ice. Her vehicle slid off the
roadway and
sheared off a highway light pole before stopping in the ditch.
was wearing her seat belt and was not injured. Damage to the
vehicle was
estimated at $2000.
Author: URIF0
Received and posted Friday, November 11, 2005 3:17 PM


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Rakers Club

A few years back we started the Rakers Club. Composed of a group of friends that actually like to rake. The only guy member, Jake, pressure washes his yard. We let him in the club because his yard is so clean!

Pillow Talking

Nothing like a big pillow when you need one.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Pennies from Heaven

The picture is of pennies from heaven from a few years back that I took. But, this is how it looked tonight. My cool Chevy is on the left. Notice that we use snow brooms around here. We don't mess around when it comes to snow. Always reminds me of Dr. Suess's "The Cat in the Hat". In the book, by the time mom comes home, the long path is shoveled neatly. Thats what the FishTaxi's town looks like after plowing, blowing and shoveling.

Why do we call them pennies? From all the money you can make plowing, blowing & shoveling. To spend on snow boards, snow machines and gas to head for the mountains to play in the snow. yippppeeee!

I hope we get 50 ft this year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Fish Carver

Have you ever wanted to learn how to carve fish? This guy shows you how.

I found this off of another one of my daily stops. J-Walks blog .

I need a digital camera. Looking to spend around $300. (Merry Christmas to me!) My old digital that went kaput was an Olympus I got off of ebay for $99.00. Came from a pawn shop and had pictures on the memory card of said pawn shop. Thats how I knew. It was weird.

I like Olympus but am open to suggestions. I'd like a good zoom camera. A must for taking pictures of bears!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Full Moon Arisin'

Its all about the moon in the winter in Alaska.

Thought I blew a rod in my truck tonight. I always think the worst. The racket it was making was heart wrenching. I was parked at work, came out to have a cig break and started it up like I always do. I immediately shut 'er down, sat there smoking and trying not to cry. If it was summer I could ride a bike to work while I was getting the engine rebuilt. My truck is 15 years old with a 146+ thousand miles. I settle down, decide I have to deal with it and go inside to call my mechanic husband. He's in the shower, all settled in, ready to watch Monday Night Football. So I left a message. "I think I blew a rod in my truck. Do you think I should drive it home?" When I called back about 15 minutes later he answered and said he would be down to look at it.

Turned out a rock had hit the fan and bent it. He fixed it enough that he felt I could drive it home. I did and I'm home safe. Happier than shit I bought a Chevy.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Go Packers!

Gawd, my Pack is doing terrible this year. I'm afraid to look and see if maybe they won today. I won't bet on it.

A Raider fan friend of mine died last week and yesterday was her wake. We all wore Raider shirts, hats or jackets in her honor. It was a Northern Exposure small town type wake where the whole town turned out. She was an Army veteran so she got full military honors along with being an Eagles auxilliary member. After all that, the real fun started, when everybody took turns standing up and telling funny stories about Conny Sue Kelsey. RIP Going to miss you friend.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Seward DieWay

Gary Mogg and Tony Perea, right, of Alyeska Towing prepare to throw a hook into the wheel well of a Chevrolet Avalanche pickup awash in Turnagain Arm after an accident Friday afternoon at Mile 98 of the Seward Highway.

One dead, 20 injured in Seward Highway accidents

ICE: Two vehicles hit the water; troopers cite conditions, slippery road for wrecks.

Twenty people have been hospitalized and one person has died in the last three days from accidents on a 60-mile stretch of the Seward Highway, Alaska State Troopers said.

Friday afternoon, a pickup careened off the highway near Bird Point and ended up partially submerged in the icy waters of Turnagain Arm. The night before, another vehicle skidded off a bridge and over a guardrail into 20 Mile River.

Girdwood troopers Sgt. William Welch, who polices the zone from McHugh Creek to Hope where the accidents have occurred, said people are driving too fast for the thin layer of ice on the highway.

"All of (the accidents) were caused by driving too fast for the road," he said.

The Seward Highway -- with its majestic views of Turnagain Arm -- is the only road south of Anchorage to Seward, Soldotna and Homer. Also regularly traveled by commuters in Girdwood, it is one of the most heavily trafficked roads in the state. But Welch says impatient drivers -- whether it's speeders in the summer or those not paying enough attention to icy, snowy conditions in the winter -- need to slow down.

Welch said early Friday evening he hasn't even had time to do all the paperwork on the recent spate of accidents because the calls keep coming in.

Friday afternoon, the third accident of the day on the highway was a dentist who lost control of her Chevy Avalanche at Mile 98 north of Bird Point. Jamie Chiang-McCasland, new to Seward from Texas, was driving to Anchorage about 2:30 p.m., according to a friend who was driving in another car.

Chiang-McCasland was driving about 55 mph in the far right lane of the four-lane straight stretch of road when she lost control, skated across the lanes, and veered off the highway. The Chevy bounced over the Alaska Railroad tracks, flipped, and landed in the snow topped waters of Turnagain Arm, troopers and a witness said.

"She just hit it and got sucked in and kept going," said friend Bobby Newnam, who watched the accident from the rearview mirror of his Saturn. "It scared the you know what out of me."

Chiang-McCasland wore her seat belt and was not injured. She was able to crawl out of the pickup as it began to sink into the arm, Newnam said. The vehicle's horn sounded, with its lights on, as the water rushed in, he said.

"The angels had her," he said.

An hour after the accident, only the pickup's roof was visible. A tow truck was preparing to pull it out of the water. Because the pickup rolled over the railroad tracks, Alaska Railroad authorities stopped all trains until the tracks could be inspected for damage, said Dana Massey, contract security officer with the railroad.

Less than 24 hours before Chiang-McCasland's accident, two people in a Dodge Durango soared off the bridge and plunged into the dark, frigid water of 20 Mile River Thursday night. Welch said the two occupants, who suffered hypothermia, were taken to a hospital, and released.

"I think the ice cushioned their fall so they could get out," said Gary Mogg, the Girdwood-based owner of Alyeska Towing and Repair, which retrieved the truck. "Everything must have been working right for them."

Jared "Jet" Kuhnley, a driver with the towing company, said he had to fish for the vehicle with a hook from the bridge, because it was completely submerged and invisible. Once he and Mogg got the grapple attached, they hoisted it to the surface and managed to drag it sideways to the bank, Mogg said.

Kuhnley said he's been doing his job for 10 years, and he always seems to be busier when snow first starts to fall.

Chiang-McCasland's Friday accident was within sight of where 31-year-old Barbara Osborn of Kenai died Wednesday afternoon in a two-vehicle wreck. Osborn's 2005 Ford Focus swerved into the oncoming lane on the icy road and into a Plymouth van occupied by an adult driver and five children. The driver, Jamie Bordelon, and the children were injured and taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Welch said the accidents began to mount Wednesday when low temperatures and precipitation created a layer of icy wrap over the roads -- nearly invisible to the eye but treacherous.

"People need to slow down, monitor their speed and adjust their speed for the roads," Welch said.

Daily News reporter Megan Holland can be reached at

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veterans Day

Veterans Day, 2005

November 11, 2005

America Gives Thanks to Freedom's Defenders
A Message from Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson

Today is Veterans Day.

President George Washington said after the Revolutionary War that “we owe these veterans a debt of gratitude, indeed a debt of honor.” President Lincoln said during his second Inaugural Address that we must “care for him who has borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan."

So, as our nation pauses today to pay tribute to the 50 million veterans – the men and women who have served our country in uniform throughout its history – we do so with gratitude and honor. More than one million of these heroes made the ultimate sacrifice, and 1.5 million more have borne the wounds of battle in the defense of liberty. On this day, Veterans Day, America rightly focuses its thanks for our valiant defenders.

In many ways, this single day isn't adequate to express our feelings for our veterans. There just aren't enough hours in one day to properly show our appreciation to the millions of veterans and their families to whom we owe Washington's “debt of gratitude.”

It is a debt that has accrued since the founding of our Republic. For more than two centuries, heroes have defended America with courage and determination. They were the 18th century patriots who stood against a tyrannical monarchy and breathed life into a fledgling democracy; they are the men and women of the military who, today, are bringing the promise of liberty to oppressed people around the world, and preserving it at home.

Veterans come from all walks of life. They come from cities large and small, from towns, villages, and farms. They are native-born and foreign-born, and represent all the world's races and religions. Yet they share a common bond forged from putting their own lives on hold, swearing an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution, putting on the uniform of the United States, saluting the drill sergeants, and going wherever sent and to do whatever asked. These common men and women have done uncommon deeds and, in doing so, secured for all of us the blessings of liberty and our wonderful way of life.

Another way that America tangibly shows its thanks to veterans is through the Department of Veterans Affairs. I want our newest generation of patriots – our veterans of the Global War on Terror – to know that the VA is moving robustly t o assist them as they return from Iraq, Afghanistan and any other duty station where they are serving.

VA has stationed staff on military installations to assist them in their transition from servicemember to veteran, and has initiated new jobs programs for these returning combat veterans. They and their families can count on VA for health care, disability compensation, home loan assistance, educational benefits and more. They have earned it. They deserve our best and they will receive it.

As we commemorate this Veterans Day, it is fitting to reflect on the sacrifices made by our veterans and by their families. Whether we honor this service with grand parades or a simple handshake accompanied by a quiet “thank you,” these heartfelt gestures let our fighting men and women know we have not forgotten those who answered the call to duty.

Wars have beginnings and endings, but our duty to care for those who fought them must never end.

More here on Veterans Day.

The FishTaxi has the day off and has nothing more planned than attending the opening of Arthur Millers "The Crucible" put on by PWSCC tonight.

Whatever you are doing today take sometime to remember our fallen Veterans and those still on the front lines. A lot of what we all enjoy today would not be if it wasn't for their sacrifices.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Jiminey Crickets

I pulled this picture off of one of my daily internet stops.

These guys are a serious bunch.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Equestrian Moose

This picture appeared in Friday's Anchorage Daily News . What a great shot! I nominate it as Alaskan Photo of the Year!

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I've been wearing a bandana every day again. Once you start wearing them they become part of your head. You feel naked without one. I'm trying to kick the habit but I don't know what else to do with my hair. I clean Bradley Basins so those of you whom have ever done that know what I'm talking about. You don't want your hair flinging out.

I was in the Air Farce back at the tail end of the Vietnam Conflict. I had to wear a beret while in uniform. When I was getting out I wanted to grow my hair long again. Regulation was shoulder length and no barrettes that were not the same color as your hair. Impossible with my color hair so I bought a wig. At the time Afros were in and that wasn't me. In a Klamath Falls wig shop I found a frosted, short shag curly wig. I bought it and pinned my beret to it. Put my uniform on, my wig/hat on and I was in formation. Ten hut!

How does one get dreadlocks? My hair is perfect for dreadlocks.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Come On Snow

I'm not quite ready for you yet snow and I never am. Somehow I just deal with you, snow.

I am so glad October is over. Done! Good-bye! See you next year.

Found out today I don't get Veterans Day off, so I'll have to let them know I do not work Veterans Day. This is America people and Veterans Day is an important day. A day set aside for all Americans to honor their fallen veterans. It falls on a Friday this year (banks will be closed) so it will be a 3 day week-end. Not sure yet what the FishTaxi crew is gonna do...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

My pukin' pumpkin

There was a puking pumpkin picture going around the net when I first got online 4 years ago. I had to make one. Then take pics. So here it is in all its glory! Happy Holloween! The FishTaxi loves Halloween. Decided on being Carol Burnett this year. That will work with my cart, mop & bucket, broom etc; since I will be at work Monday night. All staff are encouraged to dress up and give out candy. I think I can really have fun with this. So off to the store to get candy, try to find some crazy socks at the Second Hand store and stop at a friends to borrow a hat. Then we are driving out to 19 mile to a housewarming. Well, actually a cabin warming. My friends have worked on building this huge cabin out of huge logs for over 10 years. I've seen it over the years in progress and can't wait to see it finished. This will be their first winter living in it after their little trailer & wanagan all these years.

Happy Halloween and enjoy the extra hour we got back last night! I am.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Cartoon Day


Do not get dressed and do not leave the house. Do laundry, dishes, and little projects like transplanting your indoor plants. Talk on the phone to your friends, update your blog and start drinking cold coffee at 4:20pm.

Try not to do too much. Think about what you are going to be for Halloween. Remember when you won first place for your bag lady costume at KCHU public radio's big Halloween party one year way back when.

Don't forget to tune in here! to the hockey game at 7pm. Other than that have Whole Wheat Radio on all the time.

Thats the order of the day. Cartoon day! yeah!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Kathy Quitz

Getting a bit chilly in new Alaska lately. Have to leave for work earlier to warm up my old Chevy truck. Its cold blooded and 15 years old so I baby that baby. Let her warm up for a good 5 minutes before she dies when I take off. So I give her a few more minutes and then shes ready to move. Takes 5 minutes to drive to work. Two stop signs on the direct route. Sometimes I do a flyby pass the Club Bar, the harbor and the brand new ferry dock on the way.

My job is going great guns. They give me free rein and I've got enough to do to keep me busy for 8 hours. I have a reputation of being Kathy Quits to some people. Its true, I've quit quite a few jobs. I have a mind set that if enough things happen on my list of reasons to quit, I quit.

Simple as that. I gave this one (so called good) job a year. I quit on the very day that year anniversary came up. And I'm glad I did. I'm always glad when I quit a crappy job. Never look back. Its ironic as I just found out my former employer has now lost the contract and they are all out of a job. I think it looks better on your resume to quit jobs for better ones than to hang on to a sinking ship.

I looked at my blog tonight at work on DSL. It looked like crap. The layout is different. I didn't like it and I don't know what to do about it. I have been messing with the settings. Any suggestions?