Wow, this page is badly in need of updating! I’ve had Harpo for almost two years now. My little “Boston Terror” is a ball of energy; she is the biggest dog in the dog park-if you ask her! But on our first walk in Bethel, a woman asked if she was a runt. Nope, she’s a Boston Terrier, and a big one. At 23.9 lbs, she IS a big girl, especially when you have to tote her down the ladder every morning.

Gizmo's last day

Gizmo’s last day

Along the Koyukuk River

Along the Koyukuk River

My wonderful Gizmo passed away at the end of July. He fell to a very aggressive pancreatic cancer. It was a huge shock; right up until the day before he died, I was positive that he would pull through, and I would add this to my list of “things Gizmo survived”. He was an amazing companion; always happy and exuberant and chargin’ to go. I laid him to rest yesterday; we went up the haul road to the Koyukuk River and I spread his ashes in the same area where he had so much fun chasing sticks.
I miss him horribly.
And I know he would NOT put up with my tears-he never did! He was not one of those dogs who would rest his head on your knee and look up at you with drooping eyes, like he was wondering what he could do to make you happy. Nope, he would bring a stick or a ball or a frizbee; or if we were walking, he would just be so happy that you couldn’t help but smile just a little, and then pretty soon he would do something funny and you’d laugh. I don’t know what I would have done without him when I broke up the boyfriend. He totally pulled me through that difficult period of my life.
So I will dry my tears and just remember some of the things he taught me:

  • There are no bad days, they’re all good, so be happy no matter what.
  • Being obsessed is okay, but choose your obsessions wisely and rotate them depending on the situation.
  • human food is better than dog food, so ask for it.
  • you CAN eat bugs! but eat wasps’ heads first, then their tails.
  • if the person next to you won’t throw your tennis ball, find someone else to throw it. if you can’t find someone else, go to sleep. or sigh deeply until someone finally throws your ball.
  • greet everyone effusively, enthusiastically.
  • tennis balls (frisbees and sticks) are more important than food and water. sometimes (see above about being obsessed).
  • if the person closest to you won’t be friends, find someone else.
  • share your toys, or get another tennis ball; it doesn’t matter which.
  • car rides are always good.
  • being outside is better than being inside.
  • water is for drinking and swimming in. period.
  • rocks are not fun to chase.

Me ‘n Gizmo

I guess it’s time to say something about me… I live in Fairbanks, Alaska, and love it even at 50 below (zero, that is). Well, not always! but most of the time. I am oh-so-single, and lovin’ it, after a protracted breakup with the last BF. My constant companion (except when it’s too nice outside and he refuses to come in!) is Gizmo, a huge black Lab. Gizzy’s six years old, but he’s still a puppy at heart, and never refuses the call of anything that is thrown, though he has learned not to chase sticks into the bonfire. I, on the other hand, have learned to toss things onto the bonfire only if he’s tied up. Whew, that was a scary few moments!

Gizmo Gizmo the wonder dog

I have been sewing since I was… 9 or 10 at least. I can remember making doll clothes for my Barbies and trolls at that age. I must have started embroidering about the same time too, as by the time I was in high school, my stitching was fairly neat. I am mainly a crazy quilter, an avid hat maker, and a sporadic tailor. I love teaching crazy quilt classes in Fairbanks and wish I had more opportunities to teach.

Arctic Geobotanical Atlas

Work… yes, we all work! I am employed at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, as a web designer. I am not a geek… I don’t have a computer science or engineering degree. My BS is in agriculture, specifically “Plant Science, Viticulture Option”, from UC Davis. You don’t need to know when I got it, but it was quite awhile after high school. One of those late bloomers, ya know?

I’ve done a lot of different things, from running racehorses (Quarterhorses, at tracks in AZ, CA, CO, MT, and NM) to fisheries technician. Oooh, that was a fun job! I collected fish from the intertidal zone in Prince William Sound, AK, in 1990 and 1991, for a research project that wanted to determine the impact of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on intertidal fish. Paid beachcombing! And after work, we could hike, pick berries, fish, sightsee, and just generally enjoy being out in the back of beyond.

I’ve also spent quite a bit of time playing secretary (or more politically correct, as an “Administrative Assistant”), collected data on various species of crop plants for different seed companies, sold fabric and notions at Cherry Tree Fabrics, salesclerk at the Prudhoe Bay General Store (yes, on the Slope, in Prudhoe), maintenance personnel at Toolik Lake Research Station (up on the Slope, but real close to the mountains), and I even worked at Pizza Hut, for about three weeks. Ew, I was glad that job didn’t last long!

Gizmo ‘n me

I love to hunt and fish, and am looking for a .22 so I can bird hunt with Gizmo. The ex-BF took him a few times and says he is a great bird retriever. And there’s lots of grouse on the pipeline, where Giz & I hike on a regular basis. Moose hunting is my favorite fall activity. I love the whole shebang, from packing the boat to taping up the last piece of wrapped meat and putting it in the freezer. I’ve gone dipnetting at Chitina several times, and while the drive back & forth isn’t so fun, I love coming home with all that salmon! Packing it up and canning it or putting it in the freezer is a really comfortable feeling.


14 responses to “Me-me-me

  1. Edie –
    Thanks for visiting my website and blog. Currently I have seven color lessons and am disappointed I could only find three. If you go to my archives page you can see all of them, or you can search from my main blog page for “Color Lesson.” So far iWeb doesn’t have a way to categorize my blog entries, so I have to work around that. I’m impressed with your blog – lots of content and well-organized.

  2. Love your blog and website! Just discovered it through your link on the Creativity Portal’s newsletter. “Sporadic Packrat”–that’s what drew me in. (It made me think of myself, actually!) AND the mention of crazy quilting–wow–I’ve just recently begun to delve into the craziness of fabric and stitches. What fun! Keep on creatin’ and posting pics of your stuff! Cheers!

  3. Hey, Edie:
    Great website! (followed your link from the hand embroidery group online). BTW–I took a class in January 07 with Jan Kerton, of Australia (see current issue of Inspirations) in wool stumpwork. I love it! I saw that you have a link to Jane Nicholas’ stumpwork–evidently she’s so revered in the stumpwork “world” that Jan referred to her as “Saint Jane!”
    Behave yourself (at least sometimes!) and keep stitching!
    Michele and my joyfulneedle

  4. Hey-just showing you off to my workmates!! Charge nurse likes the way your website is set up. Told her I could “hook” her up one day if she needed a website or even wanted to blog!!
    Love ya!

  5. Hi, from Michigan. Enjoying your website. I found your Sporadic Packrat Blog when trying to search the internet for a Kuspuk pattern. Ever since my Sister-in-law wore one at our family Christmas, I have been trying to duplicate it. My biggest problem is trying to figure out the hood. Sister doesn’t sew, she had someone make it for her, so she is of no help. Brother and Sister-in-law live in Barrow.

  6. I might be able to find a kuspuk pattern for you. Are you making a summer kuspuk or a winter one? There is a local woman who has made several Eskimo patterns. Actually the original pattern maker has passed away and her daughter took over the business. But the patterns have been around forever. I’m not sure she did a kuspuk pattern; I might be getting that mixed up with her parka pattern, which is somewhat similar.
    You could always use a sweatshirt hood pattern; I think that would work.
    Thanks for commenting on the blog! I haven’t been posting much lately; need to get on it 🙂 I have several projects that are almost ready to post.

  7. Aha! I did find the kuspuk pattern! It’s by Lois Tapp; I think you can get one at Northern Threads in Fairbanks, AK.

  8. 50 below! How can you love anything at 50 below? I think the coldest I’ve been in in the East is maybe 20 below. And that was really not at all manageable. I give you big kudos for living like that. I guess it’s great that you have the Internet.

    you get used to it. and you wear a LOT of clothes! long underwear, jeans, Sorels (boots) w/two pair of socks, undershirt and tee shirt/long sleeved shirt, polar fleece pullover, and a pair of Carhartt bibs and a jacket over all that. Winter temps hover close to zero, so I’m used to it, and colder temps aren’t that big a deal. If a cold snap hangs on for awhile, then you get tired of it, but just a day or two is no problem. You guys back east aren’t prepared for it, because that kind of weather is unusual, so it feels worse than it really is. Up in Deadhorse, and the Prudhoe Bay oil field, it’s much colder, and the wind blows most of the time. So Fairbanks is mild in comparison 🙂

    • OH my this brings back memories. Lois Tapp gave me my very 1st job. I used to pack these patterns and take them by sled to the post office to mail them to clients. She lived 2 houses over from me and I grew up with her grandkids.

      how lucky for you! what good memories! I must admit I’m better at collecting Lois’ patterns than I am at using them, at least for now. Someday I will have time to make myself a parka and a kuspuk!
      glad I could make you smile!

  9. I am from California but now I live in Ketchikan. I put “summer kuspuk pattern” in goggle and found you! Any help on where I can find a Barbie summer Kuspuk pattern? I have a ton of the winter parka kuspuk patterns and a summer pattern by Lois but have not been able to find a doll size one. What a great looking dog!

    You know, I think I’ve seen Barbies dressed in kuspuks (probably at the Tanana Valley State Fair), but I don’t recall seeing a pattern. I don’t think it’d be too hard to adapt a pattern, but then, I don’t sew for Barbie, so I don’t how hard it is to work with those teeny little pieces.
    Yeah, Giz is the love of my life! He IS a good lookin’ boy, isn’t he?? Glad you think so too!
    Where are you from in CA? I grew up in Palo Alto. How did us Sunshine girls make it to the far north??

  10. thank you for your articles on hats. Very interesting. I make fabric hats and pattens too.

    Cheers Sue

  11. Hi, am looking for a size 2x and 3x and possible 4x kuspuk pattern. I am not a small person. Have bought kuspuks before but want to make my own. Have fabric but no pattern or trims yet. Any help with pattern would be most appreciated.
    Many thank you’s in advance.

    the only commercial kuspak pattern I know of is Lois Tapp’s; I think you might be able to get one from Northern Threads, a fabric store in Fairbanks.
    best of luck,

  12. Hi Edie,
    I love your blog- I found my way here as I was looking to find a set of Carole Samples templates and the search threw your Sporadic Packrat site up- hey I am a nosey Ozzie I had to come look and I love it! BUT girl I couldnt handle that 50 below stuff- U are are amazing
    Thank you
    love n hugs Bear xoxoxoxoxoxo

    • aw, once you get used to wearing heavy boots, carhartts, longjohns, mittens ‘n hats, the cold is no big deal
      glad you enjoyed my blog! I will try to do some updating; I have been woefully lax, and really need to get back to it. Lots of projects to show off! Thanks for visiting!

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