Master Bennett

Over the last few years my husband has held down a (more than) full time job, served in two deployments AND worked his tail off to not only acquire both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees but to do it with high honors.

This past week Brian & I hopped an overnight plane bound for Boston, where we met up with his parents and brother. They had arrived a few hours before us and picked up a rental car. Once we were sufficiently sardined inside said vehicle we drove straight through to Burlington, VT – a city very reminiscent of Missoula with an east coast feel – where we spent three glorious days terrorizing locals and watching Brian get hooded for his Master’s degree and receive his diploma.

I’d like to call the following pictures The Many Faces of Brian…

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How many Bennett’s does it take to feed a parking meter

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Brian did not enjoy my comment…

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The hooding ceremony on Friday afternoon.

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Officially Master Bennett

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Damn boi, can I add you in LinkedIn?

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So happy to still be taking pictures.

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Proud Pappa

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Out of focus but the best picture of us all weekend. There’s a reason I prefer to be behind the camera and Brian hates having his picture taken. We clearly excel at modeling

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Yup, I was still taking photos of him.

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Complimentary cupcakes and sangria at the Masters ceremony after party. Hands down the best damn cupcakes I’ve ever eaten.

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Brian finally agreed to let me post him for a ‘real picture’

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Pappa Bennett enjoying the bay

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Typical Bennett family photo. It’s like wrangling kittens into a wet cardboard box. At least I know Brian gets his photogenic qualities honestly.

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Family photo. Next year I’m getting them all sunglasses for Christmas.

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My brother-in-law is the cat whisperer.

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Brian getting his diploma at the main ceremony Saturday afternoon.

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By now you should really see why I’ve dedicated these pictures to The Many Faces of Brian

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I see you!

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I’m expecting the middle finger again soon…

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I am ridiculously freaking proud of this guy right here!

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fin.

Ketchican Bird Fest

Every year hundreds of thousands of birds from all over North & South America migrate to Alaska for various reasons during the late spring and summer months. Their migration is almost like clockwork and every years birders from all over the country gather in Homer, Alaska for the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival. Having no previous plans that weekend I took off for Homer as soon as I was out of work on Friday night. In true Homer fashion, it rained most of the weekend, but it was impossible to not have a great time. Birding is not a particular hobby of mine, but I love watching just about any animal interacting in and with their natural habitat.
ShoreBirdFestival-1ShoreBirdFestival-3ShoreBirdFestival-4ShoreBirdFestival-5ShoreBirdFestival-6ShoreBirdFestival-7ShoreBirdFestival-8ShoreBirdFestival-9ShoreBirdFestival-13ShoreBirdFestival-15ShoreBirdFestival-16ShoreBirdFestival-18ShoreBirdFestival-19ShoreBirdFestival-20On my drive home on Sunday afternoon I stopped in the village of Ninilchik as well as Kenai city to visit their Russian Orthodox churches. While I have no religious affiliation with that particular church, I find their architecture stunningly beautiful and always drawn to it. ShoreBirdFestival-21ShoreBirdFestival-22ShoreBirdFestival-23ShoreBirdFestivalDriveHome-1

Springtime at Potters Marsh

In 1917 construction of a railroad embankment unintentionally created a 564 acre marshland. That man made accident has since become home to a plethora of creatures that call Potters Marsh home, even if only for a short while each year.

100 years after it’s accidental creation creation I find myself sitting along the edge of this wetland, camera in hand, observing the wonders of nature so you too can observe with me for a while too.

Thirteen moose wander about the opening, gorging themselves on the plant-life at the bottom of the shallow waters.  In the water in the foreground a pair of Tundra swans float about, napping intermittently. They have made their way to these waters for years and will continue to do so for the rest of their natural lives. PottersMarshMooseMadness-1PottersMarshMooseMadness-2PottersMarshMooseMadness-3PottersMarshMooseMadness-4
A car gunning down the highway to my back thunders down the road and scares off all the moose closest to me. They flee into the cover of nearby treesPottersMarshMooseMadness-5PottersMarshMooseMadness-6PottersMarshMooseMadness-7PottersMarshMooseMadness-8PottersMarshMooseMadness-9PottersMarshMooseMadness-10PottersMarshMooseMadness-11PottersMarshMooseMadness-12PottersMarshMooseMadness-13PottersMarshMooseMadness-14
When I pull my head back from the camera again, a pair of mallards drift by just a few feet in front of me. They waddle up onto a chunk of ice and make themselves at home there until a bald eagle swoops into the scene nearby. PottersMarshMooseMadness-15PottersMarshMooseMadness-16PottersMarshMooseMadness-17PottersMarshMooseMadness-18PottersMarshMooseMadness-19EgerFlyin-1
There is so much to watch in one little place, but as the sun sets this time of year it signals bedtime for me, so off I retreat to my home across town.

Facebook Friends Forever

Thinning of the herd. Filtering your friends list. The purge. Whatever you call it, most people are guilty of it. We haven’t talked to someone in a while so we periodically sift through our friends list and filter out those who are no longer present in our everyday lives.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with this practice, it is one that I refuse to be a part of. There are plenty of people on my Facebook friends list that I haven’t talked to [in real life] in years. For me, Facebook – and other forms of social media – serve as an easy way to re-connect with someone when out of the blue I’ve had a thought or dream about them, or they come across my news feed with a big life event, or when I’m traveling to their area and want to meet up or even just need advice on what to do there. Over the years there have been plenty of occasions I’ve been happy to have not weeded out those simply because they’re not currently in my everyday life.

At one point or another some set of circumstances led me to either send or accept a friend request and that’s enough for me to keep them there.

Earlier this year is a great example of why I am more than happy to keep people around on my friends list even if I haven’t actually seen them in years. A girl whom I attended DelVal with contacted me about coming to Alaska. She had spent a summer up here working at the SeaLife Center in Seward and wanted to return for spring break (she’s now a school teacher in NY). After a few weeks of messaging back and forth it was agreed upon that she was going to stay with Brian & I during her visit back and she booked her ticket to Alaska.  In my opinion, that takes some balls, but those are exactly the kind of people I like to have in my life.

We spent a week gallivanting around south central Alaska in an attempt to do as much as possible while she was here. Considering  she was only here for a few days & I never took any time off work, I think we did pretty well for ourselves. Thankfully, Sam likes taking photos as much as I do so we spent a lot of her trip taking pictures. Here are a few of my favorites:
BaseEager-1BaseEager-2BaseEager-3BaseEager-4BaseEager-5BaseEager-6CameraBagFlatTopSunset-1FlatTopSunset-2FlatTopSunset-3FlatTopSunset-4FlatTopSunset-6FlatTopSunset-7GlacialMoulinItsHardBeingAPuppyMirroredMatanuskaGlacierWithSam-1SamBsTripToAlaska-1SamBsTripToAlaska-2SamBsTripToAlaska-3SamBsTripToAlaska-4SamBsTripToAlaska-5SamBsTripToAlaska-6SamBsTripToAlaska-7SamBsTripToAlaska-8SamBsTripToAlaska-9SamBsTripToAlaska-10SamBsTripToAlaska-11SamBsTripToAlaska-12SamBsTripToAlaska-13SamBsTripToAlaska-14SamBsTripToAlaska-15SamBsTripToAlaska-16SamBsTripToAlaska-17SamBsTripToAlaska-18SamBsTripToAlaska-19SamBsTripToAlaska-20SamBsTripToAlaska-21SamBsTripToAlaska-22SamBsTripToAlaska-23SamBsTripToAlaska-24SamBsTripToAlaska-25SamBsTripToAlaska-26SamBsTripToAlaska-27SamBsTripToAlaska-28SamBsTripToAlaska-29SamBsTripToAlaska-30SamBsTripToAlaska-31SamBsTripToAlaska-32SamBsTripToAlaska-33SamBsTripToAlaska-34SamBsTripToAlaska-35SamBsTripToAlaska-36SamBsTripToAlaska-37 Thanks again for coming to visit Sam! It was great getting to reconnect with you and it’s always a treat to share my home with like minded individuals. I hope we can do this again in the future!

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I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not easy to be in a relationship with. I hold myself and those near and dear to me to a higher standard than most. I’m wildly independent with an unpredictable streak of neediness. Patience is certainly not a strong suit of mine and you can forget about trying to reason with me when I’m tired. Yet this man has woken up every morning for the last 1,096 days and said yes to me and this great adventure we’ve started together. Thank you for continuing to choose me. xoxo.

It started out with a kiss
How did it end up like this?
It was only a kiss
(It was only a kiss)

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First Day of Spring

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Happy first day of spring ya’ll! In Alaska’s defense, this photo was technically taken yesterday which was also the last day of winter. Our caravan of adventure seekers was turned away from our original destination by whiteout conditions &
gross amounts of fresh snow near (but not near enough) the trailhead.

Iditarod XLV

I’ll try and keep this short and let my photos do the talking for me…

My dreams of Iditarod officially became reality when I stepped off the chartered Ravn Air plane onto the snow covered tarmac in Galena, Alaska. The air was brisk, but nothing extreme by Alaska standards. After a short layover I found myself boarding a small three-seater plane bound for the village of Huslia. As soon as my feet hit the ground I was whisked away by one of the locals on the back of a snow machine. Having never had a chance to get my face mask out of my bag I zipped my jacked up as far over my face as I could and ducked behind my driver for the trip in to town. I was dropped off at what I came to know as the Ball Field – a large open area in the middle of town that would soon become the our dog yard and main hub of outdoor activity. Thankfully I was working with many seasoned veterans who promptly went to work coordinating with the proper local channels to gain access to the appropriate buildings and find out where all of our gear that had previously been sent up was stored. We set to work setting up what we could right away before finally retreating to a family style dinner in the warmth of the Elders Center. Here I was officially introduced to those whom I would be intimately working with throughout the duration of my time in Huslia. While we were all there to work various jobs our reasons for being there were similar.

The next day began a whirlwind adventure that included earning my keep in various forms, meeting many new faces, trying new foods (including beaver tail, moose tongue, and bear claws), and learning lots of new skills on the fly, but lacked any substantial amounts of sleep. After the first musher arrive my usual sleep cycle lasted about 4 hours and until my last day there, I was able to successfully thrive off so few hours of sleep thanks in part to the adrenaline of the adventure at hand. I hope you enjoy the photos. Some of them are captioned, some of them are not, and many of them were never captured to begin with.

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Follow this link to read an article written up by an Iditarod Insider about Huslia. Make sure to play the video at the bottom too for an aerial shot!