And So It Begins…

Adventure, Outdoors, Uncategorized

A little over two years ago I was… oh never mind. That was then, and this is now. Now is MUCH better. Then sucked in MANY ways.

With just a few days left here at The Spit, I started to move some of my belongings out of my cabin. Some is going into storage, and the rest I will take out to my new home on Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge.

I got out to Protection Island (“P.I.” as we call it) today with some of my belongings and it really hit me about this change – not only is it that am I moving out of Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. I just took my first solo trip operating a boat for the U.S. Government, taking my belongings out to an island that is a federal wildlife refuge that is closed to the public, and that I will essentially be the only person there most of the time. Here are a few pictures I took today: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shawnflaherty/sets/72157643042351424/. I will add to these during my stay.

I will be moved out there within the next week or so, putting out a few family pictures and setting up some of the few other personal things I decided to take with me. Not having a house (some may say “a real home”) is easy to overcome if you just do a few things to make it “yours”. Home is where, and what, you make it.

For more information about P.I. you can look at this website: http://www.fodnwr.org/in-the-community/webcams. This is our “Friends” group and most refuges, national parks, and other federal lands have similar organizations. They are all vital to these places and do so much and they can all use help and your involvement for these special places is very rewarding in many ways. Our Friends group has gotten a webcam put up on P.I. They also work on many other projects, one of which is a video about the history and importance of P.I.. If you click on the video link it will take you to Vimeo, which is hosting a very informative video about the island and its features. I learned a lot by watching it and maybe it will help some who watch better understand the importance and why these places matter.

It is amazing what you can do if you just set your mind to doing something and get it done. I have had many great opportunities happen in my life and those things have only happened because I wanted them to, and made them, happen. I may not have not done as much as some, but I have done more than others and I can take great satisfaction and pride in the fact that I have gotten to do so many cool things – well, at least to ME they were cool or I wouldn’t have wanted to do them. Dream for the big things and do what you need to achieve them. It doesn’t matter what others think… live YOUR life for YOU. If a “big” thing to you is something like getting a tattoo, or a second piercing in your ear, then by all means whoop it up!

Some can, and some do. The choice is yours.

One Week Left

Adventure, Just things, Travel, Uncategorized

“Your hard work on the job may appear to be finally paying off, Aquarius, as all signs indicate that a raise, promotion, or other form of advancement is coming your way. Your ambition and concentration have led and will continue to lead to significant accomplishment, which isn’t likely to escape the notice of those above you in the hierarchy. Draw satisfaction from your achievements and continue as you are.”.

This was my horoscope for today. Ironic that it showed up today, one week from the day that I move out of the cabin and onward to my next adventure. My hard work feels like it has paid off by giving me this next opportunity on Protection Island. It is a lot of responsibility – operating a boat and living alone on an island will have it challenges, but if I were not ready for it they would not have the faith and trust in me to do the job and would not have offered the position to me.

The next caretaker here will arrive on Friday morning, so I will be showing him around the area when he arrives in case he needs to get supplies and do any business he needs to do. Then I will begin training him on what happens here at The Spit. It might be a crash course in three days or so, but it is supposed to rain this week so that may keep the crowds down somewhat… but I am not holding my breath on that.

I spent the entire day on the beach today and it was a beautiful, sunny, 10-hour day. Got out to the lighthouse to do some things out there and got to see some birds. Then it was back to the mainland to get a couple of volunteers going out to look for dead birds for research (a monthly project). Wrapping up the day, I spent a few hours with some state people taking GPS data and other info for erosion studies.

I can honestly say that I do draw satisfaction from my achievements. I have gotten to do some fantastic things in my life, and this has been one of those fantastic things. At the same time it is a bittersweet thing for me to be leaving here. It has been the first place I landed after the massive upheaval my life took in early 2012 so it has had that comfort aspect offered by a soft landing in a new place. It is also the first place I have gotten to work on this career change at and learn so much about many new things as well as myself. It is such a beautiful place and this opportunity has been so incredible. I am very fortunate to have gotten to experience it. Coming into it I knew it would not be permanent and it would be part of my ongoing adventure, and it certainly has been a HUGE part of my ongoing adventure. Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is definitely a special place in its own right, and it is more special to me in a different way on top of that. A safe haven for animals, it has also been a refuge for me the time that I have spent here.

So what is next? I guess I will be finding out soon! When I do find out I will be posting updates on here so please stop by or follow my blog.

Saturday! Saturday! Saturday!

Just things

Yep, Saturday. Night that is. Another new experience…

Tonight a friend and I went to check out our first ever women’s roller derby bout here in Sequim, the fun brought to us by the wicked ladies of Port Scandalous Roller Derby!

It was something different and was fun to watch. There were a couple hundred people there so it was a small but good crowd. It was definitely a lot different than the old roller derby bouts they used to show on TV way back in the day. A lot of rules to learn, but you can pick up on it pretty fast by watching. As the night wore on some tempers started to rise and a couple of jams were getting vicious. It was cat fights on wheels!

It is worth checking out a bout if you haven’t done so yet.

Good, no GREAT, Vodka

Just things, Uncategorized

Yes, there is such a thing and it doesn’t sit on the bottom, or even the middle, shelf at the liquor store. There is a reason they call it “top shelf”, and it is a very good reason.

Vodka has always been my distilled spirit of choice. I have tried several different brands, but I almost always drink Grey Goose. It is even pretty smooth straight up. Yes, I am a vodka snob, and no… I do not drink often. With the price of liquor here in Washington you cannot afford it, and it is also just not my thing to drink liquor all the time. Wine doesn’t count.

As with all things in life, you pay for quality, and quality returns the favor. Buy a decent tent from REI or The North Face (among several other “top shelf” tents) and you will probably sleep dry. Good shoes make your feet smile. Good vodka is the same and you gotta spend some money to get a good one.

I am getting a tax refund this week so I decided to get myself a treat. Today I finally acquired my first bottle of Crystal Head vodka. It came in a gift box with two mini skulls for shot glasses and the day I first saw it I KNEW I had to have one. It is the one vodka I have been wanting to get a bottle of for a long time (I first tasted it in Colorado when I bought an “airplane bottle-sized” skull of it a few years back), but it is pricier than Grey Goose. This set was actually priced pretty decently, plus the little skulls are pretty cool as well. In case you did not know, here is a bit of trivia about who makes it: http://www.crystalheadvodka.com/about#the-founders.

No, it is not necessarily about the skull aspect of it. The bottle IS pretty cool, but this, to me, is quite possibly the finest and smoothest non-flavored vodka currently produced. Granted, I have not tasted them all, but I have tried several and this one is, er, heads above the rest.

I usually avoid flavored vodkas (except for my own Grey Goose/pineapple infusion) because, well, they are usually lousy quality and taste horrible – you know the ones I am talking about… they taste like paint thinner and there is no fruit taste at all. They are cheap FOR A REASON! There is, however, a really good tasting and high-quality huckleberry vodka produced by 44 degrees North. It is a really good potato vodka that has a nice flavor.

Happy Refund to me!

Cheers!

On the Air Again!

Adventure, Just things, Music, Outdoors, Uncategorized

A few days ago, I was talking with a couple of visitors here at the refuge. I told them that we are having a volunteer orientation coming up and I could get him in touch with the coordinator. The guy then said he was a DJ and asked me if I would go on the radio on KSQM, the local radio station, to talk about the Refuge. We will be discussing the upcoming Volunteer Orientation for those interested in joining us and helping out. I am sure other things will come up as well so we will hear what happens. It should be fun.

I got it cleared with the office so it looks like I am returning to the airwaves, albeit for a short time this time. The show this DJ does plays 60s music so there will be both music and talking when we are on the air.

It will be fun doing some radio once again. It has been a long time since I had a radio show – if you can call 12 years a long time. Well… I guess you can.