Welcome to the Grand Reopening

Sorry this took so long, I’ve been fighting with photos.

Friday was the first day of business at the Wild Honey Bistro since the remodel.

Meet the staff. First the owner and brains behind the concept. Melody, formerly known as “M”.

The second in command and chief Cafe Wench, Liz.

Another Cafe Wench, Mandy w/Melody

And the unofficial mayor of Old Town, Eli.

There is more staff but no photos yet. The Bistro is located in the “Old Town” section of town in some very old buildings.

This is the alternate dining area. With inside and out tables and a great view of the outer bay. This is the entrance to the Cafe.

And the view from inside.

We built 12 new small tables that can be moved together for large parties. Then we built the bench seating all around. That, with the wainscoting, mirrors, new art work and paint gave the whole place a new look.

 

 

There are plans to paint the bench seats black or gray. We also replaced the tall tables with one long tall table that will be the most popular seating in the house.

The project almost doubled the seating capacity and made the whole layout more flexible and inviting.

The Bistro fills a unique niche in the breakfast/lunch restaurants in Homer by offering gourmet cuisine. They can make any of your favorite dishes in a crepe and absolutely astound your taste buds. All dishes can be gluten free and are made from fresh, local foods whenever possible.

I have been on a diet of Bistro food for a while now and I have lost weight with huge portions. Doesn’t get any better. Unless you add in the Mimosa menu.

This may not be heaven, but we are just down the road.

And our weather is perfect!

Just ask Eli. Y’all come by anytime.

I Survived!

It was touch and go for a while but I survived two runs at Alyeska. At that point my muscles said, ” If you try one more run, we will revolt”. Actually, they refused to do my bidding in the bottom half of the second run. Good thing I didn’t waste time with conditioning exercises before the trip.

Turns out that I wasn’t really needed for guinea pig duties as much as I’d planned. We did do some interesting booze tolerance and hangover remedy experiments. It seems that my booze tolerance at time of consumption is fairly normal. I apparently have many areas in hangover treatment that could use improvement. Obviously, more research is necessary.

There was excellent scenery with clear skies every day. It snowed the day before we drove up to Girdwood and high pressure moved in behind it.

This was sunrise the day before we left.

Our intrepid travelers.

The Chugach mountains along Summit Lake.

And The Turnagain Arm from the Six Glaciers restaurant at Alyeska.

Back home now and to work finishing up the cafe remodel.

Weather should be perfect.

A Business Trip

Time to see if I’m ready to travel, baby steps.

As I am now working for food, I’ve decided to take a little business trip before completing the current remodel at the cafe. The purpose of the trip for “M” will be to complete research into new foods and unique local sources, like lamb or wine. My purpose will be to continue my roll as guinea pig for new concoctions and assisting in various taste tests while attempting to survive one day of skiing in Alyeska without breaking, bruising, tearing or completely destroying the only body I’ve got. Hell, I’ll settle for one run.

Hopefully, I will provide valuable input when performing my guinea pig duties while dining at the Double Husky. If I lose that gig I’m not sure I can get by with just my dishwasher skills. Just today I was reminded that my position description was as the number two guinea pig, with the number one being the dog. That is one lucky dog.

Y’all stay warm, it is 41 degrees here at 8:00 AM. I’m told it colder in many places down there.

Photographic proof of life to follow, I hope.

Prepare For Departure

First I must offer a quick apology to those of you who don’t appreciate my constant use of an aviation analogy to describe my journey. That would be because here comes the first of what I’m hoping will be a whole lot more in the future.

I’m also going to be trying a few new things. For a few years now I have been using THC to help sleep better and longer. This is a nice replacement for the two or three drinks I used to use to help in falling asleep. The problems with the drinking solution I found far more threatening than the risks of two hits of weed just before bed.

The new thing that I am trying now is writing these chronicles between hits. Nothing gets published without several reviews so the final product shouldn’t be too hard to take, but the bulk of the narration will be written while stoned.

Here’s the thing. I’m doing this for me. If any of you don’t feel comfortable watching, please tell me. I won’t be offended and hope neither will any of you, but let me know if you want off the mailing list.

So. Homer is definitely the place. I can tell because I’m making new friends and not looking forward to crossing the border wall that Alaska developers have built along the entire 1,500+ miles of the Alaska/Canada border. Most people haven’t heard of our wall. That is mostly because you have been distracted for the last two years and it was funded entirely by Alaskan developers (plus a large donation from the Alaskan NRA).

That, and the fact that it is invisible. It consists entirely of dark matter and acts as a one way barrier to liberals only. They can get into Canada but, like a certain hotel in California, they may never leave. But let’s get back to my favorite subject, you may select any of the following:

  1.  Me         2) Sex        3) Flying         D) Women     E) All of the above, together in a hot tub      full of warm coconut oil

OK, “E” it is then.

I came to Alaska to die. Hopefully, not for a while yet. It is not as morbid as it sounds. I had a Will prepared, set up finances to take care of all scheduled income and debts, and asked my PTSD group to discuss end of life issues. Then I settled in to a pleasant routine of getting out to walk or bike or beach comb. There are tons of football matches and even though I will never watch all the content available on Netflix, I looked forward to trying. Yes, past tense.

Life was good. I had one more trip outside and then I could relax and live out the rest of my days exploring Homer, AK. Except for the Northwest Passage cruise, that is.

This is the point where someone hits the pause button and our hero comes out to center stage to deliver a short narrative. Problem is, this story is getting longer but that’s a good thing. This story begins with, “Then I met “M”.

Our paths were destined to cross. M owns and operates an eating establishment, and you all know how I love to eat. Ms M, (as I will refer to her until such time as I can draft a proper introduction) is an incredible lady with an equally incredible life story that I can only hope to be permitted to write. Her impact on me has been remarkable.

I am currently doing carpentry for food and planning a trip outside which will include downhill skiing. 2019 is shaping up to be a breakout year for me.

So, wake up the crew chief and preflight the bird, cause pig is getting ready to fly again.

The weather looks perfect for it!

 

 

All Clear Here

Good Afternoon All,

Homer is clear to the South of the damage or inundation zones. This morning the earthquake was considerate enough to wait until just before dawn (8:20) to gently rock us awake here in Homer.

I’m sure it was different for Anchorage. Still waiting for a complete assessment of the damage, we’ll probably get caught up via the evening news.

Thank you all for your messages and concern for our welfare. Please accept this post as a reply of thanks and we are fine. Still waiting for reports from friends closer to the epicenter.

Shortly after (less than a minute) the quake, the alarms began. We have an extensive tsunami warning system and it kicked in. Loudspeakers all over the “Tsunami Inundation Zone” blared out the warning and advised us to tune to local radio stations for more information.

The radio was broadcasting the warning with details of the possible wave arrival times. Kodiak had the earliest time of arrival, followed by Seward and then Homer. Homers projected wave arrival time was forecasted to be 11:45. We all thought that was not a good time, too far away (3 hours?).

So the result was that we all calmly packed and agreed to meet up at a diner (Duncan’s) up the road a bit. Then I start my car and make the first of two trips to the car with “stuff”. The cat ( Madonna ) preferred to stay but I insisted.

While we were calmly packing and getting cars warmed up; someone from the police pulled up on an ATV and said we had 20 minutes. This sounded more likely, so we left.

Inside the diner, everyone was on their devices looking at the damage and/or assuring their friends that they were OK. Before we could order breakfast, the warning was cancelled. Most everyone agreed, we might as well have a late breakfast and there was certainly no reason to go back to work today.

So, bottom line:

We are OK.

Anchorage and vicinity is not, tune in at 11 for updates.

Thanks again for checking in, you guys are my rock.

I also owe you a photo that I did not have for the last post. I said that we had a lot of driftwood. This is looking West; my apartment is just to the right and behind the big red/brown building with all the windows (the Elks Lodge).

This is looking the other way towards the spit.

Finally, we must have a “lessons learned”. Nah, there will be plenty of that on the TV.

I learned that I need a bigger cat carrier.

Also, I must apologize. I thought that everyone visiting this site could easily access all my photos and stories. I have discussed changes with the esteemed web master that runs the show here and hope to have improved access soon. I will let you all know when that happens.

No pressure, Emil!

Stay warm!

Happy Beachcombing

Today turned out much nicer than they forecasted. So, I walked Bishop’s Beach. It’s where everyone walks their dogs and searches for treasures while the dogs run themselves silly. This is from an earlier in the month sunset.

The real driftwood pile is just beyond the parking area.

There is a LOT of driftwood.Some has been here a while. There is a city ordinance prohibiting  driftwood removal.

Here are some treasures I found this crisp morning.

I promise to publish a bunch of Homer photos soon. I’ve decided to collect photographs of this town while I walk about. I might decide to get a real camera soon. Until then my iPhone will have to suffice.

Hope you are all well, warm and enjoying family this Thanks Giving.

Weather here is perfect for it.

 

The Rest of the Story

Not all of it; that is still unfolding. But I thought I’d show you what the same site looks like on a “normal” day at low tide.

This is taken from almost the same spot as the last post, just zoomed in a little.

This is the Sports Shed from the beach side. That wood and concrete wall is what the waves were crashing into last post. Those chunks of concrete were once post bases.

Both buildings

This high tide line is from a later, and lower, high tide. A lot of driftwood has been relocated.

 

Speaking of Storms

Hurricanes are taking an increasing larger toll on life and property in the eastern regions of the lower forty eight. Good thing human caused climate change is a hoax. Otherwise, that might be alarming.

We had a medium blow here the other day. Winds were moderate (nothing over 50 mph) but they hit at high tide. It was just under 22′ not a super high tide but enough to combine with the waves to produce this:

The building on the right is the Sport Shed, on the spit across from the Fishing Hole.

This is the parking lot between the Land’s End resort and the ferry dock. The waves are wrapping around the end of the spit and eating away at the bank. Normally, there is about 100′ of beach here with no waves and here the waves have eaten a five foot bank into what was a gentle slope to the beach.

Just a few days earlier the weather was perfect.This Beluga Lake, our seaplane base.

Hope this finds you all safe and secure. Think Green!

Hobbies & Causes

No longer searching for a new home, I find myself nesting more and more. Rather than seeking a place to be, I’m working on seeking the me I will be. First question I have is how to serve my artistic side. Possibly because there is a mystical quality to fly fishing, I insist it is not a hobby but a necessity of life. There should be more. Or as the song says, “is that all there is”?

I tried welding. The reason that didn’t take is the fact that I have lost some skills that I took for granted in my previous life. I find that I used to be able to will inanimate objects to cooperate. The thread always found the eye of the needle on the first try; the fishing leader would always trace the appropriate path to tie the most complicated knot while standing in the middle of a stream at dusk. Now I need magnification, extra light and a steady chair if I am to accomplish either.

So I turned, once again, to woodworking. I found great satisfaction in simply removing various layers from Diamond Willow sticks and turning them into walking sticks and canes. Fortunately, I have a lot of friends that can use these items. I got the bug after finishing the raw stick I’ve been keeping along with many other chunks of interesting wood.

This is my stick and an example of how they look before carving.

I liked it so much I decided to see if I could fine more raw material. My original source has passed away and his heirs are not replenishing the stock. I bought up all that I could find and have been making sticks and canes for my friends. Please don’t feel slighted if I haven’t made your stick yet. I’m pacing myself (one stick every two weeks or so) and the raw stock I have is quite limited.

Here are the sticks I’ve finished.

Marion with his wife’s stick. Jane, a retired Army officer, chose Army colors for the strap and Turks head

 

This is Marion’s cane.

This is Jimmy’s stick.

Jimmy opted for Vietnam colors for trim.

Right now I’m working on Roger’s stick. Stay tuned.

Now as for a cause. I’m a firm believer that you need to feed your creative side but equally important is the need to have something that you feel passionate about, can actually effect change and will serve to improve the lives of those who follow.

Since I firmly believe that the Vet Center system has saved me from the brink of disaster, I can think of no better cause than to work to improve the lives of the lost vets out there. How do you help the homeless vets and the over 20 vets we lose to suicide EACH DAY? The VA is too big for an individual to fix or even improve but the Vet Centers are able to help. The key is to get the vets to show up at the Vet Centers and ask for help. Both of those things are extremely difficult for wounded vets to do. And the wounds I’m talking about are not visible to the inexperienced eye. So, those in need are often stereotyped and driven away from the help they need. If they are lucky enough to stumble into a Vet Center, their needs will be recognized and they can be helped.

So. My cause is to get the vets I meet every day to give the Vet Center a chance. The goal is to get so many vets registered with our Vet Center that they can justify increasing the staffing and services here on the peninsula.

Somehow, I got connected with our local public radio station and their news department to host three (Marion, Jimmy and me) vets to a hour long segment on the needs of vets on the peninsula. The VA participated via phone and I think it went well. The reporter (Renee Gross) said she wanted to do a followup feature so we did more interviews and exchanged texts until she was satisfied that she had it right. The coffee table segment aired last month and the feature aired yesterday and will repeat Monday morning. Here’s a link to the station that has both the coffee table segment and the feature article.

http://www.kbbi.org/post/va-wants-more-veterans-register-healthcare

She focused on my hat, which has it’s own story. The hat I was wearing was a baseball cap with bold text proclaiming “Vietnam Veteran”. All that got me was “thank you for your service” from most folks. Not what I was aiming for. My new cap is more nautical and has no text, just three pins. The Vietnam campaign medal (patterned after the South Vietnamese Flag), the Combat Infantryman Badge and Army aviator wings. There are photos on the KBBI website link above. Here they are; the website also has the audio of both broadcasts.

So far the hat has worked out fine. But the vets are not lining up at the Vet Center. No surprise there, we have a lot of bad experiences and stereotypes to overcome. The work will continue.

The weather is perfect for it.

Karma, Not Always A Bitch

By now I guess you’ve figured out that I’m done flying. Also, I’m not looking for new challenges. In an effort to improve my quality of life, I bought a bicycle yesterday. But it is not just any bicycle.

To put it in perspective, I must back up more than 40 years. Teri and I were newly married, had just bought our first house and were raising a family. We lived in Thousand Oaks where I was stationed at the Battalion 3 headquarters of the Ventura County Fire Dept. I was newly promoted to engineer and only managed to get such a good assignment because I was the only one to bid on the new ladder truck (the first and only ladder truck in the department) which was housed there. The best part of the assignment was being able to ride my bike to work.

We couldn’t afford the bike I wanted ($600 and up) but I found a used bike that really fit the bill. It was an Allegro. Original equipment was the best and the frame was super light. They were made in Switzerland or Sweden, one of those “S” countries, I’m not sure which. Anyway, the owner had customized it and ridden it hard so I got it for $250, less than a third of it’s original selling price. My plan was to ride it and eventually replace all of the new components with original equipment.

I was still riding it when we moved to Colorado in 1980. With no new gear. It was such a nice riding bike the way I bought it that I couldn’t see sinking another $1000+ to restore it. I wrote to Allegro and asked how I could refinish the frame like the original factory finish (it was a super complicated combination of chrome, candy apple red paint and black candle soot all covered with clear lacquer).  They wrote back and gave me all new decals for the frame and detailed the process. They said that the bike was made in 1965 and it wasn’t made anymore.

About this time (1990) we moved to Alaska. I boxed up the bike and packed it in the UHaul; figuring that some day I’d rebuild it. Turns out that McGrath was not the place for a skinny tire road bike, so it stayed in the box while we got new mountain bikes.

After the turn of the century (remember all that concern about Y2K ?) we were in Soldotna and I finally unpacked the bike. Imagine my unpleasant surprise when I discovered that somehow it had gotten wet and all the frame was covered in rust pits. I didn’t have the will to nurse it back to riding condition. I decided I’d look for someone to take it off my hands since I had purchased a used Motobecane and loved it. So, I took it to the local bike shop where I knew the owner and asked him if he knew any kids that might be up to the project. One of the high school kids that worked for him was delighted to take it off my hands. I told him he could have it for free if he promised to not give up on it until he put it back together and had ridden it. He was very happy with the arrangement.

Last week I walked into the shop to find the same kid (somehow he had grown up and was management now) was still there. I asked him, “Do you still have that bike I gave you?”.

He answered, “Yes, it is still my favorite bike”. Too bad cause I was hoping to buy it off him. Then he said, “But I have another one, if you are interested”.

So he brought it out and we discussed what new components it would need, agreed on a price and he had it all done yesterday. Here it is.

Even Madonna approves.

It is not the same fancy frame as the other one but it fits me better and I love it.

Took my first ride around town today and it is sweet.

Summer is a lot of fun around here when you aren’t frantically chasing the red run. There is a good chance that I will not even wet a line to catch reds this year. Sure takes the pressure off.

I plan to ride a lot.

After all, the weather is perfect for it.

Top