Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in review

I think 2008 deserves a look back. For me this year has been pretty damn amazing to say the least. I have done more traveling this year than ever, and I think the separation from loved ones has also hit me the hardest in 2008.

So I suppose now is the time to share my year in review.

To start things off Matthew and I traveled to Portland to visit friends and family. I don't seem to have any pictures of that trip readily available, but we went crabbing at Waldport and had a generally good time of it. We even met a woman from Anchorage in a small dive of a bar on the coast. Figures.

March I successfully organized a Harry and the Potters concert at UAF! It was fun!

These kids eat a TON, in case you were wondering. It was really quite amazing to watch.

April was sad, we lost one of our cats, Sage, to two dogs roaming the neighborhood. R.I.P. Sage!

Fast forward to May. I graduated! It only took me three years of community college and five years of my life at the University, but I finally did it. Go me.

Instead of taking the walk of graduation, I went to Venezuela instead to spend two weeks with the greatest woman in the world, Carolyn. Here are some of my fav photos from the trip.

C* and me out swimming in the ocean in Santa Fe, Venezuela. I had my 26th birthday here.

Me snorkeling in teh ocean.

My favorite town we visited, Caripe, Venezuela.

After my trip to Venezuela, I stopped back in Portland to visit family. My dad was up from Arizona to have back surgery. Luckily everything went well and Mom and him made it back safely to AZ. <3

It was back to Fairbanks, Alaska for me where I worked the summer for the State. I archived rocks...go me!

After my summer job was done, I zoomed off to Wisconsin to intern at a wildlife rehab center. But before I made my way there, I had another stop off in Portland. This time I got to meet my biological family for the first time. This was absolutely amazing. I fell right into step with everyone and felt so comfortable!

Aren't they cute? ^_^ <3

I quickly zipped off to Wisconsin for two months. I had a great time learning the trade of wildlife rehab. It was stressful but rewarding work. I miss it all and everyone there very much.

This is Candy a resident corn snake.

Tube feeding an least favorite job.

I miss the squirrels the most.

After my time in WI was done, I went back through Portland for a night and met up with my bio brothers. It was late and we were all really tired.

Then it was back to Alaska! Sadly I had to pretty quickly say goodbye to my great friend Nicole who got a job in Montana.

I got a job at the University. Matthew had a birthday! We did Christmas...and now it is the end of the year!

I am excited to see what 2009 has in store for us. 2008 has been pretty crazy to say the least. A toast to new and exciting adventures!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Winter blues?

If you're feeling winter starting to drag just be glad you're not living in the interior of Alaska. The winter world of Fairbanks is a tough place to live.

Luckily I have a four day weekend coming up and I don't intend on leaving the house at all. I have a nice stash of tea to drink this weekend thanks to Sarah in Wisconsin so I should be staying quite warm.

Hopefully my car will start when the cold snap is over. ^_^

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas everyone! I love you and miss you all very much. I hope the season is filled with nothing but wonderful things.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wisdom teeth, round 1.

I got one of my wisdom teeth pulled today. Ok pulled isn't quite the right word, it was cut out really. I didn't have enough money to get more than one out at a time, but she decided to take out the worst one because it was in the same area that two seals and a filling needed to be place. The appointment took two hours and wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Granted my face is still numb...but really I was thinking it would be a lot worse.

Apparently the tooth was impacted and growing at a 90 degree angle. The tooth had to be cut in four pieces to be removed and part of the bone in my jaw had to be cut away. The sound of the saws and the crunching of bone didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. It was the numbing shot I think that bothered me the most. It gave me horrible shakes and I got really cold right after the shots. As a result I found myself tensing up and had to actively make my body relax.

Now I am set up with a cold compress and some painkillers. I don't plan on going into work tomorrow, but I might a little in the afternoon if only to go to the office's holiday party. I want to make up the hours I missed sometime on Saturday or Sunday. I hope I can keep my brain about me through these painkillers. It shall be an interesting weekend indeed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Employed again!

So I am now officially employed again. I was chosen for a temp hire at the University about two and half weeks ago. HR finally got around to approving it today, so I could start working. I worked half a day in my new office and then I'll finish out the rest of the week. Mostly I'm doing data entry type things. Nothing too exciting, but the pay is good and working for the University is always nice.

I have to start paying back my student loans next month, so this came at exactly the right time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Unemployed in the land of winter

I haven only been home for a couple days, but since I don't have much to fill up my time it feels like it has been forever. I have been scouring the internet looking for jobs. So far I have been turned down from two of them and I have been trying to continue to apply to at least one job a day if not more. Hopefully I'll get something soon.

In the meantime I am dog sitting for a previous boss of mine. She pays me a little bit and I get to raid the stash of salmon they have at their house. Its all good.

Right now though I am going nuts with nothing to do. I seriously need to have a job to keep my sanity.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Back in the 'Banks

For those of you wondering where I am, I made it back into Fairbanks on Sunday. I had a wonderful time in Wisconsin and I hope to go back to visit eventually.

Now its on to real life. I've been searching for a new job, and the prospects here aren't that great. But something will turn up I'm sure. Until then, I have voted and I am waiting to go to an election party. I am very excited about the results!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My time is nearly done here...

Tomorrow is my last day working at the center. I have had a great time and I have learned so much. I really do love this area of Wisconsin and I hope to come back to visit soon.

I've been thinking about where my life is going in the next year or so. I've applied to the Peace Corps, but with the budget cuts they have been suffering from I am not keeping my hopes up about being nominated. I can't help but have second thoughts about it also. The great thing about Peace Corps is that it is a program that has no age limitations. I can do this any time in my life.

Not having a job lined up before I go back to Fairbanks is a little irritating to me. I have applied to the Fairbanks North Star Borough last month, so far paperwork is still going through HR so I don't know if I have been chosen or not. I've applied to Princess and a Vet clinic. Hopefully I'll have a job within a week or so. If not I might have to resort back to car rental least Budget offers benefits.

Next month I am doing the national novel writing month. The goal is to write 50,000 words in a month. I am hoping the deadline will push me into actually finishing something. I will keep you all updated.

For now, I am going to enjoy my final day here, watch some horror movies for Halloween and prepare for the long couple days of air travel.


Monday, October 27, 2008


It snowed today in Minocqua. It was hovering around 30 so not too cold. I have been enjoying it quite a bit! Tomorrow I may be going to Lake Superior. Look forward to pictures from that trip.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I have been very lazy as of late in regards to blogging. So I thought I would tie you guys over with a collage of pictures from my time here at the wildlife center. It will be only a week before I am back in Fairbanks and getting on with the rest of my life. I have had a wonderful time here in Wisconsin and I have learned so much.

Next week if all goes well, I will be visiting Lake Superior with a friend from the cheese shop. Yes I made friends at the cheese shop. ^_^ I will make sure and share pictures of that experience also. In the mean time, take care and I will see you all soon! Much love!

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bear Release

Today we released four of six 10 month old black bears. I have some pictures of the release in my album HERE . In a week from today we will be releasing 5 juvenile bald eagles.

Its been relatively busy with closing winter projects, and I've been trying to write some articles for the quarterly newsletter here at the center. The autumn colors here in Minocqua have been absolutely amazing. I have missed a proper fall for the past five years since I moved to Fairbanks. I didn't realize how much I missed it. However, I do miss Fairbanks and everyone there. It won't be long and I'll be back home!

Friday, September 26, 2008

A busy life leaves not much time for other things

Yes I know, its been a while since I last updated. I am coming off a nine day straight work 'week' and with sleeping in a horribly uncomfortable bed every night I am very exhausted.

Much has happened in the last couple weeks. We did release the coyotes, and luckily there were all eight of them alive! It was kind of sad though because they had to be flooded out of their den hole. The pictures I have of the release are of some very soggy sad looking coyotes.

We've also released some otters, a one legged gull (don't worry he'll be fine), a kingfisher, and a broadwing hawk. I believe sometime soon we'll be soft releasing a great horned owl. A soft release as apposed to a hard release (which is catching them, moving them to a site and opening the door and saying 'be free and good luck!') is when you let the animal get acclimated with this new surroundings while providing it a place to come back to that is familiar and has food if they choose to eat it. Our soft releases amount to opening the door to the enclosure here at the center and letting them leave of their own accord. We leave food for them for a few days afterward but they rarely eat it. This type of release I have only seen done for birds here.

We have had two eagles in for a few weeks now that probably have west nile virus. This virus is spread through mosquitoes and in humans really only amounts to a flu and is easily treatable. However, in birds it really wrecks with their brains. Many times the bird will be fine physically, but mentally it just isn't there. Its wings droop, they don't fly well, and as in the case of these eagles we have, they don't eat. What this means is that we have to catch them several times a day and tube feed them. This is one thing I have found I am not very good at and honestly not very comfortable with.

When catching an eagle you have to go into the enclosure, get it cornered some how and throw a blanket over its head. Most of the time with birds they calm down when their heads are covered and they can't see, though this isn't always the case. Once they are covered, you pin their wings to their body with your forearms and grab their legs, close to their foot with your thumb and index finger and lift them up. When the tubing occurs they are held close to your body while someone else sticks their hand in its mouth to pry the beak open and runs a tube down its throat and into its stomach. The birds usually don't like this very much. And with a very powerful beak just inches from your body, it can be a little unnerving.

Tubing is also difficult. Not only is the fact that you have to put your ungloved hand in its mouth, but the act of running the tube down its throat can be very stressful to both parties. The difficult thing is that you have to get passed the bird's crop and into the stomach. This is much easier said than done. Because the crop and the opening for the stomach aren't perfectly aligned, you have to twist the tube around and around until you find the opening. Some birds are easier to tube than others, but I seem to have a problem with most all of them.

Last night we got an injured raven in. His wing was broken and he was pretty thin. So I got to tube him. Now I though eagles had a lot of strength in their beak, but that is nothing compared to the raven. This bird clamped down on my thumb and wouldn't let go. Luckily this was on the nail part and only bruised it for a little while, but the force of it all was really impressive. I am just glad this was a lower 48 raven because they are much much smaller than the Alaskan ravens. Sadly though, I suspect that he will be put down today because of his injuries. Some things just can't be fixed.

I hope to have more pictures for you soon, once I can find my motivation to resize pictures. Until then, I hope everyone is doing well!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cancelation of Coyotes

We were supposed to release 8 coyotes today, but this was canceled due to a torrential down pour. The first time a release at the center had been canceled due to rain according to the head rehabber.

There was some concern with our coyotes though. The 8 pups had dug a hole and disappeared into it several weeks ago. The food continued to go missing and we would occasionally hear them howl at night so all was thought well. Two days ago, however, they stopped eating and a scrap of what looked like coyote fur was found in the enclosure.

Yesterday we dug up their tunnel, worried that they might have gotten trapped in there and possibly died. How ironic would it have been if they whole lot died two days before their release? The tunnel they dug turned out to be a good 25 feet long, extending outside their fenced enclosure. If only they would have had the wherewithal to dig up they would have been free coyotes of their own accord. Luckily we found live coyotes in the ground.

That day three were caught (after flooding their tunnel) and moved to a different enclosure. Today four coyotes were found in the original enclosure running around, a little peeved their tunnel was all wet. But, later that day the disappeared back into their hole. The release was canceled anyway due to rain so, depending on the weather they will be released tomorrow.

Sadly, we still don't know if the eighth coyote survived or not. At least we know we have seven live plump coyotes to release back into the wild.

Tomorrow I'm planning on going to a concert in the late afternoon. I hope this won't conflict with the coyote release. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Slowing down

Things are starting to slow down here a bit. We've gotten in a couple new eagles, and a few other small animals. On Saturday we released our seven fawns. I have a few pictures HERE of the release. It was quite an experience being involved in the tranquilization process and then waking them back up at the release site. Aside from all the inevitable death, this experience, seeing those that have been nursed back to health released into the wild is what makes it all worth while.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I've been having troubles uploading pictures on this blog lately. Until I can find a better connection, I have pictures on facebook you can look at HERE .

I hope you like them!

A day off is never quite off

I had a day off today and then I'll be going into a six day stretch. I had plans to check out some trails around the area but that didn't quite pan out. Instead I slept in till 9:30am and then was invited to go to the Farmer's Market with the head Rehabber to do some personal shopping while he picked up the fruit donation for the center. There were plans to release five merlins later that afternoon.

I waited around a couple hours for the release to happen, helping unload the fruit from the truck and emptying trash. Apparently I can't help myself from doing stuff that needs to be done, even on my day off. Also, a bald eagle came in and I got to tube feed it. I finally had a successful tube feeding attempt, granted it was one of the easiest birds to tube. I also got to take pictures as the merlins were being caught, which was fun. It was a little nerve wracking at times too.

The process of catching a healthy merlin consists of several people wearing heavy leather gloves stretching their arms high over their head, causing the birds to fly around wildly. Eventually the bird will become exhausted and hopefully land in a spot you can sneak up on it. Or as I saw with our experienced rehabber, you can catch them in mid flight. Several times I was afraid I was going to get taloned in the head as they swooped down low in attempt to escape their would-be captors.

We released the birds not far from the center, by a lake. Releases take such a short time, but it is rewarding in its own right. To know that all the time and effort you put into such an animal was worth while and it will survive in its intended habitat.

After the release was over, it started to rain. It has been in the upper 70's to high 80's ever since I got here and the rain has just made everything a humid, sticky, mess. I idea of a nice hike were kind of dashed. I opted to do laundry instead. If the forcast holds, it looks like my next day off will be sunny...six days from now. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The end of the road

Death unfortunately is a common occurrence around here. Animals with severe injuries will die on their own, or sometimes mistakes are made that may cause an animal's death. Many times an animal will come to the center with an injury that is so severe that rehabilitation is just not an option. Other times an animal will be rehabilitated but won't recover enough to be released back to the wild. In those cases an alternative home--such as a zoo, or other place that houses animals for education--will be found. With the more common animals, like some owls and raptors, it is difficult to find an institution that needs an animal such as that. When this scenario happens the animal is put down.

So far I have witnessed several animals be euthanized, and it can be difficult to watch. I have had to assist with a couple, holding the animal while the injection was given. We euthanized a raccoon a couple days ago who had broken its back. I wasn't quite prepared for the process of euthanasia of this particular animal. After the drug had worked through its system, it continued to take residual breaths after it had offically died. The movements were very exaggerated and choppy as it opened it's mouth again and again in an attempt to suck in air.

This type of field truly isn't for the faint of heart. You have to be prepared to watch things die, sometimes in your very arms. On the other hand, there are many cases where you are successful in returning the animal back to its natural habitat, and that is the best feeling in the world.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Releasing the animules

Yesterday I got to tag along on a release. We released two mink that had been brought in when they were just babies. Now they are full grown feisty carnivores! We also released a quail that had finally healed from a luxated wing. I do have pictures, but apparently my connection here at the center isn't good enough to upload them. I promise on my next day off I will find a place with better wi-fi so I can show you all the cool things.

Today I had a day off. I did laundry and mostly poked around the surrounding area. Minocqua is very beautiful and there are lakes everywhere you look. I am excited to take pictures in the fall since the majority of the trees around here are deciduous. I found a good trail nearby that will be absolutely beautiful once the leaves being to change.

Mid-day we got a bobcat kitten in. He is big enough to be mean, but still oh so cute! I'm not sure if I'll have an opportunity to take a picture of him, but if I do I will definitely share!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Feeding the critters!

Wildlife rehabilitation is a field that keeps you constantly busy. We start in at 7:30am, preparing food for a variety of creatures. After feedings, cages need to be cleaned, dishware needs to be cleaned, medications need to be given, and more food needs to be prepared for the next feeding at noon. The cycle starts over again for a feeding at four, then a few of the animals need a feeding at five, then more feedings at eight and nine at night. Also, we take in injured wildlife 24/7. If something comes in needing attention, we have to stop what we're doing (be it eating, hanging out, or sleeping) and take in the animal and give it the care it needs.

I've only been here two days and I already feel exhausted! Granted, much of that is because I am learning something new, and it has an overwhelming amount of information that needs to be absorbed. It seems I'm always nervous about doing animal handling right off. I am sure this will go away after the week is over, but I still hate the feeling of being unsure about my abilities.

Today I mostly learned about raptor handling, and how to tube feed animals. I tube fed a baby bunny, bottle fed some deer fawns, put out food for bear cubs, fed baby squirrels, watched a baby bunny get patched up from a cat attack, and held a morning dove to be tube fed. It was a pretty interesting day, and I am sure it will only get more interesting from now on. They say that things will start slowing down for the fall, but I think that will be nice being able to take things at a slower pace, pay more attention to detail and not screw up and kill something. Already two baby squirrels and and 4 baby mice have died since last night. Don't worry, it wasn't my fault. Lets just say the previous interns leave a lot to be desired in the responsibility area.


I made it here to the center in Minocqua. It is a nice center and I am definitely going to be staying busy. There are everything from bears to little baby squirrels here. We do feedings from 8am to 9pm, so the work is long, but rewarding by far. I have to start work here in fifteen minutes, but I will post later, hopefully with pictures.

Love you all!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Almost there

I got a relatively decent night's sleep at my Milwaukee hotel. Thought I got up at 3am because I was so paranoid about over sleeping and missing my flight at 8:30am.

So, I signed up for a skype account so people can get a hold of me if they need to. My skype name is akmelissadale. Also I have a landline number through skype so those without the program can get a hold of me using their normal phones. I had to settle for an Oregon number since skype doesn't have numbers in Alaska. You can reach me at (503)766-4105. If I am not at my computer to answer the call, there is voice mail so leave me a message!

Love you all!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Not quite there yet

My flight to Rhinelander was delayed, and then eventually canceled. Luckily I don't have to stay the night at the airport, they gave me a hotel room across the street. I leave first thing in the morning and then it will be on to Minocqua.

I met two guys who were also supposed to be on my flight to Rhinelander. They just got done with basic training in Oklahoma. I found it quite interesting noticing people's reactions, as we waited for our shuttle, to these two guys in uniform. Most people just stared and gawked like they'd never seen a soldier before. I found it quite rude, honestly. Then there were people honking with encouragement, wich is nice I guess, but I could tell that the two soldiers were getting quite annoyed with it all.

All in all, my traveling is almost done for a while. It will be nice to settle in to someplace and stop living off of animal crackers and the cheapest airport food I can find.

Leaving on a Jet plane

I am sitting in the Portland, Oregon airport waiting for my flight to Rhinelander, Wisconsin. I have spent the last several days in Sweet Home, OR visiting with my biological family for the first time. I had a blast! Everyone was super sweet and surprisingly it was a pretty easy transition.
The couple of days there went really fast, and I wish I had more time to spend getting to know my second family. I guess I'll just have to plan a stop down there whenever I am in the Oregon area.

For those curious here are some photos of people who actually look like me!

This is a photo of the Bose side of the family, from left to right: Me, Sally my Grandmother, B.C. the eldest brother, Byron my father, and Caleb the youngest brother.

This photo is of the girls, from left to right: Me, Charlotte my mother and Michelle my sister.

I drove back from Sweet Home yesterday and turned in my rental car. I then got a ride from my first family sister to watch my youngest nephew's first football game. I had such a good time, he even made his first interception! It was great to see them again and I hope I'll be able to catch more of their games in the future. Sadly, my camera was all packed away so I couldn't take pictures. :-(

I am going to need to get to boarding my plane soon. I'll write again as soon as I can. Love you all and take care!

Monday, August 18, 2008

PC Interview

I had my Peace Corps interview this morning and I think it went fairly well. Phone interviews are very difficult to get used to in my opinion, but being this was my second phone interview, I think it went well. Now I have to fill out a couple more questionnaires and have a follow up phone conversation with my recruiter. Sadly she is going to be up in Fairbanks recruiting for the Peace Corps in late September, but I will be in Wisconsin by then.

I leave tomorrow for a few days in Portland before I head on to Minocqua. I still need to pack, as well as go down town to do some absentee voting. I also need to clean up my sewing room before I leave, which will be a challenge unto itself!

The leaves are starting to fall. I think winter will come early this year.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

New Blog

I created this blog mainly to keep family and friends informed on what is going on in my life. I have many exciting plans for my future and with how busy I tend to keep myself, I may not always find the time to pick up a phone and call you. This I feel is the next best thing.

In the coming months as I head to Wisconsin for an internship at the Northwoods Wildlife Center, I will update this blog with pictures and stories of my time there.

Keep in touch and I will see most of you in November!