Mug Nug


Leaving.
April 3, 2011, 2:24 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hello Dear random spirit lovers! As you all know I am departing this summer, in July to go back to my roots. No, I am not going to Mongolia to pay respect to Genghis Khan, am simply returning to the Great Silk Road to see what goods I can trade.  These past 6 years spent here have changed my life forever and irreversibly. From here and on there is only moving forward. I cannot begin to explain the mental processes I am going through at the moment, but the truth of the matter is that it’s time to go spend time with the dear to me people. My parents have been very patient, striving to provide whatever is best for me and sacrificing their ability to see me by not demanding my presence home, but I know how lonely they feel, I feel it in every line they write me and in their tone of voice.

I had a hell of a time in the United States, I learned and grew; I received an education! Most importantly – I made life long friends here. I have experienced so much support and love from people I would have never met unless I came here – friends that became family, host family that became family. Everyone knows how much George and Betty have done for me. They truly became my parents here in the states, I went through all the teenage fazes before their eyes that they had to deal with, they welcomed me into their family and offered love that most people can’t offer even to their own children. With all of you, my friends, I have shared so many stages in life, growth and perspective changes. Everyone gets surprised with the level of friendship that we share, it is solid because it involves love.

The reality of the fact that I am leaving is becoming more and more tangible and so many memories strike before me. When I came back for college, innocent, confused, full of energy. I was so naïve and had so much to absorb. I have experienced the extremes of emotions in the states this a valuable treasure that shaped me into who I am today and will always be with me no matter where I end up. I can’t help the sorrows of leaving friends and dear to me people behind, but I sincerely hope and know we will meet again! All of you are always welcome in Uzbekistan, it will be a hell of a time if you came and visited me. There is lots to accomplish, I am 24 and still have plenty of ambitions! I just have to go do my thing, and I‘ll be back with plenty of new Uzbek Tricks!

In the meantime, I have to fundraise moneys to be able to go home. I came up with a fundraising idea – a cook book. I want to print a collection of our recipes, pictures and bios and use it as a fundraising tool that will help me get home and will provide us with memories in a book form. Noting brings people together closer than food and drink (well, sex does, but that’s a different type of book, perhaps in the future). I want this book to be a compilation of about 200 recipes with an overarching theme of “Things we cooked in college.” There is no limit to how bizarre or normal the recipe is, anything from tortillas with peanut butter, to night of a thousand pancakes, to stews, salads, drinks, etc. I envision the book as both funny and beneficial in the kitchen. I believe we have plenty up our sleeves. I want the book to contain 6 categories (chapters):

 

 

 

 

 

1) What day is it? (Breakfast)

2) I’m never drinking again! (Lunch)

3) I guess there is nothing left to drink…(Dinner)

4) Dress to impress. (Salads and dressings)

5) I miss home and wish it was Christmas! (Desserts)

6) Grandma sent a check! (Cocktails

 

 

Please submit recipes in any or all categories, any amount to me. It would be great to have pictures too. Please send everything to rashidgabdulhakov@gmail.com I will collect the material, design the book and print it in the nearest of futures and hope that you guys will support my trip home by buying the book and getting other friends and relatives to own one.  (it will not be expansive I promise, about 15 bucks). I also need title suggestions, please brainstorm in that department as well. Thank you all very much. I can’t wait for our reunion here, and life adventures to come.

Love,

Rashid



Mugnuggers!
December 29, 2010, 10:21 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

we are attempting to gather everyones photos and perhaps make some consolidationy goodness. Please send all applicable photos to tiptop or myself (gayda) and mayhaps we can get some sort of fancy picture show going for some sort of event that some sort of people could gather at.
Do it.



a record of thanks-given
December 1, 2010, 10:43 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hello Friends,

I hope that each one of you had a wonderful day of giving thanks, scattered around the world as you may be. Spokane delivered a splendid thanksgiving for us, as well as a record 25.9 inches of snow (for  the month of November; Thanksgiving weekend only accounted for half of that). Amanda has yet to drive since the downpour began nearly two weeks ago.

On Wednesday, we all got of work a little early before heading out to see the Terrible Buttons at Mootsy’s. They are not terrible. In fact, developing quite a sound and doing well here. Recently played 103.1’s local lounge. (I think their facebook has a link if you want to listen.) Anyway, we had to leave mid-set because Amanda’s sister Diana and her boyfriend finally arrived in Spokane from Portland. They only slid off the freeway once and had a minor flat. It didn’t seem like fun, but could have been much worse. Rashid was also supposed to come from Seattles, but the pass was too difficult to cross.

Thursday morning started right with a breakfast of mimosas and quiche… a lot of mimosas. Apparently there was a miscommunication about who was buying champagne – so everyone did — I think we ended up with 10 bottles?). After breakfast, Kelsey and I visited my Grandma before heading to the Wakefield’s for a very mother-less thanksgiving. It turns out both our Moms decided to see family out of town and left us to fend for ourselves. In the end, no turkey’s were burnt and all the food made it to the table (except we forgot cranberry sauce…not too bad if you ask me). It was pleasant, albeit low key. My dad, true to form, took a nap on the couch as soon as dinner was over. Kelsey and I then went though all the grades, diplomas, and little arts and crafts that parents save for their kids. Some of Brad’s was mixed and we stumbled on this little Gem. I think we can all affirm, that Brad, even as a small child, knows the true meaning of Thanksgiving – gobble gobble.

The snow and shopping madness kept us hunkered down for a majority of the weekend, but we did manage a skywalk adventure. I’ve never seen how far you could actually travel just using skywalks. We went from the east side of downtown all the way to the Public Library for a dusk view of the snow covered Shmokane Falls. We were quite hungry and headed to happy hour downing $2 PBR and Sake at PF Changs. (it was close — and not a bad happy hour). From there we walked to the ‘Booth and had a strong pour of whiskey (or two) before building an awesome snowman that looks off the roof watching those who scurry below.

Let’s see…what else. Oh, book recommendation! Born to Run. My dad told me about it and I tore through almost 300 pages in about three days. It was the second book I finished over my little Thanksgiving break — at first I was proud of myself, then shamed for how little I read in comparison to how much I love reading. I was a voracious reader until mid-high school when real homework started filling up more time. I always told myself I would start reading more when I graduated, but…anyway, I digress. Born to Run. An amazing story and quick read. It’s about a small tribe of ultramarathon runners in mexico who sometimes run up for two days straight. Those of you who read this blog know me just about as good as anyone and I don’t think anyone has seen me run. At least not for the fun of it. However, after finishing this book, you’ll want to.

And speaking of Indians (disclosure: not a very good segue), I might as well mention a fun project I’ve been working on (at work). I’ve been shooting for the Colville Confederated Tribes’ Selective Harvest fishing program. It basically is a program for the colvilles to be able to harvest a large amount of hatchery fish while leaving the wild fish in the river to spawn, therefore keeping genetics strong. I think it’s pretty interested and I’ll post a link here soon. However, the reason I’m writing about it is because I got to explore some of Washington that I’ve never seen before. Up and down the Okanogan river, over to Republic, Colville National Forrest, Methow valley, etc. These places are beautiful and don’t get enough credit.

We even took a little 8 car ferry across the columbia.

It’s a completely different geography – nothing like the east side or west side, etc. I think it’s much prettier than the Sandpoint/N.Idaho area that everyone loves to rave about. I can’t wait to take some motorcycle trips next spring.

I’m also working on my pottery studio downstairs. My dad and I built a table with a sink on one side and a wedging table on the other. I still need to pour plaster, but we do have running water downstairs! I have all the electrical stuff to wire the kiln, but I didn’t take into account how expensive the shelves and posts for a kiln are. It’ll probably set me back about $200 so I think I’ll wait till after christmas/vacation in hawaii before I make the purchase. By late January/early Feb I should have a fully functioning studio downstairs!

Other than that, we are eagerly anticipating our 2nd annual Christmas party and even sending out formal invites this year. Shiloh returns the 17th and Aden on the 21st; hopefully both make an appearance!

Anyway, I hope that everyone took time to slow down, eat good food, drink good beer and give thanks for what we have. Spending time with people you care it about is what it’s all about. Perhaps it’s just the nostalgia of the holidays, (or the running theme of this blog) but I miss you all terribly. I’m looking at you Alaska. Cambodia. Portland. Seattles. Orwhereveryoumightbe.

much love,
tip top



goodbye stumptown
October 20, 2010, 4:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Dear friends,
Portland has been good to me these recent months, but that wonderful itch that haunts me is back.
I am moving to the land of tapas, delicious wine, fiestas, y siestas.
Spain.
I ‘ll be in the Northwest until Dec. 26th and my flight leaves from LA on the 30th. I want to see you all before I go!
Love love
-Smash



Everything Greg Did Not Say (And Some Things He Did)
September 30, 2010, 1:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So, after reading Greg’s lengthy post below, I couldn’t really decide whether I should write anything at all; believe it or not, he is telling the truth about what’s going on up here on the frontier. As our official blogger/PR liaison to the lower 48, what he failed to mention is that we have decided upon a new moniker — Reed Lakes — to play music under. Took us fucking long enough to decide, but I believe we are all happy with the new name. It’s much easier to explain to people and is actually searchable on the interwebs now. Booyah. Keep your eyes peeled (what a weird expression) for new music this winter, now with even more microKORG!

Now that I have started writing I’ve realized how out of the loop everyone down south is. Apologies for dropping off the radar for a few months… I guess you could say this summer has been a kind of revitalizing experience for me, and this is a really difficult thing to communicate to the outside world. I would love to be able to share all of this with you in person, but I won’t be leaving Alaska anytime soon. Unless I can find some way to get out of work midseason, I’ll next be in the Seattle-Portland-Spokane triptych around April.

My summer was… I can’t think of anything adequate to say about it. It was, varied? I started working right away at Nagley’s General Store when I arrived in May, and quickly was pulled over to bus tables and then started hosting at the West Rib Pub where Bradley worked both summers. The last week of May, one of the bartenders drunk-broke his clavicle and I was asked if I wanted to tend the pub. Fucking duh. So I poured lots of draught beer all summer and made some cash, and saw that it was good. I drank lots of draught beer too, and lots of that money is now gone. Whoops.

I don’t really need to rehash our backpacking trips, as Bradley and Greg have done well at describing those. This summer was the first time I ever hauled a backpack, and so far I’ve been able to get out to the Mint-Bomber traverse (see previous post), up to the top of Matanuska peak (6100 feet), and Spence, Greg and I just completed the Resurrection Pass trail (38.8 miles) Tuesday in a total of thirty-five hours. These trips have been incredible, both for the experience of standing on alien terrain and propelling myself to remote, high alpine views, and also due to the mental, physical, and emotional challenges that orienteering and distance hiking provide. Greg and I are going to that ice climbing workshop tomorrow through Sunday, another step toward the goal of being savvy mountaineers someday. Stay tuned for winter mountain adventures — backcountry riding and snow hiking/camping.

There’s more to say, but I don’t know how to cram four and a half months into words. Come to Alaska. That is all.

Love George



Can we start singing Christmas songs yet?
September 23, 2010, 1:00 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Greg’s post reminded me that I also have been pretty bad about blogging this summer (which is over), so here goes:

After having lots of free time over the past few years, but very little money, I woke up one day and decided that I wanted money more than time, at least for a little bit. So I got a second job at the Cafe MAC and worked 6-7 days a week for a good 3-4 months. But that got old, not to mention beaver work began to pick up, so now I’m back to the one steady job at The Lands Council, and though I’d like to say I work 5 days a week, right now it’s more like 6-7 because the beavers keep me so busy.

Yesterday I performed my first beaver relocation! It actually happened! Here’s how it went down:
1. Joe, the other half of Team Beaver, and I built a holding facility in me, Tyler, and Kelsey’s backyard. It is 8′ x 8′, with granite floors and walls made of powder coated steel so that the sneaky beavers can’t dig or chew their way out. There is a tub of water that I change once a day or more where they can swim and drink, and then a dog igloo thing sits on top of the tub so they can hide and sleep some place dry.
2. We worked with trappers from the Colville tribe and they live-trapped a beaver for us. We named him Justin and he lived in the holding facility for almost a week.
3. I forgot to lock the gate one night and Justin escaped! Trust me, know one is more devastated than I am. Joe bought me a water buffalo stuffed animal to cheer me up.
4. The trappers we were working with weren’t getting anywhere, so Joe and I took matters into our own hands.
5. I learned how to set and bait very scary, strong, double-spring, live traps. We put an add on Craigslist offering free nuisance beaver removal
6. Joe and I set traps at this private property site outside of Mead and caught 4 beaver brothers and sisters! We named them Juliet, Bubbles, Chomsky, and Blisters.
7. They lived in the backyard for a week, where we fed them fresh willow branches and I read aloud David Sedaris and Thomas Pynchon to them at night.
8. Joe and I loaded them into smaller cages and drove them to their new home outside of Republic, where we released them in the water and they happily purred like kittens and played like otters. Beavers are so cute!!

Holding onto beavers is a lot of responsibilty and much like being a new parent. I more than once called Joe in the evening to ask him for advice and help in beaver psychology. We have two more families to trap and relocate in the next two weeks, so things will continue to be busy! Pictures to come, I promise! Tyler took some good ones, it just takes me awhile to get around to uploading them, choosing which ones, etc. In the meantime, I’ll bet there are some on Facebook that others have uploaded…

Beaver things aside, Spokane has given me a great summer. Kelsey and I have spent our time searching for the perfect white wine, and with my extra income I can now afford bottles over the $5 mark, which means things are getting pretty classy. Speaking of which, after trying our hand at gardening this summer, Tyler, Kelsey, and I have wrapped things up and moved on to a new fall/winter project: the cellar. It’s getting really classy. We’re talking record player, pottery wheel, wine racks (that actually have wine on them), sewing machines, artwork, and more. Though I haven’t gone on any good hiking trips, I’ve spent much time outside, doing overnight camping trips for beaver research, swimming in creeks for beaver research, cataloging plants for beaver research, that sort of thing. This weekend I’m headed to Boulder to visit friends of mine from Ecuador and they have some sort of 13,000′ summit trip planned, so maybe I’ll go on a good hike after all.

Since Greg mentioned some of his long(ish) term plans, I’ll mention some of mine:
Staying in Spokane through the end of 2011 because my job is so damn enjoyable, and because Spokane is keeping it classy. With our cheap rent, I’m able to save way more than I could elsewhere, so I should have a good nest egg set aside for future expenditures (long travel, group property?… I’m always down for some sustainable homesteading!). I plan on taking off the month of February and flying to Cambodia to visit our dear Shmaden and Shiloh if she’s still there. My other planned trips include a possible trip to NYC in November and/or a trip to Spain in March, both with my best friend Andrew Paul.

Which brings me to my last point: Andrew and his girlfriend Jess are visiting Sept 30 – Oct 4. It would mean so much to me if any of you gypsies could head to Spokane during this time to join in the many celebrations that will ensue. There will be a big party at our house on Saturday, Oct 2, to celebrate Andrew’s sister Maggie’s 21st (she’s a student at GU), but really the celebrations will be endless. Do consider joining us.

I miss and love you all, and know the feeling is mutual. Can’t wait to see when all our paths will cross again!

-Amandaugh



ME. You. and everyone we know.
September 21, 2010, 3:17 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So i’ve hardly updated anyone this summer or been on the interweb much at all but I think i’m due for some internet blogging. Facebook makes me anxious as soon as i log on so i’m sticking with this. Another summer flew by. In many ways this was both the hardest and the best summer of my life. My job was amazing – i made great money serving tables at a restaurant which serves good food, brews their own beer, and is owned and managed by the best couple i have ever worked for. I truly feel like part of the Twister Creek/Denali Brewing Company family – it feels great to work for a business which you believe in and see the ways the owners re-invest in the small close knit community of Talkeetna. Indeed i have saved more money than i have ever previously in my life. It really helped paying no rent and feeding sled dogs instead (an experience worth a whole other story). Sassan (the owner of Twister Creek/Denali Brewing) even went out of his way to personally contact the owners of three restaurants here in Girdwood (our beer is on tap at these restaurants so he knew these owners personally) and tell them to hire me as a server for the winter. That was before i even applied and indeed when i met the owner he said i had an amazing reference. So it looks like i have a great serving gig at a busy restaurant (Jack Sprat) locked down for the winter. I’ve done more backpacking, climbing, hiking, and bouldering this summer than ever before. Im sure you all have seen some pictures – we’ve summited peaks, traversed glaciers, negotiated passes, traveresed peaks, navigated off trail and pushed ourselves to new limits. These have been the most meaningful experiences of my summer. With my pack on my back and a pass or peak in front of me to climb i feel most myself. i love every aspect of it – planning and map reading, choosing routes, pushing your body, carrying a pack, getting hurt, feeling sore, the views of the landscape, navigating, and gaining the mental toughness when things get intense (which they have). Alaska is fucking insane. amazingly fucking insane. the most beautiful and dynamic place i have been. One of my goals this winter is to get serious about back country mountaineering and snowboarding. Indeed the only reason my flights to the northwest don’t match up with Brads is because I am taking part in a 3 day glacier traverse and frozen waterfall/ice climbing course on the Matanuska glacier the first few days of October. As it turns out ill be in the northwest from October 4th through the 15th; flying in and out of seattle. Very excited about that. One of my passions lies in the mountains – i want pull myself up to the highest places on earth. This is how i want to travel in the future – long backpacking treks into mountainous villages in all parts of the world. My dad and i are planning to complete the john muir trail the end of next august. Its one of his disappointments in his life and its something i really want to do. So we’re doing it. I’ll be getting avalanche and crevasse certified in november after an intense 3 day course. I’ll be snowboarding all winter and then heading out on my big trip for the year. In April and May i will be taking part in a NOLS high alpine mountaineering course in the Himalayas. It’s a 45 day course which covers 115 miles and takes your over 13,000 feet of elevation gain to glaciated passes at more than 19,000 feet. Plus i get to use my Americorps scholarship money so its hardly costing me anything. I am sure most of you are familiar with NOLS and this course should give me all the skills and gear testing i need to climb peaks on my own as well as lead and plan trips with others. South America is still very much on my horizons as i plan to head down south after the john muir trail (and a break) and backpack an ancient Andean trail 225 miles through the andes to Anacongua, the tallest mountain in the Americas. My hope is to be able to climb it. I should have enough money saved up to be gone for a while. I’ll definitely be back in talkeetna next summer, before all that, as my job pays great and i have some connections to learn to fly and get my pilots license next summer; which is something else i have always thought about. Plus i have been seriously considering buying some land near Talkeetna as an investment and possible future completely sustainable homestead. My parents even offered to help on a more expensive lot as i almost purchased a small plot this summer.This winter is shaping up to be awesome. Our band has the potential to get some serious gigs. Look for a name change and re-invention very soon. We played a great venue here in girdwood a week or two ago and it was great. Got paid way more then we thought and they wanted us back right away. Its crazy to get paid for playing shows. really crazy. Venues in talkeetna want us back this winter and we should be getting gigs in anchorage very soon. Its so amazing playing with Rebecca. She really belts when she is behind a full band. glorious. So between writing, playing and making music, along with snowboarding and climbing on a daily basis, as well as a great serving job, this winter should be the best ever. We are all in Girdwood AK; we even signed a lease till April (scary). The only ski resort in AK is here and its beautifully nestled in a glacier valley. Girdwood is a fantastic town. Everyone is outdoor oriented, open minded, friendly and fun as hell, progressive, and pot smokers. We already feel like family here. There are a least a dozen amazing trails within 10 mins of our house. Just yesterday Brad and i went mountain biking on a sweet single track trail for several miles while ryan and spencer climbed the north face of the ski mountain. everyday you can do something outside. I highly recommend a winter flight to anchorage. We’ll take care of the rest. I’ll be flying into seattle the evening of Oct. 4th and flying out the morning of the 15th. I’ll be spending the first few days in seattle – then a day or two in portland (the hardest part of my summer, as i am sure you all can guess, has been the end of my relationship with Ashely; and as i have not even seen her since CA this past April we need to have a personal conversation so i can get some closure on all this); then of course several days in Spokane before heading back to Seattle to fly out. I cannot say how excited i am to see you all, share stories and spend time together. I am a terrible communicator when i am at a distance from friends. I apologize for that but i intentionally want to see you and spend time – however brief. If anyone wants to do any hikes or brief overnight backpacking trips while i am back let me know. I’ve been looking into some trails. This all seem rather self-indulgent as i read over it but i suppose its a good for me to type out my thoughts and plans; regardless if anyone else cares. But there was a snapshot of my summer and my life to come i suppose….at least as it stands now. I have spent more time than every before seriously thinking my identity, who i am, and what makes me happy this summer – the mountains, travel, people, and music are what i come back to – so that’s what i’m focusing on. life is too short to not do what you want. I’d love to talk more but i’m going end this rambling autobiography.
Love you all, so excited to see you,
Gregoose