Monday and Jocelyn are Going Crabbin”

Listed below is a recap of an adventure that happened pre Thanksgiving….I am trying to catch up!


I have worked at Crate and Barrel off and on since 1998. I think I finally went full-time in 2013. If you saw my home (and now my storage unit) you would definitely say that I love the product. Cause I have a ton of Crate glasses, vases, plates, baskets, etc. packed up and ready to come to Alaska. Hello Serenity Wine glass…I do miss you ! Oh Basketweave…it was so weird not eating my Thanksgiving dinner off you.   I miss my store, my coworkers and yes Lord, that awesome discount!  As anyone who has worked retail knows…its a given that you are working weekends.  So my very first Saturday in Alaska…I didn’t know what to do. It felt weird not being at Crate…heck it felt weird working a straight Monday thru Friday work week.

In addition to my love for Crate and Barrel, I have a love for crabs. To my everlasting regret, I didn’t get to enjoy some Maryland crabs before I left the East Coast. I told my sister and she was like…don’t worry we will get you some Alaskan King Crabs. So when I had been here two weeks without any crabs, I had to let a sista know. Add to the fact that it was a weekend and I wasn’t at Crate…well…what’s a Miles girl supposed to do???   She goes crabbing that’s what!

In Maryland we are very fortunate. While in season, it seems like blue crabs are abundant…like rain in a rainforest. You can get them at the grocery store, at the wharf, at your local seafood shop, or on the side of the road. If you are like Jocelyn and I, you can get them with a chicken tied to a piece of string, dropped off a pier in Annapolis, Maryland.   Here’s what we learned to do one summer: you buy a drumstick or a thigh,  tie one end  to the chicken and the other to a pier (for best results the string should be pretty long), throw the chicken as far as you can  and wait for the string to  “walk.”  Once the string starts walking, you slowly pull the string ever so gently back to you,  and if the crab hasn’t dropped off….you use a net to catch your dinner.   Jocelyn and I enjoyed the solitude of sitting on the pier, conversating with each other (as well as  with Johnathan and Imara) and enjoying the Maryland scenery.  It also got to the point that I began to hate paying for crabs as I felt that I could catch better than what was being sold at my local store.

So why not try to duplicate this method in Juneau, Alaska?  It can’t be that hard, ya think?

For one thing…they really don’t have piers…at least not at Echo Cove. So we couldn’t tie the string and throw the chicken in the water to catch some unsuspecting crab. We also didn’t have enough string. So we waded into the water and while we had on boots they weren’t wading boots so we could only go so far.  So we are not in the deepest part of the water and neither is our string.  So  Yeah…this is NOT going to work. So in the midst of deciding that this is not working…Jocelyn thinks she sees something in the woods and wants to talk about Rules of Engagement. Rules of Engagements I say again, oh so innocently. Yes, she answers. Rules of Engagement for BEARS?!

Yep…that is Monday walking to the car.


And for the inquiring minds out there….no I didn’t eat crabs that day.  I finally had a Dungeness Crab that I bought at the Fred Meyer, which is an upscale Super Walmart.  Any Alaskan will tell you the best way to catch a crab is to have a boat/kayak and a crab pot.  So we will see how this rolls next summer.

Below are a couple of pictures of Jocelyn, Johnathan and I coming back from Echo Cove.  We did a quick stop on Egan Highway to bring you the following:

1026141404               1026141402a1                      10261416061                10261414021



Thanksgiving and all that!

As I write this post, the Thanksgiving weekend of 2014 has drawn to a close. I hope everyone had a safe and Happy Thanksgiving with family and friends!

And guess what folks…it has finally snowed in Alaska. Yes, I know many of the lower 48 states have had some snowfall within the last week but Alaska was bone dry. Like we had no snow on ground. Nada…nothing…zilch.    So on Saturday night it snowed 3 to 5 inches and on Sunday another 3 to 5 inches.   Also, because snow is the norm here…its going to take a serious blizzard for Monday (the person not the day)  not to have to go to work on Monday (the day not the person).

But I knew that before I came, so as the Alaskans like to say:  No worries!

Here are some pics for you to enjoy!

1130141336                                     1130141335b                                         1130141335a

What do you know Juneau?

When I first arrived in Juneau it was the dead of night, and of course I couldn’t get a sense of what and where I was. Well that all changed the very night I arrived.

After getting settled at Jocelyn’s house, we decided to take Bailey and Lucky out for the last walk of the night and she started looking for a head lamp. You know the kind that miner’s use.  What do you need that for I asked ever so innocently. To be aware our surroundings in case we run into a bear my sister sweetly answered. WTH?!!!

Oh Monday…you are such a silly East Coast girl from the suburbs of Maryland.

Yes, I knew there are/were bears in Alaska. When discussing the potential Juneau move with my sister Nicole, she specifically mentioned the fact that I don’t do roughing it well (i.e. camping), that eagles would pick up my Shih Tzu’s like they were paper (for reference please see The Proposal) and there were bears in Alaska. To be fair, when I thought about moving to Vegas, she said that Bailey and Lucky couldn’t survive the wolves but whatever!  But I disregarded her concerns (except the camping thing cause let’s face it I don’t do roughing it well)…..I could deal with the bears. Except that I had no plan to deal with the bears since I didn’t plan on seeing them. I had no idea on what their plans are for me. What the heck was I thinking?

My first day of work was the very next day after I arrived. So I get dressed and Jocelyn makes breakfast (because everyone knows I don’t really cook), I walk out the door to see Juneau for the first time. And what a sight it is. To walk out of Jocelyn’s front door and the first thing you see is Thunder mountain? What a beauty!

So let me tell you a little about Juneau.

Juneau is the capital of Alaska with a population of 30,000. Despite the number it really does have a feeling of small town life. People either know their neighbors or know someone who knows someone who knows their neighbors. They are also pretty friendly.   Juneau is land locked.You can’t drive here from the States or Canada….you have to come via plane or ferry. It feels like everyone has either a truck, a boat or both.  Juneau is also located in a temperate rain forest.  At least, that’s what Jocelyn and my co workers tell me after I give my usual bitch/rant of the day. Wow…look its raining! Color me surprised. For the first month, I swear it rained almost every day.  What I didn’t know but I know now is that September and October are the rainiest months here in Juneau.  So the scenery is beautiful and the people are nice…that’s the beauty and good of Juneau. What is not so good is the food situation.

So let’s talk fast food…there is only a McDonald’s and Subway here in Juneau. I can do McDonald’s but I have never cared for Subway because I always frequented local sub shops like Generous Joe’s in Greenbelt, Md or Wagshalls in DC.  There is also not one  Chick Fil-A, Chiptole, Wendy’s or Panera. Oh I miss you guys!  And trust me, I will visit you when I visit the Lower 48.  Apparently there was a Taco Bell that closed despite its popularity. I imagine it was because it was just too darn expensive to get the food up here. The cost of doing business folks the cost of doing business.   I have gone to a couple of local places and the food was just okay. I said so to some of my new Juneau friends, and they have recommended a couple of places to try out in the future. So I will report my progress. If you don’t give up on me Juneau, I won’t give up on you.

So for your enjoyment I have included pictures of the Mendenhall Glacier and Sandy Beach. And yes, you are seeing correctly…that is a Blockbuster. Here. In. Juneau.

Oh and for the record, my first 4 weeks and I didn’t see a bear. Well, unless you count that bear in Jonathan’s school cafeteria. Yep, you read that right….it wasn’t a typo.

photo (12)

Jonathan at the Glacier
Jonathan at the Glacier
At Sandy Beach with Bailey, Lucky and Jonathan
At Sandy Beach with Bailey, Lucky and Jonathan
Yep...that is a Blockbuster. Here. In. Juneau.
Yep…that is a Blockbuster. Here. In. Juneau.

photo (14)

Getting Ready for Leave!

Many apologies for getting this blog up and ready for publication.

Trying to get adjusted to Juneau, the new gig, living arrangements (thanks Joss) and the like. So now I am in catch up mode.

As you may or may not know, I left  the DC area on October 13th and the days leading to my departure were stressful and hectic. Trying to say goodbye  to everyone I could (I really should have started earlier so I could have seen more people) and packing was a stresser. Add in a minor disagreement with Jocelyn on the phone the week before I left and you know what I am talking about. And for the record, if one says that they have to go when you are having a phone conversation and you say this is a couple of times, and the other person INSISTS on talking, and I say I am done…I will call you later and hang up….did you or did you not hang up on this person? I am going with No. Not if I warn you that I am hanging up.

Anyway…the issue was that Alaska Airlines says that you need to have your shot records up to date before traveling. And of course, every time I and Jocelyn called Alaska Airlines we got a different person and a different answer. The shot records in itself is not a problem. Any dog owner who has traveled either has a good support person you can leave your dogs with when you travel or a good kennel that you use. And kennels need shot records (especially evidence of bordatella and distemper).   But I digress….Alaska Airlines didn’t want my shot records, they apparently were not good enough. What they wanted was a filled out was a completed Interstate Travel Form. This form allows pets to travel on planes and has to be dated 7 days before travel. That’s all fine and good but you need to have this done by a vet, and the cost was $150 that I didn’t plan on spending. You pay for the visit and the record. But I have two dogs (as you can see from the attached pics waiting for the vet).  It would have been $200 without the coupon…thanks Alaska Airlines and Petsmart. But guess what….after all that……..NO ONE I mean NO ONE asked me for this document.

I arrived at DCA at 6 AM on the morning of the 13th, and the very nice Alaska Agent DID NOT ask me for this document. Oh and can someone tell me why Alaska Airlines does not have a little belt behind their kiosk at DCA? So after you check in…you need to carry your bags to the United Airlines counter so it can go to the unknown (ie….where your luggage goes when its placed on that belt before it disappears before your very eyes). Yeah, that missing belt.  Normally that isn’t an issue for me…now that luggage has wheels. But try moving three bags that weigh 50 pounds each, and two dog crates holding 20 pound dogs and you get why I am missing the belt.  Thank goodness the Alaska Air agent assisted me!  And TSA takes security very seriously….I had to take each dog out of their crate so it could get scanned before the crates (and my babies) were put on a cart and wheeled away. See you in Seattle Lucky and Bailey!

Once I arrived at Seattle International Airport I had to get the dogs and walk them in the dog park. After that I had to entertain two dogs for the three hour layover. Keep them fed and happy before they had to do the security check again  as we began the final journey from Seattle to Juneau.  And for the record,  Alaska Airlines had a very nice kiosk at the Seattle Airport with a moving belt!  And yep, no one asked about the Pet Travel document in Seattle either. I bet if I didn’t have it (but I would have my $150) , they would have asked about it.  Mom already told me that Bailey and Lucky weren’t missing that flight and staying with her…so I had to be prepared.

DCA to Juneau was an all day affair. I left DCA at 8 AM EST and arrived in Seattle at 10:45 AM PST. My departure from Seattle was at 3:00 PST with arrival in Juneau scheduled for 6:59 AST.  Why so long you ask and what the heck is AST?

Why I be would honored to answer your questions. It really doesn’t take that long to get from Seattle to Juneau but I was signed up for the Milk Run.  What’s the Milk Run Aunt Monday?!  Well listen up and I will tell you Mari!

At Seattle International Airport.

A view from the sky!

photo (4)
A gentle reminder at Seattle that while security is a pain….Never Forget!

When you do the Milk Run on Alaska Air…it makes stops in Stika and Ketchikan before arriving Juneau! So that’s why it takes so long. I think it goes Anchorage once it leaves Juneau. But I wasn’t on it so I didn’t really care.  For the record, a direct flight from Seattle to Juneau takes approximately 2 hours and 8 minutes.  And AST is Alaska Standard Time. Juneau is approximately 4 hours behind the East Coast. So when its 12:00 PM in DC, its 8:00 AM in Juneau.  So I arrived at the Juneau Airport to big signs and smiles from Jocelyn and Johnathan.

And a big shout out and miss you to Dunkin Donuts….if I had known that the last time I would see your shining face (and your sign) would have been at DCA…I would have treated you better. I do miss those chocolate creme donuts. Oh and all of you too!

so long farewell auf wiedersehen goodbye

In July of 2014, my sister Jocelyn decided that she needed a change.

She was thinking of relocating to PA, even though my sister Nicole had said, “I claim this land for Cole!” letting us know that the state was now officially off limits for any more Miles girls. She happened on a government job listing in Alaska, and she was intrigued enough to research the state (i.e. cost of living, best cities to live in, etc. ).  While she didn’t end up with that job, she did manage to procure a substitute teaching job with the City & Borough of Juneau. She sold some stuff, packed her truck and she and Johnathan were off to The Last Frontier.  My mother and I tracked her trek across the country with fascination and concern. After five days of driving, 3872 miles (traveling thru Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota , Canada) and a ferry ride from the Sakgway, AK…… she arrived in Juneau on August of 8, 2013. I remember saying to my mother (after  knowing that she arrived safely), “I should have went with her.”

Fast forward a year, and the situation is the same albeit with a different Miles daughter.

Although I loved my job at Crate & Barrel, and had the support of my family and friends, I too was looking for a change. I was tried of the high cost of living, and sitting in traffic 3 hours a day. I happened to mention a particular situation to Jocelyn, and she told me that I needed to come to Alaska. She spoke of the slower pace of life and the beauty of Juneau.  She also mentioned that one of her coworkers was going out on maternity leave, and her company was looking for a new agent. Fast forward a couple of weeks…I have a new job in Alaska with a start date of October 13th.

So that brings me to The Farewell Tour….although I didn’t get the opportunity to see everyone to say goodbye…I did get a chance to say goodbye to a few people. Attached are the pictures of my visit with Nicole, Dinner with the Girls and my Crate & Barrel Family.

Anyone who knows my sisters and I know that we love musicals. So in honor of my departure, and because I love the Sound of Music….I leave you with So long, Farewell!

Monday and Nicole
Monday and Nicole
Dinner at Jaleo's with my Crate family including Rob, Becky, Mari, Jewelle, Alex and Alexis.
Dinner at Jaleo’s with my Crate family including Rob, Becky, Mari, Jewelle, Alex and Alexis.
Dinner @ Magianno's with Toni, Angela, Jenelle, Judi and Shelly (missing Maieka and Lesley)
Dinner @ Magianno’s with Toni, Angela, Jenelle, Judi and Shelly (missing Maieka and Lesley)
With Claudia.....who taught me that "No is a complete sentence."
With Claudia…..who taught me that “No is a complete sentence.”
With Lisa getting ready for Cranford
With Lisa getting ready for Cranford
Dinner at The Cheesecake Factory with Alicia, Natasha and Maggie
Dinner at The Cheesecake Factory with Alicia, Natasha and Maggie
At Cotsco with Kecia
At Cotsco with Kecia
Collin came in on his day off to say goodbye...and brought Kobe!
Collin came in on his day off to say goodbye…and brought Kobe
Goodbye Spring Valley!  It  truly was a great experience....a great product and fantastic team to work with...
Goodbye Spring Valley! It truly was a great experience….a great product and fantastic team to work with…