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Thursday, July 11, 2013

More from the randomness of Katie!

I am really excited to share something with you guys!  So this past week my roommate has been out of town, so in the evenings I have been a little bored!  I find that a lot of my friends in Ketchikan are busy during the week nights (you know that whole job thing) and I haven't had much luck in finding someone to bug other than Lori (Who was away!!), and as many of you know, I don't do well if I don't have someone to talk to or a project to work on,  SO...I decided to randomly start playing around with GarageBand.  I use GarageBand a lot for school, but never really personal stuff, or just to mess around.  I have been mildly obsessed with the song "Falling Slowly" from the movie Once lately, and I thought, what the heck, I'll try my own cover.  It's rough pretty rough.  I don't have any good recording equipment, but it's all me!  The first crack at it, I played the piano parts, but later I got the idea to put it into Finale and the export the mp3 into GarageBand!  I know that is basically cheating, but it sounded better!  Anyway, even though it's pretty rough, I am still proud of it!  I have never really done anything like this before so I figured I would share.  Both voices on the recording are me.  I recorded them one at a time, obviously.  Because it's the same voice on both parts though, I think it takes away a bit from the beauty of the song.  Oh well, I can't exactly change my voice so I will just have to deal with it! :)  I hope you guys like it!

Falling Slowly Katie

Last weekend was opening weekend for "The Fish Pirates Daughter."  It went really well and I am looking forward to our shows the next two weekends.  To be honest, I am also looking forward to it being done.  I have had an awesome time doing it, but it will be nice to have my weekends back.  Especially so I can hang out with those people who have traditional 9-5 M-F jobs!!

All in all tours have been going pretty well, but it's been relatively slow.  This week I haven't really had any which is a bummer, but I have been able to get a lot of busy work stuff done, so that has been nice.  My apartment is clean!  YAY!  And I've been able to practice guitar a lot more this past week!  It's been a little rainy this week, but I have still been able to enjoy being outside and have went on a few hikes.  Yesterday it rained and rained all day, and then in the evening it cleared up.  It was an incredibly beautiful night!  I went out to the beach with Niki, Matt, and the kids, and had dinner with them.  It still astounds me;  I am still amazed by the beauty of this place.  I feel like I have taken the same picture like 20 different times on 20 different occasions, but each time I see something that I didn't notice before, or I am still just as breathless as I was the first time I saw it.  Pictures really do not do it justice, but I wish they did.  I would love to share it with all of you!

Anyway, yesterday I was getting ready to meet up and play trumpet duets, and I got a text from my boss with the Hummers.  It said "Envelope hanging up at shop for you next time through."  I started to have a mini panic attack!  Why is there an envelope for me?  Did I do something wrong?  Was there like an unknown evaluation and this is my results.  I know that is like the worst response ever, but my gut instinct to anything like that is "What did I do wrong!?!?"  Well, I knew I wasn't going to be able to concentrate until I knew what it was about so I drove up and got my envelope.  I open it up and there is a letter:  "Congratulations!! You are June's Employee of the Month!"  AHHHH!  Big sigh of relief!  I'm not gonna like, I am pretty proud!  I remember when Natalie was working in Pittsburgh and she got the "Wow" awards with her company at work, and I slightly mocked them.  Well, I totally get it now, even if it's just my summer job, it felt really good to know that they appreciate me and to be recognized!   Sorry Natalie for mocking your WOW awards!  I love you! :)

Yesterday was a pretty great day, but it was a little sad too! One of my good friends,  Chelsea has been the music teacher at Metlakatla for the past 3 years, but she got accepted into the grad program at WVU so she decided to head back east.  I am so incredibly excited for her, but yesterday I had to say goodbye to her, her husband, and their adorable chocolate lab as they got onto the ferry to start their road trip back east.   It was really sad!!  I'm really going to miss them.  I didn't get to see them a whole lot as they were on a different island, but they visited fairly often, and I always looked forward to that.

On a more positive note... I will be going out fishing soon! I still have no clue what I am doing, but I at least found some people here who are willing to teach me! :)  Now we just need to get our schedules to align and I will be the Salmon Queen!  Haha

Alright everyone, I know there was a whole lot more I wanted to update everyone on, but at the moment I can't think of it.  I hope everyone had a great time at the Gaggini Reunion!  I was really bummed that I missed it, but it just wasn't going to happen this year!  I miss you all so very much.

Love always,

P.S.  Don't worry!  I didn't forget about my pictures! :)
The Star Fish here are soooo cool! 6/28/13

Another sunny day in Ketchikan!! 7/1/13

Toly and I were looking for baby crabs on the 4th of July! 7/4/13

I want one!!! 7/4/13

Jelly Fish!! 7/4/13

Jelly Fish again!! 7/4/13

Waiting to go onstage! 7/5/13

A bear at Herring Cove! 7/7/13

Saying goodbye to Miss Chelsea :( 7/9/13

Settler's Cove Water Fall 7/10/13

Enjoying a night at the beach!  7/10/13

Matt kept getting in my picture!! 7/10/13

Settler's Cove Beach! 7/10/13

Settler's Cove Beach! 7/10/13

Settler's Cove Beach! 7/10/13

Settler's Cove Beach! 7/10/13

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nothing has changed...But everything is different!

So I woke up the other day and I felt good...REALLY really good.  Better than I have felt in a really long time.  To be honest, I have been in a little bit of a rut the last few months, and while nothing has changed, I find myself in the same situations that I have been in for the past few months, everything is different.  I just feel so much more optimistic about things.  Which, I'm not gonna like, is a pretty fantastic feeling!

Just a quick update on things.  The summer job is going really well.  Every tour is almost like meeting a long lost friend.  I know that sounds a little cliche, but by the end of spending 4 hours with these people in a car, albeit a very large car, but a car none the less, you kinda get attached.  Especially when they are as wonderful as my guests have been.  I have had people from all over, Cleveland, Florida, LA, and each has such an interesting story.  The group I had earlier this week were cracking my up.  It was a husband and a wife, and her 94 year old mother.  They were truly wonderful people, who were just enjoying life.  The poor husband very graciously took the brunt of all their jokes, and basically I was paid to drive them around, listen to their very comical conversations, and take them to get milkshakes! is pretty good!

This past week I have been preoccupied with a show I am currently doing.  Each summer First City Players (the Ketchikan Theater Company) does this show called "The Fish Pirates Daughter" which has some aspects of Ketchikan's history in it, but is basically a slap happy musical melodrama about a citizen of Ketchikan who acts as a fish pirate to get money to send his/her daughter  through finishing school.  There is a whole lot more to it, but I don't really need to get into the specifics.  Anyway, I was going to auditions, but then chickened out last minute.  The one of my good friends mentioned that she was doing it, and we got to talking and I was really starting to second guess my decision.  I knew they were still looking for "ladies of the line," I wasn't really sure what that meant, but I knew it was just chorus.  Well the musical director, who happens to be a friend of mine, e-mailed me and said she had heard I was interested and asked if I would do it.  I figured what the heck....Why not!?  Do you know what a "lady of the line is!?!?"  Let me tell you, it is NOT a simple chorus girl who stands in the background and sings pretty songs in fun costumes.  Nope...if you are familiar with Ketchikan's history at all (which as a tour guide, I now am! :) Whoo)  and one time, Ketchikan's biggest industry was Creekstreet, which was home to around 30 brothel houses.  As a lady of the line, I am one of the ladies of those house.  Let's put it this way...I am just  a LITTLE out of my comfort zone!!  Keep in mind this is a happy-go-lucky melodrama, so it's not really that big of a deal, but yes...I feel a little ridiculous!

Because it hasn't been 9 months since my last post (I know! I know!  I'm a little shocked too!)  I really don't know what else to update you on!  I guess I could tell you all that I bought a grill!! I am pretty excited about that, but it's not really all that interesting.  But sure why not!  HaHa... The other night I was trying to figure out what I wanted for dinner and the only things that sounded really good were, BBQ Chicken, Steak, Hot Dogs, or Hamburgers.  I looked at Lori (My roommate) and I said...Let's go get a grill!  That's pretty much the whole story, but we have been eating really well this week! :) 

Tomorrow I am going to get together with a friend of mine and we are going to rock out to some trumpet duets.  I am pretty excited about this because I'm not a great sight reader, and this will be really good for my musicianship.  I am also pretty nervous about this because Jeff (my friend) is a phenomenal trumpet player, who just graduated from Manhattan School of Music, and is going to kick my butt!!  Oh well, it's all in good fun.  Jeff and I are collaborating together to put on a classical recital at the end of the summer/beginning of fall.  I am getting pretty excited about this.  I've finally been getting back into the habit of doing some hardcore vocalizing and practice sessions, and it feels pretty amazing to be singing some legit classical stuff again.  I've been trying to incorporate a variety of instruments and people for this recital.  My one friend is an oboist and I think I have convinced her to play on one song while another friend, Chelsea (Jeff's girlfriend!) is going to dance (Hopefully!!!) I also have a duet planned and a few other ideas that I really hope pan out. 

Today I felt a little like my Grandma Gaggini. I sat down to start a puzzle, because I love puzzles, and I completely lost track of the time.  Next think I knew it was like 5:30 and I had to make dinner and get ready for rehearsal.  It's crazy where the day went!  BUT I totally knocked that 1000 piece puzzle out in a day!!!  In all fairness, I've done that puzzle at least 5 times, so it's getting to the point where I can look at a piece and know the general idea where it goes. 

OH!!! Before I let you go....GUESS WHAT!?!  I finally saw the Northern Lights!!!!!!!!  They were very faint, and mostly just a white color, BUT I saw them.  It kinda just looked like a sunset, except it was at a position in the sky where the sun would not set, AND it was 2am.  It was pretty neat, and I was so excited.  I am looking forward to seeing the lights a lot more this summer.

AND  one more very exciting piece of information.  The Pittsburgh Pirates have the best record in baseball right now, AND I walked into O'brien's Pub last night after rehearsal and the game was on Ketchikan!!  I know, I know, we are playing Seattle, but still...the was incredibly exciting for me!! :) Let's Go Bucs!!

Ok.  I should probably be going to bed.  Thank you all for sticking with my through my random updates.  I miss you all terribly.  You should all take a note out of Trish & Jim and Dad & Judy's book and come visit me!! :)

Love always,
Settler's Cove 6/13/13

Settler's Cove 6/13/13

Settler's Cove 6/13/13

Settler's Cove 6/13/13

Slide Mountain 6/14/13

This is my very bad attempt at trying to get a picture of the's only and iphone.  But you can kind of see where the lights were in the middle of the picture behind the mountain.  Use your imagination people!! There were there! 6/17/13   

Harriet Hunt 6/19/13

Harriet Hunt 6/19/13

Hiking Connell Lake Trail with Lori- 6/21/13

 Connell Lake- 6/21/13

Hiking Connell Lake Trail with Lori and Edelweiss- 6/21/13

Ward Creek 6/23/13

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Taking things one day at at time :)

Hi Everyone!

I've been sitting here trying to think of a fun or witty way to start this post, but it's 12:30AM and I've got nothing.  This is probably going to be a pretty straight forward post, but hey!  At least it's an update!

To be honest, life right now is good...really really good!  School ended on a pretty great note, I have been checking things off my "Alaska Bucket List,"  my summer job is going very well...and there's a whole lot more I'll delve into in a bit, but ... I'm homesick.  I miss home a lot.  I miss my friends, I miss my dad and sisters more than words, I haven't really had the opportunity to spend much quality time with the Kijowski's or Gaggini's in the past two years (with some exceptions, but you catch my drift),  I really need to spend a day at PNC park,  and I just want to sit around the campfire and watch the incredible Pennsylvania Stars.  I love Alaska, and I can't express the gratitude I feel for everything I have gained in the 2 years I have been here, but sometimes living on and island is suffocating.  I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but it's a very real struggle that I have been dealing with for a while now.  I have also come to the realisation that I really miss my mom.  Does that sound funny?  That I just came to the realisation?  I suppose I should rephrase that.  I think about, and miss my mom on a daily basis, but I've gotten in the habit of not really talking about it.  It makes me sad, it makes other people sad.  It hurts that all my amazing friends here don't know my mom, that they never will.  And to be honest, I am homesick.  I am growing up, and I am facing new trails daily, and I just want to call up my mom, someone who knows me through and through, and has the years of wisdom to back up her words, and cry to her, talk to her, laugh with her...especially laugh with her.  Gosh, I miss her laugh.

Wow...that is really not how I expected this post to go, but I guess you can tell what has been on my mind!  I am going to try to switch things up and go in a more positive direction!

I think the most exciting thing to report to everyone is that I have successfully made it through my 2nd year of teaching, and honestly, in quite a few ways we went out with a bang!  In years past the Tongass School has ended their school year with a school talent show.  I tried that last year, and it went pretty well, but I wanted to do something different to represent the music program.  This year we had an end of the year concert where each grade did a musical theater song, and the 6th graders introduced each act by doing skits inbetween.  It went REALLY well.  I seriusly can't epxress how proud of my students I am.  They completely blew me away.  I have had strangers come up to me in the grocery store and tell me how well they thought the kids did.   The day after the concert I told one of my classes that we were going to have a free day, and they asked me if they could perform their song again instead of playing games or watching a movie.  I was shocked.  I can't express how validating that feels.

So on the weekends I have been working my summer job as a guide for the Alaska Hummer Tours.  It has been gong really well, but have no fear, some of my quirky luck has followed me and my quirky personality!!  The very first day, I get to the "Duck Barn" which is where the Hummers are parked, and I go out to check my Hummer.  I was assigned to "Yellow" which I was pretty pumped about because well a.) it's a Hummer and b.) it's bright yellow.  What's not to be excited about that!?!?  So I get in, I have my check list ready, I turn the key...nothing...I turn the key again...nothing.  Seriously!?  A dead battery on my very first day!?  I kinda wanted to scream...but I didn't!   I called my boss, but the amazing guys I work with were already on it.  One of the other Hummer drivers and one of the Duck Tour drivers were bringing out a battery thing (whatever that technical name is... I don't know) to charge me up.  They (unlike me) remained calm, and fixed everything.  They were pretty much my heros that day!  But don't worry, this story gets SOOOO much better.  So I was a little late getting to the docks to pick up my guests because of the battery thing and I was a little flustered!  But I didn't really have time to calm down because as soon as I got to the docks my guests were unloading and ready to go!  "Ok," I told myself, "Stay calm you can do this"  We get loaded up, and away we go!  Honestly, these were the most amazing and friendliest people I could ever ask for.  It was a middle aged couple, and an older couple.  They were upbeat, positive, friendly, and so entertaining.  We start on our tour and everything is going great!  Then I realize...Oh my goodness!  I still have 2 hours with these people, and I am pretty much out of things to say!!....   .....    ....   ... "And here is our Wal-Mart!!! No, it is not 24 hrs!  Oh and here you will find the only Carwash on the island, but don't try to shampoo your carpets, because it is always out of order!"  I wish I was joking right now, but that is literally what I was resorting to!  So I had this brilliant idea!  We are going to go on a little nature walk.  This is a little awful, but I was thinking, ok they are a little older, this will take some time!  So I head back the road toward the trail and there is a State Trooper flagging me down.  I start to panic!  Crap!  If he is about to tell me I can't take them back this trail, I have no clue what I am going to do for the next 2 hours!!!!  So I slow down, and roll down my window and the conversation went something like this:
Trooper:  Oh... You're doing a tour
Me:  I am, is there a problem officer
Trooper:  Well, are there any strong guys in there? I need some help lifting something
Me:  Well, they are my guests, I don't really feel comfortable asking.  But I am a lot stronger than I look.  What do you need help with, I would be happy to help.
Trooper:  Well, I have a deer here that was hit by a car.  The homeless shelter is low on meat so we are going to take it there, and I have it loaded into a bag, but I can't get it into my SUV by myself
Me: Ok ( hesitantly)  I can help with that (In my head I was thinking, don't be a wuss in front of your guests)
Guest in the back:  Can I help!?  I want to help!?  Can I help the Alaska State Trooper!?  I can help!
Me:  Ok!  Let's help the trooper!

So...I pull the Hummer over, we all jump out, and the three of us load the deer into his SUV, he makes small talk about where we are going, thanks us profusely and then we all go on our merry way.  But wait this gets better!  So we go up the road, we go on our nature walk (That thankfully takes a nice chunk of time) and when we get back to the parking lot, our friend the trooper is waiting for us.  He came back to thank us one more time, and gave us all Alaska Jr. Trooper pins and keychains.  They were so excited, and to be honest, it was pretty cool!  I'm just gonna throw this out there, but my guest totally had the best story to take back to their ship! :-D The next weekend went just as well, although I haven't encountered anymore dead deer...or dead batteries! They have let me drive the Yellow Hummer everytime, and let me tell you, we've bonded.  I feel pretty awesome in that thing.  I tend not to be an over aggressive drive, and that still holds true in my Hummer, but it's super bright, and you can see my coming for a mile away.  I don't know, it's like an alternate personality comes out and I'm super confident when I'm driving that thing on tours.  "Oh you want to see a crab, ok, I'll flip over this incredibly large rock and pick up a baby crab for you and act like it's no big deal even though I am secretly afraid of big deal I got this!"  Maybe I'm being slightly ridiculous, but I'm kinda ok with that! :)

So this week is the first official week of summer, and the weather has been AMAZING.  One of my very good friends is childless for a few weeks (her children are visiting their grandparents down south) So we have been trying to do a daily hike.  On Monday we hiked Perseverance Trail.  Now I know that this probably means nothing to a lot of you, but this is a trial I have wanted to do for a REALLY long time.  I'm not the best hiker though.  I really enjoy hiking, but I am slow and I know that.  Also... I live in the mountains, which means the majority of the trails go up.  You know, I'm not really a huge fan of just up.  I was told this trail has a lot of steps (which I think is even harder than just up) and that it was long.  Jenn talked me into trying it on Monday, and I'm not gonna lie, we were about .... 10 minutes in of constant "up" and I was thinking in my head, I don't know how I'm gonna break this to Jenn, but there is no way I am going to make it to this lake.  Honestly,
it wasn't that bad!!! The first bit was a lot of up, but they redid the trail a little bit ago and they took out all the steps.  They added some switchbacks or maybe they have always been there, I don't know, but they weren't crazy steep switchbacks, they were gradual.  The trail was long, but it wasn't the longest I have ever hiked, and when we finally got to the lake, I felt such a sense of accomplishment  and it was one of the most breathtakingly gorgeous views I have ever seen.  I'll post some pictures, but they just don't do it justice.  I know a lot of Ketchikan people hike this trail without batting an eye, but for me it was a big deal, and I was pretty pumped.  I have a ton of trails I want to work on this summer, and I am pretty excited I already get to check one off my list.  I have some family coming later in the summer (Trish and Jim!!!) and I think we are going to tackle this trail again.

Today I did an easy trail around Ward Lake, but it is one of my favorite trails, and it's so pretty there.  I did it with Maggie who is an 8 year old, and one of my favorite people in Ketchikan.  I know I have talked a lot about Matt and Nicole (Matt teaches with me at TSAS and is the Flyers fan... I don't get it either, but I try not to hold it agains him, and Nicole is his incredible wife)  They are two of the most amazing people, and have become more than family to me.  Maggie is their daughter, and she is pretty fabulous.  They also have a pretty fantastic son, but he didn't go on the hike with us today.  It's really interesting walking around the lake with an 8 year old.  You notice things in a very different way, and seeing things like squirrels make the trip take on a whole new level of excitement.  It was fun and honestly, it was just what I needed today.

I know there is so much more that I want to share, but it is getting really late, and I have a doctors appointment in the morning.  I sprained my ankle a few weeks back and it's not exactly healing the way I want it to (maybe the hike wasn't my smartest move, but oh so worth it)  Anyway, I just want to get it checked out and make sure it's just a sprain and that there is not any long term damage.  As always I will leave you with a few pictures at the end!  Thanks for continuing to check in with me even though I am so awful about updating!  I love and miss you all, more than I could possibly explain!


 These first 5 are from an AMAZING sunset the other night
 Totem Bight (6/10/13)
Totem Bight (6/10/13)
 Totem Bight (6/10/13)
North Point Higgins (6/10/13)
North Point Higgins (6/10/13)

 Lily pads on Perseverance Trail (6/10/13)
 One of my first views of the lake (6/10/13)
 LOOK....SUN!! (6/10/13)
 The Lake (6/10/13)
 Me and Jenn (6/10/13)
 Relaxing by the lake! (6/10/13)
 This happens a lot here.  We don't have a lot of top soil so a lot of trees are uprooted by the wind.  This is a pretty new one, but it will shortly become a nurse log, which means a lot of other trees and bushes will start to grow on top of it.  It's pretty cool! :) (6/10/13)

 I took a random drive up Brown Mountain the other night, and it was pretty incredible.
Brown Mountain  (6/5/13)
Brown Mountain (6/5/13)
 Me and Maggie at the lake! (6/12/13)
 Today at Ward Lake (6/12/13)
 See! I'm a Junior State Trooper!  (5/19/13)
 Team Katie!! (Myself and Katie - another TSAS Teacher) at Beach Day!! 5/20/13
 Memorial day weekend at Ward Lake.  There was a Thunderstorm (which is really rare) and an incredible double rainbow.  The sky kept changing, but I thought the way the mountains were reflecting in the lake was pretty awesome!  
Ward Lake - 5/27/13
 Ward Lake - 5/27/13
  Ward Lake - 5/27/13
 Lori, Edelweiss, and myself at the 3/4 Beach Day
Buggy's Beach - 5/28/13

My xtratuffs <3
Buggy's Beach - 5/28/13