Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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10/08/2006: "I don't need no stinkin liver"

Friday was gray and rainy as I motored to the boat yard but then the clouds parted and a ray of sun lit up downtown. Just then, thousands of seagulls rose from a rooftop and flew in two slow opposite moving circles above the town. With the direct sunlight, each appeared like a flash of silver and the moment was so incredible it made my heart race and I actually laughed out loud.

After I got my boat hauled out I spent the entire weekend working on it. I must say I *love* spending time in the boat yard. Everyone comes over and checks out your boat and offers their 2 cents worth. Sometimes it’s a little annoying, but I met some real characters too…”Itchy Willie” for example…one of the town’s boat builders who showed me the fiberglass roll chucks he was building on a large trawler. This guy was a total trip; nothing I could say would do him justice.

Friday night, hair still wet from boat wash foam, I went to a great exhibit by Josh Edwards at Two Crows. I missed First Friday because of the boat, but I’m glad I made it to his reception; the work was very cool, though I’m not sure I understood it. Then I got another midnight phone call from's a good thing I'm an insomniac!
Saturday I scrubbed, sanded, painted and painted some more...antifouling paint is way toxic and against all my attempts to protect myself, I got covered in it. Aaron came by a few times to help out, so did Brian though I missed him both times (thanks anyway Bri!). That night, after scrubbing off a layer of epidermis with said toxins (FWI, fingernail polish remover works better than Liquin) Aaron and I went out for burgers and live jazz, then drove up to a spot on Douglas Island that overlooks Juneau.

There was fog in the channel and the lights from town would shine through here and there like little jewels. Above the fog it was clear and I saw a shooting star, I thought a moment to make a wish but realized I had nothing much to wish for.

Sitting there I had this incredible sense of peace…like I was exactly where I should be, not just at that moment but in general. I can’t imagine how different my life would be if I were still in the process of moving to Centrailia, maybe I’m missing out on some huge opportunity by staying; the only thing I know for sure is that I love where I am. It’s my home, and I just feel so...grateful.

btw, I'm taking donations for spare organs if anyone's interested in setting up a trust for me! Seriously, liver, kidney...whatever you can spare.

Replies: 9 Comments

on Monday, October 9th, Judy Vars said

I'm so glad you listened to your heart and choose to stay in Alaska those experiences/miracles are ordinary around here we start to take it for granted at least I do somtimes. Do you remember that comet hale bop I think was what they called it I watched it every night I think I had the best view of it on the planet right out my front door.
BTW did Natalie Shelton from UAA send you her questionaire?
She wanted to send me one but I deleated her e-mail accidentally.
Ahhh why do you want spare organs
anwyay I'm sleepy :doze: and hitting the hay.

on Monday, October 9th,">Curious Oranj said

"...then drove up to a spot on Douglas Island that overlooks Juneau."

Did you find any thrills? Gossip girl!


on Monday, October 9th, Elise said

Hi Judy, I agree it's easy to start taking Alaska for granted and to even get down on it when the weather starts to wear you down...but I'm all over that. I'm a born-again Alaskan and more gung-ho than ever to suck the proverbial marrow.

I do indeed remember Hale-Bop, and some pretty amazing arora around that time as well.

Also, I need the organs because after years of printmaking, oil painting, and bottom coating my boat, I'm afraid mine are getting fairly close to being used up.
And *really* Rob, we're not in Jr. High anymore!
(though the fact that road's called "Blueberry Hill" is pretty funny)

on Monday, October 9th, Brian said

So, did you find out what made Itchy Willie so itchy?

on Monday, October 9th, Elise said

hey Brian, I'm assuming it was all the fiberglass...but I didn't want to ask.

The main guy who works for the boat yard had seen that Itchy Willie had been hanging around me on Sun. and asked me if he'd been bothering me. He wanted me to know that he wasn't affiliated with the boat yard and hoped there weren't any hard feelings or anything.

IW was actually really fun to talk too, though I think he may need better ventilation in his work space!

on Monday, October 9th, Sam said

Hey, no fair! I thought you had a "policy" against "Blueberry Hill" type adventures.

What gives?

on Tuesday, October 10th, Kasia said

I am so happy for you Elise. :) Peace of mind is at times so hard to find. (I have lost mine for a while now but i think i am on a good way to get it back). It is a very precious gift.
It is so strange but i instincly feel Alaska could be my home, too. :)
Weird, ha? I have not even been there.
Spare organs? Why? I s someone needig them to survive?

on Tuesday, October 10th, Elise said

Hey Kasia, Peace of mind is great when it happens, though mine was unfortunately very short lived.

I am so incredibly far behind with my job, and as you know, with teaching you *can't* let yourself get behind! Anyway, I think you would love Alaska as well. You will make it here someday (just as I hope to make it to Poland)...

As for the organs, sometimes people don't get my humor...I was just referring to all the toxins I was subjected to over the weekend (and over my lifetime actually) that I'll be due for some replacements soon.

Maybe that was in poor taste?


on Tuesday, October 10th, Kasia said

No way! I just didn't get it:) now after your explanation I think it is really funny! :)