Kickass 2015



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Where to begin. Getting married? Finishing the book? Having a baby girl? Teaming up with R to get the city where we live to mind its own damn business? All these wondrous things.1923782_10208431838372666_8317590744334092240_n

As I write it’s that slack-tide between Christmas and January 1, when humans  allow themselves that collective exhale before breathing life into the New Year.

I’m in the Sierras with Rachel’s family, watching baby crawl under the Christmas tree, doing her best to make sense of a children’s book of Moby Dick (how could you make a children’s story of such a thing? They have, harpoon and all) and take occasional chomps on a branch.  Spent an hour early this morning steaming the boogers out of Haley on account of the thin air. IMG_5012About the only  place she seems to want to nap is on my back, snowstorms or not.

IMG_5025Colorado and the Adak are both safe with a boat/dogsitter. So there’s been a bit of an exhale down here as well. Although both are on our minds constantly.

Before coming south for the wedding we worked hard getting the boat into order for the solstice weeks when we’d be away. Haley occupied herself with what has come to be a favorite toy, her wooden spoon, while we cooked Thanksgiving dinner – which turned out to be a winter king salmon dropped off by a good friend who wanted to be sure Haley ate some fresh firsh for the holiday. IMG_4735IMG_4737





IMG_4723Meanwhile R and 12193409_10208133199146872_7679694289803346265_nI, with the help of close fishermen friends in Alaska, stocked up on fish, started to box it up – the fair majority of folks listed this as their wedding meal of choice. IMG_470012243304_10208168598871843_1154461126226884881_nI paddled around, skiffing in Haley’s Comet, and finally coming up with a blacktail with my buddy Rick. IMG_4389We butchered him up and sent the Alaska protein east for the festivities. Freezing  hindquarter then shaving it off to make jerky for Christmas presents.

IMG_4693With the work and expertise of Stephen Warren we began replacing bulwarks on the Adak, continuing to weather in the wheelhouse, and just making the boat cozy. We got some snow, and Colorado got his morning romps in. I wrapped up teaching my online Stanford class – which was amazing, thanks to students who just blew my mind with their essays and commitment to wrestling with tough questions. JMP_7194In the cold nestled into the Hemingway berth to get work done; it stays warm and dry in there – which, well, is saying a lot for our sweet tug.IMG_4687


The wedding will be a day R and I will remember as long as we live. It wasn’t easy to get there – two days of travel, involving a stop in Las Vegas (which the baby, disturbingly, loved.) But got there we did. IMG_4763

The fun began the night before the wedding with a cake Rachel had schemed up of the Adak. IMG_4477(You can compare the pics – amazing). The only hard part was cutting into it. 1017465_10101690533060108_5430530132599297249_nThe following day the ceremony in New Hope, with close friends and family,  my fishing skipper Eric Jordan marrying us, and saving my butt when I forgot my ring lines, best man Justin Ehrenwerth emceeing brilliantly, and so many others filling in. It was a community effort. I mean, how cool, all these people you’ve met over the course of a life gathered under one roof. I can’t think of a greater thrill than seeing two people from two parts of your life – Alaska and New Hampshire, England and Philly, Greensaw and Stanford – sharing stories. Powerful and moving. And all your dudes gathered in one spot, from Oakland, Alaska, NYC, New Orleans, North Carolina, Philly, Washington DC – right there, putting a log on the fire, pulling off the keg, wearing XtraTuff boots from Alaska. Too friggin cool. Not to mention having wee HMJ there to witness it all, dressed up in all her finery. Going from this



to this





Someone cleans up well. Real well.

And I know the party was good because we got kicked out of the rehearsal dinner space by a ten-foot bouncer, kicked out of the reception area for the wedding, kicked out of the after-party space in the old barn, and stayed up until the wee hours dancing by the fire at the Inn. IMG_480912249860_10153265201258316_3736915444468137647_nIMG_4815Now R and I are just waiting to get the prints of all the photobooth images. Sorry guys, bet you didn’t know we get to see them. I’m hoping for all moons and no stars.

As far as the book goes, things go really well, with nice words coming in  from Richard Ford, Adam Johnson, the amazing Molly Antopol, and others. We went on a family field trip to NYC to visit Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, met with my editor Jenna Johnson. IMG_4884Haley promptly ate all of her daisies. May god provide wings for this  creature I have put out into the world (I’m talking here about the book and not the baby – I think can do without her wings for a bit). It’s a scary prospect, this creation going into the world, but I can’t think of better people to do it alongside than Jenna, Michelle, Pilar, and the rest of the crew at HMH.

IMG_5007As for the Adak sitrep, well, turns out the city is now being investigated by the FBI for tasering an Alaska native kid. Whoops. And not very nice. So I think they’ve got their hands full.

After the incident, the city administrator supported the jailer and two policemen who stripped this 18 year-old kid, tasered him into unconsciousness, then left him in his cell without medical help. The city administrator and city attorney then refused to release  police procedure – forgetting, for a moment, that we live in a small island community, and not Chicago. Except Rahm Emanuel reversed his stance and distanced himself from bad police behavior. Whereas our friend –

But none of that. Cozy thoughts. And how could you not? Hunkered down in the snow in this sweet Tahoe cabin, doing puzzles, making fires, skiing when the crowds aren’t bad, sledding with the wife and kiddo, and taking that collective exhale before gearing up for 2016. IMG_4976Which will involve pre-launch activities Seattle in February, sailing the tug for Wrangell in March or April to get her hauled out and worked on, release of the book April 26th in NYC, R setting up her own practice, and so, so much more.

We’re ready.

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