Friday, December 28, 2012

Fargo, North Dakota

Happy Holidays from Seattle, WA!  I just arrived home from Ketchikan, Alaska, where I spent Christmas with Mom and the family.  It was lovely.  We had some snow, ate a lot of Christmas cookies, and enjoyed watching Avery open her presents.  However, this blog isn't about home.... it's about the five days I spent in Fargo, ND and Minneapolis, MN, before I flew up north.
Nate, my boyfriend, (Yes, boyfriend!), invited me to come meet his family before the holidays.  Nate is from Fargo.  Most of you, I'm sure, have seen the movie Fargo.  I was anticipating what the movie depicts, and to be quite honest, it wasn't that far off.  It was snowy, and flat, and people talked with Canadian accents.  Everyone I met was super pleasant, people opening doors and saying hello as you passed.  I even got a photo of me in front of a wood chipper that they have outside the visitors center.

Nate's family is incredibly nice.  I met his parents, his two sisters, their kids, his grandma, his aunt, a few cousins, as well as, a lot of his friends.  Deb, his mother, and her husband Dave, were super gracious to me.  A big thank you to them!!  His sister Ashley, who has a cute little girl named Olivia, joined us at the Mall of America, which is HUGE, and we had Olivia and Ella, Nate's equally as cute daughter, meet Diego and Dora.  This was by far, bigger and better than meeting Santa Claus....and probably the biggest event of their lives.  

Ella and Olivia meeting Diego and Dora
Ella in her Dora outfit!
Ella and me singing and signing the ABC's.
Downtown Fargo
Nate and I being silly!
Minneapolis, MIN
For Twins fans Target Field
I hope everyone's holiday season was full of love and laughter.  Thank you Nate, for a wonderful trip to the mid-west. If I didn't get to see you in Ketchikan while I was home, I'll be back in one month!!!  ox

Friday, November 23, 2012


Hosting Thanksgiving is always a reminder of how much I appreciate my mother.  From cooking the turkey to baking pies, I don't know how my mom does it every year for 10 plus people and all by herself.  Luckily, I had help with the cooking and just three guests. Michelle, Nate and Ella joined me at my house in Kent for a festive day of Thanks.  Turkey, sweet yams, mashed potatoes, cooked carrots, stuffing, cranberry sauce and hot rolls, with pumpkin pie for dessert. YUM!!
The one thing I am most thankful for that happened in 2012 is Mr. Maxwell Chandler, thee best dog in the world!  I'm also thankful for my friends and family.  Thank's for always loving and supporting me in everything I do.  OX

Snow and Oscar joined us for dinner (Ella insisted!)
Michelle enjoying dinner!
Nate and I not posing at all.
Ella enjoying Snow the bear!

Max :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

New Beginnings

Wait just a second.  Has it really been since May that I wrote my last post?  It's almost OCTOBER?!  What a fast season.  With managing a store in Ketchikan, flying back and forth, and still managing SMC, I was busy.  When one is busy, days seems to fly by in a blink of an eye.  I like this.  I LOVE OCTOBER! So the faster we get to this month, the happier I am.  October is the month I get to go "home" to Ketchikan and Seattle, see friends and family.  Fall colors, warm drinks, my birthday, Halloween, travel..... so many wonderful things that make it the best month ever.
I leave today to Ketchikan for a few days and then onto Seattle.  This fall I will be making some big decisions for my future.  I can't tell you what about quite yet, but just know they are big for me, and a possible transition to a home that is more year round.  Skagway, this last summer, has finally (about time!) grown on me.  I had a great season, meeting lots of new people, and having a really good time.  There are some awesome life style factors about Skagway.  My commute is a two minute walk.  The people are extremely friendly and helpful.  The weather isn't so bad (except this summer was the rainiest).  Everybody knows your name.  You can lose something and it be found and returned to you the next day.  Summer time is like summer camp for adults, something fun is always going on.  So making this big decision, deciding to eventually give up this life, is HUGE...... I'll keep you posted.  Just know that I'm super scared and excited at the same time.

I'll end this post with a few "Heard on the Wind" (stupid things tourist say) published in The Skagway News paper.

*"Is this the real town of Skagway, or is the real town somewhere else?"

*A woman looks at the clock in the AB Hall visitor center and asks, "Is that the real time?"

*Two other ridiculous questions heard over and over again this summer at AB Hall: "Is that a real post box?", and on the driftwood facade, "Is that real?"
AB Hall
*A woman looking toward a glacier remarked, "Oh look, there's a glacier.  What a pretty color it is."  Her husband agreed, and said, "That blue color means it's a new one."

*A lady came into the visitor center and asked if there were any stores where you could just go in and buy things.

*A river guide pointed out the rounded river rocks on the shoreline.  He was then asked, "Who brought them in and put them there?"

*At the start of the day in the bank, people were in line, teller windows were staffed, and all of the banking staff were in their places, when a lady walked in and, in a surprised way, exclaimed, "Is this a real bank?”

*A Skagway resident was walking downtown and saw a woman point at a jewelry store. She said to the man next to her, “These are the stores that keep a small town going.”

*A TEMSCO helicopter was seen hauling a sling-load of provisions up to Glacier Station. A visitor asked, “Do they always take people up hanging on a rope?”

*A visitor asked where they could get an item, while pointing at a picture in a coupon book. The retail employee said, "That's in Ketchikan." The tourist replied, "Where is that store?"  

*At the M&M tour shack by the Railroad Dock, a woman came in with her husband and two children and asked about the train trip. The tour broker showed her the route on a map all the way up past the White Pass summit and the international boundary.
The lady then asked, “Is that Russia?
The tour broker looked her straight in the eye and stated, “No ma’am, it’s Canada?”
But they were still confused.

* A SMART bus driving into town from the Railroad Dock is stopped at the tracks by a train. While waiting for the train to pass, two ladies sitting behind the shuttle driver are talking. 
One asks, “I wonder what that is,” pointing to the fish weir.
The second woman, without pause, says “Oh, that's a safety net so you can go swimming and not worry about the bears getting you.”

*A man came in to ask about his ancestor who may have died in Skagway. The visitor center staff said they would be happy to try to find any information. However, when asked for the goldrusher's name, the man said he wasn't sure, he would have to go look it up.

*Told the Fjord Express was sold out for the next couple of days, a visitor complained, “How do they get any business if they’re always full?”

Skagway, Alaska

Monday, May 21, 2012

Max and Me

I'm not a dog person.  Never have been.  In the last 20 years or so, my natural reaction to dogs is to pull away.  I'm allergic.  So to have a dog in my house still shocks me.  I'll be doing the dishes and see Max peak around the island in my kitchen, and I'm still surprised every time.  The 16th marked our first month together.  Just two days after I had him, I freaked out.  I actually called my Mom, while having a mild panic attack, even crying, because I felt overwhelmed and anxious about what I had "gotten myself into".  I felt like he was a ball and chain.  What if I wanted to travel for months at a time?  What if I forget to feed him?  Do I have to take him everywhere?  What if he gets sick and I can't afford to save him?  I don't want to think about anybody else but ME ME ME!  Selfish?  Yes.  True? Embarrassingly so.
However, after one week, his cute floppy ears, silly looking under bite and his need to cuddle 24/7, won me over.  He loves to be outside, and when he runs around in a grassy fields, it looks like some cute commercial for dog treats or toilet paper.  He's super soft, sneezes when he's excited, loves to be groomed and the smartest little dog ever.  Did I mention he never barks and is extremely obedient!?  I just love my Max.
One thing he has been teaching me is patience.  I'm not very patient.  If I tell you once, I hope you heard it.  If I tell you twice, that's okay, I'll repeat it.  If I have to tell you a third time, I'll probably go bat shit crazy and lose my cool.  So Max, as obedient as he is, still has a tendency to do things on his own time.  I noticed my initial reaction was to always rush him.  If you know me well, you now that I use every minute of my time in the most efficient way feasible.  With Max, this is impossible, especially when we are out walking and he has to smell all 500 grassy patches we walk by.  It's like stopping every 10 steps, to sniff out an area for approximately 30 seconds, until I finally give him a small tug, and he uses all his might to stay there to sniff it out more.  GAH!  Or when he has to go poo.  JUST POOP ALREADY!  But no, Max tells me to enjoy outside, get some fresh air, and let him do his business on his own time.  I mean, who wants to be rushed to go poop?  This comes back to me being selfish, wanting it all on MY time and always being in control.  Is it bad to say that maybe having a dog might be a good precursor to a boyfriend/husband or a baby?  Just saying.

Some pictures and two videos after he pees.  Most dogs bury their pee, but Max tears up the earth, sometimes missing his spot by 3-4 feet.  It cracks me up every time.

Groomed and looking good!

Sometimes when he lays down, he leaves his leg up.... so funny!

I wish this video didn't have my gym card covering it... woops!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

It's Mother's day today.  The day to celebrate how awesome and amazing our Mom's are.  And as much as my mother is pretty kick ass, I'm not going to be talking about her.  I'm going to talk about another mother, not a mother to me, but one that inspires me.  I hope that when I do finally become a Mom, I am as giving and loving as Christy McDonald (Parrott).  Christy and I grew up in Ketchikan together.  We became very close in high school and have been friends ever since.  She graduated from college in Arkansas and then married Danny McDonald.  They soon had their first son, Taylor, and then a daughter named Bailey.  They are the cutest children ever and she is one lucky Momma.
Bailey is a year and half now and has Downs Syndrome.  This doesn't define Bailey by any means, but it was something that Christy had to prepare for and educate herself about.  Since Bailey has been in her life, I have been reading her blog and watching Bailey grow up through pictures and written word.  She is one cute and strong girl.  I encourage you to read some of her blog, to read about how having something that might seem scary at first, turn into something that reflects on their life in such a positive and beautiful way.
Recently, I found out that Christy is adopting a little girl named Juliette from Eastern Europe, who has Downs Syndrome as well.  These children are living in orphanages, and for the most part do not get the love and attention they need for healthy development or even survival.  Christy, in my book, is a walking Angel, but she needs our help.  The costs for this adoption are approximately $27,000!!!  She has a separate blog just for Juliette.
Please visit this blog and help donate today.  Want to take me to dinner, or coffee?  Well don't, instead, help bring Juliette home. My posts get anywhere from 50 hits to 2,500 hits.  If everyone that reads this donated $5.00, we could make at least $250, or up to $12,500!!  Click on the blog post or the donation box to the right of this blog.

Thank you friends.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

11th Season

How in the heck did May already get here?  April flew by!!   Friday we get our first ship and start our 11th season at Skagway Mining Company.  11 springs of bringing in boxes, unloading, pricing items, and merchandising.  11 summers of customer service, stupid tourist questions, and long days.  11 falls of counting 800 of this and 1,001 of that for a physical inventory.  11 lovely ferry rides home.  I can't believe it's been ELEVEN years!
This year, however, there has been a big change.  I had to say goodbye to my awesome leadership team, Jared, Katie, Willie, Brittany, and Jene, and welcome a new one.  I hired six new people this winter down in Seattle and it turned out to be a huge success.  Here are a few pictures of April.

From left to right top row: Jamie, Kaeli, Nick, Kevin, Cole
Bottom row: Adam, Sarah and Keri
Meet Kaeli from Louisiana!  She is in charge of our jewelry
and has a super cute style!
Sarah, 11th season, and Lauren, from White Pass,
helped us for the month of April.
Meet Kevin from Seattle and Nick from Portland!
This is Keri, a southern bell, also from Louisiana, and loves owls!
Meet Jamie!  She's in charge of our apparel.... God bless her.
Adam, our new warehouse manager, is super organized
and a smarty pants at trivia!
Our new mascot, Max!
Trivia Team - We won this night!
Our team name.  Trivia is played at the infamous Red Onion
Saloon.  Keri's last name just happens to be Hooker, so we are the
Hooker's Posse.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Meet Max

Last winter I created a vision board. On the board were pictures of cute mini dogs, such as Malteses and Bichon Frises, as well as many other things I dream of, e.g., marriage, babies, traveling, happily ever after.  After looking for a mini dog all winter, I came up with nothing.  Either the puppies were from puppy breeders or $2,000.  My landlord here in Skagway gave me three conditions on having a dog in my apartment: 1. It has to be a mini, 2. It can't bark, and 3. I never leave it home alone. I felt overwhelmed with finding a puppy to train, so I put it on the back burner and let it go.
Today, however, one of the images on my dream board came true.  A cute, three year old, Bichon Frise named Max, landed in my lap.  A friend of mind, Brittney Thomas - thee coolest, animal loving, rock star in the world, knew I had been looking for a puppy.  Brittney also knew that one of our mutual friends, Courtnay, just rescued a dog that was left at the dog groomers, (owner never picked him back up), and was on her way back to Skagway looking for a home for Max.  He's well trained, never barks, hypoallergenic (Did I mention I'm allergic?), and he's a mini.  HE MEETS EVERY REQUIREMENT.

I, Nicholle Chandler, am officially a dog owner.  Wishful dream of a mini dog - check.

Maxamillion, aka: Max

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Skagway friends and Mexico

It's already Tuesday.  My trip here in Mexico is coming to an end.  Saturday, all 6 of us piled into the van and drove 5 hours to the coast.  We arrived, tired and hungry, and went to Happy Food for dinner.  It made us happy.  As we were walking back to our van, Maiya saw a little girl playing.  She looked at her, stopped, looked a little closer and realized she knew the little girl.  It was Rosetta, Jeffrey's daughter, from Skagway.  There were Kori (also a Skagway local) and Jeffrey sitting, 5 feet away, at a bar.  We knew they were in town, as we were planning on having dinner together, but to run into them in a big city... small world!
Sunday, I ventured out on my own and went to La Cruz for the farmer's market.  Best farmer's market I have ever been to in Mexico.  Vegan muffins, cilantro hummus, tortilla de espanola and more.  The prices for the crafts and jewelry were much higher than usual, but the only people shopping there, were Gringos, mostly retired white people.  Later that day, Alisa, Jared, Leisel, and I went to Sayulita, a small, hippy, surfing town.  It was being torn up and under a lot of construction, but it reminded me a lot of Tamarindo, Costa Rica.  Leisel is a friend of Alisa's from church and we stayed with their family.  They own a Segway tour, so we got to be tourists and do a Segway tour for FREEE!!  That night we had dinner at Jeffrey's, the owner of Starfire in Skagway.  I live next door to this thai restaurant and eat their curry weekly.   Abby Jo from Skagway was also living down here for the winter and it was fun getting to know all three of these girls more closely over dinner.
Finally on Monday, the sun came out for about an hour.  We were at the beach and it was lovely.  Here are some pics of the rest of the trip.
The Chapala Lake 

Ella and I
The farmer's market.  I bought agave syrup, jam, cilantro hummis
and tortilla (tasted just like Spain's)!
Sayulita Surf school
Surfer, living the dream.
Segway tour
The two youngest, Ethan and Maya
Alisa covering herself from the sun!
Getting some sunshine! (Image by Alisa)
Alex, Ella, Maile, Maya, and Rosetta aka The Little Mermaids
Skagway girls getting some sun!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 1 of Mexico 2012

I made it!!!  After ten hours of sleepful travel, I arrived in Guadalajara, Mexico to a torrential downpour of rain.  Just my luck. Rainforest raised girl seeks sun to find nothing but more rain.  Alisa & Jared are hosting me here for a week in their wonderful home located in a little Ajijic, Mexico, right next to the fifty mile wide lake of Chapala. It's huge and gorgeous and I really hope to see more of it this week.  Alisa and Jared have three wonderful children, who are the cutest ever, two red heads and a blonde.  Ella age 7, Maiya age 4, and Ethan age 18 months. This morning we started bright and early (early by my standards, which is like 8 am), and headed to the big city for "Market Day"! It wasn't raining, just overcast, but cold enough that I had two coats on.  Wait, what?  Two coats?  Am I really in Mexico?  The one time they have a cold snap in a billion years just has to be the same time I come to visit.  It's supposed to warm up by this weekend, fingers crossed!
The market was huge.  Streets lined with foods, trinkets, art, music and more.  It just never ended.  We were able to stop by a local business called Calidad En Repujado, that Alisa and Jared used to buy from, and then turn around to sell in their store in Alaska.  The artists name is Ricardo Portillo and he so talented.

Family run business, that sells metal art. Amazing stuff!
The process.
The metal.
The finished product.
It is crazy to see such talented artists selling their items for so incredibly cheap.  Tourist in Alaska would pay at least double, if not 3 or 4 x's what they sell it for here. From $5 hand painted boxes that would sell for $30 in the states to $50 hand beaded art by the Huichol People, that no American would take less than $200 for.  Around every corner, there was either a vendor selling their craft, or a garage like studio where it was being created.  How many hand made things do you see on the shelf back home?  I was surrounded by talent, local talent, musicians, cooks, artists, craftsman, looking for attention, an ear, a stomach to satisfy, a home.  The people were so kind, and not pushy or annoying like most touristy coastal towns in Mexico.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Oh! I also got to go to my very first trade show outside of the USA.  What an unexpected surprise.  Alisa and Jared are sales reps and like to go to shows here in Mexico to find new lines to represent.  There aren't a lot of Alaskan type gifts, but definitely fun to look! Again, so much talent.  That is something the USA doesn't have much of anymore, hand made items.  However, this year at the Seattle gift show, they dedicated an entire section to hand made.  Hopefully it's making a big come back.
Here's a few photos of are day.

Alisa enjoying lunch.
Pacole chicken soup with white corn. So good!
My feet.
My, what lovely teeth you have.
Ethan took a nap while we were out.
Cute hand made box, and proof I took the picture.
Apparently mustaches are just as popular here in Mexico as they
are in the USA.
Can you guess what these are? (See answer at the bottom of the blog).
What my step dad Jack will look like in the afterlife.
Same old open air markets, all over the world, except in the USA.

Can you guess what this is?!?  (Answer at bottom of the blog)
I heart candy.
Hand made rolling pins and more!