When I returned to music in 2011, I was solicited by Alexander Kuzmin out of Sevastopol, Ukraine on RN to write and produce songs for me. My job was to write the lyrics and record the vocal before sending it back to him for the final mix. It was a good pairing... We had completed 5 songs together and were in the process of finishing one more when I didn't hear from him anymore. That was 2 years ago. This past spring I told Peter, my present recording engineer in Anchorage the story of Alex. Peter has family over in that side of the world and told me his brother would literally go knock on Alex's door when he had the opportunity. Yesterday was that day.... I got an email from Peter stating the news was not good. So I called him and he told me that his brother went to Alex's address, but it was unlived in....So they knocked on a neighbor's door and had to coax information from them as to what had happened. to Alex. They referred him to his family and that's where the sad news came that Alex and his wife were fatally injured in a car crash 2013. They left behind 2 little girls that are now being raised by family. The last time I heard from Alex, he was quite stoked about the direction he was going. He had just returned from Germany after signing contracts for his music to be the soundtrack to a major movie. I don't know the outcome of it...hopefully it was good. Alexander's music was jazzy with an Eastern Mediterranean flavor that I found utterly Delicious to listen to. Alex, You will be missed.....
Paul was my guitarist/bassist/chart writer/bandleader...I was his lead vocalist/keyboardist/percussionist/hairdresser and friend during our days of playing in Locomotion...an 80's Anchorage dance band. Our genres were predominately rock, pop, and funk... We morphed from a 3 pc to a 5 pc and back into a trio of sequenced perfection all within about a 7 year period. Paul was a perfectionist...whatever he put his mind to do, he did his best, and we, his bandmates, were no acception. We remained oiled, by rehearsals to be prepared and ready to perform. During our HEY DAYS, we played from Anchorage to Dillingham to Nome and villages in between with Hawaii has a cap off towards the end of my stay. It was a good job..one that I loved doing... and we were the most working band I had ever been in, sometimes working up to 31 days straight!! I hadn't seen Paul in many years but kept in contact through phone calls and the last one being early this spring. Paul wanted Dale, our drummer and I to come to LA and hang out and reminisce for a few days, cause he said he wasn't long for this world. Sadly, I was unable to make it due to lack of funds and no time off from work. Paul suffered from diabetes and depression and was ready to go...He departed from this world on June 3rd. 2013. I'm going to miss you my friend...we had some good times... and some not so good...but that's life!!!...You'll remain in my heart and I'll always think of you as one AMAZING Guitarist, and Especially a GREAT Bassist...You could slap that baby better than anyone I ever knew.....
North to ALASKA...the beginning On June 23, 2012
If I was to invite you over for dinner, you'd have to take up to a 5 plus hour jet ride to Anchorage, drive 1 1/2 hours to Willow, catch a small airplane and fly 20 minutes to Skwentna where I'd pick you up at the airstrip in my little mini truck. From there we'd putts down the road, through the windy trail about a mile to my little log cabin nestled in the woods by a huge swamp.You're comin' by?? Great!! See ya in a few....
Glad you brought your guitar so we could enjoy some "live" music!! FM radio doesn't come in too well here plus we have limited electricity, so we ARE the entertainment! Don't worry, I'll pipe in on a song or two or three! And I promise to feed ya some good moose, sheep & bear (if it's in season), or a nice salmon filet if we catch fish... OR maybe you just want some townie food....we'll figure it out...
Oh, did ya bring some bug dope with ya as well? It's mosquito season out here and we ARE LUNCH to them!
SO! Now that you're well fed, let's play some music and do a bit of chit chattin' by the bon-fire in the yard. The neighbor next door is here and broke out his geeetar too!! Yee HAW!! Time for some tunes!! You were asking??... How in the world did I end up here in the great North land state?....Long time ago in another place far away, I was a dreamer.....still am....my brother lived up here with his wife and I ended up following them here a year later in '82.
I caught a caravan of Coachmen Motor homes outside of Alexandria, Minnesota as they were heading through to go North to Alaska....5 days later, I landed in the Big city of Anchortown! Even though I don't live in the city any longer, I'm STILL HERE in the bush community of Skwentna...population 14. There's quite a few more people scattered throughout the woods but I won't count them, cause I really have no clue as to how many are out here hiding from society!
We have 2 solid seasons.... Winter and Mosquito! LOL!! Yes, the summertime is usually filled with those lovely blood suckin' feeders. We also have two shorter seasons of "freeze up" & "breakup" Yep!! And I'm either Freezin' my ass off in the winter or hoping for a nice dry summer so the bugs don't drive me crazy....
Well, there ya have it! just a synopsis...but I have stories to tell you....that'll have to wait until the rains quit and we have the next bon-fire....Ah! Life is good.
Skwentna's Sept. Flood On September 27, 2012
After what seemed like an endless deluge of rain, my yard started filling up with water that would no longer soak into the already saturated ground. Within a week, I was now walking through 5 to 12 inches of water to go across the yard to start the generator. My mind was starting to take on the possible notion that if this didn't stop, the Big flood could easily happen.The last flood that hit this area was September 22, 1995...and that was considered a 100 year flood.
We live between two river systems that are fed by glacier and snow melt off of the mountains. And when it really rains heavy in the Hayes or the Alaska Range, we could, and do see the effects of high water throughout the summer months...but this time it was different.
I was by myself because my husband is a hunt guide and was away from home without any idea just how bad this scenario was becoming. He fortunately had a successful hunt this time and came back home early which was a huge relief for me as the rains were continuing to fall. The flood watch for this area had now become a flood warning! All indications were that this could easily top the '95 flood. Our neighbors were on vacation too, so we took on the neighborly thing of getting all of their machinery and other expensive tools unto higher ground.
By now we were going down to the Skwentna 3 times a day to check river levels as it continued to rise. The Yentna river was too far out of our way to know just how high it had become except through facebook messages and pictures of the beginning worry from my neighbors down river. The problem of where many of them lived, was also a point on the river where it bottled-necked and rose faster and higher than other parts of the river.
Would this rain ever stop? It seemed endless as it fell day and night with accumulations not normal for us. I'm also our local weather observer for National Weather Service and so I knew the reports were not good. Between bailing boats and pulling them higher every trip to the river, worrying and restless nights were starting to take their toll on us. We would be up early in the morning ready to go to check levels by daylight and tackle the needed decisions at hand.
By now the river was in the ditches and covering the road to the landing. No longer could we drive the mini-truck through it so we borrowed our neighbors, and went through the deep water until that was no longer safe. David had to bring the boat over to the end of the airstrip to keep one boat useable for a upcoming bear hunt that he wasn't getting out of.
The final reports from down river were devastating to say the least. Many lodges and cabins that were in the low lying areas now had silty river water flowing inside. By that evening the flood waters crested and we started to see it slowly go down. That next morning it had dropped significantly and so now David's next guide hunt was on, and I was left alone again to keep checking the river and bail boats as needed.
After he left, I was finally able to drive down to the landing Sept. 25th. Our boats were high and dry, but the road was not in good shape with 2-5 inches of silty muck to drive through. This time we were spared the flood waters from entering our yard, but others were not so fortunate. Clean up will be long and arduous.
Sweet with the Bitter...an update from my cousin On April 07, 2013
Hello to all of our friends and family. Just wanted to let you know we're doing well, trying to move forward the best we can. Max would have just turned 21 on March 25. I wanted to share with you what Max did on his 16th birthday at the DMV. He checked off on his license that he would donate his body to help others when he passed on. I remember that day well, and I explained what it entailed and he said "That's sounds great, I'm down". I spoke with the Eye & Tissue Bank just the other day and so far he has been able to give the gift of sight to 2 people, 6 people spinal repair, 7 people different bones, 9 people knee repair, 1 person shoulder repair, and 405 different skin graphs. The ages range between 13-78, both male and female. I'm very proud of Max for wanting to be able to help others and improve their lives after he was gone. Thank you all for your love and support through out this most difficult year. We really appreciate all of your cards, letters, emails and phone calls. They truly mean so much to us. God bless all of you. Forever grateful, *names purposely left out.
Sweet with the bitter...a story of suicide Christine Mchoes June 21, 2012
June 20, 2012-I've just returned back home from being out of state to celebrate the 100th birthday of my dear Grandma Irene. This trip had been planned a year in advance as we knew she would keep on ticking like that Ever-Ready Battery bunny we see on TV!! Irene accomplished what many don't...100 years of being alive on this blue marble called Earth in Excellent health and a wit about her that amazes me to this day! We expected most of our relatives from all corners of the U.S. to join us at the family farm in Minnesota just to celebrate this Momentous Achievement, and they didn't let us down! Too many times families only get together when someone dies, and that to me is a shame. This time though, we came for all the right reasons, however, we unexpectedly had to say good-bye to a young member of the same family only a day later.
What took place only 5 days before this Grand celebration is the "bitter". It's a sad story of a troubled young man whom I never met, but committed one of the most egregious acts in my mind, suicide. Only after spending time with his mother did I understand 'maybe' why he did what he did. But this young man marred the celebration and left his parents and immediate family in agony. But what could we do? The planned celebration went on and I will say that EVERYONE had a great time even though in the back of their minds was Max. His parents were there, and being the tight-knitted family we are, the love and support poured out as we encamped around them. And even through their grief, the spotlight remained on Grandma.
My sister-in-law sent the sad text of Max's death just hours before I was to board the jet to fly down from Alaska. It took my breath away and left me quite angry that he would do such a thing.... why now? Why before Grandma's event? Why did he want to hurt his parents in such a way? So many questions that will always remain unanswered...I couldn't help but think of my own children and just be thankful that we've talked about suicide and the "Ripple Effect" of damage that it causes. It's becoming more commonplace up here in Alaska's villages. There seems to be a hopelessness that engulfs these people way out there in the middle of "nowhere"....but it's not just here either. This is happening all over the world and it's So Unnecessary. As the old adage goes; it's a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The only saving grace of the timing of max's death was that all the relatives were there to give comfort to his parents and to say good-bye to Max. It was a difficult funeral to attend.
I've experienced suicide within my circle before, and the outcome is always the same....their death...our questions... as to Why? I didn't write this for sympathy...I wrote this for parents and friends to pay attention to their loved ones who act in such way that is synonymous with suicidal behavior. If such an act can be stopped, help should arrive to avail one to a future of hope. Suicide is not the answer. It never was, and it never will be. Comments Randy Stahla July 11, 2012 @12:40 am Very sad indeed. Our family went through the same experience with my brother-in-law. We will never be the same. Another double suicide happened in our community of Greeley, Colorado, and I worked with the families to write 3 pages about what happened. It is called "Two Raccoons," and you can find it on my web site - desertsnow dot org.
Have you ever been SO compelled to write a song that speaks to you and hopefully many others in a personal way? A few years ago, this song came to me ....and with my guitar in hand, I wrote it fairly quickly with minor changes before I handed this song over to my producer Stu Schulman. We live in a world that is SO BUSY with SO MANY DISTRACTIONS, we forget the Important things in our lives....such as Faith and Family! Our enemy, the devil, is wreaking Havoc on People's lives...Great and Small.... Young and Old. The news prints stories that sells the most papers and that usually is events of bad things happening to people...Be it self inflicted, accidents, or through a natural disasters. Immorality clings to the glamour & gossip magazines we see at the supermarket checkout counter. The effects of these behaviors trickle down to the youngest hearts, our children. SO WHO'S WINNING? I know my God by Name is a song about being prepared for what is to come. We all have a expiration date and on that fateful day, just who do you hope to see? My pastor preaches this sermon a few times a year...and it's entitled, "THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THE BAD NEWS IS ALL WRONG!" We have a GOD that is bigger than the box we put Him in. Why don't you let Him loose in your life and see what happens. Just call on God's name....Jesus. It'll make the ride a bit smoother....and with a happier ending! I Know my God by Name....He knows mine too.
I have posted NEW (old) songs from my album that I recorded back in 1989!! Our band was called LOCOMOTION. We were a sequenced trio with talent by
Paul Purtle: Sequencer, bass, keys, vocals, and awesome guitar playing! Dale Loyola: Our resident Peruvian/Swede, drummer, drum programmer, and a white man that shoulda been born black for the way he Sang!!....Goosebumps!!! And me, Christine Berg: Blonde all the way!! And lots of fun!! I sang lead and percussion, sometimes keys. Paul was the brains behind this final translation of Locomotion....one of many earlier versions. The songs on Locomotion "First Run" FADED LOVER: ....ya know the story!....You see a lover from your past and....Well...it just takes you to a different time and place! and.... It was a good memory...... BEST OF TIMES: Reminisce....she comes back.....Don't let her go!! BROKEN HEARTS: Oh....such a sad song of breaking up and trying to let go....kinda syrupy! Remember Luke and Laura??? LOCOMOTION: This is a fun version of the Very Old song from Carol King. We coulda made MILLIONS! But that Aussie girl beat us to the punch!! LOL!! BOYS: My guitar player wrote this song just for me!! I WAS SINGLE and I sure had fun....What can I say.....I like men! But it was also Satire people!!!! INFLUENCE OF LOVE: Listen closely to the lyrics on this song. Dale and Paul wrote this song. It is one of my favorites off of the album. Just what does LOVE do to people...CRAZY thangs!! NEVER FALL: Dale wrote this many years prior to our band. Paul did a great job on the arrangement. Dale always had "Women" issues. When he fell in love....he fell HARD......then of course comes the break-up.....And OH! THEY HURT!!! BAD...real BAD!! He never did get married..... GRAPEVINE: Another cover song that I felt we did well. I always like this particular version.
I wrote this song about my postmaster out here in Skwentna. He is a man of 81 years and I have known him for all the time that I have lived here. I didn't move out here for almost a whole year after my husband and I got married due to circumstances. So while David was 'here' building our log home, and I was 'there' taking care of business, he would write me letters telling me about who the neighbors were and his associations with them. When it came time for him to tell me about Joe the Postmaster, you could tell that there was an excitement about this man. Joe had stories upon stories of his life from his beginning days in the lower 48, to his decision to head north to this huge, and very unpopulated state of Alaska. You see, Joe and my husband have much in common. They both like the great out-doors which include fresh air, hard work, very few people, hunting, trapping, and fishing. So, when I moved out here, I had the pleasure of getting to know Joe while we would wait for the arrival of our mail plane twice a week. After the mail was sorted, Joe would call me and tell me to come and pick it up. That is when Joe and I would have some very deep conversations about life and politics, but one of the most important talks we would have is about God, and how we keep our faith. You see, Joe's beginning days in Missouri were full of love from his mother, but she got ill and passed away while the he and his brother were quite young. From then on, life became a huge struggle with a few unmentionable circumstances that I don't feel at liberty to tell. Joe escaped from the clutches of poverty and abuse and ran away to Alaska. He started a new life, and the most important thing that I can share is how he didn't let his past rule him. Quite obviously, Joe could have drowned in his sorrow by allowing it to keep him down, but instead he laughed while he would tell the stories of his many follies and amazed at how he lived to tell about it. When talking about his faith, he would spread his arms and say, "look at this beauty around us. This is my church!" He takes his faith quite seriously, and at the same time saddened by all the trouble that this world is in. That is why God has mercy on us even though we don't seem to deserve it. And that is how I came to write this song. Christine LYRICS Look through that window this is your life it's been no bed of roses but through it you smiled you never had money but what, what you had they couldn't buy
You're not a young man you've lived on the street you got lines on your face old shoes on your feet you're weary and you're tired but your stories still make you smile (chorus) Thank God for mercy Thank God for love You need not worry He's sent from above
You're getting older You soon will sleep rest in His arms forever He will keep well done faithful servant Heaven will be yours to see (chorus) Thank God for mercy Thank God for love You need not worry He's sent from above (bridge) For every man bears his own burdens through life Let him that is taught to do what Jesus says is right When they friend you and they ask you how do you keep that smile just look to the Master Cause He's walked that mile repeat 1st verse http://www.reverbnation.com/artist/artist_songs/856275#
I woke up to the phone ringing around 7:30am. It was my sister-in-law down in Minnesota. "Turn on your tv! New York City has been bombed!" I was becoming more awake now. We turned on our small tv and I couldn't believe the pictures that were all over the set. The video was horrifying to say the least. My reaction was of being stunned. But the first person who came to my mind that could possibly do this was Osama Bin Laden. I can't remember why I thought that name. Maybe it was because of the rhetoric that had been coming out of him previously. That started our day, and we continued our plans to go up to the cabin to finish working on it. We packed up the kids and got on the 4-wheeler to head on down to the boat landing, but first, we stopped at the 'Shack' by the small airstrip to see what was going on there. Lisa, the weather observer had a real strange look on her face. There was a man with a phone glued to his ear as he was seemingly talking to someone of importance on the other end. We found out that an F-15 fighter jet from Elmendorf Air Force Base out of Anchorage had forced his little plane down and he wasn't too happy about it. We went on our way and headed up the river towards the cabin. I remember my thoughts were not on the usual; packed meals, warm clothing and such. I was wondering what was going on now? What does this mean for our near future? Is this the start of WWIII? When we got up to the cabin, we immediately turned on our little transistor radio and listened until the batteries went dead while working on the project at hand. One thing that I won't forget was how the air space was dead quiet. That is unusual for this area because small aircraft is the major mode of travel. We then found out that all air space throughout the United States had been shut down until further notice. That wasn't good for all of the hunters still out in the fields unaware. There were quite a few of them with out any knowledge of what had just happened to our country. Once the pilots were able to fly, most of them had newspapers in hand to show the hunters what had happened and why they were delayed so many days for picking them up. The next day when we returned to our house, the tv set was turned on until we just couldn't listen any more. Most of it was repetition by now. My husband and son had a flight planned within a few days and air travel was not yet up and running. I was fearful of them going, but my husband said that air travel has never been more safe. They ended up re-booking their flight for a week later and it was a very pleasurable trip for them. Very few people were on board the jets as many were still too afraid to fly. Now here we are just 9 years later and many people have seemingly forgotten how the country was brought together at that moment in time. We seem to have short memories. Now the major talk is about the Muslims trying to build a mega mosque 2 blocks from 'ground zero'. To me, that is a very direct indication that they are trying to claim victory here just as they did over in Jerusalem where the Dome of the Rock was built by the Muslims on the Holy sight of The Temple Mount. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike Muslims. What I do Loathe is how religion is used in a VERY NEGATIVE WAY..My God is a Loving, but Vengeful God. He's NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS!! We all have judgement after this life is over.... Hopefully the right thing will happen.