Friday, December 25, 2009
The kids are playing video games, the sun will come up in another hour and a half or so (it's only 8:30, so it's still dark as night out there, but each day is getting a whopping 6 or 8 seconds longer!!! Unlike in the summer, when days lengthen or shorten by 5 minutes. Weird place to live. Just weird.). It seems very quiet without the dogs around. We had to drop both of them off yesterday since we are flying tonight. I am thinking a shower sounds wonderful, some more coffee, maybe making some muffins. We also have fresh pears (thank you Jollies!!!!) so we can have a great breakfast, laze around for a while, pick up the rest of wrapping paper, and pack. And eat meatloaf, Zachary wants to make a meatloaf for our Christmas dinner. Works for me!
Merry Christmas, everyone!
But there was bright spot tonight -- we open presents on Christmas Eve, it's a Scandinavian upper Midwest Lutheran thing, I guess -- and while we were opening presents, Mark called on Skype! From over there somewhere! So we talked to him and opened presents while he watched and told us a little tiny bit about his life there. I was feeling kinda terrible that Mark wasn't there to join us, but then he was!
It was tough for a minute. Mom and Dad visited us this summer, and Mom bought me the reissue of the 1950 original Betty Crocker Cookbook, and then she and Tess wrapped it up and Tess slid it under the tree a week or so ago. I had very much been looking forward to my cookbook, but with Mom being in such a precarious and fail state it was really hard to open.
But I did, and I love all the crazy illustrations and photographs and recipes. When life is a little calmer I will post a couple pictures of my favorites. And of the kids talking to their dad on the computer.
Tess made me a really awesome shelf -- another photo to post -- and Thor had pottery he made in pottery class this past semester. More photos to take and post.
So I hope you all are having a calm and peaceful and wonderful holiday, whatever and however you decide to celebrate!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
This is fireweed. It grows all over the place. When the blossoms reach the top, it means summer is over...
And when it turns red, it means 6 weeks until snow. This photo was taken on September 19...so we should have snow any time now. (I think we should have already had snow, last year our first snow was around the 5th of October. This year no snow yet.)
(I think I am remembering this Alaska old wives' tale right, but if I screwed it up please let me know. I have at times a truly sucky memory.)
By the way, I am not complaining about the lack of snow. I know I will be excited for the first snowfalls, but I remember really really well how long winter lasts.
Friday, October 23, 2009
I think I am in denial about how much laundry there truly is...I was sitting on the floor sorting clothes -- I had dumped it into one big pile -- and Abe was reduced to giving me the sad puppy eyes, because it was chest high on him and he couldn't get through or around it. Abe likes to lean on me...
(No I am not posting a photo of my enormous laundry pile.)
Yesterday in between folding loads of laundry I vacuumed our bedroom. Mojo has to be with me at all times, and I kept having to make him move so I could vacuum where he was laying. He hates the vacuum, perhaps the fact that I occasionally can't help but suck up his jowls has something to do with his dislike...I sat down to hang out with him for a minute, because he looked so cute and because I was sick of vacuuming.
Abe and Tess wandered in, and since Tess lives to pester the dogs, they ended up having a wrestling match on my freshly vacuumed carpet. Tess discovered that if you blow on Mojo's back, he tries to lick your face. Actually he lunges at your head and licks ferociously. And if you get Moj worked up, Abe has to get in on it too.
Both dogs, looking fairly psychotic. Note that they are mere inches from my head.
Mojo's all time favorite move, grabbing Abe's hind leg and dragging him around. This is not my favorite thing, because Abe has had four surgeries on his knee (congenital deformity. A hazard of pit bulls. We think Abe is probably part pit because of his brindle coat and because there are many many many many many many pit bulls in Tucson.) See how lovely and freshly vacuumed the carpet looks? It so did not look lovely under a fresh coat of dog hair three minutes later. Abe is shedding like crazy lately. Also, proof I did not spend all day on FB -- laundry basket and vacuum.
Mojo with a mouthful of Abe's face. This photo makes me want to rinse out my mouth, just thinking about how much dog hair Mo must have on his tongue after he does this.
Now to completely change the subject.
I have taken some photos lately that I haven't posted here...
Taken on September 19. We haven't had snow yet, but all the leaves are long gone.
Trumpeter swan on Potter Marsh. Potter Marsh is one of my favorite places in Anchorage.
This is why I love Potter Marsh. Big sky, big views, mountains, birds, salmon, lots of interesting plants to shoot.
Even a train.
The downside of Potter Marsh is that the Seward highway runs all along it, and the Seward highway is very busy. There's also a shooting range nearby, so you sometimes get the added ambiance of rifle shots. Makes it feel like the real Alaska.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Weather in August. Definitely not in the desert any more...
my stupid dog last spring, out on rotten ice. very fortunate he did not fall through...
My Dad and son, on the boardwalk at Potter Marsh
fireweed. when the blooms reach the top, summer is pretty much over, and when it turns red, there will be snow in six weeks. that's what they say, anyway
the barn my grandfather built in the late 1800's, I think...
another moose wanders through the neighborhood
Part of the Weekly Winners roundup, thanks to the Sarcastic Mom!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
We were at the Westchester Lagoon, in Anchorage. We stopped to watch a couple of salmon swimming into the lagoon from the Cook Inlet (salmon spawning are really fascinating to watch. Although I am certain that eventually the thrill of watching fish swimming in place against the current will wane...). There was a grebe (a kind of duck) floating nearby. It went under to catch a fish, and because there is a white panel under the water -- perhaps to help count the salmon, they are very concerned about how many salmon return each year -- we could really see how the bird swam around. Very very cool...
When I was a kid we would go visit my uncle on the farm. The farm where my Mom and her brother grew up. Every kid should be lucky enough to spend some time on a farm. Farms are awesome. Farms are fun. Farms are dangerous, but we were very lucky kids. There was more than one occasion when one or another of us kids could have been badly injured or killed, but we all survived with all limbs, teeth, and eyes intact.
(Brains, I dunno. There were sometimes some marijuana plants growing on the farm, but a really weak strain. I don't know how much of a high was possible...but I am certain one or another of us tried it out anyway...)
My grandfather built the house and the barn and the outbuildings, I think in the late 1800's. The house and barn are still standing, the barn roof is amazingly straight -- no sag at all. Pretty impressive, I think.
This is a great house -- lots of gorgeous woodwork. No one from my family lives there now, but this summer we drove by and it looks pretty good around there. Weird too, since the land has been flattened -- there used to be a small hill behind the house. And some of the buildings are gone. No more chicken coop, no cows, no pig sty. Honestly, though, I don't miss the chickens. I hate chickens. Vile yet delicious creatures that they are. Smelly and stinky and mean. But tasty.
I can't post two days in a row without a photograph of Alaska, so...
The Daily Alaska:
The Little Susitna River, in Hatcher's Pass.
Friday, August 28, 2009
And then I made them into a movie, to show how the photograph morphed. I haven't done these movies before, but it was really fun. I just wish I could remember what program I used...I really need to start taking notes on some of this stuff I do.
I am having a really good time with my reliable and big-memoried new computer!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
There is a lake next to the airport here, Lake Hood. Float planes take off and land here, and the lake is surrounded by docks where the planes are tied up. It's one of the things we do with visitors from out of state. There are so many places in Alaska that are accessible only by boat or plane that there are lots and lots of private planes buzzing around all the time.
I got a new computer! Because the old one sucked. It just was so unreliable, I couldn't take it. I am trying to get all our photos organized and sorted, a job made slightly more difficult because I really stupidly accidentally told Photoshop Elements to catalogue all the images on my external hard drive...all 100,000 of them. There is a scrapbook program on there and a bunch of games. Each with dozens of images. Plus several backups of our photos, so that there are two or three or eight copies of a bunch of photos.
I am so sick of dealing with it, and still have another 50,000 images to delete, and another 30,000 to organize. I cannot believe we have that many photos, but I love taking photos. Dozens of photos...
Friday, July 24, 2009
Friday, June 05, 2009
But now I have to call a sergeant and tell him what I need from the unit for the BBQ. Weird. Like "Sergeant, I need some tables and chairs, and the Commander (woo. That's Mark. Again, weird.) will be tasking the various sections with bringing drinks and salads and stuff." Cannot begin to explain how strange this all is.
And to see Mark as the Commander. He was talking to a young soldier, and the soldier seemed kinda nervous. Yeah, because my husband is the big cheese. Hard to wrap my head around that one.
In other news, we are approaching the big race. Miles and miles and 70-some hours of sitting in a voyager canoe (a long canoe that can seat about a dozen people). I am not racing. Mark is, with seven friends, co-workers and complete strangers. It's the Yukon River Quest, if you want to google it. I have some photos of us in the canoe, still though trapped in the camera, since my computer is down. Still. With the blue error screen of severe annoyance.
(insert random and colorful swearing here. As spicy or tame as you would like. I am not fussy.)
This weekend they are doing more canoeing practice, so I will this time get a photograph of them in the canoe, from shore rather than from a middle seat. I really love canoeing, but sitting in a canoe for hours and hours and alll day and night and day and night and day and ....not for me.
Alrighty. Cannot sit here all afternoon. I must attempt to fetch a mower from self-help -- the Army hands out mowers and shovels and rakes and hoses and grass seed and various and sundry such items to those who live in government quarters -- our grass is getting ridiculously long. Except for the backyard, which suffered greatly under our dogs less than benevolent attentions over the winter.
Then I have to continue to clean and plan and obsess over this dumb brigade BBQ (it's really hard to remember to say Brigade instead of Battalion. Flailing around as the senior spouse, that's me...).
Plus the Army Birthday Ball is tonight, so I have various primping and preening and...let's just stop right there. I am wearing a dress, so all you ladies reading this know what I will be doing for the next several hours, and you gentlemen reading don't really want to know. Right? Right.
Hey! Two posts in less than a month? I am on fire!
Sunday, May 31, 2009
My computer has crashed, as well, which means I have to use Thor's to go online. Except Thor is home for the summer, so I have to compete with him for it. I don't always win...
Part of the reason I am so busy lately is that I am suddenly a "senior lady" and a "senior adviser"...that's what happens when your husband is the deputy commander of a brigade. Now I have new responsibilities and new meetings and social things to go to, which is great. I don't mind that part at all.
It might be a little weird for some of the spouses in our brigade, though, since I am so not the stereotypical LTC's wife, at least according to some enlisted spouses. I regularly hear how I am not at all like an officer's wife...
I am working on getting my photos -- which are on my external hard drive, not the crashed computer, thank goodness -- available for posting again, and I have a thousand digital copies of slides my father took, which means I can eventually, once I get this all straightened out, post photos of myself as a small and adorable child. Oh yeah, and my siblings, too. Not that they are or were as adorable as me.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Yesterday I logged on and noticed that the Early Reviewers list was about to close. Early Reviewers is a program through librarything.com -- you sign up and request a preview copy of books from various publishers. It's free, and there are usually a couple dozen books available with hundreds of people signing up for each one.
So today, I get the message that I have been chosen to receive a copy of This Will Kill You: A Guide to the Ways in Which We Go.
Here is the Amazon listing for this book...
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312540620, Paperback)
Have you been attacked by a great white shark? Gone over Niagara Falls in a barrel? Been exposed to anthrax? No, you haven't, or you'd be dead. This Will Kill You reveals the intriguing facts behind the many ways humans bite the dust in encounters with deadly bugs, hungry predators, natural disasters, and freak occurrences. Thoroughly researched and illustrated, not to mention thoroughly hilarious, this book describes in deathly detail what happens to the body when it’s struck by lightning, slimed by a dart frog, or flung from a mountaintop.
No other book has ever peaked under the Grim Reaper's robe in such a straightforward and irreverent way. With a foreword by a physician at the Mayo Clinic , an afterword by a funeral director, lists of history’s most notable deaths, and a unique death rating system, everything you need to know about the ways in which we go are included in these pages.
This is great, because this is the book I would most have liked to receive. The one book on the list that I actually thought to look for. Yeah, I am a little weird and gory at times. I have a small collection of books on death and plagues and cholera and the Black Plague (and I just ordered a couple more plague books. I don't know why I am so interested in this stuff. I just am.)
So I will write up a review and post it here (and on librarything.com) once I have read it...
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
There have been the first tiny hints of green as well...the houses across the street seem to have a greenish sheen to their lawns. I haven't spotted anything budding yet, though.
Bears have been spotted out and around town, so they are leaving their dens.
Our day is now sixteen hours long -- sunrise at 6 ish and sunset at 10 pm ish, according to NPR. It's very weird, the days get longer by five minutes a day, so seems like we went from hardly any day at all to almost all daylight.
The mountains are still snow-capped. Maybe not as snowy and magnificent as they were earlier this year, but still pretty dang awesome looking.
Monday, April 27, 2009
(Besides which, they were babies. Nine peas is a full serving for a baby. I have always wondered at the moms who worried about their kids not eating, when really what they were worried about was that their kids were not in fact eating meals that would have made a longshoreman go "whoa. That's a lot of food." There's a reason baby and toddler dishes are little...)
Any way. So. Not one to worry about whether the kidlets were eating enough, even when Thor spent six months eating pb&j instead of ANYTHING at all that I made for supper. He ate apples and banana bread, which is a great vehicle for sneaking carrot and wheat germ and flax and oatmeal into your kids.
Now, these days, if Abe is eating, if Abe deigns to sniff at the food in his dish, I walk the other way around the kitchen counter so as hopefully not to disturb him. I will wait to refill my coffee cup. I will sit at the computer for an extra minute (like that's a hardship...) Because YAY! He's EATING! Not that he's particularly skinny or underfedish, but the dog just doesn't eat as much as he should. (Mojo, on the other hand, wouldn't miss a meal if he were in a coma.)
Because of course, I have adjusted my life to the dogs. Right now I have Things To Do, but I am reluctant to get up because Abe just curled up next to me and looks so content. (Both dogs feel compelled to follow me about the house all day, so once I get up, he will feel the need to follow me up stairs and to the bathroom door...)
Right. Edited To Add...I didn't mean you, obviously. I realize there are kids who truly seem to think food and eating are optional. But really, I have met moms who seem to think they have not done their job unless their offspring downs the equivalent of a nine course Thanksgiving meal thrice daily. Those are the moms I was referencing up there, not you, my loyal reader!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Zachary called it a drought of posting, but then he skipped calling me for days and days and days, so we are even.
(Zach it would kill you to maybe call your mother? You are too busy with the college stuff to pick up the phone?)
We rearranged the family room...I don't know if I mentioned that here...
It involved unloading three tall bookcases, each with five shelves absolutely stuffed with books (But it alphabetical order by author! You should be impressed. Mostly our books have been shelved by the "hey! I can stuff it in right here" method.) plus a short bookcase with three shelves. And the computer armoire, which is pretty but damn heavy. And the TV cabinet.
Mark and I moved the TV into position, and then I muscled two of the tall bookcases into position and one short one. And loaded books back into one short and one tall bookcase.
Then Thor and I moved the last bookcase into position, and realized the whole lineup -- which consists of two tall and two short bookcases plus the tv cabinet -- had to be shifted three inches to the left, because of the cable outlet. We could have left them in place, but then the last bookcase would either be bending and kinking the cable as it comes outta the wall, or the bookcase would have to be four inches away from the wall.
And if one is four inches away, the rest of them would have to be four inches away too, so they line up right and evenly and tidily...
But bookcases four inches away from the wall means that things would always be falling behind them, and it would look stupid besides.
So Thor and I muscled the bookcases over, unhooked the TV (because we did not want to drop the TV and wreck it, because we only have four other TVs. Yes. I think we have too many TVs. I don't know why. Perhaps the TV fairy likes us better than you.) and shifted the whole shootin' match three inches to the left.
(Unfortunately Thor just unplugged everything without you know, looking to see how it all fits together, which means that the DVD player is still not hooked back up. We have to use the XBox to watch DVDs right now, because no one is interested in wrestling with the stupid cords behind the TV...)
Now we have a bookcase in the living room, which is nice, except that it's got a bunch of books by Jimmy Carter and Al Franken and books about liberal values and stuff. Since most of the people we know are far more likely to have a McCain sticker on their bumper than an Obama one, it could get a little interesting.
But then, I have not really tried to hide the whole idea that I am a liberal progressive kinda gal. There are more of us than you might think in the military family.
If you go up the stairs, on the landing is a big old institutional green/grey metal barrister cabinet. It is awesome, and will be even more awesome when someday I have it painted bright red and fill it with dishes in my kitchen.
When I have a kitchen that has enough room for a bright red metal barrister cabinet...
Friday, April 17, 2009
No reason, really, other than just so not having the energy to go online and read and comment and write.
And I have had things to write about...
Lets see...Finally the snow is MELTING!!! The last snowfall was Easter Sunday night, and it vanished within two days! YAY!
Although at the time, it was disheartening to walk out Monday morning to this:
Did you notice that my Suburban is standing in the driveway? I used to have a warm heated garage stall for it, but that was before this...
That's Mark's old Jeep in the top photo and
Completely juvenile moment...the newsreader on BBCAmerica news just called Captain Phillips (the guy who was held by the Somali pirates) the world's most famous seaman.
Say it out loud to yourself. See? Juvenile. I told you.
Also...We went to Spamalot last night. It was awesome. It was full of Monty Python humor (I fart in your general direction.) and John O'Hurley played King Arthur. Great sets, great songs, great actors, the whole thing was fun from beginning to end. I have a couple photos of Thor and Tess waiting for it to begin in my phone, now I just have to figure out how to get them into the computer. I may never manage that feat, as it would most likely involve me actually reading the damn book that came with my new phone...
Oh, yeah, more awesomeness...
This is the new Civic's radio. See what it says? That's right, it says IPOD! One of the awesomest things about having a vehicle built this century is that it comes with a built in IPod connection. A BUILT IN IPOD CONNECTION. My Suburban is so old even the cassette thingies -- the ones you plug into your IPod and then you can play it through your car stereo -- those thingies don't work in it.
Unfortunately for me, I drag the dogs with me a lot, because they LOVE going for a ride. They are psychodogs if you say go or ride or put on socks. (I must put on socks alot before I go places, because they get crazed when I do. Of course I put on socks alot just before I go somewhere, because I don't much wear socks or shoes at home. Hereditary hot feet.)
I gotta go get Tess. So there you go. I posted something!
Friday, March 27, 2009
To cover the earth in a living blanket would take 255 x 10 to the 14th power squirrels!
(That's 25.5 quadrillion squirrels.)
Assuming squirrels float, of course.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
But the winds up there are blowing away from Anchorage and the MatSu valley (that's where Wasilla is), so mostly the ash is falling on uninhabited area. There's a lot of that in Alaska.
However, we still have a chance to have fun dealing with the ash. Trace amounts of ash have been detected in Anchorage. And last time Redoubt blew, it was active for five months (I think.). So if the winds shift and it erupts again we could be dealing with the fallout. Woo.
Tess is very disappointed -- she was really looking forward to days off from school (I should point out to her that those days will be added to the end of the school year...I don't think she would be so thrilled to miss school then.).
Personally, eh. We just replaced the water pump and oil lines on the Suburban, so I am perfectly happy to not have volcanic ash sucked into the engine. My only real concern at this point is that it not mess up my plans to fly to Minnesota in May for a family reunion.
Other than that...spring has not sprung yet. We had a dusting of snow last night, it's in the 20's and all the snow that got slushy over the past couple of days when it was warmer is now frozen and thus the roads are really rough with small slippery patches.
CNN just said Redoubt erupted again, sending ash 13 miles into the sky. I guess we have to start watching for ashfall alerts. That's a new one for us...
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
And in Anchorage, we have snow. Lots of snow. But south-facing roofs and streets that have the sun shine on them are bare, sorta, or at least bare with icy edges.
But while it's only 30 degrees out, the sun is shining brightly and it feels like spring is way down the block, around the corner and down a couple streets. Because when you step outside you feel a bit o' heat from the sun, even with the breeze having that icy chill to it from blowing across the snow.
Another sign of spring...since the Iditarod is almost over, people on post are finally taking down their Christmas lights. That's right, people leave their Christmas lights up (and on! Turn them off already!) until the middle of March.
Christmas lights are not festive in February. Icicle lights do not cheer the heart in March. Christmas lights should be off by the middle of January. I don't care if you leave them up until a warm day, but damn. Turn the things off already.
In other news I have finally finally finally finally finally finally stopped coughing! No more hacking up the odd lung every couple of hours, no more waking myself up in the middle of the night, and best of all, I can finally start using my CPAP machine! Which is awesome, because I found out last year I stop breathing an average of seven times an hour when I sleep. Which means that on an average of seven times an hour I rouse enough to start myself breathing again, and that means I don't ever get a good night's sleep. But now. Now I don't always wake up in the morning feeling like I got a crap night's sleep.
Daily Alaska photo...Last September, somewhere on the back forty of Fort Richardson.
Just a little reminder that Alaska is not all snow...
Monday, March 16, 2009
But Thor and Tess both have long hair. (And I can't find a photo of either of them at the mo showing their long hair. You will just have to take my word for it.) Tess's hair is pretty much to her waist, and Thor's is halfway down his back.
Aside from having to help them brush it out occasionally, because not only is it long, but it is a mixture of coarse and fine hair, so it tangles easily...
I also hate long hair because it is EVERYWHERE. Doing laundry I pick long hairs off the clothes as I dump them in the laundry and more long hairs off the clothes as I fold them.
Then there is the vacuum cleaner. I love my vacuum cleaner except for one thing...the carpet brush is hard to get off and back on again. But every couple of weeks, the brush gets so full of long hair it no longer works properly.
So I must disassemble and cut the hair off (hair is tough. I use a steak knife to saw through it -- and yes, it is dedicated to stuff like that. I don't toss it back into the scary drawer. [The scary drawer is the one full of sharp and pointy knives. We didn't use to have a knife block in it, but now it's not quite as scary. ]).
On their heads, it's gorgeous. Thor's is a coppery red and really really thick. Tess's is brown under and has a deep hint of red on the top layers. She used to be a blond blondie, but it is gradually getting darker. I think eventually she will have brown hair with some seriously nice coppery highlights. Like mine, only better. Mine is mostly just brown.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
As if using the elliptical trainer wasn't bad enough, this is my view. I am watching Roswell on DVD to pass the time...
Volcano preparedness. Bottled water, extra canned goods. Not much beer though. Must fix that.
Thor and Tess have gotten into this war game/model thing called Warhammer 44k. They spent much of their spring break painting tiny little models.
Tiny little models.
Teeny little grumpy heads.
Thor or Tess took this photo. You can see how tiny the guys are. Apparently you then build some kind of battlefield and roll dice. That's all I know about the game.
One raven thought there was something interesting in the street. Pretty soon there were eight or ten checking out whatever it was. We have to be careful not to have overflowing garbage cans, because they can get into them and make a big mess.
Pecking at the ice. I don't know why.
Abe has a thing about birds. He would really really like to be chasing the ravens flying away.
Tess was in the city-wide 6th grade honor band. She had a three note solo on the tympani...it was great.
Tess on the tympani.
Moose in the neighborhood.
It was really icy one evening. The next morning, we saw four or five cars like this.
The Knik Arm of the Cook Inlet. Icy and cold.