Saturday, January 31, 2009

No volcano yet. Other stuff instead.

You know how I pointed out Abe always looks confused or befuddled or maybe just a bit nervous?

Perhaps it's due to his big brother Mojo.

Moj in the back yard

Because while Abe looks confused or nervous in lots of photos, Moj just looks demented. Look at him. Would you want to wake up from a nice nap in a sunny spot, stretch a little, glance up and see that staring at you? You might wander around looking a little apprehensive too.

(And just so you know, I am just kidding. Mojo and Abe get along great. Moj is occasionally cranky, but then Abe has been known to drop toys on Mojo's head when Mojo is sound asleep, so I think they are even.)

The Daily Alaska

Want to come sit on my front porch with me?

Yeah. Me neither. My butt gets cold just looking at these photos.

clumpy snowflakescold seats

Friday, January 30, 2009


Yeah. Mount Redoubt, 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, is gonna blow.

sunny snowfall_3569_edited-1

Probably. It's been very seismically active since last weekend, and they are thinking this is significant.

But Alaska has ten percent of the world's active volcanoes -- that pesky Ring of Fire. No, not the Johnny Cash song...

but the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Anyhow. Alaska has ten percent of the world's active volcanoes, so this is not a surprise. People are buying dust masks and air filters for their cars and furnace filters for their homes. We are not going to go anywhere if we have ashfall, so I won't worry about the cars, and I will be rooting around in the garage to find the dust masks we have for painting and fabric dyeing. I have to go out anyway, so I will buy some too, if there are any left in the stores.

We have a freezer pretty well stocked with meat and frozen veggies and pizza and egg rolls, plus several dozen cans of veggies (they had a great sale on them, so I stocked up. Turns out I was planning ahead instead of being cheap.) And Costco quantities of rice, and four or five brownie mixes, so the food is covered.

We will have to cover the computers and tvs and stuff with garbage bags, so ash doesn't get into them and wreck em, and not turn them on, because the fans will suck the volcanic dust into them. whoops.

So I might have something interesting to blog about, but I won't be able to turn on my computer. We have forced air heat, so there is potential for ash to get into the house that way, even if we stay inside. Plus we will have to let the dogs out occasionally.

But the ash can't last forever, and my camera card holds at least 5,000 photos. So sooner or later, if this thing blows, I will be telling you all about it.

For the Daily Alaska...
Today is snowy, but with a very bright spot in the sky...

This isn't a great photo, but you get the idea. The little white specks are not dust on my lens, but teeny little snowflakes, and the bright spot is the sun almost burning through the clouds. It was bright enough you couldn't look at it directly, anyway.

Behind those power lines, usually, I can see the Chugach Mountains. Except today there are a whole bunch of snowflakes and clouds between me and them. Okay by me. I like snow. And as a plus, I really don't think there are any active volcanoes in them. whew.

sunny snowfall_3563_edited-2

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My children always say I am mean...

That when they were worried about their little dragons rather than me when I fell in front of a large group of Europeans, it was no more than I deserved. That when Zeke asked me if I was going to remember it every time I said ouch after my concussion (I fell skating, hit my head, and have a gap of several hours in my memory.), it was my own fault that my children are sarcastic little rats. That the smart aleck answers should be no surprise.

So it should be no surprise to anyone that I would choose this (insert downward pointing arrow here) as my Daily Alaska:

the seedy underbelly of our winter wonderland_3535_edited-1

This is the first in my new series...The Seedy Underbelly of Our Winter Wonderland.

This morning there was a weird whumping sound going on. Actually it's been going on all day. Just "whump. whump. whump." don't know what it is, but it bugs the dogs. They keep barking at it. Weird damn dogs. I opened the curtains to see if I could see anything going on, the source of the whump, and instead I saw this...

I don't know why they were gathering in the parking lot.  And it's 9 am, not early morning or late evening, and yet it's still not light out

A bunch of guys milling around in the parking lot down the street from us. At about 9 am (and could I just point out that it's 9 am in that photo, and yet looks like early morning or late evening. I am so done with these late sunrises...and yes, I will be cranky about the sun being out all night. It's not natural.) they lined up, yelled "hooah" or something, and then scattered:

ten minutes to gather, yell one "hooah" and .... scatter

I didn't realize we lived that close to some unit.

Also, I find it really annoying that I managed to make those two photos such different colors. They were taken just a few minutes apart, and yet, I didn't do exactly the same thing with Photoshop, so they look different. Ugh.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I told you...

See?  Always looks confused.

Abe always looks puzzled or confused or wondering or perplexed. I think it's the shape of his eyes, maybe the way his ear always stands up. Only one ear stands up because they wrecked the cartilage in his ear when he was a puppy. I don't know exactly how, one day I noticed it was floppier than the other. But I do know they play really hard. Both of them used to be covered with battle scars all the time. They played really hard. They still play hard, I think they just don't play quite the same way. Currently they try to grab the other one's hind leg and knock him over or they do the chest bump.

Instead of a photo today, I am going to post a link for The Daily Alaska.

It's a post on The Mudflats, an Alaska blogger. This post is a description of what it's like to go buy groceries when you live out in the Bush in Alaska. It's pretty shocking how expensive stuff is -- 2 loaves of bread are $11.98, gas is $7.25 a gallon, and 144 Huggies diapers, a whopping $82.55. (I suppose she could use cloth diapers, but they have to haul water to their house, and it costs them a buck for 10 gallons...She didn't describe how she does laundry, but I would think it can't be cheap either.) I live in Anchorage, and I like Anchorage. I have no desire to live out in the Bush, and can't imagine why anyone would want to. But I know people who love this lifestyle, anything to keep them out of crowds and large groups of people. Go check it out. It's really interesting and surprising.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Daily Alaska...Dang it's cold edition

The Daily Alaska:

Okay, compared to a couple weeks ago, it's not that cold:

jan 26 09_3527_edited-1
(Tangent alert...This thing is great. There's a unit outside so I can see how cold it is without having to step outside or near a window or open a door or anything. But it connects to some satellite and that's how it tells what time it is. Except that apparently they didn't think the Alaska Time Zone warranted inclusion. So mine is an hour fast, set to Pacific Time. Jerks.)

But the dogs were making me crazy. See, if it's way below cold, in the negative digits, they run out, poo and come right back in. When it's bright sunny and 19 degrees, they don't want to go outside and sit down, but it's warm enough that they want to go out and hang a little while, see if there are any neighbor dogs to bark at, watch for cars and trucks coming down the street, sniff the wind for moose. But they don't want to go out and sit down. They want to go out, do their stuff, smell and bark and make sure the world knows this is their territory, and then come back in to warm up for ten minutes.

Which means every few minutes I was letting them in or out. Or one in and one out.

And the house feels overheated today. It's hard to get the temperature right sometimes, especially with forced air heat. It feels way too hot in a lot of buildings, unpleasant. And I love fresh air, as opposed to air that has been conditioned or heated and funneled through dusty ducts and is full of indoor pollutants.

So I opened the back door.

jan 26 09_3528_edited-1

Which is right next to my computer. Five feet behind me. (I almost wrote one less foot, but then I remembered Momisodes post about the Chinese New Year, and how you are not supposed to say that word...and BTW, happy New Year!)

The dogs loved it. They went out and barked at the cars and trucks driving down our street, then ran in to the front window to bark some more as they drive past the front of our house. Then they would get bored with that one and go back outside to wait for more trespassers.

Lucky for me, Target had these on clearance this past weekend:

jan 26 09_3533_edited-1

Unfortunately these arm warmers didn't come with a matching pair of toe and ankle warmers.

I have closed the door again. Too cold. There is a window open in the living room, but just a crack because it's on the ground floor, and there is a window seat right in front of it. So I can easily imagine the dogs getting all worked up about some car driving past and going right out the window to confront it.

Other random stuff:

Went to Costco. Means king-size quantities of stuff we (maybe) can't live without:
dish soap, cookies, food my husband can make (the Thai Kitchen stuff), instant (and surprisingly good) mashed potatoes (I know. Instant mashed potatoes, yuck. But these taste buttery, they have a decent texture, and when I am pressed for time, they are a decent side dish or a good shortcut for making shepherd's pie), apples, grilled chicken strips, frozen egg rolls, mini sweet peppers, broccoli, spinach, cans of diced tomatoes, potatoes. I love Costco.
jan 26 09_3521_edited-1
(The instant potatoes are in that gray carton behind the really good cookies. A whole big carton of goofy little mashed potatoes pellets.)
And these:

jan 26 09_3526_edited-1
Stroop waffels. Caramel wafers. Completely delicious cookies from the Netherlands. The caramel gets all warm and gooey when you balance it on top of a hot cup of coffee. Just don't forget it or it falls in and you end up with a ucky sludge in the bottom of your cup. Very hard to find in the US. Actually, this photo sums up my Dutch experience pretty well -- Dutch, German, Belgian food plus Polish pottery. (The Belgians make the best frites in the world -- they should be called Belgian fries, not french. Ask Jientje, she will tell you. )

And finally, one of my favorite and most treasured things.

cat box

This is a little box my grandfather carved. Just a little box, with a little cat on top. I don't know how old it is, except way old. No real value, except to me and my family. It's one of the things that movers never ever get to touch -- along with useful stuff like dishes and bedding and clothes and books and computers and TV and video games -- you know, the stuff that makes living in a hotel or an empty house easier, there is a box of stuff like this that we drag along with us when we move. The important stuff.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Weekly Winners

As usual, we can thank Lotus the Sarcastic Mom for feeding our Weekly Winners habit!

No more gorgeous frost, but at least it snowed a little bit.
gray snowy day

fresh snow, fresh tracks
fresh snow_3475_edited-1

Nice ring to it... President Barack OBama.
Obama 1/20/09

slippery roads
jan22 09_3510_edited-1

unfortunately the fence was not the only victim of the slippery roads...I wonder where the scarecrow's head landed...
jan22 09_3515_edited-1

blowing snow? or a bit of fog? I dunno.

the sun doesn't reach down into some of the valleys in the winter.

It's tough, but somebody has to photograph all the gorgeous mountains.
Alaska 08

We love the sunshine and the mountains and the snow.

fog in the valley.

Yeah. I don't know how many more photos of mountains and snow and fog I can take. So I thought I would throw in these photos of my new favoritest gadget ever in the history of the world:

My IPod touch. It is awesome beyond words. I can check my email, listen to music, store my favorite 400 photos, keep my calendar, check out YouTube videos, play games, surf the web, check my twitter and facebook pages, watch podcasts of Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow, write myself notes, and oh, yeah, listen to my music!
fresh snow_3476_edited-1

See that brightly colored bar at the bottom of the screen? That means that I have used a big chunk of my IPod touch's 8GB memory for music and video. The purple section means that I have to either get busy watching those podcasts of various news shows or delete them...since I have barely started loading music onto it -- I only have 166 songs on there so far. That is not enough. There's not even any Linkin Park on it yet. That ain't right.
jan22 09_3498_edited-1

Saturday, January 24, 2009 is really fun and addictive and I think I will be heading back there regularly. You enter your text or your blog address and the program makes a cool word cloud. You can mess with shape and color and font. Crazy fun. (If you click on the images it takes you to larger images of these at

Wordle: my blog
my blog
Wordle: hysterical hanta virus attack
this is the wordle for one of my favorite posts ever:
hysterical hanta virus infection!

Oh, yeah, apparently there was an earthquake this morning, 62 miles deep in the Cook Inlet.
158 miles SW of Anchorage.

I didn't feel anything, which is fine with me. I am not a fan of earthquakes.

The Daily Alaska.

Last Summer.


Today. Yes, it is snowing.

gray snowy day

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Daily Alaskan.

Alaska 08

Last summer I took a walk with the kids. It was shockingly lush and green -- kind of obscenely so after the harsh Sonoran desert. Really, all the thick grass and plants covered with blooms and so many plants and trees and so tall and green and growing with abandon. It just felt obscenely and embarrassingly fertile. Like the plant world equivalent of those fertility idols with the big bottoms and boobs.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Can't forget the Daily Alaska...

Although, really, today's should be the Daily Arizona.

Because this is what happens...

fresh snow_3486_edited-1

fresh snow_3488_edited-1

when you have a cute little Santa ornament (really cute, very little - only about an inch high) made of wax. And you put it away with the other ornaments in the garage in Arizona. Because garages in Arizona are stupidly hot. You arrive in Anchorage, it's Christmas, you buy a tree, haul the bins of ornaments out, start unwrapping them. You find a chunk of tissue paper with the remains of the wax ornament melted into it.

This past weekend, Mark and I put away all the ornaments and decorations. We hauled the boxes of holiday stuff out of the store room in the garage, and rearranged everything. Packed up all the Easter stuff together, got all the Halloween stuff in bins and piled them all up together, walked through the house, gathering up all the last bits of Christmas stuff. Used the very last empty Rubbermaid bin (tub? I call them bins, I think because of my years of living in Europe and having friends who don't speak American!) for the lights and random bits.

Then that evening I was talking to my sister on the phone when Mark wandered by and set a basket down next to me. It was full of ornaments. Christmas ornaments. Christmas ornaments that I had been looking for, but thought had been packed away. Christmas ornaments with no bin to pack them into. Christmas ornaments that are still in the basket on the window seat in the living room, because I hate packing Christmas ornaments up and I don't have an empty bin. Plus I threw away all the extra tissue paper, the tissue paper that turns out was extra because I missed a whole basket full of ornaments. Sigh.

I should have a t shirt made....

History because I have a rather gruesome (really, the sanitary habits of the people of the Middle Ages leaves so very very much to be desired! And I would suggest you avoid reading about it if you have a weak stomach...) fondness for books about plagues of the Middle Ages.

Lit because I read. Incessantly. Too much. All the time. Ask my family.

From this time forward, you'll hold the title:
Uber Cool History / Lit Geek

Carry it proudly!

Quick Fun Facts:

375218 unique people have taken this test.

Based on these unique user's answers...

29.8% of test takers are gals,
68.4% are guys,
...the rest (1.8%) are confused.

(I am not confused. I checked girl.)

15.5% of test takers get aroused by "iPhone," while
36.9% get utterly ill.

(Me and the IPhone -- meh. I have my IPod Touch. I do not want it to be my cell phone or my camera. I like having three separate items to do those functions for me. I don't want my camera to play music or make calls, I don't want my phone to take photos. I want my IPod to play music and videos and store my favorite photos. If one thing did all those things, it wouldn't do as good a job as my three separate things do.)

32.2% of all test takers would choose the Internet over sex, and
26.6% of married test takers prefer the Internet over sex.

(Choose the internet over sex? I like you guys, but not that much.)

Only 4.5% of test takers own a Jar Jar Binks t-shirt, though
49.7% of them don't own a lightsaber (priorities == messed up).

(While there are half a dozen light sabers in this house, none of them are mine. I own no Star Wars action figures, toys, guns, clothing,books, nada. I just play with my kidsSW stuff.) says I'm an Uber Cool History / Lit Geek.  Click here to take the Nerd Test, get geeky images and jokes, and write on the nerd forum!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I really really like this guy's message...

***** ***** *****

The Daily Alaska...
We had a little snow yesterday. So now the sheets of ice are barely covered with snow...great potential for wipeouts. Makes me want to find some icy sidewalk and lurk with my camera ready just in case somebody wipes out. Or I could just try to get the dogs playing in the backyard -- there's a sheet of ice in the middle, that has already taken Mojo out twice. I wonder if he still remembers...

This is a close up shot of a paw print in the new snow on the deck:
fresh snow_3480_edited-2

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


It's a brand new day. And a very very good one.

Screen shots from NBC this morning:
Obama 1/20/09

Obama 1/20/09

I really like the bottom of the screen...President Barack Obama.
Obama 1/20/09

A sudden change at
Obama 1/20/09

What a change in the Vice President's office...Joe Biden is so cheerful and open, and Dick Cheney always struck me as surly and angry and unfriendly.
Obama 1/20/09

the Daily Alaska photo. An obvious choice for today, the Bald Eagle.
Alaska 08

Monday, January 19, 2009

Weird Dreams. Daily Alaska.

A couple nights ago, I woke up around 3 am-ish. And didn't go back to sleep for a long time. I coughed, I flipped over, I poked Mark (gently) because he was snoring, I thought about the questions I was going to ask for the interview with Patsy and Kim. I thought about whatever it was that I should have done the day before, or what I should do the next day. Wished the stupid dog would stop stretching and scratching the wall -- Mojo starts out curls in a ball, then as he gets warm, he stretches out, then he rolls over onto his back, then flips over onto the other side. Unfortunately sometimes this means his legs get sorta crunched up against the wall or the side of the bed or me, if he's sleeping on the bed when Mark is out of town. Then he starts dreaming and kicking his legs, scratching whatever they happen to be pushed up against...

But. Eventually I fell asleep, only to have a freaky dream.

I was in a house, at night, my house, I guess, but not exactly the one I am living in now. It was dark. I went out the front door and looked around the neighborhood. All the houses in the neighborhood were either under construction or boarded up.

So I was watching some construction or something at one of the houses down the street when I heard a gentle moo. And then another one.

I went inside and closed the storm door, just as a heifer came around the corner of the house and looked in at me. I slammed the door, had a lot of trouble trying to get it to latch.

There was more mooing from the heifer, except it was louder and much much meaner sounding.

I finally got the doors latched, but the cow started kicking at the door. I backed away from the door, listening to this ferocious mooing and kicking.

Then I woke up.

Eventually I gave up, got up, and went downstairs. I turned on the tv and read until probably around 7 am, when I finally fell asleep.

I slept until about 7:20, when my family started getting up.

What a really great start to the day.

the daily alaska...

2008 11 11_0421
Thor doesn't seem to realize he's not in Arizona any more. And yes, it is snowing.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Weekly Winners - heat wave edition

Weekly Winners courtesy of the Sarcastic Mom! Find more great photos and great people here!

It warmed way up this week. Our lovely snow is all gone, leaving behind it's evil ucky sloppy slushy twin.

All the frost and snow has disappeared from the trees. My gorgeous winter landscape has become a grey and ugly and depressing landscape.

Some of these photos have already appeared this week on my blog. Sorry if you have already seen them!

sad Christmas tree leftovers
moose visit_3351_edited-1

Proof of a visit from the duck-footed man
freezing rain

do not fall into the ditch
weekly winners jan 11 - 17

I'm melting!
weekly winners jan 11 - 17

no more white
weekly winners jan 11 - 17

chipping away...
weekly winners jan 11 - 17

and the reason for the chipping.
freezing rain

freezing rain on the deck
weekly winners jan 11 - 17

sad remnants of the big fort
weekly winners jan 11 - 17

these were almost completely buried at one point
weekly winners jan 11 - 17

last night our power went out. Right in the middle of Kung Fu Panda (we didn't get to finish watching it until this morning. Great movie!) And since we had candles burning, and my camera was right there, I did a little tossing...
weekly winners jan 11 - 17

Just move the "n" in Santa, and you have Satan...
weekly winners jan 11 - 17

rainy days
freezing rain

weather moving in, across the Chugach Mountains
Chugach Mountains