Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cat Diet Day 1

Day 1 of the new diet for the fat cats. They have already tried to find ways to smuggle themselves out of the house. It's not pretty. Ashley has started gnawing on my ankle. Both of them stare at me constantly. I am afraid to sleep tonight. I must warn the boy. They will probably go after the smaller and weaker members of the family first.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

You Can Tie A Cat To A Treadmill...

You can tie a cat to a treadmill, but you can't make them run on it. It's true. I tried. In doing all of our research for the move, we've been pricing flying the cats with us. Tink is a pretty normal sized cat, but Ashley...well, let's just say that she's a whole lot of woman. 15 pounds of woman. Did I mention that some airlines charge by the pound? Tink is small enough that she could ride in the cabin with us, at a much cheaper rate. Ashley is headed straight for the baggage compartment. (Cue the forklift.) I know what you're thinking, it's the owners fault that the pets are fat. True. Now the cats are on a diet. No food for the next three months. That should do it. Water only. The cats are not amused.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sea Ducks on Elmendorf

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in Alaska. The skies were clear and the sun was shining! We took a nice drive around the back side of base to enjoy the scenery. It was a tad chilly at 18 degrees, but the truck was nice and toasty. This is the small end of Six Mile Lake on Elmendorf AFB, and a great spot to bird watch. These are Common Golden Eye sea ducks. They come by the name naturally, because their eyes are a very pretty golden color. These ducks are amazingly well insulated. As we watched, they would dive under the sheets of ice, and stay under for a very long time. The largest one stayed under about twice as long as the smaller ones did. At one point, I was sure he was stuck under there and couldn't get out.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Yak Attack!

(Photo taken by Bob Hallinan of the Anchorage Daily News) This is an article in today's paper. "This baby Tibetan Yak born the day before Valentine's Day at the Alaska Zoo will be named Valentino if it's a boy and Valentina if it's a girl. The yak was born to Lisa Marie and Elvis and can be visited during the winter zoo hours from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily." Yes, this is a real story. You can't make up stuff this good. Do you think anyone told the nice people at the zoo that Lisa Marie is Elvis' DAUGHTER, and that this is pretty MESSED UP! Oh, well. It could be worse. You could be the person that has the job if finding out if this lovely yak is a boy or a girl!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fur Rondy Hide Auction

I was taking a break from trying to teach the cats how to meow in Dutch (trust me, it's not as easy as you think!), and decided to check out the website for the Fur Rondy Hide Auction. There were some issues with the auction last year and it didn't take place, so those hides will be added to this year's auction. They result is 117 hides up for you to bid on. They expect to set all kind of records with the money raised, and are trying for a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. The bulk of the proceeds goes to the Fish and Game Commission, but $500 will will go to local scholarships for wildlife management students. The hides include goat, black bear and other critters. They come from illegal kills, animals killed by state personnel because they were a danger or nuisance, and those killed by citizens to protect life and property. Check out the link to their website below and put in a bid for your own little piece of Alaska. You can own a bear hide without the danger involved in hunting it down. Just think of the stories you can make up to tell your family and friends about how you got it! I loved the note on the website that says "Don't bring your dog to the auction. The salt used to preserve the hide will harm your pet."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

An Overcast Tuesday

It's cloudy, 33 degrees, and sprinkling snow, off and on. Not a bad day in all. In fact, it's feeling a little like spring. Or should I say it sounds like spring? The snow is sliding off of the metal roof, and landing with precision bombing outside the windows again. Icicles are dripping near the front door. It won't be long until we see bright spots of green grass peeking out through the snow. In anticipation of Spring, I am going to share some pictures of the annual Wild Salmon On Parade in downtown Anchorage. Each year, artists decorate salmon statues, and they are displayed all over town from early June through late August. Each fish is sponsored by a local organization or business. In September, they have a big dinner and auction off the fish. All of the proceeds from the dinner and auction go to local charities. In 2005, they raised $75, 000 for charity. You can't beat that!
The artists can decorate the salmon any way they like. I thought this one was great. It celebrates the 50th Anniversary of our great state!

The colors on this one were fantastic.

This one celebrated the history of panning for gold in Alaska.
The kids loved the mural of the mountains painted on this salmon. It, too, celebrated gold panning in Alaska. If you ever get the chance to visit Anchorage, take a walking tour around the downtown area and check out all of the salmon. There are 30 of them scattered all around. You'll find them along the main streets, as well as outside the Ulu factory and other businesses. Happy fishing! (And you don't even need a license!)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I'm Baaaaaaaaack!

Jess went back to school on Monday. Brandon, on Tuesday (stubborn boy, stubborn fever!) They were kind enough to pass their crud along to me. Thank you so very much. I am over the worst of it now, so luckily I had a much milder version than either of the kids. The cough does tend to linger on, though. Once I kick it, I'm good to go. Other than the cold and flu season, things are running along smoothly here in the frozen North. Redoubt is behaving herself so far. The schools have informed us that even if she blows her top, they plan on continuing along like normal. Between our great thaw/refreeze a few weeks ago and so many kids out sick, they can't afford to take any more time out of the classroom. Slap on the dust mask and goggles kids, it's time to get your education on!

I got a thrill yesterday morning when I was vegging on the couch. I sent in a couple of pics to the Daily Buzz morning show around a week ago. Viewers can send in pics and they show them during the weather. I had forgotten I'd even sent them in with all the sickness and chaos we've had here lately. Anyway, I'm laying on the couch and they said my name on TV. They showed my pics and gave me all kinds of cool complements. Pretty exciting. (Unless, of course, it was all the medication talking and the TV wasn't even on. I had just taken DayQuil!) I told Russ that he isn't the only famous person in the house, now. It's a wonder I can fit through the door with my head so big. Autographs will be available in the lobby after the show.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Doctor Will See You In A Moment...

Yesterday afternoon, both schools called me and told me that my kids were sick. Within an hour of each other. What are the odds of that? I picked them up and they are now deposited on the couches in the living room. Coughing. Hacking. Medicated. Eating crackers and sipping ice water. I am hiding in the basement, and trying to avoid anything that might be contaminated with their germs. No one got any sleep last night. If Russ and I can resist the germs until Saturday, then it will be OK. Neither kid will be back at school this week. I suspect the flu.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Iditarod Is Coming

Here are some pictures to get you psyched up for the Iditarod next month. It will be our last one here, so we plan to go and enjoy it once again. Well, I will go and enjoy it. I will drag the kids down there while they say things like "It's COLD." "Mom, they're just a bunch of dogs." and "Didn't we do this last year?" Sometimes you have to cram the culture down these kids throats in the winter. They are like black bear. They like to hibernate.

Some people from the lower 48 don't really get the Iditarod. They see it as a form of animal abuse. If you ever get a chance to see it in person, do so. The dogs all look like kids on Christmas morning. They can't wait to get going, and look like they are grinning when they finally get their turn to start.

There are lots of great characters to meet when you are watching the race, too. Lots of them get into traditional fur trader garb.

I LOVE this outfit. Can't you just see me wearing this the next time we hit the town. This nice fellow is sporting some serious style! I have to get a pair of these boots, if nothing else!

Can you imagine what the cats would do if I walked in wearing this hat?

I hope you are enjoying your lovely winter day. Any day that a volcano doesn't erupt is a good day.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy Shoot The Groundhog Day!

OK, so he's not a groundhog. He's infinitely cuter, though, because he didn't just predict 6 more weeks of winter. Besides, he and I have the same profile right now. :0) This little guy and I are going to fly to Punxsutawney and put a whooping on Phil later on today. We're ready for Spring.

Not much more to report on our Mt. Redoubt activity. Two holes have formed in Drift Glacier (right below the summit), and one is more than a football field length across. Each of the holes are blowing steam and volcanic gas about 2,000 feet in the air. They are predicting a "relatively modest" ash fall across Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula. Maybe an inch or so. It's still a wait and see kind of thing. We continue with out daily activities, and monitor the news occasionally. The good thing about being military is that we tend to get the word pretty quickly. Enjoy what is shaping up to be another beautiful day. Think warm thoughts. Not you, Phil. We're coming to get you...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Fur Rondy in February

Happy February! Spring is in the air (and not ash, thank goodness!) It's another beautiful blue sky day here at Elmendorf. It won't be long until we are celebrating Fur Rondy, so I thought I'd share some past pics with you. In case you are wondering, Fur Rondy was started back in the 1930's by a gentleman named Vern Johnson. Anchorage was a little town in those days, and there wasn't much in the way of winter entertainment. The miners and hunters came to Anchorage in February to sell and trade their goods. Mr. Johnson decided to start a little 3 day sports competition/Festival to entertain the people, and the Fur Rondy was born. The whole town turned out and it was a great success. Throughout the years, the festival has grown to include a sled dog race, dog pull, and carnival. It's not only a lot of fun to participate in and watch the events, but it also signals the end of a long, hard winter.

These pictures are of the snow sculpture competition. It takes part under the C Street bridge, near Ship Creek. The kids really get a kick out of it. (OK, I do, too!)

If you are interested in learning more about Fur Rondy, check out their site. Here's the link.