Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wavering Wednesday

Greetings from the glorious, thawing tundra. I've been slacking a bit in the blogging, but we've been a little consumed by this big move. I am happy to report that Tink and Ashley are settling in nicely at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Ashley is still a little shy but Tink has claimed the entire house as her domain. Not surprising. We are already counting the days until we get them back. I haven't had anyone sleep on my head or drool in my hair for several days. The kids have offered, but it's just not the same. I have taken to carrying a pillow around, petting it and making purring sounds. The neighbors stare a bit, but it seems to help.Only a few more days until the movers come and take our major household goods. Then we will be roughing it with inflatable mattresses, camping chairs, the laptop, and a 13 inch TV from the stone age. This should be very interesting. I suppose it will make us appreciate our belongings even more when we get them back. You will be happy to know that Jessica's passport finally came in. For a while there it was looking like we would have to leave her with the neighbors. She might have ended up on the blog with a sign around her neck saying "Free to good home!" Stranger things have happened. Russ has recovered from the heartache of selling his beloved Tundra and wheeler, and is checking out sports cars online. You can practically see the testosterone. The kids are helping him pick out the color. I am reminded of "Tim The Tool Man" Taylor on that old TV show Home Improvement where he grunts and says things like "more power". Oh, well. He has 3 years to dream and plan. Then he will probably head out and get another Tundra.

Monday, April 27, 2009

GPS Lost In Cyberspace

We bought a GPS last year because we thought that we were going to drive from Anchorage to wherever in the lower 48 we were meant to end up. Does the hubby think that we need a GPS unit? Not really. But the wife thinks that they are really cool. I admit that I didn't do a lot of research. I know about two brands...Garmin and TomTom. The TomTom was on sale, so guess which one we ended up with. I got the basic model, nothing fancy. It covers the US and Canada. What more do you need? Apparently western Europe. No problem. I can go online, purchase and download the proper maps and we'll be all set. It's so easy, ANYONE can do it. So I go to the TomTom website and shop for a map. I can get western Europe for $59. Seems pretty reasonable. I click on it, and it offers me a bonus. For a mere $10 more, I can get central and western Europe. You can see where this is going. Bargain...sold. I click on it and proceed to the checkout. This is where things get dicey. It says that I don't have an account with them. Yes, I do. No, you don't. Fine, I'll create a new account. Sorry, that e-mail address is taken because there is an account using it. No duh, that's my account that you said didn't exist. Wrong password, then. Fine, I'll reset it. (Reset it to the same blooming password that it had originally! That will show you!) Sign in and am greeted cordially. You are from the United Kingdom, it says. Nope, United States. United Kingdom. No, United States. Sorry, you don't have an account with us, you need to sign up for one to sign in. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I JUST WANT TO GET A MAP!!!! Then it occurs to me. Do I really want a map from someone who can't even operate their own website? I can see it now...Brussels is 7 km to the north. No...wait! It's 18 km to the east. Ha! There is no such thing as Brussels. Got Ya! You don't even have an account! I'm tired of screaming at the computer. The darn GPS goes back in the box until the hubby can look at it. It's lucky if it doesn't end up in the landfill. I wonder if I can find a Garmin on sale...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Earthquake Sunday

I woke up this morning at 5:50 am. The bed was rattling and bouncing around. It took me a minute to figure out that we were having an earthquake. It was 4.0 on the Richter scale, and about 19 miles south east of Anchorage. The thing about these earthquakes is that they last about half a second at the most. By the time you realize what is happening, it's all over. At first, I thought Redoubt had blown her top, but this was not the case. I suppose it's more interesting than waking up to the alarm clock, only this is Sunday, and I didn't set the alarm. Oh, well. Sleep is over-rated anyway.

We have had a productive weekend here in the great state of Alaska. I had a successful garage sale yesterday, so that means less to pack, ship and store. Jess (my lovely sales assistant) and I had a busy morning, and all that's really left to sell are the stud tires. Each day brings us one step closer to our move. There is still a lot to take care of, and I am beginning to doubt the wisdom of my list making. For every item I cross off, I add two or three more. We have taken care of a lot of things, though. Thanks to a very kind new friend, we already have a furnished apartment and rental car reserved for our use at our new home. It's nice to know that the basics are taken care of. I also found out that you can not ship a moose with your household goods. OK, I admit that I had suspected this all along, but it never hurts to ask. I'm afraid that Bob will have to wait this one out. If I could find a kennel large enough, I'd put him on a truck and ship him to Grandma and Grandpa. He could hang out with Ashley and Tink. I suspect that they would have to get a bigger litter box.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Where For Art Thou Romeo?

It's been a rather traumatic week, but we have all survived. Ashley and Tink are a little bruised and battered, but are safely settled in at Grandma and Grandpa's house. They will never fly again. If I have to drive across the entire United States from our next US base to pick them up, then so be it. I have learned how evil the airline industry can be to someone else's beloved pets, and I will protect them better from here on out. Enough said. On to other things.

It was a sad day here on Elmendorf. Due to Tink and Ashley's recent trauma, I have decided not to share the news with them. We are in mourning. I'm sure everyone knows Shakespeare's famous tale of Romeo and Juliet. Not quite so many know of our own Romeo the squirrel and his love affair with my precious Tink. They were quite close, and I was afraid that he would take her leaving rather hard. It seems we underestimated his love and devotion. He appears to have thrown himself under a vehicle today and did not survive the encounter. (Not unlike the original Romeo who could not live without his Juliet--- although without the whole car thing.) Before you ask... no, I was not the one who ran him over. I am not sure when the services will be held, but we will most certainly send flowers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

One Step Closer To Moving...

The cats are almost ready to be shipped off to Grandma and Grandpa's house. I took them to the vet this morning for their checkup and flying paperwork. I would say it was an easy appointment, except it was quite the workout. Both of these felines are a whole lot of woman. (No one in this house has missed any meals!) The hardest part was getting Ashley out from under the armoire when it was time to leave the house. She does not have fond memories that include the kennel. Tink still considers it a cool play toy, and climbs in and out by herself. Ashley has to be encouraged. I even tried luring Ash out of hiding with kitty treats. Tink jumped in and gobbled them all up. Needless to say, things did not go well after that. Still... I got them in the kennels and off to the vet. They got back in the kennels MUCH quicker when it was time to come back home. Tink is now hanging out on the computer table, taking a power nap. Ash slunk off to hide under the dining table and pout. Tomorrow, I get to start the fun again and try to wedge their stubborn bodies once more into the kennels. Tomorrow is the real deal. The kitties will be heading off on a brand new adventure in one direction, and we will soon head off another way for an adventure of our own. Yet another tough day in the moving process. We just have to keep an eye on the goal. Waffles, chocolate, beer, castles, and endless opportunities. The kitties will take good care of Grandma and Grandpa while we are gone. Ashley will make a lovely reading companion for Grandma. Tink might even teach Grandpa how to play fetch. I can see their new blog now..."Adventures With Ashley & Tink."

Monday, April 20, 2009

You Can't Make This Grown Man Cry

You can't make a grown man cry, but I think we're getting pretty close. It's a sad week in our household. A few days ago,.... we sold the 4-wheeler. (Heavy sigh) We just can't take it where we are going. I suppose all of our great memories will just have to keep us going until we return to the good old USA and get another one. (If we end up somewhere where we CAN get another one.) It was definitely hard watching someone else drive off with the baby in the bed of their truck.
Then today...the really hard blow was dealt. Off went the Tundra to a new home. This was even worse than the wheeler. I might have even seen a tear this time. (Heavier sigh, whimper, sigh) It was all we could to not run after him yelling "Stop! We made a mistake! We want it back!"

There she goes, driving off into the sunset with someone else. Love lost. Sadness. Poor Russ. I need a cookie.

Up On Flat Top Mountain

We went for a nice drive yesterday afternoon, and ended up on Flat Top Mountain. This is the best view of the Anchorage, by far. You can see the taller buildings of down town Anchorage on the right, as well as Mt. Susitna in the background. You can see why they call her the Sleeping Lady. Her head is to the left and her feet stretch out to the right. In the winter, she sleeps under a lovely white sheet.
This is a little closer view of down town. It was a little overcast in that direction, but blue skies over the mountains behind us. The kids love the view, too. Of course they spend more time clowning around then sightseeing. That's all part of the fun. Introducing the future famous director, and her fearless stuntman! We haven't been up here since we climbed to the top last fall. No, we didn't climb it again. Even we aren't that crazy! It's still covered with snow and ice, and I wasn't willing to take the chance of sliding off the side of a mountain!

It was definitely a beautiful day, and lots of people were out enjoying it! I hope your day was filled with sunny skies, as well!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Down The Seward Highway

It's another glorious day in Alaska. Not because the weather is that great, but because every day in Alaska is glorious! We decided to take a drive down the Seward Highway. The temps are in the 40's today, so all of the snow is really melting. Spring has arrived.It won't be long until everything starts to turn green and beautiful once again. The tide was out, so you could really see the mud flats. Alyeska Ski Resort is still up and running. Later this month, they will have their Spring Carnival to celebrate the spring thaw, and then close for the winter. Wave at the nice man on the train! We weren't the only ones out celebrating the warmer weather. This grizzly was enjoying a nice nap out in the sunlight at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage.

This young caribou was enjoying a nice lunch.

We decided it was time for a lunch of our own. We first tried this cafeteria at the Portage Lodge when we camped out near here. Jess had just gotten her braces on, and her mouth was killing her. We discovered that this cafeteria has delicious home made soups. They also have great sandwiches! Of course, it's a little hard to see right now.

Heading back to Anchorage, we had a great view of Susitna, also known as the Sleeping Lady.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Redoubt & Tink...Both Like To Be The Center Of Attention

All is quiet here on the Northern front. Redoubt is still having a bit of a temper tantrum. She is currently sending a plume of steam up to about 16,000 feet. Naughty little thing. According to the Alaska Volcano Observatory, "Low-level seismicity continues and a lava dome is growing in the vent. Plume conditions this afternoon allow views of the base of the north side of the dome." It's quiet here in town. No one is running for cover and yelling, so I assume that she is still stewing in her own juices.
Exciting news in these parts is that they have added a new camera angle to the Redoubt web cams. You might want to keep an eye on this beauty, because when she blows, you will have a front row seat. (At least until the lens is covered with ash and snow.)
The latest on the Tink saga...I am the queen of lists. There is nothing better to me than a brand new pack of yellow sticky notes and a black ink pen. I think I've mentioned before that nothing is more satisfying than making a list and then getting to mark everything off as completed. I had a sticky sitting on the computer desk in the basement, just a little something to remind me to copy some pictures to a DVD for someone. Nothing major. We shut the lights out and went to bed. Hours later, we woke to the sounds of something crinkling. It's completely dark, so the hubby grabbed the flashlight and shone it at the end of the bed. No surprise. There sat Tink, sticky note in her mouth. "Mrpppp?" she asked. Clearly Russ is interrupting her. I just want to point out that the sticky was on the desk in the basement and the bedroom is on the second floor. This was not an accident. We told Tink to knock it off and go back to sleep. I didn't even bother to fight her for my sticky. Take notes, Grandma and Grandpa. All of this will soon be yours to deal with. The excitement continues...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Tax Day!

Some of us took care of the taxes early this year, so we are on to other things to entertain ourselves. (I am speaking for me and the cats, of course.) Did you know that this is Alaska Week on the Discovery Channel? If you did, you knew more than I did. I just found out last night. Last night also started the new Alaskan Experiment series. If you didn't watch this show last year, you missed some great entertainment. They dump some city folk in a remote area of Alaska, tell them they need to get from point A to point B while providing their own shelter and food, and then watch to see what happens. Lots of fun for the whole family. If you are interested, it comes on Tuesdays at 9 on the Discovery Channel. There are also a lot of other shows on the Discovery Channel this week about Alaska, so go and check it out. You'll love all that this great state has to offer. Then fly up and check it out for yourself. Tell them GrizzlyBarb sent you. They'll look at you funny and say "Huh?" but what the heck, give it a shot anyway!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday With The Judds

I'm always running my mouth about all kinds of things, but today...I got nothin'! Sorry. The brain just doesn't want to work. Lets face it, do you really want to hear about how I took Brandon to the dentist (he did great, by the way, and got his cavity filled with no complaints) or any other everyday errands? I was thinking about things that we've done here and realized that I never shared my pics of the concert we had last summer here on Elmendorf. So here goes.... Unless you've been living under a rock, you recognize these people: Wynonna Judd and her Mom Naomi Judd. Formerly of the country singing sensation duo...The Judds. I hate to admit it, but I've never really listened to their music that much. Apparently it was my loss. These ladies were fantastic in concert. They came here to do a free concert for the military and performed in a hanger on the flight line during our Air Show last summer.
Can you believe this lady is in her 60's? She looked amazing! Looking at her, I would have guessed late 40's at the most!

They were a lot of fun to watch perform. They joked around a lot and had a great time on stage.

If you ever get a chance to see Wynonna in concert, jump on it. Even if you aren't a huge country music fan, you will be impressed. This woman can really sing!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter. Wishing everyone all the best.

Manventure to Eska Falls

Russ and Brandon headed out on another Manventure yesterday. They went north to Eska Falls for a 4-wheeling adventure with a group of Russ' friends and their sons. You couldn't ask for a more beautiful day. There is no better place in the world to go 4-wheeling than Alaska. Lots of mountains and valleys to explore, and a fantastic view from just about everywhere.
One of the most important elements of a Manventure is the food. Lots and lots of food. And Root Beer. As Brandon says, "Don't make fun of the Root Beer, it's a life choice." Just a shut eye to recharge the batteries, and they are off again. To give you an idea of how deep the snow is, check out the wheels. Those are not hubcaps.
While the "old folks" are hanging out and talking, Brandon takes the 4-wheeler and heads out to do some donuts.

Unfortunately, it's getting late and the sun is starting to set. It's time to pack it in for the day.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Did Anyone Else Feel That?

Either we just had an earthquake, or someone spiked my lunch. I suspect the cat. They say that animals can sense these things just before they happen. Tink was oblivious. I was just sitting at the computer desk, trying to see the screen. Tink was, of course, between me and the screen, trying to keep me from seeing it. Then I heard a creaking sound from upstairs and the whole chair jerked around. And the desk. And the room. Just one big motion, and then...nothing. I, for one, do not want to be trapped in the basement with all of those exposed pipes if the Big One is coming, so I headed upstairs. Tink decided to risk it and wait it out on the desk. Nothing else. Nada. Zip. Very exciting, and better for waking me up than a cup of coffee, I must say. I wonder if Redoubt could be to blame. They aren't showing anything major on the website right now. Just the regular stuff. She still has an ash and steam plume, extending 10-15 miles south east of the crater. They have noted that a lava dome is forming again at the summit crater. She could blow again, without warning. Could this be her way of making sure I stay home and clean closets? OK. I'm going.....I'm going.


That seems to be the word of the day for me lately. As my list of things that I need to do for this move grows longer, the more I seem to find other things to do to escape it. I am the queen of lists lately. I've always been very keen on lists anyway. There is something to be said about having a long list of things that need to be done and then slowly crossing those things off. It's a great feeling of accomplishment when you finally cross off that final item. Unfortunately, with a military move, I can't do anything until certain steps have taken place and certain things are cleared. Until then, I sit here and slowly add more things to my list. Then I decided to start another list. A list that I have control over. Things like decide what will be shipped in the first shipment, the second shipment, or just stuck into storage. Go through all of the closets and add to the stack of things to be sold at the garage sale. Arrange for the kitties to fly to the Grandparents house. It goes on... Then I started trying to take care of these things. I'm going to be proactive. The curtain rod in my closet pulled loose from the wall, and my clothes are tilting sadly toward the ground. I decided to start with that project first. I'm going to sort out my clothes and get rid of things that I don't wear any more. As I started rifling through them, I realized how sad and dreary my clothes looked, all drooped to the side like that. So I decided the best thing to do was get them a cheery new friend to remind them that spring is on the way. I shut the closet, headed out to Khol's, and bought two new shirts. After all, it's my civic duty, seeing as how we only just got a Khol's in Alaska. They opened on Monday. I have to show my support for the community. And they are lovely shirts. Short sleeves- one is a pretty salmon color, and the other is lime green. They practically shout Spring! I proudly brought them home, opened the closet door, quickly put them inside (I have more room on the left, now that the clothes are all sagging to the right!), and shut the door. There! A job well done. I'll tackle cleaning the closet tomorrow. I think I've done enough for the day.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Also Free To Good Home...

Anyone need a nice black bear? He's probably not too good with kids or pets, but I'm sure he has his redeeming qualities. Remember when I mentioned that a black bear woke up from his winter slumber a couple of weeks ago and treed a guy at a local park? Well, heeeessss baaaaackkkk! And he has not been a good boy. Seems he's been hanging out in the park and chasing the cross country skiers. Then he REALLY crossed the line. On Wednesday morning, he got onto a porch outside someones bedroom window and peeked into their bedroom. That's not the worst of it. He then proceeded to nuzzle through an empty case of Budweiser Select that was sitting on the porch. That's where we draw the line, Mister. If there had been beer in that case, he'd have been shot dead right then and there. Luckily for him, it was empty, so they put an APB out on him with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Yes, they plan on shooting him. They won't even attempt to capture and relocate him, because there is just nowhere to put him. If you don't believe me, just ask Rick Sinnott, a biologist with Fish and Game.

"The biggest problem with moving bears out of Anchorage is neither the Kenai, the Mat-Su Valley nor the area across Knik Arm from us wants any of our bears," Sinnott said. "They're chock full of their own bears and they have their own bear problems."

So if anyone out there has some room at their house (and a REALLY big kennel), maybe you can cut a deal with Rick and have him send the bear to you. You know you want him. You can hang out and read Winnie The Pooh stories to each other.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools From Mother Nature!

I think I have used the phrase "You have got to be kidding me!" about 3,000 times this past year alone. I'm afraid I am going to be using it again. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! I walked in to the Commissary to do my thing this morning with partly cloudy skies and the snow melted from the parking lots and sidewalks. By the time I came back out, this is what I saw.
Mother Nature thinks she is so funny! At least by the time I had driven home and put the groceries away, the sun was back out and the skies were blue. April Fools! Jokes over. You got me. Now give us Spring! This is the latest picture of Redoubt. She is still going strong. I have a feeling that if she pulls an April Fools on us, it's not going to be pretty. She is releasing ash and gases, but at a low level. Still cranky. Maybe if Mt. Spurr sent her a nice box of volcanic chocolates, she forget about all this eruption nonsense and relax. (Then I'd start getting more mail again!)