After spending 54 years from birth to 2008 living in Iowa I was presented with an opportunity to live in Fairbanks, Alaska. My blog is a diary of the adventure to get to Alaska, day to day life in Alaska, as well as facts for loved ones left behind in the Lower 48. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holidays = Holidaze

Forgive me for not posting for over a month. I was busy getting things lined up for a ten day visit back to Iowa for a between-the-holidays visit. We were able to get one Alaska Arlines ticket for regular price and a companion fare for $50 and figured it would do us well to take advantage of the savings.

We took a taxi the 4 miles from our home to the airport on December 2 at 10:30 p.m. for the pricey sum of $21.75 (yikes!) to catch our flight through Seattle and on to Minneapolis where we rented a car and drove to my parents farm (where I grew up and my dad was born) near Lake Park, Iowa.

The next weeks were spent putting many, many miles on the rental car, traveling from Lake Park to Sioux City to Lake Park to Sioux City, to Des Moines to Sioux City. We were able to take in several annual holiday events including the annual Sioux City Boys and Girls Home Christmas party at Buffalo Alice's, Christmas party and children's Christmas pageant at our home church, Trimble United Methodist Church, as well as traveling to Grace Corner for her holiday open house in her new Bed and Breakfast. We didn't tell a lot of people we would be coming back to Iowa, as we didn't want people to feel obligated about seeing us. Needless to say there were a lot of folks surprised to see us.

We stopped at our house in Sioux City to see how we felt being in it. Diane has it decorated with a combination of her and our items creating a homey atmosphere. We visited with her at the kitchen table for probably an hour, and I found myself feeling pressured. Pressured that I should be doing something, as that was my normal mode while living in that house. It made me realize that in Alaska I live a much, much more relaxed lifestyle, totally non-pressured.

Nathan returned the rental car to Minneapolis and flew home Dec. 15. My parents had planned on my son, Sam, driving them to Tulsa, Oklahoma to visit my one and only sibling, Marla, for Christmas and expressed how nice it would be for me to accompany them. Thus I purchased a return flight home for December 26 from Tulsa and extended my stay. So much for the saving on air fare for the trip. Also so much for the guaranteed white Christmas I had been expecting to spend in Alaska.

After Nate left for Alaksa I spent more time between Lake Park and Sioux City, as well as traveling to Storm Lake to Santa's Castle. It is chock full of animated displays and oh so magical. Back in the 1980's we took Sam and Camilla to the Castle, so it holds memories for me. Brittany had never seen Santa's Castle, nor had her mom, Anna, mom's fancee Jonathan, or Jonathan's mom, Nancy, so we piled into my rental PT Cruiser and made the trip. In true child fashion Brittany made a quick trip through the Castle. I asked her who would be accompanying her through for her repeat walk-through, and one by one she chose each of us. She made a total of 5 trips through the Castle and I'm sure saw something different on each trip.

Nancy bought me a "No Place Like Home" Christmas ornament goes along very nicely with our two ornaments on our tree. We purchased a gold Alaska ornament and a tiny pair of moose hide mittens trimmed with fur created by a crafter from North Pole, Alaska. Prior to having those we put a photo of Nate's granddaughter, Allysa, on our 3' rummage sale find Christmas tree. Another reason we like it so well is that it was the right size to fit into our luggage (small).

We were very excited to see Gary and Shari's new home near Des Moines, Iowa in a new housing project in the country. They posted construction photos on a website, so it was fun to see the finished product. It is a very, very nice home. We are both happy for them and Allysa to have such a nice home to enjoy. We don't get to see them often, so cherish the time we do spend with them. I am fairly new to the family (6 years) yet feel totally comfortable whenever we're together. I appreciate them making me feel so welcomed.

They gave us a book that was as if it was hand selected just for me. Well, okay, it was; my point is there isn't a more perfect book they could have chosen. It's Dewey The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron. Dewey looks so much like our cat Peaches, that we left with Nancy in Sioux City. The library where Dewey lived was Spencer, Iowa, only 40 some miles from where I grew up and where we often shopped. I carried the book with me throughout my long journey back to Fairbanks and enjoyed reading it. I was really delighted to see a display of best sellers at the Hudson store in O'Hare Airport in Chicago which included Dewey. How cool is that?

I was able to enjoy watching Sam play 3 hockey games in Sioux City at the IBP Ice Arena and one in Sioux Center, Iowa. The Sioux Center arena had a total of three observers in the stands, and Sam's team wasn't the winning team, however I enjoyed watching him (and cleaning out my purse during breaks between periods). When we left Sioux Center several inches of snow had fallen and the wind was blowing a gale. Fortunately we had Sam's 4-wheel drive pick-up to trudge through the 8" of snow on the highways back to Sioux City. He did a great job keeping us on the road even though frequently we couldn't see any lines on the highway. He averaged 20-40 mph, so we didn't break any speed records, but he does get my nod for safety.

The weather while we were in Iowa was typical Iowa. It got down to zero, even a little below, snowed frequently, as much as 7" in one snowfall, and the wind blew as if it were making some sort of statement. I read that statement to be 'I'd rather be experiencing a Fairbanks, Alaska winter'.

Monday, Dec. 22 I was able to visit Ed Brown, former Sunday School co-teacher of mine at Trimble, in the hospital, and Damon and Amy's newborn baby, Parker James, and his pre-school aged siblings, Carson and Kenzie. Around 2 p.m. mom and dad met Sam and I and we were off to Tulsa.

We sent December 23-26 in Tulsa where the breezes blew and the temperatures warmed. We were blessed to spend our time with my sister and her husband, Mike; their son and his family, Stephen, Charissa, Alexis age 6 and Avery 5 months who live in Tulsa; and their daughter and husband, Jill and Judah, from New York City. Christmas day we spent with Charissa's father and Mike's parents. A few years back Marla and Mike added on to their home, creating the perfect place for our family to spread out and enjoy the holiday.

Friday, December 26 when I left Tulsa it was in the mid 70's. Due to weather creating air traffic snarls in Chicago my planned 2 p.m. departure left Tulsa at 4:30 p.m. This, of course, caused me to miss my connecting flight in Chicago. I spent a few hours in the Chicago Airport before traveling on to Seattle where I had a layover from 1 am - 6 am. Prior to leaving Chicago airport personnel set out about 200 cots for travelers. These cots were 2-3" apart (max) from each other and I wondered how in the world anyone would get up and walk between them should the need (bathroom) arise. I secretly hoped tho, that Seattle would have some kind of cot set-up.

Seattle airport was quiet and cot-less. I slept most of the flight from Chicago to Seattle so stayed awake and read and did some people watching.

Seattle flight took me to Anchorage where I had a short layover, then (finally) on to Fairbanks.

I arrived home to my beloved husband some 24 hours and 100 degree temperature difference from when I left Tulsa.

Fairbanks looks as beautiful as I recall, maybe even moreso. Nate and I have decided that we know the temps are in the minus region, but to make us feel "warmer" we won't refer to it as minus, rather now the temp is 36. Check out the News Miner web cam at for what Fairbanks looks like.

I believe I've gotten caught up with my sleep as I slept from 4 p.m. Saturday - 7 a.m. Sunday and again 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. today. It will feel really strange to wake up to an alarm tomorrow morning and not see the sun until around 10 a.m. after having spent so much time in 10 hours of daylight per day rather than 5 hours of daylight as is the case in Alaska now. One good thing...the days have begun to get longer, by about 2 minutes per day, and will continue to do so until June 21.

You probably notice that there aren't any photos with this posting. Well, folks, I have some technical problems going on now, which seem to be complicating as the days go by. Here's the brief synopsis:
1. The day we left Fairbanks I put a water bottle in my briefcase.
2. Upon arriving at home I noticed the water bottle had leaked in my briefcase onto my video/still camera.
3. I did everything possible to dry out the camera which obviously wasn't working.
4. Checked the camera every possible chance on the flight home and it had begun working again. Yippee!!!!
5. Took over 700 photos on the camera through December 24.
6. December 25 the camera was totally dead...and wouldn't charge (and remains that way).
7. Decided today to look at the photos I took which are on my camera's memory stick. When I insert the Card Reader my computer doesn't register that it's been inserted.

Therefore no photos today. Possibly in the near future things will change.

I'm still trying to readjust to being home and mentally preparing for going back to work tomorrow. Never in my adult life have I been on vacation for 22 consecutive days. I am so appreciative to Letha and Blanche for their extra efforts in taking care of job duties, for Carla approving my leave extension and for Boys and Girls Home my vacation benefits.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Alaska Mtn Range as seen from Camilla's office.

Dogsled taking a ride (sans dogs)
Nathan and I assisted timing a skijoring competition.

Fairbanks Ice Dogs - Look fierce, huh?

Rounding the last curve, heading to the finish line....and I'm ready with the stop watch.

Skijorers had one, two, or three dogs. We assumed they'd all be huskies, however none were huskies. They were all breeds and all yippy before the competition.

The ceiling of the ice arena is mirrored - permitting visibility of areas that might otherwise be blocked. Pretty cool, huh? (Yes, pun intended.)

Pickup with dog kennels used for transporting skijoring dogs.

A beautiful drive down the highway.

The trees and bushes have been very frosty - and gorgeous.

The view out of my office window. There's never any wind of any strength, so smoke goes nearly straight up. Yup - just like pictures of Alaska of smoke coming out of chimneys.

Sunset over Denali as viewed from my office window. Had to put this one in to make my sister really, really jealous :-)
We're continuing to enjoy Fairbanks and all it has to offer. The snow is like no other I've regularly seen before. When it comes down it is all sparkly, and it stays sparkly. The weather never gets warm enough to melt the snow, which apparently results in it continuing to sparkle.
Further the frost and snow on trees (and everywhere else for that matter) never melts either, making them look so picturesque day in and day out. Small rock is used on the roads for better traction (no salt). The fact that the snow alongside the roads and streets doesn't melt keeps it continually clean.
The thermometer has headed down, with this morning being around -20 F. Again, there isn't any wind, so it didn't really feel that cold. I didn't wear anything on my head (no hat) to work and back and my head stayed perfectly warm. I do notice that more and more co-workers are plugging their cars in at work. Previously it was only those of us from the lower 48 that were plugging in.
We enjoyed volunteering for the skijoring competition. It gave me a chance to wear my Alaska gear (big klunky, warm boots, Columbia jacket, thick gloves, and gator I made) and even though it was 10 degrees, + 10 that is, it wasn't cold at all. The most uncomfortable thing was going indoors to receive instructions and our glasses fogging over to the point we were blinded and being so bundled up it was nearly impossible to take them off!
The photo above of Nate and a bear were taken at the University of Alaska museum. I attended a film there one evening that pertained to subsistence living. It was interesting to see how hard those people work to eat and make a living.
I have taken over 1100 photos since leaving Sioux City in July. Today marks 4 months since I arrived in Fairbanks. Hard to believe it's been that long. Things have really changed, too, as when we first arrived we had about 2 hours of dark, and now we have about 18 hours of darkness. It seems odd to be going to work in the dark and for the sun to go down before 4 p.m. Not that I'm getting anxious, but the other night I took a look of weather records on the internet the other night and saw that on my April 23 birthday I can expect the sun to come up at 4:45 a.m. and set at 9 p.m.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Alaska Living November 6, 2008

Sunset view from my office.

Alaska couple enjoying life. I think her pigtail braids are cute, Nate admires the gentleman's ponytail.

Sunrise as viewed from the office.

Frosty view over Chena River.

These photos were taken in Fairbanks on a 10 degree F afternoon. All are of the Chena River or Pioneer Park.

Cabin in Pioneer Park.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

International Dance Festival

Last Saturday an International Dance Festival was held in Fairbanks at Pioneer Park (formerly Alaskaland). These photos are from the event.

This photo is of a lady who attends Camilla and Brian's church with her two adopted daughters. I think it is so cool that the mother is wearing clothing from her daughter's native country.

Sunny and snowy outdoors.

This is a group of the participants from various countries.

This is only part of a beautiful mural painted on the wall behind the stage.

Alaska natives. The girls are wearing kuspuks. The receptionist at our facility, Letha, sews beautiful kuspuks and sells them at native events.

Like mother like daughter.

This is a photo of an elderly native and a tiny, young native. The little boy didn't miss a step in following the older gentleman around and around and around.

The lady on the left is wearing garb made from deerskin. Her beads are all handmade too.

Russian dancers


BGH now a tourist attraction?

Today I was running the switchboard when one of our younger clients came wandering into the waiting area. Several new staff were relaxing during a break by the fireplace. The young lad walked up to them and asked 'are you tourists?'

We adults were amused by the thought of it...Boys and Girls Home becoming a tourist attraction. After spending a few hours (okay minutes) observing some of the client's shenanigans most tourists would be joyful at the thought of returning to their peaceful homes.

To my fellow BGH employees who work in the Lower 48 and are reading my blog I'm sure you can understand the humor I found in this.

On another positive note, I've been transcribing the psychiatrist's visit notes with our clients. The other day one progress note in particular brought me to tears. He reported that one of our clients received her GED. This is no small accomplishment for those without all the barriers and baggage of our clients, and to think that this young lady met her educational goal was very touching. We will be hosting a graduation ceremony and celebration for her in hopes that others will be motivated to achieve their goals and to give her the recognition due to her.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

60-inch - Moose Musings

Moose hunting is something quite foreign to this Iowa native and perhaps to you as well. Here are several newspaper articles about the 60-inch club - hunters that scored moose with 60 +" antlers this year. After reading these articles I think you'll agree with me that moose hunting and harvesting is a LOT of hard work.

Click on the links that all begin "60-Inch Club" to read details in the News Miner.

60-Inch Club — Jeff Johnson, North Pole
Jeff Johnson was sitting on top of an Argo, munching on a ham and cheese sandwich, when he spotted the big bull.

60-inch Club — Jason Chalstrom, Fairbanks
By Tim Mowry
The bull, accompanied by two cows, was standing in the first “honey hole” that Jason Chalstrom and his hunting partners — his father, Bill, and friend Saul Williams — checked.

60-Inch Club — Mike Childs, North Pole
By Tim Mowry
As soon as he saw it, “I could tell instantly it was something special,” North Pole’s Mike Childs said of the 62-inch bull moose he shot on Sept. 4 on the Tanana Flats.

60-Inch Club — Chris and Pete Pemberton, Two Rivers
Brothers Chris and Pete Pemberton make a point of hunting until the last possible moment.

60-Inch Club — Jack Green
Jack Green, a 15-year-old sophomore at Galena High School, has killed more moose than a lot of men two, three and even four times his age.

60-Inch Club — Jason Donahue
By Tim Mowry
Jason Donahue was “just walking and looking, checking every stream, every pond, every lake” when he ran into a 60-inch bull moose about 3 1/2 miles off the Elliott Highway north of Fairbanks.

60-Inch Club — Arnold Marks Jr., Tanana
By Tim Mowry
“Every year my brother, Aaron, and I see all the big moose in the 60-Inch Club, and we were beginning to think that we would never bag one big enough to be in it,” Arnold Marks Jr. wrote in an e-mail. “In years past we walked all over the country searching for ‘Goliath,’ as we called it, but we were never lucky enough to get a really big one. We always shoot the first bull that gives itself to us, but this year we were extremely fortunate.

60-Inch Club — Kory Eberhardt, Fairbanks
Kory Eberhardt and his uncle, Bruce Maroney, were paddling a canoe around a lake looking for moose when they heard a gunshot from the other side of the lake.

60-Inch Club — Matt Ellingson, North Pole, and Clark Klimaschesky, Fairbanks
By Tim Mowry
Clark Klimaschesky and Matt Ellingson have had their sights set on joining the 60-Inch Club ever since Klimaschesky’s wife, Joni, and brother, Mark, made it into the club in 2001.

60-inch Club — Jay Hildebrand, Fairbanks
By Tim Mowry
When the giant moose he had just shot from 50 feet away jumped in a slough and started swimming, Jay Hildebrand wasn’t worried.

60-inch Club — Caleb Humphrey, Fairbanks
By Tim Mowry
Considering that Caleb Humphrey went to the Brooks Range to hunt caribou more than moose, he fared pretty well.

60-inch Club — Seth Marley, Fairbanks
By Tim Mowry
Steve Marley was setting his cross hairs on a bull moose that had a harem of six cows and an antler spread he estimated at close to 70 inches when “all hell broke loose.”

60-inch Club — John Rothweiler, Fairbanks
By Tim Mowry
As soon as he heard the grunt, John Rothweiler knew he was going to be eating moose meat this winter.

60-inch Club — Chris Tolliver, North Pole
By Tim Mowry
“I was hunting south of Fairbanks on a strip that a friend dropped me off on,” Tolliver wrote in an e-mail.

60-inch Club — Simon Suchland, North Pole
By Tim Mowry
After taking time off from the University of Alaska Fairbanks to go on a 17-day hunting trip on the Kelly River in the Brooks Range, Simon Suchland won’t mind if he graduates a little late.

60-Inch Club — Aaron Kremer, Two Rivers
By Tim Mowry
After setting up a spike camp about a mile off the Nowitna River, Aaron Kremer took a nap to get out of the rain. He was reading a book when he heard a “soft grunt” outside his one-man tent.

60-Inch Club — Gerald and Josiah James, Fort Yukon
After Rourke Williams told Gerald James that he had seen a big bull moose about 20 miles upriver from Fort Yukon as he flew into the village, James decided to check it out with his 13-year-old son, Josiah.

60-Inch Club — Blain Morris, Nenana
With two bull moose in the mid-50-inch range answering his calls and moving toward the tree stand he was sharing with his father, all Blain Morris had to do was wait for one to get close enough to shoot.

60-inch Club — Nicole Bifelt, Huslia
By Tim Mowry
After coming up a few inches shy of the 60-Inch Club last year, Nicole Bifelt more than made the cut this year as the lone female representative in the club.

60 inch Club — Rodney Pangborn, Salcha
By Tim Mowry
After winning moose-calling competitions in Salcha and Fairbanks this summer, Rodney Pangborn had a reputation to live up to.

60 inch Club — Brant Finstad, Fairbanks
By Tim Mowry
The big bull “just appeared,” said Brant Finstad.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Salcha Homeowner Killls Three Marauding Grizzlies

Here's a couple of pictures and an article from today's newspaper - Salcha is about 45 miles from Fairbanks. Be sure to click on the photos for a larger view.

FAIRBANKS — A family of three grizzly bears that broke into a garage and raided a freezer at a home in Salcha earlier this week was shot and killed Thursday night by the homeowner after they evidently returned for another meal and the sow charged the man.

“They chased me into my house,” Brandon Mattzela said by phone Friday morning. “That was beyond my scope of live and let live.”

Unbeknownst to Mattzela, the bears — a sow with two yearling cubs — were at his house when he returned home from a trip to town at about 9 p.m. The two cubs were in the garage, and the sow was in a feed shed on Mattzela’s property.

A motion light on the garage was off when he arrived home, leading Mattzela to believe the cubs had been in the garage for a while, and were possibly even sleeping while the sow rummaged through his feed shed.

“I think what happened is I got between her and the cubs, and I didn’t realize it,” he said.
Mattzela was in the back of his Ford Ranger pickup, which he had backed up to his porch to unload a fuel tank, when he heard the sow coming toward him.

“I heard the crunching of the snow, and she was woofing,” said Mattzela, a 29-year-old concrete cutter.

If it hadn’t been for the F-150 parked in the yard between Mattzela and the bear, he might not have made into the house, he said.

“She hit the truck, and I could see the truck move,” Mattzela said. “I heard this thump, and then she came screaming around it.

“By the time I had my hand on the door, she was 10 feet away,” he said.

Once he was inside, the sow started pacing back and forth in front of the porch, woofing and growling, Mattzela said.

“She was staring at the front door, pacing back and forth, making a lot of noise,” Mattzela said. “She came up to the porch a couple times and put her paws on it and pushed on it.”
At that point, Mattzela grabbed a .300 Winchester magnum rifle, went upstairs and shot the sow through his bedroom window.

The full moon and a light amplifier on his scope allowed him to get a good shot, he said. After he shot the sow, the two cubs ran to their dead mother and he shot them, too.

“I didn’t like shooting the cubs,” Mattzela said. “I feel bad about it, but it had to be done.”
Department of Fish and Game spokeswoman Cathie Harms wasn’t surprised when Mattzela called her Friday to report the shootings.

She called it an “unfortunate situation” but one that was justified and probably inevitable, given the bears’ increasingly bold behavior.

“It’s gone beyond getting into buildings and freezers,” she said. “He was charged by the sow, and the (cubs) were large enough to present a danger.

“It’s clearly a defense of life and property shooting,” Harms said after talking to Mattzela.
There was no doubt in Mattzela’s mind that he was defending himself.

“You can’t be in your own home and think something is going to break down the door and eat you,” said Mattzela, who measured the sow at about 6 feet. “(The sow) was overly aggressive. I’ve been toe to toe with bears before, and that one scared the crap out of me. My heart was in my throat for about two hours after that.”

Not only were the cubs too young to survive on their own, Harms said the young bears had been taught by their mother how to forage for food around homes, which almost always leads to problems.

“These guys learned some very bad habits,” Harms said of all three bears. “None of our research has shown you can untrain a bear once they’ve learned these kinds of habits.”

The bears had been raising a ruckus in the rural neighborhood 35 miles south of Fairbanks for more than two weeks. State wildlife biologists with the Department of Fish and Game set a trap for the bears last week after the bears pounded on the door of another home about 4 miles up the road from where Mattzela lives.

The bears triggered the trap twice without getting caught.

Mattzela first noticed their tracks at his house Tuesday. On Wednesday, they returned to break into his garage and rip the top off a chest freezer, helping themselves to a buffet of frozen salmon, moose and caribou.

Mattzela caught the bears in the act when he let his dog out at 5 a.m.

The dog, a basset hound named Pike, ran out and confronted the bears, prompting the sow to swat at him. Mattzela shot at the bears with a .44-caliber handgun, but said he didn’t think he hit them because he was worried about shooting his dog, which escaped unscathed.

The bears broke down the door to the garage that Mattzela had rebuilt after they got into his garage Wednesday, causing what he estimated is about $1,000 in damage.

“They went straight through the rebuilt door,” he said. “I’ve been dealing with bears all my life, and I thought I had it barred up pretty good.”

The hides of the bears will be salvaged and used for educational purposes or sold at the Department of Fish and Game’s annual spring hide, horn and antler auction for animals killed in defense of life and property or killed illegally, Harms said.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Winter's Arrival

Sending I Love You's to all my blog readers. Wearing my 100% real rabbit trooper's hat that was Made in China (where else?) The coat was purchased a year ago in Sioux City. It fits in perfectly with Alaskan fashions (if you can call it that).
A decal in the back of a pick-up window depicting Alaska (center) and snowmachiners with 907 - the sole Alaska area code.

Snow covered trees along the expressway.

The street we live on...we live by the 1st and 2nd electric pole. Snow removal equipment is scarcely seen. Streets have no curb/gutters and most neighborhoods no sidewalks. Small rock (no salt) i used on major roadways when needed-nearly guaranteeing broken windshields we're told.

The front of our house. The left portion is our living/dining area. The front part is an arctic entry. Basically one door on the outside...step in 4' to another door to the inside.

Lutheran Church we visited today. Interesting picture on the wall as well as pulpit, candleholders, etc.

Snow covered trees by the Fairbanks library. Guess you could call these government trees if you'd like.

The back of our house. To the right (back door "wall" is our kitchen, the window is to our bedroom and to the left of bedroom is the bathroom. Oh yeah, and our $23 snow shovel we purchased at Sam's Club.

Snow piled on top of trash container.

Nate waving hi next to his vehicle parked in our yard.

Not only are we IN Alaska, Alaska promotes Alaska. Familiar sites are Alaska Made sweatshirts, Alaska girls kick butt and Alaska Girls - Attitude is everything. They strongly support Alaska grown vegetables in the summer too. Alaskans are proud, yet humble.

We received snow last weekend which melted Friday and Saturday, only to wake up to more snow this morning. I'm guessing we received probably 4-5 inches. With no wind here the snow falls straight down. It makes it much brighter outdoors - something I'm sure we will appreciate during the shortened daylight hours over the next few months.

I've been browsing some websites and came across a neat one which provides a web cam which records the overnight sky, providing a view of the aurora borealis (northern lights). According to the forecast, we have a very good chance of seeing northern lights October 12 and 13. If you take a look at the link near the top of the page you can indicate the date of the recording you would like to view. Check it out:
Note: the 20081010 indicates 10-10-2008. That evening the chances of seeing it were predicted as LOW, and you could actually see the northern lights, so I'm looking forward to seeing that October 12 and 13 have in store. Camilla spoke to someone who said if you get close to the northern lights you can hear the energy snapping and popping.
Yesterday was Camilla's 30th birthday. She spent the day with her husband, Brian, then I picked her up and she and I went out for dinner at a Thai restaurant then to a live theater production Omelet, Prince of Danish, a takeoff on Shakespeare's Hamlet written by a couple of local gals. Nate and I went to the production on opening night, Thursday. While he was getting our tickets I struck up a conversation with a young boy, probably 12, sporting a broken arm. He indicated he and his father are the only two people in his family that are not in the play. Him because he didn't want to be, and his dad because he's in Iraq fighting the war. (Heart string tug) His mother, brother and sister were all in it, with his mother playing a large role. I thought what a great way for the mother to keep her kids active and the family together!
When Camilla arrived at the theater Saturday night he recognized us and we again chatted. The people of Fairbanks are so friendly. They live a slower-paced life and dress very casually. I've also noticed that the beauticians and barbers in Fairbanks more than ikely aren't making a lucrative living, as many folks have very simple hairstyles, and many, many men, especially those 50+ have beards. In addition ponytails on men are very common. Therefore Nate fits right in with the beard part. He won't be joining those with ponytails.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Final Fall Photos

Fall has become winter, with snow on the ground, so thought I'd post these final fall photos before sharing our new snow-covered views of Fairbanks.

Brian and Camilla standing in front of their cabin (it's a duplex).
The view across the road from Brian and Camilla's cabin.

Above: interior of Brian and Camilla's cabin the day they moved.

Their "facilities"

Here's a photo of Fairbanks I found on the web. We live very close to the A in Alaska. See the mountains near the top of the page? (Remember if you click on the photos they will enlarge.)

Nate and I drove the 15 miles to North Pole, Alaska to Santa's Workshop. Here's a photograph of one of his reindeer.

Approaching train against the colorful birch trees.

A memorial was held for 8 homeless people who died last winter in the elements. One of our finest was there to offer his words of comfort to other homeless, friends of the deceased.
A photograph of some attendees at the memorial service which was held downtown. A committee has been formed to create shelter for the non-sober homeless, as currently those individuals are turned out into the streets. There is a 24-hour shelter for sober homeless.