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.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Alaska Beauty

Look at this HUGE cabbage! We have seen many gardens with cabbages this size.

Beautiful hanging basket of Petunias at Pioneer Park.

Moose like cabbage too.

These baskets of petunias are at least 5' long. They are hanging by the entryway to the local imaging center where I had some medical work performed.

Take a look at the size of this dahlia. Again, we've seen many this size and larger.

I phoned my recently widowed aunt in California, who happens to be nearly blind, and had a nice chat the other day. She mentioned how Uncle Bill would read my blog to her and she would look very closely at the pictures I posted on my blog. Talk about giving me satisfaction at the time I spend on my blog. I promised her more photos, as I have many, many more that I've taken but just didn't get posted (yet). After telling her about some of the beautiful flowers I hadn't yet photographed Nate and I took a little trip around Fairbanks with camera in tow. Figured I'd better get photos soon, as the weather continues to edge down towards freezing.

Actually the weather has gotten cooler, but not drastic. It's about 55 during the daytime and 40-45 in the evenings. The last couple of days the sun has been hidden behind the clouds and we have had some sprinkles. Normally Alaska has very low humidity when the sun is shining. I've noticed that my skin is much drier here than ever before. I also notice the difference in my hair between dry and humid days. Humid days my hair is fluffier. Makes it kind of nice I can change hairstyles without having to really do much to it!

Here's a fun photo Nate took of me at Pioneer Park - my hands and head...the rest is painted on wood. We have been scrounging around for Alaska winter gear and I got lucky at a recent garage sale - got myself a pair of snowpants and a Columbia jacket. Also found a hooded gater which I plan to use as a pattern and make one for Nate, too. Camilla ordered a pair of warm hiking boots, then found a different pair in a local store she likes better so gave me hers. Basically I'm down to needing to find warm gloves and possibly boots for deeper snow. I've looked at mukluks in the local fur shop, but not sure I am ready to spend their asking price just yet.

We will be moving to Brian and Camilla's duplex the first of the week. We stopped by there and dropped some boxes off today, as they have plans to use our stow-n-go mini van to move their larger items tomorrow into their cabin. The van was emptied out until I went to Sears and bought a mattress and box frame this afternoon. I'm feeling kind of smug about the bed purchase. Each year Alaska residents receive dividend money from the oil profits and on the state's investments. This year's payout was a little over $2000. In addition to their PDF (permanent dividend fund) this year each resident also received $1200 for energy. The requirement is that residents must live here for a minimum of one year (Jan 1-Dec 31), so we don't qualify for it this year. I'm not upset about everyone receiving $3200 per person September 15, because I didn't meet the qualifications. However, I did cash in on it - in a round-about way. Sears was having a PDF sale on their mattresses, and I took advantage of that sale :-)

Tomorrow we will get to see Brian and Camilla's cabin for the first time. I'm looking forward to seeing it. Camilla says it's just what they were looking for - it's log and a cabin and has a loft. Something it doesn't have is indoor plumbing or running water. They will need to haul all their water and heat any water they want warm/hot. It does have an outhouse near the cabin, electricity, and is heated (I think the fuel barrell contains fuel oil). I'll be sure to take some photos to post....oh yeah, and to go to the bathroom before we leave!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Autumn in Alaska

Alaska has finally "gotten" to me. I've never used the word before, however when I gaze upon all the gold birch trees the word that repeatedly comes to my lips is STUPENDOUS. Let me know if you agree~ Remember - to see the photo more vividly and larger, double click on the photo.

Mixed Blessings

Wanted to share a few God-inspired moments with you.

Rarely do I come home for lunch, however this past week I did, and upon leaving our apartment there was a pick-up driving slowly outside the door to our "complex". The man in the pick-up asked me if the manager was here, as he was looking for a place to live. The manager wasn't here. Ends up this man was recently discharged from the hospital following surgery and needing housing, preferably on the ground floor. I gave him contact information for our landlord and then invited him in to take a look at our apartment which will be vacated by the end of the month. (don't you all get freaked out thinking I invited this stranger into our apartment...while it's true I did, Nate was home and awake.)

Later that evening I happened to see our landlord outside our apartment (a rarity) and asked him if the man had contacted him. He in fact did, and will be moving into our apartment when we vacate it. Think with me, if you will, about the "coincidence" of me coming home for lunch, him driving by, and our vacating our ground floor apartment all at the right time.

I awoke about 5:40 a.m. Monday morning (too many luxurious naps over the weekend) and was browsing through e-mails. I was in the process of reading an e-mail from my Uncle Bill which he posted about 7:40 p.m. the night prior when I noticed a new e-mail come through. It was from my dad, so I opened it. It was an e-mail informing me that at 1:30 central time Monday morning my dad learned that his only brother passed away of a heart attack.

As my dad expressed in his e-mail to me, he was glad that I insisted that we go to CA to visit in January when Uncle Bill fell and broke his neck. When I learned of your Uncle Bill's broken neck, I told my dad that we needed to pay a visit to California and I wasn't going for a funeral, so the time to go to CA was right then. I am SO glad that we did visit.

Even though the miles between all of us Iowa-California and now Alaska-California have separated us, I always felt a closeness to your Uncle Bill whenever I saw that he was logged into AOL on my buddy list. Seeing his name on my buddy list was my connection to the Lawrences in California. No longer will I have the comfort in knowing that Sweet Old Bill (or SOB as he used to sign his name) is alive and well enough to be on the internet.

Think with me again, of the "coincidence" of my awakening so early in the morning to be reading the last politically charged e-mail received from my alive and well Uncle Bill at the same time my dad logged into the computer and informed me of Uncle Bill's passing and for me to be able to respond immediately to my dad's e-mail about how thankful I, too, was at having insisted my dad and I make the trip to California in January to see Uncle Bill and celebrate Uncle Bill's last birthday (I believe 84) and 60+ wedding anniversary with him, his wife, and my cousins I grew up with in the Midwest.

A few years back I took an intro to internet class at WIT and exchanged e-mail addresses with a few classmates. Alright, this was back when not everyone had an e-mail address and having enough addresses to be able to send e-mails to multiple people was really a big deal. One fella in the class continued to e-mail me and we would send jokes and silly stories back and forth. I don't know what his supply for jokes was, but he had the BEST and non-repeated jokes I ever received, and usually good (read clean) enough that they could be passed on to others. We never discussed personal issues, rather only exchanged stories that made us smile. Imagine my shock when I opened the Sioux City Journal to see his obituary in the newspaper one morning. The connection was gone forever. Even though we exchanged jokes back and forth, we never really connected to the core on a personal level, and I was totally unaware that he was dying of cancer.

It's interesting how the computer age has brought to light new ways of connection and the finality of disconnection. Familiar names disappear from one's buddy and e-mail lists.

On a brighter note, I have been taking pictures of the beautiful fall foilage here in Alaska and hope to post soon.

God bless you. Till we meet again~