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, January 18, 2009

January 2009 photos

Momma and baby moose across the road from my work. Photographed from my office.

Snow and hoar frosted trees across the street from our home.

Closeup of tree by our home.
Moose in the field across the road from work. Photographed from my office.

Our tiny Christmas tree. We had 4 ornaments on it, as we left our big tree and ornaments back in Iowa.
Be sure to read below for text also posted today~

Life is Complicated

Okay, I realize my title isn't anything you haven't heard before or didn't know. Rather it's something that I've recently too many ways recently. I'm one that easily goes with the flow when it comes to change, however could do with a bit less than I'm experiencing these days.

All of you have no doubt heard about the temperatures in Alaska. We had a good two weeks (if not more) of -40 F temperatures or below. Once the cold snap ended, our temps were +40 to +50 F for several days. It was amazing how quickly the landscape changed. Since our first snowfall in late September all the trees have been coated in show, and for the past month or so, accented with heavy hoar frost. On a recent warm day I went into a meeting one afternoon and when I came out of the meeting I was shocked to see that all of the trees and bushes were bare! It was such a transformation that I actually gasped upon seeing the change. Suddenly it came to me the most dramatic difference in the winter landscape in Iowa and Alaska. In Iowa the trees are rarely cloaked in snow, as the wind usually blows it off shortly after it's fallen, leaving the trees in all their bareness. Until today's snowfall, Alaska resembled winter in Iowa, with the ground snow covered contrasted by the dark trees and bushes.

I appreciated the break in the weather as all the ice on our vehicles melted and I was able to get the snow caked floor mats cleaned.

Speaking of snow, today was the first day we had snow in 2009. On the other hand, Iowa has been experiencing more than it's share of snow, with one friend commenting she has no more places to pile her shoveled snow. They have also been experiencing record low temps. To that I say, I love wintering in Alaska!

Other changes that have occurred are a bit more complicated than the weather. I keep trying to convince myself that they are changeable, unlike my power over the weather, however, it doesn't feel that way at the present.

My video/still camera remains powerless. I've tweaked it every way possible (different battery, charged it, kept if off charger for several days, cooled it down, warmed it up) and still nothing. I found the next model up of the Sony camera I own so purchased it Friday evening. I have a small still digital camera that I've been using, which I don't find nearly as comfortable, and, frankly, frustrates me. I got the camera home, began looking at the manual, and found that it is a video only camera. That was a waste of time. I remedied that by returning it to the store the next day. I've decided to send my broken Sony camera to Sony. If they can repair it for me I'll be charged, if they can't, I owe them nothing. With our minimal living here in Alaska I didn't have a box, so cut the top lid off of a Pizza Hut box and configured it to fit the camera. I hope to mail it off tomorrow and should hear back in 7-10 days if it can be repaired. I'd like you to do me a favor, if you the prayer chain, please! Okay, now I'm showing the impact of this broken camera has inhibited my photography.

In my lost blog I told you that I'd purchased a memory chip for it so I could download photographs from my cell phone and post them here, but my laptop didn't recognize the them. I decided to shut my laptop off and reboot. Which I did. My laptop rebooted (unsuccessfully) for six hours last Sunday. I gave it a one week break, and tried it again today with no success. (Persistent, aren't I?) I was able to get a sheet that shows where the errors are, so I hand wrote all those down and will be contacting our landlord whose occupation is a computer repairperson.

With the laptop on the blink I tried to get the desktop computer hasn't recognized the keyboard or mouse for some time. See what I mean....everything seems to be giving me fits recently! I was able to get the keyboard and mouse working, however it indicates memory card error with the cell phone memory chip. I had troubles installing the last print cartridge a while back, so we aren't doing much printing. I'll save that frustrating task for another day. I can't get the volume to work on it, either. That isn't such a big deal, but if you've ever tried to watch any video without sound, well, let's just say that's rather pointless.

On the positive side, I was able to get the desktop to recognize the memory card from the small digital camera, and plan on posting some photos from it here. On the negative side, I don't have the same photo editing software on the desktop as I used on the laptop and find myself challenged to brighten and crop photos.

The other night on my way home from work I came around the corner and right next to the road stood a mother moose and her baby munching away on the trees. I had my camera in my briefcase, so rapidly pulled over to the side of the road, threw my van into park, turned on my emergency flashers and grabbed for my camera. Wouldn't you know, that suddenly some bright, colored lights were flashing all around and a big 'ol spotlight was shining inside my vehicle. Great - a cop! My first thought was am I doing something illegal? Figuring I was, I shut off my emergency flashers and began to creep ahead, all the while looking out the window at the moose. What a PERFECT shot I was giving up. The policeman pulled up next to me, rolled down his window, and hollered 'you aren't having car trouble, are you?' at which point both moose bolted into the trees. Exasperated I informed the police that I wasn't having car problems, and off he went. So much for that photo op. My apologies to all of you.

I feel a need to also apologize for the format of my recent posts. You will have to trust me that I have placed paragraph breaks between paragraphs, since none have been showing. I've tried everything possible to correct this, but, obviously, haven't found the solution. I am going to post photos separate from this post and see if that makes a difference. (Post Note - I tried posting the photos separately, and it worked fine, and this appears to show paragraph breaks. Success!)

Last night Nate and I attended a birthday party for Clarence, a co-worker of ours. Clarence is an excellent musician and performed with several of his buddies. They performed at Pike's Landing, a place that is familiar to a lot of tourists. He looked so nice in his suit and tie. It continues to amaze me that people like him who live in dry cabins (no running water) can look so nice. Guess it's all in perception and adaptation, kind of like the pizza box converted to mailer. I am okay with improvising on the box, but draw the line when it comes to running water.

Thanks to all of you who have been sending e-mails to us. It's so good to reconnect with our loved ones back in the Midwest.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

OK Christmas & websites of interest

Grandpa Skeeter and Alexis
Almost all of the family:
Sam, Marla, Sally, Mike, Skeeter, Marcia
Jill and Judah (Stephen, Charissa and Alexis just happen to be in the small photo to the right of Sam.

Here are a couple more photos from the Christma trip to Oklahoma.
I continue to be plighted by camera difficulties. I bought a memory card for my cell phone and took quite a few photos with it, and now when I insert the memory card into my laptop it isn't recognized. hmm
There has been a LOT of ice fog in Fairbanks this past week, as well as cold temps -40's. Nate and I have decided to delete the minus or below when we talk about the temperature. Saying that with the temperature makes it seem all that much colder.
I have hoped all week that the ice fog would lift. I'm told that it goes along with the cold temps and the vehicle exhaust and chimney smoke, etc., and once the temp warms up it will lift. Driving in the ice fog, in my opinion, is very dangerous, as the roads are frequently glazed by invisible ice, as well as vehicle exhaust lingers in the air, often blocking one's addition to the reduced visibility due to the ice fog.
Our cars have also "collected" ice fog on them. It resembles very, very fine powder. Windshield wipers don't remove it, it needs to be brushed off.
Our bodies are doing okay with the weather - probably because we spend most of the time indoors. Our vehicles, on the other hand, seem to have noticed the colder temps. Daily we have square tires to deal with, in addition to various other maladies, including brick hard seats, doors that don't want to open or shut easily, squeals from the engine before actually starting, sliding side doors not sliding, etc. It's actually kind of amusing to see what will be different each day.
Nate and I will be going for dinner shortly at The Turtle Club in nearby Fox, so I will give you some websites of interest you may enjoy.
Web cam at Barrow, Alaska - way, way north of us. I hope to visit there some day
Check out this energentic dog. Not sure the location where it was filmed, but definitely amazing.
Info regarding the road to Barrow.
Weather webcam in Fairbanks
What's there to do in Fairbanks? Check it out below~
And the most hilarious Christmas Wish Video I've ever seen

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Iowa Vacation

Great Grandpa Skeeter, 81, and Avery, 5 months.

Justin dodging Brittany's fire after extinguishing altar candles.

Rear of Boys and Girls Home and Family Services, Sioux City, Iowa.

View to the north of Boys and Girls Home and Family Services, Sioux City, Iowa.

Windmill towers which generate electricity.


Nate, his daughter, and granddaughter.

Christmas decor in Nate's daughter's new home.

Boys and Girls Home of Nebraska @ South Sioux City.

My son's hockey game.


Bumper crop of corn in Iowa.

The weather this weekend is brutally cold, so we spent all day today (as well as New Year's Day) snug and warm at home. Further, with only about 4 hours of daylight (which hasn't been very light recently due to the ice fog) we find we can stay home and be very content.When purchasing groceries earlier this week I bought a 17 lb. turkey which I baked today. Gave us a nice meal, lots of leftovers as well as several hours of heat which kept us toasty today. One of my missions for this weekend was to see if I could get the video/still camera to work. I've kept it plugged in all week, checking several times daily to see if the battery has charged or if it is working off of electricity. Nothing.

Another mission was to see if I could get the photos on the memory stick onto my computer. Well, I had success with that, as you can see.