Sunday, February 27, 2011

Playing Paparazzi with Sarah Palin, and the Iron Dog 2011

Yesterday, we went into downtown Fairbanks to get in on some of the Iron Dog 2011 action. Before the Grande Finale, the Tired Iron 2011 (races with antique snow machines, things for the kids to do,etc.) was doing it's thing.

Gabe was so excited to do the Kid-a-Pult. He'd been talking about doing it for a couple of weeks.

We put Sarah in a bucket, but I call her a "dud", because she didn't go very far; they didn't want to give her whiplash, so they didn't pull the band back too much.

After the kids had fun for a while, we realized that we needed to go inside for a bit to warm up (it was near zero in temp), so Phil and the kids went off to get hot chocolate while I went to a nearby favorite store to get some more hats, mittens, etc.

I'd forgotten to put some items in our "warm extras bag". Darnit, where's that matching mitten?!

When we got back to the River, I set up camp on the foot bridge to try to get pictures of the winners of the race as they came in. Sarah Palin's husband, Todd, was racing. As I was standing there, and waiting, the lady next to me started making small talk, and I asked if there had been a Sarah Palin sighting. The lady next to her then said, "I don't know where she is, but she'd better get here!", then looked at us and whispered, "I'm her Mom.". No doubt, it was because of the resemblance and the voice! We talked to her for a small while, and in conversation, after I mentioned the Kate Gosselin episode of "Sarah Palin's Alaska", Mom rolled her eyes and said "What a Loon!".

Now as all this is going on, I text Phillip down below to tell him that the lady next to me was Sarah's Mom. And while we were talking (Mom, the other lady, and I), we saw Sarah's Dad and in a joint effort tried to call out to him and get his attention (for Mom, she wanted him to know where on the bridge she was). I look down a little later at Phillip, and he waves at me and points...he'd been talking to SP's Dad!

You may be thinking "What luck. What are the chances?". At this time in the day, there was a crowd, but it was still small enough. Get it? People began to trickle in as the finish got closer, which was about 1 hr-45 minutes after I first talked to Mom.

To make a long story short, I say goodbye to the two ladies (Mom and the other), and make my way to the finish line and Phillip/Sarah's Dad so that I could take better pics of the finish.

Phillip had a better perspective from where he was, so I figured that I'd get better pictures...of the winners...and of Sarah, who had by then made her appearance. While we were talking to Mom, I think she called Sarah to tell her that she'd better get out to the finish or she'd miss it (I could hear her end of the phone conversation).

So,'s a picture below of the Winners of the Iron Dog 2001 race. And a, kind of long video, of Sarah, Piper Palin, and Todd Palin's team mate's wife waiting for their team to come in 2nd.

All in all, it was quite a fun and interesting day. You can see more pictures of the day, and of course, lots of Mrs. Palin, if you go to the Alaska album in Photo Collections. Oh, and the guy standing behind me said "She's a lot hotter in person.". I have to agree, she is tiny...and quite pretty.

What you are seeing in the video is everyone waiting for the 2nd place team (Todd Palin and team mate) to arrive. We'd been out all day, and I had to take off a glove to operate my camera, so my fingers were really not feeling like normal fingers should; I needed to put my glove back on, and we all needed to get to some place warm.

Friday, February 25, 2011


"May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart."
- Eskimo Proverb

Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sarah wanted to tell... that her Mommy posted some more pics on the Alaska bound album.

PS. Okay, the picture doesn't exactly go with the words, but I had to post it anyway. I don't know where she gets it from. Honestly. Okay, I fib.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The great snowfall of 2011!

We got over 18 inches of snowfall in 48 hours. I think they said that records have been broken.

My neighbor called me yesterday wanting to know if we had a snow blower, because she couldn't get out of her garage. She said that she's never experienced this in all of the time that she's lived in Alaska. Luckily, we have Phil's 4x4 to use for in travel in times like this. Because I'm afraid to try to get my car out of our garage.

I'm about to go outside and get busy with a snow shovel.

Phillip's flights have been canceled for today, because they can't get the aircraft out of the hangars. And he's on Craigslist as I type, looking for a used snow blower.

We have two shovels. I'm just sayin'.

Umm...scratch that. He just bought one, and I'm darn glad for it!

I think that one of the main reasons...

...why we did Science Fair projects in school, is so that we could teach our own kids how to do it when their time came.

Maybe it's the only reason.

Well! In that case, in the words of my husband, "This vicious cycle has to end!".

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The toughest sled dog race in the world... the Yukon Quest. They say that the Iditarod is for sissies.

At the beginning of this week, I had the intentions of spending lots of time in downtown Fairbanks on Saturday watching the mushers come in from their 1,000 mile trek from White Horse, Yukon Territory all the way to the finish. I saw on the calendar of events that there would be an awards banquet on Saturday evening, so I figured that we could see some action at the finish on the Chena River downtown.

Boy, was I mistaken! I told you that I have a lot to learn. And that's what I get for assuming.
They don't all come in at one time, and they definitely don't wait til Saturday to finish. It takes days for them all to arrive.

On Tuesday evening at about 9 pm, I was checking Facebook status' when I noticed on the Yukon Quest's page that they were anticipating who this year's winner would be and they would know in a couple of hours.

I looked at the live tracker on the official website...then over to Phillip and the kids, and said "The first place guy just passed {a location near our house}!". Phillip then asked about the other mushers...We got that crazy look in our eyes (it was a school night)...threw our snowsuits on over our pajamas...and hauled booty over to {the location near our house}.

By the time we got there, there were a two other people waiting, and after some conversation, we learned that the area had been pretty busy earlier with lots of people wanting to see Mr. 1st Place (Dallas Seavey) pass by. We learned that if we waited, we'd see Mr. 3rd Place (Ken Anderson). It was about 11 pm when we finally saw a lone headlight come around the corner of the Chena, and so we went out onto the river (it's frozen solid) to cheer him on.

As we were waiting, the father of #4 had driven over to where we were. He'd just seen his son at the Two Rivers checkpoint. We had a nice conversation with him. He travels from Minnesota for about 3-4 month every year to support his son.

Mr. Anderson (#3) stopped long enough to adjust something on the dogs, and ask if we knew anything about how far behind Brent Sass was (#4). We were able to help him out with some information, and congratulate him on a good race.

My camera died just as I was trying to get a pic; I was only able to get him leaving. He had about 20+ miles to go before he finished.

We got home at about 11:30 PM ( night). But hey, don't judge! It's reason's like this that we love being able to live in different places.

Next year, I'll be more prepared.

We took these pictures earlier today of a musher loading up to go home, and of the tear-down of the finish line.

If you are interested in knowing more about the Yukon Quest, then click on these links:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This is what happens...

...when you throw boiling water into the air at -42 degrees! (we shot this just a few minutes ago)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Frozen landscape.

My friend, Charlaine, took this picture this morning. She was on a nearby hill, looking toward the Alaska Range. Check out the ice fog at -43 degree temps! (Click on the picture itself to get a better view.)

You can see more of her talent by clicking on Simply Charlaine on the blog roll on the right side of this page.

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For the family...

Sarah's really enjoying doing her "tricks" at gymnastics.
I gotta say that she's quite strong.
And she loves finishing with a "Ta-Da!".

Friday, February 11, 2011

A quote for today...

"Be humble for you are made of earth.
Be noble for you are made of stars."

Serbian Proverb

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This morning...

I was at my kitchen window this morning, when I saw movement over the fence and in the neighbor's yard.

I got Phil's attention, and then went outside with my camera....I walked slowly up towards the fence...Phillip says sternly "That's far enough."...and then I shot this video. And then...she saw me and started walking...I didn't want to stick around to see what might happen next.

I ran outside with just a light jacket, and it was also about 8 degrees above zero.

We don't see her very often, so this morning was a real treat for us.

PS. I noticed and realized after a while, that this wasn't the moose that I thought it was. It may have been her baby. I'm not sure that the baby was a female either. I have a lot to learn.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Do you know what it means... miss New Orleans?

(photo taken from the rooftop of the Omni Royal Orleans just before midnight on New Year's Eve, with my Hipstamatic for iphone app)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I think...

...that I owe Alaska an apology.

I realize that in an earlier post, I may have painted a minor dismal picture of the life out here. And for that, I apologize. Especially to those fellow military wives whose husbands have dreams of dragging them out here.

Big, FAT, snowflakes fall as I type. I look out of my window, and I see a postcard come to life before my eyes. I never get tired of the view from my windows, and it would only get better if I lived high on a hill somewhere, so I could see a snowy forest below me (which is really weird, because I'm a "city girl"). I do a daily "track check" in the snow, to see what animals have come to visit recently. And where else can you eat breakfast on a Saturday morning, and look out of your back door to see a moose standing just 15 feet away? I've seen a fox carrying off some small animal for a snack; we have a snowshoe hare living in our yard.

It is quite peaceful out here. The only sound from where I am is a near silence. I check my news apps everyday, and I'm kinda thankful that we are apart from the bad news coming from the Lower 48. Over here, there is not much need to lock your doors (though we do). I feel safe here. There is no traffic, no fuss to get somewhere.

At first, one of the things that annoyed me about moving out here was that there seemed to be no places to shop for the things that we're used to, or that there weren't any good restaurants to eat at. As I've mentioned before, has become a great place to find things, and there are quite a bit of unique specialty shops out here. A major problem to me was that there was nothing to do! I came from the Austin area, where if you were bored, then you had a problem. The new way of life out here has forced me to look at things from a different perspective, and to use my creativity more. As far as the restaurants, well, I can only think of one nice chain eatery here, but we tend to favor going to the local places. We have our favorites; lots of them. When it comes to choosing a Thai or Asian place to eat, we've got lots of DELICIOUS choices, and the Italian, Greek, and Mexican places are really good as well.

Still, I had to laugh this morning when I went into Gabe's room to wake him. He was talking in his sleep, and asking his school teacher where the Olive Garden was!

We do have to deal with such things as extreme cold, snow, critters in the woods, the whole day light/night time thing. Really though, a person just adapts. I'm all cozy and warm in my house right now. Driving in the snow is like driving on gravel (I've learned to pull out and stop slowly). And yes, I do worry about what will happen in the spring, when our neighborhood moose and her new baby will be out looking for food; it's a dangerous thing to come between them. But, all I can do is teach the kids to be aware, and to always make some sort of noise (as Gabe walks through the woods on his way home from school) so as not to sneak up on them. But really, it's kinda a unique thing to have to worry about. Don't ya think?

The people out here are also really wonderful people. The majority are so helpful and welcoming. I say this, because there are a few that like to keep to themselves (mostly the natives or long-timers). Everyone, I can truly say, is GENUINE. And I like that.

I can also say that I'm happy to live, and raise children, in a place that people sometimes save up for their whole lives to see. I mean, this is the Last Frontier and it certainly feels that way. Summer time is approaching, and the cruise line tour buses will soon be out (and then we'll have to fight a tourist for a space in line for a cookie from The Fudge Pot).

I've realized that I've become a bit of a different person since I've been here. The very things that depressed me and had me wanting to run South when we got here, are the same things that I'm going to miss when I leave (I didn't want to mention my negative thoughts to any of my fellow military wives, because I wanted to give it a fair chance first). Always looking for something to do, I've slowed down a bit. I can go days without feeling the need to leave the house now. I read more. I cook more. I exercise more. I've learned that I don't need my husband to teach me how to survive my first winter here; I did it all by myself.

They say it takes up to a year to see if how you really feel about Alaska (and to get over the initial culture shock); it took me 3-6 months.

Overall, I like it here. Not enough to retire here, but enough to look back on this experience with fond memories.

And to my Husband's and Brother's disbelief, I'm a little excited about the snow that will have to be shoveled (I like doing it) after we're done with this latest shower...

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