Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How to make cleaning fun

The way my girly girls make cleaning fun is by playing dress-up pirates and fairies. The kitties really don't help much.

Let's talk turkey

Wow! I made the best turkey of my life so far! There was no dry white meat, every bite was moist and tender and tasty. We had a lovely free-range, organic bird that we brined overnight. I think I am becoming a total evangelist for brining. It was fantastic. We fed twelve for Thanksgiving; Tom's father, his brother, our friend, Candi, the Burke family, Auntie Sarah and us. The kids had a blast, the adults enjoyed themselves (I think). I feel into bed bone-tired several nights in a row preparing for this big feast.

Wendesday evening we had a spectacular sunset. The tide was out so the contrast between the mudflats and the fiery water was gorgeous. Then, as Zoey and I were going to bed, the aurora borealis came out and gave us a spectacular display. We snuggled at the slider and were amazed.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Airport park

I know, I talk about my little airport park a bit. I am only there about 1/2 hour each week. It is my refuge before having to be hyper-focused on operational issues at work, before I have to answer the phone, talk on the radio, organize large loads, and interface with a bunch of folks who are looking to me for the answers. The park has given me some wonderful respite, allowed me to breathe before I head into a concrete grey warehouse.

A nice hanging lenticular at the top of Denali as viewed from the park.

Me, in uniform leaving the park.

St. Skanky

Tucker is 17 years old, old enough to drive, almost old enough to vote. He is my wonderful earthquake kitty, having lost his mama and finding me in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. He is really showing his age. He's blind and terribly skinny. He sleeps about 23 hours a day. Tom and I worry a bit about him. Skanky has given up almost all his normal pursuits to hang with Tucker in the big chair and keep him warm during this cold snap. We sometimes wonder about Skanky, he's odd, he's not really sure how to be a cat sometimes. We love him all the more for his devotion to Mr. Tucker.

Cooking with Vivi

It helps to have a theatrically inclined big sister who can do stage makeup, but the show was pure Vivi. She wants to care for you and feed you no matter what you want. She is so strong. She is also excellent at giving clear, precise instructions for what she is creating and for how you should eat it.

She put on a few cooking shows this week. She likes to make soup mostly. Hmmm...delicious.


Tom took his Alaska Nordic Racing kids down the powerline last Saturday. I had the holiday off, so Vivi and I made chai for the gang. I think they all had fun. And they came in ready to eat. I guess there was some good skiing and even a little yodeling. Not enough sun, the pass was in shadow. And what gathering is complete without Ben, Ski Sith?

it's been chilly!

So, I've made tortilla soup, chicken soup with wild rice and chai. I also duct taped the sliding door that was leaking like a sieve. Brrrr...... I think tortilla soup may be the most beautiful soup, isn't the contrast between the red and green lovely? Hmmm... and delicious!

This is the chai just before it simmers. It made the house smell great.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Two Eagle Week

My little Vivi has been the best game spotter since she was able to speak! I had bundled up the girls to go vote and piano lessons. I am hustling them out the door and Vivi squeals and yells! Normally that means there is a bear out there, but this time it was a bald eagle a few feet above the car and play set, not quite to the second story of our house. We crowded outside and silently watched him cirlce in the little space right above the driveway. He was looking at us, we at him. We were awed and silent. I did get this picture before he flew over the house and down into Moosey Meadow.

That was my second baldy in two days. On Monday an eagle and I watched the same ducks at my little airport park. If you squint you might see him on the power pole.

Fata Morgana

Maybe because I am not the most fabulous photographer or because I do not have the cutting edge equipment, I cannot make you see exactly what I see. But, I try. Please, please, please click on the first image and get it bigger on your screen. It is a nice example of the Fata Morgana we had yesterday. That is one of my most favorite things about living up here. It is gorgeous.

In the other image is the same mountain, the one on the right. Enjoy the difference, I do!

Below is a nice explanation lifted from the Weather Doctor at http://www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/elements/supmrge.htm

The Fata Morgana

When the temperature inversion is not as uniform as that found under arctic mirage conditions, a mirage known as the Fata Morgana or halgerndingar (in Icelandic) may appear. In a Fata Morgana mirage, distant objects and features at the horizon appear as spikes, turrets or towers, objects with great vertical exaggeration rising from the surface.

Charles Earle Funk of Funk & Wagnell's Dictionary fame traced the origin of the name Fata Morgana to Italian poets who named what they saw rising up across the Strait of Messina after the fairy castles of Morgana. Literally, Fata Morgana means the Fairy Morgana, a reference to the English legends of King Arthur's enchanted sister Morgana, who dwelled in a crystal castle beneath the sea.

According to meteorologist William J. Humphreys, Morgana is also a Breton word for sea woman which further connects the name with the mirage. He writes of a mirage appearing as crystal palace rising from beneath the waves of the Strait of Messina and

"molding the bluffs and houses of the opposite shore into wondrous castles that, alike, tower into the sky and sink beneath the surface; nor is it strange that this poetic name should become generic, as it has, for all such multiple mirages, whenever they occur." [Physics of the Air, 1920]

Getting Ready

High school cross-country ski season has started. Tom is coaching everyday, as well as a couple of days with his junior training program. Zoey may be set to have a break-through year skiing. She spent some time with the training group, has some new gear that fits her right. She was so excited to wax her brand new skate skis. If I can bring myself to drive across town to Bartlett on my alleged "no drive day" she can train more. Maybe I would get mother of the year? Vivi and I will be taking some turns around the flats at Russian Jack. Want to join us?

Time together

Our friend, Sarah, has been over more lately. YEA, Sarah. She is a great friend and a really good godmother. We want her to spend all winter here. It is increasingly cold and dark, and Junior Nordic has not started yet, so we are drinking warm, sometimes alcoholic beverages on the couch. I've been sewing, but I can't show you what since it may turn up under a certain tree. If you are furry at our house you spend time building alliances. Skanky loves black fleece and hand-knit sweaters.


It has been in the single digits each morning for about a week now. This was my car the other morning. There must have been some moisture in the air when it got super cold, because those are some seriously big crystals. My children are all mumified in their snowsnuits, I hear some little muffled dialog, but I can't make much out.

It hasn't been cold enough to freeze up the inlet. That will take a bit more time. Then there will be big old chunks of saltwater ice floating around out there. It you click on the above picture it is a nice look at the big mountains from my little airport park. I stop there after dropping off the girls, put on my work face, breathe a little fresh air and watch the world. I have seen beluga whales swim by here. I've see many different kinds of birds, in fact on Monday a bald eagle was on the power pole watching the ducks at the tide line like me. One super low ceiling day a float plane flew right over the top of the car and drop into the inlet. The pilot then came out onto the float waving his arms. Just as I was about to call 9-1-1 a fire engine pulled in. Many, many emergency vehicles pulled in. I left as I was feeling in the way. Later I found out that my pilot was marking the spot where just seconds before I pulled in, he had seen another float plane go under the water. Aviation in Alaska is a singular thing.

This is my little airport park on a spuer low ceiling day, just thought you might want to see.