Sunday, August 24, 2008


What more could a girl ask for on her birthday than to have a bear on the knoll?

Thursday Zoey, Vivi and I watched this fellow for quite a few minutes. He is about 1/2 mile away on Cranberry Hill.

He was foraging for berries and grubs. The blueberries are late, as is everything else. Even the bees think this summer has been too cool.

After work the sky put on a great show. The shimmering water is Lake Hood and Lake Spenard; the busiest float plane airport in the world.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Au Revoir, My Zoom-a-room

It was lovely Saturday night when I left work. I started my Subaru and made my customary phone call home. Since we live a ways from town, I always call before I come home to see if we need anything from the market. Tom had reached his limit on the kitchen sink and had ripped it out. He asked if I could stop at Freddie's and pick up a few parts. We also needed milk.

I drove the few miles from the airport to the market, everything seemed fine. I did notice a little steam coming from the grill, but it had rained earlier. When I got to the parking lot and turned to get into my spot, the car acted funny. It made loud, metallic clunking sounds and it seemed like I was driving over big river rocks, like a hesitation and then a go. I went in and did my shopping.

When I got back, there was some fluid on the ground. Hmmmmm.... I fired her up, tried to back out and the sounds and feelings from before were there and bigger. I pulled back into the spot. The car parked in front of me was leaving, too. I let her back out then I tried to pull through, thinking maybe it was limited to backing. No doing. I did not feel safe driving home. Thank heavens for cell phones. I called Tom and waited about twenty minutes for him to arrive. I was very grateful to have a little knitting tucked in my work bag.

Tom and I walked around the car. We found a big puddle of transmission fluid, cherry red and slick. Yuck. He jumped in, made it halfway around the parking lot without incident. I was thinking "Oh, great, it will only act funny for me, with no witnesses. Grand!" Finally, it started clunking for him, too. We took anything of value out of her and left the Subaru for the night.

We knew we were going to get a new (or new to us) vehicle this year, we just were hoping to do it on our terms. The Subaru was on it's second engine. This second engine had leaked oil from the get go, one cylinder was down to half compression. However, we had never had any transmission issues at all.

Sunday we went back to the scene of the crime. Tom drove the Subaru to the shop. They are hopefully going to buy it. They told us when last we were in that they would like to purchase it. That will give us a bit of a down on the next one. There we pulled everything out of it. Of course, I had a load to go to the ASPCA thrift store. Zoey and I talked about all her memories from the Zoom-a-room. We got that car when she was two and for a long time that is what she called it, her Zoom-a-room. She also had great fantasies about it being a lander/explorer like on Lost in Space.

Vivi cried, she is not as good with change as Zoey. She had all her stickers on her window. She was rather upset.

To bribe Vivi we drove along Turnagain Arm, looked for belugas, had burgers and IPA at Chair Five in Girdwood. Sigh...

Now we are down to one car, waiting for the first paycheck of the school year, limping by. If I promised to mail anything to anyone, or do some favor or chore, it may be a little while longer. Sorry!

I am just really grateful that the Zoom-a-room had the grace to kick the bucket in a parking lot in the fall with no children. It could have been much more awkward with stressed out children, loads of snow, below zero temperatures. Thanks for the timing, Zoom-a-room.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Puffin On Through

It has been such a crazy busy six weeks.

Zoey was in theatre camp and played Titania in a Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Vivi was in gymnastics camp and got invited onto the competition team.

My car is dying a slow, painful and expensive death.

Our fridge quit for about a week. It healed up once Tom figured out the problem.

The powers that be at work decided that we needed a re-model and to change some practices in the middle of our busiest season and while understaffed. Also, there are some serious power struggles going on there, they do not effect my job except that all the managers are trying to put their stamp on something and look highly effective.

We are tying the record for coolest and cloudiest summer since 1915.

Let's just say some wine has been going down at our house.

I did have the last week off and we were going to go to Portland, but Kasotochi Volcano out along the Aleutians decided to send up some ash. Many, many flights to and from the lower 48 were cancelled. So, we just stayed put. Darn! I could have used the nice summery 80F+ degrees Oregon had to offer.

We did go to the SeaLife Center in Seward. The girls were thoroughly engaged. They had different speeds and desires, so Tom took Vivi to all the mammals and Zoey and I stayed in the aviary. It was near closing time and there were no cruise ships in port, so it was quiet. We had the place to ourselves. Zoey made friends with a tufted puffin named Dorrie.