09 December 2006

Santaland Diaries

So i'm heading out tonight to see the Santaland Diaries, a play adapted from David Sedaris' semi-tragic story of being a holiday elf.

Listen to it HERE
an excerpt that, for various reasons, particularly speaks to me:

"...they asked us why we wanted to be elves.

which when you think about it is a fairly tough question.

i told the interviews that i wanted to be an elf because...because it was
the most ridiculous thing i'd ever heard of. i figured that for once in my life
i thought i'd be completely honest and see how far it got me."

I can't even begin to describe how funny it is. I love David Sedaris and have to say that I am floored and excited that he is coming to Fairbanks on May 1st.

06 December 2006

Happy Birthday, Chris!!
i figured, with you being down in Nicaragua and all, I could most effectively send you virtual birthday wishes. in addition, I have all of these old (and some not so old) pictures that were worth putting up. All of my love to you, little brother.

always sleeping in the sailboat....it's amazing that you stayed awake for Sea Semester given your history.

i love this picture of dad. it's from 1978 and it's classic.

i have no doubt that you remember my 18th birthday and our trip up tuckerman's ravine. you had amazing patience that day with your sister and i thank ya for it...what song did we listen to on your weather radio up in the bowl? that was a great day...and you're so cute and little looking!

just a reminder of what your sister looks like. okay. looked like.

haha. you were so sick when dad took you lobstering. man he was worried about you out in the carribbean

again, your sister. lookin' good on the AT back in the day

and finally, here we are with Body back in the day.

28 November 2006

time moves in a linear direction

so i'm at lulu's bread & bagels - a great coffeeshop in fairbanks. free coffee refils as long as you want, good music, free internet. in addition, at least on saturdays and on several other days of the week as well, you're more than likely going to see a solid percentage of people you know and enjoy in fairbanks.

alright. but i'm here to do work (ack. on my plant physiology lecture tomorrow on 'Mycorrizal Associations' don't you wish you could be there?) however i just went to get some water and felt inspired to throw something down in words. maybe not too eloquently, but i'll put it down anyways.

so why did getting water in my nalgene prompt this inspiration? it was the water bubbler. one of those like in an office, blue 5-gal bubbler. the very same as i had all of last year for drinking, brushing my teeth, washing my dishes, cooking my food. and now how easily water just flows out of a tap!
so i'm getting water out of the bubbler, thinking about last year in my wee cabin. and there's folky music on (maybe kris delmhorst?) and i'm flashing back to new england. to the various concerts, folk festivals, beautiful people i know and love. and it feels like a lifetime ago.

daily i've been feeling incredibly thankful for such a rich and ever-changing life. time, indeed, moves in a linear direction. (but, as john put it during a strange game during thanksgiving, light does not) each day in this world is everything - it can be all you have. but at the same time, it's just another piece of life, of the adventure that is day-to-day which becomes month-to-month, year-to-year and so on and so forth.

and as i head to school, sun still not up at 8am, full pot of coffee drank & granola eaten, singing and dancing, i am forever grateful for all of this time and my everyday piece of the world.

25 November 2006

turkey day

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

This year I celebrated turkey day with my friend Katie and her wonderful family. They adopted a number of us to join them for the day! Such good company and good food!

left to right: John, me, Amy, Katie V, Justine, Blaine

This is Blaine in our kitchen, working on his super yummy stuffed mushrooms... please notice the fabulous Tom Brady poster on the fridge. Indeed, this is the same poster I got from the Wells Dunkin Donuts and sent to Maura many years ago. hm. She gave it back to me...I think Blaine likes it as much as she did. Too bad!

This is my roommate.
There are no words to describe.

Blaine passing Justine some of John's amazing bread

Katie, sitting next to her sister Lisa, talking with John
We all went around the table and said what we were thankful for...
my personal favorite - Justine is thankful for the cultivation and distribution of coffee.

A view down the other end of the table. Family friends shared in the feast...folks that Katie and her sisters all grew up with.

All in all it was a great day. We went skiing for a bit on the slough
(Blaine stating that, "I don't think I like cross-country skiing...if I'm going to fall I may as well be going fast" .. he loves it.)
made and ate great food
and spent time with great people.

Then we went to see Borat. Wicked disturbing.
And now I'm procrastinating in a serious way from working on my lecture on mycorrhizae for my plant physiology course. Eek. I really don't want to work on it. So instead I'm updating this, sitting in my office on a Saturday, with the sun streaming in. Which, in fact, is beautiful!! The sun sets in about an hour (around 3:30pm) and it's about -25F outside. So I'm not in a bad place right now.

Back to work!

21 November 2006

25 below zero

it's tuesday morning around 720am. justine gave me a ride to the auto shop this morning, and then off to school. so here i am, rather sleepy, sitting and listening to NPR and thinking about starting to do some work (goal today = get *something* done. anything, really, would be good). hoping hoping hoping that the car doesn't have something terrible wrong with it! and thinking about updating this here blog-thing more often. this is sparked mostly from reading Tash's blog (see links!) and Nola's blog on myspace. so good to read words from these wonderful wonderful women.

so indeed it is around -25F out today. something about the pollution in the air (gotta love fairbanks, but lordy the air quality is bad in the winter) made the light from the street lamps shoot straight up in these light spikes. sunrise at 940 am. sunset, probably around 430...alright. gonna put out some pictures from our trip to kanuti in october!

i'm unable to find MSPaint on my computer. hm. So i can't highlight on this wee map where we were. but i can describe. Fairbanks, here, is right above the 'K' in ALASKA. We drove ~170 miles up the Haul Rd. (Dalton "highway"), to appx. 30 miles south of Coldfoot, AK and about 10 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Then it was a ~9mile hike almost due west from the road to the hotsprings, following south of the Kanuti River.

Ken and Freya along the Haul Rd, gearing up to go
Ken and Laura, up on the ridge. Lordy it was windy. Yet another buffeting in life.

Drinking one of the PBRs that Danny threw in his backpack on the way out. Mmmm...essentially water

Chrissy, Jon and Freya working their way up the hill. Fraya enjoyed herself, trying to catch ptarmigan the whole way along the ridge

socked in on the backside of caribou mtn, wicked happy to have a compass in my pocket! also glad that i took a bearing on the way out near the car. it hadn't fully occured to me that when you are so close to the pole the magnetic pull is crazy. my bearing was probably 30 degrees off! so to get back to the car, which was nearly due east, i would have needed to work back nearly due NE

me, walking through the tussocks, after the clouds lifted

ken and laura, at the final push down to the hotsprings. the kanuti river is in the top right, and you can somewhat see a small meadow just to the left of the river. that's where we were headed..getting through that burned slope just below these guys in the picture, and then through the veritable swamp at the bottom, was a pain.in.the.ass.!! but so very well worth it.

freya sleeping in front of the hotsprings pool...

07 November 2006

Colorado in September

these pictures are from the flight back from CO, but since this is where they uploaded to, this is where they'll stay! I took them from the plane on the way home to Fairbanks. The mountain shots are of Denali and the Alaska Range around her! Then there's a shot of the Tanana River as we passed through the cloud layer coming into Fairbanks...ahh, the beautiful colors of fall in interior AK!

During September a bunch of us from UAF headed down to Estes Park, CO for the Long Term Ecological Research group's All Scientists Meeting (LTER ASM!)
Up here, most of us work for the Bonanza Creek LTER
Check out the nationwide network!
I got to go, paid for by said network, as I am one of the graduate student site representatives, along with Kelly, for BNZ!
It was beautiful, as well as being an interesting conference with scientists working all over the country and the world present.

We skipped out one morning to go hiking in Rocky Mtn National Park...what a different ecosystem than interior AK!!

From left to right, Katie, Blaine, Evan, me, Dana!

equinox marathon

here's the top of ester dome, cory coming up on the far right, leg #2 of the marathon!

team F.T.J.!
we came in 16th out of 60 relay teams

Justine waiting for Lorien to finish up leg #2

Lorien, after 9 grueling miles, handing off the bib to Justine!
He rocked it, coming in 6th out of all of the 2nd leg runners!!!

27 July 2006

Salmon fishin' in Chitina, AK!

So I've gone twice now, dip net fishing for sockeye salmon on the Copper River, outside of Chitina, AK. It's about 90 miles north of Valdez, appx. 350 miles south of Fairbanks. It's beautiful!!!
the view from our fishing spot...the river is STRONG! and the mountains, amazing
Amy on this last trip with her first fish. Check it out - the sun is actually setting!!
yeehaw! a sow grizzly and her cub, kicking it on the other side of the river. so cool.

Blaine with a fish from just this past weekend

Me, over the fourth of July, with a fish!

Alright. So Knut, my advisor, told me that this was hokey and silly. And never to do it again. But I think I look cute! So what if I'm rod and reel fishing in a glacial river for spawning salmon who aren't actually eating anything....
Blaine's super amazing and huge king salmon. It bent the pole of the dipnet!

Katie, Blaine and my booty from the first trip. We filleted and vacuum sealed it, then doled it out on my porch.

and finally, Katie dip netting on our first trip, with the amazing mountains in the background.

ooooh I love Alaska.

15 June 2006

Our Trip to Anchorage & Prince William Sound!!

the truck, the dog, and evan's boat - ready to go!

So last week, as it was snowing in Squarebanks, Evan and I set out to Anchorage (and beyond!)
Evan attended NABS - the North American Benthological Society national meeting (wicked fun....) while I hung out in Anchorage with the dog and the amazing density of moose in Anchorage! Just while walking down the sidewalk you end up sharing the road with a mama moose and her calf. It's insane. I saw 14 moose in about four days, all but four of them were within the city limits.

Murie (the dog) and I also took a day trip down to Seward. While rainy, it was a lot of fun. Beate and Mary showed me around, and I got to see Shiway working hard in the lab (thanks, guys!!). We ate at a *great* lounge, which really was probably Vegas, circa 1965. We had a stellar 'bowl of buts' (apparently the best fried halibut in town)

After Seward, Murie and I headed back up to Anchorage to the greeting of wonderful hospitality and a b.b.q. at Brian and Shannon's beautiful house.

Come Thursday, Evan and I scrambled to get our stuff together, got my rented kayak from R.E.I., and headed off to Whittier with Carolyn and Mike - friends of Evan's and former UAF students. On the drive to Whittier I saw a grizzly bear, outside of Girdwood!!

The weather forcast was crummy, so we changed our plans from HoboBay and we took a water taxi (Lazy Otter, they were great and highly recommended) to Culhroch Passage (spelling is wrong, I know), checking out numerous seabirds, sea otters, and a black bear along the way.

Thursday night was great, and we paddled a few hours down Long Bay, saw another black bear, then back to camp. Friday we got a wee two hours in before the wind really picked up. From there we were pretty much camp-bound, with winds in the big passage hitting 40knots, and plenty of white caps and driving rain where we were to keep me snug (and damp) under the rain tarp.

(yep - it's true! i bought a "sou'wester" rain hat, and man did i love it)

Saturday we left camp with decent weather, but the wind picked up as we neared Passage Canal. Near the point of this bay, we decided that the water was too big for the group experience level. Happily (you might say) there was a really narrow and low point over land, so yes. We portaged. It took awhile, and there was plenty of bushwacking, falling in the mud, trying to avoid the Devil's Club, as well as trying to avoid putting our stuff down in a pile of bear scat.

We paddled many more hours that day, making it a nearly 14 hour day in the end. It's hard to find a place to camp down there!! It's really wet and spongy on the banks, if it's above high tide. Lots of harbor seals, common and red neck mergansers, murrelets, murres, kittiwakes, and sea otters were seen, as well as yet another black bear!!!

Sunday we made our long trek back to Whittier, and got to shore around 130/2 pm. Evan and I packed up the truck, loaded the kayaks, grabbed some coffee and halibut and went to triumphently leave Whittier. I'm sure most of you aren't aware of the "situation" in Whittier. Apparently developed for safety and miliatry purposes, Whittier was created in Prince William Sound in a place only accessible by boat and train. Well, now you can drive there but I kid you not- it's a single-lane, 2.7mile long tunnel through a mountain, that you take turns going through between both directions of traffic and a train. if this isn't bad enough, Evan and I happened to be unaware of the annual "Walk to Whittier!" event. We missed the last tunnel crossing by 30 minutes, and the boy nicely informed us that every year they close the tunnel from 230 to 430 so people can walk through it. Sooooo sad! So we sat in the truck, in the rain, and watched people walk through.

Eventually we made it, cruised to Anchorage, picked up the REALLY clean dog (Shannon's the best for washing her and fixin' her up with meds and good food!), dropped off the kayak, showered and headed off to Fairbanks at the hour of 730pm. We got home, eventually, around 2am and collapsed into bed - home, dry, safe and happy.

evan's home

my home,

murie, asleep and happy in my front yard