Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Miss Kitty

Miss Kitty and I have been having a great time working together from my parents' house in North Aurora. As with all of my furry friends, Miss Scarlett knows precisely when I am on the phone, and likes to choose that time to bite my toes or bat at my feet. She's also very interested in my laptop cord and the wireless mouse.

Anyways, here's a picture of her:

Miss Kitty says hello

Tomorrow, I leave for Cincinnati again -- it's supposed to thunderstorm so it should be an exciting time!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Flodlopping

Saturday started early, with Dad and I travelling to Geneva, IL for the Flodloppet race for Swedish days. Even at 7:15, the day was already muggy, especially for someone used to the dry Anchorage air.

Dad ran the 10k and I ran the 5k. As with many of my fellow flodlopping 5k buddies, I definitely was happy to be in the 5k race because I probably would have turned into a large puddle before the finish of the 10k.

Dad did awesome considering the heat -- he finished around 1 hour for 10K, so less than 10 min/mile. He was more adapted to the sticky 90+ weather but broke his Mp3 player during the run.

On my side, Mile 1 was great -- I ran it in 8 minutes, if you can believe it. However, that was when the heat started kicking in. By Mile 2, I was hatless, down to my sports bra, and dumping water over my head (one knows the weather is bad when I risk sun exposure to cool down :)). Whatever it was, it worked, and I won my age group! So now I am champion of the 25-29 flodloppers, and have a medal to prove it.

Friday, June 24, 2005

South to OH

It has been a very eventful week! As most of you know, the North to AK clan is on the move again in the Midwest for a month. On early Sunday morning, we made our way to Cincinnati, OH and have been staying with Frank's parents in Dayton. Yesterday, I travelled to Chicago for a week and Frank will travel to Washington DC today for a conference.

One of the things that struck me is the new Giant Jesus Statue off of 75. I can't get out of my mind that Jesus appears to either be catching a football or signalling a touchdown.

The Moore's house in Fairborn, OH is in full bloom! The Calla Lilly is especially beautiful...


Calla Lilly
Lilly Close-up


More Calla Lilly


Calla Lilly close-up

The hanging plants are in beautiful as well..

Hanging plant art shot


Pansies

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Monday, June 20, 2005

A little bit on National News

Usually, I don't spend a lot of time reading national news -- but since I'm not in AK for the next month, I decided to look more into what is going on around the world. So far, I find what is chosen by mainstream media as "news" is strange.

For example, CNN.com shows a really bad picture of Porter Goss next to a well-taken picture of Osama Bin Laden. Apparently Porter knows where Osama is, but can't go get him.

We also have the latest on the Cruise/Holmes saga. Like the Jackson trial, I don't get why this is so fascinating to people that we have to have the scoop on it every day. Who truly cares about this?

Now in other news, the entertainment section tells me SPIN magazine says Radiohead's OK computer is the best album in the last 20 years. Now, granted, it's a good album (I own it), but I would not say it was the greatest. If this album is truly the best album since 1985, there's no question as to why the music industry is in so much trouble today.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Flattop Hike

We also hiked Flattop last weekend, which is interesting since this was our first hike ever in Alaska.

Some things were different, of course. For example, there was still snow on the ground in many areas. Also, the fireweed and flowers we saw last July are not around yet in June.


There is still ice on the trail to flattop.

As always, I took some gratuitous pictures of flowers and vegetation along the way...

Flower along the way

Along the trail, there are great views of Anchorage and Sleeping Lady.

Anchorage


More snow


Strange Coleus-type plant

In order to get to the top of Flattop, there's quite a bit of scrambling that you need to do at the very end of the hike.

View to the top

Actually, I did not find it as difficult as last time. Also, unlike last time, Galileo made it all the way up (and down!).

Frank and Galileo made it!


Frank (red jacket) and Galileo looking out from Flattop

I made it to the top too -- here's proof:

Family portrait at the top

As usual, at the top I spent a lot of time taking photographs of plants. Here are a few:

Gratuitous flower shot 1

Pretty purple flowers

Picture of the mountainside. Do you see all the colors of moss and things growing on the rocks?

Another interesting plant

Art shot of yellow flowers

Purple Flower

Here's the last one:

An Alaskan Valentine?

Bodenburg Butte Hike

Hey! Finally got the pictures up from last weekend!

On Saturday, we went hiking on Bodenburg Butte. The Butte is located around Palmer down in the Mat-Su Valley. It was a bit of a drive, but was definitely worth the trip! Basically, in the middle of this valley, there is a huge "bump" of sandstone-type rock that rises out of nowhere. The trail takes you to the top for spectacular views of the valley.

There are two entrances to Bodenburg Butte -- the one we took (the harder one) was right near a reindeer farm.

Reindeer farm in the valley near Palmer.

The view, even from a little bit up, was quite spectacular.

View of a glacier from the Butte

Pioneer Peak?
The trail goes up quite steeply -- after only a half mile, you can see the reindeer farm below.

View of the reindeer farm from the trail.

The Butte forms an entire ecosystem unlike any other in Alaska supposedly, complete with sagebrush.

More "bumps"

We did finally make it to the top...it's worth it!

Frank and Galileo at the top

Here are some pictures of the view from the top:

Peaks and the Butte


Matanuska River


View on the way down...

On the way down, we met some people from Long Island. We spent some time visiting while Galileo got to entertain the horses.


What a nice place for horses.

Galileo-Horse encounter

The horse really liked us

Another horse wanted to visit

..and another!

Galileo LOVES the horses

If he could only get free of that leash...

Anyways, it was a great hike on a beautiful day in the valley.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

More Sunsets

I'm not sure how I was able to stay up so late to get these, but here are some spectacular sunset shots off of our front deck.


Sunset #1


Sunset #2


Sunset #3

Rhubarb Madness and Other interesting Alaska Stories

Interesting news day today...

Amanda Brannon from Palmer has written the penultimate book on rhubarb. Considering the massive monster of rhubarb that we have in our side yard, perhaps we should get this book ;).

In Ketchikan, a bald eagle took a wrong turn into the window of Jean Stack's living room, leaving a mess and a salmon carcass.

The Navy has a new ferry that they want to test to move workers from Mat-Su to Anchorage over the Knik Arm. It's like a Transformer catamaran.

Monday, June 13, 2005

More Galileo Pictures

Galileo is getting ready for his trip to Ohio!

Look at him resting up on his papasan pillow...




Galileo loves the camera

I also have been learning about my exposure settings on my camera, and, as usual, Galileo is my model...

Phantom Dog!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Eklutna Lake Hike

Last weekend, Frank and I went to Eklutna Lake. It's a lake in Eagle River which is made by a glacier (called "Eklutna Glacier", imagine that). I thought it was one of the most beautiful places I have seen -- who knew water in AK could be this color?

Here's a picture of the lake:

Eklutna Lake


Kids learning to fly a kite at the lake


People were fishing in the lake as well (what kind of fish do you think live in a glacial lake?)


Puppy decides to sit right in the water and take a drink.

After "ooh-ing and aah-ing" at the lakefront, Frank and I continued around the lakeside trail. It connects up to other trails, and there is even a campsite about 5 miles into the trail. You can actually see Eklutna glacier, but you have to hike in about 9 miles before you can see it.


The mountains at Eklutan were beautiful and rocky


Note the "impending doom" of the clouds. About 2 minutes before we went back to the car, it started raining here.


People getting ready to kayak


A nice place to sunbathe (if it was warmer)


Another lakeside trail shot


There was a convention of butterflies along the lakeside trail


More butterfly shots


Butterfly close-up