Friday, November 30, 2012

Brr, brr, brr, and brrrrrrrr!

Also: Brrrrrrrrrr!!!

According to the Minor News
, we hit -30F for the first time yesterday, and we should hit -40 this weekend.

Thursday marked the sixth day in a row the temperature at the airport didn’t climb above 10 below. Wednesday was the first day with a high temperature of 20 below or colder — it was 21 below — at the airport.

It was even colder in the eastern Interior, where a low of 52 below was recorded in Chicken on the Taylor Highway. A low of 44 below was reported in Eagle and Dry Creek. It was 43 below at Circle Hot Springs.

The weekend forecast calls for lows in Fairbanks down to 45 below and highs in the 20 to 30 below range through at least Monday.

It's also been an abysmally low snow year; I don't think we've had snow in over a month, and it was only a few inches then. Thank goodness I am not depending on snowfall to do research any more! Well, at least we haven't had any warm spells, and what pathetic snow we have had is still skiable. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The happy dance when I first get home



"Dawg, you crazy!"

Photos courtesy of RS.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Office dowg

This is Loki, wondering why his human went downstairs without him:

"Oh, Chinese girl is taking my photo."

Monday, November 26, 2012

What Thermal Inversion Means

It means that the thermometer outside my upstairs window reads -10F/-23C, the one outside my downstairs window reads -20F/-29C, and the one at the bottom of my hill on the ski trail reads -30F/-34C.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pie! Pie! Pie!

My thanksgiving involved twenty-seven pies!

The girls and I started our day with an early run and then breakfast with Sammypants:

Sam's humans are hugely pregnant, so rather than join the regular (crowded) Thanksgiving festivities, they hosted a smaller breakfast instead, at the bee-yoo-tee-ful home they are house-sitting for the year while its owners are in Barcelona. It would be difficult indeed to be pregnant and then have a newborn in a tiny dry cabin!

Then we went home to the "family" Thanksgiving across the street, where the first fourteen pies Occurred. I made a pear tart and a pumpkin pie:

Charcoal enjoyed his wee visitor:

I am of the opinion that every child needs a retriever, and every retriever needs a child!

Then I staggered back home, took a nap on the couch, and headed out to Thanksgiving Repast Number Three:

Then the pies came out, and were anonymized and numbered for judging:

We all went down and helped ourselves to pies:

Voting commenced:

And we have a winner!

I, like the majority, had voted for A2's pie! It was cherry and cranberry, with a crumb top! Mmmmm! My pear tart, I am sorry to say, lost roundly with 0 votes!

The single time I even won a solitary vote in this contest, it was with a pecan pie with a chocolate drizzle. The fruit pies generally win, but I am too lazy to make a fruit pie and balance it on my knees while driving to C's house! My pies are much more mechanically sturdy!

I award myself First Place for Carrying the Most Precarious Things Across the Street While Being Dragged by Two Huskies (you know, that prestigious CMPTASWBDTH award, last won by me with the yule log). This Thanksgiving, it was two pies and an assortment of Chinese candy, sent from the Sili Valley as a mailable emissary of my mother's love.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Here is my favorite bit Thanksgiving writing, written by my favorite columnist, Jon Carroll: A Song of Thanks, a Great Etude. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Christmas card photo attempt

This is one of my favorite bits of scenery. It's right behind my home, where a creek crosses a ski trail. As I ski over the creek, I look to the South, and there is the sun:

The trouble with dogs in Christmas card photos is that they are very uncooperative! Either Linden overpowers Autumn:

Autumn overpowers Linden:

Or they are both plum gone!

Our shadows are long:

This is another of my favorite parts of the trail system. It's low in the valley, so the sun and wind barely penetrate, and the trees wear their mantles of snow nearly the entire winter:

For some reason, skiing round tree-lined bends reminds me of photos of trains on their tracks!

The actual photo was a success. Meatworld friends will see it soon! As for the rest of my loyal readers, if you can find a way for me to get it to you without compromising either of our pseudonymities, please let me know! e.g. if you are willing to leave your email address in a comment, knock yourself out. If you have been able to deduce my very tenuously masked identity, put my name into the UAF directory search, find my email address, and email me!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Kahuku wind farm

It reminded me of Fire Island. There is talk of forming a "Island Region Wind Working Group" to share ideas and information about using wind power on islanded electrical grids. Alaska and Hawaii would both be involved.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Never Stop Learning

A lovely and beloved woman I know, after being forced to quit high school at 16 when she lost her sponsor to her elite high school, upon retirement studied up and got her GED when she was in her late 60's. She proudly hung her diploma on her wall. I took this photo shortly after her 75th birthday:

I'm so proud to call this lady "Aunty".

It's like those PSA's on television all come to life--"Never give up!" "Never stop learning!" "Be cool! Stay in school!"

It is quite a thing indeed!

I brought back these pikake blossoms:

I wonder how long they will fragrance my Alaskan office?

Friday, November 9, 2012


Some panhandling, welfare-grabbing freeloaders are hanging around downtown begging for handouts instead of, like getting jobs like the rest of us hard-working Americans!

Alaska State Troopers called for reinforcements to get rid of the four miscreants, and so two ornithologists showed up to shoo the ducks back to the Chena river.

Yup, a quartet of ducks is causing the kerkuffle.

Much-respected local columnist Dermot Cole thinks we should give the reprobates the death penalty!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Photos by RS:

Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!

The girls and me, duded up for our morning run:

When I first get home from work, the dogs do this crazy dance of joy around the yard:

RS snapped these photos of us doing it the other day:


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

More Winter firsts!

First day below -20F/-29C: 6 Nov
First day using timer on car heater, instead of being all blasé about it and plugging it in whenever I remember: 7 Nov
First day wearing obnoxiously bright pink down jacket: 6 Nov
First day finding a crust of ice on the dogs' (indoor) water bowl: 6 Nov
Day switching from burning spruce to burning birch: 6 Nov

Also, also, I feel I must tell you what it's like to vote here. In California, I had always voted by absentee, mail-in ballot, but voting here is so utterly charming that I feel compelled to go. I recently got gerrymandered, so my voting location got switched from the Ester firehouse to a local church. I was sad, because I like the firehouse, and they always had a bowl of candy and a bowl of dog biscuits. But the church ladies beat that with a ton of homemade baked goods--several kinds each of cookies, brownies, fudges, and cakes--and little bags of popcorn and trail mix--the good kind! With cashews and m&ms! So I'm happy to vote at the church now. :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

More winter firsts

First morning plugging in car: 2 Nov.
First day wearing long underwear: 5 Nov.
First day wearing my magic hat: 5 Nov.