Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!

Hooooold me! What is that noise? Snuggggle me!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Good Eats, Snuggles, Merry Christmas, and a pair of Meese

So the other day, I bought a raclette grill. Of course I had to break it in immediately.

Mmmmm, grilled asparagus!

Mmmmmmm, melty grilled cheese!


I teach my students that mechanics problems are like a stir-fry. They are theoretically simple, like how on cooking shows, the chef says, "Look! Just put a bit of this, a bit of that, sauté, and voilà!! But the problem is, he or she has an army of sous-chefs preparing, chopping, and measuring out each little bowl. The chef only makes it look quick by tossing them together on camera. Of course, dicing onions and julienning carrots is not conceptually difficult; it just takes time and care. So it is with mechanics problems. The overall governing equation is simple. F=ma. σ=Mc/I. 𝜏=Tc/J. The tedium is in calculating F, M, c, I, T, and/or J. And those pieces individually are not difficult either (just like dicing an onion or measuring soy cause is not difficult), but it does take time. So you calculate each piece, set it aside in its own little bowl, and then assemble them all together!

This year, I decided to try making my own tamales. My first time! All of the internets said that it was a long, time-consuming process, but I figured, how could it be worse than jiao-zhes, which are like, the pomegranate of food preparation? At least tamales have more food per wrap, right? Plus, the meat is already cooked, so there is no handling of raw pork, which has always bugged me. I figured I was up for it.

Not bad! Not bad at all! I added stir-fried brussels sprouts for veggies. I guess brussels sprouts are a holiday tradition for some folks, as they always seem to be piled up with the "seasonal" things around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Today, Starbuck-A-Roo and I went to visit her friends at the Denali Center. We are not allowed to take photos of them, because HIPAA, but here are photos of her in the volunteer lounge afterwards:

Selfie attempt!

Here is a gratuitous cute photo of Cricket holding her fishy:

All my Fuzzies!

Merry Christmas, everyone! Here is a photo of a mamamoose and her babe, in our driveway:

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Being "Single" for a single day

Today, Starbuckeroo's acupuncture appointment was at 1 p.m., which effectively cuts my day in half. Our fancy new office is not dog-friendly, so rather than drive back and forth shuttling dogs, I decided to use a vacation day and go skiing.

Last night, a storm blew in, dumping us with 3 inches of the thicker, heavier snow we get when it's warmer. So I started shoveling this morning. I had not shoveled in maybe a year. DL is a very devoted partner. :) I got a quarter done, when it was time to go to the vet. While we were gone, another 2 inches of snow came down, so I re-shoveled when I got home. Partway through, I got hungry and thirsty, so heated myself up a can of soup and ate it out of the pot. As I stood at the stove in my boots, eating my soup out of the pot, I realized, today was just like my single days!

I am absolutely happy and eminently grateful to be with DL, but my single days were just fine! I think you need to be just fine by yourself before you can find a good partner. That way you know you didn't choose them out of loneliness or convenience. The irony is that it took some "hard" (but also completely healthy and normal) experiences to get to that place--growing up with a single mom, having unsupportive partners, all taught me that I was capable of taking care of myself and need not be in any rush to jump into a relationship until it was just right!

And here we are!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Ribbon cutting for new building

The other week, there was a "ribbon cutting" ceremony for the new UAF Engineering Building. Strangely, we had moved in two weeks prior. So I guess we had been ducking under the theoretical ribbon. Anyway, it was a nice party on a Friday night. There was a lot of cheese.

Look at that crowd! The biggest crowd ever. Historic. YUGE.

Waving at EJ, our machinist!

And the opposite vantage, picking out friends in the crowd!

And here is a photo of my collection of fuzzy things:

Butt to butt!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Chancellor's Task Force on Diversity and Equity

Next year, I am going to serve on the Chancellor's Task Force on Diversity and Equity:

I've already started prep work. It's tough, but I do what I gotta do:

In seriousness, though, this has just arrived:

I am excited to read it!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Cordova Report

I spent Sun through Tues in Cordova, a fishing town at the mouth of the Copper River. They have quite a bit of hydropower, which is dam cool. However, often their load demand does not even fully utilize the hydro plant, so we are examining options for better load management and energy storage, to get more out of the hydro. There is a consortium of 3 national labs, 4 universities, and 2 electric cooperatives all probing their best tools into how best to manage renewable energy generation on islanded microgrids, with the picture to include energy storage, cybersecurity, grid resilience, and active demand management.

The flight to Anchorage was beautiful, with views of Denali and its glaciers:

It was crazy windy the first night. The wind howled and battered the hotel, making the windows and exterior walls shake. I called DL. "Is this normal for Cordova?" He said pretty much. So I went to sleep. The next morning, I repeated my question to my local hosts. They said, it was not exactly abnormal, but not super common either. They got wind storms like that maybe 3-4 times a year. The local paper reported that gusts were clocked at 108 mph. The city Christmas tree snapped in two, and there was damage all over the port. Look at this shipping container! And that is a boat up there... I'm not sure if it had been dry-docked, or it got tossed up there:

Morning in Cordova:

Just prepping the laptop to walk across the road.

Cordova weather:

I felt the need to support a local Eyak artist. Aren't these beautiful? I just love purple. I emailed the artist to let her know that her work was on its way to Fairbanks, where it would be well loved.

The diesel plant was all "diesel off". There was enough dam water to be on 100% hydro power! It was the quietest dam diesel plant I had never been in. They name their big generators after local animals--bear, orca, and wolverine. And they have tlingit icons on them. Here is Bear:

I was very disappointed we had to cancel our dam tour since there had been a dam avalanche blocking the dam road. I really dam well wanted to see them! At least there were dam cams, so I got to see the dam dams, even if only in 2D.

Here is the dam hydro:

They also had some dam funny signs. Like all good humor, these contain a core of absolute truth.

I'm sending this to my students:

This is really the best explanation I have ever seen of these concepts!

And this is just funny!

DL told me to refrain from making dam puns during my presentation. I took his advice and refrained, but then a pun slipped out when I started talking hydrokinetics. I said something about how we are currently testing a hydrokinetic generator that sits in a current and makes current and... ah... a pun just came out and sorry about that and dam and dam I did not avoid a dam pun and so on and so forth. Dignity and I are not well acquainted.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Cricket's life has sure changed!

Here are some photos from the Alpine Creek Excursion Sled Dog Race, which goes along the Denali Highway.

All photos by the intrepid Julien Schroder, who rode a winter bike out there and camped in the snow to take these photos:

It's very beautiful along the Denali Highway!

And look at that magical light!

Here is as shot of Jodi Bailey's team:

Cricket sez, "Wow! My life is sure different now! I like my cowch."

And here is a Victoria Forrester, Jodi's dog handler and junior musher:

When we went to meet Cricket, there were three candidates Jodi had in mind for us. It was during the Iditarod last year, so Jodi was traveling back and forth and Dan (her husband) and Victoria were there to meet us. They unhooked all three candidate dogs, who rushed up to say hi, and then they and Starbuck ran around like mad, playing and dancing and chasing each other. DL and I were like, "Uhhhhh.... how are we supposed to choose one?" They all look really similar (same breeding lines, of course). They all act really similar. Then Victoria piped up: "Cricket's been sleeping with me at night. She's really cuddly." Bingo! :)

Look! An all-Siberian team!

So pretty!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Photos from the trail

Taking off! Happy, happy! Joy, joy!

Hittin' the trail!





We have the strangest tracks in our front yard. Anyone seeing them would think we had penguin visitors.

Uh-oh! Overflow on Rosie Creek!


That pretty winter light!

And that handsome Mr. Light!

We like tha moon!

Wolvsies in their natural habitat!

Cos eet eez close to us!

Push me, pull you!

Ah! 10:45 and the sun is rising!

Our favorite spot:

The muted light in the birch forest:

Cricket waiting for her sister!