Thursday, December 28, 2006

Amazing Sky

The temp rose to about 6 degrees F today and it was quite lovely outside. At around 2 p.m. I went out and was bowled over by the beauty of the midday sky.

Our First

We knew we'd have a White Christmas, but we hoped it would snow. It did and it was lovely.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

'Tis Winter Now

’Tis winter now; the fallen snow
Has left the heav’ns all coldly clear;
Through leafless boughs the sharp winds blow,
And all the earth lies dead and drear.

And yet God’s love is not withdrawn;
His life within the keen air breathes;
His beauty paints the crimson dawn,
And clothes the boughs with glittering wreaths.

And though abroad the sharp winds blow,
And skies are chill, and frosts are keen,
Home closer draws her circle now,
And warmer glows her light within.

O God! Who giv’st the winter’s cold
As well as summer’s joyous rays,
Us warmly in Thy love enfold,
And keep us through life’s wintry days.

~ Samuel Longfellow, 1864

Friday, December 22, 2006

What The Highway Looks Like

It was chilly today!
Click to enlarge

Leaving Eielson; ramp to Richardson Hwy. Straight ahead is Moose Creek

Our view leaving the base at 1:30 p.m. I made Rick pull over so I could get a pic.

Richardson Hwy is the main road to Fairbanks. It has stayed fairly clear so far this winter.

Richardson Hwy closer to Fairbanks. Cold at 20-below.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Always Dusk

12 p.m. Today

3:00 p.m. today

Sunrise - 10:50 a.m.
Sunset - 2:40 p.m.
Length of day - 3h 49mi
Temp at 4:00 p.m.: 17-below zero F

These dark winter mornings just invite sleep. I love it, however, the wonderful man who has to bring home the bacon is having a difficult time staying verticle by about 2:00 in the afternoon. Some people have suggested he buy a "Happy Light" (a UV lamp) for his desk, but I think he's gonna stick it out. In three days, after the Winter Solstice, we will be gaining daylight every day.

I love winter, but look forward to the temps staying above zero consistently so I can get out and enjoy (I'm assuming I'll enjoy it) skiing and snowshoeing. I had it in my head that I would be able to be out for extended periods of time all winter long, but it's just too frigid right now. I am enjoying the cold climate though!

We finally got some more snow yesterday, but there's still less than 12 inches on the ground. I hope the clouds will be more generous in the near future. I love the snow.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The heavens declare the glory of God,
And the sky above proclaims His handiwork.
~ Psalm 19:1

All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!

O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,
Ye lights of evening, find a voice!

Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for
thy Lord to hear,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
That givest man both warmth and light.

Dear mother earth, who day by day
Unfoldest blessings on our way,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
Let them His glory also show.

And all ye men of tender heart,
Forgiving others, take your part,
O sing ye! Alleluia!
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
Praise God and on Him cast your care!

And thou most kind and gentle Death,
Waiting to hush our latest breath,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou leadest home the child of God,
And Christ our Lord the way hath trod.

Let all things their Creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
And praise the
Spirit, Three in One!

~Francis of Assisi

photo courtesy of Stock.xchng

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I'll Take That To-Go

These drive-thru coffee joints are very popular in this area. It would be interesting to find out how many there are in the whole state. I bet they'd give Micky D's a run for their money.

These first two are located in Fairbanks (credit to Bren for the photos). I like the name Kodiak Joe's -- sounds very rustic. The other, with the soft serve on top is called Sunrise Bagel and Espresso.

Lava Java is here on base right off Flightline Ave., convenient for those folks who work on the flightline. It is the first drive-thru coffee place we visited here and didn't have a good experience the first three times we visited. A version of a frappuccino was on the menu but they didn't have the ingredients to make them on our first two visits so Bren ordered a kiwi Italian soda which she loved and looked forward to getting again on our next visit. A week later we had our third visit (Lava Java gives out those buy 9, get one free punch cards that keep you coming back) and we hear, "Sorry, we don't have anymore kiwi syrup and the owner decided to not stock it anymore." As Bren's face fell I said, "Oh, okay. So, can we get a frappuccino yet?" The girl, who needs to lay off the tanning bed, replied no, the owner has also decided to not do frappuccinos, and would we like to try something else? Bren decided on the Blended Iced Mocha (you can see the ad on the front of the shop). It's a frappuccino. We don't go there anymore. Too expensive and too much of a gamble.

I took this last photo on Santa Clause Lane in North Pole today when I went to return movies at BlockBuster. It looks like it may be halfway decent, as it should be since North Pole does a lot of tourist business. Next time I'll stop and have a drink.

And while I'm on the subject of coffee joints, there is a Barnes&Noble Cafe that serves Starbucks coffee, and I know there is a Starbucks inside Fred Meyer.

Bren and I are looking forward to trying the few store front coffee shops we've seen in town. I hope we find some good ones.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Cold and Miserable on a Scale of 1 to 10

The temperature has finally warmed up a bit and we recieved another several inches of snow. As I opened my bedroom blinds and saw big fluffy flakes falling I thought for sure I heard testosterone-fueled cheers in the distance. Just a few more inches of the white stuff and the commander can sign on the dotted line authorizing snowmachine use on base. Being that I don't own a snowmachine and have yet to set my backside on one and get completely addicted, I'm not particularly looking forward to the disturbance of my peace. I'm selfish that way. Snowmachines are noisy suckers.

Our days are getting shorter - 4 hrs 27 mins from sunrise to sunset today. Bren and I thought it was pretty cool to be watching the sunrise after 10 o'clock this morning on our way to town. As I type this at 3:02 p.m. I can see the beautiful full moon rising as it begins to get dark. I love the darkness and don't find that it has affected me in any way as of yet (if you don't count getting the urge to curl up with a good book and cuppa cocoa) but Rick says he is beginning to get sleepy earlier in the day.

A couple days ago I spoke with my mom on the phone. She was bundled up on the sofa with her electric blanket in Branson, Missouri, staying safe inside from the ice storm. It was cold - in the teens and 20's, but she hesitated to complain about the cold to me being that I'm in Alaska and all.

After I hung up with Mom I thought about it and came to the conclusion that colder doesn't necessarily mean more miserable. It does get very cold here, but where we are in the Interior we don't get much wind (or snow for that matter, and when we do get snow it's powder), and I have decided that wind is the key factor in getting you from a 1 to a 10 on the Cold and Miserable scale. Where it took me being outside in 25-below for 5 minutes to reach miserable, it would only take me 30 seconds (or less) to reach miserable in 35 degrees + wind and rain or snow.

So family and friends, feel free to tell me how cold you are, I hear ya!