Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ice Ice Baby

High today so far: -18
Low today: -28
Today was a superly fun and productive day. I got to go ice drilling with Ed and Austin for work - measuring the ice depths of some of the local lakes and rivers. I looooove just driving around the area and love field work. It was weird driving onto rivers and lakes that I knew this summer as fast flowing waters, or had kayaked on. All of the water bodies had 22-30 inches of ice depth.. incredible!

Austin and Ed drilling into one of the lakes.. I couldn't keep track of which place was which in my pics. When we got back into the truck, "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice was playing on the radio.. we were entertained by that.

Go ice auger, go!

A little moosie along the Rich Hwy.. there is another moose hanging out in my backyard as I type... pictures aren't coming out though because it is too dark!

Wintry and slick on CHSR.

Here's another picture - from yesterday - we get sundogs up here constantly.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Why Did The Moose Cross The Road?

High today: -12
Low today: -43

The moose didn't actually cross the road, thank goodness. But I saw one which was very exciting. She was mighty large and was wandering through my neighbors' yard as I was driving by. I proceeded to the animal shelter to see some pups with the cousins, just for fun. What a bad idea. I wanted to take them all home!!! This was a very energetic little pooch that I bet would be fun to go riding with.. too bad dogs are so much responsibility though!! A little kitty wanted to come home with me too but Jim told me no kitties in the house. I don't want to be homeless any sooner than I have to be. :-)

I swear though, you walk in there and there are 20 needy eyes staring at you knowing that you're a sucker and want to take them all home. Ahhh...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike.

High today so far: -26
Low today so far: -42

I don't think I've gone more than 2 or 3 weeks (i.e. Christmas break) within the last 4 years without riding my bike. Recently I've been using my time to ski instead since I'd like to get good at that. But I've had an awful itch that makes me think about my bike several times a day. (ok, maybe not THAT often) So just for fun, I decided to go out in the 20 below to just say I've experienced biking in this weather. We'll see how cold I feel like dealing with. It was great getting out on the wheels. I very much prefer riding my bike around than driving. I'm already planning out places to ride once the snow disappears in May.

The first half was great. I could feel all fingers and toes. The snow is packed down enough on the streets that it was way easier than making your path through heavy snow in PA. On my way back, the fingers started getting a little bit cold. Other than that and the freezing eyelashes it wasn't too bad. The gear shifters were a little bit clunky after awhile too. I'd like to do the Susitna 100 next year. I just realized that they have the "Little Su" too.. I was seriously considering doing that until I found out that registration was full already - boo!

Long live fat tires.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Grad school day 2

High today: 0
Low so far today: -21

Things are still easy in the grad school world and I am enjoying the slowness as long as possible. Today I finally got my Alaska driver's license (woo!!) and went for a ski around the campus trails. It was 10 below when I went and got to finally experience the frozen eyelash syndrome, haha. The temp really wasn't too bad to ski in. An hour was long enough though.
It's amazing how easy it is to get out of the hustle and bustle of town just like State College was.

I figured I'd post the picture with crazy frost all over my balaclava! You can see imprints of my noise and mouth.. ha!!

View of IARC and sunset from the Geophysical Institute building.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

First Day of Grad School

High today: -8
Low today: -27For some reason or another I was pretty anxious about the first day of school even though I only had one class. I had cloud physics after work, which was one of my favorite (and most intensive) undergrad classes. There are only 7 people in my class, which is a biiiiiiiig biiiiiiiiiig change from most of my undergrad. It was pretty nice and more motivation to pay attention - definitely no falling asleep in that one, haha. The prof is very informal, like pretty much everyone up here, so it wasn't nearly as scary as I predicted. I'm really excited about grad school now and not so much afraid of it. Everyone is really nice and welcoming in the department and my advisor is AWESOME. Work today was fun too - actually made the forecast so I know exactly what's going on.. snow tonight and cccccold weather this weekend! Maybe it will get to 40 below so I can do some science experiments.. :-)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It's The Little Things

High today: 23
Low today so far: -2

So today was the first day that I did not stall my car AT ALL. This my friends, is pretty exciting.
Today I also have a few random pictures for you. First one is an ICE SCULPTURE at the entrance of UAF. Yes, that is an ice sculpture, isn't it pretty cool???

After I did what I could as far as school errands after work, I went up to Ester Dome with one of my coworkers to take his dogs on a walk. He estimated it was about 5 below with a windchill of -30... I couldn't feel it because I had the hood on my jacket wrapped up to cover my face! Despite the chilliness, the fresh air still felt great. I hadn't been up Ester Dome since a friend and I biked it this summer and we got caught in a torrential downpour and tstorm. I bet the dome will look beautiful if I can get up there with clear skies and snow everywhere. The snow and wind was obstructing any view today.

Oh! And the most important adventure of my day. Grapefruits at $0.29/lb at Safeway!!! Originally $1.99/lb.. SCORE! I chowed down a ton of grapefruits in Pittsburgh before leaving in Jan. knowing that they would either be a) expensive or b) not fresh up here. I don't know if it's fresh but it looks good to me and it won't be long til we find out.

First day of class tomorrow.. yes class. Weird only taking two classes, both of which I've taken in full intensity before.. so maybe this grad school thing won't be so scary after all.. maybe it will!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Missing You

Maybe it was just the rough evening that made me a little bit homesick, or maybe it was the homesickness that made the evening rougher than it should have been. In any case, I didn't even make it to the start of classes yet and I am missing everyone from the east coast like crazy. It was just one of those days when nothing seemed to be working out as planned, but I like to be optimistic and think it could have been way worse. I love where I am but I wish I could bring my everyone with me. Here's a special shoutout to the people I miss - to my entire family, especially the teeny tiny ones...

To my friends from college who moved away but are still close in my heart -

To my friends from high school who still keep in touch and are always there -

Bridging the distance I think will be quite the challenge... why couldn't I be from the west coast and wouldn't be so far away? Sorry for the not so excited post but I think it's fair and normal to get a bit weary in a new life situation. I'm sure in a few weeks once I'm caught up in the hustle and bustle and craziness of school, everything will be fine. As a song I like goes, "Just tryin' to get there, the best I can."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Zero visibility

High today: 27
Low today so far: 14

How's this for some dense fog?

Trying to be artsy-fartsy without falling off my skis...

Skiing went pretty well today. Stopped after a cute boy skiied by to point him out to Jana, and fell on my butt when I turned around to talk to her. Go figure. :-P

Sunday, January 20, 2008


High today: 28
Low today: 14
Weather today: SNOWING again!! Yay!!

I always called it snow"mobiling" but apparently the Alaskan term is "snowmachining". In any case, I took my first time on a snowmobile today with the cousins.

First I rode in the back while Jana drove, who was being pretty nice and not flying too much. :-) Then we switched and I drove, which was weird. Weird because the entire time it feels like you're slipping all over the place. I mean, I guess we are driving on snow and ice, but aren't the skis supposed to grip the snow a little bit? Maybe not, haha. Anyway, it was a ton of fun. Jim and Carla stayed in the car while Jana and I went cruising for a little bit. On the wider part I got brave and cranked it up to 45 mph.. then immediately slowed down. It was fun! I still prefer not having an engine, but I definitely look forward to snowmachining out to the White Mtns possibly. The only thing I didn't like was the grossness of the gasoline smell. Otherwise, it's a nice way to get out into the woods in town, although the entire time I was eyeing up trails I could ride my bike on. Wonder if that would be advisible with snowmobilers out? I bet if I put enough blinking lights on myself then it would work. :-)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hitting the trails

High today: 19
Low today: -3

Kristen took me out for my first time xc skiing. It was uber fun. I think since I already downhill ski it seemed pretty easy, just have to get the stride and off you go! I think I could get used to this... and there are a TON of trails right at the university. Convenient or what??

Kristen stopping to pose on the uphill

Self portrait!

Ready for the open road

High today so far: 14
Low today so far: -2

Here is the newest member of my transportation family, the only one with an engine!
Just don't get too close behind me if we're stopped on a hill.. I'm not a pro at manual trans. yet
PSU represent!

Monday, January 14, 2008

40 Below

High today: -30
Low today: -44
This my friends is ice fog!

I finally got to experience that secret number of 40 below - whenever it doesn't matter whether it's Fahrenheit or Celsius! At least we weren't in Wainwright up on the North Slope with wind chills of -73!!!! When it's 40 below in Fairbanks, all is calm.

A typical Fairbanksian day

I need to find my picture of this same spot from the summer.

Thank goodness for down jackets and mountaineering mittens!

Mmm serenity...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

90 degree drop

High today: -19
Low today: -33

Two days before I headed north, the temperature was inching towards 70 degrees in PA. I think we officially hit 69 degrees at the airport.
It's quite the experience for the temperature to be 90 degrees colder a few days later!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Leavin' On A Jet Plane

Temperature upon departure: 33
Temperature upon landing: -11

Today was the big day - time to start over again in Fairbanks!! It was a VERY long day for flying.. Beginning the day leaving the house at 6am EDT and arriving in Fairbanks at ~10:30pm EDT. But as usual, the people I sat beside on the planes were all very nice and interesting to talk to. The views were spectacular from the plane going over the Rocky Mountains and heading into the desert southwest of Nevada. What an odd place.. I think I want to stay living somewhere green.. Or white. None of that brown we-don't-have-enough-water-for everyone land.
The Vegas airport was nothing spectacular but they did have slot machines, and I'm pretty sure the girls manning the machines didn't think I was old enough to gamble (you have to be 21) but they also didn't vocally question it. :-P I lost two dollars and decided to call it quits. Guess I'll have to take that car loan out after all. ;-) The Seattle airport was a bit stressful, since we were running slightly late and I had to run across the airport to get to the AK Airlines terminal. But all said and done I made it there with 15 mins to spare. I knew I was in the right place and knew exactly who was from Fairbanks, which was most of them. They are a very friendly little bunch and the Carhart suspenders just give it away every time!! On the way up north from Seattle, the sun set at about 3:55pm - I figure we were barely over B.C. at that point. Sadly I could not see the gorgeous mountains throughout AK but I could see the snow reflected off of the mountains. It was awesome descending into FAI because you could see the lights from North Pole, but they were covered in snow and had the cool effect of a bush covered in Christmas lights that just had a fresh snow fall on top. Neither of my suitcases seemed to make it to FAI (except my skis) so I was stuck with the clothes I was wearing and luckily a few tshirts and fleece pants to sleep in. Luckily my luggage came back on the midnight flight and I scored some airline miles out of the lost luggage, so not all was lost. The moment I walked out of the airport terminal, my nostrils froze up in the -11 temps.. which was pretty pathetic since the temps get muuuuuuuuuch colder than that. Beautiful snowy crisp air though, that's for sure.
So glad to be back to where it feels like home!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


High today: 40 (at midnight)
Low today: 23 (right now)

Since graduation, I've been basically going through EVERYTHING I own and throwing out what I don't need anymore and packing things to send to AK as well as packing many boxes to stay here with those things that I will not need but would like to have for when I buy a house someday. Going through papers from high school and my undergrad years has been ridiculous.. from labs I kept for getting As on them, cards from friends and family, acceptance letters, grad school papers and ideas for possible career paths.. just ridiculous. It is really neat though, to see where I searched, what I discovered along the way, who helped me through each stage, and what led me to where I am now. It's easy to brush a lot of that aside and we have to to move on in life, but I think it's been good to take one last look at a lot of this stuff before tossing it. When I pack the boxes to send to AK, I get breathless moments of excitement followed by moments of freaking out realizing the big changes happening and I wonder if I'm ready.

9 days and I will be on the ground in the dark and coldness but I think I will be perfectly content. Here's a toast to 2008 being just as good as 2007!

Rockin' Into the New Year

New Year's festivities involved a lot of video games and board games, with rock stars Patty and Rosalie showing us how it's done on guitar hero!