Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bliss at 20 below

High today: -12
Low today: -24
Mileage: 9

"You look way too small to be riding that bike!"
Yeah maybe.. but I'd like to think if I can pedal this thing then I'll be in good shape for the spring when the snow disappears! Even winterized, the crank was freezing up by the mid-point of my ride. Just a little more effort that's all. I am hoping for temperatures to perk up by 30 degrees or so in Anchorage in two weeks so pedaling will be like butter compared to today.

We have gotten a few inches of new snow within the past several days. It is kind of chilly to still be snowing but at these temps we don't need a whole lot of precipitable water to get some snow. We are also up to the max depth of snow Fairbanks had last winter at 19 inches, woo! May it continue! 20-something inches on the ground is pleasant.. unless of course you are slogging through it instead of on top of it, or get your car stuck in a ditch.

My eyelashes got much more frozen by the time I got home, but this was a really pretty section of the ride. I love nothing more than when the snow stays on the trees and looks like a winter dream world.
Here is an aurora shot from the other night when it was 30 below. It was not particularly bright, but still nice as usual. The aurora viewing this year has been non-existent compared to normal. We have had a lot of clear nights but not aurorally active nights. But hey, better something than nothing, right? :)
I am excited for two far-away visitors coming within the month. Some fun things will be going down for sure!

Can I Claim The Farthest North Terrible Towel? Probably Not!

High today: -9 F
Low today: -16 F

One of my professors is originally from Pittsburgh and convinced me to come to seminar today (when really, I had planned to go and ride my bike!) because she had a special Steelers treat. Just so happens I was ready with my shirt and earrings today. My terrible towel has been proudly hanging in the cabin window for weeks and I am ready for Sunday's superbowl win or lose! It is weird not being surrounded by Steelers fans. But if you listen hard you can hear me yelling from here. Here we go Steelers, here we go!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Caught Between a Moose and the Pathway to Nowhere

High today: 8 F
Low today: -7 F

Something about sharing a yard with wildlife is really awesome. This big lady was just hanging out across from my car as I was trying to load up the trunk for a bike ride. I felt like I was disturbing her space.. so tried to be as quiet as possible loading up the car and kind of felt guilty starting the car to warm it up as pollutants spewed into her air. Since I don't have a pet, I'll take the ones that swing by. There's a little red fox that hangs out in the driveway, too! :-)
Below is a video of the moose just chillin' and chomping on some bits of tree? Towards the end her ears pop up.
video
As it seems that moose come in twos, this sucker decided to cross the road in front of me. Thank goodness for anti-lock brakes!After all of that animal excitement, Debbie and I went down to the river again to bike since conditions looked great yesterday. We got a nice long ride in.And enjoyed neat ice formations in the river...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Skiing on the Tanana

High today: 11
Low today: -11

Grasping the reality that one can ski/bike/run/snowmachine/drive across a wide river without worrying about falling in still completely boggles my mind. The time was right to try it out on a beautiful day like today. I rounded up a few interested friends and we headed to the edge of town for a ski down the Tanana.The snow was very very packed down and icy in spots. Conditions were just right for an enjoyable afternoon. We could actually feel the radiation from the sun being absorbed by our clothing. It was awesome!
And here you go, as usual, some jumping pictures... on skis.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our World of White

High today: 23 F
Low today: -3 F

The Fairbanks I know and love has returned thanks to a few inches of new snow.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Back in the Woods.

High today: 25 F
Low today: 12 F
Back up north after a wild 3.5 weeks. Couldn't help but take the Pugs out for a spin before watching the Steelers beat the Ravens! Pugs is now ready for 30 below now that she's winterized. Went exploring up the street and I found a new trail close to my place.. jackpot! At least I think it's a trail.. hard to tell this time of year.

Pittsburgh's going to the Superbowl - here we go!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Families.

I think we all have a long list of "people to see" when we go back to where we used to live. There are a few people who are a "must" to see for me no matter how short the trip. The following ones are those who are my "family" and have made a big impression on my life. First off, we have the Moytas, the girls of whom I babysat for many many years since I was 13. As you can see, the girls are all grown up - Liz is in her first year of college now! So weird but so neat. Their parents saw me grow up and it was like having little sisters with these girls and it still is!
Below are the Oblaks, who adopted me as their "other daughter" years ago. I babysat Emily for a few years but abandoned that for Anchorage and my first meteo internship.. which in the end brought me back to Alaska. Another "little sis" of mine most definitely.Of course, we can't forget to mention the biological family. I feel very lucky to have seen all 6 of my immediate family plus husbands/fiancees and niecelets. I am more than ecstatic to have us all together in October for Maria's wedding! My parents and I below.. a picture at which I was very happy to be able to take after not wanting to before I first moved in January.And the babies.. can't tell you how different life has been since they entered it nearly 5 years ago. Little mini-mes in a way, running around challenging your knowledge, being so darn cute, and reminding you of the simplicity of life!May we all meet again in October!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Happy in Happy Valley

High today (UNV): 16 F
Low today (UNV): 7 F

Each part of this break has included someone or somewhere I was really excited to go back to visit. State College, my previous home and the location of Penn State, is probably the place I looked forward to the most, because of its huge role in my life. Many of my classmates have moved on, but I still found the amount of friends and acquaintances I saw within the 3 days there quite overwhelming. Overwhelming in a positive sense of the word!

Took a greyhound up to Altoona on Sunday and met up with Aviva, Justin, Petters and Nat for some skiing at Blue Knob. I took very few pictures but here is one of Jud just finishing up a run.
For some reason I did not take a ton of pictures in State College. I think I honestly was overwhelmed by running around and being with more people than I probably even know total in Fairbanks.

One of my best buds, LeeAnn just so happened to be in PA from Montana for a few days so she came down on Monday to hang out with me for the afternoon.

A group of us went to the hibachi grill for dinner.. for the price of a cheap plate in AK. I love the cheap cost of living down here!

Then Aviva took me down to the new bar in town, Inferno. Quite nice and classy-ish, and now most bars are smoke-free in State College. Hooray!
Also on Monday was the grand opening of the new PSU weather station. Holy cow!!!!! What was a 1970s old fashioned wx station with one of the few remaining paper mapwalls, is now what you see below, a modern looking lounge area with the 3rd (or 5th??) largest electronic mapwall in the country. What the crap, yo?! I was a little more than overwhelmed by this since I spent hours and hours on end everyday of my undergrad in this room and now it is completely revamped. A spectacular renovation, though!
Another place of great memories was Freezethaw Cycles, begun in 2004 in my friends' living room, of where my red singlespeed commuter was built. They have moved locations twice, now thriving in downtown State College. I can't help but be a little proud of Justin and Jordyn for their success.
Below are Sparky (who spent many hours teaching me how to fix bikes) and Justin, one of the two co-owners of the shop.. oh and don't forget Bosco, the shaggy dog, who has noticably calmed down in the past year.Some of my old profs and colleagues took me out to the India Pavillion my last day since I always take them to get Thai when they are in Fairbanks. (two of them have been up multiple times in the last year!) It was so nice to see so many people who were influential in getting you through college and are still there cheering you on!One of the last things I got to do in town was to meet two newborns, 2nd kids of Nicole and Marisa below. Looking good for just popping out some babies!!
Below are Chad and Sarah. I stayed at their place my last night in town. Sarah was one of the very first people I met my freshman year. She was my "mentor" on a freshman camping trip I went on. She is an avid blog reader and I'm glad to provide entertainment to the world of Ph.D procrastination. :)
There were quite a few people I wasn't able to see in town due to lack of time or conflicting schedule, but overall it was I think my favorite part of this past 3.5 weeks.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Kayaking with the Gators and Swimming with the Dolphins at Latitude 24

High today (at FMY): 81 F
Low today (at FMY): 63 F

Everything this break so far has gone wonderfully as planned. Thanks to my friend Debbie, I was able to get a flight down to south-central FL to visit my sister Val, and bro in law, Keith! Being about 5000 miles away from home made me want to bust out singing to the song we all know well by the Proclaimers. But alas, I digress.
First day here we went kayaking down the Myakka River, a place flowing like the Chena River (barely flowing at all) swarming with gators, which I had never seen before. Needless to say I was as nervous about the gators as my first time hiking in bear country. Kayaking was fun and I saw enough gators to crave my taste of danger for the time being. I've decided that I like large mammals better because you can read their body language. I stayed as far away as the big gators as possible but had to of course pose by the baby gator... the other kayakers informed me that they won't do anything at that size.. not sure I believe them 100% but in any case, this little guy stayed still the entire time enjoying his time as a star.More gators lined up along the beach, taking a high noon siesta in the sun.Val and I spent every other morning on the beach soaking up some vitamin D. I'm no longer the whitest white girl on the beach, woo!
One of the nights my friend Rena from Fairbanks(!) and her sister came to meet us for dinner at my favorite restaurant down here. She is originally from FL and they were on their way south to take her sister back to school.Otherwise Val, Keith and I spent loads of time relaxing, rocking out on Guitar Hero, and being entertained by the furry ones in the house. It was beneficial to sit back and chill out for awhile!Got animals??
Mmm grapefruit straight off the tree!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What Do You Mean, The Polar Bears are Going Extinct???

High today (PIT): 28 F
Low today (PIT): 15 F

Every year on New Year's day, the Pittsburgh Polar Bear Club dips into the Monongahela River downtown. My best friend from college, Alexis, took a bus to Pittsburgh from New Jersey for a few days to see me while I'm back east, so I wanted to do something to make her few days here eventful. Eventful the days have been as we took a swim into the 35 degree water when it was 16 degrees out this morning.

There were HUNDREDS of people there unless my guesstimation of people has gone awry.
A before pic....
You know, wearing a two piece in 16 degree weather wasn't as bad as I was bracing for. The major key in the cold this morning though was the fact that there was absolutely no wind. Thank goodness, I woulda been shivering my legs off if there had been wind! A random kind soul took some pictures for us.. these are definitely in the priceless category... below Alexis and I jump off of the Mon Wharf to start off the New Year.WAIT a minute, what the heck is that guy in the funny hat doing in the water??? Just hanging out?!! I think the dog almost jumped in with us, too!We made friends pretty quickly who helped us get out of the river. I would never jump into the Mon on a normal day since it has debris floating down it, but today was the exclusion.Thanks to friends who do crazy stuff with you. May 2009 be just as fun and eventful as 2008!

.. and for now I bid adieu to winter until I get back from Florida in a few days.. :)