Thursday, November 29, 2007

How to fry a turkey

I tell ya, there really is never a dull moment and I am learning sooooo much! Like how not to fall off the bucket while peeing on a floating platform. How to cut hair using this giant clippers without bloodshed. How not to kill or maim a hotel roommate who gets up at 3:30 a.m. for a two-hour bath. The proper techniques and safety precautions for deep fat frying a turkey. The list is endless. (Oh yeah, I'm learning stuff working, too.)

I spent Thanksgiving week with Robin in Gustavus and it was fantastic. We (Robin) deep fat fried a turkey (following instructions downloaded from the Internet -- not sure if that was a good thing). It only took 30 minutes! A few items to remember if you try this at home: make sure the turkey is DRY with no water on it, take the proper safety precautions (welding gloves and a fire extinguisher) and do it outside! The turkey turned out really tasty, too.

One of the days we took a trip partway up Glacier Bay to check on a floating fuel barge and winterize the floating ranger cabin. It was great. It was a bit choppy on the way up but things settled down and the weather cleared out by the time we headed back. We saw whales, porpoises, puffins and some pretty impressive mountains. Plus, it was a blast (not literally) to turn the heat on in the cabin and have a cup of tea while floating in the bay.

See some great shots of my awesome man and the Glacier Bay trip.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Shooting in Seward

The other week, my travels took me to Anchorage for VISTA training (which wasn't really training at all, but more of a check up by the VISTA people to make sure you were alive) and to Seward (where I met Robin's kids, Josh-26 and Nick-24).

I was there for the first snowfall of the season, which was pretty cool. I took advantage of all those guns laying around and we went shooting some more (plenty of camo there!). Plus, Robin got to play with blow torches, fry fish and catch up with an old Park Service friend. I saw my first beheaded buffalo (you just never know what a day in Alaska will present!) and gorgeous mountains, icefields and glaciers during the flight from Juneau to Anchorage.

See the photos and stay tuned for an update on my exciting turkey day, complete with fire extinguisher action, whale sightings and more.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Just another bizarre day in Alaska

As my loyal readers know (yes, there are a few of you out there), life is never dull here in the 49th state. Take my friend Allison, for example (you can see pictures of her at the Alaska Day Ball and at the Stardust Ball). Because I've been traveling for a mere week-and-a-half, I missed out on a huge event in her life. Seems that the cat she lost in June somehow survived being carted off by a bear. Allison spent the past week getting the cat vet-checked-and-approved-for-flying and then flown from Anchorage to Sitka. Read the full story.

Other recent bizarre occurrences include:
  • A dead body was found in the cemetary by my house.

  • While petting a dog at the airport and conversing with the owner, I discovered that the owner was actually someone I knew through teleconferences.

  • My friend Davey's hunting trip was extended because a bird hit and broke the windshield of the small plane they were in. They had to wait for a new windshield to get flown in.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Gunning in Gustavus

I spent several days in Gustavus and had an absolutely great time. Robin and I went target practicing (in a gravel pit) with lots of big guns ... things like a 22 revolver, 22 semi-automatic pistol, 357 magnum revolver and a 44 magnum revolver. (Now ~that~ is a big gun!) I almost hit 100% of the targets with the 22 rifle.

See photos of the shoot out and incredible views.

The weather was pretty good, too -- not the usual snotty and rainy stuff. It cleared out and I actually saw some of the mountains there for the first time. It was astoundingly beautiful. The snow was incredibly white and the peaks are so rugged. Temps were in the low to mid 30s.

Robin moved into his new house. It has great views of the water. It is awesome. One day I saw a sea lion and several times I saw a seal -- all from the living room. We even saw a young moose running down the road and I saw my first porcupine.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Top 10 things Mom and Robin have in common other than loving me the best

  1. Both like a can of cold peas eaten right out of the can for lunch (and both admit having tried it with green beans but say it just isn't the same).
  2. Both have similar levels of worry (wondering, thoughts, concern, worry).
  3. Both insist they are patient.
  4. Both like halibut.
  5. Both like to supervise my cooking (even though I need absolutely none whatsoever).
  6. Both prefer a 44 magnum revolver as their weapon of choice.
  7. Both like coffee.
  8. Both have the same favorite TV show: America's Funniest Videos.
  9. Both let me drive their vehicles as long as I don't squeal the tires.
  10. Both have their cupboards more than well-stocked with their favorite groceries (but at least Robin has good stuff in his -- not packed with salmon and pumpkin like Mom's).

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Where in the world am I now?

If you guessed Sitka or somewhere in Southeast Alaska, you would be wrong. I am now in the bustling metropolis of Anchorage (south central Alaska). Let me tell you, I am having culture shock.

I saw a Starbuck's and a Chili's at the airport and couldn't believe it! One of the malls (yes, one of the THREE malls) even has an ice skating rink in it. There's a multi-lane highway with stoplights, overpasses and everything. It was a tough decision whether to eat at Arby's or TGI Friday's. (I couldn't decide and ended up having gyros and a Greek salad at this Greek place that didn't have Greek salad dressing!) Hey, it's Alaska and you just never know what to expect.

Thanks to your taxpayer dollars, I am attending VISTA training, although I use the term "training" very, very loosely. Because the VISTA program tries to save money by making everyone share a room, I was fortunate enough to get a room mate who gets up at 3:30 a.m. to take a 1 1/2 hour long bath. Thus, I now have a special dispensation to bail out of training this afternoon and go take a nap...which I will be doing shortly!

This past weekend I was in Gustavus. This weekend I head to Seward. Then I go back to Sitka for a week before another trip to Gustavus and then one to Juneau. As soon as I'm back in my home base, I have some outstanding photos of Gustavus, Juneau and Anchorage mountains and more entertaining stories to share. Now, it's NAPTIME!