Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hawaii photos

Finally, I was able to get a good satellite connection. I got carried away and couldn't pare down the photos much more so there are about 100 of them.

See photos from our trip to Hawaii.

We spent a day in Honolulu, visiting Pearl Harbor and Waikiki. On Robin's insistance, we tried out the public transit system. We took a bus from the airport to downtown and back. We didn't have exact change, $4, so we put in $5. Boy, did that set off one of the riders! He and Robin had a lengthy conversation about that extra $1 we paid!

On Maui we rented a car from a non-chain car rental company. They send someone to pick you up from the airport and take you to town. Well, Harvey was at least 300 pounds (maybe 350) and had hurt his ankle that day. He could barely walk to get some of the luggage. Robin, Mr. Patient, could barely stand waiting for him to get out of the van and walk over to us. But, Harvey was entertaining and gave Robin some good fishing tips.

We stayed at a great studio apartment in Kihei, the Pineapple Studio. (We would stay there again.) We went snorkeling (Robin snorkeled next to sea turtles several times), took a motorcycle ride up and around the north part of the island, took a snorkel trip out to Molokini Crater, did the drive to Hana, spent some time on the beach, tried fishing from shore and generally disregarded every warning sign we encountered. It was great!

Then we headed to the Big Island, Hawaii (where Robin discovered that Kona coffee just doesn't have the kick he needs). The volcano was sort of erupting and part of the park was closed. (Again, we generally disregarded every warning sign we encountered.) We saw lots of lava flowing into the ocean. One day we took a drive from sea level up to the 14,000 foot summit of Mauna Kea (where troublemaker Robin tried to get us kicked out by the observatory police). We went from 80 degrees or so to 20 degrees and winds of 40 mph -- brrrr!

All in all, it was fabulous. We might even return someday to get married!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Guinea pigs in Iowa

Perhaps the strangest story from my trip to Iowa the other week involved a suspect roadside guinea pig....

My mom and I were driving in the country around my hometown and I saw something beside the road. I asked, "What is that?" We couldn't quite tell what it was but as we got closer, my mom said, "I think it's a guinea pig."

I responded, "What would a guinea pig be doing by the side of the road? I guess those corn-fed guinea pigs get pretty big, don't they?" (The conversation went downhill from there and I could hardly drive I was laughing so hard.)

It turns out that it wasn't really a guinea pig at all ... it was a wild turkey.

[To my mom's credit, she had her wildlife mixed up. What she really meant was a guinea hen, which reportedly look like a small wild turkey. This, according to my sister, who then went on to talk about how Brazil has wild guinea pigs...at which point I could no longer discuss guinea pigs!]

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Clothespin shortage

Another uniquely Alaskan occurrance is happening right now in Juneau.

An avalanche wiped out a slew of transmission lines and support towers to a dam that supplied 85% of the city's electricity. Electricity rates soared immediately, going from 11 cents KWH to 50 cents KWH. Residents went running to local stores to stock up on -- of all things -- clothespins.

Read more stories related to this bizarre event:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Back in Alaska

I am back from my emergency trip to Iowa.

While I was gone, spring arrived and my background check cleared. Today is beautiful: 55 degrees, sunny, gorgeous and I now have Internet access at the office.

I even saw a porcupine waddling across a pile of snow that hasn't melted yet.

Friday, April 11, 2008


I'm heading to Iowa for a very sad thing. My brother and his wife had a baby boy, Ryan, on Monday morning. But he was too early and died on Tuesday.

Please send Baby Ryan's family your good thoughts.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Return from civilization

Wow, Hawaii was awesome. Sun, heat, whales, turtles, snorkeling, spewing lava, what could be better?!? I took so many pictures I ended up buying a new memory card for my camera. (Be patient ... there are lots of really cool photos coming as soon as I have a reliable satellite uplink to transfer all of them.)

This was Robin's first trip to Hawaii and he loved it. I almost drowned snorkeling because I was laughing so hard watching Robin, in his neoprene, floatable wetsuit top and noodle floatie, kicking for all he was worth to dive down under the water for a better look at something. He also made me laugh so hard on the plane that the flight attendant thought ~I~ was the one who had too many Mai Tais (and he was the drunk one!).

Quotable quotes from Robin:

  • "I know my fruit."
    (In reference to him picking out something called a pluot, which neither of us had ever seen or heard of before but he insisted he knew better than I how to pick 'em).
  • "I thought we'd be the only ones here."
    (In reference to his surprise that a popular scenic spot was as crowded as I said it would be).
  • "I'll be moving so I won't need any sunscreen."
    (In reference to me nagging him about putting on sunscreen before a hike, especially because he's had several spots cut out of his skin already!).
  • "I can find a tree somewhere."
    (In reference to me saying he better go to the bathroom now while we still had trees around, knowing we were headed into a barren lava field with no vegetation whatsoever. He didn't take advantage of the opportunity).
  • "Did we eat ice cream on the plane?"
    (In reference to me talking about the great coconut sundae we had on the plane, which he didn't remember because of all the Mai Tais on the plane and the mixed drinks in the Anchorage "Board Room").
  • "It's windy so I won't need sunscreen."
    (Another reference to me nagging him about putting on sunscreen.)
  • "They'll have a double-fish!"
    (McDonald's had these double-fish sandwiches everywhere we went. He really wanted one but kept putting off getting one. Finally, I said he better get one now because you never know ... well, he didn't get one and we ended up being in an area where all of the McDonald's had "discontinued" the double fish! Of course, none of the workers could figure out to just give him two.)
  • "We'll be shopping so I won't need sunscreen."
    (Yet another reference to me nagging him about putting on sunscreen. Creative, isn't he?)