Saturday, December 17, 2005


Home For The Holidays

I just got home from picking Trevor up at the airport. He looked beat, even though he got a free upgrade to first class, and we were late picking him up as we didn't know he was coming into the north terminal. He had a little five o'clock shadow but no red paint and horns like he and his room mates are sporting at the Azuza Pacific game last month.

There is another great shot of Trevor and his cronies right on the banner page of his college - check it out! I'm not sure how long it will be there, so check soon. It's great to have him home and we're going to see King Kong tomorrow and watch a Miami Game at the Peanut Farm on Sunday before he heads down to Soldota for a week or so. He can't wait to see his sisters!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Trouble Brewing

It looks like one of our volcanoes is going to get rowdy in the near future! This is a great aerial shot of Mount Augustine taken two days ago, the most southernly of our Cook Inlet volcanoes. The Alaska Volcano Observatory has a fantastic website here where you can keep an eye on all Alaskan volcano activity. For Mount Augustine they have satellite imagery and a webcam view from the end of the Homer Spit!

I have been up here long enough to see several eruptions that were major enough to result in ash fall where I lived - I actually have a jar of ash I collected from a Mount Spur eruption. It sure makes the snow look dirty when it happens in winter!

Friday, December 09, 2005



It's another cool fractal, this time from a university physics website. I thought this was a great image for today as it is 49 degrees at 7 AM on December 9 in Anchorage. Crazy weather! I'm excited about the upcoming weekend, a time to relax and maybe do a little Christmas shopping. The last month has been too busy and I need to slow down and take time to smell the holly in this calm before family flies in from the east coast. I also need to plan and buy materials for my kitchen table project. Cheers to you all from the Northern Apex this holiday season!

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Beauty Everywhere

This photo was taken back in September when we had a lot of northern lights activity for a week or so. I like it because it shows the big "star" that Fort Richardson lights up every winter reflected in a lake where the boys and I fished for trout when they were small. I have hiked up by the star in the winter when ptarmigan hunting and I have to say it is much more impressive at a distance - up close it is an anticlimactic series of plain telephone poles with lightbulbs on top.

I can hear the rain on the roof as I type as the weather has been pushing 50 degrees these last few days, rapidly melting what snow had accumulated. I always love these mid-winter thaws where you get a chance to catch your breath, get the driveway down to bare asphalt again, and enjoy the outdoors with a minimum of gear. I don't even mind the Chinook winds that always accompany these warm spells as long as I'm staying around town - down on Turnagain Arm the natural venturi effect of the narrowing land mass whips the winds to 80 and 90 miles per hour and beyond making for interesting travel.

As I waited for a trucking company to pick up the day's outgoing freight today I stood outside and watched transfixed as a holiday decorated 35 foot pine tree belly danced; the boughs festooned with Christmas lights undulating and swaying to the wind's demands. I saw my daughter's brow furrow with concentration as she participated in volleyball drills, complete focus and totally unaware of how beautiful she was and how very proud her Dad was at that very moment.  I watched my other daughter pour my morning coffee into my travel mug before we head out the door to bring her to school, making sure the top is tight and wiping down the sides before handing it to me with a smile.

So many things to be thankful for - great talks with my brother today, getting ready for the holidays, making batches of soap in the evenings at home. I am very lucky - and I have made my own luck in many ways. My thoughts and prayers are with you all this holiday season!

Thursday, December 01, 2005


The New Guy

It has been an interesting time inside my head these past few weeks as I look to the change in jobs on the horizon. I've developed a new bit of philosophy that is increasingly guiding my actions these days, The New Guy Theorem of Happiness. Those of you that know me well will attest I am just chock full of Yankee stoicism, and I will endure almost anything with silence and fairly good cheer. I will just slog through something unpleasant because I have a long view on things and I see the good on the other side.

Well guess what - it doesn't have to be that unpleasant! I realized this as I began to make small changes in my job - work layout, policy, scheduling - to make things a little better for "The New Guy" who will be taking over for me in another 5 or 6 months. Things I have endured on a daily basis for literally years I am changing so that "The New Guy" doesn't have to deal with it. Do you realize how silly this is?? After I made a few changes and realized that "Wow, this is better, this is more efficient, this is more fun", I started to wonder a couple things . . . .

First of all, why can't I be The New Guy? What is it in my admittedly stubborn constitution that makes me slog through like a tough guy when it doesn't need to be so horrible? And the other thing I realized is that the same philosophy applied to other things in my life as well. A good example would be dropping my daughter off at school in the morning. I began to bring her to school on the way to work to make her feel loved, to bond with her in the morning (even though we don't talk, there is a good vibe in the car), so that she doesn't have to wait in the cold for the bus, to boost her self-esteem and make her feel special. I made the decision to do this even though the drop off process is stunningly horrible, an endless wait in line in a traffic jam of parents and buses and chaos. It was an unbearable event that I simply endured because it was the right thing to do, even though I hated it.

Well, if you apply the New Guy philosophy to the problem, it turned out I just had to leave about 10 minutes earlier and there was almost no line. Also, it turned out it was really nice to crank the car up about 15 minutes before I left and then brew a cup of coffee that I could enjoy on the road. So by making just a few changes, I have a warm car, a fresh cup of coffee in my hand, and no traffic jam and suddenly dropping my daughter off in the morning is something to be enjoyed, not endured.

The New Guy Theorem of Happiness has been a great addition to my routine and I continue to look for more opportunities to apply it to all aspects of my day. I encourage you all to "be the new guy" and have a better day!

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