31 October, 2011

Time for Glasses Again

I'm wearing my glasses today.  I only wear glasses when my eyes need a break from my contacts - so maybe a few weeks a year, at the most.  I don't like not being able to use my peripheral vision.  And I don't know how many times today I've glanced down, only to realize I can't see and have to actually move my head.  These are some of the reasons I wear my extended-wear contacts much too long (and then have to wear my glasses for a week or so before I can put in a new pair of contacts).  I also love being able to read the glowing, digital clock when I stumble back from the bathroom in the wee hours of the morning.  And it's frustrating to forget that I'm blind (I'm not very clear headed in the mornings, and I'm already grumpy - just ask Greg), only to realize it when I stub my toes or bruise a shin.  Exercising is also even more of a chore, since wiping the sweat from my face (which I need to do quite often) either shifts the glasses - causing vertigo - or I can't get it all and have to endure hot, salty, sweat pouring down the sides of my face and leaking into my eyes.  I could go on, but since I'm going to wear these dratted things all week, I'd rather not focus much more on Why I Hate Wearing Glasses.
But it was way past time to give my eyes a break, so now I'm wearing glasses for the week.  And tomorrow I have to go to the DMV to get a new license.  Mine is expired.  And not by a day or two.  Try three weeks.  So feel free to assume that I haven't been pulled over or taken to jail in the last three weeks.  You may also rightfully assume that I have not been to the liquor store.  Otherwise, I would've known (and fixed) the problem before last Saturday's derby bout.

I was prepped and ready for the bout - made sure I had my ID, some cash, and the tickets.  We went early - although next time I have to go even earlier, since the place was packed.  Sold out again, even in the new, bigger arena.  Anyhow.  As we're being carded so we can go into the arena on the wet side, I was told (politely, yet firmly) that they could not allow me in because my license had expired.  What?!?  Sure 'nuff, I've had my birthday this year, and didn't even realize that I needed to get my license renewed.  Oh, bother!

So I got out of line and headed to the dry side.  It's much smaller over there, and the perspective is different.  I hadn't thought of it before, but there's a whole lot of people on the "wet" side of derby.  It's probably 2/3 - 3/4 of the seating.  I wonder if that implies something.  We're a rowdy bunch.  (Anchorage derby in general, not just me and my friends.)  The wet side allows underage persons - so long as minors are accompanied by legal guardians - so not everyone there is imbibing in tasty beverages. Wet side gets the taller bleacher seating (haven't seen anybody fall of yet, although one gal almost toppled off as she was trying to climb on from the backside - and it was before derby even started, so i don't think she was (too) impaired), more sets of bleachers, and most of the reserved seats and tables are in here too.  The only other derby I've attended outside of Rage City was in Washington, and there was no alcohol there, so I don't know if it's a good comparison - I mean, aside from the smashing, brawling sport of derby, that is.

I'm not sure what that says about derby, or Anchorage derby, or me.  I just know I was disappointed to be shunted over to the dry side.  Fortunately, I know a photographer that has free rein of the place, so he helped me make my way over to the fun side.  (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge - thanks, Honey!!)  Where all my friends were.  But by that time, there were only a couple seats left - so the two newbies we brought, who hadn't seen a game yet, still didn't get to see a whole game.  Next time, I promise.  I'll go earlier, and my license won't be expired.

So now the $5 question is: Will they let me take my glasses off for my new license picture?  I mean, I'd rather just keep the crappy picture I have now,  but I think I could only do that if I renewed before it actually expired.  I guess I'll find out tomorrow.

Picking Up Where I Left Off

It's been 3 months since I've actively blogged.  Lots of posts that I'll get to - in date order, so you might have to back track a bit to catch up, if anyone's still reading this.  I'm not sure why I lost the motivation for posting.  Some may have to do with Facebook.  Since that's so immediate and I upload pictures almost instantly, the story is already out there.  So the blog becomes a bit redundant.

The question becomes: Is this forum outdated?  Lord knows I don't blog for the massive fan-base.  It's friends and family that follow my ramblings here.  Since I'm primarily a lurker on Facebook, there's more insight into what's going on in my life with the blog.  And that was the point in the beginning.  A way to share what happens in my normal course of being with those that I care about that are far away.

So for now, it seems that I will find some motivation to continue this public journal.  Thank you for waiting.

21 July, 2011

Sister Soiree

A month or so ago, I got a phone call from M.  As we were chatting, she mentioned that she might be able to come visit me this summer.  SO *stoked*!!!  I was able to visit for a bit with M last October, but I always enjoy visits from my sisters.  I'm fortunate that Jeannea and Sara work in Alaska for the summers, so I get to see them two times a year.  Not so fortunate with Sheri and Amy.  If I'm lucky, I might see them once a year or every other year.  The added bonus for this visit is that Sheri was able to come for the weekend too.  Sweet!
So what do you plan when you're having family visit for a while and want to do something fun?  Well... camping, of course!  I've been able to take Sheri camping before (when I was lucky enough that her work sent her to Alaska for a short while), but this is the first time we've gone camping with M.  Yay!!
 M loves the morning
 Sheri only looks like she's blowing me a kiss - really she's making a
smartass comment because I'm taking her picture
 Some of my most favorite people
Summit Lake from the campsite
I had so much fun with both my sisters.  It's always a blast.  I horde each day and the time we spend together, knowing that it'll pass all too quickly, they'll be gone soon, and it'll be an inordinately long time before I get to see them again.  Camping, hiking, rafting (for M and Greg), shopping, and visiting.  We talked about how nice it would be to live closer together.  How we'd have spontaneous barbecues, go shopping together, call each other for help with the little things...  It's such a lovely vision, and I hope that someday we all live closer together.
 Lake view from the hike
 M getting ready for rafting
 Two of my girls
M making delicious s'mores for us
So much laughing; so much companionship; so much love.  I had such a good time with my sisters.  Every morning, I'd think about how time was going too fast and I'd better hang on to every precious minute.  Every night I was content with a day well spent, but sad that I have one less day to spend with them.
I'm so glad Amy and Sheri came to visit me.  I always suffer from a little depression when my family leaves me, and this was no exception.  My only consolation is that I'll be seeing Jeannea and Sara when they get done working for the summer.

09 July, 2011

Eklutna Ride

I've been attempting to ride my bike a bit more this summer.  I'm slow, and any kind of incline is a real effort, but I generally have a good time.  When my friend Shawn suggested a ride around Eklutna Lake, I figured it'd be a good ride - some exercise, and a chance to visit with a friend.
The last time I was here, we were camping.  I mostly stayed at the camp site and enjoyed the company there.  I've heard of the hiking and biking trails, and Sheri even did a little kayaking with Greg, but this is the first time I've explored any of those options.  (I'm not nearly ready for the kayaking/canoeing bit yet...)
I have to admit that I was anxious about the ride.  I know I'm not skilled, and I'm definitely out of shape.  But Shawn made it easy to relax and have fun.  There were plenty of places to stop and explore - and I took advantage of as many as I could.
We biked six miles out, then had a wonderful lunch (provided by Shawn) sitting on the beach and enjoying the view.  While there was plenty more trail to ride, I was starting to worry about the trek back.  As far as we go, I have to come back.  There's no way on this ride for me to call Greg to come pick me up.  (That's what I did riding home from work a while back - there was a tremendous head wind, and I was just so tired... so about a mile and a half from home I caved and called Greg to come get me.  I know.  I'm a wimp.)
All in all, we rode 12 miles today.  I'm pretty proud of that.  Granted, we took plenty of breaks, and on the way back I had to walk my bike up several hills, but I didn't have a heart attack; I didn't wimp out and walk the whole way back (just up a few hills, and no more than I absolutely had to); and I had a wonderful time visiting with Shawn.  To celebrate, we had dinner at Kriner's Diner and I took home one of their super-delicious cinnamon rolls.  Yeah, baby!

07 July, 2011

Squirrel Creek, Finis

Ah, the last bit.  Sad to see a fun weekend come to an end, but at this point I'm definitely looking forward to a shower...
We made it back to camp, only to find that Squirrel Creek wasn't near as rainy as Valdez - which is a good omen for a BIG fire!  It helps that we've got a lot of wood left, and the goal is to burn the box before we go too.

It was a weekend filled with friends and visiting; games and geocaching; fun and relaxing.  How can you beat that?!?  We even had some tunes and dancing...
The last day, we took our time packing up - mostly because it was nice to not be in a rush, but also because we had to finish burning the box.  The journey home was peppered with stops - for geochaching, of course.
All in all, a beautiful weekend (even with the rainy bits), spent with family and friends.  I can't think of a better way to spend my time...

06 July, 2011

Squirrel Creek, Part II

One of the reasons I enjoy camping at Squirrel Creek is that we usually take one day and go road-trippin' to Valdez.  We stop along the way to see Worthington Glacier and get pictures at the waterfalls.  And I have the extra special added bonus of getting to see Sara for a little while.  Yay!
The glacier has receded significantly over the last few years.  Used to be that you could walk 5 minutes off the paved trail and be standing next to blue ice taller than you.  Now it's a bit of a hike before you get close - but it's still visible (unlike Portage Glacier, where you have to take one of the little cruises to get within binocular distance).
Nita and I opted to wait at the car for the hikers, and to pass the time she fed the birds.  Seagulls.  A whole herd of them.  Not sure what seagulls are doing hanging out at a glacier, but it was fun to watch.  I admit to ducking a couple times, and covering my head.  Didn't want to get pooped on when it's going to be a while before I could get cleaned up...  (Well, really didn't want to get pooped on at all, but especially not if I have to wear it for another hour or two.)  I overheard some tourists talking about how it feels just like home, because Utah's state bird is the sea gull.  I wanted to rush over and see if they knew any of my family that's from there, but I refrained...  =)
Valdez is absolutely beautiful - even in the rain.  We've been lucky some years to have sunshine, and then the vista is stunning!  But I wouldn't live there in the winter.  I've heard they can get 10 - 20 feet of snow - so much that people have to tunnel out of their houses to get anyplace.  No thanks!
Sara's work is in the lower right corner of the 2nd picture
We visited, did some sight-seeing, and got to eat dinner with Sara.  Through it all, there was a fine mist - not really rain, but grey clouds and enough dampness to eventually bead up on our clothes.  When it was finally time to say goodbye, the heavens opened up and there was torrential rain.  Methinks that might've been the elements expressing my emotions...  =)  Anyhow.  I intended to get our picture with a nice background (like a scenic mountain or somesuch), but settled for the parking lot with the burger joint where we had dinner.
Heading back to camp the weather got milder and milder, until it was cloudy with no rain at all.  Which is perfect weather to have a fire and roast marshmallows.  And that's the way we ended our road-trippin' day.  I've got a few more photos to share, so it looks like there'll be one more post about this utterly fantastic weekend.  Yay!!

05 July, 2011

Squirrel Creek, Park I

I've been looking forward to the 4th of July weekend for ages!  A long weekend (I took Friday off too), and we're going camping.  Yay!  Working a full day, then loading up for camping generally means a late start.  But who cares? since I don't have to work on Friday anyway.  Sweet!!  We loaded up an old friend for the last trip...

Years ago, Greg made a box to fit his ladder rack so we could bring extra wood and have BIG fires.  This is the last campout for the box.  Fitting then, that the first and last trips are both to Squirrel Creek.  Between packing, mounting the box, and loading the gear, we didn't leave until almost 10pm.  Kinda late, especially for this trip, but what the hell?  We can always sleep in once the tents are up...
We arrived on location at 3am, had the tents up by 4am, then sat around the fire until 7am.  It's been absolutely forever since I've been up for more than 24 hours.  Must be a sign of getting old - I used to be able to stay up late and get up early for days on end without it seeming to impact me.  Now, a solid 8 hours is good (I like 10 better), but I can survive on 5 or 6 for a day or two.  No more than that without going totally nutso, having a psychotic breakdown, and collapsing into a sleep coma for three days of recovery.  Twenty-some years ago, 40 seemed ancient - as if those old fogies are ready to push up daisies, just put 'em in a wheelchair and get some diapers right now - but now that I'm almost there, I don't feel that much different from when I was 25 or so (except I need more sleep)...  Anyhow.  I digress.
The next couple days are filled with fun, fires, and friends.  Such a wonderful weekend!!  We even satisfied another "tradition".  At a previous campout - in the same camp ground, at the same site, even - we found that squirrels can (and will) eat through the plastic to get at the licorice in the 5# Costco tub.  This year, we found that they'll eat through the Gladware bin to get to the fruits and nuts.
I have several more pictures that I want to share - I'll try not to be too boring - so I'll add them to the next post.  Besides, that includes the next adventure: heading to Valdez to see Sara.  Campfire, fresh air, falling asleep to the sound of running water...  Can't think of a better way to spend the weekend.

19 June, 2011

Walking to Whittier

It's been a couple years since we've participated in the Walk to Whittier, so when I heard about it this year I wanted to go.  It's a 2 and a half mile walk through a tunnel that connects Whittier to the rest of the world.  The tunnel is one lane wide, so traffic alternates direction into and out of town.  It's a very large lane - big enough that buses, trains, and even boats can go through.
It was a cloudy, drizzly day - but since we spent a majority of the time walking through the tunnel, the weather didn't matter so much.  I had a lovely time visiting with our friend Shawn, as we trekked the terrain.
Once we made it to town, we had a couple hours to explore before it was time to catch the bus.  Another benefit of this walk (besides that it's cool and can be an enjoyable substitute for some exercise) is that after all the walking, we get to eat and shop, then don't have to walk back to the car.
The rain was more like a fine mist, as if we were walking through super-saturated clouds.  Never enough to be uncomfortable, but what seemed like a fine layer of dew on everything.  We must've walked pretty quickly, because we were second in line at our choice of restaurant.  Let me tell you, fresh fish and chips is hard to beat!
From there, we wandered the town.  Whittier isn't very large - you can see most of it right from the marina.  We decided to explore one of the derelict buildings, just behind the local inn and up a small rise.  I love architecture - old buildings, new ones, interesting lines, etc.  (This place reminds me of an insane asylum from back in the day, where someone was probably tortured and murdered horribly, and now that person (or those people) haunt the site of their doom.)  Aside from that, Greg has a new-found fascination with graffiti, ever since he watched Exit Through the Gift Shop.  (I have to say it was an interesting flick, but I don't think it's really a documentary.  I think it's filmed in the same style and could be based on true events, but is a well crafted make-believe tale.)  I think that graffiti is definitely a form of vandalism, but if I have to look at it, I'd prefer to look at the more artistic applications.  I don't need to know that John loves Ginger, or that Mary is a gang-banger.  I like the dinosaurs and deep sea creatures that peppered the inside and outside of this building (in the picture above, on the lower right corner is a T-Rex).
We finished our exploring in time to make it to the fudge shop for a nice little treat before we boarded the bus... except the bus was late.  Which wouldn't have been all that bad, except we're standing in the misty, drizzly, rain, and if we miss the tunnel, we're stuck in Whittier over night (it's the last tunnel going out for the day - one more coming in, then closed for the night).
While we were waiting, a friend we haven't seen in years pulled into the lot to go to the coffee shop right next door.  Small world!  Eric does commercial fishing out of Whittier now, and he'd just finished with some work and happened to stop by for some caffeine to keep him awake for a little while longer.  It was great to catch up with him and find out what's new.  It shouldn't surprise me that much anymore, that wherever we go Greg will find someone he knows.  I'm much more anonymous, I suppose (and I'm fine with that).
I can hear the creepy music playing in the background, and if I stare at the picture hard enough, I think there are faces in the shadows of the windows.  They only come out in the mist, and they're hungry.  Good thing our bus made the last tunnel out... (ooooh!  I hope I haven't just given myself nightmares!)