Monday, April 27, 2009

Not Even a Sordough Yet!

I realized that a week ago today marked my 20th year in Alaska! I'm beyond my Cheechako years, for sure, but not quite a Sourdough yet, as I am pretty sure that means 15 additional years here. I thought I would take the blog opportunity to reflect on the happenings of 1989.

I was seven years old and had just relocated with my family from Dover AFB, DE to Eielson AFB, Alaska. Dad had just returned State-side from a year's tour to Korea without us. He was withdrawn and our adventure to Alaska seemed like the only thing we had going for us. There was no room on Base, so the Air Force put my family of six and our dog up in a Fairbanks hotel. That was so much fun, especially because the maid was afraid of Russie, our fat, old Brittany! Soon, my dad moved us into a nasty, run-down cabin in Moose Creek, Alaska. In May, it snowed! My brother, Jamie, and I built 6 snowman, one for each family member, and a snow-dog, of course! :)

That summer was a blast: we had very few toys, as they were all in storage. Instead, we played in the dirt, made friends with a girl down the street, and walked alongside the railroad tracks to the Moose Creek General Store for over-priced candy-bars that are way under the price of cheap candy bars today. Dad broke his nose when he rolled a 3-wheeler on top of himself on those same railroad tracks sometime that summer. Mom worked part time at the BX and struggled to keep up with cabin cleaning and home-schooling.

In September, it snowed again! It was the 20th of September, actually. I remember this because my dad had taken all of us fishing on the bank of the Tanana River. Our senile, old dog had locked point on some bushes nearby. We scolded her for taking an interest in squirrels. A closer investigation, however, revealed a shivering, malnourished black Labrador. She was pregnant, abandoned, with fishing line cutting up her feet. Though a year in Korea without us had made him somewhat emotionless toward his family, my dad could not resist our cries to help the poor dog. Dad cleaned her up, named her Lucky, and built her a cardboard box to birth her babies. Seven perfectly plump Black Lab mixes, and one Chocolate Lab mix, of the same stature emerged from Lucky's skin and bones the very next day. Though we found a great new home for Lucky, we did keep her brown pup. We named him Sasquatch and he was the most well-behaved dog I have ever known.

We learned that winter pretty much starts around then, and soon, Christmas was upon us. It's the only year in my memory where our tree wasn't topped with a golden star my parents had made before I was born. Our tree of 1989 wore construction-paper strings, and popcorn strings at the top where Russie and Sasquatch couldn't reach them. Cut-outs from magazines also hung from the branches. It was perfectly Alaskan!

I'm not exactly sure when we moved out of the cabin, but I know we spent a significant amount of our first winter there, if not all of it. We learned that the hole we'd discovered in the summer when mosquitoes swarmed into my and my sister's room would turn that room into a frozen isolation chamber in the winter months. After that, we slept in the small living room. We also learned that squirrels could make a huge mess inside of a cabin and were very vigorous at finding a way in during the hard-to-forage winter months. We learned that if you feed a moose a potato, she will ask you for another, and another, and another, and so on. Sasquatch became friends with Molly the moose, whom my mom was the first to offer a handout to. Dad fed her from his hand, but soon made an executive decision to stop the handouts and force Molly to move on. Probably a wise decision, as I am sure we couldn't afford such an expensive pet!

Still, I think the most important thing we learned was that, together, we could make a great life here. We could endure any trial. We could overcome our past conflicts. We could love each other and be a family again. Those were the life lessons we should have all held on to as the years passed. God really used Alaska to bring us together back then. And together, we were a great team.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Break Up

Alright, so my motherly duties are causing me to lack in my blog-writing duties somewhat. I apologize that many of the events on here are now a thing of this years' past, but please keep them in mind for 2010.

Alaska in the full flavor of pre-spring. Of course, we don't call it spring. Maybe it's one more act of refusal to conform, but in Alaska, it's called break-up. It's the time of year that rivers and snow begin to break-up. But what exactly does that mean to those of us who call "Seward's Icebox" our home?

  • Nenana Ice Classic Tickets are on sale. The event is a State lottery of sorts. The goal is to place the closest guess as to when a large tripod will fall through the ice on the part of the Tanana River that flows through the small town of Nenana. Winners take home thousands of dollars annually. I've never played.

  • Bad road conditions. "The brakes are not your friends" phrase is commonly heard at this time of year. In fact, Mom hit a moose with her Subaru last week. She's the first of the family to do so in the nearly 20 years we've been here! She and her car were unscratched. The moose, however, broke both her hind legs and had to be shot. In Alaska, churches are called to salvage all moose road kills, including Mom's.

  • Ice Alaska: The world ice art championships are held in Fairbanks, Alaska. The "coolest" part of this is the kid's park. Fit for all ages, giant ice slides tower above smaller playground equipment: all made of ice. If you aren't up for a trip to Alaska in March, you can visit the Fairbanks Ice Museum from May-September. Though it doesn't hold many sculptures, there is an ice slide, to give you a taste of the real deal.

  • Daylight Saving Time: Alright, some of our legislators are lobbying to get rid of the tradition, but I love it! Sure, in the dead of winter it is dark all the time, and in the middle of summer, we never see the stars, but this time of year, I just like seeing the sun still up at 9pm.

  • Fur Rendezvous: Another event I've never taken part in, though this one sounds GREAT! Held in downtown, Anchorage, participants are welcomed to join in a variety of winter games such as dog sledding and reindeer races.

  • March Madness at Birch Hill Ski and Snowboard Area: Located on Ft. Wainwright, this is a local favorite. Events include everything from pudding eating contests to ski-n-surf. It is held the last weekend of March.

  • Dog weight-pull championships: The Fairbanks events are usually held in the Bentley Mall parking lot. This is a really fun event to watch or participate in. Dogs compete to see which can pull the sled carrying the most weight. Any dog can participate!

  • Mush For Kids: This event is held at what I must grit my teeth and call "Pioneer Park" (formerly known as "Alaska Land"). It is free event to support the Alaska Children's Trust. Various vendors provide free services for children such as dog sled rides, hockey, puppy petting, crafts, etc.

Though there must be countless more community events happening, I'll end my list here. What I enjoy most this time of year is the water dripping from my roof, the sun shining past 9pm, taking my own dogs on dog sled rides, wearing a light jacket and Crocs to town, and just knowing summer is weeks away!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Babies and Birthdays

As I mentioned in my first blog, I was pregnant. I am no longer. Though my beautiful new son was "due" on April 10'th, I had found out about a complication in my pregnancy called placenta previa. A C-Section was going to be scheduled for the end of March. I began complaining that I wanted an April baby and that choosing your child's birth date is not a natural thing to do. Apparently talking to your baby in-utero works because on Sunday, the 22'nd, at 2:30AM, I woke in pool of blood.

I woke John, changed, and instructed my mom to call the ER with my information: 33 weeks pregnant. Placenta Previa. Massive bleeding. Doctor's name is Bartling. We left the kids in their beds and Mom was here to stay with them.

The sparseness of cars on Alaska roads (especially at 2:30am) came in at a great advantage. John drove over 80 mph to get to Fairbanks Memorial hospital. The administrations clerks at the ER were throwing fits that I was not pre-registered. I told them I was bleeding all over thee floor and they said, "That's ok, we'll clean it up!" LOL, like I cared about the floor!

Once in Labor and Delivery, the Dr. stated the obvious: immediate C-section required. We had to wait for the anesthesiologist, which seemed like forever. Finally, just after 4am, I was taken into the OR. It was 6 minutes from the time I went in, to the time Gabriel Wayne was being walked out! I was not conscious, and I had nearly bled to death. They started a transfusion right then, and I would end up receiving a total of 6 units of blood just to get my blood count stabilized.

On a side note, please consider donating blood to your local blood bank. Thank you, Jen, for donating and saving people's lives. It might not get your name in the newspaper like saving someone from a car accident or something, and you might not get an award for inventing a great piece of life-saving equipment, but giving blood is just as heroic. Somewhere in Fairbanks, Alaska are 6 donors who maybe received a glass of orange juice for their contributions, but they are my heroes. Without their donations and God's mercy, my newborn son would not have his mother today.

Anyway, as I received my care, Gabriel was getting his. He was a tough little fighter! He received lubricating medicines for his pre-mature lungs and was breathing heavily on his own. When his breathing continued to labor, his Dr. opted to put him on a ventilator. Gabriel kicked and swatted at the Dr. so much he had to be sedated. Dr. Foote said we were going to have a discipline problem with this one. I think he was right: a day or two after it was inserted, Gabe removed the breathing tube himself! He seemed to be able to breathe without the heavy laboring, so they left it out and placed a feeding tube through his nose. a day or two after that, he pulled that out!

At that point, it was decided he could suck minute amounts of breast milk through a rubber nipple. He did it, but the "nutrient IV" was still providing his basic needs. The IVs soon began to swell, and an increase of milk volume was made. Gabe sucked it down. By yesterday, at one week old, Gabriel was off the IVs and medicines. He was only hooked to a monitor. A nurse last night put another feeding tube in. She said he only ate half his food, but I have not had any trouble getting him to eat and neither have any other nurses. He eats over a 1/4 of a cup of milk every 3 hours and loves it. Though he dropped from 5 pounds, 12 ounces to 5 pounds, 2 ounces, he has now gained back almost 2 ounces. He has also grown one inch: from 18 inches, to 20. His only step left toward release is maintaining his own body temperature in an open room. Really, that means adding more body fat to keep him warm.

God is amazing. He had this planned and controlled since he first formed Gabriel. As the Psalmist said, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you." I truly believe my bout of pneumonia and month-long illness was to keep me from walking and having this happen sooner than it did. Gabriel would not have been ready a day sooner. God made him a large baby too. I know His hand is in all things. I miss my little guy more than anything in the world. The love I have for him truly is, as they say, like wearing my heart on my sleeve. Leaving him in the NICU was very hard, but knowing he is doing so well, makes it much easier. I think he may be home within a week or two.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Sun Returns

Yes, it's true: about 8 1/2 hours now and it is so nice! Just seeing the brightness shining through the windows makes one think more posatively.

The temperature has been great as well. Saturday, it was 20 degrees. John took the kids skiing. At 3 and 4 years old, I didn't expect them to stay out too long. Five hours later, John was dragging Paris into the lodge and leaving Judah to follow after "one more time." They were awesome and I was jealous to be confined to a chair by the window to watch. Still, knowing I had taught both of them this sport was pretty gratifying. Paris did insist that "Daddy teached her," and I suppose that's ok since she is a little girl and I understand how little girls idolize their Daddies whether they deserve it or not. LOL

When we finally left the ski lodge, Paris was asleep before we left the parking lot. We managed to keep Judah talking for the 20 minute drive home in order to prevent him from a late nap. At exactly 9 pm, they were both in bed for the night. Within 5 minutes, they were both asleep. They slept. And they slept. And they slept some more. We opted out of Sunday-School just so they could finish resting. It was a quarter 'til 10 when I woke them up. Nearly 13 hours of sleep and they were still well worn!

Today, I will send them in the backyard to go sledding for a while. This time of year really is great!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Unfortunately, I am still quite "under-the weather." I really have no idea what that truly means, or where it originated, but I am applying it to my current state none the less. I currently have pneumonia and a misplaced rib, on top of a pregnancy complication known as "Placenta Previa." The pneumonia is the worse of it, and since one generally catches pneumonia from bad weather, I have decided the aforementioned proverbial phrase is entirely appropriate for my condition.
During this time of much sitting, my last post has been bothering me. Though it is a very small town, North Pole is so much more than the last post. There are so many more memories and things to say about why I am happy to have grown up here, and even happier to raise my children here. I suppose I may just have to compile a book about it one day. :)
In the meantime, to Jennifer, I'd like to say that I am not arguing that North Pole is better than any other home-town. I am sure there is charm and deep memories in most peoples' home-towns. Perhaps that is what I am digging at: a reflection from my heart of why North Pole was great for me, and a challenge to others to reflect on their places of origin as well. We all come from somewhere. Though that Somewhere will never be the same as it was when we were there, it will always be "perfect" in our hearts.

For Shane: The Great Alaska Pizza Company took over all of the area Little Ceaser's when the national chain downsized. The only topping unique to the Alaska-based company is reindeer sausage. The pizzeria itself is fantastic competition to the more well known, Pizza Hut, offering such deals as an every-day Large, one-topping pizza for $7.99 and a once-a-month "customer appreciation" day where Large , one-toppings are $4.99 each. Still, the place is nothing real special, in my opinon anyway. It is not specialty pizza or something anyone considers a local favorite.
And, for my "anonymous husband:" Elkhart, Texas has its charm as well. It's just that no one explained to anyone there that life is ever-changing, so the people there all seem to be "stuck" in the same reality that they have been for years!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Zip Code 99705

North Pole, Alaska
Candy-Cane street lamps decorate the roads in the city itself. On some buildings, Christmas lights are present year-round. The world famous Santa Claus House still stands on St. Nicholas Drive, and is now a home to four of "Santa's" reindeer. Though the store has posted the animals' traditional names, I prefer to call them things I find more suitable than Dancer and Prancer, etc.. My names for them are: "Breakfast," "Maple," "Sage," and "Italian." Of course they all share the same last name: Sausage.
North Pole has very little to offer in the entertainment world, but it is the home to five franchise restaurants: Subway, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, McDonald's, and Wendy's. In addition, there is The Great Alaska Pizza Company, a fairly new diner, Harley's, two Chinese places, FireWok and Pagoda, The Thai Cuisine, a bar/diner, The Elf's Den, Dallman's Family Restaurant, and a country cafe' that I honestly don't remember the name of. Oh, yes, we have more than our share of eateries!
We do have our own radio station located here! 100.3 KJNP is a Christian station which also hosts a TV channel. The station is made of rustic, old log buildings. Their broadcast does come in clear, however, owning the largest antenna in the area, and possibly all of Alaska. In fact, if you still have a phone with a cord, you can often hear the radio through that phone!
The central location of North Pole is the grocery store which now displays the store label of Safeway. Since I have lived here, the same store has also been called Super Value and Carrs, and I must note, that it is perfectly acceptable to use any of its names interchangeably. Any true Local will not notice if you do not call it by its current title. The store and its adjoining strip-mall is owned by the Gavora family of Fairbanks. They own several locations in the more popular town as well. The mall itself has changed very little except for the lack of stores it is home to. Sentry Hardware is the only store that has been a constant since I have lived here. Everything else, from movie rentals to pet stores, have come and gone. I think the Gavora family is hoping to change that turn-over with their recent addition of North Pole's first Hotel, which is just being finished just outside of the mall's entrance.
There are three gas stations here; all of which are over-priced and typical of small-town charm. (ie: semi-warm hot dogs at $3.00 each and the restrooms are no place to rest!) I used to work at one of them, Sourdough Fuel. Petro Star owns that one as well as a credit card only pump station under the notable name of Texaco. The third used to be our 7-11, and again, it is perfectly acceptable to refer to it as such.
The United States Postal Service has a wonderful, little branch in North Pole. Giant Candy Canes in front of the building, and a sign stating its address make the location a very popular photo-op for our many tourists. Though the clerks at the Post Office are the friendliest, I know them each by name, and they have seen me grow up, it is a horrible place to need in November and December. No one can resist sending a Christmas package from North Pole, after all.
My family moved just outside the small town of North Pole in 1990. Nineteen years later, with the absence of just under a year, I am still living in Alaska's Christmas town. It has been through its course of changes; new buildings up, old ones torn down, growth of population, roads re-routed, etc. But nothing has changed of its personality.
The Mayor, Mr. Doug Isaacson, (once my youth-group leader, by the way) is often seen walking down the sidewalk and will always smile and wave to anyone and everyone driving by. He is a wonderful mayor, I will note. He has implemented several things for the community including a Christmas Ice Park that has been fantastic the last two years!
Going into "The Super Carrs Way" (grocery store), you are nearly guaranteed to run into more than a couple familiar faces, in addition to "knowing" all the cashiers. In fact, at the onset of this pregnancy, I noted to my visiting friend that I might be pregnant and she insisted we purchase a home pregnancy test. I refused to buy such an item in North Pole! She bought one. I told that wasn't much better: instead of whispers of the possibility that I may pregnant, North Pole would now be contemplating the state of my single friend visiting from Arizona! Ah well, even today, as I discussed pregnancy issues with one my favorite cashiers, three others and several customers listened in and added their input. Some may find these situations "nosey" or annoying, but it is just the small-town way.
These same people will be the ones to help raise money when your loved one has cancer. They will help put a porch on your house when the snow caves it in. They will stop to ensure his safety when your child's chain comes off his bike. They will "rescue" your lost dog and most likely keep it in their own home instead of turning it in to the Animal Shelter. North Pole-ians are people with great heart for their community. I'm so happy that my kids are growing up here as I did. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child, and this is one great, charming village. :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

"Raven"Like A Lunatic

Hello to you too, Mr. Raven in the backyard. I'm not sure why he is looming around the branches of our super-tall Spruce trees. Maybe he is scoping out the after-Christmas gingerbread houses and rotten apples I just threw out. Around town, we refer to these birds as "dumpster chickens" because of their filthy way of life in the city. They are most commonly found at McDonald's, Burger King, or any other place that frequently dumps food remnants into a dumpster. Sometimes we call them "soul chickens" or "Spirit Birds" as well. That is because the Native Alaskans believe that at some point after death, the human soul enters a raven and can then guide and be with the tribe forever. What they then say happens when a raven dies, I'm not sure! It is that belief that has earned the raven a place on the State's protected species list as well. In any case, ravens in the city are fat, grossly dirty birds.

On the flip side, ravens are amazing creatures in the wild. They have mimicking capabilities. I have heard them "bark" at my dog, Tigerlily while we walked our trapline. Sometimes they whistle. Mostly tthough, their sound is just a throaty "caw" similar to a crow or a deep clucking. The most amazing time to hear them is when they have found a fresh animal kill. I don't quite understand what, other than God, directs them to kill sites, but they seem to appear as soon as an animal is killed. After they find the site, they just seem to multiply in the sky. From six to a dozen black birds, soaring high above the blood on the ground; circling and calling loudly. Calling: yes, calling to stir the other forest inhabitants. "Aww-Aww-'Freshly killed moose below,'" they say, hoping to reach the ears of a wolf pack or a hungry bear. They repeat this ritual for hours at times, scarcely ever swooping down to peck at the meat. Ravens prefer to have someone else do the dirty work. If they can call in a hungry carnivore to rip the hide and make a mess of the carcass, they will gladly wait. Then, and only then, does the ravens' feast begin.

It is a shame to see the raven in such a negative light around the cities. Instead of scavenging after bears and wolves, they scavenge after humans. They are pecking at the remnants of OUR meals, and living a very poor life due to that. I once asked a lady from the Alaska Bird Observatory about the lifespan of the raven. Though I don't remember her exact answer, I wasn't surprised to hear that city birds die much sooner than those in the wild. Not because they have a rougher life, but because they have high cholesterol, heart disease, and other nasty illnesses caused by their custom of eating our table scraps.

Well, consider yourself a little more educated on the most common bird in Alaska. And if you come to visit this Great Land, and you share a french-fry or hamburger with a raven, just remember, somewhere beyond the city lights, there are moose who dread the sound of the raven's cry. It means death to them, but life to a wolf and to the ravens there, who know nothing of our human filth.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

WOW, what a heat wave! A ninety degree difference from last week's -50, temperatures climbed to 40 yesterday! Even more significant, according to this article in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, it has been 87 days since the temperatures here in the heart of Alaska have risen above 20 degrees. With this information spinning through my head, I have to laugh a little about the national news coverage of the "cold snap sweeping the country."

Go ahead, Outsider's, blame us for your "arctic cold front." However, this picture just tickles my funny bone:
According to the accompanying CNN article, these ladies are "enduring the cold" which is hitting Massachusetts at 20 degrees. LOL, we haven't had 20 degrees since October! Now I will recognize that the humidity level near the east coast and the wind in the mid-west contribute greatly to a cold feeling which is more than ambient, but, there is nothing like the way your lungs fail to open at -40 and colder. Sorry you're cold, Lower 48ers, but I can't deny that your misfortune comes at a time of great pleasure for us!

Of course, as the title of this post indicates, this "heat wave" is not all fun and games to those of us who now have to drive to work on wet roads which are still so cold that the melting snow immediately freezes over. I am sure as my husband drives to work at 5am, that he will be praying for his safety. I am sure he will pass a half a dozen motorists whose cars will have slipped off the roads. His patrol should be quite eventful as well. Ahh, weather sure is a complication to our lives here in Alaska. Still, it amazes me to no end!

On a personal note, I haven't had the chance to enjoy the weather myself at all! Two days ago, I woke up with a sore throat which quickly turned into some sort of strange flu. I ache all over, feel chilled to my bones, then in the next ten minutes, I sweat harder than I would after running the
Midnight Sun Run! I sent Judah and Paris out to go sledding this afternoon and the 30 degree weather felt like -12 to me. Pregnancy is adding to my discomfort. Oh well, it will pass: probably about the time the temperatures fall back below zero!

UPDATE 01/16/09: It's nearly 50 degrees at my house today! Another problem is occuring: Our stash of ice cream and crab legs had to be relocated from the front porch to the freezer! :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Seven Weird or Random Things...

Shane tagged me on his blog and I am supposed to list seven weird or random facts about myself, then tag seven others who are to do the same on their blogs. Trying to stay on theme with my blog, here it goes:

  1. If I step on the snow beginning with my left foot, I must leave the snow from my right foot.
  2. Lynx chili is pretty good and I know because my dad made it for his own retirement party.
  3. I can't swim: I just don't know how, and this is not very smart since there is so much water in Alaska.
  4. The longest I've gone not owning a Brittany (Spaniel) was the first year of my life.
  5. The longest I've been without a shower is 10 days while on float-hunting trip during which time I shot my first moose.
  6. (slightly off topic, but funny) When we first got married, my arm muscles were bigger than John's and I owned more firearms....Now he has a couple more guns than me.-and FINE, he's managed to gain some muscle too. :)
  7. I was 18 years old before I saw a black bear in the wild...and I shot him!

Alright, that was everything you really didn't need to know about me and now I am tagging: My Sister-in-law, Jennifer (Because she's the "survey queen"), Rebecca (Because she'll probably do it), Gretchen (Because -45 for the last week and a half is driving her to boredom), Jennifer's sister, Lauren (Because she's the "survey queen's" sister), Crystal (Because she's online all the time), John's Aunt Kristi (Because she might be up to the challenge), and James (Because I just don't know anyone else who might keep this thing going).

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Cold New Year's Day

Global Warming!? Well, I am sure I know nothing of it. And if it has a grain of truth, I am totally for it! As temperatures reached -50 degrees at my home, I was barely able to see a neighbor's fireworks through the lingering ice fog outside. Today, we are having a slight heat wave, with temperatures RISING to -28! That's in Fairbanks, actually. Here, it has only risen to -40. When it comes to it, anything -35 or colder feels the same: FRIGID.

So, what do we do when it is this cold? I could point out the number of Alaskan babies born August-October, but that's pretty much a given. What really occurs is a whole lot of cabin fever. My kids are sharing germs, arguing over toys they received for Christmas, and wearing so many layers of clothes that they each weigh 10 pounds more than usual. My dogs are mad at me for forgetting about them when they were outside. Don't worry, the dryer was on, and despite their "bird brains," they had enough sense to huddle together under the vent. This kept them plenty warm. Moses must have actually forgiven me because he keeps ringing his bell to alert me that he wants out yet again. Crazy fool, doesn't the air choke his breath as it does mine? Mrs. Jones is not as forgiving: she is huddled in front of the electric fireplace (which is not turned on) and sending evil glares my way.

As for me and John, I assume, we are like most spouses who are forced to deal with the in and outs of life at sub-zero temperatures. Meaning, we are frustrated that elements of our home are not functioning properly, that one of our cars decided it would rather be living in Florida and is refusing to run, and secretly knowing that our utility bills will arrive with a whole new stress of their own.

Still, this isn't the worst of winter. No, after all, we are warm, at least. We are saving money because I am not driving anywhere, using gas or spending money on groceries and the like. In fact, one would think I could accomplish a lot of household duties during this period of self-inflicted "lock-down." However, THE DARKNESS DRIVES ME INSANE! Sure, every light in my house is on, the sun is shining somewhere above the fog, but the dreary, dim light that stays so flat for only about 5 hours is very depressing. Somehow, it is even snowing right now. Tiny crystals of dry ice flaking from the sky don't even cheer the mood. They are menacing, in a way; taunting me to realize that this winter is far from over. 6 months pregnant, truly not long to go, but the months of January and February in Alaska seem to drag like the tip of a snail's tail.

Ahh, I will survive, as I always do. And When March finally does pull through, the fresh smell of Break-Up and the sunshine will rejuvenate me once again. I will not be thinking about today: it's darkness, its depression. I will only see Alaska and its winter beauty. I will see the dogsled teams mushing in the daylight, the sun sparkling on the hills, spend a day with my family enjoying ice sculptures, and as I absorb it all, a twinge of guilt will touch my heart as I recollect today's dark feelings. I will realize that there is no where else like Alaska. There is no where else where a person's body can sway with the seasons like this. There is no where else that I can show my kids how boiling water freezes in mid air. And there is no where else I'd rather be right now.............

Well, Hawaii was great in January...