Michael & Leah's Continuing Saga...2003

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Ever since we moved to Alaska, we have stayed in touch with friends and family through email. We've put together this web site to journal our letters and put pictures to our stories. We enjoy hearing from everybody, so stay in touch!
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Thursday, April 17, 2003 6:46 PM

Hello Family and Friends,

Hope all is well. As of now, Michael and I are sitting in the airport in Salt Lake City during a layover waiting to go home. Our trip to Anchorage, Alaska was a huge success!!! I wanted to start writing everything down that has happened for the past five days while it was still fresh in our minds. I guess I'll just start from day 1, April 11th. We flew out of DIA at 6:10 in the morning, slept on the plane, and then had a four hour layover in Salt Lake City. Then we flew another four hours or so on to Anchorage. Flying over Alaska was really breathtaking. The mountains and scenery were so incredibly beautiful and still mostly covered with snow. The mountains seem really different to me than the mountains in Colorado. Much bigger and more rustic, with lots of craggy tops. When we got off the plane we went and found our rental car and then proceeded to find our hotel. It was really warm outside, apparently it was a record breaking day for them at a whopping 55 degrees. Providence Alaska Medical Center really spoiled us. They paid for both of our airfare, rental car, and hotel. Michael and I were surprised at the scenery around us. There were tons of trees everywhere..although we were surprised that there were many more deciduous trees around than evergreens (but I bet it makes for a beautiful landscape when autumn comes). We stayed at the Millennium Hotel; it was really rustic with huge fireplaces and, of course, lots of stuffed polar bears, grizzly bears, moose, fish, and other animals found in the region. When we walked into our cozy hotel room, Providence left a gift basket for us as a welcome. It was nice to feel so welcome and..important!!!! So then, we got settled in, hung up our clothes, and proceeded to check out the sights around us. We drove to "downtown" Anchorage and parked the car and walked around for a bit. Then we went to "La Mex Restaurant" for dinner and had enchiladas and prime rib (great combo, huh?). After dinner we drove around a little bit more to get our sense of direction, checked out the mudflats on the shore, and then returned to the hotel to hit the sack.

The next day was Saturday and it was a free day for us to go out and explore. Anchorage is 2 hours earlier than Wyoming so it took a little getting used to the time change..Alaska is so big that it has its own time zone called Alaska Standard Time (AST). We woke up early, had breakfast at the hotel, and drove up to Eagle River (about 18 miles north of Anchorage) and then on to Palmer and Wasilla (little towns about 40 miles north of Anchorage). We wanted to check these towns out to see if we possibly wanted to live there and then commute. We really like Palmer but I think we will stick to Anchorage for the time being. I'm not in to commuting so much. Then from there we traveled up the Parks Highway to get a view of Mount McKinley. We were probably about half way there when the clouds came rolling in so you could only see the bottom part of it. It's actually about a 7 hour drive to the big mountain from Anchorage, but we just wanted to get a sense of its awesomeness. It sure was some of the most beautiful scenery that we've ever seen. Alaska is filled with tons of lakes and rivers and whatnot. So then we turned around and got a late lunch/early dinner at a little restaurant outside of Palmer called "The Noisy Goose". It had great food with a comical hunting/fishing/bears atmosphere. Then on to the hotel to check messages and stuff. So, then we were just sitting around and figured we were still able to go out and play because, hey, it's still light out until 10 o'clock at night...we had plenty of time left. So we jumped in the car again and traveled along the Turnagain Arm of Alaska on the Seward Highway. And can I just say, "WOW!" It was incredible!...huge mountains on one side of the highway with waterfalls flowing down and then the big beautiful ocean on the other with even bigger mountains in the distance. We traveled down to a place called Beluga Point where apparently it's a great place to see the whales and other wildlife, but we didn't see any at the time. Then we drove further onto the Portage Glacier. Michael said you can pick out the glacier because they look like blue ice. Overall, Alaska has about 100,000 glaciers. So, by that time it was about 9 o'clock at night and we turned around and headed home.

The next day was Sunday and the hospital had scheduled an area tour for us with a realtor to take us around town. Her name was Jennifer and she was really wonderful in informing us about Anchorage. While driving around we saw a moose on the side of the road ! She mainly took us to see different neighborhoods and the various kinds of housing available. There are pretty much no brick houses up here because for one, they don't make bricks up here and two, they are too expensive to ship. The housing usually has some sort of cedar siding or other material for siding. We've been told by a number of people that we've come at a time when Anchorage is not looking its best. Everything is starting to melt so you see the "dirty" snow in some places and mud in others. But this didn't faze us in the least. After our tour was done, we then went out on our own to look at some more real estate. We are more than likely going to buy a townhouse. We want something that is nice but not as expensive and high maintenance. Then we went to eat dinner at a restaurant called "Gwennies." It had a rustic atmosphere and huge portions of food. Then we went back to our hotel where I proceeded to prepare for my interview on the next day.

Like I just said, Monday was my big interview day. We woke up early in the morning and had breakfast at Village Inn, then Michael dropped me off at the hospital at 8:30. I met with Andre, the pharmacy manager, and Elaine, the residency coordinator, who took me on a tour of the entire hospital. And what a fabulous hospital it is!!! I was really amazed with everything they showed me from their computer systems to their patient care. Then Andre and Elaine left me with a pharmacist named Tanya and I hung out with her for about an hour and a half to see what she does on a day to day basis. Then I had lunch with a bunch of the pharmacy staff. Everyone was really nice and asked me a lot of questions ranging from why we wanted to move to where I came from. Then from there I had my formal interview. Five people interviewed me.kind of stressful, but not too bad. Then I went to look at how they do the scheduling and whatnot while the staff discussed whether they wanted me or not. After about an hour Andre and Elaine came back and offered me a job. I am going to be their newest clinical pharmacist in their critical care unit!.I'm very excited about it, and a little scared. It's going to be completely different from retail pharmacy so there's obviously going to be a learning curve involved, but I'm up for the challenge!!! From there, they sent us over to the Human Resources department to learn all about their benefits and what's all involved in moving us up there. They will ship all of our belongings and one vehicle up for us. And they also pay for our hotel and meals when we make the drive up via the Alcan (Alaskan-Canadian) Highway. Their healthcare benefits are awesome.and much less expensive than I originally thought. Their medical plan is great and we also get dental and vision benefits. And the best thing about the benefits is that they start the on the first of the month of the following month of my start date (meaning I will probably start on July 20th or so and benefits will start on August 1st).so no waiting for 3 months for insurance to kick in. You also get life insurance, disability, flex-pay accounts, vacation (27 days to start with), sick leave, and a pretty good retirement plan. And I also found out another tidbit of news that makes me feel much better. The hospital has a wonderful daycare for the children of employees. They really focus on a learning environment for the kids. Apparently the daycare will schedule little visitations with the moms and/or dads during the day and they will come bring your child to you. Tanya told me it's really cute because they come to see you while being pushed in a little red car/wagon. So, it's something that makes me feel more secure about having kids someday. Providence also provides other things like health club memberships, savings bonds, and discounts on buses, the hospital gift shop, and the cafeteria. The list goes on and on. After the interview, Andre and Elaine said they wanted to take Michael and me out to dinner that night along with some other people from the pharmacy. So we all met up at a place called the Glacier Brewhouse. It was a fantastic restaurant. I had fresh halibut and Michael had the salmon and it was sure tasty! We all sat around and talked about the great outdoors and all the future toys we want on our wish list (i.e. four-wheeler, snow mobile, plane, boat, etc, etc, etc). We have found that Alaskans really treasure their toys and their time with them. They've worked out the schedule in the pharmacy where you have blocks of time off so everyone has time to go play. We also were finding out the nitty-gritty stuff about Anchorage. There's a lot of misconceptions about Alaska. First of all, Anchorage is just like any other town/city in the lower 48. Bu t there are some things that make it unique. For example, the light and dark situation. I had said earlier that right now it's light until 10 o'clock at night. And come June, it will be almost 24 hour daylight and just the opposite in December. It is not really cold and dark all winter long. Actually, the least amount of functional daylight Alaska gets during the winter is seven hours and 35 minutes, and that occurs on the Winter Solstice, usually around December 21st. Anchorage gains daylight rapidly until the Summer Solstice, around June 21st, when there is nearly 24 hours of functional daylight. We think it's pretty cool so far and we'll just go with the flow in adjusting to that issue when the time comes. Temperatures range from an average low of 20? F in the winter and an average high of nearly 70? F during the summer. Although some people have said it has gotten to negative degrees in the winter (burrrrr) and up to about 100 degree s in the summer. About 40% of all of Alaska's population is in Anchorage (~260,000 people). Anchorage has at least 3 malls with all the normal stores, even Nordstroms. There is also two Lowes and two Home Depots (Michael's happy) and all the regular restaurants you can think of. And, of course, I had to scope out where the scrapbooking and quilting shops were and I found plenty to keep me busy. They even have a "Michael's Arts and Crafts" store for all of my other needs! There's a big art scene in Anchorage, too...there's public art, Native art, concerts, symphonies, and galleries. There's a ski run right in town and Michael was really ecstatic to see that there are miles and miles of paved paths all around town that people use for roller blading, biking, running, etc. in the summer and then turn into snow mobile trails and cross country skiing trails in the winter. We've heard all about the salmon run and what people call "combat fishing". Supposedly it quite comical to watch the people fish during the salmon run .i.e. everyone flinging their poles out all in unison because there's so many people standing elbow to elbow to fish. There's tons of wildlife to see around such as moose, caribou, whales, mountain goats, bears, birds and the list goes on and on. Oh, and "regular" cars can be driven all year round. Four-wheel drive vehicles are not required in Anchorage and neither are chains on the tires. All the roads are plowed on a regular basis. We've heard a lot of people tell us about the huge mosquitoes and black flies in Alaska. Depending on who you talk to, this may or may not be a myth. Some say the mosquito is Alaska's state bird. But, from what we've read, it 's not that big of a deal in Anchorage or in South-central Alaska because the large tidal changes don't allow for a lot of standing water. And one of the best things of all that you get to see in Anchorage is th e northern lights (Aurora Borealis) during a cold, clear winter night. We all talked about so many other things but this is what I remember at the moment. After enjoying some bread pudding for dessert, we went home and packed up our suit cases and got ready to go home the next day.

So, here it is on Monday, flying back to Denver and then driving back up to Cheyenne. We sure had such a wonderful time up there. Everyone was so nice and very helpful, not to mention all the beautiful scenery. I'm really excited that in just a few more months our dream move is really going to take place. I don't think Michael and I will have any problem at all calling Alaska home.

Love to all,

Leah and Michael

P.S. We took tons of digital pictures so we will be making an Alaskan picture CD soon so everyone can see them.

P.S.S. We are also making sure that we will have a spare bedroom in our new home in Alaska which means it can't go unused and everyone needs to come visit us!!!!! Come and enjoy Leah's and Michael's Bed and Breakfast in the Last Frontier!!!!!! We promise we won't make you stay in an igloo!!!


Wednesday, July 9, 2003 8:54 PM

Hello Everyone!

Hope all is well. Michael and I are great...and so are the cats! Well, yesterday's drive was pretty uneventful but today's drive was awesome! We left Cody, WY this morning around 8am and headed for Yellowstone National Park. Michael unloaded his motorcycle from the trailer and rode through a good part of the park. Michael's been to Yellowstone before...but when he was very young; I've never been there before and can I just say..."WOW!" I never knew Wyoming was so beautiful! (Of course, my only place that I had been was Cheyenne, buy anyway...) We saw beautiful scenery, mountains that still had some snow on them, huge lakes and rivers, and lots of buffalo, a bear (pic 2), some elk, but no moose or wolves. We took a pretty expedited journey through the park but I'm glad I got to see what I did. The best part was Old Faithful, of course....and we saw waterfalls, other geysers, and colorful pools of water from the algae. All in all, it was wonderful and I really want to go back some day to really spend some time there (and get great scrap booking pictures!). From there we entered Montana and headed onto Livingston and then to Missoula. We just got in not too long ago...we checked in at about 10pm. Kind of late, but spending some time at Yellowstone was well worth it! Montana is really beautiful, too....I've never been here either. It's very green with lots of trees and big, rolling mountains. I really looks like ranch and horse country, oh, and farms, too...which I guess is a good thing since that's all that I've seen here! Our hotel room is wonderful and I can't wait to crawl into my big cozy bed. As we keep heading North the sun is setting later and later in the evening....I think it was about 10 o'clock before it actually got dark. Tomorrow, we are on our way to Calgary, Canada....another first! The only thing that could happen tomorrow to slow us down is if our truck gets searched at the border and with getting the cats through. We'll let you know what happens!!!

So excited and lovin' it all!!!

Leah and Michael


Thursday, July 10, 2003 8:15 PM

Hello Everyone!

Well, day 3 is at an end and everything went really well. We left the hotel this morning and headed for Glacier National Park. We found that when we reached the park we couldn't tow the trailer over the summit because of too many switchbacks on the roads. So, we traveled around the outskirts of the park which was still very scenic and beautiful. Then we were on our way to Canada and reached customs at about 5:30. I was sure that our truck was going to be torn apart at customs, but they just asked us a few questions and that was it! They didn't even want to see the paperwork for the cats! We entered Alberta and all the mountains just seemed to disappear into farming country. There were so many yellow flowers along the sides of the roads...sometimes there are so many that you can't see any green at all. We pulled out our Canadian money and started changing miles to kilometers and gallons to liters. Although, translating things here in Canada is sure easier than being in Mexico! We pulled off to fill up the gas tank in Fort McCleod and the attendant seemed surprised that we had two cats in the truck with us that were so well behaved. Boy, do we have him fooled! Just kidding, actually Ra and Pasht have been doing great. I haven't had to sedate them like I thought I would. Pasht has taken to laying on the center console and Ra likes to cuddle in the cat carrier. The attendant said "eh" about 20 times in just a few sentences...it's pretty interesting to listen to Canadians talk. We reached our hotel at about 8:30 or so and then we took off to the hotel's dining room to eat dinner. Now it's time to hit the sack so I'll write again tomorrow to tell you about our day. Miss you all!


PS...Happy Birthday MOM!!!


Friday, July 11, 2003 7:58 PM

We left early this morning from Calgary, Alberta and made our way to Prince George, British Columbia. The trip was pretty uneventful for the most part. We drove through Banff and Jasper NP. It's a very spectacular drive with magnificent mountains and glaciers. For the rest of the trip, I read a book and mike listened to a book on tape. Mike is enjoying not having to shave in the mornings...and I'm actually getting used to his furry face. It won't last long. The cats have been very good like we expected...thankfully.

We won't have dialup for the next 4 days until we reach Anchorage. We'll write then to let you know how things went.

For the next four nights we'll be in Dease Lake, Whitehorse, Tok, and Anchorage.



Tuesday, July 15, 2003 8:44 PM

Hi Everyone! Since we didn't have dialup for the last four days I just decided to write emails in the truck and then sent after we got to Anchorage. So...

Day 5:

Today is our longest day of driving (12+ hours). We left Prince George at about 7am and are on our way to Dease Lake, British Columbia. We weren't going through any national parks or any major sight seeing adventures so today we just figured we would put the pedal to the metal. Canada is just so beautiful! There's huge mountains, trees, and water everywhere! Yesterday when we were passing through Banff National Park, all the water in the lakes and streams was just the lightest shade of blue...almost like a sky blue...Mike says it looks like antifreeze. I've never seen water that color before and we couldn't figure out why it would be so light. But anyway, I figured today would be extremely uneventful....BUT, guess what? It wasn't! As soon as we turned on the Cassiar Hwy from Kitwanga it was wildlife city! First, we saw a bear on the side of the road. I got out of the truck to take it's picture...he/she was a medium sized black bear but was still pretty far away for me to get a decent picture. I figured mama bear wouldn't be that far behind so then I got back in the truck and we were off. Then another few kilometers down the road Michael saw a baby black bear crossing the street so I got a really great picture of it when we passed by from my window. And then!, Mike saw a baby black bear with it's mama off to the side of the road but we were traveling too fast to have a good look.

The cats are still good...we hardly hear a peep out of them anymore...and they're not even drugged!

Well, Mom, we finally finished all of your homemade beef jerky you made for us....I must say, I'm surprised it lasted us this long. It was sure tasty! Thanks a bunch!

And guess what? I believe this news is already out but for those who don't know (like my parents and Mike's parents), I just wanted to tell you that Lindsey is pregnant! So big huge congrats to Lindsey and Chris! We miss you guys so much!

Well, we've been exactly on schedule according to all of our plans and reservations. Michael had planned that we would travel 12 hours and 14 minutes and by golly, that's what we drove today. He thought that was pretty neat. Most of the roads are paved and in great condition, if they are not paved then they are graded. We are having to get used to the days becoming longer and longer. It's 10:30pm and the sun is still up in the sky. We think it's pretty cool.

Our hotel that we are staying in tonight is called the "Artic Divide Inn" and I must say, it's pretty darn cute. Apparently there are only about 400 people that live here in Dease Lake. There's only 6 rooms here at the Inn and it's very rustic. We walked across the highway to go have dinner at a little restaurant across the way. Now we're off to bed...talk to you tomorrow...

Day 6:

Today we drove from Dease Lake, BC to Whitehorse in the Yukon. I pretty much slept for the most part of the day during the drive. We pulled into our hotel at about 5pm. Then we ate dinner at it's restaurant and decided to walk around downtown a bit. Since it was Sunday night, most of the places were closed....but from what we could see, Whitehorse is really pretty and seems to have a lot of personality.

I think the cats are starting to protest the trip. They still do fine in the truck but in the morning when we are getting everything packed up, they start looking for any place to hide...mainly underneath the beds. We finally get them out after a lot of coaxing.

Well, guess it's time for bed. Talk to you all tomorrow...

Day 7:

We finally hit Alaska today. We traveled from Whitehorse to the Alaskan border and passed through customs again. Then from there, we traveled to a place called Tok. We stopped to eat dinner at a place called the "Salmon Bake." That place was awesome! We had salmon, halibut and reindeer sausage with all the fixins. The "chef" cooks everything over a huge outdoor grill and rings the dinner bell when your order is ready. Then you would go inside and sit at long picnic tables and stuff yourself to the max! Then we found our place to sleep for the night. It was called the WinterCabin Bed and Breakfast. It was a lot cheaper than staying in a hotel and you got breakfast to boot! Now I am going to ramble on about this B&B because it was just the coolest place...so bear with me! The lady that owns it is named Donna and she has about 10 acres of land in Tok. She was 6 years old when she moved to Alaska from Kansas and has been there ever since. She met her husband in Anchorage and they decided that Anchorage just had too many people for them so they traveled all over Alaska to find a place to build a cabin and buy some land...and ended up in Tok in 1977. At the time they had two small children and while they were clearing some of the land to build their cabin, they put up a big, green army tent to live in (she said like the ones on the TV show MASH.) Well, they only expected to be in the tent for a few months but then the winter hit hard and early and they ended up being in the tent for 13 months...even in -80 degree weather! No running water or sewer....just living off the land...literally. Cool, huh? She said they would take their shower by heating up water over their wood burning stove that they had in the tent and then poured it into a bucket suspended from a tree limb that had nail holes in the bottom of it...they did this even in the freezing winter! Well, after they built their own cabin, they added a few additions over the years as well as a few other cabins and a huge garage that her husband did car repairs and sold tires out of. Unfortunately, her husband and she were in a horrible car wreck a number of years ago. They both needed back surgery and he also needed knee surgery. When I was reading about the history of her life and the cabins, she had written that her husband died the day after one of his surgeries. She never did end up having her surgery and she said she just rehabilitated herself as best she could. She wrote that she needed to figure out what to do to support herself financially and raise the kids so she took to writing books and poems and then later the B&B came about. She doesn't have running water in her cabin (she has her own little outhouse in the back of her cabin) and just got electricity not too many years ago. However, she did build a "bathhouse" for her guests. It has a huge tub, a commode, and even a recliner in the room! Her bathhouse won a "governor's award" and was written about in an article called "Outhouses in Alaska." She proudly has the article framed inside the bathhouse and rightly so. Her own personal outhouse was also featured in an Alaskan calendar a few years ago, too. She said in the winter the metal seat sure gets cold so she has a fur seat cover to put over it. She has three one room cabins for people to stay in....they are small and cozy and just wonderful! Other features on her property include a setup where you can pan for gold nuggets, her own little pet cemetery of all her beloved animals, and the bucket that is still up in the tree where they used to take showers. She has tons of flowers planted everywhere...she even has a sod roof where tons of wildflowers grow (she says her kitty climbs on top of the roof and sleeps up there all day)! Last night we talked with her for some time while she swung in her hammock. While we were talking about fishing stories and whatnot we told her that right before we came up we had gone on a fishing/camping trip with Mike's family and I told her I caught my biggest fish ever!!!...20 1/4 inches...and then she promptly told me that her son had a goldfish bigger than that! I really admire her...she's made a great life for herself, raised great kids, has a bunch of grandkids now, and she even chops all of her own wood...she says she goes through about 10+ cords of wood each winter! She was so interesting to talk to and very inspirational. She's written a number of short stories, as well as done a lot of research on the Alaskan highway, and she has an agent working with her about making her life in the tent into a screenplay/movie She said PBS has come out a number of times to interview her and take pictures of her place. Pretty neat, huh?

And after all that talking, we were all off to bed...

Day 8:

Checkout was at 10 o'clock. I bought one of Donna's books and then we said our goodbyes. We would finally be in Anchorage TODAY!!! Yippee skippee!!!!


Are we there yet???


We are finally home!!!...well, at least our hotel...but no more days of driving! We will be here at the Holiday Inn tonight and tomorrow night and then we will be staying in some furnished apartments until we find a place to buy. Our number at the hotel is 907-248-8848 and we are in Room 110.

At the moment we are doing some laundry here at the hotel. Michael has been growing a beard ever since the start of our camping trip. I never thought I would like my hubby with a beard, but he actually looks pretty snazzy! However, he just decided to shave it down to a goatee and I like it even better! He'll sport that for a day, and then it's back to the face we all know and love.

Well, I guess that's about it for now....I suppose this email is long enough! Talk to you soon! Miss you all!

Leah and Michael


Thursday, July 17, 2003 8:29 PM

Hi Everyone!

We moved into our apartment today and I just wanted to give you our information.

Phone number: 907-xxx-xxxx

Our physical address is:
****Removed for internet privacy****
Anchorage, AK 99501

However, our mailing address is:
****Removed for internet privacy****
Anchorage, AK 99510

It is a furnished one bedroom apartment and it took us all about half an hour to move in. Michael and I felt like we were moving into our college dormitories again! It will definitely suit us just fine until we find a house to buy....and the cats are really diggin' it!

Talk to you all soon!

Leah and Mike


Sunday, July 20, 2003 8:19 AM

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to send out a short note to you all about the past few days. We moved into our apartment and it's suiting us just fine. It even has a stackable washer and dryer in it and it's kind of nice not having to haul tons of laundry up and down 2 flights of stairs like at the old house! It even has one of those vaccuums that's already built into the walls and you just plug in the hose to the wall....haven't seen that before so I thought it was pretty nifty. It is also just darn hot up here in Anchorage!!!...record temperatures have been set every week apparently. I was wanting to leave the heat behind but I guess it followed me. Bring on the snow!!!! Well, I can find my way from home to work (I hope) and to the mall!!! :) On Friday I needed to go to the hospital to have some blood drawn so they can check my titers to see if I need any more vaccinations and to check for TB. Then from there I got my bearings at the hospital and found where I will be working. Andre, my boss, introduced me to a lot of new people. On the same day that I start there is going to be another "Leah" pharmacist starting, too! That doesn't happen very often, especially with my name, huh? And Dad, I even gave them the idea of Uno and Dos.....maybe they'll go for it...hee hee hee. I also found that there are MANY scrap bookers that I work with here in Alaska! I looked up all the craft and hobby places here and in Palmer (40 miles up the road) and found all the scrap booking places and fabric/quilting shops. I can't wait to go and visit them!!! Lindsey, Jennifer and Noelle: I'll keep you posted on if they meet up to our standards! :)Yesterday we went to "The Governor's Picnic" at a park a number of blocks up our street...it had said free food and free fun but by the time we got there, the food line was a mile long...so we watched the activities and walked back home.I have never seen a city with soooo many flowers!!! Every home and every steet lamp has huge, vibrant flowers on them....beautiful! I'm not sure what we are going to do today....Mike wants to get us some cell phones immediately and there's still some errands we need to run. We are getting our pre-approval done for our house loan and then we are going to go house hunting sometime in the near future. And, right now I am going to go cook up some Texas sized French toast for my hubby!!!! I really enjoy the emails that I get back from you so please keep writing me!!!!!....hint, hint, hint!!!

Love you all!



Wednesday, July 23, 2003 5:36 PM

Hello Family and Friends!!!

Well, I just got through with my third day of work....and I just love it!!!! It's mostly just been orientation and meeting a lot of new people and finding out what I will be doing and whatnot...and everyone is so wonderful. It's so nice to be actually HAPPY again with my job!!! The other pharmacist (also named Leah) that started on the same day I did is a lot of fun. Neither of us go by any kind of nickname and both prefer to be called "Leah"....I think we are enjoying making it difficult for people with having the same name. We are both going through the same orientation so we are definitely "two peas in a pod". Already a number of times we've both answered simultaneously when someone has called our name...kinda funny. But, towards the end of the day, I relented and said that I could go by Leah Lynn (short for Gwendolynn) to distinguish us so we'll see how that goes. The other Leah's middle name is Jo and I've heard a few people call her that, too.

Michael's been house hunting while I've been at work...he's mostly been out by himself but tomorrow he has an appointment with our realtor, Jennifer, to go and check out some places. Michael found a place yesterday that he seemed pretty impressed by (although he didn't see the interior)...cute neighborhood, one block away from a hiking trail and a trout-stocked lake.

Well, slowly but surely, we are losing daylight...it was pretty much 24 hour daylight when we got here and now it will get dark for a few hours around 1 o'clock in the morning. It's so cool!!! Anchorage is so beautiful....there's flowers blooming everywhere! It seems like every house has window boxes filled with bright flowers. I have finally figured out my way around town a bit. The mountains are mainly to the east and the south so I could get my sense of direction from them...however, when it rains and gets foggy (or the mountains get "socked it" as they call it up here), you can't see them at all and then I get lost all over again. But, I did find the knitting and fabric stores around town....and wow!!!! They are the coolest!!! I can't wait to get my sewing machine back!!! I did find the scrap booking stores but they were closed at the time because it was on a Sunday. I'll have to wait for a bit of time off to go and scope them out!!! There are a lot of scrap bookers that work in the pharmacy...they've been telling me all about these conventions that are coming up soon and the best places to go for supplies. Andre, my boss, says that scrap booking is like a "disease" in the pharmacy department. (His wife, Pat, is also a pharmacist at the hospital and he says she is definitely afflicted with this disease....and it just keeps spreading and spreading throughout his department!...hee hee hee). There is a Creative Keepsakes convention being held in Vancouver, British Columbia this coming October and apparently a number of pharmacy people are going....hopefully me too...I'm still trying to convince Mike that I just have to go!!!! :)

We had our first visitor here in Anchorage. One of Mike's friends (Rolf) in the military from Cheyenne went on one of the Alaskan cruises with his family. On the night they stayed over in Anchorage we all got together downtown. Who's our next visitor???? Hint, hint!! You all are more than welcome to come and visit....well, maybe we should find our house first so you won't have to sleep on the floor, huh?

The cats are still lovin' life. They enjoy bird watching at all hours of the day since we have so much daylight. I think it is so odd to see seagulls EVERYWHERE in this city!!! (For some reason it just seems strange to me because it is so mountainous...but then I have to remind myself that we have the ocean here, too!) And, boy, are they noisy!

Well, I've found one of the malls in town...very cool (it's five stories high!). Walmart is here but the KMart closed a while ago. However, I was really bummed to find there is not a Target. But there is a Sam's and a Cosco and something called Fred Meyers...which is apparently like a Target with a grocery store...I still have to check that out. The commissary is much bigger than the one at FE Warren Air Force Base and we have yet to visit the BX. And for some of my crafting supplies there is a "Michael's" but I'm sad to say there is not a Hobby Lobby. But I think I will survive. :)

Well, I suppose that is it for now. Take care and I'll write soon with more updates!!!

Love ya all!



Wednesday, July 23, 2003 6:12 PM

We got cell phones and I just wanted to give you our numbers. I imagine that we will end up having these numbers longer than our number here at the apartment.

Leah: 907-xxx-xxxx

Michael: 907-xxx-xxxx

We have unlimited minutes on nights and weekends...which means we will more than likely call on the weekends because by the time it is 9pm here...it's 11pm at most of the places we would call...unless you want us to call that late!!! :)

OK...buh bye...



Tuesday, July 29, 2003 7:38 PM

Hi Everyone!!!

Well, we have good news. Michael and I put a bid on a townhouse that we found. It's in a nice neighborhood called "Scenic Park" and it's 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, large kitchen, living room, dining room, office/sunroom, fireplace, 2 car garage with loft storage, sauna, huge jetted tub (love it!), balcony, vaulted ceilings, and laundry room (with a place to put the cat box, too)....and it's 1,887 square feet. So, we have a spare bedroom for visitors (so that means "visit"), a scrap booking/sewing room for me (spare bedroom), and a place for Mike to stick all his computers in. It's actually a four level house with lots of stairs...tough to describe it but it looks pretty cool. Michael and I want to put in some hard wood floors, paint some walls, and do some work in the kitchen to turn it into our dream home. We are expecting a response from the sellers tomorrow so we will keep you posted. Wish us luck!!!

Lots of love,



Wednesday, July 30, 2003 5:56 PM

Hi Everybody!!!

Well, the buyers decided they couldn't take our offer...basically what is happening is that they were asking for about $5000 more than what the other townhouses right next door to it have gone for--with new remodeling...and they haven't remodeled at all. So, we asked for a bit lower price that was in league with the other places and also to see if they could pick up some of the closing costs. But, apparently they have really over-extended themselves with second mortgages and whatnot and basically are asking for a huge amount of money to try and bail themselves out. Anyways...the house has been on the market for 3 months and it looks like we were the only really good offer they have had. Of course, they could just be testing the waters to see what we would do...however, Michael and I are NOT going to pay for something that it's not worth. So, we are back to the drawing board and Michael will start looking at places again tomorrow. I kept telling myself not to get too attached to something until the deal went through...and I'm glad I didn't...even though I am still bummed about it. This is all a learning experience for me and I'm just glad that Michael really knows what to do and that we are working with a really fabulous realtor. So, guess I'll keep you posted...!

Love ya lots,



Sunday, August 3, 2003 9:51 PM

Hi Everyone!!!

Well, we have wonderful news!!! We did some "wheelin' and dealin'" with the couple that lived in that previous house that I wrote you all about.... and last night they took our offer on the house. It still takes about 2 months to close on the house but Michael and I are REALLY excited about it!!! Last night we went walking around the neighborhood where "our" house is and found a really nice trail that is right across the street that runs around a wetland area. It's going to be great for going on walks, bike rides, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. It's a bird nesting preserve area called Baxter's Bog....it's a lot nicer than it sounds! :) We saw game trails and beds created by moose!!!! We thought that was pretty cool.

Work is absolutely wonderful! For the first time in 7 years, I come home and my feet don't hurt.....what a concept!!!! I get a lunch AND two breaks....which still just baffles my mind!!! I've been "re-learning" a lot of information...mainly all my kinetics....(for those pharmacy people out there--you know what I mean). We do all of our pharmacokinetics by hand....there is no plugging and chugging numbers into a computer for it to spit those antibiotic peak and trough levels back at you!!! I've actually been pretty impressed that it's come back to me this easily. I feel like I sure understand this stuff more now than when I was in school!!! I've also done a lot of basic life support training....I am going to be trained on using defibrillators pretty soon, too!!!......CLEAR!!! I'll be going to "codes" on a daily basis if needed once I get up to par. I will mainly be on the Medical/Surgical units but I am going to cross-train into the pediatric unit as well. One of the two pediatric pharmacists is going to another area in the pharmacy so I may eventually take her place....I'm pretty excited about it.

Michael and I went walking around the farmer's market on Saturday afternoon (while we were waiting to hear back from our realtor)...the vegetables are huge up here! Then from there we took a trip over to the Botanical Gardens and wandered around there a bit. There are tons of flowers up here that I have never even seen before!!!

Well, guess that's it for now. I'll keep you posted on everything!!! Talk to you soon!!!

Love ya lots!!



Monday, August 11, 2003 6:17 PM

Hi everyone!

Hope you all are doing well. Michael and I are doing pretty good....although Michael has been feeling a bit under the weather for the past few days. This is highly unusual for him...he NEVER gets sick! Hopefully he won't pass it on to me!

Mike is looking into doing a reserves duty tour for a few weeks or so sometime before we move into our new place. That way he can get that out of the way and won't have to worry about it for a while and .....it adds to the funds to get some hard wood floors!!!

Well, lets see what's been up with us for the past week. I got my windshield on my car finally replaced....no more looking through a big crack! We visited the Alaska Zoo here in Anchorage this weekend. It's definitely an "Alaskan" zoo...lots of bears, moose, musk ox, snow leopards, dall sheep, and an elephant. It was nice and the set up was a lot different than the other zoos I've been to.

Work is still going great. I'm in the IV room this week and next week I start in Pediatrics. I will work every Thursday and Friday on the Pediatric floor as well as every forth weekend. The rest of my days will be on the medical/surgical unit, critical care units, and unit dose....and wherever else I'm needed. So, I'm pretty excited because I will only work one weekend a month and I only work 5 evening shifts a month....wow...this is so different from what I'm used to!!! And on top of that...I get to wear cute and comfy scrubs to work!!!...Big thumbs up!

Well, I guess there's not too much else to tell from this past week...other than we are anxiously awaiting to move into our new home!!! Talk to you soon!!!

Love ya lots!!!



Sunday, August 17, 2003 12:34 PM

Hi'ya All !!!

Hope all is well. Things are still great up here! Michael will be flying out this coming Wednesday to go down to Hill Air Force Base in Utah for two weeks to do a reserves duty tour. His family will be in Utah during that time also visiting Grandpa Scadden so it will be nice for him to see them again. He will be taking the laptop computer with him so I won't be able to email everyone till he comes back.

I've had a number of people write me and ask me what I am actually doing at the hospital. It sure is different from retail pharmacy and I'm loving every minute of it. So, this is what I will be doing:

  • When I'm on the pediatric unit I will be monitoring all drug therapy for babies/children on the unit. I monitor drug levels to see if they are too high or too low for a therapeutic effect (mainly antibiotics)....and to make sure the patients do not experience toxic levels and adverse drug reactions. I recommend drug changes to the physicians in regards to the patient's disease state, kidney function, drug dosages, etc. I will also help out in the the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
  • I do a lot of patient education on new medications...especially to newly diagnosed patients who are asthmatic and diabetic. Also, patients who have just had a heart attack, etc. seem to find themselves going home on a bunch of new medications, and I try to clarify their regimen for them.
  • I will also work in the Coumadin Clinic. Coumadin is a blood thinner and patients who are on this need to have their blood drawn on a fairly regular basis to have their levels checked. Diet and other medications can really affect a person's levels so I do a lot of education on this drug also. Then, depending on how their levels come back, I can adjust their drug therapy as needed.
  • The "Medicine" floor is where I'll be taking care of patient's drug therapy who typically have all the big time infections: AIDS, tuberculosis, and the other big "bugs". But there are other patients there such as diabetics who tend to get bad infections, too.
  • I'll also see patients that have just come out of general or orthopedic surgeries to make sure they are maintained.
  • In the IV room, that's where I check ALL the intravenous medications before they go up on the floors, as well as making chemotherapy drugs and TPNs (total parenteral nutrition).
  • Down in Unit Dose, that's where I check all the "pills" for patients on the floors as well as the Pyxis machines (storage units) where nurses get the medications from. This is the main area for inputting all the orders from the doctors, although this is done by all pharmacists no matter where there are in the hospital.
  • I will also participate in Codes when a patient is having a cardiac arrest. The thought of doing this always scared me out of my mind but now that I've been trained, I think I can manage it. Basically, the pharmacist is in charge of the crash cart and drawing up all medications needed to help revive the patient and stabilize any arrhythmias, etc.
  • The other areas that I will be in include the Intensive Care Unit, Progressive Care Unit, Critical Care Unit, Mental Health, Rehabilitation, Neurology, and Oncology.
So, I hope this gives you a better idea of what I'll be doing....

It still stays light here till about midnight or so but it is staying darker now into the morning (but I know when my alarm goes off at about 5 in the morning, and the cats are walking across my face to get me up to feed them, it is already light outside. Mike and I haven't really gone anywhere interesting this weekend...we've just hung out and relaxed...and hit the gym.

Guess that's about it for now....talk to you all soon!!!

Love ya lots!

Leah and Michael


Sunday, September 7, 2003 10:39 AM

Dear Family and Friends.....

Hope all is well with everyone! Michael came home this past Friday night and I finally have a computer to email again on. I stayed longer at work than I typically do for the past two and a half weeks just so I wouldn't have to go home to a lonely apartment. I got to know some of my co-workers a lot better too. They all knew Michael was gone and I was invited to go on a wildlife/glacier boat tour about two Sundays ago. We all drove down to Seward (about two hours away) and hopped on a boat. It was really awesome! We saw sea lions, sea otters, lots of different birds (i.e. puffins and bald eagles), huge jellyfish and star fish, and a humpback whale! They said it was pretty odd for us to see a humpback whale at that time because they hadn't been seen for about 3 weeks due to their migration....so we were pretty lucky. We were served a yummy lunch with lots of hot chocolate. We saw a lot of ice fields and glaciers....we pulled up next to a huge glacier wall while eating lunch to watch it. It would make really loud cracking noises when the ice would shift and large pieces of ice would fall into the water that would rock the boat. I had a total blast and really enjoyed myself. When we all got back to shore we found a restaurant and had fish and chips for dinner before the drive back. Seward was a neat little fishing/touristy town.

Then I just basically worked and worked and worked. Everything is still going great and exceeding my expectations. (Wow! What a neat concept, huh?)

Yesterday, (Saturday) Michael and I hopped in the truck and went driving along the coast of the Turnagain Arm. We stopped for lunch at a cafe in Girdwood and then went on a hike. Then on our way back......we went WHALE WATCHING!!!! It was the coolest thing! There were a bunch of cars pulled off on the side of the road and a number of people were watching a pod of beluga whales. I would say there was probably about 15 or so whales and we stopped to watch them for about 30 to 45 minutes till they swam away. Hopefully I got some good pictures of them to scrapbook with!!!!

Then last night one of the pharmacists at work was having a pot luck dinner at her house. Michael and I went and had a really neat time. They cooked a huge, tasty salmon on the grill and we had lots of other finger foods. She lives in a big log cabin on the side of the mountain and has a wonderful view of the city and Mt. McKinley in the distance. It was a really clear night and we were hoping to see the northern lights but I guess they just didn't feel like playing along. We all sat around and talked and talked and then we all ended up in a Trivial Pursuit game that lasted until about 3:30 in the morning. Michael really enjoyed himself.....and me, too!

So, after sleeping in this morning, here I am writing my email. I am going to work four ten hour shifts this coming week so I will have three day weekend coming up. Hopefully Michael and I will be able to plan a little outing for us to enjoy another wonderful Alaskan experience!!!! We are talking about maybe getting a number of people together and renting a fishing charter boat for a day and do some fishing!!!! I'll keep you posted!

Love ya lots!!!

Leah and Michael


Sunday, September 14, 2003 9:23 PM

Hi Everyone!!! Just wanted to fill you all in on the latest! I went scrapbooking with a bunch of gals on Friday night and had a ball. (Jennifer, I scrapbooked the pictures from when we went to Wet-N-Wild Waterworld....they turned out so cute!) Then Michael and I woke up early on Saturday morning and drove down to Seward (about 2 hours away). It's a cute fishing town...and caters to the tourists. We went on an "Ididaride Sled Dog Tour". We had the greatest time. It's a family owned business (The Seavey's) who are really big into the Ididarod Race and during the summers when there's no snow, they keep the dogs active by pulling "carts" with people in them. The Seavey kids are the ones who take you on the tours....they've done the Junior Ididarod for the past few years. They teach you all about the race, the equipment and gear, and all about the dogs. I figure they probably had about 50-60 dogs or so in their kennel. They also showed us the new tiny puppies and we got to hold them for a bit. Then a group of us were loaded in a cart and the dogs took us on a very scenic drive! It was loads of fun....! Then from there we went back into town and had halibut fish and chips for lunch (my new favorite food!). Then we drove up to a glacier called the "Exit Glacier" and went on about a 1.5 mile hike up to the glacier. It looked like huge, gigantic ice cubes slowly making its way down the mountain. Then we were back on the road to home. On Sunday, we took a big long drive up through the mountains, past the Little Susitna River and over Hatcher Pass to look at all the fall colors. The trees have changed colors just within the past week and I wanted to get some pictures of Alaska's fall colors before all the leaves fell off the trees. It sure was beautiful and very majestic.

We close on our house at the end of this month!!! We are so excited....when we got back from our mountain drive today, we went 'hard wood floor' shopping to get that rolling. So far, everything is still going pretty smoothly.

Work is still going great. I'll be training on the "Surgery" floor and the "Mental Health Unit" this coming week. I've been told the Mental Health Unit can get pretty interesting at times. Oh! And I went on my first "code" a few weeks ago. It was a trauma code from a bus versus car accident. It was a bit bloody and the patient had a couple of compound fractures in her leg and arm.....but I didn't pass out!!!! Huge plus for me since I don't do well with blood and whatnot. I survived....and so did the patient!

Well, guess that's about it for now! I'll talk to you all soon!!!

Love ya lots!



Monday, September 22, 2003 7:59 PM

Hope all is well with everyone....Michael and I are just fabulous!!! Well, lets see what's new with us. I guess I'll start with my last week of work. I was on the Surgery floor and the Mental Health Unit. I've never worked in any kind of mental health unit and it was pretty interesting and it was sure an education for me!!! We do "medication education" group meetings with these patients but depending on what they are admitted for (ie. schizophrenia, suicide, bipolar, drug abuse, depression, etc) it's hard to communicate with some of them. Some are having hallucinations and others are screaming at the top of their lungs. Some of them want to know a lot about how illegal drugs will affect their medications and whatnot....so, like I said, it sure is a learning experience for me!!! There's a lot of interesting cases....such as a guy who threaded 3 feet of fishing line into one of his veins....and I think I spend a lot of my time trying to not make my eyes pop out of my head in front of the doctors who see these sort of patients on a regular basis. The surgery unit consisted of a lot of ruptured appendices, total knee replacements, and hip surgeries. But, I'm still learning the ropes and enjoying life. This week I am back to my beloved pediatric and neonatal units. I got to see a brand new baby born today that was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit because she was born with her intestines and stomach outside of her tummy. She's going through surgery tonight to basically "stuff" (for lack of a better word) everything back into her body. If this sounds really odd, that's because it is. But, it looks like she'll pull through....and I'll be seeing a lot of the little one for the next couple of months or so....so send your prayers!!! I really enjoy working on the pediatric units but it sure is heartbreaking at times....unfortunately I see things like shaken baby syndrome, cancers, and heart disease....and since these children spend most of their lives at the hospital, you get so attached to them....and sometimes the best medical care just isn't enough to save them.

Well, on to happier topics...

Michael and I attempted to go fishing on Saturday morning. We drove up to Eklutna Lake by Palmer, but we didn't have much luck. It looked like we were going to be in for a rainy day later on so we packed up and then started going back home. However, instead of going home we ended up stopping off at Thunderbird Falls and went on about a 2 mile hike up to this beautiful waterfall...stayed there for a bit, took some pictures, and then headed for home. From there we went to a Home and Gardens show walked around for a while. Then, we needed to go grocery shopping.....and the coolest thing happened while we were on our way to the commissary!!! It started to SNOW!!!!! In September!!!! I love it!!!! Some people said they had all and out blizzards but it was short lasting and nothing really stuck on the ground.....so, I'm not sure if you could classify this as our first snow or not...but it was still pretty darn cool!!! Then, on Sunday I spent most of my day doing some reading for work. I'm going to be taking an online TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition) course through the Univ. of Minn starting next month. And then last night Michael and I went over to my friend, Wendy's, house for a salmon dinner. Then we all piled in her hottub and chit-chatted till about midnight. Lots of fun...

And the best news of all.......

Michael and I get to close on our house this coming THURSDAY!!!! It's a week earlier than was planned so we are totally excited! We get our stuff delivered on Friday and then we will be all moved in!!! Yippee skippee!!!!! So, next week's letter will be even better than this, because we will be in our new house and we'll get to share all our moving in experiences!!!

Well, guess that's about it for now!!! Talk to everyone later!!!!

Love ya lots!!!

Leah and Michael


Saturday, September 27, 2003 1:57 PM

Hope all is well. Well, guess where I'm writing this letter from....NOT from our new home! We were not able to close on the house because the owners apparently declared bankruptcy last week and didn't tell anyone about it...and they didn't have the money they needed for their end of the closing either. So, we still don't know what's going to happen....we may still be able to buy it from the bank, but if it's going to be a long drawn out process then we'll just start looking again. But, guess that's about the gist of it. We'll keep you posted on anything new.

Leah and Mike


Saturday, October 4, 2003 7:57 PM

How is everybody? Michael and I are doing pretty good. Well, the latest on the house situation is that we are buying it from the bank but can't close until the 24th of this month. I've become pretty irritated at the "owners" and their agent...they just are not very trustworthy people. Michael and I are going to schedule a second walk-through of the house so I can see it again. Since I was working, Michael was the one that did the final walk-through the last time so I never got to see the changes (ie. painted walls,etc). So, I just want to make sure that this place is worth waiting for. I know the house is in great shape from the inspection, but I just want to make sure this is "the one".

Michael and I have been looking at new living room furniture. We haven't found exactly what we wanted...until today!!! We are going to hold off on a new sofa for a bit but we needed something to put the TV in so we found a really neat "rustic furniture" store up in Wasilla. We ordered our new armoire and lamp table from a catalog....site unseen!!!! Well, we know what the pieces will look like and the kind of wood and whatnot but the store did not have the actual pieces in stock. So, they are being made in Mexico (hecho en Mexico...hee hee hee) and then barged up here to Alaska in about 4 weeks...just in time for us to move into our new place!

Work is still going great....this week I'm going "live"! Meaning that I'll be on my own and I'm not tagging along with another pharmacist. I still have yet to train in a few places in the hospital but that will come in time. This week I'm running the main inpatient pharmacy Monday through Wednesday and then I'm on the Pediatric unit on Thursday and Friday. I feel right at home with everybody at work. I start my online course through the Univ. of Minnesota this coming Monday.....I've been told that it will take about 10-12 hours a week for course work....have to get back into my study mode again!

I've really been enjoying all my emails from everybody!!!! Thank you so much for writing us! I get so excited when I get a new email! And, seriously, once Michael and I get our house fixed up, everyone is more than welcome to come and visit!!!! :)

Well, I suppose that's about it for now. Talk to you soon!!! Love ya lots!!!

Leah and Michael


Monday, October 13, 2003 7:02 PM

Hi Everyone....

Well, just wanted to give a quick update on what's going on. Michael and I have decided to let the townhouse go and start fresh......just too much of a hassle with the bank and after doing a walk through of the place again.....I just decided I wasn't all that impressed and it wasn't worth the wait. Sooooo, we may be back to square one but that's ok. Michael's been house hunting for the past few days while I have been studying for my on-line class. It's taking probably about 13 hours a week outside of my job to get my reading and assignments done....but I'm enjoying the material. I've had a four day weekend so I'm trying to get all of my studying done early so I can go out with Michael house hunting. We are changing our approach to what we are looking for. We've decided to look at bigger houses rather than townhouses and even look for places up in Eagle River....which is a "bedroom community" just 11 miles north of Anchorage. We decided we wanted more room to have adequate space for Michael's numerous computers, my multiple hobbies, and any future kids we have (dare I say that????) So, I better scram, I still have to listen to another on-line lecture......

Talk to you all soon!!!

Leah and Michael


Wednesday, October 22, 2003 9:20 PM

Hi Everybody!!!

Well, here's the latest and greatest from me and Michael. We are doing fabulous and we have wonderful news!!! We are under contract to buy a brand new spankin' house!!! It's up in Eagle River in a new sub-division on the outskirts of town. It's pretty much built....the builders just need to put in the carpeting, finish the trim on the house, put the appliances in, and clean it up a bit. It's a four bedroom house, has two full baths, a living room, a family room, a wonderful kitchen, and a huge bay window that has a beautiful view of the mountains. We are sooooo excited about it....we will probably get to move in in a couple weeks or so. I'm sure the cats will really enjoy being in a much bigger place....they sure are not getting their exercise being in a one bedroom apartment...and they're very excited about all the windows and big window sills. And....this place is soooo much better than the townhouse!!! (We're really glad it fell through....hee hee hee!!!) Oh...and about the wildlife situation....we've attached a link to an article that was in the newspaper about grizzly bears roaming around in our new little neighborhood...Eagle Crossing....funny huh?


Everything else is pretty good. My online class is going well...my midterm exam is due next weekend. Work is still great and I'm learning new things every day.

The weather here in Anchorage is getting much colder....still no snow but I have to scrape my windshield in the morning to clear it from some ice (I can't wait to have a garage to park my car in!!!). It gets dark around 7 or so at night and stays dark till about 8 in the morning. They call Anchorage, "The City of Lights" because tons of people put lights up on their trees and houses when the nights become longer....and the lights are already glowing! People say you really get your money's worth with all the Christmas lights!!!

Congratulations to Lindsey and Chris on your new house down in San Antonio!!! I can't wait to see pictures!!! Let me know as soon as possible if you are having a boy or girl so I can start working on your baby quilt!!!

And to Glenn and Kathleen....Michael and I like cinnamon lollipops. I've looked into going to Italy with you to get Brian, but all the vacation times are already used up. The pharmacy can only have so many pharmacists gone at one time. And, I need to know ASAP when you all want to get together for Christmas when Brian comes home from Italy. The times available for me to leave in January and February are far and few between due to a new computer system being installed and whatnot. I've been told that no one is actually allowed vacation during Feb., but I'm not sure how true that is. So...let me know...

David and Jennifer....have you sold your house yet? What's happening on your end?

Hi Dos....!

Well, guess that about does it...we'll keep you posted on anything new and what our new address will be!!! Talk to you soon!!! Love ya lots!!!

Leah and Michael


Wednesday, November 5, 2003 5:26 PM

Hope all is well with everyone! Michael and I are having a blast! Well, here's the quick down-n-dirty for us up here....work's good, cat's are good, life's good!

Our house is coming along nicely...we just went up a few days ago because they installed the carpet....it's so perty!!!! We have to go shopping for a refrigerator sometime soon. Our first official walk-through will be this coming Monday or Tuesday. Still no exact move in day though....I know it will be soon, but I actually just want to finish my on-line class first before we move because I don't know how long it will take us to get hooked up when we move in...

And, speaking of on-line class....I took my mid-term and got an "A"...I'm still waiting for my assignment to be graded and my final exam will be next week...almost done!!!

Michael and I had a pretty good time over Halloween weekend....one of the pharmacists at work always has a big Halloween costume theme party every year. The theme is determined by where she decides to take her big vacation trip of the year to...this year it was Italy...so everyone had to come as something Italian. I went as a Roman and Mike went as a guy that got blasted away by the Mafia...complete with gory bullet wounds. We had a pretty fun time...and all the Italian food was great! Then on the following Saturday another one of my friends had a sushi party at her house. I only ate the "cooked" sushi.....Mike was much more adventurous and tried EVERYTHING!!!! Fun time, too....! And then.....on Sunday, a bunch of us got together at one of the parks for a football game. Mike was very much involved in the tackle football and then me and a few of the other gals sat on the sidelines and cheered....and drank hot chocolate. Mike and I brought a cooler full of drinks and some goodies to the park for everyone.....it was much appreciated...and they all said I'm going to be a great "soccer mom" someday! Hee hee hee! And speaking of food.....I can't wait to have all of my kitchen toys back again so I can start cooking up a storm!!!!!!!!!! (This "furnished" apartment is not very furnished in the kitchen department!!!)

The weather is pretty chilly...but still no snow.................I can't wait to get piled on (that is...after we move into our house!) It's still dark in the mornings past 9am and then it usually rains for a bit and then gets dark again at about 6pm or so....

This coming Friday the hospital is having a big craft fair in the lobby and then the city wide craft fair is this weekend, too. I can't wait to go snooping around! People have said they are really awesome. I'll have to go on Saturday...starting on Sunday I am working a 7 day stretch in the pediatric unit because the usual peds pharmacist is taking her little girl to Disneyworld for a vacation.

Well, guess that about sums it up....talk to you all soon!!!

Love ya lots!



Tuesday, November 11, 2003 7:55 PM

Well, here's the latest scoop from the Scaddens way up north...!

Yesterday we got our first SNOW....but it's not a serious snow, though...very little accumulation...however, the weather report says we may be in for more tonight...woo hoo!!! And, the high is only going to be in the teens this week....burrrrrrrrrr! All the trees just look so pretty with their dusting of snow on them....and the mountains are all frosted with the fluffy white stuff....

And as for the housing situation....today we had our initial walkthrough of the house....we basically went from room to room on hands and knees putting pieces of blue painter's tape on the walls and whatnot for things that need some touching up. But boy, is it pretty!!!!! I just love our new kitchen and....everything else!!! Hee hee hee! However, the outside of the house is more than likely not going to be painted until the springtime because it's just too wet for the painters to do a good job....we'll see...maybe we will get a dry spell and then they can get it done. And, here's a little story for you....grizzly bears have been spotted in a dumpster in OUR cul-de-sac...beats the heck out of antelope pooping in our yard like at our old place!!! Looks like the move in date is still not going to be for another 2 weeks though... bummer! Oh well, at least we know that we are waiting for something great!

Let's see....well, I'm on the pediatric unit completely by myself for this week and so far...no catastrophes! Things are really going well and I'm really enjoying myself.

What else...oh! I got my hair CUT! I got about 3 inches whacked off and got some slightly blond highlights. And, if I do say so myself, it's the best haircut I've ever got! :) Michael even likes it, too!

I work until Saturday and then I have 3 days off in a row...Michael and I are going to have to come up with something fun to do....since my on-line course will be over and also because we aren't moved in yet and won't be unpacking boxes! Our three year wedding anniversary is coming up, too!!! So exciting to have so many good things coming about!!!

Well, gotta go...talk to you soon !!!

Leah and Michael


Sunday, November 23, 2003 9:08 PM

Hi Everybody! Hope all is well....we're doing pretty good...just sitting down to write my weekly email. I just got back from my scrapbooking camp...it was called "Camp Crop-A-Lot". About 30+ of us gals went up to a place called Birchwood which is just north of Eagle River on Friday afternoon. It's up in some very beautiful scenic mountains. We all rented some cabins to bunk in and a big huge lodge that was set up with big tables everywhere for us to spread all our pictures and stickers and doo-dads out on. So, the first night I stayed up till past one in the morning and then last night I stayed up till past two....although there were some die-hard scrapbookers that pulled some all-nighters. So, we all scrapbooked our little hearts out, played some games, got some cool door prizes, and even had an auction for some really cool stuff, too. We would all get some (fake) money for the auction for whatever reasons...cropping the most pages in a two hour period, sharing different cropping techniques, being the first person in the dinner line, who had stayed in their PJs all day long, or whatever else they could come up with at the time. We also ate, ate, and ate some more....it was great!!! :) It had began to snow the first night I showed up...it had snowed about 7 1/2 inches that night and then it snowed again on Sunday...I had to dig my car out of the snow to go home. All in all, I got over 50 pages scrapbooked....for those of you that scrapbook you know that that's a lot!!! I am currently caught up on all of my pictures that I have had printed to date....! But in reality, this still puts me about 4 months behind because I have not printed any pictures since we made the drive up the Alcan Highway on our move up to Alaska. Oh, and of course we all played lots of practical jokes of one another....tossed a few snowballs at some unsuspecting individuals....and I had heard that one of the girls got some snow dumped on her when she was in the showers. Fortunately, I was the new person so I didn't get picked on as much as some others. I had a total blast and I can't wait for the next camp!!!

Well, like I said....it's been snowing up a storm...and I love it!!! It's so beautiful! The temperature has been getting in the negative digits at night with the usual highs around the teens...burrrrr!!!! I'm still used to the snow storms in Colorado and Wyoming where it will snow for a day and then the sun comes out and melts everything away.....nothing has melted away here at all. It's kind of funny because there're these huge piles of snow in various parking lots around town that just keep getting bigger and bigger whenever the plow machine goes by....kids seem to find these as great sledding hills to play on.

Well, we are SUPPOSED to close sometime this week...however, with Thanksgiving coming up, I am not sure how that will affect the movers. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Well, I guess that about sums it up for us. Talk to you soon!!!



P.S. I forgot to tell you one more thing about my scrapbooking weekend! They had arranged for this lady to come up all day on Saturday to give us all professional massages if we wanted them....pretty cool, huh?


Wednesday, November 26, 2003 11:52 PM

Hello Everybody!!!!

We just wanted to let everyone know that we are now the proud owners of a new house.....FINALLY!!!!!!!! We went and signed all the paperwork today, and then our realtor gave us a really nice gift basket that included a kitty cookie jar and a cookie cookbook as a house warming present. However, the movers cannot move our stuff until next Tuesday because of the holiday. So anyhoo....here are our new vital statistics.....

****Removed for internet privacy****
Eagle River, AK 99577

Phone number: 907-xxx-xxxx

And last, but not least....in just a few weeks or so we will be fully prepared to have visitors....hee hee hee....!

So excited!!!!!!!!!!!

Leah and Michael


Wednesday, December 10, 2003 12:29 PM

I'm back on-line!!! Hope you all are well. Michael and I are doing great! We've been working like crazy to get all the boxes unpacked...most of them are now (except for my hobby room...wall-to-wall boxes...that will be a project and a half!!) Nothing is decorated...but at least most of the stuff is in the room it belongs to. We are still awaiting the couch, chair-and-a-half, and ottoman that we bought for the living room...it has to be shipped in to Alaska....so hopefully it will be here in another couple of weeks or so. We are totally loving our new house (pic 1) (pic2)....and the cats think it's pretty groovy, too!!!

We're in for some more snow in the next few days...we already have way over a foot of the fluffy white stuff... bring it on!!!! The more, the merrier...I say!

Pretty much all of our Christmas shopping for the family is done and wrapped...still need to ship it out though.

We have a Christmas tree...a rather large one to say the least...but it's not up yet or decorated...we bought it from a friend of ours. It's almost 10 feet tall and about 6 feet wide at the base....so, needless to say, it's a lot larger than the 2 1/2 footer that we've had in all the previous years. I can't wait to start decorating it for the holidays. Speaking of holidays....I will be working on Christmas but I have the four days off before it and then I have New Years Day off. I really want to have people over for a house party for the holidays...but it might be a problem if I don't have any couches for people to sit on yet....so it might have to wait just a bit. And, I know other people are already planning for parties before Christmas...so mine will probably be afterwards.

Well, guess that's about it for now....talk to you later!!! I have to work the evening shifts till 11 at night starting today thru Friday and then I have the weekend off. Buh-bye!!!


Leah and Michael


Wednesday, December 17, 2003 6:59 PM

How is everybody...Michael and I are fabulous!!! We got our Christmas tree up last weekend with all the decorations. Still working on finding places for things. Since we no longer have an attic or basement like we did in the old house, we are finding that we are having to do some early spring-cleaning and weed out the stuff we don't need anymore. I've started to work on putting my hobby room together...but I need to put up some kind of shelves in the closet to store all my stuff.

All our Christmas shopping is done and mailed out...except Christmas cards....those are coming.... hopefully before the actual holiday.

I work for the next few days and then I have four days off. I can't wait! Michael and I will celebrate.....ummmm ....whenever we want to, I guess!!! Things at the hospital are still good....but since it's cold and flu season there are tons of sick kiddos (and others) around. Mike was feeling a bit under the weather today but seems to be recovering. The flu is hitting people hard this year....so get your flu shots!!! :)

Well, let's see....what else....OH! OK...so I felt my first earthquake a few days ago!!!! But, before I actually knew what it was, it was over. I had woke up before my alarm went off and was laying in bed and felt the bed jiggle just a little bit...I actually thought it was the heater going on in the garage making the house vibrate...but it wasn't! Mike and the cats slept through it. When I got to work one of my friends asked me if I had felt the earthquake that morning at about 6am....and that's when I actually realized it was an earthquake and not the heater. Apparently it registered about a 3 or so on the Richter scale....no biggy. And supposedly, you don't feel earthquakes as much living in the mountains as you would like in downtown Anchorage.

I still have yet to see the Northern Lights in person...I only have seen the pictures in the newspaper the day after. Michael has though....he stayed up all night one time to watch them....I had to work the next day so I couldn't. Apparently the lights are showing quite often, but they are hard to see when there is a lot of cloud cover...which there typically is this time of year.

Love reading everybody's emails and cards...keep 'em coming!!!

Love ya lots!!!

Leah and Michael