|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!|
We hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. It's been very busy this past 8 days or so. I worked 8 days in a row and now I have four days off....yippee skippee!
Michael and I had a wonderful Christmas. We made a few phone calls early in the morning before I went to work. Then after I got out of work Michael and I headed for my friend's house for a scrumptious Christmas dinner.
Work has been very busy these past few days...lots of sick little kiddos. But we had a number of people from the fire department dress up and play Santa and his elves and hand out toys to the kids. It was a lot of fun to see and join in.
Then for New Years, the Children's Hospital had a big bash at the country club here on the golf course. I had never been to a big New Year's party before and it was loads of fun with the dinner and dancing and fireworks.
I think we are going to take down all the Christmas decorations now that I'm off work for a bit. Then we can really start decorating the house. Our furniture should (hopefully) be here within the next week. Now that the holidays are over I can start concentrating on some sewing projects....curtains for the house and some quilts!!!! I'm heading off to a number of fabric stores to snoop around. And, with my new Christmas present from Mikey (a KitchenAid Mixer), I am going to do a lot of baking!!!
Michael's been working on this really cool webpage for everyone to see. It has all of the letters that I've written to you all in the past starting from April or so. Plus, we've added pictures for you all to see by clicking on the highlighted links. So....please visit our website!!! Here's the address.....give it a look-see!
Oh...and I just wanted to say...Happy Birthday Aunt Cindy!!! :)
Talk to you all soon!!!
Love ya lots!!!
Leah and Michael
How is everyone? We are doing great. We just got about another 6 inches of snow. When you look out the windows downstairs, the snow is just about even with the bottom of the window. If the snow keeps up like this, I guess I won't have to make curtains for the downstairs until springtime!!!
Our living room furniture finally came in so we can get that room put together now. The cats have proceeded to overtake the new ottoman.
Well, a few weeks ago Mike and I dressed up in our snowgear and walked around the undeveloped areas by our house. We found a plastic sled that someone had dumped because the back end was cracked. So we had a groovy time sledding down some hills until it finally broke all the way.
And then yesterday, Mike and I went cross-country skiing for the first time ever with my friends, Wendy and Theresa. There are miles upon miles of groomed trails up here in the winter for people to cross country ski and whatnot on. So, we did about 4 miles or so of it yesterday....and, boy, are my inner thighs killing me today!!! But it was a total blast....! And, here's the best part....so we're all skiing and we come across a moose munching on a tree right by the trail...so, we watch him for a while and then go past him one by one so not to startle him....and me, being the graceful person I am, FALL and ker-splat, right in front of him! And, of course, that's when the batteries in our camera die, so we didn't get the ker-splat recorded. But, I'm sure you all can imagine me trying to get back up on my skis and not get booted in the butt by this moose.
Well, guess that's about it for now....talk to you soon!!!
How is everyone? Michael and I are pretty good. Sorry I haven't written in a while...not too much has been going on lately. I've been busy with some sewing projects and we're still in the process of decorating the house. The upstairs is pretty much done enough so that we can have some people over. We're going to have our first little dinner party with some friends over this weekend. I'll keep you posted....!
Well, we have our first out-of-state visitors signed up to come visit this
summer!!!! We are so excited to have people come visit!!! Michael's mom and
dad, his sister and her husband (Michele and Dan) and their two girls (
So, bring on the visitors!!! We'll show you a great time!!! :)
Well, guess that's about it for now! Talk to you soon!!!
Leah and Mike
How is everyone? We are doing really good. Today is Valentine's Day and we are going to go out to eat later on. Tomorrow night we are going to go over to our neighbor's house for dinner...I'm going to bring some yummy bread pudding for dessert. :) The rest of my weekend I am going to sew, sew, and sew!
We had our first dinner party last weekend at the house. It was a wonderful success! We had five other people over and celebrated Michael's and Matt's birthdays. I cooked stuffed flank steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, Wendy brought a Greek salad, and then I made a raspberry dream cake for dessert. We all had a great time! Michael got a fixed-base router to do some more of his wood-working projects.
Michael's been really busy studying for various computer technology "certificates" and doing some home projects (his honey-do list is pretty long). The upstairs living room is done, kitchen and both bathrooms are done, sewing room and computer room are done, and our bedroom is done. We haven't really decorated the spare bedroom or the downstairs family room yet. The spare bedroom will someday turn into a kids room so I probably won't do too much with that until that happens. And, we are still wondering what we really want to do with the family room....ideally, we want to put a big screen TV in it and buy a sofa-bed couch among other things....but I guess it will all come in time.
I've been taking on some special projects at work which take up a bunch of my time...but I'm learning a ton and I think it will be very exciting. There is a Pediatric Competency Fair coming up in March for the pediatric nurses. It's also for pharmacists, doctors, respiratory therapists, and whoever else wants to join in. I'll be teaching them all about the "code cart" medications and drips that need to be started when a child is having respiratory failure or cardiac failure....anaphylactic shock...seizures...and whatever else that may happen. I'm pretty excited about it....I'm not really one for getting up in front of big crowds (stage fright) but I'll have about 4-5 people coming up to my "station" all day long to teach them about dosing, calculations, drip rates, compatibilities of meds, how to mix up preparations, etc, etc, etc. Most of the other pharmacists that work at the hospital always dread going to a pediatric code so it's usually just me or Karen. So, we are going to have "mock ped. codes" all day long for everybody to come down and get more experience in a stress free environment and bring everybody up to par. Pretty cool, huh?
Well, for the first part of winter we were getting tons of snow and
temperatures were always around 0-10 degrees or lower. But lately
temperatures have been getting up to almost 30-40 degrees and a lot of the
snow has turned to mush on the roads (we're having a heat wave!!!). We're
gaining daylight, though! It's almost like normal...or at least what I'm used
Well, guess that's about it for now!!
Talk to you all soon!!!
Leah and Michael
Hope all is well....things are good up here. I had today off and also have tomorrow off. I got two quilts done and now I have to figure out what project comes next!....curtains...wallhangings....five more baby blankets that have to be done by July....yadda yadda yadda...!
So, we had a good time at dinner at our neighbors house this past Sunday. After dinner we were sitting down stairs in their family room just talking and whatnot. Well, they have these sliding glass doors that go out to the patio in the backyard as well as a motion detection light. So, here we were talking, the light goes on outside and then all of a sudden this big huge moose acts like he's going to walk right into the living room!!! The moose totally surprised us and we all jumped up....which in turn frightened him... and he turned and walked off into the night. It was so cool!!! I'm finding that I am just going to have to strap a camera to my body everywhere I go cuz things like this happen and I can never get it on film!!!
Well, that's been the exciting stuff that's happened lately. Tomorrow night we are going to go out to the first day of "Fur Rondy". I'm still not exactly sure what all goes on but there's lots of food, fireworks, dog sled races, lots of stuff for sale, huge ice sculptures....that kind of thing....I'll let you know what we see!
Talk to you all soon!!!
How is everyone? We are doing great. Not too much is going on lately.....still doing things with the house here and there, sewing baby blankets, and this and that. I've signed up for another scrapbooking camp for the weekend of March 13 and 14 (so excited)!!! It's at a bed and breakfast up in Palmer. I'm going to an abundance of baby showers....I think the last time I counted I still need to sew about 7 blankets!!! Aghhhhh!!!! (And, of course, no one is finding out if they are having a boy or a girl so my color selection is really limited)....oh well.
Well, we haven't had any new snow for some time now ....probably around 3 weeks or so. A lot of the snow that we did have has melted (but there's still plenty to go skiing on and snow-shoeing).
Oh!!! And, I just wanted to say congratulations to my friends Lindsey and Chris who just had their first baby, Brooklyn Deann. Mom, dad, and baby are doing great! Woo-hoo!
Mike will be going on a temporary duty with the Air Force in March for a few weeks or so. What am I going to do without him!!!
Well, guess that's about it for now....talk to you all soon!
Hope all is well. Just wanted to send you all a quick update for the past week. Worked Monday thru Friday....and then on Friday night we went over to a friend's house for dinner and game night!!! We've been doing that pretty regularly...we typically play Trivial Persuit and Cranium....and I bring the dessert!
This past Saturday was the start of the Iditarod.
Mike and I went to the ceremonial start in
Well, that's about it! Talk to you soon!
Hope all is well. Well, let's see what's been happening...
I took Michael to the airport on Saturday morning. He's in
Well, from the airport, I drove back home to pack up all my scrapbooking stuff for camp at a bed and breakfast. But, first I went to a baby shower and then drove up to the B&B. I had a total blast scrapbooking. I only knew two scrappers there, but by the end of it, I had a whole new pack of friends. There were about 25 of us in all...and we all stayed up really late to scrapbook our little hearts out.....and then the lady that owned the B&B cooked for us all day long....with desserts after every meal....it was great! I got about 20 pages done in all. But, anyhoo, came back at 4pm on Sunday and then started studying for my big presentation day this coming Friday at work.
Well, guess that's about it for now. Talk to you all soon!
Love ya lots!
Hope all is well. Not much is going on with me. Michael is still out of town and should be back on the 30th or so. I'm just finishing up some baby blankets, planning some scrapbooking get-togethers, and also planning a baby shower for one of my friends. I've never done one before so if any of you have any good ideas...let me know!
Well, the sun is finally shining! We still have tons of snow around but we seem to be starting the breakup period where everything is melting. I really love the snow...but I think I'm ready to start landscaping our yard. However, they are building houses on both sides of our house at the moment, so Michael and I need to wait till they are done so everything doesn't get covered with dirt again. We still want to hydro-seed our backyard mountain with wildflowers....but we are still not exactly sure what to do with the rest. Ideally, it would be great for neighbors to move in quickly so we can get with them to see what they would like....just so everything looks nice....so I guess we'll see.
Well, guess that's about it for now....I'm off to bed!
Happy Birthday Marlene and Glenn!!!
OK...so I either lied to you all or I jinked everything when I said in the last email that we were in the "break-up" period and all the snow was melting....
It's been snowing for the past four days...pretty much non-stop and we've been having white-out conditions. We have about 8+ new inches of snow and they say more is on the way....
We are at about 110 inches of snow in Anchorage this year and the news said this morning that this is the fifth snowiest year in the history of Anchorage....woo hoo! Isn't life grand??? :)
Well, I just worked the past six days and now I'm off for two. I have to crank out another baby blanket for a baby shower this Friday....and then I'm finally in a lull period. The next baby shower isn't until May 1st (the one I'm throwing for my friend, Karen). But, I'm kind of intimidated because it's a "boy/girl" party and there's a number of physicians at the hospital coming to the party...so I have to finish all the rest of the decorating process...pronto!!!
And I'm so excited because Michael FINALLY comes home tomorrow night!!! Yippee!
Well, guess that's about it for now.....talk to you all soon!!!
Hope all is well. Michael and I are doing pretty good. I've had three days
off and I've been putting them to good use. Friday night I went to a baby
shower. On Saturday Michael and I went shopping for some decorating
assessories...we found a great picture to hang above our fireplace. We also
went furniture shopping for our downstairs family room. We are pretty sure we
found the sofa we want....I just hope they have it in stock...otherwise it
could take 10 weeks to get here....(awwww...the joy of living in
Then, this morning I finished a wall hanging I was working on and hung up a few more things on the walls. Michael and I are going to go shopping for a standing quilt hanger today. And then I need to work on my presentation for our clinical meeting tomorrow.
Then....I have to get ready for my scrapbooking party I'm having here at the house this coming weekend!!!
Well, I better get busy!!!
Talk to you all soon!
Sorry it's been a few weeks since I've written....I've had all kinds of things going on....!
Well, it was actually a few weeks ago, but Michael and I felt our first actual earthquake!!! It registered at a 3.9....nothing major....but it was enough to jiggle the house a bit and get me all excited about it!!
Then last Friday we had a "Pity Party" for me here at the house to celebrate my 30th birthday. About 17 people showed up for it (which really surprised me...I wasn't planning on that many!) and we ate pizza and cake with ice cream. I had a great time just hanging around with my friends.
Then the following night on Saturday I hosted a baby shower for my friend Karen. It was a huge success...I think close to 35+ people came. At that point in time, I realized I needed a bigger living room!!! I made a ton of food...BBQ brisket, deviled eggs, spinach dip, 7 layer bean dip, banana and vanilla wafer cream pudding, and a strawberry cream filled angel food cake. Others brought a cheese platter, cole slaw, chili con queso dip, and a chocolate rasberry cheese cake. So, needless to say...nobody went home hungry. It was a lot of fun...
Well, spring has sprung up here in Alaska....finally! We still have snow in some places and on the tops of mountains, but the grass is starting to turn green and the trees are budding. And what cracks me up the most is that when I'm driving in my car when it's close to 10 o'clock at NIGHT...I still have to use my sun visor because the sun is still too bright in my eyes. Funny huh? It's pretty cool with the sun staying out longer up here...you just feel so energized during the day. But, it does play tricks on your mind though....sometimes it's hard to go to bed at night when the sun is still shining...
Well, Michael started his new job about a week ago...and I wish I could tell you more about what he does at "GCI".... but all I know is that it has to do with telecommunications, the internet, cable TV, and computers.....I think. (If it's not about pills....my mind doesn't register it completely... hee hee hee). But, he likes it and is learning a lot...!
I have today off and I'm just running some errands...then I work the next two days and then this weekend I'm off to scrapbooking camp again...woo hoo!
Well, guess that's about it for now....talk to you all soon!
Hey Everybody! Hope all is well. Michael and I are doing pretty good. Both Michael and I have been working a lot of hours lately...but I have the next two days off and my mission in life is to catch up on some sleep!
I worked this past weekend but Michael was off...so, one of the pharmacists at work had rented a charter boat to go halibut and salmon fishing and asked Michael to go out. Michael had a total blast and we now have 30 lbs. of tasty halibut stocked in our freezer. Yumm-o!
And, Michael and I just got back from our first karate class. Yes, that's right, karate! I had been in Shotokan karate when I was 15 years old (15 long years ago). I had met some people that take the class and we went and checked it out last Friday. I wanted to get back into it and Michael said he'd like to try it so...we went to our first class today. (My technique is better...but he has the strength...hee hee hee). We'll be sparring with each other in no time...
Well, guess that's about it for now. Talk to you all soon...
Leah and Michael
Hope all is well. Here's the latest update on Michael and myself...
Well, let's see...ever since Michael went halibut fishing, we have fish dinners about every 3 days or so...my new favorite food! Apparently there is an Alaskan cookbook here about how to prepare halibut in a bunch of different ways....I'll have to scope it out.
So last week I was driving home from work and totally bypassed my house!!! The outside of our house still hadn't been painted....like so many of the other houses on our block and apparently the painters showed up and painted our house while we were at work!!! Boy, are they speedy! We still can't landscape though because the two houses are either side still haven't been built....so, when people come up this summer to visit...never mind the rocks and dirt around the house.
Well, this past Friday was the last day of me working 7 days in a row...so Michael and I decided we needed to get out and play a bit. We had the coolest time!!!! We took the Alaskan Railroad(pic1) down to the Spencer Glacier. It was about a 2 1/2 hour train ride(pic1)...which was really nice...we both had never been on a train before. We saw tons of beautiful scenery, the ocean, mountains, waterfalls, wildlife, glaciers, etc, etc, etc. So the train stopped at the Spencer glacier and then we had lunch and then we got into some water rafts and floated around this lake with icebergs in it!!! It was the coolest!!! From there we took a mild river rafting trip down the river where the train met up with us again and took us part way home. From there a motorcoach took us the rest of the way back to Anchorage. It was a really nice way to spend the day...and we totally lucked out cuz it was a really beautiful sunny day. And, I got some totally awesome scrapbooking pictures out of it, too! I got a number of scenery pictures but the coolest ones were when I would hang out the side of the train and take a picture with a reflection of the mountains or water on the side of the train. Cool huh? Definitely a "must do" if you come to Alaska!!!
Well, let's see, what else.....we sold the two couches that we had downstairs to a nurse at work. Our new couch came in and will be delivered this coming weekend. I'm so excited to finally have the last room in the house close to completion!!!
I'm starting to get really busy at work....of the five women that are pregnant in the pharmacy this summer, all have had their babies except two. The next is Karen who is the other pediatric pharmacist and she will deliver in a week or two. Then it's just me for the next three months or so!!!! The last pregnancy belongs to the other Leah at work...she is due in late July. We are now differentiated in the pharmacy by "The Pregnant Leah" or "Smilin' Leah". (I think she may take a little offense to that...because she really is a happy/smiley person, too....but it just stuck with me, I guess). So, I told her that when I'm pregnant, I can be the "Pregnant Leah" and she can by "Smiley Leah". Nicknames at work are a huge thing....and I keep acquiring more and more.....now that I'm back in karate again....people call me "Bruce Leah"....and I love to cook lots of desserts for everybody at work and for parties so Michael came up with "Sara Lee-ah".....funny huh! There is one pharmacist at work named Paul that really cracks me up....he asks me on a daily basis if I've brought in anything to eat....for my birthday be bought me a dessert cookbook and on the card he wrote "Happy Birthday Paul" and then crossed out his name and then put "Leah" underneath it.... thinking that since he gave me the cookbook, I then had to bring him a present of cookies or whatever! Good thing I love to cook, huh??? :)
Well, I suppose I've rambled on for a while now....Michael is going to post pictures on our website for all to see our trainride and the glaciers and the icebergs. But I'll try to send another email with some pics on them! Talk to you soon!
Hope all is well. Mike and I are doing pretty good. I have 6 days off in a row so I am just doing some finishing touches on the house and getting some sewing projects done. I needed to take the two cats into the vets office for their yearly checkup today. Ra is weighing in at a hefty 13+ pounds and Pasht is right behind him at 10+ pounds. They actually did pretty good at the vet's office...usually they sprout horns and get a pointed tail when I take them into the vet. However, Pasht is scheduled for surgery this coming Thursday. She has a growth in her neck that the vet is going to take out...and while he has her under sedation, she's going to get her teeth cleaned and have two teeth pulled. Hopefully she will tolerate everything ok. My other cat, Ra, has had to have three dentals already with 3-4 teeth pulled....unfortunately, my kitties have genetically bad teeth. I'm not too worried about the growth in ther neck. I've been told for the past 7 years that it was an enlarged thyroid, but as it turns out, it's not her thyroid at all. But, she's had the lump since a little kitten and hasn't changed since then, so hopefully it's nothing...
Michael and I went to a couple of lakes yesterday to do some fishing. We were trying to catch some pike...but no such luck. Up here pike are considered a "nusaince" fish because they eat all the trout. But, it was a really nice afternoon that I got to spend with my hubby....
Well, we have about 22 hours of daylight about now. It's so cool! I get a lot of people asking me what's it like to have so much daylight...It's very energizing...I feel like I can just go and go. At midnight, you can drive around without your headlights on...neato, huh? I guess it's a good thing that the master bedroom is in the back of the house so you don't get the full sun shining through the window....and I lined my curtains, too. I guess you just get used to it not being pitch black at night when you sleep. Right now it's 11:00 at night and the sky is a bright baby blue with a few clouds....I love this place...!
Well, guess that's about it for now...
Love you all,
Hope all is well. Mike and I are doing fabulous! The summer has been so beautiful up here. The temperatures are typically in the low 80s...most of the time it's sunny... but we do get our days that are a bit overcast. All the sunshine is very energizing...!
Well, both Mike and I have been working a lot lately. I'm off this weekend but then I work 10 in a row.....but then I'm off from the 22nd of July until the 8th of August (except for 1 day thrown in that I have to work)!!! I am going to go on a four day kayaking trip with some people from work starting on the evening of the 21st. We'll drive out to Valdez (about 4 hours away) and take a river taxi out to Glacier Island/Columbia Glacier....you see tons of wildlife, lots of glaciers/icebergs, and go see a sea lion colony......and you're right down in the water with them. It's a guided tour and we camp out at night and they do all the cooking for you! I just got the gear list of what to bring....looks like I need to go shopping...oh darn. :)
Well, lets see...what have Michael and I been up to lately. My friend Teresa put in a volleyball court in her backyard...so we've gone over there on a number of occasions to play volleyball. She had a "pig roast" at her place a few weeks ago to celebrate the end of our pharmacy residents' year....it was a ton of fun.
Last night I went to a scrapbooking party....
And some time this weekend Michael and I are going to go to the "Bear Paw Festival" here in Eagle River. It has carnival rides, a parade, and lots of craft booths.....(that's what I'm going for).
Well, as soon as I get back from kayaking, Michael's family is coming in for a visit....can't wait!!!
Love you all,
Leah and Michael
Well, not much else has happened since yesterday when I wrote but I just wanted to tell you all about the Bear Paw Festival. There were lots of craft booths and other people selling lots of other things from photography to jewelry. And, of course, lots of food.....turkey legs, BBQ sandwiches, root bear floats, funnel cakes, snow cones....(that's just what we had)...but there were lots of other things, too! Lots of carnival rides.....but didn't really want to go zipping around in something that would loop-dee-doo me around after eating what I had just ate.....! Then there were magic shows and fencing and horse drawn carriages and pony rides for the kids.....it just went on and on. But, one of the best things there was the Anchorage Fire Dept.....they brought in a fire engine and had a hose hooked up so that a big huge spray of water rained down in the middle of the street. I don't think I've ever seen kids have so much fun playing in some water....and adults, too (i.e. me and Mike). It was a great way to cool off in our 87 degree sunny weather. Who ever said Alaska is too cold..........?
Well, guess that's about it for now.....I'm going to go play in my hobby room.....hee hee hee....!
Well, tomorrow is day 10 out of 10 of working...I'm just about all packed up for my kayaking trip....we leave tomorrow after work and drive 5 hours to Valdez, AK. Sooooo....I'll have lots to tell everyone when I get back!!! Wish me lots of sunshine!!!
Sorry I haven't written in a while....I had went on my four day kayaking trip and then we had 8 of Michael's family members come up for about 2 weeks. The last of them leave home today. But, unfortunately, I have ended up with some kind of bug (fever and sore throat and whatnot). I start back to work tomorrow and as soon as I'm feeling better I'll email everybody a big whopping letter and some pictures about all of our adventures! Talk to you soon!
Hi Everybody! Hope all is well....I'm finally back to feeling better and now is the time for my whopping email!!! Woo hoo! So....sit back in your chairs cuz I got a lot of adventures to tell you about!!!! :)
OK...so first I'll tell you all about my sea kayaking trip and then I'll send another email about when the family was up.... you can only put so many pictures on one email!!!
Well, my friend Leslie, who is a pediatric nurse, asked me if I wanted to go on a four day sea kayaking trip with her and a few other people. Unfortunately, Mike wasn't able to get off of work due to the short notice but he said I should go and have a great time...and not to get the camera wet! (What a great hubby I have!) The other person that went with us was Brian, who is a nurse in the ER...so I felt pretty safe going on the trip. So after work, on Wednesday 7/21/04, the three of us drove to Valdez, Alaska. It's about 5 hours away from Anchorage and we rolled into town about 1:30am. We caught a few hours of sleep at a hotel and then headed for the Pangaea Tour office the next morning.
We met our guide who would be going out with us...her name was Marci. With Pangaea Tours, your guide is someone who knows all the ins and outs of kayaking, safety, fishing, camping, does all the cooking, and, of course, knows all the really cool places to take you to.
So, we loaded two double kayaks (two seaters) and all our gear and food onto a big boat called the Tango....also called a water taxi. The water taxi drove for about 2 hours out to the Columbia Glacier and Icefield. Along the way we saw a bunch of sea lions parked on a buoy (see sealions.jpg). Then we plunked the kayaks in the water, loaded all our gear into them, and then carefully got into the kayaks. By the way....this was my first experience kayaking....so it was very exciting and just a little scary to be out in the middle of the ocean in this puny little boat!!!
So, on the first day, we kayaked through the Columbia Icefield. There were tons and tons of icebergs floating in the ocean of all shapes and sizes that had come off of the Columbia Glacier. It was raining that day...but it was actually a good thing because it made all the icebergs look really blue. And we were all prepared for the rain and it didn't bother us a bit. So, we paddled for about 8 miles that day...just maneuvering our kayaks through all the ice in the water (see icebergs1.jpg, icebergs2.jpg, & touchiceberg.jpg). Oh...and here's a little bit of trivia for you...there are four different classes/sizes of icebergs. First, you have a glacier (big 'ol mongo mountain of ice) which will have huge pieces of itself break off (called calving). The really huge pieces that break off are called the icebergs. Then the next smaller size is called a bergy bit...it's about the size of a cabin. Then the next size down is called a growler....about the size of a refrigerator...and then the crushed up ice floating around in the water is called brash. Mind you....you only see about 20% of the piece of ice....the rest is under the water....so we were in some very deep and very cold water....cool, huh?!?!
Then we scouted around for our camp site....since it was raining that day...things were pretty "soupy"...but we were all wearing knee high water proof boots and we just tromped all through the muck...no big deal. We camped in Emerald Cove....a.k.a. "Bearville"....we didn't see any bears, but we knew they were around from their tracks and scat. We set up our tents while Marci made us a totally gourmet dinner...sockeye salmon with lemon and dill, steamed broccoli, and mashed potatoes. For dessert we had French vanilla mousse with raspberries....yummy. We didn't bring a cooler with us...we just packed all the perishable food in the bottom of the kayak where it stayed nice and cold....we were after all in ice water!!! And to keep other things cool, like drinks and whatnot, we would just pick up bits of brash ice and sit it on top of the kayak to take with us to our camping spots. Neato huh?!
We were all pretty exhausted so we hit the sack about 10 o'clock that night. The next morning we woke up to a huge breakfast of scrambled eggs with onions and green peppers, sausage, English muffins, and lots of hot chocolate. It has rained through the night so most of the gear (and us) was pretty soaked through.....but then the beautiful sun came out. We kayaked through Emerald Cove to the mouth of Heather Bay and then on to Columbia Bay. We stopped at Long Point for lunch and to stretch our legs (see longpoint.jpg). Lunch was Caesar chicken wraps and cantaloupe. We just relaxed and watch the tide come in....we kept having to bring the kayaks up more on the shore every so many minutes or they would've been in deep water before long. There were tons of wildflowers, namely fireweed, everywhere. Then we got back in the kayaks and paddled up Long Bay to Billie's Hole. We saw the most beautiful waterfalls! And fish were jumping up the waterfalls...it was really cool. We tried some fishing from our kayaks but they just weren't biting. We decided since the sun was out, we should find our camping spot for the night so we could let all our gear, tents, and clothes dry out. So we kayaked to Schrader Island and found the best camping spot ever!!! Oh, and by the way...it's better to camp on an island versus the mainland...less chance of bears. So we pulled out everything and hung it from the trees to air out....then we found an excellent place to put up the tents (see roomwithaview.jpg)...totally great room with a view. We set up the tents on this scenic overhang that looked out over a cove....a seal kept swimming around the cove all day long, too. For dinner we had halibut fajitas. There were tons of blueberry bushes and salmon berry bushes all over the island too....so, we went berry picking!!! (see berries.jpg) Then, we decided we were going to go back to Billie's Hole to try fishing again in the evening. We saw a huge run of pink salmon (called humpies) in the water. There were hoards of them everywhere in the water!!!....swimming right underneath the boat....it was just so neat to sit there and watch. I was the only one who caught a fish that time....but it was actually on accident. I was helping Marci with her fishing pole and I just had mine dangling in the water right over the edge... and wouldn't you know it...a fish just about took off with my pole! I think it was a Dolly Varden fish....and then I threw him back in the water. Then, we parked the kayaks on a rocky shore and hiked a bit to a lake. However, to get to this lake you had to muck through knee high mud....good thing I had those knee high boots!!! This particular area was used to count the salmon that were spawning in this lake so the Fish and Game people had this contraption rigged up to hold the salmon until they were ready to go through. It was pretty neat to see....there were hundreds of salmon just waiting to get through this gate...and they would bang themselves on this gate and make all kinds of ruckus!!! Too bad I didn't have a big huge net with me to scoop a couple of them up.....never mind the fact that it would be illegal, too...hee hee hee!
Well, it was getting on to about midnight or so....so we paddled back to the island....made a bonfire and roasted marshmallows to make smores. All in all, we paddled about 15 or so miles that day.
The next morning we all slept in. We took our time breaking camp. And I just couldn't stand it any longer....I had to wash my hair!!...that "no rinse shampoo" really isn't too bad!!! For breakfast, we had yogurt, oatmeal, granola, bananas, and all the blueberries and salmon berries that we picked the day before. Oh yeah, a salmon berry sort of looks like a big fat raspberry but they range in color from red to yellow...I was told they are called salmon berries because they look like salmon roe (salmon eggs). Then we kayaked across to Glacier Island to Jackson Hole where we stopped for lunch. We had chicken sandwich bagels, grapes and other munchies. We also needed more fresh water so we found a fresh water stream to filter some water for us. We just relaxed a bit...until the water fights broke out between us all....and fished some more, too. Then we paddled to Growler Island and saw the Growler Island Camp. It was a group of buildings and the cutest little cottage style houses right on the edge of this island. It used to be inhabited but is now abandoned....the land is now owned by the Chugiak Native Corporation. So, even though the signs said "no trespassing"...we totally trespassed. We snooped here and there....there were still beds in rooms...and just tons of "stuff" everywhere....just no people....that started to get a little eerie....so we left to go back down to the beach and had a contest of skipping rocks in the water...I lost. Then we paddled behind Growler Island to Growler Bay. The water here was so beautiful and glassy...you could see the reflections of the clouds and the mountains in the water....very quiet and peaceful and serene. That night we camped by a waterfall in a cove in Growler Bay. We kayaked the most that day out of the rest....over 20 miles! For dinner we had toasted bread with olive spread and pasta with alfredo broccoli sauce and breaded scallops. We built a fire to relax by and then hit the sack....and prayed for sunshine....so far we were doing good: rainy day 1, sunshiny day 2.
We needed to get up early the next morning because we wanted to be out of camp by 9am to get to Bull's Head before the water got too rough in the afternoon. This day was hopefully going to be the grand finale to our totally awesome trip that we had so far. It rained a little in the morning...but it was just a sprinkle and then the sun came out. Breakfast was sausage, French toast, and fried apples with cinnamon...by the way, Marci was a fabulous cook!! As we were paddling, we saw a bald eagle catch a big fish in the water. The eagle couldn't fly away because it's wings were too wet, so it just kept hoping around on this little beach dragging this big fish....which gave us an excellent opportunity to take pictures!! (see eaglefish.jpg) And, we were totally blessed with a beautiful warm day with lots of sunshine. We were going to be able to make it to Bull's Head!! This was where there were hundreds of stellar sea lions to watch!!!! As we got closer to Bull's Head we would have a sea lion or two follow us...just being nosey. And then as we rounded the corner....there they were....everywhere....and were they loud!!! We paddled up close to the beach and they would send out these "welcoming committees" to check us out (see welcome.jpg). Before long, they were swimming two feet from our boats and splashing around (see lesliesealions.jpg). It was truly amazing! We probably stayed for well over an hour watching them...maybe it was two???!!! It was just so fascinating to see them swimming around us.
And then...our trip was almost at its end. We paddled out to a boat (the Rimfire) that was waiting to pick us up and take us back to Valdez. On the trip we also saw lots of waterfalls, gorgeous scenery, sea otters, puffins, lots of bald eagles...but no whales. Oh!...we were told that two days before we left on the trip that a group of kayakers were out and found a pod of whales...well, they got too close to one of the whales and the whale came up underneath the kayak and dumped the people in the water...nothing happened to the people...except for getting wet. Funny huh?! I personally would've taken a dumping by a whale just for the cool story factor....
So, we got back to Valdez and hopped in the truck to make the drive home....but on the way home we had to stop at Worthington Glacier to play around on the ice (see worthingtonglacier.jpg). We didn't get back till really late at night...but I just couldn't resist and woke Michael up out of a deep sleep and told him all about my trip. It was definitely one of the best things that I've done in my whole entire life. And I was really proud of myself.....Marci said what we kayaked in four days is usually what she kayaks in an 8 day trip. I wish I could show everyone all of my pictures....but I took over 250 and I don't think the computer could handle it!!! :)
Well, I think I've rattled on enough at the moment.....hope you all enjoy my pictures! Talk to you soon!!!
Love you lots!
Hope everyone is doing great....we are pretty darn spiffy up here! Michael and I have been working a lot lately...I just got off of a 9 day stretch. We went to the Alaskan State Fair a few weeks ago. I haven't really been to a state fair before and it was a ton of fun. We saw all kinds of things....among the hordes of people and booths for shopping and eating, we saw lots of exhibits (crafts, quilts, etc), tons of animals from the 4H contests (pigs, llamas, sheep, goats, geese, bunny rabbits, turkeys, bees, ducks, etc), the HUGE Alaskan vegetables that people enter into the contests (the new world records were a 707 pound pumpkin and a 64.8 pound cantaloupe, but the heads of cabbage and lettuce and zucchini and other veggies were monstrous!), a female/human cannonballer, lumberjack contests (that was one of the best parts, they were hilarious!...they sawed/chopped logs, climbed log poles, and did log rolling and jousting), lots of carnival rides and concerts...and best of all.....Michael and I went BUNGEE JUMPING!!! Can you believe it???? Me, of all people, went bungee jumping!!! Well, it was actually more of getting strapped in a chair and getting "sling-shotted" through the air (sort of like a reverse bungee jump), but Michael and I had a pretty good time...and I'll never do it again! We had a grand time....we ended up buying five pieces of artwork to hang downstairs, a wool sweater, and other stuff here and there. I liked it so much the first time, that I ended up going again with some friends from work.
Well, not much else is going on....the weather is ranging about 60 degrees during the day. Fall colors are starting to show up everywhere. They started building the foundation for the house on the left but are still just moving around the dirt for the house to the right of us. Landscaping will have to wait till next summer. Snow will be upon us soon, probably in late October so there's no use getting it started now. The first "Termination Dust" appeared on some of the higher mountains around us (that's what the first bit of snow on the mountains is called to let us know that summer is almost gone).
Last night Michael and I went out to dinner at one of the best and fanciest restaurants in Anchorage called Simon & Seafort's. After we closed on our house back in December, I recommended Jennifer (our realtor) to one of the pharmacists at work and when she closed on her place, Jennifer gave us a $50 giftcard to another restaurant. So, then I recommended her to another pharmacist at work and she just recently closed on her place, so Jennifer got us a $100 giftcard to Simon & Seaforts as a thank you for the recommendation. A new physician just accepted a position at the hospital but will not be moving here until November, so I set them up together...maybe we'll get another dinner out of this!!! :)
Michael is applying for two promotions this week where he works. One would be a good promotion and the other one would be a really big promotion. He is also changing from the Air Force Reserves to the Alaska Air National Guard...it hasn't taken place yet, but will be sometime in the near future.
So, guess that's about it. Hope to hear from you all soon! Michael and I are planning to have a big Thanksgiving dinner here at our house for lots of people this year....I'll need to start planning that soon enough. Well, guess that's about it for now! Toodles!
Love ya lots!
Leah and Michael
Hope all is well. Michael and I are doing great. Not much has been going on. Just working and whatnot with the both of us. Last night we had another game night (just for the record....girls won 2-0 against the guys at Trivial Pursuit)!
Well, last week we had our first snow. Anchorage got about 4 inches...but it didn't stay for long. It's been either raining or snowing since then...winter is on it's way in...bring on the snow!!! Our fall has been soooo beautiful!!! Up here in Eagle River the fall colors have been really awesome...it really puts a great start to my day on my drive into work.
Let's see, what else....one of my cats is due to go to the vets office for a dental, Michael is waiting to hear back about a job interview, and I've been reading a bunch of books. And today we're cleaning house and doing some laundry. Sorry, no big, huge stories to tell you at the moment...but we are sending a great picture of the fall colors!!!
Love you all,
Leah and Michael
Normally Leah lets everybody know how things are going, but this week has been such big week for me that I had to be the one to send the news.
First. I've been working at GCI this last 6 months in technical support. GCI is the largest internet service provider in Alaska. Anyways, two promotions came up in the company. One was a "normal" promotion appropriate for my position (from tech 1 to tech 2). The other would have been a promotion appropriate for someone already in the position I was applying for (tech 2 to lead tech). In other words, it would be a 2-steps up promotion for someone like me. However, one of the supervisors pulled me aside and said that I should apply for the lead tech promotion in addition to the tech 2 position. I really would not have felt qualified to apply for lead tech yet, but I suppose its free to apply. Well, I got news this week that I had been promoted to at least tech 2 and that I'm one of the final candidates (top 3 of 12 applicants) for the lead tech position. So either way, it's going to be a big step up or a huge step up!
The second big thing this week was a raffle that I won. Weeks ago, GCI was selling raffle tickets to benefit the American Heart Association. The company also bought some of the tickets to be given away at the company meeting. So there I was at the company meeting. They wrapped things up and drew three names from the attendees to get a free raffle ticket. Well, lucky me, I won one of the raffle tickets. That was great and all, but I had not won a prize, just a chance to win a prize. So I threw the ticket into the console compartment of my truck and went on my merry way.
This past week, they announced the winners in a company-wide email. As I was scanning through the email, they listed the winners starting at sixth place, then fifth, and so on. As I quickly scanned it, I didn't see my name so I *click* deleted it and proceeded to process the pile of email I sort through every morning.
The next day, my boss came up to me while I was on the phone, tapped me on the shoulder, and laid down the email with a six-digit number circled in highlighter. He looked at me and said "check your email, man, that's you!" Turns out they only listed names for the 2nd-6th place winners. For the grand prize winner, they only listed the number and instructed the ticket holder to call and claim the prize - but the winner had to still have the ticket in his possession! So I went racing down to the truck thinking, "I don't remember throwing it away, but I don't remember more than leaving it in the truck either." Yep, there it was in the center console - the winning ticket. That little piece of paper in my hands got me the grand prize - a brand-new 2004 Polaris ATV.
Leah and I picked it up yesterday and brought it home with us. Of course, the next thing I had to do was to call up a friend with an ATV and go tear up the trails! We took our rigs up to Eklutna Lake and proceeded to put 30 miles on the thing. I think it's gonna be a keeper! With the motorcycle, my workbench, storage shelves, and an ATV in the garage, the car barely fits. Sad, ain't it?
As you can see, it's been quite a week for me. Leah's been taking in all the drama and excitement too. So we're doing alright. We'll let everybody know which promotion I finally get.
Love you all,
Michael and Leah
Hope all is well. Michael and I are doing great. I've just been working, reading some books, and I just finished cutting all the fabric for a new quilt that I plan to hang in our entry way. It's very Alaskany with bears, moose, cabins, plaids, and paw prints. Michael's been playing with his new toy and he got his promotion to Tech 2 so we are really excited about that! Tonight we are going to a Halloween party. The theme is something French...so I am going as the Statue of Liberty and Michael is going as Pepe Le Pew! And then tomorrow, a number of people are meeting up downtown at one of the parks for a "Smash'em, Crash'em Tackle Football" game. And with the 5 inches of snow that fell last night...and probably more on the way today....it should make for a very interesting event....hopefully none of the boys will end up in the ER, but I'm sure there will be some casualties...!
They're finally making progress on the two houses on either side of us....the foundation just got laid on one side and the lower level walls are on the other. I finally took the four pieces of artwork that I got at the state fair and a big map of Alaska to a frame shop to have them matted and framed. Oh, and...we finally got our 50 inch big screen TV for downstairs a number of weeks ago (it's like our own personal movie theatre!). So after I get my pictures from the framers....the downstairs room will be all finished....just in time to have everyone over for Thanksgiving. We're having a number of people over for dinner and, of course, football. Our friend, Paul, who is a major football fanatic told me that football started at 8:30 in the morning...so I told him I would expect him at 8:15! I'm thinking we'll probably have about 15 people or so at the house. Wish me luck....
Well, I suppose that's it for now!! Talk to you soon!
Leah and Michael
Hope all is well. Michael and I are doing fabulous! We just celebrated our four year wedding anniversary and had a wonderful time. I came home to two dozen red roses and we went out for a romantic dinner at the Glacier Brewhouse Restaurant. Even after all this time my friends say we still act like newlyweds....! :)
Well, I just finished my Alaskan quilt pic 1...it turned out really cute...and it's finished just in time for Thanksgiving. We're having about 14 people for dinner but more are trickling in here and there throughout the day to watch some football and we'll probably end up having game night....
Work is going well for both of us....not much new is going on. A few weeks ago we were getting snowed upon almost every day but we haven't gotten any snow for a little while now and it's starting to melt away. It's pretty much dark around 4:30-5:00 at night and the sun doesn't rise until about 9 or 10 in the morning....so basically if I want to see the sun I have to go stick my head outside the hospital to catch a glimpse of it....
People are getting their cross-country skiis out and snow mobiles....let the fun begin!!! We're going to take the ATV out and play in the snow sometime too....I think one of the guys is going to bring his ATV over on Thanksgiving so the boys can go play between football games....
Last weekend I went to scrapbooking camp again with some of the gals from work. We had a total blast and I got about 40 pages scrapbooked. We all pretty much lived in fear the whole weekend wondering if we were going to get snow dumped on us in the shower, find something in out sleeping bags...or whatever....! Sure is fun not acting your age sometimes....hee hee hee! I'm actually all caught up on our chronological scrapbook..except for the pictures when Michael's family came up and my kayaking pictures. After Thanksgiving I should be able to plow through those and then work on Noelle's scrapbook and Michael's family scrapbook. I've been knitting some scarves lately, too....and still reading books....
Well, guess that's about it for now...talk to you all soon!
Love ya lots!
Leah and Michael
Hope all is well. Michael and I are doing pretty good...but I just wanted to tell you all some good news and some not so good news.
Well, our Thanksgiving (pic 1) (pic 2) (pic 3) went really well. My turkey came out just fabulous as did everything else (there was sooo much food!). We had 15 people over all together and had a great time...it was definitely a full house. As planned, some showed up at 8:30 in the morning to start watching football. And one of the best things that happened is that after dinner, some of the gals kicked me out of the kitchen and washed all my dishes and cleaned it up. Then we ended up playing Trivial Pursuit till late at night.
Oh, and we just got about 10 inches of snow a few days ago....they even closed school for the day....which is really rare for up here.
Michael has picked up a "truckload" of new responsibilities at work....it's a bit overwhelming at first, but he's getting the hang of it. He working a lot more overtime. He says the pay that comes with these new responsibilities better not be too far behind. :)
OK....so for the not so good news...
Well, Michael and I were getting all of our ducks in a row to start planning on having a baby...and we (I) hit a major roadblock. Well, most of you know that when I was 15 years old I had back surgery for some shattered vertebrae. Well, I wanted to have some x-rays of my back done just to make sure everything was ok and to also give the x-rays to an anesthiologist for epidural use during labor. So, I saw a doc, got some x-rays....and they didn't look so good. My doc sent them to be read by a radiologist and his report basically said that my original bone graft is dissolved, spine is significantly unstable, and the crack in my back shifts 4mm where it's not supposed to. So, the next step was to visit with a spine surgeon, which I did today. He verified everything the other two docs did and now I am scheduled for back surgery on January 5th. Oh joy. The surgery is going to be more extensive than the first one...he's going to do another bone graft as well as put in some hardware in to stabilize it more. I'll be out of work for about 6 weeks or so during my recovery period. They said this should not stop me from having a baby....it's just going to postpone it for a while. He said if everything goes well post surgery, then we can start trying about a year or so after surgery to have a baby. And, I'm kind of working on a shortened timeline to have the surgery done. I needed to have the surgery done after the 1st of the year for insurance reasons but also because Michael is leaving on reserves duty in the middle of February for two months. So, he'll be around for the first six weeks or so to babysit me until I'm ok. We also have a lot of really great friends and neighbors that can help me if need be. So, I'll keep you all posted on any new developments. Bummer, huh? Hate going under the knife again....
Well, to leave you all on a happier note....ummmm.....the cats are doing good and are content...like they've been their entire life. So, guess that's about it for now! Talk to you all soon!
Love ya lots!
Leah and Michael
Hope all is well...just busy with work and going to a number of doctor appointments. I had an MRI last night of my spine....good thing I'm not claustrophobic! Nothing like being put in a tube, getting dye injected into you, and not being able to move for an hour! But, everything went ok....then I took the MRI scans to my surgeon today. And...here's the plan. He's going to put in four bolts (and when I say bolts...I mean BOLTS!!! Something that looks like it should be on some kind of car engine rather than in someone's body!!!...holy cow....I just about hit the floor when he showed me what they look like!) These bolts are going to be connected to each other with rods on either side. Then he is going to remove the disc in-between my lumbar 4 and 5 vertebrae because it's now diseased and then replace that with a bone graft and put a bone graft in some other part, too. I don't think I can go on....I'm getting nauseated. I'll be in the hospital for 4-5 days....oh joy...guess I'm going to have to stock up with books to read from Barnes and Noble since I'll be flat on my back for the next six weeks after that.... So, let's see, what's next...I'm scheduled for a physical, bloodwork, EKG, and chest X-ray....which I'm sure will all be a hoot...!
Mike is doing good...not much else going on. I'll keep you posted!!!
Love you all!
Leah and Michael
Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas. Michael and I sure did! Michael worked on the morning of Christmas for about 4 hours and then came home. I slept in...when does that ever happen on Christmas??? Then we celebrated....Michael got ramps for his truck to drive the ATV up on, clothes, a bathroom shower CD player, and whatnot. I got clothes, books, scrapbooking stuff, music CDs, and bath & body stuff....among other things. Then we visited some neighbors and then we took off to my friend Casey's house to eat and watch movies.
Well, let's see...my next doctors appt is this coming Tues....it's just a physical exam. I'm actually looking forward to having surgery....if it can make my pain go away, all the better. I'm kind of a human barometer....I can always tell when it's going to snow here...and, seeing how I live in Alaska, and it's winter....yeah, well, you know.....
So what else...my friend Wendy is donating one of her kidneys to a friend of her mothers. She's an exact match so she'll be having surgery probably in February or so after she gets all the red tape stuff taken care of. I started taking some donations from people in the pharmacy to buy fabric and whatnot to make her a quilt that she can snuggle up in during her recovery period...and to show her that we all love and support her...but, I'm having some trouble finding the flannel fabric that I think will be just right. Alaska doesn't have a huge selection to choose from. Do any of the quilters out there have any experience with buying fabric on line????
A number of weeks ago, there was a marine killed over is Faluja....this marine was the oldest son of Dr. Coopes, who is the pediatric intensivist up in the pediatric ICU. He just got married this past summer, too. So, it's been a really sad time up on the third floor lately....
We're in the process of gaining daylight now....it's something like 6 seconds a day or something hokey like that. It's still basically dark except between ~10am and 4pm....and the sun just pretty much stays on the horizon....
Well, I suppose that's it for now.
Talk to you all later!