Monday, February 25, 2008

A feast for the eyes!

I'm running about a week and a half behind, but I got some great shots out at Spruce Cape two Fridays ago, and I've been meaning to share them. Other than the wind, and a week-long rainy interval, not much has changed weather-wise since then anyway. So, we can just pretend this was today.

Spruce Cape is one of our favorite walks. You head out on the trail through the woods, equipped with YakTrax ( - unless you're Jason today, and you prefer sliding along on the ice instead - and hike out to a point of land that juts out and generally has more wind than anywhere else on the island. Ok, maybe not that much wind, but it's usually breezy - and cold. From there, you get a view of Ft. Abercrombie and, on a clear day, a couple of the smaller islands around Kodiak. You also get to see one of my favorite views, which are these two giant rocks that stick out of the water, looking a little like a gate to Kodiak. I always wonder how they ended up there. Anyway, I almost always bring my camera out to Spruce, because I'm determined to get the best "wave crashing against a rock, throwing spray everywhere" picture that I can get. So far, I haven't had that much luck, but I have fun trying. On this particular Friday, though, it wasn't that much fun to try. It was cold. Really, really cold. And windy. But, it was still pretty! So here ya go... your feast!
Anyone want some snow? I think I know where you can find some.....

This second pic just looks cold, doesn't it? Those are the two rocks that make the gate I was talking about. I just love this spot and this view!

And this guy just happened by while I already had the camera ready. He really cooperated by flying right over my head, not too far away. This shot is with my regular lens, probably zoomed to about 70mm or so. He was joined by a friend shortly after I snapped this shot, but because of the light behind them when I shot over my head, they just looked like two big birds in the picture. Oh well, I think this one suffices!

Someone, I think, decided he didn't need the liner in his coat. I was NOT this cold. I dress for the weather - heavy coats, mittens, YakTrax... I even had a hat in my pocket that day. I didn't wear it, though - didn't want to mess up my hair!

And, finally, since we were out and about, we ran down to the two auto supply stores downtown to look for sparkplugs for the truck. While Jason was inside, I ran across the street to get a harbor shot. I wanted to get a shot of an eagle on a fishing boat, but they weren't cooperating, so I had to just settle for the fishing boat(s).

Hope you enjoyed the view. It should be illegal to live in a place so gorgeous!! The view of the mountains and harbor as we came over the hill into town on the way to church yesterday literally made me catch my breath. It's just so pretty, even in the middle of the winter, following a week of rain. What's not to like about that!

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Surprise, a Shower, Some Snow, Lobstahs and Wii...

Anyone wondering what all those things in the title have in common?? That would be our two week trip to the east coast in a nutshell!

This post falls under the "better late than never" category. I actually have some new, neat Kodiak stuff to post, but I'm going to go back to the vacation instead, because, well, I want to post some stuff from that, too. So you'll have to wait a little while longer (ie, as long as it takes me to work up the energy to post again) for the latest Kodiak news, but let's take a trip back in time!

I would've shared more information about our vacation during the last two weeks of January before we actually left, but I couldn't. Although almost everyone knew we were coming, one very special person had no idea! We decided to leave Jason's mom out of the loop, in order to surprise her! I can't even begin to describe her reaction when she opened the door just after dinnertime, expecting the neighbor, only to see Jason standing there! PRICELESS!! Of course, then we had to shake her and get her to breathe, but eventually she took a breath and we had a great time laughing about the whole thing. Little did she know that she'd be put through the whole thing again a few hours later when Josh (Jason's brother) came in. Maryanne, please forgive me for this, but it's too good not to share. This is my poor mother-in-law when Josh walked through the door:
If you look closely, you'll see that Josh is grinning. I'd say smiling, but I think grinning is more appropriate! I was so glad that I got this picture because I didn't get a good one when we got there. I'm not kidding - this was the exact same reaction from earlier in the night. Once she stopped crying, she was pretty happy to see us all. Project Surprise was a success! Sorry about the smack you got, Jim!!

So, from the surprise, we move onto the shower. The day after getting to Scotia, we hopped in the car and headed up to Lyons, NY, where Josh's wife, Erin, was already at her parent's house, in town for her baby shower! After an overnight at Jim's mom's house (are you seeing the start of the travel pattern here??), the ladies all went to the shower and the men hung out with Josh's father-in-law, avoiding the shower at all costs. Maybe Erin will hate me for this, too, but here's a shot from the shower - we could all only be so lucky as to look like this when roughly six months pregnant!Erin's reading the note inside one of the many books she got - we all gave her books for the baby instead of cards! That little baby has quite the library already! (Special note: We've got Erin (and the baby, and Josh) in our prayers right now - Maryanne called from St. Thomas today to tell us that Erin seems to have gone into early labor. She's still about 7 weeks away from her due date, so we're a little worried right now. They're going to try to stop her labor, and then she'll probably end up on bedrest for a while. Hopefully everything goes ok!!)

From Lyons and the shower, we moved on to Oswego, NY, and Jason's dad's house - and the SNOW. On the way, because it IS upstate NY in the winter, near a Great Lake, we ended up driving through white-out conditions. A storm rolled through, dropping an official total of 34 inches of lake effect snow on Oswego in about a half a day (but at night). Besides being absolutely petrified as we crawled our way toward Oswego, the rest of our visit was really good! This is what we woke up to the first morning we were in Oswego:

To be fair, I did not wake up to this. All the snow was cleared off the car by the time I finally woke up! Jason and his Dad were both up and out the door early, though, to get dug out and cleaned up the best they could. The snow almost came up to the top of the tires on our fabulous rental car (Chevy Malibu = NOT good in the snow, by the way!), and then we got a little more later in the day. We were luckier than some of the surrounding towns, though... I think one town got something like 55 inches. That's a LOT of snow! But, unlike Kodiak, the streets were cleaned up fairly quickly and I didn't miss any shopping days!

From Oswego, we went back to Scotia for a couple more days and had a great day of shopping with Jim and Maryanne. I think Jim probably did about 4 years worth of shopping in that one day, but we ended the day at a great restaurant with a variety of beers on tap, so I think he was happy in the end!

And, finally, we wrapped up the family visiting portion of our trip with a half a week in Connecticut. This is where the lobsters and Wii come in. I swear, if I never saw Wii bowling again, I'd be a happy lady! Ryan and Gina, and Papa and Grandma also made the trek to CT while we were there, so it was a nice little mini-family reunion. Mom threw together a "little gathering" the Saturday night we were there, so we also got to see about 60 of our closest family and friends! It was HUGE crowd, but a great chance to see everyone at once! Meanwhile, when we weren't having a party, the boys (and MOM!) spent most of the time testing out the new flat screen TV in the (also newly-designated) "Wii room" at Mom and Dad's house. This was a standard view for most of the time we were there.

The only thing that changed as the week went by was WHO was in the room. Dad, Mom, Ryan, Gina, Heather, Fran, BreAnna, Uncle Fran, Nolan and Ben all got in on the action at some point in time or another. And, seriously, Ryan, we could totally see the reflection of the TV in the picture out in the hallway... you weren't fooling anyone when you'd sneak off for a while. We ALLLLLLL knew what you were doing. That goes for Jason, too.

So we saw everyone, we played Wii, we shopped, and we had some New England seafood.... lobster! My only rule for the trip was that I was NOT going to eat anything that I could get here in Kodiak. That definitely keeps the options wide open considering our limited choices here, but lobster is one thing that we don't even see on menus here. So, the first night we were in CT, we had a lobster dinner that was just lobster, salad and cheddar biscuits. And, although my lobster was yummy, I have to say, I've been converted to crab. I mean, lobster is good, and I'll still eat it when I get a chance, but it's just not the same as crab. Oh, sad... another tie cut with my New England roots! At least the lobster gave me something fun to take pictures of with my fancy macro lens, though, so it had that going for it!LOBSTAH! Do you think there's a reason they call 'em bugs?? Incidentally, this little guy got into the water a little bit after the rest, and, thus, ended up being underdone. Jason, the man who was scarred by a lobster encounter as a child and has never eaten one since, of course, got that one. Needless to say, he STILL hasn't eaten another lobster. He, too, will be sticking with crab.

From CT, we headed to Boston for a one-night mini-vacation. Not that seeing all the family wasn't a vacation, but we didn't really stop moving for almost two weeks, so we took a night for ourselves. We had a fabulous Italian dinner in the North End and went to see Blue Man Group at the Charles Playhouse. We had seen the show about 5 years ago when Jason lived in Plymouth and I came up for a visit from NC, but it still kept us laughing the whole time! We enjoyed walking around the city, and just taking in the sights! Like this one:

We then had a few hours the next day to walk back to the North End from our hotel and feast on some Mike's Pastry cannoli, and pick up a few pounds of cookies for the road! Finally, on the walk back to the hotel to pick up our car, we stopped for a nostalgic look at Dad's favorite ship... Dad, this one is for you!

We ended our trip with an extra night and day in Anchorage after getting allllll the way to Kodiak and then just turning around because we couldn't land, and then a cancelled flight the next morning while we waited for the runway to be cleaned up enough for the jet to land. Any other day, I'd probably welcome an extra day in the "Big City," including the yummy Moose's Tooth pizza we got to have for lunch. But, after 2 weeks away, we were just ready to get home! We finally made it in on Saturday night (instead of Friday), picked up the dog, and then had two of our neighbors offer us food for dinner since we didn't have anything. Having neighbors like that is just one of the reasons we missed Kodiak while we were gone!
So that's our trip in a nutshell... surprise, shower, snow, lobstahs, and Wii! We had a great time, and started to miss everyone right away. The good thing is that we know when we'll see most of our immediate family again, so we have visits to look forward to... that makes it a little easier to be away. We're back into the swing of Kodiak life, though, and I'll share a little of that in a couple days. That's all for now!

Monday, February 4, 2008

We're alive...

... we made it home from our 2 week+ East Coast jaunt, but I'm pretty sure I'm still too tired to put the effort into a recap and update. Needless to say, driving all around the greater Northeast, seeing ALLLLLL of our families, shopping our feet off, and eating like fools was wonderful and tiring all at the same time! From lost luggage (for real, Jim!) to an extra night in Anchorage (who doesn't like an extra day of vacation, right?), the trip was sandwiched by crappy air travel, but it was all worth it in the end.
For now, I'll say it was fantastic to see everyone - we miss you all already! - and I'll come up with a proper post sometime in the next few days, complete with pictures and all that. I'll also say that, as nice as it was to be back "home," it's even better to be back HOME! Who knew a tiny island 5000+ miles away from all the things we love (you know, stores, restaurants, oh, and family and friends!) could become the place where we're happy, even after such a short period of time!?! But it IS home (at least for now!), and we're happy to be back!

More to follow soon... I promise!