Dec 28, 2008

Winter is moving fast this year

We had a really fun day just before Christmas in Chicago with Mike's sister Sara and her husband Allen:We took the train from Aurora IL to downtown Chicago, here's Mike in Union Station:These stairs are famous for the final scene in The Untouchables, when a baby carriage (with the baby in it) goes careening down the steps in the midst of the final shootout. It's been named one of the "Greatest Moments in Film History":The "Bean" in Millenium Park is SO COOL:
It was pretty darn chilly in Chicago too, the Chicago River reminded me of the Antarctic coastline:
A nice day of xc skiing near Skiland. We found two benches hidden behind an outcrop in the woods:
Upper Angel Creek ski trip earlier this winter:
with Kristen and Justin and Kita:
Full Moon on Ookpik Way:

Nov 1, 2008

aurora photos take I

The phone rang around 10 pm on Tuesday night, and Allison says "Aurora, outside, now." I said, "Awesome, thanks!" and ran outside with my camera. This was my first 'real' attempt at taking aurora pictures, and a few came out alright:

Oct 15, 2008

some favorite pics from the summer

Los Anchorage

- as Alec likes to call it...
Mike and I headed out of town for the first time in months last weekend. It was such a busy summer that we just haven't had/made time to leave in a while. Ken and Kristin were having a housewarming in Anchorage, and Alec left for Houston on Monday, so it was a good time to visit.
Except for the wet snow on the road. About 3 hours after leaving town, we were (ok, I was) driving through some big wet snowflakes - the kind that splat when they hit the windshield - and there was already a few inches of accumulation on the ground. I was saying something about sliding off the road, and next thing we are sliding sideways, then backwards, then down the embankment on the opposite side of the road. The spin/slide was scary, but we only took out a few willows and thankfully there wasn't any (apparent) damage to us or the car. But we couldn't get out, it was way too slick. Within 5 minutes a guy with a giant Toyota pulled over and hooked up his winch and pulled us right out! The whole thing from skid to being back on the road only took about a half hour. We saw at least 6 other cars off the road between there (Broad Pass) and Trapper Creek. We stayed at the adorable and very homey Copper Whale Inn in Anchorage. It's not too affordable in the summer, but winter rates begin Oct. 1 and there's an Alaskan resident discount. They don't advertise it, shhh. Some pretty fresh snow fell Sunday morning, here's our balcony:Hiked up Flat Top one day, which I'd never done. It was awesome! I was being a total wuss when we turned around to come down, it was so much steeper at the very top than I thought going up... Mike wasn't worried at all and completely ignored my terror. Here he is telling me to suck it up:
Views from the top:

Oct 14, 2008


Frank Rich's article "The Terrorist Barack Hussein Obama" points out some really scary facts. Did you know that there hasn’t been a single new black Republican governor, senator or House member in six years? and Palin's quote "We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity" in her convention speech is attributed to Westbrook Pegler who is famous for his anti-Semitism, racism and violent rhetoric. Is this country really still that racist?

more people showed up for the anti-Palin rally than the pro-Palin rally that was highly televised in September. Good to know we live among some non six-packers, although the polls claim Palin's approval rating in Alaska has only dropped to 65% from 85%! Yikes.

Oct 7, 2008

can this campaign season please end soon, please?

If McCain says "my friends" one more time, I'm going to have to shoot the TV!!
Toles' version of the senator is pretty funny, he looks like a bag of potatoes with a mouthguard.

Oct 1, 2008

equinox marathon, take 3

I ran the Equinox Marathon for the 3rd time and got almost the same time (33 seconds slower, 4:17) than the time I got the last time I ran it, 3 years ago, and I got 3rd place in my age group (30-34 women). 16th overall... The weather was lousy, but the run was still fun. Mike was a really great supporter on his bike (injured a tendon on the top of his foot a month ago). um, except for when he couldn't find me for 10 miles or so.

Aug 20, 2008

more wedding photos...


Thomas, Yiming's boyfriend, was our photographer and he did a great job capturing most of the people there!  We have more photos, these are just about half of the 'professional' ones.  Thomas has a great blog with more excellent photos at

Aug 18, 2008

post-monsoon mt healy hike

The clouds finally cleared and on my last day of freedom before school started up again, Amanda, Brook and I went for a hike up Mt. Healy - a beautiful, easily-accessed, view-filled hike just south of the town of Healy.  Mike and I have done this hike in the fall, spring and summer, and the difficulty varies with the wind speed...  This time there was NO wind, few clouds, cool folds, screeching marmots and cute pikas, and major sunshine. 

Aug 11, 2008

Our fun summer wedding

Well, this summer I've switched careers (again) and Mike and I got married, so it's been a busy and awesome summer.  Hence the blog hiatus (again).  We haven't gotten photos back from the wedding yet, but our friend Lindsay got good shots of the bride and groom, separately:

Lots of friends and family helped out to make it a successful wedding - gorgeous flowers by Mike's mom and thanks to Gretchen at Pearl Creek Farms, delicious Russian food by Lena's mom, a pretty cake by Lindsay, salmon caught by Bernie and grilled by Mike C., loads of kitchen help by Mike's sisters Sarah and Jenny, drinks by Allen, decorations by Aly, Steph, Chrissy and Julia, hair by Chrissy, makeup by Ash, suit by Hugo Boss, and dress by Wai-Ching.   Just about everyone who came to the wedding pitched in and did something to bring it all together... so many people made it really wonderful!!

It was probably really lucky that the Two Rivers triathlon was moved to the Angel Rocks trail the night before the wedding (the final straw that made us change the location) because the 30-year record rain made for a super mucky hike and fireweed was barely out this August.  The Cloudberry was a perfectly cozy and beautiful location for the ceremony on a rainy and cold 'summer' day.   

May 28, 2008

chena half-dome

Well, we set out on our first hike of the season, the 30-mile Chena Dome trail which touts amazing views of lots of mountains (including the Alaska Range).  We had a relatively clear day when we started out, and some nice lighting.
However, we didn't make the whole loop.  
mistake #1 - beginning our hike at 4:30 pm.  mistake #2 - Mike's LaSportiva boots that still cause blisters after a year.   both of which led to mistake #3 - camping at mile 5 where there's no water and melting snow which used up all of our fuel on the first night.
here's me watching the sun 'set' instead of watching the snow not melt into water as the fuel can goes empty.
running out of fuel made our decision to turn back on account of Mike's blisters even easier.  So we stashed some stuff at our campsite the next morning and set out for a day hike toward Chena Dome.   we ran into some hikers later in the day who saw our stash and wondered "who took us".  
Chena Dome is the flat-topped one in the background, tiny Mike in the foreground:  

The steep 900-foot climb at Mile 8 or so is a good workout.
We stopped for a while at the site of a 1950s military airplane crash.  It's a big wreck, but it's amazing how bright and intact some of the parts still are.
The propellor is about 100 feet from the main body of the plane.