Monday, March 30, 2009

Spoke too soon ...

Okay, yeah. We got a little bit of ash. What a letdown from the buildup, though.

Saturday evening, Logan and I were having dinner at a friend's house. She received a phone call from someone letting us know that Mt Redoubt had burped big time and there was a huge ash cloud heading our way. When we left her house, we could see teensy little flecks in the air, more like dots on the windshield, as tiny as could still be seen by the naked eye.

It was still faintly light outside, so we could see the cloud heading toward us. It was dark and a little green, too!

I went to a local bar after dropping Logan off to sing karaoke with my friends and celebrate someone's birthday. When I left that place, there was a slight film of ash dust covering the car. It didn't even obstruct my view through the windshield on my way home.

Next morning, Logan told me it was pretty much the same thing when he went out to the car to go to work. All in all, a rather disappointing show.

Still, I've gotten earfuls about how annoying ash fall is, how you can't use your windshield wipers because the ash particles will scratch up the glass, how you can't breath, how you can't wear contacts, on and on and on. So I'm glad the ash fall was almost nonexistent. Lord knows we have enough to deal with around here without ash covering everything, too!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Houston, we have a negative on that orbit trajectory...

No ash. Not even a hint. In fact, I haven't even heard any news about the volcano for at least one full day. I guess that scouring wind we get through the valley is also blowing all the volcanic activity away from us. Can't say I'm hurt or disappointed.

But now I've got a box of ten cheap knee-highs sitting on the counter. Logan had me buy them for the cars. Just in case. Guess they'll sit around 'til the next eruption in 20 years.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mt. Redoubt erupts!

Let the party begin!

Okay, no real reason for partying here. Nor is there reason to panic. However, we did just get word a little bit ago that Mt. Redoubt has indeed erupted, so poor Logan has trundled off to prepare the store for the ash fallout. (It's after midnight. We are not happy campers.) We will have to cover all the sensitive equipment, such as computers, with plastic bags before we leave at night because ash has an annoying habit of getting inside buildings where it is most unwelcome and a bitch to deal with.

But from what I've been told from people who experienced this last time (I believe it was late 1989), that's the worst that we will see. From what I've been reading, the most common suggestion is make sure you have food and water at home just in case and carry a washcloth to cover your face when you go outside.

Of course, I could read all the articles on the internet about volcanoes erupting and what to do about it, but I still have to wait and see the results for myself!

For those interested, here is the link to the volcano watch page:

Mt. Redoubt is not the only active volcano in Alaska. There are quite a few, from what I understand. One that went off in 1912 killed animals more than 1,000 miles away. (But then, I'm half asleep at the moment, so don't take any of my "facts" to heart. I can scarcely remember what day it is right now. Er, what night, I mean. Whatever.)

I'll keep you posted on what we end up seeing here in the valley. It's definitely Alaska-related information that others would be interested in, if I do say so myself.

In other unrelated news, I helped out a friend today who is doing a short movie that he plans to enter in several film festivals. I was an extra for a scene in a cafe. I spent the entire time sitting at a wobbly table playing games on my Mac, like Flipword and Pacman. The hot cocoa was good, the sandwich not so good. (To give them credit, it was the end of their day and it was the last sandwich, so not the freshest to be expected.) But it was great fun because a lot of my Spitfire Grill buddies were there, too. So it made for a nice evening.

The process on our house is going very slowly. The seller is getting a set of stairs to the loft put in. Shortly after that, the appraisal will be done. Our last day in our apartment will be April 15th. We should be completely moved in by then, though the seller may still have some stuff on the property and in the garage. (The vehicles in the yard may have to wait until the complete spring breakup as they are buried in ice and snow!)

Speaking of spring breakup, it definitely seems to be on the move. The last couple of weeks have been mostly sunny, sometimes reaching temps above freezing. The eves begin dripping, patches of ice on the parking lots get soft and mushy, snow gets blown away until you can practically see dirt in some areas.

But then it still freezes at night, so all those wet patches turn slick. Gotta watch your step and drive carefully in some spots!

And then last night it got cold again and started snowing. It didn't snow in Wasilla, but it did in Anchorage and even just down the highway in Palmer. Just enough to depress everybody. I passed a billboard out in front of a local shop that proclaimed, "It is spring, it is spring, it is!" I guess someone is very adamant about that being true. It IS spring, but the weather has yet to completely cooperate.

Well, it snowed in April last year. I can see that happening again this year quite easily.

Well, it's getting on to about 1 am now. I'll have to turn on the news tomorrow morning and see what reports there are on the Mt. Redoubt eruption. 'Night, all!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lots of new, exciting stuff!

Okay, it's been a bit since I last posted, and I don't know what I was saving it up for, but prepare for a serious unloading of news.

Deep breath.

First, I traveled by plane back to Northern California to visit family and friends for a week. As it is their rainy season and they're crying for rain (it was 70 degrees and sunny when Logan visited in January), I could hardly begrudge them the rain that we got most of the week. But it was sunny on the day I arrived and at least one other day while I was there.

The appearance of the sun is very different there. It's more golden and somehow a little harder on the eyes. Up here, it's more bleached and even with the snow, I hardly ever feel the need to wear sunglasses.

I ate Chinese food most of the week. I just haven't found any restaurants here in Alaska that match the Chinese food down there, but I'm not done looking yet. We brought Chinese food home from my parents' favorite place one night, went to a place in the new casino in town, and I took my bestest buddy to my favorite place, Debbie Wong's, in El Dorado Hills. I wasn't even able to eat it all before I left. Hope my parents enjoyed the leftovers!

I got to see my three boys, the cats I'd left behind at my parents' house. I was worried they wouldn't remember me, as it had been almost a year since my last visit. But they seemed to know me right off the bat and Gerry jumped on my back like he used to.

I even got to see the Folsom Zoo and Sanctuary, which I just never got around to doing while I lived there!

My friends gave me a stuffed moose dressed in a karate gi to celebrate my return. We ate at Olive Garden that first night, another place I had never really gotten a chance to go to while living in the area. I wasn't missing much, apparently, but it was fun anyway. We were also celebrating Tiffy's birthday.

The flights were good. The midnight flights to California were much quieter, of course, and had no one in the middle seats. I slept a bit on each one, but it's hard to sleep with your head on those little tray tables. Thank Goddess for iPods. I watched Wall-E and Firefly. On the way home, I watched 13 Going on 30 and Moulin Rouge. There were people in the center seats, but at least I had a window the whole way.

As much fun as I had, I was glad to be going back home. Logan and I had been having some problems, but we worked them out over the phone and we were very anxious to see each other.

The very day I got back, since we were in Anchorage, we decided to do some shopping. I certainly didn't expect to going back home with a new Macbook, but we did, and I am using it now as I type. We'd been hearing some good things about Macs, and I'd used them in college. We decided to give them a try. I like them a lot, but they do take getting used to if you've used PCs most of your life.

Now for the most exciting bit of news:

We got an email from Misty, the realtor helping us in our house hunting adventures. It was a link to a single house that had juts come on the market. She said she didn't know if it would be "too Alaskan" for us. (I smile whenever I think of this now.)

We went to see it a few days later. After the viewing, we talked at home for maybe 15 minutes before arranging to make an offer through Misty that evening. Instead of offering less than the asked for price of the house, we asked for certain things to remain with it, like the washer and dryer units, and we asked for $4,000 of the closing costs be covered by the seller.

We had to wait all of the next day, Friday, for an answer back. Logan went to a meeting at work and I went to help a friend search for her missing dog. Logan called me later that afternoon to tell me that Misty texted him that we got the house!

I won't write much about it now, because I plan to post some pictures later on, but we should be moved in by May 1st. It's amazing how fast and how smoothly everything has been going, as if this house were waiting for us to come share its life. The monthly payment is the same as we've been paying in rent for our apartment, and it's going to the ownership of something that suits us down to the ground. I can't believe our luck!

Oh, and my friend found her dog, too!