Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Playing the Waiting Game

We are supposed to leave today. As you know, I've been a little paranoid about getting out since we've had some weather issues, planes cancelled, and people backed up on standby the last several days. Our 8 PM flight was changed to 7:30 and it's the last flight of the day. That always concerns me because if it does not get out, we are stuck till tomorrow, which messes up the rest of our flights. So we decided we'd go to the airport at 10 AM, when the counter opens, and get on standby for the first flight out at 1 PM.

We were first in line for standby, left our info, and went to run some errands after being told to be back at 12:30. Returning as instructed, we waited awhile and then were told the plane was full and no standby passengers would be accommodated. The list rolled over to the next flight and we were told to come back at 4. Meanwhile, it's getting cloudier and windier. Ugh. So here we sit, waiting to see what happens next.

The good news is that we have a couple of opportunities to get out, including our still confirmed flight later this evening. I don't really care what time we go, as long as we go!! Send up good vibes for us.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Come on, Vacation!

It's getting to be that beautiful time of year in Unalaska, the very short and fleeting summer. We often say that we really should not leave the island in the summer time. The flowers are blooming, the hills become emerald green, the temperatures are warm-ish, and we can get out and explore. It's better to be gone in the winter when it's cold and dreary and we can warm up somewhere else!

But the Jersey shore beckons us, along with the promise of a week with the girls, guys, and grandkids--who could pass that up? I couldn't be more excited to see them and all the rest of my family next week!

Yesterday Rich and I went to a garage sale and picked up a few things we couldn't live without. Then I finally went in for a haircut and got my eyebrows waxed. I do this maybe twice a year. I am not exactly a cover girl and it's become worse since I moved to casual Alaska. I love a place where many (if not most) women don't wear makeup and do not go overboard with their hair and nails and clothes. I fit right in. :)

Later Rich went out to take photos so I grabbed these to post. Unalaska grows some of the loveliest and most unusual flowers which seem to bloom in waves, different varieties following each other so there are always several kinds bursting forth as others give way. We love the purple orchids and the lupine (cousin to the Texas bluebonnet!) which are a few of those showing their colors right now.

I couldn't resist pulling out my suitcase and packing most of my stuff last night. I am very antsy to go. I'm happy my summer clothes are fitting better than they have in years (final pre-vacation weight loss: 14.5 pounds...not really where I wanted to be, but better than I was! The first 10 were fairly easy compared to the last 4.5!)

Now I am obsessing about our flight out of here on Wednesday. We've had a bunch of cancellations due to weather and people have been stacked up on standby. Our flight is not till 8 PM, which means if we have trouble getting out at that hour, we'll have to wait till the next day, which will mess up our connections. So we are thinking of going down to Pen Air to see if we can get on standby for an earlier flight. I have no idea if any seats will be available! Send up good vibes for us!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Evacuation video

Rich videotaped some of the people heading up the hill behind our house. We are not sure why there's a purple tint...maybe there were some sort of weird earthquake/tsunami particles in the air.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Little Excitement

Somehow Rich and I both managed to snooze through a 7.4 earthquake that happened about 80 miles away. He in his recliner and I on the couch...both of us had been reading and dropped off to sleep. I woke up and got on Facebook only to see lots of chatter about an earthquake.
I looked online and sure enough, it had happened about 15 minutes earlier. Can't believe we didn't feel a thing. Next thing ya know, Rich called me over to the door to see our parking lot and our yard filling up with people. We'd heard sirens but did not realize we were under a tsunami warning! Since we live in UniSea housing, many of the employees had been evacuated to the hills behind our house.

Here's our parking area. We asked our upstairs neighbor if she'd felt the earthquake and she said it was pretty strong. How could we have not noticed?!
We kept an eye out but didn't feel a need to climb the hill. We are on high ground as it is and figured we'd be safe. I did put my shoes on, just in case. :) Rich and I both took photos and he also got some video which I will try to upload.

These guys were waiting it out in our front yard. Guess they were not too keen to make the big climb, either.

The water looked calm from here.

Everyone hung out for about an hour and then the warning was cancelled. Whew! Just another little Aleutian adventure!

"What is going on and why are all these people surrounding our house?!!"

I don't know if I was in denial or what, but I really was not worried. Of course, if I'd seen the water start to rise and rush toward land, I would have been hauling butt up the hill. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Rich!

Happy Birthday to my hubby, who makes every day fun and is always on my side no matter what. Thanks for a wonderful life, Rich! And I hope you have a fabulous day--vacation is coming next week and we will celebrate without our stinkin' diet! :)

I'm not the most tech savvy person around but decided to scan and upload a bunch of Rich's old photos for his birthday present. I was working in Picasa and saw that there was an option to make a little movie. This was all fine and good and then I noticed that I could add music, so set about choosing a couple of songs that he likes. The first glitch came when I realized that I could only add one song. Okay, that will work, no problem. Then I added captions to the photos and the second glitch came when the captions started scrolling across people's faces. Ugh. There did not seem to be a fix to that problem. I noticed that I could just make a "slideshow" instead of a "movie" and it would include captions and music. Should I say that I started this project a month ago and was so proud of myself that I was going to be finished early?! Needless to say, I was still trying to perfect it last night.

I am still not happy with the end result...the movie (with music but no captions) I could supposedly upload to YouTube so you could all see it...but, of course, our slow internet will not allow it. I left it loading last night and it had an error message this morning. The slideshow (with music AND captions) can only be seen on our computer. It could be exported to Picasa web albums, which I did, but the music doesn't go with it.


But if you want to see the slideshow (with captions, no music--please sing "Mr. Tambourine Man" by Bob Dylan while you are watching)--click here. You'll have to tell it to start up as a slideshow; otherwise it just looks like a photo album. :)

Happy birthday, Rich! You're the best!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Horses, Birthdays, Bob Dylan and Emery

Here are a few more photos from the day we saw the horses, since I have no new pictures to post.

I walked to work and back one sunny day last week, but forgot to take my camera. It was beautiful on the way to the office and pretty chilly on the way home but I was happy to be out in the fresh air bopping along to my ipod. I figured it might also help me get past this weight loss plateau I have hit. I enjoyed it so much that I planned to do it again the next day with camera in hand but, alas, it was rainy and cold and I was wimpy. I have adapted pretty well to Alaska (compare photos of me in a big ole heavy jacket the first year to photos of me in a hoodie nowadays--same temp!) but I am still not crazy about walking very far in the cold and rain. Definitely not the Alaska gal that some of my friends are. I admire them but don't really want to change my ways.

I had a happy birthday today, though it is hard for me to believe that I am actually 57 years old. Where did the time go?! I know some don't put much stock in birthdays but I always like making a big deal out of them. It doesn't have to be fancy but I guess I like a little bit of attention on my day. haha Rich started out the morning with a sweet card, I loved having phone calls from my girls, Aidan, my mom and Rich's sister, emails from friends, and lots of Facebook posts sending wishes. My friend Donna took me to lunch and I cheated on my diet without too much remorse. *But please note, no cake or ice cream. I am waiting till vacation and then I will indulge a little.* I ordered a new bathing suit and I haven't tried it on yet--if it doesn't fit, I am gonna be annoyed. As mentioned previously, we have tickets to see U2 in Philly and we are considering that and our vacation our birthday presents (Rich is next, on the 21st).

Working at a radio/TV station has its perks, too. I was given my own little radio bday shout-out and Daniel played many of my favorite tunes. Nothing like small island life to make you feel really special! Our evening fun was a trip to the grocery store to do our Senior Discount Monday shopping. :)

I spent part of the weekend downloading a bunch of Bob Dylan tunes. And when I say part of the weekend, I am not kidding. Our internet is so slow that it literally takes many hours to download several songs. We were reading Rolling Stone's latest edition (or the most recent one available out here, which is probably not really the latest), listing Dylan's top 70 songs on the occasion of his 70th birthday (speaking of birthdays!) For some reason, we did not have many in our itunes library and I had completely forgotten how much I loved some of them. We've had a Bobfest at the house ever since. I rediscovered my once favorite album, Desire, and songs like One More Cup of Coffee, Isis, Sara, and Mozambique. How could I have forgotten those? It seems like a lifetime ago that I was driving around Waco, Texas with the 8-track blaring!

And here's a link to an article about the Relay for Life in Amarillo. Emery is featured. :) Have a good week, everyone.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

It Must be Spring--the Pass is Finally Open!

First off, I lied about my hubby having to work all weekend so you can ignore some of my previous whining. He went in for a couple of hours this morning and was able to take the rest of the day off. In fact, I was still half asleep when he said, "I'll be back before you're up." Yeah, right, I thought. He always gets there and ends up staying way longer than he anticipated. But I woke up a little later to the smell of coffee brewing and dragged myself out of the bed.

Oh, and he'd already finished planting most of the rest of our flowers (which I did start the other day) before I got up.

We haven't had too many days off together lately so decided to take a drive over the pass, which we'd heard had just been cleared by the roads crew. We did end up buying the little Toyota truck I mentioned awhile back so we wanted to take it up in the hills. But first, a stop off to see if we could find the wild horses, and sure enough, there they were, right on the beach.

This guy was really friendly and liked to be petted. Unfortunately, we did not plan ahead and bring any apples or carrots but they were all very busy with the grass and plants anyway.

We saw 7 horses today. I know a couple have died in the last few years and I think some are off in another group but this little herd seems to stick together.

It was pretty chilly but we took a bunch of photos (way more than these but I don't want to bore you to death) and a couple of short videos that I will see if I can post later.

Then we took off to drive up and over the pass and back into town. It's still snowy up top.

It's a beautiful sight anywhere you look. We were happy to see some little green spots popping out. I can't wait till the tundra is emerald colored and the wildflowers are everywhere!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

It's June!

Rich is working all weekend again (insert my usual whine here). This morning, I was sitting at the computer in my pjs, emailing back and forth with my friend Donna. She mentioned that she and her friend Marti were going to take a hike today if I was interested in joining them. Since I totally sabotaged my diet at Bunco last night, I thought it was probably a good idea!

We were supposed to meet at the base of Bunker Hill. The road has been closed due to construction but we heard it was opened up so I drove on over, thinking I was late, having left on short notice. I parked in the usual spot to begin the hike but no one else was there yet. Before too long, Marti drove up, but no Donna. After a few more minutes, Marti called Donna, who said, "The road is closed!" "No, Jane and I are already down here," Marti informed her. Oh, did I mention that when I drove in, I passed a sign stating "Construction area--enter at your own risk"?

Donna told Marti that a guy in a truck got onto her pretty strongly and told her she couldn't go in. She asked, "Have you seen a couple of other people pass by?" He said yes, and that he was about to "go run them off, too." So Marti loaded up her two dogs, the other dog she's dogsitting, and her daughter, I got into my car, and we backtracked outta there. Heaven forbid that we would be on anyone's *&%$# list.

We re-grouped and met at the end of the valley to hike up by some waterfalls. I don't really know what this trail is called and they just called it "the waterfalls," so I am going with it. I can tell I have not hiked in awhile. It is an easy trail but some of it had a bit of an incline, which I could definitely feel. But I kept praising myself for working off those M&Ms I had last night. haha

Here's Donna

Someone had anchored a rope at the top of this hill. There's no way I would even attempt to lower myself down but I would have loved to have seen someone else do it! Who wants to volunteer?

Flowers are starting to pop out, even at the higher elevations.

Maia, Marti, Donna and dogs

Three waterfalls--actually, there are four all in a row but I couldn't get them in one shot.

Ahhhhh, spring!

Upon return, we realized Marti had an extremely flat tire. Oh, no. She had a spare, but the back end of the vehicle won't open so we couldn't even tell if she had a jack. It was a borrowed car so unfamiliar, to boot. We called a couple of people and couldn't reach anyone. I did not EVEN want to bother Rich since they were in the middle of their biggest event of the year so I didn't volunteer to call my husband. Is that mean? We tried a couple of the local car repair places and no one could come out. Blogger Steve's wife GF and Chico came by on a walk and commiserated with us. She called Steve but he was the only one at work, though they generously offered that he could come help once she got back to work from her lunch break. We made plans for her to call us when she returned to work and see if anything else had worked out. Finally, one of the car guys called Donna back and said he could come. Whew. It's kinda hard to get a mechanic, a tow truck or Triple A out here in the middle of nowhere! When we knew the guy was on his way, I headed out and left them waiting--I know, bad friend, but there wasn't a lot I could do, right?

I stopped by the hotel to check mail and Rich and crew were busily preparing for tonight's catering event. I ran a few errands and have been working around the house. Since I didn't have time for a shower before hiking (and what would be the point?), I just filled the tub and cranked up the heater in the bathroom so I am gonna go soak.

Happy weekend, everyone!