Ben, Pella, Caz and I headed to the white mountains for a great ski today. It is was 26 below this morning (again, crazy weeks long 20+ below cold spell) and so we tried to get up higher and above of the inversion. Our plan worked and it was 15 above and really windy! This is near the top of Whickersham Dome, Pella and Caz taking a break from running around like crazy.

Here is Caz and Pella getting the pre ski lecture from Ben, don't go by the sled dogs getting ready to mush, don't sit on the back of my skis (pella) and try to get a free ride ect....
This is the veiw north toward the brooks range getting that extra bit of sun before it's gone. There is not a ton of snow, but the trails are packed down to get a good long ski in.

Fairbanks in the winter even under less than ideal conditions is great, but not everyone thinks so.....This new book the worst places to live in America, has Fairbanks on the list!

It starts out:

"Take the worst place you have ever been and subtract the sun, then you have Fairbanks, AK."

The two pages goes on to say how it is 20 below and dark all winter, the only thing to do is dog sled race, drink and shoot people......it was pretty funny and most locals think it will just keep anyone else from moving here and they prefer it that way, the wilderness and cold all to ourselves!


Thanksgiving Alaska Style

Heike, Julie, Stac and Tawna

We had a great Thanksgiving dinner at Simon's and the whole gang was there. Julie brought Caribou that she and Alex shot with a bow yesterday, now that is fresh meat. Simon stoked the wood stove fire to heat the sweet cabin that he built(and he is still finishing..he started in 1985) and tried to get the frozen pipes to work, but they did not. We had fresh cranberries, green chili, ham and some fabulous homemade deserts from Martin to name a few great dishes. and then of course...the sauna. Simon's house is in the hills and it was only 5 below, when we drove home tonight it was 30 below in town, really strong inversion. Well it was a great night with lots of friends, food and laughs...

Here is Julie bringing out the Caribou she butchered earlier in the

We didn't have a table so we grabbed Julie's
saw horses and Stac brought a sheet of plywood.
Tim and Martin are setting up for the feast.

Here is one of Martins desert cakes, this was rasberry cheesecake, chocolate, and vanilla cheesechake topping..ummmmmmm.

Simon had to spend some time in the back room trying to get the
water pump to work.

Heike taking a break from the sauna

Ben looks a little shocked at my
mid dinner smooch! Ben also made the
kapusta (can't spell that polish word, sorry
babcia!) and it was a big hit.


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with the sun so low in the horizon during the day the alaska range is back lit and the view is awesome from the chemistry building on campus. high of -20 today....


weekend at 20 below

it was a cold weekend here in fairbanks, but we still headed for a hike and some early christmas shopping.
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Cool sun dogs out today. Definition below:
"Sun dogs form when ice crystals act as a prism, according to the excellent text Meteorology Today. Ice crystals sometimes take on flat, hexagonal shapes, looking like microscopic stop signs.

The six-sided, platelike ice crystals sometimes fall with their flat surfaces parallel to the earth. Sundogs become visible if the crystals fall when the sun is low on the horizon (not an unusual phenomenon in the Alaska winter) and both the viewer and ice crystals are on the same horizontal plane as the sun." -Ned Rozell

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walking with pella on the slough as veiwed from inside my warm furlined hood on my jacket.



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Laura and Bill taking snow samples in Barrow on the arctic ocean, Tom on polar bear watch...i have some cool pictures of our research group here in the simpson lab for the new website Greg is designing for us. i am helping with content, updates and pictures.

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here is another one of polar bear tracks, you always have to have someone on bear watch while you are snow sampling.

crazy week with ben gone in anchorage and beaver sports girls night. i was able to model for beaver sports with some other friends for girls night and the whole outfit we got at cost for helping out. it was a sweet deal.


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wind chills to -50 below tonight and tomorrow! we will see. this is pella's i don't feel good look, or she doesn't like the cold look. either way she really likes sleeping in her bed all day during this cold spell.


Dea and I booked our flights this weekend to go back to the midwest for Christmas. we're anxious to go home, but it's going to be a crazy trip, with a lot of time in the car and at dialysis.

We got our latest results from Mayo last week, and I am a suitable donor- not a perfect match, but a match none the less. We are scheduled for three days of testing at Mayo the week between Christmas and New Years. Dea's in the process now of finding Dialysis centers in Chicago for our trip, including Christams and New Years day.

We'll be doing a big triangular shaped tour of the upper midwest- Chicago, Rochester Minn, and LeClaire. We're anxious to see family, the new babies, and our old stompin' grounds in general. It's been a long time since we've been home- too long.

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Dea's happy to be going 'outside' for Christmas.


Balshi's Birthday

After a good UAF Museum of North talk from conservationist photographer Robert Glen Ketchum, we headed to the pump house to meet everyone for Balshi's Birthday. We did not know it was karaoke.....
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Here is Stacia, Julie and Kumi singing....rock me all night long...

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Kumi partaking in Balshi's birthday cigar.
I even got Ben to sing a solo, but he refused to let me post a picture of him singing every breath you take by the Police..Balshi and Martin wowed the crowd with Meatloaf's dashboard light song, too bad the camera battery died by then.


our first night at -20F for the this year. the car started right up after being plugged in and it had warmed to -17F so far today. Ben and I tried skiing last night at Creamer's field, but the cold made the glide pretty tough. the sun is dissappearing so fast these days, but the sunrise/sunset look for a few hours is pretty cool. maybe i will get a pic today. dea


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I think it was around 5 below this morning and Ben and I went skate skiing. Smith lake was great, no one was there (except moose and moose tracks) and we snuck Pella on too.

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Ben soaking up the sun
Balshi had a great dinner party last night, his brother makes olive oil in spain and it is sooo good that it was in this month's wine spectator! Now we all have a friend in the olive oil business, his name is Balshi and his brother lives in Fairbanks, AK.
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This is Balshi dancing with Stacia after the wine, champange and scotch...it was a fun night with good food and friends.

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Martin testing the infamous olive oil, properly with a plastic spoon.


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These cold clear nights (not that cold only -10F)are great for viewing aurora. We are on campus for the picture going to see Warren Miller's "off the grid", not that popular here and only 7bucks. The northern lights probably looked spectacular away from the lights of the student rec center....but cool none the less. (you can also see the combustion process here, a source of NOx pollution oxidizing to form N2O5 that reacts on the aerosol surfaces to form HNO3,nitric acid...PhD stuff, pretty exciting huh?)

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stacia, julie and balshi, stacia is back from her three week, denver, durango, moab mountain biking trip....


amazingly efficient

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20minutes after surgery we are at Dark Horse Coffee in Anchorage, having an excellent mocha. The drugs have not worn off yet and I am becoming very efficient at this surgery thing. Dr. Jon, Nurse Jon and surgery assitant Jon were all in the operating room. Since I was somewhat awake durinig the pulling and replacing of the tubes, I gave them all nick names. I seemed to be amusing, but in a few hours I am sure I will think, What was I saying?....we are headed back to Fairbanks in an hour or so, the most icy the roads have ever been. Ben has to do all the driving so he is loading up on coffee. Dialysis tomorrow morning and back to what we consider normal life in Fairbanks. Pella is on vacation again at Julie's and am sure she probably won't even want to come home.

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At crafty alaska girls night the other day, Audrey's friend Chrissy made home lip balm for everyone...how cool is that? I am lacking in my the alaska craft, make everything yourself department. The house she was sitting for traps animals and makes baby booties out of the fur. I don't think I will ever get that sophisticated, but I have made some breads with blueberrys and cranberries....man can I bable in this state. I will blog more later instead.


back to Anchorage..

every good stretch for dea seems to be punctuated with something bad lately. she was able to get out on the tele skis this past weekend, gave a wonderful public presentation on her phd material yesterday, had a good night out with 'the girls' last night...and today we are heading back to the hospital in Anchorage.

her subclavian catheter, which is used for her dialysis, is infected. it needs to be removed and another 'installed'. she's not looking forward to it, but she's tough.

we'll be back in Fairbanks on Friday. thanks to Martin for letting us crash with him tonight. off the the big city...