How I Started Chasing the Lights

•January 14, 2016 • Leave a Comment

IMG_6225copyrightHaving moved to Alaska from the lower 48, I never thought I’d imagine hearing myself say that I love Alaskan winters.  When I lived in the lower 48, I was sure I’d freeze to death with then temperatures dropped below 60 degrees.  I hadn’t done any research on Alaska prior to moving here–it was more of a whim.  Other than movies, I was pretty much unaware what an Alaskan winter would be like.  And besides, movies usually exaggerated things anyway, right?

When my first Alaskan winter began and the weather forecaster predicted lows at subzero temperatures, the first thought that went through my mind was that I must have been off my rocker to choose to live here.  Who in their right mind would go out in temperatures of -10 or even colder?  Surely, I won’t survive this without hibernating inside my apartment!

One night, my sister and I were out walking the dogs.  It was going to be the final walk before bed.  She casually commented, “Oh, look, the northern lights are out.”  I hadn’t yet seen them and didn’t know what she was looking at when I turned skyward.  All I saw were yellowish looking clouds when she pointed them out to me and explained that you can see them better where it’s dark.  That’s when I looked at her and said, “Wanna go for a ride?”

At first, she wasn’t very enthused.  She noted how late it was.  I countered with, “I’ll drive.”  Then she said something about it being cold.  Again, I had an answer for that too.  “I have a sleeping bag we can bring to put around us.”  She finally gave in and we hurriedly took the dogs to our apartments, grabbed coats, gloves, and the sleeping bag and jumped in the truck.

That night we drove out to the Eagle River nature center.  It also happened to be one of those nights where the aurora would blossom and put on the most beautiful display of lights I have ever seen.  We leaned back against the truck and looked toward the stars.  It was a clear, cold night.  I can’t remember if it was 6 degrees or -6 degrees; I just remember that it was cold but so worth it.

We happened to be right under the corona.  The corona basically looks like a black hole out of which the lights  seem to swirl.  They were white, turquoise, burgundy, yellow, light green.  I had never seen anything like it in my entire life…..and had never seen anything that could even come close to being so beautiful.  I remember the feeling of excitement and privilege to be witnessing something so amazingly beautiful that it just left you speechless.

I don’t know how long we huddled together, wrapped in that sleeping bag.  I just remember how all we could say was “ooooo” or “look over there!” or “wow, this is amazing!”  I didn’t realize at the time how fortunate I was to witness that particular display.  Typically, the displays we see are greens and yellows and whites. The pinks, burgundies, purples, turquoise…those aren’t as common.

I have been here 15 years now.  I have since picked up the hobby (or in my case obsession) of photography.  It’s not uncommon for me to run out in the middle of the night to try to capture the lights.  I won’t typically do it on a work night because I have to be up so early.  But, in the rare instances where we have a tremendous geomagnetic storm, I’ll arrange to take the next morning off if at all possible.  IMG_6330copyright

Sometimes my trips are a disappointment when clouds and weather don’t cooperate; however, just to see the beauty of winter at night also brings me a sense of pleasure.  On those nights where I manage to get a good shot or two, I’m ecstatic.  Those are the nights I live for.  Those are the nights I love to share with friends and loved ones through my photography.

 

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Ravaged

•January 9, 2016 • Leave a Comment

This was my first week back to work from my staycation, the type of vacation where you just stay home.  (I spent my staycation working on my new apartment-painting, putting things in their places, organizing, etc. )  My office is in a basement and is oftentimes just a touch too cold for me.  This week, however, I couldn’t get warm to save my life.  I could have hugged my space heater all day and don’t think that would have helped.  I was also so very tired, exhausted.  I couldn’t figure out why I was so exhausted.  I was getting plenty of sleep.

Fridays are what I call my “solo” days.  I work alone.  The day dragged by so slowly.  It was all I could do to finish my work.  Again, I was freezing cold and could have easily put my head down on my desk and passed out cold.  I couldn’t wait to go home and go to sleep.  This is so unlike me.

When I woke up this morning, I realized what was wrong with me.  I managed to catch something my very first day back to work.  My throat was on fire and I could barely swallow.  I tried to ask my dog if he were ready to go outside and when I spoke, all that escaped my mouth was a barely audible, pitiful sounding squeak.  I had lost my voice.  Whatever I caught had also settled in my chest-great, an upper respiratory infection is trying to take hold.

I took the dog out; and even though I could feel a difference in the air and knew it wasn’t as cold as it has been, I was freezing to death.  We came back inside and I took a couple of Dayquil capsules, thinking that might help get me going at such an early hour.  It didn’t.  I surrendered to my warm bed and slipped into that illness-encouraging unconsciousness.

I awoke again at 11am.  I don’t sleep that late unless I’ve been up all night chasing the lights, usually getting home around 5am.  I thought I’d read a bit because there was no motivation to do much of anything.  Reading didn’t last long either.  My body hurt from lying in bed too long so I decided to get up and try to take it easy with a nice hot cup of tea and honey which did nothing to quench my thirst.

I have been sucking down water as if I’ve never had a drop.  Apparently my body needs it because I can’t seem to get enough.  I forced myself to eat a little as I have no appetite.  My voice has somewhat returned, albeit scratchy and weak.  My skin hurts as if someone did a quick rubdown with sandpaper.

Trying to take it easy, I sit down to watch football.  I’m not one to sit still for long and this is beginning to drive me crazy.  I need to vacuum, do dishes and laundry, hang pictures, finish painting a room, and so on.  Whether I feel good or not, I know I’m going to end up giving in and doing some of what needs to be done.  I’m bored out of my mind and tired of sitting on my couch (although, I do love that my dog knows I don’t feel good and cuddles up to me).

The game is almost over.  Well, actually it IS over.  They just need to finish out the clock.  Let’s see how long it takes before I’m doing something around here.  I obviously don’t handle being sick very well.  Whatever this bug is, I want to smash it just as I would a six-legged intruder.  I just want it to go the hell away!

Funny thing happened….

•January 4, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Am I the only person in this age of technology who cleans out the contact list on my phone or my friends list on social media?  Seriously, if there has never been much of a relationship (whether it was friendship, romantic, acquaintance, or whatever), why keep that person in your lists?  It’s not that I think people are disposable or anything like that.  I tend to keep those with whom I am in constant and even not-so-constant contact and clear out those with whom I have absolutely no contact.  I’ve had people I don’t know from Adam add me on Facebook.  Sometimes I’ll accept it just to figure out who the hell they are only to figure out I have no clue and delete them almost immediately.  I’m a pretty private person and don’t share well with strangers.

As far as my phone goes….I’ve had acquaintances say, “We should hang out more often.  Let’s exchange numbers.”  So we do and then they either never return a call or you won’t see them again for a year or so.  First candidates for deletion.  When you date someone ONCE and it didn’t work out for whatever reason, do you not delete that information from your phone?  Why keep the number of someone you couldn’t even make it to a second date?  Obviously, there wasn’t chemistry and, as is most often the case for me, he irritated me enough that I knew by the middle of the first date that I’d never see nor have the desire to even talk to him again. Which leads me to the whole point of this blog…..

I got a random text wishing me a happy new year from a number that wasn’t in my phone.  I had no idea who it was so I did the ever so famous “new phone, lost contacts….who is this please?”  No answer.  So as not to be a complete bitch, I then texted a happy new year back.  In the meantime, I search the phone number on Facebook and didn’t even recognize the face in the profile picture.  Didn’t recognize the name either.  (I don’t date enough to NOT remember a name and face.)  I then peruse the photos posted on the profile and BINGO!  I see one from about 75 pounds ago that I recognize.  I dated this guy ONE time at least 8 years ago, maybe longer.  Didn’t even make it through the first date and had to make up and excuse to leave early.

So WHY, after all those years does this idiot still have my number and WHY throw out a random text?  It weirds me out (just like he weirded me out on the date).  I deleted the conversation and then wished I’d had the thought to block the number before I deleted it all.  Guess blocking doesn’t really matter because I’d bet my bottom dollar he doesn’t even know to whom he sent the text.  It was just weird to me.  If I haven’t had even an inkling of contact with you for at least eight years, I can guarantee you won’t ever have contact from me unless it’s by happenstance.  It sure won’t be because I’ve saved your number, hoping to hear from you!

Obsession

•December 31, 2015 • Leave a Comment

You’re thinking of him,
Wanting him yet hating him.
You cant let him go.
You want your revenge
For something he didnt do.
You want your revenge
For what you perceive
To be a horrible act.
Yet he did nothing.
You wanted something
He did not; and in your mind,
That makes him evil.
Anger and hatred
Consume you as you plot your
Scheming, vengeful plans.
You’re thinking of him,
Wanting him yet hating him.
You cant let him go.

Trust

•December 31, 2015 • Leave a Comment

RedSkyCRW3108JFR

Trusting me scares you.

Understanding your fear, I

Am willing to prove

Trusting me won’t hurt.

This promise I’ll never break.

Take a chance and see.

Take things slowly. Go

Day by day. Learn on your own

And see for yourself.

Ask what you will and

Learn my honesty is true.

Trusting me won’t hurt.

Christmas Eve

•December 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Nitas Iphone Pictures 202Sometimes I miss having my little boys.  My “little” boys are now 26 and 30.  I always tried to make Christmas a magical time for them.  I’m not a religious person; however, I do believe in the spirit of Christmas.  For me, Christmas is about spending the time with your loved ones, surprising each other with gifts, enjoying a wonderful dinner together, and spending the time afterward just hanging out with each other.

When my boys were little, I never hid their presents in the house.  I kept them in the trunk of my car until Christmas Eve.  There was never the token gift under the tree before Christmas Eve.  Nothing was ever under the tree unless it was a gift from a friend or other family member.  The stockings were hung but they were empty until Christmas morning.

I’d ask them each to write a list to Santa.  We would address an envelope and I would mail it from work–except I didn’t really mail it.  I kept it for my shopping trips.  I would try to get everything on the lists but couldn’t always afford it.  Being a single mom, it wasn’t always easy.  Fortunately, my boys didn’t make very long lists and I was always thankful for that.

On Christmas Eve, I would put them to bed at their normal bedtime (earlier if I could get away with it).  Then came time to wait for them to really fall asleep.  I would check in on them and catch them faking it, hoping I couldn’t tell.  Sometimes it would take them past midnight to fall asleep.  I would have to force myself to stay awake.  I had worked all day and falling asleep wasn’t an option on this night as surely, I wouldn’t wake up before them.

Once they were out like lights, I’d sneak out to my car and bring their gifts in.  With every other trip, I’d peek in to make sure no one had moved or awakened.  After bringing everything in, I’d wrap everything up as quietly as I could.  I’d try to wrap each item in a different wrapping paper and with different ribbons.  I’d stuff their stockings with little toys and candy.  I’d make sure to take a bite out of a couple of cookies that they had left on the counter.  I’d pour out the glass of milk that had now become room temperature.

Santa had come to our house.  Now it was time to grab a couple hours of sleep.  I would usually hear the boys when they woke up.  They would quietly make their way to the living room to see the tree and gifts.  The excitement would overcome them and they’d come running into my room to wake me up.  Santa usually brought what they asked for; and even if he didn’t bring EVERYthing they asked for, they were always thrilled with what was there.

What wonderful memories I have, watching them on Christmas morning.  When they asked why Santa didn’t bring me anything, I always told them that I hadn’t asked for anything or some such story.  They truly were, and still are, the greatest gift I could ever ask for.

I hope that you, too, will make wonderful memories at Christmas with your loved ones.  And with that being said, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas…..and if your celebration is called something else, I hope that it is very happy as well.  May you each feel the love and warmth of the season.

Back In The Game

•December 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I hadn’t planned to take such a long hiatus!  Moving is all done and I’m so thankful for that!  It got off to a rocky start and became quite stressful for a little bit there.  Once the actual move was done, it became a matter of getting things unpacked and put away-not the easiest thing to do when you’re working ten hours a day.  It’s even more frustrating when you don’t have enough hours in the day and you want to get it all done…….right now.

I had packed most of my boxes so that they would be light enough for me to move myself if I had no help at all.  Not a bad idea at first–but later it became a not-so-good idea in that the new place was so full of boxes, I didn’t even know where to start.  The place was literally floor to ceiling in spots.  I began to open the unlabelled boxes first and just placed the items in the rooms in which they belonged.  Getting the boxes out would give me room to plan out my furniture arrangements, shelving, and so on.  It worked…..it just took a little longer because I was constantly rearranging closets and shelves and then furniture-some times more than once.

I just barely found my router and all my computer parts to set up my home network.  That was the main reason I was on the unplanned hiatus.  Those things had been packed at the last and quickly by someone else so I had no clue what box all that stuff was in.  Of course, they didn’t label the box.  None of the boxes packed toward the end were labelled which just about drove me crazy because it became unorganized.  Anyway, I found the stuff and set up the network.

The internet folks had been out about a week after I moved and set up the internet which worked at the time.  I disconnected the lap top until I could find my router and other parts.  Once found, I set everything up; and, feeling rather accomplished, flipped the power on and no internet.  I double checked every connection and plug.  Nothing was amiss.  It seems the modem decided to die in the interim.  They were able to get someone out earlier today to fix that.

I don’t think I’ve been without internet for that long.  I’ve always set up my computer first thing–but then I’ve always packed it up myself and had it set aside so that I could do just that.  I actually got quite a bit done since I had no computer to distract me.  I have to admit, though, I missed being able to get online and do the things I’m used to doing.  It’s good to be back online.  Things feel back to normal again.