30 November 2008 Gratitude

At Quaker Meeting for Worship today, someone else said what I've been thinking all day: "This is the kind of day when I'm really thankful to live in Alaska." We received over a foot of snow here in Anchorage since Thanksgiving day. Some would say this is Alaska, especially the "big city" of Anchorage, at its most beautiful.

Our snow actitivies today were mostly moving the white stuff around our property. We skied and snowshoed the last three days in Talkeetna, so today we were both content to shovel, snow blow, split and haul firewood, feed the birds, and photograph the back yard.

Mentioning those activities reminds me of some other things I'm thankful for -- a talented husband and skilled friend who recently installed the woodstove that has become my new "pet" (constant feeding and tending); a healthy household budget that means we don't have to think too hard about buying food and stuff; great friends who are family on holidays like Thanksgiving; and good health to be able to enjoy this great state.

I hope that you feel blessed this Thanksgiving, too.

23 November 2008 Nostalgia

The blog had to wait until I finished my two nostalgia projects. One was a present for me -- a memory book of little Alex and her 19 years in my life. The other a present for Paul to celebrate his 50th birthday. He has been very patient since I showed him a preview back on his birthday in late May. Once summer hit, I just couldn't see spending daylight hours sitting at the computer. Then September and October were so crazy busy. November -- had to finish before we take off for a winter sojourn. So I chained myself to the computer most of Saturday and finally hit the upload button on Sunday.

To see a preview of Paul: The First 50 Years, click this box:

By Paul's Family & Fr...

15 November 2008 Five seconds of fame

Bocce on the beach in Tebenkof Bay Wilderness Area in SE Alaska

Assuming that I'm like most people, I will admit that occasionally I google my name to see what comes up. If that fiance who dumped me in college wants to know what would have happened if he'd taken that road, what would he read about me? My last name is extremely common, however, so typing my name alone doesn't bring me up in the top 20 (I'm too lazy to click farther than that). Adding 'Alaska' to the search brings up quite a few hits related to my job. But will those from my distant past even guess that I did almost a 180 in my career AND moved to Alaska? To get my blog to come up, I have to type in so many search words as to be ridiculous.

If you've had similar disappointing experiences while googling yourself, you might understand why I was very pleased to find out that my blog was the 6th hit when Paul was googling something other than me the other day. Back in May 2007 I posted about playing bocce on a gravel bar in the Susitna River. Paul was googling to find out the meaning of the Italian word 'palino,' which is the name of the small ball tossed at the beginning of each bocce round.

Why does Google think I'm a bocce expert? It doesn't. Seems that Paul and I both misspelled 'palino.' Google gave Paul the option to correct his mistake, and he soon clicked on "did you mean 'pallino'" and found the answer to his question. Thus my 5 seconds of extremely minor fame with the guy I've spent almost half my life with. But if you can still surprise someone, albeit unintentionally, that you've lived with that long, it's a good thing and gives you something to talk about on the morning commute.

I tried his google search as soon as I booted up my computer at work. 'Palino' - no Corinne blog but an Italian article about Sara Palino, governor of Alaska (ugh!). 'Palino' and 'bocce' - still no blog. Ah, the vagaries of Google and the fruitless search for 5 more seconds of fame.

9 November 2008 Winter Access

Paul lands ably from a triple lutz at Potter Marsh

One of the great things about winter in Alaska* is the ability to go almost anywhere. There's a lot of wetness in Alaska. In the winter, most of it freezes, so lakes, wetlands, and streams become paths to new places. Last weekend, we skated at Potter Marsh on the south end of Anchorage. This mile-long marsh hosts ducks, geese, and gulls in the summer. In the winter, it's a series of ice pools in a maze of grass and shrubs. Yesterday we skated at Lake 5 near our Talkeetna cabin. Eagle, fox, and vole tracks criss-crossed the light snow cover of the lake. The ice provides new hunting grounds for them. Today we hiked through the wetlands between two ponds to reach the Bartlett Hills.

Alaska becomes even bigger in the winter.

*Other great things about winter in Alaska:
~ amazingly long sunrises and sunsets (i.e. alpenglow all day)
~ stars and northern lights
~ skiing, snowshoeing, skating, biking
~ Christmas lights for 6 months
~ clear skies
~ no bears to avoid
~ no mosquitos

Gratitude and Hope

Thank you to my fellow Americans who participated in an historic vote yesterday. My generation will enter the White House in January. People of color know they can achieve all the American dreams. I am more hopeful for our country than I've been since September 10, 2001.