Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!!

Welcome back to our blog. 
 I offer my apologies for neglecting it for so long.  When I logged on today, I found a post that I had started on Nov. 12, but never got finished and uploaded.  I was sure that people told me that I would have NOTHING to do when I retired.  I am still waiting for that "nothing" to show up!  It seems we are always checking our "to do" list and finding more things have been added than have been crossed off.  I decided that I would let you know what is currently happening in our lives.  Then I will post some stories and pictures from our "adventures" in the last couple of months.  

For those of you who worried about us moving to the "land of winter and darkness", worry no longer.  We are finding winter here in the Mat-Su Valley to be much milder than it was in Nebraska.  While I was in Nebraska in late November and early December, we had four ice storms in Nebraska.  Each time I called Doug (who was home in Alaska), he could only tell me things like: "It's 47* here.  All our snow is gone" or, "It's 38* here.  I am washing the vehicles." 
I flew back to Alaska on December 14.  Since then it has only reached single digit temperatures a few times.  Most days it is between 10-25* .  Today (Dec. 31) it is 34* and breezy.

Pictures taken from our house on Dec. 22, 2007:

The wind has blown and absolutely howled on a few days since I have been back home.  But after it blows for a couple of days, it quiets down for 4 or 5 days.  It does not blow constantly, as it seems to in Nebraska.  We have had very little sunshine the past couple of weeks.  We can see that the sun is shining on the mountains or on the bay at Anchorage, but not in our valley.  The wind never seems to blow the clouds away either, They just rise up and then they come back down.  This is the way is works in the summer time too.  So the majority of the days are cloudy, yet wonderfully beautiful winter days.  

Pictures of our yard on Dec. 17, 2007:

When it snows, the snowflakes literally float down. No sideways snow!!!  It is a very dry snow.  So when the wind blows, there is no snow left in our yard because we live at the top of a hill.  They say that the snow just wears out and disintegrates from being blown to the south and then to the north when the wind is especially strong.  There are lots of worries and complaints because of the lack of snow this winter.  Snow machines and snow blowers sales are down.  The kids (big and little) want to go play in the snow.  Here are some pictures of the frost and snow on the trees right in our back yard on Dec. 15.

Even though it is cloudy during the days, it is still light.  We do not live in part of Alaska that does not see the sun for several months.  Our shortest day was about 5 1/2 hours of daylight.  That sounds like just a little, but compared to our shortest days in Nebraska, it not that much less light.  We have started gaining back a bit of light each day.  Why, on Dec. 22, we gained back 11 seconds!!!!!  

We have a bay window in our bedroom.  Since we are at the top of a hill, it overlooks our neighborhood.  Now that the trees have lost all their leaves, we can see the lights at each house and all the Christmas lights.  It's so neat to look out that window at night.  It looks like a Thomas Kincaid or a Terry Redlin painting.  You can see the glow from each window of the houses that are nestled in among the trees.  New Year's Eve is celebrated with fireworks here. We heard some going off at the bottom of the hill last night.  We had a ringside seat as we looked out our window.  It should be even better tonight.  There will be lots more fireworks.  (I'll give you a new perspective on buying fireworks in another blog post)  :>)

On Dec. 23rd we went to an Advent celebration at St. Michael's Catholic Church (our parish) in Palmer. We had a hayrack ride and sang Christmas carols. Everyone then gathered at the church hall for chili, cornbread and desserts. The Christmas pageant was held in the church and St. Nicholas was the special visitor to end the evening. It was a lot of family fun and celebration of the reason for the season!