25 June 2011

Project 365: Week 26 (The Alaska Edition, Part 2)

Our son-in-law is an airplane mechanic and a pilot.  He took the Spousal Unit and I flying last night in a Cessna Skyhawk SP.  We went out to Mt. McKinley and had an awesome two hour flight getting out there and "touring" Mt. McKinley and the other assorted mountains and glaciers there.  Most of the pictures were taken from about 8000-9000 feet and between 9:00-11:30 pm (note how light it still is).

The plane.

This is kind of a perspective shot so you can see how high we were.

That is Mt. McKinley in the center.  As we flew closer, it just kept getting bigger...and bigger...and bigger!

The "trail" below is actually a furrow carved by a glacier.  It has receded over many years but you can see how much ground it used to cover.

Some pictures out the side and front of the plane.

See what I mean about Mt.McKinley just getting bigger and bigger?

I put these in to try and show how beautiful and absolutely *huge* everything was.  It was so cool to be able to fly right up to Mt. McKinley and then spend time exploring it, Mt. Hunter and the surrounding area so closely and at our leisure.  Our son-in-law was great to take the time to do that for us.  Definitely a highlight of the trip!

Project 365: Week 26 (The Alaska Edition, Part 1)

This P365 brought to you courtesy of our VACATION (excuse the excitement, it's the first one we've taken in 15+ years)!  Since we're on vacation, we're not really counting days so I don't have this week's P365 in the usual format.  I just thought I'd post some pictures from the week so far...

Rylie and Grandma (me!)

Emery and Grandpa (the Spousal Unit)

Rylie and Grandpa having a conversation on the porch.

They aren't kidding about how the sun never sets in the summer.  This is the view from our hotel room at about 11 pm.

All of us just before we took an hour-long glacier cruise (Peter, Jess, Emery, Rylie, me and the Spousal Unit)

Some pictures from the Portage Glacier cruise.  The waterfalls were glacier runoff and I also wanted to try to get some pictures to show the contrast between the ice and the rock as well as the color.  The blue color in the ice is natural and not an effect of the camera.

The captain of the boat was (really!) named Sean Connery.  When he saw Rylie, he went down into the boat and came back up with a small box of rubber ducks for her to play with in a tank of water.  The first picture is the look on her face when she saw the ducks.  The second picture is her on Grandpa's shoulders.  Any time Grandpa tried to walk away from the tank with the ducks, she would command "Grandpa!  Ducks!" and back they would go :)

The aforementioned ducks :)

23 June 2011

On Vacation

This is my second morning in Alaska.  The hotel is very nice (thanks, Mom!) but it's a little weird that it does NOT get dark here at all.  Seriously.  We finally went to bed about 10pm last night local time and it was still as light as if it was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon.  I can feel my circadian rhythms just cringing :).  Not only am I three hours off my regular time zone but the constant daylight makes me think that I'm not tired at all.  I am going to be a mess when I get back to LR.

Have hugged grandbabies!  I was really surprised that Rylie (the two-year-old) took to me right off.  Usually, it's the SU that gets glommed on first (I think he exudes some kind of small child pheromone or something).  We were over at my daughter's apartment and Rylie was being a little shy so I asked her about her Dora the Explorer backpack.  She nodded that she liked Dora and then I told her that I liked Diego too.  The look on her face was classic :).  It was along the lines of "Wow, this big person knows about my favorite people!  Maybe she's okay!"  After that, she started playing with me and offered to share her lunch when it was time to eat.  People, no greater love hath a grandmother than she will eat a frozen pea offered by her two-year-old granddaughter.  I HATE peas.

Today, Grandpa, Peter and Rylie will probably go to the Aviation Museum.  I'm not sure what the rest of us will be doing.  I know Great-grandma wants to take Jess and Rylie shopping at some point so we will probably do that.

In quiet moments, I sit here in the hotel room and take MAT practice tests so I can take the actual, for-real, no fooling test when I get back to LR.  I'm still not quite sure what I was thinking by applying for graduate school.  The MPA program will take me about three years since I would be going part time and that would be about two classes each semester.  I am just set in my ways enough that I like being able to go home after work and have no particular obligations tugging at me so I can read or plink on the computer or whatever.  With the MPA program, it will be going back to something close to my undergrad days.  Undergrad = working full-time, owning a business, training/teaching muay thai, fighting, full-time student.  Grad student = one-two nights a week in class for three hours, working full-time, back to spending many Saturdays in Starbucks working on assignments.

I do like public administration/public management.  I enjoy reading about policy and writing about it more than I enjoy the budgeting and financials, though :).  It takes me a while to break down those since my brain tends to head to "Oh, big number.  With commas." and stop right there for a bit like a spreadsheet is some sort of intellectual scenic rest stop.  I like the program and I like working within the arena of public management, I'm just still having Kermit the Frog moments where I wave my hands in the air wildly and scream "Aaaaaah!"  And then I keep telling myself that, yes, I am smart enough to do this.

I'll post pictures later on this week - probably an early P365 entry if I can get around to it.  I'm hoping Peter can take us flying and I'll get some good pics there too.

So, to recap:  Trip good.  Granddaughters wonderful.  Hotel nice.  Concept of vacation proving interesting (hey, c'mon, my last one was at least 15 years ago!).

Oh, and the hotel bar makes really good Long Island Iced Teas and has a decent whiskey selection :).

20 June 2011

Notes From the Trip So Far

1. Is it contradictory to pack your workout schedule in the same backpack pocket as the dark chocolate M&Ms?

2. Next time, two suitcases. Overage fees are outrageous.

3. The "light jazz" they are playing overhead is as if Kenny G and Bobby McFerrin had a love child. The SU and I are calling it "Soundtrack to Justifiable Homicide".

11 June 2011

Project 365: Week Twenty-Four (June 5 - 11, 2011)

Project 365 button designed by http://richgift.blogspot.com

I missed some days on P365 this week (*is bummed*).  Upcoming changes at work and the slow back rehab kinda took my focus somewhere else and I'd remember about needing a picture just as I was dropping off to sleep.  Hopefully, next week will be better...to substitute, I have some "mood" pictures for various days at work this week.


The "big" grocery shop.  There are two containers of ice cream because the SU first got one and then I saw the Limited Edition Thin Mint was back so I grabbed one.  I was then informed I would be sharing.


Was watching a DVD after work with the cat snoring in the chair next to me...


The first of two "mood" pictures.  When someone asks you for unobtainium, repeat the mantra about logic in your head and smile politely.


I was in the office and the cat decided it was necessary to join me by crawling into the small space between the desks and then sitting back up against the wall and...I don't think I can call it purring.  Not unless purring should sound like a rusty saw being used underwater and combined with asthma.


No picture.


This was me after a meeting on Friday afternoon wherein it was disclosed that there is going to be a massive change in policy and reporting in order to continue receiving federal financial aid for the programs I administer.


Walking on the Kingfisher trail in Pinnacle Mountain State Park.

05 June 2011

Project 365: Week Twenty-three (May 29 - June 4, 2011)

Project 365 button designed by http://richgift.blogspot.com

I'm a little late this week getting P365 up and running.  I was going to do it yesterday like an on-time, prompt kind of individual but the combination of (a) forgetting the camera in the SU's truck and (b) messing up the back injury from when I fought made the idea of going downstairs to get the camera one that I decided not to contemplate - instead I had the SU bring the camera up after he came back from church this morning.  The SU - so handy in so many ways!  My hope is that I stop walking like Igor (or is it I-gor? :)) soon.


The accoutrements for dinner - I was making lemongrass coq au vin.


A mutual grooming session:  what you can't see is the Spousal Unit has a comb he is grooming her with and Munchkin decided to return the favor (that and the cats are crazy about the leftover tobacco smell/nicotine on his hands after he smokes a cigarette).


I included this because the cat just cracks me up.


Who says I can't multitask?  I'm working and charging my Kindle at the same time :).


I saw this in Target and laughed like a drain.  How does one become qualified to be rated a "sneeze whisperer"?  Does it involve Kleenex?  Corralling runaway mucus?  Coaxing the gunshy sneeze from its home?  What?


No Picture.


Now that the SU is well again, we're back to our Saturday hikes.  This is from the Baseline Trail at Pinnacle Mountain.  Summertime in the South means humidity and gnats aplenty but the scenery was beautiful.  The only thing that wrecked was when we came back down the trail, my previously messed-up ankle turned and sent a chain reaction that now encompasses my previously messed-up spine :(.  Oh well, the hike was worth it :).

Project 365: Week Twenty-Two (May 22 - 28, 2011)

Project 365 button designed by http://richgift.blogspot.com

No pictures this week...