30 December 2009

Timeline of an Eternally Cold Police Wife

5:45am--Husband, already in uniform, stands over me and my morning breath in bed, "Time to get up. You need the car today, don't you?" I moan in agreement and roll over.
5:47am--Aforementioned Uniformed Husband turns on the bedside light and pulls off the covers.
5:48am--While Husband is searching for matching socks in the ever growing "Divorced Sock" bag, I wiggle under the covers now sitting at the foot of the bed, mumbling promises of being bright and chipper in five minutes.
5:53am--Am not bright and chipper, although I am warm. Husband puts my favorite slippers on my feet in an attempt to increase brightness and chipperness. It's mildly successful.
6:02am--Stand next to the front door in my pajamas and slippers impulsively putting on more and more layers of clothing as Husband brushes his teeth. By the time he's finished, I look like the younger brother in "A Christmas Story", although I can put my arms down with some effort.
6:05am--Jam my key into the car's passenger door lock because Husband can't enter the driver's side due to a frozen lock.
6:09am--Sit shivering as Husband drives to the police station.
6:15am--Stall twice on the drive home. Still shivering.
6:30am--Climb back into bed which is, mercifully, still warm. Check blogs. Fall asleep for another half an hour.
7:00am--Hit snooze way too many times. Still cold.
7:40am--Get up. Make blueberry coffee. Light the Christmas tree. Smile.

Ah, life.

21 December 2009

Pandora Is Boss

I'm typing this while I'm sitting on my side of the bed. This isn't an incredibly odd or unusual position in which for me to be blogging, it's just that the other side of the bed is absent from a certain young man who keeps shooting me "Are-you-done-yet-I-really-want-you-to-turn-off-your-light" looks while he plays with an App on his iPhone to pass the time. And it's admittedly weird. Kip picked up an extra twelve hour night shift at work and that means that my night has included:
-a dish washing session with a Katy Perry on Pandora soundtrack
-dancing around the apartment to the aforementioned Pandora station
-frequent glances at the door after things that go bump in the night do, in fact, go bump
-cleaning, cleaning, cleaning
-cyberstalking Giselle Bundchen and Tom Brady....how did I go for almost a year without realizing that they'd gotten married and had a baby?

Alone time is always great, but would it be too obnoxiously newlywed-ish to say that I miss my husband? He'll come home tomorrow morning, collapse into bed for eight hours or so, and then we have some serious Christmas-related plans that include celebrating the Winter Solstice (it only gets lighter from here! YAY!), making mass amounts of cookies, and mulling assorted foodstuffs with the mulling spices we swiped from a community gift basket at work. Then it's back to work for me, a place that continues to catch me by surprise. There is a certain mother-son pair of regulars who, up until today, annoyed me to no end. Today, however, the little boy stood on his tiptoes to see over the counter and asked me very politely if I had any geese that he could feed to the toy fox that he got in his Advent calendar that morning. It was such an adorably random request, I couldn't resist. I led him over to the Playmobil section (which we found devoid of geese) and sat on the floor with him, reading out the prices of every item he could reach and bring over to me, since he apparently had some money in his coat pocket and I was the only one out of the two of us who could actually read. He didn't quite grasp the concept of larger packages meaning larger prices. I eventually started making up prices when he started pointing to items stocked far above my reach.
It took me by surprise how charming the whole incident was. It was a good surprise.

19 December 2009

16 December 2009

The Travails of Staying Warm in Juneau

The honest truth of the matter is that when I lived in Chicago, it was actually colder.

But when I lived in Chicago, I didn't pay my own heating bill.

And so, Kip and I have learned to cope with cold weather and a newlyweds' budget. We've become quite imaginative. In the past three months of cold we have:
-made a door draft blocker out of some pillow stuffing and an old sweatshirt
-taken to constantly wearing slippers
-accumulated quite the array of thermal underwear, which we affectionately and simply call "underpants" in a whimsical tone
-busted out the electric blanket I gave Kip last Christmas only to find that his side didn't work (but keep it on the bed anyway because it still conserves warmth)
-gotten into the habit of putting Sparky on top of the washer at night, since it shares a closet with the water heater and is therefore the most suitable place in the apartment for a tropical fish

I think Sparky has really appreciated the night moves...up until a few days ago, I didn't know that beta fish could get goosebumps.

15 December 2009

Matt and Le's Dance

It all started with a dance.

Actually, it all probably started with a class, or a debate, or a philosophical and/or theological construct most likely having to do with the Trinity or Thomas Aquinas, but in the most recent past, it all started with a dance. We'd all known for years that two of the people in our college "gang" were meant for each other, what with their shared love of knowledge, theology, and a healthy debate over just about anything. Matt was the ultimate scholar, keeping up a flawless 4.0; Alethea was the ultimate Greek-goddess-meets-theologian, dancing barefoot in the moonlight on campus while reciting ancient prayers and texts she'd learned in class. In short, they were the perfect Venn Diagram of a couple: balancing each other's quirks with their own and agreeing on several in the meantime. They came close to starting a relationship, and then not so close...it came close again, then not so much. And so Matt and Alethea spent the last few years of college dancing to and fro with the "could be" of a relationship.

And then the real dance happened. At Kip's and my wedding. And a few weeks later I got a call from Alethea, "So, I'm sure you saw us dancing at your wedding...." Prayer was recited. Friends were questioned, and as should be expected from two lovers of knowledge, they entered into a relationship full of not just heart, but of mind and soul as well. And last Friday, they became engaged, now looking forward to a dance at a wedding (a dance which, I have no doubt, will include much plate-smashing and napkin-holding from Alethea's Greek family).

And we all couldn't be happier.

Congratulations, Matt and Alethea!!!

Ten Things Tuesday

Ten Things That Made Me Smile This Past Week:
1. Finishing 98.765% of my Christmas shopping/wrapping/sending
2. Getting our Christmas cards out
3. Taking the strenuous walk across the street (read: it was quite the novelty to only have to walk across the street) on Friday night to see Juneau Dance Unlimited's presentation of The Nutcracker. The girl who played Clara is seriously going places.
4. Finding out that two of my best college friends are engaged!!!!!
5. Crocheting a TON of dishcloths for the Homespun Mercantile
6. The sun coming out early enough that I actually saw it
7. Playing Settlers with the Phillipses and realizing that their 7-month-old son, Ezra, has a huge crush on me.
8. Feeding my new obsession with giraffes by Wikipediaing them nonstop.
9. The gift basket that church delivered to our door on Friday night to say, "Merry Christmas! We're glad you've joined us!"
10. The video that Becky sent me of Alli laughing at a dancing monkey doll.

11 December 2009

Friday Photo Shoot-Out: Weather

The My Town Friday Photo Shoot-Out is a project intended to get bloggers out into their communities and showing them off to each other. We shoot photos on a common theme for the week and then post on Friday, enabling people from literally around the world to see what it's like in our corner of the universe. For more information about the group, or to join, check out the MTFPSO blog here.

This week's theme, suggested by Emma, who has that lovely pregnant glow (congratulations, Emma!) was "Weather". And what a week it was to have this theme--we had a gorgeous few days earlier in the week! While bad weather in Southeast Alaska is considered nothing more than commonplace and something to be ignored, good weather (i.e. sunny weather) is a big deal. A VERY big deal. So big, in fact, that when the sun sneaks out from behind the clouds in the summer, some former governors have given state employees the day off so they can go outside and enjoy it. We had a few sunny days during Kip's and my weekend (Monday and Tuesday), and while he was busy writing a paper on the Jamaican economy (with plenty of Bob Marley playing in the background), I went snowshoeing with Father Thomas in the Gastineau Meadows and took these shots. Be sure to click on the first one to enlarge the panoramic!

I have to give credit where credit's due: Father Thomas took this one.
I was too short to lift the camera high enough. :(

I turned around from shooting a photo to see FT on his knees in the snow, staring at it. "You've got to see this!" he said, as I wondered if he'd gone insane...

I knelt down and took these photos of the intricately shaped hoar ice that had formed on top of the snow. It was incredible--on this part of the meadow, the ice crystals had shaped geometrically. Later on, they looked like feathers. Even further, they were shaped like large snowflakes. All were good for eating, as they had more substance than regular snow :)

There's your Alaska fix for the week, Alaskaphiles (coughcoughGordoncoughcough)! Have a great weekend! On behalf of bookstore workers everywhere, please know the author's last name of that book you're looking for when you're doing your holiday shopping. It will make everyone's day much easier. :)

10 December 2009

Abbreviated Thoughtful Moments on the Bus, Part 1

With Kip's work schedule and mine periodically diverging, I've been spending increasing amounts of time on the bus lately. Which means more crocheting, more avoiding eye contact with strangers who smell, and more thoughtful moments possibly encouraged by the lulling rock of the bus, the stunning scenery passing by, and my fellow smelly bus passengers.

Abbreviated Thoughtful Moment on the Bus #1:
I am constantly refreshed by people who, although they are perfectly lovely by themselves, are more obviously complete when their spouse is around. (Like an open parenthesis...

...it just doesn't feel right until its partner comes along.)

There are two women at work who I've recognized as the open parenthesis to the closed parenthesis of their respective husbands. And I love it. It's one of the most beautiful things in the world, I think.

09 December 2009

Introducing the Bookstore Clerks

If my life were spontaneously turned into a screenplay, I am convinced that it would be an indie French comedy, and this is for no other reason than the fact that I am constantly amused by the people with whom I work. It's a common enough theme of American cinema, but the people I work with are way too eccentric (in the most lovable way possible) to not belong in a French film.

Take, for example Mr. Knowledge Brain. Mr. Knowledge Brain knows absolutely everything there is to know about everything, but not in a "know-it-all" kind of way; in the sort of way that makes you wonder why he is still single, why no woman he's met thus far has realized the subtle genius in the way he pronounces "Memoirs" without the "r" at the end. He was a Classics major at college back in the '70s and thus is probably the most secretly erudite person in Juneau. I imagine that he goes home to his studio apartment at night with an overly pampered dog and listens to Brahms on cassette while sipping tea. Mr. Knowledge Brain has perfected the fine art of being everyone's buddy while keeping the most professional relationships humanly possible inside the workplace.

For example, he was standing in the receiving room earlier today when I walked by (on my way to "the Little Bookseller's Room") and clipped my shoulder on a rogue cardboard box. An empty cardboard box. Seriously, in the greater spectrum of pain, this little accident sat somewhere between being tickled by a caterpillar and a falling into a pit of that Tempur-Pedic material they make in Sweden or Finland or wherever it's from. Still, Mr. Knowledge Brain, ever the buddy, cried out, "Oh you poor thing! Are you alright???" I mumbled some sort of response and continued on my merry way to my destination, where I fought a battle of epic proportions with the paper toilet seat cover (a battle which merited the "Oh you poor thing!" much more than a fender-bender with an empty box, but of which Mr. Knowledge Brain was blissfully unaware). When I returned, I passed him in the receiving room and he said nothing. No, "How's your shoulder?" No, "Does that still hurt?" Just a professional nod and a return back to work after having been there for me in my moment of need.

Gosh I love my workplace sometimes.

Late Ten Things Tuesday

Ten Things That Made Me Smile this Past Week:
1. One of the bookstore owners telling me how great a job I'm doing in the toy section on Thursday.
2. The other bookstore owner telling me how great a job I'm doing in the toy section on Friday.
3. The manager of the bookstore telling me how great a job I'm doing in the toy section on Saturday.
4. Getting our Christmas tree, bringing it home, and setting it up all without getting in one argument. That, in my opinion, completely validates the strength of our marriage.
5. Selling my first item on Etsy.com--a custom-made organic cotton hat!
6. Feeling completely self actualized after dropping off all the aprons, dishcloths, and scarves I've made to Homespun Mercantile, the local artisans' shop that invited me to sell my wares.
7. Getting a new phone in the mail! The keys actually work on this one, which is (shall we say) a big step up from my old one.
8. Going snowshoeing in the Gastineau Meadows with Father Thomas yesterday.
9. Finding out during post-snowshoeing dinner that the entire Catholic church is using a new translation of the Mass starting in a year or two. Explanation: this made me smile because the new translation is more literal and will make it a lot more similar to Eastern Orthodox services. The denominational unity geek in me almost cried with joy. I also subsequently got the Orthodox chant of the Mass stuck in my head: "Peace be upon you...And with your spirit....Most holy Theotokos...Aaaaaaaaaaamen....."
10. Watching Kip's work on his Economics paper on the Jamaican economy quickly dissolve into a study session with a Bob Marley soundtrack. There was a lot of bobbing and "Hey, mon"s going on in our apartment, especially when my mom called and Kip kept yelling, "'ey, Mom!" Marley-style in the background.

04 December 2009

Friday Photo Shoot-Out: A Few of My Favorite Things

I'm back and rearing to do another My Town Friday Photo Shoot-Out! This week's theme was "A Few of My Favorite Things". I always try to work in a few favorite things in every post, so I tried to include some things here I haven't included before! Unfortunately none of the photos were taken this week because that pesky little orb called the Sun hasn't shown its luminous face in about.....two weeks. It's not that it hasn't shown up, it just tends to be hidden behind thick clouds and graces us with its presence very briefly. So brief, in fact, that when I go to work at the bookstore it is dark. When I leave, it is dark. Not a lot of time for photographing. I'm looking forward to forcing myself out into the elements this weekend to shoot some photos in the twilight, though!

For more information on the MTFPSO gang and information on how to join, visit their blog here.

My Favorite New Extracurricular Activity
The US Coast Guard Auxiliary is very active in Juneau, and Kip and I are now officially members! They provide boating safety lessons, help the Coasties where they need it (I really want to train to be a watch stander), and set up life jacket stations near popular boating areas.

My Favorite Place to Eat and Photograph Simultaneously
The Sandpiper Cafe. So good for the artists' tummy and talent.

My Favorite Public Art to Giggle At
Please look up "Weird Al Yankovic Juneau Mural" on YouTube. You will giggle, too.

My Favorite Sign
It points the way to the Russian Orthodox Church on Fifth Street.
I kind of want to steal it, but I'm pretty sure that's a double sin.

My Favorite Thing that God Made that Hangs in the Sky
I really miss the Sun. I'm going to post on it soon.

My Favorite Thing to Eat in Juneau...
...even if I'm clearly grossed out by holding it after I catch it.

My Favorite Alaskan Mode of Transportation
There are two runways at the Juneau airport--a paved one and a water one for prop planes like this going to and from the Bush and other Southeast Alaskan communities.
They make me nauseous like nothing else, but there's a sense of adventure on them that you really don't get on a 747.

03 December 2009

Le Honeymoon, Part 2

Irony of all ironies...as soon as I wrote a haiku complaining about our landlords' Internet connection, it miraculously started working. I'm taking advantage of it...here are some honeymoon photos!

We had some killer margaritas in Cabo San Lucas

We did a shore excursion in Mazatlan where we learned how to make and dance salsa.
Kip helped out.

We took a sunset sail along the coast of Puerto Vallarta and it was one the highlights of our trip. The sun! The sea! The warmth! The yummy food! The drinks! It was probably the most relaxing part of the trip.

02 December 2009

MLS Cup Final

The energy was palpable, the beer cold, the players well conditioned. Fans flocked into Qwest Stadium, occasionally looking up to the Seattle skyline. Even the Space Needle seemed festive; its circular top looked curiously like a soccer ball in the lime green and sky blue light of buildings surrounding it. It seemed as if all of Seattle had come out for the Major League Soccer cup final, the Superbowl of American soccer. Sausages sizzle on hot grills as cash registers ring the happy "Rrrrring!" of a sale. Excited chatter from all corners blends into a buzz as the colors of the scarves around the chatterees' necks blends too, this time into a rainbow of team pride. No one stands still, save for the narrator, who slouches next to a blue pillar, a Hefeweizen in each hand and a camera nestled in the hat hanging off one of her wrists.

"Ready?", her companion, a tall and devilishly handsome young man, asks her, holding out a brand new Seattle Sounders scarf. "Pop bought us scarves!" She nods and sticks out her neck, accepting the scarf. Wordlessly, they join the throng of excited fans and make their way to section 107. They descend the stairs lower and lower toward the pitch until they see their front row seats. The narrator smiles up at her husband, "This was the best wedding present ever!!!!!" He smiles back and looks up to the stands above, taking in the sea of green and blue; it seems that the Sounders fans care little that their team isn't actually in the final. Here and there lies a spot of dark blue or yellow or burgandy--colors of the real foes on this night: the L.A. Galaxy and Real Salt Lake. The players are already warming up only feet away from our happy narrator and she lets out a squeal of excitement as she lifts the cap off her camera lens.
"Do you see him?" she asks as she pushes a few buttons.
Her companion wipes some foam off his upper lip, "Who?"
"David Beckham!"
He rolls his eyes, scanning the field. "Yeah, right there, the one with the mohawk."
She squeals again and starts shooting photos as her companion turns around and surveys the crowd. A whistle blows as players head to the sidelines and shed their warm-up gear. Event coordinators flock the field as a pair of women clad in gold and all the makeup they could find bring out the treasure of the evening: the MLS Cup. They are followed by the Seattle Sounders themselves, who are greeted with all the excitement of a home game...

When the crowd quiets and the soon-to-be champions have entered the field, there is a moment of rest. A silence, two teams huddling on their respective sides, then a whistle, the sharp "puh" of cleat hitting ball, and the game has begun...

...two 45-minute halves, two 15-minute over time quarters, and not one but two series of match-deciding penalty kicks later, the narrator clips the lens cap onto her exhausted camera. She looks up at her companion once more, "I really feel for sports photographers now. That was intense!" Her companion hears nothing; he is collapsed back in his seat, eyes glazed and mouth open. "What a game!" he says, wrapping his new scarf around his neck and against the cold of the evening. Beyond him, the players of Real Salt Lake jump up and down as their cheering section does the same in the stands, celebrating their victory. He shakes his head again, "What a game..."

01 December 2009

Ten Things Tuesday

Ten Things That Made Me Smile This Past Week:
1. Deciding to have salmon for Thanksgiving instead of stressing out over a turkey
2. The aforementioned salmon turning out exceptionally well
3. My new desk at work...it involves: my big red exercise ball, a "meatball" from our "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" event, a computer that is quite possibly older than me, a miniature seaplane model hanging from the ceiling, a neon green alien doll, and photos of my friends and family.
4. Last night's fun at the Hangar with Kip, Jeanne, and Cryderman over a pitcher of Alaskan White Ale
5. Getting to talk to my parents on the phone a lot
6. The fact that 90% of our Christmas decorations were free or second-hand and therefore incredibly inexpensive
7. Winning a free week at the local Curves gym. Yeah, fitness!!!
8. Finishing sewing another apron
9. Having the vast majority of my Christmas shopping done
10. Seeing Father Thomas and the gang (including, but not limited to Sarah Search and Rescue, our resident Coast Guard member) for dinner on Friday after a three-week absence from the group.

Ode to Poor Internet Access

In the form of an elongated haiku:

Bad wireless is
inconveniencing as rain
dripping on your scalp.
"No photos today," I sob
to my bloggy friends.
Twenty-first cent'ry,
AK didn't get the memo.

...I'm working on it :(

Le Honeymoon

After our cruise (photos coming soon!), Kip and I stayed in LA for a few days before returning to the land of darkness and isolation. Here are a few photos I took during our stay!

LA was unbelievable, especially considering that fact that both of us thought we'd hate what we'd perceived to be an incredibly shallow, crime-ridden, materialistic city. Okay, maybe it was materialistic, but it was also glamorous to a fault--something we definitely don't see in Juneau! Our hotel had a rooftop pool with the best lounge chairs I've ever seen and a view to match. Very Hepburn.

Our room, which Kip's dad set up for us with his fancy schmancy Hilton Honors points, was incredible! They gave us a super upgrade because it was our honeymoon, and we were rewarded with a suite looking over downtown LA. Seriously, this place had more square footage than our entire apartment at home. It had two bathrooms!!!!! Two! Bathrooms!

Kip sat at the bar and watched Sunday afternoon football, a highlight of our soiree down into the land of chain stores and easily accessible cable TV.

Even the elevator screamed "Old Hollywood"

The entryway was art in and of its own. Interior design in LA is--in a word--sensuous. Leather couches with silk pillows, drapes everywhere, flowers of every texture imaginable juxtaposed on a mahogany table...it was an experience!

28 November 2009

Friday Photo Shoot-Out

Same old story: Busy work weekend (Black Friday anyone?) and a finnicky Internet access. I'll post later today, I promise!!!

24 November 2009

The Much Delayed Ten Things Tuesday

Technically this should be the "Thirty Things Tuesday" since I didn't post during our honeymoon, but it'll just have to be a really good ten this week.

Ten Things That Have Made Me Smile in the Past Three Weeks:
1. Shenanigans on our honeymoon cruise, including learning how to make salsa and dance salsa in Mazatlan.
2. Coming back to work to find a very neat toy section and a semi-reorganized toy closet.
3. Completely reorganizing said toy closet. This is a big deal. I can see the floor!
4. Going through our wedding pictures and finding new ones that I hadn't seen before
5. Hanging out with Kip's grandmother at her nursing home and answering the same questions about eight times in a row every time she forgot she'd already asked.
6. Going to the MLS Cup Final in Seattle on Sunday
7. Taking part in the Seattle Sounders echo chant at said game even though the Sounders weren't playing
8. Watching David Beckham play in aforementioned game and taking photos of it all
9. Buying garden gnome-shaped Christmas lights in anticipation of the holidays
10. Getting our fill of chain stores and restaurants in Seattle. Yum, Applebees!

19 November 2009

I'm Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

It seemed as if the entirety of Juneau was waiting to welcome Kip and I back from our vacation. The entire city sat in a cozy blanket of snow, the dirty dishes we'd left in the sink quivered from the excitement of their owners' return (or maybe it was the mysterious substance growing on them...), Sparky did a little leap of joy in his tank, and our house plants perked up. Work colleagues eagerly asked for details of the trip, and our landlords wished us a happy honeymoon.

The only party not overjoyed at our return, it seemed, was our ever fickle Internet connection. So once it stops giving us the cold shoulder (and I have to stop "borrowing" the WiFi connection from the bakery down the hall from the bookstore), I will be posting with a variety of fun moments from vacation that include but are not limited to:
-eating and dancing the salsa in Mazatlan
-the incredible amenities aboard the ship
-a ship-top yoga class that left me breathless not from the view, but from the humor of it all
-photos (of course)
-our oh so fabulous waiter in L.A.
-a murder

I bet you're intrigued now, eh?

06 November 2009

My Town Friday Photo Shoot Out: Skylines

I couldn't resist doing a last post before vacation, especially after Linda's kind comment on my last MTFPSO post. I could have taken photos of the buildings in Juneau against the sky, but why? They're so ugly! And the reason they're ugly (in my opinion) is because people tend not to look at them anyways; they're always looking at the skylines of nature. So here you go!

For information on how to join the Shoot-Out gang, click here.