Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Alaskan Wildlife

I know what most people think at the mention of wildlife in Alaska: moose, bears, wolves, arctic fox, ptarmigans....well, this last week has been a little different. First we ran into a thieving, hot-dog eating squirrel, then met "Lucky Bird," the talking, laughing cockatoo in downtown Fairbanks taking a walk on her owner's arm. So...

Last weekend we attended an outdoor picnic at the University. It was a beautiful day, and we had lots of fun especially when we noticed that a thieving squirrel took Small Moose's hot dog right off his plate, then ran into the woods. (That's for the best in my opinion, since I don't condone hot dog eating in my family anyway. I even felt sorry for the squirrel I have so much disdain for hot dogs: )

video

Then just a few days ago while visiting friends downtown, we met "Lucky Bird" the cockatoo. Lucky repeats "Hello Lucky Bird!" over and over again, and she pulls her owner's zipper down on her sweater, but the funniest thing is her laughter. She laughs just like her owner... The children had a blast with Lucky Bird, and the more the children laughed, the more the bird laughed back. Her owner has had her for 15 years, so I asked how many times she's heard "Hello Lucky Bird!" by now. She gave a long-suffering smile and said "Too many to count."

Lucky also does a mean Darth Vader. Her owner thinks it's the sound of a group of people talking together but I beg to differ. Anyway, it's caught on video right as it starts, so judge for yourselves. Lucky seemed camera shy at first, but then started with her laughing routine, and closed the show with the zipper-pulling trick.


video

May Snow


If you've ever lived through rough, long, dark winters, then you know the elation and exuberance one feels when spring arrives. In Fairbanks this happens to us all, every year, and often some of us over-zealous and sun-deprived Fairbanksans start gardens and put out hanging plants the first few days of May.... Then it freezes and snows again.. I took this picture of my -actual- backyard on May 5th. Yep, it snowed and of course it did so on the very same day I allowed Small Moose to wear shorts to school for the first time this season. Up until this day, we saw warm temperatures and lots of sun during the week. It hadn't snowed in weeks.....for that matter we hardly had any snow all winter, it's been unusually dry.

Then, the next morning we woke up, and it was so warm that all the rooftops were evaporating the accumulated moisture. It was very pretty, and very warm that day.

Chena River Run 2010


Here are some pictures of the 5 km 2010 Chena River Run. We participated with some dear friends of ours and had tons of fun....walking it. Given that we participated with a total of 9 children between the two families (ages ranging from 1 to 13), running was out of the question. Well that, and maybe a little due to the fact that I walked with coffee in hand, unwilling to spill even one precious drop. So there was lots of walking, maybe a pee-in-the-woods break or two, and I think we came in absolute last. We had a two-seater stroller that came in handy, but there were many combinations of kids sitting in strollers, kids getting out, kids walking, kids getting in, kids getting pigyback rides throughout....it took 1 hour and 5 minutes for us all to finish. The volunteers at the finish line were just starting to pack things up, and indeed commented on how "We usually only wait 1 hour, you're lucky we're still here." We stood out from the crowd of spandex-clad, mp3-in ears, stretching-warming up, and turning around at the finish line to run back to the start, die-hard runners for sure. Maybe someday we'll be one of them.

Here are J and Small Fish in the Finish line,
Big Moose is on the far right.





















And here is Small Moose and his very serious runner's face, with his best friend behind him.

Name Change

After much debate and soul-searching, husband has a new, final alias. As loyal followers surely remember, when I began this blog I gave him the nickname "Skipper" in part because he loves to go on boat rides, but mostly out of laziness and lack of ideas. He hated it. Then I temporarily began calling him "My Dude" which I hated because I never, ever call him "Dude" despite the fact that he bears some (emphasis on some) resemblance to The Dude "Lebowski." So after some thought I have arrived at his initial: J. Why was that so hard?

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