Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas in Palmer, Alaska

Flying from 75 degree Oahu to -15 degree Palmer was a bit of a shock - out here on the island it storms like no place else, but rarely gets below 30 degrees.  Goldfish's Mom had a project for me while we were there, she had frozen 5 gallon buckets of water and she wanted the blocks of ice carved out so we could put pillar candles in them and place them around the tree in the front yard.  I got right to work and they turned out really nice!  A wonderful idea for the holidays and easy to accomplish when its below zero; out here, I bet a 5 gallon bucket of water would never freeze solid, even if you left it out all winter!  I guess I could freeze some in the plant freezer and they would probably last for a few days around Christmas, maybe longer.  Now keeping a candle lit in 80 knot winds might be another story . . . .
This is Mr. Kitty.   Mr. Kitty terrorized me the first night we slept in Palmer by insisting on being petted in the middle of the night.  When I stopped petting him and turned away, he hooked the side of my face with his claws like he was palming a basketball and turned my head back towards him until I started petting him again.  This scene was repeated several times in the night, and Goldfish was either oblivious to the whole thing or secretly grinning under the covers while her big strong fearless husband was completely dominated - physically and mentally - by the 14 pound family cat.
I finally got to meet James, the British husband of Goldfish's baby sister Megan.  Cool guy, great sense of humor, wicked smart, clearly adores Megan - ya done good Megan, and that's why you're still number one . . . .
We got a big bunch of family together with family friend Chris and had breakfast at Cafe Amsterdam in Anchorage on Christmas Eve.  What a great spot - the food was amazing, and I loved the atmosphere, definitely a place to explore further next time we're passing through.  We finished up a last bit of shopping, I drooled on James' Alienware computer, and we headed back out to "the valley".
In sharp contrast to Unalaska, the air was completely still on mainland Alaska, and the snow was decorating all the trees for the holidays.  I lived in both Anchorage and the valley for years, and it is always wonderful to return.
This is Pioneer Peak, one of my very favorite mountains in Noth America.  I climbed it back in 2006 and when I moved to Alaska in 1988, I pulled the car over on the highway and stood staring at this perfect mountain.  I was thrilled when I first saw it, and I am thrilled anew every time I see it again!
Chico is guarding the tree - poor guy, nothing under for him.  While we were in Hawaii, we dropped Chico off to "vacation" on the mainland where he could be spoiled by Grandma and play with his new best friend Brutus.
We had a very relaxed Christmas, lots of family time which is what you always remember long after any gifts are forgotten.  Goldfish has a great family, and while I sorely missed mine spread all over North America (she is so lucky to have everyone in one place!), I had a great time.

The day after Christmas, we flew back to Unalaska.  Flying onto the island is always an adventure, and this time was no exception as anyone who flew out here during that time frame can attest.  How the pilot found a little hole between storms to land us safely is beyond me, and those Saabs sure are tough little planes!


Susan Stevenson said...

Welcome back to AK! We visited Kauai two Christmases ago and it was indeed a shock to come back to -20F North Pole weather, after enjoying sunshine and mid 60s! But it was also so good to be home too. :)

Happy 2011!


Lori said...

I am truly glad that pilot found those holes - glad you're both back safe and sound. Love the pics of Anchorage (and loved all the Hawaii posts too, but I'm partial to AK) - post more please!

Glad to have you back, but I bet you are super busy now. Post when you can - did Paw Paw (I hope I got that right?) miss you?