Alaska: Animals and People

The pictures from Alaska just keep coming!

We saw a lot of animals in Alaska. We took a stop at the Anchorage zoo, which really was a big forest with pens to hold animals (with the exception of the Polar Bear habitat). It was a really great place, even though it’s smaller than most zoos I’ve seen. But outside of the zoo, there was a ton of wildlife to be seen! We saw two moose (mooses? meese? mice?) when we were in a shuttle. They were just outside someone’s yard, chewing on some bushes. They didn’t look like I expected, but I guess it’s because it’s not the season for horns yet. There were also a ton of bald eagles everywhere, though they were usually high up in the trees or far away (as you can see from the two golf ball looking like things in one of my pictures). From the train going to Seward we saw the white backsides of beluga whales popping above the water every now and then (no WAY I was going to catch those guys in a pictures - they’re too fast and it’s hard to tell when they’re coming up for air). From the boat we could see dolphins/porpoises, seals and jellyfish. At port, we saw a “wild” cat, and there were lots of dogs for Benjamin to play with.

We also saw a couple shows. In Anchorage, when taking the free trolley Ben met a little puppy that the driver let him play with. She told us that the puppy’s parents were in the Wildride Sled Dog Show, a show that features dogs that compete in the Iditarod. We had some free time, so we went to the show. Since Ben had already met one of the mushers (people who race and care for the dogs) he got one of the prizes during the show, which was pretty cool. It was a fun show to watch and it was really interesting to learn about how tough the conditions out there and how important the bond is between leader and their dogs and their proper care.

In Ketchikan, we saw the Great Lumberjack Show. I didn’t think I’d be entertained too much, but it was actually a lot of fun to watch the lumberjacks compete at various events. The emcee was so personable and made the whole audience feel comfortable. The crowd was divided between two different “camps” and cheered for the lumberjacks in their own camp. There were a lot of events to show off their skills, but I think my favorite was the logrolling. The springboard chop was the most impressive, though…

Here’s more for ya:

Wild Moose Snow Owl Wolf Sleeping Tiger Big Brown Bear
Waiting Alpaca Mush! Flapjack Dog Sled Race
Koda The Mushed Becomes the Musher Flapjack Yawning Bald Eagles Tlingit Man
Jellyfish Porpoises Lumberjack Jake Lumberjack Andrew Underhand Chop
Axe Throwing Speed Climb Boom Running Log Rolling Salmon

Alaska Family Pictures

As I may have mentioned before, I went on vacation with Ben and my in-laws. Dave didn’t come because he was studying for his board exam. It was a perfect time for us to go to Alaska, because I’ve always wanted to go and Dave’s not a fan of non-tropical/snowboarding-free vacations. Having my in-laws around was a great help, because they would take care of Ben if I wanted to explore a little bit (I liked exploring the different towns, Dave’s dad liked hanging out on the boat with Ben).

In today’s vacation picture installment, I’ve got the various family pictures. I’m not in a lot of them because I’d rather be behind the lens than in front of it. Also, Ben will have his very own “solo shots” post, because he’s such a ham that he had a TON of pictures taken by himself.

I’m using a different gallery program for these shots - if you want to go to the next picture without having to close the picture, hover your mouse near the top right hand corner of the photo and you’ll see an arrow appear. Click on it and you’ll go to the next picture.

Behind the Visitor Center With Koda In Front of the Visitor Center Ready to Ride the Railroad Forehead Kisses Ma on Deck 1
Icy Strait Photo Op Tallest Baby in the World At the Glacier 1 Formal Night Ben and Lola Formal Formal Night with the Grandparents
Asleep at the Mendenhall Glacier Ma and Pa in Front of Mendenhall Small Boat Harbor at Skagway A Cloudy Day at Sea Ma and Pa with the Millennium Having a Great Time
Steamed Crab Lunch With a Real Life Lumberjack Silly Faces Formal Night 2 With a Showgirl Dancing the Night Away

Haven’t Seen Any Real Bears Yet…

…but we’ve seen a lot of fake ones…

We’ve also seen some bald eagles, jellyfish, and a sea lion…

Off to Ketchikan tomorrow!

Greetings from the 49th State!

So it’s pretty late, even for Alaska, and I need to get up at 5am tomorrow to catch a 6:45 train to Seward, which is 4 hours away. But I wanted to post a couple pictures before I leave Anchorage. We had a pretty busy day today - went on a trolley tour around the city, went to the zoo, and saw a sled dog show. Much happened during and inbetween those times. I’d like to say I’ll write about that later, but those words, as you may know already, are probably just lies!

Here’s a couple pics that I’ve chosen for your enjoyment:


We passed by the Alaska State Trooper Museum, and saw on the window that they had a rebuilt Hudson Hornet in there - it’s Ben’s favorite car from “Cars”!


My “real wildlife” quota of 1 animal has been filled on our first day - saw a couple moose grazing on people’s lawns as we drove by


Ben makes friends with a sled dog puppy


Ben really wants to do the Iditarod someday

We take off for our cruise tomorrow night. Yay!

Missing…

Today my mom would have been 65 years old.

Sometimes I think about what life would be like if she was still here…I don’t think my own life would be much different, though I know that she would really love spending time with Ben. She would nag me about his finicky eating habits, give him cute little nicknames, let him sit on her lap as she played mah jong with the titas. She would by him overalls and cheesy outfits, things I wouldn’t let him wear out in public unless he was going to visit her. She would come through our front door and he would run to her as he screams “Lola!!!” and run into her arms.

I’m sure that outside of my life, things would have been different. She had an uncanny way of diffusing drama, maybe because she tried so hard to please everyone, but more likely because she just cared so much about people. There has been WAY too much drama since she’s been gone.

It goes without saying - I still miss her a lot.

Happy Birthday, Mommy.

Poor Little Sick Boy

Ben’s been sick for the last couple days. Not sure when it started - he was feverish last week but nothing happened, but then on Sunday he had a bit of a cough. Yesterday he was just miserable - coughing, sneezing and sniffling. He still hasn’t learned how to blow his nose yet, so we had to be on-hand to wipe his nose for him. In the late afternoon he was just a pitiful lump of sick baby - he just sat in my lap for the rest of the night, whimpering and not wanting to move.

He didn’t want to get off the couch last night so we just slept there, and woke up several times. I got more sleep than I did on Sunday night, but he was still a bit fussy this morning. I debated on taking a day off today to take care of him, but Dave was off of work anyway, so he took him to the grandparents.

Here he is holding his favorite Kabuki Scarab panda:

Poor little guy!

Mini Post Mania

I’d like to take a second to talk about all my mini posts that have been popping up. The lovely Mizz Denizzy brought up that the mini posts are a bit difficult to read, and I just wanted to let you all in on the process behind those posts.

I’ve been using two programs/social networking sites lately (frankly, I’m not sure what they actually are). One is twitter. Essentially, it’s just a box that you can enter what you’re doing or thinking, and you can see what your “friends” or people you are following are up to as well. It’s a lot faster than taking the time to write up a post with a subject - but the drawback is you only have 140 characters to work with. Most of the time, though, that’s all I need. Before twitter, there’d be so many times during the day that I’d think to myself, “This would make an awesome post!” but never have the time to write about it. But with twitter i just have to open my app on my taskbar (I use twhirl to make quick updates in twitter) and type in whatever I want. Even better, if I’m out of the house, I can text message my thoughts to twitter to update my page. There’s also a function where you can reply to other people’s twits (tweets?) by putting an “@” in front of their user name. Twitter has gotten really popular - Barack Obama actually has a twitter site that has updates as to what he’s up to.

The other site is Plurk, which I’ve only been active in since last week (my internet crack dealer Walter sent this one over to me). Plurk is similar to Twitter, but the interface is different, as well as the whole feel of the community. Twitter is more based on the person - “Let me tell you what I’m doing”. Plurk is more of an interactive place - where it’s a lot easier to reply to people’s “plurks” and have discussions. Think of it as a discussion group for people with ADD. It’s a lot more social, and a lot more fun than twitter. The only downside (to me, anyway) is that there’s this reward system called “karma” that gives you points based on certain things (or takes them away). Some people on the site are karma crazy and that’s all they talk about. Me? I really don’t pay attention to it. Oh, and if you’d like to join, enter a comment and I’ll send you an invite - I get karma points for inviting friends. Not that I care about karma points. :-P

So ANYWAY…I’m rambling.

I didn’t like having a separate Plurk area and a separate Twitter, so I used a function to import my Plurks into twitter. Everything is in one place. It gets a little weird, though, because plurks are usually in the third person, so they look odd in twitter.

Also, I want to keep some record of my twits on my blog, so items that are in twitter are posted to my blog. Usually this happens mid-day, which I hate, but that would account to the one day delay you see in some mini posts. I’d been kicking myself for not keeping track of Ben’s milestones, and having my twitters in my blog is a great way to remember these times. It fits the way my brain moves a thousand miles a second.

Any time you’re reading the mini posts and you see a line that starts with a colon (”:”) that means it was a post in my Plurk account. Any time you see an at sign (”@”) in a line, that means that I’m replying to someone else’s twitter, which, unfortunately for you, you can’t see. So they’ll probably make no sense to you.

So, I hope that helps. It bugs me that my blog is littered with my mini-blogs, but time is a luxury I no longer have. I’m also going to be changing this layout within the week because the current default layout has some crappy coding.

Man, I ramble a lot at 5am.

Here’s a pic of Ben!

Taking Pictures Is Easier…

…now that when I say, “Smile!” Ben actually stops and smiles. Now if I could only get him to keep his eyes open!

And yes, the boy LOVES sitting in boxes. He’s weird like that.

Ben and His New Best Friend

This blog needs more Ben!

Ben is slowly getting into the terrible twos which sometimes is the terrific twos. He cries whenever he doesn’t get what he wants, he throws toys over the second floor balcony, and he hates his vegetables. Whenever we’re watching TV, he asks “What’s that?” or when we’re reading books, he says, “What’s this?” He’s learned to move around his little stepstool so he can reach the balls on the pool table. He has a favorite numbers puzzle that he loves so much that sometimes he sleeps with his number of choice - even asking me to kiss his number goodnight. I feel silly kissing aa wooden number 7, but it makes him happy. When he’s playing, he sings the Blue Danube Waltz to himself. He loves watching commercials. He’s a big fan of Dancing with the Stars, especially when people get scored, shouting out “8! 9!” when the judges are flipping over their paddles. He likes playing hide and seek. His favorite show is a cartoon called Caillou. He loves rolling around in the grass. When we’re eating cereal at the same time, he says, “Mommy cereal too!”

The good definitely outweighs the bad. Even though I don’t get any “me” time until after 10 o’clock, I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Happy Birthday, See-Star!

Many birthday greetings to my youngest sister, Fatima!