Sunday, February 28, 2010

anchorages fur rondy....

fur rondy sprint racing has been going on since the start of the fur rondy back in 1935. the purse is around $80,000 so not too shabby. i took these pictures out at my "secret" dog mushing watching spot out of n. bivouac trailhead. these dogs love to run. you can't hear them coming really. just occasionally you will hear the mushers commands. as they speed past you you hear the dogs breathing and a whoosh of them. it's a pretty amazing thing to watch actually.
the teams seemed to have 12-18 dogs and they run at about 20 mph and take up to 50 feet to stop.

hard to catch that speed on film. i put it in action mode and just figured i'd see what came out.

these dogs love to run. it's amazing how much power they have.

as i got settled in on my little hill the first musher came was jeff king. he is known for winning the iditarod and will no doubt be racing that next weekend, but for today he had always wanted to do this fur rondy race. it was just me and famous jeff king out there and he gave me a smile and a wave. i think the mushers that went by mostly ignored me, i think a few were surprised by the well behaved dogs...their dogs generally didn't seem to notice us either. we were blocked by a few tree's which probably helped.

blossom and rio were both really good about the dog teams running past. they suggest you not bring dogs near the dog teams, saying they get scared, blossom seemed to really like watching the teams rush past. she seemed fascinated by it all. we were up this little hill where i go to watch the local sled dogs run. it's about a 2 mile walk from the n. bivouac trailhead. i think that is enough for blossom to be a bit tired out. she'd watch a team rush by and then turn and look toward where the teams come out of the above.

this mom moose and her baby were on the road as i drove to the fur rondy. alaskan's needed a way to deal with cabin fever and thus the fur rondy was created years ago. there are tons of events over the next two weeks. this snow sculpture is one of the events.

sandra, my friend who joined me for the rondy today, is friends with the designer/sculpter of this one. love the native kayak design, very cool. sandra seemed skeptical when i said i was bringing the dogs along. in the end the dogs brought us so much attention she now says we are taking them everywhere. where ever we walked you could hear people talking..."look at those dogs", "that's a big dog"...we had many requests for pettings and photographs. sandra had no idea what it was like to be out in a crowd with dogs. of course, my last dog, huey, would have gone nuts in this setting, but blossom and rio do really pretty good. they are both totally exhausted now and i hope i didn't strain rio's knees too much with the stairs coming up from the railroad tracks.

the main event we were headed downtown for was the outhouse races. groups creat funky outhouses, put them on ski's and then race them on 4th avenue. it's pretty funny. here are two teams at the turn-a-round and headed for home.

before the races they line up and do a little parade. some of the teams and team names are quite imaginative. i don't remember many of them, but this one obviously is the flying duck farts. cute dog i thought.

this one looked very alaskan, and even had the extra-tuffs. i'm sure peta wouldn't approve. lots of fur everywhere.

i can't read the signs on the dogs but this one is called "going rogue" so i suspect it's a bit negative about palin...i also suspect she'll be on her twitter whining about it later.

blossom was terrified of these horses and slipped her leash. scared me as we were trying to pass the horses to cross a busy street. we had to get her back on leash and then loop totally around the horses. not sure why she got so spooked, but there it is. i guess if you're a dog they could look pretty scarey.

part of the fur rondy celebration is the snow sculptures. they are still working on them, which was kinda cool to see. i guess this is the 75th year of the fur rondy. that's a pretty long running event.
sandra in front of the annual fur auction. well, hide and horn auction i think. they sell of hides that were taken from illegally poached, killed in self defense/accidently or from animals that became a threat and had to be killed. i think the proceeds from those kills go back to fish and game or whatever.
they have the full carnival going and there was this ski/snowboard hill. looks pretty flimsy and unsafe to me. i guess they ride down this and up another little hill and then over the road. wonder if the hospital will fill up. they weren't all wearing helmets.

polar bear on ski's. looks like the coke bear a bit. well, as usual it's getting late and i am getting tired...and hungry. kept skipping meals today and just grabbing whatever, whenever. i annoy friends as i frequently forget i was hungry and move onto other stuff. apparently, it's not normal to forget to eat. i was getting hungry doing my laps tonight. i squeezed in my 30 laps (60 lengths). i'm excited as i finally have a new swimsuit for tomorrows laps. i have pre-written my lap days on my calendar and have not missed one this whole month...yeah me!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

diggin the snow...

met up with sandra this evening for a little ski. the trails weren't groomed when we left but we got passed by the grooming machine (below) as we were skiing. blossom was a bit unsure about the machine. it was nice to ski on the fresh trail though. we ski'd just over an hour.
blossom out enoying all that fresh snow!

definitely a frisbee day. i was going to post some video, but i apparently haven't figured out how to move those from the camera over to the computer yet. i'm sure it's very simple, but...i've had enough computer confusion for one 24 hour period.

the snow machines of anchorage were working hard these past few days. some complain about the roads not being cleared quick enough, but i think this crew does an amazing job everytime it snows and all winter. i've never had any difficulty getting from place to place. the main roads get cleared quickly and the side roads within a few days. they also have special machines for sidewalk clearing. i think they bought those after a few kids got hit due to being in the street since the sidewalks were covered. hats off to the great road crew of anchorage! you rock!

tried to fit swimming in today but the gym closes earlier on fridays than i planned for. do normal people actual find other things to do on a friday night than swim? i did get in 33 laps (66 lengths) on tuesday. i love that feeling after you've done a good workout. that day i had walked the dogs the gasline-powerline-tank-moose trail loop. wednesday i was a bit beat from the day before's activities and i just did a bog loop. not that there is anything wrong with the bog. it's my lazy walk some days though. it started to snow that night and is still snowing a bit more tonight. yippee!! fur rondy and iditarod will be happy with the fresh white stuff. i gave up the sleep between shifts and took the dogs for a nice long snowshow in the n. bivouac trail system.
work went well. my only drama was realizing that i had accidently let my acls expire. it was just expiring in this month, but still you have to be current or you can't work...! anyway. that meant getting into a class at this late date wasn't my best option. i was able to get them to put me in the computer generated course. i worked on that for the better part of last nights shift. they have you run through all these scenario's. i'm cool with the scenario's, it's just the learning curve for me was high on the computer program to mimic a code. there were over 12 scenario's i think...the first one was just a basic bls one and that was the one i had to repeat like 6 times. i was starting to panic thinking i'd never get this done in one night. once i sorted out the programming, i got better. it's still kinda silly.
acls was originally created so that health care workers could be on the same page when it came to codes. there would be a universal plan that we could follow. it was well intentioned and a great idea. sadly, like all things, the powers that be can't leave well enough alone and they keep adding and changing the thing. the book is now huge and more technical than needs be. too much information. learning is great but now they have me perscribing treatments and medicines not in my scope of practive. this is cool for lifesaving drugs in the immediate, but i think it's dangerous to put this tool in the hands of everyone in medicine who chooses to take the class. this class is for in house codes and so we will have md's handy. they write the orders, we can be more helpful if we have more knowledge but these scenario's give you no feedback and expect you to "write" orders. anyway...i got through it and now i just must wake up really early monday and get to the hospital for a check off. i hope i do fine there. i didn't learn anything on that computer scenario thing except how to use the program. silly, but hopefully, it will be enough for this requirement.
olympics is winding down. the big game is sunday. canada vs usa for gold/silver in hockey. the womens team of canada beat out our womens hockey team yesterday. i told sandra she could come watch it here or at home...but i'd know 1-2 seconds before she would the results. she has a delay with her satellite. hehe. long day planned tomorrow. i think i'll take the pups downtown for the festivities of fur rondy. there are the snow sculptures and outhouse races!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

spring, spring go away, let winter stay a few more days...

another warm day. i took the gasline to powerline to tank to moose ridge cut off at n. bivouac. pretty day. always love a big sun.
for some reason i always find old cars in odd places entertaining. it's really just big litter and should be removed, but one mans trash is anothers photo op.

this is the powerline trail...named for obvious reasons.

spotted another melting snowman cruising around anchorage...perhaps after a good snow i should look around for the original, unmelted sort.

not ready to return to work tomorrow night, but there it is. had a little competency class thing for the adult icu. they wrap thiers up in an hour or less while the peds units one takes like 6 hours. i prefer the rapid wrap up. :-) i'm lazy that way. it was nice to get in and out. this allowed me to get to the pool for a relaxing 33 laps (66 lengths)
enjoyed more olympics today. womens short program for ice skating. they showed lots of other stuff before getting to the skating and i suspect they will get alot of grief at nbc for thier coverage. i kinda like that they didn't just show the most popular sport and ignore the rest. nowadays i suppose you can watch any event on the internet, but i like getting a mixture and seeing events i would otherwise totally miss. like i don't really get the nordic combined. i guess it's been around since the 20's. just seems odd to match up jumping with nordic skiing. not sure where that came from. it was cool to see any sport that has cross country skiing in it be successful. our mens team got silver. this olympics is the first to see an american/s get any medal in this sport. not sure it will make it a popular sport here, but it's a boost for those who participate. horrible day for one norweigian in speed skating. he was probably going to get the gold but his coach told him to switch lanes, which he did and shouldn't have. it got him disqualified. he was really ticked. that bites totally. that poor wish there was some way to fix it, but train forever and are headed for gold and something stupid like that ruins it all. you just can't get that back ever. no doubt it will haunt them both for the rest of thier lives. a canadian ice skater rose to the occasion. her mother passed away suddenly a few days ago. totally unexpected death and yet the skater decided to carry on with the dream that was as much hers as her mothers no doubt. she did a wonderful job on her doubt the best memorial she could give her mother.
off to bed.....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

my usual is unusual...

this young moose keeps wandering the hood. he took some nibbles out of my tree the other night and there were moose prints on my front deck when i returned home from work. blossom must have gone nuts barking at that move. below is the normal moose diet for this time of year...bark. this tree has been nibbled on by moose.
dog walk monday today. didn't take any pictures out there. kelly and andrea showed up with thier pups and the three of us kept a pretty good pace. i'm the slow one in the group and use rio as my excuse. i mean really, rio was slowing up towards the end...but i was happy for her pace. it's great to be pushed a bit by kelly and andrea though. i love walking with them. below is blossom. when i let them out of the car after the walk blossom leaned against all the snow in the driveway. she was probably trying to cool off. it's been unseasonably warm this week so the snow has been melting to slush at times and then freezing up at night. have been wearing cleats to keep from falling down.

this picture shows her a bit better. in the upper left you can see the remnant moose prints in the snow as the moose went after my tiny tree. i can see moose prints in this picture too...but then i am a bit of a footprint expert.

we walked at prospect heights, rovers run and the bog/hood this week. rio hasn't been able to visit with her dog buddy for a bit and she was pretty excited. i think they both were.

the next two pictures are from the bog. thought the sun and clouds looked pretty cool out there.
this one turned out really purty i thought. the bog in winter is beautiful and i feel really lucky to live right by here. it's so great for in between work shifts to just walk down the street and into the park.
as i walked the hood, i saw lots of snowmen in varying states of decay. thought it looked funny all the melting snowman. was thinking of driving around and doing a dying snowman series.
it may be too sad though. hehe.

as i curled up to sleep after working my 12 hour the sun was rising out my window. had to stop and enjoy it. the skies have been so pretty all week. i love that my bed faces. a view is always wonderful. nothing will compare to the views i had living on the water in ketchikan, but the chugach range is a close second!

have been enjoying the olympics. i always love the stories of how these athletes came to thier sports and how they have trained. some overcome much and sacrifice much. was a bit harsh sounding in last post i think. really not disappointed in the current athletes. just sad that in general our nation isn't as excited about cross country as i am. our cross country skiers strive for the best i can tell, but sadly they just aren't all given the tools to acheive what they are capable of. kikkan did a great job in the relay today. if she'd had a skier her equal or close to her equal she would have possibly been on podium. as it was she made up for lost time and they ended up in 6th. she is so excited each time she pushes the envelope and brings the usa closer to medals. she's placed in top 10 twice this week which for the usa is a huge accomplishment. hopefully, one day she can be there to see that happen if she can't be the one to make it happen. she is a great influence on the kids of anchorage i suspect and i really do hope cross country in the usa will improve over the years.
watched ice dancing finals tonight, which i actually enjoyed. teared up as the americans got silver and canadians gold. our mens hockey team defeated canada's team in a pre lim match...will be interesting...and womens hockey will play against canada for the gold or silver so they are doing great. nordic combined usa got it's first medal so ski, ski, ski! was able to sneak in some olympic time at work the night of the mens figure skating finals. there were some great skates, but usa's evan lycacek came away victorious. i thought his program was really deserving of the medal he got. the scoring in figure skating seems so much more fair to me now. used to seem so subjective and based more on popularity than the immediate program. was neuro week at work. i probably did 75-100 neuro exams over the weekend. it's funny how things come in waves. well, we had a wave of intercranial bleeds/strokes/head trauma's...i'm afraid to get a headache this week. last week it would just be a headache...this week, who knows. my second night i came on and both my patients had to go to cat scan right away. lucky for me my friend maureen stayed and took one as i got report, then i took the other down. her stroke has extended. i really thought she'd pass away that night, but they withdrew the next day. sweet family. i'd already had a gentleman pass away that morning so was kinda glad that i missed that. he was a copd patient (result of smoking) .

swimming is going well. i've marked my days to swim on the calendar and so far have been successful. last wednesday i got in 25 laps or 50 lengths. was a bit messed up on numbers as despite the fact that i asked someone who works in the pool area if there would be a class starting soon and lanes closing and being told no, had to change lanes after about 10 lengths. the water aerobics class did start earlier than i thought. one of the people in the class just started closing down the lanes as i was swimming a lap. i let him know that was not a good idea to close in a lap as someone is swimming into the deep end. it kinda freaked me out to see the ropes closing in on me and feel like i had no where to go. idiot!! today went much better overall. i did 62 lengths or 31 laps. still not sure where the mile mark is but i know i'm pretty close. i've heard 30-35. at the end of my laps today some guy got in my lane and then was joined by 2 of his friends who treated it not like lap swim, but more like free swim. this meant that they were goofing around, kissing and generally being annoying. they would be on my side of the lane and the guy took my kickboard to use so when i came up to use it, it was gone. the jacuzzi fixes everything though. most people are nice there and hopefully, my swim tomorrow goes without a hitch. i did do most of my laps without the kickboard and much if the time i was doing 4 strokes to one breath so that is cool. when i was cruising in my own lane before the idiots it was so relaxing. i love water and reflection and the quiet of it all when you are in your zone swimming.
so much for going to bed early...good night

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

when is it okay to be mediocre?

out at prospect heights...
the daily task of wearing blossom out. she did bring me the tennis ball 3 times tonight so i could have done more on these trails. we were out there for 2 hours and i tosssed her tennis ball the whole time. is tired. lots of snoring tonight.

just thought this came out okay of sleeping lady and anchorage.

i'm tired so this is bound to be short....well, i am chatty...always have been. yesterdays dog walk was great, as was just andrea and i and the three dogs. everyone else opted out i guess. tanya was sick and it was a holiday. it's continued warm here. andrea and i were steaming out there in the near 40 degree weather. i went a bit higher up today and did a big loop in prospect heights. it was cloudy, but the blue skies made a minor appearance. in between walks i've put the olympics on. no swim yesterday but today felt great. a nice clean, poop free pool! i got 32 if 35 laps is really the mile mark, well i did pretty good. when i told my friend sandra she seemed quite shocked and said initially i was no where near a mile. i must be doing better than she expected though. i have backed off considerably on the number of laps i do with the kickboard. i have also added the number of laps i do without the kickboard and today was starting to change up my breathing. previously, i would rise up for a breathe each time my left arm came out, today i was practicing holding my breath longer under water and only taking a breath every other time the left arm came out. hip feeling better overall, still some twangs, but i have 4 nights coming up and 3 of those in the generally busier adult unit. i hope i can squeeze in some stretches and see if that will help. i'm hoping that whatever is ticked in the hip will relax with the stretches and disappear forever. not sure anything dissappears forever once you hit a certain age though.
our cross country ski team are finishing, but pretty far back. today's paper was pretty soft on them. sadly, cross country skiing in the united states is far behind the europeans at this point. i think it could improve some in the years at least up here in this area, but it just doesn't have the global appeal that some of the other venues have in the states and thus people tend to fall into it rather than live for it. also the ones that are competitive no doubt have less around them who are anywhere near thier competitive level in the sport to drive them forward. kikkan was smart to spend some time in europe training. she is also one of the few americans who had cross country ski's on before she was 3 years old. i'd like to see the sport grow, certainly we have the talent in america to post more competitive times than 42 or 48th place. often it seems we hear's just thier first olympics. it seems in the past that was the only chance you got at the olympics...just that one. now, it's like, it's cool if you totally screw up, there is always next time. seems odd to me. that is the america we are becoming though. soft in so many ways. coddling. there is some good in that, but if you accept 48th place as being spectacular how do you learn to's okay to win sometimes, it's okay to want the gold to reach for it. and at the end of the is okay to not get long as you put your best out there. you are up against alot of other people who want the same thing and obvioulsy all can't have it. in the end the most important thing is getting in there and doing your best. even your best isn't good enough sometimes, but you still must put your best out there. for pride...yours and your country. the one cross country team member was coaching up until a month ago. she wasn't training for the olympics. i mean you watch the ice skaters and how much time/effort they put in. she ran some big races and worked as a coach and then she's in the olympics....not to say anything against her, it's just that i think that shows how limited the pool is to select from. i wish them all well and am proud that there are so many alaskans in the winter games. i hope this number grows and that anchorage fosters it's athletes...the potential of the future games. done rambling...night

Monday, February 15, 2010

poop in the pool...and other events of the day!

happy valentines day to all. i spent my valentines evening out at the bear tooth theatre with friends. we saw "it's complicated" which turns out to be a good valentines day watch. i enjoyed it...more the second half than the first half. the movies are cheap here as they know you will be buying dinner. you purchase dinner and they serve it inside the theatre. there are little tables throughout the theater. just found out tonight they now charge $20 bucks to get the booths at the top of the theater. it used to be first come can grab em.
earlier today i headed out for a walk with the dogs. we did a loop in n. usual. it was a pretty day though it clouded up as we walked. got a few pictures before it got too cloudy out. above are the bumps...moguls. :-) i guess canada got it's first gold on home soil on the moguls tonight.
i watched the olympics after the walk for a bit and have the replay of the evenings on now. the combo jump/cross country ski was very exciting today. the americans came in 2nd, 4th and 6th...great to see the usa getting better at the skiing. i don't know that we had medal'd in that before. they were pretty excited. the czech, i believe, were very excited tonight in the speed skating as thier team member took gold. just watched the chinese pairs skaters do thier short program. they look like they could come up gold. they are married and both in thier 30's....that is old for skaters, but i wouldn't mind seeing them come up gold. i always love watching the olympics and hearing all the stories. it takes a great deal of personal sacrifice to get to that point...the olympics. we all dream of it, but few acheive it. that does make it even sadder about that georgian luger...

beautiful blue skies out there today for a bit. it's been warm all week. the dogs had a great time. blossom is pleasantly pooped out. it hasn't stopped her from barking at that kitty cat that roams the neighborhood at night, tormenting her. i can't even say "kitty cat" without her going nuts and running to a window.

i had time to head to the gym for some laps before the movie. i got in 15 laps before they cleared the pool on account of some kid pooping in there during family time. disgusting. luckily i was wearing goggles and a nose clip...still i'm sure i swallowed some poopy water. i did think i saw some little floating things in the water. couldn't get to the shower soon enough and i think i used up much of their soap there. children are cute and all, but they really can be germ transmitters...they are just gross sometimes. i guess the pool should be super clean if i decide to head there tomorrow night. the reality is ocean and lake water is full of all sorts of crap with no way to clean it. i'm sure with a pool that big it can handle one poop...but still it's jsut disgusting!!!
back to watching a bit more of the olympics before i crash for the night...oh and the avalanche victim was the boss of conoco-phillips not exxon. his friend wasn't found...snow too unstable to risk looking. so three deaths probably from avalanches yesterday.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

catching up....

blossom creats large holes looking for her tennis balls out there. below is a moose that was snoozing by the parking garage at work as i drove out this morning. as i drove in that moose was there as well, munching on the trees.
on thursday between shifts i headed to n. bivouac to get the pups out for a run. as we first got started a dog came barreling down the trail at us...i quickly saw that it was indy and headed back to the trailhead where i met up with tanya who had been trying to load the dogs when he took off after something...blossom no doubt. as we finished our own loop and i was trying to load blossom and rio, emma and luke came barreling down the tank trail. it was a good 10-15 minutes before jill made it to them and she was relieved to see that they were safe with us...apparently they had taken off a bit back and it scared her.

the trees are from that same day. still very pretty with all the fresh snow. it's getting too warm and could quickly become a mess out there. in tonights news there were 2 avalanches in two seperate area's. a guy was killed in eagle river when he was skiing and an avalanche struck and out at spencer glacier area 2 snowmachiners were apparently killed by a seperate avalanche. one of those killed was the president of exxon, alaska i think it was.

rio started getting excited as we left the bog the other day and headed back to the house. from behind this car i saw the moose butt only. it's a young moose and looks like it found some interesting trash. it's pretty young...hopefully it survives winter, but this can't be a very good sign.
tuesday rio just stayed on the couch so i took blossom to dog park. we walked it once and then i got the skate ski's on for some practice time in the field. the snow was pretty perfect that day and they'd just groomed so it was fun. i'm slow, but i think i did okay. that was also the day that phil harris of deadliest catch passed away. thoughts go out to his family and friends. will be interesting to see how the show handles this all.
hopefully, i haven't already put this one in here....just a cute picture of rio.

finally had my appointment with the employee health np. not sure what is causing my hip pain still but she sent me to physical therapy. i felt almost embarrassed to be there as all the people were dealing with major rehab stuff. not that having hip pain isn't worthy of action. he gave me some stretches to do and we'll meet up again next week. i did work three nights in picu and tough the hip pain was increasing through the subsequent nights the little stretches seemed to help keep it from reaching the highest level of pain. the real test will be a busier night and those higher chairs that acc uses. harder to do the hip stretches. now my big pain is the headache that i started my day with. hate headaches. the hospital is full of rsv so i always worry i'll get a bug with all those sick kids everywhere. i definitely had increased sinus pressure doing my laps today. swimming felt great but my breathing was off a bit. got my 25 laps in.
came home and watched olympics. the vancouver olympics have begun...they actually began in tragedy as a luge olympican from georgia (the country, not the state) had an accident in a training run on the luge and flew out of the track and was killed. i saw the video and it was awful...though the death was instantaneous from what i could see. his poor family and team mates. i guess they started the luge competition today and his team mate opted out....just too emotional for him. that is sad as well, but understandable. if you are on a sled going at 90 miles per hour you had better be mentally on your game. they moved the mens start gate down to the pairs and womens gate and they did some modifications of the track where he died. it was completely unpadded metal and concrete posts. a very experienced luger said he's never seen or heard of anyone flying out of the track before so it probably was a freak thing, though this is a new track in whistler and it is turning out to be quite dangerous. tonights events seemed to go off without incident which will help everyone move forward. my heart goes out to this mans family, friends and country at this time...amazing how something so exiting can turn into tragedy so rapidly.
loved watching short track speed skating tonight. the match was quite exciting. apollo ono came out with a silver after 2 of the 3 koreans in lead took a spill. that also moved another american to bronze metal position. very exciting sport to watch. you just never know what will happen. they also showed womens moguls...don't know why anyone would do that one as it totally trashes the knees. oh well. gold and bronze for the americans on that one i believe.
still have a headache and i'm tired so that will have to be all for now. off to bed....