Tuesday, November 30, 2010

trek to california....

starting with a picture my friend natalie took of me in california. i'm often behind the camera so fun to have a shot like this...how i'm often seen. in the past when i visited california i was running around like a mad woman trying to see everyone and be everywhere. freeways in los angeles are nuts and so i spend a great deal of time in the car. this trip i really wanted to get to the beaches, relax a bit and just enjoy the california i grew up with. natalie drove down to laguna to meet me on saturday. we went to the sawdust festival there and then i took her to a beach called 1000 steps for the sunset.
but first..i left alaska. had to wake early sunday morning. thankfully, my pet sitter volunteered to drop me off and pick me up from the airport. it was an easy way to pass off the dogs and the dog car for her. the pups like her and her husband so i think overall things went well for them. she said rio was much more comfy with them. blossom is more of a mama's girl than i often think...she got diarrhea at some point, poor girl, and poor petsitters. everyone seems great now. it was cold when i left anchorage, less than 10 degrees F. sounds like the weather deteriorated after my flight sometime and it's a good thing i left when i did. the place turned to a sheet of ice and then a nice snow came thanksgiving day.
my flight left after 10 am so i got a bit of sunrise. the flights down were a bit noisy with kids, but uneventful....just how i like it.
looks cold down there...
the skies and scenery from above often were quite lovely.
it did cloud up though i got glimpses as we flew south. thought i may have caught some of southeast alaska. hard to tell from way up there.
loved how the moon looked hanging above the clouds as the sunset over northern california no doubt.
hard to take night shots out of an airplane, but los angeles is lights and activity as far as the eye can see it seems. always a culture shock to go from alaska to the big city. to fly all day, rent a car and then drive for 2 hours is a bit surreal. LAX hasn't changed much at all since the days i went when i was a kid, except there aren't any hari krisna's hanging out there. i did used to love watching the flights arrive and go and see the people gather and greet and such. those days are gone. it was always such a fun ritual at the airport.
my brother ross and his wife live in laguna beach. they had delayed thier trip to utah for thanksgiving so that we could visit a bit. i stayed at thier place in laguna for 2 nights. always fun to catch up live with family. i think it was after 8pm by the time i arrived. we stayed up late chatting. thier daughter, my neice, kacey, came over and visited as well. bummed i didn't get a picture of her. it was fun to chat. she is in med school. within a few minutes she asked me to french braid her hair. i used to braid the kids hair fairly regular when i lived down south.
the road to thier place is thin and winding and if you didn't stop you'd fly off this embankment into the gulley below. i parked up the hill from them. they remodeled the house and don't know how long they'll actually live there. the market in california is not what it was. it's a pretty house with amazing views.
the next day my sis in law, claralyn, took me to the main part of laguna beach for some window shopping. we also stopped at main beach and then headed off to visit my other neice kelly and her year old twins. we ate lunch at her place then took a little walk to a local park. the kids love the swings and were making funny scrunchy faces...kids are a crack up. above is meka and below is dirk.
great to just have a relaxing visit with them and enjoy the kids.
again, above is dirk and below is meka, playing at the house. meka had been a bit under the weather earlier that day and it sounds like things may have gotten a bit worse at the house as they had all planned to fly to utah to be with the other siblings (my brother and his wife have 6 kids), but they canceled and stayed home. traveling with little kids can be tough when they are feeling good, going with sick ones would be a real bother i'd think. i'm sure they made the right choice, though i'm sure it was hard to miss thier family gathering. dirk and meka were quite healthy when they were born but smaller so those first few years can be a bit more delicate. watching kelly with her kids was fun, she is a wonderful mom and takes great care of them.
as usual, i'm a bit all over the place with my pictures. before claralyn and i went to see the kids she took me to this look out. not sure the name of the beach below. i went back and walked out on the beach and came back to this lookout again. funny that we spent so much time in laguna growing up. my gramps had built a beachhouse here in the 50's and we grew up spending at least 2 full weeks/summer in victoria cove at the house. we rarely strayed to any other beaches down there so it was fun this trip to explore a bit more. beaches in california are full of houses, but they are beautiful and one can totally see why everyone wants to live there.
this lookout overlooks what she called "seal rock" it's north of the main beach there in laguna off of cliff street.
these are seal rocks.
not sure what these plants are but they were pretty and the hummingbirds were all over it. there is one hummer in the picture below, i came back with my zoom later and went nuts over the hummers so i won't bother posting any more of my feable attempts from this day.
back to the kids...after the swings...slides! kelly seemed to enjoy the extra set of hands...i'm sure twins can be tough to chase after. was telling them about a couple on one of my flights who had 2 sets of twins, age 2 and age 4. they had thier hands full on the flight.
here is my cute neice kelly. saw those huge sunglasses all over the laguna shops, must be the newest style. i'm so out of touch with the fashions. alaska's latest craze is these skhoops. i wore mine down on the flight and back up. got several looks and comments. the last day i was in alaska i'd taken the dogs to the dog park and i think i saw no less than 7 or 8 people with skhoops on. they are a great layer...doubt they'll be catching on in california though.
everyone is ready for out walk. the babies are covered with blankets i made for them after they were born. that is my sister in law claralyn with kelly and then the kids. come to think of it now, i didn't get any pictures of my brother ross either. pulling out a camera when you are lounging about talking just doesn't come to mind i guess.
these are back at the apartment with kelly and her kids.
when i first arrived they just kept staring at me. quite unsure of this stranger amongst them. kelly used the bibs i brought down for them from alaska.
another hummingbird shot from the overlook.
downtown laguna is charming and always fun to wander about. bought little trinkets. great to be a tourist...
below are just more pictures of the spectacular views my brother and his wife enjoy each day.
the view from the room i stayed in when i woke the next day.
thought i'd take a picture of the outside of the house. he had to get the city to allow him to make some major changes/repairs. the basic M shape stayed. i like it, quite modern looking and cool.
claralyn walked with me to main beach for some photo ops. we rarely came to this beach as kids. i think my brothers came more as they played hoops out there.
strange to have claralyn to myself for a few hours. thier kids are all out of the house now. i'm sure there have been some major adjustments for them. going from 6 kids to none.
random beach shots on the main beach. always active down there. for me it was all warm and sunny, for the locals it was sunny but cold. the beach in the winter down there is the best though. in the summer it's crowded and crazy.
it's great to be home again. i love vacations once i get out on them, but i hate all the stress getting ready. i'm a homebody at heart. wanderings okay, but being home is the best. leaving the dogs is always tough for me. i am getting set in the ways i guess. my sheets are all clean, last night i started the wash but i just crashed on the bed. i did notice that my house is warmer than before the insulation went in. at first this morning i thought perhaps the pet sitters had put the thermastat up. it's set at about 64 F. usually the upstairs is hot and the downstairs is cold. it feels more uniform and just overall more comfy. that makes me feel better. i'm sure the bill will improve after this next one which will be inflated due to the door being open that day.
had another surprise at home. a bill from my phone/internet company. a few months ago i noticed that my connection from my router called blossom had disppeared as an option to connect to. it had been secured. i began to connect to an unsecured one that was linksys. i see now that this was just my own router rebooted and now unsecured. apparently someone else in the neighborhood has been using it as well and my usage went up as did my fees. my bill for my internet was over $150. OUCH!! i called them and then went to best buy. i think it's no longer available and the geek squad will come set up my new router on the 14th. those things are good for a few years i'm told and probably the router was crapping out. so i won't be able to access the internet via the laptops for a few weeks. should go get my old laptop cleaned up this week probably.
claralyn took this shot below for me with my little camera. it looks a bit like a tampax commercial shot. i always call those laugh out loud, life is great shots, tampax shots.
took the pups for a nice long walk today. it was maybe 10 degrees so a bit of a change from my time in california. i was dressed appropriatly so no big deal. the pups are sleepy though. will be great to crash tonight. i should be able to finish the book i've been working on. almost finished on the flight between portland and anchorage but may have 20 pages or so left. it's on the kindle so they just give you a percentage of the book remaining. that part is kinda odd on the thing. overall, i like using the kindle. i find it easier to read for some reason than a regular book.
one if the souveneirs i brought back from california is bronchitis. my nose is also running something awful. sick of coughing already. what a drag. felt badly for those sitting near me on the planes.
i realize these are california and not alaska...but i got some fun pictures and will be telling my california tale for the next week or so. it's all white out there right now anyway...i'm sure i'll add in pictures from the recent as well. missed blogging. did spent the evenings chatting with my brother jeff and his family and loading pictures. loaded them on facebook most nights so that he and my other siblings could enjoy the trip via photos as well. we all have a tie to laguna and southern california, no matter where we stray.
my california trip was wonderful. it was so relaxing and lovely. great to be able to chill and photograph an area i was always running around in before. many great memories in southern california...so i'm sure i'll be wandering down memory lane a bit as i ramble. bear with me.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

sunsets and nurses...

my afternoon walks put me well into sunset these days. nice to see the sun set while i walk, but it is a bit early. i'm sleepy tonight, but know tomorrow will be packed with trip details. don't know how people travel as often as they do. it's just exhausting getting all the pretrip stuff done. i'll only be gone a week and the to do list just always seems so daunting. must pack, charge batteries, get cash, clean house, buy cat litter, write the pet emergency note...tonight, though i'll just sleep...oh and clean the sheets for the pet sitters...can't forget that!!
the mitten above was at the university lake dog park. not sure why i always find the winter bits hanging in trees entertaining, but i love the common courtesy of it all. it's very alaskan to put objects found on trails up on the branches so the owner can locate them and the object won't be buried in snow. not much worry of that this week. just bitter cold. bitter cold is when the temperature becomes so cold as to be a bit unpleasant. less than 10 for me. below neg 15 is super bitter and below 30 or 40 is just miserable.
went to the march of dimes nurse award ceremony and i think fundraiser as well. my friend sharon won in the administrative category. great to see her win. she always goes the extra mile in her job and is most appreciated. i was nominated, but my name wasn't called. was happy to sit in my seat and just applaud. by the end of the evening i was joking that i would now be on suicide watch as the people who won in the various categories have such impressive and selfless lives. i feel like such a loser compared to them. in between doing nursing and raising kids, they volunteer like crazy, work on many commitees, give of thier lives completely and probably help little old ladies across the street. i think i take wonderful care of my patients, but i've never been one to come to work for committee's and work in the community promoting health. while i appreciate the thought of being nominated, i knew i wasn't the sort of nurse that gets selected for such things. it was a nice dinner and i quite enjoyed myself out there with friends.
it's nice to be noticed in any profession for giving more than is just required. being a nurse can be a tough job, but i know that infusing humor and the right attitude can really go a long way in making those 12 hours more pleasant, for staff and the patients. volunteering would probably be a great thing to do, but somedays just being kind is a public service all it's own.
here i am with a few of my favorite people, sharon and margaurite. i work with some great nurses. my outfit was comfy and i think stylish enough for the event.
everyone scattered after the evening was over, but we got a few small group shots. the peds group was divided into 3 tables. our table was fun. we had me, sandra, rhonda, corriene, jacque, tawny, jolene, a few friends and one of the docs, elizabeth. above is me, sandra, sharon, jenny and margaurite and jean. jean just retired this past year and margaurite got the legends award last year. sandra joined me as my "date" for the night. we drove over together.
there are nominee's from across the state. was surprised to find an old co-worker had flown in from ketchikan. a nurse practitioner down there won an advanced nursing award. fun to see kendall. it's been years.
rhonda and i show off our nominee badges. sandra's camera took these last two shots from the evening. she loves that she can take pictures with her phone and put them on facebook right away. those simple pleasures in life, eh?
woke and had time to just bog it before i had to get ready for the evening. the skies were pink. it was quite pretty out. cold, but pretty.
trying to sort out what plans for the upcoming week. should be fun, hopefully, i can see some friends and maybe just relax on the beach and soak up some rays. i know it won't be warm and sunny, but it will be warmer and more sunny. that is enough for the moment. as much as i hate leaving the dogs behind, i know that it's probably good for me to take a vacation from life as i know it. i suspect it's good for the dogs to rest with me away, especially rio. her joints need me to go on vacation from time to time.
work was steady and the last 2 nights passed pretty quickly. i always dread that last night before you go on vacation. being a bit superstitious i always think crazy nights happen before you try to go on vacation. it wasn't bad though. a child that should be dead, isn't. that goes a long ways in helping heal us all from the child that shouldn't have died that did. life is not fair and it's fragile. none of it was an issue of fault, just the way it goes somedays. some are lucky and some aren't. did god intervene? hard for me to give credit for intervention for one child and not for the other. can't imagine that god is so randomly selective in who gets thier prayers answered. you'll hear of some huge accident and only one person lives and people will say, god must have saved them, but i always think what about all the other people that god didn't bother with. doesn't make any sense to me.
went to the dog park between shifts wednesday/thursday. blossom loves going there and rio likes all the attention she invariably gets. just a nice change. we did a loop and then looped back.
the sun was setting there as well.
just so beautiful up here, it doesn't matter what time of year or how cold, it's just pretty.
they are busily putting a fence between the dog park boundaries and the alaska pacific university property. sad that the university feels the need to fence it off, but sadder still that the dog park community just can't follow simple rules. they are supposed to leash the dogs in this area so as to not bother people who may be on the soccer fields doing other activities. if there is nobody out there, then i don't bother, but anytime i see anyone out there, the dogs are on leash and off the fields. fencing will hopefully make better neighbors of us all though.
one thing the university may end up regretting about thier fence is that before the dogs were there the geese were and that field was always covered in goose poops. wonder if the geese will rediscover the area once the dogs are fenced off. will be interesting. for now, the geese are south.
just a few sunset pictures from the lake.

below is a picture from the day before. i walked the neigborhood to this other park i can readily get to from my place. it has a par course in it. not a well used one. relic of the 80's i think, but there are trails that form a few loops and these little exercise spots are scattered around out there. always a pleasant walk.
well, i'm sleepy and now i shall attempt to sleep a few hours before getting up and trying to work on the to do list.