Wednesday, March 26, 2008

and again?

Oh yes, let's go over tomorrow ONE MORE TIME because I didn't get it the first FOUR times we talked about it. Aaaaaaaahhhhh.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

woooo hoooooo

We passed!!! This morning we got up waaaaaayyy too early again and headed off to our motorcycle class. Jamba Juice was closed though! The horror. We did some more exercises and got steady on the bikes again and after a few hours we had to take the test! Eeeek! The first item tested I hadn't been good at at all & had only done it once correctly. We didn't know how many pionts you got off for doing things wrong but we ploughed ahead. I did cross outside of the box I wasn't supposed to so knew I'd get points for that but they didn't have me do it again or anything so... We did more testing and eventually... Everyone passed! Waaaahhhoooooo. That's so cool. I really didn't want to have to take it again or got to the DMV & take their test (you can waive the DMV test if you pass) so I'm excited.
Now, we just have to figure out what kind to buy!! Oh, and take the DMV written test. Can't wait. :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

on yer bike

(you might only get that if you're british)
We finished the class work, had some lunch & came back for the riding part of the class. The first part of it. Wow, it was hard. I used to own & ride a motorcycle uh... 17 years ago(!) but I haven't ridden in a VERY long time. There's a lot you forget in that long. The guys teaching are serious and really good. They "kicked out"/asked to leave 4 people today. So, we have 5 more hours tomorrow & then we can go get our motorcycle licences. I think Alex really likes it too. It's a lot to remember & riding on the closed parking lot is hugely different than out on the road with crazy people who are on the phon, eating, putting on make-up & not aware. So we'll see how we do tomorrow & if we pass after all this. Now I just have to go to bed totally early to get up @ 5:30 again. Eek!

classwork

Today Alex & I are sitting in a classroom for almost 5 hours! And... We had to get here at 6:30am! Ugh. now, that was hard for me. We're taking a Motorcycle Traing class and one third of it is classroom stuff. Learning the rules of the road & about motocycle riding. Then we take a test to move on to the course work. Just being in the classroom bring brings back blech memories. The lighting is bad. The desks are small, wobbly, old & right handed. And as Alex says, just being in a classroom makes you feel dumber. Hmm.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

more flowers

I know I post photos of my flowers a lot, but... They're just so pretty! That's why I get them I guess. They make me smile :) Here are the ones I got this week for my office.

howdy

The Story department had a western themed party this afternoon. Don't ask me why, I have no idea. Just to celebrate & have an excuse to drink. Unfortunately our department had to work late so we went for a few minutes & got back to it. Thanks guys! :)

parking hog

A while ago (you may remember the post about it) I parkd at the TINY Trader Joe's parking lot in a "compact" space and someone got mad about it -even though I was within the lines & not stticking out the back. At work today someone in the parking lot parked in TWO spaces! And not up towards the top where not as many people park, but right by the crowded part. Whatever.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

ulu update

well, we got the ulu from Alaska in the mail! Yea! So I guess the postage Alex put on it was enough :) Thanks so much to that security guy for helping us out. That was awesome of him. Now we have to use it for something. But we don't have any animal hides to scrape or fish to filet...
(see older post for airport/ulu story)

Monday, March 17, 2008

slide show

I had to work on Saturday (boo again!) so A, H&J came over for lunch to visit me. That was fun. To show them around & try and explain what it is I do everyday...! Then they went to the museum, which A says is now good again! Wahoo! when they were finished we thought we'd go to the movies at the Grove but it was sold out. Bummer. So, we met back at home! They brought pie from the farmer's market (yum!) and whilst Howard tried to finish one of our books from our shelves, Jan showed us photos of the boat & cornwall & up north & such. That was great. Then we showed our Alaska pix. Not quite all 2500 of them but nearly. They left way too late to get up & drive the next morning but its always hard on the last night of a tip to say goodbye. :( Thanks for visiting guys! :)

finished

I'm working (yea! Paycheck!) so I don't have a lot of time to spend with the Hills whilst they're visiting (boo!) and it seems the only time I have available is dinner time, so we keep going out. I suppose we should have cooked but... Didn't happen. This is the aftermath of a fun Japanese dinnerwe had in Burbank. I'd never been there but Ales goes a bit & took Zoe there last summer. It is great to spend the time with them.

giant soup

We went to dinner with Melis & the Hills on thursday. I just think that the soup bowl in the most ginormous thing ever! It's bigger than his head!

memories

We flew from & to Burbank airport for the Alaska trip this year. Last year it was LAX and this was so much better. Usually when we're flying out of/in to BUR (to go to NoCal) we're on Southwest, but this time we were on Alaska Airlines. This arrive in the left "terminal" instead of the right one. The airport is so small you can't really call them terminals. Anyhoo... We got to the baggage claim & floods of childhood memeories came rushing in. I spent a great deal of my time at this airport (when there was only one terminal). We flew PSA all the time! Really. All. It was back in the day when you gave them the tickets on board (!) like a bus and we had a huge stack in my aunts desk & we'd tear off what we needed & fill in the info. Melis & I would travel through BUR & SFO airports like pros. Someone would just drop us at the curb at one place & someone would pick us up at the curb at the other end. And we travelled alone. Not with each other. So this luggage claim is a place I stood for many minutes in my life. Back in the day. Back when you could do all that. As a kid. No one really worried about nail clippers or bottled water on board. We just drank Tang. :) I miss those days a lot sometimes.

burbank

We made it! We don't really fit in here as well in our many layers of clothes & A's beard & boots. oh well. I'm sure we'll fall right back in in no time at all.

on board

(note: finally catching up on the final Alaska trip posts. Might move them to the "right" place late.)
So, waaaayyyyy back on thursday, A bought an Ulu at the museum. That's a native knife that they use to gut fish & cook etc. It's almost like a mezzaluna. Anyhoo, it'd been in the backpack all week & we'd totally forgotten about it. The x-ray machine reminded us :) The security guy pulled everything out of A's backpak & finally found the Ulu. He said we could go go back down & put it in our luggage, (uh... No) or we could mail it. I kept trying to ask how we could mail it but was worried about the flight so I went to the gate & left A to deal with it. At the gate, they were only on the first round of boarding so when I saw A running down the hall (during the second round) I waved for him to relax. Turns out the guy was totally cool & helped him mail the knife. The museum had wrapped it up in cardboard so it was all set to mail. A bought some stamps out of a machine and stuck them all on. One security woman said they couldn't mail it upstairs but the guy totally helped A out. that was soooooo sweet of him. We had already made peace with the fact that we might never see it again, but, sent it off into the ether & hoped we would. We got on board & squished in with everyone else (who knew so many people go to Seattle in the middle of the night?). It was the only of the 4 legs of the trip without a window :( I slept (of course) & assume A did the same. In Seattle we were so tired. We stopped at one of the (many!?) Starbucks' and sat in the cozy seats & rested. I had thought we'd go back to the fun store & get something for the girls but we were just wiped. We went to the gate for the next flight & got on board & fell asleep. LA here we come.

Friday, March 14, 2008

fuji sushi

We're out for Japanese food for dinner with the Hills, who are in town until sunday. It's fun having them here but I have to work so dang much, including tomorrow :( But I get to have dinners with them. Yea!

zoester

Thinking of Zoe today (even more than usual) as I'm wearing the skirt we bought on Venice Beach this past summer. I can't believe it was so long ago! It feels like she was here. Wish she was. :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

OMG!!!! It worked!! Waaaahooooooo!

final test

Just thought I'd give it another try, in case it decided to work suddenly :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

panic!



After dinner we still had HOURS until we needed to go to the airport. We headed back to the Melinium to check up on the race & maybe rest on the lobby couches (they are cozy) but when we got there we were so tired we fell asleep in the car. After a looonnngggg while it got pretty cold. We went inside to use the loo and make a final check. Then, off to the airport.

When we got there we returned the car (which took a bit of doing to clear) & headed inside. Well, we were at the wrong terminal. :( We had forgotten we'd had to take a shuttle to the car when we arrived. So we went to find the shuttle, which eventually got there but it made two circles to employee parking before taking us to the other terminal (there's only 2!). We raced in, dropped our bags & grabbed our travel clothes. We needed to pack out "below zero" clothes too. We did this in under 10 minutes (we timed it. We went to the counter & the woman said we had minutes to finish checking in. But then she had to wait for some remote person to authorise her computer! Finally we did this and had to pull 1lb out of one othe suitcases. We raced upstairs to go through x-ray. They've added a new step now where a TSA person checks your ID with a black light & your ticket before x-ray. There was a line! We heard them call our plane to board! A asked the TSA woman if we could cut & she didn't re
ally even look at him but said "you can ask all of these people" in line. so... We did. They had Delta tags on their bags (we were continental) and didn't seem in a hurry. One guy let us in then they woman & her family in front let us go. Phew. Then... X-ray. "Excuse me sir. Is this your bag?".

to be continued...

imperial palace



After the book store, we got hungry so we went in search of food. For some reason Chinese food struck our fancy. We looked up on A's iPhone local Chinese food places. We tracked one down but it was in a dodgy strip mall so we looked further. On the north side of the city was a place called the Imperial Palace. It seemed like a good place so we tried it. Uh, yum!! It was so good. Some of the best chinese foor in a long time. What agood choice.

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games



After the movie, since we didn't have anything else to do, we stayed & played in the cinema arcade. We played air hockey (I won! You can see the little "7" above my head) and some video games. Then we went to the book store to hang out for a bit.

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multiplex


I swear I wrote a post yesterday about going to the movies. I can see my hands typing the words into my Palm but I can't find it ANYWHERE! Oh well...

On Tues, after lunch, we were both feeling so crappy we thought about just getting a hotel room until we had to go to the airport but, we decided to go to the movies instead. We found the local multiplex 16 and went to see "In Bruges". (Aak! I've totally written that before!)I don't think I expected much so I was pleasantly surprised. The first half was waaaay better than the second but it was witty, bloody, funny, touching... Brendan Gleeson was fabulous & Colin Farrel was very good as well. I'm really glad we saw it.

(NOTE:) This post follows the "soup" post below. Just bypass all the technical crap in between. I wish I could.)

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plain texting in bits

So sad. I still can't get my text/photo blogging to work so I figured I'd give in & post through e-mail. It takes longer but it worked the other day with the Bear Tooth post. Guess what? Today I started to post my final trip posts with it & no joy. I really don't know what to do now. I'm kinda at a loss. This was the funnest thing to post our pix & stories so easily from the phone. As you know, before I had this phone I was pretty bad about posting & even worse at posting photos. Bummer dude man.
OK. One last option to try. Then...

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Wow! This really is annoying me now. It made me log in again but it still won't post my texted in messages!!!

update: so this one posted, which was just a plain text, but I've sent 3 with photos attached and NOTHING!!!!! I hate blogger. I hate AT&T!

update2: ARGH!!! So, I've just put that little update on & added a tag. All this shows up in the "edit posts" section but when I reload the actual blog page... it doesn't show up!!!!! Is that Melissa's computer? Is it blogger.com? Is it hillkurtz.com? I'm soooooo done with technology this weekend. Unfortunately, everyone (family/friends) expects me to know everything. As do I. (and now the iPhone is being weird.. don't get me started!)

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

argh!!!

Argh!!!

Technology just hates me today & it's really frustrating. Out Tivo has been completely on the fritz all day. And today is my "recovery day" Alex got to just hang all day yesterday while I was at work. Today he's at a writing conference with Melis and all I wanted to do was hang & catch up on my tv. Nope. The machine hates me. Now Blogger is being totally lame. I got one post to work through e-mail instead of text but my following emails didn't work. Sigh. And my computer is being weird as well. I did hit it today in a moment of computer & Tivo frustration so I hope I didn't hurt it ={

Maybe I should just go to bed & try again tomorrow.

OH! Don't forget to set your clocks forward tonight! (I HATE daylight savings. It shoud just be banished forever. We do NOT need it anymore.)

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bummer

So... The email ones are working but not the texted ones w/the photos. How to fix this...?

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testing

1... 2... 3...
Blogger is being weird & isn't posting any of mu texted blogs today. Does an email one work?

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

soup

We've been hanging out at the Melinium hotel getting race updates, writing some cards but mostly resting. We came to the hotel restaurant to get some lunch. Soup! Very good. We had a good lunch here last year.

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copper whale

Last night we stayed at the Copper Whale B&B in Anchorage. It's a really cute place (run by a guy that grew up in Burbank) and when we arrived & got in our cozies we went into the living room to have some tea, sit by the fire and read the paper. That was lovely.

Both of us being sick we didn't have the best night's sleep and Alex had to get up tp put money in the meter (one drarback of this place-no parking). But we eventually got up, took showers (a great shower compared to the last one) and ate some breakfast. He had quite a spread out in the common room but we couldn't eat that much, trying to be healthy. Next time, right? :) We packed up & got out of the room and are trying to figure out what to do today untill our plane at 12:45 tonight/morning. I think we'll go over to the Melinium hotel to see what's happening with the race. We had thought we'd go x-country skiing today but we are soooooo not up for that :(

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long rifle lodge

Before we left the glacier the guy told us there was a small restaurant 300 feet down the road if we wanted dinner or hot chocolate. We went to it and it looked a bit dodgy from the outside. But, they were open & we didn't feel like waiting till Anchorage to eat so we went in. It was so fun! They had wood beams & poles everywhere & more dead, stuffed animals than you could shake a stick at. Really. A lot. We sat in front of the buffalo & the polar bear. We had a great cheeseburger & chilly & hot chocolate for dinner. So good. Mmmmmm. We even got a mug to add to our collection. It was exactly what we needed. Now, we're heading back to Anchorage to a B&B. Now... What to do tomorrow?

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Monday, March 03, 2008

glacier

Today didn't start out great but we found a glacier park that was open! Nothing seems to be open in the winter round these parts. We headed out that way. I drove as Alex slept & tried to beat his sore throat & snuffles. We were only about half way & I started doing the math and figured out we wouldn't get there till after 4pm! As we drove a loooooong way down a remote road with not many other vehicles I was starting to worry. But we got there and they were open! We paid our fee & drove further down a scary, icy road to a place to leave the car. Then we piled on more layers & walked out to the ice. I think she said it would be about 1000 feet but I don't reaaly know. It seemed far. The scary part was walking over the thinner ice it would echo & rumble below your feet! The first time we heard it we thought it was a sound from back up the road. That was creepy. We made it to the base of the Matanuska Glacier. It was really pretty. Most of it is covered in snow this time of year but you could see bits of blue ice peeking out. There was a Discovery Channel crew there shooting some "surviving Alaska" special with Les, the guy from Survivor man up on the glacier. I think they said this special will air april 24th. They seemed like they were working a bit slow but we had a lot of fun talking to the crew down below at their base camp. It seems like they are doing a really fun trip with this special. We took lots of pictures & eventually hiked up the glacier a bit to where the camera crew was. They seemed a bit freaked out that we were coming up there but then they assumed Alex was a local :) (as people are won't to do). Apparently there were 30 foot drops on either side of the path we'd gone up. We went back down & chatted a bit more. They were so cold, poor things. The light was going so we headed back. They sent one of their guys to get stuff from the cars so when he passsed us he offered us a lift. That was kinda fun but, I have to say, the only sound scarier than the ice echoing below your feet is it echoing under a huge heavy snowmobile with 3 people on it! When we got to the car the guy that ran the place that has the access to the road was coming to check on us. I guess we'd been gone a while. He said some times with physical people you don't know how far they're going to walk (so that's a nice compliment). We didn't want him to find out that we'd been up on the glacier so we left. I took quite a few pix out there with the slr & the point & shoot but I totally forgot to take one with the phone. Oops. We also forgot to take an US picture out there. Oh well. I'm so glad we kept going & made it out there. That was awesome!

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comfy evening

Last night we went & got some pizza & went "home" to get in our cozy's & eat with the TV. We sat on the floor & watched some nature shows. There was a couch & a huge bed but somehow the floor was best. Soon we were so tired we flooped into bed. My back is still hurting quite a bit so it's hard to find a position the sleep in. But, it was a good evening all and all and we did good with our dog handling too. :)

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road to...

Today we don't have a plan. We knew what we were doing through yesterday but now it's all ad lib. We're a little out of sorts today as well. We're all achey from the last two days. We both have bad sore throats & A has the sniffles. Also, somebody's been sending spam from one of Alex's emails so he got over 5000 "not deliverable" maiils this morning. That sucks! So, we're heading north & we'll see what happens.

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

finish

Well... We've been here almost 9 hours today & now we are finished with the Iditarod for this year. That was fun. We both got to help 3 teams and my back decided (for the most part) to behave. We are really pooped now. But as we go off to find some pizza for dinner & curl up by the fire with a book all the mushers are starting their 2 week (aprox) trip across Alaska. In the cold. Very cold. They won't sleep much at all or be warm the whole time. We wish them well. Be safe & have fun guys!

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us

Us with some teams in the background. Can you even see us? Can't tell out here in the bright. What a fun day!!!

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60

My second team of the day, #60. she's a rookie but her husband had run before & he's #54 this year.

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lance

The big gaggle of folks around Lance Mackey, last year's winner. last year almost nobody but us cared about him, but we knew he was the one to watch.
(Alex in the gaggle as well)

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interview

Alex being interviewd. For what? We don't know yet.

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snow

There's real snow up here. Mostly fresh. The kind that crunches under your feet. Yea! (Alex's feet)

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set up

We've checked in & gotten our arm bands and are now watching the lake fill up with mushers & spectators.

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dinner

Becuase we're obviously in a rut we arrived in Wasilla, checked in to our hotel & went to dinner at the same place we did last year. (well, we took a short nap first as we were so pooped) Evengelo's has not changed at all in a year. Totally busy and such funny decor. Good food but we were so full so fast. Bummer. We wenthome, got warm (it was soooo cold last night) rested & finallywent to bed. A great day all in all.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

whew!

We didi it! The ceremonial start is all over an we are wiped out! Alex helped out 4 teams & I did 2.5 (i lost my grip on the first one couldn't go on). The last team we helped together which was fun. Those dogs were sooooo strong! It was crazy! I'm rooting for team 73, Sven, as he was so friendly & that was my favorite. After it was over te streets cleared up pretty fast. We got hot dogs & water from a vendor & went back to the hotel to check out & get our gear. Phew! My back is screaming at me and my feet are done standing but I'm so glad we did it! Now up to Wasilla tonight for the re-start tomorrow in Willow. Sleep please!!!

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wordless

I can't even describe how gorgeous the mountains are on this drive north. Wow! Really amazing. I'm sure this phone doesn't do it justice but I'm glad I have my "real" camera (olympus slr) this year to try & get some good shots.

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47

Alex at the helm of team 47 :)

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church

The musher I'm helping this morning.

It's snowing & I'm freezing!

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early early

The streets of Anchorage in the early hours with mushers, volunteers & vendors getting set up for the day.

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