Let me start by saying it was a perfect Christmas vacation. I can't think of anything I would change if I could, except possibly making it last longer.
Last Saturday, we packed up the dogs and took all three to the kennel in Sterling. You should have seen how crowded it was in Jim's truck, with James and three big dogs in the back seat. Tate had on her "giddy idiot" face and was just glad to be going somewhere like a "real" dog. Moya hogged most of the room and Belle stood where she could fit. In the bed of the truck were James' suitcases and two boxes of fur slippers and hats to be delivered to Alaska Fur Exchange when we got to Anchorage.
The roads were nice and clear on the way to The Big City. The weather was sunny and bright, and the drive in was uneventful. We considered stopping at the barbecue place at Turnagain Arm just south of Anchorage, but they weren't quite ready to open when we got there. We'll stop in another day. How could people with a sense of humor like ours *not* support a place with a name like this?
Our first stop in town was at Alaska Fur Exchange to drop off the completed items and pick up more materials for myself and for Lee. If we thought the truck was full on the way up, well, it was sure full now. I've got job security for a while longer!
Next we drove to Wasilla to look at some saunas. Jim and I had been talking about getting one for a few months, and he found a place in Wasilla that was selling some affordable ones that would fit indoors and were easy to assemble. We picked out one, and hope it will be delivered sometime this week.
With time to kill before heading to the airport with James, we decided to explore one of the big malls. Finally, a mall like the ones in Texas! The "mall" in Soldotna has a GNC and a Payless Shoes as the anchor stores, so that should tell you something about the shopping we have out here on the Peninsula. While at the mall in Anchorage, we found a store that sells nice hats for men, and of course James went in to have a look. James looks good in most things he puts on his head, but oh how cute is he in a bowler!
After the mall we ate dinner at Outback Steakhouse and then took James to the airport. I managed not to cry until James checked his baggage. Hey, I can only suck it up for so long! Here's James at the airport with a Kodiak bear mount. I think the bear would like to try on the new bowler.
Even making a crazy face, he is so cute!
Jim and I drove home that night, got home around 1:30 a.m. and tried to get some sleep before we needed to go to Sterling on Sunday to pick up the dogs. It was -18 degrees when we got up. Did you know that the foam seats in the car will get really hard when it's that cold? Yep, they do.
The kennel owners keep Tate indoors because she's so old, but the other two dogs stay in an outdoor run with a heated doghouse at one end. They share one run to help keep each other warm. We asked how cold it got in Sterling overnight (it's colder inland) and they weren't sure, but it was -22 when they got up. That may not have been the coldest night Belle's stayed outside in, but it was certainly the coldest Moya's been out for. All the dogs were so happy to be back in the warm car and they slept most of the rest of the day.
James made it safely back to campus by midday on Sunday. We hope he has a wonderful semester, learns a lot, and makes even more fun, goofy friends. He'll be back for Easter break in April.
The moose situation in the yard has gotten annoying. They're out there most days, making a mess even three dogs can't rival. There are lots of them lining the roads, making a hazard for drivers. We came upon the aftermath of a moose strike on the way to Sterling. Evidently a snowplow hit it and killed it. Moose are really big and can total a car, so we're thankful the plow was a substantial vehicle. Speaking of moose strikes, when you hit a moose with your car, you have to call and report it. You could face a fine for hitting the moose (which I don't think is fair considering the moose run in front of cars and it's not like you're aiming for one). The moose, if it died, is butchered and the meat is distributed to the needy. If you hit a bear with your car and it dies, the skeleton goes to museums and teaching institutes, and the hide is auctioned at the Fur Rendezvous. But I digress.
Now that the lovely vacation is over, I'll go back to nearly full-time work. James stretched a lot of furs for me and did a lot of prep work, too, so I'm good to go for a while. I'll also be working on a line of children's slippers starting this week. Jim's still chugging along at his work too, taking care of the chickens and keeping the fire going on the wood stove. So, I guess that's all the news I have for now. Stay warm!