Its been a while....

Hi! Alright, it's been soooo long. I'm couch-ridden at the moment with bronchitis so I'm happily at home resting and riding the liquid vicodin train- and I finally have a free moment to update my journal. So much has happened- including our little bundle of joy, Angus! He's so smart...although he does love humping his best friend in the picture above, ALF, and he has a taste for dust bunnies over his puppy chow! We had him for only a couple days before he started answering to his name and going to the back door when he had to go to the bathroom! He's unreal. We've taught him to sit, lay down and shake hands- he's like a little sponge! We didn't know much about border collies when we bought him, we just though he was cute, but apparently they're super smart and project oriented...we still haven't figured out what "project oriented" means, but I use that as an excuse to my mother-in-law when he tears up her plants. Right now the little fella is sleeping beside me on the couch with his head propped up on my leg- and my other fella, Pete, is sleeping on the other side of him. *content* The only thing that would make this situation better is if I could reach the remote and turn the sports channel off...

We've also happily settled in to Madison, Wisconsin- we're officially "cheese heads" now. Oddly enough, I have been craving cheese lately....hmmmmm. Here's our home, we rent the bottom half. We're lucky enough to have a good size backyard too, I can't wait to have a garden and barbecues in the summer!!!
Dreary, huh? We've had sooo much snow this year- over 100 inches so far. Luckily that picture is from a couple weeks ago and most of that's gone. Snow and all, I still really like Madison. I really enjoy my new job too. I'm working at Trader Joe's (a specialty health food store) and am working on enrollment in school. I can't wait to start up again, I love learning about nutrition. Trader Joe's is a great place to work, they offer me benefits for part-time work, I get a discount on incredibly expensive food, and I adore the friendly people I work with, but I can't wait to become a nutritionist. Teaching people how to cook, planning their meals and planning exercise routines is what I hope to do for a living. I did it when I was in Ohio before I left for the ice...I didn't get paid for it...but I loved helping people transform their bodies.

Here's some random photos for those of you who know us. I thought you'd enjoy these:
Pete with my sister's dog Maximus. *Note the curled up edges of the was impressive.

Pete made me put this in, I hate it.

A view of the beach in Kauai...paradise.

The first is of my favorite little person, my niece, Ella. We're eating lemons and I can't hang with her. The second is of Pete at the Cincinnati Art Museum, we got to see our favorite painting there- Van Gough, Two Figures in the Undergrowth- the ladder picture.

Alright, must go now, it's time to join Pete, he just started playing our new Nintendo Wii. I'm not really into video games- at all- but the Wii is amazing!

We hope this finds all of you well, The Annas...and Angus.

Rafting in Rangatata

Whitewater rafting was fun. 
<scratch that>
Whitewater rafting was unbelievable.

Big mountains.
Blue water...cooooold blue water.
Big rapids.
Great guides.
Two dogs...Sofie and Maya.
Green grass, sun, great friends. 
Great time.

Pics to come.  (I keep threatening that, don't I?)
We're off to the botanical gardens again to feed the ducks.  Tad's in town on his way back down to the ice so we're staying in Christchurch an extra day to go to Akaroa tomorrow and catch up.  Then on Friday we're heading up north for some sun and fun on the Abel Tasman Trek.  

ps. Today was beautiful- I got a sunburn :D

The botanical gardens

Is this where I declare my food?

... No, this is where your declare drugs and have either?

Ah, I love the Kiwis, no airport employee in the states has ever hinted at having a sense of humor.  I'll start from the beginning.  

We arrived around 9pm and deboarded the C-17.  It was dark.  I was standing on asfault.  The air was moist.  You could hear birds.  The smell was overwelming and I started to teared up.  Everything had a smell.  Every bush, every tree, every flower- it all had its own scent.  That's when it hit me that we were really gone and the ice was behind us.  Sandwich and I walked back to the *CDC to drop off our issued clothing and we relished every step.  We picked flowers, we walked on the grass instead of the sidewalk, we spotted moths and stared at them for probably way too long.  Everything was so new and interesting.  We finally reached the CDC to find everyone had already turned in their stuff and were waiting on us.   We were accused by the CDC staff of picking flowers and lollygagging...they just laughed because they know how us ice folks are!  

Cunningham drove all of us back to the YMCA and we dropped our bags and headed to Dux De Lux for dinner to meet all the other winterovers that had come off the ice before us.  On a side note: It's really weird being in a car again.  We were going about 60 k/hr and if felt like we were aboard the Enterprise and Jean-Luke had just ordered us into warp speed.  What cracked me up though is everytime we'd hit a bump or make a turn, we had so much weight in the car that this horrible scraping noise would come from underneath the car that Brian had just bought a couple hours prior, sorry Brian!  Anyway, it was great to see everyone, and we ate a huge plate of nachos.  It was amazing.  More than amazing.  That night came to an end pretty quickly though, we were all tired and over stimulated, we needed some sleep.  : D

The next day we woke up and the sun was shining, AND, it just so happens that our third floor room looks over the botanical gardens...score.  I kept raising my head to look outside, then going back to sleep in our comfy non-mcmurdo bed.  We ended up actually getting outside around noon or so and we found something going on across the street...tons of food carts and booths to shop!  The first thing Pete and I ate was blueberry ice cream made from real fruit!  Almost immediately after that we ate soulvaki from another cart...and its all been downhill from there.  We eat, and eat, and eat.  That night we had a huge sushi meal at Sala Sala and our shirts were bursting at the seams when we left.  Then, about an hour or so're going to want to cringe for this....we all had a "mac-attack" and had a midnight meal of MacDonalds.  The biggest thing that I can't really get over is that there's food everywhere.  Indian, Thai, American, Japanese, etc, and you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want.  We're having a bit of a hard time with the concept of moderation when all we've had the past 14 months in three squares that were prepared for us.  Lisa and I had a wonderful time walking around all day and browsing all the shops and tasting all different kinds of foods.  She'd say: Have you been in the fudge shop?  I'd say: No.  Then we'd go sample truffles and fudge in the shop.  She took me all over Christchurch, thanks Lisa!  (Actually she's on her way to the Cook Islands and I doubt she'll be anywhere near a computer for a while!)

Before I go, I have to tell you we actually did get out of Christchurch for a little while.  A group of us went to Lyttleton Harbor last night, which is about a 20 minute bus ride out of the city.  We got to meet Kdub's brother who's heading down to the ice, it was a blast.  Then tomorrow we'll head to (insert name of city because I forget it) for a full day of whitewater rafting followed by a merry greeting of more fellow winterovers that get in town tomorrow night.  More pics to follow...I can't find anywhere to upload them! 

Getting off the plane in Christchurch!

*CDC- Clothing distribution center
*I wrote this really quickly so disregard the spelling errors and anything that doesn't make sense.

Bye bye Antarctica, we're manifested.

  ...and though it's been said, many times, many ways....Merry Christmas to you.

It's 6 in the morning.  I was supposed to sleep in today, but I woke up after only a couple hours of sleep with the above song running though my head on repeat.  We're manifested.  We're leaving.  We *bag drag at 2 pm today, we have our room inspection around the same time as well- which actually frightens me because our room looks like it exploded.  Stuff is everywhere.  My mind is everywhere.  We're leaving.  I have to keep telling myself this because I've watched so many people leaving since last August, that it's surreal to think it's our time.  But all the signs are pointing towards our imminent departure, including the flight manifest that I have in my *USAP email account.  I get all the flight updates and manifest because at the Firehouse we directly deal with the flights.  This morning I got a little misty eyed when I opened my email and the first two names belong to myself and my partner in crime.  Us, along with about 16 or so winterovers are out on the flight tomorrow.           

1. This message provides a listing of passengers scheduled to depart Annual Sea Ice Runway for Christchurch, NZ on 12 OCT 07. Estimated time of departure is TBD.

2. Pax on board:



It's bittersweet. 

It's a tragedy.  Our tiny population of 119 has ballooned into a massive amount of people...I don't even know anymore how many people are here.  People watching has become a sport.  New people are interesting though, and It' about to get a whole lot more interesting soon...when we get to Christchurch!  We have dinner plans on Friday evening...dinner plans!!  *huge smile* 

*Bad drag- The day before your flight, you take all your checked luggage to Bldg 140 to get weighed and they take it to palletize it for the flight.  You're left with your carry-on and hopefully a change of clothes in case your flight's delayed!
*USAP- United States Antarctic Program
*Photos courtesy of the I:drive

(no subject)

 This is my second time around in Mr. Harry Fishel's jewerly-making class.  I was lucky enough to get in one of his classes last year and I made a ring.  Here, Harry and I are putting the finishing touches on the ring I'm making now.  However, sadly enough, last Monday when I was almost finished with the ring, I found a long crack along the bezel- most likely due to my soldering it incorrectly (when I say incorrectly, I mean quickly and sloppy because I have little to no patience).  Bummer, I have to start over.  But we have two more classes left and that's more than enough time to finish it.  It's really amazing that Harry offers this class to the community.  He not only offers his patience, but all of the materials that go along with making jewelry!  He brings the silver, the stones to pick from, and all the tools that we need.  I'd recommend a jewelry making class to anyone, it's so much fun- if I didn't have my hands full with mastering the art of knitting, I just might have to take up jewelry-making...but I think the last thing we need is me playing with a torch in the house.

 Look at that intense level of concentration.  It's because I'm playing with a torch. 

There were, of course, many other steps that led up to soldering the bezel onto the band (pictured above)....picking the right band, cutting it to my size, bending it into a circular fashion, picking the stone, making the bezel...breaking the bezel and fixing it...and last but not least- polishing it up.  

Race for the Cure!

"...One in eight women will be stricken with breast cancer in her lifetime. The Komen Denver Race for the Cure® raises money to fund education, screening and treatment programs for these women and thousands of others in our own community and supports the national search for a cure...." 

This year will be McMurdo's 3rd annual week for Supporting Denver's Race for the Cure...and we'll be able to log our miles by running, hiking, walking or skipping anytime between October 1-8 .  I have amitiously set my goal at raising $125, so feel free to click on the link and send me some of your pocket change...  

Constellation Trip

*Big Smile* 
This was my first trip...and probably my last trip of the year.  We drove out past Pegasus to the Pegasus airplane that crashed October of 1970 in McMurdo Sound.  Here's an exerpt about it:   

...The aircraft, with 80 on board, was flying from Christchurch, New Zealand, on its first flight of the 1970-71 season. After making six low passes over the field, the C-121J attempted to land in zero visibility, winds gusting to 40 mph in a snowstorm and in 90-degree crosswinds.  The starboard wing was torn off completely and the tail unit broken. There were only slight injuries to five on board....

Here's a photo from the link above.  That's the same plane that sits at Pegasus today:  

Here's a description of the photos at the top of the page (left to right, top to bottom)- First two photos are of the plane out at Pegasus, the second is our ARFF (Aircraft Rescue Firefighting) Rig with Mt. Erebus and Mactown in the backround (also out at Pegasus), and the last photo is Ice Town at the *Ice Runway where Station 2, our airfield firehouse, is stationed.    

Check out some more photos from that day:  It was such a beautiful day...sunny and no wind.  I think the temp even got above freezing.  

*The Ice Runway is a seasonal runway and around December the airfield and all of its buildings will be moved to the permanent ice shelf, Williams (Willy) Field.  At Willy, there's a runway...but it's a skiway (compacted snow) where only skied aircrafts like LC-130s can land (wheeled ones would sink and get stuck...that's why the C-17s land at the Ice Runway and Pegasus).  Did I totally confuse you?