Saturday, March 28, 2009

lightning pics

there is lightning that occurs at the summit when the volcano explodes, but until now, no one has been able to photograph it.

Yesterday evening a photographer captured some absolutely breathtaking photos of the lightning. The pictures look like you would traditionally think a volcano explosion would look like, but instead of lava, the light is lightning.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Volcano pics

Be sure to go to Alicia's blog for the pictures and story of the volcano dumping on us yesterday. She put up a couple digital scrap book pages today and yesterday, she put up dozens of pictures of the cloud coming and of the snow before and after the ash. It is really fascinating.

What you don't see in the pictures is the smell. Like sulfur, of course, but much much stronger and it had something else in it too. I didn't expect to get volcano gases this far away so that was a curious surprise. We love things science. It is great fun.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Attn: Moms with little kids

my niece always finds the greatest stuff for kids to do during conference - you can find the link on her blog to the right - it is "Joanna, Cory, Gabe and Hunter".

The post about conference was down aways but well worth the trip if you have little ones to entertain. Just be sure to have a full pack of crayons. My nephew Jed had a disaster at his house when President Monson was named prophet because they were missing the color of his tie. Just be forewarned and prepared.

Life in Alaska

So we are still fine from the volcano - so far it has all gone north. On the first morning that it blew, we went to bed knowing that there was a 50,000 foot ash cloud, but not really sure if it was going to hit us or not.

Brian went ahead and went to work - he went in early since it was the first day after spring break and grades came out during break, so he had to get there and plan the schedules for his kids.

then as the rest of us were thinking about getting up, at 8:30, the power went off. I was supposed to have a doctor appointment first thing that morning, but didn't want to drive in the ash and with the power off, we had no way to know where the ash was. I called Brian to see if Homer had power and they didn't. He said an avalanche had taken out the power to the entire peninsula. So weird that it came at the exact same time as the volcano, but they were totally unrelated.

So I didn't go to my appointment. All the doctor's records are on computer now, so I didn't figure we could accomplish anything without power, plus we still couldn't figure out where the ash cloud was.

When the power came back on, the phone company had some kind of snafu and the internet for Homer and Fairbanks was down for 12 hours. Everybody in between had internet. Again, not related to the volcano, just a fluke that all three things happened at once. It was very surreal and kind of spooky. Made us realize that we really need to add a battery radio to our storage. We always say, Oh, we'll just go out to the car and use that radio, but it was snowing and cold and windy and nobody wanted to go out to the car to listen to the radio. hahaha, so I guess we'll be getting one.

I love Alicia's post about the problem with ash holes and about people complaining about the webcam being turned off at night. I guess they have gotten thousands of calls over the past 3 months asking them to please leave the webcams turned on at night so we can watch the volcano at night. It's kind of scary that people that dumb are out there walking around. Anyway, just wanted to warn you that the ash cloud can circumnavigate the globe so all of you should be on the lookout for ash fall and the resulting ash holes. They're everywhere ! ! ! hahahaha

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Finally, Mount Redoubt

We were just turning the tv off to go to bed and I switched from a Brady Bunch marathon (I know, extremely lame... where were you when the volcano blew? Oh, we were watching the Brady Bunch episode where Cindy loses the gold earrings.) hehehe

Anyway, we jumped online to find out more and stayed on the local tv channel. Alicia and Justin went out to see if they could see anything, but it is really cloudy and the mountain is socked in from our view.

They say the ash is moving north so it shouldn't affect us too much at this point.

It is extremely interesting to look at the monitor graphs on the avo website. The graphs are linked on the right side of the site - below the daily update box.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

YAY ! ! !

The surgeon here in Homer got the report from the cardiologist and his office called this morning to say he would do the colonoscopy, no problem. And I said, well, things have kind of changed now, what I need is a hernia operation... and she said, "OH< Hernias are his FAVORITE ! ! ! He loves to operate on hernias". I asked if she thought he would do it and she said she couldn't speak for him, but she didn't see any reason why he wouldn't and he really really loves to work on hernias.

YAY for prayers and for good old fashioned doctors that aren't afraid. I'll let you know next week for sure.

Dr. Wise, my primary doc, was at the tubing hill yesterday and he asked Alicia how I was and she told him and he just shook his head at the idea that I needed to be on aspirin therapy for another year. I have an appointment with him first thing Monday morning when he gets back from spring break so things are definitely looking very favorably. YAY again. ! ! !

Monday, March 16, 2009

No Surgery

Well, just as we were packing and doing our last minute errands, the doctor from Anchorage called and said that after talking to the cardilogist, she has decided to postpone my surgery for a YEAR ! ! ! A YEAR !! Are you kidding me?

I have a uterus the size of a full term pregnancy and a hernia that is actually bigger than the full term uterus - in other words, I have two mass growths in my abdomen the equivalent of 2 watermelons. they have no structural support so standing and walking is just stretching my skin to limits that will never be repairable, the weight of carrying these two growths around is exhausting and painful and yet they will not at this time attempt to repair either one of them because according to the cardiologist, if they operate on me I am at risk for chest pain or elevated heart rate while on the operating table? Are you serious? I have had continuous chest pain due to lupus for 30 years.

Anyway, the gyn said to come on up (and spend another thousand dollars or so) and we'll do a D&C and do a close look on the tissue. Yeah, right. I can do a D&C down here and be home an hour later.

I'm so hacked right now I can't even begin to have words for it - oh wait, the heart treatment that we are going to do for the next year while we let the abdomen fill with cancer??? Beta Blockers and aspirin therapy. I've been on aspirin therapy for FORTY YEARS, but I guess he thinks that forty-first year will be the one that kicks that teeny tiny piece of placque out of that teeny tiny spot in the bottom of my heart.
My plan right now, is to have the D&C done here in Homer, we have a gyn that just opened up a part-time clinic at the hospital. He usually works out of Soldotna and I will have my regular surgeon do the hernia repair, also here in Homer. I would prefer to do them in Anchorage where we have access to cardiology back-up, but if the choice is waiting for a year and having cardiology and doing it now and trusting to God, I choose to do it now.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Earlene asked about the schedule so here it is.

Brian is going with me. They are on spring break at the school, but he also has sick days to use on me.

We go up Tuesday for the pre-op with the doctor and then the surgery is around noon on Wednesday. She said I would be in the hospital for 3 or 4 days - longer if I have a fever or complications.

We are on the list to stay at the cancer housing at the hospital and if they have room for us, we will stay in Anchorage for a day or two after I get out of the hospital if I'm still feeling peaked. Then we'll come home.

Alicia and Justin start their full time days at the Tubing Hill today. They have 2 private parties today- 2 different schools coming for start of spring break parties. then they are open for 3 sessions a day every day thru the 22nd. With another private party one night this week. They got some good new snow yesterday that should last out the week.

they have so much to do for the start up of the tractor launch that this might be the last week for the tubing hill. Just depends on the weather and their energy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


We finally got a call back from my doctor in Anchorage today with the results of the abdominal ct scan. (they used a machine, not an actual cat like they use down here in homer, hehehe).

She told Alicia that the mass we thought was the ovarian cancer was revealed to be a simple hernia. Well, we don't know it is simple yet, but compared to it being an ovarian tumor, a hernia sounds simple. Dr. Murray said she really thinks we will find that I don't have cancer yet, she thinks the chance of cancer is "very, very slim" and she is hoping they will do a simple hysterectomy and see if they can repair the hernia and in 3 or 4 days, I'll be home and fine.

We are all dancing off the walls with joy around here. Thank you for all your wonderful prayers. I know we can feel them working.
Love, Charlotte

Monday, March 09, 2009

Stir Fry Recipe

Hi, mom asked me to post the recipe that I used for the stir fry the other day on her blog, so here it is. It was pretty easy, I just used a little bit of whatever we had on hand.

Stir Fry:
Yoshida's teriyaki sauce (we had the costco sized bottle)
ginger (powdered)
sesame seeds
2 very large cloves garlic
1 medium onion, (cut in half, then thinly sliced into half rings)
1.5 pounds thin sliced moose steak (or whatever meat you want)
broccoli florets (frozen)
1-2 stalks celery
half head cabbage thinly sliced
corn starch

Take about 1/2 cup yoshidas sauce, mix with about 1/2 teaspoon ginger, about 1 TBL sesame seeds (more if you like), and 2 big cloves garlic minced (if its smaller cloves I use 3-4), and about 1-2 TBL honey. Whisk together in a bowl, then add thinly sliced meat into bowl. Allow to soak as long or as short as you like. I mix it, then let it sit while I chop the veggies, and sautee the onions. After slicing the onions, pour into hot saucepan with about 2 TBL oil. Sautee until they start to get translucent, then add meat/sauce mixture. Cook until meat is almost completely done (about 5 minutes) stirring often. Add broccoli, celery, and any other vegetable desired (but not cabbage, put cabbage in last). When vegetables are almost done, add cabbage and allow to cook until just limp. While its cooking, take about another 1/2 cup yoshida sauce, more ginger, and sesame seeds, and a little (about 1 TBL) corn starch, and whisk together in small bowl. Pour over pan, and stir. Allow to boil and thicken, and voila, its done! Serve over rice. Its also good with chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned). Sorry the recipe is kind of vague, but it really was one of those - hey I've got some of this, I'll toss it in - recipes. :)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Totally psyched

We just received notification this morning that we have won the UK LOTTERY ! ! ! I am so excited. I have never even been to the UK. I have been to Canada a couple times and I speak English (although not always the Queen's English ) but I have seen Pride and Prejudice about 300 times and I have read and seen all the Harry Potter books and movies many many times.

We don't know yet how much we won. If its a lot, I'll be thinking of all of you as we spend it.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

blood sugars dropped

sorry, I think my blood sugars might have not been that high. the batteries in my meter were going out. I've never had to change them before. I bought two specialty batteries in Anchorage (and went to 3 stores to get them) for my scales and it just happened that they were the batteries that my blood sugar meter uses. So Brian changed them last night for me and my sugar was 200 points lower than it had shown earlier in the day. I think the meter may have just been malfunctioning.

so anyway, my sugars are back where they usually are. YAY. one less thing to worry about.

Love, Charlotte

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


We are all just chillin' this week. Justin and Alicia are waiting to hear if they got the boat launch concession for the next 7 years. Please keep them in your prayers.

I have de-ionizing and de-isotoping or whatever you call it. I was so loaded with 3 different kinds of radiation I'm surprised anyone in the neighborhood needed lights for 4 days. I think most of it is out of my system, I hope, but my blood sugars are off the chart. They made me stop taking my diabetes med so that the kidneys could work totally on ridding the body of the radiation and now that I have started taking the metformin again, my sugars won't go down. It's all very confusing.

We did a really cool thing - for us anyway - this week. We always buy produce at Sam's club because it is pennies for food that would cost many dollars here in Homer and we can't use up all that produce in 4 days and so lots of it goes bad, but it is still a bargain for us because of what we would have paid for that much produce here. This week, we decided to freeze as much of it as we could, so Alicia looked on the internet about how to freeze each part and then we just went to work peeling and chopping and freezing. And we were able to put all of it into the freezer. We are so excited to have access to this produce whenever we want it. I don't know why we didn't look into this before. Partly I guess because when we get home from Anchorage we are dead tired and don't feel like working in the kitchen for two days.

anyway, last night Alicia made the most fabulous mongolian beef stir fry that I have ever tasted - better than the best Chinese restaurant we have ever eaten in. It was spectacular and we are so excited to be able to have this food right available in our house. Unless you have lived in the boonies where fruits and veggies are not available, you have no idea how excited we are to have produce available. For instance, bell peppers cost $5.0o each in Homer. We got 6 at Sam's club for $7. 50 - $ 1.50 each instead of $5.00. Plus the ones we got were red and yellow and orange - the $5.oo at Homer is for regular green peppers.

You get the idea. It is all like that. Yogurt - last time we paid $5.oo for a multi-pack and it was $22.oo in Homer.

Anyway, we are patting ourselves on the back for being good little housewives. I always remember what Brigham young said, " A careless housewife can throw money out the backdoor with a teaspoon faster than her husband can shovel it in the frontdoor with a wheel barrow. "

We're doing really well this week, just waiting for the surgery. Love, Charlotte