Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Today's progress

Today was a major day of progress for Anchor Point Enterprises. They got the office / house and the separate bunk house both moved to the beach and Justin's family are all settled in down there for the summer. They have been with us since the day after Easter.

The second skidder was brought down from Anchorage today so they are both here. I think the first skidder has been retrofitted and is ready to work. Justin is going down to the beach at low tide (that's at 1 am tonight) to clear the rocks out of the launch path while there isn't anyone down there.

He has some welding to do on the second skidder and has to waterproof the alternators.

You have to love living in a small town. They got the second house down to the beach about 5:00 and around 6:00 a woman from the Mexican food bus was down there to see if they had a job for her son. We hope they will hire him. Besides being good people, her son has worked there for 3 years so has the advantage over the rest of our crew - 99% of whom have probably not even been in the ocean before - of actually knowing what he is doing and could train the rest of the troops.

The house is very quiet. We aren't sure that we don't have the swine flu. Clarks spent two weeks the end of March with their family from Texas and as soon as they got here, everyone got sick with coughing and fever and headache and occasional diarrhea... just like in the news reports. We have passed it back and forth a couple times.. nothing serious, more just annoying. Plus for those of you who don't have Facebook yet, I slipped into a serious Lupus flare about a week ago... wolf bite on my face and arms even- which I haven't had for almost 10 years. Before Brian noticed the splotching I cried for several days and just kept going back to bed and asking, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME ?? ? ? Over and over in a somewhat pathetic and whiny voice.

Brian recognized the wolf bite on my arm before we recognized it on my face and then we all just took a relaxing breath and said, OKAY, we know how to take care of this. Actually, at first we couldn't remember, but it came back very quickly. Mainly, I have about 10 minutes of activity and then 30 minutes of rest. All day long. back and forth... but it is okay because in that 10 minutes I'm up I can do lots of stuff. I think mainly because I know it will be for a very short time so I can get something done - knowing that a rest period is scheduled and I won't need to save my energy for something later in the day.

Love you all, Charlotte

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Can't decide which to do

1. So I couldn't understand how everyone was exchanging information and pictures but not blogging so this week Alicia set me up on Facebook and now I get it. It is like being inside the brain of everyone you know - all at once. It was a little overwhelming at first, but now even Brian checks it every night to see what went on in our circle of friends. So I don't understand how people, like Joanna, keep both Facebook and the blog up to date. It is beyond my abilities at this time. Of course, there is still lots about Facebook that I don't get.

If you are on Facebook and don't have us as a friend, but want to - just do a search for my name and there I'll be.

2. Happy Birthday Blake.

3. Just an update on the volcano ash. It is EVERYWHERE. It is very fine and is filling my house. The dogs play outside all day with Justin's family and then come in all wet and full of ash. Of course when they dry off, the ash just falls wherever. You can see it rising out of the carpets and on every surface in the house. It's all gritty and impossible to clean up. (well, in the dog's defence the cat does the same thing but he is smaller and just goes out once and comes back in the morning so the main place he deposits wet ash is on Brian's pillow - he comes in when Brian leaves for work, so the pillow is all dried out by the time Brian needs it at night).

A friend in Homer started gardening this week and said she had to wear a mask the whole time because as she dug the ash got all stirred up and airborne and then it was really warm and she got all sweaty and the ash started clinging to her and she was completely miserable.

So i'll probably be letting the flower bed go au-natural this summer. We'll get the ash tilled into the garden in a few weeks and then won't have to deal with it, I hope. Except the webcorders at the volcano are making that little rat-a-tat thing that they do just before the thing blows up again. We are thinking about getting the greenhouse going, but the temps in there are still fluctuating too much for seedlings so we have to wait just a bit.

4. Justin and Alicia scraped up the money they needed for the downpayments and will open their boat launch business on the first of May. Please keep them in your prayers. It's going to be a long summer.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Boy is our face RED ! ! !

Well, I feel really ignorant, but it turns out there really are ash holes.

Here in Alaska, on a sunny day in the winter, the sun shines but it is sooooooooooo far away that it doesn't heat and melt the snow. It is so disappointing to go out on a sunny afternoon and find out that the ice is now polished and slicker, but not melted at all.

Now, it turns out, the ash really does absorb the heat of the sun faster than the snow does so everywhere is covered in pits as the sun shines down and warms the ash and it melts the snow beneath the ash, but not the snow that isn't under the ash.

We had to drive to town today and it was amazing to see all the "streams and riverlets" flowing beside the roads and driveways and down hillsides. The ash is melting the snow underneath it - I'm really glad we don't live at the bottom of a hill or creek. (Worried about you, Maxine and Ray).

The river, of course, is still frozen solid so all this water really has no place to go. There is a giant lake forming on the highway by Diamond Ridge road.

We are all completely fine and not in any danger from the volcano at all. Thanks for all your prayers and concerns. I am totally in my element as those who knew me as a child can attest too. What a science project I could have made. hehehe

As for the surgery, we are still on hold. Looking for surgeons and a hospital. In the end, we might have to go to Seattle or the Mayo clinic, but we are still hoping to have it done closer to home. Tired of doctor appointments and scared because of Mark's surgery that they will find the same in me, but I've had a couple really thorough conversations with my two doctors that I really trust and they are convinced that I don't have rampant cancer and that we have plenty of time to find doctors who are comfortable operating on me.

I have let myself get really down over this, but there was an excellent talk at conference that letting ourselves feel despair is one of the first steps that Satan uses to get us to doubt the Lord and start the journey away from the safety of the Savior so I am more determined to recognize that when I start to feel despair, it is time to hit my scriptures and then my knees (or vice versa).

Love you guys - and again, watch out for ASH HOLES - they really do exist and they are everywhere. hahahaha

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Inside a Volcano

This is a government picture we got off the AVO website - it is a radar picture of the ash cloud an hour after Redoubt erupted. Last time it erupted, the ash took almost 6 hours to reach us - this time it was here before the AVO have even announced the explosion. Isn't this a cool photo? we live sort of right in the middle of the cloud just about 1/8 inch north of where the road jigs west.

The volcano quieted down and showed signs of a lava dome building. On the monitors, there were these perfectly timed little blips - looked like goblins hammering in unison for 24 hours. When we went to bed, Alicia looked at those rhythmic blips and said, it's gonna blow.

We woke early this morning to the dogs barking their heads off. Our dogs are very well behaved and don't just randomly bark. Alicia could hear what sounded like footsteps on the stairs and porch and the dogs kept barking and she thought, OH NO, we are being robbed. So she opened her window and looked out and there was this black black cloud coming from the volcano and tons of thunder. We never get thunder here - it is one of the anamolies of living here. We have thunder maybe once every three or 4 years... usually just one clap, maybe two. Never a long term thunder and lightning storm. So these dogs who have lived here all their lives have never experienced a thunder storm before.

anyway, we all got up and every once in a while we could see the orange lightning like in the pictures from last week and we heard lots of thunder. It was really spooky. The cloud was much darker and quicker than last week. Daytime had just arrived and then it went dark as midnight. I mean DARK ! ! ! And then the ash started falling.

On the NOAA radar, which we usually use to track storm clouds, we can sometimes track the volcano and today, the weather radar showed the ash cloud coming straight from the volcano to OUR HOUSE ! ! ! We were the very first hit (I think most of you know that we live on the bluff of the point of Anchor Point - we are like the actual most westerly highway point in America) so lots of times our neighborhood gets storms and winds and stuff before anybody else on the mainland.

So it lasted about an hour - just black as night. We got a call from Homer that they were cancelling conference at the church and it was still daylight there and when Brian told her that it was black as night here and ash was falling - it scared her and she hung up to prepare.

It was also surreal because we could click on the pictures from the webcams that are on the north side of the volcano and while we were sitting here in darkest darkness, the webcams were in broad daylight on the other side of the volcano.

the cloud moved fairly quickly and then it was just yellow and brown in the sky - I'm sure people who grew up in Kansas and Texas were looking for a storm cellar, because it was that heavy, yellow that is so scary if you have lived in tornado country. The tail of the cloud was lit from the bottom by daylight, so the horizon was divided in three parts - the grey earth that was completely covered with 1/4 to 1/2 inch ash, then the daylight, then the yellow and brown of the cloud.

It was so cool.

the ash today was actually loud as it hit - meaning the other day, it was very soft ash and this ash was the lava dome all smashed to pieces and it was much more little pieces of rock.

The Homer News actually has a story from today with pics from Homer - they only publish the paper once a week, but have this story from this morning on there if you want to read it. The cars at the end of the story belong to our friends Heather and Trace in their car rental business. If you ever need a car in Homer you should rent from them - Adventure Alaska.

We have pictures, but I don't know if they can even begin to vaguely show you what it was like. We'll post them later.