Monday, November 30, 2009

Blog Updates

Check out the new links located to the right of this posting.

My brother is unemployed for the winter season, so is keeping himself busy on the computer. I benefit by not only getting my computer serviced and upgraded with new software, but also by getting my Blog updated as well!

Let me know what you think... and sign my Guestbook.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Best Part of a Vacation

Mother says "The best part about going on vacation is coming home." and I have to say, I tend to agree with her.

Not that I had a bad time, or anything. I really enjoyed my vacation: great people, awesome place, interesting work. Really, it was fantastic.

There's just nothing to beat sleeping in your own bed, you know? Or, better yet, taking a shower in your own bathroom! With water, even. Hot water. Water that washes out all the soap from your hair.

And I get to eat all my comfort foods again: Soup. Fresh baked bread. Tea out of my favorite ceramic mug. Liquid chocolate shared with a good friend.

It almost makes up for the 85-degree temperature drop I experienced in roughly 24 hours.

3 Gallons

I recieved a certificate in the mail the other day from The Blood Bank of Alaska saying that I'd reached the 3-gallon mark!

That's a lot of blood.

I'm rather proud of myself, actually. I just might have that thing framed.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm Back

I arrived in Anchorage late last night after about 34 hours of travel time. It was quite a shock to the system to step out into -3 degree temperatures after having spent the past 18 days in 100 degree temps! I was not dressed for it... I will be posting more on the expedition soon, I promise.

I have a ton of stuff to do now. I need to unpack everything and get settled in. I have to snuggle with the kids and reassure them that I did not abandon them. I really need to find a place for the boys; they are such sweethearts, they deserve a loving home.

I need to go thru all the photos I took and create a travelogue of my trip. I also need to create two power-point presentations of the expedition: one of Earthwatch in general with Africa tacked on at the end for the Eagle River Nature Center talk I'm giving on the 16th of December (all are invited!) and one of the trip exclusively for any other talks I'll give in the future. Perhaps the zoo will let me present? I want to show my family the trip, as well. My brother has a big screen TV that will work just fine: a great way to kick off our Family Movie Night perhaps.

All the paperwork and receipts I came home with need to be organized. Earthwatch is a nonprofit organization which means I can deduct the whole thing off my taxes this year! Airfare to and from Africa, the cost of the expedition itself, as well as any taxis and/or food = it all adds up.

I have to re-register for unemployment again, since being gone for 3 weeks closed my account down. I also need to get an add up at the University offering a room to rent. And I really need to work hard at finding myself a job. I have plans for my next vacation, don't you know - a job would really come in handy for funding that!

My Christmas cards are all ready to go - they just need to be addressed and stamped. The Christmas letter needs to be written up, however. I had hoped to do that before I left but never got around to it.

Then, to top it all off, I really should take a look at all my investments, banking, and money issues to make sure I have things as organized as I can get them. I have limited funds available so really need to keep on top of it all to make sure I don't run out unexpectedly.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

I'm Off to Africa!

I fully intended to write this long fantastic post to send myself off to Africa with, but I just never got around to it. So, you'll have to make do with this last minute one...

I leave tomorrow morning, bright and early! Hard to believe I'm actually going. But, everything is in order and I'm ready to go.

My bags are packed: I got everything in to one carry-on even! This way I don't have to worry about Lost Luggage, extra fees for checked baggage, or things getting stolen out of my bags. I also don't have to wait around for baggage claims - I can just step off the plane and head out into the world.

My friend Lorna is going to drive me to the airport early Monday morning. She is being extra-generous as it will be 6:00 in the morning. But she insisted, and I certainly don't want to take a taxi. She will hopefully wait around till I've cleared security in case I have to unpack the bug dope. I'm not sure if they'll let that go thru since the container is larger than 3 ounces. If it doesn't go thru, I'll give it to her and just buy some more when I reach Africa.

My niece Katy is going to meet me in Seattle for my layover there. I don't have enough time to go anywhere, but I have just the perfect amount of time to sit in a cafe at the airport and chat over a cup of tea! I'm excited to see her again - it's been a whole month.

For my 22-hour layover in London, I have a friend who said she'd meet up with me and show me the sights there. I don't actually know her, but have spoken to her on facebook for several months now. I'm so very glad that she agreed to meet up with me. Contrary to what you might think, given the evidence on hand - I am not a very brave travelor! Knowing that I will have a freindly face waiting for me in an unfamiliar city makes me a lot more comfortable about going.

And finally, once I arrive in Nairobi, I will have a whole day to myself and plan on seeing the sights there. More than likely one or two of my fellow Earthwatch volunteers will be there early as well, and will hopefully like to join me. Nairobi is not exactly a safe city to be wondering the streets alone, unfortunately.

When I get back in to Anchorage my friend Heather has said that she will pick me up. It's late at night and is also 3 weeks away - we'll see if she remembers!

Till then - I hope everybody has a great November - be well, be safe, and I'll talk to you later.