Those were about the only words heard standing outside the compound, 11:45 PM on Oct 2nd.....while the dogs sat and looked at us thinking we had lost our minds! What they didn't realize, these two dogies, were that we were witnessing a spectacle which we have waited for, for a very long time. You see every night since Maryann started swing shift, it is a custom that Cherokee, Kenai, and myself go outside around 11:30 and wait for Maryann to pull in. I love the Alaskan night, and they love waiting with 'alpha', so it is a much anticipated ritual for the 3 of us. On this night though, the temp was already down to 28 degrees at 11:30P, and the patio chair I usually sit in was frozen solid. So instead of sitting I chose to walk around a little on the wooden walkway that goes around to the back of the home. The dogs followed along with wagging tails and happy that dad was on the move....they love doing dogie stuff, like walking around with dad! As I got to the back of the house I wandered across the lawn and was looking over the lake, admiring the reflection of the moonlight. I noticed some clouds in the clear and starry sky which were reflecting the light of the moon. But was thinking that it was odd that a particular long cloud was almost a greenish tint, as opposed to some white lit clouds closer to the moon. As I was watching this greenish cloud, wondering, Maryann pulls in and of course the dogs go charging to greet her. But I am still admiring this cloud. Then as Maryann is coming around the corner of the garage I watch in complete awe, as this green cloud explodes into a marvelous array somewhat reminiscent of fanning stage lights from long ago Grateful Dead concerts. As I look back at approaching Maryann, she says to look, and as I turn again, watch a magnificent curtain of ruffled green light ripple through the sky. And so it was....the Aurora Borealis! Our first sighting ever, and oh so spectacular! Now mind you, Cherokee is vivaciously chasing Kenai through the night air, barking and nipping at her butt as she runs with utter bliss, loving every minute of the attention her brother is giving her. This kind of thing is a blast for these two....they live for it! And of course with all of their growling and barking during this nights session of 'grab-ass', they wake John up, who comes out to see what the commotion is all about. So there in the back overlooking the lake in 28 degrees of nipple-hardening chill, is me in my tie-die skivvies and a tee shirt, John in his underwear with no shirt, Maryann dressed up in her work uniform, and the two dogs beside themselves that the family is standing there in short order, staring in the sky. You don't see a visual like this too often! Now you here alot of stories similar to this, where people will come out in the elements for a long duration of time to sit and stare at the Aurora. And after what we watched that night, it's no wonder! In fact we had to all but pull ourselves away at 12:20AM to get back inside and hit the sack. And the amazing thing of it is, aside from a little 'shrinkage factor'....it was like we were oblivious to the fact that we were freezing! It was very hard for Maryann and I to go to sleep, as all we wanted to do was go back outside to watch. The next morning we looked at each other and found it hard to believe what we had just watched. What we saw in the daily papers' "Aurora Watch" was that we were seeing the low horizon version that night. In other words the further north you went, the more vivid and active the colors would become. So if that was a "mild" night of activity for us....I cant wait to see a full on display!!! So frigging cool.
It was those Artesians! That is what happened to our art website! But it is back on-line again, and although still in need of some updated material, we hope you will check it out. Two days ago all Alaskan residents got their P.D.F's direct deposited into their bank accounts by the state. A P.D.F. (Pipeline Dividend Fund)....not to be mistaken for a P.F.D. (Personal Floatation Device), is the payment that every Alaskan who is a permanent resident for at least 1 year, receives from the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. Now the prerequisite is that you don't get the P.D.F. until after you have been a permanent resident for 1 year. That 1 year goes from January to January, with the P.D.F. coming out that following October. So we wont even begin our official '1' year until this coming January since we got here in the middle of the calender year. Then we will make one complete year, and October of 2009 we will get ours. It was over $1600.00 dollars per household member this year. That is, $1600.00 dollars for each person living in the house (kids included....we are thinking of popping out a few more... =) .......). The amount varies from year to year according to production, oil prices and stocks. Pretty cool huh. Not one of the listed reasons for moving here, but definitely a big plus. And so I leave you with this thought.....what would you do with your P.D.F.?