Friday, September 19, 2008

Fall is in the air.

Yes, it is coming down to one thing......winter is within sight. One of the distinguishing things that we have taken notice to in Alaska is that when Fall arrives, it is typically short and there is no turning back. The temps will progressively drop both day and especially night, the trees they do everywhere in Fall! The temps are the real deal though. There is not any fluctuation as we often would see in California. You know, you think Fall is there and then the temps shoot up in the middle of September. They just keep dropping off here, and my nipples are definitely getting stiff in the night time air these days. Moose season has come to a close, or will in the next few days, so all of the float planes are especially active picking up the poor die hard hunters that were left out in the bush in search of the Bullwinkle, just flat getting soaked by the over abundance of rain we have had lately. This is not our lake, but a float plane lake nearby that I have been working on and have had the opportunity to watch them take off and land through the day. In fact this has been the wettest summer on record since they began keeping records. It has felt much more like Seattle, or down in the panhandle of Alaska than the peninsula we so much adored with it's mild and sunny summers. Nonetheless, short of changing shirts many times a day I/we have managed. Today was beautiful To illustrate today's beauty I have enclosed a pic of today. As you can see it is blatantly "blue"! There is no other way to describe the beauty....but blue! And considering we aint seen much blue, it was a damned fine sight. We were out loving up the vitamin D like no other this day! Even the dogs were in their glory. Who or what wouldn't be that has had more rain in the past 2 weeks that anyone or thing has a right to have. It has literally been anything from consistent downpours to drizzle for about 2 weeks straight now, and we just pray that this kind of deal sticks around for a little while longer. All in all we are looking forward to our second winter here, and at least now have a general idea on what to expect. The sun is coming up around 7:10 AM and setting around 9:00 PM now. Outside of that we are all well and between work, school and just getting the compound in order for the coming cold event, there is little time for relaxing...although we do find time to keep our nourishment! The early morning panty raids we were experiencing with our little bat creatures, you know, the ones that are supposedly our friends, are all but over for good. They are on their way back to Mexico for the winter, and with their migratory exodus, we are hot on getting all the bat holes and exterior cracks in the eves sealed with expanding foam, caulking, and shutting them out. Oh sure, they will be in for a surprise when they arrive next year to find their summer lodge all boarded up. Remember what it was like when you were a kid on a roadtrip with mom and pop and you had to potty so bad your eyes were floating, only to arrive at the only service station on the interstate for another 50 miles to find it closed.... Imagine..... Unfortunately there were several casualties with the little creatures over the summer. We will just leave it at that, but we are glad to see them off and gone and know that those holes in the house down the road will be up for grabs come summer 2009....whoo-hoo!! So hoping all is well in your world and wishing you a happy Fall. Take care for now.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Money for nothin.....or, Christmas in September!

It could be construed either way. One remark I heard today at Home Depot from a work worn man was, "this is my money and I can spend it any way I want"....I think he was yelling that at his wife! Other proud women and men strutted by with carts loaded down with new vanities, toilets, refrigerators and other appliances. I mean complete remodel stuff. At Fred Meyers' last night people were strolling past with not one, not two, but three shopping carts of clothes, food....big screen TV's, you name it. The bars and liquor store parking lots were packed. Some have expressed the need to buy more guns....a constitutional right, God bless America... All in all, no matter who it was, there was indeed an absolute attitude of 'freedom to spend' in the air. If you haven't figured it out by now, yes, yesterday was the day all Alaskans wait so eagerly for throughout the year. PFD's were direct deposited into bank accounts throughout the state. In fact, this year was a month early. It is usually October that the PFD is sent out. Could you imagine how free money could be readily available from the state government a month early? Sarah Palin, that's how. Long before she was nominated for the Vice Presidential run, she determined that she wanted Alaskans to have their funds distributed early this year. Her thought simply, "why make everyone wait for the money they need now". What a fu*^ing concept! In fact our Governor, Sarah Palin, gave Alaskans an extra special treat this year. You see, Alaska actually has a phat 'savings account' if you would. Because the state has done so well at budgeting money, we have a huge surplus. So, she passed the 'energy bill' which entitled all Alaskans to a one time rebate of $1200.00 to help offset rising energy costs, out of the states surplus fund. As well, the energy bill suspended the state gasoline tax for a year which immediately brought down the per gallon pump price, and has also made way for the state to take up excess costs per kilowatt hour for every household after a pre-determined base amount. With the PFD being the highest yet in it's history at a whopping $2069.00 per Alaskan resident. So with the $1200.00 rebate built into the PFD the direct deposit yesterday was $3269.00 per person. So one could easily see where the term "money for nothin" could easily ring true. And I imagine statewide sales more than likely got close to if not topped annual holiday season sales with everyone eager to spend their free money. Are you wondering what we, the Phillips' did with ours? I will tell you this, we by no means went on any spending spree, nor did we spend a red cent of it. Simply put we didn't see one damned penny of it! As we are....or I should say, were not considered Alaskan residents for the 2007 year. Our official residency stint began this year, January 1 2008 and we will be officially qualified for the 2008 PFD on January 1 2009. So next year, we will be receiving the fabled 'free money' when the PFD is sent out in October 2009. Whoo-frigin-hoo, huh?! But despite the absence of our 'money for nothin', we are still quite impressed and proud at the way our state handles it's funding and budgets. Sarah has been successful in pushing AGIA (Alaskan Gasline Inducement Act) which is making way for a Trans-Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline....we have major gas, man....which would run paralell to the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline, down to Valdez to be processed and stored to be shipped world wide. There is talk of two spur lines that will supply natural gas to the South-Central Alaska gas grid for affordable gas here at home, as well as along the AlCan, the Alaskan/Canadain highway, to the midwest in the lower 48. So we are excited to be looking at the prospects of a re-birth of sorts, of the gone by years that Alaska experienced when the oil pipeline was built from Prudoe Bay down to Valdez. It began an era that has lucratively produced oil for decades, and led to the spending spree that most every Alaskan, with exception of our lucky asses, got the joy of experiencing yesterday, today and more than likely days to come! But our future looks like it may repeat itself, if we all get wise to utilizing the unimaginable supply of natural resources that we have right here in our own backyard. So, Marry Christmas all of you happy assed Alaskans that have free money on your mind! We will see you next year!! Until then, the Phillips' will pucker and pinch, what pennies we got. Good night for now.

Monday, September 1, 2008

What's in a name....

It seems somewhat interesting that we have found ourselves gravitating amongst some pretty interesting, popular and impacting names of late. Of course the biggest of names of which we have recently found ourselves associated to is our Governor, Sarah Palin. Wow, what a great honor to be nominated as the Vice President. Now one thing I made a personal promise to myself upon starting this blog was to avoid the open discussion of politics, which for the exception of a few small comments, I have been fairly successful in doing. And so I will continue this course of semi-silence of political aire. However, I do have to say it is a bitter sweet moment for many Alaskans upon this announcement. We will truly miss her and the courage and stability that she has put fourth in representing all Alaskans, our economy here, and our safety and welfare. If she does become the Vice President and does as good as a job with this as she has done in governing our state, than this country will only be a better place for us all. Kudos Sarah, we will miss you but the best of luck in the stepping stone of your political career. We are proud to say your our Governor. Funny story. That morning that the news became public, Maryann was out on a fishing boat on the Kenai River doing some Silver Salmon fishing with some lodge guests. Coincidentally, she casted 'like a girl' yet pulled in her limit within the first hour long before any other guy on the boat even had a bite. Needless to say, her guide was dumbfounded and continues to tell the tale of the girl who casted like a girl, and made sissies of them all! She found it comical as in the early morning quiet cool on the river, all of a sudden cell phone started to ring from all of the other boats around them, including the one she was on. Soon, there was open chat across the water from boat to boat of, "hey did you hear the news...." Of course, there were also the comments from some of why a woman is unqualified. Hey, Sarah owns a gun, has guts, brains and lives in Alaska.....makes her a qualified woman to me! Remember the woman who skunks all of the guys on the boat....! Good job honey!!

Now Maryann and I....and for that matter John, who in fact had and still has no idea who in the world the guy everyone was making all of the fuss and "to do" about, was.....had the very distinct honor of meeting, personally, another 'big name'. Those of you who were actively aware of pro football in the early 70's will remember the Miami Dolphins' MVP and Hall Of Famer Larry Csonka. Maryann played host to Larry and his wife at the lodge this past week. It seems he is doing a segment on his Outdoor Life series North To Alaska on All Alaska Outdoor Lodge. With any luck Maryann and I may very well be on this tv show as the camera man had panned over to us while we were.....yes, doing what I do best....eating, at the weekly cookout the lodge sponsors for it's guests and employees. My uncle Honey would be proud! My fork and my mouth may make national attention. It was exciting for me to be able to shake Larry's hand, and chat with him even if for a moment. I have no idea who the hell he was mind you. I was young then. But I am sure at some point all of my uncles, dad, and older cousins were yelling and cussing at him through the tv just like they did every other football player whose presence was graced on the screen back then! So look for us and Maryann's lodge on the Outdoor Life Channel. When, not sure. Check out and click on his North To Alaska series, and maybe sometime soon it will be announced on his tv schedule.

It seems like Fall may well be here. We are starting to notice the colors changing, and the things that usually happen in Fall, beginning to come about. I have got the plow all oiled up and ready to go, and we are shoring up the last of the firewood under cover. Just waiting for the snow to fly, and watching for the termination dust on the mountains around us. John and Maryann are well, and for those who really thought John was getting married, it was an inside joke. HA HA!.....HA! Yeah. Alrighty then, take care and by for now. Our love!