Saturday, September 24, 2005

Do you ever feel blessed......

I feel so fortunate to know the people that I know, I love the people I work with. I spend six months a year with the people I work with. When you take into consideration that we work a minimum of twelve hours a day, I think I spend more time with these guys than I do my own family. So anytime someone has a personal crisis our whole group pulls together to help and support them, and I am glad to be a part of it.

Shannon Marler is one of the people I am fortunate enough to know and work with. Shannon lives in Sulfur, Louisiana and is going home tomorrow to see if he still has a house. Last night we sat up and watched hurricane Rita head directly for Sulfur on CNN. Unfortunately we can't have any alcohol up here so I went to the chow hall and snagged a couple of Miller Sharps (that's near beer for those of you lucky enough to never have had it) so at least we could say we had a beer and watched the hurricane that demolished western Louisiana and eastern Texas. He doesn't know for sure yet if his house made it through. His family was safe but they aren't allowed back into the city to find out yet.
All of us up here were hoping and praying that his house survived. I personally feel that it did. Today we looked up the meaning of his name and if was a little erie...

Shannon Lee Marler
Shannon- "Wise little owl"
(I don't think he was as amused with this meaning as the rest of the crew was)
Lee- "sheltered from the storm"

What are the odds! Either that means his house was sheltered or it means exactly what it says; that he was smart to be 4000 miles away and he was in fact sheltered from the storm because of it.
I am leaning towards the first one.

My friend Rob who was stuck in Houston (with nothing inside of the new house he signed the paperson two days before Rita hit) decided since there was no plywood or duct tape he would do the next obvious thing.
He bought a new TV and a 12 pack. He said his neighbor looked at him like he was crazy so he told him "hey, I'm from Canada, maybe there's a hockey game on".

I don't know about material possessions, but everyone I know from the gulf coast area came out unharmed.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Is it worth 3 months of darkness?

Is living in Alaska worth enduring three months of darkness every winter? After what I have seen this fall in the gulf coast I would rather endure three months of cold and dark every year than hurricane season.
I'd rather have the possibility of earthquakes and volcanoes than hurricanes, tornadoes, mudslides, and floods.
I'd rather have bears than snakes, salmon than bass, and most of all I would rather live in a state with a population of 600,000 than endure the masses of most of the rest of the country!

I tell people that I was born in New Mexico but got lucky and my parents moved to Alaska when I was two.

Currently I'm about seven miles from the Arctic Ocean, so you wouldn't think I'd be affected much by a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. However a great number of my coworkers (and close friends) are from the region and I also have family in Houston. At least they were in Houston before they spent all of last night driving. It took them nine hours to drive what normally takes five hours. If they would have waited until morning they might not have even made it. They said it was taking eight hours to travel ten miles today. People are running out of gas on the freeways.

My friend Shannon left Lake Charles Monday evening to head to Houston to fly to Alaska for work and couldn't find a hotel to stay in in Houston. He finally found a place to stay but he said it was less than desirable. When he left home Rita was headed for the Florida Keys, today his wife is stuck on the highway trying to evacuate Lake Charles. Luckily after driving all day she has almost made it to Baton Rouge. She tried to go north but sat in the same spot for two hours on the highway before she decided to head east. Had Shannon had any idea this was going to be how it was going to be he wouldn't have come to work this week.

My friend Rob recently moved from Calgary Alberta to Houston Texas. He and his wife just found a house to buy and she has a new job at a local hospital. Rob flew home on Tuesday and closed on his new house on Wednesday not knowing if it is only going to be wiped out by Rita. He went to Home Depot to get some plywood and duct tape and there was a line to get into the store and they were out of everything he was looking for. The hospital wants his wife to stay at the hospital and since he has nothing in the house to cook with or eat or drink (or furniture), I think he is going to stay at the hospital during the storm.

I hope and pray that everyone I know will get through this storm (and the whole hurricane season) safely.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Today is the day!

Today is the beginning of the rest of my life......
Oh yea, and the day I decided to stop letting my body keep heading downhill. I have been trying to point my mind in an uphill direction since Dad went through his aneurysm fiasco. I decided then that life really is to short to worry about all of the things that I have no control over and focus on the things that are most important to me, ie. Family, mental health and finally I have decided that I have to stop being lazy and work on my physical health.

Yoga, wow! My experience with yoga this far is that it really hurts! That and I am not sure how to get my leg out from behind my head now that I got it there. I bought a yoga box at the book store last week that has 2 CD's and about 150 flash cards with different poses on them. All I know is that my body doesn't want to bend the way these people expect it to. I realize it is a matter of time but right now I have to sit down to tie my shoes! I have let myself slide more in the last year and a half than I ever have.

So this is it: Today I have started my physical health in a positive uphill direction. How I am going to work tomorrow standing on one leg with the other behind my head I haven't figured out yet.

I haven't watched the news in a few days and have been keeping my TV on the soundscapes music channel in my room and the world seems to be at peace.

I bought a ticket to go to Maine with Sandi and Thane. Sandi's sister Stefani and her partner Tim are going to be there as well. We are going to go visit Sandi and Stef's dad (my father-in-law) Chris and help him continue work on his beautiful house on the Kennebeck River. I am rather excited to take a breather from my regular life, even though it hasn't been regular since the 8th of August.

It doesn't really seem like we are as close to winter as we are, I am not ready yet. I have a major concrete project to finish in a very short amount of time. As with all things, I guess it will work out and be fine. I have great resources on which I can rely when I really need them.

Well, I had better try and get some sleep, but not without another amazing Helen Keller quote to ponder.........

I do not want the peace which passeth understanding, I want the understanding which bringeth peace.


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Global Warming!!!!

Thanks to those Republicans and their global warming the ground here is not frozen yet and I am having to walk around in the mud.

Politics...... How wonderful a place would the world be without them? Or would it?

My problem is that I don't really fit into any party. I share some of the values of each party, but disagree with most of the values each party. My wife is a democrat, my parents are republican, I work for an oil company and love the outdoors. That is exactly why I voted for Ralph Nader! Now my wife, parents, and all of the animals in the forest can't blame me for our current situation.

I think my feelings on politics are much like my feelings on religion. I know what I believe but I don't really agree strongly enough with one party/denomination to claim one.

If Al Gore were in office would 9-11 have still happened? How would he have handled it?

If John Kerry were in power would hurricane Katrina have still obliterated the gulf coast? Would the mayor of New Orleans or the Governor of La been blaming the situation on Kerry?

I don't think GW is great either but what is the right answer? Who would Kerry have put in charge of FEMA?

I don't think the invasion of Iraq was the right thing to do and I don't know if the people of Iraq are any better off now than they were before, but I heard about a pretty good bumper sticker that says "War never stopped anything except slavery, Nazism, Fascism and Communism." .

That is hard to argue with, but I hate the fact that we have troops over there dying for what seems to be nothing. My wife's cousin was a Marine and was killed in Baghdad in April '04, his dad fought in Vietnam and felt that we need to finish what we went over there to do. I have never experienced war so I don't really think I can sit here and say what we should or shouldn't do, but I hate that our troops are getting killed over there and the only thing that seems to be getting accomplished is that more people hate us.

Anyhow I just got on here to bitch about the mud and throw out another Helen Keller quote that I thought was great:

People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant.

I guess that why I try not to think too much!

Friday, September 16, 2005

August Morning Fog Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Back in the Arctic......

I made it back to work today and amazingly there is no snow!

On the plane on the way up I had a cup of coffee. There was a quote on the cup by Helen Keller that I am sure everyone has heard;
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

I looked up the quote the make sure I got it right and found the whole thing;

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure.

It is a simple sentence until you think about who said it. It just made me think about how many people out there that might not be physically impaired, and yet their life is not a daring adventure.
However in light of recent events I am sure there are plenty of people who would disagree that avoiding danger (or a hurricane) is no safer in the long run than exposure.

Actually I found a lot of great quotes by her that I'll save for later posts, they are pretty amazing. I know most of you heard these years ago but cut a little slack for us undereducated folks. I feel like a whole new world has opened up since I started writing (and reading) on a frequent basis.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Home at last!

We arrived home on Sunday afternoon, I have been too busy (lazy) to add a post. It is definitely fall here but the yellow and green leaves are beautiful and the temperature is in the mid 60's. We have a ton of things to get done before the ground freezes and I go back to work tomorrow, so I am off to get a few things done.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

I must admit I just ate the best bison steak I have ever eaten. Come to think of it, it was the only bison steak I have ever eaten......

We arrived Whitehorse after an uneventful trip up the Cassiar Hwy. The fall colors are magnificent, there are some amazing orange trees mixed in with mostly yellow. We didn't get into any snow, although I heard that they have already had snow on the part of the highway that we bypassed.

We stopped by a jade shop that mines and sells jade. They had some amazing slabs of jade and a few other minerals. I bought some small pieces to compare to some of the bigger boulders that we have retrieved over the summer. Aside from one gas stop and a couple of pee breaks the jade shop was the only real break we took all day.

Thane has been great, Sandi took him to a playground to burn a little energy before we strap him back in for the night.

We are going to try and make the Alaska border tonight. I figured in the unlikely event somebody did something stupid tomorrow(as it is Sept 11), I didn't want to get stuck here. It wouldn't be so bad if I were in the middle of the country but I don't want to spend a week in Beaver Creek.

Happy trails.......

Friday, September 09, 2005

Split Decisions....

We were planning on going from Prince George to Ft. St. John and then to Whitehorse. We spent the morning playing in the pool at the hotel so our day didn't get started until after noon (we had to get coffee and all of the other morning necessities).
We have both recently read the book Grass Beyond the Mountains by Richmond P Hobbson, and it was based west of Cash Creek, where we ate dinner last night. Sandi has read his last two and the last ranch he owned was in Vanderhoof which is about an hour west of Prince George. Sandi found out that they actually have a museum in Vanderhoof with a bunch of Rich Hobbson collectibles.

So we headed west instead of north. I have wanted to check out Smithers for awhile anyhow. Our split decision was wether or not to drive to Vanderhoof then drive the hour back to Prince George and up, or continue from Vanderhoof to Smithers and then up the Cassiar up to Watson Lake. We are getting ready to leave Smithers now that we have found some espresso.....

If we aren't heard from in the next few days we are somewhere between here and Watson Lake.

Wish us luck........

Beautiful British Columbia

We arrived Prince George last night about 10:30 pm. The first hotel coming into town is only eight months old and is a hotel/casino. We stayed here because they have a pool with a water slide, and I was ready for some instant sleep. I was talking to one of the hotel employees this morning and he said that they are planning an addition to the hotel already. Apparently Prince George is going through the same growth boom as everywhere else I have been lately.

The trip is going well so far. The biggest difference I have noticed is that there isn't much difference between the US and Canada these days. The exchange rate isn't near as beneficial as it used to be (for those of us from the US anyhow). The gas in Canada used to be much higher than in the US but the difference is about as minimal as the exchange rate with our latest gas prices.

Well I have a monkey that I need to get off of the drapes and down to the pool, so until next time.......


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

80 Degrees in the Pacific Northwest is so heavenly......

We made it to Washington around 7pm, it was about 22.5 hours total from Phoenix but the trip computer which only logs the time the van is on said 22 hours and 10 minutes. That was to go from Jim and Kay's in Tempe to Brad and Tiffani's in Scottsdale, then to LA, then Sacramento, then Portland Airport to get Chris' truck, and finally up to Longview, Wa.
I am losing my faithful Copilot and won't gain another one until tomorrow morning in Seattle. Sandi gets in at 7am with Thane then we'll head for Alaska.

When we left Phoenix last night at 8:30 pm it was still over 100 degrees F. When the sun came up this morning it was 90 degrees everywhere we stopped until Washington where it was a cool 80.

Until next time........

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

And they're off.....

So this will be my last post from the scorching heat of Arizona. We are headed for Portland tonight and hope to be there this time tomorrow. Wish us luck. Hopefully we won't get lost in Compton on our way through LA.


Chris and I got picked up the van around noon, took a tour of the plant that does the conversions and then headed for some lunch and groceries for the road. The VMI plant is pretty amazing, they convert 46 minivans and 6 full size vans a week on average. They have a full assembly line that they strip them down, install the lowered floors, cut out the original floors, then put them all back together again. It is like a production line chop shop. Here is their site:

We are going to hang out here until rush hour traffic dies down and visit with family for a little while then head out west. Everything went well and I didn't even have to choke anyone.

Leaving Phoenix?

Well it is Tuesday morning so I am off to get Chris from the airport then see if we can break the land speed record from Phoenix to Portland. Although we still haven't taken delivery of the van yet. It could be a foot race.

Chris made it in right on time, however the sales guy had promised me that he would be on the doorstep of DMV at eight am and I called him at nine thirty and he had not made it yet. I am currently looking for a music store close by. Does anyone have any recommendations as to which size piano string is best for strangulation? I have decided that if I don't here from him soon I will just turn my Aunt Kay loose on him and he will wish he only had me to deal with!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Today was a cool 100+ Degree day here in Phoenix. I mostly spent the day at my cousin Ben and his wife Mandy's house. They have the three kids that I was talking about yesterday. Their son Noah is seven (I think) and a great kid, but I have a boy already, it is their two girls that I am ready to take home with me. I asked the girls if they wanted to go home with me, so they got their shoes, brought me mine and said lets go.
I thought I had gotten past wanting a second child (although I have wanted two for a long time) now that we are done changing diapers, but these girls would make a person with the strongest convictions reconsider.

I talked to the sales guy today and he says he is getting the van licensed at eight am tomorrow. I have to pick up my friend Chris who is flying into Phoenix from Portland at nine am, so hopefully by the time we get back from the airport the van will be ready to go. If not I will get to attend the 2005 Peterson Family Reunion this weekend while awaiting my araingment hearing!

If all goes well tomorrow we will he headed out of Phoenix after lunch. Unfortunately all of the family starts arriving tomorrow evening. Well I left them all a little fresh smoked Kenai River Red Salmon that I brought down so at least I could contribute something.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Well just to let you know I typed for over an hour and as I tried to post it everything was lost......... Some days I feel like Ziggy! So to start all over with my saga, I am currently in Phoenix and have no transportation. Why you ask, well that is what I had explained in the last hour that I spent typing. So I guess I'll give it another go. My original plans after dad got out of the hospital and comfortable at home were to take his three horses to Washington, fly to Phoenix and pick up a new handicapped accessible van that we bought, drive back to Washington where I would be met by my sister TJ and her husband Jeff and we'd all drive both vehicles back to Alaska. Well, it is a good thing ConocoPhillips hired me as an Instrument Tech and not a Planner because I would probably be out of a job and trying to make a living at being a writer. You all know as well as I do how poor I would be! That plan didn't quite work out. First off I was planning on surprising my parents with the new van since I knew they would be opposed to me (actually me is "us" meaning all of my sisters their significant others and also my favorite wife Sandi) just going out and getting a van for them. So on the advice of my uncle Buddy (and my favorite wife), we told them. They weren't as thrilled as I'd hoped but hey they haven't driven it yet (actually neither have I and that gets back to my being "stuck" in Phoenix). Kay and Jim drove the van for me originally and said it was very nice. I had the conversion company add hand controls and two transfer seats so mom could get into either seat without dad having to lift her, as he is limited to forty pounds for life (although he seems to forget that part and he is still won't be above his ten pound limit for a few more weeks). So after the seats were added I bought a one way ticket to Phoenix. The gentleman who I worked the deal with was going to have the van ready to go with a temporary permit on the Thursday or Friday before Labor Day so Kay could pick it up before the weekend. My friend Chris Johnson bought at one way ticket from Portland to Phoenix to accompany me as far as Longview Washington. The day I left (Friday) I talked to the sales guy and he said the DMV was closed until Tuesday that they had taken a four day weekend, so the van wasn't licensed yet. This meant I wouldn't be able to leave Phoenix Sunday night or Monday morning as planned. This would not really be a big deal but the day I left I bought Sandi and Thane one way tickets to Seattle for seven am on Thursday morning. I called Chris and he changed his ticket to Tuesday but Sandi has to work on Monday the 12th at eight am so there is a little time crunch to get from Seattle to Alaska. Then when I got here on Saturday Jim told me that they had checked and the DMV wasn't actually closed on Friday, and that maybe the sales guy just didn't feel like driving across town on a Friday afternoon. I attended Sunday School this morning with Jim and Kay and everyone prayed that I picked up the van on Tuesday and had a safe trip back to Alaska. I almost asked everyone to pray that if I didn't get the van on Tuesday that my sentence for the strangulation of a car salesman would be short. In truth being "stuck" in Phoenix is great, I have gotten to spend time with all of my family here that I haven't seen in almost ten years and meet six of the most adorable children (aside from my own) that I have met. I volunteered to take a few of them home with me (I am driving a new minivan after all). All in all, my "planning" not going as planned has actually been a great blessing. Now I just hope to meet up with Sandi on Thursday and I will continue to be happy. If I don't get the van on Tuesday however my next Blog posting might be from the Arizona State Penitentiary (luckily Alaska and Arizona have a prisoner exchange program). So wish me luck, Tyson

The beginning

Will I get the van or will I be stuck in the heat for awhile?