Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Updated picture

Isn't it pretty?

Again! It's snowing :)

Sunrise is at 8:01 am.

Sunset is around 7:40.

And yes...blow those babies up! That's snow falling. Inch by morning they say.

Monday, September 29, 2008


IMD: Check (only after going there three times b/c the guy was not friendly)
AHLTA: Not yet, have to wait for computer access to be completed (see above)
CAC: will take picture tomorrow, wait 7-10 days
DMHRSi: Check, but there is some book to read
Credentials: Check
PAD In Patient Records: Check
Narcotics Access: Check
Blood Bank Orientation: To be scheduled
MEDDAC Form: Check
AKO Account: Sort of check, supposedly ok'A by morning
CAF Folder: Nope
DA Form: Printed, not filled out
Password created: Only after about 12 attempts (Must contain two capitals, two lower case, two special characters, two numbers, and be at least 10 characters long)

Vehicle Registration: Check. Thoughts? Should I get a specialized plate or run with the 50th anniversary of statehood plate I was issued.
Driver's License: uhm, yeah, ah...not quite

So all in all...not too bad. I have over half of the things on my list done. I have my Newcomer's Orientation to do but the next one isn't until the end of October. I have to meet with the hospital Commander but that's by appt only and I'm scheduled a week from Thursday. Tomorrow's big goal is to get a DOD sticker for my car window so I don't have to stop at the visitor's center every day to get on post if I leave.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Home sweet home

TUG wanted pictures of the new digs. So here you go. I didn't have to move around very much to take the room pictures. The picture of Montana on the fridge and my feet on the desk were done last night. When it's Saturday night at 11 pm in AK and you don't know many people, you put on your happy socks and watch the newest episode of Grey's Anatomy. Tomorrow is my official start day so I'll let you know how it all goes.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I've been in Alaska six days and it's not even October yet and it is SNOWING! SNOWING, SNOWING, SNOWING!

It's about 11:40 pm and I'm just getting ready to head to bed. I peaked out to see if I could see the Northern Lights. Who cares about them! IT IS SNOWING!

I ALWAYS am happy when it snows before my birthday. 10 days before and did I mention, it's SNOWING!


A night out

Last night I was able to spend an evening out in the woods at a little bar called the Badger's Den with my friend Mike and a few of his friends. He is a fellow PA up here in Alaska but his family has been here for 28 years. He hauled out a few of his friends along with his wife and oldest daughter and took me out to dinner. It was nice to have some friends to spend the night with and make a few new ones. His oldest daughter is the same age as I am and her husband was part of the deployment that left Wainwright last Friday. We hung out until nearly midnight drinking and eating, laughing through the whole night.

Today...I was watching the Wisconsin/Michigan football game and halfway through the 3rd when it was 19-0 Wisconsin I fell asleep. Guess I missed one hell of a game, damn Michigan pulled off the win. WoW!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

HNT: What can you do with...

Ever wonder what one can cook on a two burner stove in a kitchenette smaller than my old bathroom?

Today was my first productive day. Monday I spent running errands and unloading the truck. Tuesday I slept nearly all day but did get the suitcases and book bags unpacked. But mostly slept. Today...today, I got a lot done. I vacuumed out the Mariner (it was only 39 degrees out when I did it too!), put all my trip receipts in order and created a spreadsheet of the expenses, got groceries, when through mail, and concluded tonight with a homemade dinner!

Yup, I managed spaghetti on a stovetop hardly able to bring water to a "rapid boil". It bubbled but I wouldn't have called it a boil. But spaghetti with whole grain noodles it was! Yummy...

Happy HNT from Alaska!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A couple more...

I wasn't kidding when I said I wasn't doing anything productive today! I'm watching the premiere of Law and Order: SVU and found these on Lime's site. Had to give them a try too.

Where is your cell phone? Coffee Table
Your significant other? Don't really have one
Your hair? Red
Your mother? A loving memory
Your father? Finally back in SD
Your favorite thing? sleep
Your dream last night? too tired to dream last night
Your favorite drink? water
Your dream goal? working on one now...
The room you are in? Living
Your ex? Caring
Your fear? Loneliness
Where do you want to be in six years? Still in AK
Where were you last night? Silver Gulch Brewery
What are you not? Mean
Muffins? Depends
One of your wish list items? Hiking trip in New Zealnd
Where you grew up? SD
The last thing you did? put away my books
What are you wearing? jammies
Your TV? on
Your pets? lounging
Your computer? custom green cover
Your life? transitional
Your mood? unsettled
Missing someone? Definitely!
Your Car? Dirty!
Something you are not wearing? jewelry
Favorite store? Any local bookstore...NY&C for dress pants
Your summer? Pretty much over
Like someone? I like a lot of people
Your favorite color? Orange
When was the last time you laughed? earlier today at the cats trying to help me unpack
Last time you cried? Last week saying good by to everyone in MN

A meme...

Stole this from Leesa b/c I'm being lazy today! After 4300 miles of driving, getting up at 4:45 am this morning to get my dad to the airport, and still having all my stuff to unpack I'm taking today to do very little. I have a blanket, I'm still in my jammies, watching CSI NY reruns, and waiting for housekeeping to come clean the room. Tomorrow I'll get myself organized...today...nothingness!

Start with your name: Nicolle

If your ex REALLY needed you at 3 am, would you go to his/her house?
The ex husband, no. The recently ex boyfriend, definitely.

When was the last time you wanted to punch someone in their face?
Uhhhmm...I considered banging my own head on the windshield around the 3000 mile point!

What are the last three things you spent money on?
Dinner for dad and I last night, postcards about the Alcan Highway experience, kitty supplies

What was the last thing you cried about?
Last week when I said good bye to everyone in Rochester I bawled repeatedly with each person.

Could you go a day without eating?
Yeah...only if it's replaced by a day of sleeping!

Have you ever kissed anyone whose name started with a J?

Do you smoke weed regularly?

Drugs are bad?
Depends on what kind of drugs we are talking about. And I think MJ would help a lot of people if allowed to.

Has anyone ever told you they're in love with you?

When was the last time you were disappointed?
It's been one of those years, I'm looking to turn that around.

Has a girl ever seriously punched you?

What was the last thing you put in your mouth?

Have you kissed two different people in one night?

Is it easy for others to make you feel awkward?
Depends on who the "others" are.

In the past week have you felt stupid?
This week, no. All I had to know how to do this week was drive and pump gas. That was pretty basic.

Have you ever been outside completely naked?

What would happen if you had a baby with the last person you kissed?
We could probably make it work but man it would be a LOT of work.

Who did you text the most yesterday?
I didn't send any text yesterday.

What were you doing at 10pm Friday night?
Crashing in a hotel room in Fort Nelson, BC planning out the next day's drive to Whitehorse, YT.

What are your plans for today?
You read that up above...doing little to nothing!

Could you go the rest of your life without smoking a cigarette?

What was the last reason you went to the doctor for?
To get a "happy light" to help with the long Alaska winters.

What is the last thing you yelled aloud?
Montana! Your food is over THERE!

What do you think of when you think of Australia?
Great wine! Close to New Zealand where I want to back pack some day!

Do you have any gay/lesbian friends?

Have you ever kissed the last person you texted?
I don't remember who I texted last, it's a possibility.

What's one action you do when you're really nervous?
Talk really fast.

Would you rather give up the computer or the TV?
TV, I can always watch my shows online :)

Do you find yourself saying mean things to people over the internet that you wouldn't say to their face?

One word that explains perfectly how you feel at the moment?

What did the last text message you received say?
I proposed. Holly said yes.

Do you care if people hate you for no reason?
Yes...to express hate one must be able to explain why they hate you. use your words.

How hard is your life right now?
Sort of in transition right now so not sure how "it" is. Give me a few weeks to get into a grove in the new digs and job and I'll let you know.

Have you ever taken anyone for granted?
Most Likely.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Alaskan DD

Not that I needed one tonight (I only had a pint and then helped Dad finish his tonight) but as we walked out of Silver Gulch Brewery after dinner, we found this driver waiting for his master. He was parked right by the front door. Always dutiful!

I found this brewery when I was here in June and had the Epicenter Summer Brew with 9% EtOH content! Tonight I tried the Octoberfest which is only available on tap right now, soon to be available for purchase. Even Dad ordered one. I wanted my salmon now that I can have it fresh and of course, beer! Dad got a steak with garlic mashed taters. i would have loved to have had dessert too but I ordered Alaskan Hushpuppies too and just didn't have room. I drank my pint, finished Dad's off for him; now he's at his hotel packing and I'm watching Dancing With the Stars. CSI Miami premiere is next!

I had pictures of the Pipeline from when I was here in June but since I was by myself I didn't get a picture WITH the pipeline. Yes...I'm wearing a Carhart barn coat. The high today was 51 and it was a bit chilly as the sun was going down tonight. I braved town with just a short sleeve t-shirt on most of the day but it was just too cool tonight. It's freezing here at night so a "little" coat is okay, right?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 8: Culturally Confused

After so many days in the land of the Canucks I was starting to actually be able to convert kilometers to miles. i was also starting to get use to the slower pace; people in restaurants, hotels, gas stations aren't in the same hurry all of us in the US are. Today was to be the final drive though and we arrived at the Canada/Alaska border at noon Alaska time (one hour behind Pacific, two hours behind Mountain, three hours behind Minnesota). I was feeling very confused and what country I belonged to after so many miles. Alaska? Yukon? US? Canada? Not sure which way to go.

Dad made sure I knew the goal was still Fairbanks and after a few border pictures we made it through customs without a single issue. Didn't even look at the cat's certificates and I got to keep all my house plants. YEAH!!!

I'm happy to have "American" food again. I had a California burger at Fast Eddy's in Tok, AK...massive burger, homemade crescent roll like bun, avocado, sprouts, tomato and onion! And ketchup on the tables. I was happy to see miles instead of kilometers. I was happy to figure gallons instead of litres. The scenary continued to be beautiful but if you notice the colors have faded and the birches have dropped most of their leaves this far north. The spruce are still thick and green though so it doesn't look so bad. It's beautiful!

Our last wildlife adventure of the drive came before the border crossing when this little black bear toddled across the road. He took his time. We actually had to stop for him as he jiggled his way across. Cute little guy, isn't he?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day 7: Finally! Wildlife!

I have always known the moose to be an illusive animal. I've lived in Montana and Minnesota. They live there too but you don't get to see them every day. However, from all you read and all people tell you they are EVERYWHERE in Canada and Alaska. Well, we have been on the road now since Monday and had NOT seen a moose anywhere. Up until today the big horn sheep in Jasper and an over fed black bird were all we had seen besides deer.

Today we took off from Fort Nelson, British Columbia to a sunny morning a little after 7 am. We soon hit fairly thick fog and all of a sudden there were animals everywhere. When driving on mountain roads in fog though it's hard to get good pictures. I did get these two of this huge bull moose. Unfortunately, everything else is so vast these pictures just don't do justice to how big he was! Finally!

I didn't give him a kiss but I was darn happy to see him. We also saw a young bull with a cow and another very large bull. Stopped at Toad Lodge to see the world famous hat collection. Supposedly they have over 6000 hats left by passersby on the Alcan Highway. The fog hung around for much of the morning and made for beautiful, "above the heavens" pictures when we would reach the summit of a peak.

We also stopped at the Sign Post Forest in Watson Lake. Not much of a town and we only found one restaurant but we had two menus to chose from...American Food or from scratch Chinese food. Dad went for the roast beast, I had chicken chow mein. The sign post forest was started years back by a homesick soldier while working on the highway. Now there are signs from all ends of the world. Amazing...wish I had had time to read a few more.

There were large herds of caribou and buffalo along the way as well. Tonight we have "landed" in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. Definitely not all it was cracked up to be and the hotel is, well, uhm...let's just say it's a place to sleep and that's about it. We will be on the road early tomorrow for the last stretch into Fairbanks! Alaska or broke!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Day six: Drive by shootings

Today was the first day I attempted NOT drugging the cats and it went very well. Loaded all three up this morning and we were on the road by 7:15 this morning. Today's drive took us from Prince George, BC to Fort Nelson, BC and included the official "start" of the Alcan Highway in Dawson Creek, BC.

The scenery is amazing. We can tell we are getting farther north b/c the "colors" are more apparent vs the more green we say in the Glacier National Park area. Most of today's pictures were taken as we were driving by but you get the idea...lots of highway, lots of bugs, lots of trees!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day five: Pictures finally! Not exactly HNT but still...

Romeo is still stealing the show. That is my cat in Heather's garage after he discovered a sticky cricket trap in his little hiding spot. He walked around all over the garage with it on because it had kitty litter stuck to it. We had to cut it off and I'm still pulling sticky stuff out of his fur! After the last few days though all three are doing very well traveling. Currently they are all curled up on the bed with me.

Yesterday's misadventure began with an unplanned detour around Glacier since Going To The Sun Highway was closed half way up.

So around the south bottom we went, up and around to enter Canada in British Columbia. Unfortunately the detour had put us very behind and we didn't get to that big comfy bed below until 11 pm! Dad, the cats, and I were all fried!

Today was actually pretty and planned. Banff to Jasper National Parks, Mount Robson over to Prince George BC. Lots and lots to see along the way...Dad won't look over the edges though!

Day Four: Black oblivion of Canadian National Parks

Today was suppose to be the "short" day mile wise but a bit slow because of two lane highways and some National Park stops. Dad and I left Helena with Bagel Company Bagels and formerly known as Morning Light Coffee in tow by 8:00 this morning.

Made it to St. Mary's in Glacier National Park just before noon. Found out I could drive as far as Logan Pass and then would have to come back down. Closed early for construction. 20 mile back track to highway 49 to get to East Glacier to get to Highway 2 to go around the entire South Rim of the park before getting to West Glacier. Then up into Canada without a hitch.

Hit Kootenay National Park (they spell it wrong in Canada!) and it was pitch black, no frickin mileage markers and no way to tell how far you have really made it since you are driving 60 kilometers and hour. Which translates to a really long 75 mile drive in the dark.

Anyway...after a near panic attack from my dad and me wandering into Storm Mountain Lodge asking "how far" we made it to Banff National Park. We are checked in, cats are brushed, watered, and fed. I'm about to finish this post and call it a night.

Tomorrow...we are NOT making hotel reservations and when we get tired we are stopping and staying where ever the heck that might be. For the record...the Canadians DO put up all sorts of signs warning of various animal crossings. If they were there, we didn't see them. I saw one deer and one fox. No moose, bear, or elk today. Maybe tomorrow when the sun is out we will know where the hell we are at :)

Oh yeah...Romeo had another adventure last night. He found the sticky cricket trap in Heather's garage. he was thumping around the garage with it attached to his back left foot this morning. Little haircut and it's all better!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day Three: In them their hills...

Made it to Montana today! Man, when I get the first glimpse of those snowcapped Rocky peaks I get this giddy chill that runs up my spine. Not sure dad felt the same thing...he was too worried about me driving through Bozeman Pass.

The cats are roaming in Heather's garage. I'm well fed and juiced with Montana beer and heading to bed. Tomorrow's agenda includes Glacier National Park, Banff National Park, and Jasper National Park. YEAH!!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Day 2: One cat, two cat, three cat!

They were all three STILL in the bathroom and they all three let me give them medicine this morning. Romeo and Montana took their's without a problem but Reggie would only lick it and spit it out. Guess who ended up the most stoned!? Poor Regg...he couldn't even stand up. His eyes rolled back in his end and he was completely messed up. He started "sobering" up around the 300 mile mark.

Today I drove 600 miles by myself. I opened the tail end of the SUV so they could get some air and I could air out the truck. I made three potty breaks for myself and two gas stops (one just to top off just because). G0t to Isabel. My sister had Olive Garden zuppa made from scratch with breadsticks. The cats are in the basement bathroom. I'm going to wash out the inside of the kitty den and then go to bed. I'm tired!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Day 1: Animal Control

Doesn't he look cute?

Yeah...see what you think after 6 people have spent 5.5 hours trying to get this guy, scared and immobile out of an attic spanning the width of an entire duplex!

I showed up at my own home around 12:30 this afternoon. The thought was Romeo had been hiding in the shower wall in the bathroom yesterday. Last night we left him a litter box, food, and sprinkled cat nip over the entire bathroom. My friend Dave and I left him in their and went to dinner, then to the hospital to say goodbye to the nightshift. This afternoon when we opened the bathroom none of the food, nip or litter had been disturbed. Thus, the cat must not be in their.

So the attic was our next destination. For the record, I am claustrophobic. This was my cat though so I bravely entered the dark, cramped, dirty space which is an attic in a house built in 1938 to see if I could find him. I looked between every floor joist row to see if he was there. He was not. I could not fit past the pipes to the remainder of the house. However, we did learn there are certain portions of the floor joists which run from my side of the house to the neighbors side of the house. Montana proved that!

My friend Paul then came over with his friend Chris. Chris is very, very tiny. Chris was able to fit over the pipes. She found Romeo. He was about in the middle of both sides of the building. She was able to scare him over to the side of my house on the "close" side of the pipes. Then the neighbor threaded tent poles to help "encourage" him to the other side where my friend Paul was waiting to catch him. Paul caught him! Romeo scratched him to hell but Paul and Dave got him trapped in the third floor bedroom. They put a pile of stuff in front of the attic door so the cat couldn't get back in. I took to tending Paul's wounds. Several deep scratches and one puncture. Damn cat pushed the stuff out of the way and got back into the attic.

SOOOOOO....Chris crawled back over the pipes. Brent, the neighbor, cut a whole into the sheet rock on his side of the place and we found Romeo hiding in the far, front end of the building in a joist space going the full length of the house. I crawled into the attic for the neighbor's side (Have I mentioned I'm claustrophic?) while Brent and Chris taped one pole after another together to scare him. We got him within 4 feet of my hand and Brent drove a screw diver between two floor boards to also make noise and scare him. Romeo came within 1 inch of my face as I was hanging upside down watching him come towards me. I reached for him with my gloved hands (I didn't want to have another scar on my face or hands from a cat!) and as soon as I touched him he jumped over my head and was gone again!

Round Three: All THREE guys crawled into the attic on the neighbor's side of the house. Romeo was now between floor joists which did not run the entire width of the house. Oh, this should be easy. Get something behind him, pull him towards us, grab him. Yeah no! I'm in tears by this point. Heidi, Brent's wife, has ordered pizza and then decided I needed a glass of wine. The three guys have a live trap wedged between the joists and we have all agreed to tape a fork to the end of the hockey stick and "poke" him out.

Did I mention I called the police animal control number and they don't work on weekends? Or that I called a private animal control number and he wanted $170 to set up and then $40 an hour?

So after pizza and fresh air, the guys were back in the attic with a hockey stick with a fork taped to the end. Live trap in place. About 15 minutes later the three of us girls here a "whoo-hoo" and then trampling down the stairs. Brent is hollering to call dave and tell him to come back. I guess Dave had been sent to get a shop vac with a long hose to attempt to blow the cat out of the attic. They had the cat, he was trapped in the live cage, and all was well!


Miles Traveled: 7.14

Gallons of gas bought: 0

States crossed: 0

Cats caught: 1

Romeo is now been give a dose of animal sedative and is locked in the bathroom with the two other cats along with a litter box, food, and water. All 6 of us are showered. I'm half looped on Koonunga Hills Merlot.

Dave and I are thinking of watching the Packer game our friend Tim recorded. My Broncos edged out San Diego in a 2 point conversion attempt!

Plan...Go to bed at a normal hour. Get up at a normal hour. Load cats. Load Plants. Drive to Isabel, SD.