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Traveling Again

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Apr 25, 2008 in Family Stuff, Today's Photo, Uncategorized

Today, Emily and I are off to sunny Florida for a weekend of girl’s fun!  We’re looking forward to getting away and playing for a little while.

Last week was my birthday – I’m happy to say that I survived turning 40.  Mike was kind enough to put together a little party for me at work.  Well…when I say ‘kind’, I use the term loosely.  Here’s my cake, for example:

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But we had a nice time – I got to see some people that I used to work with almost 20 years ago – oh my!  Did I just say 20 years!?!?!  Wow.  I am old.

Speaking of work, it looks like another trip to Alaska is in the works in the next month or two.  I’m certainly racking up the frequent flyer miles, that’s for sure!

And more good news – the bladder cancer test came back negative!  I was so relieved!  I have to repeat the test in a few months, but I am so glad for the very good news.

I have to go finish packing for my trip – hope you all have a nice, sunny weekend too!

 
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Back from AK

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Apr 18, 2008 in Family Stuff, Today's Photo, Uncategorized

Well…I made it back from Alaska safe and sound. But I’m really having trouble adjusting to being back on East Coast time (as I predicted I would).

I just thought I’d share a few pictures from my trip…

Here was the view from my hotel in Downtown Anchorage:

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That darn Conoco building directly across from me (seen in the right on the bottom picture) kept me from getting an even more spectacular view of the mountains.

Here was the hotel…

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You can also see the hotel in this shot of Anchorage taken from Earthquake Park:

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Unfortunately, the clouds were covering the mountains that day. And yes, I said “Earthquake Park”:

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Alaska is a very active earthquake area – the park is where more than 100 home slipped into the earth during a huge quake in the 1960s.  Today it’s a lovely park with hiking and cross-country skiing trails.  I was surprised at the abundance of cross-country skiing trails.  They have a very complex system of trails covering quite a few parks – some of the trails are even lighted for night skiing.

Just across the street from my hotel was the shop that sold the $80 musk-ox yarn…

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I also grabbed a quick shot of the moose I saw (I was trying not to anger it, so I didn’t get TOO close):

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As you can see, there was quite of bit of snow on the ground. That is one reason I am glad to be home…spring is finally here in NJ and everything around my house is starting to bloom…

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Ahhh…there’s no place like home…

 
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Almost Time to Come Home

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Apr 11, 2008 in Family Stuff, Knitting, Uncategorized

Today is my last day in Alaska – and I’ve just finally adjusted to the time change.

It’s been a very productive trip, but I’m ready to come home.  There is a real lack of estrogen up here – the ratio of men to women must be about 5 to 1.  Now…if I were a single woman, this would be a good thing.  And I have seen many “Men in Trees” up here.  But after spending  a week with the same seven men in the same conference room…let’s just say I’ve heard enough hunting and fishing stories to last a lifetime.  I am a real animal lover, but kept quiet (a difficult thing for me)until I heard the statement, “I’m such a good hunter, I can actually get the deer to come up to me and let me pet them…” – then I had to chime in, “…before you KILL them??!!”.  Like I said, I think it’s time to come home.

I had a chance to drive around last night and see some of the local sites yesterday afternoon.  The mountain views are spectacular – I even got to see a moose by the side of the road.  I am also very impressed with the local food – two nights in a row, we went to the Glacier Brewhouse and had fresh halibut and king crab legs – yum!  I also had a creme brulee in a bowl the size of a small casserole dish – so much for watching my weight!

I also had a chance to do a little bit of shopping – I picked up some souvenirs for the kids.  But while I was at the local mall, I walked right in on an actual fist-fight between two young girls – very ‘Jerry Springer’.  I had to go to the mall to pick up some boots because Anchorage had an ‘unusual weather phenomenon’ for April – 6-12 inches of snow!  They even allowed the federal employees to go home early – they even close for snow in Alaska, apparently.  But the snow totally threw off my pre-packed wardrobe and I had to improvise.  Can I put those boots on my expense report?

I also stopped by the Qiviut Knitting Store right around the corner – I was hoping to pick up some of their unique yarn made from the undercoat of the arctic musk ox – but for a small skein, it was $80!  A little too much for me…

Well…it’s back to the office this morning, then back to the East Coast on the red-eye…

 
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Hello from Alaska!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Apr 8, 2008 in Books I'm Reading, Uncategorized

I’m writing this post from very cold Anchorage, Alaska at 6 in the morning AK time.  Why am I up at 6 in the morning posting to my blog?  Because I am still suffering from the dreaded “jet lag” and have not adjusted to the time difference yet.   I’m finding out that I’m not as young as I used to be – I’m a little bit slower to bounce back than I used to be now that I’m almost 40!!!!!

But I’m still glad to be here – we really needed to come on this trip to help define Alaska’s needs for their new system.  A lot of people have asked me exactly what I’m doing in my new job and why I needed to come here…I’m basically trying to further specify the details of some of the functions they need for their new FAA system. 

It’s kind of like this – Alaska wrote that they wanted…let’s say…apples (for an analogy).  Just a very high level need.

So…I had to try to expand on that and wrote that they I think they want green apples.

This was presented to Alaska to see if that’s really what they wanted.  They came back that what they really need is applesauce made from green apples.

So I write up another piece that says I think they want applesauce made from green apples with cinnamon served in a jar.

They read this and come back that what they actually need is applesauce made from green apples with cinnamon made by Mott’s served in a portable snack pack.

See how that goes?  Just substitute flight plans and weather for apples and you get the idea.  It’s my job to get the Alaska folks started and help them explain what they really need – and they need so much that we needed to meet face-to-face to get the ideas across in discussions and pictures.  Then I try to capture it in written words and we keep refining the ideas until we think we have it right.

Anyway…the flight up here was very long (two 5-6 hour legs – think flying cross-country and then cross-country again all in the same day) and on the first leg, I was stuck in a window seat…and I am slightly claustrophobic.  And the rather large man in the middle seat  kept invading my personal space by hogging the entire armrest and crossing his leg in front of my seat – it was a LONG 6 hours to say the least.

But during the flight, I managed to finish a book I’m reading – “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert (not the girl who was in Little House on the Prairie).  I LOVED this book!  I feel like I had so much in common with the author.  We are both control freaks and our writing style is very similar.  In this book, she is just coming from a divorce and failed relationship (this we do NOT have in common – I’m in a great marriage!  But I can relate because I also went through a divorce when I was about the same age as the author) and decides to spend a year in Italy, India and Indonesia to try to find balance in her life using prayer and love.  If I have time later, I’ll post again with some of my favorite lines from the book – it really moved me.

On my second leg, I met a young man who is an ‘extreme’ skier – he was coming up here to be dropped onto a mountain by helicopter and ski down while being filmed for a documentary.  Wow.  I can’t even imagine doing something like that!  That idea together with the book I read made me take a look at my life and the types of things I do and the types of things I would never dream of doing…I’ll post more on that idea later. 

Right now, I have to go shower and get ready to go to work – one more quick thing. I didn’t have a chance to mention how absolutely breathtakingly beautiful it is up here.  I have a fabulous view of the snow-covered mountains from my room – that more than makes up for the long flight!

I wish I could post some photos, but I forgot the cable for my camera…it’ll have to wait until I get back…

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