Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Say Again?

You know the old joke about the politician who spent time in a mental institution and upon leaving was given a release form stating that he was now completely sane? He used this in his next election campaign to state he was the only certifiably sane candidate, so vote for him.

Anyway, we have had a little tension around here for several months about my ability to hear. My sweet wife has to repeat almost everything she says and claims I must have a terrible hearing loss because I do not understand what she is saying. So today I went to the otorhinolaryngologist (five "o's" for those of you who are keeping score) today to have my hearing checked.

[ A small admission here. When I had my annual physical a couple of weeks ago, I told my general practitioner doctor about this hearing problem. He said he would get his nurse to set up an appointment for me. When she called, she gave the name of the doctor, his address, time of the appointment, etc. I looked the doctor up in the yellow pages to see what kind of doctor I was being sent to. It said "Specializing in Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery". I thought this was some kind of mistake, I don't need no stinkin' surgery. So I called to see if this was indeed a place to get my hearing tested. Who knew? Why not just say "Specializing in Diseases of the Ear, Nose, and Throat"?]

I know I have trouble hearing in noisy situations and I clearly remember my dad and my grandad both had hearing aids by their early sixties. I also remember thinking my grandad was really on the leading edge of technology when he bought a hearing aid that was completely contained within the frames of his glasses! How cool was that?! He looked exactly like the little dancing dude on the Six Flags commercials with the giant black glasses frames, balding, and big ears.

Since I haven't had any hearing test since grade school, and given the inherited deaf genes, I figured we should just check this out, get a recommendation for a reliable hearing aid, and admit we are aging.

Surprise! I still hear pretty well. I have trouble with high pitched sounds (like conversation with women and children) and noisy situations such as a party.

So what does this mean? No hearing aid necessary at this time and you ladies need to speak up or get real close to me at parties. I have a note from the doctor that says I can hear.

So there.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


As I often do, I was going to the little "NEXT BLOG" button on Blogspot and came upon on a blog named Soulkitchen which had a whole bunch of question marks in it. I have encountered several other blogs with all of the question marks and thought it was some new cool kid thing that I did not understand. But Soulkitchen looked very neat and organized and then I noticed the blogger was in Taipei.

Eureka! Mozilla Firefox is putting question marks in place of Chinese characters! To make sure my discovery was correct, I tried the same blog on Internet Explorer. Sure enough, IE puts little squares instead of question marks.

I like the questions marks.

It's a good day when you learn something.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Home from Alaska-If You Melted It Down It Wouldn't Be Much Bigger Than Rhode Island.

Well, I'm sorry I couldn't keep you updated on our Alaska trip on a daily or even weekly basis as I had hoped. I have put about one-third of the pictures from the trip on the blog. Unfortunately, they are in reverse chronological order, so to see them in order you have to go way down to the bottom of this blog and work your way back to here. Also, I couldn't figure out how to send more than 1 picture at a time to Blogger. But that actually works out OK since you need to read from the bottom up.

Anyway, it was a great trip. We got back on Friday, May 27, after driving 4,727 miles from South Bend to Anchorage, AK. Now we want to deliver more RV's to Alaska, but start in California and drive up the pacific coast.

Thanks to Frances for taking us to and picking us up at DFW. Thanks to Clippership RV in Anchorage for giving us the opportunity to make this trip at a reduced rate.

Thanks to my wife for being my navigational buddy on the whole trip. I love you.

Now I get to paint the house.

This creek is about half way around the practice trail. They really were hot even though the temperature was in the 60's. Posted by Hello

Here we go on the practice trail just outside Talkeetna. The cart we are in holds six adults and the musher. The dogs go about 20 miles per hour at first and they usually run 1.5 miles twice a day during the summer. It is too hot for them to go much further. Posted by Hello

This is a real Iditarod sled dog. See how small and skinny they are? A good lead dog can cost thousands of dollars. The Sun Dog Kennel in Talkeetna finished about 18th this year in the Iditarod. By the way, there are over 100 veterinarians along the trail to take care of the dogs. There are 0 doctors along the trail to take care of the mushers. Just in case you are one of those animal rights people. Posted by Hello

There it is in the left middle of this picture. The snow capped top is visible just above the bottom layer of clouds. We finally have a view of the "the mountain". Posted by Hello

We splurged on a room at the beautiful Talkeetna Alaska Lodge for the night. We hoped to see Mt. McKinley as we have never seen it even though we've spent nearly a week in the area on two different trips. They say it is only seen by about 30% of visitors. The lodge is very nice and the views are spectacular. Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 05, 2005

This, to me, is real Alaska. I love Talkeetna. Posted by Hello

Anne with our snowman at a roadside park just north of Talkeetna. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 24, Day 24. The drive to Talkeetna was spectacular! Still lots of snow and very low clouds. This is what Alaska should look like! Posted by Hello

This picture should have followed a picture of the bus Anne and I rode 53 miles into Denali National Park. For some reason that picture did not get "blogged". We did see lots of animals in the park including Dall's sheep, caribou, ptarmigan(state bird), and a brief glimpse of a large grizzly bear. It was after 11 PM when we got back to the Grizzly Bear RV park. Chris had built a fire and we had some wonderful gumbo that Doug had made and left with us. This picture was taken without a flash at 11:45 PM. Posted by Hello

The Alaska pipeline near Wiseman. The pipeline cannot carry as much oil as it once did because it is getting clogged. It was designed to last only 20 years and will soon be 30 years old. Apparently there is still lots of oil in the north slope area of Alaska, but getting it out is becoming a problem. Posted by Hello

That's the Yukon River valley with the Brooks Range to the north. The arctic circle is just north of the river, and south of the Brooks range. Not much to see. Posted by Hello

Someone gave a cabin to the town to be used as a museum. The citizens have furnished it and made a neat little place out of it. I liked this sign asking for contributions. The bottom line says "CASH & CHECKS ONLY. NO SPIT PLEASE." Posted by Hello

A guide met us at the Coldfoot airstrip and drove us about 10 miles north to the old mining village of Wiseman. Many of the cabins there were built in the early 1900's and remain just as they were built--no water, no electricity, no phones. Notice the solar panels on top of this cabin. Those are caribou skulls on the wall.  Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 22, Day 18. We flew from Fairbanks north over the Arctic Circle to the little town of Coldfoot, AK. This town was a gold rush site in the early 1900's. When some of the prospectors saw the place, they turned around and went back south towards Fairbanks. The people who stayed named the town in honor of the ones who got "cold feet". Posted by Hello

Still Saturday afternoon, Day 17. We went to the U. of Alaska Fairbanks Muskox farm. Saw Muskox. Posted by Hello

This lady makes traditional Athabascan beaded items and has a piece in the Smithsonian. She demonstrated how to filet a salmon. Very talented. Posted by Hello

This beautiful Athabascan girl is a beauty pageant winner and a member of the crew (as are many other college kids) on the riverboat. She is modeling a parka made from many different types of fur.  Posted by Hello

A fish trap on the Tenana River. Natives set up fish camps all along the rivers in Alaska and spend many days with their families. It is at these "family reunions" that the older people pass along native culture to the children. Posted by Hello

The tour company has set up a very large replica of a native village at the confluence of the Chena and Tenana rivers.  Posted by Hello

One of the stops on the riverboat is at the kennel of Susan Butcher, the first woman to win the Iditerod dogsled race. The dogs were quite entertaining. They did not look as I expected. Much leaner. Rather than pure huskies, they appear to have some other racing dog mixed in.  Posted by Hello

That's Chris and Anne. Everyone say, "Hi, Chris!" Posted by Hello

Our friend Chris, who is teaching in the area and living in North Pole, took us to the Discovery Riverboat for a tour of the Chena River which runs through the middle of Fairbanks. Posted by Hello

Santa Claus House was next door to Santa Claus RV park where we were staying. They had a couple of reindeer. Anne is illegally feeding carrots to the male. Posted by Hello

North Pole may have been irritating, but check out this sunset, about Midnight. Posted by Hello

Spent the next three nights in North Pole, AK, just a few miles from Fairbanks. Everything in North Pole is decorated for Christmas. Do you know how stores here in the lower 48 decorate for Christmas starting after Halloween? You know how irritating that is? Well, North Pole is cute for about a day, then it is worse than irritating. Posted by Hello