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Monday, April 2nd - The DRIP DRIP DRIP of Spring's Arrival!

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another.
The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.
- Henry Van Dyke, Fisherman's Luck, 1899

It is currently 40 degrees ABOVE zero! It has been in the 30s and 40s for the past few days now, and we are loving it! Things are melting, there are puddles on some of the roads, and I can hear the melted snow running through my downspouts from the roof. If you want to see a community that applauds puddles, mud, and the sight of dead grass being revealed, come to Fairbanks in April. The downside to all of this thawing is that there are some really slick spots on the roads where the top layer of compacted snow has melted and then iced over again, in a shiny smooth sheen.

Today, I met my friend Abby for lunch at the Chowder House. Abby and I have been out to lunch several times in the past, but in a group. This was our first time dining alone. We decided to meet at 11:30am to beat the lunch crowd and stayed until 2:30pm chatting. The time just flew by, and I really enjoyed getting to know her better. I look forward to our next lunch get-together.

Abby and her husband both enjoy working with glass. Her husband is a glass bead maker, from which he designs and assembles gorgeous jewelry (necklaces, bracelets, earrings). Abby's glass art involves glass fusing. She also makes beautiful jewelry pieces, using glass designs that she cuts, layers, and bakes in a kiln until it's all melted together. I asked her if she'd let me do a photo essay of her hobby, and she said she would. So hopefully, at some point in the future, I'll have photos and a more detailed explanation of this amazing craft.

Chena riverAfter our lunch, I ran a few errands and then did a loop around the city looking for puddles, reflections, and other signs of spring. I took a short walk behind the Carlson Center and saw ducks splashing in the river. I took the two photos here, before driving the short distance to Pioneer Park. A quick loop through the park didn't result in any photos, but there are quite a few construction workers there, working hard to ready the cabins and small shops for their opening in May.

Chena river footbridgeThe same bridge pictured above can be seen from the other side from Pioneer Park - see photo at left. If you remember, I posted a photo of this bridge in early February. You can see that photo by clicking here. While I do love the winter photo, it's nice to see the limbs of the trees bare of the heavy snow. I'll be even happier when the bare limbs are green with new leaves. Last year, "green up" didn't arrive until the second week in May. You'll probably hear me complaining about the brown blah-ness in a few weeks, once everything thaws. (Aren't we ever happy? *grin*)

After I got home from my drive, I walked around the yard with Sedona, sinking to mid calf in the now soft snow. In the midst of winter, the snow was frozen enough to support my weight in many places. Now my foot goes clear through to the ground below. We're going to have quite the muddy mess soon, especially since we have no grass around the house.

Water dripping off camperWater in puddleI stood for a few minutes, enjoying the sound of gently running water as it made its way through the downspout. The roof still has quite a few inches of snow on it, but it's slipping further downward and off as the days pass. The snow is melting off of the camper too. I stood and watched the droplets fall from the top of the camper and into a puddle below.

I'm sure that in a few weeks, I'll be tired of having muddy shoes, and having to wipe Sedona's paws off before she comes into the house, but the melting and the warm temperatures bring the promise of spring - and with that promise, I'll put up with the inconvenience.

I received an email from my friend Donna the other day. Looks like she's going to be my first summer visitor! Donna and I met at the Post Office back in the late 80s. We hit it off immediately, and our friendship has stood the test of time and distance. I saw Donna at Mom's memorial dance, and it was as if no time had passed. Donna is one of the few friends who has come to visit me no matter where the army has sent us. And now she's coming to Alaska sometime in mid-late June! I know she's so excited, and I am too.

Since Steve plans to enjoy some downtime before getting another job (he's not going to fully retire after leaving army life behind), we're excited about planning a camping trip while Donna's in town. Depending on how much time she has with us, we'd like to take her to Seward, and maybe onward to Homer. I'll know more when she gets her airline tickets and we have precise dates.

Wednesday, April 5th - Fifteen Years

Walk with me, the path of life, let's explore every bend of the road.
Enjoy with me the beauty of life, along its wonderful way.
Find comfort with me, in each other's arms, when grief crosses our path.
Find strength with me, in each other's strength, when despair lies in wait.
Laugh with me, a single true laugh, to enlighten each other's distress.
Cry with me, a single true tear, to understand true happiness.
Cherish with me, the wonders of life, as they need to be preserved.
Rejoice with me, in the mysteries, of what is yet to be.
Find peace with me, in each other's souls, when the world has gone insane.
Find love with me, in each other's hearts, until the end of time.
And when the path comes to an end, I know we'll be able to say,
We've known the beauty of true love, our love came from within.

Happy Anniversary, Steve!
Thank you for the best 15 years of my life!

Easter Sunday, April 8th - And the Thaw Continues

Fifteen YearsSteve and I had a wonderful anniversary day. The day started with a surprise bouquet of 15 red roses (one for each year) which Steve brought home with him when he returned from running an 'army' errand.

I wanted to get a photograph of both of us and the flowers, so I set the camera up on the tripod, set the timer, and we played the 'run and pose' game. I had to take five shots to get one where we were both looking into the camera lens and both in focus. As you can tell, my smile is forced, and Steve's is barely there. Oh well...

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Wednesday, April 11th - A Spring Trip to Chena Hot Springs

The weather is so incredibly beautiful. You can almost see the snow melting. Each morning, we wake up and there is less snow in the yard, and on the roads. Of course, there's mud beneath it all, and that leads to its own problems. Namely - muddy footprints on the wood floors. Sedona is now accustomed to having her feet wiped before she comes back into the house. I'll be glad when we're through with this part of the season, but even the mud can't stifle my joy over the arrival of spring.

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Wednesday, April 18th - The arrival of Spring and a pre-season trip to Denali Park

Sorry for the long delay in making an entry. The warm weather has been almost intoxicating, and we've been spending as much time outdoors as we can. Steve and I have started walking Sedona around the block each evening. It's only a mile, but it's something. We enjoy this quiet time to ourselves, and we usually do it after dinner so our food digests better. I look forward to getting into a regular walking routine (with or without Steve), and I've mapped out a route through my neighborhood which is about 5 miles. My friend Karen has also talked about walking a couple of miles together during the week, and I'm game for that too (anytime you're ready, Karen!).

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Monday, April 23rd - Happy Birthday to Chris!

Before I go any further with this entry, I just have to wish my eldest son a Happy Birthday!

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Saturday, April 28th - Boreal Forest Trail at Creamers Field

On Tuesday, Sedona and I visited Creamers Field again. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Boreal Forest Trail was finally complete - with boardwalks in place and cedar chips defining the path. Despite the boggy areas, there weren't any annoying mosquitoes (perhaps because it was still early in the day). It's a gorgeous 2-mile walk through tall birch, spruce and cottonwood trees, and over tiny streams and ponds that reflect the trees in the morning sunshine. The trees are still bare, as spring buds have not appeared yet, but once they do, the forest will be lush and green and look entirely different. I'll return for more photos then.

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Monday, April 30th - Creamers Field Revisited

It's hard to believe that today is the last day of April. The first four months of this year have just flown by, and for that I am thankful. Summer is just around the corner, but first we have to reach "green up".

Steve and I were up early Sunday morning. I was craving a "Moons Over My Hammy" from Denny's, and so we decided to start our day with a nice big breakfast. Surprisingly, service was fast (not a usual thing at our local Denny's) and we were in and out in about an hour.

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©2007 Susan L Stevenson