Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Alaskan Primary

Tuesday was the primary election for Alaska. While the state held a Republican primary and a Democratic caucus for the Presidential race back on Super Tuesday (with the state being won by Barack and Mitt), the primaries for the other races were held off until today. This also marked the first time that Adria or I had needed to go to a polling place to vote as Oregon moved to vote-by-mail prior to our being able to vote. We both felt that going to a physical place was a more rewarding experience than vote-by-mail. Plus you get a sticker when you turn your ballot in.

This election cycle figures to be an interesting one as Don Young, Alaska's long-time Representative, and Ted Stevens, Alaska's even longer-time Senator, both are facing stiff challenges in their re-election bids. Stevens will face Anchorage's mayor Mark Begich in the general election. This is, if he isn't a convicted felon by then. Don Young is currently about 200 votes ahead of his closest challenger Sean Parnell with the absentee ballots still to be counted. Their race turned surreal last week when both Parnell and Young appeared on the same talk radio program where in response to a caller asking the 75-year old Don Young how much longer he intended to stay in office, Young replied:

"I'm more physically capable than most people in this room. ... I challenge anybody in this room if they want to go three rounds with me down at Sullivan Arena,"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thomas eating a banana

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thomas eating an apple

Here is a picture of Thomas eating an apple that didn't make it into the previous post of Grandma and Grandpa Tingey's visit.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

A visit from Grandma and Grandpa Tingey

My parents recently came up for a visit. We had a fun time and were able to show them some of the sights of South-central Alaska.

On one of our trips we took a drive down the Seward Highway to visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and to take a cruise to see Portage Glacier. My parents really liked the scenery along the highway.

The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center had a lot of neat animals to look at. One of the first animals that we saw was Snickers the porcupine. We got there just as a worker was going to feed Snickers some apples. We also found out that porcupines have needles everywhere but their paws and faces, which makes the joke "How do porcupines kiss?" not very accurate (Punchline to the joke: Very carefully!)

We also saw a bald eagle who is a permanent resident of the center. He was brought to the center due to being shot in the wing by a hunter. His left wing had to be amputated due to the injuries sustained.

Here are some more pictures that we took at the Conservation Center.

After visiting the Conservation Center, we took a short drive to Portage Lake. The lake looked a lot different than it did when we visited back in January. While Portage Glacier seemed less blue in January, on this visit in many ways it seemed bluer than Portage Lake.

Here are some more pictures from our Portage Lake cruise.

For another of our trips we drove north to drive through Alaska's agricultural center and to visit the largest musk ox farm in the world.

The Matanuska River flows through the valley where most of Alaska's agriculture is performed

The musk ox farm harvests the soft inner wool from the musk oxen. Musk ox wool (formally called qiviut) has many beneficial properties which include being 8 times warmer than wool by weight, being finer than cashmere and never shrinking.

We had a fun time learning about musk oxen. Thomas had fun walking around the farm and trying to mimic the sounds that the baby musk oxen were making.

One night we drove out to watch the sun set over Mount Susitna. On the drive my Dad was mentioning that he still hadn't seen a moose in the wild. I mentioned that I often saw mooses around the corner that we were approaching and the tell tale sign is there are lots of cars pulled off to the side of the road because tourists will stop and look at the moose. When we stopped at the corner, I looked to my right and sure enough there were a bunch of cars pulled off the road. So we went past and there was a bull moose with a large rack of antlers standing not far from the road.

After watching the moose for a bit we continued on our way to watch the sunset.

The very top of Mount McKinley is visible above the lower set of clouds

Our other trips included:

Visiting Ship Creek in downtown Anchorage to watch salmon fishing

Visiting Cheney Lake Park and watching some ducklings swim.

And visiting the Alaska Botanical Garden