Friday, October 31, 2008

Lights, Long johns, and Arctic Halloween

Happy Halloween, readers! This has been a busy and very "Alaskan" week for us.

Our most recent trip to Fairbanks was productive. Good news all around at the doctor's office. The New Nugget is growing well and looks healthy, but no definite answers on gender yet. We have another ultrasound in a few weeks, so maybe we'll get a better look then.

In spite of our very awful stay on our previous trip, we decided it was better to stay overnight again. With the days getting shorter, the roads getting icier, well... it's just easier and way less stressful to drive up the day before, and then be able to head home after our appointments. Sure cuts down the bickering, anyway. We had a much more enjoyable stay this time around, and without spontaneous combustion of electrical appliances this time. *Phew!*

This time was a big shopping trip as well. J and I decided our Christmas present to each other would be a new TV and entertainment center. The evening of our return trip proved to be busy, and I was looking forward to getting little Beans into bed and snuggling up with my sweetie to check out what a TV show looked like on a 40 inch screen. (A lot bigger than it does on a 27 inch, I can tell you that much!)

As luck would have it, I was in for a much better show than I anticipated.
Nope, not on my new TV.

Around 9 pm, the phone rang. My neighbor sounded almost panicked, urging me to look out the window immediately. My initial thought was that the pesky moose that has been licking salt off the sidewalks finally trampled someone trying to get out of their car. My neighbor calmed those fears and told me the Northern Lights were out.

I'm not one to use lots of expletives (especially since Beans got into that repeating-everything-she-hears stage, but WOW. Freakin' AMAZING.

The Lights were not only out, but very active, dancing and snaking their way through the night sky. J and I rushed into coats and shoes and ran outside to join our neighbors.

Um, as an afterthought, I wish I had thrown some thermals on. For the record, thin, summer weight cotton pajama pants do NOT make for good Northern Lights viewing. it was ZERO degrees outside. And as another afterthought, I don't recommend wearing Crocs in the snow. It's a good way to end up with really cold, wet feet.

But, I digress.
The four of us stood outside, watching in amazement, and being even more amazed that we seemed to be the only neighbors who noticed or cared to watch the display of lights. Just as we were all getting cold and commenting about going in, the Lights made a sudden change and began to switch from bright green (think, the kind of glow that alien space ships always give off in the movies) to shades of pink and purple. My neighbor (the wife, anyway) began to squeal with delight, as did I. I'm sure our husbands thought they had been transported into some kind of girly slumber party nightmare as we jumped up and down squealing, "They are PURPLE! The lights are PURPLE!" and giggling like little school girls amped up on caffeine and sugar. The men watched in amazement (probably at our behavior, more than the lights) and calmly warmed us not to step in dog poop or upset the moose that was in the nearby clearing, making her way back to the front of our building to continue licking salt.

But seriously,the Lights were AMAZING. We stood outside for about 30 minutes. At that point, I would have loved to stay out and continue to watch the lights, but I was beginning to not be able to feel my limbs, and my legs were actually stinging with pain from the cold. It was a good indication to go indoors.

We and our neighbors parted ways, promising middle of the night phone calls if either of us saw another amazing display, and J and I headed in, all but forgetting about that new TV.

I just want to add my Crazy Hippie Side Note to that: After seeing those Lights, I just can't believe the amount of TV watching people do. No, I'm not about to go return my new TV (I DID like watching the news on a screen that I could actually see from across the room), but, Wake Up World! There is so much really neat stuff waiting right outside the door to go see! There is not a show, video game, or movie with such intense graphics as Nature. No IMAX movie is ever going to show you what it feels like to be standing out in zero degrees in your jammies and watching those Lights dance purple circles above your head, or making you feel like at any moment an alien spacecraft might actual beam you up.

And as another side note: I need to learn to use that nifty manual camera I picked up at a yard sale this summer. The digital camera just can't do those Lights justice. If (IF) we ever leave Alaska, I want pictures of things I have actually seen myself, not the post cards. Those lights were AMAZING, and I hate that I have nothing but memories to hold me over until my next dose of Northern Lights.


This was the first time in my entire life I have ever had to wear thermals to go trick or treating. And those were under my merino wool pants! It is starting to get cold enough that any trip out that involves being out for more than just running into a warm car and back into a warm building requires "gear" and extra layers.

Tonight was no exception. Beans and I started out Halloween evening with a trip to the fire station to see Daddy. I had her all dressed up (as you can see) and she was the cutest little pumpkin ever! Daddy was thrilled to see his Little Punkin', and to have dinner with us before we headed out for trick or treating.

Oh, and the guys in the station were kind enough to start filling her trick or treat bucket with lots of candy, and make sure she started amping herself up on sugar before our night even started. Next Halloween, Daddy is going to get to stay home with the amped up kids, and Mommy is going to spend the night in a Sugar-Free zone.

Well, little Beans and I started our rounds. I was hoping to get around our own little street (about 10 houses), thinking we would probably score a few decent candy bars that I could eat after Beans went to bed.

But Alaska always wins.

The cold winds picked up and by house number 2, Beans was screaming her little head off, yelling, "Home, Momma! Home!" We headed to our neighbor's house and warmed up a bit, while Beans enjoyed some candy and then chased my neighbor's cat around the house. After a little visiting, we headed home to answer our own door for the trick or treaters.

I have to say that Beans definitely preferred answering the door to the trick or treating. She enjoyed seeing all the costumed kids and had a good time saying, "Boo!" and making "spooky" ghost noises at all the kids. The kids cleaned us out of candy in no time, and after a nice warm bath, I finally managed to get my sugar-infused little one to bed. Can you see the sugar coursing through her little brain? At least she looks like she is having a really good time! At any moment, I expected her to put a lamp shade on her head and become the "life of the party". Seriously. Apparently you CAN get drunk on lollipops.

On that note, it's time for my own sugar induced coma. There might be a few candy bars stashed away somewhere for me to nibble on. Between that and cup of well deserved hot apple cider, I should have a nice night time snack for curling up and gazing out the frosty windows, in search of more Northern Lights.

Until next time,

Happy Moose Trails!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah - trick or treat in the cold. My kids and I remember it well. Long johns and later warm-up pants were GREAT for keeping us warm. Just had to make sure the costume went OVER THE warm clothes. She's very cute!