Monday, March 2, 2015

Celebrating the 1st of March with some Northern Lights

Beautiful weekend of sunshine and temps in the 40s. We got a nice Northern Lights display. I hiked a mile or two up the mountainside behind my house to a meadow. The waxing gibbous moon was really bright and didn't even need a headlamp to find my way.








Friday, February 27, 2015

February Sunshine

The past 30 days have been rough for my Boston friends. They've been seriously dumped on (snow). Juneau, however, has been dry and sunny lately! We're in for several days of sunshine and temperatures in the 40s! We even have a great aurora forecast for the weekend!


My friends have flowers blooming in their yard. It's not even March, people!


...and the obligatory Butters at the beach photo.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Musings on Politics

These posts are getting fewer and further between. So sorry! I have just a quick thought to share tonight about politics. Don't go running!

Juneau's population is 30,000 and Alaska as a whole is 700,000. We have local assembly members, a mayor, state reps and senators, a governor and lt. governor,  2 U.S. senators and 1 U.S. representative. We bump into these people at the grocery store frequently- or at  least- know them through a friend. Especially in Juneau, we are not surprised to pass them on the street. I waited in line for a sandwich with Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott the other day. I've played trombone already for our new governor, Bill Walker. It's only a matter of time until I know him personally. This is how things work in Juneau! We are special for being such a small community in such a large space, but anyone can be this connected to local government if they want. They just have to put the effort in. I lived in Boston for 7+ years and never knew how the city was run- besides Tom Menino being mayor. I'd like to think that if I moved back today, I could be more involved because you CAN be more involved. Politics are not out of our reach!

The topics today in the office were: I was SO glad I attended the inaugural ball OR I was SO sad I did NOT attend the inaugural ball. I am in the latter camp. I will try to post some pictures tomorrow. So magical!

Thank you, Michael Penn and the Juneau Empire for this image!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Dogs in Sunshine

It rained for 40 days straight. 40. Didn't someone build an ark when that happened before? We all started to look like drowned rats. Then there was a BIG storm in the Bering Sea that changed the weather pattern for all of North America. The lower 48 got snow and cold temps, but Southeast Alaska got sunshine! Here are a few pictures (mostly of dogs) of how we celebrated the return of the big yellow disc.


Hoar frost everywhere!



















Friday, October 3, 2014

My First Permanent Fund Dividend

One unusual perk to living here is that each year, every eligible Alaskan (regardless of age), receives a dividend check from the Alaska Permanent Fund's profits. The amount of the dividend varies from year to year, and this year it is $1,884. The only requirements are that you have to be a resident for a full calendar year, physically present in Alaska for the vast majority of that year, not a convicted felon, and you've successfully completed the application during the application period at the beginning of the year. You also have to sign a statement that you intend to remain a resident of Alaska. Then POOF! You get a big ass check from the State of Alaska in October!

I arrived in Juneau in October 2012 and was a resident for all of 2013 so this was the first year I could apply. Here I am with my check on the way to the bank!




I've come to know quite a great deal about the Permanent Fund because I work for the organization that manages the $51 billion sovereign wealth fund. The Fund was created in the 1970s when Alaska was selling oil leases on the North Slope. The legislators at the time had the good sense to save this money plus stipulate that 25% of the oil revenue go into the Permanent Fund each year so help ensure the economic future of Alaska. The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation was formed to manage and invest the fund. Today the fund is invested in a variety of fixed income, equities, real estate, infrastructure and special opportunities. Most Alaskans have no idea about all of that, though. They just hold out their hands for their free money. I've got a little chip on my shoulder about that. It also doesn't help when Alaska and PFD are misrepresented like in this clip from The Simpsons movie but I digress. My dividend is going towards my credit card, a couple of outstanding bills, and a new pair of XtraTufs for the winter!



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Winter is Coming

We had quite the day of weather yesterday. We would get black clouds and torrential downpours for 30 minutes, then 30 minutes of sunlight - back and forth like that all day. It resulted in many rainbows. Here is one of them as seen from my office.



The temperature also dropped into the 30s, and we saw the first snow at the 3,000 - 3,500ft elevation range yesterday. Winter is coming!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fall is in the air!

I've just returned from my first trip back east since I moved to Juneau two years ago! My time was spent with family and friends, and I enjoyed catching a nice Indian summer- the weather was beautiful and hot! While I was sad to leave my family, I wasn't so sad to leave Boston. As I stepped out of the airport in Juneau, I was immediately struck by the wonderful clean air smell of Alaska. Fall is definitely in the air here. The first order of business was to take advantage of the dry weather here and head out to one of my favorite spots around Juneau. 

Butters at Eagle Beach


Family portrait on Cape Cod
My folks on their deck

REAL tomatoes!

One of many fantastic meals while on my trip. I miss shabu shabu the most.

Monday, June 30, 2014

A Super Weekend, and a Hike Up Thunder Mountain

I hiked Thunder Mountain last year, and I had been dying to get back up there this summer. I hiked it with a friend yesterday, and it was glorious! It's roughly 7-8 miles round trip with 2,700 feet of elevation change so it can take a while. It's my favorite hike in Juneau (so far) because of the incredible range of view it allows. Also, lots of wildlife! We saw porcupine, marmot and several mountain goats, and a few up close like these two:


Here are a few more pictures. The glacier is Mendenhall Glacier (the biggest one in Juneau). 





My friend, Ben (this is looking south towards downtown Juneau)


Monday, June 23, 2014

How did I get here?

Wow, so I've heard a few reports of people asking why I haven't posted in a long time. My apologies, loyal readers!! The short answer is this:  I'm busier than I've been in my whole life! No joke. I would have never guessed that Juneau would offer more to me in terms of activity than Boston would, but it's true. So much has happened since my last post, I can't possibly catch up properly so I'll try to hit some highlights, okay?

It's summertime, and the living ain't slow! Summer solstice was on Saturday, and the sun rises at 3:50am and sets at 10:15pm. I was wide awake at sunrise that day. I usually wake up at such an hour this time of year. I don't subscribe to blackout curtains.

Sunrise Summer Solstice 2014

That's the view from my new condo. That I own! Well, I guess the bank kinda owns it, and I received a generous gifts from my parents, but still... it's technically mine! Also technically speaking, I live on a small island in the Pacific. It's true. I have a great view of Mount Roberts and the passing cruise ships. I haven't seen whales from my deck, but I'm sure I will sometime soon.


So there's the new condo, and also SCHOOL. I'm in the Masters of Public Administration program at University of Alaska Southeast (Juneau), and I'm having a great time in classes although I have a big academic commitment this summer. Despite not having a world class level program, I'm getting a ton out of my experience so far with this MPA classes. I'm currently enrolled in stats and econ classes and also a wonderful class on Political Leadership and Civility. Thanks to the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation for bankrolling this for me! 

Of course, I'm now a puppy mama and this is at least 75% of the reason I'm not posting so frequently anymore. Butters is doing great. She has her flaws, but we're having a wonderful time. 




That's all I can update for now. There's more to come. There's much more to tell!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Spring!

Like the trees and their pollen on Douglas Island today, I will be releasing new posts soon! Happy Spring!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Most Wonderful Life

I'm a little delayed in getting some posts out lately so let's see if I can cover a lot in one here. I'll work backwards.

We are currently in the midst of a board of trustees meeting here in Juneau for the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (my employer). I've been wanting to meet one of our investment advisors for a while who lives in Wayland, Massachusetts, but I didn't have the chance until today. All I did was introduce myself and tell him that I grew up in the town next to Wayland. It's always fun to make connections like that so far away. We had a wonderful but brief conversation. He asked me what I thought of my decision to move here from Boston. Without hesitation, I said it was the best decision of my life. I love Juneau and couldn't be happier.

That's the truth.

Our weather has been perfect lately. It snowed last week but then it cleared up with a dramatic temperature drop into the 0-20s. I-DEAL. The Mendenhall Ice Cave has been the place to be in the last year, and the current conditions mean that instead of a grueling and treacherous hike, you can access the cave via a leisurely stroll across Mendenhall Lake. It's still a 3-hour trip and 5+ miles, but it's still very easy. I saw someone in a foam neck brace in the cave the other day. Even Butters the Puppy made it no problem.

Here are a few pictures:







Simba/Rafiki Moment


The other day, we woke to 6 inches of fresh snow and sunshine. Everything in Juneau looked amazing. Even though I worked most of the day, I could not believe how beautiful Juneau looked that day. Around sunset, I thought that Juneau could not have a more perfect day.

Then the northern lights came out.



I will likely have another post soon about my crazy schedule lately. I'm just squeezing this one as it is though. I'm anticipating no life until April given my upcoming schedule.