Wednesday, April 16, 2008

We are now alone . . . . last flight.

The last plane of the season coming in.

Today, April 17, 2008 was the last flight of winter. The plane brought a few new people, fresh vegetables, six triwalls of mail (!), and other miscellaneous cargo. It took science cargo and some of our best people back out. I'm sad to see them go, but also excited to get into a winter rhythm with the people who are here.

I had planned to just head up to transport in town to say goodbye to all of the extended season folks. However, on my way up I was detoured into a van heading out to Pegasus. I had never been out at the runway when a plane left, so I jumped at the chance. It gave me the chance to see things up close and have a little more time to say my goodbyes.

The last plane, a C-17 Globemaster, at Pegasus Field.

Chris in the reflection of her compuer.

On our way out to the airstrip, we were lucky enough to see the plane come in and land. It was only a dot in the sky from where we were, but it was exciting to see. I wonder how different everyone's emotions will be the next time they see a plane come in. Once I got out to the airstrip, we had a lot of downtime while they plane was unloaded and loaded back up. It was a lot of time to idle, but it was a gorgeous day out.

Last goodbyes at the airstrip.

Chris on her way back to Denver. She'll be missed.

It was certainly sad to see so many good people leave, but it wasn't as emotional as everyone suggested it would be. A lot of people had talked about regret, wanting to get on the plane, relief, etc. For me, it feels like another day so far. That might be because I told myself that I was staying long ago and this plane was just a formality. Kind of like graduation. The deed was done in my head, the ceremony didn't matter.

Last call . . . . all aboard.

When there are no more goodbyes . . .

I think the biggest difference that I am really excited about is everyone is in a good mood. It is a transition period and the last flight injected a ton of great energy into base. I hope it stays that way. There are definitely a few people who are hurting because their best friends have left, but more people than not seem excited. I just got back from a start of winter champagne toast and moods were definitely cheery. That might be the alcohol though.

Goodbye plane, goodbye extended season.

One pass over the airfield

and one final pass over town, then winter started.

I don't know what experience holds for me yet. I'm not sure what to expect or even what I want out of it yet. I just know I am here and that is enough for now. There were a couple of times where I almost decided to come home. I am not going to get to see En Sabah Nur play this year a single time and they'll most likely be playing at nationals in my backyard. I'm definitely missing Alicia and Lucas' wedding. Also going to miss Joe and Lidia's wedding. I might end up missing John and Cecilia's wedding. These are people that are important to me and it is tough to turn my back on them and these one time events to pursue my own dreams. Yet, here I am. Here it goes.

Sunset rays over the peninsula and winter, but every exit is an entrance to some place else.

I also want to wish good luck to Cabrini who had her first day of Peace Corps training in Philadelphia on her way to Botswana to fight the AIDS epidemic.

Chris and I at the runway.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Meg at sunset at Hut Point.

Change your socks changed your attitude. Changes in latitude lead to changes in attitude. No matter how you look at it, attitude is everything. Do you go to sleep with a smile? Do you wake up with one? Do you make the choice to be in a good mood? I realize there are a lot of events beyond our control, but we still choose our reaction.

Meg and Annie, two people with the best attitude EVER!

A lot of my attitude depends on my ability to get out and do the things I love. If I don't have those things, I need good people to prop me up and let me steal some of their good energy. Unfortunately, I'm not too close to too many people down here who will be sure to notice and pick my mopey butt up. I'm getting those friendships slowly though. The past couple weeks have been pretty tough for me because of a negative attitude (hence the lack of blogging). My lack of sleep, having a bum ankle, and the incessant complaining about corporate policies (like changing the date of WinFly) have been rubbing on me. I finally realized it and made the choice to be more positive. It worked. That simple. Each and everyday, I simply made the choice and wah-lah, better day. Make the choice, sometimes known as fake it until you make it.

Annie at Hut Point.

Tomorrow the last flight leaves. We'll be down to 120+ people for five months. No one knows when we are leaving yet due to some changes coming up in the program. It is an interesting state of limbo to not know what to base my future plans on. As I hinted at earlier, a lot of people are fussing a good bit about it. Hopefully, that will change when the flight leaves. In the mean time, I'll start planing for tomorrow 2pm when it gets a whole lot quieter. There are a lot of good people leaving and it is going to be interesting to see how base changes. Even if a lot of people are excited to see them go so they can settle into their winter routines, the extended season people will be missed.

Meg and I at Hut Point.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Hike

A Fata Morgana.

A month ago, I wanted to head down to Hut Point to make sure Baby Skua had flown away. While out there, we saw some spectacular Fata Morganas. I posted about them before but not everyone was able to see what I was talking about. I think these pictures will help those visually impaired people (Julie!) be able to see them easier.

What you are looking for in the first picture is the repeated (vertically) small islands. They are seen once where the island meets the sea ice and again a little bit above them. This is most easily seen on the vertically smallest islands. Once you notice the effect there, you should be able to see it on the thicker parts of islands as well.

Another Fata Morgana with Mt. Discovery.

This second picture may be a little harder to see the Fata Morgana in. You are looking at Mt. Discovery. The base of the mountain doesn't sheer off into cliffs. The bottom part of the mountain that is meeting the sea ice only looks like a cliff (the repeating pattern) because of the Fata Morgana that allows sea ice level images to appear higher than they are.

Just a neat picture of the Ross Island coastline.

It might just be that my ankle is all messed up and I can't hike anywhere right now, but I don't know if we've had such a nice day since that hike. I miss it. I miss being able to get out. I'm headed to physical therapy in twenty minutes, but as usual, I'm impatient to heal up. Lisa says I'm supposed to stay off it for three months! As a lot of you know, the chance of me staying off anything for three months is slim even if my x-rays came back inconclusive about if I do or do not have a fracture. However, this might be a great chance to heal properly too since I can't go too far. If nothing else, I'll be patient today since it is Condition 2 out. I was waiting all night for something to break through my window. Luckily, nothing did and I was only robbed of a little sleep.

Discovery Hut with McMurdo base in the background.