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Sunday, December 2nd - It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I am still busy preparing for my First Friday, but I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I even had time today to write my family newsletter. I haven't printed it, or created my holiday cards, but I hope to get to all of that at least by the 15th. It will be good to breathe freely again - and get back on a regular sleep schedule. I've got my days and nights mixed up, but it's working out OK. With Steve being on day work this week, he has to get up at 3:30am. I just stay up until he gets up. He gets the bed to himself, which leads to a more restful sleep for him, and I get the silence of the wee hours to work uninterrupted. Even the dog and the cat are asleep!

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Friday, December 7th - First Friday!!!

Well, tonight's the night! I've been preparing for this diligently over the last month. I've lost many hours of sleep, stressed, prepared photos for display, and managed to write my Christmas newsletter, address my holiday cards, and package up and ship off gifts. But.... I am finished! I have one more load to take to the post office today, and I can officially declare all of the hustle-bustle of December and the holiday season over!

I went online today to see if there was any mention of me on the Downtown Fairbanks website, and there was my name! It's quite surreal. It's also hard to believe that my photography will be on display for the public to see. It's one thing to have my work published here on my website, or in my gallery, but another to have it under the scrutiny of the community. I hope that my passion, and my love for Alaska, shines through. That's really what it's all about... sharing the beauty of this world with others.

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Wednesday, December 12th - First Friday and a Trip to the BIG City!

Finally... I can relax and slow down the pace somewhat.

The main event: First Friday. What a fabulous night I had! There was a lot of foot traffic through the store, and much interest in my photography. I sold most of my note cards, and more prints than I anticipated. All in all, it was a successful first time for me and I'm thrilled. I couldn't have done it without the support (both emotionally and financially) of my local friends - who came by to say hello, pick up a few items for themselves or for gift giving, and to boost my spirits immensely. I am truly blessed to have so many awesome people in my life. Joanne (owner, Willow Creek Clothing) has asked me to display my work again for the First Friday in May. I plan to take her up on the offer.

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Wednesday, December 19th - What is COLD?

"Cold! If the thermometer had been an inch longer we'd all have frozen to death."
- quoted in Mark Twain and I, Opie Read -

The winter cold has arrived. It's late, by seasonal standards, but we knew we couldn't escape it forever. It arrived a couple of days ago, when the gauge on our big outdoor thermometer started dipping below 0F and then -10F and then -20F and then....

As I type this, it is -40F (which ironically is also -40C). Can you imagine it being that cold? Before I moved to Alaska, I would have never believed that I'd see temperatures this extreme. And yet I've seen colder. There's that day in 2004, when I snapped the photo of the Fred Meyer sign at 2:36pm and it was reading -55F. Some say that it actually got colder later that same day. All I know is that in the split second I was standing outside my car, trying to focus my camera on that sign, I felt the breath freeze in my chest, and my lungs tighten up painfully.

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Thursday, December 20th - A New Video Page

I've created a video page in this journal, where you can go to view most of my videos in one place. I will still continue to place videos in individual entries while journaling, but I am also going to include them on the VIDEOS page for the convenience of my readers. Not all of my videos are included there. Some of my older videos can still only be viewed at my YouTube site. But I have included those of which I put a lot of work and time into - mainly my photo slide shows.

I don't want to end this entry without sharing another glimpse of the Northern Lights with you all. Last night we had a bright moon, and I caught a glimpse of the white light filtering through the blinds. I opened my vertical blinds and set my camera up on my tripod so I could get a photograph of our backyard with the moonlight shining so brightly on the snow.

As I was shooting the yard, I happened to notice a band of green moving overhead. There was no way I was going to put on all my winter gear and go outside to get photos - not at -41F! I decided I'd try to get photographs through the sliding glass door.

I managed to get three shots off before they grew dim and then disappeared altogether. I don't know if they came out after that, but I was quite surprised by what I managed to capture - especially through sliding glass doors. What a way to watch the lights - nice and toasty warm!

Northern Lights
Through the sliding glass doors
Northern Lights
Yard - through the doors
Northern Lights
Green lights - through the doors
Monday, December 24th - It's Christmas Time in the City

May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.

~Author Unknown

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Monday, December 31st - The End of a Year

It's hard to believe that 2007 is coming to an end. The year has flown by, as always.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. Steve and I spent Christmas with our friends Randy and Celeste and had a fantastic time. Celeste is a closet culinary expert. She watches the cooking channel religiously and DVRs anything she can't watch. She must have been a chef in another life, because she is awesome.

Now, those who know me fairly well know that I am the pickiest eater alive. However, my husband is not. While I was very selective with what I tasted, Steve enjoyed everything Celeste prepared. Her appetizer spread was amazing! Those things I enjoyed: pureed turkey (pate texture) with cranberry spread on little toasted finger sandwiches, ham wedges with spicy mustard served on smashed and fried plantain banana crisps, baked brie cheese in phyllo turnovers. Steve loved all the seafood (crab, shrimp, bacon wrapped scallops) and even indulged in sweetbreads kabobs (*sticks tongue out*). They kept telling me that I was missing out on some great food, but I didn't feel bad about that. I told them that meant there was more for them!

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©2007 Susan L Stevenson