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December 26, 2004

Christmas in McMurdo--Christmas Day

Christmas morning brought lots of presents and laughs and fun and general coziness.

I gave my girlfriends jumpropes, which we immediately tried out in the hall.

[Elizabeth and Kim.]

[Jay and Elizabeth get a good chuckle out of Nate and Quinn’s Christmas card.]

[Lisa shows off my new muppet collection]

[Lisa and Nate play with my toys]

[I gave Elizabeth a hamster. Here, she introduces it to Rhonda.]

[Tad models Kermit.]

[Julie offers moral support while Elizabeth signs a card. Elizabeth is modeling a pair of socks I gave her.]

After a good amount of lounging in our room, we headed to Hut 10 for Day 2 of Michael Davis’ birthday party.

[Mark, Julie, Elizabeth, Burmie, Matt]

Christmas is a time of love.

[Nate and Red]

And of the Heat Meiser.

And, Christmas is a time for feasting. We say hi to our friends working in the galley

[Nate, Debbie, ??]

before settling in to stuff ourselves on salmon and fresh veggies and gourmet cheeses and such.

[family dinner]

And then, back to our room for more love

[Elizabeth and Rich]

[Elizabeth and Julie]

[Jenna and Red]

[Julie and Red]

[Nate and Tad]

and funny faces.

[Nate, Johnathan, Michelle]

And then, after a long day of excitement and friends, it was time to wind down. With an Animal in my lap. Thanks to my mother. Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad, too.


Merry Christmas.

Posted by beth at 8:29 PM | Comments (1)

December 25, 2004

Christmas in McMurdo--Christmas Eve

Christmas in McMurdo.

Well, it went more or less as I envisioned. More or less. I left work excitedly Friday night, and woke up some friends who are now working nights. 5 PM, they said, so I woke them up at 5:45. And they still weren’t ready to get up. So here I was with all this just-got-off-work energy trying to hang out with just-got-up-after-not-enough-sleep energy. You can imagine the perfect fit. Anyway, they did manage to get up… slowly… so I let them do so by themselves while I began my evening. Put on some fun clothes—decided to go with color to brighten up the evening a bit—and headed with my roommate Julie to Hut 10 for Michael’s birthday party.

[Julie and me.]

Unfortunately, all the yummy home-cooked Thai food made with fresh ingredients sent down special for the occasion was gone by the time we got there—we arrived late, of course—so we had to run on back to catch dinner at the galley before it was shut down. Then, back to Hut 10 to hang out with friends.

[Tracy, Heather, Julie, and Jenna]

And drink some hot buttered rum, made by the lovely Ms. Kimberly Bowyer.

[Kim with drink.]

Some people needed help drinking theirs.

[Pete, Lisa, Shandra.]

I decided it was time to hit the big town party. I wanted to see the ballet dancers, which I think didn’t even perform. On my way, though anxious to get there, I couldn’t help but stop to throw some Frisbee with folks who were enjoying the sunshine. Did I mention the sunshine? I mentioned the sunshine in my last blog entry, yes. Sunshine. It was an absolutely delicious evening, not at all fit for inside partying. It seemed a true pity to be heading indoors.

[Johnathan retrieves the disc from under the dorm.]

But head indoors I did.

The Heavy Shop was decorated up Christmas-style.

[Photos borrowed from Rec. Rachel, taken earlier in the day.]

And Santa arrived from the fire house to spread Christmas cheer.

[Photo from Rec. Rachel]

I couldn’t help but get a couple photos.

[Have a Creepy Christmas]

[A Bartel family tradition]

Even better than all the great sleds and snowflakes and such, the place was decorated with lots of tasty morsels.


There was socializing, and the Christmas choir, and then swing music.

[Photo borrowed from McMurdo's shared drive.]

And then, the bands came on.

The biggest challenge of the evening was coordinating friends for a Christmas photo or two.

After the party, things quieted down a bit, with everyone getting ready for bed in preparation for Santa.

[Phil and Martha’s stocking.]

Posted by beth at 7:44 PM | Comments (3)

December 24, 2004

Christmas Eve Day

Christmas Eve! At least here in McMurdo it is. And I'm excited! It's been a nice relaxing day at work--a nice relaxing week, actually, with no field work and thus time to get caught up on other work things. Today, the guys next door have been working on a Christmas ornament for the town Christmas party tonight and I've been parousing Holly's Christmas music selection so I have music to play tomorrow while sipping a hot beverage and opening presents. Of which I have many. Thanks, Mom! I don't know if I'll have any friends after I get through opening all my presents, as most of my current friends' parents are a little less zealous, but I guess it's worth it.

The Christmas plan is as follows: Leave work as soon as I'm done writing this e-mail. Go to a party with a home-cooked Thai meal at the one house-like structure in town, Hut 10, which has been reserved by my friend Michael for his Christmas birthday celebration. Then, mozy off to the town Christmas party at the Heavy Shop (heavy equipment). A slideshow of pictures submitted from back home (pets, kids, loved ones, places, etc. of which everyone in town could submit one), a choir singing carols, the ballet class doing a number to a piece from the Nutcracker, photos with Santa, Christmas decorations from all the work centers in town, and live music. Yes, as usual bands have formed down here, and we're in for a night of partying. Then, to crash in my room with my roommates and friends who want to sleep over, and (in my vision, anyway) a gentle and happy awakening to Christmas lights and music and presents and hot drinks and friends, who down here become family. My family consists of my roomates, Elizabeth and Julie, and a few other close friends. Although I would love to be with my immediate (and extended!) family back home, I am very much looking forward to spending Christmas down here with my Antarctic loved ones. I picture a nice lazy day. I might even have to switch from hot drinks to mimosas--it's been *quite* warm lately. 36 deg F today, sunny and clear and nice. The kind of warm that you don't wince against, not even a little bit. Just a comfortable-when-standing-still warm. It's nice. The forcast suggests colder weather coming in, but we'll see. Some snow for Christmas would certainly be nice.

Hope all of you are having a splendid time and are letting good warm fun feelings overwhelm the stress usually associated with the holidays. I was a bit stressed yesterday, but have mostly let it go. Some people have gifts to give others, some don't. I fall into my usual category of don't, mostly, although I have scrounged up a goody or two.

Please feel free to share your holiday happenings. I'll give a report on how the day goes down south!

With much love and warmth,


[A photo of Ob Hill, a town icon, which I took at lunchtime. See, warm and completely snow-free.]

Posted by beth at 3:31 AM | Comments (6)

December 21, 2004


We finally got package mail sorted and pick-up-able yesterday! I went up at lunch to check for packages. I got three. Two were from my parents. They sent me lots and lots of presents. The other one was from Rob and Lisa and Lucky 13. What a steal! I got me some booty (in the pirate sense)! Rob and folks sent out a crock pot and some chili powder and chili recipes, and one of Lisa's novels (under her pen name, Samantha Gail), some soap and oil, a firehouse sticker, Oregon chocolates and jams and a magnet and am I leaving anything out? I'm rich! Now to just make some chili!

Thanks, you guys! And, more importantly--well, Rob and Lisa should be the ones cleaning up on goodies right now--they got married last weekend! Congratulations, guys! May you have many great adventures together.

Posted by beth at 5:21 AM | Comments (2)

December 20, 2004

Little Pink Houses

The weekend before Christmas in McMurdo brings a few holiday traditions: The art show and cookie/gingerbread house decorating. The art show is basically a street fair, McMurdo style--in the galley. Artists around town can display their goods for sale or just for show. Knitted goods (hats and scarves, mostly), jewelry, photography, drawings, scrimshaw, paintings, pottery, woodwork, and even a motorcycle. Pictures of it, anyway.

[Mike Ebel, Crary Facility Engineer, talks proudly of his love back home.]

Although I didn't participate in the art show, I did patronize, by buying a scrimshaw necklace and by helping out my roommate Elizabeth a bit. Well, okay, I wasn't much help. But she doesn't need it, either. I'll do a profile on my room and my roommates at some point, but suffice to say for now that one of my roommates, Elizabeth, is a talented jewelry maker, and if I didn't already have a piece of hers I would have grabbed one, but as a roommate I get first dibs before the pieces hit public sale. Well, okay, second dibs--after our other roommate, Julie.

[Elizabeth displays her wares.]

[And her profit....]

For those who are more inclined to messy, less committing are, the galley provided ample cookies, icing, and candy--pretty much all forms of concentrated sugar possible. My favorite result was the BAR B house. Even though I'm not a huge fan of pink. Check out the dog. I believe this is a creation of Kitty Cupp and friends. Steve Alexander, the manager of Crary lab, and friends constructed a marvelous gingerbread house to represent the chapel, with a popsicle stick cross on top and a real light within which when switched on illuminated the stained glass windows, cut from transparency sheets and colored with pen. Quite impressive.

Posted by beth at 4:35 AM | Comments (2)

December 18, 2004


Big, fat snowflakes! So nice! So festive! It's hard to remember that it's the holiday season down here, which isn't always a bad thing, but the holidays do sort of sneak up and away unnoticed amidst all the other goings-on. Tonight there is a rave (dance) at the MCC, the Movement Control Center, which brings up the funny point that often the dances/parties down here are hosted by work centers, so tonight we'll be dancing our evening away in the cargo bay where forklifts and tri-walls (big boxes) and Carharts rein during the day.

One week until Christmas. We've been backed up on package mail, but are supposedly getting completely caught up today. The town is quite, quite excited--we've had a short-notice runway move which means there was no place for wheeled planes to land, due to melting of the sea ice, and that meant less cargo--only the necessities brought in on the C-130s with skis (hooray for the C-130s!). So no freshies, and very little mail. Rumors spread that there would be no package mail until after Christmas. But, as usual, the powers that be are making a huge effort to get all package mail in before Christmas, which is much, much, much appreciated by all. We'll have Christmas presents from home to open after all. It's very exciting. In a greedy sort of way.

Big, fat, wet snowflakes. They are melting on my window.

Posted by beth at 5:40 AM | Comments (1)

December 9, 2004

My Tent, My View

Got a picture! Here's my tent.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

And now, I'm moving camps. I'm scheduled to get back to McMurdo on Saturday. If all goes well!

Posted by beth at 8:39 AM | Comments (1)

December 8, 2004

Lake Hoare

I'm writing from a field camp! Because I can. I'm not motivated to download any pictures, but I'll write a note anyway since we have internet (wireless, at that). It is 9:15 PM, and I am exhausted, and I am going to go to bed soon. Well, to my tent anyway. I might lie blissfully awake for a little while, since the tent I get to sleep in has a lovely view of the valley and of the steep wall of a glacier and I can listen all night to the lively stream rushing along the toe of the glacier below. Mmmmmm.

Posted by beth at 8:13 AM | Comments (2)