Thursday, December 18, 2008

Close to Solstice - Late Sunrise at Thai Temple

I went over to Wat Alaska to meet Jim MacKenzie, the director of Leadership Anchorage, to introduce him to the monks this morning, to help set up a the Leadership Anchorage session there as part of their learning about the different communities in Anchorage. Phramaja (a title for monks) Boonnet was there, but Phramaja Lertsak was in India. With Phramaja Lertsak gone, I learned that Phramaja Boonet's English was much better than I realized. (You can see pictures of the Wat (Buddhist temple) at the Wat Alaska link.)

Phramaja Boonnet is in the picture in the library by the window. I was hoping to get the rising sun in that picture, but that wasn't going to happen without getting the room black, so I took another picture out the window.

Solstice is, according to Archeoastronomy, at 3:04 am on Sunday, December 21 [in Anchorage] this year. You can see we're close because here's the sun just over the horizon at 10:30am on Dec. 18.

After a while, when you're blogging, you realize time is passing because it is solstice again. But I did a post last year on calculating when solstice is, so I don't have to do that again. But since it is such an important date for Alaskans - the amount of light increases after solstice, and given the picture, you can understand why that matters. And as I posted two years ago, the number of minutes we gain per day is definitely noticeable. That solstice post shows how many minutes we gain after solstice. It starts out slow then moves into a gallop. It also has pictures of the earth and the sun to help show how the soltice and equinox work.

Given that we only have five hours from sunrise to sunset now and that J has been home for the last few days with some sort of a chest cold, I decided that on the way home I would stop at the nearby Evalyn's Flowers on Benson to bring some midwinter cheer home.
Like most men, I don't quite understand how flowers work, I just know that they do. And if my wife is happy, I'm happy.

We've got our reservations for our flight to Chiang Mai - January 12 - and house sitters lined up to move in. I'll be going back to the same NGO (Non-Governmental Organization - we'd call it a non-profit) through the American Jewish World Service that I volunteered with earlier this year. Only this time, when I get there, they'll already know me and I'll know them, and my Thai is not as rusty as it was when arrived last February. We've already talked about the job description and I think I can start actually doing something much sooner than last time.

So we have lots to do to get the house in order, to get packed, to finish up projects, etc.

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