Sunday, December 24, 2006

More Photos From Our Day At Alyeska!

High speed internet access sure makes this updating/uploading stuff a lot easier. Too bad we don't have it on Kwaj. Some shots from the lower part of the mountain.
Laura ripping it up at her first snowboard lesson.

These cars had only been parked there since around 10:30AM and it was only about 5:30PM when I took this photo. Look at all the snow!

This is Derek's volvo after being parked for only about four hours!

Snow, Snow, Old Friends, and More Snow!!! Makes For A Great Day!!!!


Alaska...Whoooooo Hoooooooo!!! Brandon is back, and playing in the snow again!

Yesterday Laura, Jones -aka- Derek Jotzat, and I went up to Alyeska in Girdwood Alaska to get in some turns; and did we pick a good time to go! Can you say powder? Lots and lots of powder. It was a little rough at first, the light was flat and the snow was coming down so hard that I couldn't see where I was going. In the four hours we were there we must have got between 8-12 inches of snow judging by how much was on the car when we got back to it. Visibility became much better after they turned the lights on...and then it was on!!! I wish I had more time, I actually contemplated cancelling the rest of my trip and spending the next month on the slopes. I don't think the rest of the family would appreciate that though.

Derek is a guy that I shared a house with in college. I just found out he was in AK the week before we got here. Turns out he moved here about a month ago from Colorado. It was good to catch up.

This was Laura's first time snowboarding and she did great; she's a natural. She kept switching back and forth going just as easily in either direction. She can't decide if she's goofy or regular. But I guess she doesn't have to...that's my girl!
Laura all bundled up registering for her first snowboarding lesson.

My buddy Derek approves of the ski conditions.
Laura during her lesson.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

US Tour


Hey all we are about to start our Tour of the US. Time to go visit the Folks and immediate family members as well as hook up with a few old friends along the way! We wanted to stop and see everyone but just couldn't fit it all in.

December 19th: Arrive in Baltimore, MD
December 20th: Arrive in Anchorage, AK (WoooHooo! Snow! I get to ride my snowboard!)December 27th: Arrive in Seattle, WA
December 30th: Arrive in Frederick, MD
January 5th: Arrive in Chicago, IL
January 7th: Arrive in Detroit, MI
January 12th: Arrive in West Palm Beach, FL (will be checking out the club scene in South Beach Miami!)
January 15th: Back in Baltimore, MD
January 16th: Arrive in Honolulu, HI
January 17th fly across the international date line and jump a day into the future; so...
....January 18th Back on Kwaj.

Wow we are going to rack up some flight miles in the next 30 days. This should keep us in elite status with the airlines for another couple years. Maybe Laura and I will use some miles to go to Bali in May, that and I'm sure I'll have enough to take care of my tickets for the big surf trip to Pohnpei in February or March.

Hope to see some of you soon!

Thursday, December 14, 2006



OK, my friend Alex suggested we come up with a name to call the fetus, so we can talk to it or refer to it without calling it "it". Well a few of us were sitting around my living room going through baby books, when I came across the name Phoebus. As a lame joke I suggested the name as a potential name for our baby to Laura. Immediately my former friends (kidding about the former part) started laughing and yelled out “That’s it! – Phoebus!!!”

So now our fetus has a nick name and yes it’s Phoebus.

The meaning behind the name is much cooler than the name sounds. My Grandfather just sent me some info about the name. Apparently Phoebus literally means, "the radiant one". In Greek mythology, an epithet of Apollo because of his connection with the sun or as descendant of the Titaness Phoebe (his grandmother). The Romans venerated him as Phoebus Apollo.
The Lamp of Phoebus, the sun.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Baby's First Picture!!!

Dr. Horner giving Laura her first ultrasound.

Well here it is! I know, I know...whenever your friends show you an ultrasound photo you look at it and say "yeah I see it", when really all you see is a page of grainy black and white fuzz similar to the "snow" on the old televisions when they lost the signal. In fact it seems that it was easier to see Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster in those now infamous poor quality photo hoaxes.

Well the baby is there, laying on it’s back, and there is just one of them. Two arms, two legs (so the doctor tells me), a huge head (takes after it's dad), and I could see the little heart beating (I got it on video too). How cool.

8 weeks 2 days. That means the baby is due around July 21st, 2007. Looks like there is a chance the baby could share it's birthday with my Dad. Wouldn't that be a cool birthday present for Grandpa!

Pregnancy: Hormones and Morning Sickness


“Hormone” comes from the Greek word hormao, a substance that starts, urges on, initiates, irritates, stimulates and excites.
Powerful stuff those hormones. Laura had just been saying how she has nearly made it through this first part of the pregnancy almost symptom free (except for the frequent trips to the bathroom…every 30 minutes). That is until the other day when she started balling because she couldn’t find her snorkel before we went on a boat trip. Now keep in mind we do have four other snorkels that she could have used, but when I suggested that, she replied while wailing, with tears steaming, “but I can’t, I don’t know who might have used those. BWAAAHHHAAHAHAAAAA….BWAAAAAAHHAAAUUUHHHHAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaa……” So after some hugging, coaxing, and wiping away of tears off to the store she went to buy a new snorkel while our friends and I all waited on the boat for her to show, our group trip delayed for about an hour. Oh and during the entire 4 hour trip she may have used the snorkel for a total of about 5 minutes.

Around 3AM the next morning is when the next set of symptoms showed. The dreaded morning sickness. I woke to the sounds of dry heaving. I was so proud of her though, because this time she actually made it to the bathroom to throw up. Our history has been a little different. She has thrown up on me more than once in the bedroom since we’ve been together. So what does this mean to me? It means I have much to look forward to. Instead of my dear wife throwing up on me I will soon have a new baby to do that…and you know what? I’m really looking forward to it…all of it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I'm gonna be a Dad!


Laura went to the Doctor Wednsday to confirm the results of the tests she took at home, and great news. I'm going to be a father!!! Wooooooo hoooooooo!!!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Looking for Big Wednesday

As Super Typhoon Ioke passes a few hundred miles north of us we were hoping for some epic surf. So some friends and I took off from work early to go find it. Not what we had expected or hoped for; but we were able to find a few waves. Here are a couple pics from yesterday.

Pictured in the photos is my best bud Miguel Busquets and Paul McGrew.

Photos courtesy of John Breen

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mother Nature One, Brandon ....


Big swell this week, and some great waves. Unfortunately my enjoyment was short lived as one of those large waves bounced me off the reef a few times. I'm OK though, just really sore right now. I was most upset about the new $60 pair of surf shorts that got shredded by the antler coral I got rolled through.

This is just part of the beauty mark left from my initial bounce. I could only wear pants that where a few inches bigger in the waist for the next few weeks because of all the swelling.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Stormy Night


I love watching lightning. The other night we had an amazing electrical storm on the atoll. I woke up thinking “what jet would be flying out this time of night” and then with another flash of lightning I realized that it was thunder and not the sound of a jet engine. We haven’t had too many large electrical storms on Kwaj in the three and a half years that I’ve lived here. So this one was even more unexpected. It seemed that we were averaging at least five strikes a minute on our little island for a while that night. The flashes lit up the sky brighter than day and the thunder was rolling non stop. A pretty exciting show. Reminds me of those times as a young child in Michigan watching the big electrical storms roll through.

If you see my Dad this weekend, don't forget to wish him a happy birthday!!!!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Lost and Found


We survived another 4th of July celebration on Kwajalein. Another win for our team this weekend. I think that’s four years and a row now, that we’ve won the 4th of July beach volleyball tournament. I made seven gallons of sangria for the day at the beach. It was all gone by nightfall. We had a little interruption in the festivities this year. I decided to sponsor a treasure hunt for the kids. Well kind of…what really happened is that I had to take my wedding band off during the first volleyball match. I put it in a bag and when I went to retrieve it, it was gone. Not good. Had everyone on the beach sifting through the sand. I started offering little kids a $200 reward if they found the ring. Next thing I know we have the beach covered with little kids sifting through the sand. And wouldn’t you know it worked, a little girl is now $200 richer and I have the ring back! Whew!!! After getting drenched in a sudden downpour; we finished the night off with another great fireworks show over the Lagoon. They really do a great job with that here. I haven’t really seen any other place that rivals the fireworks show that they put on out here in either volume or duration. Pretty impressive for such a small island community.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Laura is now a Betty.


Good surf this weekend. On a whim Laura decided she would come out with us and give it a go, I couldn’t believe it. I thought she must have been still half asleep when she said she’d go with us that morning. But she did great! She caught her first wave on her first attempt, and was showing no fear out there. We all sat outside the break waiting to see her board come flying back over the wave but it never did. She rode it all the way in and had this huge ear to ear grin on her face the whole way as she paddled back out! She was hooked! After that she was going after the biggest waves she could find. We had a wonderful time. To complete the weekend the very next day she tried windsurfing (she was hurting too bad from some nasty board rash to go back out surfing the next morning, that soft top ate her up pretty bad) while Miguel and I worked on his Cape Dory. To think just a short while ago she hated even getting wet and was scared to death of being anywhere near sharks. It didn’t seem to bother her this weekend. We had a grey reef shark hanging out with us the whole time we where surfing. By the way, we where surfing in a spot called the shark pit; so to even have gotten her to swim out into a place called the shark pit was an accomplishment in itself.

The last photo is of the aftermath of Laura's attempt at her last wave of the day. I wish I could have snapped this a few seconds earlier so you could have seen the look on her face as she started to perl (perl = nose of the board goes under). Her eyes were as big around as saucers.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Work and Play on the Atoll


I know… I know, you are all waiting to see the photos from the Amsterdam and Pohnpei trips. I see that you all have been checking in at the website and I’ll try and find some time to get them up. It just takes so long to load photos with my slow internet connection (never able to connect any faster than 22 kbps, no broadband out here yet!) and more than 80% of the time the upload or post fails so I have to keep trying over and over again until it goes through. Really busy at work. The manager I was working with moved on, now it's time to train a new one. I went surfing last night, waves were pretty small. Just ankle breakers. I still had fun. It's like meditation time for me, getting out in the water helps me clear my head and relax. What's my friend Miguel call it? "Going to the temple." It's as close to a religious experience that I have ever come. :) Paddling is great exercise too. Expecting a 7-9 foot swell out of the South any day now. I went fishing this last weekend. It's been a while. Slow day for fishing, caught one small tuna, turned him into poke (Hawaiian dish made with cubes of raw fish) for Scott's birthday party the next night, good stuff. I also got a few photos of dolphins while out fishing this weekend. So it was still a good day. I'm waiting on my replacement power inflator from Halcyon now. I hope it gets here soon so we can get in some more scuba diving. I'm kind of excited about it now that I have the new underwater camera housing. Now I'll be able to share some of the underwater world with the rest of you. I'll have to swim out into the waves with it and get some surfing photos of my friends too. Take care, talk to you all later!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Back at Work

Pohnpei was fun but now it's time to get back to work. Coming up is the busiest time of year for me at work. No one in my department is allowed to take any time off between July 1st and October 31st as we are busy putting together next years budget for the project during that time. That means long hours in the office and less time out playing. Oh well, no traveling for a few months, but there is plenty of fun stuff to do around here. Take care...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Pohnpei and back


Had a great time in Pohnpei; and yes my underwater camera housing arrived right before I left. I got some great video of a large manta ray that swam right up to me and some shots of Laura and I playing in the waterfalls. Pohnpei is beautiful, covered with tropical fruit trees. Hawaii must have been like that before it was developed and commercialized. We visited the ancient ruins of Nan Mandol, saw the giant stone currency used previously by the natives (Damn, I just realized I forgot to go back and take a picture of that, maybe next time), swam with manta rays, played in the waterfalls, had a jungle adventure with our taxi cab driver, bought a bunch of native arts and crafts, and ate a lot of great food. I think I’ll be going back for another visit. Honestly I didn't want to leave.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Waiting for the Mail

Hi Mom Happy Birthday!

I’m starting to get excited about going to Pohnpei. It’s only a couple of days away!

I’m hoping that my underwater camera housing arrives before we leave, so I can get some good shots of the manta rays, the submerged ruins at Nan Mandol, and of the giant eels in the pools under the waterfalls. Maybe that is just wishful thinking though. The mail planes have been few and far between lately. The ATI plane that brings our mail keeps breaking down and our mail has been backed up for little while now. I imagine most of my packages have been sitting along the runway at Hickam AFB in Hawaii for a while now. It would be nice to get some fresh produce in too, that and my new skateboards.

I took up surfing recently and have really been enjoying it. I’ve been out three times now. My first time I did a lot of paddling, caught no waves and managed to get really tired and sore. The second time I caught a few waves and had a blast just riding in lying on my belly. This last time I managed to get bounced off the reef. Nothing big, I walked away with only a few minor scrapes. It actually kind of makes me feel more like a real surfer. Next time I try and stand up. Previously I haven’t been in any real hurry to do that as we are surfing some pretty shallow reef breaks.

I’ll let you know how it goes.


I set up this blog and my website at to share my life and adventures with my friends and family. I live on a small tropical island in the middle of the Pacific and want to be able to give those people a glimpse of my life.