Thursday, June 18, 2015

Whiskey Wednesday

Suite 100, in South Anchorage, is the place to be on a Wednesday afternoon. Starting at 5:00 and running through to 7:00 each week they have what is called Whiskey Wednesday.

How cool is that? I get to sit and read my book while enjoying a bowl of seafood chowder and tasting some excellent whiskey each week.

This week’s featured whiskey was a Wild Turkey Russell’s Reserve 10-year Bourbon. According to the handout the sales rep gave me “Only a handful of barrels are selected in small batches from the middle section or “center cut” of the rickhouse by Master Distiller, Jimmy Russell and his son, Associate Master Distiller, Eddie Russell. The whiskey ages for a minimum of 10 years in the deepest no.4 char, or alligator charred, barrels for a richer color and deeper flavor.”

The whiskey was okay. Bourbon is not my favorite, exactly, so I don’t think I’ll run out and buy a case of it or anything; but it sure did taste good in the drink they created just for the occasion - a Bourbon Lemon Drop. I’m not sure why they called it a Lemon Drop since it tasted like orange, and even had some Cointreau in it with a slice of orange as a garnish. But – it was in the Lemon Drop glass, and it did have a rim of sugar around it. Regardless, it was good.

The sales lady was nice, and talked to me for a bit about the whiskey. She said she plans to do the Whiskey Wednesday each week all summer long.


Monday, June 15, 2015

You Just Have To Be Flexible

I had such plans for the weekend’s hike – but you have to roll with the flow, as they say.

Bryan was to have met me at my house at 7:15 but he forgot to set his alarm clock (I did not know that until later that evening) so I went on to the trail head by myself since I was supposed to meet somebody else there at 8:00 and didn’t want to be late. However, when I pulled in to the parking lot there was nobody there. It looked like I was on my own for the hike.

That’s when I noticed the pile of bear scat in the middle of the parking lot. I went over to inspect it and saw that it was a few hours old. “It’s probably safe enough; that bear is long gone by now.” I said to myself. 

Then I went over to the trail head to read the notices posted there – and found another pile of bear scat. When I inspected this one, I found that it was much fresher. Like, only maybe half an hour old. This one had me a little bit concerned (a lot) but I really wanted to go hiking… so I made myself a compromise: if I see one more pile of scat, I’ll turn around.

Sure enough, not 20 feet in was another pile.

That’s when I decided that maybe I didn’t really want to hike this trail after all, and maybe a drive down the coast was a better idea.

And what a pretty day it was! I pulled over at several scenic overlooks, walked along a few trails by the ocean, and just generally had a nice day out.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Okay, For Real This Time

What I did on my summer vacation!

My flights for this expedition took me from Anchorage to Seattle for a small layover and then on to London for a longer layover where I got to meet up with my friends Jan and Crispin. I had not seen either of them since I was in Africa back in 2009 so I was very happy they were each able to meet me for dinner that night.

The next day I headed on over to Frankfurt where I got to meet up with a long-lost cousin of mine whom I had never met before. We had a wonderful afternoon walking around the old part of town and enjoying a scrumptious late lunch. Both Lis and her partner Bruno were very nice: I’m so happy I got to meet them both.

Finally the next day I made my way to Lanzarote, with a brief layover in Madrid, where I met up with 3 of my fellow Earthwatch volunteers on the same flight I was on. We ended up sharing a taxi to the hotel since we were all going to the same place. Which reminds me: I think I still owe somebody for my share of that cost!

Our official rendezvous was in the Hotel lobby that next morning and that’s where I met the other 3 Earthwatch volunteers. We all gathered together with our gear and waited until Dr. Chris Stevenson and his assistant Ivana Adzic showed up. We had so much gear, however, that they had to make two trips to get us all to the site where we would stay for the next two weeks.

Our home away from home was La Casa de la Caldera, a 250 year old beautifully restored building that combined traditional Canarian architecture with modern facilities. We roomed together two to a suite, each suite having two bedrooms and a kitchen/dining area. There was a courtyard in the center where we gathered for our meals, and a pool out in the back to cool off after a hard day’s work. Our meals were provided for us by a real-live French Gourmet Chef and were quite scrumptious.

The work consisted mainly of mapping out the valley where Chris proposed to base his work. This meant measuring all the “features” we could find: length, width, height, rock content, and GPS location. Ivana and Chris would then enter all that date onto an aerial view of the valley once we got back to the casa each night.

Since we were the first team to work on this project, we encountered a fair amount of obstacles along the way. The logistics of getting down into the valley was just one of them: it took several days before the car rental place could find us a vehicle that could handle the goat trail they call a road, which meant we had to hike in and out each time until then. By the time Team 2 showed up, after our Team 1 had gone home, they had all the problems worked out and it was smooth sailing.

The biggest obstacle, however, was the weather. With temps as high as 110 one day (the hottest on record for that area in over 30 years) and very strong gusts of wind the next (Ivana’s sunglasses actually got blown off her face!) we just had no way of knowing how the work would progress on any given day. I’m told that Team 2 did not encounter the heat problems, but did have their fair share of wind.

I got to have a few days to myself after the expedition ended so did a few touristy type things around the island. My journey home took me from Lanzarote to London to Amsterdam to Minneapolis and finally home.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

I’m not sure how I’m going to write anything about those 3 weeks I had on vacation last month. How do you verbalize an experience that was indescribable? What words exist that can contain all the emotions felt and lessons learned? I shall have to try, however, as people keep asking “When will you have something up on your blog?” or “How soon will your website be updated so I can see the pictures?”

Thankfully for me – although not so good for anybody else – my website won’t be updated until fall. My brother is my “Computer Geek” and is the one who creates all those fantastic pages for me; but he works all summer long and cannot get to it until construction season comes to an end. This gives me plenty of time to come up with a plan, however: I will have all summer to sift through all 1,480 photos to choose just the right ones and then (somehow) articulate the events corresponding to the pictures. Until then, I get to create both my photo book (to match the photo books I have on all my other Earthwatch Expeditions) as well as a Power-Point Presentation on it.

I haven’t decided if I’ll create my photo book first or my power-point presentation first: either one will help the other, so it doesn’t really matter on that account. I should do the power-point first because I’ll be needing it soon for a presentation that I’m currently scheduling – but I have so much fun creating the book, I might just do it first anyway.

ShutterFly is the program I use for making my photo books. They do a good job and are fairly easy to work with. I’m hoping that my fellow Earthwatch volunteers will let me use a few of their photos for the book, since I don’t have any of myself. People keep telling me I should include myself in my books/presentations/webpages – but I never remember to actually take a picture of myself until after the event is over.

And see there: I’ve managed to write a post about my vacation without having actually said ANYTHING about the vacation! Is that talent, or what?

Saturday, June 06, 2015

The Boreal Herbal Workshop

Taking a 3-day workshop not two days after returning home from vacation was probably not the best idea I’ve ever had. The Canary Islands are 9 hours ahead of us, so I was completely jet-lagged and kept crashing half-way through each day. But it was such a good class, and one that I had been waiting for; I just didn’t factor in the sleep deprivation and time change.

Beverley Gray was awesome, though. She is from Whitehorse and has an herbal shop there called Aroma Borealis. She is “an Herbalist, an Aromatherapist, a Natural-Health Practitioner, a Journalist, and an Award-Winning Natural Health-Product Formulator” At least, that’s what the back of her book says. The book is called The Boreal Herbal and it’s packed full of all kinds of good information. You can buy it online at, if you like – I’ve even found it at Titlewave here in Anchorage.

The workshop started with a lecture on Friday after work. She had a power-point presentation to show some of the different plants she uses as well as some of the actual plants that she had harvested not 30 minutes prior to the talk. She passed those around so we could all taste them (who knew you could eat spruce tips right off the tree?) and talked about all their different uses.

Saturday & Sunday she took us out into the forests for some hands-on lessons where we learned about the plants right there. We harvested a few of them and then headed on in to the classroom to learn how to make medicines with them.

The first thing we made was an infused oil using yarrow, horsetail and fireweed. The oil she used was a grapeseed oil, but you can use a nice olive oil as well. She heated it all up in a double boiler and then bottled it into little vials so that we each got to take one home.

The next thing she made was a salve, again using the grapeseed oil but this time simmering it with some spruce tips. Once it was done she added in some vitamin E oil and the bees wax, then poured it in to tiny little jars so we could each take one home.

On the next day we again went out into the forest for some more hands-on training and harvesting, then headed on back in to the classroom to continue “cooking” starting off with a cream. She used a grapeseed oil that had been infused with devil’s club this time, to which she added rose petals and some usnea (a lichen that grows on spruce trees) and sweetgrass. This all got blended together with the beeswax and vitamin E oil to create the smoothest, most luxurious cream. It was really fascinating to watch happen! Again she poured it in to tiny little jars so we could each take one home.

The final concoction for the workshop was a syrup made with honey, birch syrup, elder flower and brandy. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to use mine for – but it sure does smell good. I’m sure I’ll find a use at some point.

There was over 50 people in the workshop so there were a lot of questions. We all certainly got our money’s worth out because Beverley was more than happy to share all of her knowledge with us.

Bryan and I decided to each of us pick two recipes out of the book to make this summer, so I picked a tincture made with willow, aspen, birch, gentian, high bush cranberry, mint, red clover,  and wild chamomile (to see if that helps my headaches) and a dandelion petal mustard. Bryan wants to make Dandelion Wine and Pine Bark Crackers.

I’ll let you know how it goes!


Whiskey Tasting

Bryan and I went to a Scotch Tasting event last night.

It was held at a local hotel that sits right on Lake Hood, one of the biggest float plane airports in the world. We got to watch float planes take off and land all throughout the event, which was really cool. The lake is a pretty one, too, with lots of water birds. There is a trail that wanders around the lake with lots people walking their dogs or hauling gear to/from their planes.

Our host for the event was Dr. Tom Turner who believes it’s his mission in life to guide people towards their own personal discovery and understanding of the spirit. With over a decade in the industry, he enjoys all types of spirits but his heart belongs to whiskey, which is why he considers his role as Master of Whiskey for Diageo ( the pinnacle of his career.

The event itself was a sit-down affair with 5 different Distiller’s Edition Whiskeys, each paired with a delectable appetizer.

The first course consisted of a cheese plate with a tiny slice of both brie and gouda, some chocolate covered blueberries, and some roasted pecans drizzled with honey; the whiskey was a smooth Glenkinchi.

The second course was a small dollop of Alaskan smoked halibut & salmon pate with shallots, lemon juice, sour cream, and cucumber on a bed of mixed greens; the whiskey was a deep smoky Lagavulin.

The third course offered up two jumbo shrimp with a roasted lemon and a spicy brandy cocktail sauce; the whiskey this time was a nice mellow Dalwhinnie.

The fourth course gave us some garlic hummus with onions, avocado, tomato, and herbs all wrapped up in iceberg lettuce leaves drizzled with chipotle aioli; the whiskey was Oban.

The final course of the evening (the fifth, in case you were keeping track) was a wonderful chocolate mousse with fresh Alaskan berries (strawberries, blueberries and blackberries); the final whiskey was a Talisker.

Tom was a very pleasant host, and very knowledgeable about “his” whiskey. He told stories of each one’s place of origin: how it was made and about the people who inspired it. It seemed to me that he had been to each distillery and had personally met each person who had a hand in the making of them, so his stories were quite entertaining as well as educational.

On our way back to the truck once it was over, I asked Bryan which one would he buy for himself (I had to clarify it was for HIM and not for ME): he chose the Oban. For myself, I think I would buy the Lagavulin.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Three out of Five Ain’t Bad

Anytime you make New Year’s Resolutions, it’s almost inevitable that you end up not keeping to them. I have actually done better than expected on most of mine, however. Unfortunately the ones that I am slacking on are the most “visible” ones.

Here’s what I originally resolved to do:
1. Loose as much weight as possible
2. Write at least 4 letters each month
3. Cook at least one new recipe each month
4. Renew contact with lost friendships 
5. Write at least 4 blog posts a month

The first resolution I have failed miserably on. In an attempt to keep to it, I not only joined a gym but also signed up for a personal trainer twice a month to keep me on track. I have been going as faithfully as my health will allow (Migraines do NOT like to work out) but have somehow managed to continue gaining weight rather than losing it. And no, it’s not muscle weight – trust me, its fat.

The second resolution has seen better success. I have not only written numerous personal letters to friends and family members, but also have taken part in the More Love Letters campaign each month. I have written so many letters in fact, I’m actually beginning to feel like I need to be making more cards just to stay ahead of myself!

My third resolution has been so much fun; I really have enjoyed this one. I have made a Moroccan-Inspired vegetable and chickpea stew, a Baked Almond Cheese ball, Chia Seed Breakfast Shakes, a Black Bean and Quinoa Casserole, a Quinoa Skillet Bread, a Couscous Black Bean Salad, and a Brussle Sprout Hash served with a fried egg on top.

To help with my goal of cooking new and exciting dishes, my guy got me a subscription to a Spice of the Month club that comes with recipes to try out each new spice! Below is what came in the mail this month:

Persian Cuisine in Celebration of Nowruz        
        Braised Lamb Shanks         
                Spices: Advieh Khoresh
        Baghali Polow with Saffron (a rice dish)  
                Spices: Saffron Threads
        Mast-o-Khiar (a savory yogurt dish)      
                Spices: Mast-o-Khiar Herbs & Spices

The fourth goal has been a little bit more difficult. The reason I made that resolution in the first place was to goad myself in to trying to find out what happened to a very good friend who just seemed to fall off the grid a while back. I’m not sure what happened: was it something I said or did? Or was it just something she felt she needed to do? If it is the later, I can respect that – I’d just like to know one way or other. I find that I am actually a tad bit afraid of what I might find out, however.

Finally we get to the fifth resolution: this blog of mine. I really did have every intention of writing more often, but as you can see I have let it slide these past few weeks.  I will continue to try however, so please bear with me and check back often.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Two Standing Ovations

The crowd didn’t hesitate: as soon as the last notes rang out, they were on their feet with thunderous applause. What an amazing concert that was!

We’ve been to several of concert this season:
        Mark Chestnut
        Tim McGraw
        Pam Tillis
        The Duhks
        Julian Lange & Chris Eldridge

But I have to say, the Steep Canyon Rangers were by far the best! If you are at all a fan of bluegrass, I can highly recommend that you check them out.

They consist of 6 players, all of whom are superb musicians. Charles R. Humphrey III played upright bass. Graham Sharp not only plays the banjo but has also written over thirty of their songs. Michael Ashworth played what they called a Cajon Percussion Box. Mike Guggino was smokin’ hot on the mandolin. Woody Plat was the lead vocalist (although most all of them sang) and also played guitar. But Nicky Sanders completely stole the show on his violin. Good lord, was he ever good!

As their website says, “These days, it’s hard to talk about the Steep Canyon Rangers without mentioning Steve Martin. After meeting at a party and clicking immediately, Martin invited the band to tour and record with him. 2011’s collaboration Rare Bird Alert was nominated for a Grammy, and later that year, they won IBMA’s Entertainer of the Year Award.”

In fact, some of you may have been lucky enough to see them all (Steve Martin included) play a few years back right here in our very own Performing Arts Center in downtown Anchorage!

Sadly, I missed that.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Motherly Advice

“You gotta stick your tool in there and wiggle it around.”

That’s the advice my Mother gave Bryan the other day. It was all I could do to not burst out laughing! Taken out of context, it sounded quite racy – and I just knew Bryan heard it that way, too.

What we were actually doing, however, was prying little glass tiles off their display board using screwdrivers and elbow grease.

Mother has literally hundreds of them in her back shed, thanks to the salesman who found out that she would take all of his discontinued boards. She uses them for all sorts of projects, from mosaics to garden pathways.

I’m not quite sure what I’m doing with them, yet. I have a vague idea in my head that involves copper wire, glass tiles, and driftwood.

We’ll see what that turns in to! 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

My Next Earthwatch Expedition

Purchase Tickets: 
Make Hotel Arrangements: 
Fill Out Paperwork: 
Take Care of Inoculations: 
Create Packing List: 

Get Uber Excited: 
     Check! Check!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The 10-Minute Meal

Who knew you could cook an entire meal in just 10 minutes! And it’s a nutritious meal, too – not some burger/fry thing out of the freezer.

It goes like this: you come home from a hard day’s work. You take your pressure cooker out of the cupboard. You put some chicken pieces (or fish, or beef, or what have you) in. You chop up some veggies like carrots, potatoes, and onions – and throw those in. You pour some wild rice in there, and top it off with some water. You heat it up and get it to the right pressure. Then you head off into the bedroom to change into something a little more comfortable, like your sweatpants and a t-shirt.

By the time you get back to the kitchen, your meal is done.

The fine people at Zucchini’s Cooking Store cooked several such meals for us, to demonstrate the ease and convenience of the pressure cooker. By the time we all gathered round to eat the results, Bryan and I were sold.

The only thing left for us to do is figure out how we’re going to pay for the pressure cooker, because of course we have to have the most expensive one out there. Only the best will do, you know!

No, seriously – there’s a range of prices and sizes available. We just have to pick the right one.

The Aces Hockey Game

Me: Why are you cheering? That’s the other team’s goal, wasn’t it?
Him: No! That’s our team! We’re the ones in the blue shirts, not the black shirts!
Me: Oh.

Me: At least we have a cool mascot, like a wolf. Not like it’s a chipmunk or something.
Him: It’s a polar bear, not a wolf.
Me: Oh.

I’m not sure if he’ll take me to another game ever again! I can’t count the number of times I ended up saying “oh.”

On the plus side, we did win!

Bowling with the Family

The parking lot at the bowling alley was completely full when we got there, and inside was no better. I had apparently neglected to call before arranging this family gathering, or I would have known that Saturday morning was League Bowling.

Thankfully my family is always willing to go eat something regardless of the time of day, so we reconvened at The City Diner just down the street to while away a couple hours. A cup of tea, a veggie omelet, a piece of toast, and before you know it it’s time to head back again.

This time, we were able to get our shoes and head off to our assigned lane. Out of the five of us there that day, two of us had not seen the inside of a bowling alley in well over 25 years! The other three were definitely the ones to watch.

Hank started out strong, leading the pack with Mother coming in a close second. Lauren started out mid-range but by the end managed to pull herself up to first place! Bryan and I both bounced around switching places back and forth at the bottom of the list, but we had fun regardless.

I actually surprised myself by getting more than just a few strikes, but I was not consistent enough to hold on to any lead I might get. Each strike I made was inevitably followed by a gutter ball to the left side. But hey, I did occasionally get the ball right down the center!

The Anchorage Transportation Fair

Walking in to the room, the first thing we saw was a sea of people. It seems that everybody wanted to find out what was going on in their particular corner of the city!

Information was certainly available! There were over 50 tables laid out end to end, curving around the room like a big snake. Each table had at least two or three projects displayed; a few even had eight to ten. They all had information brochures printed out with maps and pretty pictures, as well as an actual human being or two, standing by to answer any question you might have.

The kid’s activity table caught my eye, so that’s where we started. From there we just went from table to table, stopping to talk to this person or that one, and gathering up a bag full of fact sheets on each project.

In no time at all, I was completely overwhelmed. Who knew there was that much going on in this city! And to think that somewhere, somebody had to have some sort of control over it all, to ensure that it all got coordinated properly.

Anchorage does love its road construction, I guess.

The most important project in my opinion is, of course, the O’Malley Road Upgrades. I got to spend quite some time at that particular table, going over the maps and talking about what they had in mind for the area. I spoke with the girl sitting there about the schedule of events to take place, the plan for the intersection right at my house, and the other properties involved.

Strangely enough, however, the project we spent the most time on was for the Port of Anchorage. The Engineer manning that particular table talked to us for quite some time, explaining in detail what went wrong with the original plan and outlining the current revised plan. It will certainly be an amazing project if they can get the funding for it.

The whole evening was very interesting, and as a bonus I got a huge boost to my step count that day!

Monday, February 02, 2015

More Love Letters

As part of the ongoing effort to keep my New Year’s Resolution (specifically, the one that has me writing at least 4 actual letters a month) I came across this website that is pretty amazing.

It’s called “More Love Letters” created by a girl in New York City.

In her own words: “I started More Love Letters three years ago and we’ve become the only global organization out there that blesses individuals --young and old-- with bundles of love letters during a time in need. We basically want to create the most miraculous experience for people when they need it most: hundreds of letters of support and encouragement showing up at someone’s door all because someone in their own life loved them enough to just ask for those love letters.”

Pretty cool, huh?

Each month, I plan to check this site to see who has been nominated for a bundle of love letters. I will then make the cards to send to those people; I will write letters of encouragement & love to them; and then I will pop them in the mail.

I have to admit that it’s a bit self-serving here, as it not only uses up some of my cards (I only have about 300 or so of them already) but it will also give me a mental/moral boost at the same time that it hopefully helps somebody else when they need it the most.

Not a bad deal, I think.

Weekend Retreat

I got to attend another Scrapbooking Retreat this weekend out at the Pioneer Ridge Bed & Breakfast ( and had such a good time.

Erica, our event coordinator, provided excellent meals: homemade chicken pot pie, scrumptious sandwiches with fresh veggies, amazing salads with candied pecans and blue cheese, and deserts that completely blew everybody’s diet out the window.

Attendance was a bit smaller than the last one I went to, but we still had at least 15 ladies there. This just meant that we all got a table to ourselves to spread out and work on our projects. Most people were scrapbooking, but some had their sewing machines going on quilts or their knitting needles clicking away at lacy scarves. For me, of course, it was cutting paper for my cards. In fact, I got 22 of them made!

My friend Heather and I carpooled in from Anchorage. It was a bit of a challenge getting all our gear into my tiny little car – but after three tries, we finally got it to fit. We also ended up sharing a room together, way down at the end of the hallway. It was good to catch up on all her news, what with two kids, a husband, and a home renovation project going on.

Unfortunately I had a migraine going on, so was not in the best of health throughout the weekend. But no one seemed to mind that I would excuse myself periodically to lay down in the dark for a while. I went to bed at 10:00 each night (the others didn’t get to bed until well after midnight), and since I was up each morning around 6:00 that gave me several hours of quiet time by myself before everybody else woke up.

All in all, I had a wonderful time – and look forward to our next one!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cheese Cloth

So I’m at the grocery store last night, looking for Cheese Cloth.

I looked all over the Kitchen Accessories isle, multiple times, and did not find it. So then I went to the Baking isle and looked all over multiple times, and did not find it there either.

Eventually, I gave up and actually asked somebody.

You want to guess where they put Cheese Cloth? 

In the Freezer Section, right alongside the TV dinners and the Ice Cream!

Yeah, that’s a logical place to put Cheese Cloth.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Remedies in Your Own Back Yard

Bryan and I took a class the other night at Zucchini’s Cooking Store, in South Anchorage. They periodically hold classes on anything from Pasta Making to Hors-d'oeuvres to Fermenting Vegetables.

This class was on Alaskan Herbs and was presented by a Lithuanian woman named Gdaiva Gaulyte.  Gdaiva ia a Certified Nutritionist who owns and operates Alaska Island Retreat on Kalgin Island, where she teaches people (in her own words) “how to eat to be healthy using local whole natural foods; fermented vegetables, fish and bone broths, teas from the forest, and more.”

The class was a good one. We learned about natural teas, tinctures, infused oils, shampoos and tonics with a focus on local Alaskan herbs such as goldenrod, nettle, horsetail, dandelion, clover, elderberry, devil’s club, bluebell, yarrow and more. She explained how to collect, prepare and how to store what we’ve gathered. She offered us samples to taste and/or smell. We even got to make our own herbal tea using herbs she brought with her.

I do have to admit to some familiarity with the subject – but it was still a very interesting class.

Cirque du Soleil: Dralion

Well, that was certainly worth the price of the tickets: wow, what a show!

It was so exciting I quickly forgot that the seats were too close together and were hard plastic (not even remotely comfortable). I also forgot that the music was really loud, the lights were bright and flashing, and the acoustics were pretty much non-existent.

But wow, what a show!

Parts of it, I have to admit, were a bit of a let-down. There were a lot of people running around stage just waving their hands in the air (artistically dancing, you might say). I mean, give me an incredible costume and even I can do that!

The people actually doing the acts more than made up for the ones who were there to support them, however. There were truly some fantastic feats of aerial acrobatics. The troupe certainly lived up to their reputation, and then some.

A few of my favorites:
- The lady in red who came down from the ceiling on a metal hoop and then proceeded to swing around by her toes, hang from her neck, or “fly” through the air.
- The guys jumping through a series of hoops which were attached to a circular base that was rotating in a circular motion.
- The juggler who danced around stage keeping up to 10 (at least) balls flying through the air.

At one point, they had this guy standing on top of two “dragons” (the dragons were made up of two people in costume) and the dragons were each walking on a large ball about 4 feet in diameter. So, they had two large balls, each with a dragon on top, with a guy standing on top of them straddling the dragons. All walking across stage!

It was pretty amazing. I only wish I could have gotten closer in to see the costumes: they looked pretty amazing, even from up on the balcony where we sat.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

And this is a paperless job!

Typical Office Procedure:
- A submittal comes in for review
- The Architect reviews it and accepts/rejects it
- We fill out the paperwork
- We keep one copy and send the rest back to the client, both electronically and physically

However, there’s been so many changes of key personnel on this particular job that the current person in charge asked us to give him a copy of everything that’s been done so far.

So, I spent two days making copies and organizing them so that they are all in the same order as our originals are. Then I made file folders for them (I even made rainbows using red-orange-yellow-green-blue file folders, alternating in that order until I got to the end of the submittals) with labels and everything, and put them into a Banker’s Box.

That was last week. 

This week, he wants us to send him a copy (both electronically AGAIN [for like the third time] and physically) of the form that states what the status of each submittal is. So I have to go back through every submittal I just put away – unstaple everything – copy the top sheet – then restaple everything back together again.

So now – somewhere over there across town, they have close to 4 complete sets of every submittal (going on 42 of them so far) that has to do with this project.



I calmly walked up to the ticket counter and said “I’d like two tickets to Antarctica, please.”

I was the very picture of Cool as I handed the lady my credit card – but all the while, that little voice inside my head was jumping up and down with excitement, shouting “Antarctica! Antarctica! Antarctica!”

Actually, if you think about it – that’s a little strange. I mean, how can the voice inside your head jump up and down, anyway? It’s a voice, right? 

No body…

To be quite honest though, the “Antarctica” I was speaking of was a movie and the ticket counter I was standing at The Bear’s Tooth.

Still, it was pretty darned exciting. The movie’s full name is “Antarctia: a Year on Ice” and is a documentary about the every-day people who work down there (as opposed to the scientists who go down to study their science).

But just think how amazing it would be to ACTUALLY buy two tickets to the ACTUAL Antarctica!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Rovers of the Red Planet

I have to admit I was not all that excited about the lecture. It was to be on the Mars Rovers, and I’ve been to about 5 of them prior to this one. I figured I was pretty much Rover’d Out, you might say. But it was part of a series so, since we had the tickets anyway, I pretty much had to go.

Turns out, it was really good: I am so glad we went! The presenter was very engaging, clearly excited about the topic, and was a good speaker, too.

The series is a new one for Anchorage: the museum has partnered with National Geographic to bring “dynamic and proven speakers, considered among the best in their fields. Using award-winning photographs and video, these modern storytellers share amazing adventures from the field, reporting on a wide range of human-interest and conservation topics.”

Acting as a personal guide, photographer and biologist Paul Nicklen takes audiences to the vast polar regions of our planet. Nicklen shares the stories of his work capturing images of life in fragile, frozen ecosystems. His book, Polar Obsession, is a pictorial celebration of the polar ecosystems where Nicklen has spent his life.

Hiking for miles laden with gear, trusting rigging on sheer vertical faces, and paddling waterfalls with a camera between his legs are all part of filmmaker Bryan Smith's adventures. While the footage he captures makes your heart race, the story behind the camera takes your breath away.

A dynamic young engineer at NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Kobie Boykins is on the front line of Mars exploration. Boykins designed the solar arrays that power the Mars exploration rovers, Spirit and Opportunity landing on Mars on January 25, 2004. Boykins shares his passion for space exploration by recounting the design and construction of the rovers and the story of their successful missions.

Known for her sensitive nature and ability to bridge the divide that sometimes exists between people of disparate cultures and beliefs, Griffiths has been connecting with her subjects for nearly three decades. Journey alongside her as she finds common ground in uncommon places.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My Voo-Doo Doll is a website I go to quite frequently. It has good information and enlightening blog posts by people like me who are afflicted by the little bastards. 

Sometimes it’s just nice to know I’m not alone, you know?

So the other day, somebody posed a question: 
If you could make one symptom magically disappear, which one would it be?

I've been thinking about this; not obsessively or anything, it’s just been in the back of my mind, quietly simmering and stewing. 

Finally, the other day, the answer just popped into my head: 
I would make my Voo-Doo Doll disappear.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about: there are times where I could swear somebody has a voo-doo doll of me, and they’re taking out their frustrations by randomly jabbing me with a needle. The pain is amplified by the time it reaches my body so that it now feels like a spear has been thrust into various locations all over me and not just in the head. It’s very random and can strike with no warning, and then vanish again for no apparent reason only to return again when I least expect it.

Yeah, that’s the one I’d choose to magically disappear.

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Oh-So-Exciting Life

Okay, so I’ve already modified my resolutions for the year. But I did not remove one – I actually added one!

The original four are:
     1. Loose as much weight as possible
     2. Write at least 4 letters each month
     3. Cook at least one new recipe each month
     4. Renew contact with lost friendships

To which I have added the following:
     5. Write at least one new blog post a week

I will do my best to make sure they are “fun” and/or exciting posts – but quite honestly, you may end up with a lot of boring so-so posts.

To start off the year, I’ll just do a recap of the first few weeks. (yup, you guessed it: this is going to be one of those boring ones!)

2015 started off with a bang (no pun intended) because my Guy cooked me a King Crab Dinner! I haven’t had King Crab in over a year, and boy was it good. We ate so much we had no room for desert. A few hours later, though, we went ahead and ate our Lemon Mousse along with a nice shot of Whiskey.

The following day, he again cooked for me – this time making an omelet by cooking the eggs in a Mickey-Mouse Waffle Maker! It was really simple and easy to do: mix up the eggs as you would for “normal” omelets (red & green bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and lots of cheese) then pour it on to the waffle maker as if it were batter. Not 5 minutes later, you have waffle-omelets! The Mickey Mouse design is not required, but is rather a bonus.

That was pretty much the highlight of the past two weeks. I’ve been seeing a chiropractor for my hip (a swollen SI joint is quite painful, let me assure you). I work out at the gym as much as I can. I’m reading some really good books. I’m making my cards, as always.

You know: life.

The next few weeks, however – now, those posts will be much more exciting!

Monday, January 05, 2015

Happy New Year!

One of my goals – or resolutions, if you will – for 2015 is to write at least 4 letters a month. I make so many cards; I really do need to start using more of them. Plus, as an added benefit I get to renew some friendships I’ve let fall by the wayside.

One can only hope they return the favor!

Speaking of resolutions: do you do them each year? What sort of goals do you have? Do they tend to be the same ones over and over again each time? Do you ever actually achieve your goals?

For me, the New Year is a time of reflection; a time to review the year gone by and take stock of where I’m at as compared to where I hoped I would be.

Well, actually no – that's not true. I try not to focus on any sort of negative, as in “Oh, I wish I had done that…” or “Darn, I’m not as as BLANK I wanted to be.”

Instead, I simply take stock: this is who I am, this is what I accomplished, and this is what I think I’d like to try this year. Sometimes it is the same thing over and over again. Sometimes I realize that I no longer want that old thing and have instead set my sights on a whole new thing.

The rest of my goals for the year are as follows:
1. Loose as much weight as possible
2. Cook at least one new recipe each month
3. Renew contact with lost friendships

Granted; if I do write my 4 letters a month, that pretty much guarantees that I achieve item number 3. But that’s the beauty of this list: Simply by doing one item I get to knock two items off!

It’s my own little BOGO event, you might say.