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!