Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to all.

I've not given up on blogging...I have however gotten quite distracted. I still plan to finish my Alaskan stories and put up a few other adventures. However...


With this last turn of the earth, Christmas has once again stopped upon the world to offer it's message of hope and love. I don't like to leave the occasion unnoticed. I'm sitting in my den, the lights of the Christmas tree softly glowing, the muffled sound of another Christmas movie playing in the background. I've just finished frosting countless dozens of cookies and cakes, awaiting the arrival of family and friends in the morning. It has been a busy season, it seems as if time moved about its course with much more haste than usual...which is saying something given the quickness of this year. Still, there is something about the quiet hours of this night that contains a bit of magic...and all the world feels it. I personally believe it flows from one source...

"And there were in the same country shepards abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shown round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosting praising God, and saying , glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

So Merry Christmas to all...spend it with family, friends, and loved ones. Keep a mirthful heart and let joy flow from yourselves freely. Allow yourself to be wrapped in the magic of this wondrous day, remembering when so long ago, a child was born. A child who came to offer hope to a lost and dying world, a child who with his first cries offered redemption to all mankind..."and they shall call His name Jesus."

Friday, October 9, 2009

Return to Alaska...Part 2. Blueberry Hill

This was one of my favorite days. I don't recall if it's the same day we all nearly died in a car wreck due to some cheesebread or if it was the day we also bought 6000 paintballs, but it was a great day...Lena suggested we take a drive up near Fox to Mt. Aurora...also known as Ski Land...which is apparently the farthest north chairlift in North America...maybe the world. Of course in mid-July, there's no snow, but the area is stunningly beautiful.

I'm sure during the season, it's a bit less ramshackle...at least I hope so. However, visually, I love the look of disrepair.

It was a clear day, which was nice...with all the fires around, there was still a bit of a haze, but not bad at all.

It was epic.


The hills were also absolutely covered in blueberries...we picked for quite a while. It was nice to get some fresh stuff...they ended up going into pretty much everything we ate when we got to Salcha. Oatmeal, cereal, you name it...it had blueberries on it!

I found a whole solo cup full!

We also broke out the guitar for a little picking and singing.

Heather crafted what might be one of the finest songs ever unwritten. It's "The G-Chord Song" and it's "all about the G-Chord." It's a shame I only managed to capture a short snippet of it.

video

...It's also a shame I didn't think to turn the camera in the right direction until partway through. sheesh.

Ashley thoroughly enjoyed it. Those sunglasses she's wearing...I think they're mine. I hung them off my shirt at one point while picking berries. I noticed about 30 min after I put them there, they were gone. I'd been all over that hill. I figured I'd sacrificed them to the day...but low and behold, a little retracing my steps and I found them in a patch of moss! Thank goodness, because I think they're the only pair I had with me!

Of course I took advantage of the day for picture time. This is one of my favorite shots of Lena. Something about it just captures her nature to me.

It was a great day with friends new and old...

...in a beautiful place...

with a beautiful ending.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Return to Alaska...Part 1

July 16th, 2009 4:20 PM CST, Depart: Birmingham, AL.
July 17th 2009 1:37 AM AKDT, Arrive: Fairbanks, AK.

This is the face that greets me:

I heard her before I ever saw her. It was late in the airport and the night was fairly quiet. As I made my way into baggage claim, I heard the thundering of feet the saw the quick flash of blond hair and gleaming teeth as Lena slammed into me at full speed, engulfing me in a hug that equaled a year's worth of missing each other. I might have gotten teary eyed...shut up.

I tried to keep it a secret that I was coming back and was successful for a number of months, but David let it slip to Heather who let it slip to Lena, who threatened them with death if they didn't pony up completely about if I was indeed headed back for another July in Alaska. Still, surprise or no surprise...it was good to be back. I don't remember all that much about the night other than Lena introducing me to her car and the absolute limit of its velocity. Then crashing in the spare bedroom of her house while we talked about how insane it was that I was back until I basically lost consciousness.

The next morning, Lena had to work so she gave me the car with the instructions to "go do whatever I guess" which worked for me. My first order of business was to find food. Any food would do, but especially food that didn't come in a small, unopenable packages with an airline logo printed on the side...which had been pretty much all I'd had since the day before. I had two viable choices...some local diner and the world's northernmost Denny's. I chose the local place where I waited over an hour for a giant reindeer omelet complete with toast, juice, and hash browns. I think I ate the whole thing in under a minute. After that, I drove around for a while just familiarizing myself with the city until I decided to go to Pioneer Park...

...where I happened upon such rarities as the Arctic Fur Bering Salmon...

...a Nordic Princess...

...and a map of all the museums in Alaska...several of the signs had been lost or stolen (including Dutch Harbor's.)

...an old, bleached whale vertebrae...

...and the throttle from the SS Nenana...which was still actually in the SS Nenana.

I spent a good portion of the day there just browsing around the various shops, exhibits, and talking with a local artist who invited me to dinner.

After Lena got off work, she suggested we head down to the Tanana for a little time outdoors. So we went, we walked, we communed with nature...which tried to kill us in the form of mosquitoes.

(obligatory gangster pic.) It was a good day at the river...but the best day at the river was still to come.

We also bummed around downtown, watched the hippies at the river, Lena waded around in a fountain, we ate some fudge and shopped at some eclectic little shops. Good times in FAI.

Lena's mom took us to dinner at Pike's Landing...which is this nice place on the river. She told me I was a good excuse to use the gift certificate that was about to expire. I'm always glad to be of service! Despite the fact that the kitchen lost our order and it took two hours for us to be served, the meal was delicious and the manager brought out free desserts as an apology.

We also managed to get down to Salcha and I finally saw Dave-O! yay!

...and a moose family! You can kind of see the southbound end of one of them here. Being back... it immediately seemed like I'd never left. It just felt so natural to be there...like I'd picked up a familiar book and started reading the pages all over again...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Pampered Chef...Guess Who Signed Up!


(I'll give you a hint...it starts with a M and ends with a E...ME!) That's right, I'm now a consultant for The Pampered Chef. Am I excited? Yes! Am I terrified? Yes! Thankfully, my best friend is a seasoned consultant and is helping me muddle through the beginning of this whole endeavour. I guess we'll see how it goes. At the very least, I'll find out it's not for me. At the very most, I'll build an empire from which I'll rule the kitchens of the world with an iron whisk! Er...I mean, I might make some money and have some fun. Anyway, PC really does have some wonderful products and if you're unaware of that; well, I'd love to be your consultant and show you just why they're awesome. I'm looking to book home and catalog shows, or if you just want to order some products, I can handle that for you too!

In other news...I promise did actually go to Alaska and I will start getting those posts up soon! ;)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

So I've Got This Friend...

...and he does this job called "crab fishing." Perhaps you've heard of it? He wrote a book. It's full of great pictures and stories detailing his various shenanigans aboard the F/V North American...as seen on Deadliest Catch. Woo! I would highly recommend buying yo'self a copy. Check it out! Deadliest Waters by Travis Arket.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Weddingpalooza!

My beautiful cousin Jen!!!

It seems as if love is in the air as of late. People in my world are getting engaged and married left and right. I'll be attending a coworker's wedding tomorrow. Another one was married just a few weeks ago. My cousin Jennifer got hitched and so did my friends Megan and Wes. More on the horizon...good lands. Now, I find people fall into two camps when it comes to weddings...the "I dos" and the "I don'ts!" Weddings can be stuffy, boring, long, and an unfriendly reminder that you're incredibly single...if you are in fact...incredibly single.

However, they can also be amazingly fun. The first ingredient for a fun wedding is fun people. Thankfully, I find them in abundance in my life. From big church weddings to gettin' hitched at the movies a fun wedding is a always good time!

It's close to midnight and something evil's lurking in the dark...

For Jen's wedding, we all learned "Thriller" for the reception! Nothing like seeing your 50 something aunt and uncle out there owning it Zombie style at your cousin's wedding. My gosh I love my family. There was plenty of dancing that night...thanks to the hilariously great band!

Jen's hubs and his sister...they fit into the family quite well!

Top hats are always welcome in my world. Jennifer gave that one to Chris for his wedding present. He gave her a giant pack of twizzlers...it was just what she wanted. They're made for each other!

Val and Katie primping it up before the wedding. (Thanks for the pics Jen!)

Megan and Wes descending the stairs at the Alabama Theater!

The Mighty Wurlitzer! The organ rises from a pit in the floor...this is how Wes, the groom entered...however, that's not him...that's the actual organist. This is one of many reasons why the Alabama Theater is extremely cool.

Also, weddings are a great excuse for a cheesecake bar...and who doesn't love a cheesecake bar? One thing I'm liking is that weddings are becoming more and more personal...if you want to wear a polka-dot dress and red shoes instead of a big white dress, you can. If you want to get married in a theater instead of a traditional venue, you can. Maybe your maid of honor is a dude. Maybe your best man is the girl you've been friends with since you were 5...whatever! If you want red velvet cake, an ice cream bar, a cheesecake bar, or strawberry shortcake at your reception...go for it. (Yes, all of those were present at Jen/Meg's weddings! Score!) Weddings should reflect the people in them...if traditional is what you want, awesome! If you're a little more offbeat, more power to you!

Everything leading up to the weddings was fun too...both Jen and Meg opted for Bachelorette parties in Panama City...and well, I'm not one to turn down fun times at the beach! Everything from Snoop Dogg in concert to "A Bachelorette Scavenger Hunt" was involved and it was ridiculous from the word go!

Heading to La Vela to see Snoop...yep. That's how we roll. (Also, I'm apparently a giant.) That night was insane in so many ways...oh lands...none of which will be repeated here!

We are team 2, the bride was on team 1...an epic battle ensued. Shenanigans were had. Scavenger hunts were completed! Team 2 was victorious...although team one put up a pretty valiant effort, especially the bride, watch out, she's a kicker!

Anyway, it's been a good wedding season and it's not over yet! However...I've noticed something about myself. I'll illustrate my point below. I can ghetto up any occasion...and I often enlist others to help me keep it klassy.

Sadly, you can't see me flashing deuces here, but I've corrupted Sloan enough that the pic is still satisfying.

Here, you can see them. Word.

I've never been the girl that's planned her wedding since she was 6 years old...I don't really know much at all about what I want. I figure I'll start caring when it's more than just me involved. A couple of things I think I might know...I would like red velvet cake to be present in some way. Two, I think I want to get married on Nov. 1st, for the singular fact that Halloween night would be a great excuse to host a "haunted wedding masquerade" for the rehearsal dinner! Costumes, Halloween themed dance mix, and cheesy horror movies would probably all need to be involved. I guess we'll see how that goes! (Anyone I'd consider marrying would have to be up for that.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sarasota Dos!

The fourth of July was great. We'd been out that day, hung around for a party and watched the fireworks from the pool deck at the Hyatt. We also almost witnessed a brawl between two drunk guys. I never really heard what the issue was, but it was taking place roughly 5 feet in front of Carrie, Mystic, and I so we backed up and watched out...thankfully some guy diffused the situation and the belligerent drunk guys went their separate ways. Ah America...where it's not a celebration unless someone's punched in the face!

Sunday, beach day! Wooohooo! Siesta Key was lovely and not as crowded as Lido last year. We lounged, some read, some played in the water. Colleen and I caught school after school of tiny fish. It was roughly 700 degrees that day though, so it was tough on those of us who party at the pale club.
Carrie wore her "burkasuit" since the sun was unforgiving. I myself, also being of the vampire nature, covered myself in plenty of sunblock so I could stay outside amongst the daywalkers.
Carrie, Karen, Sheila, and Chip hanging out and having fun. It really was a great day to just sit on the sand and play in the water.

It was Kim's first time to see the ocean and she loved it! We only stayed out a couple of hours due to the sun and the heat...even the folks that tan were getting a bit red.

The races were also Sunday and after they were over, the awards were handed out by Capt. Keith. Trav also got up and spoke for a moment. Geico took home the big prize again! Scottie from Geico is up there accepting the trophey from Keith. Scottie will always be awesome.
This was when my camera battery died and so I don't have any pics of all the shenanigans that took place that night, but trust me, they were many. Everyone gathered at the Hyatt for a big boisterous after party, Wizard, Wizette, Hillstrands, and Raceteams. It was a big celebration and crazy times. The Hyatt will never be the same...especially the 502...but if you don't know about that already, you don't need to! ;)
Sarasota is a great town filled with great people who put on a fantastic event every year for a worthy cause. I always enjoy the time I get to spend there.