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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How was your day? Mine sucked...

While Aaron is gone, I don't usually clean all the time, just when I have time, or it really needs it... Let me set the stage for you... I was sick for many days in a row, diminishing the amount of time spent in my kitchen... I don't think I opened the cabinet under my sink for about a week...

Then, one night while making dinner, I decided to do a little spot cleaning while waiting for my food to cook in the microwave... I open the cabinet door to retrieve my cleaning supplies only to be met by hot, humid air billowing out of it... The inside of the doors and the cabinet are covered in mold... Water is dripping from every available surface... Yeah, this was last night...

So, dealing "in the moment," I try to clean the cabinets of all visible colonies of mold. I also bleach the heck out of the doors... I leave the doors open, remove all items from the cabinet, and line the floor with towels in the hopes that it helps to dry out the space. With so much water condensing on the underside of the sink and on the pipes, it was impossible to determine if there was a leak. Then, I take my soup upstairs to eat dinner (finally)...

Mold stains on the cabinet frame...

More mold stains on the cabinet frame...



Mold stains/damage to Left Cabinet Door (the highest concentration of mold colonies...ewww)
Mold damage on the inside of the cabinet...

Mold stains and damage on Right Cabinet Door (double ewww....)

This morning, there was no visible moisture dripping from anywhere. The condensation had dissipated. However, there was still hot humid air coming out from under the sink. I ran water, both hot and cold, just to check for leaks (again), and there were none... I was late for work, so I left it there, thinking that it could be the boiler on the other side of the wall...
Boiler Room Situation...

The Culprit... The Recirculating Pump...
At lunch, I came home to investigate the boiler room... Here was the problem... There was standing water on the floor and I heard a hissing noise coming from an apparatus that happens to be located right behind my sink. I saw water dripping from this area, so I thought it was venting steam. I then contacted the condo association to advise them of the problem. I obtained the phone number to the plumbing company that services our boilers to have them come fix it. I met them when they came over, and we discovered (when we removed a packet of information from the area) that it wasn't venting steam, it was spraying water all over the wall... Awesome!

I then called a cleaning company to address the moisture and mold damage to my wall and cabinets. The sheet rock behind my cabinet is soft (not good)... The verdict? My kitchen needs to be disassembled, the cabinets cleaned and treated for mold, the sheet rock removed, the wall treated for mold, new sheet rock put up, my kitchen reassembled, and the cabinets refinished and my wall textured and painted... Whew!

I'll know more tomorrow as to when all of this will take place. The condo association is responsible for the repairs, and they seem to want to get the problems corrected now rather than later. I'm hoping that I'm not without a kitchen for too long... If it will take a while before repairs can be made, I'm going to have another contractor do the work to expedite it...

In the mean time, my aviator problem solver is on the other side of the state until the 15th... I know he is frustrated that this is happening and that he isn't here to deal with it. But, I think I have done a good job "dealing" with it thus far on my own and he needs to trust that I can handle it in his absence... 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Has the world lost its mind?!?!?!

I admit. I am one of "those" people who watch Dancing With The Stars. I enjoy watching the dancers and seeing what kind of choreography they come up with... I will also admit that I wasn't excited about the cast this season. I didn't understand why Bristol Palin was on there. I understood why "The Situation" was on there, but wasn't crazy about watching him dance. But you know what I realized? ABC didn't ask my opinion as to who should be on the show. Once the cast is chosen, quit crabbing about it people!

And another thing... The show is just that - it's a television show... A dancing competition that allows people at home to vote... It is for entertainment... (and I'm going out on a limb now and assuming at least one of these "crazy" people actually reads my blog)

An entertainment show does not warrant the behavior that has been reported. Shooting your TV just because someone you don't like remains on the show is insane. I would hope that the person that did that is receiving some medical attention for that kind of behavior.

To the people who have made death threats against the people competing on the show - You should be ashamed of yourself! For crying out loud, if you don't like what you are seeing, turn off your TV.It is never appropriate to make death threats against anyone! Seriously, has the world gone mad?

Monday, November 15, 2010

A month...

It will be a month before I see my husband again... A whole month...(sigh)

What can I do in a month? Lots!

I can go on a diet, I can organize the house, I can teach Noni a new trick, etc... Somehow, it doesn't seem right that I can do some pretty drastic things while my husband is away... He SHOULD be able to be here to see the progress... But such is the life of a pilot's wife...

So, while I try to get those few things done in a month (very attainable goals, if I do say so myself), I will also be starting up 2 classes at a time again. I have finals this week for my ECON class, and then have an accounting and communications class starting next Monday. Pray for me!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My dastardly plan...

... worked a little TOO well.

I gave myself 2.5 hours to complete my shopping experience, and was done in 1.5... I had the most amazing shopping experience at Nordstroms! I had an awesome sales person who kept taking the things that I picked up to try on into my own dressing room. Once I was in there, she kept bringing me other things to try. After all was said and done, I walked away with 2 pairs of work slacks (to go with my other pair at home), 6 nice tops that I can dress up or dress down, and 6 sweaters to wear with the 6 tops. Everything is mix/match. I can finish the overhaul of my wardrobe by getting some jeans at home and a few tank tops to layer under some of the tops (a couple are a little too low-cut for my tastes) and to wear under the sweaters for weekend looks. All in all, I am really proud of myself. And extremely thankful to the wonderful person who helped me out...

She even gave me her business card in case I see anything online. I can call her up and tell her what I saw and she will send it to me in Juneau. Absolutely fabulous!

All that fabulosity came with a price... It's a good thing that clothes are considered an investment. These clothes are going to have to last me for quite some time before I go on a shopping spree like this again. Total sticker shock for someone who is used to shopping at Wal-Mart.

Checking in from a winter wonderland

This week, I have to attend a conference in Anchorage from Wednesday to Friday... I decided to take Monday and Tuesday off and go to Anchorage early to get some shopping in. As much as I want to "buy local," I have very few choices for appropriate clothing. The quality of clothing and styles available in Juneau leave something to be desired... Most people that I know buy clothes online, which is fine, as long as you know what brands/sizes to get... I do not.

So, I have a goal to purchase at least 5 different outfits that I can dress up/down, that are mix & match. I'll also try on different clothes so I can buy online later (you know, when I have more money to play with). As motivation to actually go shopping, I only packed 1 change of clothes... And the clothes I brought with me are fine for running around and meeting with a few people, but not appropriate for the conference I'm attending... Why do I need this motivation? Aren't I a woman, and therefore programmed to shop? Sure, but I think my programming is a little off... I get anxious when shopping... I have my homeopathic anxiety medication on hand today to help keep it at bay and I'm going to find a nice sales person to help me shop. I do not trust my judgment in clothes. I tend to have a panic attack and leave with a handful of clothes without trying them on first.

Another area where I will have anxiety is just driving to the mall... I didn't know it had snowed a bunch while I was flying in to Anchorage yesterday. Thank goodness that the nice people at the rental car company upgraded me to an AWD Crossover with an auto-shifter. I am so comfortable driving in the snow when I have an auto-shifter (it allows me to start out in 3rd gear so I don't lose traction on the ice - something that happens when you start out in 1st gear because the wheels turn faster). However, even with those options, I still almost took out a road sign with the car... I stopped inches short of hitting it... Talk about anxiety!

So, wish me luck! I venture out in about 30 minutes to start my afternoon plan :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Why I hate election years...

I appreciate the work that our representatives do across the state and for Alaska in Washington. I also appreciate the people who are willing and able to serve in these capacities. Election years are the way to allow the public to select these representatives on a regular basis. We (as the public) review the available candidates carefully. We elect the person or persons we feel will do the best job (or at least we should).

Partisan politics irritate the crap out of me. It boils down to 2 groups of children in a school yard... One group refuses to play with the other group because they have holey jeans... The other group refuses to play with the first group because they eat bugs... Each group blames the other for nobody playing fair... Like I said, irritating...

Another thing that irritates me is the election process... As much as I hate partisan politics, I dislike people who vote for someone based on what party they belong to. "I'm voting for Joe Blow because I am a Lemoncrat and so is he." Call me naive, but I don't think you should vote for someone just because they belong to the same political party as you. You should vote for the person that will do the best job representing you and your area. I know that is not the way things really are, so I will move on...

When creating political advertisements, candidates should tell me why I should vote for them, not why I shouldn't vote for someone else. That's like telling me to "Vote for me, because I'm not as bad as that guy!"... That's not a good enough reason for me to vote for you. For our state Senatorial race, I have heard ONE advertisement telling my why I should vote for someone. EVERYTHING else I have heard, from all of the candidates tells me what the other person has done wrong. The only thing that these types of ads do is to make me hate ALL of the candidates because I only know the negative. How about a little positivity?

I think it would be a good idea to create a non-biased political website giving honest information on all of the candidates for office in a given area - their position on issues, their history, pros & cons... You should also have the ability to compare candidates side-by-side to determine the best representative for you.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

How to quietly turn 30...

My birthday has never been extravagant. I remember being so jealous of my brothers (specifically, my older brother) because they usually got to have store-bought cakes and have friends over for their birthdays. I guess that's the kind of treatment that you get when your birthday falls in the first half of the month, aka: Mom's payday... My birthday, however, falls at the end of the month. Money was not as abundant at the end of the month, so I usually had cake from a box that on more than one occasion, I had to make myself... I only remember having friends over once, and it was only two friends... So, you can see why I don't usually make a big deal out of my birthday...

This year, I was so bummed that Aaron had to work. We did celebrate my birthday early (10 days early, to be precise) and it was a small celebration - just the two of us... He did try to make it special for me, but it would have been more special if he was able to be here to celebrate on my actual birthday... Such is the life of a pilot's wife...

On my actual birthday, I opted for a quiet day. Sure, I took phone calls from friends/family (to be honest, more people submitted Happy Birthday wishes through Facebook/texting than by actually calling me) but I kind of kept to myself for the most part. I went to the gym, did some shopping, and had a massage. I went to the store and bought a small piece of chocolate cake (because it just isn't your birthday if you don't have cake).

Given my track record with birthdays, and how much they tend to disappoint me, I wonder if I should just not celebrate them anymore... (she says while listening to her cool new iPod that her husband gave her for her birthday)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Three Strikes...

After much deliberation and debate, Aaron and I decided that it would be a good idea to adopt another dog to add to our family and be a companion for Noni. This past week, my friend introduced me to a 3 month old puppy that looks just like Noni (although, with different breeding). We started the process by contacting the rescue group that had the puppy. Sadly, that one had been adopted already, but she had a brother that was still available. We read all about him and saw his picture and wanted him immediately! It was like the stars were aligning to help us grow our family!

I spoke with the rescue group today and completed an adoption application over the phone (they are in Utah). I answered all the questions honestly (although, now I wish I had lied). We were denied, and not because of our location...

Strike one - I have mild allergies to dogs... Nevermind the fact that I have found how to deal with my allergies with Noni. I keep her hair short to reduce the amount of shedding and I take medication to control my symptoms. I realize that allergies are not the fault of the dog, so I don't take it out on her... I couldn't get the woman to understand that if allergies were SUCH a problem for me, that I wouldn't have my extremely hairy dog.

Strike two - We have had to give up a dog in the past for reasons outside of our control. Just because we had to move and we were unable to take the dog with us because we couldn't secure housing that allowed  us to have her almost 10 years ago, we aren't fit to take on another dog. We found a good home for her with friends, so it's not like we abandoned her on the roadside. But, apparently, in order to be a good dog owner, you can NEVER give up another animal in your lifetime and if you do, you are not worthy of having a pet.

Strike three - We don't have a fenced in yard... Since when did this requirement become mandatory? Noni has used the back yard for her facilities since we moved in to this house 3 years ago... It hasn't been a problem. Would I like a fenced in back yard? Yes... Is it practical for me to have a fenced in back yard? No... In 3 years, my dog has not choked herself while on her dog lead in the back yard, but that doesn't matter. Promises to supervise the puppy any time it was in the back yard were ignored...

This whole ordeal has left me feeling very emotional... They made me feel like I'm an unfit pet owner... Like, how dare I take in a puppy at the age of 3 1/2 weeks and raise her with care and love, never leaving her for longer than I had to. How dare I ensure that she has the best veterinarian in the city to take care of her (it's true, Noni's vet was just voted the best in the city). How dare I worry about every little wheeze or limp, and even go so far as to take her to the vet every time she coughs... I must be some bad person, some evil diabolical witch for not ensuring that the house I purchased had a fenced in back yard...

Well, I say, HOW DARE THEY MAKE ME FEEL THIS WAY! HOW DARE THEY THINK THAT I WOULD BE AN UNFIT PET OWNER. I could understand if their biggest concern was sending the dog to Alaska. But, with Aaron's jump seat benefits, he could (and would) go down personally to pick up the puppy.

But, no... My back yard isn't fenced, I occasionally sneeze in my house, and I broke my heart in two 10 years ago when I had to make a choice that was in the best interest of everyone... For that, I don't deserve a puppy...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

I have 3 more days before Aaron comes home again. I am trying to have a positive outlook for the month of October, despite the fact that I live hundreds if not thousands of miles away from my family and I will be ringing in my 30th birthday alone because of Aaron's schedule. I'm not terribly excited about it. It's not really your birthday if you have to celebrate it 2 weeks before or 2 weeks after.

Maybe if I think "raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens," I will be so happy with turning 30 that I'll crap rainbow gumdrops where ever I go. Or I could just drink tequila... Lots and lots of tequila...

Friday, September 24, 2010

The joys of Rheumatoid Arthritis...

Ok, there really aren't any joys to having such a debilitating disease... but how else am I supposed to look at something that affects me so much?

I have been spoiled for the last two weeks. With a glorious high pressure system camped out in Canada for a while, Juneau was blessed with wonderful, non-rainy weather for about 2 weeks straight. Easing into that kind of weather system, I started feeling better and better. I had lots of energy, as was evident in my previous post.

Notice how I said "was" - as in past tense?

Sometime in the night, a major low pressure system moved just off the coast of Southeast Alaska, signaling the end of my glorious weather. Waking up this morning, it was like someone flipped a switch and turned my energy off. With my goals of walking every day, it was difficult getting out of bed this morning, but I did it. I didn't walk for a full hour, but if I had, I probably would have passed out from lack of energy. Coming home from the gym, all I wanted to do was go back to sleep. But, I had to go to work today...

I wanted a nap all day. I can tell a marked difference in my joints as well. Normally, it is my knees and/or my hips that are stiff and sore when I experience a flare up, but today, it's everywhere. Throughout my back, in my shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, feet... It's not painful in the "oh, my, that hurts" sort of way, but my joints feel tired.

I don't ever remember experiencing such extremes before. Normally, it takes a while for weather systems to affect me. That tells me this is a major system... I hope it goes away soon, or I get use to the fatigue enough to get everything done this weekend that I need to.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Goals That Yield Surprises!

For the longest time, I have fought the urge to join a gym or a health club. I just could not fathom spending so much money a month on something that I may not "do" fully. In the past, when I would go to a health club with a friend, I pretty much just did the treadmill. Now, my mind has continually counted how many monthly gym payments it would take to buy a treadmill for my house. In my mind, it was cheaper in the long run to just buy a stupid treadmill to walk on.

With the hectic lifestyle that Aaron and I have led over the years, owning a treadmill was not an option. Imagine the cost of transporting a treadmill across the Pacific, or letting it rot with everything else in a storage unit. Or the situation is what we are in now - we just don't have room for one.

So, I've gotten over my hesitation to spend money on a gym. I joined one a few blocks away while they had an open house special and I got a month-to-month membership for the same monthly cost as a full-year membership. Normally, it's at least $20 more per month.

Since I have made the monetary commitment, I have set goals to actually attend the gym. My first goal involves waking up early and going to the gym and walk on the treadmill for one hour. Starting this past Saturday, I got up earlier than normal for a Saturday and checked day one off the list. Day two, I decided to see if I could do the elliptical machine and alternate that with the treadmill. I learned that I am more out of shape than I thought. After 15 minutes, I thought I was going to die. I spent most of Sunday coughing like I had asthma. No more elliptical machine for a while. Day 3 and Day 4 were during the work week, and brought the un-Godly hour of 5:30 AM into my life... Surprising enough, I found that on both of these days, I woke up BEFORE the alarm went off. Another surprise, I'm ACTUALLY awake... Normally, I take forever to wake up. I may be functioning at 8:30 when I report to work, but I'm not really "there" until around 10:00...

As a continuation of my goals, after I've been walking on the treadmill every day for 2 weeks, I'll try the elliptical machine again. Once I get up to where I can handle that for at least 30 minutes, I'll alternate my morning routine with that machine, as it burns more calories and has less impact on my knees than the treadmill. The gym I joined also has classes I can take. This Sunday, I'll take in the Gentle Yoga class to see if I will integrate that into my schedule. As I get healthier and more confident that I can do more without injuring myself, I'll add in some weight/resistance training to tone my muscles. Maybe, I'll even add a Spinning class... But, for right now, I'm taking it slow.

One last surprise - My allergy attacks have subsided (and as I type this, I start sneezing, I think I jinxed myself). I'm not sure if it is due to a change in the weather as it cools down for fall or my new routine, but I'll take it! The last month or two, I've been having severe allergy attacks at least every other week. They are so severe, that it takes several days for my respiratory system to recover...

Monday, September 6, 2010

I want my life back...

Almost a year ago, I decided that it would be a GREAT idea to go back to school and (finally) get my bachelor's degree... I was very self-righteous about it too! I figured that since I had spent the last 11 years of my life focusing on my husband and his career, moving so much that steady employment and education were not exactly part of my life, it was time for me...

After spending several months being stressed out from my new schedule, I still held to my convictions. Having a degree (especially since the prospect of a family is not a reality at the moment) was very important to me. I wanted to have a career and feel like I am contributing to our lifestyle...

Then came the months from HELL... Way too much stress in my life between my full time job and more demanding classes... Panic attacks were not foreign to me from the months of January to July...7 months of sheer horror... I hardly recognized myself after that experience...

Fast-forward to today... My class load is light and relatively stress free (an easy class). Aaron is home and is working on interesting projects in the hanger... So interesting that I want to hang out there with him, to see what he's up to, and to just spend little time I can with him...

Instead, I feel guilty for any time that I spend with him instead of on school work... When I make a judgment call and choose my family over my education, I get emails from my instructor telling me to do better...

Whatever, I want my life back... I want time to myself again... I want to be able to go out and spend a day with my husband without thinking that I need to finish writing a paper that was due yesterday...

But then, I think back to almost a year ago... When I had a goal of getting my bachelor's degree...

Crap.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Respect

With all the changes in my life (my personal health and otherwise), I have discovered a need for respect. I have been flying off the handle a lot more than normal recently, and it has been affecting my marriage. I get irate when driving when other drivers do not participate in the "rules of the road", such as using a turn signal... My reactions are too angry and violent to be normal. For the most part, I can put blame on my new medication. Ever since I started taking it, my mood swings have been getting more severe. I need to talk to my doctor about it (and the fact that it isn't working as effectively anymore, but that's another story).

In the mean time, I have to deal with my outbursts in a healthier way. I have decided to focus my efforts on respect - feeling and expressing respect for others and myself. It seems to be helping in some areas, but it is a struggle. Especially when I feel that I am not respected as a person...

Today I had to do something that I never wanted to do... I turned in a neighbor to the police. Granted, I don't think that this neighbor was following the law, but still... This particular neighbor has been burning brush in their yard repeatedly since they took possession of the house several months ago. It makes it so I can't open my windows in my house because it will fill with smoke. Today was the last straw. The entire neighborhood was filled with smoke and the smell permeated my house despite the closed and locked windows and doors. I looked out my back door and they were burning brush (pine needles, etc) that creates a lot of smoke. I feel that this action is disrespectful to the entire neighborhood. Rather than go over there to have words with them (which would have escalated in an unhealthy way, in my opinion), I called the police department to determine what the law regarding open burning was. After describing the scene to the dispatcher, they sent a police officer over to see if they were complying with the law (one part of which includes having a burn permit). Ever since then, I haven't experienced any smoke.

I hope that the police officer was able to explain the law respectfully to these people. I also hope that they didn't tell them that it was me that sparked the inquiry. The last time we had to have a police officer visit a neighbor, we were the object of persecution from the neighbors. I really don't want that to happen here. I also don't want to smell smoke constantly... Decisions, decisions...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The great debate...

Lately, I've been wondering if I should start taking flying lessons again.

Aaron got his CFI primarily to teach me to fly. Shortly after he obtained his CFI, he bought me a Piper Tri-Pacer for my birthday (hence, my alter-ego, TriPacerChick). I thoroughly enjoyed flying the Tri-Pacer, but my fears got the best of me. The answer to the question "why" didn't come to me until recently. I have evaluated the situation and have come to the conclusion that I am a perfectionist, and I tend to freak the @*#$ out if I feel that I can't do it for some reason or another (or I just shut down, one or the other). I lost the passion for flying when my fear overcame me. The excuse that Aaron was too busy to work with me once he started flying commercially was just that - a handy excuse.

Aaron has been pressuring me to return to flying for several years now. I have not appreciated his pressuring. In fact, it has pissed me off more than anything. I had a good heart-to-heart with Aaron about the reasoning behind my fears and hesitation. He does not want to instruct the way I want him to, mainly because he has his own theories on the matter. He is also a sadistic instructor, throwing all manner of obstacles in the way of his students to get them to learn to handle any situation. I know this and it makes me even more nervous.

So, the great debate is - do I take up the lessons again? I have a lot of mental obstacles to get over before I can. But, if I do, it will be on my terms. With Aaron being so busy, and away half the month, I would do part of my lessons with the other instructor here in town. Aaron has been working with him to produce excellent pilots.

If I am able to conquer my fear, and get my pilot's license, we will buy another Tri-Pacer again. Although, that doesn't keep Aaron from wanting me to learn to fly his Pacer (currently being refurbished in Texas) and the Apache... I don't think I'm quite ready for either of those options just yet...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Who are you and where the hell have I been?

I feel like I have dropped off the face of the earth... Between being crazy-busy (like totally insane panic attacks and freak-outs) and technical issues, I have ignored my blog in favor of my sanity... I have ignored many things in my life other than work and school to the point of exhaustion, grief, failure, guilt, and a whole bunch of other descriptive words that I can't think of right now but they are right there at the forefront of my mind. My housework has suffered in the last 4 months, I've ignored my husband, gone through cycles of binge eating and not eating at all... Stress is a horrible, horrible thing...

I have dealt with the stress by removing some of the responsibilities that I have. It also helps that we are done with the "busy season" at work. I rearranged my class schedule to take just one class at a time for a while. God, what a relief it is. I feel like I can breathe for the first time in a long time. Almost like I am getting over being sick with something that has kept me down for a long time... I feel like I have the time to take my dog for a walk, cook AND eat dinner, wash the dishes, do my laundry, read my class assignments, and conduct research. Aaron hasn't been home since my class schedule changed, so I'm not sure how he will fit into my new schedule just yet, but I'm sure he will be delighted that my schoolwork is done in generally 2 hours max (rather than the 5-6 hours a night I was spending).

With all the stress from my last two (evil) classes, I was not very healthy. I ate food way too late (basically, around 10:00-11:00 PM, after I got done with my work and realized I hadn't eaten yet) and drank WAY too much Diet Coke. I also drank other beverages to help take the edge off (preventing massive anxiety attacks in the process). I don't normally "drink" that much, maybe a few times a month. And even then, it is usually only just one glass of wine, one shot of vodka, etc... My stress (and habits I was developing to deal with the stress) was leading me down a very bad road. I am so glad that the craziness has ended...

My indulgences are not without consequences, though. I decided a visit to my doctor was warranted immediately following my "finals hell." My body was not happy with the stress and my ways of coping with it. Which has lead to another round of detox. I detoxed last year, too, with successful results. However, I think that I am not designed to follow the "new" diet. After a week, I was still experiencing headaches (which usually subside after about 3 days). I also still feel fairly lethargic, and I should be getting my energy back by now. I vaguely remember that we had to modify my diet last time due to my hypoglycemia, but I don't remember how we altered it. Needless to say, I still feel like crap, extremely hungry following a meal, and I need to do something about it. Even adding protein (chicken) a day before the diet plan said to, and eating sweet potatoes as a side instead of brown rice or lentils, and I still feel like I haven't eaten all day... Hopefully, my doctor will come back from her conference soon so I can get more information on how to alter the diet so I don't feel this way. If not, I'll have to modify it on my own, which will reduce the effectiveness of the diet.

Expect many of my posts to be nutrition-related, since that is the ONE class that I am taking right now - so much more interesting to me that the stuff I just finished studying!

I need to send a special apology to my sweet nephews... With all of the craziness, I STILL haven't sent you your birthday presents (from back in JUNE! - #AuntFail). I am so sorry that they are this late and you should have them soon. First, I have to find a box that will fit them. They are a little too long to fit in a flat-rate box, otherwise they would have gone out a while ago. Your Uncle and I hope you enjoy them (and the paper they are wrapped in)!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stupid Hijacking Viruses

I started my evening making some progress on my homework. For once, I am ahead of the game and have several assignments in prep-mode to make my week easier. Then all hell broke loose...

A weird screen popped up on my computer telling me that I had several infections. My computer was running funky too. Web pages would not display.When I tried to open my Anti-Virus program to run it, I received a window that the file was corrupted and Windows would not open it... WTF

Thank goodness for alternate methods of getting on the internet. It all seemed a little fishy, especially since the ONLY method for correcting the situation was to pay for and download the specific Anti-Virus program that it suggested -AV Security Suite... Before doing anything more, I pulled up google on my iPhone to see if it was legitimate... I am glad I did that. I discovered that the program is designed to hijack your system to coerce you to give them money. All of the "infections" it said I had were bogus. Doing more research on my laptop (all of this took place on my desktop) showed that it overrides your internet to route everything through a proxy server (its own) and it bounce back to you with "virus warnings"...

Chances are, this program was attached to a recent download of a legitimate program I was updating. I want to say it was with the Adobe Flash update that I did... I seem to remember a checkbox for some type of Anti-Virus program...

Anyway, so I looked up ways to correct the problem. The internet is a wonderful bounty of information! I received pretty consistent data stating to restart my computer in safe mode, then correct the proxy setting in Internet Explorer, and then download and run a program called Malwarebytes. I already had this program installed on my computer, but I have the free version, so it only runs scans when I tell it to. The pay version supposedly runs scans continuously to prevent infections from happening...

I followed all the steps and was rather proud of myself for completing the task without Aaron here. He is the one who built my computer and gets irritated when he has to take hours to try and fix it for me (you know, because I break everything - but that's another story). The final step was to allow the computer to restart after removing the infections that it found...

Then, I got the Blue Screen Of Death..... Crap... Now Aaron has to try and fix it and HOPEFULLY he can do so without losing the data on the computer... I'm kicking myself now that I didn't back up my hard drive on a regular basis, especially since my computer holds the vast majority of our household records... I am extremely glad that I had the foresight to utilize a 4GB flash drive for my school work. Keeping my school work on a flash drive allows me to transfer from my desktop to my laptop to my office computer to do work.

So, this is a warning to my readers - If you experience anything like I did tonight, DO NOT buy the program and google the fix to remove it from your computer. Hopefully, the fix doesn't kill your computer like it did mine. If you haven't experienced it yet, I recommend installing and running Malwarebytes on a regular basis. Aaron and I have used this program for years, but I am not as good at running it regularly... I will now!

And, for anyone going to school, I recommend keeping your data on a flash drive and using that as your main school storage device. I usually copy the contents of the flash drive to my computer about once every couple of weeks, just in case.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Disgruntled...

My day has not exactly gone as planned. After a successful day at the library last week, I planned to go both today and tomorrow to work on a paper due for my science class. The library is only open for 5 hours each day on the weekend, so this is adequate time to focus on my schoolwork and come home to enjoy my evening (read: clean house)...

All was going well until I hit the research phase of my homework. I remembered to bring my laptop with me and so I connected to the library's WiFi... It was disappointing... First, the internet would not connect to my school website, where I would conduct the majority of my research through the school's library. Then, when trying to do research outside of the school's website, the pages loaded SO SLOWLY that it was massively counter productive. I finally gave up and came home after a little over an hour, where I have a secure internet connection and can access everything I need...

The downside? I have MANY distractions at home that usually prevent me from completing massive projects/assignments. I can't stand absolute silence (my mind wanders more in silence than it does any other time) so I usually have a movie or TV on for some background noise. In some instances, it serves to allow me to focus on my assignments... However, if I am not interested in my school work or I am stuck on something, movies/TV can be a distraction...(Also include the internet in this distraction... Facebook is addicting when I don't really want to do schoolwork and I am already connected to the internet anyway...)

Noni is another distraction. She feels that when I am home, that I need to play with her the entire time. She's get frustrated with me ignoring her and she'll go find her noisiest squeaky toy and squeak it incessantly.

When I am home, I find it hard to ignore the housework that needs to be done... Laundry piling up, a sink full of dishes, dust everywhere, etc... My mind wanders to these tasks regularly. If I do these chores before I do my homework, I don't usually have time to do homework, or I'm too tired to do anything else...

I need at least 2 clones of me... That way, one of "us" could focus on school work, one on housework/regular work, and one that just enjoys free time, playing with the dog, hanging out with the husband (when he's home) etc... The only way that would work, though is if all 3 of us rotated tasks so that one isn't getting bogged down in that particular task. We would have to have telepathy, though, so that we would know what the others are doing. That would be awesome!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Breaking Bad...

So, here's a little background as to why I haven't been watching Breaking Bad with Aaron all this time... For some reason, I have a very physical reaction to drug use in movies and on TV. I get very nauseous. Yes, I know, I am very weird... If it looks like someone is using drugs, or is washed out, or something, I get the same reaction. I can't watch The Crow, vampire movies, movies where the actor is on drugs but the character is not (Robert Downey Jr, back in the day). I even stopped listening to NKOTB because Joey looked strung out towards the end of their initial career...

I tried watching Breaking Bad in the first season, when Aaron became addicted to it. The first one I watched had Jesse getting high... Nope... Not going to watch it any more...

And I held to that. The only time Aaron got to watch it was when I was in the other room, he was in Bethel, or I was asleep. His (and his Grandma's) constant pleas to give it a chance fell on deaf ears. I knew the cast was fantastic and the story line was amazing, but I couldn't stomach the sight of the drug use...

Then, I watched one of the episodes while in ABQ a while back. There was no drug use in that episode, so I didn't have my normal reaction - which is good. I didn't know what was going on, for the most part, but I was sucked in... It was the one where the "cousins" try to kill the DEA agent. HOLY COW!

I didn't see the next few, because Aaron went back to work. Since I wasn't used to watching it regularly, I didn't think to turn to the correct channel at the appropriate time.

Aaron came home and I watched the last two episodes with him. The second to last, I wasn't really paying attention to. Jesse hit the drugs again (after being clean and sober for a while), so I tried to ignore it as best I could... Then Walt mowed down two dirtbags with his car and then shoots one in the head... HOLY FREAKING COW!!!

Of course! I had to watch the final episode. I think I was as excited about it as Aaron was. It did not disappoint... Poor Jesse...

Now, Aaron will be purchasing the first 2 seasons on DVD and we will have a Breaking Bad marathon when he gets back home in a few weeks. I hope I can keep my stomach from rolling long enough to get the back story necessary for me to fully understand the episodes that I have seen so far.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Updates!

So, I promised updates... Here we go!

First off, you'll notice a new look to my blog. Blogger has made it easier to chose different templates and such, and I've been playing (with what little time I have - which goes to show just how easy it is to redesign my blog... what would have taken me at least a half hour to do took 5 minutes...) I'll need to pick a new header, as it is summer and the ice on the plane is depressing, but one thing at a time...

I had a great time at the MS Walk - So did Noni! We both walked for my mom. There were a lot of other dogs there, but no one else dressed their dog up for the event. Isn't she cute?

My team raised $3,000 for the MS Society. I had a goal of $100, but was only able to raise half of that. So, next year, I'll be a little more proactive in fund-raising. I hope they create a widget that I can put on my blog. They designed one for Facebook, but who looks at individual profiles anymore? I know I don't! The widget there has a thermometer that shows how much I have raised and provides a link to donate. I tried to do the same thing this year, but was unsuccessful. All I could manage was to link the MS Walk button to my donation page, which no one used...

I am a BzzAgent, and as such, I get to try out different products to give my honest opinion about them. I went several months without getting to try anything out and then I got hit with 3 campaigns... So I'm going to lump them into one blog post to tell you about them:

First - Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-a-clean Continuous Sprayer

I really liked using the product. The automatic sprayer makes it easy to spray down a shower wall without too much hassle. Usually, my forearm gets tired of pumping the handle. It provides good coverage, too. When I knew I was to get this product, I stopped cleaning my shower to "maximize" the experience. By the time I got it, my shower was pretty nasty... This cleaned it really well. However, because it was so dirty, I used more than I probably needed to and went through 2/3 of the bottle just cleaning my shower walls. The times that I used it after that, I used far less. I also used it to clean a really nasty window screen in my bathroom. It was handy, so I used it. It worked wonders!

It keeps the shower cleaner longer too. When you have long hair, you get shampoo everywhere when you wash your hair. This stuff made the suds from my shampoo slide right off the wall within seconds. All I had to do was rinse it afterward. Very nice.

You can't use the trigger upside down. That is one of the downsides. You still have to angle the bottle weird to get the inside of the tub (when turning it upside down seems pretty natural, at least to me).

The other thing that makes it not so great is the price. Depending on where you live, it could be anywhere from 8 to 10 bucks for the starter kit, and 5-7 dollars for the refill bottles. Given that you can use more than half the bottle on one cleaning, it could get expensive to continue to use.

As most of you know, I have a fragrance sensitivity. Depending on many factors, just about any smell can send me into an allergy attack. Shower cleaner is the worst. This stuff has a nice mild scent that only occasionally started an allergy attack, so it is pretty good. If you can put up with the cost, I would recommend this product to anyone.

Second - Dove Damage Therapy Intensive Repair conditioner

I didn't take a picture of this one, but it is wonderful! I love Dove hair products, but they have a strong (but pleasant) smell, which usually starts an allergy attack. It isn't good when your hair causes you to sneeze, so I had to stop using these products. I was glad to be chosen to review this product. When it arrived, I noticed that it has about the same smell as the rest of the product line, but it is a lot lighter. It does not cause me to sneeze, so BONUS!

The first time I used it, I was skeptical as to if it would condition my hair enough because it was too light. About the last 4 inches of my hair is pretty damaged and should probably be cut off, but I don't have time to get it done, so I just put up with it. The damage makes my hair very easy to knot up, especially if it is windy. This tendency makes me pull it up into a bun or pony tail, just so I don't have to deal with it. The day I tried this conditioner, I ran out of time for styling and couldn't find my clips or rubber bands to pull it back, so I left it down. I only blow-dried my hair, no flat iron. While running errands at lunch time, it was very warm so I had my windows down... BAD DECISION on my part, at least initially... My hair was flying EVERYWHERE!!!! And all I could think about was how I didn't have my brush or a comb with me that day... Then, I used my fingers to try and tame my mess.... IT WORKED!!! I ran my fingers through my hair, there were NO TANGLES and it laid down flat like it was always like that! AWESOME!!! I love this stuff!!!! I will never be without it again :)

Last - got2be Smooth Operator Smoothing Luster Lotion

I am not a big fan of this stuff. It is supposed to decrease frizz and smooth your hair, which it did, but it left my hair feeling "heavy". It has a smell that I'm sure some would call pleasant (my husband for one), but I don't find it very pleasant. It reminds me of something from my childhood that I didn't like, but I can't think of what it is right now. But it has the same smell. It did smooth out my damaged ends better than the Dove conditioner did, but I don't like that it is so heavy. I'm sure other people would enjoy it, but it is not for me. I have several samples of this lotion if you want to try it. Just let me know. I won't use them. I prefer my regular hair lotion.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

No time...

Do you feel abandoned? I hope not... I'm still here. I just don't have time to blog like I used to... Not that I don't have anything to blog about... I do! I have tons of stuff to blog about... Like how the MS Walk went... Or some of the new products that I got to try as a BzzAgent... or the updates on the plane and life in general...

However, school and work have been sapping all of my energy and time. And what little energy I had left over was sapped by some illness that Aaron brought back from Bethel... He's just starting to get over it, but I don't think I am even halfway through it yet... (sigh)... I am tired of being sick... I have been sick more this year than I can remember...

So, stay tuned! If I get a chance, I'll post about the above things this weekend :) If not, you'll hear about it at some point in time... (i hope)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The week from hell that allowed me to say goodbye... (part 3)

So, the visit with my family was bitter-sweet. It was fantastic getting to meet my brother Joe's family for the first time. I loved getting to see my other brother, Jared's, girls all grown up (or at least almost there). My brother Josh was a constant joy to be around. It was the first time we've all been together in over 10 years.

I spent my time not doing school work and enjoying my family. The day of the memorial service, Aaron, Josh, and I desperately tried to finish the video for the service. My brother is a composer and we wanted to use his music for the soundtrack. Unfortunately, my mom didn't give him the message (part of her memory loss problems at the moment) and so he didn't bring it in the easiest format to use... We were cut short on time, so we weren't able to get his music files to work. Our back-up plan was put in action. We made it to the service minutes before it started...

Needless to say, it was a very emotional service. My brother, Jared, was in his military dress uniform. Cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends filled the church. My grandmother was very beloved. We all cried, we all laughed. We all made our peace with my grandmother's passing. I still miss her, but the grief is no longer overwhelming...

Aaron was very supportive during the whole thing. However, that night, he recognized the grief that I felt and I'm sure it reminded him of when his grandfather passed away a few years ago, and we were unable to attend the memorial service for him. He was very close to his grandfather. He desperately wanted to see his own grandmother. So, we cut the visit with my family short by a day and drove the 4 hours to ABQ to see his grandma. We arrived around noon and were immediately welcomed. I love going to his grandma's house. She is such a special lady and it eased the pain in my heart some to know that we still have a grandmother here. We were treated to Posole as soon as we got there... Much better than I can make here with fresh ingredients and pork that had roasted all day... I'm drooling now as I write this thinking about that Posole...  Anyway...

We reconnected with Aaron's Uncle Tony, who took us around ABQ on the "Breaking Bad" tour. Aaron LOVED getting to see all the places where they film the show - one of which is blocks away from his grandma's house :) After the tour, we took Grandma Dora to Uncle Ernie's house, where we met Grandma Dora's sister and had a nice family dinner. Of course, this was a Sunday, so we all stayed to watch "Breaking Bad."

Our flight left from Denver the next morning, so we left immediately after "Breaking Bad" to head back to Denver. Driving through the night was exhausting, but worth the visit with Grandma Dora. We took two-hour driving shifts and made it to Denver around 4:30 AM. We were wiped, but that was OK. The travel gods smiled upon us that day. Aaron was jump-seating all the way, but my ticket was for 5:30 PM. We both made it stand-by on the flight out of Denver for Seattle and made it on the flight from Seattle to Juneau with literally minutes to spare. By the time we deplaned in Seattle, they had called for final boarding on the Juneau flight. We still had to list for the flight. Again, the flying gods smiled on us. We were 2 gates apart. Normally, you have to go from C or D concourse to N when traveling to Juneau, which adds time on the train in Seattle...

We made it home and bailed Noni out of jail, finally ate breakfast, and then took a nap. Aaron got to take it relatively easy the next day, but I had to work a 10-hour shift...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why I walk...

I was six years old when my mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I turn 30 in October. That's 24 years of living with the disease... I have few sweet memories of my mother before the diagnosis... when she was relatively healthy...

Growing up, I had some semblance of a normal childhood. But, as I grew older, and my mom's abilities decreased, my responsibilities increased... It was the same for my brothers, but on a different level.

I love my mother very much, but there are times I feel she was taken from me at an early age. Which brings me to my point...

The illness has taken a larger toll on my mother's health in recent years. Her mobility is severely decreased. Where she was walking around about 50% of the time a few years ago, she is pretty much wheelchair bound now. Her mental faculties have been deteriorating for many years now, but it seems that it is getting worse as of late. She needs more constant care.

Thanks to the local MS Society Chapter, she has had her insurance reinstated (no thanks to the insurance company at my dad's work, "pre-existing condition"), she has a nurse come by a few times in the week to help her shower while my dad is at work, and she gets to go to a local group program a few times a week which allows her to get out of the house. Without the help of the MS society, my mom would be living a house-bound existence and wouldn't be getting the medical care she needs.

To give back to the MS Society, I decided to participate in the local walk for my area this year. It takes place this Saturday. I invite my readers to do something to support this organization. My mom is not the only one they help. You can click on the "Walk MS" icon on the top-left of my blog, to sponsor me in my walk. You can check out their website to see if there are any events scheduled in your area that you can participate in. If you know anyone who is afflicted with the disease, do it in their honor. If you don't know anyone, do it in honor of my mom, Alberta.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Coming up for air...

It feels like I have had no time for anything personal and fun in several weeks. Between insurance renewal season at work (that will last through July) and travel for my grandma's funeral, not to mention finals for school, I AM EXHAUSTED!

I am also EXHILARATED! I finished my classes in my last block, to the best of my ability and sanity. I am sad to say that my business class bore the brunt of my lack of focus in the last few weeks... I will be LUCKY if I pass that class with a C. On the bright side, my research paper ROCKED! (At least, everyone who read it that is NOT my instructor has been extremely pleased with it. I won't get my grade on it until probably Sunday.)

I have some new friends that I met through the PWC that moved to Juneau to fly. Unfortunately, they are being transferred to Skagway (SGY) for the summer, so I won't get to see them as much as I do now, but that is what flight benefits are for. Jessie can jump seat down here to see me and it gives Aaron an excuse to pull the Apache out of the hanger if we want to go there :) Thanks go out to Partner of a Pilot for sending her my way! And MANY THANKS go to Jessie and Jeff for taking my mind off finals yesterday with some classic hanging out at a Mexican restaurant with a margarita! Without the much needed break they provided me (not to mention the soothing powers of the 'rita), I probably would not have finished my research paper in such a spectacular fashion.

After such a high-stress couple of weeks, mother nature rewarded me with a SPECTACULAR SUNNY SPRING DAY! There was NO POSSIBLE WAY that I could be in a bad mood today. I took it easy and went to lunch with Jessie. After work, we went for a nice walk, where I introduced her to the "hippie-free" but still spectacularly pretty trails near the river. Nice, easy, walk through the forest. And, no hippies. (No offense to any ACTUAL hippies reading this post, we have not had good experiences with some of the local "hippies" recently.)

I guess SPECTACULAR is the "word of the day!" Should we all scream like they did on Pee Wee's Playhouse?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The week from hell that allowed me to say goodbye... (part 2)

So, we drove into Walsenburg around 9:30 on Thursday night, after traveling for about 14 hours to get there. We pulled in to the hotel. I thought it was a pretty good hotel on my many drive-by's on my way to my Grandma's house in the past, but I was wrong... Sure, it looks cute from the road, but it is just an "upscale" motel... Upscale because it looks cute from the road. We found a somewhat decent room, but it looked like the carpet hadn't been vacuumed in a while and there were many dead pill bugs on the floor in the bathroom... gross...

We were told that the hotel had high-performance internet, but I couldn't maintain a connection for longer than 10 minutes... So I wasn't able to submit my homework that night... bummer...

The next day was spent at my aunt's house. It was great seeing my brothers again. We haven't all been together in the same room since my wedding. It was crazy at my aunt's house, what with all the relatives congregating there before the memorial, so I wasn't able to use her computer to post my homework. I started working on some of my assignments in hopes that I could post later that night, but it was hard to stay focused.

That night, I tried again to get online... I couldn't even open my email. I tried to move to the lobby, where I assumed the wireless router was, but the signal didn't strengthen. I was allowed to use the computer in the lounge to send emails to my instructors to update them on why I wasn't posting anything. At that point, I figured that I wouldn't be able to do anything for school, so I decided to focus on enjoying the rest of my time in Colorado with my family... That's right, I blew off school work - sue me...

Monday, May 10, 2010

The week from hell that allowed me to say goodbye... (part 1)

In preparation for my grandmother's memorial, which required travel, I worked hellishly long hours at work, and then at home for school, with the hopes of getting ahead on my school work... No such luck...

Between work and school commitments, I didn't start packing until the morning we were supposed to leave for Colorado... The plus side is that due to a mechanical at work, Aaron was able to come home that day rather than have to take the red-eye to Seattle, with the hopes that we would meet there...

So, Aaron and I headed to the airport, with all our stuff needed for Colorado (including ALL of my school work)... By the grace of God, we both made it out on the same flight (although, he ALMOST got bumped in Ketchikan - thanks to the other 2 non-rev's that didn't want to travel seperately!). After running to catch our next flight, the day turned into a "hurry-up-and-wait" kind of day. Neither of us had slept more than a couple of hours the night before, so we were both wrecked on the flight.

I knew when I made the car rental reservation that the car counter was not in the terminal and we had to ride a bus to go get it, but I didn't realize it was SO FAR from the terminal... Holy cow, that was a long bus ride...

We were debating on staying the night in Denver and heading to see my family 3 hours away the next day... I got a bug up my butt and decided that we HAD to get there that night... On the plus side, we had really AWESOME customer service at Enterprise and got an amazing upgrade on our (economy) vehicle to a Luxury SUV for less that the additional rental for a GPS unit... The Luxury SUV had the GPS built in... Let me just say, that if I had $50K to spend on a car, I would so get that one! Maybe some day. I loved driving it. Other than the amount of time we spent in Denver traffic (poor planning had us arriving in Denver during rush-hour), I wasn't fatigued at all once we reached Walsenburg. Ok, well, that may be a lie - I was wrecked... But I wasn't as fatigued as I would have been if I had driven the economy car for an additional 3.5 hours...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gluten-Free/Vegan Update!

A while back, I discussed the possibility that I may be going Vegan and Gluten-Free for my health. I was advised by my doctor that it is a beneficial diet, but that I would need to work my way into it gradually, so as not to shock my system. So, here is what I have done so far.

I have tried making recipes that use little or no gluten products. I've made some pretty nice soups/stews/chili's with no gluten products (using rice or potatoes as my starch). I've been introducing products I have traditionally despised into my diet and I am doing OK with them.

Starting this week, I introduced a goal to have a Gluten-Free/Vegan breakfast. My breakfast, thus far, has consisted of 1/4 cup of almonds and one Fuji apple. Actually, it ends up being a mid-morning snack, as I usually don't leave enough time to sit down and enjoy a meal, I just eat at my desk through out the morning. I cut the apple into slices and put the almonds in a bowl and eat it all morning long. I also have a cup of coffee with sugar added, no cream. I've taken my coffee like this for quite a while, weaning myself off cream several years ago. It also helps tht we have VERY GOOD coffee in my office. I want to say that coffee is gluten-free (but I'm not 100% sure)...

I'm going to see how long I can support the everyday breakfast goal and occassionally cook a gluten-free meal (if not vegan). In July, I will introduce a new goal to replace something in my diet. Probably my lunch... although I am not sure right now how to go about making that Vegan... This week I have also made "tuna-wraps" for lunch - drained a small can of tuna, mixed with salt/pepper and a little Bragg's, wrapped up in a leaf of lettuce like a burrito... Makes a nice, high protein, high Omega-3 lunch. But, it's not exactly vegan... I don't remember if Bragg's is gluten-free... I'll have to check the label when I get home. I know regular soy sauce is not gluten-free.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Strange happenings at the grocery store...

The strangest of which was the checker that I was lucky to get (did you detect the sarcasm?).

Normally, my forays into the grocery store are pretty mild, especially since I tend to do the self-checkout thing... It minimizes the exposure to idiots...

Anyway, back to my checker... He was friendly enough, but he was a talker... And I think he had diarrhea of the mouth or something, because it was a steady stream of garbage and he just didn't stop... First, he commented on the fact that I was purchasing some chicken broth (what do you do with it - he asked). I'm thinking to my self "ohhh...kay... Who in the world doesn't know what to use chicken broth for" but I say, "I use it in chili, in soups, and all kinds of things." Which apparently was the wrong thing to say because that launched him into a story of what he ate for lunch today (basically describing the "i-don't-remember-the-name-of-it" concoction he pieced together at the store's deli earlier that day...) - yeah, I'm not sure how he made that connection... Now my thoughts turn to "should this guy be medicated while in public?"

I was also waiting for this gem of a checker for about 10 minutes... I should have picked another line... I don't know what made me stay in his line as he was R-E-A-L-L-Y S-L-O-W and took a long time to move everyone through... In the amount of time I was in his line, 3 other lines around me backed up and were cleared before he even started ringing up my groceries... I must have been out of my mind...

He also needs to go back to Bagging 101 to learn not to put health and beauty products (foot powder, in my case) in with produce... So not cool... Luckily, it was just my apples and not my celery...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The importance of wind...

To see my take on "The importance of wind," click over to the Pilot Wives Club!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Everything will be OK

So much to do... so little time to do it in...

I am currently working on a video that will be played at my Grandmother's memorial service in two weeks. I didn't get nearly the response I thought I would when I requested photographs of Grandma... But, I'll make do with what I have and honor my Grandma :)

My current stress level is adding to my health problems, according to my doctor. I need to let at least one of my commitments go... But what to cut? They are all vitally important to me. I think I have figured out a way to alleviate some stress, but it is just in the thinking stage at this point... Next week will bring the answers that I seek, at least about my options to reduce my stress level.

I am feverishly working on my school work... To get caught up again from this past week and to prepare for when I will be traveling and unable to work on my school assignments in depth... Yes, I know, this is just adding to my stress...

The next time I see my husband will be in Seattle (I hope) on our way to Colorado for the memorial service. Rather than come home first, we decided that he would jumpseat from ANC to SEA directly. This option allows him to work a day longer than I wanted him to, but whatever. It will be nice to travel with him to Denver, where we will then drive to southern Colorado for the family onslaught.

I haven't seen my immediate family in all one place for almost 10 years. My older brother is in the military and he and his family live on the east coast. The rest of my family is scattered in the Rockies. It will be nice to see everyone again.

I am already starting to get anxious about it. I share the same anxiety for crowds that my Grandma had. She would definitely NOT enjoy everyone getting together... Oh, she would love seeing everyone, but she would feel overwhelmed at the sheer number of people... I can relate... In addition to the anxiety I will feel at the Memorial service, I will be just as anxious flying. We had to buy a ticket for me to fly to Denver, and most of the seats were taken... I am sitting in the middle seat most of the way... This is not good... The middle seat is where I get the most anxious on a plane... Maybe I should start practicing my meditative breathing now, in preparation?

I've been contemplating my behavior lately... I think I am still grieving my Grandmother... Ever since her death, I haven't slept well. I haven't been able to concentrate as much for school. My appetite has been up and down... I find myself having depressive episodes, where I get extremely lethargic and apathetic. Or I get extremely moody and lash out at others. I am making a conscious effort to control this behavior, ever since I first noticed it. But it is difficult. At times, I want to say "Screw you guys! I'm going home!" (said in my best Cartman impression). Even as I write this, I want to go curl up in bed, pull the covers over my head, and forget about everything... Forget about my commitments for school, forget about taking my dog for a walk, forget about cleaning my house, forget about my responsibilities at work, etc... As you can tell, I am currently in a dark place right now... But I look out the window and see blue skies (a rarity here) and I smile... That smile warms my heart and reminds me to breathe... Everything will be OK.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Being healthy is not my reality...

I have been sick more often this year than I can remember... Pardon the pun, but I'm kind of sick of it...

If it's not for weird symptoms that prompt a visit to my doctor, it's the flu or something else that has me in bed for days at a time... I'm pretty sure my employer is tired of me taking sick leave... I'm also pretty sure that my instructors at school are tired of hearing "My assignment will be late because I've been on my death bed..."

OK, I don't actually use the term "death bed" when I write to my instructors about why an assignment is late, but it was just about to that point this past week...

So, once again, I am behind at work (during a really busy time that I can't really afford to take time away from) and am behind at school... Granted, the class I'm behind on is a rather difficult and fast paced class... But still...

One good thing about being sick is that I got LOADS of sleep... Like almost 4 days worth of sleep... It's late and I still have stuff to do, so I'll most likely stay up to get it done... With any luck, I'll have my paper submitted by the morning and my assignment that is due tomorrow completed.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

All caught up...

I finally got all caught up from my week from hell (about 2 weeks ago). In celebration, I took yesterday off from school work. It was a relatively nice day, but too windy to go fly (comfortably), so we went for a drive.

We started out our day at Subway, to try out their new breakfast menu. It wasn't bad, and it was nice to be able to get breakfast after 10:30, the cut-off time for McDonald's.

After spending some time catching up with friends at the airport, we drove up to the ski resort here. It was a nice drive. I can't believe we've never been up there before. They are still skiing, but you can tell it is getting to be the end of the season.

After the ski resort, we drove around Douglas Island to the trail head at False Outer Point. We had fun hiking through the woods, trying to get to the leeward side of the point (to get out of the cold wind, mostly). It kind of reminded me of Rivendell from LOTR. Noni had a lot of fun running around off leash. She had so much fun that she worked her way out of her harness a couple of times... Not quite sure how she did that, but it was quickly remedied.

We took a lot of pictures hiking yesterday. Unfortunately, they are all on Aaron's camera, and he went flying today, so I can't get them... I'll post the pictures later :)

After we were done hiking, we went to lunch at The Hanger (a local restaurant here, not where we keep our plane). I tried their chicken burger, while Aaron had fish & chips. Lunch was really good. The downtown experience was rounded out by some gelato! Who would have thought you could get gelato in Juneau? Prior to last year, I wouldn't have thought it possible either. But it is really good. They don't make as much during the "winter" months as they do during the summer, so it was slim pickings, but I enjoyed my combo of pistachio and caramel. Aaron had mint-chip and caramel. Yummy!

We did go back to the hanger to do a favor for one of Aaron's forum friends. He needed to get pictures of a certain part of the airplane and it ended up being more work than anticipated. We were there for about 2 hours disassembling, taking the picture, and reassembling (several times).

Needless to say, my day off wore me out. After a hot bath with epsom salts and lavender oil, I felt better.

Today is being spent doing my assignment for today (which is almost done). Then I'll start reading my assignments for the coming week, to keep from getting so far behind. I should also have my medical test results by Tuesday, so I'm hoping for a promising result - something that is easy to fix. Cross your fingers!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Simple & Tasty Potato Salad

Earlier in the week, I made a bunch of baked potatoes (intending to take them for my lunch, but forgetting them and having a sandwich instead). So, I decided that I needed to do something with them before they spoiled...
First, I'll start with my treatment of the potatoes...

My mother always smeared butter on the skins before she wrapped them in foil and baking... I love that treatment, but I wanted to try something a little different. So I seasoned some olive oil simply with salt and pepper (you could use whatever you like) and I brushed some olive oil on the potatoes just before baking. After they cooled, I left them wrapped in foil and put them in the fridge(it worked out to 5 medium sized potatoes, in case you were wondering).

Today, I decided I would try to make some potato salad with the baked potatoes. So I made some hard-boiled eggs (6 of them... I really like eggs in my potato salad). Then I cut up the potatoes, leaving the seasoned skin on the potato chunks. I cut up the eggs into big chunks. I also had some celery in my fridge so I chopped that up and added it to the bowl. You can dress your salad however you like, but I'm a strictly Miracle Whip kind of gal when it comes to potato salad. Sometimes, I'll add a little yellow mustard if I have it, but it is usually just Miracle Whip. Mix to combine well.

For seasoning, I added salt, pepper, rosemary/garlic blend (finely ground), and smoked paprika. It makes for a really great lunch!

My Personal Play-list

I love almost all forms of music ([c]rap, heavy metal, etc - anything demeaning is excluded from my appreciation). My personal play-list of life varies with my mood.

When I'm frustrated, I have found that Alternative Rock speaks to my soul, specifically 30 Seconds to Mars. I have three 30STM songs in my iPhone and I will listen to those songs all day long when I'm irritated or frustrated with something.

When I am calm, I listen to classical/piano/new age music, depending on what I have access to.

When I am happy, I will listen to some other kinds of music... I guess you could call it Contemporary Adult? (Although, when listening to the radio and Taylor Swift comes on, I get frustrated and immediately switch to 30STM).

When I am upset or having a crappy day and want to cheer up, I love Los Lonely Boys. Their harmonies reach into my soul and elevate my consciousness. (OK, I know I got a little deep with that one... here, let me shovel some of that away, lol). Seriously, though, I really enjoy the way their voices blend.

Today, my play-list is from my childhood. My mother passed on an appreciation for groups like The Carpenters and The Beatles, and artists like Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond. I don't listen to them all the time, but on days like today, nothing else will do. So, I share with you some of the songs that speak to me today. I hope you find them as uplifting and motivational as I do.







Great advice from Paul... There will be an answer... Let it be...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Strange...

Without going into too much detail, I've been experiencing some pretty weird symptoms over the last few days... Weird enough to prompt me to contact my doctor to discuss these symptoms... It could be normal (from what I've been reading about online), but it has me concerned... I hope I'm just over-reacting and isn't what I think it is... But, it's better to be safe than sorry... Keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, March 22, 2010

One of my guilty pleasures...

I really like watching Dancing With The Stars. It's just about the only "reality" show I watch consistently. I like so many of this season's contestants, so I was super excited to watch it tonight... Here's my recap:

It is nice seeing a "macho" football guy actually shake his hips!

I'm disappointed that they put another hottie with Derek... Last season, he got a little too graphic for my tastes with his hottie partner... I hope he has the sense to tone down the overtly sexual dance moves... Even though his partner was a Pussy Cat Doll, he doesn't need to turn every dance into a strip show, or do a move out of the kama sutra. (I'm not saying he did any of this tonight - hard to do when dancing the Viennese Waltz - but this is for future warning/observation.)

I truly enjoyed watching Buzz Aldrin dance tonight, but I fear he will be the first to go.

There are so many attractive men on the show this season!

I almost threw up when Jake Pavelka's first dance was to "Kiss from a Rose" (In, fact, just writing this and reliving it in my mind, I kind of did a little)... I really want to like Jake, as he is a pilot, but dude, come on... And when he wore his black leather flight jacket WITH CAPTAINS EPAULETS, I laughed hysterically! Isn't he an FO on reserve (or possibly furloughed)?

I enjoyed Shannon's performance, but unless she conquers her anxiety of dancing live, she will be sent home early.

Pam was spastic... and her partner copped a feel...

I enjoyed Niecy's performance. I thought she was putting it out there. I hope she stays for a while. She has such a refreshing personality.

I'm a Kate Gosslin fan, but I didn't care for her dance. She was too much in her head. You could see her thinking "Arm flick - here, leg lift - there, etc" She won't last long in the competition. She received the comment "unique vulnerability about the dance" from Carrie Ann, which is the EXACT same comment Carrie Ann gave to Macy Gray last season, who was sent home first... Just an observation!

I know that Edyta is known for skimpy costumes, but tonight's costume was a joke... She was dancing the Cha-Cha with her partner, Aiden something-or-other, and wore something with fringe... About 6 or 7 rows of fringe starting from her cleavage line to just inches below her crotch area... The color of the costume behind the fringe was EXACTLY her flesh color, so you had to wonder what they were thinking. Initially, she was wearing a coat - which I hope I'm not the only one who found that odd - and when she took it off, the fringe was parted around her breast ala Janet Jackson... Seriously, this is family TV... I really hope she goes... too bad for Aiden though, he's pretty hot!

The rest were not memorable... sorry, but you weren't... Maybe next time?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Another Beautiful Day!

I am amazed that we got 2 days in a row with nice, sunny weather! I'm feeling so spoiled right now. I took a break from housecleaning and writing a paper (due today) for school to go outside and enjoy it.

We went on a trail that is close to home (the trail head is about 2 blocks away) and goes along the Mendenhall River. This seems to be my usual trail, as it is paved the whole way and pretty easy. Because I had errands to run afterward, I drove to the trail head. About 8 minutes into the trail (I don't know the distance, but I've been timing myself), there is another unpaved trail that goes to the left. I think this is part of the horse trail, but I decided that we would take that trail today. The biggest benefit is that I don't have to have Noni on the leash when we aren't on the paved trail. So, we followed this trail through the woods, the beautiful dappled forest. It was so peaceful! The trail met up with the paved trail again just about where a bridge crosses a creek. This is when my timer went off... So I know that if I take the unpaved trail, it is about 20 minutes to walk out. As I didn't care too much about getting back too fast (who wants to get back to homework?) we took the unpaved trail through the woods on the other side of the paved trail to get back. This trail goes closer to the river. I took this picture:

I didn't get any pictures of the forest part of the walk. This part was more strenuous than the normal trail. More uphills/downhills. Much more of a workout in the same amount of time. I think I'll take this trail more often.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Busy Day!

After a very fitful and sleepless night last night, I woke up fairly early (9am, but I didn't fall asleep until around 5:30). I had breakfast and lounged around my bedroom, reveling in my self-proclaimed day off. I have been focusing on my school work so intently lately that I don't remember the last time I actually cleaned my house... You know, laundry and dishes done as needed (nothing else to wear or nothing else to eat off of) and basically ignoring everything else. Yes, I know, I tend to live like a slob...

So, I took a few baby steps today and starting cleaning my bedroom. When Aaron is home, this room is our bedroom/family room/dining room/etc. We tend to watch movies or catch up on shows on Hulu using our computer up there... Which also means that this room is usually very messy... I'm talking McDonalds bags stacked on top of the dog kennel (Aaron uses this in place of a night stand), dog hair and flying magazines all over the floor, etc... So, while watching one of my guilty pleasures, I started cleaning...

Then I did something for myself. Recently, my wardrobe has declined to maybe 4 shirts that I can wear and 1 pair of jeans (that fit right), as I am currently in-between sizes right now. I know I could just wear the pants that I have that are too big, but when you are a little thick in the middle, you don't want to wear tapered-leg pants... So a friend of mine went shopping with me at the local consignment store. We actually came away with some really cute things. I picked out 4 skirts for work, a nice sweater, a nice top, a jacket I can use to go walking with Noni, and 3 pairs of shoes... Quite a haul on a small budget.

When I got back from shopping, I had a snack and took Noni for a walk (you know, to try out the new jacket... oh yeah, and because I have a goal to go walking with Noni for at least 30 minutes per day for the next 2 weeks). It was a gorgeous day here! I decided that we were going to walk the Dike Trail (a walking trail that goes around the airport). So we started heading that direction and found out they are doing construction on the access road to the trail and that the trail was closed... Bummer... So we took the long way home to get my 30 minutes in. I'm hoping that tomorrow is going to be nice again. The trail is open on Sundays, so I think we'll try it again! Get an hour walk in!

Then, for dinner, I made some chicken-rice soup. I've been on a kick to just throw what ever I have on hand in the pot... I stopped short of adding my frozen brussels sprouts to the pot (don't judge) but I think when I reheat the leftovers, I'll add some frozen broccoli. I didn't want to add the broccoli to the whole batch, because it gets nasty the longer it is in the cooking liquid. I want it to be warmed through and bright green, not gross green looking. I think a variation on this soup will be a staple for me, especially when Aaron is gone. It'll be the "clean the freezer and pantry" soup. I just add whatever I have on hand. Today was canned chicken, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, a couple handfuls of brown rice, a bunch of chicken broth, and seasonings. I thought I had some frozen corn in the fridge... I was going to add it, but I didn't have any...

Another outlet!

Technically, this has been in cyber-space on the PWC private site since I joined over a year ago. But, with the wonderful addition of our public site, I felt I needed to share it with everyone, not just my ladies on the private site. So, click here if you want to read what I wrote about living and flying in Alaska (at least an introduction to)...

Keep checking back there for more installments. I plan to write about all the fun things (or sometimes not-so-fun things) that we do with the plane here in Juneau.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

WWHD

This PARODY was brought to my attention on the PWC, and I just had to share it with everyone! Keep in mind, it is a PARODY... I have no idea what the translation from German to English is, and pretend you don't either... It's funnier that way!

To set the scene... Remember those Northwest Pilots that overflew MSP? Let's see how Adolf Hitler takes the news of a similar situation...



"...take away their precious hats..." - The Funniest Line EVER! (at least in aviation parodies)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Turkey Chili

I am slowly integrating some gluten-free items into my diet. I have been on a really big soup kick lately and Aaron doesn't really like to eat it for dinner. So, since I put him on an airplane back to Bethel this morning, bring on the soup!

I picked up veggies and meat to try to make soup tonight. I decided I would try to make some Turkey Chili. I have another soup planned for St. Pats that requires beef, so I didn't want regular chili. I also don't like chili. I avoid eating it every chance I get. So, this is the big trial... Can I eat something that I don't normally like because it is gluten-free...

So here is my recipe for Turkey Chili... I didn't really start with one, I just started throwing stuff in. So far, it tastes pretty good!

1-2 lbs. Turkey (I used "strips" because that is what I found at the store... you could use ground...)
roughly 2 tbs. flour seasoned with salt & pepper (I realize that I said earlier that this recipe is gluten-free... I don't have any flour in the house that isn't wheat based, so I used what I have... I'll experiment later with gluten-free flour, or omit altogether if I use ground turkey)
2 tbs. olive oil
2 stalks of celery, cut in approx. 1/4-1/2 inch bits
2 carrots, cut about the same size as celery
1 white onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 jalapeno, finely minced (I minced the garlic and jalapeno together in a slap-chop type device)
2 orange bell peppers (I used orange because I like orange, use whatever kind you like)
2-3 cups of chicken stock
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1 can of red kidney beans
1 can of cannelloni beans

I also used the following seasonings, to taste (your taste preferences may differ)

So, I started by prepping the veggies. When I was ready to start cooking, I dredged the turkey bits in the flour mixture, heated the olive oil in a crock pot, and browned the turkey. When the turkey was cooked, I added the jalapeno/garlic mixture to the pot and sauteed a bit. Then I added the other aromatics to saute for about 5 minutes. Then I added the orange peppers. Once the veggies start to soften, add the seasoning mix. I didn't measure the seasonings... If I were to guess, I would say that I used about 1-1 1/2 tsp of each of the New Mexico Red Chili and the Cumin. Salt, pepper, and the other rosemary mix were added to taste. Stir the veggie/meat mix to disperse the seasonings throughout. Mix some of the chicken broth with the tomato paste and add the the rest of the chicken broth and loosened tomato paste into the pot... Simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Drain, rinse, and add the beans. Keep simmering for a while. I also added some steamed rice from my fridge that was left over from some Chinese take-out a few days ago. It worked out to about a cup of pre-cooked rice... The finished product looks like this:

I'll be taking some for leftovers tomorrow for lunch, and freezing the rest. I'll let everyone know how the fridge/freezer effects the chili.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New Public Site!

After many months of frustration, the public site for Pilot Wives Club is up! If you haven't done so already, check it out at http://www.pilotwivesclub.com/. We have resources available for our pilots, blog posts written by pilot wives for pilot wives, and contact information if you would like to advertise on our site or sponsor our upcoming meet-up. You can also go to the Pilot Wife Gouge and see a list of Pilot Wife resources and other blogs.

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see on the Pilot Wives Club website, you can either comment here or send a message through the site.

Welcome!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Healthy Ways to Blow Off Steam

After a really crappy day, I have the need to blow off some steam... Yesterday was just such a day... I was caustic and vile and irritated and a whole lot of other adjectives... My husband helped me through my afflictions by providing me with the necessary liquor and awesomely-destructive movies to help get me throught the funk... I enjoyed watching the justice and violence of Boondock Saints (and really want to watch the second one now) while drinking a couple of margaritas and a long-island iced-tea. Being the responsible person that I am, my imbibing happened at home. This combo definitely did the trick...

I'm not saying what I did last night to deal with my frustration was healthy... in fact, far from it. Due to my RA, everytime I have more that 1 serving of alcohol, my joints become extremely stiff and sore the next day (I don't get hangovers unless I really take it over the top... I'm talking about being sick-drunk... never again...). I drink massive amounts of water the next day, so that helps. I try not to do this more than once or twice a year... You know, everything in moderation...

Which brings me to my question... What do you do to relieve stress? Do you go running? Do you kick a punching bag? Do you scream? Do you cry? What are considered healthy ways to work through issues? I'm not being rhetorical here, I'm really asking... I have a feeling that I will have many more of those kinds of days in the future and I would like to mix it up a bit... I can't always run to the bottle for my outlet and I don't want to. So comment and tell me what you do to blow off steam. I look forward to reading the responses I get :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Schitzophrenic Psycho...

In my continuing boycott of all things Taylor Swift, I have switched my online radio station to "Big R Radio-Alternative Rock". I enjoy alternative rock, but I usually listen to "Solo Piano" as my desk is in the front office and alternative rock isn't very appropriate for everyone to listen to...

However, lately, I've been listening to alternative rather than piano. I've been doing tasks that do not require a whole lot of thought, so I can listen to songs with words.

This brings me to the point of my post... Big R Radio has been playing a song where the lyrics go "Maybe I'm the one who is the schitzophrenic psycho..." I don't know who sings this song, or even the background behind it. The first time I heard this song, I kind of chuckled and my co-worker couldn't believe that there is a song with such lyrics. Every time I've heard it since then, I proclaim that I am a schitzophrenic psycho and we all laugh... Good times... (This post in no way is making fun of such people who are aflicted with schitzophrenia... just the song)

So, these are the things that I have to listen to because I refuse to listen to Taylor Swift. I wish I could listen to other stations, but she is EVERYWHERE! I'm still working on building a Taylor Swift-free iPod, but I'm not quite there yet. Until then, my options are alternative rock or classical... She has yet to infiltrate those genres so far...

Thanks for reading this really pointless post. :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It is done...

With the help of my lovely husband, Noni has been given a full haircut. Poor baby had twigs and pine needles stuck inside the hairballs on her feet... She feels much better now. Behold! This thing I shaved again! (2 Points to the first person who can tell me what that reference is from... Aaron, you don't count)

 

She also got a bath tonight. Who doesn't smell like dog-ass? Noni doesn't smell like dog-ass!