Thursday, July 31, 2008

End of the month

It is the end of the month. How the heck does time fly by so fast? It was just February for crying out loud...

As it is the end of the month, I just celebrated my payday (yay!). I get paid once a month, so I have to think ahead of time so I don't run out of money.

Also because it is the end of the month, I had to pay some bills... so there went my money...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Moves # 3, 4 & 5

Move number 3 is basically a repeat of move #1, except that it was a few years later and the employer would have been the local college there in TX. They were in the process of starting up a flight program, to compliment their aviation maintenance program. So we packed up again, this time we were able to unload the house. We back to Texas. Again, there were delays in getting the flight program up and running, and we again were running out of money to live on with our meager jobs that we had (just in case you were wondering, I was basically slave labor...)

We finally had enough and moved back to Utah, where I was able to get my old job back. A was able to get a position at the airport, but again, it was a ground job... When life conspired against him and he lost that job, he finally got off his butt and applied for a job in Alaska, which is what he had been wanting to do for some time. He was offered a position almost immediately after applying and they wanted him to go to Juneau in less than a week. So, he packed up what he needed in his airplane (at the time, it was the Cessna 175) and headed up. That was the first of many holidays we didn't get to spend together (Thanksgiving/Christmas).

Due to the cost of moving and getting out of our lease for our apartment, I wasn't able to go until the following January. So I loaded up everything else I could (and Shindig, the cat) in the car and drove there. In case you don't know, Juneau is on the main continent, but due to the terrain around it, you can only get here by plane or boat; there are no roads here (although there is a movement to build one to Skagway, which connects to the "Al-Can") It was the middle of winter, so weather & road conditions could be scary. I could have driven to Bellingham, WA to take the Alaska State Ferry from there to Juneau, but it cost about $800 more to do that than to take it from Prince Rupert, BC (in Canada). Even driving through Canada, and counting hotels, I still saved about $500 going through Canada.

I planned almost a week getting there, to give me enough time due to weather and such. Weather was perfect the whole way, except for some rain as I approached the coast. It took me 4 days, driving from Salt Lake City to Prince Rupert. I stopped in Butte, MT (where I have some family); Calgary, Alberta; Jasper, Alberta (also a National Park); and Terrace, BC (where I stopped because it was dark and raining heavily). It was a short drive from Terrace to Prince Rupert. I stayed in the hotel for 2.5 days while I waited for the ferry. It was quite the adventure I went on. And I didn't traumatize Shindig too much. I think she liked being free in the car to crawl and hide wherever she wanted.

One of these days, I want to repeat my trip through Canada, taking more time to "stop and smell the roses" with A.

I could have sworn it was Tuesday...

I went all day thinking it was Tuesday, at least until I was reminded (STRONGLY) that it is, in fact, Wednesday... huh...

Well, this Wednesday night, I am trying something new, although I am not cooking tonight.

I stopped at the store on my way home to get something to eat. I grabbed a convenience item from Thai Kitchen that comes in a "chinese food box". It came in many flavors, I picked "Thai Peanut."

It is OK. Not great. It's edible enough for me not to throw it out. A little spicy, kinda sweet, rice noodles... Considering I really really don't want to go downstairs and cook something "real", it will work for me.

I picked it because I wanted a "noodle bowl" from Simply Asian, but they were almost $5. This one was $3.75... And definitely better than Ramen which is about $0.15...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Move number 1...(and #2)

Right after A and I were first married, and he got his CFI, we had discussed him taking a flight instructor's position to get hours. Generally this is the first step in a commercial pilot's career. Living in the Salt Lake City area, we found that the market there was way saturated with CFI's. If I remember right, we found a school that would employ him, but not enough to live on. We started to look elsewhere.

An offer came from A's hometown in Texas to instruct there for a start up flight school that would replace the one he learned from years prior. He was so excited. We packed up our house, put it on the market, got on our vehicles and drove to Texas. We got an apartment there and I started the job search. A eventually had to start searching too, as just as we left Utah, he was informed that the school would be delayed in opening. They still wanted him to instruct, but it would be a little while before it would be up and running. OK, we understood that. Sometimes it takes a little longer to get things running. A went to work for the FBO there, pumping gas. I eventually found a job, first at the photo center at the WalMart, then for an insurance company doing data entry.

We waited 2 months, being strung along by the guy who was opening the flight school. Our real estate agents in Utah weren't doing anything to market the house. We still had a mortgage to pay, as well as rent to pay in Texas. After about 2 months, we decided that we weren't making enough to support two households and we had a tough decision to make. We couldn't get a straight answer out of the flight school guy, so we decided to pack up and move back to our house in Utah while we still had the money in savings to do so.

A was able to get a really good paying job when we got back to Utah, but it was a "ground" job. I was able to find something in Salt Lake that paid well, so we were able to build our savings back up again.

New Job Update...

A called me today to fill me in on what happened after he got to Fairbanks. He told me that once he goes through ground school, that he would basically come home (yay!) until his flight training starts. Now... Flight training is based on seniority. They basically take one at a time depending on where they fall in seniority. Seniority is based on the date of ground school, then by age. Since A is probably the youngest person in the company, let alone his ground school class, it may be a month or 2 before they get to him. That sounds great, in theory, and it would be AWESOME to have him home for that long if we could survive on my income alone. Alas, we cannot, and it has been his income that has primarily paid for the mortgage, etc...

Can you picture me tightening my belt? Sure, I knew you could...

I guess time will tell, and all of our changes that have happened without us planning them have turned out better than expected, but for the short term, I worry about it. Maybe it won't take them too long to get his flight training done. Heck... I probably shouldn't start worrying until after he passes his ground school.

Leaving, on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again...

I put A on an airplane this morning, well, at least I dropped him off at the airport.

He had to keep reminding himself that it was OK if he forgot something, he is coming back. Every time we've had to do "this," it's been for a move and he had to pack up every conceivable item he might need.

On the down side, this morning he was doing some last minute laundry and the vent hose came off the back of the dryer and vented everything into the house, so we are both sneezy. We didn't have time to go get something for A before his flight, so I hope he is OK. Now I get to fix the dryer. Don't get me wrong, it's an easy fix, but that's what I have a husband for. So I can lounge around the house and look cute while he does all the manual labor.

At least this way, I'll have time to clean my house and it can stay clean. And I'll be able to read all the books I have going, and get my office organized. So, "silver lining"...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Job Information

Good news! A was offered a job with another company here in Alaska! Yay!!!!

Bad news... He has to leave TOMORROW for 3.5 week ground school in FAIRBANKS! Then, he gets "stationed" in Anchorage and only gets to come home 1 week out of the month... I can live with that right now, because I know it's temporary. It's just while he is starting. Once he moves up with his new company, he should be able to arrange a different schedule. The good thing is that they fly Brasillias (sp?) and he already has a type-rating, as that's what he was flying out in Honolulu.

Tonight, we will go out to dinner and celebrate. It's also his birthday in 2 weeks, which he will be in Fairbanks for. We'll probably celebrate that tonight too, just in case we can't afford a ticket for me to go up there for the weekend of his birthday. Cross your fingers..

At least this time, I'll have my dog :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Crappy Update...

Well, what I thought couldn't happen, happened...

A's company is shut down... He is currently without employment... Talk about a kick in the teeth.

He is in discussions with some other airlines here in Alaska, and has yet to hear back. He always has the option of going to work for his previous employer, but he doesn't want to go do that because they will station him in Casper, WY. Given the fact that I don't want to move, that I have a really good job here, he would have to commute. With airline fares out of Juneau and the price of gasoline, we couldn't afford to pay for him to fly our airplane back and forth all the time or buy an airline ticket all the time.

Keep checking back for more information as we get it...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another Wednesday Night Dinner!

I didn't have a lot to work with this week. I decided to make enchiladas. In the past, I've used pre-cooked beef roast from the grocery store to make my filling, but that has now gone up to $15 a package here. So, I used some chicken from my freezer that I buy in bulk. Not having a whole lot of time (not to mention the fact that I usually forget the first step - pulling the chicken OUT of the freezer) I decided to use my Crock Pot to cook the chicken. My intention this morning was to throw everything in (frozen chicken breasts and all) in the pot this morning before I went to work. However, A had a 3:30 call time to the airport (and I didn't want to take him there at that time) so I had to call a friend I work with to take me to work. She goes in at an earlier time, and at 3:30, I wasn't concious enough to remember that if I'm getting a ride from her that I need to get up earlier to do what I need to do in the morning. So, I had like 15 minutes to get ready and my dinner plans were forgotten, at least until I got to work.

So, at lunch, I came home to get everything in the pot. I put 4 frozen chicken breasts, 2 cans of chicken broth, some leftover white wine, some water, about a tablespoon of olive oil, one onion chopped rustic style, some baby carrots, about 4 small ribs of celery, and some spices from my cabinet. I didn't measure the spices, mainly because I didn't know how much I would need to season what I was doing, so I threw in a lot of red chili pepper flakes, red chili powder, cumin power, salt and pepper. Next time, I won't use quite so much pepper flakes. I also threw in some chili paste that I use in chinese food. I let it cook on high for about 6 hours (I put it together about 12:30 and we got home from running errands after work about 6:30). When we got home, I pulled the chicken out and shredded 2 breasts for the enchiladas. The chicken came out really well. It didn't have immediate heat but did have some spice to it. I set that aside and put the other 2 breasts in the fridge with some of the cooking liquid to keep it moist. I'll use that later.

For the enchiladas, I usually just use the recipe on the can of sauce. I've never made my own enchilada sauce, so if anyone has a good recipe, let me know. I've been wanting to try it from scratch for a while now. I usually put about half a can of sauce in the meat. I also took out some of the onions and chopped them up more to use in the meat mixture. The other half of the can goes in the bottom of the baking dish. I usually use corn tortillas. You soften the tortillas in some hot oil, then blot the excess away. Fill the enchiladas with some meat mixture and top with some cheese. Then roll and place the enchilada seam side down in the baking dish. Keep rolling until your pan is full. I have some meat mix left over, so I'll probably use that for taco filling later. Then I use another can of sauce and pour over the top. Then top with cheese and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.

I made a side of rice with my rice cooker. I used some of the reserved chicken cooking liquid to cook the rice in (why waste it, right?). I started it in the cooker just before the enchiladas went in the oven and they both finished at about the same time. However, the rice was REALLY SPICY!!! I like spicy, but I think if I use the same method next time, I'm going to cut it to about half chicken cooking liquid and half water, so it's not so intense. I had to send A out to the store to get some sour cream to cut the spicy factor.

As another side, I fished the carrots out of the cooking liquid to serve on the side. They have a little bit of spice to them, but are really good. It is a slow heat and doesn't get too intense with the carrots.

The chicken can (and will) be used in pretty much any way you would use poached chicken. I have a few casserole recipes that could probably benefit from a little more spice, as well as a topper for salads or for chicken-salad sandwiches.

The next time I make this, I'll make a few adjustments to adjust the spicy factor and write a follow-up post to this one.

Monday, July 21, 2008

My Tri-Pacer

Shortly after we got married, A decided that I needed to get serious about flying. I had been taking lessons for a short time, but was unable to use our current airplane (a Cessna 175) because we had to do a top-overhaul on it (but that's another story). He didn't want to break in the new cylinders with a "student pilot" on his baby, so he bought me my own plane for my birthday (it wasn't exactly what I wanted, but it was pretty cool anyway...).

He found this Tri-Pacer that was in pretty good condition, flying-wise, but was pretty hideous on the outside. I called it "Gawd-Awful Blue." I started learning to fly that plane and I loved it.

The day I did my solo, A was confident in my abilities, but I wasn't quite convinced. After we had done some dual, he had me drop him off at the local sky-dive office (where he worked part-time flying their 182) so he could talk to the owner. He told me to take the plane back to the tie-down, but if I wanted to, I "could take the long way around." I knew he meant that I could take her up by myself, but I told him I was just going to go park the plane. Well, while I was taxiing over to parking, I decided that I would like to try it by myself. So I headed the other direction. A saw me taxi the other way and called me on the radio and asked me if I was going to go back up. I told him "yes" and took off. I have never been so scared or so exhilerated in all my life! Inside, I was shaking like a leaf. A told me later that I never sounded nervous on the radio, that I made all my calls well (radio work had always been a fear of mine - I didn't want to get it wrong). I did my touch-n-go's and then taxied to parking when I was done. I could barely stand when I got out, my legs were shaking so bad. But, OH WHAT A FEELING! A did the instructor thing, by cutting the back out of my shirt to commemorate my first solo. I wish I could find a picture of it.

A few weeks later, we decided to do my solo cross country. We needed to ferry A's airplane (the 175) up to Idaho to the mechanic for more engine work, and it was my job to fly my plane up there to meet him and bring him back home. I took off before A, but because his plane could always beat mine up, he quickly passed me. For most of the way, we were in radio contact, but I was pretty much by myself. We took off from the Tooele Valley Airport, heading north. Well, about half-way across the Great Salt Lake, I had an urgent biological need. I decided that I was closer to our destination than to Tooele, so I continued on. By the time I was within 10 minutes of our destination, Aaron was already on the ground, starting the dis-assembling of his airplane, and I REALLY REALLY REALLY HAD TO GO (really really bad). I got to do an interesting approach/landing (we'd gone over slips already and I was a master at them at this point) and as soon as the plane was stopped, I jumped out the door and ran for it. (For anyone who knows the interior of the Tri-Pacer, you will know that there is only one door and it's on the right side of the plane, and I would have been sitting on the left) I think I jumped right from the left seat to the ground. LOL - Good Memories :)

The return flight to Tooele gave A the opportunity to go over Class B airspace with me, as we would pass by Salt Lake International on our way home.

While the Cessna was still in Idaho, it was time for the Olympics (gives you a little reference as to when all this went down). Because the Olympics happened post-9-11, they were restricting all flights around Salt Lake unless you had a REALLY good reason to fly. We didn't, so we took the time to paint the Tri-Pacer and make her pretty. We did a variation on a factory original paint job, tweaking it a bit here and there. Here are the before/after pictures:

Apparently, I'm Sloopy Frickenlips

The following is excerpted from a children's book, Captain Underpants And the Perilous Plot Professor Poopypants, by Dave Pilkey, in which the evil Professor forces everyone to assume new names...So:
1. Use the third letter of your first name to determine your New first name:
2. Use the second letter of your last name to determine the first half of your new last name:
3. Use the third letter of your last name to determine the second half of your new last name (I took a little artistic license with the letter K as the copy I received was missing that letter):
Thus, for example, George W. Bush's new name is: Fluffy Chucklefanny.

Have fun with this one and remember not to take yourself too seriously :)

Post a comment with your "new" name LOL

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I forgot about Wednesday night...

I just remembered that I was going to write about dinner on Wednesday night. I'm trying to think what we did for dinner on Wednesday... I don't think I did anything special. I think I had chicken nuggets or something like that... Didn't really feel like cooking.

I will most likely be cooking again this week, so keep checking this out for the next adventure in cooking dinner. :)

The Interesting Life of the Wife of a Pilot

I've been reading some comments on "wife of pilot" blogs. I have to say, that I consider myself lucky that A hasn't wanted to go to the airlines. He has always preferred to fly small 135 airlines or freight haulers, where he is home every night. To him, it's just a job. He goes in the morning and I see him again in the evening. The only times in his career that he has been away from home is when he had to go away for training or he got weathered out somewhere. There have been a few times when we lived in Juneau the first time, where he had to go to Ketchikan for a week or two to cover a vacation for the pilot stationed there at the time. That has basically been it.

We've talked about him working for a larger company, on a "2 week on-2 week off" schedule, with our home being in Juneau (because I would have to hurt him if he made me move again...). I like to think that I would be OK with that, but without actually having that experience, I don't know for sure what I would do or how I would feel. It has to be really frustrating for wives out there who's husbands are gone for long stretches. Knowing my husband the way I do, I know that if he was gone for 2 weeks at a time, he wouldn't want to do anything when he got back. If we had kids, he wouldn't want to spend that much time with them to give me a break. He probably would, but he would do it grudgingly. Right now, we don't have kids, so I wouldn't have to worry about that, but still...

That's not to say that what he does now is without it's risks. He flies in an area that is pretty scary on weather days, and he does it every day. Now, I know and trust the skills that he has developed as a pilot. I know that if anything is within his power, he will make it home at night. But, there is always the risk that something could go wrong, outside of his control. That is the main thing that I worry about, when I allow myself to worry.

I am pretty thankful to him for the particular path his career has taken. He might not make the big bucks that the captains for the majors do, but I do get to see him every night. So I guess that I am one of the lucky ones.

At this point, it's not Iritis...

So I went to the dr again yesterday. He looked at everything, admitted that my eye was "angry" and proceeded to tell me that the inside of my eye looked good. He said that Iritis is characterized by the inside being inflammed and "angry", but with me, it's the outside of the eye that is inflammed and "angry."

So, I got some eye drops that are a milder steroid drop for the external eye. This one doesn't penetrate that much into the eye, so it would treat just the outside part. He told me that the stronger stuff, with prolonged use can cause cataracts, so he didn't want to give me that one unless/until the inside changes. So, this weekend, we are going to see if the drops are going to help. I seem to remember each time I get Iritis, it starts this way, but no one has ever explained it to me like that before. That may be because I've never been treated this early before. Hopefully, this course of action will keep it from progressing. I'm not hating it at the moment. It is painful, and mildly light sensitive, but if it was worse, I wouldn't be able to use my computer. The light from the screen would make it impossible for me to be here. And I am not currently using an eyepatch. With the external eye being inflamed, I don't have to keep it dialated, so Yay!

Going Undercover

I will be going undercover. Names will be changed to protect the innnocent.

New Blog Info

My mom, who has lived with MS for 21 years, is starting her own blog. You can see it at I'll have the link to it in my list all the time so you can jump there anytime you like.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The beginnings of my hubby's career...

When I first met A, he was already a Commercial pilot, IFR rated. Shortly after we got married, we were discussing career options. Up to this point, he had worked at the airport while acquiring his ratings, and he was tired of working "ground jobs." He also wanted me to take flying lessons. I told him I wouldn't unless he was the one teaching me. This is when he got his CFI. Basically that was his motivation.

Once he had his CFI, that opens up "flight instructor" jobs to him. Unfortunately, where we were living was pretty saturated. We opted to move to Texas (where he grew up) to flight instruct there. That meant moving across the country and selling our house. He had an offer to flight instruct from someone who was starting a flight school, but it wasn't set up yet. We gave him 2 months, and when it still wasn't up and running, decided to move back to Utah to work "ground jobs." I mean, you have to have something to bring in money and pay the bills, right?

Fortunately, our house hadn't had any offers on it, so we moved back into it and took it off the market. About 2 years later, we decided to try a flying job again. We moved back to Texas with the intention of him working for a college who was starting a flight training program. Well, that one didn't pan out either. We moved back to Utah (where I was able to get my old job back) with our tails between our legs.

At this point, A had only taken on a few students who had their own planes. We weren't able to make a go out of flight instructing. However, just a few months after we moved back to Utah the second time, he heard back on one of his resume's that he sent out to 135 operators all over the place. It was in Juneau, AK. He had always wanted to live here, so we packed up again and came here to Juneau. He got lots of experience and built his time up to move on to bigger and better things. After a couple of years in Juneau, we decided to take a job out in the bush in Iliamna, AK. There, he built up a lot of actual instrument time (which the regionals and majors look for on a resume). The village life wasn't for me, so I left to go back home to Montana. Aaron soon followed, leaving that job. He was able to get hired on at a contract freight company based in Billings, but they stationed him in Salt Lake. Back to Utah we went. We bought a house, thinking we were going to be there for a while, but within 6 months, he was notified that he was going to be transfered to Honolulu. He worked there for a year. At this point in his career, he could have gone to the majors (although now I'm glad he didn't). He wanted to make his living here in Alaska, where the flying is necessary and challenging. We moved back to Juneau to make our home. We bought a house here AND IF I HAVE TO SELL THIS ONE FOR ANOTHER "CHASE THE HOURS" MOVE I WILL HAVE TO BE PUT IN JAIL BECAUSE I WILL HAVE MURDERD MY HUSBAND.

Another Iritis Update...

Well, it looks like my dr will be eating his words... This afternoon, my eye started really bothering me, and I just checked it out in the mirror and half of it is RED. If it is worse in the morning (which is what I expect), I'll be heading to the Dr in the AM and then will be "Pirate J" for the next few weeks. If that will be the case, I'll post a picture. Argggh!

Why I won't let A be a "Fire-Bomber"

When we were in the initial date phase of our relationship, he made the error of having me watch "Always" with Richard Dryfus. It's a great movie, but the dude died. Therefore, he cannot be a fire bomber.

He thinks it's funny that I won't let him be a Fire Bomber, but I'll let him be an Alaska Bush Pilot.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Shindig... Little Miss Priss

Our orange cat, Shindig, is the animal we had the longest. We adopted her in December 1999 (she was a Christmas present to me) and immediately changed her name. (Her sister was named "Roo" so it would have made sense if there were 2 of them...)

Shindig was a very odd cat. She quickly learned how to do things that we didn't really like. Like opening the cupboard doors. Eventually, that talent of hers allowed us to "hide" the catbox under the laundry room sink. She was a good mouser. A couple of times, I thought she was playing with a mouse toy but it was real. Dead, but real...

Shindig put up with a lot from us. We moved her several times. Subjected numerous dogs and one other cat (after Fizgig), traumatized her beyond belief, I'm sure. But she was a good cat.

While we were living in Iliamna, I discovered that I had developed an allergy to cats. BUMMER. At the time, we had Shindig and Merlin (a cat we picked up in Juneau). We had to banish them both from our bedroom, which Shindig didn't like at all. She was used to sleeping on our pillows next to our heads along with Fizgig for so long. She did not take the change well.

When we were planning for our move to Hawaii, we discovered the crappy quarantine laws on pets (I'll rant about that in another post). Because of the cost of all the tests, shipping the animals, paperwork and so on, we could only afford to move one of our 3 animals with us to Hawaii. The cats, sadly, had to go to other homes. It killed me to do it. It would have been better if we could have found someone who would take them in, but no one would. We finally had to take them to the humane society. I cried for my Shindig. She had been with me for 7 years at that point. Other than A, my one constant. I hope that she and Merlin went to good homes.

Fizgig... The demon cat from hell...

While A and I were living in his apartment, we discovered a litter of kittens that lived in the bushes in front of our parking space. One of them was really bold and would always come out to meet us. He was all black, cute little thing. We took him home and named him Fizgig (for those of you who know of the Dark Crystal reference, he eventually lived up to his namesake).

He was so cute as a kitten. He wasn't fully weaned when we decided to take him in, so we had to mix formula with baby rice cereal (as per the vet's orders). He made really funny noises when he ate that stuff. Like "oh this is so good but stay away from me this is mine..." LOL

One day, my older brother JM came to visit and we introduced him to Fizgig. Fiz did not like JM at all (I don't know why). He would start hissing any time we put him within 3 feet of JM. Hence, demon cat from hell. He lived up to that moniker too.

When we moved into our place in Tooele, we adopted an orange cat named Kanga. We couldn't stand that name, so to allow her to fit in, she was renamed "Shindig". (I know... We are strange folk.) She came fixed, and A couldn't stand to get Fiz fixed, so things were pretty funny around our house.

A few years later, we moved to Texas to try to get A a flight instructor job. While there, Fiz got out and never came back. I like to think that he is still tom-catting around the neighborhood there. I guess we'll never know.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More While We Were Dating...

In keeping with the timeline I've been setting up for myself, I will continue to write forward.

After I graduated High School, I had to move out of my parent's apartment in Salt Lake. That wasn't because they made me. At the time we were living in an apartment where you had to make less than a certain amount in order to live there (I can't remember the technical term for it right now, but I'm sure I will at like 11:30 tonight when I'm trying to sleep). Being 18 and out of school, my income was therefore to be used in this calculation, and by doing do, put the family over the limit. It was either I move, or the whole family had to move. Hmmm... easy choice.

A was living at another apartment complex across town. I checked out their studio apartments and decided that I could afford to live there. So A and I were neighbors now. It was fun. I would "borrow" his car to run to the store, he and his friend would "borrow" my food... lol... good times.

My aunt made the suggestion that since we were "basically living together" at this point, that we should actually live together and save some money. This made a lot of sense to us, so we moved my stuff into his place (his was a little bit bigger). I laugh every time I think about it. He had a couch, and I had a couch. We ended up putting one against the wall and the other one directly in front of it. LOL...

Shortly after this, we became engaged. We put a down payment on a house in Tooele and started to make the preparations for the wedding.

Delusions of Grandure

Noni has delusions of grandure. I think she sees herself as a sled dog, running in the Iditarod. That must be what's happening everytime we take her on a walk. She strains and strains againgst the leash in hopes of going faster.

She also really only has 2 speeds... "Fast" and "Stop"

I drew this cartoon of Noni while I was in Hawaii. I drew her with a short coat.

Iritis Update

I went to the Doctor yesterday about my eye. It's a little strange. Usually, I feel the onset of symptoms one day, and then my eye is full blown the next. When I went to see the dr, my eye had been giving me symptoms for a few days now. He ran all the tests, shined the ungodly blinding light in my eye and couldn't tell that anything was wrong. He said that he doesn't doubt that I feel the iritis coming on, but because he can't see anything, he believes it would be more harmful to give me the drops now. Of course, he also said that if it goes full blown in the next few days, he'll eat his words.

He also informed me that sometimes, people who have on-going problems with iritis see a decrease in their symptoms as they get older. If this is the case, and this is as far as it's going to get this time, I will be extremely relieved.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What is Iritis?

The summer before I turned 15, in August, I started having a problem with my right eye. It was red and unbelievably light sensitive. My mom took me to the doctor, where they diagnosed me with an eye infection, gave me some hydrochloric acid eye drops and sent me on my way. About 2 weeks later, it wasn't any better, so she took me back. They basically told me that it was a more advanced eye infection, gave me stronger hydrochloric acid eye drops and sent me on my way. About 2 weeks later, I was in agony. I couldn't stand being in a room that had any light in it. I couldn't sleep. I was miserable. My Aunt happened to be visiting us at the time, and couldn't stand it either, so she and my mom took me to the ER, where my pediatrician happened to be on call (he was on vacation prior, otherwise I would have seen him when I went to the clinic before). He (gasp!) actually ran TESTS to find out what was wrong. What a concept! He said that it looked like Iritis, which he couldn't treat, I would have to see a specialist. That specialist happened to be in Bozeman, 30 minutes away. We headed that direction and actually started getting treatment. He informed us that Iritis is pretty rare, and usually doesn't come back. He couldn't tell us why it happened and said that they usually don't investigate a cause until it repeats. Because it has gone undiagnosed for so long, it did some damage to my retina (before this, my right eye was my good eye). It took 2 months to get my vision back to normal.

Skip ahead a few months... I was in gym class in school, when I noticed my knee had swollen up. I hadn't done anything to it recently (earlier in the summer, I hit it on a rock while floating down a river, but that was it). My mom took me to the clinic again, where the doctor said the swelling was normal and the pain was "growing pains."

Skip ahead 2 years... My right knee was still swollen (it had never gone down). We were living in Salt Lake City at this time, and decided to get it checked out again. We told the doctor what we were told prior, and she was astounded. She basically told us that no swelling is normal and growing pains do not last for years. After numerous (and often painful) tests, we decided to do arthroscopic surgery on my knee to see what was going on. The Meniscus was trashed. The doctor who did the surgery sent some off to the lab for analysis. This is when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Skip ahead another 2 years. My eye starts twinging again... I knew the symptoms from the last time (who could forget). I immediately went to an opthomologist. I told him that I thought it was iritis and that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. He treated it and said that he wasn't sure why it came back but most likely wouldn't again.

(Are you starting to see a pattern here???)

Skip ahead 3 years. It starts hurting again. At the time, we were living in Iliamna, so we had to get on a plane to go to Urgent Care in Anchorage. I told the guy there what I thought it was. He told me that Iritis is directly related to Rheumatoid Arthritis and he would give the eye drops I needed to treat it. EUREKA!!! Someone actually helped me figure this out!!! I was so relieved!

Skip ahead to the present... Guess what? It's been about 3 years... It's twinging again. So guess where I'm going tomorrow. That's right. I get to call the opthomologist and see if the can get me in NOW. I've noticed that the longer I let it go, the longer it takes to get rid of it.

So, What is Iritis? It is an auto-immune disease that causes the iris of the eye to swell up and constrict on the pupil (hence the light sensitivity). It makes the eye look red, similar to pink eye (at the time, my friend's mom's didn't want me go to see my friends.) The treatment for me has always consisted of the steroid eye drops and the dialating eye drops. In the beginning, it feels like I'm getting a sty. It's always in my right eye. To get through it, I would have to wear an eye-patch (Argghh! Hoist the colors!), sun glasses, and put aluminum foil in the windows to keep the light out. It is a very time consuming process to get rid of it. Since this is the 4th time I've had it in a little over 10 years, I'm wondering if my treatment will be the same.

All the research I've done points to the fact that Iritis is usually a precursor to Rheumatoid Arthritis. I've seen this in myself. I had the Iritis before my knee swelled up. Each time I get a bout of Iritis, my knee tends to flare up shortly afterwards.

I'll post more regarding my treatment for this after I see the doctor tomorrow. (Hopefully I'll be able to see straight).

Friday, July 11, 2008

Another installment of "While we were dating"...

For Memorial Day weekend the first year we were together, we decided to go for a camping trip in the Pacer. A had been to a place called "Mexican Mountain" in the San Rafael Swell in Utah, and wanted to take me there. We loaded up the plane with all the provisions for a 3 day 2 night camping trip and headed out.
The place was beautiful. High red-rock canyons on either side of the airstrip, the Green River running along it. Peaceful.... Lovely.... Until we experienced the Biting Horse Flies and.... the FIRE-ANTS!

I ended up getting bit on my butt while taking a nap by a Fire Ant. We promptly took off (on the 2nd day) to head for home. We hadn't planned on leaving so early, so we still had lots of water that we had to dump out so that we could take off (I think we took like 3 5-gallon containers). By the time we got back to Salt Lake, the swelling had gone down and was not as intense. We finished our camping trip on the floor of his living room.

That'll teach us to go there in May instead of September....

Time for a Rant...

I hate it when people treat me like a brainless idiot. It happened today. There is some understanding as to why I was treated this way, but it was still really irritating. At work, we are replacing some computers. Our IT company sent a representative to do the installation. He is also a volunteer fire fighter who was on call today. While in our office, his radio started going off and I heard him talk to my office manager about a "small plane with 2 passengers" (really... that's all I heard). Naturally, my interest was peaked, mainly information gathering at the time. I asked, "What did he say?" to which my manager told me to go back to my office and she would find out. Part one of the problem: she thought I was concerned that it was my husband. She told the IT guy to "watch what he says about the airport/airplane in the office" because I am married to a pilot who works out of the airport. Second part of the problem: the guy decided to come back into my office to inform me of the nature of the radio call and that it is routine and usually not a problem...

Now, this is not my first time at a farm! 1 - I know that not all "emergencies" are actual emergencies. 2 - I know that if it was something serious involving my husband, I would get a phone call from his company. The guy doesn't know that I have experience with aviation, so I can kind of excuse the way he talked down to me (like I was going to start getting hysterical or something) but MAN!!! I am not stupid. Now, maybe if he was in the Coast Guard being deployed to look for a "Red-Tail", that might be cause for concern. But the FD being put on alert because someone is declaring an emergency because they are not getting an indicator light showing their landing gear is down? Please....

Rant over.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I agree... Sleep is for wimps!

As I write this... it is 3:43 AM here. I attempted (obviously unsuccessfully) to go to sleep around Midnight (my usual sleep time). Unfortunately, around 2 AM, I was still awake. I hate that feeling. So I decided to do a little more work on my computer, check some things out. My SIL has a post on her blog called "Sleep is for wimps" and I have to agree at this point. Although my sleep deprivation is not related to her's, I think that tomorrow (ok, actually TODAY) at work will be more challenging for me, especially since I started doing Claims Adjusting today (ok, actually YESTERDAY) and I'm still working on the process for how it would best "flow". I've always sought out a "more challenging position" at work, so BRING IT ON!!!

At this time, A is in the shower preparing himself for work (he has a 4:45 departure and got LOTS of sleep since he fell asleep around 6). In a few minutes, I'll have to put some clothes on to take him to work (I usually ride my bike, but since this past weekend, we decided it was probably best not to for now). I usually come back and go to bed for a few hourse after I take him to work, but I think that today, I'll have to weigh the benefits of 2-3 hours sleep and no sleep. Sometimes it's better on no sleep. We'll see what I feel like in 30 minutes.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Another Wednesday Night

Well, tonight would normally be the night that I would "try something new," being that it's Wednesday. Well, we ended up swapping tonight's meal with last night's meal. Last night we tried "Beef Pita Sandwiches." It's a variation on what got me through my 1 week of training in Anchorage. While I was in Anchorage, I got a very large (unintentionally, they just always serve it that way) portion of Beef Brisket at one of my favorite restaurants there. I decided, since I had a fridge in my room (and to save some money), to use it for my dinners during the week. I went to the store and got some pita bread and some viniagrette salad dressing (I don't remember what kind now) and some lettuce. Each night, I would heat up a portion of my beef brisket, shred it, and mix in the salad dressing. Then I would stuff a pita with the mix and some lettuce. It was really good.

Last night I tried to do the same thing with our left over roast from Sunday. Only I changed it up a bit. I didn't add the salad dressing, just some of the juice we reserved from the roasting. And I added some shredded mozzarella. It was a quick, easy and delicious meal. And relatively healthy for you, as pita bread is lower in glycemic value than regular bread. A really liked it.

Since we had that last night, that meant that tonight I would have made "chinese." A loves Orange Chicken from Panda Express. We don't have one of those here, and the local chinese restaurant doesn't make it the same way. I was going to try a recipe that I have for Orange Chicken. But, alas, I woke up late this morning (thank you "dead cell phone") and forgot to take chicken out of the freezer. I must now consult the menu for the week to decide if I want to exchange Orange Chicken for tomorrow night's meal or stick with what I originally planned.

As for tonight, I actually haven't cooked dinner yet. A wasn't hungry when I got home and is now fast asleep (he's had a 4:00 AM call time to work all week... He's plum tuckered out). I don't imagine that I'll wake him just for dinner. I may make him something he can take to work tomorrow for when he gets hungry.

My Dog is not a Schnauzer or a Terrier!!!

My dog Noni is a Lhasa Apso Mix. Her momma was a purebred Lhasa Apso and her daddy was a sled dog mutt that was running around the village (we aren't exactly sure which one it was).

We got Noni while we still lived in Iliamna, AK. The family that owned her momma was going around the village to see who wanted a dog. I saw Noni when she was just 3 weeks old. SO CUTE!!!! However, there was some tragedy around it. The litter was starting to get sick. The litter before Noni's got sick with Parvo and all the puppies died except for one, and that is because they pulled him from his momma early. So, we pulled Noni early, in hopes of staving off Parvo. She came home with me, I bottle fed her, and gave her water with some weak echinacea tea in it to help boost her immune system to beat the illness. Turns out that none of that litter actually got parvo, but you don't want to mess around with it. We got Noni at 3 1/2 weeks. (Pictures to follow) She thrived! At 8 weeks, we took a trip to Anchorage to the vet to get all the puppy shot stuff. We found that she had worms, so she got the de-worming stuff. She was extremely healthy. We found out later that her sisters also had worms, but because their owners didn't take them to get vet care, they got really sick. One of them even lost an eye due to the worms.

Noni's been all over the place with us. She's been to Montana, Utah, Hawaii and is now back in her native Alaska (although nowhere near where she was born). We have had to trim her hair in a lot of those places. Her coat is long (that's the Lhasa) with a very thick under coat (the sled dog). She gets really hot in Utah and Hawaii. Due to the hair cut we give her, people keep telling me "What a pretty Schnauzer you have!" or "What a nice Terrier you have!" Then I feel like a creep when I have to say, I'm sorry... but she's a Lhasa Apso mix. They look at me like I'm from another planet. "What's a Lhasa Apso" they'll say... She does look that way with her hair cut, so I can excuse the confusion. She refuses to let me trim around her face, and her paws are usually too bushy because she keeps pulling them away when I try to trim them, so she really does look like a Schnauzer. But still...

This is Noni at a little over 3 years old. She is pretty smart, although she is developing the Lhasa trademark of obstinance...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Plans...What plans?

So my very ambitious plans for my home office flew out the window. Sometime on Friday, I did something (got up wrong, turned funny...) and that caused severe muscle spasms for the next 3 days! Oh, let me tell you just how much fun I had with that one. Thank heavens for a good chiropractor. I have one that does a technique called "SOT." It works wonders for me. So, I already had an appointment today, then told her what I had done... I can now walk around (which is good) and have to stay mobile or I will get stiff and spasm-y again (which is bad). I wonder what it will be like when I try to go to sleep tonight. That was when it was the worst. Trying to change positions in a half-sleep state woke me up right-quick and in a hurry.

I was able to coax myself out of bed saturday evening and sunday evening for dinner. Thank you JS (my brother) for the Straccota de Cremona recipe! It was FABULOUS!!!! It is a roast cooked in the crockpot for 2 days and is extremely tender when done.

Wish I had more to report on the 4th of July. I hope everyone else had a better time than I did.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!!!!

A and I normally go flying on the 4th, to celebrate our freedom to do so. Well, he is flying, I am not. But that is ok. It's a fairly pretty day here in Juneau, so he should be having a good time. Although it is very busy there today (they are the only airline open on the holidays).

Last year, for the 4th, we went to Pearl Harbor and toured the USS Missouri. It is amazing and humbling to be in that place on such a special day. Without the sacrifices the members of our military make every day, we would not be the nation we are, with the freedoms we have. You cannot go to Pearl Harbor or stand on the teak decks of the Missouri without feeling something for the men who served there. You cannot step foot on the floating Arizona Memorial without being moved by the sacrifices made there by those men on that December day. I know that I cannot go to a military base without a feeling of gratitude for the men and women in the service.

I want to express my thanks to the members of the military for everything they do every day.

Full Metal Alchemist - What I've Done

OK, we'll try this again. This video is from one of my favorite anime's - Full Metal Alchemist. The person who created this AMV did a very good job editing the music and the clips. It's the best one of this song I've found.

This clip gets pretty graphic (as you will find with most anime). It is done artistically well, but it is not intended for children.

Basically, in this world, you have alchemists. When the boys were younger, they tried to "resurrect" their mother, and paid a high price for it. The older brother, Ed, lost and arm and a leg. His younger brother, Al, lost his body. Ed worked fast to attach his brother's soul to a suit of armor. They realize what they've done, and spend the rest of their childhood honing their alchemist skills to battle the monsters that were created when someone attempted to bring another back to life.

The story line is one of the best I've seen, and it is very unfortunate that the series ended.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I love this song/video!!!

I'm using this beautiful song/video to attempt to connect to Youtube on my blog. If you can see the video here, it worked!

If all you get is the link, I may need some help with this one.

A Huge Undertaking

For my 3 day weekend to celebrate the 4th of July, I have a massive plan for myself. A will be flying for work so he won't get to celebrate with me, so I decided that it is time to organize my home office.

I've always dreamed of having a home office. A few years ago, we owned a 3 BR/1 1/2 BA townhome in Tooele, UT. I love it. I had my own room that was to be my home office. However, my dreams were shattered when we received notice from A's work that his position in Salt Lake was going away and that they would have to transfer him to Hawaii in order to keep him employed there (hence the move to Hawaii). This came within 6 months of moving into that house. I didn't have a chance to do anything to that room. Bummer.

Our new house here in Juneau is a 2 BR/1BA townhome. I claimed the second bedroom as an office before we even closed on the house. A wasn't too happy about it, mainly because I have always relegated the 2nd bedroom where ever we are to him and his computer equipment. I decided that it was my turn to get my space. So my computer is set up here. I am setting up bookcases to turn some of it into a library. I am finally going to be able to unpack all the random paperwork boxes that we have kept for several years over numerous moves and consolidate all the files. This is the weekend to do it.

I have all these ideas in my head about how I want to organize everything. But the first step is to clean it all out. I had to move a broken futon out of here (I slept on it in "my room" until our stuff came up from Utah... but that's another entry) and I can't believe how much space I have now. The next step is to get a small table and a filing cabinet in here to help me go through all the boxes.

Oh, in case anyone is wondering why I can't share the room with him... He has a very loud system to play FlightSim and Medal of Honor on it. It is very annoying and I can't concentrate on what I need to do with that going on in the background. That, and he doesn't keep his computer area very neat and it tends to aggrivate me. I know my space is messy too, but once I have a place to put things (and I will after this week) I keep it clean (just look at my office at work).

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wednesday Nights

I've decided to try to make new dishes on Wednesday nights. Why Wednesday nights? Because it's the middle of the week.

Tonight, I tried to make a recipe called "Thai-Styled Halibut with Coconut Curry Broth." The recipe is at the following address:,,FOOD_9936_35669,00.html

I took a few liberties with the recipe. I used my wok instead of a saute pan (as I have a wok and not a saute pan). I also used slightly less chicken broth and slightly more coconut milk (one whole can of chicken broth was just under 2 cups). I also served it over white rice and green beans (I don't have spinich and I don't like it anyway).

I enjoyed the cooking method. Although, the fish I selected wasn't the freshest. With the availability of halibut in my location on an almost daily basis, I was stupid to get it from the store instead of down at the docks. Lesson learned. The problem with cooking halibut is that it tends to dry out when cooked. This method poached it well. Had the fish not been sitting at the grocery store for some time before I cooked it, it probably would have had a cleaner taste.

A really loved the recipe as it was. He usually doesn't like cilantro, and this recipe calls for a lot of it. He had 2 plates of it and is taking the leftovers for his lunch tomorrow. Hopefully it is just as good next day for him.

In the future, I plan to alter the recipe slightly to accomodate chicken. I also plan on adding more spices to the mix. For a "Thai" recipe, it was surprisingly bland (at least for my tastes). Stay tuned for the alterations made and the results!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

While we were dating...

At the time that I met A, he was working nights at Salt Lake International Airport. That somewhat restricted when we could have a date. We started our "2 AM Pie-Run" dates about that time.

There is nothing better when you are getting to know someone, than to have a restaurant pretty much to yourself. Usually we didn't have a whole lot of time, so it really was usually just pie and cocoa, and it almost always was at 2 AM. Whether we'd go to Denny's, Dee's, or Village Inn, we were usually the only ones there for the hour or two that we could (unless it was a Friday/Saturday... Those nights we shared the restaurant with the "too drunk to drive but within walking distance of Denny's so I'll have time and food to sober-up" crowd. They are a pretty funny group).

Since we've been married, any chance we get to repeat these kinds of dates is awesome. Last year, when we lived in Hawaii, we were able to go to a restaurant called Zippy's. They were open 24 hours and just down the hill from us in Kapolei (although they are all over the island of Oahu). Here in Juneau, however, there are no 24 hour restuarants, so that kind of sucks. The place that is open the latest is a waffle place out in Auke Bay near the college. They are open until 12:00, but due to their proximity to the college, they are usually really busy.

Maybe we've grown out of the need for those kinds of dates. I hope not. But I think that any time we go "down south" to the "lower 48" that we'll seek out a restaurant where we can have 2 AM Pie.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my Mom's birthday. My mom is a very special person who has not had the easiest life. When I was 6, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I don't have very many memories of life when my mom wasn't in a wheelchair or using a walker. She's had her ups and downs, has had her share of falls, but she doesn't let that affect her. She is always finding some way to make her experiences funny. I remember her telling me that when she was diagnosed, she broke down. Then it hit her that if she didn't change her attitude right then, she would end up dead. Ever since then she has turned her experiences into a joke.She has lived with MS for 20 years now and is doing pretty well. She is still mobile enough to get around the house using her walker for short stretches. For longer stretches, she uses her wheelchair.

It's hard sometimes to deal with my mom, but I want her to know that I think she is one of the strongest women I know and that I love her very much. Without her as an example to me, I'm not sure that I would have the same outlook on life that I do.

I love you, Mom. Happy Birthday