Saturday, November 29, 2008

Getting into the Christmas Spirit

A had to leave this morning to go back to work, so we decorated for the holidays yesterday, so he could see the tree up. Part of our tree is my new background.

I love this time of year, and enjoy it especially when we can go all out. I love when it snows and everything is quiet. I love the lights that are all over everything. I love the feeling of selflessness that takes over, reminds us that giving is better than receiving.

I know it's not December just yet, but I couldn't resist starting off Christmas time with the change made to my blog. I hope you all enjoy it.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

One Happy Thanksgiving...

I know I'm late in writing about Thanksgiving, so I'll write about how good it was for me. First, I didn't have to cook a big meal. That was the original plan, but when our neighbors invited us to their place for dinner, we took their offer, on the condition that I would make dessert.

So I got up mid-morning, and started to make my pies. It is a family tradition to make the Pumple Pie every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In fact, the years I spent the holidays alone (like last year), I will make the pie, just for me. This year, I tried to make the apple part from scratch. I prefer it to the canned apple pie filling, which is good in it's own right, but making it from scratch lended such a nice flavor to the pie, not to mention, improved the texture. Sorry, Mom, but I gotta tell it like it is...

I will not make pie crust from scratch. Anyone who ate a pie where I made the pie crust from scratch, would not survive... It is traditional in my family to use Pilsbury pie crust, but I find I don't like to have to put it in the pie plate. So I buy Marie Callendar's frozen pie crust. It's already in it's own pan and it holds up nicely to any pie I make. Make sure to get the "deep-dish" kind.

The apple part was simple... The recipe I used is found in the Joy of Cooking, (Apple Pie II) but I had to modify it since I wasn't making an entire apple pie. I ended up using 4 Braeburn apples, 2 Tbsp of butter, 1/2 c. sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Peel and slice the apples (I quartered, then sliced into approx. 1/4" slices). I used my wok to saute the apples, but only because it was handy. The recipe calls for covering the apples while cooking, but I did not. Melt the butter over high heat and add the apple slices. Stir to coat, then cook for a couple of minutes. The apples should be starting to soften, but still be crisp. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Turn down the heat to medium and stir to coat the apples. Cook for 5-8 minutes. Turn the heat back up to high and boil the juices until it starts to thicken and turn syrupy, about 3 minutes. Pour the apples into a baking sheet (I used a pyrex 9"x13" cake pan) to cool to room temp. Spread out into one layer, if possible. - If you don't want to make apples from scratch, we have always used Wilderness brand apple pie filling.

Prepare your favorite pumpkin pie filling. If you have a really good "from scratch" pumpkin pie recipe, please let me know. I used the big-can of Libby's pumpkin, and just followed the recipe on the side of the can.

To construct... layer the apple in the bottom of the pie plate. (The above apple recipe will make 2 9" deep dish pies) Spoon some of the syrup on top of the apples. Pour the pumpkin on top of the apples until it reaches the top. Bake like a pumpkin pie, but make sure it's on a foil-covered cookie sheet. This is what it should look like afterwards... can you see the apple on the bottom?
I had enough pumpkin pie filling to make 2 - 8" pumpkin pies.

I took one Pumple Pie and one Pumpkin Pie to dinner. We got to meet some nice people in addition to our neighbors. Everyone loved the combination pumpkin-apple. Seriously, you should try this pie. If you don't like it, you are the only one. That is, unless everyone else is lying to me to spare my feelings and then to make me feel better, keeps asking for more of it.

Oh, and if you haven't figured it out yet, pie is my favorite part of Thanksgiving. Don't get me wrong, I ate enough Turkey and Potatoes and Stuffing to feed a family of 5, but I definitely left room for 3 pieces of pie...

I am thankful that I was able to share today with my husband and make some new friends. I am thankful that I was able to share my favorite family recipe with everyone. I am thankful for the comforts that I have in my life. I am thankful to all my friends and family, the ones who know and love me most, the ones I know and love the most. I am thankful for all the silly things in life, because if you can't laugh... what can you do? I am thankful to you out there who read my blog. You are a wonderful outlet for me, one that helps me maintain my sanity (such as it is...).

I can now officially declare it's Christmas time! (I can't stand it when radio stations and businesses start playing Christmas music BEFORE Thanksgiving... I mean, let's celebrate one holiday at a time here...)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Job Opening In Alaska

Got this in my email today... Made me laugh...

Position: Surveyor

Salary: $200 per hour (tax-free)

Qualification: Must be fast on your feet

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Think...

I think that Monday forgot to look at the calendar and didn't know that it is really Tuesday, so is inserting itself today. Maybe Monday and Tuesday got together and decided to switch days. If they are going to do that, I think they should notify people that what is normally Tuesday is now Monday, and Monday was Tuesday...

If you can't tell, my brain isn't working at full capacity today, much like a Monday... but it's Tuesday... Or Thursday, considering I'm off work Thursday and Friday this week, so I guess it could be Thursday... But then I wouldn't feel like Monday...

Have I confused anyone/everyone yet?

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Good "Monday" Cure (but only if you live in Juneau)

We have a local convenience store/bakery here that makes really good doughnuts and sandwiches. Seriously, people who have to travel here regularly will make a side trip to Breeze In to get either or both of the above.

They make seriously good rolls. I sometimes will eat nothing but rolls for lunch. They make these "cheese" rolls that are to die for....

Today, A and I went there for lunch after running errands on my lunch break. They had some homemade soup, Roasted Turkey Noodle. Normally I hate their soups, but it seemed like a good idea today. I didn't sleep well last night and it's cold and crappy today. I've already made a "mocha" instead of my normal coffee, trying to clear out the chills.

The soup is really good. Add in the good rolls to dip in and a vanilla diet coke, I'm one happy camper, considering it is a Monday. So far, it hasn't been horrible, but I am horribly busy... One of my hospitals FINALLY decided to bill, for the last 3 months, so I have a lovely stack of bills to go though. Gotta love that job security :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Crazy 8's

I've been tagged again, this time by Nicole.

8 Favorite TV Shows: (in no particular order)

-Gilmore Girls
-Ugly Betty
-How it's Made
-Robot Chicken
-Family Guy
-Full Metal Alchemist

8 Favorite Restaurants: (most of these are only available in one location...)

-The Hanger (JNU)
-The Zephyr (JNU)
-Aaron's atop the Ala Moana (HNL)
-Vito'n'Nicks (JNU)
-Sourdough Mining Company (ANC)
-Piper's Restaurant (ANC) - for breakfast...

8 Things That Happened Yesterday - September 22, 2008

-Bought my first Christmas Tree since 2001... hopefully it will be the last Christmas tree I buy
-Learned that the Christmas Tree we picked would not fit through the trunk opening on our car, so we had to lash it to the top...
-Learned what M.E.K. (methl ethyl ketone) smells like (picture really strong nail polish remover)
-It rained (big surprise there...)
-Leared that MEK was melting the plastic rather than removing the adhesive on some airplane parts we are trying to refurbish.
-Chatted with a great group of women on The Pilot Wives Club.
-Got pretty tipsy.
-Went to bed.

8 Things To Look Forward To:

-Thanksgiving with my husband.
-Decorating the house for Christmas.
-Getting contacts.
-Christmas with my husband.
-Pilot Wives Club meet-up.
-Collecting a paycheck.
-Buying bedroom furniture.
-Going on a massively expensive, but fun, trip to see as many relatives as possible.

8 Things I Love About Fall:

-The Colors!
-The need to wear a sweater!
-The cool weather.
-The holidays associated with fall.
-The new shows on TV
-The night comes sooner.
-It means Christmas is just around the corner!
-Snuggling on the couch with a hot cocoa...

8 Places I Want To See Someday:

-Northern Italy

8 Things On My Wish List: (Most of which, I'm sure will never happen)

-KitchenAid Stand Mixer with lots of HorsePower
-Bedroom Furniture
-A Maid Service
-For the Dog Whisperer to come and teach my dog to not pull on her leash anymore.
-For the What Not To Wear people to make me over.
-For me to know inside and out, the Workers' Comp laws in Alaska...
-Office Furniture
-To see my family more often.

8 People I Tag - Friends and Family :)

My Mom
My Father
My Husband
My New Pilot Wife Friend
And the Blogs that I read: Musing's of Cpt J's Wife and It's a Pilot's Life for Me.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Oh, the joys of being an aircraft owner...

We had planned on re-doing the interior of our airplane this winter, so that it is done by the time we go on our big trip next year. Since A is home now, he started pulling things out of the plane to see what's what. I guess, now we are committed to the project. He started "dissecting" one of the back seats to see how big of a deal they are going to be. The seats are still upholstered with the original fabric, so it was sewn onto the frame. My job for when he's gone is to remove the old upholstery on the rest of the seats and get the seat frames cleaned up and ready for the new upholstery that he is ordering on Monday.

Hopefully the interior of the plane will look 100% better when we are done and it won't stink like "old airplane" which I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to... Oh, and that it won't be too much of a pain in the rear end to do it...

I'm not sure that I'll post too many pictures about the process, but I may post a before/after picture when we are done, or at least a link to my husband's blog, where I'm sure that he will have some posted.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Super Cute...

After seeing the previews for Wall-E, my husband and I were excited to see it. We never made it to the theatres, so we decided to go out and buy it. At the checkout stand, the cashier told us that she got to see it on the ferry with her kids, but didn't get to see the end of it. She said what she saw of it was really cute. That only reminded me of "Happy Feet," yet another super-cute movie that I hated the ending to, mainly because it makes you feel bad for being a human... So I was a little bit scared to spend 20 bucks on a Disney movie....

We bought it anyway, but not the 3 disc special... The extras were not worth an extra 10 bucks...

First... they need to give you a diagram of how to open the box without ripping it apart... I know they did it this way to reduce wastes and such, but man... I almost broke it... Oh, and if there are other boxes designed this way, I'm sorry, but this is the first one I've seen...

The movie was really cute. And didn't make me feel bad. It did make me laugh at the humans in the movie, who are all morbidly obese from living a completely sedentary lifestyle in space for 700 years...

A good movie will make you cry, and this one did that... I was tearing up towards the end... I won't say what happened, in case someone hasn't seen it yet, but it was well worth the money we spent to buy it...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In the grand scheme of things...

I've decided that my stupid and crappy problems/issues are really not that important in the grand scheme of things. There are other people out there who have worse things going on and I am pretty self-centered to think that my problems are more important. That being said, I will not be writing about my complaints today....

I will share this story I found this evening... It's one that makes you stop and think...

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. Charles Plumb, a US Naval Academy graduate, was a jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy lands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!" "How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb. "I packed your parachute," the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!" Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today." Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, "I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform: A white hat, a bib in the back, and bell bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said good morning, how are you or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot, and he was just a sailor." Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know. Now, Plumb asks his audience, "Who's packing your parachute?" Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory - he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety. His experience reminds us all to prepare ourselves to weather whatever storms lie ahead. As you go through this week, this month, this year... recognize people who pack your parachute!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Hopefully tomorrow is better...

He's home again...

He got in last night off the "milk run" about 7:15 pm. The milk run stops in 2 towns on it's way to Juneau, so it was a LONG flight home for him. But, it was the one with the most availablity for non-rev's so I guess beggars can't be choosers. At least he got home.

We went out to dinner last night to a mexican restaurant that has really good food but really crappy desserts. First, our waitress sucked... The restaurant was empty except for 2-3 tables. She was not attentive. She was pleasant, but when you have to go thirsty because your soda AND your water glass need to be refilled, and have needed to be refilled for the last 10 minutes, that's when you know you have a problem.

We decided to share an entree and then dessert. She gave us the options of Strawberry Shortcake, Flan and Mud Pie. The only one we hadn't tried yet was the mud pie. I should have taken a picture of it with my cell phone before we dug into it. Every other mud pie I've eaten has been ok. I'm not that big on ice-cream pie. This one sucked. They served it upside-down, with the oreo crust on top. It was like a layer of asphalt that you needed a jack-hammer to cut through. The ice-cream was nothing special. It was really cheap and gross chocolate ice-cream layered over really cheap and gross vanilla ice-cream. The only saving grace of this pie was the fun we had laughing over the hard time we had cutting through the crust on top. We tried sawing it, jabbing it with a spoon and a knife. The only way we could get through it was to jab a spoon into the top and twist.... "Congratulations... You are now dead..."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Funny Funny Guy...

Last night, I was telling my husband about the pilot wives club. I told him that I created a sub-group for the GA wives, and I was going to "reprezent" (said in my best "ghetto-rap" voice, which isn't very good, btw) for GA...

He then promptly told me "Honey, we are commercial. This is my job..."

LOL... While I know this, I consider us still General Aviation, mainly because we have always been GA and we have always owned an airplane (except while in Hawaii...) AND he flies small planes commercially. In my logic, that still makes us GA. I mean, when the largest thing you fly is a Cessna Caravan? Come on...

He just laughed at me. Sometimes he indulges my little idiosyncrasies. This seems to be one of those times...

On another note, I just got a call from him and he is on his way to Anchorage to come home. Yay! He was going to try to get on the late flight back to Juneau, but he was informed that it doesn't operate on the weekends. So, he's listed on the first flight in the morning.

I can't wait :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

New -

Thanks to The Pilot's Wife for creating a new hang-out for, what else, pilot wives! I just found it yesterday via Cpt J's Wife. I've been there for extended periods of time ever since.

If you are a pilot's wife, commercial or otherwise, check it out! I started a sub-group for those who are GA Pilot Wives. I don't think it's intentional, but the pilot wife communities that I have seen so far tend to exclude GA wives and focus on commercial pilot wives. I'm not sure if that's because GA Pilot Wives are a different breed all together, but there is something distinctly unique about those who are married to the "hobby" and not reliant upon the industry for a paycheck. However, we are all still "pilot wives." This site is all about any pilot's wife (helecopter, jet, military, civilian, and now GA).

You can see my first contribution article titled Aviation in Alaska - An Introduction.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Splitting up the chores...

This may seem simple, but I just thought of it recently... With A away from home most of the month (and even when he's home, for that matter...), I find that I don't want to pick one day to clean the house like we did when I was growing up. It was fine then, when the chores were divided up between 4 kids and 2 adults. Now, I find that I get overwhelmed doing the chores all in one day. So I devised a simple chore chart for daily items. I only do the chores for that day. I ignore all else until that day comes. So far, it's made it easier on me, and the house stays cleaner. I hope that when A gets home, it will be easy for him to see what gets done on what days so he can help me keep the house up. My chore chart is as follows:

MONDAY: Pick up bedroom, do the dishes.

TUESDAY: Bathroom wipe down (with clorox/costco wipes - sink, toilet seat), do the dishes.

WEDNESDAY: All garbage in the house to the dumpster, pick up the office, do the dishes.

THURSDAY: Dust the house, Pick up the living room, do the dishes.

FRIDAY: Bathroom scrub (with bathroom cleaner - shower, toilet bowl), do the dishes.

SATURDAY: All garbage in the house to the dumpster, all floors (sweep, vacuum, mop), do the dishes.

SUNDAY: Laundry, do the dishes.

I do the stuff that takes longer on the weekends and I've scheduled garbage to the dumpster twice a week on the day after the dumpster gets emptied. With the exception of the kitchen, each room in the house is done on a different day, with the bathroom getting some attention twice a week. I found that each "chore" takes less than an hour (except for the laundry) so I have the rest of the day do to whatever.

Do you have any house cleaning strategies/tips?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Apparently, I'm not the only one who is excited...

When I spoke to A tonight, it was just prior to making my list of Thanksgiving dishes, so I decided to ask him what he wanted... His response: pie... While I love pie too, it made me laugh. I then asked him, "What kind of pie"... That gave me the following: "Pumple... Oh, and make a pumpkin too... Oh, and a pumpkin cheesecake... Yeah... A pumpkin cheesecake..."

LOL... He's really excited that we get to actually celebrate together this year. The last time we had Thanksgiving together was 2 years ago, just before he flew out to start working in Hawaii, and a few days before we had to be out of our house we just sold. That Thanksgiving was as quick and easy as I could make it. I made one of those Jennie-O Turkey Loaf things, with boxed mashed potatoes, Stove Top, and a store bought pie.

I'm glad that I can go all out this year. I will probably wrangle A into helping me prep, so that will be good together time. I'm glad he's not into football... If he were, I would be stuck in the kitchen all day cooking while he watched the games...

As much as I hate to disappoint my husband, we will be eating other things for Thanksgiving than pie...

Getting Excited...

I am so excited for the holidiays this year... Barring all possible weather and transportation problems, A and I will be together for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, which hasn't happened in about 5 years...

My mom isn't really helping to curb the excitement. She's been posting all the family holiday recipes on her blog. There are a few that I don't remember from growing up (she finally admitted that a couple of the recipes were new...) and some tried and true from way back when. I don't know if I will (or should) make all the tasty goodies. One of my favorites is Raisen Pie. It sounds really gross, and doesn't look too good, but my mom (and my aunt, and my grandma) would make this pie for Thanksgiving AND Christmas EVERY YEAR. It was my personal tradition to stay away from it the day of the holiday (in order to get more Pumpkin Pie in my system) and I would have a slice of Raisen Pie for breakfast the day after. I don't think A likes Raisen Pie, so it's not really worth it for me to make one just for me...

There is another family recipe, Pumple Pie... It's half apple, half pumpkin. It's AWESOME! It's A's favorite out of the pies (at least that I remember, it's been 5 years people...) It's pretty simple. If you are making an Apple Pie and a Pumpkin Pie, just get a deep dish pie plate and put a layer of apple down, then pour the pumpkin batter on top. Bake like a pumpkin pie, but put it on a cookie sheet, because the apple does bubble up. My mom uses a whole can of apple pie filling in her pie, but I use half. Although, this year, I will attempt to make the apple part from scratch (I found a recipe for apple pie that pre-cooks the apples, which is what this recipe needs). I'll let you all know how it turns out.

If you want to check out more of my family recipes, visit my mom's blog. If you have any holiday recipes that you would like to share, please let me know. I'm always on the lookout for good food.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteren's Day

Thank you to all the men and women in the service. Without you, we would not have the freedoms that we do. It takes a lot of courage to put your life in danger every day, and I know that I would not have that courage. God bless you.

(Thanks to Julie for creating the above graphic, and thanks to Danette for sharing it...)

Monday, November 10, 2008

In less than a week (hopefully...)

...A will be home until the end of the month (YAY!)

...I will get all caught up on my work

...My house will be spotless (50% done so far...)

...I'll have Thanksgiving Dinner planned

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I think I may have overdone it...

Noni has gotten used to going for a walk when I am home all day, like on the weekends. She expects it now, so when she doesn't get it, she usually whines and growls at me until we do...

Today was so nice. It was cold, below freezing, so the ground wasn't muddy. I decided that we would go on a trail that we've never been on before. The trail-head is just up the road from where we live, so we headed out.

It was a lovely walk. The trail was paved, but there were side trails that were not, like for horses and stuff. On the paved part, dogs are required to be on a leash, but not on the regular trail. Noni doesn't get to go off leash too often, mainly because she gets distracted easily and doesn't respond to commands. We walked out to the end of the trail on the paved part, which just so happened to be another trail-head. On the way back, we kept to the side trails and she got to go around off leash. She loves it and it makes my shoulders feel better (with her dog-sled breeding, she PULLS and no amount of training so far has gotten her to stop pulling...) She usually goes up a little way, stops and turns around to make sure that I'm coming, and then goes some more. She is doing better, and it was good that there weren't too many people using the trail today.

There is a trail that t's off the main trail that goes to Dimond Park, so we came home on that trail. I figured it would go on the other side of the river (which it did) but it also put us out in front of the new high-school, so we came home through the neighborhoods.

Man, were we tired when we got back... Based on my average walking speed of 3 miles an hour, we were gone for a little over 2 hours. (You do the math...) My feet and legs were so tired that I had to crawl up my stairs to lay down. Noni is currently flopped over on her side. She gets up when I do, then flops over again. I can only move now because I soaked in a nice hot bathtub with epsom salts. Oh, and the handful of ibuprofen I took.

This whole walking thing is good, but I think I'll try to keep it to 3-4 miles total for a while.

I wish I had batteries in my camera today to take pictures to post. The trees were all frost covered and the winter sun stayed low and golden over everything. Besides being tired, the walk was beautiful. It makes me thankful to live in such a wonderful place (and that the bears are going to sleep...)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My new favorite thing...

I hate cleaning the house. Not because I like to live in filth, but because everytime I clean, I have a MASSIVE allergy attack from all the smells that I get inundated with. Shower cleaner is the worst. The shower doesn't get cleaned that often, mainly because that is the only thing I can usually get done before I am miserable.

I went to the store today to get some more shower cleaner. I picked up some Scrubbing Bubbles first, knowing they work well, but usually make me sneeze, and then I saw the new Clorox Green Works cleaning products. Their bathroom cleaner was cheaper than the spray can of Scrubbing Bubbles, so I decided to try it. OMG... I cleaned the whole bathroom with it (except the floor)and did not sneeze once. I couldn't believe it. I had to be leaning over a freshly sprayed bathtub to even smell the product, and it was so light and unobtrusive that I was stunned. My bathroom is now SPOTLESS and I feel like I can move on to downstairs to mop the floors without having too many problems.
I didn't buy anything on that line other than the bathroom cleaner, but when my other cleaners are gone, I will be trying the other products too. If they work just as well and don't make me sneeze, then I will be a repeat customer.

Times Gone By...

I requested "The Glenn Miller Story" from Netflix a while ago, with the intention that A and I would watch it together. Sadly, I forgot to change my queue to adjust for his absence and it came a few days after he left. I kind of set it aside, forgetting that it is going to be "a while" before he comes home again. I decided to watch it tonight.

This movie is special to us. There are several reasons. One of them is that neither of us have seen the movie together. We've both watched it seperately. But we both LOVE Big Band music and Glenn Miller in particular.

When A was first learning how to fly, he was living in Texas and flying out of an airport where a bunch of WWII pilots hung out. He enjoyed hanging around them, listening to their stories, and getting their advise on flying. I think he attributes his stick and rudder skills to them helping him. He has always been drawn to the 1940's, the era and the airplanes. When I met him, I was introduced to the time period, and I fell in love with it too.

When we were first planning our wedding, we wanted a 1940's themed wedding. He had a friend that had a War-Bird in a hanger, and we wanted to have the wedding there. Unfortunately, we were unable to, due to insurance purposes (or something like that). But I still think about it now and then. The clothes, the romance, the music moving through you... The kind that makes your chest feel like it's about to burst, like you've taken too much air into your lungs... The kind that makes you move... The kind that makes you think of the one you love... With A being gone, it is easy for me to pretend I am in that era, with him away at war, writing love letters to each other... Except, I am staring at a computer screen... And he's not getting shot at (that I know of)...

Our song is "Moonlight Serenade". I found this on YouTube this evening. It's a pretty boring video, mainly because it is just a video of a record playing... But if you close your eyes, you will be transported to another time. We have some Glenn Miller records that we purchased off of ebay years ago, but we don't have our record player working right now. This record is played on an old victrola. The sound is phenominal. You can hear every little nuance in the recording, something that is rare in a modern recording. Enjoy... I know I will...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Snake Oil Salesman

I was invited to a meeting sponsored by the company that handles our 401k at work, so I decided to go. Three speakers were scheduled to talk about 3 different items. The first one was presented by a law firm here in Juneau that specializes in setting up whatever is needed to plan for your beneficiaries (wills, living trust, etc..) She gave really good information on what you can do to set up for beneficiaries, the laws that work within the death benefits, as well as how to protect your children's inheritance from creditors etc... Really good information.

The second presentation was from one of the tax planners here in Juneau. He went over tax laws, what will only be considered for 2008, what will carry on to 2009, etc... He also speculated what could happen now that Obama has been elected, based on what is on his website.

The final presentation was to tell us our options on protecting our retirement accounts. Sounded great in the invitation. However, it pretty much stopped there. The guy presenting it was from AXA (who our financial company is under) and he decided to give us the high points of a special program that AXA does (that is not cheap, by the way) to give extra protection in today's economy. I felt like I was sitting though one of those dreaded time-share presentations. If I had gone by myself, I would have walked out, but I car-pooled, so I stayed for the whole thing.

That's the thing about those kinds of presentations, they have really good ideas for fixing the situation, for a nominal fee, of course. "I got this snake-oil here, great for this..."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Arguments from 1000 miles away...

Without going into too much detail, (and with much embarassment), I will admit that I picked a fight with my husband last night on the phone... I had a really crappy day yesterday, and when I was trying to tell him about it, he said "I don't care that ..." Well, you can imagine how well I took that. I know he didn't really mean that he doesn't care about what I'm feeling, but it seemed that way last night. So I took HIGH offense and basically screamed at him (hangs her head in shame) over the phone... I was so mad that I didn't tell him that I loved him before I angrily hung up on him...

I'm not proud of those kinds of moments. I am seeing a pattern to our arguments though. Usually one of us keeps our wits about them and doesn't escalate the argument on their side. Usually it's me, but last night that was A.

In my defense (and yes, I realize it is an excuse...), I just wanted him to listen and not comment. It was one of those one-sided conversations that you need to get off your chest. When I told him that last night on the phone, he basically said, "I understand that, but I still don't care about ..." That just added to my meltdown. Arggh!!!

It's amazing what a night of sleep does to anger. I'm still upset at what he said, but I am much more reasonable this morning.

A - Since you will probably read this before I talk to you tonight, I'm sorry I screamed at you last night. I love you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My feelings after the election...

Congratulations to President-Elect Obama... I do not agree with a lot of his policies and beliefs, but, as an American, I will support him as president, until he does something to take away my freedoms given to me by our founding fathers. I'm not too worried (at least at this point) about him following through with any of his campaign promises, mainly because, when was the last time any elected official followed through with one of their campaign promises...

I am not racist, so please don't assume that I am. What I am is very blunt and honest, and I have a tendancy to speak my mind (as if you haven't figured that out yet reading past blog entries). However much I acknowledge the importance of this historic election, I am tired of hearing the phrase "the first black president." I feel that the concept of race is being perpetuated by those who believe they need to qualify everything by adding labels to everything. I don't go around with the title "European-American" (because my ancestors came from Europe), so why do we still need the title "African-American?" Why can't we just be AMERICAN'S? We were born here... We live here... It makes sense to me.

On another note, unrelated to the election, but along the same vein, I am also tired of special observance months based on race. But by saying that, I know I'm inviting the hate mail of people who think I am a racist. If there can be a black history month and a latin-america history month, where is my caucasion history month? I want a month to celebrate my heritage. It's discrimination, it what it is...

I love our country. I love the freedoms that we have here. That we can vote for who we believe will represent us and our beliefs. That being said, I just have to mention a question I had earlier this evening... When the voter statistics came out on NBC, they said that 95% of the African-American vote went for Obama... Not entirely surprising, but my question is this... Did they vote for him because they believe in his ideals and values? Or did they vote for him because they wanted to see a "black man in the white house?" Either way, it is their freedom that gives them that choice, but I hope that the reason is the former and not the latter. I mean... If I voted for McCain just because he's white, or just because his running mate is a woman, I would be labeled as racist or feminist (of which I am neither).

I will close on a note to ALL ELECTED OFFICIALS: We the people "hired" you to do the job that you are or have been doing... We are equal opportunity employers... We can fire you at any time if we feel that you are not doing a good job. (If you can't tell, I'm tired of the incumbents thinking that they are the only ones who can get the job done, when they haven't been doing a good job for a while... Sometimes, you need to replace the staff to get a new perspective on things and get some new ideas flowing... "Vote for me because I've been here for years!" blech...)

On another note, I would like to thank the Democrats running in the State of Alaska for US Senate and the House of Representatives, Mark Begich and Ethan Berkowitz. Thank you both for running clean campaigns. I know the Democratic party ran ads against the incumbents, Don Young and Ted Stevens, but every advertisement I saw that was approved by you, was free of finger pointing and the blame game. It was quite refreshing to see a person running for office state what their vision for the future is, and not lay out all the bad things that the incumbent has done in the past. If only the national campaigns were run like yours, I might have had an easier time picking the lesser of two evils... (For all those not following the polls in Alaska, at the time of this writing, both challengers were behind the incumbents, which is sad, because it means that the majority of Alaskans feel the need to keep criminals in office - oh did I say that out loud?)


I just got back from the polls. My boss and I are registered in the same district, so we went together, trying to beat the lunch rush. I was still on the registration list from when we lived here before, so I was given the full ballot, and not a questioned one, which is what I expected. I was so excited! Now I can watch the news programs tonight to see just how much my own personal politics falls in with the nation... I can't wait!

Monday, November 3, 2008

The priviledge to vote...

I'm pretty sure that voting is a priviledge and not a right, but correct me if I'm wrong... I say this because the priviledge to vote can be revoked, like if you commit a felony or something... I can't remember that much from my US Government class in high school, but I think that's right... Again, correct me if I'm wrong.

I will have to admit that I haven't exercised my priviledge to vote ever. When I was old enough to vote, I didn't know that much about what was going on in politics, so I didn't vote. I figured that if I didn't know what I was voting for, I shouldn't vote. As I learned more about what was going on, I was under the impression that my vote really didn't matter (this is after the elections with Pres. Bush...) The last presidential election, I didn't think I could vote, mainly because we lived out in the bush of Alaska and I didn't register to vote in that district.

This year, I still think my vote for president doesn't matter that much. The electoral college is supposed to take the population's vote into account for that state, before pledging that state for someone, but that doesn't always happen. Alaska is a red state, so I expect it to go for McCain. But, I will get out there and vote anyway. I know a lot of people who voted early this year, but that option was only available for absentee's here (at least as far as I know), so tomorrow it will be. I'll have to check what time the polls open. I'll probably try to hit the polls in the morning before work. I'm also hoping that they kept my old voter registration valid and when I renewed my driver's license at my birthday, they just updated the info. If that's the case, then I should be able to vote for the state elections as well. I am much more interested in our state government and Alaska's representation in Washington. Without saying who I would vote for, I will just say that I would like my opinion heard. If that doesn't happen, I will gladly exercise my priviledge to vote for the President of the United States.

Here's to November 5th, the day the nation can breathe a sigh of relief... It will all be over (unless we have a repeat of 2000 and we have to have a "re-count"... Oh no... did I just jinx it?).

I walked A LOT yesterday...

In keeping with my new plan to drop 4 sizes in 1 year, I took Noni for a walk again yesterday. I think we walked somewhere around 4 miles. I'm a little sore today, but Noni was definitely not used to going that far. I took pity on her and let her lounge around the house today. She was plum tuckered out yesterday. Not to mention DIRTY!!! I took her through the neighborhood that seperates us from the airport. We recently discovered that the street that ALMOST connects directly with ours goes all the way to the beginning of the walking trail that goes around the airport, along the wetlands. EVERYONE takes their dogs there, so I like to take Noni to get her used to socializing with other dogs, as well as get some exercise. So it's like a mile there, we walked about a mile on the trail, and then we walked home. It had rained the night before, and started to rain again when we were a few blocks away from home. She had a lot of mud on her by the time we made it back. I made her lay down on a towel by the front door until she dried off more. A lot of the dirt came off onto the towel (which was my intention). I wanted to get the bulk off of her before I gave her a bath, mainly because I didn't want her dripping mud up the stairs. It's easier to wash her later than it is to do her and my stairs. I guess part of me is just lazy...

So I found a pretty easy way to give her a bath, and to get all the dried dirt off of her. I put her in a full tub of water with me in it too. I let her sit for a bit, then drained the water out and washed her like normal, only I stayed in the tub too. It was easier to keep control of her, and I think I did a more thorough job than normal. She didn't really dig it at first, mainly because she doesn't like water. She will not go swimming. She gets mad everytime we try to get her to. She was fine once I drained the water.

I'll post any weight loss updates as I notice them. The first goal is to fit back into my size-12 jeans more comfortably. I don't have a scale, so I won't be keeping track that way. It'll just be when my clothes fit better.

At this point, I'm not really restricting what I eat, just how much of it I eat. That way, I figure I won't get those dreaded "cravings" that will de-rail any diet. I'm also stepping up my activities from a sedentary lifestyle. I'll walk with Noni as often as possible (please let the snow come soon this year to keep down on the mud... a wet dog is better than a muddy dog...) If I'm able to later, I'll probably start swimming, but we'll have to see.

My reward will be a new wardrobe for my birthday next year. I have lots of clothes that are size 10 that I've had in storage for years, but I realized today that the last time I wore any of that, I was between the ages of 16-20, so probably not very age-appropriate for me now.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

One of my favorite things...(OK, well, two)

I LOVE getting pictures of my nephews. I received this picture of my oldest brother's 2 youngest boys when they were dressed up for Halloween. The older one is a ninja and the younger one is Spiderman... I wish I got to spend more time with them than I do, but with me living in Alaska, and them living in California, it just doesn't happen as often as it should.

I have other nephews and neices scattered around the country, but so far, this is the first (and probably only) picture I get of dressed-up kids. My friend usually emails me pictures of her kids, but I will hold off posting them on my blog, as she has her own - Intermittant Ruminations. My SIL will also probably send me some of her boys, which can be found on her blog - Everyday Adventures.

I may or may not get pictures of my newest nephew (it's his first Halloween, and my brother isn't too speedy on sending me pictures, but I may get them second hand through my parents, oh, probably around Christmas...) So I will leave you with what I have so far... Enjoy the cute little faces... I just want to squish their cheeks they are so darn cute (and yes, I realize the whole "aunt" stereo-type with the cheek pinching and the red-lipstick kisses, but I just can't help it...)