Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Things to Do When It's below Zero

Play Broomball.

Yes it's very very cold out. And, honestly, I was having a serious second thoughts. I've frost bit my fingers tips a few times and always struggle with cold fingers. I ended up packing up some extra gloves and liners, just in case. We're out of hand warmers, which I usually hand out to the homeless. So, the boys and I put on our warmest gear and headed over to one of the many ice rinks here in Anchorage.

For my California friends reading this, every winter, you can find maintained ice skating at several schools, two local small lakes (Westchester Lagoon and Goose Lake), Cuddy Family Park(just opened this year with a Speed Skating Track) and several other public parks, including the we were at yesterday at 10th and E.

Despite the -5 temperatures out, you can stay pretty warm playing Broomball. And as a bonus, we even had sun shine for a short while on the rink. Not a warming sun, at all, but it was nice to stand around with sun shining on you for a while. The previous day was also a very cold, yet sunny day and it had been the first time in at least a week that I'd been in direct sunlight. When the sun hit my eyes that day, they hurt like when someone turns on the bedroom light in the morning to wake you up. Luckily, I had a pair of sunglasses in the car with me to wear.


Look at Ice Sculptures.

Since I was having no problem with the cold temperatures, my friends and I decided to walk down to Town Square to check out the Ice Sculptures. Some years, Mother Nature doesn't co-operate, and they've melted almost as fast as they're made. Not this year.

The first one that caught my eye was the Caribou as I walked into the square. It's high up on a knoll. I think the antlers must of taken great skill to carve without cracking them. And, though my iphone camera didn't capture it, the details outlining hair and structure were very well placed.

One of the carvers must be a Tina Fey fan, as they put a plaque next to one of the polar bear cubs in a Polar Bear & Cubs carving, saying "I Can See Russia From Here". Hopefully, you can make out the writing in the photo. It was a low light situation. Also discovered that if your iPhone screen is cold and so are your fingers, its hard to use the touch screen. It needs body heat to take pictures and I'd taken my gloves off a few times when my finger tips started freezing up on me as usual.

There is also an Ice Skating rink in the middle of Town Square. It's part of the Fire & Ice Celebrations that are sponsored by my husbands union, IBEW local 1546. There are live bands, performers juggling fire, and the finale is a 20 minute long Fireworks show, sync'd to music. It's a lot of fun and will probably attend tomorrow night.


Knit Mittens to felt.

One other thing to do is huddle up at home afterwards, warming up with some hot tea and work on knitting some mittens for oneself. I have completed one so far and plan to work on the second tonight. I'm always surprised at how quick they are to knit up and may knit a few more pairs to have around for next years school silent auction. Not sure how the colors will work out but trying to use more feminine colors without the colors being so processed that they won't felt right. See what happens with the pinkish/purple yarn. Could backfire.

Monday, December 22, 2008

UFO's, Eggnog Martini's, Hot Barack and Surfing

No aliens sighted, though we did watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind the other night. The boys liked it alot, though I remember going to see it with my parents and then going home and trying to figure out how to play the song on my flute. And, of course, my brother and I started playing with our mashed potatoes. No reports of mountains made of potatoes, whip cream or oatmeal so far.

The UFO's I'm actually talking about are my Un-Finished knitting Objects. Suspect this Eggnog Martini may be the cause of the frogging of my mitten cuff, several times. It's really just an Eggnog and Brandy, but I shook it up in a martini shaker, added a little vanilla liquor, rimmed it with graham cracker crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Made it feel like a much more decadent dessert drink.

So the project I was working on was a new pair of felted mittens. The reason being, I made myself mittens two years ago in a color that I don't really like. My son borrowed them the other day and that's when I realized why was I continuing to use them. They are UGLY! Knitting a pair normally is just a takes me a few evenings, I
have a box full of Lambs Pride Wool Yarn in colors I love. Why was I still wearing those things. Time to hand them off to one of the boys and make me another pair. Preferably in a very girlie color that the guys won't "borrow".

So I dug the box out and found a bulky yarn color I liked and then there was this pretty pinkish/lavendar color that I decided to use to make a pattern in the mittens. Not exactly sure how I was going to use the second color and that's been part of the problem with this project. I've knit these mittens at least 10 times, so I thought adding a checkered pattern shouldn't be too hard.
ARGH! Forgot about all the increases M1L, M1R's, then I lose the pattern. These could take a bit longer to make than I thought.

It might take me a little longs also because despite the election being over, I'm spending a little too much time on my laptop. I now have a Facebook page and a My Space Page (it's pretty blank, so far) and visit Ravelry groups and Huffington Post quite a bit.

OMG: Just saw this picture of our new Pres. when I was link the Huffington Post. Wow! Now this man's handsomeness in no way influenced why I voted for him, but what a nice bonus. I've always hated when Sarah was referred to as "Hot" as an actually reason to vote for her, but I must say on the Hottness scale, Barack has her beat. Oh, he did beat her. Besides: Surfing=Sexy Field dressing a moose=Resourceful but not sexy

Speaking of Surfing, just saw a fascinating documentary called Surfwise. It's about the Paskowitz Surfing Family. Very interesting story, but don't suggest you watch with the kids. There's some pretty blunt, matter of fact, talk about sex, with the "F" Bomb being the word of choice in that context. The dad definately was intense in his pursuit of happiness, some might say controlling, but he does speak some truths about society and what our priorities have become. The children spending their entire childhood surfing could in some ways be envied, but they also had some difficult hurdles to overcome as they reached adulthood. Surfing is something I've always wanted to do and I'm seriously considering doing one of their surfing camps. Cabo sounds good, but OMG is it expensive. A girl can dream...... Anyone else?

Back to knitting, I am working on the first monkey sock and have stopped on the heel because I want to really do the picked up stitches right, with no holes. Distracted from this project with the mittens but will get right back to it when I'm done with the mittens.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Trees & Traditions

Well, we finally got our Christmas Tree. We usually get a tree by the end of the first week of December, however, this year we've been waiting (and waiting and waiting) for our new floor to get put in before we bought a tree. We had no idea how close to Christmas it ended up being. And, fortunately, we could still get a tree here in town. Even 5-6 years ago, the whole town would of been out of trees if we'd waited this long. Many stores were actually out yesterday, but we did manage to get one "Ka-ching, Ka-ching".

The previous 2 years we'd bought our tree at Home Depot. Great trees, never frozen (outdoor lots have frozen trees), half the price. And, what was even more fun, was that last year we didn't even have them unravel the net, we just grabbed one and got it home and "opened" it. That was fun! Bald spot to the back and "voila" a beautiful tree!

Really glad we did get our tree as it's been a little hard getting in the "mood" without all the decorations out. I haven't even managed to do much baking, as the contractors have been banging away on the floors this week and ripping carpet out all last week.

Now that we're in Christmas mode, we're planning on doing the usual driving around town to look at Christmas lights, either tonight or tomorrow night, that the Anchorage Daily News maps out. I'm in charge of the map, as all women should be as we drive all over the place looking at decorations, while listening to our kids whine, I mean christmas music. Oops.

In order to make the map, one has to have friends and neighbors submit your address. For several years, Bud has made a valiant attempt at getting such mention, but after receiving our electric bill for last year's display, Bud wisely has cut it back. Plus we're slowly converting our lights over to LED's.

This tree is in our front yard and is actually a tree that my husband and I "saved" when a lot by our condo (13 years ago) was being bulldozed. I had been taking our dog, Tonka, to the lot to do his business every day, carefully stepping around this tiny tree. When I saw the dozers, I hurried home grabbed a shovel and a bucket and took the tree. We then ended up renting an old homestead for a couple years and kept the tree in a bucket out front. Then when we bought our house in '97, we realized we finally had a permanent home for our tree. For the last few years, it's finally become big enough to not get completely covered in snow and, therefore, it's now our outside Christmas Tree.

This is how the house looks at the moment, though, I've just been informed by Bud that there are more lights to go up soon.

Now this is an Ice Tree, directly across the street from my house. There is no actual tree. Our neighbor is an artist and he has made this tree from beautifully crafted wood rings, fishing line and led lights. He ran water over the top on and off for several weeks to make this tree. How lucky and I!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What European City Do You Belong In......

You Belong in Paris

You enjoy all that life has to offer, and you can appreciate the fine tastes and sites of Paris.

You're the perfect person to wander the streets of Paris aimlessly, enjoying architecture and a crepe.

Funny thing is, I did a Semester in Paris, many years ago. I really did love wandering the streets to see what was around the next corner while eating crepes.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Loving Knitting these Monkey Socks!

Now that the election is truly over I have been able to focus more on my knitting again, much to my families relief. Guess I'd been pretty obsessed with the election. So glad the results came out the way they did. Have a few knitting projects for the Inauguration in January, which I'm going to with my oldest son and my mother. But more about that later on. Also, will have an entry about the kitchen remodel we've been working on since July. The flooring goes in this week.

So back to the socks. After frogging an almost completed Toe-Up Jaywalker sock, my knitting buddy, Heather, aka The Wandering Stitch, suggested I try the Monkey Sock Pattern from Knitty. It's a very fun pattern to do.

Originally, my plan was to do find another toe-up sock like the Boyfriend socks I'd done before, but without having to carry around a cable needle with me everywhere. Lost a cable needle that had belonged to my grandmother. Bummer, but have a lot more of her knitting stuff to remind me of her.

So, I'd picked the Jaywalker toe-Up version, after reading many positive reviews in Ravelry. This pattern just didn't work for me. I kept it up anyways, because I felt maybe I was missing something. NOPE. Got to the point I couldn't even pick the project up anymore.

That's when Heather came to the rescue. These aren't toe-up, but I have a pretty good idea about how long I can make these socks after getting one almost complete Jaywalker.

I've also completed two more hats for my boys.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Visiting the SF Bay Area

Down in the SF Bay Area for a few days for a Dr's appt on Monday and visit with family. It was actually over 80 degrees, which is 12 degrees above the normal average. Went to a Farmers market, took a nap in the sun (trying to absorb some "happy light" before heading back north), then took a ride with my mom over to Tiburon for dinner. We did some wine tasting near the restaurant and then went a boutique that had the most beautiful evening gown, strictly to admire it and then the boutique owner had me try on a $500.00 cashmere sweater. Not sure why she thought I'd be buying a $500.0 sweater though it was sweet, sweet, cashmere but I'll stick to knitting the occasional cashmere scarf and possibly picking up a much cheaper version on sale at Nordstrom or Costco.

Brought one knitting project with me, but since I was flyng the red-eye, I attempted to sleep most of the flight. I'm hoping to work on my Monkey socks, formerly the frogged Jaywalkers, on the flights back home.

I do have a FO done, but haven't managed to get a picture taken of it yet. Maybe I'll have another FO soon to share.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What I Should be When I Grow Up

You Should Be a Social Worker

You are deeply caring and empathetic.

You are able to take on other people's problems as if they were your own.

Sensitive and intuitive, you understand human emotions well.

Helping others gives you the most joy in life. You feel like it's your purpose in life.

You do best when you:

- Have a lot of responsibility

- Greatly impact someone's life with your work

You would also be a good philanthropist or stay at home parent.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Obama Obsession or Why There's Been No New Blogs

Let me start by saying,"OMG, YES WE DID!!!". Thank you to all who helped get Barack Obama elected President of The United States.

Okay, so I've been a little (a lot, if you ask my family) obsessed with the presidential election. After the election in 2004, which I usually refer to as Black Tuesday, I realized that if I wanted my candidate elected, voting just wasn't enough anymore. Long story short, so I did and so did so many Americans, to whom I am so grateful.

In addition to my Obama Obsession, we've been remodeling our kitchen for the past 3 long months. I'll post some before and after pictures when it's all done in another couple of weeks. I'm being overly optimistic!

The only knitting I've been able to get done is the Obama hat my son's wearing. He and I will be wearing these at to THE INAUGURATION! Yep, we're going to be in Washington DC for Obama's inauguration. Might make matching mittens and scarfs, too.

One of the websites I'd been frequenting several times a day, was Nate Silver's site Fivethirtyeight.com, had consistently projecting an Obama win. I got pretty confident in mid-October and decided to get Vince and I some mileage tickets before they were all gone. Then we somehow managed to get a hotel reservation too. It's a Holiday Inn on the good side of the White House, according to a friend of mine that went to Georgetown.

I've never been to DC and we're very excited. We've contact Senator Lisa Murkowski's office to try and get tickets to events and tours around the capital.

During this obsession, I was encouraged to start a Facebook Page. I haven't really spent a lot of time on it, except to and video's from Youtube that I loved. Hope to get this up to speed too, know that I can finally breath easy again.

Here's to Change we can believe in!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Watching the VP Debate at Bear Tooth Theater

I had the privilege to watch the VP Debate at The Bear Tooth Theater Pub. A friend of mine made this video of the reactions we Alasan's had while watching. Though the tickets were free to anyone, there seemed to be many more Obama people than there were McCain people. It was nice to be in such a large group of people (there's more seating upbove) that also could see beyond Sarah's "folksie charm".

After the debate, which was hosted by The UAA Debate Team, there was an opportunity for people to come up and speak about their candidate. We were a little light on the Mccain/Palin side, but it was interesting to hear the few that were brave enough to speak. Here's some video.

Todays paper had pictures of local McCain supporters at The Peanut Farm (a block from The Bush Company) and McGinley's Irish Pub (owned by a local Republican Politician). The Peanut Farm is a favorite of the "Joe Six-Pack" crowd, wink wink. Oh you betcha!

Here's two more videos from my friend from the two recent rally's.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Alaskan's For Truth Rally-Saturday, Sept. 27

What a great showing at the rally today. Lot's of positive support from the passing cars. I'd say at least 80% positive. Interestingly, the most negative was from a beat-up old passenger van with a family, of at least 8 young children, whose parents were yelling at us as they drove by. Had a few bumper stickers that reflect their view of the world. One can only hope that man treats his wife and children better.

This rally was to demand that the Palin Administration co-operate with the State Legislative Council's Probe and stop all the lies that have begun to sprout up since Palin was nominated as McCain's VP choice.

Some of the lies include: The State Legislative Council is a group of paritsan Democrats and that Walt Monegan was fired for poor job performance.

The truth: The State Legislative Council is a bi-partisan committee (8 Republicans and 4 Democrats) that voted unanimously to conduct the investigation. Walt Monegan has a record of 30 years of exemplary public servie to the State f Alaska, including his role of Com. of Public Safety.

Our State Attorney General, Talis Colberg, on advice of the McCain campaign, has filed suit to quash legislative subpoenas. This is an attempt by Colberg to protect himself from blatant and p9ossibly illegal intrusion into the legislative investigation, and to furthermore prevent the release of the report.

I carpooled with one of my great like-minded neighbor's and her families chickens. These are very pampered chickens and did real well at the rally. I'm pretty sure between all the news organizations that video'd or took pictures, they'll be famous chickens, too.

With my sign, I did have a friendly discussion, with a young man, who felt my sign may have been unfair to Sarah, since he believes it's not Sarah doing the cover-up, but actually McCain's Campaign. My reply, was that if he's right about the cause of the cover-up, then shouldn't Sarah live up to her values and stop the meddling and allow her supoena'd staff to speak to the State Legislative Council. He reluctantly nodded his head yes.

Probabally the most touching part was when Walt Monegan's mother, choking back tears, thanked the crowd for coming and showing support for her son. She helped to remind us that reason we were there was the injustice towards her son, a good man, and a good cop who really wants to make a difference with our public safety. Believe me, Alaska needs it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hope in Alaska

Not talking about the town of Hope.

I saw this license plate on a familar car. His previous license plate was 86 43. 86-fire 43-43th president, George W. Bush. Took me a few times seeing it to figure it out. I guess the car owner is going for a more positive message of hope, this time.
Though, I do wish we'd 86'd 43.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Niece With New Hat & Gloves

Here's an adorable picture of my niece, Kayla, and her new gloves & Diva Hat. She wore them to school, in sunny California, yesterday. She turned 7 today. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Our Sarah, really, you're kidding me, that's not funny!

Okay, I haven't posted in a while. Let's just say, I'm a little obessed with the current election. I have been glued to the Knitters for Obama group at Ravelry, since hearing that the governor of my state, Sarah Palin, has been chose John Mccain as his VP. I have only managed to finish knitting the last fingerless glove for my niece and sent the them off without taking any pictures.

The whole Sarah thing really comes as a shock to me. Did McCain pick her to get the women's vote? Are we really that simple that we vote for the woman, not the issues? Apparently, some women do, as I discovered in some of my conversations with other Alaska women. The fact that she really doesn't stand for many of the women's issues that women have fought for, doesn't seem to sway them. It's all about having the same body parts, not how to make sure we can take good care of our body parts, i.e. health care, the economy, a woman's right to choose.

Some people seem to be using the fact that Sarah was/is a popular governor as a reason that she's great, but let me remind you readers(wagging my finger "Sarah Style"), that the Alaska Republican's have renominated Ted Stevens in the primary elections to run as US Senator, a man currently under indictment by the Federal Government. And, then there's Don Young, who appears to have been renominated as the republican candidate for US House, having edged out Sarah's Second in Command, Sean Parnell. Please don't use the people up here as a barometer as to what makes a great leader. We vote for the guy/gal who gets us the most money

But there is hope.....

Last weekend, there was a "Alaska Women Reject Palin Rally", and here's a few pictures a neighbor of mine took. Read the story at the link.

I live on a great street in Anchorage. Lot's of political signs on our little street, none for Stevens, Young or McCain on this block. Several of my neighbors were at this rally. Have to remember to have block party next summer! Especially, since we will all be celebrating our new Democratic Senator, Mark Begich, our new Democratic US Representative, Ethan Berkowitz and our new President, Barack Obama. Hey, a lady can dream.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sea Otters in Seward

Forgot to mention the sea otters floating around near Lowell Point.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Day Trip to Seward

Decided to take a little road trip to Seward today. Seward is about a 2 hour scenic drive from Anchorage. No that's not my car. Were you getting jealous? I really like the sunglasses or are they safety glasses? I guess the fake wood paneling didn't dress this classic car up enough.

We headed down to go to the Seward Sealife Center. The boys love to watch Woody, the very large Bull Stellar Seal, pictured below, and say hi to Chloe, who is usually at the Alaska Zoo, here in Anchorage. We found out that last summer, Chloe, pictured above on the blue, became a mother while at the Sealife Center. Her son isn't going back to the zoo with her, once her new home is finished getting renovated, but will be coming back with another youngster, pictured being hand fed by a trainer, that could someday be her mate.

On the way down we saw Beluga whales and several bald eagles. On the ride back we were able to see a gianormous Bore Tide coming down through Turnagain Arm. Very cool! Wish I could of taped the sounds of this bore tide. It makes the swallowing swoosh sound of a large ocean wave never getting to crash onto the shore. A truly intimidating sound. Shortly after this, we saw a very large pod of belugas, who were taking advantage of the incoming tide, to make their way back down the arm, in search for hooligan.

Days like today are a healthy reminder of why I moved here and why I stay.