Saturday, May 31, 2008

Elton John Live In Anchorage

Sir Elton John was amazing last night! Honestly, I hadn't set the bar too high, since we'd heard that he wasn't bringing his band or back-up singers, just his piano. Well, even without all this back up support, he put on a fantastic show. He played for over 2 hours, plus signed albums, tickets, t-shirts, hats and even a red shoe, for audience members lucky enough to have floor seats. He even took the time to find the label on one of his black Elton John t-shirts so he could sign where the signature could be seen.

As for the concert, the sound was really good, the lights show accompanying him was entertaining and we were very happy he had the large screens up for us way up in the nose bleed section. The top picture pretty closely resembles our view, although Elton wasn't out of focus like in the picture. The next two are examples of the live video on the big screen.

Probably my only real complaint has nothing to do with Elton John, but more to do with some of the audience members. We made the mistake of getting tickets in the "wet section". We thought we'd be have a drink during the show, however, no one in our group was willing to leave our seat to miss a single minute of his show, to go stand in a huge line for a beer. However, a lot of other people didn't feel the same way and we had a constant flow of people coming up and down the stairs. You'll see a head or two in the short video clip I've downloaded, but don't let that distract you, please, from EJ's performance.

Having a star of his caliber come to Alaska, is a very rare event. I think it's usually because our largest venue can only fit around 8,000 people, which would probably add up to chump change for a large tour.

The reason Elton John came up was he really wanted to hit all 50 states on this tour and had never been to Alaska before. We can only hope more performers of his caliber will decide to make the trip. Personally, I'm hoping for either Pearl Jam, Audio Slave or The Foo Fighters. A lady can dream......

Anchorage has a history of canceled music concerts. I can name a few that directly effected us. Stone Temple Pilots were supposed to do a New Years Show in 1996, but their lead singer, Scott Weiland, ended up in rehab. In 1997, the Red Hot Chili Peppers canceled due to a serious motorcycle accident. These are just the two I now the facts about. Several different headliners have canceled from either low ticket sales, or expense to put on a show here. There have been so many bands that have canceled that, I think I can speak for most of us living in Alaska, that it's a shock when a real popular headliner actually shows up and, therefore, we tend to be a little reluctant to buy tickets.

Not so with Elton John, though. His tickets sold out within and hour, for both nights in Anchorage and I heard it was less than 3 hours for Fairbanks.

Thank You, Sir Elton John, for an unforgettable and unbelievable evening in Anchorage, Alaska.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Knitting at the Alaska Democratic State Party Convention

This past weekend, I spent 3 days out at the Palmer State Fairgrounds, attending the Alaska Democratic State Party Convention, as a state delegate for Barack Obama. I was elected during our Caucus in February for District 25(Spenard). Several of my neighbors and a good friend of mine had also attended the February Caucus on that very chilly (4 degrees)February night. After the initial cascusing, they all stuck around to vote for me as a delegate. My friend volunteered to be an alternate and planned to come along too, as she's also one of my knitting buddies.

One exciting thing that happened at the convention, was that Barack had a video address for us before we did our final delegate counts. Here's the video:

I had planned on getting to work on the Lotus Blossom Tank while out at the Fairgrounds, however, I didn't have the right circular needles with me. URGH! I had grabbed the wrong set. So, I ended up working some more on the Jaywalker socks. Sad to report, I am still on the first one, and not really looking forward to the 2nd. I will not give up, though I keep thinking about all the other beautiful sock yarns sitting at my house. I just really don't like to get too many things going at once, so I'll keep trudging along.

And, tonight is the Elton John Concert. I managed to get some tickets and we'll be heading out with our camera. I'll post some pictures tomorrow. Time to get fixed up for Elton. Bye!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Flowers & What's On My Needles

Thought I'd share a few pictures of the flowers I bought yesterday. The top photo is a hanging basket and I can't wait to see it with all it's blooms soon. As for the other flowers, I can't plant them just yet, because they've been grown in a greenhouse and need to get "hardened" for the cold evenings. Traditionally, in Anchorage, we can safely plant annual flowers around Memorial Weekend. Every evening for the next few days, I need to bring the flowers back into the garage and then back out first thing in the am back out. They should be ready to plant in the ground or flower pots by this weekend. I also bought 2 mint plants for Mojito's all summer long. The last picture is of some Forget-Me-Nots, that are for my perinianl flower bed that currently has the peonies, lilies, lilacs, tulips, a couple Jacob's Ladders and some petunia's that have decided to make a 2nd appearance.

Now for knitting news. I'm still working on the Jaywalker socks and I'm starting to think they might end up being my road trip project when we're out camping. I may just buck-up, though, and get them done. Really not liking the pattern. It's easy, but not exciting.

I'm going to start another project that I've already bought yarn for. The Lotus Blossom Tank, that I'd heard about when I was listening to Stash and Burn. Worked on the gauge but even though I've gone down a needle size, the gauge is still off. Might just make the pattern a little smaller. And, at the Ravelry site, I've found lots of tips for this pattern and plan to make some changes, accordingly.

Lastly, I've started the fingerless gloves for my SIL. I'm going to try and make a matching pattern to go with her diva cap.

Future projects: The boys both want a Half-Pipe Cap, from The Son of Stitch and Bitch and I'll probably get another pair of socks going, since I've got quite a few skeins of sock yarn.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tulips Fall Victim To Hungry Moose

I've lost a few tulips and peonies to a hungry cow moose. I looked out my living room window and jumped back when I saw moose shoulders. Now I know why the dogs were barking.

Lost just a few tulips. I guess the moose decided it didn't like the peonies, either. Luckily, it only took two tries for the moose to figure that out. Whew! I really look forward to my pretty peonies every summer. As for the tulips, I've replanted the bulbs she pulled out and we'll see how they manage for the next few weeks.

The piture is of heracross the street to check the neighbors flower garden. She didn't find anything she'd like there either.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Changes to our Backyard & Fingerless Gloves & Elton John

I'm almost finished with my first Evangeline Glove. Just have the thumb to work on. The pattern, unfortunately, is not quite available yet free online, but should be again soon at the Ravelry site. I'm finding this to be a very quick and easy project to do. It's just finding time to work on it that's the problem. I've been waking up very tired in the mornings and wishing I could sleep just a little longer. Hmmmm.....maybe if I try to go to bed a little earlier I'll be less tired. Funny, that actually works, so not too many late nights knitting, at least until schools out in 2 weeks. Loving the color of the yarn I'm using. Plus, it's surprising soft. I'm using the Cascade 220 Superwash in color #870. Definitely will buy some more soon.

We're getting ready to make a lot of changes here at our little home, first of which was to get more light in our backyard. The home was built in 1964-1965, right after the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake

, and for some reason the original owners decided to plant 3 rows of Spruce trees in the yard rather than do any sort of landscaping or gardening. Bud has seen an early aerial photograph of our neighborhood that confirms such. When we first moved in, in 1997, the previous owners had cut down 2 trees from the center row. The stumps were still there, so we worked hard the following year and dug, tugged them out. 3-4 years later, we decided to remove a few more. Ended up removing just 2 more in the far corner. Was better, but still not enough light. It's taken us until now to finally decided which trees really need to go, without losing some of the privacy we enjoy, despite being surrounded by neighbors. So, we cut down 4 more trees last week. A little sad, a little nervous, at first, but we're both very happy with our decision.

We counted the rings on one of the trees and it matched our estimate on the age of these trees. Pretty cool!

So you might be looking at that really cool play set we've put in our yard and thinking "Wow, maybe we should do the same thing." Well, my boys hardly ever play with it now and their only 8 and 10 years old. So, really think hard about the time and money you might spend to do this and how much your kids really honestly love to play in the back yard. My guys are currently down the street playing basketball with the neighbor boys.

Thought I'd mention that Elton John is actually coming to Anchorage and Fairbanks. Wow! We rarely get performers of his caliber up here. To give you an idea how excited we all are up here, the tickets sold out in less than one hour and despite quick redialing on my cell phone and then 10 minutes into it, trying online, I was unable to get any tickets. Luckily, he's decided to perform a second night here in Anchorage. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, again. This time I'm hoping to be better prepared. Plus, some friends of mine who did get tickets last time, but have decided they'd rather go the second night are going to try and pick up tickets for me also. So, I may end up with 4 extra tickets that I will sell at exactly what I paid for them. I'll post about them, if I end up with extra tickets. I've heard about people trying to sell tickets for $400.00/piece.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

It Really is Springtime in Spenard!

Finally, I feel I can be confident in saying it is Spring here in Anchorage. I can't say that for my friends who live up the hill (really a mountain by most standards). Yesterday was Teacher Appreciation day and I was able to clip a few daffodyls for the office staff at school. As you can see from the pictures, my tulips and peonies have survived another winter. When the peonies bloom in a few months, I'll be sure to share a few pictures.

Now, time for knitting news. I have finished up with my teacher's gift and will post a few pictures in a week or two, as it could end up being a spoiler. I also started a fingerless glove pattern called Evangeline. I'm using the Cascase Yarns 220 Superwash for this one. Okay, this project was started before I finished up a few things, but a friend mentioned really wanting a pair and, well, how do you resist a request from a good friend.

I am still working on the Jaywalker Socks. Not sure I'm really liking the way the pattern fits on the foot. I'll update everyone once I've finished the first sock.

Other knitting news. Last Saturday, I took my youngest, Ian, with me to my favorite LYS and knit together. He seems to be starting to like it. Also, bought some yarn and more addi needles. Picked up some size 3 16" circulars so I can give back a borrowed set, and bought some size 7 40" circulars so I use the magic loop technique on the fingerless gloves.

Well, that's the quick updates for now. I'll post again real soon with links. Promise