Saturday, May 29, 2010

Have you ever ....

had weeks of "down" days.
Days, that seem to turn into weeks, where you feel like you're looking down the tunnel to a life that just doesn't seem to change?
Don't get me wrong. I know that I am incredibly fortunate and blessed.
The challenges along the way are sometimes a wee bit stressing.
Sadly ... I know that mine aren't big challenges.
Others are facing those.
Stress is debilitating and I just need to figure out how to get rid of some of it.

Jari was working out of town for a week. I am, oh, so thankful for the work. I just like to have my cake and eat it too! I want him home. Thursday night he surprised us and came home a day early ... bringing some prizes with him. By the way ... he likes to do that frequently. The surprise thing. The last stint gone, he texted me a day earlier than his anticipated arrival home date and said "Just Landed". This time he brought home starfish from Homer.

They're presently drying outside ... Oreo was quite entertained. :)

Yesterday I was tired when I came home. Beyond exhausted. Tired. Brock picked me up and I told him I was taking a 30 minute nap before I started dinner. He has been taking a guitar class in summer school and wanted me to come see what he had learned ... before I took a nap. He showed me. After I spent some time "ooohing" and "aaahing" over this new thing I found in my kitchen.

Yes. It. Is.
A new gas range.
And it is actually in my kitchen.
Put there by my sons.
Yes .... my boys must like my baking and my cooking ... and one works at Lowe's and gets tremendous deals. :)
Don't ask me how many times I caught it in my peripheral vision last evening ... and had to stop and gaze. I really couldn't give you an answer to that one.
I still can't quite believe that we own this thing!
It has been at this address since Monday sometime ... hiding and waiting for installation.
It has not been on my shopping list.
The old one had been on the prayer list.
Praying that it would last a wee bit longer ... I seriously think it was as old as this house is.

I have these little moments where I realize things and spout them out. "Oh. My. Gosh. I don't have to turn the muffin tins anymore!" "I bet I don't have to bake them on the top rack anymore!"
Then I have to stand and gaze again.
I really can't wait to get home and start baking. Strawberry rhubarb pie for the boys Monday evening. What do you think? Once a week all summer long? At least?

We're off to Valdez this weekend. I've hemmed and hawed.
The Finance Department says we probably shouldn't be going.
The Mental Health Department says to go.
The New Places to See Department says it will be a whole lot of fun to see something new this weekend.
The Gardening Department got all the tomatoes replanted last evening and has the weekend watering under control.
The Laundry Department has only 2 loads left to go this morning because it's been under different management lately.
The Gotta Keep the Hands Busy Department is going to move a cabinet downstairs right now and find a knitting or crocheting kit to take on the road with her, which means that ...
The Blogging Department is going to sign off and finalize a few things before she leaves for new places to photograph over the next few days.

Have a safe Memorial Day weekend. Remember our soldiers and their families who not only risk their lives every day for us, but have all too often sacrificed their lives so that we can enjoy all the freedoms we do today.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Barbeques and cucumbers ...

Saturday? That barbeque? It was really awesome. The food was delicious ... and the whole rest of it was great! I didn't do a darn thing. I watched a bit and sat on my behind ... between eating and drinking coffee.

This was taken at 11:37 pm or thereabouts on my way home. This our Alaska. It is still unbelievable to me that I can say that. We go to bed in the light of "day" and wake up in it as well.

My justification for sitting on Saturday evening was ....

that I really did work on Saturday ... all day long. The back could certainly feel it when I was done ... but oh, it felt so good.

Joyce  ... cucumbers will certainly climb. When they seem to be headed in the wrong direction just tie them up the way you want them to go. I've even used zip ties to keep them up on the screen until they figure it out themselves.

Yes ... my cucumbers are in pots. I am trying something new ... constantly. This greenhouse will hit 100 degrees in the not too distant future. Plants dry out so quickly it is unbelievable. I'm hoping that these pots will contain a wee bit of the moisture. If it doesn't work ... you won't see it again next year! We plan to can massive amounts of pickles ... now that I learned to buy "pickling" cucumbers.

Today is already Tuesday. Kids are out of school and I am sleeping later in the morning. Computer time is slashed. So is Blog Time. Anyway, today I came home from work a bit early. (Made me wonder what on earth I'd do with myself if I didn't work full time!) Brock and I started working on the temporary garden. This looks really hokey ... but it has a purpose.

Really, believe me, it does. Tires hold heat. In addition to that ... we (really Jari is) clearing land to the right side of this picture. I aim to expand a garden heading that way ... just not this spring. I'm not digging two gardens by hand with a shovel. No thanks. So tires it is. Potatoes and zucchini coming to a local tire shop near you! Then we dump out the dirt and use it next summer ... worms and all.

I'm pretty stinkin' easy to please.
Most of the time.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What is wrong with this picture?

I thought today was D-Day. Or should I call it S&M Day. I really think it is suppose to be 3 days from now. But I did it anyway.
I stepped on the scale for the first time in almost 30 days.
I took out that blasted measuring tape.
I took out a pen.
I didn't need a calculator.

Then I started baking some more Friendship Muffins.

I also came up with an idea that probably already exists, because that's the way my ideas work. I think having a room that you step in where they measure displaced air would be a grand thing. Then you wouldn't have to measure body areas. And ... you might get the benefit of 1/8" somewhere you hadn't even thought of! Anything to gain another 1/8" of loss would be a grand thing.

The scale hasn't moved a whit. The inches have dropped off slowly. 5.25 in a month. Okay. That's better than nothing. If I avoid that stinkin' chocolate drawer at work for the next 30 days. Walk at least 3 days a week with Leslie. Don't eat those Friendship Muffins. Maybe? I think I need a different DVD as well. I need to lose the belly fat. The pants aren't going to fit any better unless I do that. Why on earth do sugary confections have to taste so good?!

My girls are all gone for the day .. they all left yesterday. I have boys at home. One who works at noon. After this baking is done (and maybe some laundry being as I haven't been down in that room for over a week now) I am heading outside. It looks like it is going to be an absolutely gorgeous day out there. Most of the cucumber plants are growing on a window ledge in the basement. They've decided to start hanging on to the cords for the blinds. I think it is time to move them ....

Out there to the warm sunshine.
Off to a barbeque at 4 pm.
I'd best get hustling.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Today is it!

The Last Day of School for the year.

This afternoon I will have another senior and the last child will be promoted to her final year of Middle School.

Which means .... this summer they are going to study. How's that?
A while ago I purchased WordSmart software to prepare for SAT exams ... and it has never been loaded. I am going to figure it out and assign it.
Mom use to assign "required reading" and we all grew from it. Nineteen Steps Up the Mountain was read by all of us. Maybe I'll add some required reading to the list as well.
Then the job list. I really have to get that done. I am sooooo bad at that.

PALs class is done. I'm good for another 2 years. I cannot, simply cannot, stand command performances in front of people. My mind becomes a blank slate and I don't remember squat. Present something that I understand to 200 people. No problem. Be asked questions in front of a group and have to remember something that I have "memorized" because, hopefully, I never use it ... BIG problem.
Cardiac rhythm?
Oh, that's what that is!
I really need to go work cardiac for a while. Maybe I'd finally get past my phobia of it. I simply don't like it ... all because I don't understand it.
Enough of that.
I came home and destressed in the greenhouse for a while.

Lots of destressing coming up on Saturday. I am moving dirt. And my beautiful cherubs ... they are going to assist me. They don't know it yet ... let's not tell them quite yet.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Today I am attending a class

to renew my PALs certification. A must have for the department I work in. The last time it was plumb miserable. I've been assured that it won't be. Cross the fingers.

Back to Sunday for a bit here today. I've decided that this summer we need to explore some new places. Life gets really busy here in the summer. Seems like we run nonstop and then some ... to the same spots. So, this summer, I've decided that we need to explore a new place once a month. How's that for ambition? I have lists of places I'd love to go this year. North Pole and Fairbanks being really very high on the list. Sunday's trip to Knik Glacier counted for one!! I shared a few pictures the other day, but (other than my body that protested quite loudly afterward) it was a day worth sharing more of with you.

Our plan had been to get some adults out riding for the day ... but that changed .. and am glad it did. Ridlons called Sunday morning and said they were going with the kids. They sort of have the Cadillac of riding equipment. Fred, Anna & Tia hopped along with us and we headed out to Jim's Creek to wait for the other group. Oh, so peaceful out there. In no time at all this area will be full of vehicles and folks fishing. Myself included. I'm getting the itch to hold a fishing pole .... big time!

Sand everywhere .... or maybe I should say silt. The wind was blowing little bits everywhere. Sort of beachy feeling ... if you ignore the Carhart's Anna added on top of her jeans and the fact that I had a few layers on myself.

The growing of green. We didn't have a lot of snow this winter, but it is still fun watching the green move up the moutain and wondering if it will catch the snow before it melts.

You would think that nature took a paint brush and painted it all gray ....

After nearly several hours of riding we stopped for lunch. We had eaten enough dust ... was time for something a bit more nutritious.

Mia and KayLinn ... what little sweethearts!

I often wonder what kind of a mom I'd have been if I'd lived up here with babies. Would I have been bringing them out to see glaciers or staying home with them. I really don't know. Warren is just the cutest ever ... and picked quite the time to load up those britches ... and more.

We weren't to the glacier yet and I was a bit weary of bouncing around ... "just 10 more minutes" was well worth the ride. Unbelievable beauty!

Miss Anna ... there are a few of us here that appear to have another appendage attached to us ... a camera.

Tia ... I tried to capture her face ... it didn't work. We were a bit "dusted".

I know that I would have been a bit too chicken to try this one! The sounds coming from the vehicle were very reminscent of the roller coaster at Disney. Up and down, up and down .... they had a blast ... and it was fun watching them. The driver having just as much fun as the kids in the ride.

The mountain side was dotted with sheep. They are nearly impossible to see in here unless you zoom and really look. Made me wonder if shepherds ever climbed these hills. No thanks.

The kids spent some time hopping rides back and forth. Robert was enthralled with Fred's ride ... and was more than anxious to try driving ... he was quite thrilled. Am guessing that Jeremy heard a lot of "I want one ...." when they got home.

I won't see a sunset until sometime this fall ... we'll watch the sun shining constantly ... hopefully there won't be so many clouds through the summer that it is completely covered. I'll be back to this spot sometime before too long ...let's hope I leave with some fish next time!

In the art of daily living:
  • we're down another car again (we certainly got our $200 worth out of the Subaru and it has given up the ghost)
  • the cucumbers are growing those hooker onner things that really need to move to the greenhouse and start climbing
  • a strawberry plant is blooming
  • the yard is turning green and the lawnmower doesn't work (maybe I should find a goat)
  • the birds are singing in the morning when I get up and singing at night when I head to bed
  • still eating salads from Saturday out of the fridge
  • tomorrow is the last day of school
  • Jari is suppose to be working out of town ... still hasn't left (such is the life of working out of town here in the summer time)
  • I need to get to the shower so I can be chaeuffered to my PALs class (good thing the coffee pot is close by the class room!)

Monday, May 17, 2010


Have I ever been glad for Monday and the normalcy of life? At the moment ... I don't recall it. Friday nite Grad Party and then Relay for Life.

Where my kiddo dressed up for the Charter College team.

Saturday dawned beyond beautiful!! Sunshine!!!

Grad Party at our house ... and then a birthday party where the guest of honor went to sleep after doing the Relay the night before. We went from 2pm to 12:20 am.

To wake up Sunday morning and head to Knik Glacier.

It was fabulous.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Getting ready ...

for 2 parties tomorrow.
My theory is you just get all the fun stuff done in one day.
The next day .... you take a nap.
Or go out 4 wheeling with hubby if it all works out.

I was going to show you the magazine page ... printer/scanner says I have "no computer connection" ... oh well.
The idea was to take a styrofoam ball and glue on cupcake liners. I picked up the balls and had oodles of cupcake liners. We were a bit over ambitious, I'd have to say. Should have done oodles of tiny ones, but we did 2 of the large ones.

1. Get a white stryofoam ball (or a wet a green one and do this with flowers). We used a 3 inch styro ball and it took about 3 hours with 1 1/2 of us doing the gluing to get them done. A smaller one would almost work better.
2. Place a pencil (non sharpened end down) on the middle of the cupcake liner and lift the liner up around the pencil.
3. Apply a bit of hot glue and press onto the ball.
4. How close you put them depends on what you're using and how the material opens up and hides the white ball underneath.

5. Just keep on keeping on gluing and gluing some more. Cleaning up glue strings and the table ... if you're like me and forget to put down paper first.
6. Before you're done attaching the liners, you need to attach a loop to hold a ribbon. I used a curved needle and strung a loop of fishing line through the ball. Tie the fishing line and then attach your ribbon. Easily done.

7. Give willing helper a break in the middle. She helped, did a work out video, took a shower and came back to help again.
8. Listen to something that creates noise or your own thoughts. This gluing is rather monotonous work. I started with Deborah Crombie's A Share in Death (have come to be a fan of Scottland Yard's Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James detectives)  and then moved on to learn about Jill Price in her book The Woman Who Can't Forget. Maybe I don't mind my loss of memory.

The project was done before I went to sleep. :) Why I bite these things off to chew I have no idea, but they look great. Now I've decided that we need to do all kinds of little ones for Christmas. My girls are going to love me! I would like to try and do several small, maybe even tiny ones before tomorrow afternoon. Those we are going to do with tissue paper. I'll share them all when they are up and hanging!

In the meantime, I need to get to work. Jari is out somewhere in western Alaska. The B&B they are staying in is in St. Mary's ... check out the photos. US Census put the population at 500 in 2000. Today ... no internet service, no cell service ... one of those quiet places on earth. He won't be home until sometime Saturday nite. We're going to have to have a party without him. :(

Still have a few things to get done on my list before 2 pm tomorrow. Two of the kids are walking the Relay for Life all nite tonite. The honoree of one of tomorrow's parties is working tonite and doesn't get home until nearly 11:30 pm. Hoping to take a break at about 9 tonight and head over to another graduation coffee. I must think of an appropriate incentive for Tia today ... she is going to be working her buns off for me today and tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Congratulations Alyx!

This diploma was earned with many years of hard work, determination ... and probably just as many tears. I have often said that many others would have just given up. She never did. She kept plugging along and giving it her all. She worked incredibly hard to earn this special walk. 

The Senior Class of 2010

Yippee!!! We're done!!!


Monday, May 10, 2010

A busy weekend

that gave the camera many opportunities to click and clack. Let's see if you're still with me at the end of it all!

Jari texted me Friday and said there was a moose laying in the yard. He thought she was probably in labor and was hoping to see a twin birth. She finally got nervous when he inched too close with the camera and took off. I haven't seen any babies and I don't know where she took off to, but she was beautiful! I watched her, thinking I don't know if I could kill one ... even if the freezer is empty!

Saturday brought an afternoon of heart wrenching sorrow. The sun was high in the sky and the day couldn't have been any brighter when Eric and Katrina laid their baby to rest. Some people may think that bringing cameras to funerals is tacky. I believe that the final part of living is death itself. To attain the peace of Heaven is such a victory. Levi Douglas was carried to his resting place by his uncle Kevin and his oldest brother Danny.

Eric and Katrina's youngest child, Henry.

His sister's dresses with their ribbons flowing.

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. In Alaska, it is legal to make your own coffin. Every wood fiber of this little coffin holds the hands and heart of Levi's dad.

It was a very bright day and we headed over to Richard and Carol's for lunch afterward. Yard full of children playing and deck chairs full of mom's catching sun while the snow was disappearing off Hatcher Pass.

I came home Saturday and worked my tail off. From one project to the next ... I managed to get quite a few things crossed off my list. :) It was a late one when my head finally hit the pillow. I woke Sunday morning, Mother's Day, to this

20 flower pots covered the counter. All painted with chalk board paint. Several weeks ago I had run in to Lowe's looking for chalkboard paint and pots for a fundraiser. Decided then that they cost too much and moved on to the next idea. The point of the chalkboard paint is that you can write and then erase ... changing contents and not wondering what is in the pot. (Another magazine idea from a while ago.) Blayde had been navigating Lowe's with me that day. I was a bit shocked to see the counter full of pots. Can't wait to get more seeds and fill them all!

Off to Ryan & Ambers to see Naomi Riitta for the first time. Oh, what a little love!! One look and I said "oh, my goodness!" She is so much her daddy's side of the family. No mistaking that. Even I can see it. The hair? No one knows where that came from. Maybe Pandemonium coffee???  My Anna has another little one to hold. :)

We sat outside for a while, catching rays of vitamin D. Another beautiful day. This child may have quite the tan before too long!

Home to chicken on the grill ... Fred was bbqing. Turned the chicken every 9 minutes for about 80 minutes. It was the best grilled chicken I've ever eaten in my life. Along with grilled potatoes and carrots. Yum!

Forgot to bring the camera to church with us and then when I had the thought to call Jari to bring it ... the thought sort off flitted away. Last day of Sunday School and Mother's Day combined. The kids all sang a song up in front of the church and then handed out flowers to each of the moms. My class spent it's time potting them. Individual pansy plants transplanted from a starter pack. Super cute idea, Janice!

So we come to Monday. 4 kids are out the door ... 1 more to go this morning. Off to work with me. A stop at the library on the way home. I desperately need something to listen to ... and then maybe off to the potting shed for a few minutes.

Have a safe, healthy and happy week.
Take a little time just for you!