Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Two days in a row!

You'll understand.
Very shortly.

So, I came home from work today after getting out 15 minutes early, and was on my bed underneath a blanket at about the time I should be leaving work.
Up again in an hour.
Brewed a pot of coffee. (It is a habit. I didn't drink any of it.)
Asked the girls (my littles) what they wanted for dinner.
Looked in the fridge and told them to help themselves to leftovers ... took my blanket ... and hit the couch.
In a most awkward position that should have my neck crooked by the time I woke up.
Jari called.
Alyx called.
I slept.
I heard Brock come and go.
I heard Fred come and go.
I heard Anna say she didn't feel so hot either.
I slept some more.
Then it was sometime after 9pm and I finally listened to Tia tell me for the hundreth time that my neck was going to hurt if I didn't move. She'd been shooing me off to my bed for quite a while by now. I wasn't listening any better than she ever does when I try do that.
I made myself a yummy piece of peanut butter toast ... grabbed a gigantic cup of ice water ... 3000 mg of vit C ... some oil potions ... and sat here for a minute. Have blog hopped from Northern MN to Northern Arizona to the north of Alaska to the city of Phoenix ... may as well blog a moment myself.

Hubby left today for the North Slope. He'll be gone until he is ready to come home. Maybe a little longer than that .. he really does like to be home. Even if our house seems to be run by hormonal teens and their hormonal mother. Poor guy.

Alyx is off vacationing in Minnesota. She left on Monday. Wonder what she was calling about this evening. I'll have to call her back when I'm awake.

My house is really quiet .. and feeling rather large at the moment. People holed up in their own corners ... sleeping or drawing.

I'm going back to my comfy spot ... under the blanket. Let's hope tomorrow goes a wee bit better. I'm On Call and it could be a very long day.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The seasons ... they are a changin'

In a few short days we have gone from what was probably the last beautiful day of fall to the chilly air and whipping winds of what feels like winter.

Wednesday Anna wanted me to try and take school pictures. It was beautiful out there! The trees were still full of leaves ... the skies were beautiful blue ... and the temp outside was a delight.
The last day of Summer.

Outside we went ... and got it done. What a miracle. School pictures done and it's only September. Major, and I mean major, accomplishment for me in the last couple of years! Senior pictures left to do for Brock ... soon!

Thursday the wind started to blow ... and I don't mean a little blowing ... I mean big time. That is normal winter activity around here. The horror of the wind. It didn't stop. Today, Tuesday, many people are still without power. Trees are still sitting on power lines. Crews working nonstop to clean up the mess. We only had small flickers of power issues and never lost ours. Amber called me Thursday and told me I had to go take a camera out to greet the moon. I love it when she does that! We really need to figure out a system for Northern Lights photography. A party phone line or something. A calls B and says "run" ... B calls C to pass the message ... that kind of thing. I'm much too old to stay up and wait for them anymore (not that I ever did)!

Was glad I ran out ....

sort of bummed that I took a quick nap first and light had faded a bit. Last year on the First Day of Autumn this mountain was covered with snow for the first time of the year.

On into a weekend that was chalk full.
Friday evening Home Services at our house. The wind hasn't stopped. It is horrific sounding. It can be still for a moment and then you hear the freight train coming from the north. It gets louder and louder ... and it's there. 78mph gusts of wind between Palmer and Wasilla on Friday night. I slept through it. Not much keeps this girl awake anymore. Bending trees and leaves being thrown to the next town. Only the most stubborn leaves are left on the trees. We only lost one tree. We were extremely fortunate.

Saturday I said "enough" to responsibility and just decided to have some fun. Material on the kitchen table ...  a book playing to keep my mind occupied ... and then hubby came home with chickens. Off to clean out the greenhouse temporarily. 4 chickens. Start praying for them. I certainly didn't do right by the last ones! Evening visiting to see the newest Hillukka family addition. What a blessing!

And then there was Sunday. Sitting on the porch in the morning and listening to that wierd sound of something hitting the roof. I thought I knew what it was. I just quite couldn't believe it. A look out the front door was proof enough. Snow was falling ... not much ... but snow it was. Then the clouds lifted on Sunday ... and I just had to run after church to a few favorite picture snapping spots real quick.

The change continues.
Leaves head off to start the journey into next spring.
Snow starts to fill the moutains that in the spring will feed the trees .. bringing back the lush of summer.

Sunlight is still with us.
The sun actually setting in the west where I always thought it did.
Soon ... it will be rising and setting in the south.

And on that note .... there are less than 3 months until Christmas!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

5 minutes ....

PARKING is what the sign says.
5 minutes to catch sunshine.
5 minutes to catch leaves changing on the lake
5 minutes to catch smiling faces.
5 minutes to revel in awesome silliness.
5 minutes to giggle before heading home to make dinner.

In a life that can be very busy ...
it only takes 5 minutes ...
to keep a mom smiling for years to come ...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

We are so blessed.

Last week there were several days when I went into work that our world was just so stunning. I finally gave in and brought the camera along one morning. Lazy ribbons of fog hanging suspended just above the ground ... 

with the towering beauty of mountains as a backdrop.

At times (I'm sure most of has have done this) I've wondered which of my senses would be the most difficult to lose. These moments make you so much appreciate the sense of sight ... with a health dose of appreciation for Canon as well. :)

It was another busy weekend. Wonderful busy. Left work a few hours early on Friday and came home to muck out my car. I moved Blayde out of it ... and myself in. Feels so good!! Then on to things inside the house ... and umpteen steps up and down the stairs to the laundry room. Which, by the way, was caught up for the moment. (The moment is now gone ... but it was here!) A run to pick up girls from HAPs. Jari was off to the airport to pick up visitors. There are so many people who, in this life, dream of coming to visit Alaska .. and so many who never seen the fulfillment of that dream. It was Aarno's dream to come fishing ... and fishing he has come ...

along with Olli who is here to take him fishing. Jari and Fred took them up to Hatchers on Saturday ....

where the skies were beautiful!

They ran to Anchorage to pick up a motorhome (could fit an entire tribe in there!) and then back here for some grilled salmon and halibut. We attempted grilled. Murphy showed up again and the grill quit working while the fish was on it. Argh. Fish finally got done ... we ate .. and then headed over to a going away party for the Dorans. We are certainly going to miss them here. We wish them a safe trip to Spokanne. While sad they are leaving, we understand the joy of reaching goals and dreams. How can we not?

I spent the day running here and there ... and will share a 5 minute stop with you in the next few days.

Sunday the guys headed to Willow as Denali was visible in all it's glory ... then a stop to visit at Ross & Denise's ... while I was home preparing a Sunday School lesson and getting dinner in the oven. It's been a while since I made pasti. It was worth staying home for. Services in the evening and then over to Richard & Carol's for the guys to have sauna. Then the travelers were off to Seward for a Monday morning fishing charter.

Over the weekend (and maybe even this morning) I've come to several conclusions. I'm ever so grateful to my parents who taught me the Finnish language. It has been a rich weekend ... made so much better by my understanding of the language. I wish it was better ... which brings me to the bright idea of the morning. Tia is doing school at home this year. I'm going to order Rosetta Stone software for her. She is going to learn some Finn ... and will love it!

Meanwhile in the world around us ... the sun is casting shadows ...

spiders have spent the summer spinning anywhere they can ....

my flowers are starting to hint that fall is here ...

the world is changing from green to browns. Leaves fall from the trees with the gentlest of breezes making me pause to wonder if it is raining sometimes. Just watching them fall can be mesmerizing.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just because it's Thursday ....

I managed to hit two grocery stores tonite ...
clean the windows ...
dust the piano ...
and the world is beautiful!

Rumor has the Aurora is visible ... rather late at night.
Maybe I'll manage to catch it this weekend.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

This has become our world

one of disappearing green ... and the coming of oranges and browns ... soon the bright of white. Won't be long .. much as I dare not admit it right now!

Awesome day today at work.
I am anxious to see how it all works out, but we are going to attempt 10 hour shifts!
This has been a long awaited for day.
For almost 3 years now, I've worked Monday through Friday ... sort of bankers hours with call time on top of that. Makes appointments difficult to say the least. Not only appointments though. One of the toughest things has been getting everything done ... and trying to get it all done in a weekend. Make that a Saturday. I know that most of the world does not consider Sunday a Day of Rest.

Our family does.

That means that the lawn doesn't get mowed on Sunday. Laundry isn't scheduled for Sunday. Neither is washing windows, bathrooms or anything else around here. If you're a working mom ... that leaves Saturday. And Saturday runs real short on hours ... incredibly short. I still do what I can, but I always run out of day before I run out of job list.
It might mean a few other changes around here as well. Maybe no more blog hopping in the morning. No more blog writing in the morning. It might mean that someone else around here cooks dinner 4 nites a week. It might mean that I'm forced to give up dinner duty. (That's a tough one for this mom .. the giving up of things.) It might have some real challenging moments ... but I think it will be good. :) At least we'll have a chance to see if it is beneficial both at home and with staffing at work.

It might also give me a few minutes in a week to do something else.
Like run around with a camera for a few minutes.
Try hold a paint brush for an hour.
Sit behind the sewing machine for an hour.
Help Tia with her school work.
Bring kids to the dentist.
Hold an electric drill and a sander.

I'm nearly giddy with the possibilities!

There is a problem with life that we all seem to encounter at some point. It doesn't stop. It doesn't slow down. It just seems to run at a faster pace all the time. And ... it isn't infinite. Somehow there needs to be time to enjoy the little things in this life for this life is finite. One needs to find time for the little moments. Moments that give you peace. Moments that make you just smile ... even if it's some little grin inside yourself that no one else can see. Oh .. they exist now. Plenty of them. I just would like a few minutes to do the things I don't have time for right now.

They may be around the corner ... we shall see!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Friday evening

after a long week of work. Why does a week seem longer when it's only a four day week? Because the weekend was so much fun and you really don't want it to stop? Friday evening is not a time I wish to be slaving in the kitchen. So this past Friday it was a dinner of Salmon Fajitas ... or whatever you want to call it.

Olive oil sprayed on the griddle ... and tortillas warmed.

I open up a can of salmon and add tartar sauce. (Super duper special thanks to Alisa for this delicious idea.) We much prefer to do these with halibut. We've even grilled halibut ... just to make the fajita ... they're that tasty. Friday nite we're relying on canned salmon instead.
Jenny: I'm adding a homemade tartar sauce recipe for you at the end. :)

Cheese on the tortilla shell ... add salmon mixture ... warm.

Mmmm. Some grilled onions and peppers.

Run to the greenhouse and grab a tomato. Pinch me! No. Don't. I did get the tomato from the green house ... the lettuce had to come from the grocer.

Fill that shell with whatever moves you. I'm not a fan of anything remotely southwest in taste. Seriously. I will eat some things. Like cheese crisp. Not much more. I have found that I really like guacamole, but no salsa for me. Eat this concoction over a plate ... you're likely to need a napkin as well.
My apologies. I can't ship you halibut. Maybe I could if I had gone fishing for some. Best not counting on me even then. I really did only catch one salmon this summer. I ate that a loooong time ago.

After you've digested this delicacy ... you grab your sauna bag.
Yes. I said sauna.
Let me tell you something about the sauna.
Jari, quite obviously, grew up with sauna being a big part of his life. As for me, I still remember going to the community sauna in Virginia. I remember countless visits to Audrey & Harry's sauna. (I can still envision that home of yours.) We really didn't have a sauna (other than Grandma's old one) at my childhood home ... until I no longer lived there. So there you go. It is not something that is woven into every fiber of my being.

Then there is the other small detail. We sort of lived in a sauna for quite a while. Jari worked on the roof for a long time ... in Phoenix ... in the summertime. Sauna every day ... for hours on end. I seriously think he has a flashback as soon as I throw the first bit of steam. Can't blame him either.
However, all that aside, we did go to Richard & Carol's for sauna Saturday evening. They have a very lovely sauna. It was a very hot sauna. Shook my head stuff right loose ... I'm now sniffling.

This memory of mine is seriously declining. I was driving along the road with you ... and I already forgot.
We grabbed our sauna bags and headed for the truck.
The truck, by the way, still had a rather long barrel sitting there still pointing out the windshield. Could have been worse. Could have been pointing in. So we went lookin' for a moose on our way to sauna. This street looked a wee bit too busy for moose traffic.

Didn't seen anything here either. We were almost singing to them.

Not a moose ... or a car for that matter .. to be seen anywhere.

And with the beautiful sun setting ... we couldn't have seen one if we'd tried.

We did have a very enjoyable sauna ... enjoyable visiting ... and then on homeward to get ready for Saturday ... with no moose processing. Maybe next week!


Tartar Sauce  (I use this for everything .. including a tuna sandwich.)

1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp pickle relish
1 Tbsp minced onion
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Friday, September 10, 2010

Some mornings

my world looks like this.
Socked in with so much fog that you would think there is an ocean on the other side of those trees.
You might even imagine that if you take a 10 minute drive you'd get to some larger body of water than the river bed. Okay. It is a large river bed ... not a creek bed.

Not today.
Today it is crystal clear out there.
This morning I saw a star in the sky.
Not my first of the season.
I saw the first one the other day. I had to keep looking to see if I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing. An airplane? No, that was the moving light to the right. The star was to the left. Must have been one!
This morning there is a star in the sky. For sure.

This morning my world is still and chilly.
I can sit outside and hear the sounds of traffic as folks move about to start their day ... and I hear the sounds of train whistles blowing.
Don't you just love a train whistle?
Especially when the thermometer reads 37 degrees this morning, the sky is crystal clear ... and the heater has turned itself on for the first time this year.

10 hours to the weekend ... not that I'm counting or anything.

I am spending a few valuable minutes this morning checking out this upcoming week's coupons. I love this handy tool. (Not that I've used it much, but would hate to buy things on sale when I know a coupon is coming out in the paper the next day.) Check it out if you're a coupon shopper. Just click on Find Out! What coupons are in this Sundays paper and you can see a list of the coupons coming out on Sunday. Then ... decide if you want to buy a paper or not! Or really make the major media folks happy and just read the news online!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Aargh and Aaaah

My internet server has been playing havoc with my life. The internet service can be just fine for several moments and then wham! it's gone. Go figure. I thought the previous post had uploaded when I was last on ... guess not!! 

Monday we spent the day in Anchorage exploring a few places. I'll share more on another day. (Another day didn't last long. I just remembered! My internet service stinks. It may be 3 days before I manage more than 2 minutes with access at the rate we're going. Maybe the moose has been chewing the line running through the woods or something.) After a brunch with Jen at the Noisy Goise, we headed into Anchorage. Our goal was to start our explore at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, and we did. Someday (but don't hold me to it anytime soon) I'm going to add something to the blog that lists places I highly recommend visitors to Alaska to visit. This would be one of them.  They also offer resident rates. Gotta love it.

By we, I mean Anna, Tia, Jen and I. My girls weren't too thrilled with the Center. They heard Anchorage and thought I said shopping. Sort of sounds the same, doesn't it? They were certainly troopers though ... and I think they learned some valuable things they'll carry with them. Aren't they just the purtiest ever?

My sister Jen. She is something else I tell you. She flew in on Thursday, picked up a rental car and headed for Fairbanks and North Pole. She has seen more things in this state, I think, than I have. I have yet to make it to Fairbanks and will ask her to give me a "must visit" list when I finally do go! The Native Heritage Center has Village Sites set up around the lake that you can tour, each set with a humanoid who explains and answers questions. Awesome setup!

From there we headed for the Ulu Factory, taking a route that could have been more direct, but what the heck. Was fun. I haven't seen Ship Creek before ... couldn't you just get into fishing bening serenaded by guitar music?!

We were driving 2 cars. The rental car. My car. Yes, I really did say mine. The big boys were out hunting ... the medium boys were home or working ... and the big girl was at the fair. I was leading my youngest sister on a wild goose chase through Anchorage. We did see some amazing architecture ... many stoplights ... a few where I had to pull over and wait on the other side because I wasn't so good at paying attention to whether it was turning red or not. We had a few minutes to fill. Not enough to run to Turnagain Arm, but enough to find a Subway (now I know there is one close to the airport ... not the one we found!) and head over to Lake Hood. It was a Lesson in Practicing Catching Reflections Day. Maybe not a lesson. We had no teacher. Thank goodness we had plenty of airplanes!

Jen was here on a $34 (correct me if I'm wrong) ticket from being bumped on a flight Iditarod weekend. She was first on the list for another bump on the way home ... but missed it. :( Caught the flight and is winging her way to the great state of lakes and mosquitos. Super fun weekend ... today I'll take a nap after work. Work?! I probably should head there. But first .... I found another one. The greenery (or reddery) isn't as clear as I'd like, but I didn't haul a tripod along with me.


Have a wonderful week! Take time to explore the marvelous world around you.

So we send off another one ...

into the working world.
Anna started at McDonald's Saturday morning.
I am thrilled to give up sleeping in on at least one weekend morning for her!
Alaska has some mighty interesting child labor laws. She will only be allowed to work weekends until she turns 16 ... and that is right around the corner. Two of my cherubs now haunt this place. :) We have a couple of years before the next one (and last one) hits the working world.

After dropping her off at work Saturday morning, we went on a hunt for some yard sales. No luck. Took the wrong roads ... and didn't find a one. Must not have been anything out there that we were in need of, hey?

On home to start some fun. I have red tomatoes!! Can't hardly believe it. Not enough to make any sauce for the winter ... but they're red! I picked the red ones, peeled and seeded them, seasoned them with basil and sea salt ... and plunked them into the dehydrator. Now I understand the high cost of sun dried tomatoes. Let's hope we like them! Jari has been snacking right out of the dish they went into. I'm hoping to have a few for some pasta dishes.

Then off to the carrots. We picked them all ... and canned them all. The tops looked beautiful as did some of the carrots. Next year I'll have to thin a little better ... and maybe try a different type of seed. I was surprised to get 10 quarts out of the garden. Done with that one! Still waiting on potatoes that aren't agreeing with us real well. Cucumbers are beyond hope. Zucchini and raspberries and still producing for us.

Amber popped over and spent the rest of the day with us. Jen pulled in before dinner ... and the night was set for games and visiting ...

and little people. Isn't Naomi just the cutest little one? She is so unbelievably good. Tired and too stubborn to take a nap ... without a wail even once.

Then there is this young energetic kiddo. Nolan has energy to burn ....

so does Tia. So she built him a web.
Ingredients needed for this little project: children and yarn.

She only did it in the dining room. My kids use to take over the entire house. They would also tie knots in the yarn. Around door knobs, lamps, anything that would hold on to the yarn. Then they would proceed to crawl and play under the spider web for hours. The fun part was always undoing all the knots they had tied. A pair of scissors did great with dismantling the whole mess ... except every knot that was tied to anything imaginable. If you think PlayDo makes a mess ... this one beats it. :)

Sunday we braved the weather ... and headed for the Alaska State Fair. It was a tad bit wet, but the rain (not the drizzle) held off for the most part until we were ready to leave.

I did manage to:

  • buy more of my favorite lotion

  • pass up the rug that is suppose to be guarantee your shoes are clean after you step on it

  • eat my very first cream puff ... and not have a major case of gut ache afterward (it really is divine!)

  • pass up mittens that I really liked ... will try making some .. and will certainly share with you should I ever get them done

  • got my funnel cake digested rather quickly

  • wondered how photography is judged

  • thinking about contributing a few things to the fair myself next year ... certainly not my carrots!

  • passed up a new pair of Danskos although I have gotten to the category of NEED in that department
  • saw the humungous punpkin and ....

even managed to go into the house of mirrors!