Thursday, November 29, 2007


My poor neglected blog. I was starting to get a guilt trip thinking about people coming here and finding nothing new. I left for Anchorage on the 23rd and got back on the 26th. I have been sick since last Saturday. I finally went to the clinic for what I KNOW is a sinus infection. I saw one of the PA's, his name is, I kid you not, Chuck Luck. He gave me some Amoxicillin and what we like to call around here the "Chuck Luck Cocktail" (take 3 Tylenol and 1 ibuprofen every 6 hours). Hopefully it will clear up soon cause I feel like I've been snorting water up my nose.

Anchorage was good, but the weather stunk. I didn't take any pictures because everything was so overcast and ugly looking. I can't stand taking pictures when the weather is like that. It's not even worth the effort of taking them because then I look at them and say yuck to all of them.

I spent A LOT of time in Walmart....... A LOT! I think I get sensory overload in there. We got into ANC about noon. I had to go ever to the Social Security office so I could apply for a new SS card. After that we went over to the 5th avenue mall. What a ZOO! I went into JC Penny and it looked like a bomb went off. All I ended up buying was 2 packages of socks for my son and a New Christmas shirt for him. That was all I could stand, I had to get out of the mall. I was lucky crowded as it was we never got there until after the rush.

I was able to see one movie. We went to see August Rush. It was a very good movie. You should see it if you get a chance. Funny, when I lived in NH and NY I rarely went to the movies. Now I try to go to at least one if there is anything decent playing. I think it's the fact that I can't just go whenever I feel like it. It makes it seem more special I guess. Hahaha....kind of like Walmart. Walmart may not seem like that big of a deal...but when you have to fly 550 miles in a Boeing 737 jet to get there it's a big, fat, hairy deal.

The nutcracker was great. It was the first time I have seen it on stage. It was a joint effort between the Oregon Ballet and the Alaska Dance Theatre. It was very nice. It would have been even better if I hadn't had the luck of sitting behind the only guy in the theatre who was at least 6' 6". This is my interpretation of the view I had for the whole show...

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By the end of the performance I had quite the cramp in my neck from trying to look around that guys noggin.

Many of the people were all dressed up in suits and dresses. Little kids with cutsie little outfits and wool coats. And then there were some people who were dressed in jeans, a t shit and a ratty fleece jacket. Hahaha....guess which one I was????. I know of the tradition of wearing your best to theatre and ballet, I expected to see that, but geez, I live in the bush. I don't even own a dress or a skirt. Not even one! I'm certainly not going to buy one just to go to the dang ballet.

My new four wheeler (or ATV as the rest of the planet calls them) came in on Tuesday. I didn't get the Honda. I decided I really wanted another machine with Independent suspension in the front and back like my old Arctic Cat 4 wheeler had. So I went with the Yamaha Big Bear. It's a nice rig. I was so proud of my brand new ride I rode around all day with the dealer tags flapping in the breeze cause I was so proud of it. My friend Kathy called me Minnie Pearl (anyone remember Hee Haw?. Anyway, it looks exactly like this...

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I keep meaning to take pictures of it but we are down to about 6 hours of visible light...5 hours of which looks like dusk. Not enough light for a decent pciture.

So we are in for some warm crappy weather. It has already started. Here's the current conditions.............

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Here is what the next few days forecast looks like......

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So anyway, that's all that's going on around here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Noatak River, Northwest Arctic Alaska.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Playing Out

Today was a nice day/ Clear and cold. I finally hauled the snowmachine out and too Uyaana and Kaija for a ride. There is enough snow on the ground and the ice is thick so I figured it was time. I broke my "No Ice Before Thanksgiving" rule by a few days. We went out behind town so Kaija could have a good run. She has been cooped up in the house lately and is getting bored and naughty. We left the house for our ride at about 3pm and were gone about and hor and a half. The temperature was about 1 F
( -17C . Here are a few of the pictures I took......

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This picture is my favorite!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Yesterday was the first real cold day that we have had so far. It was about 1F. Ok, in the grand scheme of things that is not very cold around here, but at the moment it seems like it is. It's funny how your body adjusts to temperature, because in about a month or two 1F is going to seem like a warm day.

I went out to take some pictures. Guess what I took pictures guessed it....sunset and cemetery!

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I have several shots of this particular cross.

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Here is a different section of the cemetery.

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Here's a sunset photo with a plane taking off from the airport.

Of course. That's ok. It's practically impossible to take pictures with gloves on so I didn't last very long with bare hands. My hands are terrible in the cold. They seem more sensitive to cold than most people I know. After ever 30 seconds in cold they are ready to quit so I only took pictures for about 5 minutes. See how I suffer for my art.

I have been trying to get used to using Adobe Photoshop Elements 5 to make simple corrections to my photos. I don't do much. I usually leave the colors alone and just fix spots or blemishes I might find, like the spot on this photo........

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I think it was some dust or whatever on the outside of the showed up on several of the photos.

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It was easy enough to clone it out. Out out damn spot!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Seven Weird and Random Things

I have been tagged with this meme. Here it goes….....

First, the rules:

1. Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I hate math!. I despise it. I stink at it. I avoid it at all costs. I am dreading starting this remedial idiot math course I have to take. Yuck! Yuck! Yuck!

2. I never, ever, ever write checks! I hate them. I hate waiting for them to clear the bank. I absolutely despise anything that resembles balancing a checkbook...which directly ties in to the fact that I hate math. I use a VISA Check card.

3. I always confuse the words "red" and "blue". If I mean blue I say red. If I mean red, I say blue. This is strange because I know that blue is blue and red is red, my mouth just has a mind of it's own.

4. I don't have very many friends. I have a lot of people that I am friendly with, but only 3 close friends. It's not because I am not a likeable least I think I am reasonably likeable. I just do not extend myself to people casually. I do not invest in people lightly. I tend to be reserved in that respect. It takes me a long time to warm up to someone enough t be more than a casual "friend".

5. I hate horror movies. If I have to watch them I spend most of the movie with my eyes covered and my ears plugged. It's not that I really think there are murderes and demons or whatever....I just hate being startled. I know it's coming and I get stressed out and then the thing finally jumps out and scares the crap out of me. I also hate it when someone finally kills the bad guy/thing in a movie but they just don't KILL IT ENOUGH!!! And then of course just when they let their guard down the dead thing that wasn't really dead after all comes back to life and gets them. So dumb. If some horror movie monster/serial killer was after me I would be dang sure I finished it off.
Oh and the other thing I hate about horror movies. If I EVER was by myself and heard a weird noise in the basement you can bet your last dollar that I WOULD NOT be going down there to check it out. No way!. Let the creepy crawlies bump and grind down there all they want without me......I'm not gonna go look.

6. I like spoilers. I am not one of those people that freaks out when people tell you how a movie ends. Even if I know the ending I can still be perfectly happy watching it. In fact I get really irritated if I ask someone how a movie ends and they say "I'm not going to tell you because I don't want to ruin it for you."

7. I don't think I really have any particular talent in photography. I think I just get lucky. I also don't have a lot of imagination with my pictures. I kind of get caught in ruts. I tend to take a lot of pics of just a few things. For example....sunsets and cemeteries. I have a lot of pictures of sunsets and a lot of pics of the cemetery here in Kotzebue. I don't seem to have a lot of imagination in perspective of every day objects that some people have. I look at pictures I see on the Internet or magazines and say to myself "Now why didn't I think of that?"

Anyway, there are seven things about me that some people may or may not know. That was kind of fun and it gave me something to write about.

I was tagged by Angie.
I tag Melinda. Maybe it will inspire her to update her blog.
And I tag Pam.
I would tag more...but I don't know very many people with blogs.

Wordless Wednesday

Sunset on the Noatak River. Northwest arctic Alaska.
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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sailor Boy

I'm sure that most people in can think of a food that is uniquely popular in their state. Something that they grew up on that was hard to find or not as popular elsewhere. I remember growing up in New Hampshire coffee milk shakes at McDonald's were popular, but if you asked for one anywhere else the guy at the drive thru would look at you funny. Ever try to look for Fry Sauce (a Utah favorite) in Rhode Island??? Did you know that Hawaiians eat more SPAM per capita than anywhere in the United States??

In Alaska, we love out Sailor Boy Pilot Bread. We call them "pilot crackers" or usually just plain "crackers". They are a staple in most households around here, especially in the bush. They are relitively cheap, virtually indestructable, and go with anything. If you asked a hundred different people you would hear a hundred ways of eating them.....but not many people really thought about it until a rumor surfaced that the cracker was going to be discontinued by the manufacturer. The Anchorage Daily news wrote an article about Alaska's favorite cracker yesterday and asked everyone to give their comments. Here are a few.....

"Nothing beats pilot bread with melted american cheese on it..except maybe pilot bread with goober, tuna, butter and salt, akutuq (eskimo ice-cream), smoked salmon, Spam and cheese, or just dipped in soup! It's good with anything!"

"'m from Nome and sometimes we call them "Diomede Donuts" for fun.
I used to put a slice of American cheese on one and pop it in the microwave for 20 seconds or so. Or toasted with melted butter. Mmmm...."

"we called them Bristol Bay peanut butter brownies -- pilot bread smeared with PB and sprinkled with powdered hot chocolate."

"I also like eating pilot bread crackers with dried salmon strips as it is good for soaking up the fish oil. It sure taste good when you are out hunting or camping. It is easy to carry in your backpack and does not take up a lot of room. It is quick to get out when you are sitting waiting for moose to respond to your call during the fall hunting season and can carry a lot to share with others in your hunting group. I can live on these crackers every day and buy it on a regular basis, it is definitely a staple food in our house. The cracker has changed from years ago. I have noticed that the holes are larger and they seem to crumble more easily than they use to. All in all they are good eating and am happy that they will still be available for my families consumption. Thank you Interbake for making the Pilot Bread for all Alaskans."

So as you can see, Alaskan's are passionate about their favorite cracker. Some of my favorite ways to top them are with Goober, tuna salad and Tabasco sauce, canned smoked oysters (way yummy!, salmon dip, cheese, or just plain ole mayo. We also love pilot cracker pizza.

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Take two crackers put 'em on a plate.

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Spread the crackers with pizza sauce.

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sprinkle with mozzerella cheese and microwave for 1 minute...YUMMY!

Published: November 6, 2007
Last Modified: November 6, 2007 at 05:51 PM

Maggie Roberts learned to love Sailor Boy Pilot Bread in the village of Venetie, where her grandmother always has a big box on hand. "I like eating it in soup, like moose soup or something." Susie Merculief prefers to feast on her own homemade bread these days, but has fond memories of Pilot Bread from when she lived on St. George Island. "I used to eat it before and after the Second World War. I would toast it in the oven. It was nice to put butter on it when it was warm." Lawrence Baker of Ninilchik would eat Pilot Bread every day if he could. "I like that whipped cheese on it. But I have to drive 34 miles to buy it, so I don't always have it."

Alaskans may not live by Pilot Bread alone, but they profess an unmatched devotion to the round, durable, unsalted crackers that are the staff of life for villagers, cabin-dwellers and a few city folk. So when rumors circulated that -- gasp! -- Interbake Foods might drop the cracker from its menu, Alaskans panicked. One of them, Janice Bendixen of Butte, sent an e-mail to the western region office in Portland. Was it true? Should she stock up with a case or two? Not to worry, regional business manager Jeff Poirier told her.

Interbake has no plans to discontinue the crackers, which it produces almost exclusively for Alaskans. We buy 98 percent of the stuff. Bendixen, an account executive with Northwest Strategies in Anchorage, sighed in relief and spread the word with a news release. She grew up in Nome, where Pilot Bread wasn't just a household staple. It was served daily at her school.

"In kindergarten it was our snack. It was Pilot Bread with peanut butter and apple sauce. That was in about 1968," she said. She eats it to this day, usually with a heavy stew or moose soup. She can't imagine life without Pilot Bread in rural Alaska, where its popularity is unrivaled. "You can't kill it. It's indestructible. Even when it's stale, which takes 10 years, it isn't stale when you toast it. "C'mon. It's empty carbohydrates and fat. How can that be wrong?"


Poirier thinks Bendixen is onto something. He said Pilot Bread's durability makes it a natural for rural Alaska, where some food arrives after long journeys from the Lower 48 and some people live far from stores. The crackers don't have much oil or moisture, so they last a long time. "There's nothing to go rancid," he said. "It's sturdy stuff." Poirier was in Anchorage last weekend, giving out samples of Pilot Bread at the DeBarr Costco. He wanted feedback from Alaskans about the crackers, which recently moved from a bakery in Richmond, Va., to one in Front Royal, Va.

The recipe hasn't changed, he said, but a different water supply is being used and Interbake has bought a new oven. The bakery is trying to make sure the crackers don't change much in taste or texture as a result. Audrey Larson of Anchorage sampled crackers from two different batches and pronounced both satisfying. "This might be a little lighter, maybe more crumbly," she said of the more recent batch. "Oooh, I like it." Larson discovered Pilot Bread more than 40 years ago when her husband got a job in Bethel. Before moving to Alaska, she'd never heard of it. She doesn't eat bread anymore, but she eats Pilot Bread every day for lunch. "With peanut butter and honey on it," she said. "I used to have a day care, and little kids like it too." Her only gripe is she can't find Pilot Bread when she and her husband travel to the Lower 48.

Poirier's heard that complaint before. "Anytime an Alaskan moves to the Lower 48, they freak out when they find out they can't find Pilot Bread," he said. When they call Interbake, Poirier tells them how to get it shipped via UPS.


Poirier said the 2 percent of Sailor Boy Pilot Bread that doesn't wind up in Alaska usually ends up in one of three places:

• It's sold on Indian reservations.
• It's ordered by Oregon survivalists who want to stock up on non-perishables.
• And it's shipped to Japan, where, Poirier said, the government encourages citizens to prepare survival kits in case of a tsunami or other disaster.

Pilot Bread is also known as hardtack, a cheap, everlasting cracker made of flour, water and salt. It was a staple for soldiers during the Civil War and, before that, on ships making long voyages. The highbrow set knows it as water crackers. No matter what you call it, it's dry and bland -- until you dip it in a stew or soup or top it with peanut butter, honey, jam, butter, Spam or cheese.

The Sailor Boy Pilot Bread comes in a box as familiar as the cracker itself: Navy blue with white letters and a drawing of a sailor boy who could be Buster Brown's twin. It looks like something straight out of the 1940s. Interbake's product list includes Girl Scout Cookies and a number of niche crackers and cookies. If you eat a Drumstick ice cream treat, the cone most likely came from an Interbake oven, Poirer said. The company also makes the chocolate wafers used for ice cream sandwiches.

But nothing it makes is quite like Pilot Bread.

"I can't think of any other branded product like it," Poirier said. "You bake it in Virginia and sell it all in Alaska, and it hasn't changed in 50 years. That's just weird."

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sugar Plum Fairies

Me and a couple friends of mine are going to Anchorage on the 23rd for a few days to shop til we drop. When I found out that the Nutcracker would be at the Atwood Theatre I bought tickets. I've never actually seen the Nutcracker. I've seen bits and pieces here and there and have heard the music but I have never actually sat through the whole thing. It should be fun.

The weather has been mostly overcast and the sun low so I haven't taken too many pictures outside. I did get lucky a couple of days ago and I was able to take these pictures around town. They're not too bad.....

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For a bonus I'll throw in a couple pictures of my dog. Isn't she pretty?

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Moody Monday-Lazy

Two round trip tickets from Kotzebue, Alaska to Boston to Visit the folks in NH? $1600.

Two round trip tickets on the Conway Scenic Railroad's Crawford Notch Train? $68.

Having your train obsessed little boy who begged to ride on this train sleep through 3/4 of the ride??? PRICELESS!
Lazy Bones.

Check out Moody Monday


Leave it to me to be posting Halloween pics on November 4th. I'm so prompt. For the fourth year in a row Uyaana was a power ranger.

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Please excuse the blurry photo. I forgot to put the Nikon is auto mode so it is out of focus.

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For Uyaana's class party I made spiders with peanut butter, Ritz crackers, pretzels and raisins for eyes.

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Here he is lining up with some of the kids in his class for the costume parade.

My new camera!

Well I haven't written anything one here since last thursday. I have been busy working and procrastinating and as a consequence had umpteen zillion homework assignments that I had to complete. I did resize and upload some pics to post but never got around to positn them.


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My new Nikon D40 came in!!!!!! It came on wednesday, Halloween day, from I loooove See the lovely crunched box compliments of the United States Postal Service. Really it's not that bad. When you pay for Priority Mail you only get slightly crunched boxes from the lower 48 in an average of 4-6 days. If you are cheap and send things Parcel Post, lovely United States Postal Service uses gorillas (remember the American Tourister commercials?) to throw and stomp your boxes around for six weeks until the contents are spilling out. Thank goodness uses Priority Mail and the contents of the box arrived safely.

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Here's the box it came in. I was so darn excited I couldn't wait to open it up.

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Here she is ladies and gentlemen.....MY NEW NIKON. Isn't she pretty? Pretty, sleek, shiny, and I have ABSOLUTELY no idea how to use it!

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And because I have absolutely no idea how to use it I bought these books to go with it. Hopefully they will help me find my way through the jungle of ISO's, aperture, exposure, f stops, and bokeh. I also got a book about Adobe Photoshop Elements because that program is enough to make you want to bang your head against a wall.

So like I said before, I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. I have been trying real hard to make friends with my new camera, but I'm not so sure she likes me. I decided to just take pictures in full auto mode for a while to get a feel for the camera and give me a chance to read my books and try and find a clue to what I am doing. Here are some pics that I have taken.....

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This is a leaf of the plant on my dining room table. This is about as macro as the 18-55mm kit lens will go. Not bad really. I would love to spend hundreds of dollars on a macro lens but I think I am just going to get one of those screw on close up lens thingers for now.

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Here's a close up of Kaija. I was lying on the floor down at her level trying to get a close up shot. She wsn't cooperating. If I got too close she would try to lick the lens.

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This is a shot of my friend Kathy's Rottweiler. His name is Sonnyboy. He absolutely would not sit still, so the camera did a good job keeping in focus.

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And here is a lovely photo of a water bottle on my desk at work. I was trying to do one of those close up shots where the background is all blurry. I found that my 18-55mm lens only goes to f3.8 and I need to go lower to make the background blurrier....or at least I think that's what it was.