"A mind once stretched by a new idea can never regain its original dimensions." ~Oliver Wendall Holmes

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Sunday, February 28, 2010


I'm making progress on some of the birthday list items...
#1: Vacation in another country...still looking at Mexico for christmas break. As soon as next year's school calendar comes out, I'll start looking at flights.

#2: Get a summer job...I'm working with my principal to develop a summer science camp as a reading, writing, and math intervention for next year's 6, 7, and 8th graders. Right now it looks as though I'll be teaching two two week sessions. It is currently only in the planning stages.

#3: Touch a glacier...planning a trip to Juneau, hoping to be able to complete this while I'm there.

#4: Pay off my truck...I should be able to pay it off as soon as my tax refund comes through. I'm super excited about the prospect of NOT having a car payment anymore.

#5: Read 5 books off of Newsweeks top 100 books...I'm currently reading A Brave New World. I tried to start reading The Lord of the Rings, but decided that I should read The Hobbit first since it is the backstory. And I just wasnt ready to tackle that huge book. Maybe this summer.

#6: Lose another 20 pounds...I added resistance training to my routine again and am seeing pounds begin to fall off pretty rapidly. I lost 5 pounds this week!

# 11: Read Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species...I checked at school and I dont have the book after all. I have it on my Anchorage list for when we go to town next week. I will pick it up at Barnes and Nobel along with The Hobbit. Avery wants to get some books too.

#12: Spend the summer in Alaska...I have some pretty solid plans for the summer that will keep me here all summer. I write some of that up in a separate post.

#18: Girls spa night...is in the planning phase. I am on a mission to find a few spa things in Anchorage when we go into town next week, then we will do the spa night after spring break sometime.

#20: Finish playing Twilight Princess...I have been playing a few hours each week, but am starting to get the feeling that this is a super long game.

#21: Read the Golden Compass with Avery...we've been reading a little, but our schedules are both so busy that it is hard to find some consistent, dedicated time to sit down and read together.

#23: Take enough credits to move over a column on the payscale...I have all 12 of the credits that I need planned for in the next 6 months or so. I'll include that in my what's up for summer post.

#24: Find a new favorite drink...I think this one is done. I just need to post about it.

#30: Visit three new Alaskan towns...I have Nome and Juneau planned, just need one more. It will probably be something close that I can visit by snowmachine.

February Recipe

Here is my recipe for February for my birthday list goal #10...

Salmon-Stuffed Mushroom Caps

24 extra-large mushroom caps (about two pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked and flaked salmon, bones removed, or canned salmon, drained
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup minced green onion
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard or prepared horseradish

Preheat oven to 425F. Place the mushroom caps in a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. Drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to moisten evenly. Arrange them open side down and bake until they release their moisture and just begin to shrink, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients and season to taste. Pack the mixture evenly into the mushroom caps and return them to the pan, stuffing side up. Bake until the tops are lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Recipe from...West Coast Seafood: The complete cookbook by Jay Harlow

Avery gave me this cookbook for Christmas a couple year ago and I've never used it. I also have several other cookbooks sitting around that I never use, mostly because when I want a recipe, I just look online. That's why I made the goal of cooking one meal from my cookbooks each month...I figure it's about time I put the books to use or get rid of them.

I did make some changes to the recipe above. First of all, I just used regular sized mushrooms because that's all we can get here in Bethel. I used fresh (frozen) salmon from this summers salmon run. I used dried chives instead of green onions because that's what I had available. I definitely used Dijon mustard because I dont like horseradish and I do like mustard. Other than that, I followed the recipe and they turned out delicious.

I had some extra salmon and mushroom leftover though, so I experimented a bit. I tried a different flavor of stuffing. I mixed the salmon with mayonnaise and parmesan cheese, then stuffed the mushrooms. Those turned out super delicious as well. I took the whole pan full of the two different flavors over to my friends birthday party last night and they were a big hit. Everyone liked both flavors. I liked them both as well, but I think I leaned more toward the Dijon stuffing. It had more of a tangy zip to it that really enhanced the mushroom flavor. Another person said that they really liked the parmesan ones because the texture of the stuffing was a bit more crisp. Either way...

YUM! You should try them!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Crystal Clear River Ice

This year has been weird for weather. We've hardly had any snow at all. We go for weeks with balmy weather, get a few inches of snow, then it rains. Then we go for weeks with frigid temps and wind. Right now we are in a frigid spell with temps down to -25 ambient and -50 windchill. I thought about going to the grocery store today and decided against it when I looked out the window and saw that the local ravens could not even make any progress when trying to fly against the wind. The low temps are easy to handle, but the wind can be brutal. It's a shame too because today was sunny, bright, and beautiful.
The weather this year has also caused the river to freeze very clear. These pics were taken during the K300 in January. It was the only time I've been down on the ice this year. Since then we've gotten enough of a smattering of snow here and there to cover the open patches of ice on the river. When I first walked out onto the ice on my way down to the start of the K300, I was walking along the beach for awhile before I found a spot to walk onto the river. As soon as I hit the river, I walked across a patch of ice that was clear and you could see straight down into the river water. My heart skipped a beat and I had a short sensation that falling in could be a possibility.
It took awhile to walk across the river because of all of the slippery open spot, but I made it to the start of the race where they had big flood lights set up. The flood light illuminated the ice well enough to take some pictures, although the pic do not do justice to the actual experience of standing on a frozen river and being able to look right down into it.
In some places you could distinctly see where the ice stopped about 4-5 feet under the surface, the mirky brown water still flowing underneath. After three winters here, I still marvel at the fact that we stand and drive on this frozen river and that the ice can handle all of the traffic that passes over it as if it were made of concrete or asphalt.
In places where cars were parked on clear spots in the ice, you could see the reflection of the color of the paint in the ice and it made for some very cool looking effects. Now, the river is completely covered in snow (although not very much of it) and the clear ice patches are hidden from view, allowing you to easily forget that you are standing or driving not on a snowy paved road, but a snowy ice road.

Monday, February 22, 2010

GCI sucks

For those of you reading who have dealt with GCI before, you know what I'm talking about. For those of you who dont...GCI is our local/Alaskan cable, internet, long distance, and cell phone provider. GCI started cell phone service not long after I moved here, but it has only been within the last year or so that they have been offering any sort of reliable, affordable plan. I finally broke down, cancelled my landline, and got Avery and I both cell phones. Within the first couple of weeks, we were already having issues with the service. The first problem was that you could not send or receive calls to or from landlines. They fixed that fairly quickly. The next problem was that the phones would ring 4-5 times, next hang up the call with a message on the screen saying "no answer". The problem with this is that it would not allow the phone to ring enough times to go to a voicemail or answering machine if you wanted to leave a message. The other main problem is that the voicemail messages that are left on our phones sometimes dont come through for days. All of a sudden, I'll have 5 new voicemail messages and when I listen to them, some of them will be from 5 days ago.

Each month when I get my bill, I call GCI and explain the problems to them. Each month, they run through their scripted list of troubleshooting ideas and, each month, I tell them I've already done all of this and the problem isnt my phone because I know several people who are having the same issues. Stupid. Last month when I called, I finally got to the point where I told the customer service rep that I was tired of paying full price for services that only work part of the time and that I would like a credit on my account. She gave my $20. This month, of course, we are still having the same issues in addition to the fact that we are going over on our minutes, which is ridiculous. We have 500 minutes per month and most days, I never even look at my phone. Most of my conversations take place on the weekends, so I dont know how it is possible to go over our minutes. AND I have no way of checking my minutes...how retarded is that? so a few days ago, I had gotten a text message that said we were at 80% of our minutes, but our minutes dont start over until this friday. so we have to go over a week with only 100 minutes. avery had used the phone for a long time tonight, so i called to ask how many minutes we had left. they said that they did not have access to the information. I told them that it was ridiculous that they had the information required to bill me $15 in overages last month, but when I request the information so that I can watch my own account as a consumer, that information is not available. Well, if it's not available to me as a customer who is paying for the service, then how is it available for them to bill me in overages at the end of the month? So, the customer service rep waived my overages from last month and sent me out a statement listing every call that I made last month. I am really curious to see who I talked to for 472 minutes during the weekdays (nights and weekends and mobile to mobile is free). The tech people say that they know about the 4-5 ring thing, then it hanging up and they are working on fixing it, but he said that they have not had any reports about people not getting voicemails and cannot declare an actual outage and fix it until they are hearing from alot of people that it is a problem. So, if you are having problems with your GCI cell phone, please call and tell them so we can get these issues fixed. Also, request a credit while you are on the line.

The customer service rep who gave me my credit tonight said that once the issue is resolved, I should then call back and they will credit my account for the entire time since I first reported the problem. Which problem, I asked. uhhh...either, he said. How am i supposed know if the issue gets resolved, I asked. uhhh...the tech people will call you and let you know, he said. And considering the face that I reported one of these problems back in October and reported the other problem back in November, how long is a realistic amount of time to wait to hear from the tech people about getting these issues resolved, I asked. uhhhhh....I uhhhh....Uhhh, that would be a question for the tech people, he said. do you want me to transfer you so you can ask them, he asked. No, I'm sure I'll just have to call back next month when I get my bill, I'll just address it then, I say.

Next, I asked to be transferred to the cable TV department so that I can deal with another issue. I have to be transferred because although it is the same company, they keep completely different records and even send separate bills (is that stupid or what?) So, I get on the line with the next customer service rep and tell them the same story I told them last month. My cable freezes up all the time. Usually about 8 times within the span of a 2 hour program...that's an average of once every 15 minutes (and usually during the BEST parts of every show...just in time to miss the climax...how does it do that?). Last month, I had called about this and they had given me a $20 credit and arranged to send a service tech out to the house. The service tech called me and said they could come out on that Saturday morning...they never showed. Now, here we are a month later (billing month) and still having the same issue. Again, I am tired of paying full price for services that only work part of the time. I want it fixed. They offer me some free payperview coupons and sign me up for a tech person to come out to the house. Maybe they'll actually show up this time.

Maybe one of these days the services that I'm paying for will actually work.

Maybe if everyone who is having a problem calls and complains, they will actually fix it.

If I had another choice, I would switch companies, but they have a monopoly out here. I'm so frustrated with the situation, but I will admit that the customer service reps have been good. They did the best they could to appease me, but if this keeps up I will have to make a bigger stink about it. They other option is that I could cancel my services, but that really isnt a very viable option. GCI sucks!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bethel Actors Guild Play

Last weekend, the Bethel Actor Guild put on a play called, "I love you, You're perfect...Now change!" It was a musical comedy about love and relationships all the way from the times of Adam and Eve up to the modern day.
It was sooooo funny! I was not feeling good on the day of the play (Valentine's day), but I really wanted to go, so I forced myself to get up and walk across the street to the cultural center to see it.
It was a bit provocative and R-rated at times so I'm not quite sure it was the best play for Avery to have attended. I wish they would have told us that when we were paying for our tickets. It did open up a bit of a teachable moment for a conversation about sex and relationships when we got home.

Musicals are always a bit scary because you dont know how the local talent will do. I was extremely pleased that all of the singing was not only decent and tolerable, but actually very good. A good time was had by all and I am always impressed that there is such a range of activities to be involved in for a community of our size. This weekend I havent done much except work. Friday night I worked around the house cooking, cleaning, and acting as chauffeur. I also worked out for a long time...30minutes of resistance, 30 minutes aerobics, and 30 minutes of yoga! Yesterday, I worked on the science curriculum committee, which went VERY well. We have an amazing bunch of knowledgeable and passionate science teachers. We had some extremely powerful conversations and made an amazing amount of progress for our first day. I left the room completely pumped! When I got home last night I started playing the Zelda video game that I've been working on and I got completely hooked! I played for 5 hours and didnt get anything else done. Today, I slept in, then did a great workout, took a walk to the store, did some cooking, had some friends over for dinner, and did some cleaning. Now it's already 10pm and time to think about going back to work tomorrow. I have a ton of papers to grade, but tomorrow is an inservice day so I've got an extra day to get things ready for students.

We did get a couple of inches of snow on Saturday...then, GUESS what happened? It got over freezing today and it all melted. We had a wonderfully warm and beautiful day today, which was why Avery and I took a walk to the grocery store. It was almost 40 degrees, with absolutely NO wind, and a glorious sun shining. We didnt even wear our coats...just a sweatshirt. It was wonderful, but a snow machine ride would have been nice too.

Friday, February 19, 2010

It's a pattern

We have barely had any snow on the ground all year this year. Part of the problem is that we just havent gotten very much snow, but the other bigger and more annoying problem is that the snow we have gotten cant hang on. Early in the year, maybe back in november, we got a few inches. The next day, it rained and washed it all away. Then in December, we got a few inches. A few days later, it rained and washed it all away. Then in January, we got about 6 inches. This snow was able to hang on longer than all the other snow. But today, it's raining and the brown of the tundra under the snow is already peeking through. Bah!

In other news...
I have to work this Saturday. I joined the committee of teachers who are working to review and and write science curriculum for 7-12 grade. Write now the district does not really have a district wide curriculum for those grades. It will be alot of work, but I am really looking forward to making a significant impact on the science being taught to our students. It really needs some help! Also, I have my masters in curriculum development, so I am also looking forward to putting my masters to use and adding this key element to my growing list of experience in the education profession.

Avery is attending a JH dance tonight. I was originally scheduled to chaperone, but decided not to so that Avery doesnt feel like I'm keeping my eye on him at the dance. He is all into the dressing up stuff lately and loves to wear dress clothes like collared shirts and ties. It all started when he had to dress up for a home basketball weekend and all the girls thought he was so handsome. He got so much attentions "from the ladies" that day, that he has been finding excuses to dress up ever since. So after school today, his plan is to go home and change into something fancy. I guess we will have to buy him a few more dress shirts and ties while we are in Anchorage over spring break.

Speaking of spring break....just a week to go. I am really looking forward to getting out of town for a few days. And just like always, I've got a huge list going for stuff to get in Anchorage. This time of year, I dont stress to much about getting supplies because I know it wont be much longer before I go into town with the band kids on their trip. Over spring break, we are flying to Anchorage on Wednesday and coming home on Sunday. I have an appt with a podiatrist to see what the deal with my foot is and we are both scheduled to volunteer at the Iditarod ceremonial start on that Saturday. We have a couple of free days to do some fun things around Anchorage. I would really like to go to the Native Heritage Museum and we both have several movies that we would like to see. Not to mention all of the SHOPPING we will have to do while we're there. Avery has been bugging me to go to Barnes and Noble while we are there. How cool is that?

I have made arrangements to take 12 credits between now and the end of summer so I should be able to complete Number 23 on the birthday list with no problem. I also making progress on some of the other items on my list. I hope I can accomplish all of them in the year. So fun and so motivating.

I'm stuck again on my weight loss. Stuck in the same place I was before, right at that -30 mark. I've lost all the weight that I put on over the holidays, but I just cant seem to get under that. I went back and looked at a time back in August where I was losing very rapidly to see what I was doing differently. I noticed that I was doing alot more strength training then, so I think I'm going to start doing that again and see if I can break through this barrier. That's why I love about the Wii...it keeps all your data so you can see how you are doing.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Portable Planetarium

We have had a portable planetarium at our school for the last two days. We tried to schedule as many students into the planetarium as possible based on what science class they were in. I wasnt originally scheduled to take all of my classes in, but one of the other science teachers was doing the science fair with her kids yesterday so I got to take all of my classes yesterday and today. The kids LOVED it. There were lots of oohhh's and aaahhhh's when the sun, moon, planets, and stars were displayed on the dome. It was alot of hard work for teachers at all of the local schools to put together and made the last few days more stressful than normal, but it was totally worth it! The planetarium people spent at least a day at all of the local schools, plus they even did a community night. Avery got to help with the community night because the Boy Scouts volunteered to assist with astronomy related activity stations for the kids that werent busy in the planetarium (it only seats about 30 people). The planetarium came from UAF (University of Alaska Fairbanks). They were given a grant from NASA to travel around to remote communities in Alaska. I'm so glad we got them to come to ours!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My new secret weapon

I have really been loving these little diced tomatoes for healthy cooking lately. They come in several flavors, but my favorite is basil, garlic, and oregano. You can toss these in soups and pasta dished. You can throw them in casseroles and veggies dishes. They add a really nice taste to any dish that is bland for only 50 calories per half cup serving.

here's my new super easy, really tasty, low calorie, meatless monday, favorite original recipe...

1 can of del monte diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
4-5 cloves of garlic (diced)
1 onion (diced)
3-4 zucchini or any summer squash (cut into bite sized cubes)

Heat olive oil in a skillet. Sauté garlic and onions until they begin to brown. Add zucchini. Sauté on high for a few more minutes. Add can of diced tomatoes. Cook until most liquid has boiled off.

So easy. So good. Tons of flavor. Practically no fat. Very low calories. Lots of veggies. Makes a great side dish. Or throw in some pasta. Tonight we had it just as described above along with some mashed potatoes and parsnips. Last time I made this I used both zucchini and yellow squash and it was just as good. Try it and tell me what you think. This is my first original recipe! What should I call it?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

2 done, 28 more to go

Number 17 on the birthday list is complete. I filled out the paperwork to have a certain amount from my paycheck direct deposited into a savings account here in Bethel. My first payment was deducted a few days ago from this paycheck. Right now I am not contributing enough to realistically pay for a vacation for two over christmas break. Plane tickets alone for a christmas break trip run somewhere between $1500-$2000. And that is using our $50 companion fare (once a year we get to use the companion fare, which is basically where you buy your ticket and the other person flies for 50 bucks. Although, they just upped the companion rate to $100). Once I get number 4 on the birthday list done, I should be able to up the amount that I contribute. If I do that, I should be able to save enough to pay for our plane tickets by Christmastime, although I'll probably buy the tickets in september. We looking at going to Mexico this year. Ole!

Monday, February 15, 2010

An evening spent with friends

Saturday night I had the house all to myself. Avery was out on a winter camp out with the Boy Scouts. After the long night at the sleepover with my JH kids, I was really looking forward to some quiet "me" time. I came home and leisurely lounged around the house and did some yoga. My friend Lisa called and we chatted for a couple of hours. We talked about all kinds of important things that had been on our minds and hearts for awhile...we laughed and we cried. And at the end of the conversation, we decided it had really felt like we had spent the evening hanging out together. Even though we were not physically in each others company, we were with each other in mind, heart, and ear :)

After I got off the phone with Lisa, I was feeling kind of sleepy so I laid down to take a nap. Then, the phone rang. It was a friend from here in town asking what I was doing on my Saturday night, to which I firmly responded, "NOTHING, doesnt it sound great!" Then the phone rang again and it was my friend Edije. We also chatted for hours about everything that came to mind. We talked about how weird it is that our lives are so interconnected with the people that we know and how amazing it is that we've stayed connected after all of these years. We talked about kids and how they grow up so fast. We talked about men and how they're so... well, so like men. (ladies, you know what i mean) We laughed and joked and got a little loud and obnoxious. We had fun!

When I got off the phone I was smiling ear to ear and my heart was filled with joy knowing that even if we are thousands of miles apart, I will always be able to spend a Saturday evening with friends.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

JH sleepover.

On Friday night, I had my yearly JH sleepover with the kids who had good participation and behavior for the first semester. There were 15 kids eligible to attend, but a couple were out of town and a couple of them just decided they did want to spend the night. The rest of us had a great time.
Most of the kids went down to the basketball games that were going on in the gym. That actually gave me some time to work in my classroom and get some things done. We ordered pizza and I baked a cake and some brownies for the party. After the games, all of the kids came back down to my room and hung out. Anna and Avery did some boxing with those huge boxing glove pillows that Anna had brought with her.

Some of the kids played video games on the big smartboard screen and some of us played board games. We actually played alot of board games. And I was involved in at least one round each of sorry, life, and monopoly. After the gym was cleared out from the games, we went back down to the gym and the kids got to shoot around for awhile. A few of them even threw a football around. They played a few rounds of hide and seek around the school. Then we came back down to my room and watched movies until everyone got sleepy enough to go to sleep. I think me and most of the kids went to bed around 3am!

Here they are in the morning when we woke up, put my classroom back in order, and cooked pancakes. They were definitely not as full of energy in the morning. We had a great time. It's so much fun to interact with the students on a different level then my day to day role of teacher in the classroom.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dirty underneath

It warmed to just above freezing yesterday, which was enough to melt all of the snow off of my truck (and other vehicles around town). Underneath all of the snow and ice, is a thoroughly disgusting layer of filth. I would estimate that I have washed my truck MAYBE 10 times since we moved here almost three years ago. Which is a big switch because my truck had a bath faithfully once per week when we lived down states. There really is no point in washing it here. In the winter, you just cant because there is nowhere with 1) a hose, 2) indoor were its not below freezing, 3)unlimited water. Then during the four months that encompass spring, summer, and fall, there is so much mud that even if you wash it, it's just dirty again in five minutes. Also, the dirt here is mostly sand, so when you wash your car/truck, it's like giving it a nice sanding job. It puts tons of little scratches in the paint. So last year I had decided that I wasnt going to wash it again until I moved out of here. Then I would get it washed, buffed, polished, or whatever it took to get the paintjob restored. Well, since then, I've decided to stay for 4 more year, so that plan isnt really feasible anymore. Maybe I'll just sell it...the blue book value on it is more than I even paid for it brand new....I've seriously been considering it. What do you think?

1 done, 29 to go

I completed Number 13 on my birthday list. I had to wait for the website administrator to add my name to the alumni list because technically i didnt graduate from the high school that I went to for almost 4 years. I ended up moving the last nine weeks of school. It was awful, but necessary at the time. Now that my name is on the list, I went on and created my profile. Chaparral High School class of '98! Maybe I'll be able to make some connections with long lost friends....although, to be honest, there are only a handful of people on the 98 alumni list that I even remember. It's weird to think that I spent 4 years of my life with these people and dont even remember them. I had so much going on in HS. I worked a full time job and had a brand new baby brother in the house to help with. Then in my Junior year, I moved out on my own and had an apartment to take care of. For me, school was just a way to move up in the world. I went there, did what needed done, and left. I really dont remember anything much or many of the people. It's also hard to believe that I graduated almost 12 years ago!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Feeling better = Productive

1 eye doc appt with avery +
2 donuts and chocolate milks for our breakfast +
2 weekly lesson plans written +
5 phone calls made +
31 kids signed up for brown bag lunch+
120 papers graded+
20+emails written+
1 positive action lesson taught+
55 kids finished with a microbiology lab+
2 gallons of water hauled home+
1 trip to the post office+
1 trip to the grocery store+
24 new science tables ordered (by my principal) +
1 great possibility for a summer science camp job+
1 SIOP observation+
20 copies made for tomorrow+
50 bacteria cultures prepared for incineration+
1.5 hours spent in a SIOP class with colleagues+
1 preconference with my boss for my formal evaluation+
30 minutes jogging+
20 minutes workout+
5 blogs read+
1 hour reading profiles on my HS alumni website+
1 new to do list created for tomorrow+
1 chapter of golden compass read aloud with avery+
2 blog posts written+
1 really productive day

It's amazing how much a person can get done when they're feeling better! I felt like I had accomplished more in the first 2 hours of my day today than the 4 days prior! My stomach isnt all the way back to normal, but it's MUCH better today.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Year 2 in the life of a clustermap

The map above is my archived map, while the map below is the map with all of the individual dots and has more detail.

Last year I was just under 4000 readers, so there are alot more people out there who are reading. And lots of people who are reading everyday. And it's fun to see where they are all from.

Current Country Totals
From 8 Feb 2009 to 9 Feb 2010

United States (US)4,737
Japan (JP)98
Canada (CA)54
United Kingdom (GB)50
Australia (AU)23
India (IN)22
Brazil (BR)19
Malaysia (MY)14
Germany (DE)13
Spain (ES)11
Korea, Republic of (KR)10
Romania (RO)9
Italy (IT)8
Russian Federation (RU)8
Indonesia (ID)7
New Zealand (NZ)6
Singapore (SG)5
Netherlands (NL)5
United Arab Emirates (AE)5
Philippines (PH)5
Pakistan (PK)4
Poland (PL)4
Sweden (SE)4
South Africa (ZA)3
Argentina (AR)3
Belgium (BE)3
Portugal (PT)3
Turkey (TR)3
Taiwan (TW)3
Vietnam (VN)3
Mexico (MX)3
Saudi Arabia (SA)3
Egypt (EG)3
Guatemala (GT)2
Norway (NO)2
Ukraine (UA)2
Thailand (TH)2
Denmark (DK)2
Colombia (CO)2
Costa Rica (CR)2
Hungary (HU)2
China (CN)2
France (FR)2
Ireland (IE)1
Peru (PE)1
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (LY)1
Iran, Islamic Republic of (IR)1
Finland (FI)1
Israel (IL)1
Estonia (EE)1
Greece (GR)1
Saint Lucia (LC)1
Nepal (NP)1
Chile (CL)1
Macedonia (MK)1
Slovakia (SK)1
Czech Republic (CZ)1
Austria (AT)1
Hong Kong (HK)1

Monday, February 08, 2010

Word verification

The blog has been getting hit lately by alot of spam comments....advertisements, jibberish, and such. Apparently this is happening more and more to alot of people's blogs, so it's a wide spread problem. I have always gotten spam comments, but before it was maybe one or two every few weeks and I would just go in and find the comment and delete it. Now I'm getting more spam comments than real comments and it seems to be happening on a daily basis. To try to reduce this problem, I have enabled word verification on the comments section of my blog. This just means that after you write a comment, you will just have to type in some random series of letters so that the blog knows you are a real person, not just a spam generating computer. I hope this small step doesnt deter anyone from commenting.

I'm sick. On Saturday, I spent my whole day wrapped around the toilet vomiting violently. My whole body was sore on Sunday and I had lost almost 3 pounds (now I see why people turn bulimic) . On Sunday I felt better and was able to eat, but still wasnt back to normal. Then this morning I was back to vomiting again. So, I stayed home. And the time I'm not spending in the bathroom hugging the toilet, I spent in bed sleeping. I honestly dont thing I've ever slept so much (and that's saying something, cause I love to sleep). I tried to go to work this morning. I got up and dressed and tried to convince myself that I could do it and that I would be fine, but I was miserable. I have so much happening at school right now that I just didnt want to be absent. I felt terrible about not being there. I usually dont feel that way, but today I did.

We had our 2nd annual ThanksSuperBowl party on Sunday. Since all of us friends here usually are traveling around the holidays, we dont get a chance to do anything together. So on the day of the SuperBowl, everyone cooks a Thanksgiving type of dish and we all get together. My stomach was still pretty uncertain yesterday, so I did not get to enjoy the gorging to its fullest. However, seeing the Saints win made up for it! We had fun! And its has now become a yearly tradition.

Tax time is here. I am again doing taxes for a bunch of people. I havent started yet, but the idea of adding another thing to my insanely long list of things to do is daunting.

Avery is doing so awesome. These last couple of months he has really matured alot. Many of the ideas and concepts that I've been trying to teach him are finally coming together...taking responsibility for you actions, being nice to people if you want them to be nice to you, having an attitude just makes life that much harder. It has been fun to watch him grow and mature right in front of my eyes....and it makes all the struggles worth it.

Avery school pictures are in and I got a bunch of the Alaska bird calendars for people. I know it's late in the year for a calendar, but they were free and I've sent them out every year that I've been here. So I'll be sending out calendars and school pictures soon.

I know there are lots of other things going on, but this is all the energy can muster for blog writing today. I'm going to go back to the groove that I've carved out in the couch now.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

I just dont feel like it

I know I should post something new and I have lots of ideas about things I want to say, but I havent been feeling well these last couple of days and I just dont feel like doing much of anything. I'll get it together soon.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

30 things to do before I turn 31

  1. Vacation in another country (complete)
  2. Get a summer job (complete)
  3. Touch a glacier (complete) (complete better)
  4. Pay off my credit cards or truck (complete)
  5. Read at least 5 books from Newsweek's Top 100 Books:The Meta List (complete)
  6. Lose another 20 pounds
  7. Take a family photo (complete)
  8. Finish my Rubicon curriculum maps
  9. Take an exercise class
  10. Use my cookbooks to create a dish once per month (February) (March) (April) (May)
  11. Read Charles Darwin's On the Origins of Species
  12. Spend (most of) the summer in Alaska (complete)
  13. Create a profile on my HS alumni website (complete)
  14. Ship more of my belongings from Ohio to Alaska (complete)
  15. Update my resume
  16. Filet, cook, and eat a salmon that I caught (complete)
  17. Start (and contribute regularly to) a vacation fund (complete)
  18. Host a girls spa night or a game night (complete)
  19. Plan a Bingo get together with as many people as I can get (complete)
  20. Finish playing Zelda: Twilight Princess (complete)
  21. Read the Golden Compass Trilogy aloud with Avery (complete)
  22. Ban (almost) all Christmas spending this year (complete)
  23. Take enough credits(12) to move over a column on the pay scale (complete)
  24. Find a new favorite drink (complete)
  25. Visit/volunteer at the local senior center
  26. Update my photo albums
  27. Attend a city council meeting
  28. Give an anonymous gift (complete)
  29. Play in the snow/build a snow cave (complete)
  30. Visit at least 3 Alaskan villages/towns/cities that I've never been to (complete) (Nome) (Whittier) (Juneau)
The first four on the list are goals that I did not get completed on my last birthday list and the rest are new. I wanted to focus on goals that I can definitely accomplish and stay away from goals that I have no control over. I also focused on goals that have a definite end so that I can write about them as they get completed. I'm looking forward to a whole new year of fun and excitement!

Happy Birthday to me!

I had a great day today. Some of the kids found out it was my birthday and hung a sign on my door. I had kids coming in all morning wishing me "Happy Birthday" before I finally realized why. My friend baked me the most amazing cookies and Avery baked me a cake. That's all great and everything, but the problem is that I actually ate all that stuff. Way too many calories!

The big 30...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Unaccomplished goals

Seeing as how I turn 30 in about an hour, I thought I'd better wrap up the old birthday list so that I can start working on the new one...

There are 6 goals on my previous birthday list that I did not get accomplished. I did get 23 out of 29 completed though, so I'm pretty happy with that. Some of these goals were things that I could not control.

3. See the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
4. Pay off my credit cards or truck
8. Vacation in a different country
9. Get a summer job
18. Fall in love
23. Touch a glacier

I'm really close to having Number 4 completed. Probably only a few more months until my truck is paid off. I would still like to accomplish all of these things, so I've been debating with myself about what I should do with these goals. I could just leave them alone on this birthday list and go back and check them off if I do get them completed OR I could make them the first 6 goals for my new birthday list. What do you think readers? I'm posting a survey on the sidebar where you can vote, but you better hurry up...I'm hoping to post my new birthday list soon!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Tuntutuliak and back

Here are the pics...I'll write about it as soon as I get a chance.