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

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March recipe(s)

For my March recipe for Number 10 on the Birthday list, I was flipping through my crockpot cookbook and just couldnt find one recipe that I wanted to try...I found several. I gave the tortilla soup recipe a try. After cooking in the crockpot, you had to run it through a food processor to make it creamy rather than chunky. I just put it in my blender, but that was more inconvenient than it was worth.
The soup turned out ok, but not great. I wont make that recipe again...not worth the hassle of the food processing step. Next, I tried a beef stroganoff recipe. I use moose meat to make stroganoff all the time, but i always do it the same way. I thought I would try something different. WOW, it sure was worth it!
This recipe turned out AMAZING. The moose was more tender than any moose I've ever eaten. It is hard to get moose to turn out tender. Not only was the moose tender, but the flavors in the recipe were really great too. The meal had an excellent depth of flavor. This will be how I do stroganoff from now on!

I crushed my sesamoid

Way back in November, I hurt my foot working out (on the Wii). I was doing jump lunges and jump squats barefoot. The next day, my big toe hurt really bad. I didnt really think anything of it at the time. I just thought maybe it was a pulled muscle or bruise or something and it would heal. The pain subsided after about a week, but then came back a few days later after another intense workout. After a few weeks of the pain coming and going, I finally went to our local family clinic where the doctor told me he really didnt know what the problem was. He said that feet are complicated and it could be any number of things, but to just lay off it for awhile (it's kinda hard to layoff a foot) and if it doesnt get better to come back. Over the holidays, it didnt bother me quite as much because I wasnt working out and was pretty much "laying off it". After Christmas break though, I started to workout again and the pain came back, but this time it was just a constant ache (of varying degrees of pain) in most of my foot rather than a sharp pain in my toe. I finally decided enough was enough and went to see a podiatrist while we were in Anchorage over spring break. They took several X-rays and the doctor told me that I had broken my foot. The actual diagnosis was a crushed sesamoid and sesamoiditis. Your sesamoids are located under the ball of your foot and help to control the motion of the big toe. Their are two of them and they are round, floating bones (similar to the kneecap) about the size of a pea. In the top X-ray you can see them just under the second knuckle of my big toe. In the bottom X-ray you can see them distinctly under the ball of my foot (the position they made me get in for this X-ray was extremely painful). For some reason, the picture I took of this X-ray wont rotate. In both x-rays you can see (click on the pics to make them bigger) that the sesamoid toward the inside (medial) of my foot still retains its nice round appearance, while the one toward the outside (lateral) of my foot appears to be more of a crushed, screwed up, half circle. That's because the top half of the sesamoid bone is in small, shattered pieces. The doctor said that she thinks it has already started to heal, but that it will most likely take at least another six months to heal to the point where I dont feel pain anymore. She told me that the pain has spread over my entire foot now because the tendon (or was it ligament?) that goes in between the two bones has become inflamed and arthritic (sesamoiditis).

The doctor gave me an over the counter orthotic to put in my shoe which provides more arch support, thereby decreasing the amount of pressure that is put on the sesamoid. I have also been instructed to "lay off" it some more. I am not allowed to wear heels :( I am not allowed to do anything that makes my foot come down hard on the floor like jogging or jumping. :( I am not allowed to do anything that causes my toes to be bent forward very far like some yoga poses. :( I was instructed that a biking would probably be the best form of cardio for my current broken foot situation. Considering that its still negative ridiculous degrees outside, I found a good deal ($40) on a stationary bike and picked it up a few days ago. Today I rode 12 miles in 45 minutes and burned 500 calories. Not bad. I am feeling my motivation creep back in.
Doctor says if the pain doesnt get better in a month that we will have to move on to a boot. Then if that doesnt work, steriod injections. And if that doesnt work, surgery. My foot is feeling better already, although not as much as I had hoped. I have noticed lately that I have started to roll my foot to the outside rather than putting my weight flat down. I am trying to be conscious of that and trying to stop doing it. I feel like a bum wearing flats everyday to work, but it's definitely better than pain. At this point, I just hope that it heals and that this will not be something I have to live with for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

4 done, 26 more to go

Number 2 on the birthday list is complete. I am going to be teaching 2 two week science summer camp sessions this summer. It is official. I have filled out my paperwork and the budget has been alloted. The co-teacher that I'll be working with has been chosen and hired. We will be meeting on Monday for the first time to plan out some of our ideas and look at resources. The summer camp will be a reading, writing, and math intervention for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. It will be based around science activities that are fun and engaging. I am so excited about this opportunity for so many reasons, here are a few....
  • getting kids excited about science (these are the kids who have often developed a distaste for science, and sometimes school in general, by the time they reach JH)
  • getting to know some of the kids that I will have as students in the years to come
  • helping our lowest students with some much needed skills
  • bridging some of the gaps in achievement
  • forming a strong working relationship with a teacher at the elementary school
  • working with someone who has a really strong reading/writing background while I have a strong science/math background
  • providing students with opportunities and learning experiences that will help them be more successful in their learning career
  • the freedom to plan the entire curriculum
  • putting my master degree in curriculum design to use
  • developing a really solid curriculum that will make a difference for these kids
  • opportunities to work on cool science projects that I dont have time for during the school year...no textbooks here
  • allowing the kids to DO science, not just READ science
  • 24 extra paid contract days at my daily rate
  • a very nice supply budget that will allow us to provide the kids with some really outstanding science activities
  • making connections within the community
  • doing some community science projects that will allow the kids to see a real life connection to the content
  • showing students how their learning is interconnected (reading, writing, math, science)
  • learning ways to teach reading and writing to my low achieving students
  • continuing my use of the SIOP to embed language learning into the science content
I am so super excited about this project/teaching opportunity/learning experience. I have pretty much been given full reign over this summer camp. I even wrote the proposal, helped plan the budget, and recruited a co-teacher. I have some great ideas and know that the teacher that I'm working with does too. I plan to make this opportunity the best it can be for our students.

Monday, March 29, 2010

3 done, 27 more to go

Number 4 one the birthday list is complete. I mailed the check to pay off my truck today. With my tax return money plus a little savings, I was able to finally say BYE BYE to my auto loan. It took four years to pay it off. It is still in excellent condition and has less 30,000 miles on it. Now I can start working on the credit card! After that, maybe I'll work on the mortgage. Does it ever end?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What I've been thinking about...

This weekend was Cama-i weekend. I had a couple friends from the village come into town for some socializing and festivities. We spent a long Friday and Saturday at the dance festival, followed by a lazy Sunday at home. Avery and I both volunteered at the festival, Avery selling ice cream for the cross country team (he plans to join next year) and me doing crowd control. Most of the time, we just spent enjoying the dancing. I love the festival. It draws lots of people in from out of town. The school is packed with people and there is so much going on. It's about as exciting as things get here in Bethel...and a nice break from the routine. I also enjoy seeing the native dances of many different eskimo peoples coming together on one stage. Seeing all of those people come together like family, as a community, reminded me of why I moved here in the first place...because I wanted to live in a place where the word COMMUNITY still means something. I am going to try more actively to learn more about native heritage and culture. I would like to become more of a part of that strong native community...and I would really like to learn how to Yuraq (native dance).

I shared with the church congregation today that our prayers for Adrian were answered...and not just once. Not only did Adrian's surgery go well, but she is recovering nicely AND the tumor is not cancer. The congregation has been praying for Adrian, along with all of you out there, and were so happy to hear that our prayers have been answered. I felt such a strong sense of fellowship with the people in that room today, I feel like I have grown so much as a Christian since I started attending there almost three years ago. It is the first time that I have ever gone to a church that I feel comfortable in. In this church, I feel as though I am part of something with purpose, something meaningful, something bigger than my own little bubble. I feel a sense of peace. I also feel as though my faith has grown so much stronger. One of the things I like the best is the pastor. I never feel as though I am being preached at, but rather, that the word is being shared with each and everyone of us with the challenge that we take that knowledge figure out how the Lord's message fits into our life. I feel as though I am finally an active participant in my journey of faith rather than a bystander.

Additionally in church today, the pastor opened with an analogy to travel. He spoke of how frequently we travel here in our region by plane. For the most part, if you want to go anywhere you have to catch a plane. As he said this, I thought about how many friends I have that live in the Lower 48 who have never flown on a plane. Who have not had the opportunity to go places beyond where the roads will take them, and I realized how lucky I am that I have the opportunity to experience so much in such a short time. That I am lucky that I am living in such a wonderful and unique place. That I am living my dream!

After writing that post about how parents can send messages to their children both blatantly and subtly, I did some reflecting on my own parenting as of late. I realized that I have been focusing too much on the things that Avery wasnt doing right and not spending enough time praising him for all the great things he does. I think this is a common human mistake, parents do it to their children, spouses to each other, and even coworkers. Sometimes, it is easier to notice the negative because we just expect the positive and this can turn any relationship sour. It seems so easy to get into a negative feedback loop. I realized that because of my frustration with him (his typical teenage behavior) lately, I was probably inadvertently sending him messages that I wasnt intending to send. I had a long talk with Avery today in which I pointed out my role in our negative loop as of late, then I apologized to him and made a commitment to him to do my part to turn our negative loop into a positive one. (Maybe I could use some of those prayers now :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A living legend

Here is MaryAnn Sundown and the Scammon Bay dancers...

Every year, MaryAnn is one of the highlights of the Cama-i dance festival in Bethel. This year, she was recognized as "A Living Legend" with a small ceremony and award.
Everyone who was part of her family got up on stage with her during the tribute. Some of them were people from Bethel.It is so much fun to watch her dance. I am so impressed with the Cama-i festival people (Bethel Council on the Arts) and the fact that they presented her with the living legend recognition. Why do we so often wait until the people who are important to us have passed on before we realize that we should honor them? What a great way to show respect to MaryAnn for the amazing life that she has lived and the wonderful dances that she has passed on. I'm so glad that I was able to be a part of it.The little girl dancing in this photo was so adorable. She LOVED to dance. Of course, her motions were a little different, but she kept time to the beat of the drum with amazing accuracy.

PT Conferences

Parent Teacher Conferences were on Wed/Thurs this week. I think this was the lowest turn out that we've had in my three years here. Some people mentioned that it might have been because the weather outside was sunny and nice. I dont have numbers yet to say what percentage of my students' parents showed up, but I would estimate it to be somewhere around 40%. Usually we have a turn out of 60% or more.

One of the biggest obstacles we face as a school is the attitude that parents pass on to their children about the value of education. I cant tell you the number of conversations that I have with parents that go something like this....

Parent: How is ______ doing in your class?
Me: Right now their grade is not passing because they are missing too much school.
Parent: What can _____ do to bring their grade up?
Me: The biggest thing that will help their grade would be to come to school everyday.
Parent: Yeah, I know, but sometimes they just dont get up in the morning and go.
Me: Is their someone at home in the morning who can wake them up and make sure they go to school?
Parent: Yeah, I'm home in the morning and I tell them to get up, but they just dont.
Me: Well, when _____ comes to school, s/he does a really great job, but s/he just needs to be here everyday.

Sometimes instead of the parent saying that the kid wont get up in the morning, they say that it's because they missed school because the family went on vacation to anchorage for a week to do some shopping. Or sometimes its because their kids just isnt feeling good. Or sometimes the parent doesnt say anything at all.

When parents are not supporting the education process, their kid grows up not valuing school/education. When parents are not making education an important part of the child's life, it is next to impossible for us (teachers, principals, etc) to combat that. In order for a child to consider school/formal education important, the parents have to instill that value in their children. This negative attitude about school can be passed on to kids in many ways. It can be blatantly obvious, like a parent telling a kid out and out that school is a waste of time. It can be a parent that takes their kid out of school for weeks at a time just to go on vacation in Anchorage. It can also be something as subtle as saying to a child, "I'm so happy today is a day off school." or "Thank God you dont have to go to school today" or "I cant wait for spring break so that you can stay home from school" All of those little things eventually build up and if a child hears repeatedly that the parent is happy when the kids get to stay home and disappointed when their child has to go to school, eventually the child will begin to think that going to school is a negative thing.

Over and over, this attitude is being handed down to kids at an alarming rate. In order for kids to consider education important, they have to see that their parents consider education important as well. How can a teacher convince a child that school is important if the parents have already convinced them that it is not?

Good news!

The results from Adrian's biopsy came back. The tumor was just a tumor. It was NOT cancer. She is doing well. She was up and walking the very first day and is back at home now. I just got off the phone with her and she sounded really good. Thank you for your prayers...they were answered!

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's all good...

Adrian's surgery went well. Doctors said it went exactly as planned and there was very little blood loss (which was their biggest concern according to my mother). The tumor was inside the kidney. Doctor peeked around while he was in there and said that he didnt see anything else. The tumor has been sent away for analysis and we will find out in a couple days if the tumor was cancerous or not.

Thank you for you prayers. Thanks to God for listening.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Our new set up...

Pretty slick, eh? We just set it up last night and I'm really enjoying it. The picture is fantastic. I'm going to play some video games on it tonight. The video games look really incredible on the new TV.

In other news...
I've been incredibly unmotivated for the last few weeks. I'm sorry that my posts have been few and far between, I just havent had the motivation to do much of anything. I havent been working out or eating right. My bathroom is overdue for a good cleaning. I've been slacking on my lesson planning. I havent cooked a good meal in days. I just cant seem to get motivated. I'm tired and lazy all the time. I'm not sure why I've been so unmotivated. I'm sure some of it has to do with the weather being so blah all winter. I think some of it also has to do with the fact that I havent been working out so my energy is really low. Some of it may have to do with the time change for daylight saving time.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Prayer request

We found out recently that my 26 year old sister, Adrian, has a large tumor on her kidney. On Monday, she will go in for surgery to have the tumor removed along with her kidney. The doctors say that the tumor is most likely cancer, but we wont know for sure until the tumor is biopsied. If praying is what you do, please pray for my sister and our family. If not, please keep us in your thoughts. Thanks.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Nothing Particularly Interesting

Went to a play on Friday night. It was called "Back to the 80's" and it was HILARIOUS. The costumes, the music, the dance moves, the phrases...the everything...it was so Junior High. Banana clips, wool sweaters, tight rolled stone washed denim, outrageous eyeshadow, jean jackets, spendex, and crimped hair. I laughed so hard my cheeks hurt by the end of the night, but I forgot my camera.

Saturday, I had to work all day with the science curriculum committee. I went so well. Each time we have met, I have left completely pumped and sooooooooo excited about the possibilities/opportunities that we will be providing for our students.

Saturday night I sat around, talked on the phone, and worked on taxes. It was a productive night.

This morning I got up early even with the loss of an hour. I did my yoga routine, went to church, and did some cooking. Some friends came over for dinner and we sat around talking and laughing, drinking wine, and planning our girls spa night.

Tomorrow, we have an inservice day. The students get the day off, but us teachers still have to go to work. The end of the third quarter is this friday. I cant believe there's only 10 weeks of school left. So much still to teach.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Teach a kid to cook...

And he'll invite 8 of his friends over for a stir fry dinner.
And leave a huge mess in the kitchen for his sister to clean up.And then all of his friends will raid his underwear drawer and run around posing and taking pictures in his clothes. So goofy! Every single girl in the picture is wearing Avery's clothes.

Since we moved here almost three years ago, Avery has been cooking dinner one night each week. Over time, he has become fairly comfortable in the kitchen. Thursday is his night to cook dinner. Yesterday he asked me if he could cook stir fry for dinner and invite a few friends over. SURE! Today, he came to me after school and said that 8 people were planning to come over. WHAT! Ok, sure.

Avery went home right after school and started working on getting dinner around. He made lemonade and cut up the chicken breasts. I stopped by the store on my way home and picked up some eggrolls for him to make with his stirfry and a few extra veggies since he was cooking for 10 people (8 friends plus him and I). He did a chicken teriyaki stir fry with rice and tons of veggies...carrots, bean sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, eggplant, and tomatoes. I made three desserts and they ate all three!

Right now they are upstairs acting like a bunch of crazy teenagers. They are taking a bunch of crazy pictures with my camera because the batteries died on the one camera they had. They are listening to music and talking about crazy stuff. Avery's bedroom door is open (of course), so I can pretty much hear every word they say. It's fun to listen to. This is the first time Avery has had girls come over and hang out. It'll be fun to see their pictures.

Ok...everyone went home at around 8:30. Here are the pics I got off my camera....
Everyone said thank you and told Avery what a good time they had! They all want to do it again! They are planning a movie night...when the new TV gets here.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Iditarod

Here are some of the pictures that I promised from the Iditarod. Above is my dog handling class learning from a former Iditarod musher how to handle dogs at the starting line. Below is a busy 4th avenue, where the Iditarod is held in downtown Anchorage. The city brings in tons of snow to cover the streets so that the sleds can start their race.
Advertising is everywhere, even on the dogs backs. At least it is advertising for something good.
A dog team lines up at the starting line. When the dogs get to this point, they are pretty wound up and ready to run. It takes alot of strength to keep the dogs from getting a head start of the line.
Avery and I had a front row seat to the race. Here we are with a dog team running right behind us.
Here is the musher whose dog I handled for getting geared up for the start of the race. Jim Lanier is the oldest musher in the race at 69 years old. He has raced in the Iditarod in each of the 5 decades that it has existed. He is in 23rd position in the race standing right now.
Here is the dog truck with the dog all tied up, harnessed, bootied, and ready to go! They are all beautiful dogs and so friendly and lovable.
These were the two dogs that I helped to handle for.
Avery and I standing near the starting line with a team coming through the chute. You like my new coat? I love it!
This was Avery's spot during the entire raced. They had so many volunteers that we didnt really have much to do, so for most of the race Avery and I just sat and watched.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Iditarod start videos

Here are a couple of videos from the ceremonial starting line of the Iditarod. Avery and I had front row seats since we were volunteers we were allowed to stay inside of the fence the entire time. In the video below you get a good view of the dogs coming off the starting line.

In this video, you see John Baker's team. He was the winner of our local K300 race this year. During the ceremonial start, the mushers have two sleds attached to the dogs...one for their Iditarider and then their actual sled that they will use in the race. The Iditarider is a person that gets to ride for fun during the Anchorage ceremonial start. I'm not sure how the Iditarider are chosen...I wonder if they are connected with sponsors or do they pay for it or is it like an award or something...I dont know.

What we're reading

Someone asked what books we got while we were at Barnes and Noble, so rather than list them, I thought I would just show you. You can click on the picture to make it larger if you cant read the titles. I think I'm going to start reading The Hobbit first and Avery has already started his new Chronicles of Vladmir Todd, it's the 4th book in the series.

In other news...
We made it home. All the baggage worked out and I've got most of it put away already. I'm tired, but I really have so much to get done to get ready to go back to school tomorrow. I should go over to school and do some work, but I just dont feel like it.

I bought a new workout game for the Wii. I got The Biggest Loser game. I've been totally into the show lately, so I thought I'd check out the game. I'm scared to get on the Wii and see how much I gained over our 5 days in Anchorage. About 5 pounds, I'm guessing. Well, I suppose I'll go check out my new game, do a workout, and maybe get motivated to go over to school and work there for awhile. I'll let you know how I like the new game.

That's all for now...


our last day in Anchorage. We volunteered with the Iditarod this morning. There were so many volunteers that we didnt really get to do much, but we got front row seats to the last great race on Earth. It was very cool. I will post some pics when I get home. After the race, we had lunch at the Golden Corral buffet. We got free coupons for volunteering, which was cool. After lunch, I took a nap for awhile, then we went bowling and grocery shopping. Now everything is packed and ready for our flight home in the morning. Have to be at the airport at around 10am. Flight leaves at noon. I have 6 pieces of "luggage" to be checked, then Avery and I both have a carry item and a "personal" item. To give you an idea of what a job it is to pack everything, here is a run down of my baggage...

6 checked bags, each can be up to 50 pounds and cannot be more than 62 linear inches (that means that when you add the length, width, and height, it has to be 62 or less)...
Bag #1...box of pots/pans, box of pyrex cookware, and 24 pack of TP all strapped together (it may be pushing the 62 linear inch rule..I guess we'll find out if they take it)
Bag#2...rubbermaid tote with various items such as laundry detergent, cleaning products, bathroom products, etc
Bag #3...rubbermaid tote with 50 pounds of various kinds of meat and cheeses
Bag #4...50 pounds of choice adult beverages packaged and strapped by the liquor store
Bag #5...my big suitcase packed with all the other odds and ends that didnt fit in other bags including some groceries and some walmart type stuff and some of our winter gear
Bag #6...Avery's suitcase (dufflebag) with both of our clothes in it and our personal stuff like bathroom products, this also includes all the new clothes we got since arriving here

2 carry ons, 1 mine and 1 Avery's (carry-ons dont get weighed so I usually put some of the heavier stuff in them) ...
Avery carries a smaller duffle as a carry on...it is FULL of fresh fruits and veggies
My carry on suitcase...is full of books and shoes

2 personal items, 1 mine and 1 Avery's (these are suppose to be smaller things like a purse or computer bag, but noone every pays attention)...
avery has his backpack...full of his random odds and ends and his dirty clothes
I has a shoulder bag...which has my computer, my purse, and some other odds and ends in it

Hopefully everything will weigh in correctly and I wont have to do much rearranging at the airport. Tomorrow I'll post some pics from our trip.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Another day

Being in Anchorage is kind of like an unvacation vacation. We always have so much to accomplish when we are in town that we never really get to do much fun or see much of the city. Today I was hoping to go to the Anchorage Zoo, but we never got around to it. I got into my dentist at the last minute because they had a cancellation this morning (score...I love getting my teeth cleaned). Then I had my dog handling class for the Iditarod. It was fun.

We did get to do one fun thing today. Avery and I went to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D. It was pretty good, but I feel asleep a couple of times. BTW, there was no shooting at the movie theatre last night, I guess my paranoia was unwarranted. That's ok cause while I was there today I went in and watched the end of that movie that I missed.

Tonight I did some packing to get ready to leave. I've got about 2 suitcases to fill up still. That will be groceries, but I'll wait until Sunday morning to that. Tomorrow morning we have to get up crazy early to go run around with dogs all day. I cant wait to be part of all of the excitement. I would upload some pics, but the internet in the hotel is too slow, so you'll have to wait until we get home!

Weirded out!

Avery and I had another long, busy, fun filled day full of shopping yesterday. We had breakfast in the morning, then I went and picked out my new coat. I love it and I got a great deal too, but the store I tried it on at didnt have one in my size in the color that I wanted so I had to drive down to South Anchorage to pick one up at their other store. I had never been that far south in Anchorage before, so that was a little adventure.

I met up with a friend that I havent seen since High School. Jon is originally from Anchorage, but moved to Vegas back in 1995 with some of his buddies to try to start a career in music. He lived in Vegas for 12 years, but is back in Anchorage now. He was around when Avery was first born and got a kick out of seeing Avery all grown up. He hung out with Avery and I most of the day while we did our shopping.

We shopped at Kohl's and Target. I found my new pots and pans, along with a whole slew of other things that we needed. Then we went to lunch at my favorite restaurant, Humpy's. They have the best asian ginger flavored wings. Yum! After that we went to Barnes and Noble to pick out books. We bought way too many...but I dont mind when it comes to books.

Then we went to the movies. We saw Shutter Island first, which was a good movie, but a completely different movie than the previews portrayed. Next we saw Wolfman, which seemed like a good, but low budget movie. The effects seemed very 80's. In fact, it reminded me of Micheal Jackson's Thriller...at least how much I saw of it because we ended up leaving about halfway through it. There was this guy sitting up in the front row that was totally weirding me out. He was sitting in the first row, right on the aisle. Before the movie started, I had gone to the bathroom and when I came back I walked up the stairs next to him and he watched me walk up and was mumbling weird things to me. Throughout the movie, he kept talking to himself and to the screen, fidgeting nervously, and talking to other people as they walked buy him. I couldnt concentrate on the movie because I kept having visions of him standing up, whipping out a gun, and killing everybody. Eventually, he turned around and eyed the crowd, and I had to get up and leave. I just had a really weird feeling about him. Maybe i was on a sugar high from the Dr. Pepper and candy I had eaten, but I couldnt stand it anymore. I ended up telling the managers about how he was acting strange and they gave us free tickets to come back and said that they'd go check him out. I know it was very paranoid of me, but he really weirded me out. Better safe than sorry.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Made it...

We were up early today to fly into Anchorage and begin our little mini vacation. We got alot done today, but it felt more like work than a vacation. We were on a plane by 8:30, in Anchorage by 10, and driving down the road by 11am.

I did have to spend some of that time fooling with the rental car rep who was trying to sell me every amenity that they had on the books. I politely declined them all, but then when I got to the car and it smelled so bad my stomach did a flipflop, I had to change my tone a bit. The car smelled like someone had smoked (heavily) in it, then they had used a number of chemicals to try to get rid of the smoke smell, but only made it worse so it smelled like both smoke and chemicals. When I asked if there was some other car I could drive the guy at the desk absolutely refused to help with anything. If I wanted a different car, it would cost me another $20 per day plus taxes and fees. Forget that. So, I told him that the return agent said another car in my price category would be returned in a few hours. I asked if they could they call me when it got there and I would drive back over (pain in my a**) and trade out. He said no, he would not be willing to call me! I couldnt believe it. So, I drove the stinky car for a few hours, waited until the unhelpful guy got off his shift, then called back and easily resolved it with the new person on duty. ugggg.

Anyhow, we ate breakfast at IHOP, got Avery a haircut (while he got his haircut, I went across the parking lot and picked up a few adult beverages to bring home), and I had my appt with the podiatrist (I'll tell you about that in a different post). Then we went to the mall, picked out our new TV, did some bargain clothes shopping (Avery found some great deals and Edije is proud of us for shopping the clearance rack at Old Navy), browsed the craft tables set up for Fur Rondy (more on that later too), and checked in at our hotel. I took a LONG, leisurely bath in clear, not yellow water, and gave myself a facial. I'm happy to report that the towels are actually the size of real people, not leprechauns.

Now...I need sleep.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

LCD it is

So, the LCD or plasma question has been answered for me. Plasma's only come in 42 inch or bigger and that size will not fit in the space that I will be putting it in. I was really leaning toward plasma too, so that's kind of a bummer, but LCD is good too and a bit cheaper. We have this nook under the stairs where the tv cable cords and stuff are, so this is where the tv will go. I would be possible, i suppose, to run a cord around the room and put the tv somewhere else, but really this nook under the stairs is the best place for the tv anyway. Really it's not an option to put anything else in that space. And the set up of the living room just lends itself to having the tv in that space. So, the biggest I would be able to fit in that space is a 37 inch, which only come in lcd, no plasma. I did some browsing on the bestbuy website and the tv's are actually much less expensive than I had anticipated, so I really think I'll be getting one while we are in anchorage. Fun!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Out with the old

I have owned the same pots and pans since my freshman year of college. 1998. I've never needed to replace them because, for many years, they didnt get used all that much. Since moving to Bethel I have cooked 99.9% of our meals. They have gotten heavy use since moving here. They are old and beat up and in desperate need of retirement. I have decided that I am going to buy all new pots and pans when we go to Anchorage. It's about time!

I also have all of the same dinnerware/dishes as I have had since college. They are ceramic and heavy duty, so they have handled all of the use with stride. The pattern is not the best and they are certainly not modern, but they do the job and have held up nicely, so I see no reason to replace them.

My winter coat, however, is also considering retirement. I have also had it since my freshman year in college. 12 years! Really? How can that be? It was already a bit worn when we moved here, but now it really is just ragged. It needs replaced in a bad way. So, the plan is to wear it to Anchorage, buy a new one while I'm there, and leave the old one behind. Is it crazy that I still have the hat that goes with it and I just lost the scarf last year?

I am also considering buying a new TV while in Anchorage. This would be a major purchase. I'm think about a flat screen that is fairly large. I'm ready to invest in one now that I spend a part of my day in front of the screen doing my workouts on the Wii and, sometimes, watching tv while I workout. I never really cared to have a large/nice tv before because I never used it. I dont know...I have to shop around a bit while we are there, but I just might do it. More than likely I'll be shopping at bestbuy because they have a bush mailing department so I can have it shipped out here. Anyone have any tips or recommendations on LCD or plasma? Or a specific brand? To buy or not to buy?