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

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Number 18: Try ear candles

Thanks to a little help from my friend, Erin, I finally tried ear candles. It was kind of a cool sensation, but really didnt do much as far as cleaning out ear wax. I had never heard of ear candles until about a year ago when Erin mentioned them during a spa night that we were prepping for. I said I would pick some up in Anchorage next time I went to town, but I could never find any until this year during spring break. I went to a store in Anchorage called Natural Pantry. I picked up a box of 12 and have several left, so if you want to give them a try, just let me know.

The huge flaming end piece did burn the bottom of my shower. Ooops. Next time I'll put some water in the bottom of the tub. We had to fan the smoke alarm in the apartment the whole time we were doing this. Good thing there were lots of people over to help :)

One more checked off the list.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

2011 Ice Classic

I bought my tickets for the Kuskokwim Ice Classic yesterday. It has been really warm lately (although we're back down to zero today) and I think that the river is going to break early this year, so here are the dates that I choose...

May 2nd 1:01 pm
May 4th 11:06pm
May 5th 2:47am
May 6th 9:42 am
May 10th 4:11pm

To learn more about what the Ice Classic is all about, you can read my posts from 2008 here, 2009 here, and 2010 here.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Number 23: Seriously look into (and possibly buy) a timeshare

For a long time, I have liked the idea of having a timeshare. I have been considering buying one for many years. I liked the idea of having a place to go on vacation once a year. I liked the idea of paying about the same amount for a resort that I would pay for a cheapo hotel. I liked the idea of having the timeshare to give as a gift. I liked the idea of travelling all over the world and always having a place to stay. I liked the idea of letting Avery using it. I liked the idea of owning my vacation and passing it on to my kids.

After some research into timeshares, I discovered that that's just it...I LIKED THE IDEA.

Once I got into the research, I discovered that the cost is not really worth it for me. First there's the cost of buying it, then there are the yearly maintenance fees that run around $1000 per year for the type of timeshare I was interested in. Some of them you couldnt even use every year, but you still had to pay the fees. Also, most timeshares lock you in to a specific week of the year and I dont want to be locked into vacationing the same week every year. I found out that it is difficult and a process to "share" your place with someone else. So that if I wanted to travel to some other timeshare for a week instead of going to mine, I would have to find someone who would trade there place with mine during the same week. Some timeshares made this a long drawn out ordeal, some just made it more expensive. I also found out that you generally dont own a timeshare indefinitely, you only own it for a certain number of years.

In the long run, I think it is better for me to do my travelling on my own time and under my own guidelines. I think a timeshare would be great for people who want to travel to the same spot for the same week every year, like a tradition type of thing, but that's not for me. I want to do things my way. So after some long thought, I decided that a timeshare is NOT for me. Which is kind of a bummer, because I really liked the idea of it. I almost feel like I've killed one of my own dreams.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Number 15: Find a good sourdough cookbook and try at least 5 recipes

I finally bought this book after weeks of holding my friend and neighbor's book hostage. I also bought a second book and have made several of the recipes out of it, but we'll focus on this one. Last time I was in Anchorage, I picked up about 7 different kinds of flours so that I could try my hand at baking various types of bread.

Here are the recipes that I have made out of this book so far...
Caraway Rye Bread
Cheese Onion Bread
Cinnamon Raisin Nut Bread
Cranberry Nut Sourdough
French Bread 1
Herb Bread (white and rye)
Oatmeal Bread
Seven Grain Cereal Sourdough
Rosemary Bread
Whole Wheat Bread
English Muffins
Yukon Flapjacks

I have been baking all of my own bread for several months now. I cant even remember the last time I bought a loaf of bread, but it was probably before Christmas. I've been getting better at it and I generally bake about 4 loaves per week. In fact, there are two loaves of French Bread in the oven now. I think the next one to try will be the Malt Beer Bread. Oh yes, I said Malt Beer Bread. Or maybe the Sunflower Bread or the Banana Batter Bread.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Numbers 9 and 21

This past weekend, on April 2nd, there was a 9K Human Powered Race that was hosted by a teacher in the village of Kasigluk. Participants could run, walk, ski, snowshoe, bike, or basically complete the race anyway they wanted as long as their mode of completion was powered only by them. I choose to walk/jog (waog). In the end, I think I walked about half and jogged about half. The race was alot of fun and the turnout was great with about 20 or so people showing up. The race gave those of us in Bethel an excuse to go out to visit some of the other villages. We left from Bethel on Saturday morning and arrived in Kasigluk at around 1pm.
After the long ride to Kasigluk, one of the first things that I needed to do was use the restroom. The race host, Kyle, lives in a housing unit in Kasigluk that has an incineration toilet. I finally got to use one. This was a strange treat...something that not many people can say that they've done. The incineration toilet is a step up from the honeybucket that villages used for a long time. The honeybucket was just a bucket that people did their business in and then had to take out an dump in a designated area when it was full. The incineration toilet is a toilet that burns the waste right there in the bottom of the toilet. It is interesting and shocking to some people that there still are places in the U.S. that still dont have running water. Something to think about and appreciate next time you are feeling like life is dealing you a bad hand.
The 9K that we raced was a triangle between three villages that are close together. The race started in Kasigluk-Akula, then went to Nunapichuk, then to Kasigluk-Akiuk, then back to Kasigluk-Akula. The picture above shows the first leg of the race to Nunapichuk. On the way to Nunap, the wind was in our faces and it was strong. I walked alot during this first section.
The picture above shows the second leg of the race to Kasigluk-Akiuk. During this part of the race, the wind was at my back so I ran alot more and made pretty good time. The trail was clearly marked with pieces of bushes. We just followed the bushes most of the way. Below shows the third leg of the race to Kasigluk-Akula. The village is split into two sides because the original village (the Akiuk side) is sinking. People started moving their homes to higher ground on the other side of the river (the Akula side) because they were worried about the sinking. Later they discovered that it was not sinking as fast as they originally anticipated so the movement to the other side of the river slowed down. Eventually all Kasigluk residents will need to move over to the Akula side, but for now the village is divided.
We had the intention of camping out on the tundra after the race, but as you can see in the last two pictures, the wind continued to pick up and eventually was had an all out winter blizzard on our hands. Some other friends from Bethel tried once to head back to Bethel, but turned around and decided to wait out the storm. They ended up leaving a few hours later. We ended up spending the night on the Akiuk side at a fellow teachers house. We had a huge dinner with lots of food and lots of good company. It was a fun weekend and I feel great about waoging that 9K. My foot barely hurt at all the next day! It's so good to finally be healed.