Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holy Snow!

It has been snowing here for three days, with a little break last night and a little break today. Yesterday it took four attempts of driving, and lots of digging and swearing before I finally got out of my driveway. Ours has a neat little uphill at the top where my car kept getting stuck. Finally got through and I was only a few minutes late to work. Heck, at least I showed up!

My husband met our very nice neighbor across the street. He offered to plow our driveway to make it easier to get in and out. Such a nice guy!

Today it was snowing heavy. Not big fat flakes, just gazillions of little dry dots that piled up quick. The snow is up to Bruno's chest. I had today off, but I was asked to come in to work when two other employees had called out. Since I have tomorrow off, I went. Our driveway was getting thick again, but I got out on the first try.

The roads were scarier than my driveway. I almost thought I'd get stuck going around one tight corner. Another car was already sitting off the side of the road in a drift. But I made it through with a little fishtailing.

When I got to work, I realized I hadn't brought my clothes, shoes, music, and so on for teaching my class later, so I told one of the managers that I would leave when the next employee came in. It was pretty slow due to the weather, so that was okay. That would give me some extra time to get my stuff and eat before my class. The trip home was uneventful.

I was getting ready to leave for class, collecting my things. I had decided to leave early since it was getting dark and I wanted to take my time driving. During this time, I could hear the sound of a truck outside, and the beeping sound it makes when it backs up. I thought, "Oh, I guess the plow is out there."

I got into my car after letting it warm up a bit. I got a good running start -

- and ran straight into a hill of snow at the top of my driveway. It was almost as high as the hood of my car.

The plow had left a big berm of snow blocking my driveway when it came through. We are near the end of the road, with only one other house next to us. That house is a retreat for someone who lives in Anchorage, so the road is not well traveled past our driveway.

Did they realize what they had done? I don't know. Could they have prevented it, or done something to help us out a little bit? I don't know. But they did it at the worst possible time. I backed the car down the driveway and left the lights on so I could see to start digging. I dug until it was too late to get to class on time, and I still hadn't gotten it clear enough. I chucked the shovel and stomped inside to thaw my hands and call the club.

My cell phone kept giving me the same message over and over: "Emergency calls only." WTF?! I'd never seen that before. It would not let me call the club and have them put up a canceled class sign. Everyone was going to think either I was a total flake or something terrible had happened to me. I finally managed to get through (after my big screaming hissy fit tantrum.)

I think we need to get our land line fixed.

After that I called Logan and told him what happened. Then I went out to finish digging so that Logan could get in without a problem.

When Logan got home in his Landcruiser, he took one look at the snow piled up next to the driveway and said even his Landcruiser would not have gotten over that berm.

This is the first time the snow has really ticked me off. And it's not even the snow's fault. I'd like to tweak the nose of the plow guy. And then say thank you for plowing the road.

At least I have tomorrow off.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Nanowrimo Fail, but Christmas A-Ok!

Yes, it's true. I failed to reach the 50k mark in last month's Nanowrimo experience. But the defeat is not so crushing as I thought it would feel. Truth be told, November kind of ended without me. There has been lots of drama regarding employment on the home front, among other things, so I kind of forgot that November has to end some time.

But what I got from the experience was worth its weight in gold. I finally tackled a story that has been bugging me to be written for a long time, but I avoided it from my own fears. So I plunged in and tried to use those fears to my advantage. I got lots of great ideas from my fellow writers and even from friends who are thousands of miles away from me at the moment. I learned more about how the story wants to be written, so much that I know I'll have to start over from scratch. (I wrote it in third person, but the story desperately wants to be told from the main character's POV. So when I get to rewriting it, that's what I'll do!)

In the meantime, I'll be going back to my very first novel, Sparkless. My new year's resolution last year was to finish that one and move on to some others that have been sadly neglected. Well, I have not yet reached that goal, so I want to achieve that one very soon. Summerland's Savior will be next on the list. It still needs to be finished, and then revised. It has been waiting patiently for, um, several years.

I finished all my Christmas shopping early and sent everything off last week. I hope the boxes reach their destinations with all due speed and alacrity. Now if I could only find the time between teaching and work to clean the house and set up the Christmas tree. I think I'll try to accomplish that today!

Things are changing for Logan on the job front. He put in for the Store Manager position, but it was filled by a corporate employee. There are more changes afoot, but I'll leave those for later when things are more solidly settled.

As for me, my jobs remain the same. I'm sure in January I'll find myself with more time on my hands. After all, retail dies after Christmas and I'm the part timer in my department, so I fully expect it and I'm not bothered by it. I've seen it from the management point of view, too.

Guess that's all for now. Gotta get to cleaning! And watching the snow fall outside.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Last night we got our first big snow of the season! Yay! Uffda and Bruno had a ball running around in it this morning while I cleaned my car. It was the kind that brushes off real easy.

And now, back to my novel. I'm falling behind in my word count! Eek!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My widgets are working!

Yay, my widgets from Nanowrimo are up and running! Woohoo! Doing all right overall. Still haven't officially fallen behind in my word count, but every time I get way ahead in my count, I do terribly on other days and even out again. Today I'm at Pandemonium having word wars with my writerly friends and I am one day ahead. I need to be two days ahead and I'll be more comfy.

Okay, will write more later. Got some word wars to start!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nanowrimo 2009 begins!

Look, Ma, I'm Nano-ing!

We are off and running. There are nine of us at the Kick-off party right now and so far today I have written two days worth of words. I have to make sure I stay ahead of my word count because I have a weekend where it will be very hard to get any writing done. And it isn't Thanksgiving, either.

Anyway, I'm going to be very busy writing this month. Finally tackling my zombie novel "Zombies Don't Eat Blondes." In a little more than 3,000 words, I've already had zombie mice and one zombie human get chopped to bits and buried. Things are going well, I think. And I'm going to try adding a Nanowrimo widget so everyone can see my word count grow. Feel free to badger me with encouragement and general heckling of "Why aren't you working on your novel!?"

PS: I guess the Nanowrimo widgets aren't working yet. I hope they are soon. I want to see the coolness because I've never had one of these on my blog before!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Time flies when you're working your @$$ off ...

So every time my manager gets permission to dole out more hours to his departments, he seems to give them all to me. I'm flattered, but I'm not begging for the hours like everyone else is! It has gotten to the point where I eat, sleep, work, and teach. I'm missing out on some of the fun things in my life.

Nanowrimo is coming up fast and I don't know if I'll be able to carve out any time from my stone cold work schedule to even have a chance at making it to the 50k finish line. Worse, I don't even know if I'll be able to attend any of the Mat-Su write-ins during November because of said dratted work schedule. I've had to ask for several Saturdays off to make room for other things, like a Health and Fitness Specialist seminar weekend that may open some more doors for me career-wise. Funny: as time goes by, my masters degree seems less and less useful.

Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't change the fact that I got that degree for the world. It showed me what a person can be capable of if you set your mind to do something. And I'm very proud when I think of those dark green bound manuals of martial arts for physical ed teachers now sitting in the Sac State Library and my parents' bookcase. But sometimes I wonder if I should have just gotten the degree in any old interest, regardless of the practicality. Especially since the practicality of my choice hasn't helped me out a smidge. Theatre comes to mind. What could I have done with that?

This year for Halloween I'm attending the National Wild Turkey Federation's banquet. I'll be wearing my Renaissance wench outfit as I have not had the time to make anything else. I know; odd choice of event for Halloween. Long story about our involvement, but I'll be singing "The Star Spangled Banner," and everyone knows I'll jump at any chance to sing!

I'll also be singing "Summertime" from "Porgy and Bess" at the Valley Performing Arts Theatre's fundraising night in November. My schedule doesn't allow me to do theatre, but I'm trying to weasel into any singing thing I can. And yes, Mom, if someone records these things, I'll post a copy or send you a burned CD!

I can hear my dogs snoring in the background as the cats chase each other upstairs. It snowed a little today as I walked across the parking lot to my job, but it wasn't sticking. The big snow is coming, though!

Okay, that's about it for now, I think. Gotta go to bed so I can wake up early and - surprise, surprise!- go to work.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A real autumn!

Last year, autumn seemed over and gone in a matter of days. I felt like I totally missed it, or that maybe we didn't really have a summer, just one really long fall. The leaves barely had time to change before they were ripped from their branches by high winds and almost constant rain.

This year is totally different. We actually had a summer! A couple of weeks where the heat made it up to the 80s! And then it cooled down a bit from there, occasional rain, but still pretty nice until the last month or so.

Then the leaves turned gold. I kid you not. The road to our house swoops down and is surrounded on all sides by thick trees. When the sun shone through that tunnel, it was like driving through a tunnel made of gold. No wonder people have been stopping in the middle of the road to take pictures! I wanted to myself, but never had my camera on those pretty days.

We did take our camera with us when we hiked alongside Lake Eklutna last week. The dogs came with us and we hiked a total of six miles and had a small picnic next to the lake out of the wind. There were golden trees everywhere along the path and all up and down the hills.

I will post some pictures as soon as I can. We have a new camera and I have to figure out how to use it!

So the fall has lasted about a month and the weather has been delightful. Yes, rainy on occasion, but not too cold or warm, perfect for getting out and about.

Until this morning, that is.

Last night, the rain woke us up, it pounded the roof so hard. This morning, when I went out to my car to go teach at the club, I noticed the lacy patterns of frost on the top of it. Not white or thick, but definitely a bit icy. As I drove, I looked at the mountains. Earlier there had been a small dusting of snow at the very peaks. Now snow covers most of the mountains.

So I guess the winter is just about here. My feet are cold and I've got the heat cranked up. My cat Asuka is lying in front of the flames, toasting her tummy. (We're on natural gas, but the stove looks like a wood stove. Fake wood with dancing flames rising from them. I love it. It's the next best thing to a real wood stove.)

In other news, I've been trying to record my Group Centergy class so that I can mail it in for my evaluation for certification. I've tried three times and my camera keeps shutting off before the end of the class. I finally figured that the memory card is too full for an hour video, so I went and bought another one. So now I have to figure out when I can record it because I have to mail it before my next Centergy class.

My marital arts class began last week and I'm loving every second of it. I've got about 10 people in the class, some of whom are interested in getting ranked, so I may be on my way to my own dojo very soon. I hope the popularity picks up so I can add some more classes and eventually quit working at Sports Authority. This schedule is gonna be the death of me. I had to drop out of "Carousel" and I couldn't even audition for "Babes in Toyland." I'm extremely bummed about that.

And just in case I don't get to call my bestest buddy in the whole wide world, I want to let her know that I hope she has the most fantastic birthday ever known to human existence tomorrow. I wuv you!

I can hear the wind blowing outside. I don't think the leaves are gonna stay on the trees much longer. Sigh.

Happy Autumn Equinox!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Alaskans know how to party!

You gotta hand it to Alaskans: they fight for their right to party!

Today was the company picnic for my husband's store and even though the weather has been beautiful the last couple of days (or so I've been told), it started raining the moment Logan and I showed up to the picnic site. and it didn't really stop the whole five hours or so that the party raged.

And yet there was a great turn out. Despite the rain, a water balloon fight erupted, much to the delight of the kids attending. Also, a "pie" fight (pies were just pudding and whipped cream) to ensure all managers were "pied" willingly or unwillingly (Logan was willing), an egg fight (between several employees and managers who carried the pie fight to a new extreme), sack races (Logan and I both did that), and an archery contest.

So much food was brought, it was barely contained under the awning that was set up in case of rain. Kids roasted marshmallows over an open fire, hot dogs and hamburgers filled the air with that lovely grilling smell, and I had so many sodas I'm surprised I didn't float away. We brought Ghiradelli chocolates and they were devoured. Logan just said some people took handfuls home to spouses that were unable to attend!

Logan and I were among the last to leave, making sure everything was as picked up and clean as possible (the splotches of pie will just have to wash away in the rain) and make sure the fire had burned down safely. A few others hung out with us by the fire and told interesting stories about old ladies buying them drinks and how to get around California's various smog laws.

All in all, it was a successful party, one I was glad to be a part of. And I got to see just how determined Alaskans are to have fun, no matter what tries to get in their way!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Home again, home again

Well, I did all the things I said I wanted to do in the last blog post. I saw my friends, family, and my cats. Gerry jumped onto my back, Damien grabbed my lap, and Schmendrik hovered around close by so I could scratch his cheeks. Boothie is now the oldster kitty of the group and lays around a lot, though he still appreciates a good pet. The dogs are all gray around the muzzles, except Buster, who is white to begin with. But he's showing his age, too; Dad built a set of stairs so Buster has an easier time getting up to the bed.

My parents are chugging along just fine. Dad and I played guitar together a couple of times while I was there, but my fingers got sore quick. I haven't been able to practice as much as I would like, so my fingers remain newbie tender. Their gardens are flourishing and they even have a greenhouse now!

I did stuff my face with Chinese food and wish to God I could have stuffed my bag full of it so my husband and I can eat some together. The Chinese food here in Alaska is just not that good. Even the Panda Express down there is better than the best Chinese we've eaten here so far.

I got to take my friends out to lunch. We went to Red Robin and the conversation ranged from theatre (of course) to the death of Michael Jackson. I love these people and wish I could have spent so much more time with them while I was there.

I went to see the latest show that's opening at the Olde Coloma Theatre, "Six Flags Over Coloma." Anyone who lives in that area of Northern California should see it. They have a talented cast (and many different accents abound, which is hard to do!) and lots of beautiful costuming. The dress my best friend wears in the second act will knock your socks off! (Or at least burn out your retinas, but you'll still find yourself saying, "Thank you. Can I have some more?") And trust me, I'm not just saying that because she's my best friend! Watch out for those hoops!

I got to see Moonshadows, my favorite metaphysical book store in the world. Though it is no longer owned by the sweet lady I loved to chat with, it still has lots of great stuff. I left the store with a bottle of locally made lotion that has bug repelling and sunblock properties. I haven't smelled it yet, since I wanted to wait until I got home to open it, but I knew it would be the perfect lotion to have here in Alaska during the summer! (Though the summer is pretty much over now, sniff.)

My family went to Alder Creek the day after I arrived. There were lots of photos and video taken while we splashed around in the creek and then hiked up to the pool. A fellow hiker's dog joined us in the water and begged us to throw sticks for him, a nice old Golden retriever named Al. I missed my own Bruno quite a bit at that point. I actually wore a bikini, something I haven't done since I was a real little girl! It covered more than most bikinis do, though, since my chest is practically concave. (I can hear my mother gasping at me mentioning that on a public blog.)

I will have lots of pictures to post on Facebook and Myspace eventually. I arrived home after 2 am, and my husband had to get up at 6:30 for work, so I am functioning on little sleep right now. In fact, I think I will put off doing the dishes my husband piled up while I was gone and go back to bed for a while. Yawn.

It was a great trip.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yay for vacations!

I will be leaving for California tomorrow night. My flight leaves at 12:30 am and I'll be arriving in Sacramento by a bit after 9 am. I long to see my family, my friends, my cats, stuff my face with Chinese food, and visit my favorite places, including Moonshadows and Alder Creek. I want to take all my friends out to dinner to say happy birthday, some belated, some quite early. I want to forget work.

Logan and I have been trying to get outdoors since the summer is nearly over. Leaves are already changing color here and it's chilly in the mornings, though still warm during the day. We hiked a trail near Lake Eklutna, which was a very steep one. We took the dogs with us and during the last mile, Uffda lay down every chance she got. And made a few opportunities of her own as well. She was quite tired, poor "little" girl. Bruno, however, trotted briskly every second and was still tearing around the yard when we got home. So we decided next time, he gets to carry their water, cookies, and travel bowl!

We had bought a pack for him. It hangs on both sides of him, fitting like a harness with a loop on the back to clip the leash. We just never had an opportunity to use it yet.

So we went on a hike at Hatcher's Pass, called Archangel Valley. The drive up the trail was rocky; Logan had to put the Landcruiser into four wheel drive for the last part. When we reached the gate where the hike started, it had begun to rain. It had been sunny at home when we left, but clouds loomed over the mountains as we got close to the pass. We thought it would pass along and clear up.

Boy, were we wrong. It got harder as we went. Logan forgot his hat, though we were both wearing the tops of our Frog Togs. I put on the hood of my sweater, but it was soaked through by the end.

This was the most frustrating (and scary) hike we'd ever been in. We would have been better off leaving the dogs at home. I'm sure Bruno had a blast, but some things went wrong that made things ... sticky.

The trail got really thin and hedged in close by thick bushes. We got to a point where the path forked and we took the wrong trail. We reached a place where we had to jump across some big rocks with the stream running over them. I thought the dogs would slip and fall when they jumped. Uffda almost refused to jump, and I can't blame her. I almost didn't want to, myself.

We had read that there were some abandoned cabins at the end of the hike, so that was our aim, to check them out. After the rocks, we topped the hill and saw we were on the wrong side of the stream. By this time, it was more river than stream. We tried to find a place where we could jump or cross without soaking our feet. One place looked good, but when Logan stepped into the water, his foot sunk. He had high boots on, so it wasn't a problem for him, but it would have been for me. So I went farther down and found a place where there were more rocks and less water. This was a worse idea, because the rocks were slippery and I soaked my right foot, anyway. I was wet from head to toe by this time and starting to get chilly. There was nothing to dry my hands on. My fingers got pretty stiff after a while and I worried about hypothermia.

So we were starting to feel really stupid when we finally hit the ridge and saw a large expanse of field to cross before reaching the cabins. As we started across, we discovered it was mostly swamp. I soaked my my other foot and we decided to finally call it quits.

Logan had some spare wool socks in his pack, so I switched out my soaked ones. Then Logan took our packs and I took the dogs and the dog pack. We let the dogs run around free since they usually stay close. That was our other big mistake. Bruno likes charging around. He wanted to chase a bird that streaked out of a bush, but that would have meant diving off a big rock. I'm so glad he listened to me when I yelled at him, though it took three times to turn him around.

I had reached the narrow part of the trail where bushes clustered thickly on the edges, hip high. Bruno decided to plunge head first into the downhill side bushes. All I could see was an occasional wiggle. Uffda decided to follow him. I yelled and yelled and eventually Bruno emerged with some difficulty. I kept calling Uffda and saw the bushes wiggle here and there.

Then the wiggles stopped and whining started. She had gotten stuck just a foot from the path. I pushed through the branches and saw that she was stuck down under a bush behind a rock wall. She couldn't jump the wall and the bush on top of it and was freaking out. I tried pulling her up, but only succeeded in pulling on her fur. She didn't even so much as whimper. So I dropped down the where she was and scooped her up in my arms. She's at least 60 pounds now and it was all I could do to lift her up. If she'd been like Bruno, she would have leaped from my arms and scrambled over the bush to the path. But she was scared and would not move. I couldn't throw her over the bush, so now I was stuck, too. I was so afraid she was hurt. Logan had caught up and asked if I'd got her and I said, "NO!"

He came down, managed to wrap his arms around her while still up on the ledge, and lifted her to the path. I was so relieved, I almost cried. And as she walked down the path, I saw no sign of injury. I immediately put their leashes on after that event.

I was never so excited to see the Landcruiser as I was that day.

And here's the kicker: As we drove down the rocky road, the sky behind us showed patches of blue. Logan took pictures of it as a way of shaking his fist.

While much of this is embarrassing to tell, as it makes us look like unprepared greenhorns, I wanted other people who read this blog to know that you can never be too prepared in Alaska. Even something as a simple hike on sunny day can turn into a disaster. Just want you all to know that because I care about you.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer over? Nooooooooo!

The weather here has taken a turn for the normal. We got pretty warm there the first couple of weeks in July. Now it's on-again-off-again rain. The nice thing is that it isn't cold rain. It's rather warm. The pain is that you can't tell when it's going to happen. We go entire days with heavy, threatening clouds and not a drop hits the ground. Today it was sunny for about one hour in the middle. Then it started pouring.

At least we accomplished something in the downpour. Since Uffda, our Newfie puppy, was already soaked, we just rubbed some doggy shampoo into her fur and rinsed her off with the hose. Dog bath done in record time.

Uffda is huge! She's only five months old and she's Bruno's size. This is great because now she can take him on. She doesn't do a whole lot of fighting back, but she's equal to him in weight, so it's harder for him to bowl her over. Now if I could just teach her not to wrap her lead around everything.

Speaking of Uffda, we decided we just couldn't deal with the gigantic responsibility of puppies. Sure, I'd love to see what kind of puppies a pure Newf and a pure Golden Retriever would have (dang, they'd be cute!), but we don't have the time or energy that they would require. And we don't want the hassle of selling them, either. Besides, knowing me, I'd get attached to them all and we'd end up with a dog farm. So she's getting broken this week.

My practice for Group Centergy is going well. I'm still not ready to have it recorded, but I need to get over that soon because I have until near the end of September to get a video of me teaching the class done and sent in so I can be certified. I love how this class makes me feel at the end: taller, standing straighter, strong in my core. I'm loving all this exercise I'm getting. And Logan doesn't seem to mind it either. >wink, wink, nudge, nudge<

I can't wait until my trip back to California. I know many Californians are tired of their hot weather day in and day out, but I hope it's still hot when I get there. I miss really hot weather. And don't roll your eyes at me, Myndi-bunny!

I hope it's not the end of summer here. I know August is the beginning of the end. By September it'll start getting cold again. But I think Alaska still owes us from the misery of last summer's weather. But, of course, Alaska is not the type of state to uphold deals with anyone, at least not weather-wise.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Visiting California!

So I just made my reservations for my second trip back to California this year. It's the last "free" trip I'll get for a while, using up the last of the miles I've accrued on my card. I even had to "borrow" some miles from Logan in order to make it as free as possible. Of course, the airlines charge for that transfer, but that is just a small percentage compared to what I would be charged for a full price trip. Even through all those travel websites that boast lower prices. Yeah, lower prices, but lousy bookings.

This is the first time I checked out some of those websites and I wasn't too impressed. Yeah, I would have saved about $300, which is nothing to sneeze at, but the long layovers and the weird destinations for flight changes steered me away. Why the heck do I need to fly to Denver and change planes to get to Portland and then to Sacramento? Ridiculous.

The bookings for my award flights were only slightly better; the layovers are much shorter and the destinations are more reasonable, Anchorage to Seattle to Sacramento and back. But they're late-at-night flights. I'll be leaving at 1 am from Anchorage, and when I return, I'll be arriving around the same time. Not very convenient when hubby and I have to get up early to go to work after my return. But that's what I get for being a cheapskate, right?

It's all worth it, though. I miss my family, I miss my friends, I miss some of the old haunts. I only get to see them twice a year at the most.

Gotta remember to bring presents for all the birthdays that will be coming up or that just passed. Goody, I get to shop!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The insanity parade marches on ...

I spent the last weekend in June in Anchorage training for certification in Group Centergy through Body Training Systems. They fly a person out to us and we spend 8 hours each of three days having discussions, going through the routine at least twice each day, and performing our homework assignments (learning an assigned song out of the routine and leading the class in it.) By the end of the weekend, my head was stuffed and my body exhausted to a point I hadn't encountered since I nearly passed out in my karate class during my undergraduate Kinesiology program at Sac State. (I was taking a couple of dance classes, several activity analysis classes, and my karate classes in the evening. I was overdoing it a bit at that time.)

I loved every second of it and it was one of the best things I could have done for myself. I can't wait to start teaching this new program in the fall. It's a fusion of mostly yoga and Pilates with a little Tai Chi thrown in here and there. I never realized what a good workout yoga can be!

I'm still teaching Group Active and I'm learning the summer season release right now. That'll start at the end of July. In addition, I'll be starting a martial arts class at the club. (I can hear several voices out there saying, "It's about time!" I agree!) This may mean I'll have to quit my current retail job. Though it's been a decent enough job, as the part timer my hours are getting cut so I'm only there when the full-timer in my department is not. Teaching extra classes may mean I'm not available when they need me to be, so I may no longer be worth hanging onto. I'll burn that bridge when I come to it, hyuck.

I hope this means I'll be able to audition for "Babes in Toyland" at the theatre here in town this fall. It still bothers me that I had to drop out of "Carousel" because of this job I may no longer have by September.

Even better news: I'll be flying out to visit family and friends in California in August. I want to do it before all my new teaching stuff starts, but I want to make sure I don't miss the Alaska State Fair. I hope the weather is better this time!

And now for something completely different:

Can someone tell me a good way to make up for missing the birthday of a very dear theatre brat friend?! >Hangs head in shame<

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's not possible ...

I'm still in shock. My world is upside down. This is one of those people I thought would never die, that somehow or other he would redeem himself and come back bigger than ever. There was a time when I worshipped this man. Maybe I didn't spend the money on the paraphernalia of a rabid fan, but I loved his music. I loved (most of) his dancing. I have the whole "Thriller" monster dance memorized still, for crying out loud! I have the "Thriller" video on my iPod, the only music video on there.

I don't believe it. I refuse to believe it. Now I understand why there are so many people out there who believe Elvis and Marilyn are still alive, that they faked their deaths to lead normal existences. I'm like to believe that first myself.

I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop and hoping there really is one to drop.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Going to the faire ...

So I finally managed to attend the Three Barons Renaissance Fair here in Alaska. At first, not knowing what to expect, having not attended one in such a remote state as ours, I had chosen not to don my garb. Actually, I wasn't sure where it was as we've only been in our new house for, what, two months now?

Holy mackerel, has it really been two months already?! Where has the time gone!!!!

Oh, sorry about that. Two, three, four ... (I know at least one person out there will get that reference.)

Anyway, Logan convinced me to locate my Ren Fair costume and put it on. Yes, Logan. I know some of you will now need to close your swinging jaws, but it's true. He suddenly got a bug up his ... grandmother ... to see me in my wench wear. Not that I have proper wench bosom, but you can't have everything.

So last Saturday, sandwiched between my class, my writing group meeting, and a party I was supposed to attend later that night (which got waylaid by a migraine. Sorry, Megan! Happy 30th!), Logan and I braved the elements to visit the Three Barons.

I was pleasantly surprised that though things were looking dreary and gray that morning, by the time we go there the sun had made an appearance. It's doing a good job of making up for last year. I had brought my cloak just in case, but ended up leaving it in the car because I was hot. I was really hot, I think, for the first time here! Woohoo! (it's hot again today, hot being low to mid 70s, so I'm going back out to sit in it as soon as I'm done here.)

I was a trifle disappointed. There was plenty of room, and probably the crowds were diminished because of the construction going on nearby that made for some difficulties when finding the location, but the booths seemed rather sparse and the costuming more haphazard. I was worried at first because I no longer have proper period footwear and had to make do with my hiking boots, which, mostly hidden under my skirts, didn't look to bad. But I quickly noticed that almost everyone was wearing hiking boots or work boots or dark sneakers. Alaska doesn't bother with minutiae. Comfort and durability rules with an iron fist.

I was hoping to perhaps find a vendor selling period clothing and footwear, but there wasn't much. A few clothing booths, which did not boast much in the way of quality or quantity; more than a few booths of kids' games, food, and drink; one leather working vendor (probably the best vendor there, neat stuff); and lots of those sparkly wreaths with long ribbon streamers attached.

I did see one booth that had witches' hats made of any number of fabrics and patterns, as well as princess hats that I adored as a kid (too small for me, of course). As I looked at the hats, it dawned on me that I could make them myself. In fact, they were very much the kind of thing I would do were I to have a booth at a fair! I might have purchased one that had a cat pattern on it, but they didn't have any fabrics with cats on them.

We walked through the whole place in half an hour. We stopped and watched a few minutes of a little theatre show at the Red Barony. We watched as the Blue Barony did some of their stuff, which was mostly talking about themselves when we went by, and I don't remember ever seeing the Green Barony, though I'm pretty sure they were about, just not doing anything specific in their area at the time.

The most popular costumes seemed to be gypsy costumes. We saw lots of the those floating around. I guess Alaska girls take every opportunity to show off their tummies when they can, since most of the year it's too cold to do so.

Since Logan's brother had dropped us off so he could jaunt around Anchorage while we were doing that, we ended up walking down Tudor to a gas station to get something to drink. (If you have to pay for it, at least get something you know you like, right?) Then we walked back and sat on the lawn out front until Ben arrived.

I got tons of second glances from passing cars (and their drivers, too), and people were stopping me inside the gas station to ask about my costume and about the fair. They assumed I worked there. Apparently my costume is professional looking up here, when it barely passed any kind of muster in California. One little girl was shrieking to her mom, "Mommy, look at her dress, look at her dress!" And she asked me what kind of dress it was.

I guess I've finally found my smaller pond.

Monday, June 1, 2009

All is forgiven ...

Last summer sucked in the weather department. Anyone who visited us was lucky if they got a nice day in there. There were only four days where we actually hit 70 degrees.

This summer is more than making up for it. We've had lovely weather since mid April, with a couple of rainy exceptions. At first, when Logan's brother arrived a few days ago, we thought he'd brought the rain with him and that this trip would look exactly the same as last trip. But the sky is clearing up rather nicely. I hope it will clear up even more by the time the boys get home from their hunting trip.

Hunting here is the national pastime, that and fishing. So Logan and Ben are going on a bear hunt as I type, along with Logan's boss. They shipped out of Whittier. Haven't heard about their luck yet.

I've come to a rather important decision. I'm going to open my own dojo-slash-fitness center. I plan to teach martial arts classes and also have a massage room as well. I want to add fitness classes as well, such as kickboxing, and I hope I can afford to license my school with BTS so I can teach the classes I'm certified to teach at the club here. I want it to be family oriented, a place where wives and mothers will want to attend classes, too, not just the husbands and children. Being a female instructor (and quite possibly the only one in town!) I think will help in that arena.

I would appreciate any advice and information anyone can pass along to me as I begin this new adventure. I've started researching and reading, looking at potential places, and maintaining my certifications.

At least now I understand when the locals were proclaiming the wonders of an Alaskan summer. (A la Madeline Kahn) It's twue! Oh, it's twue, it's twue!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Uffda is home!

Last Monday, we went into Anchorage in the evening and I suggested we call the couple we had purchased Uffda, our Newfie puppy, from to see if we could visit her.

They had the puppies out on the lawn and let Uffda out so Logan could meet her. He sat on the ground and she immediately settled with her head in his lap and went to sleep. Logan's eyes lit up like a kid's on Christmas morning.

We were informed that she had seen the vet recently and had her hips and heart checked out (two areas of known trouble for the Newfoundland breed.) She was all good and healthy and ready to go home at any time. Logan looked at me and said, "You wanna bring her home now?"

We had originally planned to bring her home after this weekend, since I'm working long hours and have Grand Opening still to get through. I didn't want her to be neglected during her first days settling in with us. But Logan had the next two days off, so we stopped at Pet Zoo on the way home to get the things we still needed for her.

She's piddling everywhere, inside and out, she likes to gnaw on boxes and shoes and countless other things, but she's so mellow and sweet. She's also slow moving, so we don't have to worry about not being able to catch her at the moment. She's so mellow, she slept all the way home, and in the cart at Pet Zoo, and when she walked, she reminded me of zombies in the old movies.

Then she and Bruno met.

Bruno, as some of you may know, is the complete opposite. He is very hyper and can't sit still for long. He loves running around and his feet and tail are always moving. We have to watch them very carefully because we didn't want him damaging Uffda in his exuberance. And exuberance it was.

Those two adore each other now. They can't stop playing when they're together. They chew on toys together, play that weird face game that dogs do when play fighting, and couldn't ignore each other if they tried. It's so cute. Bruno just needs to get over his habit of bowling her over when they're outside together.

But Uffda is teaching Bruno her brand of doggie zen and Bruno is drawing Uffda out of her shell. She's moving around with more speed and courage than we've ever seen. She actually seems to know what her legs are for now. We can't wait until she's big enough to really play with Bruno and stand up to him when he tries to run her over.

Still debating on whether we're going to allow puppies to happen later or not. Right now, thinking not. We really don't want the responsibility at this time. So we'll probably get Uffda fixed soon.

Anyway, here's a few pics of our new member of the family.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Amazing stories

Not too many amazing coincidences and hilarity enters my life in such rapid succession. But these two recent stories I just had to share.

This past Wednesday after I was released from prison, er, work, my husband and I had a late night out, even though I needed to go to work the next day. I was going to have some time to sleep in before my very late shift for our first evening with open doors to the public, and Logan and I haven't had any days off together since I started working more hours. So we went to a restaurant in Palmer that we were introduced to by some friends of ours, open 24 hours with decently priced yummy food. It's called the Valley Hotel and it's the coffee shop inside. We lovingly call it "The Valley Ho." (One friend called it the V-Ho, but her boyfriend called it the Valley Ho by mistake. We couldn't resist keeping that name.) When family and friends come to visit, we will certainly take them there, as the food is really good.

Anyway, we also drove the half hour to Eagle River because their movie theatre was the only one in town playing "Crank: High Voltage" with Jason Statham. It was a kick in the pants. It crosses many shock lines, and I don't just mean electric ones.

Anyway (two), we've had absolutely gorgeous sunny weather lately, thanks to a high pressure system in place over Alaska. (Californians curse that high pressure, Alaskans revel in it, especially after last summer where there were only 4 warm days that reached 70 degrees.) The roads were completely dry, which made the grooves in them from winter tires seem more pronounced, as there was no snow or puddles of water to obscure them.

Just for fun, Logan, my insane chauffeur, decided to take his hands of the steering wheel, as the tires were well settled within these deep grooves. I didn't realize how deep the grooves really were ... until we approached a corner and the car TURNED ITSELF. Without Logan's ever touching the wheel with hands or knees. I don't think you can even do that on Highway 80 in California! (I could be wrong, but we never did.)

The car cruised around the corner all by itself without any assistance, and straightened out to boot. At the next corner, the grooves lessened, so Logan was not able to repeat the experiment, but once was enough for me. It just shakes me up to see him drive without either hand on the wheel for any amount of time, let alone THAT long!

So that was pretty funny and amazing, at least to me. Almost seemed like a magic trick at work. "Nothin' up muh sleeve ... Presto!"

And now for something we hope you'll really like ...

So by now you've probably read that we are getting a new puppy, a Newfie named Uffda. We did a lot of research on all the different breeds, trying to decide what kind of dog would be a good match for Bruno and also have the kind of disposition we want. I know there have been demands for pics of the puppy and of the new house, and I'm working on that. But here was an amazing coincidence that Logan pointed out to me today.

We bought an older model Toyota Landcruiser not long after we moved here. We needed two vehicles and one of them needed to be a truck for going camping and such. So we bought the most decent one we could find. It had a sticker in the back window which we didn't pay any attention to and never bothered to remove.

Today Logan was out in the garage with his exercise equipment, sweating away, when he looked out the window and happened to glance at the back of his Landcruiser. And noticed what the picture on the sticker was.

It was one of those black and white silhouette pictures of a specific dog breed. When people own a type of dog, they can get this sticker showing what kind of dog they like and/or own.

This sticker was a Newfoundland.

Isn't that eerie?!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Finally moved in!

We are finally moved in to our new house! We moved all day Tuesday and I moved all day Wednesday while Logan was at work, though he joined me as soon as he could to finish up the job.

It was brutal. I was covered with bruises and every single muscle I possessed screamed in agony for a few days after the moving was done. But we did it!

I will be taking pictures soon. Still getting organized. If my friends and family download Skype, they'll be able to see at least part of the inside of the house with my computer cam. Not to mention we'll be able to see each other and talk to each other for free, too! Ain't technology grand?

Anyway, Bruno was a nutcase for the first couple of days, but he has settled in quite nicely now. He loves his run because it means he gets to spend more time outdoors and run back and forth and I can go about my business while he does his. Also, this is a very dog friendly neighborhood, so he's already had several canine visitors. No fights, everyone plays friendly, so as long as none of them are unfixed females, I'm cool with it. I will not take responsibility for any puppies when my dog is confined to his own yard!

The cats are having a ball. They'd forgotten what carpet was like because our apartment was all laminate flooring. The loft upstairs, where they spend most of their time, is carpeted, and I can hear them racing around like crazy several times a day. Also, the staircase is their personal kitty jungle gym. Cats settled in almost immediately and they love all the windows, too. Need to replace those blinds with curtains, though!

All the snow has melted. Even thought the temps have been in the 40s and low 50s, it's still pretty chilly as it has been raining the last few days. I have to get our tires changed over on Monday because they have to be changed by May 1st. We're still riding on studded tires right now and we'll get fined for that if we don't change them now that the snow is gone for the season.

So much I want to tell and I can't remember it all right now! I'm positively giddy with delight!

I'm driving into Anchorage here in a little bit, so when I get back, I'll blog about our search for Dog #2. And more on the new house will follow as I remember all the things I want to write about!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hoppy Easter!

Missing those dearest to me today. Thinking about bear claws and cinnamon buns, colored eggs and baskets of candy. I've worn a dress once since I've moved up here and couldn't even bring myself to put one on today, since it's kind of drizzly and gray outside and we're still committing random acts of packing here in our apartment.

Yes, we're still here. We were supposed to sign papers for the new house on the 9th and move in on the 10th, but that ended up not happening. So we're signing papers on Monday and moving on Tuesday instead. And this time it has to happen that way because we have to be out of the apartment by Wednesday.

I hate last-minute-induced panic attacks. I got enough of those in college.

But today I spent two hours eating bear claws and drinking green tea while watching "Easter Parade" on TCM. Also got to chat with Mums and Daddums and Auntie on Skype. What a neat invention. So I got a little Easter cheer before we plunge back into the mess that signifies our big life change.

Happy Easter, y'all!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spoke too soon ...

Okay, yeah. We got a little bit of ash. What a letdown from the buildup, though.

Saturday evening, Logan and I were having dinner at a friend's house. She received a phone call from someone letting us know that Mt Redoubt had burped big time and there was a huge ash cloud heading our way. When we left her house, we could see teensy little flecks in the air, more like dots on the windshield, as tiny as could still be seen by the naked eye.

It was still faintly light outside, so we could see the cloud heading toward us. It was dark and a little green, too!

I went to a local bar after dropping Logan off to sing karaoke with my friends and celebrate someone's birthday. When I left that place, there was a slight film of ash dust covering the car. It didn't even obstruct my view through the windshield on my way home.

Next morning, Logan told me it was pretty much the same thing when he went out to the car to go to work. All in all, a rather disappointing show.

Still, I've gotten earfuls about how annoying ash fall is, how you can't use your windshield wipers because the ash particles will scratch up the glass, how you can't breath, how you can't wear contacts, on and on and on. So I'm glad the ash fall was almost nonexistent. Lord knows we have enough to deal with around here without ash covering everything, too!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Houston, we have a negative on that orbit trajectory...

No ash. Not even a hint. In fact, I haven't even heard any news about the volcano for at least one full day. I guess that scouring wind we get through the valley is also blowing all the volcanic activity away from us. Can't say I'm hurt or disappointed.

But now I've got a box of ten cheap knee-highs sitting on the counter. Logan had me buy them for the cars. Just in case. Guess they'll sit around 'til the next eruption in 20 years.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mt. Redoubt erupts!

Let the party begin!

Okay, no real reason for partying here. Nor is there reason to panic. However, we did just get word a little bit ago that Mt. Redoubt has indeed erupted, so poor Logan has trundled off to prepare the store for the ash fallout. (It's after midnight. We are not happy campers.) We will have to cover all the sensitive equipment, such as computers, with plastic bags before we leave at night because ash has an annoying habit of getting inside buildings where it is most unwelcome and a bitch to deal with.

But from what I've been told from people who experienced this last time (I believe it was late 1989), that's the worst that we will see. From what I've been reading, the most common suggestion is make sure you have food and water at home just in case and carry a washcloth to cover your face when you go outside.

Of course, I could read all the articles on the internet about volcanoes erupting and what to do about it, but I still have to wait and see the results for myself!

For those interested, here is the link to the volcano watch page:

Mt. Redoubt is not the only active volcano in Alaska. There are quite a few, from what I understand. One that went off in 1912 killed animals more than 1,000 miles away. (But then, I'm half asleep at the moment, so don't take any of my "facts" to heart. I can scarcely remember what day it is right now. Er, what night, I mean. Whatever.)

I'll keep you posted on what we end up seeing here in the valley. It's definitely Alaska-related information that others would be interested in, if I do say so myself.

In other unrelated news, I helped out a friend today who is doing a short movie that he plans to enter in several film festivals. I was an extra for a scene in a cafe. I spent the entire time sitting at a wobbly table playing games on my Mac, like Flipword and Pacman. The hot cocoa was good, the sandwich not so good. (To give them credit, it was the end of their day and it was the last sandwich, so not the freshest to be expected.) But it was great fun because a lot of my Spitfire Grill buddies were there, too. So it made for a nice evening.

The process on our house is going very slowly. The seller is getting a set of stairs to the loft put in. Shortly after that, the appraisal will be done. Our last day in our apartment will be April 15th. We should be completely moved in by then, though the seller may still have some stuff on the property and in the garage. (The vehicles in the yard may have to wait until the complete spring breakup as they are buried in ice and snow!)

Speaking of spring breakup, it definitely seems to be on the move. The last couple of weeks have been mostly sunny, sometimes reaching temps above freezing. The eves begin dripping, patches of ice on the parking lots get soft and mushy, snow gets blown away until you can practically see dirt in some areas.

But then it still freezes at night, so all those wet patches turn slick. Gotta watch your step and drive carefully in some spots!

And then last night it got cold again and started snowing. It didn't snow in Wasilla, but it did in Anchorage and even just down the highway in Palmer. Just enough to depress everybody. I passed a billboard out in front of a local shop that proclaimed, "It is spring, it is spring, it is!" I guess someone is very adamant about that being true. It IS spring, but the weather has yet to completely cooperate.

Well, it snowed in April last year. I can see that happening again this year quite easily.

Well, it's getting on to about 1 am now. I'll have to turn on the news tomorrow morning and see what reports there are on the Mt. Redoubt eruption. 'Night, all!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lots of new, exciting stuff!

Okay, it's been a bit since I last posted, and I don't know what I was saving it up for, but prepare for a serious unloading of news.

Deep breath.

First, I traveled by plane back to Northern California to visit family and friends for a week. As it is their rainy season and they're crying for rain (it was 70 degrees and sunny when Logan visited in January), I could hardly begrudge them the rain that we got most of the week. But it was sunny on the day I arrived and at least one other day while I was there.

The appearance of the sun is very different there. It's more golden and somehow a little harder on the eyes. Up here, it's more bleached and even with the snow, I hardly ever feel the need to wear sunglasses.

I ate Chinese food most of the week. I just haven't found any restaurants here in Alaska that match the Chinese food down there, but I'm not done looking yet. We brought Chinese food home from my parents' favorite place one night, went to a place in the new casino in town, and I took my bestest buddy to my favorite place, Debbie Wong's, in El Dorado Hills. I wasn't even able to eat it all before I left. Hope my parents enjoyed the leftovers!

I got to see my three boys, the cats I'd left behind at my parents' house. I was worried they wouldn't remember me, as it had been almost a year since my last visit. But they seemed to know me right off the bat and Gerry jumped on my back like he used to.

I even got to see the Folsom Zoo and Sanctuary, which I just never got around to doing while I lived there!

My friends gave me a stuffed moose dressed in a karate gi to celebrate my return. We ate at Olive Garden that first night, another place I had never really gotten a chance to go to while living in the area. I wasn't missing much, apparently, but it was fun anyway. We were also celebrating Tiffy's birthday.

The flights were good. The midnight flights to California were much quieter, of course, and had no one in the middle seats. I slept a bit on each one, but it's hard to sleep with your head on those little tray tables. Thank Goddess for iPods. I watched Wall-E and Firefly. On the way home, I watched 13 Going on 30 and Moulin Rouge. There were people in the center seats, but at least I had a window the whole way.

As much fun as I had, I was glad to be going back home. Logan and I had been having some problems, but we worked them out over the phone and we were very anxious to see each other.

The very day I got back, since we were in Anchorage, we decided to do some shopping. I certainly didn't expect to going back home with a new Macbook, but we did, and I am using it now as I type. We'd been hearing some good things about Macs, and I'd used them in college. We decided to give them a try. I like them a lot, but they do take getting used to if you've used PCs most of your life.

Now for the most exciting bit of news:

We got an email from Misty, the realtor helping us in our house hunting adventures. It was a link to a single house that had juts come on the market. She said she didn't know if it would be "too Alaskan" for us. (I smile whenever I think of this now.)

We went to see it a few days later. After the viewing, we talked at home for maybe 15 minutes before arranging to make an offer through Misty that evening. Instead of offering less than the asked for price of the house, we asked for certain things to remain with it, like the washer and dryer units, and we asked for $4,000 of the closing costs be covered by the seller.

We had to wait all of the next day, Friday, for an answer back. Logan went to a meeting at work and I went to help a friend search for her missing dog. Logan called me later that afternoon to tell me that Misty texted him that we got the house!

I won't write much about it now, because I plan to post some pictures later on, but we should be moved in by May 1st. It's amazing how fast and how smoothly everything has been going, as if this house were waiting for us to come share its life. The monthly payment is the same as we've been paying in rent for our apartment, and it's going to the ownership of something that suits us down to the ground. I can't believe our luck!

Oh, and my friend found her dog, too!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's Over...

Wow. The run of "The Spitfire Grill" here in Wasilla, Alaska is over. And what a ride it has been.

Today's closing show was a mind blowing experience. As many of my acting friends probably remember, I have never really cried on stage. When I was Audrey in "Little Shop of Horrors", I could get a little misty-eyed on occasion during those crying scenes. Same thing happened here. Our director was of the impression that Percy, my character, would cry when she revealed her secret to Shelby. I thought perhaps not because she would have gone through all that in therapy in the prison. Anyway, I did my best every night to shed some tears.

I think I managed to make it believable, but I never got past the slightly-damp-around-the-eyelashes point.

Never, that is, until tonight.

The bonds this group has formed are amazing. We love hanging out with each other, we help each other, support each other, email each other, call each other, and spend hours on Facebook checking out each others' profiles. (Okay, maybe not hours, but you know what I mean.)

Every show I have ever been in, there was a great relief when the show was over. Yeah, a little bummed because it was fun, but relieved that now life can go back ot normal.

For this cast, there is a big gaping hole in our lives now. If the show were to go on for another month, not one of us would complain or think anything else about it. We'd go on performing and loving every second of our time together.

So emotions ran high to boiling today for our closing show. We were all a little sniffly during our nightly pre-show prayer gathering. I couldn't speak because I would have had to surgically remove the lump in my throat. But then the show started and we all fell into the usual routine.

By the second act, it was like reality was setting in. Not just the reality that the show was over, but the reality of the show itself. It took on new life. When I did my monologue about how "I" killed my stepfather because he got me pregnant and then beat me up and killed the life inside, the silence in the audience was palpable. When I broke down and buried my face in my hands, real tears coursed down my cheeks.

Tammy told me that when she pulled my hair aside to lift my chin during her song and saw the tears rolling, she almost couldn't continue singing. She said she felt the tears dripping off my chin onto her hand and nearly busted out bawling herself.

The next scene was the one where Tammy and Evan have their argument about me and Evan nearly hits her. I get to watch from the corner of my eye, pretending to be asleep in on the rock. The scene rocked the house. It was absolute magic.

When I sang "Shine" after that, even though it was a real struggle to keep my voice steady, I sang it with more emotion and power than ever before. The tears started again near the end of the song, but this time they were tears of happiness.

I had to run to the greenroom to get some tissue before I had an absolute makeup meltdown before the biggest scene of all.

I pull Tommy into the grill, the son that had been living in the woods since deserting the army. Bonnie, who plays Hannah, has always been able to pull off that scene (lovingly nicknamed "the green weenie" scene) with gut wrenching emotion and authenticity. She cries on stage every night without fail.

The latter half of that scene has me blowing up at Bonnie, saying, "I know what it is to lose a child Hannah!" Followed by silence. Then, "I do. And mine can never come back." By this time, the tears had started again. When I walked over to her and pointed to the door saying, "But you're boy is out there," I couldn't contain it anymore. I sobbed as I ran off the stage.

I practically crashed into Evan who immediately held me in his arms as I cried, followed quickly by Garry, who did the same. I was overwhelmed by the emotions running through us all. As Bonnie and Tommy completed the scene, Bonnie sang her song with raw power as Tommy came into the grill and sat at the table with her. When she placed her hands on Tommy's, a bomb could have gone off in that theatre and no one would have noticed.

During the final scene, when the chosen letters are collected, Garry has a line something like, "Well, I guess today's the big day." His voice wobbled as he spoke and we all nearly lost it right then. Patty courageously spoke her lines, though we could see the effort in her face to keep it together.

The last song came together with perfection. Our harmony rang through the room like bells. When we came out for our final bows, though it was not a full house, to me it sounded like the loudest cheers we'd heard all along. We got a standing ovation.

After the show, we gathered up the props, pulled down the trees, and began dismantling the stage. As the knoll disappeared and the tables were removed, I could feel myself sinking into a deep depression. It really is over.

We hung out for a while after finishing the strike. We presented our director with his gifts and laughed about things that happened that night and other things that had happened in other shows. We ate some food and cried some more when it was time to go. I hugged everybody three or four times at least. There were cards, flowers, candy, and lots of other things floating between us.

Now that I am at home, I am reflecting on the last four months. I have no more tears, not because I don't feel like crying, but because my body is dried and numb from the emotional tide that washed over me and left as quickly as it had come. We had our first read through toward the end of October, our first rehearsal at the beginning of November. I remember the hard times we had working through certain scenes, the disagreements, the laughter, the camaraderie, the goofing off backstage. I remember the first time we went out as a group and enjoyed each other's company away from the stage right before Thanksgiving. And how we've gone out once every weekend during the run of the show. While we couldn't all always be there, we were together in spirit.

It is the same now. Though our lives will continue, we'll fill that extra time with other things, we'll enjoy other shows and casts, they will never be equal to the time we spent with each other.

Before this show, I was residing here in Alaska, but still not belonging. I hardly knew anybody and I hardly did anything besides work, eat, and sleep. I found this new family and I feel loved and accepted. I can't express to them how much that means to me. I will always love and cherish my "Spittie Family".

Okay, I better knock this off before I start crying all over the keyboard. This computer has enough problems as it is.

Gods all bless, cast and crew of "the Spitfire Grill".

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Been a long, been a long, been a long tiiiiiiiiime!

Okay, it's been a while since I posted. Lots of stuff going on. Not sure what's too personal, what's too boring, and what's too ... Well, anyway, here's a few things.

The response to our show, the Spitfire Grill, has been incredible. The people who come up to us after the show are seriously moved, some to tears. Several gentleman have told us that they never liked musicals, but they liked this one. I've had so many compliments, I'm starting to feel like a superstar.

However, we've only sold out one night. That seems to be because of the economic downturn of late. I guess it's the same for theatres across the nation.

But Sarah Palin came to a show last weekend! Got to shake her hand and she said she enjoyed the show. Took a pic with the cast and crew. Don't have a copy of it yet. Lots of flashbulbs going off that night.

Today I narrowly escaped an accident on the highway. What is it with Alaskans and driving? As soon as snow appears, you see 10 cars ditched, rolled over, or crashed. Do they think they're invincible just because they see snow almost every day in the wintertime?

Today it started snowing on our way home from Eagle River where I taught a class. When a person would pass, you wouldn't be able to see for a bit because of the snow being swirled around.

At one point (I was averaging about 45 to 50 mph by this time) a couple of loose dogs approached the highway like they intended to cross. I slowed to a stop and honked my horn to deter them. They moved off and I picked up speed again. As I glanced in my side view mirror, I saw a car sliding toward me at high speed, whipping back and forth as the driver tried to regain control.

I started muttering, "Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit" over and over. Logan didn't realize what I was talking about until the car slid by us sideways, missing us by about an inch or two. He ended up backwards in the ditch. Thank the gods he didn't hit us or anybody else. And I pray those dogs went back home and made it safely.

In other news, Yahoo Messenger has disappointed me yet again. For some reason, now it will not open for love or money. No matter how many colorful names I give it, I can't figure out why or what to do. I may just cut my losses and try something else. In the meantime, I'll have to stick to Facebook and/or Myspace chat. At least until I can figure out what's going on.

A few days ago, when it snowed, the flakes were so tiny, you could clearly see the crystal pattern they form. When I went out to my car one morning, it looked like it was covered in stars. It was so pretty, I didn't want to drive it!

Got to see "Les Miserables" at long last. Colony High School performed it and they did very well for a high school production. Sure, it had it's fair share of glitches, but some of the singing was pretty good and some of the acting was even better. I enjoyed it very much. That's quite a difficult undertaking for a high school!

Okay, guess that's all the updates for now. I get to go see my local nurse practitioner tomorrow morning to start my yearly feminine invasions once again. Oh, joy and rapture. >Rolls eyes<

Monday, January 19, 2009

Now I Remember Why I Love it So Much

This show, the Spitfire Grill, has really brought home to me why I love performance theatre. I had never realized how much a person could be affected by what we do on the stage. I have never received such glowing comments on anything I've done. And this cast is truly a remarkable cast to work with.

I wanted to share this letter from a patron. I hope she won't mind. I won't leave her name and I don't even know who she is myself. But it's too special to me not to share with those who read my blog.

This is a big excerpt from the email:

"Effy was a hoot and always a joy to watch. As we watched the transformation of Shelby from wall flower to a strong and assertive woman, we cheered. The actress who played Shelby was truly wonderful and her lyric vocals were a pleasure to hear as well as her dancing and duets. The wild bird song was so touching and the small duet with the sheriff added a sweet touch. We felt the desire of Shelby to comfort her friend, the pain of Percy as she thinks and relives the painful memories, and the love of the sheriff for Percy despite the rejection. A lot in a small package. Caleb was indeed a cad, but he was written that way, and it was well acted. The angst that Hannah must have gone through was well portrayed and we felt her pain as she struggled - very nice vocals to boot! I can't say anything that will do the scene with Eli justice. My kleenex ran out after that.

"The woman that played Percy was truly a blessing to hear. From opening to closing she was indeed a "spitfire". We loved hearing her sing and her dancing and acting just made it that much more enjoyable. When she sang the song on the hill with the sunrise I was grinning from ear to ear. There is forgiveness and second chances indeed. I whispered to my friend,"Where has she been? I didn't know we had ladies that good in Wasilla!" The man that played Joe...I had been hoping to see him in a musical again since Beauty and the Beast. When he sang both times on the hill he gave me goose bumps and his duet with Percy was flawless and we knew that there should be more coming. When Joe sang the forest and trees song and proposed to Percy my goosebumps came back. We could feel his intensity and passion from where we were sitting. When Joe looked at her we knew he loved her and that he was singing only to her - the rest of us just happened to be VPA voyeurs! My friend leaned over to me and said, "I bet they're a couple in real life. You don't fake that!" Please keep those two together because they are a joy to hear and to see together and the chemistry crackled.

"I went expecting just another night at VPA and left truly touched. My heart was warmed by the message of the story. I think the actor that played Joe mentioned that the story was heartwarming and spoke of love and forgiveness during the radio interview. He was right. I left having had a truly wonderful experience and one that I will remember fondly for a long time to come. I will be telling my other friends about this and encouraging them to go see the show."

I am truly blessed. I can't even express how emotional I feel right now. I cried earlier, tears of joy. Thank you for sending us such warm sentiments and letting us know that what we do is indeed special to many.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Spitfire Success!

It's almost 3 o'clock in the morning right now. I can't sleep. I'm so jazzed up and feel the need to squawk about it.

The show is going great. The response is really amazing. Instead of the usual obligatory "Great show, wonderful job" statements you get from the patrons as they pass, we find ourselves surrounded by people grabbing our hands and saying with great exuberance, "That was fantastic!" and other expressions of rapture. People are REALLY enjoying this show!

Yes, we've had our share of problems. We've had several forgotten lines and song lyrics, a wig falling off on stage, a mic cord getting caught on something and requiring one of the techies to run to the store during intermission to get it working again. And that was all just tonight!

But it never seems to matter. We've had standing ovations both nights. I think the seats are going to fill up quickly.

And this cast is the most amazing cast I've ever worked with. The talent is impressive, and they like to go out and bond and have fun. We went karaoke-ing tonight and I'm still dancing and humming. So much fun. That's why I'm still awake. We have a matinee tomorrow, but at least I could sleep until 11:30 if I wanted.

This must be sinful, to be enjoying myself this much. Or at least fattening.

I'm going to be blubbering like a baby when this show closes. I hope I'll be able to put the tears to good use on the stage.

Friday, January 16, 2009

You Tube Spitfire Grill vids

Here's a taste of the Spitfire Grill. Please ignore the little problems here and there; we were still ironing out the bumps at this point!

Shoot The Moon

Diggin' Stone

Colors of Paradise

Opening Night!

Spitfire Grill opens tonight! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Okay, I feel better now.

I'm going to post the radio program that three of us did to plug the show yesterday somewhere on this blog. Just not sure where yet. We'll see where it appears!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Watch your backs, California!

Logannie-poo is headed your way!

Logan is going to visit his family for a bit. It's a good time for him to go, job-wise. I can't go back until after the show is over, so I've booked a flight for February 21. That's a Saturday and I'll stay until Friday, the 27th.

Rehearsals are getting better and better. I kind of wish we had one more week of rehearsals rather than one more night. But then, that's because I don't want the show to end. I'm having too much fun, I love the people I'm working with, and I don't want to drift apart when the show is over.

Sigh. Going to bed to dream.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Little House Weirdness

When I first read "These Happy Golden Years" from the Little House series of books, I cracked up when I read this line: " ... and everyone was so happy and gay because it was only 20 degrees below zero and the sun shone."

I figured at the time that it didn't really matter that it had been forty below earlier in the chapter because anything below zero is FREAKIN' COLD!

Well, in a way that is true. It seems once you get past a certain low temp, it just plain feels cold.

However, I will now admit that twenty below could feel downright warm after forty below.

The last few days, our lows have been in the -20s. It's been the lowest we've yet seen here in the Valley and we've been hearing from the locals that this is the worst winter in 30 years. (And last winter was abnormally mild, though it did snow in April.)

When we got up this morning to go to work, it was only -3. And it felt warm!

I wonder how the Big Lake folks are faring. Though they are only about 1/2 an hour away from us (about the distance of Shingle Springs to Pollock Pines, for my California friends), they were in the forty below range while we were in the -20s. Basically, those folks weren't going anywhere during that time; their cars were not cooperating!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I love Baffin and Tea!

Okay, two totally unrelated things that have both entered my life in the last few days and I love them both.

The first are my Baffin Impact winter boots. These things are worth every penny! My feet are so warm and they are so comfortable. Yes, they are on the huge side, so when I change to my regular shoes, I walk funny for a while. Like my legs are dragging or something. But when I walk outside in -20 degree weather, my feet are oh so toasty!

I would recommend Baffin to anyone living in extreme cold weather areas. These boots totally ROCK!

As for the other, I've been drinking tea off and on for a few years. Green tea mostly. I put honey in it, but it never really thrilled me. And you had to wait for the water to heat up, which I told myself I didn't have the time to do.

Well, a few days ago I got knocked to my knees with a head cold. It made me panic because the last time I had a cold, it took my voice away for a month. I am at this point two weeks away from my show opening. I need my voice!

On day two of my cold, more than half of my vocal range was gone. I could speak, but not very well. And definitely no upper range at all!

I refuse to take cold medicines. Most of them will actually prolong the cold because it dries up the symptoms, which are actually your body's processes of cleaning out the disease. And usually when I take those medicines to sleep, it's a drugged sleep, not a restful one.

So I stalked the internet, looking for natural remedies to cure my cold. Read about the usual hypes, echinacea, zinc, blah, blah, blah. Zinc has never worked for me. Read about garlic, may try that one next time.

The one I saw over and over again was tea with honey and lemon. So I started drinking at least three cups a day (I have several versions of green tea). I was also drinking as much water as I could manage throughout the day. And spending a lot of time running to the bathroom.

I even tried a variety box of teas specifically for colds, like Throat Coat, Breathe Easy, Organic Echinacea, and Gypsy Cold Care.

I think this cured me of my cold in three days.

The night before the third day, I spent two hours coughing and coughing while trying to sleep on the futon. Then all of a sudden it stopped. When I woke up, I was feeling fantastic. My voice took another day to start coming back.

I still have some phlegm floating around between nose and lungs, but the temps have been in the negatives for the last week (today, -24, the coldest we have seen yet). I wear thermals, my Baffins, my heavy coat, gloves, and my turtle head thing that covers my head, neck, and face except for my eyes. I think everyone is in the same boat as me at this point!

Anyway, I'm in love with tea + honey + real lemon and my Baffin boots. I think these are true necessities for dealing with your health in cold climates like Alaska.

Just my humble opinion, of course! ;)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy yew near!

What's a yew?

Anyway, this is the first post of 2009!!!!

And I have nothing interesting to say.

Just kidding.

Lookie what I did with some of my friends here in Wasilla, Alaska! Summer, who is props mistress for the Spitfire Grill, invited me to join her in this video project. Apparently there's a contest for promoting a book called "Beyond Heaving Bosoms". Summer wrote a script, gathered a bunch of us together, and we shot almost all of it in one day.

And I gotta tell you, that was one blustery day! Single digits with a wind chill in the negatives. We'd run outside, do a shot, then run back in and warm up until the next take. I'm glad I was wearing my red Southern Bell dress; I had my long johns and my hiking boots with thick wool socks underneath!

Win or lose, we had a total blast. I can't wait to see the bloopers! Here's the finished project:

I'm "amnesia girl"!

Happy New Year to one and all. This year, my resolution is to finally finish and lay to rest the novel I have been working on for seven years. It's the first novel I ever completed, but I've been rewriting and polishing it forever. I want to get it done and start submitting it for publication, then move on to my other projects waiting in the wings.

Anyway, hubby has commanded my attention elsewhere. Adios, adieu, and all that jazz until later!