Sunday, December 26, 2010

I know I just posted, but I got nostalgic ...

... and decided to go back and see what I had resolved to do for 2010. I wanted to see how I did as far as completing (or at least making a dent in) those resolutions.

Here's a copy of that list:

1) Stop biting my nails. (I know, I know. EVERY year the same thing. I'll do it for good one day.)
2) Finish working on my novel Sparkless and start shopping it around as I move on to revise Summerland's Savior.
3) Read as many books from that list of 100 books everyone should read. At least I'll try to get to the classics.
4) Perform in at least ONE show this year!

As I said in my earlier post, I've accepted the fact that I'm a nail biter in the hopes that through that acceptance I will finally give it up. (I know, twisted, but hey, it might work!)

I did finally finish my first major revision of "Sparkless," which I am most proud of. I'm not sure if it's ready to be sent out into the world again, so I will consider that as the 2011 wears on.

I tried to read one book that I borrowed from the library on that list: "An American Tragedy." I was interested in it, some of the writing was delightfully terrible, but it was taking so long to finish it, and I was tired of renewing, so I finally returned it to the library half read.

And I did perform in a show this year, "Pride and Prejudice," and made new friends and had lots of fun. I also auditioned for and got into another show, "Nunsense II," which will open in January 2011, so that will count as my show for next year. I don't think they're doing any shows that I'm interested in until 2012, so it will have to do. Unless I get up the guts to audition for something in Anchorage.

So after reading that list and seeing how much I really accomplished, here is my "To Do" list for 2011:

1) Get my dojo going
2) At least finish my 2010 Nanowrimo novel. I'm nearly done, so that won't take too long. After that, finish "Summerland's Savior." If there's still time left in the year, begin revising it.
3) Complete "Write 1 Sub 1." Don't be afraid to do the submission part.
4)Somehow get up the guts to try auditioning for Anchorage theatre. (I'm still wobbly about that one, but a friend of mine told me about it and thinks it would be fairly easy for me to get in. I'm just still not sure if I want to put in the time to drive there and back.)

Some of those are close to being completed already, which is a bit like cheating on my resolutions since they're easy. But it's also easy to put things on the back burner until they become a lot more difficult to complete, so I want to avoid that.

And if I run out of resolutions before the year is out, I'll just write some more.

New Year, New Challenges!

One of my friends just turned me on to this writing challenge that goes on all year, called Write 1 Sub 1. It means you write a short story each week, then submit it for publication as you write the next story. Apparently Ray Bradbury used to do this. I need to read up on this challenge a little more, but as I've always wanted to tackle the short story form, and several of my writely buddies are considering it as well, it sounds like I'm gonna jump in with both feet! I'm terrible at this form, but that's because I avoid it, I'm sure. Besides, my full novels can't be much better!

This is day three of my three days off for the holidays. A friend of mine was not only kind enough to invite me over for Christmas dinner last night, but she stuffed a stocking full of candy for me too! She also told me about getting to play elf for some local kids who weren't getting Christmas this year. I left her house with a full belly, a full heart, and over-full eyes. There need to be more people like her in the world.

I got to Skype with my family on Christmas Day. They set the computer at the end of the dining table. It was almost like I was sitting there and eating with them (except I didn't get any food. Sigh.) I opened a couple of my presents, and got to watch when Mom opened the box from me and passed out the presents to the cousins and my Aunt. There are times I absolutely love modern technology.

Progress on our little garage dojo is slow. We finally found the manual for the gas heater on the wall, so I'm going to start it up today. With an extinguisher nearby just in case. First, I need to finish sweeping out the snow that collected on the wrestling mats. The wind storms we've been having drove the snow through the door cracks and even through the window, leaving piles of it all over the place. I have to sweep it while it's still frozen before I can start the heater.

Nunsense II is shaping up nicely. Hard to believe we've only two weeks left before opening. I'm panicking ...

New year's resolutions? I'm giving up on the biting nails one. I'm just going to accept the fact that I'm a nail biter. Maybe then I'll stop doing it, eh? So I think maybe this Write 1 Sub 1 challenge will help me write more, which is something I want. Can't really think of anything else.

My husband thinks my aunt and uncle's tradition of sending a letter of our year to our family and friends instead of Christmas cards is really cool. So I may send a New Year's letter out this year, then do it for Christmas from now on. Maybe I'll convince him to let me send a picture of us along, too!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Look Ma, I made it!

I crossed the finish line with a half hour to spare for Nanowrimo 2010. I will now be posting my winning badge here on my blog. Make sure you take a moment to admire the gloriousness of it.

That was a grueling month. There were a few days where I thought I wasn't going to make it, but I slugged through to the end and now I can breath a sigh of relief. I'm going to finish this novel, then put it away and go back to finishing the second novel I ever wrote, but didn't finish.

But not tomorrow. Tomorrow I'm cleaning the house.

Congrats and YAY to the other Nanowrimo winners around the globe! We all ROCK!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Airport rant and just taking a peek ...

... at my little Nanowrimo counter thingy. Two red squares indicate I didn't write anything that day. The yellow squares show the days I didn't meet the daily word count of 1667. But what it doesn't show is that on the green days, I often wrote way more than I had to. And that's why I'm still ahead by a day.

My lead got as much as four days, but I've taken a few mental health breaks here and there. But I'm pleased to announce that I have enough planned so that I won't finish the story before I've reached 50k. I've heard of that happening to others, but I wanted to make sure it didn't happen to me.

In other news, I believe I can officially say I've been sick four times this year. On Tuesday we had some of the biggest, coldest winds I've seen yet. It froze me, so now I have a bit of throat irritation. I would have written it off as not being sick, except the irritation was accompanied by huge tonsils. But I've busted out my thermals, and taking good care of myself, so I think this one will be short lived. Our neighbor across the street even said he and his wife are sick of the winds and are looking at moving to Idaho or something. I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought of the same thing myself. Especially lately.

I've been very disturbed with the news about airports and the invasive techniques they use in the name of security. It basically boils down to having naked pictures taken of myself (over which I have no control of what happens to the photos afterwards), or having strangers' hands put on my body in places only my husband is allowed to go, and only with my permission. If it were anyone else, it would be sexual harassment or worse. And were does it stop? Pretty soon they'll have to hire doctors to be TSA agents if this goes to the next step, "I can give you a prostate check or a pap smear while we check you for contraband!"

In the lower 48, it's much easier to boycott the airlines. Unless you're planning on driving across the country, most of America is reachable within a couple of days' driving. But in Alaska, unless you want to spend five to seven days driving through a foreign country, you don't have many options. I usually take a week long vacation - two days traveling, and five days visiting family. If I tried the Alaska Marine Highway (ferrying from Seward or wherever to Washington) that will still be three to five days traveling because they're more sightseeing and not direct travel. And I'd have to change ferries in southernmost Alaska. And that's just to get me to Washington. Would still take a day or two getting to my family.

Other options: see if I can hire a private plane to fly me. Have no idea how much that could cost. Or I could get my own pilot's license and fly myself. While tempting (I'm sure it would save a lot of flying money over the long run), I'm not confident enough to take on such a feat. I hate heights. And driving is scary enough.

So far, it doesn't look like Sacramento or Anchorage have the body scanners, but websites have been known to wrong. And even if they don't have the scanners, what's to stop them from doing the advanced pat-downs everyone is screaming about? Just because I've never received one of their random checks doesn't mean it won't ever happen.

As a martial artist and a woman traveling alone, I can't accept the idea of a stranger, man or woman, touching me in the ways I've read about. I'm trained to keep that kind of thing from happening, and it's just plain wrong.

So does that mean I'm stuck here unless I want to try to take longer vacations? Most of the time I can't do that. And if living here means I can't see my family without getting violated, it's not worth it.

I fully admit I may be overreacting. But it doesn't seem very likely.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And the Insanity Parade Marches On ...

Yes, I do believe there is insanity running through my family. I'm only grateful my job isn't full time because I'd be even more nuts than I am exhibiting now. However, while my job is short hours and lousy pay, it's long on physical demands!

And we haven't even started the dance rehearsals yet.

I think Nunsense II may be the most challenging musical I have ever done to date. I'm trying to think of any in my list of shows that were as freaky as this one is. I mean, really: bingo games with the audience, split personality puppeteering, singing and dancing in habits and other costume tidbits. I don't want to give things away, so that's all I'll say on the subject.

Except for this: I can only pray that the audience will be laughing at me for the RIGHT reasons.

Nanowrimo has been going exceptionally well. Yes, my little widget shows some yellow days amongst the green, and here's why: I've been largely ahead of my word count on most days, so there were a couple of days I technically didn't reach my daily word goal of 1667. However, the other days have made up for more than those short days. I think day one had me glued to my computer, cranking out near 5k! The take off is always the strongest.

I credit following Nanowrimo Sprints on Twitter for a big chunk. They run word sprints most of the day, so I can get on there and sprint with other people all around the globe. (So if you've been looking at my Tweets lately, that's what all those word count ones are about.)

The other big chunk goes to the write-ins with the Mat-Su chapter of Nanowrimo. We crank out a lot of words through word wars (where we compete for the most words written in a certain amount of time, making teams with names like Ghosts vs Fairies), with lots of candy and Pandemonium Bookstore's hot chocolate. Nothing like fellow crazies and sugar highs to knock out a bunch of words.

Anyway, now back to writing.

Monday, November 1, 2010

And we're off like a prom dress!

I know, I've probably used that line before, but I can't help it: It cracks me up!

Nanowrimo has officially begun in Alaska. I met with a couple of other die-hards at a restaurant in Palmer (the only one we know of open 24/7). We had salads and sodas, busted out our laptops, and had our first word war together as other late-night patrons chatted around us in the cozy cafe environment.

We left shortly after that first word war, but it was so cool to share staying up late and getting going right off the bat with others, that I didn't mind. It was too cool that we were able to do it to begin with! Always nice to know there are other people out there as crazy as I am!

I'm still 600 words short of my daily allotment of 1667 words, but it's just about two in the morning. I need some shut-eye in order to keep cranking out my glorious story!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nanowrimo, Nunsense, and Halloween approach ...

... though not necessarily in that order.

Nanowrimo is just around the corner! (I know, still a week, but I can't wait!) I've got my novel outline ready for use on Scrivner. This will be my first time using this special program for writers on my Mac. Heard that it will be available for Windows soon, too, if it's not already. I've got a bunch of things saved in the Research folder so I can just glance at them quickly when I need them. The years before, I'd use a clipboard and just write a bunch of haphazard notes all over the paper. Not as easy to find the things I need that way.

Went to our Nanowrimo planning session at Pandemonium bookstore yesterday. I was late because of Nunsense II auditions, but I got to see all the new faces at our tables this year. The conference room was packed when I got there, but still enough room to squeeze myself in. I was way too tired to even order food by that point, but it was nice sitting in a room full of people about to embark on the same crazy adventure and listen to them talk.

Nunsense II auditions happened yesterday as well. I did a song I hadn't done before, and while I was very displeased with my singing performance, and while I always struggle with improv, I guess I did all right. I sang "Don't Rain on My Parade" from Funny Girl. Normally I don't have much trouble with belt songs, but I was so tired after teaching three exercise classes, I couldn't maintain control like I usually do and resorted to the kind of belt that I can only do for a few minutes. It sounds fine, but it's more like yelling than singing. Doesn't help that all the classes I teach require the use of my voice. Even though I use a head mic, I still get a little froggy after a long day.

For Halloween, I went through all the costumes I've made over the years: the sultry mummy and the country girl (both theatre costumes at one point), the renaissance wench, the southern belle (ding dong, ding dong!), and the goth/living dead girl dress. Much as I love the sumptuousness of the southern belle, I made it out of a fabric that turned out way too heavy, so I'll pass on that one. The mummy costume may be falling apart (it's hard to tell.) The country girl is too cold (short skirt and off the shoulder top.)

So I'm down to the wench and the goth girl. I think I'll go goth girl, since I can have some hair and makeup fun with that. I haven't worn that one since I lived in California, and I've only worn it once. I just have to make sure I can still wear it! If the temp gets real cold, I can wear long underwear and no one will be able to tell.

While I wait for the results of the Nunsense II casting, guess I'll go clean out the garage.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The temperature drops ...

... like cement shoes on the feet of a lawyer.

Sorry, bad joke.

The last week has shown a sharp change in the temperature, but this is rather typical. I always start thinking of doing ye olde tire swap around this time: mornings in the teens, frost so thick it doesn't melt before the sun goes down, that almost burning sensation of frigid air slicing down your throat. At least my nose hairs aren't crackling yet.

My body is starting to protest a bit this year. I'm usually fairly stiff if I sit still too long, like at the computer, and the cold air just makes it worse. I've added energy/protein bars to my diet. Most people use them as meal replacements. I use them as meal enhancements. I try to get organic ones whenever I can, but I also want ones that are edible. So I mix it up by getting several different kinds.

I've gone back to adding vitamin D to my regimen since my doc told me that my immune system was probably seriously depressed. So far it seems to be doing good. Now I just need to figure out the best diet to keep me moving.

Ah, the joys of living in Alaska!

Speaking of living in Alaska, today marks the third year anniversary of officially living here. It's been quite a ride, not always a pleasant one, but certainly a huge learning experience. I still haven't caught the local Alaska disease yet: that of complaining every time the weather turns cold. I'll admit, the summer sucked big time with all that rain. But there are good things to be said for winter. I like how the snow pack makes my road more tolerable for driving (no potholes.) I like the longer sunsets (since the sun never gets all the way up in the sky, the whole day is practically sunrise and sunset.) I like the fireworks on New Year's, the fact that we always have a white Christmas, the warm and comforting foods and drinks that are too warm for summer. I love watching my dogs playing in the snow.

And I can't wait to try out my new two handed snow shovel! (Okay, I'm stretching it a bit here.)

And, last but certainly not least, NANOWRIMO! Celebrating the art and science of writing for an entire month of literary abandon. Where you are free to write as crappy as you ever thought possible.

See, there are always good things about every kind of weather.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Another closing of another show ...

... and I'm down in the usual post-show dumps.

The word often used is bittersweet, but that always makes me think of food. It's not strong enough for the emotions one goes through at the closing of a performance run, especially one as amazing as the run "Pride and Prejudice" just had. Two weekends sold out, and at least one sold-out show each of the other two weekends. There were a bunch of people saying they came back a second time (and they weren't spouses or family.)

I think I'd lean more towards manic-depressive as a description? I have to put more thought into that.

I'm grateful to have my "life" back. There are many things that have been taking back seats as we got closer to opening the show and during the actual performances. I haven't been practicing my new exercise routines as much as I usually do. At the very least I was pretty distracted while practicing backstage in the green room almost every performance night. (And several of the other actors and crew would join me every once in a while. I had my own chorus line going!) I need to get the garage clean and organized for the dojo. I need to bug spray the house. The list goes on.

But I got rather attached to the group of people I spent so much time with the last couple of months. Many of them were strangers to me when we started. It took weeks to learn everyone's real name instead of their character name. And then last night most of us went out karaoke-ing and have a blast. We want to make it a regular thing (much like us "Spitties" did after "The Spitfire Grill" closed.)

I got to work with people I already knew, and with people I wanted to know better or hadn't had a chance to work with yet.

I got to prance around the stage in fancy dresses with my nose in the air and speaking in a British accent. (I even got a compliment from someone with a real British accent!)

So my mind and emotions are at war for dominance: relief at life returning or depression at the ending of something special. Eventually the depression will pass and I'll be content with the memories: my nickname for my onstage brother when he accidentally called me his daughter during a show ("Dad!"), our own secretly added lines whispered behind the curtains ("Consider it dropped"), songs sung on our karaoke night ("I Got You, Babe"), and so much more.

I better be happy with my life being returned to me. The auditions for "Nunsense II" are coming up real soon ... ;>

Friday, October 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo website relaunch!

The NaNoWriMo website has indeed relaunched, so I've been procrastinating from cleaning the house to update my info and add the counters and banners to my blog. You can see the new ones in the sidebar. >dancing in giddy circles<

If you've never done NaNoWriMo, but you've always wanted to write a book, jump right in! You've got a month to plan still. Just remember you can't write a word of the novel itself until November 1, 2010. Until then, you can plan, outline, fiddle, brainstorm, and draw idea bubble maps to your heart's content!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Wonderful Weather of Wasilla

Apparently the Alaska Branch of Mother Nature Dot Org decided that "fall" had lasted long enough, and it was now time for "blow." Just when we were getting the intense gold color of the leaves along the road to our house, the wind rushed in to shake them all loose, knock down trees, and remove power from several homes for days.

I suppose I should be grateful that we were spared the looooooong power outage that affected many of my friends, and of course I am. I am also grateful that the theatre was spared having to reschedule a show when power was flickering Friday evening. (It never did go out, though it did flip off for a moment when I was curling my hair. I screamed, "Wait, just one more curl and I'm done!" Then the power came back on.)

However, I'm really peeved that I didn't get to take a picture of that fabulous gold tunnel along our road. The trees hug a place on the road that dips down, and when the sun shines just right, it gleams with an intensity that takes the breath away. I wanted to get a picture of it this year, but the wind robbed me of that by stripping the leaves before they reached that point. Grrrr.

A few days of wind, and then the real fun began: early winter. Yesterday snow appeared on the mountains, as well as making small flurried appearances in the valley. If a rainstorm had moved through, it would have been a snowstorm. At the end of September, for crying out loud. Thank the gods we've already bought that huge two-handed snow shovel for the driveway. We're not even allowed to put on snow tires yet, technically! (I guess that would change if it actually snowed that much, though.)

We escaped most of the problems that others have had: Our only casualty of the wind was our trash can (which wedged itself in such a way that nothing was coming out of it, so we left it where it was until the wind died down), and the fence along the back of the garage. We were going to take it down anyway, perhaps use it to line the outdoor dog kennel, so no real problem there. I think it was only there as a kind of view blocker for the lots behind us, but it was pretty pointless anyway.

So here's the million dollar question: if winter is already threatening to loose itself on us, does that mean it's going to be a long, mild winter, or a long, harsh one? Since it's winter either way, I suppose it doesn't really matter. >Sigh<

Monday, September 20, 2010

Alaskan Health Issues

I lived in one state for the first 30 years of my life. I've lived in Alaska for three years next month.

I believe I have been sick more times here in Alaska than I have the rest of my life. And those sicknesses have been longer, more miserable, and nearly piggyback to each other, especially this year.

In summer 2010, I've been significantly sick three times. The second time included strep throat and ear infections that caused some deafness. The first two each lasted a month long, give or take a few days. That means since May (the first illness of the summer), I've been sick every other month. The third one, I've been adding things back into my diet that may have curtailed it a bit, though it is still not gone.

So what's up? My doc mentioned a couple of things when I went in for the strep and ear infections:

One: We have a lot of tourists, people moving here from other countries, etc. They bring with them all manner of diseases that our bodies have never defended against previously. Even the most diligent of hand washers and antibacterial wipe users can still get sick if they haven't encountered certain bugs before.

Two: This summer was spectacularly awful. I still say the summer of 2008 (our first) was worse because we only saw the sun a handful of times; this summer started off with almost three weeks of gorgeous weather in May. I blamed my first illness this summer on the dust from the duplex building going on right next to our house. I've been more sensitive to dust since my first illness in Alaska (November 2007) was made quite severe by the extreme amounts of dust in the store I worked at.

But then it started raining. And raining. July was (I believe) the wettest July Wasilla has ever seen. And it kept on raining. The last couple of weeks here in September have been sunny, but fall is on the way and it's already getting cooler. First frost just a few mornings ago. Leaves are golden and starting to drop. Darkness is encroaching more and more.

My doc pointed out that Vitamin D is already hard to get the natural way here in Alaska, but a summer like we just had probably led to a seriously depressed immune system for me, judging by how many times I've been sick, and in such close succession. He told me to add a supplement to my diet, which I have.

I'm considering other options, too. One is a sun lamp, another is an air purifier. I wear a mask whenever I clean the house because my dog is a digger and brings tons of dirt into the house with her. I don't burn incense as much as I used to (though I do miss those sweet scents.) Since we've reached all our main purchase goals (house, vehicles, etc) we're considering what we want to add to our place to make winters more tolerable. I decided a sauna would be great, and fewer issues than a hot tub. Maybe we could put a sun lamp in the sauna for a little more "sun."

I'm trying to improve my diet, as well. Taking a multivitamin as well as extra D and calcium, but also trying to find good tasting fruits and veggies (that's kind of difficult in this state. Some of the fruit tastes like paper towels.) Adding lemon to my water helps me drink more water.

I admit that my fitness class schedule was probably a little much this summer, too: so many instructors going on vacations, and me not minding the extra money subbing for their classes, it was probably walking the line of too much. One eight-day period I taught 14 hours worth of exercise classes! I'm trying to curtail things a bit by learning to say "no" every once in a while.

I think the vitamin D has helped with this current cold: hardly any soreness, only one day of extreme mucus movement, and the last few days has just been an annoying cough that won't go away. It's still taking its own sweet time to stop, but the healing process is a little faster this round. It is my dearest hope that I reach a point that I experienced in California, only getting very minor colds that last no more than three days and happen once every couple of years. At the very least, I want to stop losing my voice every time I get sick.

No wonder most people who move here don't stay here. It's a very difficult place to live, for sure. Even my doc mentioned that everyone in Alaska should leave at least twice a year and stay somewhere warmer and sunnier, just for their health. I heartily agree. If only it weren't so expensive to do so!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Be Excellent To Each Other and Party On Dudes!

When comparing this year's Sportsman's Warehouse picnic with last year's, some similarities and some differences stand out.

The main difference that stands out is the weather. It was raining almost the whole time at last year's gig. But like true Alaskans, they didn't let that dampen their spirits. We just spent a little more time hanging around the fire, that's all.

Yesterday morning started out rainy, which is no surprise, since July may go down as the wettest one on record. I shouted my curses to the skies and demanded that the clouds take a hike by the afternoon or there would be heckity darn to pay.

To my surprise, they listened. The afternoon proved to be very nice. (Well, very nice by Alaska's standards, which means mostly cloudy and in the 60s.) A bit of a muggy feeling to the air, but at least I didn't once need the rain jacket I'd brought along just in case. I also wore my new Tilly hat to ward off the occasional sprinkles which didn't happen.

The other main difference was one of my own making: Since we lived about a 15 minute walk from the hay field where the party was held this year and last, I decided to walk my two monstrous mutts with me. I thought they'd love the chance to run around the huge field, maybe some kids would play with them, maybe some other dogs would be brought along as well. I wanted to keep their good socializing with others, though they spend a lot of time at home with just us. I worried that the owners of the place would not approve, or that they would be a huge annoyance to others.

They surprised me with remarkably good behavior! Bruno has a bad habit of jumping on people (Logan's fault), but he managed to keep his paws on the ground. They didn't put paws on tables or anything else. The only thing that was mentioned as being unfavorable was Uffda's drooling problem, but most people didn't seem to care (and by the end of the evening, drool was the least dirty issue.) So they got lots of attention and even started laying down near the fire after a couple of hours of excitement. Uffda didn't want to lay down, but you could see how tired she was by the dragging of her massive feet.

There was a little fight with a bulldog named Bubba that was brought to the party, but Bubba's owner nipped that little spat in the bud lightening quick. The three dogs were the best of friends after that. (I imagine a big unfixed male like Bruno, even being friendly, was a little intimidating at first for Bubba.)

When more people arrived and started breaking out the hot dogs and hamburgers for grilling, I decided I didn't want to see how far Bruno and Uffda's good behavior would stretch; they don't get people food at home, and they spend most of their time outdoors or in their kennels, so they don't get a lot of temptation to deal with. Logan had also arrived by then, so we tied their leashes to a tree in front of the Landcruiser. They laid right down and took a nap.

The party continued as parties do, eating, drinking, kids playing in the sandbox and with the various balls rolling around. The owner even gave a couple of hayrides with his tractor and a big flatbed filled with hay. There was one spot with a steep downhill where he gunned the engine and raced down. I felt like I was on a roller coaster!

There were raffles and games for all ages. A bunch of the games were taken from the "Minute to Win It" game show, like Junk in the Trunk, where you try to shake the ping pong balls out of a tissue box strapped to your rear end in under a minute. Fun to watch, I'll tell you!

Of course, the pinnacle of the evening came when employees could put up the "dollars" they earned for the privilege to pie a manager of their choice in the face. One of the girls had mentioned wanting to pie Logan, and people had been giving her money to do it. (Guess they didn't have the guts to do it themselves, eh?) When the time came, she had racked up over 70k, and each pie was worth 2k.

Logan came prepared, as he always does. he put on his Frog Togs and wouldn't even stand behind the board with the hole for the face in it. The girl wanted to line up a bunch of people all at once with pies. The Store Manager got behind the board, Logan stood out in front. The Fishing Manager cut a hole in a garbage bag to cover as much of him as possible.

For all the good it did them. Logan ended up only getting two pies to the face. (The pies were made of vanilla and chocolate pudding.) All it took was one employee to sneak behind the board. The Store Manager started running, and the great Pudding War began. Both the Store Manager and the Fishing Manager ended up covered in goo. Then the eggs that were being used for other games started flying. The Office Manager smashed two eggs on Logan's head. The kids couldn't resist the fun the adults were having getting messy, so they joined in.

I was one of the few people who managed to remain pudding and egg free. I was almost hit by a random egg long before the pudding war. A boy was goofing around with his dad behind me, and the egg whizzed right by my face to smash on the bench i was sitting on. Scared me out of a year's growth.

The exhaustion of the pudding stores led to the flinging of water balloons, so everyone got washed off after that fight. And there were spigots all over the property for people to rinse the pudding and egg slime off. And then the fire to dry off next to.

It was after 10 PM by that time, so the clean up began. Everyone pitched in to leave the place neater than we'd found it (well, as much as we could with pudding and egg shells everywhere.) The board was broken up and the pieces tossed into the fire. Logan and I were the last to leave, so we watched the fire while it burned down to embers.

Logan had obtained permission from the owner to check out the three old cabins along the edge of the property. One was built in 1931, the others in 1915, I believe. The 1931 cabin had been added on to at some point, and there were old fashioned cooking stoves in them. Logan and I got a lot of ideas as to how we can add on to our own cabin, and put in a cook stove of our own. Logan is even more excited about his new job because he will have the time to do such projects.

By the time we were done, the fire had died down enough, so we packed up and left. We were exhausted, but it had been a lot of fun. The Fishing Manager posted on Facebook that he would never eat pudding again. Can't say I blame him.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Everybody Remember Where We Parked the Ark!

I can't believe how much it has been raining this month. Every single day, with the odd, random, half-days of sun mixed with clouds, maybe once a week at the most. The last one was Tuesday, so I dragged my lawn chair out to the middle of the driveway and plopped down to read and soak the rays for a bit.

Much as I don't want to admit it, I think we may have had our summer early this year, back in May when we had several weeks of almost no rain. It was gorgeous. The only problem was that the dryness led to many respiratory problems for me. The next door neighbors were ripping up the land to build a duplex, we had ATV riders running amok up and down our dirt road, the dust the dogs brought into the house was thick enough to choke a dust bunny, and I finally had to give up my beloved incense so I could breathe. While I am better now, that took almost two months to get rid of.

My husband thinks this summer is worse than our first summer here. I tell him no, because that first summer we only had four days total that hit 70 degrees with the sun visible in the sky. This summer started out fantastic and is now making up for those three weeks of sun bliss.

I should have started building the ark as soon as my parents left. I can count on one hand how many non-rainy days we've had since they went home. There are lots of ark jokes running around now. "Why are these animals lining up two by two outside my door?" "I must remember to pack the paddles before I leave today." I've been doing the Bill Cosby "Noah and the Lord" routines. "It's the Lord, Noah." " ... Right."

As one of my friends pointed out, Noah was building before it started raining. So we're screwed!

In other news, most people have heard that my husband is in the process of getting a new job. It's a very long process for this one in particular, but he's handling it fine. We hope everything will be settled by the third week of August. And then things are gonna change big time around here. But they should be changes for the better, including more time off for Logan and being compensated for any extra working time.

We're moving right along in our rehearsals for "Pride and Prejudice." Nothing new really to report there. Been reading a lot for other people, since my part is small and someone is absent almost every rehearsal. Can't wait 'til we get the scripts out of our hands, though.

I've been teaching extra classes this summer since people are going on vacations and fishing trips and whatnot. What with practicing the new routines, teaching my own classes, and subbing for extras, I'm pretty used up and tired most of the time. I'm hungry all the time, too, but don't necessarily want to eat. So I've decided to put off the personal trainer cert for now. I may change my mind later, but if there is a possibility I'll be adding classes later (still hoping for Group Kick!), then I probably should save what's left of my energy for that!

Maybe I'll also find the time to blog more often. Once a month isn't very much!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Birthdays and Reminders

Received a reminder from a friend today that I hadn't blogged for a while. I find it most appropriate that the last time I blogged was on my birthday, and my reminder to blog came from my friend on HIS birthday! Thanks, Matthew! Hippo birdie two ewe, too!

I haven't blogged lately because there hasn't been much going on until last week. Well, I did get into the play "Pride and Prejudice." For those of you who know that book, I play the second snobbiest character, Caroline Bingley. Unfortunately, many of the lines I loved in the book (and my favorite BBC version) have been cut, as it is a condensed version and made to have no stage set changes. Still, it's gonna be great to be back on the stage again. I think this is going to be a fun cast.

Last week my parents arrived for their second visit to Alaska. They went to visit my aunt and uncle in Washington first, then took a cruise to Seward. We'd never been there before, so we got to drive down to pick them up. It was a gorgeous drive, definitely worth every ounce of fuel, but Seward is incredibly tiny for a port town! By the time we realized we'd missed the turn to the boat, we'd reached the end of the line! Cute place, but I don't think there's any chance Logan and I are going to want to move them.

We had fun trying to figure out how to pack the luggage and the people into the Yaris, but we managed it. Mom and Dad were like prisoners in their own cells, though; we had to set the guitar on top of a box between them. I could hear Dad all right, but I couldn't hear Mom most of the time. She sounded so far away!

I arranged for subs for most of my classes, except one. My mom wanted to see me teach anyway, so she joined in. She made it all the way through the end of the class! I was so proud of her. (My mom is not exactly an exercise freak like me.)

I think the best day was when we went to see the glacier. I hadn't been there before, either, so this was an adventure for me, too. When the lady selling the tickets looked at me and asked, "Are you over 18, dear?" I stuttered in confusion before answering, "Yes." Mom laughed at me because of my reaction. It's been so long since anyone asked me that question, I thought I was well past the danger. I stuttered because I nearly asked her, "Are you kidding?!"

Amazing how quickly it gets colder as you hike the trail to the glacier. Wear boots, not just for the cold, but for the water everywhere. I nearly soaked my sneakers. It's not the most level of trails, lots of opportunity to twist an ankle. But definitely worth the effort.

Like all of Alaska, it was a long, pretty drive, and Dad and I were both hungry soon after arriving. Mom's camera battery had died, so we headed for the nearest restaurant, the Long Rifle Lodge, or something like that. Cute log cabin with a bar when you first walk in. We weren't sure of it until we reached the dining room: big windows showing off the glacier in the distance (and the sun was shining at that moment!), rough-hewn furniture glossed smooth, and good food. Decently priced, though not an obscene amount of food. And to answer Logan's question, yes, the waitresses were cute. :p

The sun was playing hide and seek the whole time my parents were there. It was mostly cloudy, but every once in a while the sun would put in an appearance. It was still a little better than the last time they visited, when there was only one day it was really sunny. But they said they were satisfied with their trip. We spent a lot of time together, I cooked them a salmon dinner one night, and we played guitars.

The only down side: they took the sun with them when they left. It's been raining EVERY SINGLE DAY since!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hippo birdie two me!

I got the perfect gift from the Universe for my birthday today: sunshine! It's soooooooo nice outside today. It's just a bummer that hubby has to work and I have to teach, but we'll get to do things tomorrow, I'm sure. Hope the nice weather holds.

Yes, I've officially turned 34 today. "Why should I lie? Age is only a state of mind. What age do you want me to be?" Emotions are running a huge gamut. Part of me wants to ignore the day and just go about my life. But that little part in me that most want to keep hidden, that little part that makes me such a spotlight ham, is almost screaming, "Shower me with attention! It's my special day! Wheeeeeeee!"

I'm sure everyone has that little part buried deep inside. If anyone says they don't, they need their own reality TV show. (Hyuck.)

Mailing off my Group Power DVD today. Subbing for Group Power this Wednesday, so that'll be interesting! Also subbing for a Group Active class at the fancy new Eagle River Club, then immediately attending the "Pride and Prejudice" auditions after. Can't wait to see the turnout for this. As usual, what I get will depend on the guys that show up. Technically, I'm too old for any of the daughters, could be the right age for the best friend Charlotte, too young for the mother. I could pull off Miss Bingley, too, I suppose. Well, we shall see. There's lots of talent in this town and it's not a musical, so I may very well not be cast! I can assume nothing at this point.

Even if I don't get in, my next one will be "Nunsense II." As that is a musical, my chances for getting in that one are a little better, I think.

I read a blog post of a friend of mine who recently lost his dad. His words were poignant and full of feeling, and the things he wrote about definitely rang within my soul. If he'd posted it on any other day, it would not have affected me so much. But by the time I was done reading the post, I was laughing through my tears. I am blessed in so many ways and it is too easy for us to take the good things for granted. I try so hard not to do that, but sometimes I get swamped in the difficulties of life, just like everyone else. And sometimes it takes the keen insight of a friend who has been to hell and back to bring you back to your senses. Many thanks to my friend for being so honest and full of the love of life to share his experiences with others.

And on that serious note, now I need to decide what cake I want to have tonight: chocolate, cheesecake, or ice cream cake ... ;>

Thursday, April 29, 2010

One hurdle down, a hundred to go ...

So I finally did the video for my Group Power certification. I haven't even seen it yet and I don't want to. I'll make a copy for my mom, but if I watch it I'll just criticize myself to death and there's no point. So once I get that in my hot little hands I'll send it away and be done with that.

So I guess my next goal should be finishing the personal trainer certification. I've looked up testing times and they have a bunch for next month at UAA. It's testing by proxy up here in Alaska; ACE never does live tests up here as far as I've seen. Not enough money in it, I'll bet. I hate not having someone there who can answer questions, though.

And yes, I'm still waffling about it. But as I have no other goals in mind and there's nothing up here for work except retail and summer temp, I don't really see what other choice I have. So I'll be signing up for the test soon and hope that gives me the motivational kick in the butt to get it done. Since it costs about $250 and a retake is $145, it better motivate me!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Things are heating up!

Okay, well, they're heating up in comparison to our winter temps. I'd say upper 40s and low 50s is pretty darn warm!

I'm feeling pretty random today: not much to do and way too tired to do it. Lots of things floating around in my head and way too short-attention-span-theatre to think any of it through. Here's a short list, though:

Auditions for "Pride and Prejudice" are coming next month. I'm really excited and also worried. My husband would rather I not do this show since it means rehearsals will be going summer long. And summer is short! I totally see where he's coming from, but I look at it differently from him: I'm not getting any younger and I've done ONE show since we moved here. ONE. If I keep waiting and waiting for perfect timing, I know I'll look back and say, "What the f@%# was wrong with me?!" And maybe I'm too old for the part I want already! As usual, it depends on the guys that are cast. If they get nothing but teenagers, I'm out of the loop; I'm too old to play against teenagers and too young to play the mother. Ah, well.

I'm studying for the personal trainer certificate so I can add to my hours at the club by being a personal trainer as well as a fitness instructor. But I admit I'm not studying nearly as much as I should be, and I think I know the reason: I'm not really sure if I want to do this. Frankly, I like being at home and just teaching. I know I'm hardly making any money and that's a big issue, but I like this current situation. Logan likes it too: I'm home when he is, I can keep the house clean and do the shopping and anything else that needs doing. I always have the same days off as he does. But I know the lack of money is always on his mind. And he's pushing me toward the personal training thing. It's not a bad push, but it's pushing all the same. I'm dragging my feet because I'm not sure I'm going to like it. And then what will I do?

I'm really enjoying the classes I teach. Adding the Group Power is also adding to my personal power: Not to be narcissistic or anything like that, but I like the hard body I'm getting. I'm particularly proud of my abs, and if I were a different type of girl (and if I lived in a warmer state) I'd show them off! But I'm not, so I don't.

My karate class is really going well, but the longer it runs, the more aware I am that my students are not going to be able to progress if I keep the class at the club. I've discovered I'm not really going to get any support from Logan. I know, I'm surprised too. He's the original karate freak. But he's too busy with his job. Also, since money is always an obsession for him, he doesn't want me to go rent a space for my own business. He thinks it'll just take money away. We talk about using the garage, but that's going to take some work.

Argh. Lots of things going on in my mind and not much of it is pleasant. It's too easy to just vacillate in limbo instead of pressing forward when I'm not sure which "forward" I want to press to. Sigh.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Focusing on Fitness and Fun

So I've officially quit my job in the Fitness Department at Sports Authority. My last day was a couple of days ago and I already miss many of the people I worked with. I loved the social aspect, even though most of the time the job itself was rather boring. I'm not a huge fan of retail, but it keeps popping up in my life no matter how I try to avoid it.

Now I'll be concentrating on my fitness instructor career and adding yet another certification to my list: Personal Training. I'm a bit nervous about this; one of the things I like about the group class environment is that it can remain impersonal. I don't have to know a person's life history or get buried in personal hang-ups. They come to class, we have some fun exercising, all of us together, and then we go.

Personal training, well, it's right there in the title: personal. You're there to help the client achieve their health goals in life, so you have to know a lot more about them to start off. And you can't force anyone to do anything. If they don't truly want to help themselves, there isn't anything I can do.

I realize right now I'm thinking too much about the bad sides of things. It's new, it's different, it's scary. And there are some things with the club itself that are ticking me off right now as well, so that doesn't help my mood. But it's something that my Masters Degree in Kinesiology will actually be an asset to. And I am excited about this. Really. >rolls eyes<

I also realize that I need to get out more. We've spent the whole two years (nearly three) we've lived in Alaska fighting for every second of time to enjoy life: hiking, seeing friends, whatever. Because of our jobs, we've had to miss out on so much. Logan summed it up when a coworker asked him if he was going to get out and do things this summer. Logan had answered that we're going to try. The coworker responded, "You say that every year."

And he's right. Each summer we say we're going to do those things that many move to Alaska to do. And our jobs, the lack of similar days off, and our responsibilities have made it thus far near impossible.

So when an issue came up in regards to my class schedule at the absolute last minute, I had to put my foot down and let them know that I would not be available on the day they wanted. It made me feel bad to do that, and yet I was not informed of this change until the day before they submitted the new schedule. What else could I do? My relationship and our well being are important to me.

Now that we have a house, things will settle into a more definite pattern. What we do this summer will set the stage for the rest of our lives here, I think. So we want to make the best of things.

On that positive note: anyone up for karaoke? >big grin<

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

That change in the air ...

I'm feeling that change in the air a little early this year. I think last year it didn't really start happening until April, but we've had a few weeks in the upper 30s and low 40s. I'm hearing the sounds of dripping in the mornings when I step outside to start my car. My car needs less warm up time. And our driveway is a slush pit for the second time this year. Break out the shovel!

Of course, in true Valley fashion, the temp still drops down to the teens and freezes everything anew. Or dumps a few random inches of snow on top of the slush. Wasilla weather is anything except boring!

That's not the only thing that may be changing, folks ...

I haven't been able to perform in any local theatre for more than a year now. My current line of work plus teaching prevents that from being a possibility. But I am in the process of shaking things up a bit. I'm just trying to decide how best to do it. I'll let you know how that goes.

I went to see "Chicago: The Muscial" in Anchorage this month, a couple of weeks after seeing "RENT" in Sacramento. It was lots of fun. Even Logan enjoyed it, which was shocking in and of itself. One of my theatre friends also went to see it and said, "VPA could do it better!"

I agree. Maybe not as flashy, but I think we could do better than sticking with the revival's modernization of a story based in the 1920s. Part of the fun of watching a show from another time period is the costuming and mannerisms that were missing from this rendition.

But I will say that the lady who played Roxie was an absolute riot and had me laughing at things that weren't as funny in other versions. Too, too adorable.

Things have been quiet on the work front. It's been pretty boring most days. But I'm coming up on my one year anniversary with TSA, so it'll be interesting to see what happens then. And in the meantime, I get some revision work done on my "Sparkless" novel while I twiddle my thumbs in the dead times.

I've been getting comments on my "A Little Background on Me" blog post all those years ago, before we moved from California to Alaska. I admit to some confusion. They are anonymous and some of them make no sense at all. I sometimes wonder if I'm missing something. I'm pretty unobservant most days, you know. But it also makes me think, "Hey! Someone noticed me! Yay!"

I welcome comments, even if they're just ads.

That's how pathetic I am. >wink<

Sunday, February 7, 2010


First things first: I have read Fairest, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, Salamandastron, and I'm in the middle of Melting Stones. Still haven't touched that big reading list, but I did get my library card right before leaving on my vacation, so that'll help me accomplish that in a more cost effective way, I hope!

I am here in California once again, getting my fill of friends and family and extremely MOIST air before heading back to the dry cold and regular life. I miss my hubby, my animals, and my body misses my teaching. But I'm having tons of fun.

My friends and I went to see RENT in Sacramento last night. While it's usually difficult to get me to go see shows (I want to be IN them a lot more than WATCH them!), I was sold on the fact that the two lead roles were being reprised by the original actors, Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp.

While I am not the type to get starry eyed, I will admit that Anthony Rapp is right up there with Nathan Fillion on my "nearly rabid fan-dom" list. I read his book, I love his voice, and he is someone I would love to meet.

So when I heard that the actors were coming outside to meet and greet after the show, I was torn. Two of my friends went to get autographs; two other friends and I hung out on the fringes of the occasionally screaming crowd and watched. We were not fond of the idea of joining the giddy masses just to shake a famous person's hand or get their indecipherable signatures on a program that will probably get shoved into a drawer and forgotten.


For a brief few seconds I saw Anthony's face as he signed posters for the people pressing close. (I found out later my two friends got to talk to him and some of the others.) It was soooooooo hard to resist the urge to rush up, beat my way through the crowd, stick out my hand and screech, "Hi! Nice to meet you! I'm a huge fan!"

What a war going on inside my head. I hate rabid fans: actors are human, too. Rabid fans can be scary and nerve-wracking. Drooling and foaming at the mouth is like saying these people are better than us little creatures that scurry around them begging for a touch, a glance, a smile.

And yet I sincerely appreciate what they do. It was clear Adam had a cold or a sickness of some kind while he was performing last night, and yet he still delivered a powerful, electric performance. I think about the amount of time and effort they put in, and yet they still take the time to come out and show some appreciation for their fans. (Well, some of them did, anyway.) And rabid fans I think have a tendency to forget that these actors have their own needs that should be respected.

So when my friends brought me a program signed by a few of the cast members (not Anthony, unfortunately, but "Maureen," "Mimi," and the female soloist for "Seasons of Love"), I was totally floored by their generosity and thoughtfulness (my friends' and the actors'!) And very happy to have a piece of memorabilia of such a fantastic experience. Nothing beats seeing such a passionate show in person, no matter where you're sitting.

So I will admit to being a closet rabid fan: I do my drooling and frothing at the mouth inside my own private thoughts, as is proper. Hee hee hee!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wind, books, and dogs!

What do these three things have in common? They're all driving me crazy!

The wind has been gusting somewhere between 50 and 100 miles per hour for the last few days. Sometimes it's kind of funny, like when the wind blew me along the corridor to the front door of the club today. It was like effortless jogging!

But when you can't even set you garbage can out for pickup because it blows away, or when thick drifts of leftover snow get packed into the road or your driveway, or your power goes out for hours and hours, that's not fun at all. I really hate it when it sucks my breath away and takes me a few moments to inhale again. I feel like I'm suffocating.

I haven't touched the 100 book list yet this year, though I have read a novel of Redwall and Ella Enchanted so far this year. I think I'll need to get a library card to accomplish this reading task I've set myself. And my own novel is still inching along at a glacial speed. I may be able to finish it sometime in the next geological age.

My dog Bruno decided to take a jaunt through the neighborhood with his new canine pals. A lot of people in this area let their dogs run around loose, which doesn't bother me too much as long as they don't start fights with mine or damage our things. Since I was working on digging out the drift that has blocked my husband's truck in the driveway, I let the dogs have a little fun and run in the yard.

Uffda was a good girl. When Bruno left the yard, I didn't see him, but she did. I could tell she badly wanted to follow him but she came back to me when I called her. I gave her love and brought her inside for a cookie.

I went back out to call for Bruno. I was sure he couldn't hear me thanks to the dratted wind, so I had to go back inside to thaw a bit before I could search for him. I grabbed a leash while I was in there.

I walked along the road (or trudged, since I was wearing heavy boots.) I passed the next door neighbor and reached the duplex on the other side before i saw him. Sure enough, he was running around with two or three other dogs. When I called him, he pulled up short. One of his friends ran right up to me, stumpy tail wagging, so I petted him. Then I called Bruno again.

He took as long as he possibly could have, moving like a snail because he knew he was in trouble and was in no hurry to reap it. But he came straight to me. Since he came when I called and sat when I told him, I merely put the leash on him and said, "Say goodbye to your friends." He walked calmly beside me, not pulling as he usually wants to do. All the way to the house. No cookie for him today.

I can't wait until spring.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


After the last post, I was struck with the sudden desire to look back on my other New Year's posts. There were only two others since I started this blog. Here's a very brief recap of what was going on:

In January 2008, we hung out with one of our coworkers and shot off fireworks in his backyard. We had also adopted Bruno right around that time. We were working, eating, and sleeping and that was pretty much it (though we did squeeze in a drive to Talkeetna and saw our first moose after three months of living in Alaska.)

In 2009, things had quite dramatically changed. I helped my new writerly friends make a video to enter in a contest and we got second place. I'm still very proud of that video and I remember how much fun we had making it (and how cold it was, too!)

But the really big thing last January was "The Spitfire Grill." I was reading about the opening, watching the Youtube videos, and even read all the way through February and the last show. I still get tears in my eyes when I think about that night.

See why I added theatre to my list of resolutions this year?

Christmas, New Years, and the future!

Christmas brought great relief to our tiny Whittington household. Both of us working in retail diminishes the specialness of the holiday season, but we still had something to be grateful for on Christmas day: we both had the day off! We were so stoked when we got home from work Christmas Eve that we opened all our presents that night. My husband totally floored me with his gift: The complete MASH series, plus the movie, plus a bunch of really cool extras, all compiled into this neat green fatigue box. It is without a doubt the coolest collection I now own. As soon as we're done watching Lost, that's going into the DVD player next.

We spent Christmas Day mostly at home, then went to Logan's former boss's house for dinner. Got to meet Morgan and Jake's new baby, Payton. So cute! No, I did not hold her because I was positive I would drop her, she was so tiny!

New Years Eve also passed quietly. Well, quietly for us, if not the town. Lots of fireworks going off in the area, but we couldn't really see too many. The main attraction of the night was the glorious full moon. If it weren't so freaking cold out that night, I probably would have stood out there looking at that moon for hours. But we hustled back inside after a few minutes to watch the ball drop on "Dick Clark's New Years Rocking Eve," or whatever it's called.

We had chosen to stay in for the night after Logan came to pick me up at work. (I bet I was scheduled to work New Years Eve and Day because they knew I wouldn't call in "sick!") He had passed two police "incidents," one of which happened at the Brown Jug Liquor store down the street. Four cops all pointing guns at a guy coming out of his car with his hands up. And it wasn't even dark yet! Good night to stay home.

So here I am, wondering what I'm going to resolve to do this year. Two are repeat resolutions from last year, but I've got a couple new ones to add:

1) Stop biting my nails. (I know, I know. EVERY year the same thing. I'll do it for good one day.)
2) Finish working on my novel Sparkless and start shopping it around as I move on to revise Summerland's Savior.
3) Read as many books from that list of 100 books everyone should read. At least I'll try to get to the classics.
4) Perform in at least ONE show this year!

It's been a year almost to the date when I last opened a show. It's killing me to watch all my friends perform and not being able to take part myself. I realize that resolution has a lot of parts to it (for instance, my job will need to be changed or dropped altogether for this to happen), but it must happen. Or I'll shrivel up and die. Well, maybe not die. But it won't be pretty, I'm sure.

Anyway, I think that's good enough for this year. Heck, it may be good enough for this whole decade, the way my progress on writing has been going. Sheesh.

Many blessings to you and yours in 2010!