Sunday, September 27, 2009

Snow on the Mountains, Happy Birthday, Anne, and it's Blueberry Bash Time

Friday night we went to a birthday party for Anne. As we were looking out the window, we caught sight of this eagle perched at the tip of one of our few trees, with the new snow evident on the top of the mountain. Rich slipped out to get a few photos. I am not ready for winter!

Happy birthday, Anne! Pipa made a delicious chocolate cake and we all laughed so hard playing "Apples to Apples."
Today was the annual Blueberry Bash. Rich made some beautiful blueberry peach tarts with vanilla-bean and lemon pastry cream. Dee-lish!

We were watching "America's Test Kitchen" a month or so ago and they were making a raspberry chiffon pie. I thought, "hmmmm, maybe that could be adapted for blueberries," so I tried one out last weekend. Not bad! The first layer is a blueberry compote, the second layer is blueberry chiffon, and it's topped off with homemade whipped cream. I decided to cut out a piece or two so that the judges could actually see the layers. Well, that was a mistake because the pieces did not come out cleanly and it was a big ole mess. Oh well! I felt a little weird entering a pie with a piece missing but the layers were visible that way and I hoped for the best.

Sarah and Kristine worked hard at the event!

A close-up of Rich's tarts.

Congratulations to Rich, who took 3rd place in tarts and pies, winning some nice little plates. He's trying out some of the entries here, in the post-contest eat-a-thon.

Debbie won prizes in three different categories and took the "Best Overall" award as well. Wow! I barely had the energy to make one thing! Good job, Debbie!

Enjoying the goodies.

Rich and Anne
Sonia and Melanie, whose daughter Mandy won 3rd in the youth category for her muffins. Congrats, Mandy!
Guess what won first place in pies and tarts?! Yep, that messy little chiffon pie. I was pretty shocked but excited! Everyone was teasing Rich that I beat him but he was really happy for me. What a nice guy. :) One person did ask me, "So, did you make that or did he?" It's my own fault since I tell everyone that I never cook or bake. Okay, I've made an exception for the Blueberry Bash two years in a row now. Last year I won third place in muffins so I am moving up in the world. I already feel the pressure for next year. haha

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Eat your blueberries. They are so good for you!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What's up, world?

I'm not sure what's happened to my enthusiasm for blogging. Lately I just browse through everyone else's blogs, check emails, argue with people on facebook and get off the computer. I think I am in a funk with the current state of the world. And it's getting cooler and rainy-er. Rainier? Is that a word? It's dark when I wake up in the morning. I don't like it.

Life has been busy. Last week, I was running around like a crazy person trying to get ready for the Alaska Ocean Film Festival--a little fundraiser for my job. There was also a big Museums and Historical Societies Conference going on all week--lots of people here from all over the state and elsewhere. There were so many activities going on that it was mind-spinning. I was nervous about the film fest, thinking no one would show up because of all the other stuff, even though we purposely coordinated with the conference. Thankfully, I didn't have to worry--we had two very well attended showings, one with standing room only, much to my surprise and delight.

The Blueberry Bash is coming up on Sunday. I decided to have a practice run so spent several hours last weekend making my entry. It might need a little tweaking, but that hasn't kept us from munching on it every day. I think Rich and I might be in the same category this year, which will make things a little bit interesting for us! I can't say what we are making since at least one of my friends is a judge and might end up with our category. No undue influence and all that.

Bruce Springsteen turned 60 today. Yo, Bruuuuuuuuce, happy birthday from one of your Jersey girls! I only wish you'd consulted me about your tour schedule so we could have crossed paths when we go out on vacation in November. :) Daniel played "Thunder Road" on the radio for me, remarking that the song came out in 1975. I was living in San Marcos, Texas, going to college. Probably had it on an 8 Track. :) It seems very long ago but that's still one of my all time favorite songs. What were you doing in '75?! (Okay, I know some of you were not even born...don't rub it in!)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

1:30 AM and I am watching "Hoarders" on TV. What has become of me?

Here's Ajax hanging out in the yard.

Lots going on lately. I am always amazed at people who say there is nothing to do in Unalaska. They are definitely not paying attention! Saturday I had three different events to attend. First, the annual community Health Fair put on by my former employer, the Oonalaska Wellness Center. Judi decided to take the humorous approach to counseling services this year, with a nod to the "Peanuts" comic strip. Kathy is joining her at her booth.

Donna and Marie working at the Health Fair. It's always a good opportunity for folks to obtain information and health screenings, not to mention hanging out with friends and seeing everyone you know.

Next, I joined my coworkers Anne and Pipa to participate in the CROP Walk to raise funds to combat hunger locally and around the world.

We walked 10K, which is a lot for me. My muscles are still a little bit sore. The sun was shining most of the day, though we did have some clouds, rain and wind toward the end of the walk. Keils joined us and we had a great time chatting and playing silly word games along the way.

Lynn worked one of the pit stops. She's E.D. of Unalaskans Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence (USAFV) which maintains a food pantry and prepares holiday food baskets for families. USAFV will receive a portion of the funds raised by the CROP Walk. It's a very worthy organization that provides a multitude of services to our community.

We're almost finished! The building in the background is called the Burma Road Chapel, which houses the TV and radio station where we all work. For more photos, see the KUCB blog at

Third, Bunco! Several months back, I was asked to sub at Bunco; a few months later, one of the members moved and I was asked to join the group. Although I'd never been a Bunco player before, I decided it would be fun to do something different and expand my circle of friends. I ended up having to "host" right off the bat, which was a little intimidating since I was still learning the whole Bunco thing. :) You know I have been complaining about our house being too small and that's certainly the case when I needed room for 12 women and three card tables. So it was the Grand Aleutian Hotel to the rescue. That's Lori and Hilary above.
Michelle, DJ, Pipa and Juliette. We needed three subs so Pipa, Anne and Donna joined us. Pipa ended up winning first place!

Sonia. Yes, we had two beds in the room and considered having a slumber party.

Melanie and Anne
These women are really a lot of fun and I am glad I decided to join in. Rich made us lots of fabulous food and worked way too hard on what was supposed to be his day off. I told him he can relax because I won't have to host again for a year. haha

We've also had our book-choosing meeting for book club and I just ordered a few of the books so I can get started. Meanwhile, I've been working feverishly on our next fundraiser for work--the Alaska Ocean Film Festival, which will be held at the hotel on Thursday night, the 17th. This is a crazy-busy week with a big conference being held in town for museum and historical society folks. Again, who says there's nothing to do?!

Along with all the fun stuff, I've been increasingly frustrated and agitated with all of the carrying-on about whether President Obama should speak to school children, whether he is A) a socialist B) a Nazi C) a Muslim and/or D) determined to ruin the country. Seriously, the man is not even all that liberal. No one cared when Reagan and BushI spoke to school children, not too many people spoke up when GW Bush and his cronies took away many of our civil liberties and let the economic system run amok. Suddenly, now, they are concerned about the state of the nation and the economy? I can't believe anyone is opposed to providing health care to all Americans. Yes, you are lucky if you have insurance and you are happy with it. Not everyone is so fortunate. At one time, I was self employed and tried to find a policy I could buy on my own. Only one policy was remotely affordable, with very high co-pays and deductibles. Imagine my surprise when I was turned down for a pre-existing "heart condition" which was nothing at all. And this was minor compared to the difficulties faced by many families who cannot afford or are not eligible for coverage. What is wrong with us that we don't want to make sure that all of our citizens have medical care? I don't get it. The level of hatred and anger, rudeness and incivility is something that concerns me greatly. And can't we please get Glen Beck taken off the air?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Last Deck BBQ of the Season & Goodbye, Monica and Logan

It's been a race against time for our flowers to bloom before it gets too cold. Just when we thought they were about to die off without ever reaching their full glory, a bunch of vibrantly hued blossoms are bursting through. I am not the best flower photographer and the pots are a tangled mess but we're getting the prettiest little blooms to finish off the summer.

Monica has been our intern at work this summer--she's fabulous and we hate to lose her back to college, but finish that degree she must. She and Logan have been a lot of fun and we will miss them. Good luck and save travels, you two! We expect great things from both of you!

We all met at the last deck bbq of the season tonight. You know summer's over when the college kids leave and the Friday night bbq is finished for another year.

Kathy joined us. Her husband Larry must have gone to get some more food.

Anne, Char and Monica
Delicious dessert--fresh peaches with ginger shortcake, homemade whipped cream and caramel sauce

Lauren, Jeff and Ron, our visiting engineer who's in town to help with our new transmitter building and accompanying tasks. We've been off the air while the new building gets set up. We're also rearranging offices at work and I will have a spot of my own next week. Nice!

Rich, me, Anne, Pam and Pipa

Happy Labor Day Weekend to everyone and be careful if you are traveling! Rich has more banquets tomorrow so no day off for him. I am going to try to catch up on many little things that have not been getting done, plus we have our annual book-choosing meeting for Book Club on Sunday.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Water Skiing in Unalaska?

No, that's not either of us!  We watched this guy from our house the other day.  You would not find me in this cold way!

Since we live in company housing, we have an inspection once a year to check fire extinguishers and smoke detectors and look for any problems.  It should really be no big deal, right?  Maybe it's my left-over anxiety from growing up in an Air Force family and remembering the marathon scrubbing of walls and baseboards that took place before we could move to our next destination, but I had dreams last night of finding the head of Unisea housing vacuuming up kitty litter in our duplex.  I felt obligated to make the bed this morning, and finish last night's dishes and sweep the arctic entry and, yes, vacuum up any stray kitty litter, not to mention wiping down the venta-hood over the stove and cleaning the toilet.  I don't know, it just feels a little weird to be aware that someone is coming into the house and checking things out.  Are they judging my choice of peanut butter or the magnet on our fridge that says "what would Jesus bomb?"  It's pretty narcissistic to think that they even notice, much less care, but I do feel a little bit violated just the same.  I suppose it is a small exchange for free housing, though, so I am really not complaining.

The blog has been neglected.  Rich has had more banquets and special events than he's had in awhile, long days and no day off till he finally took one yesterday.  It's a good thing he loves his job. Saturday I helped set up and then attended the annual Women's Conference all day--it's always a nice opportunity to see people that I don't see regularly, to hear interesting speakers and to learn new things.  This time, one of the new things was "Zumba."  My daughter Sarah told me about this Latin dance/exercise class that she's been taking in Dallas, but till now, we had nothing of the sort in Unalaska. Our local instructor is young, cute and in great shape, not to mention very enthusiastic.  She had all of us trying out our moves to varying degrees of success.  I am not a natural, let's just say.  But it was lots of fun and maybe I will consider her class if I can squeeze it in with all of my other activities.  Who am I kidding? The odds are not good that I will ever make it to class but it sounds nice to say that I am thinking about it. From the conference, I rushed to my piano lesson (high five! I have not missed one yet!) and then back to the hotel for a reception for some of our visiting Alaska legislators.  I'd never met my State Representative Bryce Edgmon in person, though we'd talked on the phone and emailed a few times during the last election cycle.  I figured I'd stop by long enough to say hello and see what was happening.  After an hour and a half of chatting with people, I finally came back home and crashed. 

It looks like we've seen the last of summer; the green on the hills has peaked and started moving back to brown. We've had wind and rain and the outside of our house is still not painted since the weather is not cooperating.  I hear we need to wait till after the first frost to pick blueberries and I am pondering recipes for the Blueberry Bash at the end of the month...