Monday, August 29, 2005

Weekend Antics

We had a pretty eventful weekend.

Friday evening was full of excitement with canning and microwave installation on the agenda.

We have now successfully canned enough raspberry jam to keep us alive for six years. We had never canned before, so the whole idea became a huge science experiment, with jars, lids, various pots, chemicals, and a plethora of tong-like devices to handle piping-hot jam. However, a taste and consistency test shows that the jam has solidified into a wonderful jammy consistency.

After our successful canning operation was over, we turned our attention to the most wonderful microwave in the world. It's replacing the worst microwave in the world, which is the one above our oven which has burned a hole in itself and makes everything smell funny. This microwave cooks, simmers, grills, poaches, and I believe will also learn to program our VCR (it has an ominous "Learning Mode"). However, the directions looked a bit sketchy and after trying to decipher them, we decided that the best microwave in the world should have a professional installation. So, it is hiding behind the couch (learning to program the Tivo, no doubt) while we wait for the install.

On Saturday, I ran 12 miles with a friend on our quest to complete the Las Vegas Marathon in December. Although it had looked like a cold day, it really ended up being quite nice. We saw a moose and a calf at about the 5 mile mark, but by the time we ran back there, they were gone. Anyways, we did finish our run in decent time, so I feel like we're definitely on track for LV!

What, you might ask, does a person who runs 12 miles do afterwards? Well, go to the fair, of course! It's a drive from Anchorage but well worth it. As someone who did not really go to fairs as a kid (they weren't cool, you know), I was blown away by how much fun the fair was here. My favorite this year, of course after running, was the eating part. We ate all sorts of things that were not good for us -- buffalo burgers, deep-fried halibut, roasted corn on the cob (from Friar Tuck's, below), and Tamales. Yum! Anyways, there are some pictures below for you to look at :).

We also bought Frank a laptop for his trip to Scotland this week and for school. Suprise! It's an HP! And of course I am jealous as all getout -- it's got 1MB RAM and a sweet processor.

Anyways, that's it for the weekend! By the way, I'm slowly moving the pictures to Shutterfly so look forward to more pictures there!

The most important thing to do at a fair is eat...and who can resist Friar Tuck's roasted corn on the cob on a Saturday afternoon?

The flower exhibit is always great...this year, there were some incredibly beautiful arrangements!

In the craft exhibits, you can find incredibly beautiful things, like this quilt. They also have a photography exhibit and an entire canning exhibit. Maybe next year Frank and I can enter in our great canning extravaganza (more on that later).

Frank wanted to ride this "bungee/fling" ride...until he saw the $50 price tag!

What fair experience is complete without mechanical bull riding?

The fair is filled with huge pieces of metal powered by loud and impressive motors. We saw this on the way out of the snowmachine area. How many MPG do you think this truck uses?

Fun with veggies...guess what this is??

For all of you who only are looking for giant is a HUGE beet.

The infamous cabbage winner... 66.3 lbs

143.8 lb watermelon



Guess what this is?

Mr. Alpaca did not know what to think of the camera...

Yes there is cattle in Alaska...

One of the new exhibits was this rock structure made for goats. This little guy climbed all the way to the top of Mt. Farm Exhibit.

An alpaca checks out the camera.

The cool thing at the fair, apparently, is to spray your hair with colored hairspray. Been there, done that, but not this time!

Picture of the state fair farm exhibit building from afar. It's huge!

Frank welcomes us to our operating machinery.

Here we are on a powerline pass hike...wonder why it's called that?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Windstorm update

Update on the storm the blew through Southcentral here. Looks like the winds must have gotten up to 70 mph! Actually the issue was not the big wind gusts, but the constancy of the wind. In our neighborhood, there was minimal damage -- our fence was broken, and a neighbor's tree came out of the ground.

The week continues to be a bit of a bummer following the Humpy's no-show. Running at Exceed yesterday consisted of many trail runs up and down short hills. That is not my favorite terrain, and I did not bring the right shoes. Argh! However, the potluck was great afterwards.

Next week is the last exceed training, and then the infamous beatings will begin in the Tuesday night race series -- or as I call them, the pain fests. I remember slogging through swamps, climbing sand dunes, encountering moose, twisting ankles, and a lot of MUD and WATER. Not always my type of thing, but it's good for me, right?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Windy Weather

Today, we woke up to a pretty serious windstorm. It's pretty neat -- wind gusts up to 60 mph, and it's a bit like watching a video of a hurricane outside the window. I feel like I should have a rain slicker, a microphone, and my own newscast.

Basically, hillside is windy during the spring and fall, and that wind is much more extreme than anywhere I have ever lived. In contrast though, we had our first thunderstorm of the year on Sunday, as opposed to the many storms in the midwest.

Monday, August 22, 2005

My great DNF

So I didn't wind up doing the Humpys half after all.

The reason: 1) it was raining-pouring and the wind was gusting pretty bad. This combined with cold weather and #2 made it not a good day to run 2) I tweaked my neck on Friday -- not sure what happened, but by Saturday morning I could not turn my head left. Very painful!

So I consulted with my running friend, and decided to bail and get coffee instead. I think it was a good decision -- according to plan, we were not supposed to run this long yet, and so this was going to be difficult even on the best day.

So, the long and short of it is, this weekend's running was a bummer. But hopefully I will get back on track this week!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Week 1 Marathon Training

This week is officially week 1 of marathon training, although I am basically repeating last week (started a bit early :) ).

So far, things are going well. On the speed side, I ran a 1:48 400 at Exceed last night, which is probably the fastest I've run since high school. That was cool, but the coolest part is that I actually got faster through the workout. Perhaps I am just slow to get started -- I'll test longer warm-ups this week.

On the "long run" side, last Saturday I struggled through eight miles. By stopping the long runs almost completely since the last marathon, it's going to take time to mentally and physically get used to the longer running again. In order to jump-start this issue, I will be running the Humpy's Half Marathon this weekend. Should be fun, but also potentially a bit painful. We'll see.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Big Pumpkin!

There is a new state record for pumpkins set at the Tanana Valley Fair -- 752 pounds!

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Another funny story from the news today: 3 Wives Greet British Man After Surgery.

Thursday News from ANC

Some news from ANC:

--Heather Lende writes every week about living in Haines AK. This week, she starts thinking about Winter. If you see her book, please consider purchasing it.

--Fishing season is in full swing! There is apparently a salmon derby in Ship Creek, where they've tagged some fish and if you catch one, you win money!

--Lisa Murkowski, our US senator, shoots a gun for charity.

--Juneau kids will be getting out at 12:30 on Fridays so that teachers can build lesson plans on Literacy. I'm sure all parents, especially those that have to provide after-school day care, are really excited about that.

--Black is the new black: The challenge this year for Anchorage gardeners was incoroporating black flowers and foliage. It looks like many people succeeded!'s almost time for the Alaska State Fair again! Here is my description from last year.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Alaska Vacation Shots, Part 3

I am still trying to get through all of the vacation shots! Here are some more:

Anchorage to Seward by Rail

Glacier on the way to Seward by Rail


College Fjord

This is a glacier as well...

Can you see the Smiley Face in the Glacier?

Glacier Bay Photos:

Dad's ready to ring the bell -- there's a glacier ahead!

Two gulls relax on an iceberg in Glacier Bay

It's hard to get an idea as to how enveloped in beauty one feels in Glacier bay. Imagine being on a cruise boat, which is huge in itself, and watching this right outside your window. Beautiful scenery as far as the eye can see is right in front of you!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Weekend Update

We had a nice and quiet post-vacation weekend. Frank is getting along with his post-surgery pain, and can eat semi-soft foods quite well. This means, though, that our culinary adventures have been limited by texture.

Yesterday, we started out by spending some time with the yard. As many of you know, we have a "battle for the lawn" going between chickweed, clover, raspberries, and mint. So far, the chickweed is winning. However, we gave in and bought some nasty chemicals to at least keep the chickweed out of the lawn and only in our gardens and planters (those areas will have to wait for relief until fall turn-down). So I expect we will be down to mint and raspberries soon.

Because of our massive bounty of vegetables, berries and herbs, we have been trying to use them every way we can. So far, we've used the kale, chard, rosemary and fennel in kale and gruyere soup (it's soft enough for Frank to eat), and some raspberries in "raspberry semifreddo", which has the consistency of whipped cream but tastes like ice cream. Maybe later today I will try to make a raspberry pie or something.

We also went to Eagle River Nature Center for a short hike, since Frank is not to do any strenuous activity. The Nature center is beautiful and maintains beautiful trails. However, we got lost a bit on Crow Pass and had to backtrack a bit, costing us considerable time. By the time we got back to the car, we had been out for 3.5 hours! Needless to say, we were tired, and even puppy, who usually is a trooper, seems to have a sore hind leg.

Anyways, on the menu today is mulching, clover and chickweed killing, and running. This is my last weekend of non-structured running for four months leading up to the LV marathon on December 4th, so I intend on enjoying it. More photos up soon -- if there are any that you like, let me know and I'll put them up on Cafepress.

Alaskan Vacation Pictures Part 2

Whew, posting Vacation pictures takes a lot of time! More Vacation Pictures, these mostly of Hatcher Pass...

Down below in the valley is the road...

Kids walking around Solitude Lake

Another view of the road from the top of the pass

Mom and Dad at Solitude Lake

A guy was paragliding while we were at the he is waiting for the right moment to jump off.

He jumps!


Rule 1 of paragliding: Do not run into the mountains.

Flying high

Another fly shot

Do these photos make you want to paraglide?

Frank, Lori and Galileo pose for the camera

Good view of the peak

Beautiful flower -- do you see the bug on it?

Fireweed along a river

When we got back from dinner, there was a huge rainbow, completely spanning the sky. In fact while my parents were up here, we even saw a double rainbow.