Sunday, December 16, 2012

2013 Last Year in Alaska Bucket List

1. Run in the Big Wild Life Runs - 5k or 1/2  August 2013, 5k
2. Run in the Twilight 6 or 12k June 2013
3.Run in Mayor's 1/2 Marathon
4. Eat dessert at Sweet Basil Cafe September 2013
5. Get coffee & dessert at SugarSpoon August 2013
6. Get a smoothie @ Organic Oasis
7. Eat brunch at Taproot  12/29/12
8. Graduate from school!
9. Volunteer 1 time at Bean's Cafe
10. Participate in National Clean up Day
11. Camp in Denali National Park July 2013
12. Hike Ice Harding Trail in Seward
13. Ride the train to Fairbanks. February2013
14. Hike Flattop
15. Kayak @ Ekutna Lake
16. Take a sled dog ride February 2013
17. Visit & take a picture at the Arctic Circle
18. Visit Ice Museum & get drink at the (ice!) bar. February 2013
19. Go to Chena Hot Springs February 2013
20. Go on the 26 Glacier Cruise
21. Get a pair of Sealskin Mukluks
22. Hike Crow Pass.
23. Volunteer @ Campbell Creek Science Center

End of the Year Review: 2012 Goals

1. Spend more time with the people I love.
Yes .I've been doing better with this. Sarah and I get together at least once a month - or at least whenever we are in each other's area. Andrew and I spend quite a bit of time together too.

2. Be more connected/involved in the Women's ministry at Hospitality House.
I have dropped off the face of the planet in terms of Hospitality House. But I have been faithful in doing the Life On Life Discipleship program this fall and even though it has ended, I am hoping to be in discipleship with the leader of my small group going into the spring.

3. Take advantage of low-cost to free activities offered on base, plus in and around Anchorage.
We've done better in this area. We went to the tree lighting and concert celebration in the town square around Thanksgiving. And we went for a walk on the coastal trail recently.

4. Be more spontaneous, creative, intuitive, interactive.
Still working on this one.

5. Invest in a couple of high-quality items.
We haven't bought anything since my last post.

6. Be financially sound.
Again, HAHAHAHA. But we did finally pay off the Nissan sitting broken in our garage!

7. Giving to God what is God's.
See last post on this one.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


As everyone else is doing thankful posts via Facebook or twitter, or even in letters and cards, I thought about what I am thankful for. As much as I would like to say the usual... "I'm thankful for family and friends..." I've been thinking a lot harder. What am I thankful for?

In our life this year, we have been incredibly blessed. We have been able to use cars from various friends as they have gone on deployments or on vacations for extended periods of time. And each one seems to come at the most appropriate time. For example, our friend Julian is coming back from a six month deployment this week - and my friend Sarah is leaving for 3 weeks of vacation on December 11th.  So while we will be with one car for two weeks again, we will then have a second car throughout the holidays. This helps out immensely since I have physical therapy twice a week and my schedule is off from Andrew's.

I am grateful that my health - although rather spotty at times - is in relatively good shape, including the stuff going on with my foot. It could have been worse, after all.

We have been able to have family visit us and travel back to visit others. We were able to go to Washington State and Seattle, Erin & Grammy have been able to visit, and both of us have been able to visit New England, albeit on separate occasions. Living in Alaska is harder when it comes to visiting family, mostly because it is expensive to buy plane tickets from here and it is more cost efficient to go for more than one week. but we've been lucky.

Andrew has made some significant breakthroughs in his career in terms of awards he has been in competition for or has won. This looks really good on his resume and shows that he is proactive on being a better wingman. That's why he is being nominated for Airmen of the Year award!

I am grateful that I still work 40 hrs a week and that I got Outstanding on my year-end review. Which means I will be getting a bonus at the end of the year. Sweet!

I am grateful for our crazy kitties, Zoey and Chip. They certainly keep things interesting.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


It's been a long time since I last posted and although I am not going to go into everything right at this moment, I do want to write about how annoyingly frustrating this whole adopt-a-new-kitten thing has been. We adopted a"6-month" old kitten from Animal control and after having her for just one week, she got a really bad upper respiratory infection so we went for treatment and found out she is pregnant. So we got her meds etc and went on our merry way...except she stopped eating on her own and dropped most of her weight. So back to the animal hospital we went. She was pretty much on death's door when we brought her in and I was pretty convinced we would have to euthanize her that very night (this was two weekends ago). But Andrew never gave up hope and we brought her home with some syringes, a high calorie diet and some sub-q fluids we were to give her everyday.

She is doing much better now. She has gained all of her weight back and then some, weighing in at 5.2 lbs as of yesterday. She has begun to waddle a little and has two "saddlebags". She is super cute.

So here is the annoyingly frustrating part - we were supposed to drop her off for a spay today but when I called Animal control to cancel, they said that by not spaying her, I am breaking contract and can be fined, held up in court (of which I must pay attorney fees) and they can still take her back. So I went back to the contract and yes, it says all these things. Let me pause for a minute and point out that we adopted her four weeks ago and upon the news her per pregnancy (~1 week after we got her), it was determined she was give-or-take 2-3 weeks along. So they adopted out a pregnant cat - something they are not supposed to do. Then she got really sick (which is normal coming from a shelter - it happens all the time) so we postponed having the surgery.

Although she is better, eating by herself etc, she still has some upper respiratory infection signs like sneezing. We are in the opinion that if we were to spay her (and I've done a ton of research on this) that we would a. knock her back on her butt and b. cause her separation anxiety for the rest of her life.  I am estimating (in my limited knowledge but thorough research) that she is in her 5th week of pregnancy or has just started her 6th week. Surgery on pregnant cats about to enter or well into their third trimester is NOT recommended. (Cat gestation is normally 65-68 days for those of you who were wondering).

So the only way out of this is to provide a letter from a veterinarian stating the medical reasons for a delay in the spay procedure. So I called up Diamond Animal Hospital to see if they would write one. They said no based off of the information they have up until when we brought her there for being super sick and on death's door. What they don't know is that she is pretty much better. They still think she's sickly. I suppose I should have called and updated them, but for right now, as far as I'm concerned, I don't think they deserve to know anything.

So then a vet tech from animal control talked to me and my only option as far as her end is to uphold my contract. But first I need to see if she is healthy enough to even undergo surgery, let alone give birth.

Anyways, to end this long frustration, the woman we have been talking with from an area rescue is meeting us over at a different animal hospital tomorrow evening for a second opinion and a hope that they will write the letter to delay her spay until after the kittens are born. And if not, we will be 'surrendering' her to the rescue with the tale of her backsliding and getting really sick again so that this woman can 'nurse her back to health and deliver her kittens safely'.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A little [somewhat vague] update.

Okay, here it goes. Remember a few weeks ago I wrote about how much of a slump I was in? Well, I self-referred myself to a counseling center downtown. So far I've had an initial appointment and one regular appointment, with the second coming tomorrow evening. Without going into much detail (since, after all, it is confidential and I think I'd technically have to sign a release-of-information form to each one of you if I were to tell you what happens within the center), I will tell you that I can only handle up to a 3 on the 1-10 stress scale. Let me correct that: anything from a 1-2.9 I can handle with a small amount of frustration. 2.91-borderline 3 and above gets worse. And I mean bad.

So, to help me out, I had to come up with a list of things to do (ie. getting a hobby). I'm already almost finished with one! My list is long-ish but I'm not doing all at once.

Make a pillow  Finished! Sunday Nov. 25th 2012
Paint/design the headboard in the guest room
Join a Bible study (did that - Thursday nights from 6:30-8 down on Kinrod street and starts on Sept 20th)
Exercise - I've already gone twice in a week, which is my starting goal. But I am going to try to go pretty much every day this week.
Do a couple of projects I've pinned from Pinterest.

That's all I've got so far.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

a blurb to keep you happy.

I'm not ignoring you I promise! A lot to talk about. But as of right now, we are off to the State Fair for the second (and last) time. I'll try to post in the next few days!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

In a slump

I've been feeling a little blah lately. A few posts ago I had wrote that I wanted to train for a half marathon in October. Based on recent events, I have decided that I don't have the time to train this year. It's already the month of August and I've lost one full month already. For those of you who don't know, I injured my left foot on July 5th and it has pretty much put me back. I haven't run in 7 weeks. Yikes! I've had x-rays, a bone scan, took three days off from work, iced it three times a day for three weeks, walked with crutches for 2 weeks and am still currently not back to normal.

I've been feeling blah because I have no outlet for my emotions. I used running to do that. And I'm really feeling it. Most people can't see, but I've gained weight in my middle and butt/upper thighs. I don't like it. And right now I can't do anything about it.

I'm feeling blah because i am getting frustrated at my job with a few certain people. There is a lot of people leaving the center because of PCS orders or, in Meghan's case, moving because her husband's job has been relocated. Out of the 60 or so staff members at Sitka, we are losing 15 more people (and have already lost about 6). It's hard because we haven't been given anyone to replace those leaving - and even the ones we had gotten (about 3), they are automatically put into rooms because we are so short staffed.

I've been struggling with confrontation lately. I've had to face my dislike of confrontation recently. Not only is it uncomfortable for me, but I haven't been doing  it at all and now I have to step up to the plate when I see something going wrong. And I HATE that.

I've been feeling blah lately. I read friend's blogs and everyone seems to have such happy lives. I love reading about my friend living in Germany and the adventures she has with her kids. I love to read about another friend who just moved  - who writes about God and her life and all these philosophical ideas - and I read her blog because she causes me to think about these things. In ways I may never have thought.

I read of another one of the blogs I follow and although she is busy, she still finds time to can or go canoeing etc.

I am so tired. I go to work then come home and I'm limited right now in the activities I can do because of the injury. I want to live an exciting life - I mean, I live in Alaska of all places.I'm feeling tired and blah because I tried to live an exciting life and I got injured. Gr.

I'm in a slump because I feel so tired. I want to go out with friends, go hiking, do crafts/projects, volunteer somewhere...Where does everyone else get the energy to do these things?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Two articles

Here are two articles I would like for you all to read. After spending some time in a Muslim country (and having friends who work with them), I understand what a huge step this is for women over there.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Just over halfway there: have I been keeping my 2012 goals?

1. Spend more time with the people I love.
This had been off to a great start. Or at least I thought. But lately I haven't been as good at this. I don't think I've actually spent any time with the Ovels since the last time I did when Andrew was TDY.. back in March/April. But I do make an effort to hang out with Sarah at least once a month. SOmetimes more, but we try for once every month. Bonnie - She had a baby, was on vacation then I was...but she is coming over for coffee on Sunday morning so we can catch up. Which I am excited about. Overall, I've been doing really poor in this area. I only have a little more than a year left here and I'm already failing on the friendship scale in terms of quality time.

2. Be more connected/involved in the Women's ministry at Hospitality House.
Again, another EPIC FAIL. And this is because I stopped going. I feel overwhelmed when I go because there are so many people. Don't get me wrong: this is what this ministry is supposed to do - reach out to soldiers/airmen and/or their families. I stopped going first because my favorite exercise class met at the same time. Then it was because Andrew didn't want to go/didn't want a commitment like that every week. Finally it is because I can't stand the immaturity of the 18 year olds. And I am no longer receiving any growth from it. 

3. Take advantage of low-cost to free activities offered on base, plus in and around Anchorage.
I must admit, I haven't been able to keep up with this one either. There were a few free talks offered at the Campbell Creek Science Center & the Eagle River Nature Center over the course of the winter, but every time I didn't feel safe driving there because of the weather conditions. We did do the Fourth of July parade downtown this year. And we have done some hiking. I know I plan on convincing Andrew to go to some of the performances offered by the Anchorage Concert Association this fall. But those aren't necessarily free. 

4. Be more spontaneous, creative, intuitive, interactive.
I struggle with this too, because I like routine, lists and tasks. It's not really part of my personality. Although, I must say that we hiked Mt. Baldy before jumping on a plane bound for Seattle. (This is also the mountain that put me in this current laid-up position - more on that later). I haven't even thought about that quilt have had a few fleeting thoughts about the quilt but nothing has come of it yet. I've been thinking about re-arranging some wall hangings/photos around the house. I've been thinking about doing some pinterest ideas. That is about as far as my creativity has gone so far. 

5. Invest in a couple of high-quality items.
I've been successful at this one! I FINALLY bought a dress watch - although it becomes my everyday-everywhere-when-I'm-not-working watch, but still. My mom helped me buy it. It is probably one  THE most expensive piece of jewelry I own, apart from my engagement-wedding rings. But not the most valued, as in sentiment. What else have I gotten? We've bought a 3-season tent and two sleeping bags with our anniversary money. My mom gave us a back country cooking/mess set that isn't cheap and Andrew bought the parts for and built his own desktop. I think we did pretty well here. 

6. Be financially sound.
Ha. I think this one is kind of a joke. Really, who is ever really financially sound? I had made it a goal to put aside 10% of every paycheck into a savings account, as an emergency/nest fund and I've done it for the most part. I have had to hold back on a couple paychecks because of bills, but then again there have been other months when I've been able to put aside 20% of every one. I don't have as much saved as I would like but since it is only July, I think I've done a pretty good job.

7. Giving to God what is God's.
Um...yeah. This DEFINITELY hasn't happened. And I will tell you why: I worry too much. I worry too much about my school loans. I worry too much about how we are going to pay for things - like if the car breaks down. I worry about money. A lot. I know what you might be thinking. how can I worry about money when last year we flew home/to the NE area like four different times? Well, those where special circumstances. And sometimes our inability to say no to our best friends. Or because we were asked to be a part of something long before we got married and couldn't back out of that commitment. Whatever it was, we haven't done that this year. Just one trip. And now that's done. And we won't be flying home again for a while. Probably not until we move away from here. Which is in October of 2013. 

So I haven't been tithing. and the sad thing is, I no longer feel guilty about it. 

I suck at keeping my goals. Maybe I have too many expectations? Could I be pushing myself too hard too soon in too many areas? We are just over halfway to January 2013. Let's hope that these next few months perk up a little bit.

Until then.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Do not discriminate. There is no difference between the Jew and the non-Jew. There is no difference between the black and the white man. We are both born the same way and we both die the same way. Make peace."

Jaap Polak, Steal a Pencil for Me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mt. Baldy, Everett, Seattle, Sedro-Wolley & the North Cascades Highway.

This is the Seattle Sky, from our tour of the area on Sunday. Andrew took this one. I think it's gorgeous.

Update, update, update!

Where shall I begin? Well, two Thursdays ago (July 5th) Andrew and I went hiking up Mt. Baldy.

I have *affectionately* names Mt. Baldy the Hill of Death. There is a 2,000 foot elevation gain over one mile and it is pretty much walking STRAIGHT UP the side. But besides that, uou will understand why in a minute.

Later that evening, we flew to Seattle and arrived at 5:04 am PST on Friday. I was tired and grumpy and really just wanted a nap, breakfast and some coffee. Oh and my leg was swollen and it hurt to walk. We had a wedding rehearsal Friday afternoon, the wedding itself on Saturday, Sightseeing on Sunday. Sunday evening I dropped Andrew off at the airport before Erin and I drove to Gina's house for the next few days. Monday I got driven around the North Cascades Highway and stopped at various places to see beautiful sights. We stopped at the visitor center and I got a pin for my backpack. I also got to stop at the original Cascadian Farms! I got some DELICIOUS homemade raspberry & chocolate ice cream and a do a short little walking tour around the farm stand. I was pretty excited. Here are some pictures from the trip:

Above: Beth's Cafe, where Alex took us to breakfast that Friday morning. This is a mural along the outside wall. it basically is the same as the inside decor.

A really cool monument/statue at the Mukilteo Lighthouse.

At the wedding, you take a cake pop and your table number. 

"Make-your-own-mini-cheesecake" dessert station

The wedding party.

Danielle had her side carry lanterns. Each one is different because each person has had a different impact on her life.
Saturday night after the wedding Erin, Gina & Ryan came down to Mulkiteo for a short visit. Originally all three were coming to Seattle with us on Sunday but Gina (and therefore Ryan) had to back out. But since Gina and Andrew have never met before, this seemed like a good idea. 

'Bikini Stands'

EMP - Experience Music Project in the Seattle Center. Wanted to go in, but didn't have time.

Atop the  Space needle. This picture took almost four tries, using a couple of different tourists. But we got it!

Please don't arrest me officer!

Blue trees invite people to pay attention to deforestation.

THE original Starbucks.
Kind of like the gum tree at Houghton. Only a wall.

Where we had dinner.

Riding the Carousel because the Ferris wheel was too expensive.

Outside the aquarium.

International Fountain back in Seattle Center.
Other photos from the trip can be found here and here.

Another update in a few days about my foot/lower leg!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

If Andrew can do it, so can I.

I ran five miles today. The loop I usually do is between 3.1 and 4.2 miles (depending if I add the stretch to the second light) all said and done. So when I got to the 2.2 miles mark I thought, why not keep going? After all, I've been running for a while so I think it's time to move forward. No more easy 3 milers. It's four or more from now on. So I went past the second light. About a half mile past. Which means I have to go back that half mile too. Really, I wanted to see if I could do it. I debated for about, oh, 3 seconds, if I wanted to go all the way to Boniface gate - an additional 1.5 miles from the light I would turn around at...but decided against it. Seven miles today would have been too much. But 5 was okay. Took me about an hour. I was purposely going with an easy stride. In reality, I figured that if Andrew can run 26.2 miles then I can run 5. And so I did.

I've been flirting with the idea of running the half marathon during the Big Wild Life runs in mid-august. If anything, I will be at least running the 5k sponsored by Snow City Cafe. Andrew ran it last year. There are a couple of people I know who are making it their goal to be able to do the 5k - people who have never really exercised consistently before. Don't get me wrong - I am interested in their plans and I hope that they can do this - they will be super proud of their accomplishment. And hey - maybe later they will do more. One of the women suggested we put together a team and since I am the 'most experienced' that I be the head of the team and we run it all together....The woman who suggested this run/walks 3 miles in an hour. I KNOW I can do it in 28/29 minutes. This may be selfish, but I don't want to feel obligated or bogged down having to run as a group when I know I could get a PR for myself. I haven't told them yes or no or really discussed it with them because I don't want to say yes but then decide to do the 1/2. Because you can't do both. They race at the same time.

I am asking God to help me not to have the 'runner's attitude' as I call it. Which I just displayed some to you all. Thinking that I know better. Thinking that just because I have been running [relatively] consistently for the past 2 months that I somehow qualify as 'knowing my stuff' and am only out to get PRs for me, not helping and encouraging others to get outside and just go. 

I'm working on it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A long one but worth it.

Not too much has been going on recently. This past week was a little stressful for me. The kids were all cranky - which is in part (I believe) from another caregiver in the room who couldn't separate her emotions from her personal life in the workplace. Hence, she was constantly yelling a the kids and being negative. Her negativity began to wear on both the other caregivers (one of which is me) and the babies. Andrew has been really stressed as well. Tomorrow morning at 8 am he goes up against the Below-the-zone (BTZ) Board and he's really nervous. When he's not working or fishing (there was a salmon derby this week), he's studying like crazy. If he makes an excellent impression tomorrow, he could put on his Senior Airmen promotion early. So you can see why he's under a lot of stress!

I need some advice from everyone who reads this. Whether your comment comes through here or Facebook or even in an email, I appreciate all advice. Andrew and I have decided that we need to crack down on paying off various things. This decision has been stirring around for some time, but has become more definite this weekend when I got a notice from Great, a lender in which two of my loans from school are serviced by, about the two loans they hold. Both are coming out of a year-long determent.  Originally I put them into deferment because I qualified for Economic Hardship based on Alaskan standards. I have gotten a better job since then that pays a little bit more, but I have also had to make additional loan payments from other lenders since getting that job. Although I know it is better to pay loans back, even if it is just a little bit every month is better than putting them into another deferment or forbearance, but I don't feel I have any choice as of right now.

I am not going to discuss the exact numbers of which I owe (and it is more than you think) but to give you a general idea - by the time I am done paying I may have been able to purchase the equivalent to a lower-end ranch style house. The loan payments are not too much the issue here. We are PCSing next year (whether to a new base or to the New England area) and we would like to have our car paid off before then. And if some of you remember, last Veteran's Day we got into a car accident and are still working on paying off that loan as well.

We have been blessed in many ways. A friend who is currently on deployment is storing his stuff in our basement and we are able to use his car. He is applying to extend for another six months, which means that instead of coming back in November like he planned, he will come back in May of 2013. Having his car is a huge blessing for us as Andrew's job sometimes requires him to travel around base etc. It's a plus for me too since I work at 8 am and Andrew works at 7 am. Having two cars means that I can go to work at normal time instead of being dropped off early. It also helps out for when I have errands to run over lunch or doctor appointments to attend.

So we have been looking into ways to save some money - well, it won't be going into a savings account but rather towards the car payments, among other things. We are looking into dropping the cable and land line we have and just paying for internet. We don't even use the land line but yet we still have to pay for it. And we just found out that in order to have internet we don't need the cable of the line! Aurora Housing on base told us we did in order to have the internet - they lied! Andrew will also be canceling his smartphone plan from Verizon. Originally we were looking into combining a downgraded cellphone with the internet for Andrew, but with the GCI provider (it's the only one in Alaska) it would be the same amount of money that we pay now for the bundled cable/phone/internet package. I think what is going to happen is Andrew is going to transfer his line to my mom's family plan and downgrade to just a text-no-data-plan cell. And then we will drop the cable and land line and just pay for internet. We will be saving over $150 a month.

We just bought a Costco membership today mostly so we can get our monthly stash of meats from there. I also ordered a year's worth of contacts - and I only spent $100! Much cheaper than ordering from any other place I've found. I also found a pair of lens I liked but we need to think on it. Because of my prescription, the lens could be really thick.

What  I really would like for you is advice or tips on saving money whether it is on groceries (We don't get a whole lot of coupons in the mail/newspaper etc.Most coupons are specific to grocery stores around town. Which we don't shop at) or gas or whatever you have on your mind. Anything that helps would be greatly appreciated.

Also, this summer will probably be the only time Andrew comes home (even if it for a wedding). The next time we will see everyone will be September/October of next year. Money will be tight over the next year, so trips/plane rides to the East coast will probably no longer be happening until we PCS. So if you want to see us, come to visit us instead.

Whew. Done for now.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


You know it's a super-slow run when it takes 35 minutes to run three miles, whereas last week racing I ran almost four miles in less than that time. I ran today in the first time since Tuesday (and Tuesday was the first time after the race). I had been lying low for the past week because of the cold/cough thing going on since I wanted to get better. And most of last week it was cloudy/rainy when I would be running after work. But I must say, that even though this run was slow, the run on Tuesday was the 'painful one'. You know, the one that is still working the kinks out of the muscles after racing hard etc. So even though this one was slower, I knew my legs and lungs would support me - I just have to get back into the groove of running.

The cough thing: I went to the doctor today and she thinks it is just allergies. I have never been allergic to anything plantlike before. Plus, I've already been up here for a year and a half and last year I didn't have a problem. The runny nose - yes maybe that is allergies or at least some form of it. The 15-minute cough sessions that cause my whole body to shake and pull my stomach through my esophagus? I don't think that's allergies.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

More from the Begich Boggs Nature Center

A three-dimensional map.

Different areas of Alaska highlighted.

Life Cycle of salmon

Salmon display

Smokey the Bear!

Andrew is getting cozy with Smokey.

There is one at the Center! We signed the log.

Alaska State Bird: The Mosquito

Moose & baby
On the giant ice worm. They live inside glaciers.

Alaska State Flag, blowing in the was very windy.

Bryon Glacier, Begich Boggs Nature Center & Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

The trailhead. And we forgot to sign the ledger. Oops!

Being artistic. Walking on the snow.

Bryon Glacier

You can't see it, but on the right hand side, around the land mass, there would be Portage Glacier. It has receded this much in 10-20 years.
 Begich Boggs Nature Center
You look through the mask and can see like the animal.

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
We went to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and saw some elk.

Alaska DOES have deer!

Wood Bison and babies.

He is so cute! I wanted to take one home...

Resident brown bear

Couple of once-orphaned moose

Being fed by a AWCC worker

The very first baby moose they brought in. He turned four in May.
I wanted to point out that Jeff Corwin came here and filmed. You can barely see if on the second slide.
This is about the film Ito the Wild, using some of the center's animals.

Some caribou.