Friday, October 31, 2008


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It Takes Talent

I will admit that it took great talent to put a hole in the middle of my fingernail. Now, just imagine what it looked like before my nail grew out and that hole was right in the middle of my nailbed! That my friends, took real talent! It's not as impressive without a visual, so I will explain......

It all started one fine Saturday afternoon while I was taking a shower. I decided to shave my legs. No big deal, right? Well, for some lame, unknown reason, I chose to shave with both hands. The razor was in one hand and I was keeping balance with the other hand holding/resting on my leg. That's where things started to go very wrong!

This is the razor I use. As you can see, it has 4 blades, very close to one another and 8 little wires that go down the blades vertically. I have intentionally tried to put my nail between two of the blades and I couldn't do it. This particular afternoon was an exception. Unwittingly, as I was pulling up on the razor, my fingernail slipped right between two of the blades. I couldn't do it again if I tried!

Not knowing my nail was stuck in the razor, I continued to move in an upward direction, pulling the fingernail away from my nail bed and slicing a hole right into the middle of the nail. Talent I tell you, pure talent! As soon as I felt the nail pull away from the skin, I realized what had happened. As you can only imagine, it did not feel good at all! I have to admit, the aftermath was rather humorous though. I was in so much pain that I immediately hopped out of the shower and beckoned to Eric for assistance/moral support. As I was moaning and groaning and holding back tears, he asked me what I wanted. I told him, "I just want my mom".

Ladies and gentlemen, I have been married for 12 years, but on a rare occasion, I still need a parent. Considering the fact that my mom lives 3,000 miles away, we did not actually call her. Once I had regained my composure, Eric asked if I still wanted him to "call my mom" and I told him not to because it would take too long for me to explain the whole thing and it was so complicated to explain that she'd never fully appreciate what I had done. We did get a nice chuckle out of it though.

I'm not sure you will all be able to follow along and fully appreciate my story either, but I really just wanted to share the picture of my nail and figured you deserved some sort of explanation.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Million Dollar Mouth

I admit, a million dollars is a bit of an exaggeration, but we seriously have probably spent (between what insurance has covered and what we have paid out of pocket) at least $15,000.00 on my teeth in the last 12 years. From that admission, you probably picture me as a rehabilitated snaggle-tooth. Not quite! I am, to my mom's credit, a night time teeth-grinder.

After my dentist appointment today, I now have not one, but two, "bionic" prosthetic molars of sorts. You see, we were faced with a bit of a dilema. Considering the fact that I had ground down and worn away the majority of the surface area and enamel on two of my back teeth, I was in need of a crown on each one. The problem was that in order for them to hold up for any amount of time, I would need metal crowns, but they would be in a spot that you could potentially see the metal when I smile. We didn't want that. If we used just plain porcelain, I would eventually wear through them and we would sort of just be creating a long-term temporary fix. So, the dentist came up with a rather clever solution. He had the lab create crowns that are porcelain on the outside half (that can be seen) and metal on the inner half.

I am so fascinated by these crowns that I had to take a picture for anyone who in interested in seeing how "bionic" thay look. Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera with me before the dentist put them on. I decided to go out on a limb for all of you and I took a picture of the inside of my mouth. It's not pretty, but I just had to share.! If you get grossed out by this kind of stuff just don't look. If you do want to take a look, notice the 1/2 and 1/2 tooth, that's the one I'm talking about. I'm sorry I'm not savvy enough to be able to crop the picture so all you can see is the tooth, but if you really want to see it, I'm sure you'll get over it.

Pretty cool, huh! I thought it was pretty ingenious. I have a matching one on the other side.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Boys Dabble in Politics

Two weeks ago, both of the boys came home from school and announced that they were running for Student Council. Logan decided he was going to run for President and Kaiden was going to run for Historian. As a 4th grader, the only office Kaiden could run for was Historian and the students had to choose one male candidate and one female candidate for the position.

To be honest, both Eric and I were surprised the boys expressed interest in running, considering the fact that they would have to make posters, and write and give a speech in front of the 3-6 grades. I have to admit that I was less than thrilled with their interest in running for office. I ran for Student Council several times as a child. I won the election a time or two and I lost a time or two. The sad thing is, as an adult, I don't remember holding office as much as I remember how I felt when I lost. As a mom, I think it's natural to want to shelter your kids from that same feeling, but on the other hand, as a good mom, I think it was obligation to support them in their endeavor. I won't lie to you, I also thought it was my perogative to lay out the hard facts. I explained that they were basically signing up to run in a popularity contest and that they both needed to be prepared to lose. I explained that they had been at their school for less than a year and that there were a lot of kids running for each position, which would make it very difficult to win. They both still decided to make a go of it.

Despite our wild and crazy winds on Friday, the boys were beckoned to school to give their speeches. Only in Alaska does the school principal call you personally at 9:50 to let you know that (despite their earlier misgivings) school would in fact be in session and that the kids needed to be there to give their speeches by 10:30. I quickly had the boys get dressed and I ran the them up the hill to school. Since I was already there, I decided to sit through the 54 1-minute speeches. Logan was the very last student to give his speech. Talk about torture! To make matters worse, the results weren't going to be announced until Monday, so the poor kids had to wait through the weekend for the results.

The kids found out at 9:00 yesterday morning who won the election. I, on the other hand, had to wait until the kids arrived home on the bus at 3:45 to find out. If someone has asked me if I thought either of our boys would win I would have said, "no". If someone had told me one of the boys would lose and one of them would win, (based on personality and peer interactions) I would have guessed that Logan would win and Kaiden would not. You can imagine my shock when the boys got off the bus and I learned that Kaiden had won his bid for Historian and Logan did not win for President (he lost to two girls who actually tied and will share the duties).

I give both of the boys a huge amount of credit because neither of them seemed very affected when they came off the bus. Kaiden was not gloating because he had won and Logan was not crying because he had lost. Obviously, the best result for both boys would have been for them to both win, but aside from that, I think it was "best-case" that Logan lost to girls. I don't think the thought ever occurred to him that a girl was even his real competition. The funny thing is, both boys were a little miffed that there are only two boys on the entire Student Council (Kaiden being one of them). Apparantly, girls have been in the majority on the Student Council for several years running and my boys think there needs to be a change.

Now, I just have to figure out what exactly my role, oops, I mean Kaiden's role is as Historian. I joke about it being my job, but let's be real, we all know that as the mom, it's going to be my job to get Kaiden where he needs to be, when he needs to be there. It is also going to be my job to make sure he's actually fulfilling his obligation as Historian. As a parent, life's lessons can be such a double-edged sword. I tell ya', the things we do for our kids!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Happily Ever After...For Now

It took a UPS pilot, a Chevron engineer, an orthodontist, and a Dir. of Ops., but by golly, after lots and lots of planning and talking, they finally got the tree down. I am telling you, these guys could not have scripted it better.

Jon, our neighbor and resident UPS pilot, came over in the wee hours yesterday to help Eric with a quick fix to get the tree off the house (they used rope and tied it to other trees in order to temporarily pull the tree away from the house). Of course, immediately, the guys started forming a gameplan for later in the day. As you all know, Eric had contemplated climbing up on the roof and topping the tree, but that wasn't the best option.

After an $80 trip to Home Depot (I know, I'm thankful that's all it cost), Eric and Chet (our resident engineer) had put into play a plan that John and Eric had discussed much earlier in the day. They bought a ratchet and the idea was to try to ratchet the tree into an upright position and get it to a point they thought would be clear of the house and garage. Then, someone would take a chainsaw to the tree while the other guys stood in the distance and pulled the tree down into a predetermined spot.

As you could imagine, there were a lot of variables to consider. The main goal was to keep everyone safe and beyond that, to keep the house free from damage. Fortunately, there is a nice open spot between the two houses that are behind ours. The three major problems the guys could foresee were that the tree could land on our house as it fell, it could take out the neighbors vinyl fence or potentially most hazardous of all, it could land on the utility boxes that would be directly in the tree's path if it were to come down right where the guys were anticipating it would.

Considering the length of the tree, the guys didn't really have too many placement options for the tree as it landed. They decided they would pull it down and try to land it between the three utility boxes. The tallest box is the phone line, so we figured worst case, we would be without a landline for a few days. So, after more planning and still more talking, the guys finally decided to go for it. Fortunately, our neighbor Jon spent a summer cutting down trees in New Hampshire, so he had a little insight and experience. Although I'm sure Eric could have pulled it off himself, he decided to let Jon man the chainsaw.

Here's the tree in the upright position, as it's ratcheted off the house (it's the tallest tree in the picture).

Jon was so confident in his abilities that he expressed to Eric that it might be dangerous, but he could definitely do it (thanks, Jon that made me feel much better). Eric still opted to let him give it a go. Talk about pressure, poor Jon!

Here are the guys off in the distance pulling and getting ready to pull even more.

Jon's doing alright. Just another cut or two...........

Perfect landing. The tree didn't hit a thing other than the ground. The guys, amazingly (and just like pros), were able to bring it down right between all three utility boxes. They couldn't have planned it like this!

I guess the moral is, the better the planning, the better the result. Job well done, guys!

Friday, October 10, 2008

It Started As A Nightmare

I'll let you know how it ends!

The wind started in the night and in the early morning hours it howled like a mad man. Winds on our hillside were clocked at just under 100 mph. At some point we knew something was actually hitting up against our house. When we went out to look, this is what we saw.

The only reason the tree didn't completely uproot was because our house caught it. It certainly could have been worse and it could still get worse. As I type, I hear chainsaws in the near and far distance and we're still trying to figure out a way to get the tree off the house without having it come crashing down on another part of the house. We've already tried to jack it off the house using a wench and a 4x4 atv, to no avail. The next option is going to be for Eric to get up on the roof with a chainsaw and to top the tree. The problem is, there is no great way for him to get his footing once he's up on the rooftop, because of where the tree is in proximity to the roofline. While Eric and our friend Chet regroup, they have ventured to another neighbor's house to see how they can begin to start cleaning up the havoc that the wind wreaked over there.

Considering the chaos here (the picutres don't do it justice), I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to be in a hurricane or a tornado. What I do know is a situation like this sure pulls a community together. We're all having to work together to help each other piece our houses and yards back together.
I'll keep you posted once our plan materializes.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Retail Therapy Is Very Real

Just as I had predicted yesterday, I gave in and decided to brave the elements (along with the rest of Anchorage) and I ventured out to the brand new Target store. For those of you who do not believe in retail therapy may think I'm a little off my rocker, but I had no idea how theraputic a simple trip to Target could be.

I have to tip my hat to the Target Corporation for their incredible organizational skills. Although the municipality of Anchorage has left some to be desired by way of traffic issues near the shopping center, my actual experience inside Target was superb. Once I got off the freeway, I sat in bumper to bumper traffic for about 20 minutes, before I even entered the parking lot. I thought for sure once in the lot it would be chaos, but to my surprise, it was very orderly and there was an abundance of parking (I didn't even have to park in Egypt). There was plenty of room to move around the store and all of the registers were open. I was only in line for about two minutes, can you even believe it?

I have to say, those people at Target thought of everything while planning their store here. Not only do we have brand new, completely plastic shopping carts (so we don't freeze our digits off in the middle of winter when we get a cart that has been sitting outside for hours), but in an attempt to eliminate icy walkways in the winter, they also put in a heated sidewalk system along the facade of the store. It's the littlest things sometimes that make a huge difference, especially when you live in Alaska!

I went to Target because of the novelty of it really, and let's face it, I had time to spare. Once inside though, I had an AHA! moment of sorts. I was thrilled to be in Target not because of what it had to offer inside it's doors, but because it was familiar and made Alaska feel a little more like "home" to me. As wierd as it is to admit, Target offered me a strange sense of familiarity. The store was set up exactly like the ones in California. I knew where to find the clothing, the beauty stuff, the toys, shoes, etc. Even the little pieces of paper with the prices and sku numbers on them seemed a little comforting.

I know it may seem bizarre that a store could make a person feel the way I did. Believe me, I wasn't expecting to feel that way either. I guess in retrospect, it makes sense to me though. Here in Alaska it's easy to feel isolated. There are a bunch of ma' and pop type of establishments, but there isn't much that is familiar to someone coming from a state like California. We've learned to make due, but it's often like we're settling for second best. It would sort of be like not having a local Starbucks and having to get your coffee from the barista at the supermarket. It's just not the same! Even the places that we do have one of here are generally substandard compared to what I'm used to. Target wasn't that way!

From now on, just call me on my cell phone. I'll probably be out at Target for a little retail therapy!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Anchorage is Abuzz

After you read this, you will quickly understand why Alaska is Alaska and why the rest of the states (except HI) are considered the "Lower 48". The whole town is abuzz because Sunday will be the grand opening of our very first Target stores. Yes, that is store(s), plural! They are opening one in Anchorage and one in Wasilla on the very same day. Pretty exciting stuff I tell ya' !!!!! I am so excited I don't know if I'll be able to sleep for the rest of the week!

Although I can barely contain my elation, for the moment, there are a few fundamental glitches with the whole Target idea. Don't get me wrong, I can't wait to go spend my husband's hard earned money there, but... we live in South Anchorage and Target is across town, so it will take about a half an hour just to get there. The other issue is that we are so starved for mainstream retail here, that I am certain the store will be jam packed right through Christmas. SCARY!

I've heard that starting today, there will be a "soft" opening. I've toyed with the idea of driving out there to see if I'm the only one who's heard about it (yeah, right), in an attempt to beat the crowds. My other, more reasonable thought, is that I will wait until early November before I even attempt to venture in that direction. Let's be real, who am I trying to kid? I'm sure I'll be pulling into the Target parking lot by the end of the week!

Once I've survived my experience that is the brand new Target in Anchorage, I will be sure to fill you in. After all, it is the little things in life that make it all worth while, right? In the meantime, be sure to think of me as you drive by the four Target stores you will pass in your journeys today.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fun With Politics

I don't know that I have ever watched an entire episode of Saturday Night Live in my life. It's on later than I can usually stay awake and quite frankly, I don't really get or appreciate much of the humor. Today, based on the recommendation of my grandmother, I went online to track down a download of Tina Fey, portraying Sarah Palin on SNL. I have been reading and hearing many rave reviews about Fey's portrayal of Palin, but I hadn't actually watched any of it myself, prior to this afternoon. I have to say, I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. I guess what I appreciated most was that the people at SNL keyed in on and were able to mock a lot of the instances when as a viewer, I was thinking, "hugh?" just like they obviously were.

For those of you who may not be extremely internet savvy, I have embedded the SNL skit for you to enjoy right here on my blog.

Since we live in Alaska, I guess by default, we have become a bit of a "Palin barometer" for many of you living in the Lower 48. Friends and family are often asking what our take/view of Palin is. After those SNL skits I'm almost embarrassed to offer my personal perspective on Palin, but I've decided to go out on a limb and I am going to voice my opion on all things Palin (I pasted most of this from an email I recently sent to my mother-in-law before I had even viewed the SNL clips). My view is just that, my view. I'm sure some of you may read this and will be horrified at my lack of political perspective, but the really scary thing is, I still get to vote right along with the rest of you on November 4

The Palin question is a loaded one for me. Eric and I really know about as much as the rest of America knows about her. The one thing I know for sure is that aside from being the governor, Palin really does come from and live in middle America. I still don't know who I'm voting for, but that's her appeal to me. Joe Biden can say he grew up in Scranton, PA all he wants, but he hasn't lived like us in I don't know how long. When Palin tells you she lives like all of us and knows what we are all going through I believe her. Her children go to school in the same exact public school system ours do, she and her husband don't live an extravagant lifestyle, and her house is not any fancier than yours or mine.

I do not think Palin is perfect. I think she has made an error or two in judgement (specifically Troopergate). I think she has looked like a fool in her interviews with Gibson and Couric. I wish that she would have told the world that she reads People and ESPN Magazine and that she doesn't read the local newspaper because they are biased. Instead, she chose not to give Katie Couric an answer, and by default, made herself laughable. All of that being said, I do believe that she wants the governement to provide for her family the same things that I would want it to provide for ours. From everything I can see, her family is in a very similar demographic as ours. I don't completely understand politics, nor do I necessarily know what I want from the government, but I do believe that for the most part, Palin could speak on my behalf. I'm not with her on some topics , but I have to look beyond that and look at the bigger picture.

Like I said, I have no idea who I'm voting for and I probably won't know until I walk out of that booth on Nov. 4. I haven't always given Palin the benefit of the doubt. I wasn't thrilled when McCain brought her on board. Ironically though, as time has passed, Palin's inovolvement in this election has made my decision even more difficult. I am drawn to the fact that she seems to be a lot like me, and that makes me feel like she would want for this country the same things that I would want.

Enough said...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Winter Has Arrived

Yesterday we had our first official snowfall. The flurry only lasted about a half an hour, but as you can see in the picture, the flakes were quite large! It is currently snowing and we are expecting 2"-4" of accumulation over night.
Let the fun and games begin!