Saturday, December 29, 2007

Tucson Arizona

I came here to get warm, but it didn't happen. It's just freezing around here, and I have all kinds of summer clothing with me. I just didn't believe that is was really in the 30's here, but it's true. Yesterday, I went to Nogales, Mexico, and it was even colder there. . . Believe it!!!
I would write more, but I'm at the library and this computer will click off pretty soon, so I'll tell you more happier things tomorrow. It's really quite beautiful here and would probably be a desireable spot to retire except in December and January. The buildings are new and clean, and the landscaping is quite unique. The Desert Museum, is more of a nature walk than that, but walking around on the cobblestones is not the best when your popsicle toes are frozen. . . . .

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bye to Christmas

and . .. goodbye to Alaska . . . as I'm visiting Tuscon AZ for a while . . . time really slips away from you. I simply have to tell you about one of the neatest things I've seen lately. At the Tuscon Airport, they have a huge monitor and big easy chairs to sit on, while you wait for someone. The video is set on the hall leading down to the baggage claim, so you can view the party you're meeting, as they walk down to it. I was fortunate to wait for my sister on such a chair. They also have a large map posted with legends of all the cities that show arriving flights, and just when and if they arrive as scheduled.
Also, the car rental is still right at the airport, so you don't have to shuttle over to some other spot. Very convenient. My first visit is great, and I'll tell more in future blogs about the great library, downtown architecture, landscapes, etc. But for now, wait with baited breath, please . ..

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Countdown - Alaska


My Christmas letter is posted on my webpage if that's what you're after. There's not a lot for me to post today, as all the usual Christmas activity is taking place around here. The temperature has been below zero for a few days now, so I'm hiding indoors, unless I have some commitment elsewhere. This week does require some running around, as all of the clubs have their Christmas events. I've only gained five lbs. so far, which is minimal considering.
There are also some sad things that we learn have happened elsewhere and here, friends passing, businesses closing, social breakups . . . well, you know -- I'm sure the reader is experiencing the same thing. It's hard to absorb all at once, but this is when news arrives on the annual cards.



So I'm going to wrap up the week with solstice drumming . . . yes, I made that Eskimo drum above . . . and flight to Arizona for a few weeks. I'll try to post from there, but who knows what to expect.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas is coming!

This is one of the better Christmas cards! Give a click!

It's a beautiful day in Anchorage, and we're all getting ready for Christmas. We need to keep using that word, because, after all, it is honoring the birth of Christ.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Alaska Travel



As I receive Christmas cards, and notes, I realize there are so many friends out there that plan on visiting Alaska. However, they don't want to experience our cold winters. I can only say that this winter, 2007, is the warmest we've had since I arrived here in 1966. There's just a brush of snow on the ground, and at this time none predicted. It's okay with me, but it does make the long nights longer, as it's pretty dark out by 3 p.m.
This would be depressing were it not for the lively activity and events throughout the winter. It's really a good time to see the non-touristy parts of the state. Christmas brings some wonderful concerts, chorales, ice-skating on the local ponds, marginal skiing in town, but better snow at our resort of Alyeska. Also, the prices are much more attractive. But the biggest attraction, at least for me, is viewing the Northern Lights. The image above is part of what you will see, but the best part is the undulating waves, rolling across the sky, and there's just something magical in it. It's even better if you're watching it from a horse-drawn carriage, which they have operating downtown in Anchorage all winter. Town square is a city block that houses many fairs and carnivals in the summer, but in the winter, they have ice-sculturing, and ice-skating pond, and real live reindeer lead Santa into the tree-lighting ceremony.
Like most large cities, parking is at a premium here, but a new parking garage is being built as we speak. For young adventurers, and old are invited, there's a new hostel on Eagle Street, just north of Fourth Avenue, that has affordable accommodations and if you would remember the streets are named alphabetically from A street, you will find Eagle Street is 5 blocks east of the center of town. I'll tell you more about Anchorage and Alaska in my future blogs, but glad you visited anyhow!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas Countdown

Don't forget to view my Christmas letter if you want my complete year, 2007. I thought that I should tell you a little about some of the local scandal in this blog. There's a big political scandal going on now, with some of our state politicians getting 5 and 6 yr. jail sentences for bribery and such, but the local radio personality had me laughing as he told the story of the bankrupt Matanuska Dairy. You may wonder how dairy cattle business can work in this Alaska Climate. Well, wonder no longer, it simply doesn't work. This 75 yr old company has been losing money for years, so a few years ago, the state came to its rescue and bought it. Now you know as well as I do, the state is not going to be able to run a dairy, but that was its intent. Our most attractive lady governor seems to have lost her mind, as she continually tried to revive it. When the Board of Directors said there was no hope, she fired all of them, and appointed a new Board. However, they continued to lose over a million dollars a month, so Gov. Palin put out for bids to sell it. Now who is going to buy such a company? My laugh came as radio commentator, Mike Porcaro, said that they had a box of sealed bids they would be opening on Thursday, so when Thursday came, they opened this box, and there were NO bids in it. Does this remind you of Geraldo Rivera? Sad, but true, so they are now supposed to close down on Dec. 17th, and sell what equipment they can. This is not unlike what happened to our huge, multi-million dollar building that housed the Alaska Seafood Institute. Now if you can't make a profit, paying only $1/yr. rent, and having an abundance of fish just down the road, something got to be wrong. Leave it to the state government to screw that one up, too. However, that story has a happier ending, because when they put out for bids, they got three! One was illegible handwriting of a local doctor, who is not known for any common sense, so that was discarded, and I don't remember the second one, but the third was a viable bid by Changepoint Church, which is a megachurch, and they have been doing some amazing things there since taking over around a year ago. But that is not the story for this blog. It's the dairy. It's totally ridiculous. They also have their home office in some now expensive real estate on Northern Lights Blvd. and I'm wondering what's going to become of that with the demise of the company. But it hasn't happened yet, and things could still turn around. Now isn't this funnier than reading about all the Christmas parties I've been going to? Sure is!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas Season

Yes, it's time to post my Christmas letter, so goto my webpage and you'll find it. Rather boring, to me, but felt you at least have an option to read it or not. Today is the first day I've been chilly in my condo, so I just moved my space heater to my desk area, and I'm ready to admit it's winter. We're still waiting for snow here, but I'm in no hurry. I attended a unique fellowship meeting at a new church, called Changepoint, and it was to refresh our female lives. It was called RefresHER - get it? It was one of the most enjoyable visits I've had, and there were at least 400 ladies there, plus a few men in the stage band, and volunteering on parking, audio, video, etc. The reason I bring this up is that there were two ladies who gave a most humorous presentation on 10 No-No's for Christmas, and one of them was, "no email Christmas cards" . . I was pretty good on the other nine, but admit to doing most of my cards online this year. Of course, I have a few friends who don't like computers, and the only way to reach them is the good old U.S.P.S. So, today, I'm wrapping up my Xmas postings, and also this week ends my B-fit classes, too. My piano students are doing their wrap-up in the form of a 'recital' at the Museum on Sunday, and it's time to start my New Year's resolutions . . . a bit early, as I'm trying to leave things in good order for my trip outside to Tucson for a few weeks. Of course, you'll be hearing about that. So, bye for now.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

And so November ends . . .

It's hard to believe that I could be silent for a week. Not in real life, but I find it hard to post anything comparable to the great trip I had thru November, and I'm kind of wrapping up the year here in Anchorage. Christmas cards via USPS are arriving, and it's a sign I have to hustle in my wrap-up. The Great Alaska Shootout Basketball Tournament has ended with Butler University the winner. Texas Tech brought famed coach Wright here, but he couldn't push them the whole distance. Nutcracker Ballet is another regular, and I worked in the store for souvenirs, as I have the past umpteen years. We raised $5,000 for the Concert Association. Next comes my piano students recital at the museum, and the museum contributes $100 to the Keyboard Teachers Association. Tonight is the opening of Cyrano's play, Cyrano, honoring 10 years of plays at this great small downtown theatre. The Senior Center Bazaar is this weekend, and Older Person's Action Group is hosting my guitar class, and don't forget the S.A.T. exams are Saturday. I proctor those. I've used up my football sponsorship at the Petroleum Club, in fact, two of them, and it's not near Super Bowl time, yet. .. and did I mention that my article got published in the Alaska Women Speak Magazine, too! Whew, I'm exhausted wrapping all this up. Just to let you know I'll get on the ball, and write something more interesting next blog.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Chicago Magic



Chicago is a great place to shop for magic products. I was lucky to be shown a store called Midwest Magic that had the biggest display of illusions I've seen since some warehouses a few years ago. Our host/owner, Tim Felix was kind enough to show us some great tricks. Another store that was also pretty neat was Magic, Inc. which was a little closer to downtown, and also a delight to shovel through. My host, RB, then took me to a show called Magic Cabaret at Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre. I posted a picture of P.T. Murphy above and his partner, David Parr, gave us a heap of entertainment. They had a special guest at this performance, Ross Johnson, who did some amazing mentalism illusions, so the night was really special for me.

By now, you're tired of reading about my trip, but I do also have to mention another special event I attended. This was the taping of Legends of Jazz, a public television show hosted by Ramsey Lewis. It won't be aired until April, but it was good to see Jazz Lives, and the local station is WTTW, anagram for Windows to the World, and so it is. Bye, Chicago.. . . later . ..

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Odyssey Continues



The Embassy Suites is a first-class hotel. The thriving suburb of Schaumberg is crammed with many large company home-offices, and the one-time 'largest' shopping mall in US - that is, before Minneapolis outdid them. It is also closer to O'Hare, or ORD, or 'the airport', than downtown Chicago.
This hotel offers happy-hour nightly at 5:30 p.m. with hosted drinks. That's a good way to start the evening, but for me, it also finished it. After a bite in their nice, but empty, LaFitte Restaurant, I thought it time to luxuriate in my living room and watch some TV, read a bit, and you know, the girl-thing.


Another offering of the hotel is the catered breakfast. I chose mushrooms and bacon bits in my hand-done omelet, with the usual other things, including watermelon, for my breakfast. Okay, I know you've stopped reading this by now, but remember, it's easier than writing notes to myself, so I guess I'm just blogging to me. The swimming pool and hot-tub are calling, so I'm logging off now. My grandchildren are on the way down from Madison, WI, and I'll wait there for them.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Chicago is my kind of town

It's just a short plane ride from D.C. to Chicago - around 90 minutes, but oh, what a change. Of course, it takes a long time, like two hours, to take the Metra to the Loop area, where most tourists seek a hotel. I'm staying on Congress Street, the SE corner of the Loop, and it's a challenge to get picked up on the street there. My friend, RB, decided to do the pickups at a parking garage diagonally across from the first spot, because you take your life in your own hands trying to get in a car with heaps of traffic on all sides. We went to the Magic Cabaret, in the Victory Gardens Theatre. The special guest was Ross Johnson, a great mentalist. The two regulars were P.T. Murphy and David Parr. I guess they have a website but I haven't checked it out.
Another attraction of Chicago are the many music and theatre sites. RB treated me to a taping of Legends of Jazz on my second day here. That's the public radio station I listen to weekly, but now I found that Ramsey Lewis is starting his second season on TV. Hopefully, Anchorage will carry it, but they don't at this time. Thanks to the internet, I hope to keep in touch. This was an afternoon well-spent.
On to different things ... investigating Nordstroms and shopping, and some of the famous hotels like the Inter-Continental, Ritz-Carlton, and the Drake, and landing on the Drury Theatre in Water Tower area showing Altar Boyz. This gets a lot of press, but it was not exactly my cup of tea. I did enjoy it anyhow -- you see, I even like bad musicals. Well, today I'm onto more exploring, but for now, you're caught up on this gal's journey.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mt. Vernon, Virginia

This will finish my travelogue of the D.C. area.
It was an easy trip on the Metro to get from the Capital area to Huntington Stop on the Metro, BUT . . . they're under construction there, so lots of noise, and even worse, there are no phones/phonebooths. I found a quick friend to let me use her phone and call S.A., who was going to come down and pick me up. It took about a half hour, so I had ear-plugs in my ears by then, and found a pipe to sit on. Everything changed for the better when S.A. arrived and we drove to her beautiful home in Belle Rive, one of the five original farms of George Washington. All of the homes are quite prestigious, and it was beautiful, like a warm autumn day. S.A. was on a mission -- to find a Steinway Grand Piano, and I won't go into detail on my search, but we did do a few prints and phone calls from Craig's List and then a LONG drive to a Steinway Outlet. This was not unlike a used car dealership, where they have a salesperson first, then the hammer, then the closer. The exception was that the pianos were all beautiful, and the salesman was also a concert pianist, so difficult to make a choice. Price was another BIG consideration, as I don't remember anything under $45,000. BTW, S.A. doesn't play either, but it would make a beautiful piece of furniture until she learns "Mary Had a Little Lamb". So the real trigger was the fact that 92-yr. old Mr. Steinway was coming to the store at 4 p.m. that day to sign any piano that we bought -- probably his last visit as such. No, we didn't bite.
The other attraction at S.A.'s was her dog, Jade. You've never met a better lab. She loved me immediately and that helped. She responded to any command, and was great company. She has jade colored eyed and a chocolate coat that is healthy and shiny. After two nights there, it was hard to leave her behind, even more so than S.A. (whom I also love, by the way).
So that's my story, and S.A. drove me to Washington Reagan Airport, where I took the 90 minute flight (and 2 hour Metra line ride) to Chicago, where I checked into the great hostel here.

Tomorrow I hope to catch you up-to-date on my Chicago Stop. You'll like the combination of music and magic, which is turning out great, so far, thanks to my host, Reed B. . . . yes, I avoid using names on the blog just because of you bad guys out there that spam, and steal, and all. . .

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hostelling International Meeting

The national conference for Hostelling International was held in Washington D.C. last week and I'm still on my way back to Alaska. I did want to share a bit of good news about the success of my mission. In addition to the meeting, itself, we were lobbying our state's legislators to propose a resolution in the Senate, and the House, to recognize 75 years of hostelling in the U.S. The bottom line is that our Senator Ted Stevens said, YES, he would introduce this resolution on Tuesday, which is yesterday. I can't follow-up on this right now, but I can only assume he did do this yesterday. The selected hotel in Washington was only 2 blocks from the Reagan Center, which is part of a huge World Trade Center Building on Pennsylvania Avenue, but nothing is as easy, or close, as it seems. We had an hour and a half for lunch, so I called my friends at the National Endowment on the Arts, and she said, oh, we're right across the street. That building was the Old Post Office Building, which has now been turned into a large food circus on the main floor, shops on the 2nd floor, and offices above that. Well, she didn't mention that it was the Old Post Office Building, so I walked into the IRS building, which is just behind it. Oops, a big mistake, as I sneaked out -- just kidding, you don't go in and out of any building without a bunch of security checks -- and entered the Old Post Office building, and a 2nd security with a code/number she has given me, to go to the 7th floor. We did have a nice visit, and I managed to gulp a quick sandwich before returning to our meeting. It was a little easier getting back, but still a heap of walking.
The hostelling meeting went fine, and we got a huge binder to take home, which was mostly printouts from what we can get online. It reminded me of government presentations, where they project a powerpoint slide show, then hand it to you printed out, and then read it to you. However, I will say I was pleased over how well the Hostels are doing and the national staff and Board are all very capable.
This was further proved by my flight to Chicago, where I am staying at the "Cadillac of Hostels" which is located on Congress, just off State Street. I was also greeted when I arrived from some of the gals I met in D.C. last week, so it was like, Welcome to Chicago. They have so much going on in the area, and I signed up for a few things, but I'll tell you about that in further blogs, and also I hope to be able to download some of my images when I get to a friendly computer that will be able to read my smartcard. . . . btw, everyone on earth has a cell phone but me. . . ordinarally I have no need, but travelling is difficult without one. I'm a bit out of touch for a few days here. I'll close by saying the weather is great, like springtime here, and this is such a beautiful city architecturally. . . and otherwise.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Washington D.C.

Yes, it's the nation's capital, and quite overwhelming to visit after several years. Security is tight, and you can't even enter a food court arcade without going thru security. I'm staying at a downtown hotel, and walk over to the Ronald Reagan Building for meetings each day. Yesterday, I was going to visit a friend at the National Endowment on the Arts, which is in a building across the street. . . from 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue to 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue. It took ages to get there and I first had to get thru the street level 'food court' and another security section to get to the 7th floor. By the way, the fancy entrance on the side with signs saying the food court is open, flashing lights and all, made me think that was the entrance. Wrong! They need a post a 'no entry' sign, as you had to enter on the back side of building, and a line of people waiting to get in, not unlike an airport. Andy had given me the number for entry on that, and I reached the offices in only 20 minutes. So much for my lunch break, but I did manage to grab a sandwich en route back to our meetings. After the meetings, we had time to regroup before a final awards dinner. This was at a nice, busy restaurant in Chinatown called Clydes, 707 7th NE. I decided to walk over from the hotel, and it was slightly uphill and about 7 blocks, but lavished myself with a taxi to return. It was an excellent meal of Atlantic salmon, almost equal to our Alaska salmon, and the program and company was also fine.
Well, this is just the peripheral information on my trip, so far. I'll get to the story of my meeting next time.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

November Sky


This beautiful shot was captured by my friend
Dee, who has that talent of photographing the
everyday scenes of Anchorage. November usually brings snow in the city,
but this year it's coming a little late. That's okay with me, because the first one usually creates havoc with the motorists. There's a lot going on in the city to keep your mind off the weather. The museum is presenting a friend playing the Korean zither tomorrow morning, and a retired minister is coming to town to preach at a local church. Plus the usual things on Sunday, like the B-fit program that a local fitness gal leads, but it's actually a Stanford Univ. thing. The Petroleum Club has it's football breakfast, as usual, and the Opera Lyricists are doing a luncheon/tea at the University, too. Anchorage is filled with options, and I haven't even mentioned the sports scene. Okay, just enjoy the extra hour we're getting tonight, and I'll be back.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Anchorage Symphony excites!


How fortunate we are in Anchorage to have so much culture -- our Center for Performing Arts, which is located downtown (where you can still park on the street). In many cities, you drive 30 plus miles to reach the theatre, and then have to pay to park in a lot, if you can even find one, and walk some distance to the theatre. Sunday, October 28th, was the second performance of the season for the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Randall Fleischer. They played Bernstein, Milhaud, and Gershwin. But the star of the whole show was "Spontaneous Combustion", the World Premiere of Christopher Brubeck, son of Dave. The violin soloist was Nicolas Kendall, a dynamic young artist from the Washington DC area. They received a well deserved standing ovation, and humored the audience with a trombone and violin encore, of sorts.
I want to mention to the Governor's Award Banquet in Fairbanks on Friday evening. Although the governor couldn't make it, the spot was adequately filled by Talis Colberg, our Attorney General, who gave a great speech. In Alaska, the Attorney General is appointed, not elected, and this was my first opportunity to meet him. The members of the State Council on the Arts were accommodated at the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge, which is within spitting distance of the airport. They also housed many natives who were attending the AFN (Federation of Natives) convention, meeting at the same time. They had almost 300 people in attendance, and the elegant dress of the attendees did not include mukluks. If you want details of this event, click here.
On a personal note . ..Flying Alaska Airlines to Fairbanks, the hostess spilled some coffee on me, so she's sending me some kind of voucher in apology, but the best apology was her giving me two extra packets of Macadamia Nuts. The return trip wasn't so lucky. We left 40 minutes late, and the 30 minute flight was 1 1/2 hours. When we landed there were emergency vehicles, blinking lights, red over red as the pilots say -- no, not that . . . but he did tell us after we were on the ground, that they couldn't get the landing gear down, so we had circled more than once before a perfect landing . . .. Here I am trying to lead a stress-free life . . .at that point, no-stress.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Chena Hot Springs Visit


These images do not do justice to the beautiful ice museum, which is located about 60 miles east of Fairbanks, Alaska. It's hard to describe the beauty of this famous new hotel.. . actually, it's not a hotel, as it doesn't have a sprinkler system. Being made out of ice, I hardly think there's any chance it would burn.. .maybe melt.
Yesterday, my friend and I rented a car in Fairbanks to drive over to see this resort. More than one person told us, the drive was dangerous, the roads were icy, it's a long trip, etc. We found none of this to be true, and we made it over in an hour plus . . . however, we were almost turned away at the front desk (where you buy the ticket for the 'tour') because we were late for the 3 p.m. tour, and early for the 5 p.m. tour. Also, we were scheduled to fly back to Anchorage at 7 p.m. . . . not to worry. We spoke up and demanded attention, since we had phoned prior to the drive, and were told, "Oh, sure just come on out". . . We fortunately contacted the owner, who repeated the phrase, so we walked over to this cathedral-like building made of ice. Two men met us there, and one was the tour guide and the other the sculptor. Just opening the front double-doors flashed wonderment in our faces, for there was this huge, magical room the size of a cathedral with the path down the center, and lined on both side with sculptures. On the right was a cocktail bar with stools, and martini glasses, all made of ice (see image) lit from within, so made it more inviting than most bars. (well, except that it lacked some good jazz). On the left was the sculpture of a beautiful woman, motioning to us to come further. Then came the spiral staircase in a turret type set. However, it was closed because some woman had slipped on a step and injured herself while taking pictures. There were brick walls along the way, and then on the right was an igloo, about 20' diameter, with a table and chairs inside. Remember, all of this I speak of is ice! Then on the left were two life size horses, complete with bridle, reins, and ornaments, with the tail up in the air. Then on the right was a life size brown bear (ice, transparent, but brown here means BIG). Then came the bedrooms. Beautiful four-poster beds, with furs on them. This is for honeymooners, or anyone, actually. However, the 'guide' told us that most did not last the whole night there, and those who are checked in have another room waiting if they want to switch in the middle of the night. There was also a bathroom, with a toilet that looked real, but it was just for show. The whole thing was truly magical, and we felt fortunate to be able to view it by ourselves instead of a large tour group. It's an experience well-worth the detour if you are even in the area of Fairbanks.
I just posted my image,that my artist friend took, but it's kind of dark. Anyhow, you get the idea.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

And finally . . . snow!


The white cover arrived late this fall, but it did arrive. The weather is actually quite pleasant, and I've been saddened by the weather, wind, and fire of the San Bernadino area of California. It's so sad to see the beautiful homes and cars all burned and melted down. . . . this image was on the front page of the morning paper here, and I think it was great of photographer Marc Liester to have captured the moment at Kincaid Park. This is just a few miles from my condo, on the south side of the airport.

Today we have a birthday party for the seniors at Pioneer Home that have had birthdays in October. I play the piano and my friend plays drums. Their chef makes a big sheet cake, and actually the food there is quite decent! Tonight the Convention and Visitors Bureau hosts an Evening Exchange at Mixx Grill. It used to be Mick's Grill, but chef Mick left, then came back.

Construction around downtown, and midtown, is still going on like crazy, and yes, they do work thru the winter. I'll post an image of this one quite unusual building on Fireweed Lane when I get my digital camera out (or they put it in the paper -- easier). Until later, then . . .

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Lazy Saturday in Anchorage

There's nothing especially to read on for -- I just wanted to apologize for posting the lyrics of the Shaker Song on yesterday's blog. You see, I was experimenting with things you can do from an html screen. It's just amazing, and I will never understand computers. I started taking computer classes over 20 yrs. ago, and learned DOS well enough to teach it at the University of Alaska Anchorage. I thought I was pretty smart, and loved email, and when the web came about, there I was. I was one of the first to 'do' windows, but missed the disk operating system. I guess I'm getting nostalgic, because I have spent the past few days throwing away my old notes and text books. Whoever thought they would be out of date. I hope I stay alive long enough to see what comes next. Maybe there will be a way to do my email from the great beyond. I think that PC's and Mac's work the same way when you're online.
Well, to get back to the Shaker Song, I got the music from a friend (pirated?) the other night, and have been playing it, and singing it. You are spared because I don't think I can put a wave or midi file on my blog. Maybe I should try. Anyhow, it sounds pretty good to me, and I'll have to put it in my repertoire. Actually, I'm into novelty songs. One of my favorites is, I'm in Love with My Attorney Bernie. I also like anything Antonio Carlos Jobim wrote. Did you know that the "J" in Jobim is a soft "J" ... I only recently realized that, as I guess it's Portuguese. Well, here I am rambling on . . you can go now. .. bye . ..

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Anchorage Scales

This is an unofficial Jazz Week in Anchorage. The new Steinway Gallery hosted a most talented Russian pianist, Evgeny Chernonog, doing a recording session with two military musicians on the bass and drums. Kerry Maule, another talented horn player, had his group playing original compositions, which was also a first-class performance. I particularly enjoyed a female (!) on the French horn, playing jazz!!! Pictured, you see a giant fish which is one of 30 that were distributed around town for the summer season. Each entry had to decorate a fish to a theme of his choice. This one shows the work of a delightful piano teacher, Julianna Osincek . . . she didn't win the contest, but her fish was my choice. They were all sold at a fund-raiser banquet recently. Anchorage has a lot of this type fund-raiser for non-profits. This Sunday is the annual Salvation Teddy Bear Tea, and I hope to get a good image of that one for you.
Aside from that, the football season is in full swing, and UAA (University of Alaska, Anchorage) has started the basketball season with a great women's team, and a men's team that's trying hard to keep up.
The weather in Anchorage is beautiful this time of year with the colorful leaves, and skies, and 'termination dust' creeping lower on neighboring mountains. (that's snow, in case you didn't catch the local terminology). . .

Friday, October 12, 2007

UAA - Jazz History - 1955 Memories


This is my nostalgia page tonight, because I just returned from this video and talk on Charlie Parker, part of the Jazz Series at the UAA Library. There was a big crowd for tonight's feature, which was a film on Bird. Not Clint Eastwood's, but good, nevertheless. I had to think back to 1955, when I was teaching elementary school in Kansas City. Also, I was engaged to a popular disk jockey there, so got to all the parties for visiting musicians and other celebrities. Charlie Parker was not one of them, as he was a big name in New York City by then. His remains were only brought back for his funeral, which was a traditional funeral for a former native. At that time, they did not allow black musicians to perform in the city, so there was a club half-way to Independence, MO that we attended often, and I remember seeing Billie Holliday, Jay McShann and many others there. My, how times change.
By the way, in my personal history, my girlfriend and I applied to teach in France and were quite excited to be hired by the Dept. of Defense to teach in the military school in Chateauroux. So I broke my engagement, and flew out of Kansas City forever. My girlfriend didn't, tho' . . . she married her sailor and lived happily ever after on Whidbey Island, WA.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Early Autumn


This is a beautiful time of year in Alaska, with the colorful trees and leaves. The sun has been shining, but it's pretty chilly out there. I put the title of my blog as one of my favorite songs, which I would like to play for you, but I don't think the blog space takes wave files. I'll have to look into that. I am teaching piano, and in addition to that I'm involved in several other items of interest. If you're been reading my blog on a regular basis, you'll see I'm taking guitar lessons, as well. There's more, but it'll show up as my daily/weekly blog continues.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Dome


Anchorage, Alaska.
On Sunday, I visited The Dome, which officially opened on Monday, October 1, 2001. The write-up is in our paper today, which also has a video here. It's hard to believe anything can be so large. It's 290' x 680" long, and 87' tall, and will afford local sports teams year-round access to their sports, ie. soccer, football, track, baseball. It is actually a part of Changepoint mega-church. However, no church funds have gone into this structure, but it's all private donations and pledges. The Changepoint ministry itself has an interesting history, that you can read about on their site.
There is nothing as beautiful as autumn in Alaska, with the colorful trees, and bustle of the locals getting ready for the long, cold winter. Plants come indoors, or get tossed. Winterizing means changing to flannel sheets on my bed, among other things. My personal goal this month is to build a great magic-show for the Hallowe'en season, and we're performing at the Library, to promote reading in general and magic in particular. So let's get going!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Moose Visit


When you live in Anchorage, it's not surprising to see moose along the road. They run into cars and eat the flowers you have hanging outdoors on your eaves. My friend, Dee Gould, snapped this picture the other day on Northern Lights Blvd. For readers who don't know Anchorage, it's our version of a "Miracle Mile". She's quick with a camera.
Outside of this, I wanted to mention the great performance this weekend of Carmina Burana, which had over 200 people on the stage at the Performing Arts Center, plus a dozen from Children's Choir standing on 'orchestra pit' area in front of stage. It was quite dynamic and a great start for the Symphony season.
The sun is trying to shine here, but so far we're surviving a drizzle. Think positive!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Nome, not Home


It’s true! We saw this reindeer when we were up in Nome for the Pioneer Convention Sept 11-16. The man was driving right down Front Street (the main street downtown) with his window rolled down and the reindeer in the back. The reindeer was leaning over, nuzzling the driver’s face and the driver was scratching the reindeer behind the ears. It was pretty obvious that the reindeer was enjoying every minute.
This was sent to me by a neat lady who did the trip with us last week ... we're still talking about it!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Guitars


It's been a while since I pulled out my guitar case, but I found it in good shape after I dusted it off, and it was still in tune. So I proceeded to pull up information on guitars online and some of the old learning came back to me.
My class is being taught by Hector, who is an affable Mexican fellow, and we have about a dozen students. It's really a good feeling to strum along with the group, and gives us incentive to practice. Hopefully, I will get some of the chords down pat, so I can play without stress. Remember, I lead a stress-free life
When I get a good digital song together, I'll put it on my website. I don't think a blog can handle that. Back to the books!!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Drumming

It was one of those last minute things. A note from a friend to have a drumming and pot luck party. These are always the best kind of get-togethers, and this was no exception. One gal made caribou stew, and this critter was on the hoof less than a week ago. Delicious! Other foods were good, too, but the highlight of the evening was definitely drumming. Finally, I had a chance to use the native drum I made a few months go at the university. Great low tone.


What a nice wrap-up to a nice weekend. Football, jazz, church, gardening . . . well, I should say de-gardening, because I was busy getting winterized, taking plants inside in preparation for the 'termination dust' fast descending down the mountains to the east of town. That's Anchorage for you!



Wednesday, September 19, 2007

World Travel 101

Hostelling International has created a powerpoint program on World Travel 101, and also Women Traveling Solo. While most people recognize the word 'hostelling', it is often misused, or referred to in connection with Elderhostel. This is not the way it is - actually it is an independent organization whose mission started almost a hundred years ago, providing accommodation to travelers at a low cost. While it has expanded to a world outreach, in promoting fellowship and friendship, it remains directed to youth. In actuality, all ages are welcome and more and more seniors are traveling alone or accompanied by buddies to visit far parts of the world. This is all incorporated in the slide show presentation prepared by national. Last night I showed this to the Pioneers of Alaska, at their social meeting. I hope that I was able to dispel some of the mistaken concepts, and perhaps some will use hostels in their travels. A peripheral benefit is to have a place to put company when you run out of room in your home. Just check them into the local hostel. Anyhow, in a personal sense, I enjoyed presenting this program, because it gave me some practice in using our new projector. It usually requires an extension cord, because the laptop computer and the projector both need power, and then I have a remote to advance the slides I'm still working on. Anyhow, I felt the program was well received. I'm ready to do more 'shows' when groups need a program. It happens often.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Nome to Anchorage






The Pioneers of Alaska are a close-knit group of long-time Alaskans, whose mission is to preserve the wonderful history of Alaska. I have just returned from a visit to Nome, Alaska, which I visited for the Annual Convention we held there. I had thought it was a small town and you could hike to everywhere, but I quickly found out the 1/2 miles distance from the Nugget Inn to Pioneer Hall, down Front Street, was more like a mile in the high winds blowing in our faces. My roommate, a live-wire at 88, Jean Kaufman, talked me into the walk, leaving me with a cold, sore feet, and exhaustion. The local Pioneers had prepared well in advance for our visit, which included the usual meetings, dinners, entertainment, and sight-seeing. I have to commend these planners, as their job was not an easy one. The meetings were held in the Nome Recreation Center. Someone had knocked off the last part of the letter "m" in Nome, so it looked like "None", which was appropo in a way.

The legend on the local maps listed more churches than bars, but you couldn't prove it by me!


I'm posting these images to show you how they had decorated the walls of the Rec Center with clever sketches of the local scenes. The Board of Trade is a popular local bar, near our hotel, which we visited. Also another popular spot was the Polar Bar, which had live music. Since there were over 200 delegates there, you can believe that all the spots were well attended. Since we flew home Sunday morning, I never did see the insides of a church, nor did I find the Senior Center open in the times I went by, but there is a nice museum and library in the same building, that was like an oasis for me. The restaurants were minimal, and the only franchise was Subway, altho' I understand a Burger King was there once. The waves outside our hotel window were not formed, but just like big and choppy like in the movie, a Sudden Storm. Well, I may not have the name right, but you understand the sea was choppy.


I started out wearing heels, but they kept getting caught in grates, mud, etc., so reverted to tennie runners the rest of the week. Yes, even to the ball, but I did switch once I got inside. The band was actually quite pleasant, and they played vanilla music (C&W and Standards) that you could dance to and talk above. They also have a local, Nome River Sally, who performed in period attire, and was very good.
Jean and I did a skit, which was three parodies of songs. Mine was to the tune of YMCA, using motions pointing to the eye (I) and then P O A -Pioneers of Alaska. It was well taken, and no tomatoes were thrown.
Since writing my blog last month, I've totally neglected my webpage, but it still does exist, so hope you'll visit there, and perhaps I'll be inspired to update things. Until then, goto

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Nome, Alaska!

The feature article in the Daily News refers to the alcohol problem in Nome. I'm a very light drinker, but I do frequent cocktail lounges. That's hardly the word for what they have in Nome. You see, the neighboring villages are dry, so when the young ones (anyone younger than I am) want a drink, they have to go to Nome, the closest wet town. There are no roads of course, so they use dog teams, snow machines, or whatever transportation is available.
The reason I'm onto this subject in that I'm heading to Nome early in the morning for four days, and should have a great story to tell. My trip is to attend the Pioneers of Alaska Convention, so with a little luck, I'll get some images to share with the reader. So check back in a few days, and hear some tales. If nothing happens, I'll make some up. Okay?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Football Season


It's been a while since I went to a football game, and I chose a good one, as it was homecoming for South High School in Anchorage. This really doesn't mean a lot since the school has only been in existence for 3 years, but they made the most of it. The football team is really first class, as is everything else about this school.
The cheerleaders are great, and the uniforms are neat and spiffy. The pre-game exercises are a dancing treat for viewing. My friends' son is playing varsity this year for South, so my cheers went for them. They're a classy bunch, out there.
They don't have any marching bands in Anchorage, but the school band did a good job from the bleachers. The half-time program had a parade of floats from the 4 classes, followed by the princesses marching thru the sabers held by the ROTC. It was a special night, and I loved every minute, even if 'my' school was blown away by South.
By the way, the good weather also ended last night. We had steady rain all day today. So I stayed home and watched Justine Henin win the US Open. What a gal!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Labor Day Arrives!







Lazy weekend here, playing catch up. . . Watching the tennis tournament, and cheering for Andy . . . sorry that Maria lost. I never really thought about it, but today's game is the hard serve and volley ... . no one goes to the net anymore it seems. I'm an old fogie and like the old days. But styles change and we have to accept them.





I played in a golf playday yesterday, and since it was a 'team golf'' contest, you have to play by all the rules. But when you know the rules and challenge a decision, you just try to find it in the rule book when you're in a rush. It could turn ugly. . . and it did . . . I was out for pleasure, not the $10 our team happened to win. Well, the season's about over in Alaska, and I'd guess about half of the golfers I play with winter in the lower states.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Beautiful life


My title could have you wondering what on earth I mean. . . well, there are several meanings that would fit, but I guess this is my week for funerals. . .yesterday, and tomorrow . . . and both of these women had beautiful lives, of totally different directions. It makes you appreciate having good health, which is the most important thing, because without it, you're nothing.

This weekend was the Mayor's Cup Golf Tournament, which was played with the Stableton format. Didn't make much sense to me, and the field was really too small to make winners accurate, but that was the decision of AGA.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hostelling International


How many of you have stayed at a hostel? You are probably aware that there are all kinds and qualities of hostels. This is one of the reasons for being sure they are members of Hostelling International, so you know they meet the high standards of a national group.

There are two peripheral missions of Hostelling International. One is to promote the issue of a commemorative U.S. Postage Stamp in the year 2009. This would be to recognize 100 years of hostelling. Many other nationals have already issued such a stamp.

The other is an educational program called Opening Minds, where we do a powerpoint program on World Travel 101, and Women Travelling Solo. As the president of the Alaska Council, I have done a few of these, which have been well received.

We encourage people of all ages to try staying at a hostel on your next trip.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Rains Came


The beautiful summer was abruptly closed as the rains came pouring down. It's time to come indoors and return to piano playing.. . lessons resume here, and time for students to return. School is starting next week, too, I guess. A little early this year. The State Fair is starting and because of the early school opening, it precludes many teenagers who ordinarily work the fair.
The Mayor's Cup Golf Tournament is this weekend, too. The numbers are down this year for those signing up, but I guess they do fluctuate. Kind of like global warming. This is a hoax in my opinion, and now, several others concur. And so it goes in Anchorage . . . the dog days of summer.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Wild Summer

That's an overused word in Alaska, but since the Convention and Visitor's Bureau paid $200,000 to 'assign' it, I feel I must use it to describe a great summer. The weather has been so beautiful, and we are blessed. My friends in the lower states write about rain, heat, humidity, bugs, but we have escaped all that. I don't know why there are no bugs in the city, but I don't even put my screens on the windows. Of course, get out to the bush and the mosquitoes are huge, and other vermin, but the golf course is as far as I've gotten out of town this summer. There have a bunch of visitors here recently, and they continue to pour in. We've had three magicians from Cincinnati, Florida and California, and relatives, girlfriends, etc. I'm saving myself to travel outside when the good weather declines. I guess the word outside is that we have bad legislators. They're trying so hard to pin something on them, but haven't succeeded as yet. There is no way we will be changing our senators and congressman. We have only one of the latter, and today he gave a public salmon fry on the Park Strip. Perhaps that'll put him in good stead.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Rain, rain, go away



The local scene got much brighter this week, with the arrival of a real Southern Belle, Annie, who is revisiting her former home. August has a lot of visitors. In fact, there is also a magic couple from Orlando here. Actually, the female half reads the Tarot, but they are entertainers of top shelf. Anchorage is saturated with summer fairs, and last week hosted the downtown block party, Galway Days, and the Mayor's Salmon Fest in Town Square. Probably more than that, tho. One of the evening highlights is an Alaskan songwriter, most famous for his song, "I Did, I did, I did the Iditarod Trail". He's Hobo Jim, a grandfather of two, who fishes by day, and plays the clubs and theatre by night. Nonstop -- he was over 3 hours on the stage last night, and just kept better and better. There's a lot to squeeze in before the State Fair and the Start of School ... Senior's Golf Tournament coming up.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The End

July has whizzed by. The Anchorage Bucs finished their season in Anchorage last night with the second win in a row. They were really doing so poorly, and were near the bottom of the Alaska Baseball League until this. The Anchorage Glacier Pilots remain at the bottom. The teams are composed of a motley assortment of college players mostly from the Southwest schools, and who know which guys will mesh. Well, ours surely didn't this year.
The weather has turned beautiful, and it's time for the garden walk today. This is always a special treat as many locals open their yards to the masses . . . this means me. Golf has been on the back burner for me this summer, as I have several projects going. Keep logging on, as I'm sure this will get more interesting later.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dog Days of Summer

The short baseball season for the Alaska Baseball League is winding down. None too soon, as the Anchorage Bucs have had a forgettable season. We lost the Mayor's Cup again this year, which is a 3 game series with the Glacier Pilots. Never mind that the third game was rained out - we lost the first two.
The Petroleum Club golf tournament has ended, and it was a big success, as always. After these two sporting events, the days start getting shorter and shorter. No more 6 a.m. tee off times, nor playing til almost midnight. It's kind of the calm after the storm.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Eskimo Games vs. Golf



Marc Lester took the flashy picture of the native blanket toss you see here. It was published in today's paper, together with pictures of the other games, ie. Arm pull and scissor broad jump demonstrations, one-foot high kick, men's blanket toss, ear weight, knuckle hop, white man vs. Native women tug-o-war, which was followed by a dance group command performance

Talk about a busy week! For me, golf was the deal of the week, with the Petroleum Club Golf Tournament on, the Women's Cancer Tournament, and a round with the ladies. The weather cooperated for a change, and the evenings gave us some great baseball games. Notice here that I didn't tell you any results. Perhaps because the Anchorage Bucs are doing very poorly. But I'm still cheering for them.

Friday, July 13, 2007

T.G.I.F.

I was disappointed when I logged onto my blog, and thought, Oh, I'll hit next and see what I get. Turns out to be a porn page. I had trusted google to be above that, as I know I am, personally . . . So I guess I won't be posting for a while. I guess that's a bit prudish of me, but I can't handle that. I guess I'll just stick with my home page to display simple, mundane things in my life.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Summer Magic


We have a group of magicians that get together on a weekly basis to have lunch, and also share some tricks with each other. If visitors come, we perform a few for them, too. It's a lot of fun, especially when a tourist sees it in the paper and they come to meet us. That's what happened this week, as a couple from Vancouver B.C. came to explore. I learned a new card trick this week, too. When it starts raining, it's nice to have a place to play indoors. Our baseball season is half over and the weather hasn't helped our home team at all. What I mean is, we're not doing so hot, but then if we don't play, we don't lose. Right? Not a creative blog here, but I have been neglecting it of late. I'll try for some action soon . . .

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Saturday Wrap-Up


This has been an exciting sports week in Anchorage. A lot of Anchorage Bucs Baseball, only moderately good, and the final home game for our still new WILD football team. The big surprise is that they finally won. The paper said the strategy worked! They switched the coaches assignments round. The traditional Mt. Marathon race in Seward was won by the favorites, and for those who don't know about this race, it's a great run from downtown Seward up the mountain, and return.

I've spent way too much time watching TV --Wimbleton Tennis -- which doesn't end until tomorrow, but I was cheering for Venus all the way, and some of the underdogs on the men's side. Such a disappointment to see Andy Roddick fall apart when he was knocking on the winner's door. The PGA Tour is playing in Whispering Straits, Wisconsin this week. The legend on the TV screen says the town is Kohler, but for one who visited there three years ago, I can tell you that it's really hidden off a blue highway near Sheboygan. Like finding an oasis in the desert. But it is one of the more beautiful 'resorts' with two 18-hole courses, right on Lake Michigan. The traditional clubhouse is warm woods, and speaking of woods, a golfer with a like name, just had a putt that hung on the lip of the cup. Finally, something like my game. (I'm watching the game thru the rear-view mirror I have on my desk-top computer.)


Aside from o.d.ing on the sports scene, yesterday was First Friday. This means the Art Walk downtown, which I did with my neighbor. Such fun, starting at Sub-Zero, which is a great little Absolut Bar on F. Street that has bubbles rising up the frontage windows. Wall space is limited, but they do manage an art display, some pop-art this week, and we followed this with a few more galleries, ending with a visit to the Top of the World. This is a long-time favorite in the Hilton Hotel, formerly the Anchorage-Westward, where they have opened the deck, for a great view of downtown and Cook Inlet, and music by local favorites, Kenny Blackwell and Mr. Whitekeys, plus a bass and drums. Its popularity has spread, so we were lucky to join some friends at the best table in the house. It's pricey, but the setting is priceless. So summer is in full swing.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Fourth of July


It took all day, but the sun finally appeared at 8 p.m. That's Anchorage for you. The stands at Mulcahy Park are full with the crowd waiting for the double header to end, so the fireworks can be displayed. This won't happen until midnight, as we are still having daylight 18 hours a day here.
The pancake breakfast on the Park Strip was a good one, and the parade following it was also a winner. I actually was in the parade, so maybe I'm prejudiced about that. It wasn't planned in advance, but my friends in a club talked me into walking with them, especialy since I was wearing red, white, and blue. Then they had the reading of the Declaration of Independence in 'costumed' men, and some private parties followed. Let's say that this gal is too pooped to pop, so I'm going to watch the fireworks from our balcony. It's only about a mile or less, air distance. Can't close out the day without a prayer for our military in Iraq.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Independence Day


This year, the Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday. .. complicates things for workers who want the whole week off, and I hear, sometimes get it. It's not a week off for the Anchorage Bucs, who had a bad defeat (is there any other kind) last night, and especially to the Glacier Pilots.

Playing golf at Moose Run today was uncomfortable for me, because I'm afraid of bears. I know too many horror stories. There was a bear cub following us, walked across the green. We gave him right of way, but the question to me was, where it his mother. Anyone knows that you don't get between the two. The course marshall warned us at the next hole that 'she' was near the 150 yd. marker. Yep, exactly where I hit my drive. Well, sorry that's the end of the story, because I never saw her, but I could surely embellish this story.

The weather appears to be holding for the Fourth celebration. It starts with a pancake feed on the Parkstrip - for those non-Alaskans reading this, that's the block east-west between 9th and 10th avenue. It originally was used for an airport runway, then for a short golf course, and now mostly houses several carnivals during the year. The parade is at 11 a.m. Should be a nice day!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday Wrap-up


This is the logo of our new football team. They have quite a following in Anchorage, but still trying to win their first football game, after 14 losses, and 3 coaches. It's a lazy Saturday already, and the end of June. Tonight is the end of smoking in any public place in Anchorage. It's also a big, important baseball game between our Anchorage Bucs (.com) and Glacier Pilots. Our players need a little boosting up, as their self esteem dropped a heap last night when the Fairbanks Goldpanners wiped them out. There's probably a lot more going on that I could write about, but I know you want to surf fursther.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Fires!

The local news describes the terrible fires on the Kenai Peninsula. For readers unfamiliar with that area, it's south of Anchorage about 150 miles, and the 'end of the road' is in Homer. You may remember hearing Tom Bodgett recite his prose about this, or at least his commercial about "we'll leave the light on for ya!" . .. The rains I wrote about yesterday do little, well maybe 'a' little to quell the flames, and the beautiful wooded areas are carrying the lovely homes with them.
I did not see a word in the morning paper about the 'other' fire in Lake Tahoe Looking at L.A. Times website, it shows some of the luxury class homes going up in smoke. The Reno paper had no mention of the fire, even tho' they're only a few miles away. I didn't check today's paper, but we were looking at last night's information. There's got to be a way to control all these fires, but no one's come up with a magic I-pod, or cell phone that can shoot a fire out. They do everything else. In fact, they're putting so many gadgets on cell phones now, it makes one feel primitive to not have one. That's me. I had two cells, for a year each, and gave 'em up. Guess I'll settle for my computer and fax machine to keep up with the times. I still get hard copy newspaper in the morning, too. Just an old fashioned gal . ..

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Rains Came



I guess it was time to have the gods water the plants . . . Anchorage has had a beautiful early summer so far, so we were ready for the rain to come, and also to put out some terrible forest fires on the Kenai Peninsula.

So, what do you do on a rainy Sunday afternoon. I've given up on movies, so decided to sort out some images. I'm posting this one of the Eskimo drum I made in a class at the University. Our teacher was Becky, and she knew her stuff -- all the supplies were there and she helped us thru all the steps. The elk drumhead is just beautiful, and I like the way the mallot turned out. The sound is a great full bass, and now I have to figure out where to play it. One of my piano students tells me she plays drums, so perhaps I'll invite her to use mine when we have our monthly birthday party at the Pioneer Home - you see, I play the piano for this every fourth Thursday, and here it is already the end of June. By the way, the mostly-hidden drum behind this big native drum is one I got in Mombasa. That's on the Indian Ocean, east side of Kenya. It surely sounds tinny compared to my new drum. Ta-dum, ta-dum, ta-dum.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Ho-Hum Day


This is one of several images of mailboxes that I received today. Leave it to those Texans to come up with a theme. The weather has been so beautiful in Anchorage lately, and we hope it lasts. It reached 80 degrees today!

We had our annual cemetery walk this evening. The originator or this has passed on, so a young couple deliver the narrative of interesting Alaskans that are buried there. It always draws a crowd of a hundred or so, and is so interesting to hear stories and scandals of old.

Now the days will start getting shorter, as now it stays light all night. It used to bother me, trying to sleep, but being a true Alaskan, it's just a natural thing up here. I was just whipped in a game of Scrabble, so I'll cut this short before I make excuses. Guess I'll stick to Sudoku.

Le coeur fait boum... Chez Maya !

Le coeur fait boum... Chez Maya !

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Weekend in Sitka, Alaska



The flight to Sitka, from Anchorage, takes about 3 hours, as you have to stopover in Juneau en route. The reason for my visit was the annual meeting of the State Council on the Arts, and our Sitka member arranged a great visit for us.
The images above show the Russian Church downtown, and Mount Edgecombe, which is all on Baranof Island. Sitka was the first capital of Alaska, and the Russian influence remains. The people there are all so hospitable, and many get their full time livelihood from the deluge of cruise ships that visit daily throughout the summer. Because the dock has shallow water, the passengers have to be lightered in, but it is well worth the inconvenience to get to see all tourist attractions. The first one they run into is the Archangel dancers at Centennial Hall. This is the only large building/theatre in town at this time, and it houses some meeting rooms, souvenir shops, a collection of photos in a small museum, and complimentary coffee. This is where we had our meetings. The airport, and SEARHC hospital are on a separate island connected by a beautiful bridge built in the 70's. The Raptor Center is a short walk from Sheldon Jackson College, and the walk takes you thru the national forest where there are totem poles, floral bushes, and great signage. The Shee Atika Totem Inn where I stayed is right on the banks of the channel, and if you walk a short distance west, you'll see the fish processing plants. This short paragraph hardly covers all that Sitka has to offer, so you may want to read further about this charming town.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Anchorage Bucs Baseball




The baseball season in Anchorage is pretty short, but it's a great delight to go to the Ball Park and cheer for the Bucs.

We are part of the Alaska Baseball League, and there is one other club in Anchorage called Glacier Pilots. This is the second week of the season, and the players are still arriving from the colleges in the lower states. There are several highlights during the 6 week season, but the most important event for the players is probably the scouts coming near the end of the season, recruiting some players for the Major League Farm Clubs. You can view the success stories of some players on their webpage. . . . there's also a link to the famous Abbott and Costello banter, "Who's on First". I hope the reader is old enough to remember this, but I suspect the new age -- Generation X -- would enjoy it, too. So, Take me out to the ball game. Take me out with the crowd, buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks, I don't care if . ...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Iditarod Sled Dog Show


Quite by accident, I attended this sled dog show, and it was such a delight that I highly recommend it. It's a great idea for summer livehood of the once-a-year Iditarod dog mushers, and their families. You can view it at this site. After the performance, you are invited to go 'backstage' and hold the darling puppies, huskies, Samayods, etc. and looking at the size of their paws, you can tell what they'll look like next year. . . there are so many new tourist attractions every year, and it's getting hard to remember how primitive Anchorage was when I moved here in 1966.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hello, Sunshine


We've been blessed with another day of sunshine. Today's paper features a great local couple who celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary with a neighborhood party and dedication of a staircase on a downtown street-connector. Anyone who knows Anchorage would know their names when they view the image above, but I don't use names on my blog. There were four picnics yesterday that I knew to choose from. The Petroleum Club held my favor, and it was a great, well-planned picnic held on the lawn between two commercial/office buildings. There were several booths with varied games like ring-toss, basketball shoot, etc. Then, the buffet line include the usual fare plus great barbecued pork ribs. Attendance was surprisingly low, and I often wonder why more members don't take advantage of the complementary events at the club. In the evening, another party for my son's in-laws who are returning to the lower states tomorrow. Food and drink a-plenty. So I call today a wind-down day.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Beautiful Day in Big A



This is one of many clever license plates in Anchorage. The local newspaper has a bunch posted here. Wait for a rainy day to view 'em all.
This evening is the start of Bucs Baseball season. Couldn't ask for a nicer evening at beautiful Mulcahy Park. We're playing Stockton (CA) so they expect nice weather like this. Maybe they brought it up.
Friends came over for tea this afternoon. The daughter is a helicopter pilot. Interesting, eh? I have another friend, whose daughter is an elephant trainer in Florida. Gee, I feel like times are changing so fast. Also had time for a swim, but that was indoors at West Hi. The slide is broken due to mechanical failure. I couldn't figure out what that meant, so a few questions later, I found out the female life guard burned out the motor for the cascading water that keeps the slide cool. Our own version of Paris Hilton. Oops, did I say that? Tomorrow is picnic day.

Friday, June 8, 2007

T.G.I.F.


Don't get me started on the weather - just hoping for a sunnier weekend. Froze on the golf course yesterday, and the wind keeps stirring things up, which is worse than the temperature. My golf pro scolded me about using slick (worn out) grips, so I dropped them off to get new ones. Glad he keeps me in line -- or should I say, my ball.
The aftermath of the big fire in Anchorage -- I think I wrote about the luxury condos downtown that burned down -- had so many horror stories that I won't blog, but in addition to some homeless friends now, I found out two other friends, within blocks of the condo, have an amputated leg, and bone cancer, respectively. It's awful news. Looking at a happier side, the Convention and Visitors Bureau had their monthly business exchange last night at Rust's Flying Service, and it was delightful. The winds calmed down long enough for free flightseeing rides, and there was a band playing, several stands from local restaurants with 'bites' all complimentary. I invited some friends and relatives, and we all enjoyed.... how could you not! Here's a picture of my deck.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Fish Finally!


This is the fish submitted by another piano teacher . . . scales, get it? To see all the fish goto http://www.wildsalmononparade.com/2007art/ . . . this is the first time I've posted a link but I think I have to do it in html language, here's where you click.
I've already written about this event, so I won't 'clog my blog' with that. The big news from Anchorage is that there were three bad fires yesterday - a whole school burned down, and the fourth/top floor of a luxury condominium downtown. The black smoke spread everywhere and all major arteries to town were closed. Occupants had to move out, but many were at work and wouldn't have known til they tried to drive home. So that's my condensed blog for the day.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Blue Monday


The influx of tourists is in full swing. The weather is not cooperating so far, but tomorrow is golf day, so of course, we'll have sunshine. Dream on. We have a local celebrity that captures the admiration of just everyone. His name is Hobo Jim, and he composes all his material. He also wrote the famous,
I Did, I Did, I Did the Iditarod Trail.
No, he didn't but he sure can put the song across. He performs two nights a week in Anchorage and moves on to the Kenai Peninsula and other places the rest of the week.
I don't want to let you down by not complaining about something - besides the weather. So this is my gripe of the day. Why do computer ads imply you can just turn your new computer on and start working because all the programs are installed. In actually, it takes a good four hours to get to that point. In yesterday's paper was an article about removing Norton, that keeps popping up everywhere. Good luck on that. It AIN'T easy.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Anchorage Fish


Credit for this beautiful fish art comes from Ray Troll. He's a great artist who lives in Ketchikan. I wasn't really trying to 'steal' it without permission, but my subject today has no pictures. They will be coming tomorrow I'm sure, as the big fish display was today in the atrium of the Conoco-Phillips Building, and there was a huge crowd of locals there viewing, and voting for, the decorated fish. The ideas were all so clever, and it was hard to just choose the favorite one. I'm just being too cheerful today. Of course, I have to gripe about something, and today's gripe is one that is more far reaching than just the fish exhibit. So here goes . . . WHY do people who re talking in a microphone think they have to shout to be heard. Today is the spoken word of some woman, but I am referring to rock singers, vocalists of all kinds, politicians, etc.
I hope that whoever reads this will take note that you don't have to shout into a mike if it's a working mike. So there! It's a beautiful day in big A.

Friday, June 1, 2007

T.G.I.F.

The first Friday of the month in Anchorage means certain events happen to attract the population to race downtown. That day is today, and I'm programmed to attend the party in Town Square, and do the Art Walk to all the galleries within 2 blocks of wherever I get a parking spot, and attend the opening of the new branch of the Title Wave Bookstore, which is very popular. Actually, they are going to market the two volumes of "Fond Memories", a hard copy self-published by the Pioneers of Alaska. One of the state officers of the Grand Igloo is going to meet me there to sign the contract with the manager. At the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, a local pianist is going to do a 'concert'. It's her birthday, so it should be a special performance, as she has several guest musicians playing with her. So June is coming in like a lion -- oh, wait, that was March. Well, summer's here. Welcome!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Weather

It looks like it's going to be one of those summers, where we have a lot of dark, gray days. Oh, please spare me. Thursdays are usually the day that Anchorage Golf Course has both ladies' days play and seniors golf lessons. No inspiration to spend big bucks for a gloomy day . . . . short blog!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

At the Bank

So, it appeared to be an ordinary day . . . a picnic luncheon at the church, a meeting with the magicians, few piano lessons, and cap it off with a visit to the bank, and the Petroleum Club. But it was not to be. As I was reaching for the door to enter my bank, one of the girl's was locking it and said, We have an emergency. This was a bit suspicious, and I thought, oh, a robbery. So I went across the hall and had a coke, then had a long talk about the Alaska gas line with a knowledgeable fellow (well-known radio announcer) and learned a lot about how I should be thinking. This has been the biggest political issue that Alaska has had to face, and it is still not resolved, as the new governor threw out a more sensible proposal of the former governor. Meanwhile, across the hall, police cars arrived, and some policemen entered the club to look at the surveillence video from the common hall at the entrance. In order to keep to my stress-free life, I left, and came home to finish daily to-do list. Done!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ladies' Day on the Links


No sunshine, but it didn't rain on the golf course today. The wind seems blow a lot these days, whereas it never used to. But it was a delightful morning at Moose Run, and when we were teeing off on #8, we saw a bear in the path. I was pretty uncomfortable about him (?) watching us, but he seemed disinterested and ran back into the woods. I used to have a picture of a moose tramping across the green, and our bags are sitting on the edge of the green, but we had moved back. There are still moose out there, but they come into downtown too, now which they never did in the old days.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Cemetery Ceremony at Anchorage Memorial Park


It's always a pleasure to visit the cemetery, and view the beautiful memorials. The Pioneers of Alaska have a tradition of cleaning up the park on the day before the announced Memorial Day, and have a ceremony on the day itself. The President of the Women's Igloo tripped on one of the tombstones, and ended up in the hospital,so a substitute trustee acted as the m.c. The Color Guard from the US Army provided the needed pageantry, and the names of the sisters (and brothers) we have lost over the year were read by the respective historians. The was followed by a potluck at Pioneer Hall. That was a nice luncheon, but not very well attended. I guess a lot of people just left town for the long weekend.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day


This weekend marks the official start of summer season. A long time tradition in Anchorage has been The Salmon Parade which is a downtown walking tour display of decorated Salmon! It's always quite creative and the charity auction in September always brings a generous donation for non-profits.
The other personal joy for me is that the golf courses move from the temporary greens to the real grass greens. Soon to follow will be our baseball season, which unfortunately lasts only 6 weeks, but the Anchorage Bucs are ready to go.
The fishing charts are already being posted in the paper, and noting the price per fish in the stores, it will be an incentive to cast that line yourself. Ship Creek, which flows thru downtown Anchorage, is stocked and you can enter the derby there. I prefer to sit in the Bridge Restaurant which spans the creek, and watch them pulling the big Dolly Varden and Silvers out.
So much for the run-down on Anchorage on this quiet Sunday afternoon.