Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I'm headed out in a bit to play some games with some friends in Nikiski, may or may not log back in to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

May 2012 be much better than the last!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking back, moving forward...

Overall 2011 has not been a great year. I'm not even sure it was a good year. Many highlights of the year, for me, were either breaks from reality (which also had their moments of ugh) or they didn't even happen with/for me (like different sports highlights).

2011 started off with my move back to the peninsula and starting a new job. The house I was renting was on the river -a dream location!- but was so expensive and frustrating that I spent most of my time loving my independence all the while hating my situation and stressing constantly about finances.

Then, the job wasn't working out. I had little time to myself -I know, that's part of being an adult- I was exhausted, and it was more trouble and less rewarding than anything I'd done previously. Coming home every night feeling like I was a failure and that I was dirt just by how I was treated didn't help. Hey, thanks, I know, I don't fit in. Keep rubbing it in.

Family drama hit a new high and it's continuing to get worse. I'm not living at home and there's NO WHERE to go. I can't hide from it as the walls are paper thin, or worse someone always seems to put me in the middle. Two weeks ago I lost it while trying to explain how I was feeling and that just made matters worse. This is why I don't talk to people and end up venting online. Everytime I say something it backfires.

There's still the finances issue, I have my photography business up and running, but it's not working to my benefit (which hey add that to my failures) so I am looking at trying for a part time job this coming year. Again. In a dead end town.

I've also never been more alone. All of my friends' lives have moved on when I've really just found myself in a rut. I feel now, more than ever, like I've gone back in time about 10 years. I'm still that girl in high school that couldn't speak up for herself, who had dreams she knew would never come true, and felt she couldn't trust anyone...

And, once again, I'm watching a best friend move on. Because, lets face it, like the hometown I'm in - I'm a dead end.

And 2012 doesn't look to improve my position. I have a trip in late summer planned to visit my family in california and go to disney. I have the Iditarod in March, and a Birthday at Beauty and the Beast in January. I hope to see my business improve, but other than that... I'm stuck...

and honestly this was not where I was going to go with this post. But I can't help but feel these things.

Hopefully after the first of the year my blog will look cheery again... or, at the very least, back to normal.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Movie Review: The Muppets

Jim Henson's Muppets are back in a star studded tribute to the original Muppet Gang. The group that starred in the Muppet show and classic films like The Muppet Movie and The Great Muppet Caper are back with a vengence in Jason Segal's new[ish] story that is basically a love letter to a group over fourty years old.

Everything that made the original films quirky and a little bit like a trip on whatever drug the muppeteers might have been on seems to have come together in the latest film. While Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island (and, okay, even Muppets from Space) had their moments of hilarity, they lacked the Henson-ness that seemed to have been lost with the death of creator Jim Henson.

But, with the script carefully created and supervised by Muppet fanatic Jason Segal, it was almost as if - for a moment - Henson himself was back.

There are flaws with the film. The most glaring are the incorrect voices of Miss Piggy (no longer voiced by Frank Oz, who did not sign off on this film) and Rowlf. Some of it was corny, even for the Muppets, and the story is not new. The idea that the Muppets have to save their theater has been a storyline for at least one of their TV specials in the last ten years or so.

Having been disappointed by the Muppet TV specials and their last feature film, I went into the idea of a new movie with a lot of hesitation. In fact, I was not planning of seeing the movie in theaters at all. But, then, the movie hit theaters and fans nationwide (as well as many of my friends) began pushing it as a MUST SEE. Even with that knowledge, going into the film my expectations were low.

The storyline is simple. Jason Segal is older brother to a muppet looking character. They grew up loving the Muppets and trek out (along with Segal's longtime girlfriend played by Amy Adams) to LA to visit the Muppet Studios only to find that the theater is condemned and the studios are broken down shells of what they once were. To make matters worse they find out that Oil has been found under the property and an evil tycoon is going to buy it out from under them and drill. They have one last chance, to collect 10 million dollars to keep their property. How better to do this than a Muppet Show Telethon. But first, Kermit has to get the gang back together.

Classic characters who were more or less background characters in the last three films are back in their starring roles that they relished in the 70s. Muppet Show favorites also make apperances. It's probably the best tribute the Muppets could ask for.

There really wasn't a lot to complain about in the film. Some of the jokes were beneath them (Fozzie's fart shoes as well as Jack Black's genetalia joke), and without Frank Oz, Miss Piggy just doesn't have the same sassiness. For those of us who grew up after Henson's death I guess the difference in Piggy's voice for me is the same feeling that folks had when Kermit was forced to have a different Muppeteer (granted Whitmire is amazing). Not sure I will ever get used to a new Piggy.

Overall this film is FANTASTIC. I loved it from beginning to end, and yes, I cried when they sang Rainbow Connection. The ending also gave me a lump in my throat. If it's still playing in your area, then go see it. It's well worth the cost of admission, and is a GREAT family memory to be made. It's time the Muppets are welcomed back.

T200 smaller in roster, bigger in heart

Zoya Denure, at the start of Iditarod 39, is one
of the top contenders for this year's T200.
Like many winter sports, dog mushing is struggling to find its place in the downward spiralling economy. Larger races like the Iditarod and Yukon Quest as well as the Fur Rondy World Championship Sprints have established sponsorship capable of supporting the expenses incurred by putting on a race.

The T200 has been dealing with the loss of funds all year, and this year are only working on the Junior T and the T200. The shorter T100 will not be held this year, with the hope that it will return next season. 
The race will take place January 28th, and is a race that is used as a rookie qualifier for races like the Iditarod. So far ten teams have signed up with Paul Gebhardt - a previous TChampion - and Zoya Denure as the "headliners." Gebhardt is a local musher, and DeNure is favored by mushing fans for her treatment of her dogs as well as her sled dog rescue work.

The race will be longer with a new stop in Homer planned. The purse is a substantial 10,000 that the Kasilof community voted to give the race from a state grant. This race is an institution, one worth saving. Volunteers are welcome to sign up to help see the race through.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's a Rookie Invasion?

With the deadline to register just a couple days away, the 2012 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race looks to be a field of rookies. So far the official roster has thirty mushers, nineteen of which are rookies. With Hans Gatt retired, and Sebastian Schnuelle taking a year off, the two top named veterans are former Quest and Iditarod Champion Lance Mackey and fan favorite (as well as consistently strong competitor) Hugh Neff. Mackey is the only champion to win both the Quest and Iditarod in the same year (his first Iditarod winning year, 2007). Neff was poised to take the Quest title last year but the death of a dog and horrible weather conditions forced the musher to scratch.

Other notable Quest Veterans in this year's race are Allen Moore, Sonny Lindner and David Dalton.

The biggest news, however, to come out of the musher roster is a team of Eastern European kennels have joined together to travel and compete in the race. All rookies, it's bringing a new and exciting element to the second most popular race in Alaska - and the only sled dog race that travels across the border into Canada making it a one of a kind event in North America.

2011 Quest Champion, Dallas Seavey, is not currently on the roster. No word if he will compete in the Quest this season or not. Seavey is part of an Iditarod mushing dynasty (third generation) as well as the youngest to complete the Iditarod and win the Quest.

Ask me questions about anything/Iditarod/etc

Do you like shopping for clothes?

Not at all. Ugh. It's the worst chore EVER.

Ask me anything

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's Official, Swenson running Iditarod 40

Rick Swenson @ the Ceremonial Start
Anchorage, Alaska, 2007
As reported last week by Alaska Dispatch and the Anchorage Daily News, Rick Swenson is running in Iditarod 40. According to, the reason for the delay for Swenson's addition to the official roster was due to not having turned in all of his paperwork. Funny, you'd think he'd know how to do that, considering he's been in the race every decade it's been run, and is a board member. There are 69 names now on the list (Swenson is #68) and reported there were to be seventy names once all paperwork was received. Alaska Dispatch reported 69. Still some confusion, but what's an Iditarod without a little bit of that?!

Rick Swenson is the only five time champion in the race's history, and is one of six past champions running in the historic 40th race. Lance Mackey, Mitch Seavey, Jeff King (newly unretired), Martin Buser, and reigning champion John Baker will join Swenson on the quest for "one more." Swenson's wins came in the late 70s and the 80s, it's been two decades (and then some) since his team ran first under the burled arch.

Yes. Yes, I am Crazy...
I frequent several message boards. Figure Skating - I'm a mod at one of the larger ones, Disney Travel, and until the other day pugs were all on my list. All come with their share of headaches. As a moderator those headaches are daily. The Disney board I am a member of is the easiest one, though people get heated on there about what resort is best and so forth (it's actually teh most sane MB I've ever been a part of). The pug boards I've been on are probably the most... difficult.

You see, there are dog owners and lovers that have very drastic differences in viewpoints on what their dog is and what dogs should be to all people. It's like the Michelle Kwan vs all of skating debates multiplied by a million in terms of hostility.

Rescue is the biggest deal.

Don't get me wrong not only do I support rescue, but all but one of the pugs in our family are rescues. Here in lies the problem. I do not have a dog I "rescued", I bought my dog. From a backyard breeder. Uneducated about such things.

I am to be shamed.

Or am I? I've learned a lot in the last 9 years, not only about the breed but about rescue and backyard breeders, puppy mills, etc. If and when I lose Yuka, I have no clue where I will go as the pug rescue here is rarely in need of adoptees, and I can't limit myself to a waiting list. Respectable breeders are expensive... but we'll cross that bridge when that comes. I'm hoping I still have many years with Yuka left.

But that brings me to the point that had me questioning my sanity. I've left a board in the last few days because I was just tired. I was tired of the bullying that is felt when my views on dogs weren't just questioned but were just "wrong" and therefore I am a horrible person.

Look, the fact of the matter is, I like to have a well trained dog. Yuka can do the basic sit, stay, etc, but what I really appreciate is that she goes outside to do her business 99% of the time. the 1% is only now that she's older and she doesn't always realize she's going (and thankfully someone is normally here most of the day so she can go out regularly). Pugs are trainable, but they're stubborn and set in their ways. Many of the posters that think I'm cruel have more lax of rules. They have areas in their house that they allow their dogs to mess in. This is completely unacceptable to me.

Which led to the reason that I have sworn off these boards from here on out. There was a "bash the selfish" type thread that suggested that those that want to rescue or have young dogs were crazy. I guess if I were to rescue a dog I would be in this crazy group. A younger dog is easier to retrain in the potty department. Considering that my first encounter with rescue was a four year old male pug that hadn't been potty trained and spent the next six years marking and pottying wherever he wanted in teh house. We did our best to keep it from happening but he did it. Sorry, again, I find it unacceptable. He was not a bad dog, he just was so used to not having to go outside that he didn't. He tried, he really did, but at the end of the day he found someplace discreet to go in.

I mentioned my reasons. Told I was wrong. And then got a PM from a member saying she pittied Yuka because when she got "old" I would consider her a throwaway dog and that the poor Anchorage rescue would get a sweet and loving old girl. I left, and I won't be back for this reason.

Yuka is MINE. She has been mine since the day I picked her up in Feb of 2003 when she was five weeks old. I freak if she's out of my sight, I have nightmares of losing her, and now that she's nearly nine years old it terrifies me to think she's become a senior pug and that means I only have a few years left. She's spunky, sassy, and a total brat, and I love her. There are tons of things in her training that if I'd known then what I know now I'd have done it differently. But, I wouldn't trade her for all the puppies in the world.

A dog is mine forever. It doesn't matter if I'm moving - a lot of decisions I made/make is based on if she can be with me or not. It doesn't matter if I were to get married and have kids - she's with me. She's not disposable.

What is disposable is the holier than thou attitude of uber rescues who bully their beliefs on others. I've seen them run off or even scare people from going that route (or even leaving their dogs in a rescue's care when there is no alternative for fear they will be lumped in with all the other irresponsibles... really, military families have enough crap to deal with, show some compassion).

So I'm done. I see that several folks from these boards have visited in the last few days, I'm normally not a fan of people airring their MB dirty laundry, but I don't want people to have the impression that my dog is disposable. Yuka is with me until the day one of us leaves this life for the next.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Religion vs. The Gospel

I found this on another blog. I don't know who the author is, but I like it.

RELIGION: I obey-therefore I’m accepted.
THE GOSPEL: I’m accepted-therefore I obey.

RELIGION: Motivation is based on fear and insecurity.
THE GOSPEL: Motivation is based on grateful joy.

RELIGION: I obey God in order to get things from God.
THE GOSPEL: I obey God to get to God-to delight and resemble Him.

RELIGION: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry at God or my self, since I believe, like Job’s friends that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life.
THE GOSPEL: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle but I know all my punishment fell on Jesus and that while he may allow this for my training, he will exercise his Fatherly love within my trial.

RELIGION: When I am criticized I am furious or devastated because it is critical that I think of myself as a ‘good person’. Threats to that self-image must be destroyed at all costs.
THE GOSPEL: When I am criticized I struggle, but it is not critical for me to think of myself as a ‘good person.’ My identity is not built on my record or my performance but on God’s love for me in Christ. I can take criticism.

RELIGION: My prayer life consists largely of petition and it only heats up when I am in a time of need. My main purpose in prayer is control of the environment.
THE GOSPEL: My prayer life consists of generous stretches of praise and adoration. My main purpose is fellowship with Him.

RELIGION: My self-view swings between two poles. If and when I am living up to my standards, I feel confident, but then I am prone to be proud and unsympathetic to failing people. If and when I am not living up to standards, I feel insecure and inadequate. I’m not confident. I feel like a failure.
THE GOSPEL: My self-view is not based on a view of my self as a moral achiever. In Christ I am “simul iustus et peccator”—simultaneously sinful and yet accepted in Christ. I am so bad he had to die for me and I am so loved he was glad to die for me. This leads me to deeper and deeper humility and confidence at the same time. Neither swaggering nor sniveling.

RELIGION: My identity and self-worth are based mainly on how hard I work. Or how moral I am, and so I must look down on those I perceive as lazy or immoral. I disdain and feel superior to ‘the other.’
THE GOSPEL: My identity and self-worth are centered on the one who died for His enemies, who was excluded from the city for me. I am saved by sheer grace. So I can’t look down on those who believe or practice something different from me. Only by grace I am what I am. I’ve no inner need to win arguments.

RELIGION: Since I look to my own pedigree or performance for my spiritual acceptability, my heart manufactures idols. It may be my talents, my moral record, my personal discipline, my social status, etc. I absolutely have to have them so they serve as my main hope, meaning, happiness, security, and significance, whatever I may say I believe about God.
THE GOSPEL: I have many good things in my life—family, work, spiritual disciplines, etc. But none of these good things are ultimate things to me. None of them are things I absolutely have to have, so there is a limit to how much anxiety, bitterness, and despondency they can inflict on me when they are threatened and lost.
Sometimes I'm more Religious than Christian... this really spoke to me tonight.

Many familiar faces in line for Iditarod 40.

November 30th marked the deadline to complete and file paperwork to sign up for Iditarod 40. Many of last year's race's key players are back, such as Lance Mackey, Dallas Seavey, and - of course- current Champion John Baker. There are also a few suprises on the list that has the mushing fan community buzzing. If anything, Iditarod 40 will be one to remember.
Mitch Seavey returns after being forced to withdraw due to injury. Martin Buser started last year's race off very well but fell far back in the standings by the finish, he has also thrown his hat in the ring again this year. Perrenial favorites Paul Gebhardt and DeeDee Jonrowe will also be racing. Missing from the list of who's who of the Iditarod is Rick Swenson who - as of December 5 - is not listed on the Official Roster. Sebastian Schnuelle and Hans Gatt are also off the list, the latter having announced his retirement. Schnuelle is reportedly taking a break to spend sometime outside with family and friends.

The surprise of the summer was the return of Jeff King. Jeff made his intentions known when he appeared at the Volunteer picnic at the Wasilla Headquarters and signed up for the race. King did not race in the previous year's race, having stated he was retired. Jeff is running a smaller kennel and group of dogs, according to his comments in the press and online, but he cannot be counted out. This four time champion knows what it takes, and he's had a year to get a fresh perspective.

The other big surprise is the addition of Dan Seavey to the list. Dan ran in the very first Iditarod - and is credited as one of the mushers that helped make it a reality -  Dan is now 74 years old. His best finish was third in that first race. No doubt this is mainly a nod to the race itself. Dan is the only alum of that first race to be coming back. Dan is the father of 2004 Iditarod Champion Mitch Seavey and Grandfather to Yukon Quest Champion and Iditarod Veteran Dallas Seavey. Dan is the patriarch of one of the Iditarod dynasties. It will be exciting to see what he will bring to Iditarod 40.

Entries are still trickling in by mail. As long as the packets are postmarked by November 30. There are 67 names on the official roster. Alaska Dispatch has the list at 69, and they have Rick Swenson among the entrants. Do they know something doesn't?

Well, so much for that...

It's not that I've been busy, I just haven't felt like blogging. Mainly because, I think, I'm frustrated with everything here and so I just have a little less care than normal. I've just been in a funk lately. I've had some good ideas for a blog that just ended up not going anywhere because of it.

Anyway, it's Christmas time and my family has gone all out here in Kenai. It's insane how much Christmas stuff we have out. I don't remember mom ever decking the halls as much as she has this year! I love it! It feels very much like Christmas (which I was worried about since I was spoiled living with Aunt Judy for the last few years and santa really does throw up all over her house!)

I'm doing a bit of photography (not nearly as much as I would like) but other than that I'm just bumming it here at home. Erin comes in two weeks for Christmas and I cannot wait! I definitely need a besties vacation! :)

so there's a mini update. As I said nothing exciting going on.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Thirteen

Day 13: song that is your guilty pleasure

This is just basically because it gets stuck in my head so easily... and because I already used Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Twelve

Day 12: Song from a band you hate

Hate is such a strong word. But this is the one that popped in my head, basically because when I hear "band you hate" I immediately think of N*Sync

At least this song was fun to play in band.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Eleven

Day 11: Song by your favorite band

I've been on a Mercy Me kick lately, so here's one that gets me in the right mood!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Ten

Day 10: Song that makes you fall asleep

I sleep with music playing all night. I always have. So music just soothes me no matter what it is. Instead of counting sleep I imagine skaters skating to the songs I'm listening to and then I'm out like a light (no one said I wasn't a nerd). So this one is a little challenging because I can't think of a single song that I haven't slept to at least once... but... I'll go with Sing Sweet Nightingale from Disney's Cinderella... it's a sweet, short, song that I think works as a lullaby...

Now it's back to working on retooling my Photography Blog.

Friday, September 23, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Nine

Day 9: Song you can dance to

I have to choose this song just because of the memories I have with Erin. The song came out a few weeks before we travelled from Kenai, Alaska to Portland, Oregon so Erin could attend cooking school to become the wonderful and amazing chef that she is. We were in I don't know where Canada late at night (or really early early morning) getting gas. Erin and I headed into the gas station to get snacks and sodas and all sorts of bad for you foods and this really hot Canadian Cowboy came roaring into the parking lot blasting "Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy" by Big & Rich. Being as slap happy as I was by this point on the road I began busting out the music video moves (though not anywhere near as amazing) and, well, yeah... we still talk about it seven plus years later.

And since I couldn't find their music video I put up On The Rocks' version of it. Because they're awesome.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Eight

Day 8: Song you know all the words to

I know a lot of songs by heart. As well as movies. It drives my family nuts. They're all jealous, I know it. Anyway, I've shared this video many times. It's a song that my BFF found for our trip to Disney in 2009... and I've been obsessed ever since. The best part? The part about Southern Baptists. Thankfully the ban has been lifted, or I'd be a bad Baptist...

10 months till Disneyland... 2 years till WDW!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Seven

Day 7: Song that reminds you of an event

Everytime we got on a road trip, Erin and I sing this song ad naseum to get ready for the adventure... On the Open Road is from A Goofy Movie, and I think the songs are the best part about the film. On The Open Road is perfect for ANY road trip.

Monday, September 19, 2011

More Piratey Things

30 Days of Song: Day Six

Day 6: Song that reminds you of somewhere

In honor of International Talk Like A Pirate Day (one of me favorite days of the year, savvy?) I've chosen the classic "Yo Ho, Yo Ho a Pirates Life For Me" which, of course, is from Walt Disney's Disneyland Pirate Adventure ride "Pirates of the Caribbean". So, can you guess where it takes me back?

And, because it's Talk Like A Pirate Day... and what really started the International craze was the movie based on teh ride... (and Johnny Depp's eyeliner)...

I'm watching the movie as I post this and we're just about to this scene... hee hee hee

Sunday, September 18, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Five

Day 5 - Song that Makes You think of someone

Can you maybe guess who this reminds me of? I totally couldn't make it without my "beastie"

Friday, September 16, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Four

Day 4: Song that makes you sad
I first remember hearing this song on a compilation disk I got for the fourth of July. It was Patriotic Country and you can tell that, for the most part, it was put together soon after the 9-11 terror attacks due to the overall theme of the songs chosen. One Last Time by Dusty Drake was the bonus track. It makes me think of Flight 93 and the heros of that tragic day.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Three

Day 3: Song That Makes You Happy

There are so many, but the first one that popped in my head today is Disney's "I'll Make A Man Out of You." It's from Disney's Mulan and is sung by Donny Osmond. It's my best friend and my inside joke. Not even sure what that song is other than we sing it at the top of our lungs and then gush about how awesome Donny Osmond is (which then normally puts us in a Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat mood).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

30 Days of Song - Day Two

Day 2: Least Favorite Song

This is always difficult because I try not to think about songs I don't like. I guess the one that I am not a fan of that pops into my head, though, is Butterfly Kisses. It's a sweet and touching song, but it is soooooooooo overused and my dad is obsessed with it and it ends up being sappy and he cries and yeah. It's annoying. It's the song he uses to torture me, and if that day comes when I get to tie the knot it will NOT make it ANYWHERE in my day.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Character Interaction

Donald Duck is #1, now and always.

I've been asked numerous times in the last year or so how I've been able to create some of the character interactions that are in the pictures from my various Disney trips. I don't feel I am an expert of the subject, but with several trips coming up with the Disney Inexperienced I wanted to create a blog that might help when it comes to making sure magic is created. By no means do I think anyone should just follow this as a play by play. Part of the fun of Disney is just letting the magic happen, and by making your own.

First and foremost, invest in the Disney Photopass service. For Walt Disney World there is a dicounted price if you purchase the disk before you travel. Don't purchase it too far in advance, though. I normally purchase it a couple of weeks before our trip so that it does not expire before I can see the photos. Even better, if you decide there aren't enough photos you want you can get a refund. Disneyland does not offer a preorder special - in fact, you can't preorder it at all - but it is considerably cheaper to purchase (presumably because there are two parks, not four + 2 water parks). This is helpful because you can have the photopass photographers take as many photos as you'd like and you can look at them online - ALL FOR FREE - before deciding to purchase and you aren't the one holding the camera! You can also have them take a few for you on your own camera, but note that some photopass photogs are just as amatuer as the people they are taking pics for and may not take the best photos with your camera. For more information and tips on photopass I recommend the Stitch Kingdom guide.

Once you've figured out the Photopass system - use it. It's so much easier to interact and capture the moments when you're in the moment and the photopass guys are there to make it happen, but don't be disappointed if you don't see a photorapher with the character you are meeting. Each character has a "friend" or "handler" who deals with the organization of the lines and will be more than willing to snap a photo or two. If you are like me and have a DSLR camera - make sure to have it in full point and shoot mode, and have the camera zoomed out as much as possible - trust me, most Cast Members really don't know much about cameras and feel overwhelmed when they look at my rig. Always make sure to ask for them to take multiple photos and to feel free to snap the interactions as well as the posed cheesey smile. Photopass photographers are supposed to already know to do this, but it never hurts to give them permission to do so.
It's ALWAYS Erin's fault!
Before heading to the parks - familiarize yourself with the characters that you're most likely to see. Knowing some of the characters cartoons/stories/personality traits really helps with the interraction. For example: Chip and Dale are friends & "roomies" and were first introduced as annoyances for both Donald Duck and Pluto. One of the most famous cartoons is "Pluto's Christmas Tree" where Chip and Dale live in the tree that Pluto and Mickey choose to chop down to decorate for Christmas. Subsequently the chipmunks create havoc in the tree and tease Pluto ultimately resulting in the tree and decor being destroyed and Mickey Mouse to freak out and call Pluto a bad dog (and dumb mutt). For the picture above, we started out talking to our "favorites". I prefer Chip - who is the brains, and Erin prefers Dale (the goofball). Christmas was already going on in Disney's parks, so I quickly turned the conversation to Christmas Trees and I asked Chip if he was getting along this year with Pluto. He mimed (the classic fur characters do not speak, though the technology may start changing soon with that - at least for Mickey Mouse) that he promised that he was. So I brought up the fact that it wasn't very nice that they played such a mean trick on Pluto (he laughed at that) and I said he should try to be nicer. Chip then pointed at Dale suggesting that DALE was to blame, and that Chip was innocent (he mimed a halo), Dale then pointed at ME suggesting *I* was the trouble maker and then I said "no, I'm the good one, Erin is naughty" so then we all pointed at Erin and the photo is made.

Familiarizing yourself with the Characters also helps the children recognize them in the parks which may help with the anxiety of meeting them. Some children have no problems going up to the characters right off the bat. Others are super shy or even terrified of them. It should be up to the child, and not the adult, to decide if the child will meet any of the characters. Some things that help are if the child sees some of the adults in the group getting silly and having fun with the characters. One of the best places for this comfortable spontaneous interaction is through a character meal. The characters each visit the tables at least once, and if you spend enough time and it's not too crowded (go at an off time during the day, or during the off season) you can get them to return to your table several times. The shy members of your group will have a better chance of seeing the characters up close and at their leisure. We used this method and got great results with my neice in Feb. This is a great way to start your trip as it gets the kiddos ready to meet the characters while touring the parks, and it's overall less overwhelming.

Haille scratches Pluto's nose. That's Disney Magic.
This is where you can teach the kids how to interact and have conversation with the non speaking characters. For example: The easiest is probably Pluto. How would you treat your family pet? Scratch his ears or his nose and watch for a reaction. Chances are you will have a very happy puppy and kiddo. This was the trick that broke the ice for my neice and she spent the rest of the night dancing with Goofy, playing tricks on the rest of us with Dale and chatting about shoes with Minnie Mouse. Who knew she'd come out of her shell just because she scratched Pluto's ears?! The meals are expensive, but you're getting an interactive experience and the memories really do become priceless. It's one of the vivid memories Haille has (the only other one is the Snake on the Indiana Jones ride, and that's not a positive memory for her). Try to get in at least one Character meal with your child(ren) and put it towards the front of your trip. I assure you it will help you judge how the rest of the trip will go. (Also, encourage your child to tell Pluto that s/he's going to scratch his ears so that the character is prepared to interact. They may not see your little one and therefore will not know it's happening.)

The final big tip I can give is - research and figure out who, when and where the characters will be out. If you're like I am, you'll plan your day around rides and characters. Be flexible, most characters come out several times a day. If you can't make one meet up, or the line is too long, try again a little later. Ask a cast member if any special "non scheduled" characters will be out and about. This is normally how princes, secondary characters, and villians are found. If a character is getting set to take a break - don't leave the line. Minnie only needs about five minutes to check on her apple pie that she has baking in the back. Some people in line will leave when she does, so your wait time will be less if you just stick it out. So be paitent and know when and where to be. And don't feel bad meeting the same characters more than once. Each interaction will most likely be different and so much fun!

The main ingredient to a positive and magical interaction is you. The Characters feed off of what you bring to the meeting. If you're all business you'll most likely only get the standard picture. If you don't seem willing to play games, they won't push the issue for fear of offending or wasting your time. If you're just into collecting character pictures, then please move right along, but if you're into the fun photos and memories that last far longer than your trip then take a risk, look a little silly and have fun! Happy snapping!

Want more tips/tricks/ideas? Let me know in a comment or email! I'd be happy to point you towards the magic.

ETA: Thank you to Jennifer F. for correcting some misinformation on the chipmunks. See, I still need to learn things too!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You?

Just as every other American, today I have my eyes and thoughts turned to the East Coast where ten years ago four commuter planes were overcome by Middle Eastern Terrorist monsters and flown into the World Trade Center towers, Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. The north and south towers in New York City were attacked first, followed closely by the third into the Pentagon. When the first plane hit confusion and misunderstanding began. It had to be an accident, but when Flight 175 flew into the second tower everyone was accutely aware that this was no accident. Flight 93, the fourth and final hijacked plane, had passengers aware of what was going on in NYC and D.C. and they decided to take action. Men and women who were on their way to San Francisco on a normal business day suddenly became the picture of Modern American Heroism.

All of this happened while most of us in Alaska and the rest of the West Coast was sleeping. Alaskans woke up to news of Terrorism - not accident - and towers falling.

I remember dreaming of people screaming that morning. I listen to the TV, Radio or (now) iPod while sleeping to drown out street noises that keep me from sleeping (it doesn't always work). In 2001 I was listening to Moody Radio and they were broadcasting the events as they happened just like all other media outlets. My subconcious fed off of what I was apparently hearing, but I had no idea what was going on. It was a radio program, surely this was not real. Then a loud booming came from my bedroom door. "Dad! I still have half an hour to sleep!" and then a gruff, almost frustrated voice answered with "America's under attack. Get up."

How the heck was I supposed to understand or even imagine what would greet my eyes from the television when I walked into the living room? The towers were on fire - back in 2001 I didn't even know there WAS a World Trade Center. I couldn't have pointed them out of any picture and identify them in teh skyline. The only buildings in NYC that I knew were the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. I know the Twin Towers now. We watched as reports came in and new amatuer footage was shared. And all the while I remember thinking that life would forever be different.

School was still going to be in session. So off we headed to KCHS. I had two classes: Band and Math. While every other student was in the gym and library, the band class stayed in session. Every door was open and as we walked into the classroom every music stand was already in place and music was out. We were going to play the songs of America. Without practice, without warning... without much warm up. It was Deb Sounart's way of showing support, strength and resolve. Some of us were unable to continue to play, and made their way into an office or instrument room to grieve. Fear, saddness all overwhelmed each of us differently.

Second period had us all filing into the next class. And then it was decided that the rest of the day would be spent in one of the big rooms watching CNN. We watched the towers fall. We watched as people jumped from the buildings, ran out with blood and burns all over...

Ten years later those images and memories are still vivid. Yes, we were far away from the destruction and chaos, but the patriotic feelings that followed, and the determination was real and strong.

I just finished watching the tribute on NBC. A part of me wishes it were the full day that would be a final tribute, and yet, that we move on with football and other American traditions I can't help but think this is just another victory over the Terrorism. They wanted to stop us, make us fearful, break our knees. They may have gravely injured our hearts, but that just strengthens us as a nation and people. For my generation 9-11 is like Pearl Harbor for my grandfather's generation. It's not just a day that lives in infamy. It's not just a day that will be forever remembered by those who lived it. It's also a day that marks America's wake up call. That we're not immune to the World. That we're not above the other countries somehow protected by this invisible shield. It's when we let our guard down that our enemies show themselves. We're not smarter, or any such nonsense. We are our own worst enemy. We lull ourselves into this false sense of security. We're already seeing it again... and it's been only ten years. How soon we truly do forget the lessons supposedly learned.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day One

Day 1: Favorite Song

This is always difficult because I love so many. One of my favorite artists of the day, though is Brad Paisley. And I'm in a pep band kind of mood (hello! football season!) and so what better song to choose as a favorite for this time of year than Brad Paisley's "Online". It's pretty much the story of my life, except I don't even have chats with guys online! LOL

30 Days of Song: Take 2

Last time I only got to day three before life took over and I forgot all about this Blog prompt. So I'm going to try again.

day 01 - your favorite song
day 02 - your least favorite song
day 03 - a song that makes you happy
day 04 - a song that makes you sad
day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone
day 06 - a song that reminds of you of somewhere
day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event
day 08 - a song that you know all the words to
day 09 - a song that you can dance to
day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep
day 11 - a song from your favorite band
day 12 - a song from a band you hate
day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure
day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love
day 15 - a song that describes you
day 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate
day 17 - a song that you hear often on the radio
day 18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio
day 19 - a song from your favorite album
day 20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry
day 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy
day 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad
day 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding
day 24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral
day 25 - a song that makes you laugh
day 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument
day 27 - a song that you wish you could play
day 28 - a song that makes you feel guilty
day 29 - a song from your childhood
day 30 - your favorite song at this time last year

Where did August go?

Sadly I have been very bad at blogging. It's a number of things that keeps me from it. First and foremost? I just don't know that it's worth it to blog anymore. Everyone is so busy with social network sites and real life that a non-established blogger just can't seem to get a word in. That and I'm so boring that who would really want to read anything I write?

Secondly, work has kept me busy. However, that's about to change. I put in my two weeks notice in and my final day is Saturday the 10th of September. I'm not sad about it. Sure the money coming in would be nice, but the fit was soooooo not right and there were coworkers that let me know it daily. I wasn't meeting the sales goals, and considering a major road block is that I don't like the idea of debt it just seemed pointless to continue to bust my butt for something I didn't enjoy or agree with. There are no jobs on the horizon so I'm hoping that something comes along or that my photography somehow just takes off. If not I'll live with my parents for the rest of my life (or, rather, their lives).

Thirdly, and most fun, I've been busy scrapbooking. I am nearly finished with my 2009 (yes you read that right) Disney World scrapbook. I don't even want to think how many pages it will be when it's all done, but considering the largest book at that I've seen in 90 pages, I have that beat by at least three times over. Insanity! The end of one is in sight, and then I have two more Disney travel scrapbooks to do before I go on vacay again next year.

Speaking of which, the dorktwin adventure has tripled in size! It's still going to be around 8 days long, but  now Jessi from high school and her kiddos (and hopefully one more of her peeps!) are coming with us to Disneyland next August! So excited. She is so much fun, and it'll be a first (I think?) for all of them! She is so excited about the trip, I just wish August would get here quickly!

So that's what I'm doing. I'm also anxiously counting down the days until the next What's In The Bible DVD comes out! Should be later this month!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Last day of July...

Summer has gone by far too quickly. Tomorrow is august. I haven't been blogging, I've been scrapping. Basically I work and come home and scrap. Mainly because I just need to destress and these days the internet is anything but relaxing for me. That doesn't mean I haven't been tweeting or facebooking, but I've been mainly on my phone.

At the very beginning of the month I let my landlord know, via my parents since the property manager's son was becoming increasingly more difficult to deal with, that I would not be renewing my lease. I was tired of my neighbor's issues. My neighbor in the single unit was becoming more and more stalkerish. She knew too much about me (like where I worked, what my schedule was, and - get this - how much I reportedly made! Who gave her THAT info?). I was still unable to use the laundry facilities because of her smoking, my whole house smelled like it, and I was just done. My landlord was SHOCKED and "saddened" that I wasn't staying.

She had the prop. manager take down the for sale sign, and put up a for rent sign. Then my nosy smokey neighbor invited random people to come into my house. She waited for me to come home and demanded I let them go in. I told her no, she pressured and I finally relented for no other reason than to get her to leave me alone. SHE INVITED HERSELF INTO MY HOUSE! UGH! It makes me wonder how many times she went in there when the prop manager's son was showing teh house to potential buyers because she knew where everything was in my house. Insanity!

So, instead of renting I'm living with my parents in teh house I grew up in while I save money and build credit so that I can get myself a mortgage. It should take about six months barring any random issues. I have my very own credit card (pretty much against my will) which I will use to get my credit score to actually exist (they didn't even have my name in the system when they pulled my credit report. Go me!).

Still working at teh credit union, but as of this afternoon I've completed a letter/application for a job opening at the Alaska Court System here in Kenai. It's a better pay rate, I like the hours they have, and I just don't really feel like the CU is the right fit for me. I've been very discouraged lately, and just feel I need the change.

Photography has once again stalled due to my work schedule. I do have some things planned for August, though, and more in the works. Looking forward to it.

I finally got to go fishing last wednesday. Kept one red and landed four. It was a great day on the Kenai with just my dad. It was worth waking up at four in the morning on my one day off ha ha.

So that's basically the latest on me. Nothing overly exciting, but I had to put something on here for July. I guess.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Jeff King returns to the Iditarod

4time Iditarod Champion Jeff King (2010)
It didn't take the four time champion to realize he's not done yet. King was one of the first in line Saturday morning to sign up for the 40th Iditarod Race. This is huge news for fans and officials alike. Coming up on a major milestone (fourty years of Iditarod) with some of the biggest name in the sports history lined up for the prize, and along comes the reportedly retired musher to try to nab another title.

King retired after a third place finish in the 2010 race. He had been very vocal prior to the start of the race that it would be his last. He was one of the old dogs, he wanted a break. If you were able to follow the musher on facebook you know he did just that, with trips all over North America as well as Norway to witness a historic sled dog race over there. Followers were bombarded with his political endeavors (let's just say he's not a fan of Palin or any of her picks for any political seat), and were wooed by Jeff's pics of his rescued pig. (Yes, that's right, Wilma the pig.)

The buzz of a return started earlier this year after Jeff returned from Norway and his posts about the race over there. He denied his desire to return. Then late last week Jeff asked for information on the Volunteer picnic - which is also the first day of sign ups. Immediately he was flooded with posts asking if he was returning. He coyly did not directly answer, but his posts leaned more to suggesting he was just in it for the food, not the race.

Then, at the picnic an announcement was made. Jeff King was one of the 47 mushers who signed up that day to put their bid in for the 2012 Champion. He will join the likes of Mitch and Dallas Seavey, Martin Buser, Lance Mackey, Jim Lanier, Paul Gebhardt, Hugh Neff, John Baker, and DeeDee Jonrowe. All capable in their own rights, all vying for the ultimate prize.

Also returning after hiatus: Rookie Pat Moon who ran the race two years ago but was forced to scratch after his accident along the Dal Zel Gorge in which he was rescued by another musher, and Aaron Burmeister  who retired so that he could be on the inside of Iditarod Trail Committee (ITC) decisions. Team Norway will also be represented this year with Sigrid Ekran. With the price of travel, and the entry fee for the race, going sky high Team Norway had announced last year that they would most likely not make the trip to Alaska again, but it looks like with the entry fee's being lower this year, and the purse higher, at least one of the team will try their luck again.

Mushers have until sometime in December to sign up for the Last Great Race on Earth. Volunteers will begin signing up for the race around that time. Iditarod 40 has already generated a lot of buzz - a lot of it focussed right now on King and the rivalry he and Mackey share - and it looks like it'll be a race to remember.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Iditarod 2011 BBQ

Every year the Iditarod puts on a feast for their volunteers, and they hold it the last Saturday in June. This ties in with their first meeting of the minds for the next year's race, and the mushers are on hand to sign up. But, even with all of the excitement of the future, the main focus is to celebrate the people who are helping NOW.

I had never attended previous BBQs, something either always came up - or I wasn't aware of it - and so I made it a point not to miss out on it this year (I flaked last year at the last minute because the weather looked icky). I got up super early because the BBQ is in Wasilla (yeah, you know, it's pretty well  known thanks to a certain former Governor of ours) and being in Soldotna I was about 3.5 hours away. My vehicle has issues right now so I had mom take it the night before to have dad check it out. He was unable to due to some technical difficulties, so I drove my mom's car back to their house, dropped my dog off, took my iffy exploder and headed out (parents live in Kenai so it's 4 hours to Wasilla).

The trip was uneventful - aside from rain and my running out of windshield wiper fluid - nothing really happened to warrant a whole lot of time on it. I was running later than I wanted to be, but still made it to Wasilla well before picnic time.

Holding little "Tusty".
I planned on meeting up and snatching Haille to come with. I figured she'd enjoy the games and puppies I knew would be there. The puppies were the saving grace, she never did go play the games, as she was in love with the seven week old and two week old pups that were out there for HQ guests and BBQers alike. I think if she could take them all home, she would! She was in love with getting to hold them and play with them. She asked questions of the musher and handlers that were there, and at one point Jeff King went over to look at the pups and she talked to him too! How crazy is that?! Little miss shy thing!

My first goal was to find my wonderful friend, Lilian. I met her two years ago volunteering at the Iditarod gift shop table there at the Millennium hotel (which is the official headquarters during the race). She comes every year from Switzerland and is a big favorite of all of us. And not just because she brings us swiss chocolate! Ha ha! She normally doesn't make it over here in teh summer (she takes her vacation around the Iditarod every year! She is my hero!) but she made the exception this year and I'm so glad she did! Haille really liked her, and took a ton of photos of her with my $3000 camera ha ha! She got a couple of good ones of the two of us!

Still have NO idea what we were going for here! LOL

Even though the weather threatened rain, the day was pretty much perfect. A lot of mushers were on hand to sign up for the race (so far the roster is at 47), and some old favorites also came to talk shop (it also helps that they are on the Trail Committee so they were on hand for a meeting before the picnic). Team Seavey was out in full force with Dan, Mitch and Dallas all there. Dallas and Mitch are both in next year's line up. Mitch is still sporting a brace of some sort on his finger (which he sliced off in Ophir causing the Race Marshal to scratch the musher from the race and send him back to Anchorage for surgery. Mitch was back on the trail as a special Iditarod Insider commentator that same week.). Mitch spent a lot of time talking with 2011 Champion John Baker and they seemed to be having a great time talking about what ever it was that they were talking about!

Lance Mackey was "late" to the party, but he strolled right up without much notice from the crowd and signed his name. He'll once again be after #5, trying to tie Rick Swenson (who was absent from the picnic and - so far - the roster!) for most wins. It wasn't long before people realized the head of "Last Chance Kennel" was on the green and soon they flocked to where he stood.

If you read my blog at all you know I'm not a big follower of Mackey's kennel. I prefer others to his style. However, friends of mine from MO were huge fans. They lived in Joplin, MO, and lost their lives in the huge tornado last month. It still seems unreal that Lorie and Glenn will not be around to chat about the Iditarod next year. Lorie was looking forward to see my pictures of the BBQ and had dared me to take a picture with Lance if I got the opportunity. I just laughed at the time. But, when I went into the line with my friend Lilian so she could get her pic with him, I figured I should honor their memory. One thing I have always said about Lance is that he knows how to treat the fans/volunteers.

Me, Lance, Lilian. This is for you, Lorie!
I also had to fan girl over Hugh Neff. He's just such a great personality on the trail, and I love his overall look. He's pretty much fantastic when it comes to dog care and racing in general too, so that's always a plus! Ha ha! I went over and got my picture. He tried to put me at ease by asking if I was a musher and he laughed at my "WHAT?! no." reaction. Ha ha, Hugh. You're *so* funny. goober. I think I just have a "mushers please make fun of me" sign somewhere on me. But the pic came out great, I love it, totally going in my next collage frame!

The last mission of the day was getting our picture with Jeff King. That's right Mr. "I'm Retired" was there. He had most of us buzzing wondering why he was there. He'd posted about the BBQ on his facebook earlier in teh week and when fans asked if he was coming back he pretty much denied it. Well, he lied online because he announced at the end of the BBQ that he was - in fact - on the roster for Iditarod 40. This is a huge boost for so many reasons. Jeff was a face of the Iditarod during the same time as Susan Butcher (he really came into his own as she was on her way out of the sport, but his name was on everyone's lips before then). He's considered the winningest musher. He's a huge celebrity type in Alaska/the sport. And, he pushes Lance to excell. Who knows what will happen now. It's a huge roster already, all the main players (save for, as I said earlier, Rick Swenson) have thrown their name in the pool.

We waited quite a while while Jeff talked with Jim Lanier (another fabulous musher, I was totally geeking out by the end of the day), and Dallas Seavey finally figured out what it was we were waiting for (it wasn't hard Haille was wanting to go home and made a bit of a scene) so he interrupted Jeff and he hopped over to mug for the cameras. Then we were stuck trying to find someone to take the picture. We finally had no choice but to allow Dallas handle the repsponsibility. He lit up when I handed him mine and immediately tried to freak me out by pretending to drop it. Bubba would have been in a world of hurt. Told him that was a 3000 dollar camera. That made him even more of a pain. Why do I like this guy again? LOL Cuz his kid is cute, that's why! LOL

Thanks, I guess, Dallas! (Me, Jeff!!!, Lilian)
Overall it was a fantastic day and I'm glad I made the trip up and back in one day! (8 hours round trip! Long day, well worth it!)

To see all the pics from yesterday go here -

Cannot wait for March!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I've got the blahs...

I don't know if it's work - which is a job, not a passion... yet again - or the living situation drama, or the hermit lifestyle I've led these last six years or so... but I just have been in this set pattern of blahs. Aside from vacations to Disney... and the Iditarod... I really haven't had much to look forward to or get excited about. It's frustrating, but at the same time I'm just not enthusiastic about changing the situation either. It could be laziness, or maybe I just don't give a real care to change. I look around me and all of these people are so much better at what we do, have these amazing families - which yes I know have their own trials, tribulations and moments of discontentedness - and I can't help but feel like I'm still stuck where I was in 2003, the only difference is back then I had a whole world of possibilities... now, nothing. I'm in that rut, I've gone back to the one place I promised myself I wouldn't go. And I'm just. UGH!

I don't understand why I am this way. I don't understand why I can't take the bull by the horns. Why I can't seem to even make a sale in my job or with photography! I just feel very inept. I have Two Years before I'm old enough to attend a high school reunion but what will I have to show for it? I'll be the loser on the corner. And not even a good kind of loser.

So, yeah, I have the blahs. And I'm tired of people saying "look on the bright side" quoting a Bible verse or saying "it'll get better" and then tell me their lifestory. Because, honestly, I don't care. I don't want a comforting word. I don't want a "pick me up." I just want to vent, and when I vent I don't want someone to answer back. I just want to scream and hear the lonely echo. So let me do that.

and, yes, this was taken right outside my door. Gonna miss this sight.
And so this post isn't a total loss, let me add a photo.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It's the end of an era, you might say.

So, after nine months, I'm moving out of the house on the River and moving in with my parents? Why? Namely because I don't do well with sharing property with others. Especially when I feel lied to by the property manager and not given (what I consider) the proper support. When the new neighbor moved in I was completely fine with losing space in the laundry room so she could have a closet - but I was not told she was a smoker and would be allowed to smoke in the house. Now my house smells of smoker smell. I hate to break it to ya, but that smell is one of the worst. When I brought this up a week or so later to the property manager he told me to basically suck it up. Nevermind it triggers issues for me. He suggested a smoke eater, but I had to buy it. Um, I don't think so.

Top it off, the owner is selling the property. All this week it looks like I will be dealing with folks walking through my stuff to view the property. So I'm just done. I'm getting griped at by my neighbor because she wants my dog to stop pooping and that I need to plant flowers on my side of the house. I'm just done. I want my space to be just that, mine. Not anyone elses. I don't want to deal with stupid stuff, and I'm wanting to just be left alone.

So, for the time being, we'll just move me into the house I grew up in until we can find something that works. Who knows how long that will be. I hate that I won't be on the river anymore, but honestly I haven't done anything down by the water, so it's not like it's that much different than living blocks away from it.

So, yeah, life is.... UGH... which is what it's basically been since December.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Musher found safe: "Cold, tired and hungry"

After almost two weeks of searching and worrying, Melanie Gould was found "cold, tired and hungry" but safe in Cantwell, many miles away from her home in Talkeetna. The Iditarod Musher was sent to the Mat-Su Regional Hospital to be treated. Troopers, friends and searchers were guarded in their reporting of just what happened. Troopers stated that Gould herself contacted them, and admitted that she had seen the searchers earlier in the week but "stayed away" from them. Friends running - the now deleted - group "Have you seen Melanie Gould?" reported that a searcher found the missing musher in Cantwell and contacted troopers.

The State Troopers are not releasing any details at this point other than to report the musher found and doing well. That there is, at least for now, a happy ending to the story seems to be what matters at this point, but questions still loom. What happened and why did she shy away from the searchers? What is the real story? And why did the facebook page suddenly disappear once people began to question the fact that Melanie has admitted to hiding? Why did she leave her dogs unattended if she herself had planned to leave?

And, of course, what happens now?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Search continues for missing Talkeetna musher

Melanie Gould during Iditarod 35 (2007).
Gould has not been heard from
since May 31, 2011.
Talkeetna musher Melanie Gould was last seen by friends on May 31st gassing up her pick up truck. When she didn't return to work on Tuesday, June 1, her friends and coworkers became concerned and reported the young woman missing.

Troopers have been searching for her from Tuesday until today when they called off the ground and air search. They reportedly will be continuing their investigation, but their efforts - for now - have been exhausted in the area that Melanie's truck was found. Search dogs hit in and around the truck, but no where else. This could mean she took a different vehicle out of the area - but with the weather the way it was up to the day of the find, it could also just be that the scent no longer exists.

Friends and family - including Gould's community of Talkeetna - are picking up the search. Their meeting this evening had a basic game plan for tomorrow. They are asking for anyone with the time and resources to please come out and search. They are looking for former military, SARS, and police officers to head up the search teams.

To see how you can help visit the facebook page HAVE YOU SEEN MELANIE GOULD. Join the team to bring her home!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

CONTEST: What's In The Bible

One lucky blog reader will win a copy of the fifth volume of What's In The Bible. All you have to do is comment on my blog review (the post right under this one) with your name!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

DVD Review: What's In The Bible 5: Israel Gets A King!

My parents and I watched the latest volume of Phil Vischer's What's In The Bible series this past weekend. I received my copy of the video earlier in the week and we immediately popped it in to see what the team had come up with. This video did not disappoint.

What's in the Bible is VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer's new Children's Video series. After watching his dream die when he filed bankruptcy and lost control of the beloved Christian Children's video veggies, Vischer says God got through to him and gave him a second chance. What that gives families is a fantastic series of Biblically sound and educational videos taking a more indepth look of the Bible.

This isn't your typical "Sunday morning values, Saturday morning fun" series. This is meaty goodness that is sorely lacking from Children's ministries. As a former Sunday School teacher, I can say that I've never seen children taught in this way. Yes, I've seen puppets used, but instead of just teaching the story of David - as the fifth volume does - Vischer's cast of colorful puppets digs deeper into the significance of David's life as well as why his story is so important to the bigger picture of the Bible. This isn't your typical David and Goliath story.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 1st Prayer...

May 1st Prayer...
Now I lay me down to sleep
one less terrorist this world does keep.
with all my heart I give my thanks
to those in uniform regardless of ranks.
you serve our country and serve it well
with humble hearts your stories tell.
so as I rest my weary eyes
while freedom rings our flag still flies.
you give your all, do what you must
with God we live and God we trust.

-Angie Whitmore

I cannot come up with words to express the news of tonight. Needless to say I am so proud of the men who served our nation in this covert operation. They will forever be the unsung and unnamed heroes of this war. The War on Terror is far from over my friends, and for our media and government not to see that is disturbing, but tonight is a night for a celebration of victory.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day Three

Day 3: Song that makes you happy

This song got chosen simply because it's been in my head all week and it never fails to put a smile on my face. Who would have guessed I would have fallen in love with a musical entitled "Hairspray"?

Friday, April 15, 2011

World's Greatest: Alexei Yagudin (RUS)

Alexei is considered one of the greatest skaters of all time. He's one of the few skaters that has 4 titles to his credit as well as an Olympic title. Plagued with injury through most of that time, he made it a full cycle before being taken out of competition by his knees. They just couldn't handle the stress and strain. He skated with Stars On Ice after his forced retirement from competition. Now he's still Mr. Celebrity in Russia and his the father of an adorable little kid.

Alexei got me hooked on men's competitive skating. Most of the time I waited until they were pros to make a determination on if I would like them, but Alexei did for competitive figure skating what Kurt Browning does for the pro world. He was able to seamlessly weave athletics with musicality/art. Skaters like Alexei are rare.

Alexei had the difficult hardware, but he was more known for his footwork. Many still claim it's the best ever, however if one takes a look at what he does it's not only simple in comparison with other skaters - it's pretty much the same step sequence over and over (and the same from program to program). Tarasova and Morosov found a formula that worked on their skater, and people blindly follow.

That does not diminish Alexei's mark on the sport, however. He is a fantastic showman and athlete. I truly believe we'd be hearing more out of him competitively but his injuries - and knee surgery - kept him out of the running. Still, four world titles and an Olympic title is nothing to sneeze at.

My favorite program of his at worlds - a year he didn't win - his SP to Revolutionary Etude:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What the Worlds [Figure Skating Championships] Need Now...

I'm a little slap happy as it's been a long day, but I'm planning to revive my blog a little bit and in the next few days leading up to the World Figure Skating Championships set to be held in Moscow later this month. I'm going to feature my favorite World Champions. From Kurt Browning to Gordeeva & Grinkov, Yuka Sato to Torvill & Dean and beyond. These will probably be more editorial, as they're my favorites.

Just a heads up, there's going to (hopefully) be more skating in the coming days.

30 Days of Song: Day Two

Day 2: Least Favorite Song

Hmmm. Blogger ate my post about favorite song, but that's okay because it's good as it stands, I sat for hours trying to think of my one favorite song. Anyway, least favorite would have to be ANY song from the Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana collection. That stuff is horrible.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

30 Days of Song: Day One

Day 1: Favorite Song

Oh this is difficult. I could go in so many different directions. I could go with favorite country song, Christian song, Hymn, Disney, broadway, movie theme... where do I start? How do I choose?!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Oh look! Another 30 Day Challenge!

So I have a lot to share, but I just don't ever get down to sharing it, so for now I'll share a new 30 day challenge I found.

day 01 - your favorite song
day 02 - your least favorite song
day 03 - a song that makes you happy
day 04 - a song that makes you sad
day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone
day 06 - a song that reminds of you of somewhere
day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event
day 08 - a song that you know all the words to
day 09 - a song that you can dance to
day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep
day 11 - a song from your favorite band
day 12 - a song from a band you hate
day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure
day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love
day 15 - a song that describes you
day 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate
day 17 - a song that you hear often on the radio
day 18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio
day 19 - a song from your favorite album
day 20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry
day 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy
day 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad
day 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding
day 24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral
day 25 - a song that makes you laugh
day 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument
day 27 - a song that you wish you could play
day 28 - a song that makes you feel guilty
day 29 - a song from your childhood
day 30 - your favorite song at this time last year