Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Favorite photos from 2015

There were so many beautiful moments this year, it's hard for me to pare it down as much as I have for the photos. I was going to go month by month, but that seems like too much work at this juncture, so it's in no real order, just however blogger decided to download them. There are more under the cut, as always, and if you would like to order a print please contact me via the comments section and I can work with you.

Here's hoping 2016 sees even more beauty!

I am in this photo, but I set it up so it counts. This was taken the last night
Dean and Mary Nichols were here for a revival. I hadn't seen Dean since
2010, and he hadn't preached at First Baptist Kenai since 2006! It
was good having them "home" for a little while. I miss them!
This group is just a small representation of the youth group my dad led
while Dean was our pastor.

As I said in yesterday's post, my dad helped Kassy
coach TBall... as you can see, it wen't well.

Sushi was very happy to wear his 49ers Jersey
and pose with an "official" NFL Network Football.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Highlights of 2015

It's the final few days of 2015, where did the time go?! I swear I was just doing up my list of heartbreaking moments for my fangirl heart in 2014! I am not going with that theme this year, as I want to go with a more positive less crazy person theme. The social media group Bullies Keep Out tweeted this week for people to share their highlights of the year, I responded with one, but now I want to look back on the year at some of the BIG highlights as well as the small that meant something to me (mainly because when I responded I honestly was not able to think of anything which is ridiculous! 2015 was a big year).

January marked my 30th year on earth. I didn't do too much, but Kassy and Delaney bought me birthday donuts and sang (because Delaney demanded it) and Kassy took me to lunch. I spent the evening of my birthday "with Stephen Amell" as it was the return of Arrow from their holiday hiatus. January also marked some stupidly cold temps with no snow, but amazing sunrises and sunsets. You can find many of my pictures on my blog from last "winter". January ended with the amazing premiere of the History Channel's 6 hour mini series event "Sons of Liberty" that starred several of my favorite actors, and more that I would come to love after the show aired. Oh. My. Word. By far my favorite mini series EVER.
made by annieodaairs on tumblr.

February brought stupid weather that threatened to cancel the major dog sled races (like, oh, you know, the Quest and Iditarod), other races were cancelled (no Tustumena 200!). But we got a roadkill moose (not as redneck as it sounds, I promise) and when dad threw the bones in the backyard for the ravens and magpies to pick at we were visited by some much larger birds. Two eagles spent a week munching and crunching on carrion... and I managed to take many photos (way too many photos) and only ticked them off once or twice. The rest of the time I was busy focused on the upcoming Iditarod and whether or not it would start in Willow or if they'd have to move the race further north - if they could have it at all.

March is always one of my favorite months of the year, it's the Iditarod! The biggest race of the year for mushers, their dogs, and their fans. This year I was not blogging for the Seaveys, which meant I could have fun and follow the race and report on my blog because I wasn't busy moderating their pages. Also meant I could cheer for them and not just worry I sounded biased. I could also be critical of other teams if need be and it not be tied to them. I got to watch (via internet and tv, of course) Dallas Seavey win his 3rd title. But what was really the highlight was becoming part of that small group of bloggers and social media folk that cover the race. I was asked by Sofamushing based out of Europe to be a guest blogger, and the crazy duo of Dog Works Radio asked me to be a guest on their radio program to give my take on not only the race but on the way social media has connected the fans to the race in a way that no other medium has done previously. It was an honor and a lot of fun. Made the race that much more exciting for me as there was a new element to it for me!

March also saw a huge change in our family - my grandfather moved out of his house of 40 years. He has dementia and he needed more help, so we packed him up and he now lives with my uncle (he may be moving in with us soon, however). It was an emotional time, and the family was together which made it easier and harder all at the same time.

April once again brought a happy change to the family, mom and dad adopted their pug Sushi. He was about three years old and we were told he didn't like kids. Well, he doesn't like anyone or anything new - and it took him a long time before he liked me. He still has his moments of grumpy dog, but for the most part he is a hilarious addition to the Reitter household. And this dog LOVES wearing clothes. He's becoming a bit of a clothes horse. It's insane. But he's adorable, so it's okay.

May I was hired at Donna's Gift Shop in Soldotna. It was one of those jobs that falls into your lap. I made it through Christmas with them before deciding to take the job I have now. It definitely helped me get out from under a bit of a hole I'd gotten myself in, but it took a lot of time away from other pursuits like photography and it was putting wear and tear on my Exploder. Delaney invited me to her dance recital and I took pictures of that. It was the beginning of the busy season for the Peninsula. Full of fishing and summer fun.

June saw forest fires, one starting right where 2014's ended... another destroying the prime real estate of the Mushing Community of Willow. Communities rallied, the mushing community especially, and while many homes were devastated in Willow, they have rebuilt and carried on in true Alaskan fashion. Kassy talked my dad into helping her coach T-ball, so I spent a few nights taking pictures of the games for her... when I could get the time off. I also tried fitting in other summer activities. I DID get to go to the Iditarod BBQ with dad, and even while the fires raged further North of Wasilla, it was still a fantastic time. Even if dad embarrassed me (and I managed to embarrass myself).

June also brought with it the very best part of the summer for me. While shooting photos of the dogs and cats up for adoption at the Animal Shelter, I managed to get the first glimpse of a little black PUG DOG that they were getting ready to find a forever home. I fell in love. The little imp was skittish and hyper and I just felt like I needed him. A quick chat with mom and dad later and I was contacting the shelter saying "put him on hold, as soon as dad can get off work they're going to bring Sushi over and meet him". I was at work. Next thing I knew I was getting a message saying he was mine! I can't imagine life without him now... the only regret I have is naming him Stitch... names have power and he definitely personifies his name. He is a super naughty pup!

July was work, and fishing, and Conway Seavey's concert in the park... that I was only going to spend an hour at and then nope I stayed the whole time... which meant I left close to midnight... but I got some of the most amazing shots I've ever taken of Redoubt and the Kenai River. The prints are quite popular. I'm pretty proud of how they turned out. We also said goodbye to my aunt's black pug Bubba Jack the No Eyed ARRRRRctic Pug Pirate. The one we rescued when I still lived with her in Anchorage. We used to joke that he would outlive us all... and, well, he outlived all the dogs in our family.

August saw me getting a new car as the Exploder died on me early on in the summer (grrr). I ended up getting a Kia Sorrento and I absolutely love her. I've named her Miss Daisy (as that's what Donald Duck calls his boat). I was super busy with work and didn't get a lot of anything else done. It flew by, and I was looking forward to the idea of slowing down and getting into a routine, but that didn't happen. Oh well, I had a job, right?

September was work and football... I don't have much high or low lights for that month. Haha.

October through December was just one whirlwind of holidays and work and work and work... and then in November I was offered the job as Administrative Assistant for Liberty Tax in Kenai. This will help when Grandpa moves up early next year, as well as cuts down on gas. Every little bit helps.

I'm sure I'm missing some key points, but those are the big ones that stand out for now. Overall I think 2015 was a pretty nifty year... 30 wasn't so bad... now it's only year 31!

Sunrise photos on the Kenai River

On my way to work this morning I made a stop (good thing work is now just minutes from home) to take photos of the incredible sunrise we got to witness. I'd type more, but I'm tired and lazy and can't think of something to say... I'll let the photos do the talking (1000 words, ya know?).

As always, there are more under the cut.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas for the Reitter Pugs

Well, I did it again. I dressed up dogs for Christmas. We've found out in the last few months that Sushi LOVES to wear clothes. Like he gets super excited when the clothes come into view and he jumps right into them and shows off to anyone and everyone. It's pretty crazy and hilarious. Stitch, on the other hand, hates the ordeal and generally fights me to put it on (he also does this with his harness, he likes being naked). So for Christmas I decided Stitch would be Santa after I found the most adorable elf costume for Stitch! It was a pain trying to find a Santa outfit that fit Sushi, but I finally found one that was too big but worked.

Enjoy the photos, and I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

As always, there are more under the cut.

Some photos from December

December was busy, it started off with me house sitting while very sick with a major sinus infection/head cold... to then working literally every day through till Christmas. I don't know how people with 2 or more jobs do it. Holy cow, it kicked my butt. I had very little time to go out for pictures, or get ready for Christmas. December is normally one of my favorite times of the year, but retail quickly kills that spirit for me. I want to be able to savor the season... I knew I was going to have issues, but adding in Church commitments (that once again I took on too much and I got criticized for it) and then a second job just threw me over the edge.

Still I had a few opportunities to break out the camera - we got another road kill a week or so before Christmas, and dad threw the bones out into the backyard for the ravens and magpies to feast on... and just like this past spring, an Eagle showed up. It was definitely a different bird from the last time as this one was skittish and once I took his picture he hasn't been back. Bummer! They're such awesome creatures. I managed to snap a few photos before he flew away. Not as many as the ones that came last time, but a few.

Then, the Sunday before Christmas I was able to go out onto the Kenai River to shoot some Engagement/Family photos for a former coworker of mine and her fiance. SO much fun! I have definitely missed shooting. Hopefully I get to do more of it now that most of my day/evening isn't eaten up by going to work in Soldotna!

I managed to snap a few of the area I was shooting that day, too... I LOVE the Kenai River in every season.

Enjoy the photos.

There are more under the cut, as always...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Dates and links for the 2015-2016 Mushing Season

Dallas Seavey's team during Iditarod 43's ceremonial start in Anchorage, AK.

I've chosen to just link up to the "main races" in Alaska... I feel like I've missed one or two, so if you catch one I've missed please comment below and I will fix that problem!

Solstice 50
December 19, 2015

Website / Facebook

Knik 200

January 2, 2016
Website / Twitter / Facebook
Copper Basin 300
January 9, 2016
Website / Twitter / Facebook
Kuskokwim 300
January 15, 2016
Website / Twitter / Facebook
Gin Gin 200
January 22, 2016
Website / Facebook
Tustumena 200
January 30, 2016
Website / Twitter / Facebook

Denali Doubles
February 4, 2016
Website / Facebook
Yukon Quest
February 6, 2016
Website / Twitter / Facebook
Yukon 300
February 6, 2016
Website / Twitter / Facebook
Iditarod 44
March 5, 2016
Website / Twitter / Facebook
Kobuk 440
April 7, 2016
Website / Facebook

I don't know if I will have time to blog about the races this year or not, hope to. Iditarod, at least, will get my attention. Also the T200 - should the snow we have now grows/stays... no more cancellations! We need a real race season!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Lance Mackey to run in Iditarod 2016

Four time Iditarod Champion Lance Mackey made headlines yesterday when he announced on Facebook that he will run Iditarod 2016 if he can come up with the money to do so. Mackey is one of the most recognizable names in Iditarod history, as his story of overcoming adversity to win his 4 consecutive Iditarods resonates with people. Lance is part of a mushing dynasty with his father Dick and brother Rick also having won Iditarod titles - and his father was one of the original Iditarod mushers.

Mackey made headlines in the 2015 race when he had one of his worst races in recent memory, he was suffering from severe frostbite to his fingers and two of his dogs passed away on the trail. Lance gave an interview during the race saying he just couldn't do the race anymore. With the help of his brother, Jason, Lance Mackey and team made it to Nome, but everyone expected him to retire.

And retire he had, or so we all thought.

Mackey has been travelling to different film festivals this year, following along with the documentary about his life and racing entitled "The Great Alone." The film has been wildly accepted and won numerous awards, with Mackey making a quick trip to Hollywood earlier this month. It's no doubt that the story is more than one about a musher and dogs, it speaks to people in all walks of life. It's inspirational.

One has to wonder if it isn't what inspired Mackey to not hang it up just yet.

Where MY personal concern is, is Lance Mackey's health. I am not trying to suggest he is ill, or anything like that. I don't have insider knowledge or sources to suggest he isn't healthy. My concern is based solely on how he fared in the race this past March. Mackey was unable to handle the cold temperatures (a record bitter cold of -40+ in some parts of the trail), losing feeling and movement in his fingers meant he was slower to care for his team. Jason, his brother, scrapped his own race plan to run alongside his brother and help him get to Nome.

Mackey losing two dogs suddenly while running the trail caused concern as well. Necropsy reports could not provide a reason for their deaths. It was just quick onset death. This ruled out Lance's issues on the trail as being a factor in the cause of death. Most dog mushers suggested it could've been a defect in whatever line the litter was from. Speculation is all any one can do, the matter is closed, and Mackey - while devastated at the loss - moved on as best he could.

All of this prompted bloggers, fans, media, and other mushers alike to post their support and hope that Mackey would finish what they all declared his final race. Again - Lance himself also said it was most likely this last time he would run.

But I have to think that the documentary's success has Lance thinking differently. I haven't yet seen it, but it's heralded as being uplifting and inspiring. Fans have reached out to the musher all year hoping that he would run again. Lance looks better than he did all of last year leading up to the 2015 race. Things are looking up. That attitude alone no doubt has bolstered his drive to try again. Maybe this will be his final run, and he just wants to go out his way, or maybe that "I can't do it anymore" interview he gave to Iditarod Insider last year was just a man frustrated with how his race was going and he wanted to quit in the moment.

When Lance runs in March, I wish him the best. Hopefully the weather is kinder, and he can finish the race on his terms. But, I do hope that he takes last year's race into consideration when he assesses not only his team of 16 dogs... but of himself.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Yup... we have another Disney trip on the horizon!

Okay, so it's not *just* a Disney vacation. It's a family trip to the Southern West Coast of the US (Alaska being the Northern West Coast haha). Seriously though, we're planning an over two week trip that starts in Anaheim/SoCal and ends in Oregon. It's a combination of celebrating mom and dad's 35th wedding anniversary as well as visiting family close to the holidays.

To say I'm excited is an understatement. I know, it's 385 days away, but it's still fun to plan and dream and all that. As it looks now we have 4 full days of Disney fun planned. We'll be going in November so hopefully they'll have the Christmas Decor up (at least some of it) as that's what mom is hoping to see. She's seen the fall/Hallowe'en stuff, so now she wants to see Christmas. We haven't been to Disneyland since 1990 (as a family, I have obviously been multiple times since then). Dad was turned off to Disney parks after our three day trip to the park when I was 5. It was hot, I was cranky (spoiled brat, that's me), and mom didn't want me going on any of the big rides for fear I'd fall out. Lots of whining and arguing. Not his idea of fun.

But we took him to Disney World a couple of times and he's warmed up to the Disney Parks since 1990. With the addition of Carsland dad wants to go and check it out.

The itinerary is a work in progress, we still have to get dad's time off approved... but what we have planned:

Nov 11 - Fly ANC to SNA (John Wayne International Airport)
Nov 12 - Disney!
Nov 13 - Disney!
Nov 14 - Disney!
Nov 15 - Disney!
Nov 16 - Drive to Grass Valley, when in Sacramento eat at Jaime's Broadway Grille
Nov 17 - Girls Trip to San Francisco (take the long route and stop first in Santa Clara before hitting San Fran)
Nov 18 - Grass Valley
Nov 19 - Grass Valley
Nov 20 - Grass Valley
Nov 21 - Drive to Grants Pass
Nov 22 - Grants Pass
Nov 23 - Grants Pass
Nov 24 - Grants Pass (Thanksgiving)
Nov 25 - Fly PDX to ANC


Sunday, September 6, 2015

August flew by, September isn't slowing down!

I have been crazy busy this summer with work, photos, family, friends... I need to slow down but there seems to be no end in sight. It's getting more than a little draining on the nerves!

But with September comes the start of fall season TV premieres. I am SUPER STOKED for my shows this year. Arrow came out with their promo this past week and I got all fangirly, it looks like it's going to enter the season with a major BANG and the humor we've come to know and love is also present. I really hate that the CW shows aren't airing until October! I don't want to wait that long (one month to go... *sigh*).

Speaking of waiting. The Blacklist is also set to make its comeback in October. Originally set for the 24th the promos now say Oct 1. I am not happy about that - again, I do not like waiting - but the promos have been good - and they even gave us a half hour look at what's happened so far and what's coming up (and it's hosted by the most wonderful Ryan Eggold)!

The Big Bang Theory left us with a very big cliffhanger (no more SHAMY?!) and I cannot WAIT to find out just what the heck is going on (I mean the ring and the break?! seriously?!). It's also the only show of mine that begins in September. I just realized that. What the crap television executives?!

But really the only reason I even wanted to do a blog post at all tonight was GAME OF SILENCE FINALLY HAS A TRAILER! OMG! It's a mid-season show that still does not have an airdate (I've read sometime in January... I'd be okay with it airing on, oh, say, the 21st... heehee), but the cast started shooting in August and so there's been a lot of buzz in the fandom. *YAY SILENCERS!* I have to admit I had a lot of reservations about this show - mainly wondering if it would resonate with tv viewers, but the trailer has set most of those fears to rest. I really think this show will have staying power. 

CHECK IT OUT! (and once again MRJFanpage is awesome and has posted the vid to youtube!)

I still hate a certain actor's haircut, but I love him enough to not care too much. ;)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Shameless Plug - Because I can

So I've gotten a LOT of love and support over my latest series of photos (Midnight on the Kenai). I am SO SO SO humbled and grateful for the comments that I've received, some from photographers I've admired for YEARS. So thank you, everyone for your comments.

I've also been asked if one photo in particular is for sale - the Kenai Harbor at midnight shot is by far my most popular photo to date! And after a little work I HAVE gotten a few sizes and prices together and put them on my online store (provided by SQUARE)! I can take either local orders or add shipping and I can get that order to you.

These are JUST PRINTS. I don't have the ability to get professional frames and mats done for the order (as the only place I know I can trust here in Soldotna does charge a pretty penny and so it wouldn't be cost effective for anyone).

Anyway if you're interested you can CLICK ON THIS LINK to order the harbor photo (and later on I should have the Redoubt at Midnight photo as well).

Monday, July 13, 2015

Midnight on the Kenai in July.

I attended Conway Seavey's Concert in the Park on Saturday night. Show went from 8pm to midnight, and was really good! It's hard to think of the littlest Seavey as all grown up, but he is. If you were in the area and didn't go, you missed out on lovely weather and good entertainment.

But that's not what this post is about. I left around 11:30 (a whole 2 hours after I'd planned to leave as I had to be up early for church on Sunday), and on my way home noticed that the sky was bursting with patterns or light. So I pulled over when I got into Kenai and headed for the bluff to see what the river and inlet looked like.

I was not disappointed.

Even the dipnetter campsites were nice to photograph. It was the first weekend and the run isn't at its strongest, yet, so the beaches aren't as littered... yet. I expect that to change this week.

Anyway, here are my favorites from the other night. Love that midnight light!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Farewell, Bubba Jack.

I got the message from my aunt today, the little one-eyed (who soon after became no-eyed) black pug that Judy found out in the middle of the street passed over the Rainbow Bridge. We never did find out how old the guy was - but it was thought that he was at least as old as Yuka, maybe older. Originally the vet we took him to when we found him didn't expect the dog to last a week. Then it was 6 months, then it was 1-2 years. The dog lived nearly FIVE YEARS after we found him. He outlived so many dogs younger and healthier than he. We joked he would outlive us all.

He very nearly did!

Bubba Jack never let the fact that he was without eyes get him down. He had very few teeth but still played tug-o-war, popped the squeakers in every dog toy Judy could find, and was EXTREMELY sassy. He didn't need eyes to know when the bark at things (he didn't really need an excuse to bark). He LOVED Judy, so much so that that's how SHE ended up with him and not me.

Once Judy and Gaylord moved to California I didn't get to see him much, but we talked on the phone often. Yes, you read that right. I talked to a dog over the phone. He and I had some epic conversations. I'd talk, he'd bark... Judy would laugh and silently judge me. But it was always the highlight of the evening. He would keep me up on all the latest stuff going on, and how his sister ticked him off. He'd bark until he was tired of barking and then go to sleep. I will miss that.

Now he's off to the Rainbow Bridge to meet up with all those that went before him. He'll be able to see again, and maybe now Yuka and he will finally get to play together. Rest well, big guy. Marf loudly!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Dear visiting dipnetters

To the 10,000+ visitors headed down to the Kenai Peninsula this weekend to hit the mouth of the Kenai River and dipnet for red salmon to stock their freezers I have one request - please be respectful. I know, it's the biggest party of the summer for a lot of you. Camping on the beach, there's ample opportunity to drink too much and play a little too loud. Most weekends, that works out great, but when you look at the sheer size of the camping group it becomes dangerous.

So, please, be respectful. Pick up after yourself, catch and kill what you are legally allowed to - don't practice sadism by catching other types of fish and torture it before throwing its corpse back in the water. Keep the crime in your city of Anchorage, don't bring it with you. Kenai has it's own share of delinquents, we don't need the big city's problems as well. So if you feel like you need to have a knife fight, take it home. You're here to fish to supposedly provide for your family, keep that as the only priority.

I know it's hard to use common sense when you're cold, tired, maybe drunk or hung over, but don't go out farther than you need to. Trying to wade into the middle of the mouth of the river will not ensure you catching more fish. News flash, they typically run closer to shore. Our first responders are too busy dealing with knife fights and drunk and disorderly - they can't be floating up and down the water 24/7 to rescue your butt.

With that in mind, don't overload your boat and swamp it. You lose everything, a lot of waste happens, and it's expensive for our town to rescue your butt.

Take your time getting here. I know, I know, the best camping spots go early - but if you're traveling this weekend to get here I hate to break it to you: they're already taken. I was down at the beach the other day and folks are already parked and camped. Sorry, you're too late. So stop playing chicken on an already overly dangerous road system. There are 10,000 of you coming this way, you want to get here, right? So take it slow, give other drivers their space, and enjoy the drive. It should be the least stressful part of your dipnet experience.

When you get to town, don't treat it like a Tickle-Me-Elmo sale on Black Friday. No fights need to happen in the checkout line because the last case of Miller Light, or the last bag of Doritos was taken right out from under you. If you HAVE to have the "fun stuff" bring it from home where your big city has several major box stores that have shipments almost daily. We don't.

Yes, I know we know you're coming. Yes, I know we can be prepared. We are, but it seems like you come in like locusts taking everything! It looks like a warzone in Fred Meyers the entire month of July. That isn't us, that's you. We do our best to host you, try and be a nice guest for a change.

Speaking of locusts, we have tried very hard to accommodate your camping needs, you food needs, your walking needs. Follow the signs. Don't destroy a VERY DELICATE ecosystem just because you can. You don't have to live with the consequences, we do. Maybe if your property taxes went up each year to deal with the extra cost of taking care of the mess you'd think differently - but, then again, I doubt it.

Take your limit and leave. Yes, we see you - taking a few extra. Or worse those groups - who I won't describe for fear of the PC police coming down on me - that get dozens of extras to use in their family owned restaurants. Uh-uh. That's not what Subsistence fishing is. This is a PERSONAL USE thing. You want to sell the fish or cook it up for pay? Yeah, you need to go to the COMMERCIAL FISHERIES. We have several in our area you can go and pick up from.

I know, I come off as sounding crazy angry. It's not just because my 20 minute commute will double for the next three weeks. It's not because I can't use the beach in relative quiet. It's just that this has gotten ridiculously out of hand in the last few years. Yes, I know it's not JUST people from Anchorage - the locals get nutso, too. And trust me, I rant about our issues just as much. But TEN THOUSAND extra potential problems arise when you arrive. So PLEASE, for the love of all things holy, BE RESPECTFUL. Let's make this a positive experience this year. If you promise to play nice, I promise not to rant about you next year.

"They're like locusts... After they've consumed every natural resource they move on..." - President Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman, Independence Day)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Pug photo fun!

Took these photos of the boys a few days ago. Stitch is not a fan of the noises that the camera makes so he spent most of the time barking. Such a booger. We're working through getting him to settle down and not be such a timid little dude around any noise. He's very naughty in other ways - gets into EVERYthing - but noises scare the bejeepers out of him. We're also working on obedience training but this boy is STUBBORN. I was very spoiled having Yuka from such a young age, as stubborn and naughty as she was she was incredibly smart and learned commands quickly. It's a slower process with Stitch. Right now we're working on sit and come. Neither which is working out too well. Even with super yummy treats. Oy.

Anyway, here are Sushi and Stitch from July 3. I'll have to get more pictures soon.

30 Days of Television: Day 19

Best television cast

I may not watch the show anymore, but I still ADORE the cast of Once Upon A Time - past and present. They are just a great group of people, so giving to the fandom (even now that it is insane and full of hate). They seem to genuinely care about each other in almost a family sort of way, supporting each other throughout the year in all of their endeavors and giving shout outs and encouragement.

Sure, the show is corny and sometimes some of them overact to the point of bllllaaaahhhh, but they all fit their characters (seriously can anyone think of anyone better to play any of the characters?!). The men are ridiculously attractive - Captain Hook never looked so good - the women [used to] kick major booty. All seem to have a *wicked* sense of humor when it comes to the ridiculous storylines (and family tree).

They all love what they do, they aren't taking life so seriously. Team 7 reaches out and engages and encourages fans (Gabe Kouth is my favorite on instagram, Michael Coleman is king on Twitter).

I could've gone with Arrow, or MASH, as they definitely round out the top three on my list. But ultimately it's the cast of OUAT that won out - because I can't think of a single cast member I don't like. They're all amazing and perfect for who they play. So... they win.

(and really SDCC in 2013 wins all kinds of everything.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

30 Days of Television: Day 18

Favorite Opening Sequence

This is another hard one only because honestly I don't really think any are overly amazing. But, my friends and family can tell you that I used to rock the crap out of the CSI opening. I mean it's "Who Are You" by The Who - how do you NOT rock out to that?! The clips they used were always in time with the music (golf club to the mannequin head, anyone?), though I honestly haven't watched that closely since William Peterson left the show (I rarely watched after that, and I didn't even watch the latest season they finished this year when Nick left! WHAT?!)

I used to sing along with the opening - sad, I know - we've recently started rewatching CSI from the beginning thanks to it being on Hulu... dad wonders why I don't sing. I'm over it... I'm 30, dang it, time to be a little mature... maybe...

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

30 Days of Television: Day 17

Favorite Miniseries

This really should come as no surprise as all last year (well from June through January of this year) I talked a lot about the Sons of Liberty miniseries that the History Channel created based on the events in Boston that led to the Continental Congress to declare their independence from Great Britain. (Wow that was a long run on sentence. Whoops!) It starred two of my favorite TV actors (Michael Raymond-James and Ryan Eggold), and it's about American history. I was stoked and counted down to the premiere (and was so sad when they moved it from December to January).

I was not disappointed. The miniseries - for what it was - was fantastic. It was NOT to be taken as an accurate portrayal of what happened, it was more to get people interested in finding out who these men were. It was a three night action packed adventure. It left little room to breathe through much of it. It made these stuffy looking portraits come to life. Sure, they made some of them younger and more agile than they were. Sure, they used rumor and innuendo to make the slow parts more interesting. Sure, Paul Revere wasn't in every major battle and political scene (he'd have to be in two or three places at once!). Doesn't matter, it was fun exciting and did exactly what History set out to do! People were talking, researching, and some even complained that they didn't stick closer to the actual history.

I came away with new appreciation for Ryan and Michael, and better still found several new favorite actors (serious Rafe Spall is amazing). For the most part I think all of the actors were type cast (a lot of character actors made up the cast) but at the same time each roll fit so well. Michael was basically a smart@$$ every night who got to kick major butt. Ryan Eggold was the tragic hero, while Rafe Spall was the um... eccentric one. Ben Barnes was the eye candy leading man...

You can read my reviews if you want to get a better idea of the series. But it's really good, and I am the proud owner of the series on BluRay. With the 4th of July coming up this weekend I plan on adding Sons of Liberty to the "must watch" list to gear up for the big day. Oh, and Canada got it right, their history channel will premiere the series on July 4th. VERY APPROPRIATE, neighbors, eh!

ohtauriells on tumblr

Monday, June 29, 2015

30 Days of Television: Day 16

Your guilty pleasure show

Okay, okay... I'm the first one to say soap operas are junk and not worth watching - but, in my defense, Reign is not considered part of that genre. It just plays out like one. The people are pretty, the dialogue is decent enough. I like that it's historical fiction (it's about Mary Queen of Scots and her husband King Francis however it doesn't play out like the real history at all). I think what most drew me to it originally were the costumes... and then Torrance Coombs came on the screen and, well, yeah.

I haven't really liked how the second season played out - not only was it more soap opera drama than anyone really needed - I didn't like the whole Mary able to jump from one guy to the other after being raped. I mean, seriously, be mad at your idiot husband (really dude you were worried Mary would be killed because you offed your daddy? how pathetic are you?!) for failing to protect you because he was out protecting himself, but it makes no sense to get into bed with a man who could literally end your life if he decided to make a run for the crown.

They even ruined Bash and Kenna's relationship for God knows what reason. I really LOVED the courtship they were working on in season 1 after they were forced to wed. It was a far more intriguing storyline than them both cheating on each other because they don't have anything in common. Kind of ridiculous.

And the first half of season 2 where Catherine was going nuts was pretty annoying, too. Honestly I'm surprised the ratings stayed up enough for a third season - I hope they can fix the mistakes of the past season. Though I really am not holding my breath. This is a primetime soap, afterall...

But it's still my guilty pleasure. And I still have hope for Francis and Mary to work things out (Frary forever!)... you know, before the inevitable happens and he dies... because he did leave her a widow in the real history...

Picnic marks start of Iditarod 44, 62 mushers sign up first day

Dad and I got up somewhat early Saturday to make the four hour drive to Wasilla for the Iditarod volunteer picnic that happens the last Saturday in June every year. It's a way for the Iditarod to thank the many volunteers that help the race run smoothly, and is also serves as the ITC annual board meeting/voting and is the first day mushers can sign up for the next year's race. The Iditarod Teachers conference also attends so fans/volunteers/teachers all mingle with the mushers (past, present and future). It's low key, but still a nice way to connect and reconnect when it's hopefully not so cold and you can actually see faces without a parka hood.

This was my dad's first picnic, and he didn't take long to go around and embarrass me by talking about me to people I know or admire, but I should be used to that by now, right? The picnic's attendance seemed lower to me than in years past, but with the fires all over the state that was kind of expected. According to the Iditarod's press release after the event, 37 mushers were at Headquarters to personally sign up, another 25 signed up via mail. There are 5 Iditarod champions already in the mix (Both Seaveys, Martin Buser, Jeff King, and Robert Sorlie) as well as 10 rookies.

The picnic was catered by Golden Corral a loyal sponsor of the Last Great Race - they had pulled pork and all types of picnic goodies. PenAir (another awesome sponsor) flew in Bristol Bay salmon that was the hit of the day for many. The weather played nice as it was overcast but incredibly warm, and the bugs stayed away for most of the day. During the door prizes they announced they still had quite a few volunteer tshirts that they were going to give away - so I'm the proud owner of one - and that sent dad in full on autograph mode. Once again my dad never fails to embarrass, but as I told him - after he dies I get the shirt so in that way I guess I win! ;)

The Redingtons were out and about running the regular tours (as they still have tourists stopping by to learn about the race and the dogs) and a sign was posted saying all proceeds from the tours Saturday would go to the Willow Dog Mushers Association's fund to help the mushers who lost their homes in the Sockeye River Fire! The volunteer sign in area also had a box collecting monetary donations for the WDMA fund. One generous donor took their winnings from a raffle (4-5,000$ worth) and donated it to the fund. It was a good day to show support and solidarity.

The mushers and volunteers soon mingled into their typical groups and swapped stories of the trail, of the fires, and their summer activities. Mushers kids also grouped up and played and charmed their way into whatever it was they needed. Volunteers and teachers searched out autographs and listened and hoped for their number was called so they could win a door prize (I won a tshirt). Overall just a really successful event for the Iditarod.

The press release to read the list of the first 62 mushers to sign up (as well as the order they will draw for their bib numbers during the musher's banquet next year) you can click the link here.

I should be nice to my dad and say that he wasn't the only one embarrassing me... I did it to myself. We sat at Paul Gebhardt's table while eating and we weren't really a part of his conversation, but I always love listening to mushers talk shop so I was eavesdropping. Paul had mentioned DeeDee Jonrowe had been there earlier that morning and signed up but had left before the picnic began (with everything that happened during the fire, I can imagine she didn't want to be overwhelmed). A fan came up with Jeff Schultz's book "Chasing Dogs" (fantastic book, FYI) and asked Paul if he was in it - I had to chuckle at that, of COURSE he is, he's one of the more recognizable mushers racing! - and he said he didn't doubt he was. So she asked him if she knew what page he was on, and he said no. I jumped into the conversation and jokingly said "page 112" - the woman's husband was all "she said 112!" so I had to explain I really had no idea I was just making it up. Paul started turning pages and said something like "well, let's take a look anyway," sure enough he IS on page 112. I swear I am NOT a stalker - well, not much of one anyway - but everyone at the table had a good laugh and I was beet red for a good long while.

The big question I've seen since Saturday is where is Kristy Berington. The Berington twins normally run races together, but lately Anna's been on her own - this mushing season will follow suit. Talking with Anna Saturday she revealed the plan is for Kristy to run the Yukon Quest. Anna made a joke about her sister ditching her, but says it will be an interesting and new experience since she's never run the Iditarod without Kristy (whereas Kristy has run it without Anna). Things could change, Anna said, but that's the plan for now.

And, yes, I did take a few pictures...

The Mushin Mortician, Scott Janssen and wife Debbie
chatting with Paul Gebhardt while Scott fills out paperwork
to enter Iditarod 44.
There are more photos under the tag. To see them: 

Friday, June 26, 2015

30 Days of Television: Day 15

Favorite Female Character

This one was a little trickier than favorite male character. I have a lot of favorite male characters, but the ladies don't do a lot for me. I don't know if it's the way they are portrayed on TV, or if the shows I watch are generally more male centric in storyline... or a combo of that and more. I find most female characters annoying, or the actresses bug me... or I start out liking them and then they change up the character a little too much and I'm over it (Emma Swan comes to mind for that last one). So I had to actually think about it and it came down to two characters who I do truly love and look forward to seeing each week when their shows air... Felicity Smoak (Arrow) and the character I chose for this prompt Bernadette (The Big Bang Theory).

Bernadette reminds me a lot of one of my cousins (and I really have no idea why other than the hair and when she wears her glasses!), and I LOVE her attitude. She can be super sweet, naive, and yet she's a spitfire who's really a whole lot wiser than the boys give her credit for. She is freaking hysterical! I love how she can go from calm, cool and collected to super angry in the blink of an eye (and she typically has ever reason to do it!)

I don't understand her attraction to Howard, but even that gives a lot of good laughs - and she really helped with his maturing into a semi decent character in later seasons. I find myself quoting her A LOT (especially the Disneyland episode. "It was my idea, I'm driving, I get to be Cinderella - you b*tches got a problem with that we can stop the car RIGHT now.") and no matter how many times I watch an episode she never fails to make me laugh.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Experiment 626: Stitch The Pug!!!

Life has been busy in the last 7 days or so. Work, life... and pugs.

That's right, I've added a black pug to the family. I named him Experiment 626 and we call him Stitch. Lilo & Stitch has always reminded me of pugs because pug puppies are pretty much identical to that crazy little alien. It all started when I was at the shelter to take photos of the new animals up for adoption. Stacie mentioned that one was a black pug - the one that had just come in the week prior when I was taking pictures.

He was the first one she brought out to get pictures and I was instantly in love. He was untrained with the leash, and wouldn't come for anything, but I loved him. How anyone could just let him run off and not go looking for him is beyond me. He was so funny!

I finished the photo work, came home and told mom about the little black pug with the bowed front legs and said I wanted him. She called dad and asked if he thought Sushi (their pug) would be okay with a playmate. Dad said send pictures. The rest is history.

He's been with us since Friday and he has settled right in. The first couple of days were rough as he didn't want to come to anyone, but the last couple he's snuggled right in on my lap or mom's. He had to have his manhood removed so he's had a lot of kennel time as he's young and doesn't understand "be still". But we've let him have the run of the house the last day or so and he's doing pretty well. No accidents!

He has had NO training that I can tell, so my work is cut out for me. But I LOVE this little boy big time. And he definitely lives up to his name!

30 Days of Television: Day 14

Favorite Male Character

I could list a ton of favorite Male Characters (Hawkeye Pearce, BJ Hunnicutt, Neal Cassidy, Captain Hook, Jefferson, Archie, Britt Pollack, Nick Stokes, Tom Keen, John Diggle, Tommy Merlyn, Barry Allen, the list goes on... and on...) and on any given day any one of those characters is my all time favorite character. It really all depends on my mood.

But consistently at the top of the list is Matthew Perry's character from FRIENDS, Chandler Bing. I identify so much with him. I mean in a lot of ways I am more a combination of Monica and Rachel (a control freak spoiled girl), but I feel more like Chandler (socially awkward, always with a sarcastic comment, and the more mature one of my bff duo). I've even been mistaken as gay, so... I mean. Could I BE more Chandler?! Maybe if I was a dude?!

For the ten seasons of Friends, we got to see Chandler mature from the dorky best friend into leading man material. He is the rock for Monica in later seasons - especially once they go through their journey to adopt. Perry went from loveable goofball to a serious actor in the later seasons - though it's evident he feels more comfortable in the comedic roles (he's currently starring in the tv remake of the Odd Couple as Oscar).

Over the years Erin and I both have felt that we are our own version of Joey (her) and Chandler (me). We have conversations so similar to what they did on the show ("I'm aware we're not gay puppets!"). Random adventures, road trips from Hell, we even did maps of Disney one year like Joey did of London ("oh what the hell is that?" "that's london baby!"). We use their catch phrases (though "London Baby" has turned into "Disney Baby!").

Chandler was a big part of my life in college. Sad, but true. I guess it's only fitting he be my favorite all time character.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

30 Days of Television: Day 13

Favorite childhood show

Woo-oo! What kid of the 80s/90s didn't LOVE this show? I watched it EVERY weekday, I LIVED for the new episodes. I own ALL of them on DVD now - because, let's face it, they are a CLASSIC SHOW. Disney has plans to remake it and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I'm not a fan of their Disney Jr. computer animation at all, so I don't have high expectations that Ducktales won't be destroyed by poorly done computer graphics.

I have always loved Donald Duck, that's no secret, I can't remember a time that Donald wasn't my go to character of the Fab Five. So the look into his crazy extended family works right into my fangirling from a young age. I loved Huey, Dewey and Louie. And I ADORE Uncle Scrooge. Launchpad and Doofus were loveable bumblers... and I never did figure if Gyro was male or female.

Their show's theme song is definite a top 10 all time best. It's on my iPod, that's how much I love the song/show. The 80s/90s were the best years for tv for kids. Disney had great shows. DuckTales, Gummy Bears, TaleSpin, Darkwing Duck, My Little Pony, Care Bears (okay the last two I'm not sure count as Disney)... good times. good times.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

How you can help the mushers of the Sockeye Fire.

Willow, Alaska is the unofficial mushing capital of the world. Over 5,000 sled dogs reside in the small Alaskan community. It's a tightknit group of folks devoted to their dogs, and the throwback way of Alaskan life. They really are the epitome of the Alaskan spirit. So when the Sockeye Fire started this past weekend, the mushing community watched in horror as it threatened the lives and livelihood of so many. Thankfully no human life has been lost, and very few dogs have perished.

Reports came in chaotically at first, but now with people on the ground able to confirm what was suspected (or disprove it!) we now have a better picture of who and what needs help. Several mushers are known to have lost everything, including the Jonrowes, Jan Steves & Bob Chlupach, and the Highs (who lost their home in December to a fire and were on their way to rebuilding when the wildfire came through).

Mushing is not a glamorous or lucrative sport. Those saying these people make millions off of the backs of animals are deluded liars. There is no money in dogs. Yes, some get big sponsors, but even that just basically pays the dog food bill. Keeping a house and property means long hours working a job not in the mushing world (for most), and then coming home to take care and train dogs. Some can make the two work as one, but not most. They often have to rely on the income of a spouse/partner to keep everything afloat and have a helping hand to care for the team.

So what can we do to help? Many have been asking what the next step is - once the fire is taken care of the victims are returning to scorched land and painful reminders of what they've lost. There are several ways to help that are legit sources.

The Willow Dog Musher Association has partnered with the Northwest Sled Dog Association to set up a link where folks can donate. WDMA has stated that once things quiet down and the board can meet they will decide how to divvy up the funds. Nearly $12.5k has been donated so far. You can donate by going to this link here. Remember, no donation is too small, every little bit helps! If you don't want to donate online the WDMA posted this today on their facebook page:
We have received many messages asking if there is some other way to donate than the fund with the Northwest Sled Dog Association. Of course. You may send a check made out to WDMA, PO Box 858, Willow, AK 99688. Please write in the memo area: fire relief fund. Once things settle down, the WDMA board will discuss how to distribute funds and help as many as possible. Thank you all so much for caring! Any help is deeply appreciated.

Martin Buser's Happy Trails Kennel in Big Lake has become a refugee camp of sorts for mushers displaced by the fire. The Highs and Jonrowes are there as well as mushers unknown by Iditarod fans - and some Buser didn't even know until the fire. Buser and his wife have been keeping fans updated with ways to help on their facebook page since the fire began. They are working tirelessly to organize donations and support. The needs are always changing, and they are good to keep the info current. They are good on dog food, but the needs at the kennel are as follows:
6 ft tall CHAIN LINK Fencing. Most mushers we've talked to know they will need to rebuild puppy and dog pens. If you would like to make a donation of 6 ft chain link fence, we can store it at Happy Trails. or send gift certificates to a place that sells chain link.
The Busers are also taking up donations to specific mushers:
Musher Name
C/O Happy Trails Kennel
PO Box 520997
Big Lake, AK.
Make donation checks to the specific musher name and we will see that they get it. Please do not make checks to Happy Trails or Martin Buser. Besides Jaimee and Justin and Deedee, we know Bob Chlupatch/Jan Steves and Sue Firmin lost everything. We will continue to post names and addresses as they become available.

For The Jonrowes you can send checks to this address:
For donations (checks or gift cards to Lowe's, Home Depot, Fred Meyer, WAlMart)
Deedee and Mike Jonrowe
PO Box 272
Willow, AK 99688

For The Highs you can send checks to this address:
(checks or gift cards to Lowe's, Home Depot, Fred Meyer, WAlMart)
to Jaime and Justin High
PO Box 1096
Willow, AK 99688

Underdog Feeds in Willow has also created a refugee camp of sorts for the sled dogs and mushers displaced by the fire.They are working in conjunction with the WDMA to take donations for the mushers. On their facebook page they've also been posting the needs of those they are directly helping. Yesterday they were asking for tarps, but that post is now gone so I assume they are all good there for the moment. To donate thru them the info is as follows:
Underdog Feeds is accepting cash or credit card donations in person or by phone for those affected by the ‪#‎SockeyeFire‬. The fund will be managed by the Willow Dog Mushers Association. The store # is (907)373 6851. We are very busy at this time, so thank you in advance for your patience in trying to reach us.

These are just a few of the legit ways you can help the mushers get back on their feet. As the week goes on I'm sure we'll find out about other needs and ways to help. Please be aware that there are scammers currently working the phones trying to get people's account and credit card information over the phone. NO ONE WILL CALL soliciting donations on behalf of the fire victims. So far people are reporting the scammers as saying they're calling on behalf of the State Troopers or GCI. GCI IS taking up donations for those displaced as well as the firefighting crews (of both the Sockeye and Card Street fires) but they are NOT calling for money donations over the phone. NEVER give out your information to unsolicited callers.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wildfire in Sterling - here we go again!

This week has been one of a lot of sun and HOT weather. Unusually hot for our area of Alaska. We rarely get into the 80s and yet we're going to hit them all this week. It's dry, hot, not humid... it's the perfect combination for fire...

... and we have one.

Around 1:30 yesterday a fire started basically where the Funny River Fire last year ended. It's threatening the homes and cabins of several friends of mine - as well as an Iditarod Champion's kennel (though the Sterling Highway is so far keeping the fire from them). When I went to bed last night the estimated damage was at 640 acres, I woke up and that number is nearly doubled now at 1,200 acres. Thankfully the winds for us are not as bad as last year (or up in the Mat-Su area where the Sockeye River Fire has consumed over 8,500 acres in the Willow area and destroyed countless homes and kennels).

There are three major fires in the South Central region, and resources were all pointed at the Willow fire until last night. We still don't have the majority of help for our fire as the Willow fire is larger, uncontained, and threatening more residences. Unlike last year - homes have already been destroyed in the Card Street Fire in Sterling. Cabins, too, on the river were damaged or destroyed. Some had to evacuate by boat as the road was impassible at one point.

Two time Iditarod Champion Mitch Seavey and his family are on heightened alert as the fire is just across the highway from their Sterling home and kennel. Conway posted photos on his facebook page throughout the night as he and friends helped people in line of the fire evacuate. Team Seavey reported they have plans A, B, and C in place should they need to pack up and get out of there, but so far the fire is moving in the opposite direction of where they are. So far. All it takes is a wind change.

Meanwhile, three time Iditarod Champion Dallas Seavey lives in Willow and is keeping an eye on that fire. The fire is just a few miles south of his home and kennel, and so far is moving in the opposite direction keeping his family and dogs safe. For now. But, again, all it takes is a wind change.

Other mushers in Willow have not been as fortunate, several - including DeeDee Jonrowe - have reported their homes and kennels as a total loss. Many have sought refuge at Martin Buser's Happy Trails Kennel in Big Lake. Nearly 20 years ago Buser was the one watching his livelihood and team threatened by a massive fire, so he's giving back and offering a place for dogs and mushers alike this time around.

There's no end in sight for either fire. Keep the responders in your prayers as well as those whose homes have been lost or are in harms way. Pray for rain. We need it. Just like last year, this is a devastating thing to have happen to our communities.

Smoke billows behind the Soldotna Forestry June 15, 2015.

Smoke column from the Card Street Fire could be seen
all throughout Soldotna, Alaska June 15, 2015.

Sterling Elem. was the site used for evacuees, but no one
opted to stay at the site. At time of photo 640 acres had
been burned. June 15, 2015

Sunday, June 14, 2015

30 Days of Television - Day 12

An episode you've watched more than 5 times.

I've probably seen every episode of Terriers more than five times, but I'll go with my favorite episode - "Sins of the Past" for this one. The episode does a great job of paralleling Britt and Hank's present with their past. Only instead of Hank spiraling out of control he's coming out of the shadows... and Britt's the one spiraling. It's smartly written and well acted. We get a glimpse as to how Britt and Hank met, with Hank giving Britt a break on his b&e.

Meanwhile in the present, we see Britt deal with the aftermath of finding out Katie's cheated on him (and his breaking up with her and moving out). He doesn't deal with it well. He finds himself in some very hot water by the end of the episode. At the end the bffs are at odds when Hank reveals to Britt that he's known all along that Katie had cheated, and he even knows who she did it with. I can kinda feel where Britt's coming from. It's a very well played out set of scenes and all I can say is MRJ plays pissed off extremely convincingly (I mean that's pretty much why he gets hired for the roles he gets, right? When he's not there to die, at least.)

The episode also sets up the show for the next three that would ultimately end the series. Though not planned as a series finale, episode 13 ends with Britt taking responsibility for the sins of the very recent past. It's a great way to end on a cliffhanger for a second season - or give the viewer the option of deciding how things played out after the show ended. But I digress, that's not what this prompt is about.

Sadly none of the scenes from Terriers are on youtube (probably thanks to the youtube police), but it's on Netflix, so take the time and watch the 13 episode series. It's a great show. Really wish they could do a tv movie or something just to give us more Hank and Britt.