Posts

Showing posts from 2010

Next Adventure...

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12/15/10

Hello cyber friends, travel enthusiasts, and friends and family (let's be honest the latter are really the only ones reading this...but I'll take it!) Some of you are already privy to this information, you must be in the inner circle (ha!), for everyone else, here it goes...do you feel the suspense building?!

For our next adventure we are traveling to...


OKINAWA!!!!!!
I couldn't be more excited for the trip! I absolutely love Japan, and am thrilled that I'm getting the opportunity to explore another portion of it (and of course, eat my way through it!)
I depart 1/8 for the long voyage over! I'm sure this will be an adventure, especially since I have to get a rental car (I've never driven on the "wrong" side before). I hope to not take off any mirrors and if I do, I hope that it's less than 5 during my stay there :) I hear it's a common thing (Shannon, you're familiar with this right, oh wait, this was in the States and you were drivi…

Northern Lights

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12/13/10

It has been my goal since learning about my assignment in Fairbanks to see the Northern Lights. It's supposed to be one of the best places to see them, with some of the most brilliant displays in the world. Hm. I've seen more of the Northern Lights in Massachusetts than I have here in Fairbanks. True story. We saw them once as a kid over the golf course behind our house. I digress. Northern Lights in Fairbanks. I have literally been watching the "Aurora Forecast" like a hawk, going out each and every night and early in the morning to try to catch a glimpse. To be honest I feel like those people on storm chasers, with much less success obviously! Day in, day out, NOTHING! Although, last Thursday, I do believe I caught a glimpse of what was the Northern Lights on my way to work but it was so cloudy that the clouds covered a lot of it, so, it also could have been the lights reflecting on the clouds, however someone did say they were out that day. Who knows. It&#…

Pineapple Cookies

12/11/10

Tis the season for holiday baking and festivities in the workplace. I tried something completely new and was insanely impressed. Just hearing the name kind of made me cringe, and I didn't have high hopes for it, but I assure you this recipe is a COMPLETE score and will become a favorite, oh, and it's simple!

Pineapple Cookies
J (Fairbanks, AK  2010)


Take your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipein the place of chocolate chips, use 1 can of drained pineapple (diced or crushed). Everything else stays the same in the recipe.Voila, you're finished. See. Simple!

Books Read: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk Water for Elephants

Pray for wings

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11/26/10

I've been meaning to take a picture and post this since, well, around the first month of being in Alaska. Finally got around to it today. Today's WTF Alaska is brought to you in the form of a photograph...

WTF Alaska
Pray for wings

Thanksgiving Away

11/26/10

Since leaving for college decades ago (at least that's what it feels like!) I've grown accustomed to some Holiday's away. And, this might come as a surprise, but I kind of like it! Perhaps these holiday's away have turned me into a bit of an anti-social, but I kind of like that too! Fact is, holidays usually bring way too much eating, some family bickering, more eating and gluttonous behavior, and a side order of sleep. Perhaps my non-traditional holiday isn't everyone's ideal, but I will tell you that I rather enjoyed myself. Yes I missed my family (that includes the surrogate family who has taken me in for years and years of Thanksgivings since I have lived in St Louis) but here's the upside; I didn't over eat (well maybe a few too many bites of popcorn at one of the two movies that I enjoyed), there was absolutely no family bickering (I had lovely conversations with all family members, let them know I was thinking of them, missed them, you k…

Norwegian Almond Cake

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11/21/10


Norwegian Almond Cake       B.A., Fairbanks, AK (2010)
1 ¼ Cup sugar (I use C&H brand Baker’s sugar-comes in a square half-gallon carton, like a milk carton)1 egg1 ½ tsp. pure almond extract2/3 Cup milk (I use whole milk)(Mix the first 3 ingredients well, then add milk. I use electric mixer at low speed)
Now add: 1 ¼ Cup flour (be sure to tap measuring cup and even out with knife-I use a large cup of four and sugar)½ tsp. baking powder1 cube melted margarine (not butter!) (I used Imperial brand margarine)(Mix well)
Directions:
Pour slowing into a six cup Bundt cake pan that has been sprayed with Pam cooking spray that already has the flour in it (I sprinkle some sliced almonds-crushed-on the bottom of the pan after spraying, before pouring the batter in)
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes (ovens vary)
After cake is cooled enough (20-30 mins), turn it out onto a serving plate and sprinkle powdered sugar on top
Serve plain or wi…

Frigid but beautiful

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Spanish Tortilla

11/10/10

To start off my recipes from around the world I'm going to use an oldie but a goody. I got this recipe from one of my roommates when I lived in Barcelona. This is a Spanish staple, and not necessarily for breakfast (although it's a fantastic breakfast item). The great thing about this recipe is that you can add almost anything into your tortilla. Once I really learned to make one of these well, I tested out different combinations of ingredients and really found several to my liking, but the potato, onion, and egg are the base for building the perfect tortilla. Enjoy!


Spanish Tortilla

Potatoes, peeled and sliced thin Onions diced Scramble eggs (but don’t cook yet) and set aside (amount dependant on number eating)
In olive oil in a pan (lots of it) fry the potatoes, after a few minutes add the onions. Remove the potato/onion mixture from the oil and put into the bowl with the scrambled (uncooked eggs) In a pan pour the mixture, cook for a little while careful not to burn the b…

I'm going Native!

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11/7/10

So I finally took the plunge and made a big purchase for myself. You might be thinking house, car, etc...Native Handicrafts people! I have been eyeing the Athabascan hand beaded gloves since I arrived in Alaska, they are seriously amazing, and can't be fully appreciated until they are seen in person! Well today I finally rewarded my desires and made the big purchase...it is quite a big purchase I assure you (slightly less than a car or house, but pretty steep for a pair of gloves) none the less, these are some snazzy gloves, and a perfecto souvenir to take home from AK!

I can't say enough about the native beadwork. I mean, seriously. This is all hand done, not shipped out to China and mass manufactured by under (or un) paid young children. The gloves also have fur around the beadwork (sorry PETA)...it's of the Beaver variety, which happens to be what most of their gloves/slippers are made of (that and seal).  After today my bank account definitely needs some R&…

I think I love Russia

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11/6/10

I promise this isn't about how I can see Russia from my house/hotel/corporate housing...Oh no this is far better. Earlier this week I had a conversation with my mom about how I wanted to go to Russia (she went there back in her hippie days...sorry mom I outed you for being a hippie!!) and how fantastic it would be. Fast forward a few days.

I went to the UAF Women's Bazaar (I've never been to so many bazaars in such a short time frame) today. I don't know how many vendors there were, but none of that is important besides the one vendor that will be ensuring I leave Alaska at least 5 sizes larger and bursting out of my clothes. The Russian Baker. I remember seeing her in the summer (aka August) at the Farmer's Market and even purchased some apple bread from her there, but what I discovered today is beyond words. First is the Russian Lemon Cake, an amazing combination of lemon custard filling, powdered sugar top, and some sort of flakey crust that is out of thi…

What a lovely piece of ivory...

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10/22/10

So it's been a while since my last post, but this one promises to be nothing short of entertaining! I apologize in advance for the mix of information that you are about to consume. I'll refer to this post as ambrosia...no one really knows what all the ingredients are, but there sure are a lot of them...kind of what this post will be like!

On to my favorite...I don't know if that's really the best choice of words but hey

AFN (Alaska Federation of Natives) is in town for the annual conference/event/hoopla which means over 4000 Natives in from various villages throughout Alaska, most of whom happen to be staying where I am so things have been loud and rowdy at night...louder and rowdier. I went to the crafts portion of AFN last night and saw some really amazing things (most of which I couldn't afford and really had no purpose for)...this brings me to the "lovely ivory carving" that a man had proudly displayed on the front of his table with other var…

Escape (pronounced: escap-ay)

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10/14/10


So today was the day that I had to switch my prized car in for an suv with 4wd. Or so I thought. It wouldn't be my life if something didn't go off course! What did I end up with? Oh let me tell you! I got a Ford Escape. It's gold, which is why I started calling it escape (pronounced with a spanish accent: escap-ay). The fun doesn't stop here though. To compliment the gold exterior  I have a lovely tan leather interior that is accented with black laquer. Would you have put something different with tan I think not! It also has a button in the center console that allows me to change the color of the accent lights (in the cup holder and the change holder (?)) there are several choices. I currently have it set on pink...which goes nicely with the tan and laquer. duh.


So on to the kicker. This lovely suv, is not 4wd. its got none of that business so it's essentially a lifted up version of what I was driving before (with laquer and colored lighting). There is a glim…

Game day nachos (that don't leave you looking like a linebacker!)

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10/10/10

I've decided to start sharing some of my "Gourmet on the Go" recipes on my blog. I've done my share of traveling and living in hotels, but this doesn't mean that I (or you) have to eat like I'm on the road all of the time!

Game Day Nachos

Ingredients:

baked tortilla chips2% shredded cheese 1/2 red onionfat free sour cream or a great substitute is fat free plain yogurt (I prefer Greek yogurt)ground turkey (I get the most lean thats available)1 packet of taco seasoningblack beans (I just get the canned kind because it's quick and easy)foil (i prefer the non-stick kind)Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if you don't have an oven or would like a quicker route you can use a microwave)brown the ground turkey and drain any fat (there isn't much with turkey)mix in the taco seasoning and required amount of water, simmer as directions indicate and drain excess liquids, set asideI use foil to make a pan because I rarely have access to one when I&#…

Forgive me Santa...for I have sinned!

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10/10/10

So in honor of such a nifty date today I decided that I would go to Alaska Coffee Roasters for a lovely morning cup of coffee (see I can justify anything!). But it happened, I totally got lured in my the case-o-deliciousness. I forgot all previously set rules and went crazy! Totally disregarding the Ginger Molasses cookie that I had yesterday I got not only one but two items! How could I resist after all, I got there just after they opened (insomnia has it's perks) so the baked goodies were still warm! Could you resist this?

I chose something that you can't see in either picture. I should rephrase that, I chose two somethings! I went with a Maple Almond Scone because lets face it it looked irresistible and what the heck, I'm pretty sure I've never had a scone so let's give it a whirl! What is a scone anyways, like a dry flavored biscuit? If scones all taste like this Maple Almond treat then count me in on scones, I'm a huge fan!
Next up is a treat that I…

This can't be good

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10/9/10

There are a couple of things that have happened today that give me the impression that things are not well in the universe. First, I woke up to a car that was encased in ice. Literally. I sat there for 15 minutes with the heat blasting from all possible vents to try to melt the stuff (because do you really think I'm going to get out and scrap (I don't have a scraper here but thats besides the point) in 20 degrees?!). Aside from my car being covered, everything else was covered too, which was actually pretty swell.

Second indicator that things are not well...my tastey treat from Alaska Coffee Roasters this morning. I went for a repeat, the Ginger Molasses cookie that I so fondly enjoyed last weekend (I only allow myself one trip per week, including weekends due to the lack of self-control that I have).  Last week my cookie was approximately the size of a frisbee (standard frisbee, not the fancy aerobie type!) Today, the cookie is still large yes, but definitely not the si…

Just another day in the neighborhood

10/7/10

Here is a small sampling of my day...yes this all happened in one day...in fact, less than 12 hours.


I found a large bone in my tuna lunch kit from a bit name in the Tuna biz that I wont mention, probably one that kills dolphins which I'm hoping is not why I had a bone in my tuna lunch kit/mealWhen I opened Amazon's shopping page (on my lunch of course) it thought I was shopping from CanadaI got stuck behind a backhoe. On the "express"way. On the way home from work. I use the term "backhoe" liberally because to me all of that "farming" equipment is the same. It had a big digger thing on the back and and a big bucket thing on the front. Oh yeah and it didn't go over 5mph. On the expresswayAlas, things are looking up now though, I'm home. In a cozy pair of long underwear, with my snuggly Berkshire Blanket that Julie sent me, and a spicy black bean burger calling my name. All is well in Alaskanada

Snow!

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10/6/10

Well, it's here. As I look out my window I see snowflakes falling down. This means one thing and one thing only...

That it's finally acceptable to watch The Grinch!

In other news, it's becoming insanely dark in the mornings which sometimes lasts well into the day. This makes it VERY difficult to get up and leave the warm confines of my dwelling to get into my freezing car...until of course my heated seats kick in.

The forecast called for snow all week, but at the rate that I'm currently seeing, it would take a year for me to get enough snow to make a proper snow angel!

WTF Alaska

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10/2/10

Here it is, the long awaited WTF Alaska listed. Ok so maybe only BRad has been waiting for it, just bear with me while I build suspense! Since arriving in the "frontier" I have seen some rather interesting, entertaining, special, and blog worthy things. I've been compiling a list appropriately titled "WTF Alaska" for a day like today...the big reveal...

(these are not in order of special-ness, just in order of how they occurred)

1. A motorcycle with a side car, with two grown men respectively riding on and in

2. A man walking barefoot down the street in 37 degrees

3. A pickup truck with a gun rack that not only blocked his view through the back window, but also had a very extensive collection of guns in it

4. A girl with her mom (?) at the grocery store, sitting in the car in their parking lot (conveniently parked right next to mine) and the girl starts to take her clothes off

5. Man walking shirtless (he had no shirt in his possession so he apparently …

Insanity Workout, 2am wake up, The Social Network, and any other randomness I can throw in here!

10/1/10-10/2/10

What a hectic couple of days! I woke up Friday morning. At 2:30 am to some sort of domestic violence occurring in my building. Correction, I woke up to a woman screaming. When I looked outside she was with hotel staff (and her small child) so I figured it was OK for me to sit and watch rather than try to help. I'm pretty sure I would have scared her more running outside in my long underwear, mismatched shirt, and hair that stuck out in every direction! I watched for about an hour. That's right, this whole scene took that long. I couldn't hear everything that was going on, but the general gist of things are that the guy had been drinking and then had become violent with her. In front of the small child who couldn't have been more than 2. The police arrived...did some obligatory questioning. The man became loud and adamantly denied doing what he was accused of. Another hotel guest came out and provided some information to the police that seemed to seal th…

6 Degrees of Random

9/28/10

In preparing for my day I checked the weather. 6 degrees. I had another cup of coffee and checked again figuring that it was clearly a mistake (ahem lack of caffeine). No, it still says 6. That's just offensive! So, I want to hear no complaining from anyone outside of Alaska about the weather. You're not cold...you want to feel cold, try 6 degrees thankyouverymuch!

In other randomness...I have quite a diverse audience base that has been frequenting my blog...this is fantastic! Some of the places I have not yet put my two feet on, but I will. Some day! Here are some of the locales where my lovely readers are checking in from: US, Japan, Switzerland, UK, UAE, Canada, Mexico, and Sweden. How fancy! Love to all near and far!

Alaska Coffee Roasting Co.

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9/26/10


This my friends almost needs no introduction! Happiness in a small environment killing plastic container. Not long after arriving in Fairbanks I discovered the gem that is Alaska Coffee Roasting Co. Quaintly nestled in one of the many strip malls that can be found here. They have amazing (Fair Trade) coffee, but even more amazing is the smathering of baked goods, sandwiches, sweets, salads, cookies, etc that they supply on a daily basis. They are famous for their rolls (this being one-the cinnamon variety). I have also had a caramel walnut roll that was to die for. This is that kind of place that you have to get to early, because things sell out, and quickly. So if you want your piece of Alaskan deliciousness you must rise and shine and head out to Alaska Coffee Roasters!

Since discovering this jackpot I've had to self-impose some rules and regulations...otherwise I'll have to buy an additional ticket home to accomodate some weight gain! But hey, I made it through week…

Hello 4:00am

9/25/10

I've been up since 4am...why you ask? Insomnia? No not this time. I was disturbed from my slumber by my building shaking. Yes that's right! And in my clear logical thinking, you know, the kind everyone gets at 4am, I honestly thought to myself, that a grizzly bear had gotten into my building and was walking around and it was shaking it. It didn't last long, just long enough for me to gather the thoughts that a. I was going to die because of a grizzly bear or b. I was going to die because the building was about to implode. Neither happened. Thankfully.

In trying to fall back asleep (and clearly slipping in and out of consciousness) I had forgotten about the chaos at 4am, until I talked to someone else who said "I think we had an earthquake last night". Ah ha!

Upon doing some research, I found out that yes indeed we did, it measured 5.38. I then realized that I never should have googled the words "fairbanks" and "earthquake" because I wa…

Bad Girls of the North

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9/24/10


Today was the Bad Girls of the North bazaar and craft fair. In fact, it’s going on all weekend so I might stop back! How could you not with a name like “Bad Girls of the North”. It essentially is a smathering of vendors, not all girls, and most not looking at all like “bad girls”. They have all kinds of handmade/homemade items but most importantly lots of samples! I bought some amazing balsamic bread dipping sauce (multipurpose sauce I suppose since you can use it as a marinade too) and a couple of pieces of artwork that I have to go back and pick up Saturday at 4pm! I’ll include photos as soon as I get them! After that I went to a lovely Italian Restaurant called Gambardella’s and had a fantastic meal with some friends! A great way to welcome the much needed weekend!

As promised, here are the photos of the artwork that I got from a lovely artist, V Rae who is actually out of Anchorage. Her work has been featured in several magazines and really is pretty amazing (unfortunately my …

The Holy Grail of long underwear

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9/20/10

A very average day turned superfantabulostic when I got home and discovered none other than...some new long underwear had arrived. Online order, not a random drop off from an Alaskan! I'm starting a nice little collection of this wonderful stuff, and prior to this post I was beyond happy with my Under Armour digs...I had no idea what I was missing...Thank you mom for introducing me to the wonderfulness that is Eddie Bauer First Ascent (trust me, we get no kick backs, I'm just a mere blogger!) These Paradise Base Layers are softer than anything I've ever felt, literally it feels like you're wearing nothing at times (WAY softer than the Under Armour ones and I thought those were super soft!) Here are the new life changers...


As my collection grows I will be able to provide an even better evaluation and overall ranking of long underwear. And if that's not your thing...I highly suggest you get interested...

Walkin' on Tundra...

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9/19/10

These two feet were walking all over the Alaskan Tundra today...no really! In fact, I peed on the tundra (which was going to be my blog post title, but figured I'd be less crude, for once!). As for peeing on the tundra, it was in an outhouse, on the tundra, so yea it counts, especially when you consider that it's me...Miss I Hate Camping/Outdoor Peeing
Back to my adventures, because they certainly were that! It started as a planned drive out to the White Mountains with several stops along the way! First stop was to Pedro's, the site where he first found gold in 1902. In fact, when we stopped there were men panning for gold, it was really neat!

I did see a moose on the way out to the White Mountains, unfortunately it wasn't exactly the kind of moose I wanted to see...it was being "dressed" (I believe that's the appropriate term) on the side of the road. From now on I will be more specific with my requests to see wildlife and will mention "live&qu…

A Book!

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9/19/10

I made my blog posts and some of my photos from Japan into a book...check it out!


Japan 2010 by Laura B. Snell | Make Your Own Book

12 Step Meeting for Long Underwear?

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9/19/10

I need an intervention. In preparing for winter I purchased a pair of long underwear to wear under my clothes, etc. The second that I tried them on, my life changed. No seriously. These things are amazing. I have no reason to wear long underwear now because it's been upper 60's low 70's every day, but I literally wear these things every single day when I get home. All day all I think about is how I can't wait to get home and put my long underwear on. This has led me to the conclusion that either 1. I'm pathetic, 2. Fairbanks is really getting to me, 3. I need an intervention, or 4. What the hell have I been missing out on for the past several years?! I choose 4.

I remember wearing long underwear when we went skiing, but it was NOTHING like this stuff that I have. The stuff we had was scratchy against your skin, bunched up under your ski pants, and was really unflattering. I seem to have stumbled upon the mecca of long underwear and if it was appropriate to …

Oktoberfest...Fairbanks style

Books read:
Sh*t My Dad Says

9/18/10

It's that time of year...the polka is playing, the beer is flowing, lederhosens are dusted off, beer maids are a plenty, and morals are at an all time low (not mine of course!) You guessed it, Oktoberfest!
Here in Fairbanks Oktoberfest is held at a local restaurant/brewery, Silver Gulch Brewery. I checked the weather before leaving my hotel and it said 64 degrees and sunny (the event didn't start until 7:30pm) so I wore the short sleeves and brought a light jacket, after all, 64 is beautiful. Right.

Oktoberfest consisted of a large tent outside of the brewery, thankfully that had a large bonfire going (although I don't know how much of a good idea that was once people really got drunk, I didn't stay long enough to find out!). It turns out that 64 didn't last long and it dipped down into what felt like 30 to me, but was probably 50. Everyone kept ranting about how beautiful it was outside while I kept creeping closer and closer t…

Letter from the Editor...Planet Fitness

9/14/10

Dear Planet Fitness,

I have taken the time to read and obey all of the rules that you have in place to ensure that your facility stays juice-head free. I fully support your decision in doing so. I do however have some suggestions that could "improve" my experience as a loyal and paying customer. Perhaps you would consider some Lady Locker Room Etiquette Rules to be included as well.

Here are my suggestions:

1. Nudie (husky Alaskan) ladies must use towels when waltzing around the locker room
2. Towel drying every nook and cranny should be done in the changing rooms that you have so kindly provided
3. No offensive fouls. If someone is clearly using a locker on one side and you are a nudie gym locker room exhibitionist, please do not plant yourself directly next to this other person
4. Do not start towel drying and put your leg up on the bench (while nudie). No one needs this angle. Furthermore, absolutely do NOT do this after someone has bent down to get something out …

Large Animal Research Station (LARS) at University of Alaska Fairbanks

9/6/10

After previously attempting to visit this wonderful site, and being notified that they were not having tours due to being understaffed, I came back today and was in luck, last day of the year, second to last tour of the day. Phew. I made it!

LARS has muskox, caribou, and reindeer that they monitor and research.

Some of the research they are doing:
-Using the stomach acid (?) of the muskox and the amazing power that it has to digest foods and get the most nutrients out of them. They have taken this product and tried to see if they could use it on cows to feed them food of lower nutritional value, but with this stomach acid making more nutritional value come out of it.
-Again using the stomach product of muskox and trying to do something with biofuel
-Researching the reproduction of all of the animals
-They also raised caribou and bottle fed them from babies so they would become a strong unit (and would respond to the caretakers). They are then going to introduce them to a large …

Santa Clause House (North Pole, AK)

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9/6/10

Today I visited the mecca of happiness, the place where every day is Christmas, that's right, the one and only residence of the Santa Clause!

Santa had a nice Boston accent that made me feel right at home, so all of you Massholes out there, he's one of us :)

I made sure to take the obligatory picture with Santa, and I also told him about all of the nasty things (maybe I made them all up, it's all for the greater good...of me) that all of you have been doing (to make myself look better of course!) Don't expect much more than lumpy coal this year!


Santa's House (aka: Santaland) also has reindeer on site...they look like they have been eating well all summer to prepare for the big festivities in December!
Being at this happy place made me want to go home and watch every treasured Christmas movie...starting of course with The Grinch!
Speaking of The Grinch, there was a reindeer that had antlers that looked exactly like the faux antlers that the Grinch strapped onto…

Laura vs. Wild

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9/4/10

Perhaps that title is a little deceiving as my idea of "wild" is keeping my sunroof open...regardless, I went exploring the wild Alaskan frontier in my pretty new car! Saturday was a beautiful day so I hit the road (what they call the Steese Highway, also known as Alaska Rt 2) and just started driving with no destination in mine! I discovered some pretty neat things along the way...like this little thing, maybe you've heard of it...The Alaska Pipeline!

I also stumbled upon a couple of gold mines, neither were open and I don't suspect they will be for the rest of my stay as this was the final weekend for the season for most places!
After some dashboard photography, I decided to turn around and explore some of the things within Fairbanks before everything closed their doors for the season...therefore making the scarce number of things in town even more sparse!

Moose, mooses, meese, mouse...

9/3/10

Success! On the drive home from dinner with coworkers I finally accomplished one item on my Alaska to do list...see moose! Two ran across the road in front of me, baby mooses...which brings me to the ever so important discussion that I will have with myself for at least a paragraph about the proper terminology for multiple moose (s). I'll spare you the paragraph of rambling, this is where I ask for some audience participation...Mom, I'm sure you're not surprised to know that I choose "mooses" as my proper term, but I'd love some input from everyone else...

Sorry no picture, it was dark (as dark as it gets in Alaska in the beginning of September) and I was driving...on a 4 lane road...

Out with the trash and in with the class...

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9/02/10 (It's only appropriate to wish everyone a happy 90210 day...go out to the Peach Pit and celebrate this glorious day!)

As I was indicating in the title...out with the trash and in with the class...it's all relative!

Today was the best day of...my time in Fairbanks perhaps!

I got a call from the (once ever so bitchy and hostile) woman at Hertz indicating that they needed me to bring in the HHR (must be an acronym for hearse) and that they were going to switch me out...I think she sensed the reluctance in my voice, because she quickly indicated that it would be an upgrade...Let me just say that I didn't trust this lady as far as I could throw her (and she was a big woman) since she also considered this HHR to be a "nice" car.  Too much reindeer sausage must have done some long term damage to her brain!

I figured I would take a leap of faith, it is 90210 day after all, so I channeled my inner Donna Martin, or perhaps I was more like Valerie, one will never kn…

Creamer's Field Migratory Birds

8/22/10

Today I went to Creamer's Field, which just so happens to be very close to where I am staying.  Here is the Website if you are interested. At any rate, I stumbled on the Crane Festival...I was more interested in the cranes than the festival. On a side note the festival was more like a large bbq than anything else. Back to the cranes, they come through this area on their migration route and only stay for a very short time, eating in the fields and resting up. I was able to capture some pictures albeit far away since I don't have one of those mile long lenses that so many of the other patrons seemed to have! I felt mildly out of my league!

In addition to cranes, there were tons of Canadian Geese...not my favorite animals by any stretch of the imagination, but they were nice an far away, so that's good.

Hilltop Truck Stop, Denali, and Nenana

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8/21/10

First official real deal of exploring in Alaska and I have to say it was a huge success! I set out with two coworkers and we started at the Hilltop Truck Stop for breakfast. You might have seen this if you watch Ice Road Truckers...they eat there frequently, in fact two of the company's trucks were in the parking lot when we went!

After a lovely breakfast we set off for Denali. It was a great day, warm (for Alaska) and sunny! I thought for sure that I would see some amazing wildlife...since I am practically a pioneer out here...by the end of the day I would have been happy to even see a squirrel. NOTHING! Seriously, the only animal that I saw were the bugs flying into our windshield as we were driving home. Utter disappointment on the animal front...scenery was great other than that though, and we were able to see part of Mt. McKinley which I hear is not common (70% of the time you do not)
Both on the way out and on the way back home we stopped in a little area called Nenana…

It's a glorified hearse...

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8/16/10

Unfortunately not much has happened in the limited time that I have been in Fairbanks...but I do have some pictures that I took from my iPhone to share...mainly of the high quality vehicle that I will be driving for 60 days until I trade it in for a 4WD one (oh hurry up 60 days!)
If any of you have one of these things...I'm sorry...if you are considering buy one...don't...that's about all the review I can give you without really slandering this mousetrap on wheels! On a more positive note, here is a lovely shot that I took from the plane of the mountains (with snow on them) before I landed in Anchorage...

Oh yeah, that was also in the evening, you could see the moon (but it didn't come out in the picture!) Cool huh?!

More to come when I am able to do some more exploring!

On to the next adventure...

8/14/10

Wow, to say that time flies is an understatement! I feel like I was just preparing for my Japan assignment, and here I am, Japan under my belt, a distant (but never forgotten) memory, preparing for the next adventure...Fairbanks Alaska!

Today couldn't have been a better "last" day in New England before departing for a while! The weather was absolutely gorgeous, so Mike and I spent the early afternoon doing part of the Appalachian Trail (Lion's Head in CT). Later on in the afternoon we ventured off to the farm in Alford and picked some blueberries and enjoyed some more sunshine with my dad. Now as I sit here typing this pre-departure blog post, Mike is preparing a lovely dinner of lobster stuffed with Ritz crackers, minced scallops, onion, and some other things (I didn't pay enough attention clearly!).

I'm told that I will get to "experience" a good solid 3 seasons while in Alaska, I look forward to it (I say that now!)...I've also heard …

The Kit Kat Collection

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7/3/10


Well, here it is, the long awaited Kit Kat collection...pretty impressive if I don't say so myself! Yes I am back in the states, Yes I have jet lag, if you ask me how bad it is, I'm likely to bite your head off as I haven't slept much in the past 3 days (probably about 8 hours collectively)...I suggest keeping your distance for a good week. Until then I will continue to think happy thoughts that this miserable jet lag will pass...puppies, kittens, my extensive Kit Kat collection

Nikko & Kegon Waterfall

6/30/10

I apologize in advance for the lack of decent pictures, the weather was absolutely terrible today! It only cleared up briefly while we were at the lake (a stopping point between Nikko and the Kegon Waterfall).



Nikko Shrine was absolutely amazing...had the weather been nice, I probably would have enjoyed it. But since it was down pouring and my raincoat was doing absolutely NOTHING, in fact I think it was exacerbating the problem...it was difficult to really fully enjoy the "beautiful" scenery that the shrine had to offer.

There was this really cool part where we went inside one of the buildings and a guy was hitting these two sticks together on one side of the room and it sounded like ordinary sticks being hit together, but when he did it underneath the huge dragon that was painted on the sealing it made a much better sound and reverberated (very different from the other sound). They called it the crying of the dragon. It was amazing!

The lake was beautiful, the fog …

Hiroshima has crabs...

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6/28/10

Today we started early...mainly because we had a surprise visit from the sunshine and figured that we had better make the most of that time, as the forecast for the next days (including today) stands consistent at rain/thunderstorms...EVERY day! Today was no exception to that but at least it held off until after lunch time so we could get some pictures of our morning adventures!

We went to the Hiroshima Castle, part of which we could walk through (of course by removing our shoes...customary here in many places in Japan). There was a shrine within the castle grounds, and somewhere there is a tree that survived the atomic bomb, we couldn't find that tree per se, but we did see a lot of trees (I tried to convince mom to take a picture of one of the many trees to pass it off as the "survivor tree"...she would not)


After the Hiroshima Castle (properly called Hiroshima-jo, but since when do I do anything properly?!) we ventured out to the Shukkei-en (Shukkei Garden). T…