"When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky"
-Guatama Siddharta

Over and under and up and down...sunshine and thunder...a laugh and a frown!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

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!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Alaska Coffee Roasting Co.

9/26/10

Hello Sunday Morning!

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 1 of the Insanity Workout, so I earned this sucker...and boy was it delicious. I may have finished it...the whole thing...by myself. But I'll never tell!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

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 was presented with information that I would have been better not knowing. Like say, that we're having earthquakes every couple of hours up here.

See for yourself: http://www.aeic.alaska.edu/recent/sub

I don't intend on checking this site again. For my own sanity. Hope everyone is happy and quake free back on the main land!

Bad Girls of the North

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 pictures do not do it justice! They were taken with my iPhone after all!)


Her work can be seen on her website: V Rae Art

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Holy Grail of long underwear

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...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Walkin' on Tundra...

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" within that request!

With the various stops it took about 2 1/2 or 3 hours to get out to the White Mountains and Central AK. It was a beautiful day and great for pictures! I couldn't believe how desolate everything was. People actually live like this!! We didn't see a single store, gas station, anything for the whole drive until we got to Central, there was a restaurant, but it was closed...and for sale. If the lack of plumbing wasn't enough, the social isolation would completely do me in!



A Book!

9/19/10

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


12 Step Meeting for Long Underwear?

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 wear it as clothing. I would. Hell, I'm in Alaska, people wouldn't bat an eye.

Image of Under Armour® Womens ColdGear® Base 2.0 Leggings

These are the amazing, unbelievable, life changing long underwear that I currently rant about, The Under Armour Base 2.0 long underwear. I can't begin to tell you how soft they are against your skin and how cozy they make you feel. It's like a nice warm hug! Not the kind of hug that would leave a person looking like a sausage stuffed into tight casing...no, a nice embrace that is flattering leaving no possibility for a "wow look at the muffin top"

So, long underwear has become my new obsession, this is my review of the Under Armour 2.0 Base ones, I have some more on their way to me as I type this...I can't wait to wear them around...ahh the simple things that make you happy and get you through a long work assignment!

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 to the fire to thaw myself!

They had a very large polka band, very large being approximately 20 people. Every so often they would chant something (requiring audience participation) and people would raise their glasses and chant back...must be a German thing.

The wait staff was dressed in bar maid outfits, many of which had no business squeezing into said outfit. Several patrons even went all out for the event, wearing bar maid outfits and Lederhosen's. One man looked like he rolled out of the woods after a year and just happened to find this event, but that's pretty typical "Alaskan"

Sadly I do not have pictures of this event, I was too busy trying to stay warm!

It was a fun (freezing) event, I tried one of their local brews, Lowbush Cranberry which was a Belgian style and was pretty ok...for Alaskan beer!

When all was said and done, I couldn't get to my car quick enough to get those heated seats cranking...if only I'd worn my long underwear...but my long underwear will be getting a post all of it's own in the near future! Until then...Prost!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

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 of a locker (and thus goes to stand up and almost head butts your lady parts)
5. If it sags, jiggles, goes a different direction than it's mate, please, use a towel
6. No inappropriately noises while nudie, towel drying, or walking nudie in the locker room
7. No sitting nudie on the bench. Use your towel (purchase a towel first, bring it to the gym, then start using it!)

Thank you so much for taking these rules into consideration. In addition to being a juice-head, body builder, steroid free gym, I do feel that you left the ladies out and these rules could improve the gym (and locker room) experience of most.

Love,

Laura

Monday, September 6, 2010

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 piece of fenced property in Canada to see if they can be put back into the wild, and theoretically they should gather around the handler by the end when it's time to come back

It's really a cool place, and it was definitely fascinating to be able to see all of these animals up close!

They use the Quiviut (ki-vee-ut) from the muskox and sell it (it is very valuable), with all of the proceeds returning to the animals, and to sustain their "habitat" at LARS.

Santa Clause House (North Pole, AK)

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 Max's head...

Adults with children, you can send a personalized letter from Santa to your rugrats...with North Pole postage and everything...it's pretty cute!  Here is the link for any interested parties: Santa Letters

Laura vs. Wild

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!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

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...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

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

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 know...and hauled off to the airport, yet again (probably the 5th time since I've been here) to "upgrade" this fine piece of machinery on wheels.

After some serious parking lot investigation it looked like the coast was clear and that I would indeed be getting an "upgrade"...

OMG OMG OMG total upgrade! She even let me pick my own color (I think because she was such a raging bitch to me the first time when her "nice" car decided to let the tailgate open randomly...oh yeah they said that was my fault...long story not worth blog space!)

So...I'll start this by saying I hate Fords. It's true. But, this car that I have, I would totally own one of these...

Sorry I couldn't get a full pic, I was leaned up against someone else's car trying to snap this one really quickly. You get the idea...I'll take an inside one tomorrow!

So, it's a brand new Ford Fusion loaded to the rooftop with bells and whistles...Satellite radio (kind of a joke her in Alaska but on the off chance that it comes in, I'm stoked!), Sync by Microsoft (no idea what it is but I hope it impresses someone!), leather interior, amazingly placed storage space, a nice little nook in the door that holds my cell phone, built in sunglasses clips on the visors, personalized temp controls for driver and passenger, heated seats (let the ass roasting begin!), sunroof, power shifter thingy (I'm sure it has an official name but I really don't care what it is...it's cool...and I'll never use it!), cup holders in the doors...they are nice and deep too so your coffee doesn't spill everywhere! Let me just tell you about the coziness factor of the seats...it's amazing...it feels like its giving me a nice cozy leathery hug!

So, you're probably thinking...damn this girl needs to get a life, she's in Alaska and she's getting excited about a Ford Sedan...YES PEOPLE I AM! Things have been a little rough around here...so I'll take whatever joy and excitement I can get...and if ridiculous excitement over an "upgrade" to a Ford isn't your thing...well, please don't pee in my Cheerios!