Monday, December 1, 2008
Day 4 started by taking a drive to The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (also Punchbowl National Cemetery) is a cemetery located in Honolulu, Hawaii that serves a memorial to those men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces. It was a truly moving place. 34,000 veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean, and Vietnam wars have been interred there. The cemetery is located in Punchbowl Crater (Pūowaina in Hawaiian), located just north of downtown Honolulu. In ancient times Punchbowl was used as a site for human sacrifices. What really moved me was a statue of Lady Columbia, also known as Lady Liberty, or Justice. The inscription below the statue, taken from Abraham Lincoln's letter to Mrs. Bixby, a grieving mother, reads:
THE SOLEMN PRIDE
THAT MUST BE YOURS
TO HAVE LAID
SO COSTLY A SACRIFICE
UPON THE ALTAR
I am grateful we were able to take the kids to honor the men and women that served and sacrificed for our country.
Next stop was the Aloha Tower Marketplace. Alan's feet were blistered so we bought him a new pair of sandals, and we had to check in for our evening dinner cruise. We are always early and the kids’ blood glucose levels were low so we stopped and had a snack at Hooters. Yes, it was my idea because I had never been there before. The food and service were bad and I am glad to say I will never go to Hooters again.
Finally the time came for our Dinner cruise. The cruise staff asked Niall to dress up and dance with some Tahitian hula dancers during the dinner show. That was fun to watch. Alaeric enjoyed the buffet and the scenery was gorgeous!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Day three on Oahu was spent doing touristy activities as well. In the morning we drove to the Byodo-In Temple in the Valley of the temples. It was beautiful; set in a well-maintained still active cemetery. It was built in the 1960's (with no nails) to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant workers in Hawaii who came to work in the sugar plantation fields. It is a replica of the 950-year-old Byodo-in Temple located in Uji, Japan on the southern outskirts of Kyoto.
The kids had fun ringing the five-foot, three-ton brass Peace Bell. They say that ringing this bell will bring you happiness, blessings, and a long life. It is customarily rung before entering the temple.
The next stop on this really hot day was at the Sea Life Park. I have to say, we were not impressed with the park. The habitats were small and seemingly not well maintained. There were fewer exhibits than when I was last there in 2002. The dolphin show was cool though...too bad you had to sit in the full midday sun for an hour to see it. I will post a video of it here when I get it uploaded. There was a wholphin named Kekaimalu who was featured. A wholphin or wolphin is a rare hybrid, born from a mating of bottlenose dolphin (mother), and a false killer whale. You can see her in the video. She is the big one.
We left the sea life park early because everyone was hot and cranky and wanted to play in/on/around the water, so we checked out the pipeline and dorked around the North Shore until it was time to go back to the condo.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Our first day on Oahu was spent acclimating, getting the rental car (kudos, brownie points and thanks to Alan for getting GPS) and checking out Scott and Susan’s condo in Waianae where we stayed, (thanks Scott and Susan!) the kids were excited to find a house gecko living in the kitchen, made me happy because geckos eat bugs. We then decided to drive on down the road past Makaha and check out the shark boy cave, had fun taking pictures in there. We were really impressed with the waves out that far, they were only 4 feet or so, but that is a lot to us. I was surprised to see all the homeless people living on the beaches. They had semi-permanent shacks built, some with generators even. There would be clusters of these shacks all along the beaches on the leeward side of the island. Very uncool, but if you had to be homeless, what a great place!
Our second day on Oahu was voggy. The trade winds were still and all the vog from Kilauea blew to Oahu. No vog will stop us so we went on a tour that circled the island. We got to ride on the short bus which was not crowded at all, met some very nice people and learned a great deal from our really nice tour guide. We stopped at Diamond Head, drove through a really rich neighborhood, stopped at the Halona Blowhole which was formed from lava tubes that run to the ocean and, when the surf is right, the blowhole shoots water up to 30 feet in the air, (they didn’t shoot that high when we were there.) We stopped at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve and walked around, the Niall saw mongoose and his reaction was really funny. We drove by the Sealife Center and too many beaches to count. Our next stop was the Pali Lookout which was where Grandpa had asked Alan to call him, so he called and he told us a story of when he and Aunt Patti were kids and they were driving the Pali highway. You will have to ask him if you want to hear it. Anyhow, the Pali lookout is in Nuuanu Pali State Park, it overlooks the 985-foot cliffs of the Koolau Mountain Range. Usually it is extremely windy, but it was just kind of breezy for us. The trade winds blow through the valley between the high mountains on either side, forming a strong wind tunnel of sorts. On extra windy days, you can even lean into the wind and let the gusts hold you up. There were documented cases of people throwing themselves off the cliffs and being blown back up. Our trusty tour guide then drove us through a rain forest on the Like Like (pronounced lye kee lye kee) Highway, we stopped at a farmer’s market/mac nut farm/tourist pit next. We got to learn how macadamia nuts grow, taste coffee cherries (they are really sweet) and the boys chased chickens. Everyone was starving by this point and our driver drove us to the Polynesian Cultural Center where we got a canoe ride and buffet lunch. Alaeric went back 4 times! That really shouldn’t surprise anyone. After lunch we drove up the Windward side of Oahu to the North Shore, checked out beaches and surf along the way, stopped at a fruit stand and got fresh pineapple, papaya and drank coconut water straight from the shell. Alaeric found this funky/pretty flower there growing on a tree…we had never seen anything like it. Turns out it was a passion fruit (Lilikoi) blossom.
Next stop was the Dole Plantation where we of course got a Dole Whip (pineapple sorbet/ice creamy scrumptious stuff.) It was between two or three in the afternoon and the sky let loose! We got soaked running back to the bus, fortunately the tour was just about done and we slept the last forty-five minutes.
We went to Dave and Buster’s for dinner. That was an experience! Dave and Buster’s is a video arcade and sit-down restaurant all in one, kid of like a grown-up Chuckie Cheese. Alan and the kids had a blast! Alan tried dance dance revolution (oops, did I say I wasn’t going to tell anyone?) and didn’t do so great. Nearing meltdown trying to exchange tickets they had won for gifts we left. Poor Alan had to drive home with sleeping kids and wife.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
...until all the birds have gone south for the winter.
This year was kind of iffy for berries and stuff, we did not get any raspberries but we got rhubarb, crab apples and a fair abount of booberries (it's October so they are booberries! November they will revert to blueberries.) Enough to make 45 jars of jellies and jam. Considering the season I think that is respectable. I am really bummed about the raspberries so I may have to buy some to make jam because I use the raspberry jam in recipes.
And now for something completely different....
The UAA "A Cappella Festivella 15" is going to be this Thursday (October 19th). One of the groups is named Inpulse and is awesome, here is one of their songs. If you can make it you should, the groups are always great and it is a lot of fun for the whole family.
With that said, I need to get back to the algebra enforcement task force.
Friday, September 26, 2008
When is it okay to be antisocial? Lately I just haven’t felt like participating in much of anything. Maybe it is the crappy weather we have had all summer. Oh well. Life is too short to wallow in self pity. I dropped out of my choir’s first concert, just not enough time for everything and I had to simplify my life. I will do the rest of the concerts though. I wish there were about 10 more hours in a day.
Preparations for Hawaii are going well, I have as much scheduled as I can…our days are packed! We will be doing a lot of geocaching which is a fun and free activity that involves hiking and searching for hidden caches. I figure it is a good way to get to see the more scenic areas of Hawaii.
Last weekend we went shooting with Joe and Karen, the guys were having fun exploding propane bottles. video here. I think Joe and Alan were practicing for the Darwin Awards.
Monday, August 25, 2008
So moving on after that indulgence of self pity, I got a lot done this weekend! I hung out with family and a friend Saturday, we had planned to go blueberry picking up Arch-Angel Valley in Hatcher’s pass and maybe watch a movie. What really happened was we did go pick berries in Arch-Angel Valley, but it was raining pretty hard so after getting a scant cup of berries, Karen and I took the kids back to the cars, fed them and waited for what seemed like an hour. Finally Alan, Daphne and Joe decided they had had enough and we drove back to Mom and Dad’s (also Joe and Karen’s) for an impromptu BBQ. Yum.
Not being done with the day, Alan asked Joe to take us shooting so Niall could discern the difference between a real gun and his video games. We all packed into 2 cars and “drove” up the Jonesville mine road in Sutton. Due to the rain the road was filled with craters and had this thick layer of silty mud. Woo Ha! The kids learned a few new words. We finally got to the top of this cliff overlooking the whole Matanuska Valley and had fun blowing up propane bottles. Who knew? Thank you Joe…explosives and guns are a fun mix.
Niall found a fossil while we were up there and the view was spectacular. It would have been fun watching the sunset, but thought it prudent that we head down before it got too dark to see the cavernous potholes…like we could miss them. Alaeric was quite chatty on the way back telling us all about cock fights (he saw a flock of chickens as we drove by a farm) and white trash. The white trash had to do with capturing ostriches (I don’t pretend to understand his logic). Anyhoo he had Daphne and I laughing hysterically. It doesn’t take much to amuse me anyway. Was a fun night all-in-all.
Sunday I processed the blueberries that Alan picked and we got 8 jars of jam. I added that to the 11 jars of rhubarb jelly and felt a smidge of accomplishment. Today we are smoking salmon for the first time.
There is a link in today’s paper to an article which describes what Alan does and will be doing at work for the next three years. Thank you Begich for job security.
Note to self: check to see if rambling is a symptom of old age.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
I am anxiously awaiting the start of a new concert year. I forgot how much I enjoy rehearsal, singing and being on stage…as long as I am with a group I am cool and don’t get nervous. The one time I performed solo (accordion, not singing), it was only 200 or so people and I was terrified. I got through it though. When the chorus performed Carmina Burana last year it was incredible, we had 2 sold out shows in the largest theatre in the PAC and 3 standing ovations each night. I was proud to be a part of it. I hope this upcoming season will be as inspiring.
The best concert of the upcoming season and the only concert I know for sure the when’s and where’s is (this is the one not to miss!):
Compassion and Light: Saturday, May 2, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.
Mozart Symphony no. 36 in C Major (“Linz”) and
Brahms “Ein Deutsches Requiem” (a German Requiem)
Featuring: Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Anchorage Concert Chorus, Alaska Chamber Singers, Soprano Anita Johnson and Baritone to be announced.
Be sure to look for the redhead in the tenor section.
In mundane news, nothing much has been happening. Alan and Niall went to Fairbanks last weekend for a meeting that never happened. They had a nice drive though. Niall and Alaeric are dog sitting a friend’s schnauzer; Alan and I decided he looks like Sir Diddymous from the movie labyrinth. We were planning on going dip netting for reds at Kasilof this weekend, but it is rainy and miserable and we have the schnauzer. The new plan is to go in the middle of the week one night, catch 2 tides, turn around and come back home. This sounds like a good plan…as long as we get some fish hmmmmm.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Niall came home from Boy Scout camp, I will post videos soon. He had fun and earned a nice hacking cough. It matches my hacking cough which is still lingering. So to make myself feel better, I am making a top ten list of things to do while we are in Oahu and the big island of Hawaii. Please add your idea for number ten.
1. Shark Tour
2. Volcanoes National Park/ helicopter tour
4. Polynesian Cultural Center/ luau
5. Submarine ride and Sunset Dinner Cruise
6. Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay and Shark’s Cove
7. Shopping at the International Marketplace and Aloha Stadium Swap Meet
8. Dole whips at the Dole pineapple plantation
9. Mauna Kea Observatories and visitor’s center
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Update: Linsay is out of ICU, has 4 fractured ribs, 2 fractured collar bones, a fractured scapula and her spleen was ruptured. She will be fine but it is going to be a long recovery. She was conscious through the whole ordeal; even while the car was running over her head, (yes she was wearing a helmet.) Talk about a tough chick!
Monday, July 7, 2008
Since I was a young child I have been a connoisseur of potato salad...it is more American to me than apple pie, which is funny because kartofel salat is German. Anyhoo, I have been asked to give up my favorite recipe so please enjoy. I have also added two youtube video links for your watching pleasure, (Potato Salad Triplet Contortionists) and (The Potato Song) both videos are worthy of this magnificent tuber.
Tamiz Famous Potato Salad
8 cups diced raw red potatoes
4 hard boiled eggs
2 cups chopped dill pickles (kosher crunchy are the best!)
1 ½ cups bacon bits
¾ cup finely chopped green onion
1 cup *Best Foods mayonnaise
1 cup *Wishbone Italian dressing
In a small pot, place your eggs in room temp water, set on medium heat and boil. By starting the eggs at room temperature you avoid random shell cracking. Here is another cool thing to do to eggs: If you spin eggs before you boil them, the centrifical (the actual spelling of this word is centrifugal) force makes the yolk stay in the very center of the egg which makes for pretty deviled eggs.
While your eggs are boiling, place your diced potatoes in salted water and boil. Watch carefully, you don’t want to over-cook the potatoes or the skins will separate and become a mushy mess.
While this is going on, place the bacon bits, mayonnaise and Italian dressing in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Quickly chop dill pickles and green onions and add these to the dressing.
If your eggs are done, drain the boiling water and cool them off by running under cold water. By cooling the eggs off quickly, they contract and are easier to peel, but don’t leave them for long or they will expand a bit and peels wont slip off as easily. I really dislike chopping eggs and find it somewhat gratifying to don vinyl exam gloves and squeeze the eggs through my fingers so they make small crumbles. Really…who is going to care?
After you have added the egg crumbles to the dressing mix, the potatoes should be done. Drain the potatoes and if the skins are starting to slip off, run them under cold water…this will stop them from cooking. Drain the potatoes and stir into the other ingredients, I like to do this while they are still hot, but the potato salad tastes good hot or cold…
Serve and enjoy!
* I have found these brands to be the best and most consistent for yummy results.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Okay, I know it has been a long time since I have blogged but since January of this year I have had 2 nasty sinus infections and have had pneumonia for the last three weeks…which I am still getting over. Never take your health for granted! I am still feeling sorry for myself because I missed father’s day, our 18th wedding anniversary and half of summer. Pneumonia sucks!
So far the highlight of the summer has been when Alan and I went on a halibut charter with his brothers David and Joe, and their wives Heide and Karen June 29th out of Seward. We got to visit with Alan’s Grandparents and his Uncles Jim and Bill, Aunt Teresa and Cousin Amy the day before. I was bummed (no really…) that I was not allowed to camp, but had to get a hotel room. Check out the videos here.
What is new with the McQueens?
Alaeric has a new respite worker whose name is Francis. They have been volunteering at the Anchorage Municipal Animal Shelter and going on a lot of outdoor adventures. He is also taking one class this summer to get him ahead with writing.
Niall went to Diabetes camp in June and had a blast! He is going to scout camp in July and may visit a friend in Oregon in August…we’ll see. He got a new bike but much prefers to play his X-box.
Alan continues to work for the street-light maintenance crew for Anchorage, Yukon Electric got the contract for another three years so he is relieved that he won’t have to switch companies. In his spare time (ha ha ha) he likes to take his baby for a ride. He bought a really pretty aubergine (purple) 1995 Harley Davidson dyna-wide-glide with lots of chrome, spikes, a few skulls and an eagle claw for a kickstand.
I have been working when not flat-on-my-back in bed. I am excitedly planning a trip to Hawaii for three weeks this October. My chorus starts back up in late August so I should get my concert dates for the next season up then.
That's all for now, chat at you all later!
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Go for the juggler!
what's the difference between a mime and a clown? a MIME doesn't make noise when you kill it!
I know...really bad jokes. Hope I haven't offended any clowns.
This has been a cold and snowy week in Anchorage, got down to about -10 last night so we are all feeling a bit of Cabin Fever. I have been fantasizing about Hawaii, Tahiti and anywhere tropical.And now for something completely different...to see Mom and Dad's new bathroom, go to http://www.youtube.com/alaskanwarmchill
I did not plan on posting, but have been:
TAGGED BY KAREN - ABC
A- Attached or Single? Happily attached.
B- Best Friend? I have a lot of great friends! Alan and Heidi top the list though.
C- Cake or Pie? Cake…as long as it is fresh and moist. Pie would have to be cherry or boysenberry.
D- Day of Choice? Saturday. The one day everyone gets to sleep in.
E- Essential Item? Chap stick. I suppose money is also up there.
F- Favorite Color? Any shade of green. I love bright blue and purple too.
G- Gummy Bears or Worms? Bears…I like the white or red ones. Have to bite their heads off first when you eat them. I don’t like the way they look at me if I don’t.
H- Hometown? Anchorage, Alaska.
I- Favorite Indulgence? Alaska Chocolate Factory.
J- January or July? July.
K- Kids? Alaeric and Niall.
L- Life isn't complete without? My family.
M- Marriage date? June 17, 1990
N- Number of brothers and sisters? I had one brother that died before I was born, but am lucky to have 3 sister in laws and 3 brother in laws.
O- Oranges or Apples? Apples.
P- Phobias and Fears? I really dislike spiders, don’t laugh…clowns really creep me out (coulrophobia). I am not alone! Check out this website dedicated to people just like me. http://www.ihateclowns.com/
Q- Quote? Is a really good word in scrabble; easy to remember and worth a lot of points if you put it on double or triple word tiles. “Take your work seriously, but never yourself.”
R- Reason to smile? Singing, warm weather, Hawaii, my children being good, my husband being goofy.
S- Season of choice? Summer.
T- Tag three people? Karen has already done it, David has already been tagged, what about Amy? What about you?
U- Unknown fact about me? I play the accordion and piano. I love being on stage, but only with a group because I am shy.
V- Vegetable? Zucchini and smushrooms!
W- Worst Habit? Not cleaning. I am a slob.
X- X-ray or Ultrasound? Why not MRI, CT or PET? I think full body PET-CT is a more conclusive diagnostic tool.
Y- Your favorite food? Kona crunch sushi, Mexican (Americanized), and Greek or Italian.
Z- Zodiac Sign? Virgo…and I was born in the year of the Monkey.
Friday, January 18, 2008
"Next time don't eat the candles."
Today I realized my life is mind-numbingly dull. My sister-in-law Sariah told me that my myspace page is boring. Check out this link to my pathetic page;
I only have 2 friends (on myspace...), that must make me a dull, tedious, flat, uninteresting human being (Feel better Sariah?).
Really, there has not been a lot going on, my office moved to the new “U” tower in Providence Hospital, that was a PIA! (medical abbreviation) I came home grumpy and exhausted every night for a week or so…Niall has been in a snowboarding intensive for the last 2 weeks, and in order to keep his blood sugar high enough he had to eat a mini size candy bar every time he took the chairlift. What a rough life, snowboarding every day from 10-5…
Events in my life that have the potential for not being boring:
1. My chorus announced that they are planning a South American tour in the summer of 2009 or 2010 which means I would get to sing my way through Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. That would be so cool.
2. Folk Festival this weekend and next, I am going to a harmonizing workshop which should be amusing. It is a genre I am not used to; Appalachian singing.
3. February 9th Alan and I are hosting a commotion party.
On those notes, I would like to say Happy Birthday to my mother-in-law Sandy:
Happy Birthday Mom!
Happy Belated Birthday to my cousins Gary and Ruth!
Karen, Carson, Jaydon, Kelcey and oh yeah…Joe, can’t wait to see you guys again! I promise I will make a huge spaghetti dinner for everyone ;)