Monday, July 30, 2012

Brave Beagles

A moose decided to hang around our mailbox, snacking on the tasty alders. Wrong move, moose. I've got some pretty ferocious dogs who will eat you for breakfast.

Daisy and Lupine confronted that moose and let him have it.

Of course, a beagle's idea of "confront" includes standing safely on the deck.
But they did bark!

The moose turned its head.

You should have seen our 7-month-old puppy. Tears of pride filled my eyes as I watched her risk her very life to protect our family from the crazed moose.

Perhaps "risk" is too strong a word . . .

She moved back behind Daisy and continued barking.

The moose was very scared.

Dinner last night: white chili, sweet cornbread muffins

Exactly two years ago:

Exactly four years ago:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Excuses, Excuses

I've been out of town for a week, but I'm back and ready to . . . not blog. Summers are short in Alaska, and I can't bring myself to sit down at the computer when there's so much to be done outside. We've only got another month of decent weather to enjoy, and I want to take full advantage of the warmth and daylight. So the girls, dogs, and I are spending most of our time outdoors.

Yesterday, a beautiful shiny-coated moose yearling was hanging out in the woods behind our house. I raced inside to grab my camera, thinking I could post a wildlife photo on my neglected blog, but by the time I got back outside, the skinny-legged twig-eater was gone. Usually I at least can capture a shot of a moose's heinie in the distance, but this guy had completely vanished.

So here's a photo of my desk instead.

Now you know the real reason I stay outside.

Dinner last night: chicken pot pie

Exactly two years ago:

Exactly three years ago:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Snack of the Devil

Have you noticed that salted caramel is trending? It's everywhere. I've seen salted caramel chocolate bars, salted caramel coffee, and even salted caramel milkshakes.

For my birthday, my mother presented me with an institutional size container of salted caramel biscotti that she had purchased from Costco. She said I would like them, that they're quite delicious when dipped in coffee. Good grief, does the woman actually expect me to consume a virtual vat of biscotti? It would take me months to finish off such an enormous amount of tasty little biscuits.

I ate the last three this morning.

Dinner last night: fish sticks

Exactly four years ago:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Better than a horrible strip of advertising logo

Yesterday, I turned on my computer to find a surprise visitor at my screen. A logo had moved onto my blog, with a strip of advertising that ran down the entire length of my page, covering posts and everything. Sort of like when my cousin comes to visit and settles into my sofa with his beer in one hand and my remote control stuck in the waistband of his sweatpants. Unexpected, rather rude, and too fat to roll him off the couch by myself. I'm kind of stuck with him in the middle of my living room.

I spent far too much time yesterday researching this intrusive ad that wouldn't go away. Was it a bug in Blogger? a hack into my template coding? a manifestation of Malware Monday? I really couldn't get an answer from anyone. And worse? No one else seemed to be experiencing the same advertising smack down.

The best advice I could glean was to customize my template and maybe the obnoxious ad would be deleted in the process. Well, I customized my blog a year ago, when I transitioned from The Mommy Machine to Alaskim. I created a new header and widened my posting area so I could display extra large photos of moose eating pumpkins on my deck. I improved fonts and colors and styles. I added tabs and pages and gadgets. I don't remember exactly how I did it all, but it took many attempts and lots of messing around with the dreaded HTML code. After stumbling through that design adventure, I swore never again to mess with the technological underbelly of formatting and tweaking templates.


I crawled under my blog into the "advanced" area of custom formatting and knocked out a quick and dirty re-design. And by re-design, I mean I just needed needed to clear the template. Bye-bye pretty little labels and unique wallpaper and fancy little dividers. I simplified and changed the color of the background, adjusted the width of my column, and re-set the fonts back to default. It probably looks ridiculous, but I won't care if it will get rid of that dadgum ad. I can deal with the aesthetics and flow later, after I've had some sleep and a chance for my anxiety about this snafu to subside.

And now, I shall press Publish and pray I haven't blown it all up . . .

Dinner last night: steak, sautéed mushrooms, mashed potatoes, salad

Exactly three years ago:

Exactly four years ago:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Another Day, Another Broken Bone

On the Fourth of July, my 12-year-old fell off her skateboard and smashed shoulder-first into the pavement. I suspected that her collar bone might have broken, but she insisted that she had just jammed her shoulder. It hurt, but she was tolerating the pain.

I took her into the doctor's office the next day to make sure she was okay, but of course, she had broken her clavicle. Fortunately, it wasn't displaced and didn't require surgery; however, her left arm must remain immobilized in a sling for 2 weeks. My daughter will not be able to finish out the season with her rec soccer team, and more upsetting to her, she can't participate in the Top of the World Figure Skating Competition scheduled for next month.

This is the same girl who, when she was 8, badly sprained her ankle after leaping off a swing and who at 9 years of age snapped her arm in two after jumping out of a tree. When she decides to get hurt, she really goes for it. Sigh.

Off topic: I sincerely hope that Blogger got hacked, because if that "shop wiki" ad that's currently running down the length of my page is a deliberate new feature, I'm going to be ticked.

Dinner last night: barbecue chicken drumsticks, mashed potatoes, corn

Exactly three years ago:

Exactly four years ago:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

No Dogs Were Harmed in the Filming of this Independence Day Celebration

Fireworks in Alaska are never too exciting, at least on the Fourth of July, mostly because it's so light out. The full majesty and glory of bombs bursting in air is lost when the sun is still shining and birds are flying around. Still, we try.

We headed outside at about 8:00 last night to shoot off some whistlers.

Daisy was intrigued.

She investigated.

She lost an eye. JUST KIDDING.

That picture is awful, I know, because it looks like she's getting her face blown off by a firework, but she's actually snapping at the whistler, trying to catch it. Over and over again, as soon as my husband would light one, she'd run over, wait for it to shoot up, and try to catch it.

I finally dragged her inside and locked her in the house.

Dinner last night: barbecued salmon, salad

Exactly two years ago:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Catch Up

I recently whined about anxiously detailed mentioned how I reluctantly agreed to take senior photos of a friend's daughter. I say reluctantly because I am an amateur photographer at best, and am intimidated by the responsibility of shooting someone's portrait. I've kept my terror at bay by reminding myself that I have plenty of time to practice. We decided on a date in late July, and I figured I could experiment with light and angles and lenses, using my daughters as unwilling models. No pressure. I will be an expert in portraiture by the end of July!

Then my frenemy called me last week and asked if I would do it the next day, because her daughter really wanted to get her pictures taken before she left on a 3-week missions trip to Peru. These people! Who do they think they are? Helping the needy, and stressing me out. I said sure, let's give it a try.

If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that I can hyperfocus. It's kind of weird and freaky. My sister first noticed this annoying ability of mine when she would beg me to go outside and play. Only I'd be so immersed in a book that I literally could not hear her. I wasn't behaving willfully or trying to be a brat; I was just concentrating 100% on what I was reading. She'd finally give up and leave. Fifteen minutes later, a tiny echo of her voice would niggle its way into my mind, and I'd look up and ask the empty room, "What? Did someone ask me something? Hello?"

At the risk of using understatement, I've been hyperfocusing on this photographic assignment.

We took a range of pictures in several locations. Any extra time I've had has not been spent blogging (or cleaning house), but transferring RAW images from my camera into jpeg format on my computer.

What? It's the Fourth of July? Hello?

Dinner last night: kalbi beef, rice, corn on the cob

Exactly four years ago: