Saturday, November 29, 2008

North Pole Alaska's Xmas in Ice

For a second year, North Pole, is holding the "Christmas In Ice" event. A festival of ice carvings from ice artists all over the world.
You can browse through this wonderful, magic land of Christmas displaying splendid, intricate designs of these artists, all made from a block of ice.
The sculptures are beautful and imaginative, and to top it off, have the "feel" of Christmas. Even more so with the atmosphere that this season brings, especially in cold North Pole, Alaska, a place where the spirit of Christmas comes to life in December and lives all year long.

The event holds a competition for the artists and, for the first time this year, a Kids Ice Carving challenge.
On the opening day, the festivities include a fireworks display. Since we are unable to enjoy the full, extravagant displays of fireworks during the summers (because of never ending daylight), Alaskan's awe their sights of the colorful pyrotechnic entertainment in dark December.

On December 21st, Alaska starts gaining daylight time instead of losing.

Today 29 Nov, the sun rose at 10:15am and will set at 3:03pm .... 5 minutes, 28 seconds less than yesterday *** big sigh*** ... 22 more days

Nov 28

Thanksgiving has come and gone, part of the turkey gobbled up with all the yummy trimmings. (Left over turkey anyone?)
This year I made red cabbage/apple salad and a sweet potato souffle to go along with our festive feast. The crispness of the red cabbage and the surprising juicy sweet of a honey apple just adds the right combination to the taste buds. I added chopped pecans and raisans to compliment the colorful dish. The yummy sweet potato souffle (soo-flay), I had had before, but it was pre-made (store bought) and wanted to make myself. Very easy to make and tastes 100% better than the store bought one. The two extra dishes will definitely be a part of our Thanksgiving dinners again.
Along with those, we had the usual Thanksgiving fare, my special recipe potato salad, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce and of course pumpkin pie.
Kayla's BFs dad brought prime rib!!! along with au jus to soak it in and I couldn't have enough of it.
Jen and her kids helped us enjoy the day of food and it made it yummier. She brought her most delicous akuut that I couldn't get enough of the last time she had a nerevkariq.
The day flew by fast, I cooked all morning and then all of a sudden we were stuffed. All of the food looked like it hadn't been touched and my stomach still full. You know the saying eyes being bigger than the stomach? Well, my stomach was overflowing while my eyes were still filling.
For the day of Thanks, I am thankful for: my family, our friends, our health, the food we were able to enjoy, reliable vehicles (my car is "sick" but have Stephen's and Kayla's to get around in), tater tots, kleenex that won't irritate a runny nose, pretty smelling soap and the fact that somebody invented such a thing as nail clippers.....

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Book Review

I'm an avid reader and usually don't do reviews, but this book I felt needed to be "reviewed."

I've read a few books from Jodi Picoult and have never been disappointed with her writings. She gets to the "core" of everyday life.

The first book I've read from her writings was "The Pact", and I was enthralled by it. Staying up way past my bed time and into the night to read what was going to happen next.

This book was no different. Its mesmerizing and when I read it, I couldn't guess what was going to happen next.

Its a story about a 13 year old girl named Anna, that has an older sister who has Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia. Its a cancer of blood and bone marrow.

Anna was conceived by her parents as a "designer baby" to match the older sisters DNA so that whatever her sister needed, she'd be the exact match (blood, tissue, etc.)

There is an older brother who was sadly not a match, so the whole family lives around whatever happens with Kate, the sick child.

Anna decides to sue her parents not to be a donor anymore and hires a lawyer to represent her.

This book goes through the throes of teenage-hood and involves the lives of the characters. Anna, Kate, the dad, the mom, the older brother, the lawyer, and the guardian ad litem (a court appointed guardian who mediates between the minor and parent and gives their opinion to a judge on whats best for the minor).

My Sister's Keeper was so involving that I even went through the book club section and read through the questions and thought about what my opinion was about the whole situation.

This book comes close to my heart because my oldest brother died of leukemia 26 years ago. I don't know what kind of leukemia he had and now it makes me wonder. Would any of us (3 brothers and my sister) would've been able to help ....

Update on our dog Duke

Our wire haired dachshund, Duke, aka Maurice, (Duke, given name from his previous owners, and Maurice, given name by the current owner, Kayla) was paralyzed on his back legs when his back gave out due to interverbral disc disease that dachsunds are common to. Our friendly neighborhood vet put a catheter in to help him empty out his bladder (thats why that big thing is on his collar to keep him from picking at it in the picture) - but even through all that, he managed to push the catheter out two days before his surgery. His muscles were strong enough to push out the catheter, probably was very uncomfortable for him and who could blame the poor creature. He'd still drag his back legs to get to places (sniff out by the table for droppings from the kids at meal time, get to his food bowl, or go to his usual place by the patio doors.)
Stephen flew him down to Anchorage to get his back surgery on Monday, and at the clinic he was sniffing out markings and making his own markings from the scent of the other animals. A good sign, that he still had muscle control. The surgery was done and they cleared out one disc, which was "cottage cheese-y", all broken down and calsified, not 2 like the x-ray showed (I think, hmmmmm, makes me wonder now .....)
He was back to his old self again the next day (today). The clinic said, of all the dachshunds they performed surgeries on that day, he was the only one to eat and was back to his old dachshundy self again after the surgery.
He will have to go through physical therapy to help out his back muscles, and the doctor said he had a very good chance of recovering. We're hoping to get him back on Thursday. More updates to come....