26 June, 2008

View from a Blueberry


I'm not the greatest hiker, mostly because I'm not fit. But also because I lack what I call the "goat gene" which makes it so Greg can clamber up and down steep slopes and loose skree without killing himself... and I'm just lucky to crawl along it all and not break my neck. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy hiking - I do. I just don't do it very often. But there's a trail that's close and well kept - Blueberry Loop. I'm going to see how often I can do it this summer as part of my Tortur... ahem, I mean Exercise Regime.
Moose on the side of the road

20 June, 2008

Auntie-ness

On Friday, May 30th at 3:51pm, I became an auntie... Wahoo!! Little Amy Marideyza Plagge officially joined our clan.

Mom went down to Arizona, braving the heat to help out and meet her first grandbaby. Finally!! I get grandma bragging rights! (At least, I'm sure that's what she was thinking...)

For any who like to look at someone else's family's baby pictures, you can check out Baby Amy on my brother's site.

Congrats Aaron & Mari!! =) And keep posting pictures so I get to watch my niece's progress from way up North...

Wii Fit - I've got to get one!!

We've had a Wii for a while now, and enjoyed playing the games. Last Sunday, we were visiting with friends who've got the Wii Fit - an addition that you stand on. It weighs you and you participate in activities that are supposed to help with balance and fitness. There are some aerobics, balance exercises, strength training, and even yoga. Greg is definitely more fit than I am - and will probably get the highest scores for almost all of the activities. I'm hoping I have a chance at the hoola-hoop...
video

15 June, 2008

Run for Women

I participated in the Alaska Run for Women again this year. It's an annual event to help raise money for a cure for breast cancer. Turnout was a little lower than in previous years - but still quite a crowd. I think part of that had to do with the weather - it was drizzling mostly, but we walked through a downpour at one point...

There were approximately 4500 participants - runners and walkers, timed and untimed. It's inspiring to see so many people (mostly women) gathered together in support of a cause. Many were there as supporters of people they know that have conquered (me) or succumbed, in addition to the many, many women that are surviving the condition.


Along the route, there were also all kinds of supporters that weren't walking or running. There was a pianist, a scottish band, folks on a balcony with a sign saying "Thanks for walking!", and loads of people just cheering us on.

Lots of people created costumes. My favorite was one of the few participating men. He was dressed all in pink (including painting his shaved head and pink knee socks with white polka dots), and his shirt said "I'm here for the boobs". I heard that he told his office he'd dress all in pink if they raised $1000 for the cause...
photo submitted to ADN by Jamie Kennedy

I was participating in part for the exercise - it's a five mile course - but each step was in support of Aunt Carol, a survivor. Way to go, Auntie!!


09 June, 2008

Walk to Whittier

We recently had the chance to participate in the 7th annual Walk to Whittier. It's a 2.5 mile one lane tunnel through a mountain. Officials shut down all the traffic for a specified period of time so walkers can go through. We started the day by heading out to the Portage Glacier visitor center - a nice little drive on it's own.
At the visitor's center

There was a short presentation on the history of the tunnel, then we were bused to the entrance. We learned that the tunnel was built in the 1940's, and this is the longest multi-use (rail & car) tunnel in North America. In the recent past, they worked on the tunnel to add the car lane - and when they did, they added some safety measures. Like the huge fans that push air if they need it, and the safe houses that are stocked with water, blankets, and a restroom. Very fascinating information, and it made the walk even more interesting. At the tunnel entrance, we had to don helmets - no one was allowed to walk without one.
Getting ready to walk

Scenery

The tunnel is approximately 2.5 miles long. It's sloped slightly upward for about 1/3 of the distance, then slightly downward - to facilitate drainage. The slope is gradual enough that I didn't notice it much at all. Of course, initially my shin splints acted up - but that could have been just from the walking, and not at all from the slope.
Entering the tunnel

They opened one of the safe houses so people could take a look - and use the restroom. They are rather sparse, but I suppose in an emergency situation it'd be great. It was funny to hear the loud speaker message: Please return to your vehicle... There are signs to evacuate to safe houses only when strobes are flashing. No flashing strobes and an open door apparently leads to canned warnings. The pullouts at the safe houses are electronically monitored - when the line is crossed an alert goes to the camera station so they can send out whatever assistance is needed. This includes towing for broken down vehicles, and even help for fixing flats. Since the tunnel is only one lane, they need to get vehicles out so they can switch direction, or clear everything to let the trains through.
Safe House #6

We finally made it through the tunnel - and got a great present: sun in Whittier. It's a rare occurrence. The only other time I've been here, it was grey and rainy. Some friends went last summer, and it was grey and rainy. We were very happy to get some great sun while we were there.
Arrival in Whittier

We spent a bit of time in town - long enough to eat at one of the local shops and do a little souvenir shopping. Then we were bused back to the Portage visitor center. Whew! Only walked one way - and cars were already lined up waiting to go through the tunnel. This was a fun day, and I think we'll be walking again next year...
Gorgeous day

2-1/2 Flats to Go

I spent most of the day today out & about, but it was such a nice evening that I decided to get some of the flowers planted. Summer is such a nice time here - even if it's not that warm. I took this pictures at about 11:30pm, after I'd finished planting for the evening.
Supertunia Basket

Daisy-look-alike Basket
with sweet smelling Compact Innocence

Miscellaneous flowers planted for coloring
(yellows, purples, & peaches)

Grow, roots, grow!! Only 2-1/2 more flats to plant...

07 June, 2008

Flower Shopping

Finally went shopping for flowers today. I think this is the latest I've gone ever!! I didn't expect there would be very much - after all, everyone else in their right mind has already gone at least once, probably more, so I'm going to be picking through the left-overs.

I picked up some friends and we made it an outing. We drove out to Forget-Me-Not Nursery in Indian. It's a little road trip, as Indian is about 20 miles south of Anchorage. The views of the inlet are always stunning - and today was no exception - but it's also a nice treat to go to the nursery. It's a local business, and the owners also make their home on the site. They put a lot of time and effort into the landscaping of the area, so in addition to buying pretty flowers you get to enjoy a smörgåsbord of greenery and blooming flowers.

Although I like taking my business to the locals, we also popped into one of the other nurseries in town to see if there was anything I just couldn't live without. I didn't really go looking with a "theme" in mind, or particular colors. I've seen some fabulous gardens, and it seems the really good ones all take that kind of thing into account. I have some whites, yellows & oranges, and pinks/purples. We'll see how things turn out as the summer progresses...

All-in-all, I came home with four flats of starters. I did find that I missed out on some great potentials, but overall I think I found some winners. Now I just need to get them in the pots and my flower bed...