Saturday, July 18, 2009

Our Friend, Elmo

This is Elmo at the brand-spankin'-new ROUND-ABOUT in Sitka
there's nothing Elmo loves more than CONSTRUCTION
and so the workers here provided him with a vest and the "plans"
Let me tell you about Elmo
I remember our first Sunday at church in Sitka
With Bryan (2) and Sierra (1) toddling around my feet
I stepped backward right into Elmo
I looked up to see this giant of a man
just looking down, unaware that I'd crushed his toes
and smiling at the kids

When Azure was born
we all knew from the very beginning that she'd have things her way!
She liked a few people, and was terrified of others
She'd have NOTHING to do with most men
for the first several years of her life
In fact, our Bishop tried so hard to get her to at least not bury her face in my shoulder when he passed by ... but to no avail. She would rather be stuck in a dark closet alone than talk to him!

BUT she LOVED ELMO from day one!
She'd smile and coo at him
then when she could talk, she'd start up conversations with him
she loved Elmo just like the rest of us

Although Elmo functions mentally at a child's level (maybe 8 or 9?)
he's brilliant in some areas
We have a big family, but he knows all our birthdays
he remembers that I visit Sitka quarterly and asks who I'm bringing next
He remembers that Brooke is married and expecting and that her husband's name is Steve
He remembers that Trevor did an Eagle Scout project with books
He remembers all the significant dates in Joseph Smith's life
He remembers that Brad was his bishop and helped him say the sacrament prayers

Elmo is one of the purest and sweetest of all of the people in the world!
We are blessed to know him.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

bzzzing about LIPSTAIN

That's right - not lipstick
not lipgloss

It comes in a tube, but looks more like a water-color marker than lipstick
it applies like a marker!
So easy to use - it's like coloring your lips
Here's what I love about it:
no taste
it doesn't suffocate my lips - in fact, I can't even feel it
I can put chapstick over the lipstain
and the color doesn't even show on the chapstick!
no blotting necessary
no bleeding
no need for lipliner
it stays on for HOURS - no need to re-apply
With my Bzzagent package, I received lots of coupons for this product.
Let me know if you want one! (If not, I'll use them all for myself)
Oh ... and check out and get free stuff to try and write your own bzz report about!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


... so the day we arrived in Sitka the sun was shining ...
it was 2pm and about 70 degrees
almost unheard of for Sitka!
... although they've had a great summer ...
and as we walked around town, most locals
were sporting suntans
so Bryan and I thought
"who knows how long the rainclouds will stay away?"
and we donned our sneakers to go for a hike

not just any hike

Mt. Verstovia
this is where bryan chose to do his
and completed it just 1 week before we moved
his project was to make and place
elevation and distance markers
at 3 points along the trail
the project took him over 6 months
the FOREST SERVICE required that he use
already fallen cedar logs
for the markers
and that they be place alongside the trail, partially buried
so they don't detract from the natural beauty
the logs were
so bryan enlisted the help of another government agency:
and their mighty helicopters
to fly the log markers to the peak and drop them off

cuz anyone who hikes to the top of Verstovia
knows that it's enough just to hike it -
carrying a couple hundred pounds of log would be
coordinating 2 government agencies is the reason his project took so long to complete

Bryan is an avid hiker
he comes by it honestly
Bryan, his Dad & his brother were made for the outdoors
so the #1 DESIRE of Bryan
was to head back up the mountain and check on his markers

just like childbirth, it sounded like a good idea before we started
and was fulfilling after the long soak in the tub that night
but honestly:
for me
for Bryan
(note my red face and frizzy, wavy hair ... this was HARD WORK, I tell you!)
Bry's cousin, Joshua, joined us.
He took up the rear
(to make sure I didn't topple backwards just to get out hiking, I'm sure!)
Besides the unmatchable
fragrant, CLEAN air;
the sounds of eagles, squirrels, and ravens;
and the
UNMATCHED BEAUTY of the place,
hearing Bryan ahead of me on the trail
as he'd come upon one of his markers
only to find it had weathered well the past 2 years
with his WHOOPING cheer
well, that was priceless
I'd hike a million miles
up a million mountains
to experience that over and over again with Bry.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


First: Find a salmonberry patch
any day will do
but if you're lucky enough to see the sun
it sure makes for more enjoyable picking!

Second: Enlist Pickers

but preferably someone who doesn't have an empty, growling tummy

and someone with courage to reach

where even bears won't go

Third: Pick
singing while picking is encouraged
the purpose is two-fold:
it keeps bears and other mammals (including other pickers) away
it keeps your mouth busy
so the temptation to eat every-other-berry is diminished

Fourth: Admire Your Harvest
there's nothing more fulfilling
than gazing at the bubbles of summer color
caught in each salmonberry

Fifth: Consume
while some may argue
about the best way to consume your salmonberries
...over ice cream...
for me, the next best thing to eating a fresh berry right off the bush
is preparing a bowful with a light covering of cream
Now that you understand
the fundamentals of
salmonberries ...

Friday, July 3, 2009


Reading about Rick Hart's fishing experience
reminded me of my own summer fishing adventure
It was the summer of 2002 (i think)
and I was invited by some of the nicest men in Sitka
to join them for subsistence halibut fishing ...
Glenn Wilber, Jim Womack and Glen Strickland
3 true fishermen!
It took me 3 full days to get my sea legs
On the way out I helped bait the hooks
(salmon heads & tails)
and chewed peppermint gum like crazy
to try to combat the sea-sickness
It was a cold summer
and stormy
We got to the location
(I think every fisherman has his own secret places)
... but with my sense of direction, all location secrets are safe with me ...
Then dropped the line, hooking these gargantuan hooks to the line as we dropped it.
That was the easy day :)
A couple or a few days later we headed back to the location
to bring the line up with HOPEFULLY a lot of halibut.
My job was to take the uneaten bait off the hooks
and pile the hooks in an organized manner
... sounds easy, but these guys move so fast that it's quite the job! ...
The excitement came as we'd pull up halibut - and sometimes other fish -
... sometimes my job would change & I'd get to be the one coiling the line
the line was hooked to a hydrolic thingy, but it still took a lot of muscle
from the grizzled fishermen
When we were all done pulling it up, the process would start all over again
bait the hooks, and drop the line ... come back a few days later and harvest
Each harvest that summer boasted some amount of success
By the end of a few trips, I felt rather grizzled myself!

We stocked our freezer and canned a bunch more - it was a great summer!
The biggest fish we caught weighed about 300 lbs
i think it took 2 or 3 bullets before the guys could even pull it into the boat
then they tied it (like others) mouth to tail to keep it from flopping around

later in the summer, after proving myself with the bait (hehehe - not much to prove there!)
I was handed a fillet knife on the way back
I straddled the gigantic halibut (probably 100+ lbs) that had already been
bled and put into the tank, then pulled out to be filleted
and followed the instructions, inserting the knife then cutting down the center
Almost immediately the tail flipped up and nearly slapped me in the rear!
I jumped, screamed and threw the knife
accusingly I yelled at these men:
"I thought you said it was dead!"
I don't know who caught the knife, but they were all so busy laughing that I finally saw the humor in it.
Because of their persistent coaxing I finished the task, cutting away some pretty fine, very THICK fillets.
It was another trip that summer with these guys
when a HUGE octopus came up on the line and suctioned on to the side of the boat
it took a lot of strong men with gaff hooks
and even another boat's crew
to pull that stubborn octopus off the side of the boat
Our share made for some delicious
that night,
but I'll never catch and keep an octopus again
it was too sad
all-in-all these guys provided for me some good practical experience,
a lot of tasty, healthy fish,
and some pretty important life lessons

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Dreaded 14

Only recently my dreams have taken me back to my teenage years.
Without a doubt that is due to
the miracle of technology - how else would I ever
have been reconnected with my past?
We moved to PA when I was almost 14.
What an age!
If I could, I'd make a way for all the people I love
age 14.
But that's not to say there were no redeeming qualities about that year of my life.
After surviving that horrendous age
(wasn't that how old I was when I tried to send Bruce & Michael to their rooms?)
I still had friends
and family ties just got stronger.
So this blog is dedicated to
all 14-year-olds
all who will someday be 14
and all those who remember the dreaded 14
This picture was taken long after my time of being 14
But that would mean that Jenni was 14 at this time :)
She survived too.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Why soy?
* GREAT SOURCE OF DIETARY FIBER (read lower about 'okara')
There are a handful of non-sentimental
material possessions that
One of those is my

For just pennies, I can make a gallon of soymilk.
and not just any soymilk
ORGANIC soymilk
with no additives, preservatives, artificial sweeteners
Ok ... so it's cheap and it's good for me ... how do I use it?
Our family's favorite use:
(here's a basic green smoothie recipe)
combine in blender:
2 cups soy milk
2 ripe bananas
1 cup non-fat plain yogurt
blend well
add by the handful:
organic washed spinach leaves ... throw in as much as you think you can handle
start with maybe a cup, then as you get used to the taste, add more
the idea here is to get as much nutrition as possible
(we freeze our spinach and throw in the frozen stuff - it makes for a good consistency)
You can add all kinds of great things to this:
the list is endless - experiment and see what you like

Even 2-year-old Jace likes the basic green smoothie

For our smoothies, we
Go online and search for a good place to buy organic soybeans
You can store them for a long time

Using a soymilk maker is

Pretty much you just soak the beans
toss them in the maker
along with some water
hit the switch
minutes later
soy milk
you can do all kinds of cool things to change the flavor

A great trick that

take the okara (mentioned above)
it's the left-over fiber after making soymilk
and refrigerate it for up to a few days
throw it into your bread recipe,
cake recipe, cookie recipe,
banana bread, etc.

Besides getting a whole bunch of free protein
it makes your

Remember I said that it costs just pennies to make your soymilk?
using the okara means that it
basically costs
to get extra protein-rich fiber!

If you live near me, come try my soymilk
or a green smoothie
(but you have to stop in early for the smoothie - it's breakfast in our home)