Friday, March 30, 2007

Felted Rug

I decided to use up the scraps of wool yarn that I had leftover and make a floor rug. I ended up by purchasing a couple extra skeins to get it finished up to a decent size so now I have different left-overs! I randomly cast on 136 stitches and decided to do a garter so that the rug would have ridges.

As I was waiting for the washer to do its felting thing, I read from At Knit's End: Meditations for Women who Knit Too Much, a gift from Shari when leaving Fairbanks.

Only Allah is perfect. – Persian Lore

According to the author, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, persian rug weavers always make a point of weaving in a mistake in their products to show humility in Allah's great presence. I'm an expert at showing humility.

After a short time in the washer I noticed a lot of fuzz in the water and when I finally pulled the rug out of the hot water (it was quite heavy) I realized that one of the yarns had almost disintegrated in several spots and I now had a rug with several holes in it. UGH!

I wasn't sure what to do so I put it away for a couple of days to think it over. The stripe was right in the middle of the rug so I couldn't just cut it off and try to bind it and I didn't have any extra yarn the same color to patch it up. There were several other spots where the yarn had pulled and it was just a matter of time before more holes were created. I started picking up the stitches from one side, cutting away the bad yarn as I went. The purple side was pretty easy to see so the picking up went quickly. Then I picked up stitches on the other side which was much harder because it was variegated and really fuzzy. Amazingly enough when I finished I had the same number of stitches on both sets of needles. I had in my mind now two choices, add another color and refelt it and hope that it would look close to the same or bind the two sides off together making the rug a little narrower. I chose the later.

I decided to go ahead and refelt it and now I am done and will move on .

I have a lot of humility in this rug.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

New birds from the Deck

I walked to the post office and when I came back down the side of the house along the deck to get to the front door I heard a small rustling sound. I looked down and on the dark rocks and drift logs I think I saw a fox sparrow. It darted in and out between the rocks, scratching in the seaweed debris and you could see it reach out with its beak and catch bugs. I didn't even notice that there were any bugs out. It seemed to be really dark, a lot darker then the pictures, but it had a lot of streaks and had the behavior of a fox sparrow. You don't see many song birds this close to the water, especially since the two neighborhood eagles like to sit on the roof peak!

You don't see this very often

This was inspired by a conversation overheard at the Douglas Quickie Mart by a little girl and her mother. This was taken on the Airport Dyke Trail that winds around the Mendenhall River Wetlands.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A few random websites of interest:

Ice sculptures from Ice Alaska
They even have images of the single and multi-block sculptures although it takes awhile to go through all of them.

Nenana Ice Classic 2007
You might be able to get tickets in your area even if you aren't in Fairbanks or Nenana. But you better hurry because tickets are due by April 5.
For anyone new to Mac OS or to those who want to know more about how to use them. Several good easy to follow tutorials.

Online Photo Editor
You have to create an account with picnik but this is a very cool online photo editor that has a lot of features. If you don't have access to photoshop this is a definite keeper for an online tool. You can:
  • use your own photos that are on your computer or get one from an online photo galleries like Flickr or Picasa.
  • resize, crop, sharpen, rotate, fix exposure, play with saturation and temperature
  • add special effects like matte, border, boost colors
  • save your image to your computer, or photo gallery, email it to your blog or other website, or print it to your printer.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

restaurant review #6

We got all dressed up for a Saturday night on the town and had a great dinner at Zephyr, a relatively new restaurant in downtown Juneau. We had heard that it was very hard to get into without reservations but we thought we'd try it anyway. It was still pretty early (6:30) and we didn't have any problems getting a table. Serving food with a Mediterranean flavor, the menu selections were interesting and the wine list was extensive (and expensive). We decided to start with the Calamari appetizer in honor of an acquaintance, as ordering this dish has become a tradition for us. It could have used another minute in the fryer to make it crisper but it was very good served with a garlic aioli and a red pepper couli. We split a caesar salad and started on a Spanish Roija Alta from Bodegas Breton that was really yummy. Tim had veal scallopini and roasted potatoes and I had the polenta lasagna layered with portabella mushrooms, roasted red pepper, and asparagus. Both were served with vegetable of the day: asparagus. Besides the overdose of asparaGAS on my part the meal was all very good. This is a definite spot to return to as soon as we've tried out a few more places.

It was a very nice evening: warm, clear, no wind. We envied these folks who were cruising the channel in their motor boat.

Friday concert fulfills every expectation

Thankfully the organist for the Friday Pipe Organ concert was feeling well enough to perform this week. Tim and I met at the SOB (state office building) and ate lunch while the guy played this great pipe organ, a Kimball Theater Pipe Organ. He started off with a patriotic medley with songs such as The Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy, and a few more standards mixed in. The acoustics were very good but I'm glad I wasn't trying to do business on the phone with someone working in the building.

The next song was a classic…do-do-do, doo doo doo doo, you know…Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor…from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

The next selections were a mix of hymns, easy-listening standards, Sousa Marches, Disney medleys, and Saturday matinee movie music.

It was an enjoyable way to spend lunch and I highly recommend it if you're in town on a Friday around noontime.

Reserved parking for our friends

Good parking downtown – might need a little bit of shoveling but we'll help!

Friday, March 23, 2007

In my soup

no joke! We made some bean soup from a left-over ham bone that had lots of good meat stuck to it. I had some of the soup for lunch today. I thought I got all the bone pieces out after simmering the bone for a couple of hours and before adding the beans and vegetables, but this one slipped through.

Tim thought it looked like Winnie the Pooh – I don't quite see it
I was thinking more Jay Leno-ish

Thursday, March 22, 2007

White Chili

I've always like this recipe and since we had some left-over turkey in the fridge it seemed like a good idea to make for a weekday supper.

White Chili
1 T oil
1 clove garlic
1 medium onion, chopped

Saute ingredients in a large pot.


1 t cumin
2 large chicken breasts, chopped into 1" chunks
16 oz while kidney beans, drained
15 oz garbanzo beans, drained
1 can white corn (or hominy)
8 oz chopped green chilies
2 c chicken bouillon
1 1/2 c water

Simmer until chicken is done

I used dry pinto beans that had soaked in water overnight and then simmered until done. Then I added all of the other ingredients except for the oil and let it simmer for 45-50 minutes.

We like to top it with sour cream, fresh chopped tomatoes and/or grated cheddar cheese and pair it with cornbread.

I got introduced to this style of cornbread at Naomi's wedding where her friend Joe prepared all the food for the wedding feast. I think that another bud, John, made the cornbeal following the recipe. It was delicious!

Serves 9

2 Tbsp. ground flax seed (I used the whole seed)
6 Tbsp. water
1 C all-purpose flour
1 C cornmeal
1/4 C sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. table salt
1 C soy milk
1/4 C canola oil

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 8-inch-square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the ground flax seed, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the ground flax seed in the water for 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt until well-combined.
  4. Add the ground flax seed mixture, soy milk, and canola oil to the flour mixture. Beat just until smooth (do not overbeat.)
  5. Turn into prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes; invert cornbread onto wire rack, then turn right side up and continue to cool until warm, about 10 minutes longer. Cut into pieces and serve.

Alaska Brewing Company

FREE TOURS at Alaskan Brewing Company - Thursday through Sunday during the winter! I only had one foot in the door when I was asked what kinda beer I wanted. I chose the IPA which they have just announced would be the next beer that they will begin distributing year- round. Apparently it has only been available locally. I think my favorite it still the Alaskan Amber but I liked the IPA for a change. They gave us a short tour and let us walk around the gift shop until we finished off a glass of beer. We were told that they turn 21 this year and they expect to be putting on quite a good party this summer to celebrate now that they are legal!

Here's Mel and Kathy in the room where the first kettles are located. The ones they currently use are outside and are much bigger.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

We broke the record–We are the Champions!

Its official - we now hold the record for the biggest snowfall accumulation in Juneau history. According to the Juneau Empire sometime this morning we broke the previous record of 194.3 by an incredible 194.6 inches! While driving around last night you just had the feeling that more frozen precipitation was on its way and that if we all tried out hardest we could do it!

I had a front row seat for the provoked avalanche this morning but was only able to snap one picture while it was happening. The Cannons were pretty loud and were heard all the way to Fairbanks (by Carol and Ed with whom I was audio-conferencing!)

and through the spotting scope I can see them clearing the road

This is from the Juneau Empire

Here's where they were shooting the cannon from - the green arrow and yellow dot is about where our house it located.

Apparently they are really worried about several neighborhoods around town too and are setting up shelters for those who are in the danger zone. On a scale of 1 to 4 which is the normal avalanche scale, experts are calling this a 5 and are talking about its uniqueness as an urban avalanche

Monday, March 19, 2007

Slide over Irish Cream

I've found a new liqueur that I suggest you try if you like Irish Cream or Chai tea. Its called Voyant Chai Cream and its blended with rum. I know, I swore after that episode with the mai tais that I'd never drink rum again but somehow when its mixed with black tea it just doesn't seem as potent as when its mixed with fruit juice.

Since I'm over 21 I entered their web site and went to the creations link. I think that Sour Cream ChaiCake with gingership crust sounds really good. But I left my spring form pan in Fairbanks and I drank all the chai cream so I guess I'll just have to wait until I'm better prepared.

Carrot Oatmeal Muffins

I really like carrot cake but didn't want to make an entire cake with all that sugar so I opted for these muffins instead.

1 1/3 c. flour
1 c. oats
3/4 c. shredded carrots (about 2 med.)
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. skim milk (I used soy milk)
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
1/3 c. (5 1/3 tbsp.) butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla

Oven 375°. Spray 12 muffin cups with spray or line with paper baking cups. Combine first 8 ingredients; mix well. Add combined milk, egg whites, butter and vanilla, mixing just until moistened. Fill cups 3/4 full. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. Makes about 8.

I didn't have any raisins and I didn't think that craisins sounded very good so I just left them out. I used vanilla soy milk instead of the skim milk and canola oil for the melted margarine. I halved the recipe and used my mini-muffin pan and got 12 little bite-sized treats! I didn't try using the flax seed egg replacement because I wasn't sure how the soy milk was going to work out and didn't want to substitute too many ingredients but I think it would have worked out just fine so I'll try it out next time I make these. I'm thinking I might need to add a little powdered sugar to some cream cheese and dab a little on to get the full taste I was looking for.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Weekly Pipe Organ Concert at SOB

There's this really cool looking pipe organ in the State Office Building (SOB) and apparently there's a weekly Friday concert at noon. Mel, Kathy, and I met Tim for a sack lunch but were disappointed that the concert was canceled. Mel has some experience with playing the organ but the security guard wasn't taking us very seriously. A sandwich bribe didn't work either.

Nearing snowfall record

According to the Juneau Empire the total snowfall for the area is nearing the highest amount recorded of 194.1 inches in 1964–65. As of Friday the total was around 182.9 and we've had several inches fall since then. I don't think that the predicted 6 to 10 inches really came but there's still a storm warning in effect until sometime on Sunday so this might be the weekend. Snow is expected everyday next week.

So we have some snow and its starting to pile up. I'm not complaining because its been 40-60 degrees warmer than Fairbanks temps which has made a lot of difference in my desire to get outside. I switch off between hiking boots and rubber boots depending on how deep the snow is and haven't had any problems getting around with the blazer. We've been avoiding the steeper hills in downtown Juneau and pretty much stick to the main streets. We can park at Tim's office parking lot when we go into town and walk to anyplace we are going so that's pretty convenient.

The house has a metal roof so when it starts to pile up is starts to slide down curving under the eaves like wood might do over steam. At some point the mass gets too heavy and it falls onto the deck with a "whoomp."

Did we mention that the landlord lives next doors and does all the shoveling? *sweet*

Thursday, March 15, 2007

restaurant review #5

Doc Water's Pub at the Wharf

Typical Alaska pub menu - halibut burger, salmon burger, cow burger, halibut fish and chips - good grub, interesting pub atmosphere. They have music 7 nights a week but we were too early for the evening's performance. We'll have to keep it in mind for another night. The salmon burger was a nice sockeye fillet, the halibut burger was served with avocado and pico de gallo, the cow burger had bacon and blue cheese (and tell me what's not delicious with these condiments) and the halibut fish and chips was served crispy and moist inside. The tartar sauce was homemade and was delicious. Definitely will go back for more grub and entertainment.

El Sombrero
Good mexican food in the tex-mex style–probably the only mexican restaurant I've been to where the entire kitchen and wait staff was caucasain! They fry up the chips fresh and the salsa had a nice kick to it. No hard liquor license but they had a decent wine margarita. I like them on the sweet side so it was good for me. We'll be back here for more mexican food.

Capital Cafe
Located in the Baranof Hotel, the cafe is very nice for breakfast or lunch. For lunch I had the halibut burger and Tim had a Reuben – we both had the fries and they were really crispy. Service was very nice and since it was in a hotel the bathrooms were very clean! I've heard that the dinners in the Gold Room are also very good so we'll have to save it for another night out.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Live and in Person

I noticed that Alaska Airlines has a web special from now to the end of May for flights between Fairbanks and Juneau for $169 (one way). which isn't too bad. I think you have to book your flight before March 16 which is only a few days away! Go to the Alaska Airlines website and have a look. It just might be that your future includes an audience with Cappy and participation in a restaurant review!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

next door neighbors

We've been listening to a lot of music lately: The Eagles and The Crows are some of our favorites.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Flax seed as egg replacement

1 tablespoon flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoons of warm water, heated in the microwave for about 30 sections, and all stirred up makes a gooey substance that's very close to 1 egg. I made some chocolate chip cookies with the recipe on the back of the bag replacing the eggs with the flax seed mixture and we thought they came out pretty well. The flax might add a little hint of a nutty flavor. I have a pound of flax seed so I might be experimenting with it a lot.

Cappy gone wild Juneau

Fairbanks friends Mel and Kathy are joining us this week for spring break since they heard that Juneau was the next Fort Lauderdale. We are all lucky that' Cappy's clothes are painted on.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

I've fallen and I can't get up

Had a little accident with the ball this afternoon…I think I might have a black eye…will workman's comp cover this?

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Doily Do

I've been making a lot of finger-less and finger-full gloves since Christmas so I thought I'd take a break and go back to my love for making lacy stuff. And since I now have several pieces of new furniture with flat surfaces I thought I'd work on a doily pattern from a book I've had for awhile. I picked out a table-size pattern and found some crochet thread that I've used before for pillowcase lace. As I was working diligently on the pattern after a couple of hours it struck me that the thread I was using was really cheap stuff and I began questioning why was I putting so much energy and time in this project when I should be using some linen or silk thread and produce a really quality product. So I figured out how to finish it off and here it is. I'll make another attempt when I get a chance to get some better material.

Enjoying our House Warming Gift

We found the perfect bottle of wine to have with a house warming gift of glasses and a decanter given to us by friends Susan and Lillian. The wine complimented the glasses beautifully and it was pretty tasty too. Pinot Evil - a pinot noir for those who don't want to monkey around.

Monday, March 5, 2007

restaurant review #4

Dragon Inn and Motel was our destination for dinner one evening last week. We're on the hunt for some dining room chairs and all of the furniture stores are in the valley so we thought we'd make an evening of it by looking for chairs and having dinner out. I understand that this restaurant used to be located downtown but moved out to Lemon Creek after the building burned down a couple summers ago.

There was only one other party in the place and the dad was showing his two young daughters (3 and 4 maybe) how to use the chopsticks as drumsticks on the table, on the plate, on the glasses…it was quite the experience…if he was doing that in a restaurant what is it like at home?

The menu was similar to alot of chinese restaurants we've been to around the country. We ordered some chicken dumplings which turned out to be deep fried but the guts were tasty. It was served with some sweet and sour cabbage slaw which was very good. We also ordered General Tsaos chicken and Pork Mu Shu which were both pretty good. The chicken wasn't as sweet as I've had it before and had more of a chili flavor. I've gotten so I really like Mu Shu–Tim's gotten really good at making a vegetable mu shu and once we determined it tasted just as good with regular flour tortillas instead of making our own pancakes it makes a quick dinner. Stay tuned for his recipe.

Once the girls had finished drumming and picking at their food they were allowed to run around the restaurant and finally ended up at our table with their fortune cookies. At one point "Beca" decided to play the seefood game with us and her cookie. How charming. After an obligatory apology from the father given without much feeling the girls and their father left the building. At that point we had been rushing through dinner because the ambiance was so uncomfortable so we packed up the leftovers (only the mu shu), had our own seefood game with the fortune cookies…

and are awaiting our rewards.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Splurging for furniture

Tim and I have been married for just over 20 years now and most of the furniture we've had has been passed on from family members or has been picked up at garage sales. When we came here to Juneau we really splurged when we purchased a new couch and lounge chair. So keeping in that spirit we'd like to thank the CDE bookstore for furnishing our end tables, coffee table and bedroom furniture.

Its amazing what you can do with a little bit of packing tape and some Thompson Publishing boxes! Since we know we won't be staying here for very long we didn't want to get rid of the great boxes we have or the yards and yards of bubble wrap. So we stuff the boxes full of bubble wrap and some smaller boxes, taped them together and covered them with some upholstery fabric and some upholstery tacks. Thank goodness for Joann's Fabric.

This one is topped by a runner that my Mom made.

Here we have a freebie from the moving company. They had to add a box to help hold some of our stuff in place so this is a mover's dish box. You can't tell from this picture but my feet are usually sitting atop the box. We really struck gold on this because it was filled with newsprint which helped cover another big box that's now a TV stand.

Behold the box that my extra monitor was mailed in from CDE. Its the perfect height for a living room end table.

And the guest bedroom is being prepare for Mel and Kathy's visit next week.

The bedside tables in our bedroom were the last to be finished.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

blizzard activity

Thursday evening and all day Friday brought us several feet of snow and high winds. Some places are void of snow and others are piled high due to the wind. I've been really impressed with how fast the graders and front-end loaders have been out clearing the roads. We haven't had to venture too far and have tried to stay out of the downtown area where the cars parked on the side of the roads have made it hard for the graders to do their job. I think we had winds up to 60 mph last night. I'm also amazed that the power didn't go out.We finally had the birds back in front of the house this evening–the eagles must have been pretty hungry after a couple days of the high wind. We say two of them score on fresh crab that were unlucky enough to be caught in the low tide.

Friday, March 2, 2007

view from K2

Tim's office is in the KTOO building which is right downtown next to the Prospector Hotel and the State Museum. For the last 4 weeks he's had the use of a co-worker's office who has been on vacation. Here's a couple pictures showing the view from his window. They are a little tight on space so he's not quite sure where he'll end up next but plans for a remodel of the building are in place for this spring.

Here's the state museum:

Here's the state office building (the big one) and the public safety building under the shadow of Mt Juneau (lookout there might be an avalanche!)