Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Three Musketeers!!!

Kris, Rachel, and I met during "Seussical:  The Musical" at Ashland Productions in Maplewood APPROXIMATELY a million years ago.  They were "Bird Girls", and I was....some lame ass chorus dink (and...despite the fact that I tore my meniscus during a particularly wretched dance move...and was on crutches with a knee brace for five not bitter at all...).

Anyhoo...the three of us bonded during the show, and have done several shows since...



We've also tried to get together, on a semi-regular basis, for drinks, lunch, drinks, shopping, and other fun, "theater-friend" activities.

Our most recent excursion was a trip to the new Eagan Outlet Mall a few weeks ago, via drinks at Jensen's Food and Cocktails.

After a "rip snorting" time at the mall, we headed to the Eagan Community Center for the 1st Annual Food Truck Fair.  Duane met us there, and, although it was CHAOS, we found some REALLY good food, and can't wait to go again next year!!!!

I dearly LOVE these girls, and can't WAIT until our NEXT adventure!!!

Here's hoping YOU have crazy FABULOUS friends to hang out with too!!!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014


It's been a crazy month since the last post...Duane and I took a quick trip to Alaska, then school started, and I've been CRAZY BUSY ever since, but, I wanted to blog the trip, because, as usual, it was AWESOME!!!

We headed to Alaska on an early flight on Tuesday morning, August 19th.  We were able to get business class, which I DEARLY love, and had a smooth, uneventful flight there.  As is also usual on our trips, we landed, picked up the rental car, and vacationed our BUTTS off!

We started at Carl's Jr., because I ALWAYS have to have a Santa Fe Chicken sandwich and deep fried zucchini rounds whenever we are in a town that HAS a Carl's Jr.

After lunch., we stopped at the Fred Meyer grocery store, because, as is ALSO usual, we tour grocery stores in towns we visit.  It's a  little weird, but we both LOVE exploring the local produce, and store brands in places we don't have back home.

After the grocery store, we checked in at our B and B...the Big Bear.  We usually stay at Alaska House of Jade, but found out in trying to find a place to stay, that our friend Dee had sold the place, and, when we called her to make sure it was true, found out that the new owners were booked solid.  So...we tried a new place.  It was nice, but I missed the "familiarity" of House of Jade.

 The bathroom in our room, although tiny, was well built!!!

After dropping our stuff at the B and B, we went downtown to buy tickets to Seward on Alaska Railways for the following day. We then went to Potter Marsh to walk on the board walk.  We really like Potter Marsh and make a stop (or two!) there every time we visit Anchorage.  It was lovely, and we were there in the late afternoon, so the light was amazing.

After walking the boardwalk, we headed into Anchorage to find a place to have dinner.  I really wanted to try a place called Fat Ptarmigan.  We got close...there was a bar in a hotel called JUST "The Ptarmigan".  We went in, sat down, and, after being handed a menu full of Asian items, asked our server if we were in the right place.  She VERY KINDLY informed us that the place we wanted was further down the street, and even gave us directions on how to get there.  So nice!

We walked, and walked, and walked in the direction she pointed, and EVENTUALLY found it...only to find out that it was CLOSED for a private event...SOOOOO NOT HAPPY.  After looking disgustingly through the glass door, we ended up at a place called Uncle Joe's Pizzeria, and...even though there was only ONE poorly overworked server on staff for the evening, had a REALLY GREAT pizza.  If you are ever in Anchorage, I HIGHLY recommend this place!!!!

We then walked around downtown for awhile...

...then headed back to the B and B to go to bed...since we had to get up at 5:00 to get ready, and get to the train station by 6:00.  Oy!  I'm SOOOO not a "morning person", and was NOT happy to have to get up so early on our first full day in Alaska (especially since there is a three hour time difference!).

I DID manage to drag myself out of bed, we picked up the "to go" breakfast that our hostess very kindly packed for us (although I couldn't bring myself to eat the salmon quiche...), and headed to the depot. 

We boarded the train, and had a REALLY GREAT DAY riding to Seward, eating lunch at Chattermark, taking a shuttle to Exit Glacier, and returning on the train back to Anchorage.  It took all day, and by the time we got back to the B and B at 10:30, were MORE than ready to go to bed!!

On Thursday, we got up, and moved to our SECOND B and B, the Summerset.  We then headed back down the Seward highway to Mt. Alyeska.  We've climbed this ski resort area several times before, but it's one of my FAVORITE places.  After looking around the GORGEOUS Alyeska Resort, we took the tram up the mountain and hiked around at the top for awhile.  GORGEOUS views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers.

After climbing around for awhile, we headed back to the resort, looked around for awhile, then drove back to Anchorage.  We had dinner at Simon and Seyforts, a DELIGHTFUL steak and seafood place downtown, then walked along the trails by the bay for awhile.

After that, we went back to our B and B, and went to bed.  APPARENTLY we went to bed too early, as a moose decided to crash into the backyard and lie down for awhile.  

On Friday, we had a WONDERFUL breakfast, then decided to head the OPPOSITE direction out of town.  We took a hike up to Thunderbird Falls.  A woman we passed on the path said that she had been down by the river, and two bear cubs had passed in front of her.  She hadn't seen the mother bear...which is bad, because you DEFINITELY want to know where she is at all times.

We didn't see the bears at all while we were there, but I'm SURE it's because Duane picked up a couple of small rocks to throw at them...if we saw them, and kept stomping as we continued toward the falls.

 After the falls, we continued north to Palmer and spent a little bit of time at the Alaska State Fair.  So awesome...really more like a county fair back here.  It was 76 degrees...there was little to no humidity...and it was not crowded at all.

We found DELICIOUS fair foods!!  I had a bacon wrapped corndog...Duane had blueberry pie from a church food stand...SOOOOO good!!!

Because of the long days, REALLY large vegetables are a "thing" at the fair.  We saw a 102 pound cabbage, a five pound carrot, and many other MONSTER vegetables.

We also saw chickens, flowers, and walked through the baking entries building as well.  I SOOOO want to be a judge for state fair confections someday!!!

After the fair, we headed back to Anchorage, stopped at a GREAT candy store and bought "glacier water" taffy (the rhubarb is my FAVORITE!), then headed to House of Jade to meet Dee, so that she could introduce us to the new owners, so that NEXT time we head north, we have a connection to get a room!

After that, we headed into Anchorage to try another pizza place...the Moose's Tooth.  It was REALLY good (although we thought Uncle Joe's was a little better!). 

We then headed back to the B and B, packed, and went to bed. 

After a GREAT breakfast the final morning there, we made a quick second trip to Potter Marsh, where we saw a BUNCH of salmon swimming upriver to spawn...

...then headed to the airport for the flight home.  The BAD part of the final day was that Duane left his camera in the back seat of the rental car, along with his Hawaii baseball cap.  He didn't remember until we were at the gate to board the flight.  He DASHED back, and his cap was there, but someone had taken it upon themselves to relieve him of the camera.  People SUCK sometimes...

The GOOD part, though, was that we got business class on the flight home.  I LOVE business class!!!!

Here's hoping YOU were able to get away from everything for awhile too, but that YOU made it home with YOUR camera!!!!