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Summer Flying Around the West for Art and Kids

Summer Flying Around the West for Art and Kids

Send your kids outside to college and well, you know, they often don’t return. As empty nesters, husband Dave’s and my art travel includes regular visits to our kids who reside on both coasts. So we stole a week of Alaska’s fleeting June to catch up with LA son Oliver and gf-Kate Vescera, and take in some summer art of the West. With our pets at Rabbit Creek Kennels and the lawn mowed, we packed lightly for three cities in a week.

July 2, 2015
Arctic Ambiance

Arctic Ambiance

John Webber’s A Human Sacrifice, c 1780-84

The other day, husband Dave and I couldn’t get our SUV tail light unscrewed. After trying to drill out what we thought were chewed threads, we headed to Anchorage T-Tops and Automotive to see Butch Barney, owner and professor extraordinaire of all things auto body. Turned out, what we thought was a worn phillips-head was some kind of hexagonal/octagonal screw which Barney says is only used to confuse customers.

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June 5, 2015

Springtime Art in New York City Comes in all Shapes

Art blockbusters don’t jump out in New York City the way they did several decades ago. That’s not all bad, as smaller venues don’t sport long lines.  In spite of a blustery mid-April week, husband Dave and I found good hunting, discovering a variety of art spaces. We also caught an ‘off-off’ and a ‘Times Square’ Broadway show and found a new place for dinner. So hop on public transportation with us as we explore springtime art in Gotham.

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May 1, 2015
Artist Mariano Gonzales, Paradoxically not in Shadows

Artist Mariano Gonzales, Paradoxically not in Shadows

Oh Say, Can't You See (2014)

The Anchorage Museum exhibition Mariano Gonzales A Man in the Shadows (thru April 19) is as complicated and complex as it is formally beautiful and entertaining. The show is predominately made of metal murals about the size of full plywood sheets. When Gonzales bangs out sheets of aluminum, geometric ‘-agons’ emerge. These metal skins become large dimpled-esque tessellations resembling stacked ice cube trays. Digital printing somehow neatly appears on these dented skins.

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April 6, 2015
Andrew Schmitt. (Photo By Dave Waldron, APRN-Anchorage)

Celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day

Tuesday is Saint Patrick’s Day, and despite its rich history it’s known by most Americans as a day to drink lots of Irish whiskey and beer. To be fair, Saint Patrick got that reputation by giving Catholics a drinking pass during Lent. “And it provided a sort of nice mid-point break in lent where everyone could go crazy, and I think that’s probably the reason it’s turned into the colossal drinking holiday it is today.” That’s Andrew Schmitt, and he loves all things beer, including beer history. It so happens he also went to Catholic school. Schmitt says it’s odd that Saint Patrick is deemed the drinking Saint, especially since there is literally a patron Saint of beer.

March 16, 2015
Yes, there is Color to a New York City February

Yes, there is Color to a New York City February

Am I crazy? It’s a sunless winter in Anchorage, made darker by minimal snow clinging to roadways, all icy and gritty. Forget sun and sand, I’m off to New York City to hunt down some color. Everyone knows unless you are headed into the woods for a true Alaskan winter, you don’t need boots and mittens for driving to Costco. Last night, while eating pizza at Moose’s Tooth, husband Dave and I sat near a guy wearing shorts and a t-shirt—yes, flip flops are replacing sorels in the far North. Ok, I need lots of polar fleece up here and when we landed at Newark Airport, we were glad to dig out gore-tex and mittens.

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March 10, 2015
Tapered Flower Headband

Tapered Flower Headband

This simple crocheted headband is my best-selling product. I sell out of it at Bella Boutique every holiday season. You can’t go wrong — it’s colorful and has a huge flower on it. I also love embellishing the back of the headband with a vintage button.

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March 1, 2015
Dispatch from Juneau: Smoked Alaska Black Cod Dip

Dispatch from Juneau: Smoked Alaska Black Cod Dip

One thing Juneau does well is seafood. In my opinion, Alaska’s ocean bounty is second to none. As I was browsing the offerings at a fantastic local shop, Jerry’s Meats and Seafoods, I came across a package of smoked Alaska black cod. While wild Alaska salmon hogs most of the spotlight (and justifiably so), black cod is the unsung hero of Alaskan seafood. Rich, meaty, and incredibly tasty, it might actually be my favorite Alaskan fish.

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February 28, 2015

Recognizing Alaskan Leadership

We’ve all heard it before – Alaska is one-fifth the size of the Lower-48, larger than Texas, California and Montana combined! Our state’s immense size means that Alaskans face unique challenges given the landscape and distances between communities. This is particularly true for rural communities, where feelings of isolation are all too common. Additionally, Alaska’s climate is not for the faint-at-heart. Below-zero temperatures, gale force winds, torrential rains and minimal daylight hours can all contribute to the “winter blues.”

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February 27, 2015
Photo: © Kris Larson

Can Cutting Trees Save Wolves?

On Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska, Conservancy scientists are researching whether the harvest of young growth forests could actually benefit wolves – potentially helping to keep them off the Endangered Species list.

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February 26, 2015
A Yearly Flood Into The Gulf Of Alaska

A Yearly Flood Into The Gulf Of Alaska

Satellite data has confirmed that the amount of freshwater released into the Gulf of Alaska from streams and rivers in Alaska and northern Canada is about 1.5 times what the Mississippi River dumps into the Gulf of Mexico each year.

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February 26, 2015
Fuzzy Ombre Scarflet

Fuzzy Ombre Scarflet

Last summer an old friend of mine got married on the Greek island of Paros, which is known for its brilliantly white buildings contrasted against the blue Aegean Sea. I wanted to send her a handmade wedding gift that represented the beautiful location of her wedding. Since I have limited artistic talent (I am not a brilliant illustrator as she is), I decided to knit her an ombre scarf. Ombre might still be considered trendy, but I know I’m a little past the height of ombre hype.

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February 25, 2015
Roasted Cauliflower & Broccoli With Lemony Parmesan Breadcrumbs

Roasted Cauliflower & Broccoli With Lemony Parmesan Breadcrumbs

Back to the food. I’ve lost track of how many friends are resolving to drop a few pounds this year. A little less candy, a few more carrots. In that spirit, this dish of roasted cauliflower and broccoli, topped with crunchy, lemony, cheesy panko breadcrumbs is about as close as you get to wanting seconds when it comes to veggies.

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February 24, 2015
Tore 031203 2 (By Erik Holmstedt)

Winter Is For Sleuthing At Your Local Museum

Museums are temples that explain a culture but they can be intimidating—you may feel you don’t belong, you’re not on ‘the’ board.

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February 5, 2015
(Photo via The Salmon Project)

“Salmon Memories”

My brother Lee and I were excited about the new big boat. Dad said “Let’s get going,” yet somehow we understood “I’ll meet you there.” Fifteen minutes later, a mile and a half from shore, Dad was so small waving his arms in his dark coat. I pointed and Lee looked, then we turned around.

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January 29, 2015
Augustine Volcano during its 2005-2006 eruption. (Photo by Cyrus Read, Alaska Volcano Observatory/USGS)

Digging Up Augustine’s Top-Heavy Legacy

Augustine Volcano sits alone, a 4,000-foot pyramid on its own island in Cook Inlet. Like many volcanoes, it has a tendency to become top heavy. When gravity acts on Augustine’s oversteepened dome, rockslides spill into the ocean. A scientist recently found new evidence for an Augustine-generated tsunami from a time when Egyptian pharaohs built their own pyramids.

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January 29, 2015
(Photo via The Salmon Project)

“Good Luck Charms” by Leah C.

My cousin Sandra and her husband took their newly purchased boat and we headed south out of Ketchikan to try and catch some coho. We started late in the day, but we stopped the motor to drift and tried our luck at casting. Lance, Sandra’s husband, got the first fish bite, but it got away. Sandra asked me if I had any nibbles, but I didn’t yet. We moved toward Mountain Point and started to catch small rockfish and bullheads, but they weren’t coho so we released them all. We started to lose hope of catching anything to keep.

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January 9, 2015
(Photo via U.S. Fish and Wildlife)

Nature Lesson

It’s 6:33 a.m. Most of Anchorage is on its way to work. I’m on my second cup of coffee. Three moose lie sleeping in my front yard. The cow and one of the calves awaken now, their heads raised, ears alert to something at the end of the street. The other calf is laid out flat on his side. It’s the most Zen moose I’ve ever seen.

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January 9, 2015
Jeanne Branch Johnston’s uncle Rod Mason took this photo of a tsunami wave that hit Hilo, Hawaii, on April 1, 1946. (Rod Mason photo, courtesy Pacific Tsunami Museum)

Tsunami Survivor Shares Her Story

On April 1, 1946, the sea floor ruptured just south of Unimak Island in the Aleutian Islands. Seawater displaced by the giant earthquake sent a 100-foot wave into the Scotch Cape lighthouse on Unimak, destroying the concrete structure and killing the five men inside. They never knew what hit them in the 2 a.m. darkness.

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January 6, 2015
Big, Fluffy Brioche Cowl

Big, Fluffy Brioche Cowl

Now that the holidays are over and my handmade gifts have been delivered I can start posting some more patterns. Earlier this winter I became mildly obsessed with the brioche stitch. I found this lovely tutorial and pattern for a cowl and I came up with a simple headband/turban using the same stitch.

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January 5, 2015