Tuesday, November 30, 2010

goodbye Southeast Alaska

We just got home from a lovely Thanksgiving trip to Prince of Wales Island.  Oh, man. I totally miss Southeast Alaska.  Something about all the trees, and the way the air just drips with oxygen and the quiet woods with their thick blanket of moss just makes me want to stay there and NEVER leave.  Plus, my family is there so Sadie got to meet the rest of the Connolly/Jones clan, and I think she was quite delighted, if not constantly entertained.  It was a good trip, even with the unfortunate flu bug we picked up and the 12 hour travel days on either end of getting there.

To get into the holiday spirit, my mom and my sister Sarah and I went out and gathered Cedar, Hemlock, Spruce and Salal and made some beautiful Christmas wreaths.  I added a few birds and Kansashi flowers for flair.   Even though it would probably last longer outside, I am keeping it inside so I can smell it.  It is probably the last green thing I will get to look at till May. Sigh.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sadie Mai: The 4 month Stats...

Well, as they say, time flies, and our little girl is growing so fast!  She had her well child check up today, and in true Connolly (and Prosser) style, she is off the charts in both height and weight.  27 inches long, and weighing in at a whopping 20 lbs (my left bicept can attest to that) is Sadie Mai the four-month old!
Four months is such a fun age.  Sadie has expanded her repertoire of sounds from beyond the sweet little "aah-goos" to a wide range of shrieks, ooohhhs, and cackles.  She is better at sitting up and can actually balance in a sitting position for longer periods of time now before the inevitable tip over occurs.  She can dazzle a crowd with her dimpled smiles and winsome laughs.  Her big blue eyes check out the world around her with intensity and wonder. Speaking of intensity, Sadie also screams with intensity whenever mom and dad try to sneak away  for more than a few minutes at a time.  The screaming immediately subsides when either of us return. Go figure.

Another awesome skill that Sadie is developing is her reach and grab reflex.  So far she has mostly stuck to toys, keys, and the occasional fistful of mom's hair, but she did successfully swipe a few finger-fulls of grandma Sophie's gravy off of her dad's plate the other day. And it went straight into her mouth.  The last thing we should be feeding our 20 lb four-month old is gravy, but hey--cant blame a girl for trying right?

It is a true joy and delight to watch our little girl growing and getting stronger every day.  We are so happy and blessed to have her in our lives.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Epic Fail Amazon.com

Product Description

This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certian rules for these adults to follow. I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter sentences should they ever be caught.

Dear Amazon.com,
WTF were you thinking?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Weathering Winter in Western Alaska

Looks like those happy summer days of fishing, berry picking and sunshine are retreating under the blanket of cold that is enveloping our region, tucking us in for a long chilly nap. 

Winter in Alaska can be an isolating time for people, especially here in our region where we become literally isolated by our geography and climate.   Isolation can do funny things to people, and unfortunately it often goes hand-in-hand with a spike in substance abuse, domestic violence, depression and even suicide.

When I think of the long days of darkness ahead and I start to feel my spirits sinking, I like to remind myself that people have been weathering out the winters for hundreds of years on the Seward Peninsula.  What was their trick? I do believe it was keeping busy.  With all the bountiful harvest of berries, fish and meat put up for the winter it was time to get busy with indoor projects.  Traditionally that may have meant sewing a new parky or pair of mukluks, carving ivory, tools and frames for skin boats, and many other projects that kept the day-to-day living and subsistence endeavors alive.  Winter was a time to make good food, good music, tell stories and enjoy the company of family. Many here in our region still use winter as a time to do these things, but many do not.

Unfortunately, with the down time winter presents, many find themselves bored, restless and cramped inside.  They solve this problem by heading down town to drown these miserable feelings in alcohol.  I can’t think of a more isolating substance than alcohol; an altered state of consciousness, and the decisions and actions that go with it, have the potential to alienate us from our neighbors, friends and families. When we finally sober up and come back to reality, we have to face our decisions, the people we hurt, and the fact that all our money is gone. Talk about depressing.

This winter I would encourage all of us to find a constructive outlet, and do something productive that brings joy to our body and spirit.  Luckily for us, Nome is replete with fun activities to do in the winter if you know where to look.  If you need a physical outlet, head down to the Rec and snag a workout and sauna. Join a city-league team for camaraderie and competition, or venture out to Nome Beltz and cheer on our local youth as they compete. If you want to challenge your brain, consider taking a class at NWC.  Not only are there a variety of challenging and useful academic classes offered there, you can also learn some traditional art forms like skin sewing, beading or carving.  You can tinker in plywood sculpture, pottery, or printmaking or learn how to fix your snowmachine yourself.  Taking a class is a great way to meet and mingle with people from outside your usual social circle. The Nome Arts Council keeps things hoppin’ all winter long with live music at open mike nights, and keep your ear to the ground for cultural celebrations that feature some of the amazing, talented drummers and dancers from the region.  These are just a few of the fun things happening in Nome.  So listen to the radio, check out the paper, and the bulletin boards around town for more info.

Most importantly, use this down time to spend some quality time with your loved ones.  If you know of someone who lives alone and has no family here, reach out to them and make them feel included.  We are a community, lets put the focus on togetherness and shut out isolation this winter.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pecan Pie

I woke up at 2 this morning from a dream about pecan pie. That is just sad.  I made it through 9 months of pregnancy with no particular cravings or night-snacking episodes and now that I am breastfeeding I feel like I am STARVING, all the time.  We eat pretty healthy in this house, but the holidays are coming up and in my humble opinion there is nothing to equal an ooey-gooey slice of pecan pie and a cup of black coffee to sip on a cold winter day. sigh....
I never make pecan pie though because one of the main ingredients is this:

blech. My hippie conscience wont let me have this product in my house, not even for occasional indulgences.  So... I am on a quest for a karo syrup-free pecan pie recipe... are you with me?  If you are, or you know of one, please let me know because Thanksgiving is just around the corner....

The Mother of all UFP's--F'ed!

Don't worry, its not what you're thinking:)  UFP is my mom's term for "Unfinished Project." If there was a contest for queen of UFP's I think I would be in the running!  But this project in particular I started over 1 1/2 years ago. Yup, I found some beautiful upholstery fabric and started on my dining room chairs. I did one. It looked great. Then the project stalled; I don't even know why. But like all good UFPs it just kept getting put on the back burner. for. a. long. time.  Yesterday I got inspired. Maybe it was the thought that soon enough we will have a tot with sticky little fingers running over everything and seriously, WHITE furniture? WHY? Who lives with white furniture in their house and is able to keep it pristine?  These chairs weren't new when we inherited them. They looked like crap--and we only made it worse. See for yourself:

The worst  thing about this particular UFP is that it really isn't that hard to reupholster a basic chair cushion.  All you need are: fabric, hammer, screw driver (for un-attaching/reattaching cushion from chair frame) and a staple gun.  You simply cut your fabric to size and begin stretching and stapling evenly around the back of the cushion. It really only took me about one Sadie nap (1 1/2 hours) to do the rest of them.   Can I just say, it feels MAGNIFICENT to scratch this mother of all UFP's off my to-do list? Here is the final product:
I'm happy with how they turned out--nice and autumnal. I think they will hold up well to the rigors of tot-hood.   Also, this project cost me all of $40, and buying a whole new set of chairs would have been just silly. My next upholstery project will be a little more involved-- this white gliding rocker in the baby's room:
(more white furniture, ack!) But that will be a later post...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

something old to something new... t-shirt upcyle project

We all have those well-loved t-shirts hanging out in the back of our closets and drawers, the ones with sentimental value that just don't fit, or fit in,  anymore. I just finally threw out a  1994 Alaska Cross Country State championships tee that was seriously hanging in rags.  But what about those shirts that are still in good shape but just aren't getting worn anymore? My friend Amy sent me the pattern for this super cute baby sleeper which came from this awesome site:
I had to try it out!
For posterity: the cocoa puffs t-shirt is one that Loren saved box tops for and sent in to get a free t-shirt (and he did this while in college lol! I guess he really is cookoo for cocoa puffs!) The other is a screen printed tuxedo tee that my awesome artsy friend Anne made.  The sleepers were super easy to sew and you can cut the bottoms and sleeves in a way that the t-shirt hems become the baby garment hems.  The pattern actually calls for putting elastic in the bottom, but honestly, if you have a kicky little Chuck Norris like I do, the sleeper will end up around their middle by the end of the night anyway... so why bother with the elastic.  I give this t-shirt upcycle project an enthusiastic 2 thumbs up because...
I want to be formal... but I came here to party!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Welcome to my blog!

After several years of contemplating delving into the blogging world I have finally made the leap! Why, you may ask? I think the birth of our beautiful baby Sedna and the distance between our little family here in Western Alaska and our big family spread out all over the state and beyond may have something to do with it.  This is a way to keep in touch, share thoughts and ideas and...pictures of course!