Check ‘Go to a State Fair’ off the Bucket List!

 

I bet when I posted that I was fulfilling a wish on my bucket list while in Alaska, you thought it was going to be something exciting like white water rafting, or zip lining or even mountain climbing, but no, this tick of the pen goes next to something I’ve always wanted to do ~~ Attend a State Fair.

I know not very exciting, huh?

So maybe it wasn’t high on my priority list but it was definitely on there. See I grew up going to two County Fairs in Ohio almost every summer with my family and friends. Then when my kids were little I took them to the County Fair too. But I’ve never made the trek to the BIG ONE, the State Fair. We’ve never lived close enough for one thing and I guess we never felt like spending money on a hotel room for an overnight stay, but with the Alaska State Fair located only an hour a way in Palmer, Alaska, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity!

They had all the usual stuff you expect at a fair…

Livestock…

Ribbons given out for bake goods, crafts and flowers…

Gigantic Produce…

Fried Fattening Food and Scary Carnival Rides …
(I ate my fried Halibut too quickly for a pic, and I did NOT ride this scary swingy-bungy thingy!)

and then a few things I didn’t expect…

TIny Daredevils (the youngest was 3 years old!)…

A Wine Bar (we had to check it out!)…..

Alaskan Native Dancers (this lady was so joyful and cute!)….

And Gorgeous Scenery…..

I don’t think I ever expected to be at a State Fair with views like that!

It was a terrific day, and I even remembered to make a guess in the Annual Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off, 119.85 pounds, sure hope it’s a winner!!

 

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The Empty Glass by J.I. Baker

This month marked the 50th anniversary of the death of screen legend Marilyn Monroe. As with most anniversaries, morbid and not, people come out of the woodwork trying to make a buck. There have been releases of never before seen photos, film festivals on television and of course book releases.

One of the few fiction books that came out this summer is, ‘The Empty Glass’ by J.I. Baker. It’s formatted like a mystery, with an employee of the L.A. Coroner’s office playing the part of detective. The mystery being, did Marilyn Monroe commit suicide or was she murdered? Ben Fitzgerald, the Deputy Coroner, is on the scene shortly after Marilyn’s death is reported to authorities by her housekeeper and psychiatrist, and he is firmly of the opinion that Marilyn was murdered. He finds himself alone in that opinion as his boss rules her death a suicide, even after a less than convincing autopsy.

He decides to go back to Marilyn’s house and reexamine the scene of her death and take a closer look at a diary he had earlier seen hidden under her pillow. Marilyn’s ‘Book of Secrets’ only confirms Fitzgerald’s suspicions that she was murdered. The diary’s secrets are powerful and heartbreaking and reveal that Marilyn’s life may well have been in danger by what and whom she knew.

As Fitzgerald goes about trying to discover the truth about her death he finds himself becoming as paranoid and unraveled as Marilyn. Is he losing his mind or are the forces that killed Marilyn out to get him too?

Mixing the facts of Monroe’s death with the legendary conspiracy theories, Baker did a great job of turning a true event into a mystery thriller. I am one of those people who truly believes she was murdered by either the Kennedy’s or the mob, so I liked the author’s slant in that same direction. The one problem I had with this book was its failure to transport the reader to the time period in which the events took place. 1960’s characters using lingo from a more modern era just felt like careless writing or editing. I’m probably just being a bit picky.

If you’re fascinated with the real life mystery and like a good thriller, then you will enjoy ‘The Empty Glass’.

Bouquet List

The title of my post is really an homage to one of my favorite TV characters Hyacinth Bucket, but what I really want to talk about are Bucket Lists. Do you have one?

I never thought I did until that movie with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson came out a few years ago. Before The Bucket List I had never even heard that term. I had a list of things in my head to do ‘someday’, but I’m pretty sure I never used the gloomy phrase ‘before I die’.

In 2003 the travel book, 1,000 Places to See before You Die by Patricia Shultz, was released and was so wildly popular that the Travel Channel created a television show based on it and a slew of copy cat books and websites have been created telling you other things you must read, watch and see before you kick the bucket. It’s exhausting just thinking of all the thousands of things I have yet to do as my ticker keeps ticking down!

But somehow the use of the phrase ‘Bucket List’ has crept into my vocabulary and I find myself, and notice others, using the phrase frequently. While I haven’t written a physical list of things I want to do before my demise, I do have some ideas percolating in my noggin.

And today, here in the great state of Alaska one of these percolating ideas is going to be ticked off my bouquet list…..

….stay tuned!

One ingredient ice cream? Bananas!

My cousin posted a link on Facebook this morning that really grabbed my attention. It is entitled, “The Kitchn’s One-Ingredient Ice Cream”. I love ice cream and I love simple recipes so of course I had to check it out.

You can gather from this post’s title that the ONE ingredient is bananas! I guess if you cut up bananas, freeze them and then give them a whirl in a food processor, the result is an ice cream like dessert with intense banana flavor.

Cavendish bananas are the main commercial bana...

You can click here, on Food52’s website, to read the scientific reason why bananas have this magical ability to turn into ‘soft serve ice cream’ and also get the recipe.

one-ingredient ice cream

Running Wild

If anyone would have told me when I was in my 20’s that I would be running in 5K races when I’m in my 50’s I would have told them they were cuckoo bananas!  I loathed running. I liked Jazzercise (the Zumba of the 80’s), golfing and bowling~~the latter two especially because you can drink beer while participating!

But here I was today participating in my 5th 5K! It was a good one too as I got to run through the streets of Anchorage, along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, and in the midst of the 2012 Iditarod Champ, Dallas Seavey. There was also a lot of music…a real live cowboy sang the National Anthem, and a troupe of native Alaskans did a tribal dance about running and there were even some Scottish bagpipers about half way along the course. Alaskans are a very eclectic group to say the least!

I didn’t see Mildred, but I did meet Stanley

As an added bonus Nanook and I finished the race side by side, hands clasped in the air, as excited that we ran together as we were that we made it up that last incline without keeling over 🙂

Then the icing on the cake….they gave me this nice shiny medal!…

…well they gave everyone a nice shiny medal, but it’s the thought that counts!

The Beauty of Alaska

The first thing I noticed as our plane made its descent into Anchorage (besides the ring of mountains!) was the deep shades of green dotting the landscape. With most of the country suffering a severe drought this summer it’s fantastic to come to Alaska and see gorgeous pops of color at every turn. Nanook and I took a stroll downtown this afternoon and I can’t resist sharing a few snaps.

And since Alaska summers are filled with lots of daylight, plants, flowers and vegetables grow to gargantuan proportions! Next week we are heading to the Alaska State Fair in Palmer to check out the annual Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off where any veggie under 125 lbs. is considered puny!

Alaska (re)Bound

My faithful companion and I are heading back to the land of moose, mountains and musk ox this week. Up until today, when Jasmine had to go to the vet and get another health certificate (airline requirement), I’ve done little to prepare.  I think that’s because I know all the pitfalls that are heading our way and there is no sense in fretting about them until the morning of our journey.

The biggest bump in the road is that dog carriers fit the best under the middle seat or window seat. This is not good for me since I have booked an aisle seat. You may ask why I would do such a silly thing.

Very smushy aisle seat…poor pooch 😦

Well, here’s my answer….it’s a very long flight (7 hours) and I really, really, really want to sit on the aisle! Our first trip to Alaska I discovered the fact that the aisle seat is horrible for jamming (carefully placing) Jasmine under the seat. But, I was extremely fortunate that no one sat in the middle seat so I was able to put her under there and remain in my aisle seat!

Jasmine comfy cozy under the middle seat

I’m hoping this will happen again! (major denial)
But I am not holding out much hope since on our return flight last May, the plane was packed, I had to switch to a middle seat, and the two people on either side of me NEVER moved the entire journey! Can you believe that??  Granted the plane leaves at 11 PM at night so a lot of people sleep, but these two yahoos hardly twitched a muscle for 6 and a half hours! But they did manage to steal both of my arm rests early on. Horrible, horrible flight!

There are other non-fun things to think about as well….early flight, long drive to the airport, parking the car, shuttle to the airport, $100 pet fee, TSA….all this with a suitcase, pet carrier, large purse and only a small, black dog as a traveling companion.

Is it any wonder I’m in DENIAL!? ….because if you really think about it who wants to think about traveling 7 hours in a tin can, squished between two strangers with a dog between their feet!

Okay now I’m depressed…..is it too early for a glass of wine??