Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday Training

Every Thursday evening is training at the Fire Hall, and this evening a few of my fellow St. Baldricks' Foundation hair donors were in attendance. Sal's hair above, with four colors, really takes the grand prize in my book . . .

Me, Sal and Todd rock our doos . . .
Roger IS a little devil. Too bad all this rainbow hair is going to end up on the floor of the Burma Road Chapel in less than 2 days!

I have new donors to thank - Fellow EMT/Fire Fighters Gary and Flor, I-Shan, Gabriel Lee, Susan (again??! really??! - I don't even know what to say . . . ) and Lauri & Scott - all superstars pitching in to help find a cure for childrens cancer. I've learned a lot through this fundraising effort, and I expect I'll blog about it after it is all done. I'm really looking forward to not asking folks for donations - it really isn't my style to ask for anything, but this is the very best of causes and Team Emery is going to keep pushing hard right up to the moment I sit in the barber's chair on Saturday. After that I promise to go back to pictures and reflections on life, but until then, you know the drill - my donor page is here, and I still need your help. You can rest assured I am putting my money where my mouth is - this is a great charity, and the Department of Public Safety is thrilled to be hosting this event for the first time ever on Unalaska island. Check out all the other participants here - there are even four women shaving their heads - and make a contribution to a great cause, if not "on my head" then on one of the others. The Fire Chief is shaving his head, my Pastor's wife is shaving her head, the Director of Public Safety is shaving his head, there are firefighters and police officers and fellow bloggers, all shaving the way towards finding a cure for childrens cancer.

I know I keep asking, and somehow every day there are new donors, so please keep it rolling, there is still plenty of time to pledge on-line or call your pledge in and be entered for that box of crab! Cheers and thank you, to all the donors and all the shavees - we are going to have a great event Saturday!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Big Thank You to the Latest Donors!

42 folks have made donations "on my head" to St. Baldricks' Foundation totaling over $2300! Along with my fellow firemen, EMT's, police officers and members of the community, our event just passed the $10,000 mark this evening - you guys are heroes! We have, I believe, a total of 22 people shaving their heads - including four women!

There is still a couple more days to donate - my page is here to make a donation towards a great charity and get entered to win that box of crab, but you can't go wrong donating to any of the shavees, they are an amazing bunch. Several of us now are sporting some very unconventional hairdos so the island has a little extra color for a few more days.

I want to thank the latest group of donors - Joe, Nancy & Frank, my college buddy Rick, Nebraska Outback, John ("Ski"), Kirsten & Eric, Rich & Consuelo (big thanks to a big-hearted guy), and finally my sis Debra who made the donation that pushed our event over the 10K mark. You guys are fantastic!

I'm really wanting to hit my goal of 3K, and with checks I know are in the mail to St. Baldricks I'm still about $600 shy so if there is anyone out there on the fence, now is the time to go on-line and make that $10 or $20 donation to a great charity so I can have your name in the bucket for Saturday's drawing for that box of crab!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Less Than Four Days!

Just four more days until our St. Baldricks' Foundation fundraiser at Burma Road Chapel. And yes, I am going to continue to bug and beg all blog readers who have not yet made a donation to head over to my donation page, click on the "Make A Donation" button, and help us raise money to cure children's cancer. As always, for every $10 donated "on my head" you are entered to win a #20 box of crab, delivered to your doorstep.

I am clearly very sad I am going to lose all my lustrous blue hair on Saturday, but it is for a great cause!

This dye job, which I am actually pretty happy with, has earned the nickname of "Smurf Mullet" from Goldfish . . .
Okay, so to make a donation on my head, make my wife happy that the Smurf Mullet is gone, and get entered in a chance to win a box of crab, go here. To see a list of all the shavees, shavers and volunteers at the event go here. If you don't want to donate towards me, then donate towards one of the three women that are shaving their heads - that takes courage! And if you just want to find out more about this very worthy charity and see how you can host an event in your own neighborhood, then go here. You can also donate by phone at (888) 899-BALD. To have your donation count towards my head, my participant ID# is 373350. You can also download a form from the website and mail it in with a check. And for last minute donors, you can see me at the event and I can log your donation and give you a receipt for tax purposes.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Odds and Ends . . . .

It's getting to be that time of year where there is a whole lot going on, more than can be blogged about, with better weather and more recreational opportunities. I just wanted to touch real briefly on a few of the things from last week so I can start another busy week with a "clean plate" . . . these are eagles on the beach fighting over a fish.
The roads crew cleared the way to Summers Bay but it quickly avalanched in again - except for that little motorcycle tire-sized path just to the left of the snow . . . perfect!
There were a few other little avalanches past the first big one but nothing major . . .
It is always really exciting to be able to access the beaches again after a winter of the road being closed. It is like seeing old friends again that have been away for months; there is always a sense of the possibility of there being something exciting washed up on the beaches by the winter storms, and the beach combing is always better for awhile . . . .

Little South America has been a great place for dog walks and bonfires lately because the whales are back in force and can be pretty predictably seen every evening.
Here Max and Conner watch the splash from a whale jumping.
Sometimes the whales are really close to be beach - you just never know where they'll turn up.
Here's something you don't see everyday - I couldn't believe how large the wing bones were, and how similar it was to a human arm except longer. Bald eagle - tastes like chicken! (just kidding for any government agency that might be reading).
Later in the week the avalanches were cleared enough for a car and I brought Chico out for a couple evening walks at Summers Bay. He loves this beach because of the sand - easy on his feet and fun to run on!
I guess I like this image as well as any from last week's photos . . . the remains of a crabpot washed up by a winter storm with Split Top Mountain in the background.
What a pretty puppy!
Goldfish made some excellent granola from a magazine recipe that we're making a regular part of our morning routine.
And I cooked a few more recipes for Goldfish out of The Pioneer Woman Cooks recipe book - above is Pico de Gallo and Guacamole . . . .
And tonight is a meat and onion sandwich which was pretty tasty, the official name of which escapes me at the moment - I'll get these three recipes added to the sidebar where I'm tracking completed recipes as I work my way though the cookbook this year.

Okay, it was another excellent relaxing weekend. Next Saturday is the St. Baldricks' fundraiser at the Burma Road Chapel - thanks so much to Alise & Ricardo and Judi, the latest donors on my donor page - there is still time to make a donation and get entered to win a box of crab! Thanks so much to all the generous folks that have given to date to the tune of almost $1500 - your kindness is indeed humbling. Check back Tuesday night for some St. Baldricks' related news and photos - I don't think you'll be disappointed!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Blogger Not Cooperating But Want to Say Thanks

I wanted to blog about sneaking out to Summers Bay on the motorcycle the other day but Blogger doesn't seem to be allowing photo uploads . . .

It would be remiss of me to head to bed without thanking the latest donors though - many thanks to Diane, Brenda, Skip, Denise, Kimberly and Miss Anonymous from Dutch Harbor. Everyone's response has been so positive, I really appreciate it!

For anyone who has not donated "on my head" to St. Baldrick's Foundation there is still time. Just head over to my donor page where you can donate on-line, print out a donation form to mail in with a check, or call your donation in to St. Baldricks. Your donations are tax-deductible so be sure to click on the option to print out a receipt after making your donation. And remember, every $10 donated enters you to win a box of crab, the winner to be drawn at the event on May 1st.

I am shaving my head to honor Emery, the grand daughter of my friend Jane. I'm thrilled to report Emery has completed her chemo treatments and had a successful operation recently to have a spinal tumor removed. Please keep Emery in your prayers . . . you can read more about Emery here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More Thanks and a Great Weekend

It was a really satisfying weekend. After working just a half day on Saturday, we attended the Visitor and Convention Bureau's Wine Tasting Event at Margaret Bay Cafe. The food was great and it had a wonderful community vibe; we sat with dear friends and also touched base with friends we rarely see. CB has some great photos of the event on his blog.

Sunday I went for a walk with Chico on a sunny afternoon at Little South America. I had to laugh - I was without a camera and 6 or 8 whales were cavorting maybe 200 yards off shore. There were whale breaches, single whale tales, triple whale tails, whales with Pyramid Peak in the background, the lighting was perfect, and it was somehow liberating to not have a camera with me. Chico and I just sat on the beach and watched the show - whales at close range sound a little bit like elephants, and these were teenagers acting out - very fun! That evening we hosted Book Club at the house and had a blast with Sonia, Judy, Jane and Elaine. It was Elaine's first meeting and she generously volunteered to host next month - well, she sort of volunteered . . . okay, I volunteered her . . . but she was a very good sport about it! The photo above is of a potato peel pie that Goldfish cooked for Book Club - you can probably guess what book we talked about!

On Monday I brought Goldfish along with me with Chico in very different weather and very poor lighting but the whales were still in the area, just further off shore and not quite as wild. It was a nice walk on our "island anniversary" that we celebrate the 19th of every month.

And finally I want to thank a couple more donors - Gail and Miss Anonymous (I know who you are, and I really appreciate it!). I am overwhelmed by the response - keep those donations coming in for Team Emery! You can follow this link to make a donation, either on-line or mailing in a check. Remember that every $10 you donate enters you for a chance to win a 20# box of crab, the winner to be drawn live at the shaving event on May 1st! My participant ID for donations is P-373350.

Okay, I've got to get to bed, the alarm is going off in 2 hours . . . .

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Many Thanks and Introducing Team Emery

Lots and lots of new donors to thank! Transcan, Richard & Penny, Suzassippi, Gail, Trevor, Joe & Gail, and Maya - you are heroes! Thanks so much for donating "on my head" to St. Baldrick's Foundation to help find a cure for childhood cancer! For those readers who still would like to learn about St. Baldrick's and our upcoming fundraiser on May 1st, you can read my post here and follow the links to learn more.

I've dedicated my shaving to the grand daughter of a very dear friend Jane, pictured above in the bunny outfit (photo shamelessly ripped off her blog - check it out if you haven't already). Jane is a whirlwind that has basically devoted her life to making things better for others, she has a global vision of a better world and acts locally to make it happen. Her husband is the Executive Chef at the Grand Aleutian who toils quietly and without fanfare making the Grand such a special place to dine out. Together, they are one of the nicest couples you will ever meet.

Jane's daughter Bonnie and her husband David are both high school teachers in Armarillo, Texas and last November they welcomed Emery Jane into the family, pictured above (again, photo shamelessly ripped off Jane's blog - but in my defense, Jane ripped it off Bonnie's blog). Right around the first of the year Emery was diagnosed with a neuroblastoma, a very rare cancer affecting only 650 children a year, and has been battling ever since. You can read an article by Jon Mark Bellue about Emery here.

I remember when my niece Lora was born over 20 years ago now - she was less than a pound and required endless medical procedures which continue to this day - she is having another operation this summer. Our whole family held its collective breath while the doctors worked for months to keep Lora going. Today, she is a junior in college at Boise State, blind and one of the biggest inspirations in my life.

Shaving my head to honor Emery's courage and to fund better cures is a very small thing but I want Jane and Rich and Bonnie and David to know we care - YOU care, all of you that have made donations to St. Baldrick's, and together it has become something big. Thank you all so much and keep those donations coming!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

More Thanks and the Big Picture

Big thanks to today's donors, co-worker and friend Cindy from our Seattle office and dear friend Jane. I'll post more about Jane tomorrow - her grand daughter Emery is my inspiration for having my head shaved this year. Thank you ladies for your generosity!

Standing in my driveway and looking south gives me a stunning view of the valley that I never tire of, and there is always something going on if you watch long enough. Ptarmigan are a favorite to watch, and there is usually an animal hidden in plain sight somewhere in every frame (can you spot the fox below in the photo above?)

After extending the telephoto lens as far as it would go, I whistled for the napping fox located at the mid-right of the frame in the top photo. After a quick glance, he went right back to sleep. Which view of life do YOU enjoy more - the big picture, or the details?

Some donors are mailing checks in to St. Baldrick's, and that is wonderful, but remember - I have to know about your donation in order for you to be entered to win the box of crab. If the event is getting near and you don't see your name on my donor list, then email me and let me know the details so I can get your name entered, one entry for every $10 donated. To make a donation, my donor page is here or follow the link on my sidebar - thanks for everyone's support! I am currently in the lead for donations of the 16 shavees signed up for the event, and that is all due to your generosity - thanks so much!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More Thanks & Saturday Roadtrip

First off, let me thank the generosity of the latest batch of donors to St. Baldrick's Foundation - not only are you giving to a great cause, for every $10 you donate "on my head" you get a chance at winning a free box of crab delivered to your door. Thanks to Josh & Sam, Ms. Ford, Kevin and Elaine (um . . Wow!). You guys are heros! And 77 cents of every dollar goes directly to fund childhood cancer research.

Goldfish and I had Saturday afternoon off and we were sitting around talking about some of the great road trips we've taken together and I got the idea of going on an island road trip! We loaded up the dog and headed out, driving all of the roads on the island that are plowed and passable except the road to Captain's Bay. What made it really special was we stopped at the one gas station on the island and we WENT INSIDE! Goldfish has lived here 9 years and I have lived here 3 years and we have never been inside the gas station, so getting a fountain drink, some beef jerky and some smoked almonds really gave our "road trip" a special edge.

We've never been inside the gas station for two reasons - our workplace provides most of the gas we use, so I only go there occasionally to put gas in my beater Ford because it gets such horrendous mileage, I feel guilty having the company put all the gas in it. And I've always been of the opinion it is nice to intentionally leave a few places unexplored, just for fun. My brother went in the gas station last summer when he visited, just to show we up - we're competitive like that . . .

So anyways, it was a beautiful day and we got out and walked around everywhere we went - on the Spit, Haystack, past the landfill, Standard Oil Hill, Ballyhoo, the Valley - we drove as far as we could, limited only by the snow removal as some roads are still closed until Spring. Chico loved it! It's like he got a month's worth of dog walks all in one day.

I took all these photos that day and a bunch more.

Our old friend the James Dunlap . . .

Pulling the Lapponian Reefer out of a tight parking spot.

What we learned is a great road trip is more a state of mind than anything - we spent almost four hours exploring maybe 20 miles of road and had a blast doing it, sort of a "Greatest Hits" tour of the island. Can't wait until the snow is gone and ALL the road is open! Cheers and good night . . .

Monday, April 12, 2010

Thank You!

Thanks so much those of you - Mel, Mystic, Karin & Mark, Cheryl, Lothian, Bettie, and Sherrie - who donated on-line to the St. Baldrick's Foundation ! For every $10 you donated, you get one chance towards a free box of crab, the winner to be drawn at the event on May 1st. For those that haven't donated yet, you still have time to donate in support of me having my head shaved to help cure childhood cancer - please take a moment to read my previous post for how you can make a difference and also get entered to win a 20# box of crab delivered to your house!

This is our neighbor out here in the valley, he can often be seen sunning himself on the World War II ruins next to my driveway. In this photo from a couple weeks ago, he is peeing on the chopping block in my front yard while he licks his lips - no wonder Chico goes nuts, they really know how to pull his chain!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Free Crab & Bald Heads

Okay, that might require an explanation. For the first time ever on the island we are having a St. Baldrick's Event on May 1st at the Burma Road Chapel from 1 - 4 PM. The St. Baldrick's Foundation funds more childhood cancer research than any other organization except the U.S. government. After a 3% administration fee and 20% to fundraising costs for events like ours, St. Baldrick's gives 77 cents of every dollar donated to childhood cancer research. They are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, and all donations are tax deductible.

Along with another dozen or so of my fellow brothers and sisters at the Unalaska Department of Public Safety, I am going to get my head shaved at the event to raise money for this very worthy charity. To make it interesting, I'm going to give away a box of crab - for every $10 donated "on my head", you get one chance to win your choice of a 20 pound box of opilio crab delivered to your doorstep anywhere in the United States, or a 20 pound box of red king crab picked up at my office here on the island. Donate $20 and you get two chances, and so on. If through the generosity of my friends, neighbors and blog readers I end up as the top individual fund raiser at the event, I'll throw in a cool island sweatshirt in the winner's size. We will have the drawing for the crab live at the event where there will also be live music and food!

To make a donation on my head and get entered in a chance to win a box of crab, go here. To see a list of all the shavees, shavers and volunteers at the event go here. And if you just want to find out more about this very worthy charity and see how you can host an event in your own neighborhood, then go here. You can also donate by phone at (888) 899-BALD. To have your donation count towards my head, my participant ID# is 373350. You can also download a form from the website and mail it in with a check. And for last minute donors, you can see me at the event and I can log your donation and give you a receipt for tax purposes.

Okay, not the guilt part . . . . this is important to me. I lost my Mom to cancer, and several friends as well. My hairdresser's son is a wonderfully talented young man who is a cancer survivor. One of my dear friends on the island has a grand daughter Emery that is still undergoing cancer treatments and is in all our prayers. If you have ever read my blog in the last three years and been touched in any way by my words or photos, this is a chance to say thanks. I am going to be pushing this hard until the event, and then I promise I won't bug you all until next year's shaving!

Cheers and thanks - email me with any questions or concerns and I promise I'll post lots of pictures from the event for those that can't be there!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Easter!

A long-standing tradition when I was growing up in Maine as my Mom making a Bunny Cake every Easter. When I had children of my own, we made Bunny Cakes as well. What I discovered this Easter is that you don't need kids around to enjoy making a Bunny Cake! Just start with two 8 or 9 inch round cakes and start carving them up, Cake Boss style . . .

Make up a big ol' batch of Egg White Frosting. It tastes exactly like a marshmallow and has a wonderful sheen. It really is the only logical choice for a Bunny Cake . . . .

Dye some coconut for grass and use what you have on hand to decorate the bunny. I used red food coloring to finger paint the ears, we cut up a cardboard gum pack for whiskers, and used Jelly Bellies for eyes, nose and yes - droppings . . .

Now just slap the Bunny Cake on any flat surface and start counting. Within 60 seconds, some supposed adult will run over and sample the "droppings", guaranteed . . .

I guess my point is this - I dearly miss my Mom, but she made her last Bunny Cake in 1994; I miss my boys daily but they are 27 and 25 years old as well as 850 miles and 3050 miles away respectively and hopefully making their own Bunny Cakes for their loved ones. But for just awhile, while I was beating that frosting and carving that cake, my Mom was still alive and my kids were playing together in the living room - and that is the power of the Bunny Cake. Happy Easter everyone . . .

Moon Rise in the Valley

I took this photo in a lull between storms, I think maybe 10 days ago, from my front porch. You can see that with all the snow and a nearly full moon the night becomes the day, making the yard light superfluous. It is absolutely gorgeous, and even Chico pauses in his pre-bedtime marking ritual to survey the landscape.

Sometimes I fret, being at the end of the road, the last house . . . there is nothing to break the wind, it tears into us fresh from the mountains like an eager over-sized puppy sprinting across the field, tongue flapping, bowling us over with its enthusiasm, licking us in the face as we lie helpless, flat on our backs.

Of course I have a choice at that very moment; I can become become irritated and struggle - to no avail - or I can laugh with delight as that cold tongue of winter slobbers all over . . . and I'm happy to report, I am learning to laugh more . . .

Simple, Perfect Chili

The cooking for Goldfish project continues - this chili was the 7th recipe from the Pioneer Woman Cooks and we both agreed it was a favorite so far, right behind the chicken pot pie. The addition of 1/4 cup masa towards the end gave the chili a great South-Western flavor.

I added all the optional ingredients - pinto beans, kidney beans and diced tomatoes and chilies.

With all the ground blizzards we've been battling lately, this really hit the spot! Going easy on the cheese makes it a pretty healthy choice as well; I can't think of a single thing I'd change about this recipe, and it really is very simple to prepare. I mean, if the idiot that parked the snowblower "out of the weather" can make it . . . . .

The Morning After

The truth is, I have about a dozen posts (sorry Dad, I'm way behind) but in the interest of continuity I am going to post a follow-up to the last one where I was listening to the storm howling outside. I got up at 4:30 and went outside to see what wonders Mother Nature had wrought in my yard . . . . you can see she was VERY creative . . .

Marvel at the five foot drifts (the tiny bit of wood showing is the corner of a four foot tall plywood box). Now let your eyes wander to the notch above and to the left of the plywood box. This is where some idiot stashed the snowblower to keep it "protected from the weather". That notch is the path I have been shoveling to eventually get to my shed. Picture the snowblower about 8 feet inside the path - now filled in to the top - and pointing the wrong way. Lots and lots of shoveling to be done before I could even think about using the snowblower . . . lots of time for the idiot to ponder the error of his ways . . . .

Well, eventually I got the snowblower shoveled out and I could start in on the driveway, 100 feet long and similarly drifted in. Ironically, I had it all cleared by 6:30 but still couldn't get to work because the city hadn't done the road yet. The city snow removal guys are heroes in my book, but I am at the very end of the road and they have the whole island to cover. They do an amazing job in an extreme environment!

Okay, on to more posts. Sorry, I can't cram them all together, they are all little visual poems that deserve their own space. I'm not sure if they will be in order though!