Author Archives: Samara Baker

There and back again by Ruby Burrows

Earlier this week, I flew to Anchorage for a training. The skies were blue. The sun was shining. I got some really good pictures of Mt. Redoubt and the smoke, ash and steam coming from the blown top. I had a pretty good time in Anchorage. And then the trip was over and I was on the 8am flight from Anchorage to Dillingham. I get on the plane. The plane takes off. Everything was fine.The hour and a half trip didn’t seem that bad. We got close to Dillingham. I could see Lake Road. But then the jets turn back on and the plane starts to ascend back in to the clouds. It was too foggy in Dillingham and the plane is being diverted to King Salmon for re fueling. We wait around King Salmon for about an hour and then it was decided that we needed to fly back to Anchorage. SO back to Anchorage we go.

We make it back to Anchorage. I have now been on the plane for 3 hours. As soon as we get there, we get on the next flight to Dillingham since the fog had lifted. We wait in ANC for about 20 minutes and then leave for Dillingham again. This time, when we got close to DLG I couldn’t see the roads or anything. We were in a holding pattern for about 30 minutes when the jets kicked back on and we were back on our way to King Salmon. By now it’s 3pm. There is no lunch service on these flights and there isn’t really any where to eat. My poor coworker didn’t eat breakfast b/c she didn’t want to have food on her stomach during the flight. Other than the small bags of snacks that were given out on the flight, she hadn’t eaten anything. I packed a Qdoba burrito with me so I had lunch. (First rule of traveling: Always be prepared for anything)

We finally got an update at 5pm which was to go back to Anchorage. By now, the 8am flight people had not eaten lunch or dinner. And people were getting very cranky. We landed in Anchorage at 7pm. I called for a room and tried to get on the first flight in the morning. The morning flight was packed. So we got on the 11:30 flight, which was fine with me b/c at least I got to sleep in. But then I had to wait an extra 30 minutes at the baggage claim as it seems my luggage had been misplaced.

At about 8pm we finally made it to the hotel, got some food (went back to Qdoba–more lunch burritos just incase) and went to bed.

I found out that the 8am flight to DLG had been delayed for 2 hours this morning and as I am writing this, they are in a holding pattern above DLG. Will I get home? Sure. Will it be today? Maybe.

(Ruby Burrows is my Hobbit name in case you didn’t know)

Natural Disaster & UPS

I recently made an order from and they decided to ship it using UPS instead of the Post Office. I want to show you where my package is and why it is still there.

That is correct. My package is being delayed in Louisville because of a natural disaster–namely the eruption of Redoubt. This is why it is best to use priority shipping through the USPS–I can’t track my packages like this and get annoyed when volcanoes stop the progress of my package. I will also get another one when the package is finally scanned in Anchorage that says something to the effect of ‘remote area, deliveries not scheduled daily.” And then, some nice man who works for Pen Air, not UPS, will show up at my door a week late to tell me it had been sitting behind some stuff at the airport for a week.

Redoubt erupted

Redoubt finally erupted and it has been continuing to erupt for about a week now. This is slowing up the mail process, because there are no planes leaving Anchorage to Dillingham today. Here are some pictures for your enjoyment. You can see more of them here.

Henna and the preggo belly

One of my coworker is having a baby. Her baby shower is tomorrow. I loathe baby showers and wedding showers, so instead of going I thought I would henna her belly. This is the first time I had ever done this. And thanks to Ann for the henna. I need to remember to pick up a ton of this when I go back for a visit. After this, I might have more requests for it.

In case you couldn’t tell, the baby’s name is Lilly. I looks pretty cool with the wet henna on it. I hope it looks ok tomorrow for the shower.

Earlier this week, Aaron and I took a walk down at the beach again. This time we stayed above the retaining wall and took pictures of the beached icebergs from a far. It was a nice cold walk and I wore my slip on shoes instead of my snow boots. Not the smartest thing I’ve done, but I am pretty doped up on NyQuil, DayQuil and Sudafed for the past week. We made it to the beach right in time to watch the sun turn the horizon pink. It was beautiful. And Aaron looks like a fisherman in his knitted hat and facial hair.

Walking on the beach is very neat. It’s just so quiet. The only noise you hear is the crunching of the snow or the ice….and me skreetching when I get snow in my shoes.
If you look closely, you will notice the water/ice on my pants. That was because the hill to get to the beach was icy and Aaron and I thought it would be fun to slide down it. I slid on my knees. Aaron slid down on his butt. Again, probably not the smartest thing to do since I wasn’t really dressed for it. However, Aaron went sledding with Erin and Anthony and he was dressed much better. Check out those photos if you want. I didn’t go because I still have this head cold thing going on. I will leave you with some pictures of the walk.

A new blog

I am shamelessly going to promote my new blog: 2 birds in the bush. I decided that since most of what I like to blog about seems to be cooking, I should probably just create a cooking blog. My friend, Erin, likes to bake so we got together and made this new blog. The second post includes more adventures during Beaver Round up. And by more adventures, I mean entering the beaver round up bake off with a 12 layer cake and apple dumplin’s. (Yes, you have to say it like dump-lin’s–no “g”) A good time was had by all.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Beaver Round up!

There a few things the people of Dillingham look forward to: Fish camp, berry picking, Moose season & Beaver Round up. Beaver Round Up is the biggest festival of the year. People from neighboring villages come for the events. Such events include: Pizza Hut Dinner, KFC Dinner (Both air freighted in), Out house racing, chili cook-off, and much, much more. This being my first Beaver Round up, it only made sense that I (through SAFE) had to “host” a number of events.

The craziness started on Wednesday night. Instead of going to Dilicapers (think talent show), I was in my kitchen cooking 40 dozen eggs for the breakfast that SAFE was hosting the next morning. You might ask your self, how long does it take to scramble 40 dozen eggs in a tiny kitchen. The answer: 3 hours. I only used one pan and Aaron helped me crack and scramble (thank you mom & dad for my Kitchen Aid Mixer) the eggs while I was cooking. After all the eggs were cooked, we dropped them off at the Youth Center for the next morning.

Thursday morning started out way too early. I have having a hard time sleeping because I needed to be up at 5am to pick up some volunteers and open the youth center so we could start re heating the eggs and sausage. Did I mention we made breakfast burritos? I had wanted to get the huge cans of cheese sauce that you get from Costco or Sam’s club, but they didn’t come in. So I had to make Velveeta cheese sauce. Every good Southern girl knows the magic of Velveeta Cheese. It makes even the yuckiest vegetables taste awesome if you like the school bus yellow, molten cheese food taste. The breakfast was over with at 11am. Which was nice because I had already been up since 3am and I was exhausted.

After a 2 hour nap, it was back to work to get ready for the kids Carnival and the youth Dance. Thankfully, I did not have to work the kids carnival. I went there to make sure the staff that was working was doing ok. She was working the “marriage booth.” For 3 tickets you can get married to who ever you like. For 6 tickets you can get divorced. I’m not sure what the lesson to be learned here is.

I left the carnival to start the set up for the dance. Can I just say that the kids out here are great! I had about 7 of them setting up the whole sound system and getting the middle school gym set up for the dance. Then at 11pm, I had about 7 kids help me tear all the sound equipment down and load it in to my car. I was out of there by 11:30pm. It was nice and again, those kids are awesome. I think they were just so excited to have a dance that they were willing to help with anything. The good news was that there was no cost to SAFE for the dance so it was all profit.

During the time of the dance, Aaron went with a few of our friends down to the local bar to watch the Wii Bowling contest and the Beaver boobs & buns contest. Yes, that is equivalent to a wet t-shirt contest and best butt contest. (Classy!) One of our friends came in 4th in the Wii bowling contest and thankfully, Aaron left before the Adult contests to help me pack up the sound equipment.

By Friday I was dragging. Wednesday & Thursday had worn me down. But there was still more to do. Friday was the Beaver Round Up Parade. That was interesting. I can’t believe how many people showed up for that. I will try to get some pictures of that from the girl who was riding in my “float.” By float I mean a purple van with cardboard purple ribbons taped to it. Very stylish.
Friday night was the KFC Dinner. They air freighted in 500 lbs of KFC chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and coleslaw. It was $10 a plate for 2 pieces of chicken, mashed potatoes, slaw, & a biscuit. I remember buying a full bucket meal for $10.00. After that, there was the Harlem All-Stars Basket ball game, during which SAFE (meaning me) sold concessions. We ran out of bottled water and capri suns before the game even started . (oops–I will know to buy more next year) By the end of the first break, we had sold out of just about everything. Which was fine with me because again, I was ready to go home. We were suppose to meet up with our friends, but I just wanted to sleep.

Aaron and I woke up Saturday morning and went to the breakfast that was sponsored by the headstart. For $5 you got a pancake, eggs, bacon, sausage and coffee. After that, we headed down to the local market to watch the turkey bowling. I kid you not, there was a turkey bowling event complete with a frozen turkey and 2 litters of Mountain Dew. One of my favorite authors, Christopher Moore, wrote about Turkey Bowling in one of his books, Blood Sucking fiends. It’s pretty amusing.

Also on Saturday, Erin and I decided to bake a bunch of stuff for the bake-off on Sunday. We decided to try to make a 14 layer cake together. She made chocolate chip cookie cupcakes and I made apple dumplin’s. This took us all day. I am not sure why any one would want to make that 14 layer cake at all. It is labor intensive. You bake 14 flat cakes–think pan cakes, make this goo that goes inbetween them and then top it with butter cream. We have no idea if it is going to turn out right. We will see today. I am hopfull about the dumplings and if the cake isn’t a huge train wreck, it will be impressive.

Tonight is the bonfire and fireworks display at dusk, which thankfully is at about 7:45-ish on a clear night. Yes, the days are getting much longer now. D’oh. I just realized day-light savings time took effect today. I guess dusk will be about 8:30-ish. I really need to buy some black out curtains. That is all for now. I will post more about the bake-off and hopfully more pictures some time this week.

Things I forgot to buy in Anchorage–D’oh!

When I went to Anchorage, I had a list of things that I needed and wanted. I seems besides the ammo, I forgot a few other things. I did manage to pick up some items I wanted. I also think I forgot a thing or two in either the car that I rented or in the hotel. It was a long busy week so it is hard to tell.

  1. Humidifier–these things go for over $50 here and I know I bought one at the Family dollar for $10 back in Kentucky
  2. Circular needles: US 8 –There is no place to buy knitting needles here :(
  3. Flavored coffee in a non super dark roast
  4. Wool yarn that can be felted–Red Heart just doesn’t felt for some reason
  5. round cake pans
  6. Parchment paper
  7. cocoa powder–Why is this so expensive here? It’s good forever!
  8. Jerk seasoning–I am pretty sure I bought this and lost it somewhere between ANC and DLG
  9. Hair color–I have no idea what I was thinking when I didn’t buy some at Target

Well, I’m not sure when I will have a chance to venture out of DLG again. Here’s hoping.

What I do when I get homesick

There are days that make me miss home more than other days. On those days, if I have time I try to make things that remind me of home. Sometimes it’s the trashiest food ever, you know the ones that take me back to my childhood, in the trailer in Iowa or in the split level house in Winchester. Today it was broccoli salad. (I think a month back it was pea salad) I remember this salad being served at Easter dinners, family reunions, summer picnics and funeral lunches. I think its the mayonnaise dressing that makes me feel as if it is trashy, maybe it’s the bacon. Either way, this is a pretty tasty salad and if you have the means to lighten it up, you can. I choose to use canola mayo and real bacon and real sugar. You can use fat-free mayo, turkey bacon and splenda, but it might not be as good as the full flavored, full fat version.

My recipe is as follows…and be warned, there are not precise measurements.

1 bunch of broccoli
3 0r 4 bacon slices cooked until super crispy (this can be done in the microwave)
cherry tomatoes (sliced in 1/2)
shredded cheese (not velveta–I used pepper jack but cheddar is fine)
diced red onion (about 1/4 of a large onion)
chopped cashews (or almonds or walnuts or pecans or raisins–not chopped)

small bowl of mayo (about a cup)
some cider vinegar (a couple spoonfuls)
sugar (a couple spoonfuls)
pepper (to taste)

Blanch the broccoli. This is not necessary, but it makes the broccoli prettier and tastier. If you don’t know how to blanch vegetables, it’s basically just putting it hot water for a second or two, then pulling it out and putting it in cold water. If you have time, do this. It is well worth it. Put the broccoli, cheese and tomatoes in a mixing or serving bowl. Crumble the bacon on top. Add the chopped onion and the cashews.

In another bowl, mix the mayo, vinegar, sugar until well blended. Add in pepper. Pour over broccoli mixture. Chill for about 30 minutes. Enjoy. Remember the days of your childhood.

I am sad to say that not only did I eat 2 bowls of this today, but I also did not get any pictures of the salad in all its glory. It was pretty and very tasty. You’ll have to take my word for it.

Anchorage training–Day five, six and seven

I had a lot of things to do while I was in Anchorage.

  1. go to Special Education conference
  2. finish up grant report
  3. go to positive behavioral support training
  4. shop for items I can’t get in Dillingham (bulk food, spices, exotic food, clothes)
  5. go to dinner every night
  6. mail items back to Dillingham that can’t fit in to the suitcase. (50 lb limit in suitcases)
  7. get my eyebrows waxed
  8. buy ammo for Aaron
  9. meet up with Saramay for drinks
  10. go to Mad Myrna’s
  11. pick up a dog at the airport at midnight the night before we leave
  12. leave Anchorage

Guess which one of these I didn’t do. I’m gonna give you a hint. I have no idea as to what kind of guns Aaron has.

At some point, I managed to go to Sam’s club and buy some bulk food, such as a very large bottle of balsamic vinegar, a very large wedge of Parmesan cheese, Havarti cheese, bisquick (we just don’t have that here) and a giant can of cashews for Aaron.

I also managed to go to an City Market (think local co-op store) which I had to buy stuff for other people (which I will never do again–this takes up valuable space and weight in my suitcase) such as gluten-free flour, spring roll wrappers, hawaiian salt, & chinese 5 spice. These things were not cheap and had to be packed in one of my checked bags. The nice thing about cold Alaska, is that i just kept all the refridgerator items in the car and because the airplane is so cold, I used a tub as a checked bag and just let it go into cargo storage.

Everything that wouldn’t fit in my suitcase, carry one or checked tub had to go to in a tub to be mailed. This is Erin and myself waiting in line at the post office at the Anchorage air port. It stays open until midnight. Now, bear in mind that each of these tubs we are mailing are about 60 pounds each. I have one and Erin has 2. She bought cat food, dog food and cat litter. And man that stuff is heavy. As long as the tubs are under 75 pounds, we were able to send them via USPS. We could even use parcel post since it’s basically a straight shot to Dillingham from where we sent them.

As we tried to be back to our hotel we saw some strange looking “cows” at the air port. And by “cows” I mean moose. Please notice the fed ex cargo and plane in the back ground. (And I have played with all the settings on my camera, you all will just have to deal with blue snow pictures)
The mountains are nice around Anchorage. They are much bigger than the ones around here. They seem to go on forever in to the sky. Some of them reach so far in to the clouds, you can’t see the peaks.

At some point during this trip Erin and I went to an Indian/Nepalese restaurant. It was called Yak and Yeti. It was pretty good. I had some steamed buns with spicy meat. Erin had the saag paneer. This is the best Indian food in town. It is also the only Indian restaurant in Anchorage. We thought it was a bit funny because Erin’s husband, Anthony, is a yeti/big foot fan. I will have to bring Aaron here if I ever get a chance to do so.

The last real adventure of the week end was the trip to Mad Myrna’s .
It was an adventure. It made me miss home. How could anyone have that much fabulous and not miss Kentucky? We met up with Saramay who had never been to a drag show. Saramay wasn’t used to so much fabulous in one day. Erin seemed right at home. We even had some creepy troll trollin’ on us at one point. I believe he was asked to leave.
Thh last stop of the night was to go to the airport to pick up Erin’s new puppy a shiba inu that she named Sophie. It is so cute and hyper and after being in a crate for almost 24 hours it was also stinky. But after a quick bath in the hotel bathtub, she just smelled like a barn puppy which was much better than poo covered puppy. This is Erin cuddling her new non-stinky puppy.

And this is Sofie. I Like the “f” spelling of sofie instead of the “ph” spelling (Sophie). The “f” spelling seems like an older more, ethnic spelling. I haven’t talked about the spelling over with Erin so she’s just gonna have to deal with how I spell her dog’s name. And here she is in all of her fuzzy cutiness, not Erin, Sofie.

And thus ends my trip. I was so glad to come home. I missed Aaron a bunch. And for those that might worry about his eating habit and vitamin intake while I am away, I did buy him some Flintstone chewables while I was there so if I have to go on a trip again, he can eat all the hot dogs, chips and pretzels he wants and still get some vitamins.

Anchorage training–Day two, three and four

First, yes I am a huge slacker for not posting earlier. But to be fair, I have been going to a conference and working on “the grant report of doom” in between the breakout sessions. And unlike the last time, I have chosen not to eat super fancy food every night. It makes me sad, but Erin seems to like to eat 3 meals a day instead of me just eating one.

When I woke up on Monday, I looked out the window to see this..

Those are mountains. And no matter what I do, all the pictures turn out kinda blue. I also can see this…
This is the downtown cemetery. This is the view a lot of people get when they look out their window. It’s kinda pathetic when it is compared the the Lexington cemetery, but then, that one is a couple hundred years old with fallen civil war soldiers in it. Just for comparisons sake, I thought I would add a picture of what the Lexington Cemetery would look like in the winter.
Ok, enough with that. Erin and I were so excited about fountain soda. There is a serious lack in the fountain soda area in Dillingham. Erin was pretty excited about Wendy’s baked potatoes.
One one occasion, we asked what were some good Mexican restaurants in the area. We went to Don Joses. We were told that they made the guacamole at your table. We were told they had good margaritas. We were told…You get the idea. The point of the matter is we were told a lot of things and were disappointed. There was no guacamole. The place couldn’t make real maragrita because of some city ordinance about liquor. Erin was so disappointed, she went to the car and got her hot sauce.
She felt like she needed to sneak it in. It was sad. We are hoping to have better adventures in the last few days here. But we’ll see.