Life in the big AK

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Things I’ll miss about Alaska (in no particular order)/Things I won’t miss

Published April 2, 2013 by krystal

Living in Alaska seems to be such a novel idea.  Whenever we visit the lower 48 for the summer, EVERYONE has a story of when their third cousins neighbors sister’s brother in law’s aunt came to Alaska on vacation in 1986.  Or… they want to come.  I’m not kidding.  Few understand the vastness that is Alaska, so it is difficult for them to fathom that people don’t come to rural (bush) Alaska to visit, or tour on vacation.  There are no hotels or souvenir shops.  I have yet to meet the owner of the fishing charter (because it is non-existent) There is one store.  It is the size of a small Dollar General or large convenience store.

That being said, it’s funny when people ask what tourist things are around here.  Fortunately, Joey and I had the opportunity to do an interior tour in the summer of 2011 with his parents.  We got to see Mt. McKinley up close and personal in an air taxi.  We were close to bears, rafted the Chena River, panned for gold, and saw a glacier (there was more, but you get the point)!

Last summer (2012) we had the opportunity to spend 6 weeks in Fairbanks for my schooling.  That, plus the many trips we have taken to Anchorage for medical/personal reasons have shown us unique things we like about Anchorage/Alaska there are not in Arkansas.

Image1. Fred Meyer Oh how I will miss “Fast Freddies!”  Ok, so it’s basically a more expensive Wal-Mart with higher quality goods.  They sell OPI nail polish and Levi’s jeans.  They also sell men’s Hanes whitey tighties 6 for $32.  They have this beauty line called “essence.”  I’ve only tried the nail polish.  It’s $1.99 (sometimes $.99) and is worth every single cent!

When I was in Fast Freddies this weekend checking out the essence polish, this lady walked up and asked me what I though of the brand.  I told her I loved the polish, it usually lasts 5 days or so, but haven’t tried anything else.  She responded, “Well it’s just so cheap… you probably get what you pay.”  Didn’t I just say the stuff was top of the line, regardless of price?

2. Red Robin Yumm!  There is a reason their slogan is just Image “Yumm!”  They really don’t need any other words to describe the place!  I am sad that we will probably not get to see another Red Robin for years.  The Crispy Chicken sandwich is off the chain.  All burgers/sandwiches come with bottomless french fries, but with large and delicious sandwich portions, who needs endless french fries?  I think there is a Red Robin in Memphis, so perhaps Joey will take me one day!

3. OPI Nail Polish Yes, there is OPI in Arkansas, I’m just not sure where (Besides Cosmo Prof, which I don’t have a license to).  In Anchorage, it’s at Fast Freddies and several stores in the mall.  It seems like it’s everywhere I go, which is fabulous.  It will be difficult to go from having all the polish I can imagine at the tip of my fingers, to not knowing where to get them!  Perhaps I can just buy them on Amazon or something.

4. Views from the Plane  I will NOT miss having to fly to get to a decent-sized store, or to see a doctor.  I will miss the beautiful view from the air, though.

Several years ago, I was on a short flight with a coworker between two villages.  Looking out the window, we could see a Momma moose and her baby.  The pilot swooped down so we could get a better look!  It scared the moose and they took off!  😦  Of course, being in a plane, we got to follow them a little ways before getting back on the course to the village.  That was truly a once in a lifetime experience–chasing moose in a plane.


Things I’ll Be Happy to Have (Again) (In no particular order)

1. Bath & Body Works For some reason, this wonderfully smelling store and it’s contents have yet to make it to the Last Frontier.  Many summers/Christmas breaks have been spent stocking up on body cream, soap, and hand sanitizer so that we have plenty to last for the semester.  It will be very nice to not have to stock up!  Also, I will be able to buy and use the seasonal scents BEFORE the season (It’s March and we are using Candy Cane and have “Vanilla Bean Noel up next)!

2. Victoria’s Secret This store has yet to grace the Land of the Midnight Sun.  Joey and I have gotten pretty good at ordering from them online, but it’s still not the same as actually going to the store.  There’s just something about the pink stripes that get me!

3. Better Chinese Anchorage has an ok Chinese restaurant.  North Pole (Fairbanks) actually has an award-winning Chinese restaurant, but we probably won’t go back.  But… there is a wonderful Chinese restaurant not too far from our new house!  🙂  I think we will go there every week for many months after we return!

4. The ability to not wear outer clothes  Putting on gloves, a hat, scarf, big heavy coat, and sometimes goggles most of the year is not fun!  I’m so excited about getting to wear flip-flops, sandals, and skirts for most of the year again!  I want to go to the tanning bed and have a reason (so I’ll look good in those skirts!).  Bottom line:  I’m tired of being covered up completely from head to toe!

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 5.01.58 PM

12/20/07 My BFF and I used to run around taking pics of each other. This was one of the sites we ran into one day.

5. The Great Outdoors  Five years ago I practically lived outside!  I loved to go hiking, hunting, fishing, you name it!  If it was outside, I was there.  Granted, I have a gorgeous house now (a reason to hang out indoors), but I’m just ready to go outside and do something!  I could go outside here, but it’s kinda cold, and it’s not easy walking in snow.  So… I’ll just stay in.  🙂  Fortunately, we have a Florida vacation coming up in a beach front condo at the end of May.  I think that will jump-start my outdoorsyness.  I really miss being able to go out and explore.

Joey is determined that we will return to Alaska one day to see the inside pass and maybe tour the interior again when we retire.  I don’t know about all that.  In case you can’t tell, I’m very ready for a much-needed change!  Don’t get me wrong, it is a very beautiful place, but I’m ready for trees, green grass, and dirt!

If you come to Alaska, try the burger Crispy Chicken!

The Cat’s Out of the Bag!

Published March 4, 2013 by krystal

This makes me miss the holiday season!

It all started with a Gingerbread Shake from Burger King.  Joey and I sat in the red Bug in the parking lot of Burger King drinking our holiday shakes on that cold, rainy last day of 2012.  We made the call that would change our lives forever, but no one answered.  I was so nervous!  What if she was done for the day?  Would she call us back?  Would she work tomorrow?  It was all too much.  So I literally inhaled the poor Gingerbread Shake.  We made it across town, and almost to my parents house, when the phone rang.  It was her!  It was the realtor, and we were about to put in an offer on the most beautiful house in the town where I grew up.  Ok, maybe it’s more like the most beautiful house in the town that I grew up that can be purchased on two teacher’s salaries.


My car dressed up for the holidays.

We gave her our offer over the phone and started the endless (day long) wait.  We were anxious.  We were told that the sellers had rejected two other offers.  Sure, they were pretty outrageously low offers, but rejected at not countered, never the less.  We thought our offer was decent, but were still very insecure given the offer history.  The next day, the call came.  The sellers did not accept, but they counter offered!  We weren’t incredibly impressed with the counter offer–it was just the asking price!  We chose to counter their counter offer by offering asking price + closing costs.  We were thrilled when we received the call that they accepted!

Before we returned to Alaska, we were able to be present for the inspection.  We even got to meet the seller!  It was nice to meet her and hear of her memories in the house.  She told us about how the first summer they lived there, she dug up and endless amount of cacti that ended up there during the civil war.  The soldiers (accidentally?) brought the cacti in their hay.  She said she’d dig up one and two more would grow.  Fortunately, the cacti is all gone (I believe), so that’s one less thing!

So what exactly does all this have to do with the cat being out of the bag?  Joey and I are leaving Alaska.  For good.  On May 21.  It’s been five years and it is just time for us to move on to greener pastures, literally.  There are so many reasons to go back home. Maybe one day I’ll get in to that.  Or maybe not.  For now, we are excited about the possibilities that lay before us and also ready to pack up and move on!

3D Paper Snowflakes

Published December 20, 2012 by krystal

I live in Alaska.  It’s no secret that I came up here five years ago so that I could see some serious snow.  Snow is such a curious topic when growing up in the south.  Needless to say, I love snowflakes!  I have already posted once about making paper snowflakes.  Those were just the regular kind, though.  These are fabulously 3D!  I like making them in different colors.  The directions say they are stars because they have 8 points, but whatever.



This is my most favorite!

This post is short and sweet, I just had to share my creation!

A Few of My Favorite Things

Published December 19, 2012 by krystal

1. Cats

1.  Cats–  I have loved cats as long as I can remember. My older brother named a series of male orange tabby cats “Peanut Butter.”  I asked my mom once how many Peanut Butters graced our lives in the late 80’s/early 90’s, and she was unsure.  None of them stayed too long, a lot of them ran away.  Since then, I have had several different cats.  Some are a little more “special” than others (Pacey).  They were all very special to me at one time.  Currently, Mason is my loving cat.

2. OPI/Seche Vite–  As a kid I was a nail biter.  Oh, it’s true.  As a teen/young adult I got where I could grow them out for a while before biting them all off.  I’m so glad that I no longer bite them off, because I just love painting them!  They are the greatest accessory!  OPI and Seche Vite are among my favorite polishes, one is a top/base coat, and the other is color.


3. Sandcastles

3. Swimming/The Beach/Sandcastles–  As a kid, I always begged my parents to get hotel rooms with pools.  As an adult, I often opt for hotels with pools, still.  I want my future house to have a pool.  I was a lifeguard for 3 years in my twenties.  I just love swimming!  Swimming is my favorite.  Oh, and building sandcastles and hanging at the beach are cool too.

4. Laughing–  I love to laugh, period.

5. Coloring– I have never outgrown my love for a box of crayons or markers and a nice color sheet.  I also love making things with construction paper!


5. Coloring


6. Sausage Balls

6.  Sausage Balls–  You know that saying, “You better get ’em while the gettin’s good?”  Totally applies here.  I know they are supposed to be a hors d’œuvre, but we like to make them and have them for breakfast!  When made with muenster cheese, they almost taste just like a sausage biscuit from McDonald’s, which is a treat to a rural Alaskan.  We like to mix up the cheese, and Joey sometimes adds garlic, in case a vampire comes for us.  He just likes to follow recipes to a T.

7.  Long Hair–  I love my long hair!  I got it cut pretty short (still past my shoulders) at the end of the summer to get rid of what was left of a dye job.  It’s getting a lot longer now and I’m so happy!  I just love my hair!


8. Flare Jeans

8.  Flare Jeans–  I have big feet (size 10) and big hips.  My favorite jeans are flares, the bigger, the better!  They help hide my hips and feet, which makes me feel better about myself.  The only downside is when it’s windy out, sometimes the wind creeps up them.


9. These Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

9. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies–  In particular, these Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  I do not know the girl who ate everything, but if she ever takes her blog down I will be so sad.  I just love these cookies.  Joey or I have made them probably a dozen times since September.  Our students know all about our love for this cookie, as we have shared it with them on a few occasions.  You should totes try it if you need a good cookie recipe over Christmas!  I probably will!  There is something “homey” about the oatmeal raisin cookie.  For me, it just makes me feel all snug and warm, especially on cold, snowy, or blizzard days.  Interestingly enough, I’ve always been more of Chocolate Chip Cookie lover, until I met this cookie.  As with the sausage balls, sometimes things get added.  The cookies in the picture actually have crushed almonds added!  Yumm!


10.  The Waffle Sandwich–  Joey and I got really sick back in late September.  It was similar to Strep Throat, our rapid strep tests came back negative, but the fever and white patches told a different story!  We were both so ill and just wanted a grilled cheese.  Unfortunately, neither of us had enough energy to stand over a skillet for that long.  Our fatigue give rise to the waffle sandwich!  All we had to do was throw the sandwich in the waffle maker and Voila!  We had grilled cheese!  Since, we have had grilled ham & cheese, grilled turkey, grilled roast beef, grilled sausage and grilled turkey & cheese sandwiches.  I love that our waffle maker serves at least two purposes!

I bet you thought I was gonna sing about raindrops and whiskers…

Surviving Emetophobia as a Teacher

Published December 12, 2012 by krystal

Hello, I am a teacher living with emetophobia.  Before you run to Google “emetophobia,” I will just let you know what it is.  Emetophobia is the fear of throw up or throwing up.  You can imagine how difficult it can be to live with emetophobia in a school full of germs!

There was a time when I wanted to be a nurse, but somehow, that seems like the #1 worst job for someone with the fear of barf, teaching being #2, of course.


I want pink ones! Not fair, they are only for British children. American adults only get grey/blue or black. 😦

Two weeks ago, Joey and I left school an hour into the day due to terrible stomach aches.  I went home, crawled back into bed, and slept for 3 hours.  I was never actually crowned Queen of porcelain (unlike Joey), but I was so close it’s not even funny.  I’m pretty sure my seabands are what saved me from the certain vomitorium.  They claim to only be good for motion sickness or morning sickness, but I think they also have powers against the dreaded norovirus.

So Joey and I were down the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, as was the librarian, but other than that, I had not heard anything about that pesky little virus since.  Until yesterday, my reading buddy co-teacher recounted her weekend of bodily fluids with me.  I was pretty terrified, but knew there was not much I could do to save myself at that point.  Plus, I really hoped that she was no longer contagious.  That’s what I was going to tell myself… she is no longer contagious and I am fine.

Then this morning one of the clear blue yonder, one of the middle school teachers informed me that he was up all night with fever and the barfs.  OMG.  He got in my “bubble” Monday morning so I hugged him.  He also told me that my best girlfriend here also has a case of the barfs.  I was with her Monday morning too.

Was I contaminated?  Did I already have it?  If I already had it, did it mutate into what it is today, or did I just take it mildly?  Can I get it again?

I don’t remember what specifically lead me to being so emetophobic.  I never was a very sickly child, and have probably only thrown up 5 or 7 times since Kindergarten.  The last time I was sick, my chest was still sore three days later.  Three days later, I was eating plain bread–only plain bread for every meal.  Seriously, the world can go ahead and write me off as never being a threat for bulimia.  I just wouldn’t do bulimia.

It goes without saying, I really hope I don’t catch this stomach virus!
& I hope you don’t either!


The Box Top Fairy Strikes Again, and Other Classroom Tales

Published December 7, 2012 by krystal

The “Box Top Fairy,” was so close to getting her own post about clippings from food boxes again.  Unfortunately for her, two other tales slid in and made the cut, too.


Her second load

About a month ago, I posted about my sweet little Box Top Fairy (BTF) who brought 50 Box Tops For Education and saved the school from certain bankruptcy.  Ok, maybe not, but she certainly helped it out and helped us get things we might otherwise not have, like a set off brand of pens for the office staff.

On Wednesday, I sacrificed my entire Box Top collection (all 84 of them) to our Box Top collector.  My class won one Tootsie Roll each.  The very next day, the Box Top Fairy struck again!  This time, she didn’t have as many, but you didn’t see this über competitive teacher complaining, oh no!  I showered the BTF with thanks and sent her back to finish her morning work.

I dumped the bag out and started counting to see how many Box Tops she graced us with this time.  There were 42… 45 if you count the 3 advertisements, which I didn’t.  I guess the BTF is perhaps getting a little over zealous.  I appreciate the willingness and kind heart of such a young child like her, so precious.

Nice Try, Box Top Fairy

Nice Try, Box Top Fairy

The entire school raised around $18.  At least $13 of that came from my class.  🙂  I should make a “Box Top Champ” sign for our door.  I’ll just add that to my to do list…


During reading time, our chapter book mentioned a little boy being afraid of monsters.  Since that is a very real experience for many young children, I used it as an opportunity to ask the students to make connections.  First, I asked if any of them were or used to be afraid of monsters.  A few hands went up.  I’m pretty sure they all have been afraid of monsters at one point in their lives, and probably still areNext, I asked if they had a little brother/sister/cousin/niece/nephew who was afraid of monsters.  EVERY HAND WENT UP, except for BTF’s.  So I asked her if she knew a younger kid who was afraid of monsters.  “WE DON’T HAVE MONSTERS IN MY HOUSE!” was her reply.  Everyone laughed.  Including me.  Including BTF.  Good times on a Friday.


My students have these darling reading buddies from a second grade class.  They are so little.  Très ‘dorbs.  I enjoy all 40 minutes with them each week.  Yesterday, their teacher

Let's not be stingy, now.

Let’s not be stingy, now.

asked them to write a “Dear Santa” letter.  She asked them to open the letter by asking how he/Mrs. Claus/Rudolph/the reindeer were doing, because that would be polite.  Next, the students were to ask for something for someone else to show they weren’t stingy be nice.  Then  they could ask for anything they wanted for Christmas.  One of the little boys went up to the teacher and ever so secretly asked how to spell “Lola” and “a doll.”  The teacher wrote it on a piece of paper, and he proceeded to walk back to his seat.  On the way, he stopped by Lola’s desk and confidently whispered, “I’m getting you a doll,” while pointing to the piece of paper.  Lola is a little mature than some of her classmates, but was still thoroughly confused by this child’s statement.  In her confusion, she looked to her teacher for a moment of clarity.  The teacher smiled, winked, and gave her a thumbs up in response.

Talk about a not-so-secret Santa!


We’ll Be There at 8 am + 6 hours

Published December 4, 2012 by krystal

Those fireworks that night symbolized more than Independence for America, they were a celebration of being halfway finished with my Master’s program, a little slice of much needed freedom, and creating an unforgettable memory with my favorite two year old on my lap.

Just the other day I wrote a blog about a package sent on July 3, 2012. Thinking of that and the fact that my next cross country trip is fast approaching,


brought up memories of my last trip to the Lower 48.  I had just finished summer school, went to the tanning bed, and after a brief stop at Fred Meyer, I was headed to the airport in Fairbanks.  Joey and Mason had went to Anchorage the day before.  They met me in the Anchorage airport.  The check in process was uneventful.  Then there was the typical goodnight call to my dad aka our chauffeur:

“Hi Dad, we’re checked in and about to go through security.  Yeah, we’ll land in Little Rock at 8:30… No, Mason is not excited, can you hear him?  We’ll give him his pill after we go through security…Ok, I’ll call you when we are about to leave Houston… Yeah, It will take a little while for us to deplane and get our bags…It’s crazy that you’re about to go to sleep and we’ll be there when you wake up!  Ok, have a good night, we’ll see you in the morning!”

Security and getting to the gate were ever as routine as possible, except for my hair setting off the body scanner.  I know my hair is major and a big deal, but it’s not a threat to national security.

 But then…our plane was a little late!  As a regular traveler, I know that the 3 (Mason, Joey, and me) of us can navigate through almost any major airport in 15-20, no matter how large it is-Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul–you get the picture, 20 minutes–we got this.  I mentally figured out the timing and discovered that we would be fine with the delay and might actually make up a little time in the air with the jet stream.

We get on the plane, and are seated in the third row of coach.  There was something wrong with one of the seats in the back of the plane, so that added on an extra 20 minutes delay.  We finally got up in the air, and the captain assured us that we would probably make up much of the lost time.  When the flight attendant came through, Joey and I asked for a soda and a cup of water.  It was at night, and we had to take our vitamins.  You would have thought we asked for all of the credit card numbers on her swiper.  She responded by saying.

“You’re not on the cruise anymore!”

Joey and I looked at one another thoroughly confused!  We weren’t on a cruise, we were in Fairbanks, living it up in a dorm, doing summer school.  After several minutes we realized we were dressed alike in our red North Pole shirts, which is probably a tourist staple.  Mind you, we woke up in different cities and met later in the afternoon.  Our outfits were not planned together.


It was July 3, so we were as festive for the Fourth as two tired twenty-somethings could be.

I mostly forgot about the rudeness of the flight attendant until she came back asking if we wanted seconds on our drinks.  Hey, since she was offering, I was not going to say no!  Joey and I both got a cup of water with extra attitude on the side.  Seriously.  I guess she thought she would offer and no one would take her up on the offer?

We don’t ask for anything else, for obvious reasons.

The next thing I know, the lead flight attendant made the announcement that we were going to begin our descent into Houston, and that our plane was going to be about an hour late. There would be agents when we got off the plane to assist us with our connections.  Some of us might miss our connecting flight.  Some of us might miss our connecting flight!?!?!?!  I just want to get to Little Rock and take a nap in my parent’s guest room!  “Joey, hit the buzzer, what do we do?!?!?!”

We hit the buzzer and who would appear?  Why, it’s Ms. Moody Flight Attendant herself!  Joey calmly and cooly explains to her that our flight to Little Rock will be boarding when we land.  He asks her if there is anyway the plane can wait, or if not, what our next step should be.  She flips out on him, demanding to see our itinerary, not boarding pass, itinerary.  She doesn’t want to see which flight we are trying to connect to, no, she wants to see where we booked our flight through!  We tell her the itinerary is somewhere near the sleeping cat and that we don’t want to disturb him, as he would disturb everyone else.  She responds by semi-yelling,

“It’s because you booked through Expedia!  Those third party sites never give people enough time to get through airports, when you are traveling you need to have plenty of time for the delay!”

Joey and I were speechless.  We have flown cross country many, many times and have never had a delay like this!  We have booked through Expedia or Orbitz before and were never verbally chastised for it!  The delay?  Is there always a delay planned?

The next thing I know, she is up at the flight attendant station telling our story to the other flight attendants, and pointing directly to us.  Every. One. Can. Hear.  Well, everyone in the first 5-6 rows of coach and the last 2-3 rows of First Class.

Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 8.54.47 AM

Not the actual board, but you get the idea…

We landed.  Being so close to the front gave me a big advantage, sort of.  There were no smiles or “have a great days” when we deplaned. clearly. But, I had a plan- I was going to run to the gate as fast as I could and reenact that scene from Home Alone, except I would be alone, and I would beg them to hold the plane for Joey and the passengers I saw in Anchorage in Razorback gear.  I ran, as fast as one can run with a backpack and heavy carry on.  I got to the terminal in time to see the board show BOARDING flash to DEPARTED.  Ugh.  Departed.  That was the most devastating word EVER.

I moped to the ticket counter alone (Joey and Mason had got off the plane and went to the bathroom by the terminal), and briefly explained my situation while holding back some serious tears.  The agent asked me to make a decision.  He wanted me to either A.) Take one confirmed and one stand-by seat to Little Rock, landing around 2:00, or B.) Take two confirmed seats to Little Rock, landing around 5:00.  As the line behind me grew and grew, he decided to  me $20 worth of breakfast vouchers and all of the above listed tickets.  About that time, Joey and Mason showed up.  I said something like, “Thank you very much.  You are the nicest person I have met all day.”  He was totally not overly nice, but after that flight attendant, anyone would be considered really nice.

Joey and I talked it over and decided to leave security and head for the main ticketing agents.  We had nearly 5 hours and not much to lose!  I approached the counter and immediately asked how much money we could get for a refund.  The guy was a little confused and informed us that we could only get $60 together.  He asked why, and I told him that we wanted to rent a car and drive to Little Rock.  After all, if we left at 8 am we would be arriving about the same time as the first plane and would be about to wake up from our post red-eye naps by the time the second plane came, not to mention the only people we would have to deal with would be one another and Mason.  The ticketing agent couldn’t understand why anyone would rather drive from Houston to Little Rock than fly.  We told him everything.  He probably would not have believed us, except for the desperation in our voices wanting to never board a plane again.


Sobe: One of the few portable items a voucher will buy. We stocked my parents fridge with these things!

He apologized a million times over, gave us an extra $40 in meal vouchers, and confirmed “first class” seats on the plane arriving in Little Rock at 2:00.  First class means we were in the first two seats, btw.  So there we were:  $60 in meal vouchers, a kitty getting an attitude, 2 “first class” seats, and the promise of arriving in Little Rock a full 6 hours after we were supposed to arrive.  Good thing we didn’t have big plans in Arkansas during the day!

We proceeded to lounge around the airport, take some “baby wipe baths,” clean Mason’s carrier (because he poo pooed in it, but that’s a different story), talked to other disgruntled passengers from the Anchorage flight and beyond, and spent $60 on Sobe Life Waters and some random brand of chips I had never seen before.  Most of the 5 or so hours were kind of a blur.

ImageWe boarded that plane to Little Rock, finally. Our flight attendant was a skinny, young, light skinned African American lady that greatly resembled Tyra Banks.  I told her an extremely watered down version of our most recent past.  She asked if I would like to wake up for beverage service, I clearly declined.  I was almost asleep with my seat back in the upright position before the plane was finished loading.  Tyra knew my husband was in row 2, and started rubbing his shoulders.  She didn’t know it, but she woke me up to tell me about his massage.  I made a noise indicating that I didn’t really care, and instantly dozed off again.  I woke up during the final descent into Little Rock.  What a sight to wake up to!


We arrived at my parents house, squeezed in a little nap, and woke up in time for a quick shower before night fall.  We made it to our one and only plan for July 4, 2012, watching the fireworks show with my family, and my 2 year old nephew was on my lap the whole time.

There’s just no place like home.


Return to Sender

Published December 1, 2012 by krystal

Joey and I lived in a dorm room in Fairbanks for the first half ofGalaxy box fan Summer ’12.  Fairbanks is one of the hottest places in Alaska and also one of the coldest.  Normal summer temps are in the 70’s and 80’s, but for some reason there was no air conditioner in the dorm!  As an Arkie by birth, I believe everywhere needs AC.  We did what any normal person would do, and bought a box fan.  We bought several other goodies:  a mini fridge since there was no food on campus, a magic bullet for breakfast smoothies, and a few other odds and ends to make life more comfortable slightly more bearable in the dorm room.  We enjoyed our six weeks with these belongings, then dispersed them.  The mini fridge went to Joey’s former room-mate.  The magic bullet, extra pillows, random dishes, clothes pins, and clothes hangers made their way into a Rubbermaid Roughneck headed for our village.  Then there was the box fan.  I was excited about having that box fan in our AC-less teacher housing apartment from the day we bought it at Fred Meyer!  I cannot express how much I have always wanted a big box fan in the village.

the stamp

Sent from Fairbanks July 3, 2012.

July 3, 2012-  It was one of the few warm, nasty rainy days I experienced in Fairbanks.  It was also my last day (Joey went to Anchorage with Mason the day before).  Between my classes, I got the last of our belongings together, including the box fan, and checked out of the room.  I put it back in it’s original box, taped it up, and took a regular piece of copy paper from the RA to use as an address label.  On the way to the Post Office, the box fan and I learned that Andy Griffith died.  In the parking lot, I wrote my address rather large on the paper, and taped it to the box, making sure that the entire paper was covered by the clear packaging tape (so it wouldn’t be messed up or smeared by this or any future rain).  The tape had trouble clinging to the box, but I was confident when I gave the box to the post master that I would see it again mid-August in the village.

August 14, 2012-  We returned to the village, and immediately started looking for the fan to cool our stuffy house down.  Usually the maintenance men put boxes in teacher’s houses, or on the stage in the school.  We quickly noticed the box fan was not in our house, so we went over to the school.  There were many different boxes there, a few with our names, but none in the slender blue and white box I so desperately wanted to see.  I asked the office ladies, principals, and counselors, who had all been in the school varying times in the summer.  All said they had not seen such a box.  Freddy was still in Anchorage, so he sent me a new one.  Meanwhile, I started to think up strange endings for my box fan…

1.) Perhaps the tape didn’t really stick.  It ended up at the Anchorage airport without a label, the workers eventually just took it out of the box and used it.

2.) The fan made it to the school, someone didn’t see the label, took it out of the box, and used it.

3.) The zip code was misread and was sent to Point Lay.  Hey, I’ve had boxes show up in villages 100 miles away, so it could have happened!

4.) The timing is way off, and the area is all wrong, but perhaps it went down in one of the many plane crashes of the summer.  When Bush planes meet the USPS anything is possible.

5.) One day, while browsing the store, I noticed box fans just like mine were stacked on top of the freezers, I thought for a minute that maybe… no.  How could anyone miss an 8.5 x 11 paper in the middle of the box?

My new fan shipped a la Freddy came, and I eventually forgot about the fan from Fairbanks.

Today, Joey and I went to the Post Office, because he received an email that our Christmas presents Kindle Fire HDs- had arrived and that we needed to pick them up.  We also had to drop off our Christmas cards.  I went to the window to pick up them up.  The post mistress had something under the Kindles… she had our box fan from Fairbanks!  Apparently, it had been sitting in the old hardware store all this time!

This was written on the box by our local postmistress.

This was written on the box by our local postmistress.

Nothing like a surprise box 5 months later!  Merry Christmas from USPS!


In Alaska, We Leave Ice Cream in the Car

Published November 21, 2012 by krystal

Our last day/night in Anchorage was pretty laid back, like our usual last days in Anchorage.  We did most of our shopping yesterday, so today was spent just tying up some loose ends.  We went to the mall, and from the parking garage, we caught a glimpse of Denali/Mt. McKinley!  It was amazing!  We have both seen it from the Parks Hwy., flown over it, and drove up to it.  It somehow never gets old!  I didn’t feel it would be appropriate to crop this picture, or shrink it down.Image

We did some other things, etc.  Then Joey suggested we go to Chuck E. Cheese for din dinImage and some games!  Heck yes, Joey!  One of our favorite things to do is to go to Chuck E. Cheese.  Down south, we like to take our youngest nephew, but in Anchorage we usually go alone.  Surprisingly, we rarely get any strange looks!  We’re just there for some pizza and good clean fun!  Some of my fellow coworkers like to come to town to visit a bar, but that’s not us.  We like to remember and enjoy every minute in town, since trips are so few and far between.  Plus, I really don’t need any more toxins than I already have.  🙂  I am super competitive… Joey is not.  We usually add our tickets separately, and then I rub it in for two days how I won the most, or I sulk for two days about how I should have beaten him by winning more tickets.  He thinks the whole thing is silly.  He just wants to have fun and play Skee Ball.  Silly Joey.  We decided to add our tickets together  since our collection of receipts is quite large.  One day our nephew will have a field day with all those tickets.  For the record, 142 of those were mine, less than 100 were Joeys, and the rest were mutually won at the Deal or No Deal game.  Do you love my nails?  I used the end of a bobby pin to make the dots.

Joey mentioned that we needed to pick up a turkey for Freddy.  Freddy likes left overs and wanted a 20 pounder for himself.  Joey said we could just get it and some ice cream on the way to the airport tomorrow.  I suggested we just get it and leave it in the car.  It’s 9* outside, I don’t think anything would happen to the turkey or ice cream!  So we did.  I wanted to get the 19.68 lb turkey for Freddy, but Joey thought the 18.28 lb (smallest turkey left) was good enough.  Sorry Freddy, I tried!

Tomorrow we will head back to the village for a few weeks until Christmas.  I can’t wait for the parade and all the Thanksgiving fun in the village!


BYOBB (Bring Your Own Brown Bag)

Published November 20, 2012 by krystal

It’s a brown paper bag.  A regular brown paper bag.  It’s not quite large enough to be distributed at a grocery store.  Do grocery stores still distribute these?  IDK.  This is a most special brown bag, because it was my companion all day yesterday.  So…  what did we do?


1.)  First, we found a place to eat.  We looked around for a while and decided on Middleway Cafe.  The bag sat next to me in the booth as I ate a Spicy Grilled Chicken Sandwich and spilt a “Jungle Love” smoothie with Joey.  While at the cafe, I downloaded the book Son, by Lois Lowry, on my iPhone.  (I have made it to chapter 5 now.)  It’s the sequel to the book The Giver, by the same author.  I really don’t care if it’s a “teen” book, I loved The Giver as a kid and always wanted a little more.

Image2.)  Down skirts are kinda popular in Alaska.  They keep your thighs and booty warm.  I wanted one, because my lower top half always gets so cold on the walk to school.  Putting on marshmallow snow pants takes so long and are difficult to walk in, so I was looking for a simpler option.  Even when it’s -40*, I usually don’t wear the marshmallow pants, because they are too much trouble.  I always wear them when traveling by plane or when going for a ride on the 4 wheeler, though.  REI didn’t have my size, but my trusty brown bag was by my side!

3.)  In an effort to continue the search for the down skirt, we looked at Sports Authority.  No luck either.  Maybe I can get one at Christmas.  I hope.  I think they are totally adorbs!

4.)  We gave up on the down skirt and continued our shopping at Sam’s Club.  The brown bag rode in the shopping cart as we picked out a 2013 calendar, bought some peanut butter, and even some almonds.  It was covered by my coat, otherwise I might worry that someone would suspect something and try to look inside!

5.)  We finished up our Sam’s shopping and headed across the street to get some things from Wal-Mart.  “I just love shopping at Wal-Mart!  The store is so clean and everyone is so friendly!”  said no one ever.  I discovered that they now sell Seche Vite!  Yay Wally World!  I also got to get a few Pacific Coconut lifewaters.  They are the best!  We got to the counter and… my credit card was denied!  What?  Apparently B of A is not too keen on cardholders using their card a lot in one area.  Joey paid for the bundle, and I called B of A in the parking lot, and of course, the brown bag was right by me the whole time:  Seche Vite, lifewater, and credit card declining.  The lady on the phone kept calling me “Mr. Lastname”  I wasn’t too impressed, I just wanted my card to work!

6.)  Once she assured me that my card would work, we went to Walgreens.  Walgreens used to be my favorite store, until I found CVS!  You bet the brown bag was in my hands when I went in there.  I carried it just like it was my lunch and I was once again a junior higher… Okay, I probably held on tighter this time!

7.)  The final stop with the brown bag was to Fred Meyer.  Fred Meyer could be H.E.B.’s cousin, because there everything is better (T.E.B)!  Joey said Fred’s has everything Wal-Mart does, but more expensive.  I tried to tell him it’s not more expensive, it’s better!  It’s so true.  I got spoiled going to Fred’s when I lived in Fairbanks.  Btw, I totally call it Freddies, Fast Freddies, or Fred’s.  Rarely ever is it “Fred Meyer” in my vocab.   The brown bag was there to help pick out Joey’s aide’s Christmas present.  It was also there when we watched a demo on microfiber cleaning cloths.  B-O-R-I-N-G!  I picked up some essence stampy polishes, a new yellow polish, and some zig zag scissors!  So, a chevron mani is in my future!  We survived all those trips, and more importantly, so did the brown bag!  It has found a temporary resting place in our hotel room since.

ImageBy now you must be wondering what is in the brown bag that is so important that it couldn’t be left out in the car.  I couldn’t leave it in the car for fear of it freezing.  It’s probably not worth anything to many people.  Some people might have interest in it.  To me, the bag was worth at least $400.  The bag contained four boxes of birth control samples.  My insurance does not cover BC, so without these samples, I would be forking over $400 for birth control that is being used for something other than contraception.   #whitegirlproblems  We kept the bag safe, and all is well with the brown bag.

I was surprised none of the nosey retailers asked to check the brown bag!  Have you ever carried a random item around for a day?  How did that go?



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