Monday, August 30, 2010

Alaska - Part One

I hope you are ready for some of my photos.  I had three other friends with me with cameras but I have yet to get their photos.  So for now, here are mine.

If you remember, I was flying to Fairbanks, Alaska to be in the wedding of one of my best friends.  We attending high school together in Fairbanks.  I was not raised in Alaska but moved there the summer before my Freshman year in high school and left after I graduated.  We moved there because my dad was an electrical engineer and maintenance superintendent of a gold mine there.

After we went to one of the many drive-through coffee places to get some much needed caffeine (quite a long plane ride to Fairbanks) we did some reminiscing.

This is a road that I drove on almost every day when I lived there.  Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior of Alaska and is nicknamed the Golden Heart City.  There are a lot of trees, some hills, rivers, and permafrost.  On very clear days, you can see Denali in the distance even though it's some 120 miles away.

We drove by my old home, awww.

Since we had a couple friends from Kentucky who had never seen a moose before, we decided to drive up to Chena Hot Springs.  It's only 56 miles north of Fairbanks, such a short distance in Alaska terms.  Along the way what did we spy?

Yep, she was having a grand ol' time wallowing in the water and eating from the bottom.  I snagged my friend's camera lens and got a closer look.

We also noticed a mama and baby in the woods nearby.  Apparently they did NOT want to swim.

But the moose wasn't the only one in the water.  We also saw this little guy:

We finally got to Chena Hot Springs and looked around.  Locals like to come to Chena Hot Springs in the winter to get a relaxing dip.  In the winter when it's 20, 30, 40 below zero, people sitting in the Hot Springs will be all nice and toasty while their hair is frosted and frozen.

Chena Hot Springs also has an ice museum.  Now, being from Fairbanks I thought it was a bit cheesy ( and maybe because it was during the summer) but it might be something I can wow my husband when I drag him back here to experience a 40 below winter).  The ice museum has ice bedrooms you can stay in and an ice bar where you can drink martini's from an ice glass.

I was more impressed with other things.  Like sod houses (not as rare as you think in the Fairbanks area).

Or the old school snow machine (snow mobile for lower forty-eight people):

Beautiful flowers:
Or an old school vehicle with beautiful flowers

On the way home we had to watch out for moose on the road.  Like this one:

Ok, that's it for the first day in Alaska. Hope you enjoyed the photos, more to come!

The Last of the Mohicans - James Fenimore Cooper

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I love love classic books.  One of my all-time favorite books is The Count of Monte Cristo.  I also really enjoy the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list.  To top it all off, one of my all-time favorite movies is The Last of the Mohicans.  So when I decided to read the book by James Fenimore Cooper it should come as no surprise.

I have a really cool free iPhone app I got earlier this year that gives me the full-text of quite a few classic novels.  I already read Wuthering Heights on it and decided to do this on as well.  I started reading this book late February and just finished it last night.  I know!  It's not even that long.  But I read a few pages here and there and honestly, for this type of book it really worked.  Let's say that I really enjoyed this book but probably wouldn't have if I had to toil through the whole book in just a few days or weeks.  I love the story but seriously Mr. Cooper...what's with the wording?  I know it was published in 1826 but really, I honestly just skipped paragraphs or sentences when it got too flowery.

Here's the story:

This book is the second in a five book series that follows Hawkeye a.k.a. Natty Bumpo during the French and Indian War in America.  Hawkeye is not a Native American but dresses, talks, and travels with them.  He is a British ally and is known to his French enemies as "La Longue Carabine" because of his prowess with his rifle.  I just imagine the movie:

I just have to point this out.  I can't really judge the book by itself because I've seen the movie too many times.  I'm biased, just letting you know.

So enters Alica and Cora.  Alice is a typical belle - beautiful, witty, a little silly.  Cora is darker (her mother was part African American), wiser, and able to take on the war tragedies better than Alice.  These two are on their way to see their father, Colonel Munro and are being escorted by Major Duncan Heyward who is in love with Alice.  (In the movie he loves Cora but...whatever.)

Here's Cora and Alice in the movie:
So anyway, their Indian guide Magua is deceptive and really an enemy and so of course, the girls and Duncan are in trouble and who comes to the rescue?  Hawkeye, his Deleware/Mohican brother Unca and Unca's father Chingachgook.  So the rest of the book finds the group getting in and out of trouble, multiple rescuings, and not as much of a love story as you might think from the movie.

I will say that I was happy that my favorite character in the movie - Uncas - was even cooler in the book than in the movie.  Hawkeye while still being a hero in the book, was a little more chatty and slightly annoying.  This book brings up a lot of interesting topics - race, the whole noble indian thing, as well as what the whole French and Indian War did to Native Americans. But I think the biggest issue with this book is Cooper's wording.  In high school I tried to read the first book in the series, The Deerslayer, and couldn't get past the first few pages of just description of the trees.  This book is almost as bad in the beginning as it tries to map out for the reader the area of the Lakes and Hudson River.  Goodness.  But if you stick it out, get passed his wording, you'll find a pretty cool action story that's worth discussing.

If you want to try reading it online for free, check out Online Literature.

***Has anyone else read or reviewed this?  What did you think?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dracula in Love - Winner!!

Sorry all for my delayed announcement of the winner of Dracula in Love.  I absolutely loved your answers on what vampire stories you love and why you want to read this.  My winner said:

Yes, me!! I love Bram Stoker's Dracula and just wrote a review on Dracula The Un-Dead, so I'd love to read another "perspective" of it! I've heard so much about this novel and am ready to take it on -- there's just something about the "real" Dracula story that just gets me going, and I was such a fan of The Historian as well, that this book would be right up my alley!!
Woohoo!  I love when people refer me to books I have not yet read.  So my winner is:

Congratulations and I can't wait to see what you think.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Yikes! And More!

Ok. So just got a counter on a house we bid on. Yippee!!  We are still a little hmmm on it though.  Ok, my husband more so than I.  It's a bit further out from his work than he'd like but I love the house.  I'll keep you posted.

Anyways, onward to more photos.

After Kansas City we hit Colorado where much of my family lives.  Don't let the surroundings fool you, there's mountains in this state (somewhere).

My friend has an adorable little one and I caught this photo of him looking at my husband.

Then we went to the fair.  Like you do.  So we saw cows:

Sheep who make lovely faces:

And a historic wooden carousel from the early 20th Century.  For twenty-five cents we all took a ride (except my husband who snapped photos).

As we drove West we saw a cool rain storm and could just barely see the mountains in the distance.

A few days later my mom and her husband took us to a Rockies game at Coors Field. 

From the stadium there are cool views of the city.  Can you pick out my favorite building (looks like a cash register)?

I like that it tells you where the Mile marker is: One mile high
Of course, the Rockies won:

Ok. Since I forgot to post these, I'll do it now.  I went to Colorado back in June when my sister and nephew were also there from Alaska.  My nephew has gotten so big!  I was teaching him how to jump:

We all took a little trip up to Estes Park for the day and driving up I saw these guys on the side of the road:

Here's just a few photos of the town:

Ok.  Enough for now. Got to finish up some stuff.  I'll be back posting about my Alaska trip.  Bye!

In which I am back


I am back!  I am currently typing away at my computer in a rental home in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I woke up early, grabbed a cup of coffee, and decided it was high time I let you all know how I am (hello Bibliophile by the Sea!).  Please forgive me if I tend to ramble.  This past month I have packed up our rental home in Kentucky, driven to Colorado to see family, flown to Alaska for a wedding, toured around Alaska with Kentucky friends, flown to Vegas, and am attempting to find a job and buy a house.  Yeah.  I am a bit tuckered out.  But it's time to share photos!  Woohoo!

Ok.  Step one. The Great Move.  Wait, no, we went camping first.  Of course we did.

Step one. Mammoth Cave National Park.

The pups chillin' out at the camp site.

It's amazing how much trust we put in a park guide to lead us to a creepy little door in the side of a mountain.

This cool shot of the park guide was taken by my husband.  Nice job!

It's hard to get good photos in a cave.  This is pretty much the only one that doesn't look all blurry and make me a little sick to look at:

Here I am with my friend Rachel from A Bohemian's Book Reviews.

Then a few friends, my husband, and I decided to do the Kentucky Bourbon Trial.  You see, if you hit them all and get a stamp you get a free t-shirt.  O yeah.  So off we went. 

The Kentucky Bourbon Passport - we printed them out at home and do you like my fabulous coloring job?

Cheesing it up at Jim Beam.

I think this one is at Maker's Mark.

This one is Four Roses.  So beautiful:

We passed by a field of tobacco and I had to snap a photo:

I loved this part of Kentucky.  Bluegrass and race horse training tracks (window was tinted, sorry for the color):

I knew race horses made money but seriously:

Woodford Reserve has some gorgeous buildings:

And the Bourbon Trail wouldn't be complete without the Bourbon Barrel Family:

After much back breaking packing, we were off!  All of our worldly possessions fit into two of these Uhaul boxes.  Sigh.

The first sight seeing we did was St. Louis.  How cool is this arch? 

The arch symbolizes the "gateway to the west" and has a really cool museum in the visitor's center.  When I was in junior high I first visited St. Louis and got to go up inside and ride to the top of the arch.  This time I was more interested in the museum and the history.  But the arch is still impressive.  It was hard to get it all in some of the photos:

I was also amazed at the water level of the river.  It was flowing over the sidewalks.  Here's me pretending to pout because the Riverboat Cruise was closed. (Note: Almost everything is closed in St. Louis on Sundays. Especially BBQ restaurants.  Just be aware.)
But don't worry, we got or BBQ fix in Kansas City.  Here's where we found the best BBQ.

The ribs were seriously to die for:

Ok friends, that's it for now.  I'm off to finish my cover letter so I can get a much desired job.  Wish me luck!