Monday, December 14, 2009

Elegance with a Purpose

I was honored to be a part of this year's Christmas Tree Elegance Gala and tree raffle to support the Eva Foundation.

The Eva Foundation helps build self-esteem by providing individuals assistance in establishing a new life after abuse.
Nearly a dozen Christmas trees were decorated with specific themes and "prize" ornaments (like spa treatments, fishing trips and vacations for two). The attendees bought raffle tickets for the right to win a tree and its prizes. Each tree had a beautifully styled attendant to explain the tree's prize package.

Also included in the fundraising efforts was a live auction, where I was one lucky lady to be able to model a sheared beaver and silver fox coat! It's a good thing my husband wasn't able to make it to the event... or I'd have had him bid on the coat.
It's wonderful to be able to blend elegance with a worthy purpose, it was a highly successful evening.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sharpening Your Skills

Pilots rarely hope for an emergency during a flight. But when one happens it is usually a good idea to have an action plan in mind... one that you can implement in a timely fashion (not the time to get the book out and read up on engine failures as you're plummeting to the Earth).

This is precisely why training and simulators are a great idea.

I was lucky enough to be included in a week's worth of Twin Otter simulator time at the Flight Safety International training center in Toronto, Canada this month.

Although not all emergencies can be trained for specifically (like landing in the Hudson River), most emergencies can be duplicated in the environment of the simulator. Yes, the inside of the trainer is identical to the cockpit of the airplane and we can see "outside" as well, depending on what the computer programmer wants us to see.

It's one of the only times when you can screw up and crash in an airplane and live to tell about it. Yes, I crashed at least once during my time in the "hot seat", but I learned from the experience and can handle the emergency for the future.

Sometimes I would love to have a simulator for my real life... just think of being able to test out an idea or action in your life and then see what the results would be BEFORE you actually went ahead and did it! Wow, that would clear up a lot of angst in the future.

Mrs. Alaska goes International!

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's that time of year...

As we approach the end of the year most people will have looked back on what they are thankful for and will look forward to what they can improve on for next year.
I am very thankful for my family, especially my little girl. She is very good company. She makes me attempt to be the best person I can be and I feel that she keeps me "on my game" even when I would rather just let things slide.
I look forward to sharing the wonderful world of the outdoors with my little girl and hope she grows to love it as much as her father, sisters and friends do. That's one of her sisters carrying her in the backpack on a Thanksgiving Day hike with good friends.
I've never had someone following my lead so adamantly before and I can only strive to make the footsteps I leave for her ones that she will want to follow in the future.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Empowering Our Youth

After attending a candlelight vigil to bring awareness about homeless teenagers last week, it was refreshing to be a part of an event for an organization that strives to empower young adults and youth.

YEA, Inc. Youth/Young Adult Empowered Achievers was founded to help underserved youth become more confident, give them an outlet for their talents, help prepare them for the workforce and create a support system for troubled teens.

I was honored to be asked to help MC a fashion show fundraiser for the organization. I am truly amazed at the generosity of the Anchorage community for helping make the event happen and at the wealth of talent brought to the stage this night.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sobering statistics

Did you know that on any given night, America has 1,000,000 homeless teenagers? Wow. Here in Anchorage, AK there is an organization called Covenant House that serves as a "safe haven" for homeless teenagers.
I was invited to participate in Covenant House's annual candlelight vigil to bring awareness to this section of the homeless population. Homelessness is a dire predicament to be in anywhere, but especially in a state where the temperatures are below freezing for 7 months of the year! Please do what you can to support the stamping out of homelessness nationwide.

I hope to teach my daughter as she gets older to volunteer her time in support of causes and charities she believes in. Right now she's participating by association!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A time for change

The contract I was flying for has come to an end. I am what I call "gainfully unemployed" for the winter. It feels good to be able to devote more of my time to my Mrs. Alaska duties and to my family. I will, of course, be flying my personal airplane as much as possible. Who knows what weird adventure awaits us out there?

Sometimes it takes not being around the ones you love to make you realize how much you missed being around them in the first place.

Family and friends are where it's at.

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Different forms of "work"

Not many folks would consider dressing up as a bride to be "work", but as Mrs. Alaska my duties are far reaching. I participated in a bridal show put on my one of my sponsors, Arctic Rose, last week. I must admit I really enjoyed wearing a wedding gown again... without the fuss and stress of actually getting married!
I also volunteered at a charity ball hosted by Anchorage's Mayor Dan Sullivan. I helped showcase certain live auction items, like this amazing hand-made Native Alaskan fish skin basket. I did my "Bob Barker's Beauty" best!
My "real job" of course is piloting. And I couldn't resist showing you the view from my "office" window last week. Ahhh, now that's a view! Who wouldn't want to go to "work" every day in this setting?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mrs. Alaska's Moose "Hunt"

On the flight home from Arizona with my husband and little girl...
It seems like an eternity since I was in Tucson, AZ representing Alaska in the Mrs. America pageant. Yet it has barely been 3 1/2 weeks! Sheesh, a lot has gone on in the meantime. Let me tell you a story about my latest adventure, or may I say misadventure (or would that be mrs.adventure?)

My husband and I flew both of our airplanes to go moose hunting near the town of Delta Junction in the interior of Alaska. We couldn't get to where we wanted to land in the mountains because of bad weather, so we camped at the runway in Delta Junction for the night. I made a dinner of freeze-dried food for my husband and I. Two hours later we were both quite afflicted with food poisoning and stayed that way for 18 hours straight. Let me tell you that it's NO FUN being that sick while you're camping. Especially when you're trying to take care of a perfectly healthy 1 year old.

This should have been the item which told us "go home, this hunt isn't going to work out", but we are a stubborn bunch, so we forged ahead when we stopped heaving our guts out.
When the weather lifted, we made it to our destination easily and proceeded to set up camp for the week. Most of our hunts are like "car camping" in the wilderness and we take the slant that if we don't harvest an animal we at least had a fun trip.
Everything was looking pretty good for the first day. We saw a moose (not legal to harvest), went on a hike with our daughter and managed to keep a bit of food in our stomachs.

Then it started to rain... usually this is no big deal, but it IS Alaska and it IS late September, so rain is not a good thing. Why? Because it turns to snow way too soon.
Snow on a backcountry landing area when your airplane is on wheels is bad news. Especially the wet heavy stuff. The increase in drag on takeoff is debilitating to performance. When we woke up to 6 inches of snow and it was still falling, our moose hunt quickly turned into a debacle. We now had to figure out how to pack down the takeoff area and get the snow off our wings. Not to mention, we had no idea how long the bad weather was going to last.

I found a chunk of wood left behind by another hunter, tied it to my waist and drug it up and down the landing area as often as my strength would let me, then my husband took his turn. We packed a pretty good takeoff area, as long as it stopped snowing! My wonderfully tall husband found a bucket he could stand on to scrape snow and ice off the wings of our airplanes as well, in anticipation of a break in the weather.

So we waited until the snow finally abated enough to allow us to take off safely and we beat it back home. The nearly 3 1/2 hour flight from our hunting area back to the town of Talkeetna gave me ample opportunity to count the number of things that were trying to tell us to go home a week earlier, but I guess bad weather, food poisoning, and even more bad weather were just par of the course for this humble "beauty queen".
The moose definitely had the upper hand this year!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Where am I and What Day is it?

I'm home now. I'm still Mrs. Alaska, cool. I have spent the last two days sleeping as much as my one year old will allow me to, trying to kick the nasty cold I came down with last week during the pageant. I seriously had a hard time remembering where I was the first couple of times I woke up. The cool temperatures and lack of cactus gave me a good clue, though.

I feel a bit more human now, even though my toes are still numb from dancing in 4 inch heels. I plan to go back to work next week and am really looking forward to getting back into an airplane (one where I'm the pilot!).

The next big adventure is a moose hunting trip with my husband and daughter.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Finals Night

We rehearsed for finals all day. If I never hear "take it from the top" again I'll be a happy woman. I am one of the lucky few who did not have severe blisters on my feet at the end of this last week. I met Alan Thicke and Florence Henderson who were our Hosts for the evening.

I'm getting pretty good at getting into stage hair and makeup quickly, so when we broke for the afternoon to get ready I was done early and enjoyed a glass of wine to relax.

I really enjoyed dancing on stage and pretending to be a "star" for the night! When my name wasn't called for the top ten finalists I actually think I sighed in relief. Of course part of me really wanted to be up there, but the rest of me wanted out of the high heels and back into the arms of my husband and my little girl.

After I found out I wasn't in the top ten, backstage the rest of the ladies and I enjoyed pizza, brownies and icecream! To heck with diets.

The next morning one of my brothers, Eric, wished me well before he went back home.

Do I think I would have made a great Mrs. America? Yes. Do I regret not winning? Nope. Am I thrilled to go home and continue my year as Mrs. Alaska? You bet!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Preliminary Night

One more morning of rehearsal and it was Preliminary Night Showtime!

All 51 ladies competed in swimsuit and evening gown and then participated in a state costume contest.

Monday, September 7, 2009

And so it Goes On

Dad, Me, Mom, Anji and Shirley before a Jazz fest event. The music was a nice diversion from the pageant activities.

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.... From the top, again and again and again...
Yes, my room looks like the A-Bomb went off. And my roommate and I are the NEAT ones!
Getting ready for preliminaries, ironing my costume...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It's GO Time!

TIme to get ready for my judges' interview!!! No pressure, no pressure.

The final product pre-interview.
Let me at 'em!

WHEW! Glad THAT's over. The interview was actually quite nice, great judges and some wonderful conversations. The rest of the day is for relaxing and getting ready for swimsuit and evening gown preliminaries tomorrow.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rehearsal, Pageant President's Dinner, BATHINGSUIT!!!

Rehearsal pose...

President's formal dinner... Mrs. Ohio & Alaska were the purple pageant people...


I am feeling a lot better about rehearsing these days... I have come to an agreement with my limbs and they are staying coordinated for the rest of the week (I hope).

After our golfing excursion, we danced until we needed to prepare for a formal dinner with the president of the pageant, David Marmel and the general manager of the hotel, Brian Johnson. Each lady presented Mr. Johnson with a token gift from their respective state.

This morning (Saturday the 5th) I got up way too early for a bathing suit photo shoot... the wasps were attacking the big hair of some of the ladies, but other than that everything turned out fine.

Another day of dancing our off and we get to have a mild freak
out about preparing for our judges interviews tomorrow.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Do NOT let me try to Golf!

This morning all 51 ladies were treated to a "photo op" out on the golf course at the resort. Some of the women knew how to swing a club, others didn't (that's MY category). Needless to say, I was in the background for most of the pictures. I climbed a nearby mesquite tree, the official photographer noticed and took a picture of THAT instead. Hope the women of Alaska don't mind that I'm out on a golf photo shoot posing as a monkey. I also took the time to sully one of the bunkers with a little "Alaska" graffiti!
My awesome roommate Anji, Mrs. Illinois!
Ladies in waiting...
WATCH OUT!!! Good thing they didn't give me a BALL.

Wow it's beautiful here!