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 a..es 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!

Photo Fest of Mrs. America 2009

I've only got a few minutes to get stuff posted, so here is a photofest of some of the activities we've been involved in... enjoy!

Cocktail reception with dignitaries from Tucson... I'm with Mrs. Washington (we could be sisters!)
Opening number rehearsal... note the arms are actually where they need to be!
Ice Cream on a shopping trip!
Strawberries at a red carpet affair!
Shopping... this suit top was only $700!
Red carpet treatment for the ladies!
Our limo to and from the hotel - a la Greyhound Bus.
Rehearsal outfit...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Time To Dance

We began to rehearse our dance numbers today... after confirming my two left feet, running into a wall and accidentally whacking the girl next to me whilst trying to coordinate my hands with my feet, I realized that I am why we need 5 days of practice to look coordinated on stage.

We also had some time to ourselves, where the majority of the well connected ladies decided to text message or phone home!

In the afternoon we all volunteered at a Habitat For Humanity project. We planted trees around a playground area. Talk about fun! 50 cute shovel wielding beauties getting DIRTY! That's my kind of pageant event.

Fifty-One Beauties

After my roommate, Anji, and I rescued a hummingbird that had hit a window, I went to WalMart for some last minute things and more DRUGS for my illness. I managed a much needed nap in the afternoon.

We got ready for our first event of the week, the delegate orientation. Yes, we are called delegates, not contestants... after all we all ARE already queens for our respective states. I enjoyed hearing from the 50 other women and how may years they've been married and how many kids they have.
The dinner that was served was really good, too. The dessert hit the spot! Yes, beauty queens do eat food, and even dessert!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I received a truly unforgettable gift from my daughter before I left for the Mrs. America pageant. I seem to have traveled with her lovely little germs with me. I have now bought stock in Ricola and Advil... I sound like Kermit the Frog. I hope I will sound less ill by my interview Sunday the 6th.

I have a great roommate from Illinois, Anji. We've already overtaken the room, you cannot see the floor for all of our shoes, boxes, etc... Last night, the dozen or so delegates who have arrived early went for a nice dinner to relax. (My roommate is to my left in the photo)
The rest of the participants are showing up today (Sept. 1st), so we will be descending upon the Loews Canyon Resort en mass.