Monday, February 22, 2010

The Future of Pageants

I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who do a double-take when I explain that I am Mrs. Alaska-America 2009 and that I won a beauty pageant to earn the title. Most say "you don't seem like the pageant type". Well.... I think they thought they were complementing me, at least I take it that way. I may be a "rough around the edges" backcountry woman to a lot of people, but I also have a very feminine and glamourous side, too. I am happy that there are venues out there that foster female strengths and beauty and empower women to be the best at whatever they wish.
I had the chance to attend a teen pageant the other night and was really happy at witnessing the "next generation" of women who will be influencing our world. Also included in the pageant were young girls who had been "adopted" by the titleholders to mentor them and be "big sisters" for the year. They are called Alaska's Gold Nuggets.

Congratulations to this year's Miss Forget-Me-Not (Alaska's State Flower) and all those young women who decide to use pageants as a way to become stronger, more articulate and versatile. Because of these ladies, there is a great future for pageants and all they offer.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Alaska Showcase of Talent

On Valentine's Day evening I was asked to be a part of a panel of judges for a new program called "Alaska Showcase of Talent". Apparently my background in film and television production qualified me for this position. Being a (very) minor celebrity may have as well.
I wasn't sure at all what to expect, let alone to say to the young up-and-coming artists performing before me, but I was truly encouraged by the tenacity it took many of the participants to get up there and "bare it all", so-to-speak. Heaven forbid I ever forget what it was like to participate in a beauty pageant!

I found that taking the "Paula Abdul"(ie. American Idol) approach to giving out constructive criticism was a pretty safe direction to take. Who knows, maybe I witnessed the next generation of artists to wow America that night? You never can tell.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ski For Women

One of my passions is getting outdoors and enjoying it while also getting a workout in at the same time. I call it disguising exercise as fun. Although, just for the record, I don't usually go skiing in a crown and banner.
Well, I was lucky enough to combine my outdoor enthusiasm with a workout AND giving to the community at the annual Ski For Women, at Kincaid Park in Anchorage, Alaska. The event raises money and awareness for women's issues and charities. The several hundred participants were encouraged to dress in costumes and have fun while racing the 5km course.
I can only hope that my daughter will enjoy the outdoors and giving back to the community as much as I do... as you can see, she has no choice but to participate right now! I figure in another twenty or thirty years SHE can carry ME.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dare to Care, A Night in Hollywood

Whenever Hollywood gets behind a cause, there is usually going to be a good turnout and a great party. The "Dare to Care" after school lunch program had just such a gala event, with the venue being Anchorage, Alaska instead of California.

Dare to Care is a "fill the gap" program that feeds children in schools who either don't qualify for the federal meal program or who are possibly neglected and don't get adequate nutrition during the school day. It helps those kids focus on their school work instead of their stomachs.
To raise funds a brand-new BMW was raffled off, there were live and silent auctions as well as charity gambling tables.

I truly enjoy helping organizations like 'Dare to Care' fill their coffers with donations. It is always a good feeling being privy to the generosity that is evident at these functions and I'm proud of the Alaskans who helped make sure "No Child Goes Hungry".

Monday, February 1, 2010


Just what the heck is a bush pilot anyway? There are as many definitions as there are personalities and opinions in the world of aviation. I don't think there are very many "Bush Pilots" left in the world these days, mainly because my definition stems from the roots of aviation in Alaska.

A Bush Pilot to me is someone who takes an airplane and pioneers new roads through the sky and new landing areas on the ground, working with whatever Mother Nature gives them at the time and hoping that the airplane can take the abuse. There aren't too many areas in Alaska that haven't been explored by airplane by now, so I feel that the good old days of taking off into the great unknown are part of aviation history now.

Another definition of bush pilot is anyone who regularly flies in "Bush" Alaska, which is characterized by any of the hundreds of villages off the road system in Alaska, but which have a State maintained runway. That's where I got my start, flying freight and mail to remote villages for a cargo airline. Most of what I use to keep me alive in an airplane today I learned out there.

Some would call my husband and me bush pilots. We disagree. Just because we use our airplanes as the ultimate RV/SUV for hunting, fishing, clam digging (or whatever else you can think of that's "off airport" in Alaska) doesn't mean we didn't know where we were going when we took off or if there was a reasonable area to try to land in when we got there.

Some call us crazy for using our airplanes the way we do because of the "risk" involved, but I say we're all crazy just for getting in our cars and driving on the highways every day. At least when we land and take off in the backcountry the only real variable is us and our judgement.