Talkeetna and finally Soldotna! THE CAT’S A MAYOR!

It’s really easy for some reason to wake up really early here. I love waking up in the dark around 5:30 or 6 and knowing that it’s not going to get light until 9! I have no idea why but I get SO MUCH done during the dark hours at the house.

We woke up in Talkeetna and visited a famous spot for breakfast that some of the guests at the show told us about the night before. Since our lodge wasn’t a B&B we needed a spot for breakfast! Here was a small sampling.

Just a little pancake.

Just a little pancake.

Oh...there's the plate!

Oh…there’s the plate!

Normally I eat a really clean diet but sometimes, like this time, I make an exception. This was a sourdough pancake made with 100-year-old starter and birch syrup, reindeer sausage on the side. This was Austin’s meal but we shared this and split mine. It was all soo good. and the tables were communal so we sat with an audience member from the night before who had been in Talkeetna for 30 years. This is the ROADHOUSE and it may never be topped.

We wanted to walk a bit after the breakfast so we decided to get political and meet the mayor.

This is the MAYER of Talkeetna!

This is the MAYOR of Talkeetna!

A CAT is the mayor of Talkeetna! A cat! His name is Smudge and he’s 17 years old, he looks much younger and is the nicest politician I’ve met yet.

We stumbled onto one of my favorite things in any location…

Face hole picture things!!!2014-02-07 21.48.46 2014-02-07 21.49.07

See?

See?

Yes

Yes

More

More

There are only three of us, but I still manage to go overboard.

There are only three of us, but I still manage to go overboard.

Every possible combo

Every possible combo

I am a total sucker for these

I am a total sucker for these

Along the way back to our lodge we saw the radio station that looked just like the one from Northern Exposure, so I had to get a picture.

Not KBER but close to Northern Exposure

Not KBER but close to Northern Exposure

Before we were picked up there was one special trip that I wanted to take. I walked by myself to the Climber’s Memorial in Talkeetna that pays tribute to those who attempted to summit the peaks in Alaska and have lost their lives. It was very pretty and very solemn.

Climbers Memorial

Climbers Memorial

Climber's Memorial

Climber’s Memorial

Climbers Memorial

Climbers Memorial

A clear view of Denali

A clear view of Denali

We had to head out to one gig on Saturday before we got to head to Soldotna so we took one more picture in front of a picture perfect Denali.

In front of Denali

In front of Denali

Fun Fact: Only 30% of visitors see Denali, North America’s tallest mountain, without cloud cover. We were pretty lucky.

The Second performance space

The Second performance space

The nice view from our second show. A beautiful lakeside cabin!

We finally made it into Soldotna around 9pm and crashed after eating a super-fancy Safeway dinner. Glam.

Talkeetna!

Keeping track of time as a piece of human luggage can be a bit difficult, I think today is Monday. Yes, now I’m sure it’s Monday. It has already been an incredibly busy trip and we haven’t even been here for a week.  We decided to get some of our cabin fever out and went sledding last week…Friday, I think.

Austin sledding backwards.

Austin sledding backwards.

Me Sledding!

Me Sledding!

Royce Sledding

Royce Sledding

And Sadie didn’t want to join in the fun so she just watched.

The dog got bored of us sledding.

The dog got bored with us sledding.

I think our host family realized that we were getting restless working all day and rehearsing so they let us use their cross-country skis to take a loop around the local track. It was disastrous, but we all survived.

I like creeper Royce in this one.

I like creeper Royce in this one.

All three survivors, we are the worst skiiers.

All three survivors, we are the worst skiers.

On the way home we had to cram 6 people into a four seater (when in Alaska, right?) so we squeezed in and off we went!

Packed in after skiing

Packed in after skiing

On the way home, one of the guys noticed we had a bit of a traffic delay in front of us.

Cue Northern Exposure theme.

Cue Northern Exposure theme.

Two Moose!

Two Moose!

I was thrilled, there are many things I want to do here in AK and one of them was see Moose! LIVE MOOSE! Check that one off.

We made the long drive to Talkeetna that night for our performance that evening in a theatre that was converted from an old bush-pilot airplane hangar. It was a very cool space.

Inside of our first theatre

Inside of our first theatre

Austin, in the cool space

Austin, in the cool space

Patti Jo, the inspiration for our first show.

Patti Jo, the inspiration for our first show.

We got the spend the night at the Great Northern Lodge. they get all their business from word of mouth, so if you’re ever in Talkeetna, give them a ring! A very fun lodge.

Our first Lodge

Our first Lodge

Northern Guest House

Northern Guest House

Beaver pillow, anyone?

Beaver pillow, anyone?

Whale bones

Whale bones

We had a late night and then headed back to the lodge, hoping to get a sight of the Northern Lights but alas. We were too early.

We did set our alarms for 2 am so we could go out and try to take a later look but it turns out they came out around midnight! Dang!

A walk in Wasilla

You know, just the back yard.

You know, just the back yard.

Our first full day in AK was pretty dull. We all worked, read, rehearsed and then we finally decided to take a walk and stretch our legs. We said goodbye to Saidie, the guard dog.

Sweet Sadie, guarding the door.

Sweet Sadie, guarding the door.

We did the layering thing and then we took off for the wilds! Well, we took off down the road. Same thing, here in ALASKA!

We took off and found the the snow was really hard from all of the warm weather they’ve been having recently. It made for some stunning ice crystals.

Alaska is Magical. This is a chair.

Alaska is Magical. This is a chair.

Like I said before Magical

Like I said before Magical

After a while we were talking about wanting to see a Moose, or at least some wildlife. We had stumbled on a few tracks and some scat but Austin was the one that made the big find.

Found our first Wilddead, not wildlife.

Found our first Wilddead, not wildlife.

We were very intrigued. No sign of hoofs, paws, face, or teeth. Most of it was frozen solid under the ice. There were some traces of blood under the ice but we had no way of seeing what it really was because of the hard freeze. I showed the pic to the family we’re staying with and they all said it was probably a Moose, killed by poachers, and then they left the hide when they were done with the carcass. Shitty.

Frozen, intensely beautiful back yard.

Frozen, intensely beautiful back yard.

But we trekked on and found some more amazing views. I think Alaska and amazing views will be like Ireland and quaint, cute towns. Every town will be cute, and Every view here will be breathtaking. Oh well, I guess we’ll survive somehow! Someone has to do all this living.

The plan for today is to go Cross Country Skiing but the winds last night were over 75 mph, so we might have to wait on that one for a while.  I’ll just leave you with some more of Magic in Alaska.

You know, just some magic snow.

You know, just some magic snow.

From Waco to Wasilla

Alright, so we weren’t going directly from Waco. We were in Austin, but doesn’t that alliteration sound better?

We left with the temperature in Denver being much colder than Alaska. It was around -11 when we left DIA and around 20 when we arrived in Anchorage. No doubt it was a long day but it was probably one of the most fun long-travel days I’ve had. We had to get an early start because of the icy roads but we were all smiles, happy to be there safe and sound. THANKS MOM!

Once we got to Seattle we had a short layover, I wandered around the airport for a while and took in the sights. 2014-02-05 00.13.37

It’s a really pretty airport. I’m imagining it was so quiet because all 700,000 people were in downtown Seattle for the Seahawks celebration. We were all quiet Denver-ites. Austin and I grabbed a quick bite from Wendy’s before hopping on our second flight of the day.

2014-02-05 02.11.51After they announced that we’d be leaving a bit late we sat back an waited for a bit. Then a flight attendant began to talk to one of the passengers who was OBVIOUSLY really drunk. The guy sitting next to him said he had, “a pungent odor about him”. As this was all going on we realized that there was a woman behind the drunk man who began to get up and prepare herself should something go wrong. I noticed that she pulled out a small black wallet and then I knew! She was an Air Marshall!  She was a legitimate, bad-ass air marshall. The guy didn’t put up a fight, and he left the flight without problem but she was ready to go. She pulled the flight attendant aside and told them they did a wonderful job.

Then, and this is the best part, they gave us all FREE DRINKS because the Seattle Seahawks won! We may be from Denver but we’ll take a free drink if you’re giving it out!

2014-02-05 03.36.29Cheers to FAKED ALASKA’S first free drink!

Today we’re in a small town outside of Wasilla called Willow and we’re working from the home of a fantastic family. Because I’m going to be working towards Competitive Rowing when I get back to Austin I’m working on staying fit while I’m cabin bound. So today I did a workout with no weights from Carrots n Cake. I follow her in pinterest and she has lot’s of hard workouts that are great for the time crunched.

Here’s the link. Enjoy, it’s harder than it looks.

 

 

 

Have I mentioned I like Photo Booths?

 

Because I do.

 

Here is a smattering from my past.

 

This is my old roommate Leah. She’s beautiful and I miss her (she lives far away…CA).

2014-01-26 14.35.32Here are some of Austin and I after we first got married.

2014-01-26 14.34.27 2014-01-26 14.34.20And here is a whole bunch from the wedding…more of Austin and I.2014-01-26 14.35.07 2014-01-26 14.35.03 2014-01-26 14.35.10And some of me and my insanely beautiful mother…2014-01-26 14.34.48

 

And some of my Dad and I. We look a lot alike. And I’m finally ok with that. Try being told that when you’re a little girl :/

2014-01-26 14.34.39 2014-01-26 14.34.34I’m pretty proud of the upside down picture 🙂

 

 

Packing up (mostly psychological baggage)

This week is our last week in Texas before Austin and I pack up our car with Whiskeydog and make the trek up to Colorado. A few days after that we’re off to Alaska.

Austin and I are lucky enough to know a few amazing people who are making this trip possible. While we’re up there we’ll be performing improv comedy and a short three-show run of Barefoot in the Park.

I’ll start with the most uncomfortable part. The lines. I’m fine packing-up things, freaking out about what to bring, the anxiety about what I’ve forgotten, the feeling of missing out on friends/family/fun functions, I’m fine with all of that. Memorizing lines? That might just end me.

I spent over an hour the other day just getting 10 pages of Neil Simon dialogue, and it made me dizzy. I knew there was a reason I stuck to singing and improv. I can “make-em up” with the best of them and I can memorize a song after hearing it only a few times. I could do improv and singing all day long. Put me in front of a script and I start to lose my mind.

The biggest problem I’ve been having is getting the lines word for word. I’ve had this problem since I started acting. I will give the “gist” of the line to my fellow scene partners and from there I expect them to pick up their cues. Wrong. I can’t do that. Every actor needs their Cue Line so they know when to speak. Now, this show is 90+ pages long and I’m on all but two of them. It is frightening, daunting and I’m only 21 pages in but I’ll get it, and damnit I’ll be proud when I do.

I’ll be out of my element. I like to say that I’m very German about things. I like to wake up at a certain time and I like to go to bed whenever I want to. I don’t like others touching my stuff because I have it places where I want it, and it’s clean and it’s nice and JUSTDON’TTOUCHIT.  Ok, it’s not that bad, but sometimes it feels like it.

I think once we get up there it will be just fine. I just know that in the past I haven’t been one of those free-spirit, drop everything, take-nothing travelers. I like to have things planned out, I like to know where I’ll be sleeping the next night and I really like the option of taking a hot shower. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I won’t be living on HOTH but it’s still a far cry from Austin,TX. See! We have snow is TEXAS! 2014-01-25 08.47.20 2014-01-25 08.47.17

I think I just need to get my travel bug back. I traveled through New Zealand on my own for two weeks and I’ve lived in other countries just fine. This will be just fine. I need to keep reminding myself about this. Just take a breath and keep packing. Or start packing. Whatever.

But Hey! I bought Boots!

2014-01-25 13.38.55

Weekend Recap and Reflection

Another week closer to February and I’m finally beginning to feel the excitement of a trip in my near future. But that’s next week. This past weekend was a great chance to reconnect with family, old and young, close and distant. It was the great equalizer of the family world, the wedding. I love weddings. I LOVED my wedding and I love dancing and doing all the fun things associated with weddings. This time it was my cousin Dan and his amazingly lovely new-wife Danielle getting married. This is from my father’s side and there were so many cousins in town, and babies, and new relationships and old ones. I had no idea how much time had gone by until I realized that these people are all out on their own, living lives and starting or CONTINUING families.

 

We picked up my parents at the airport on Thursday and took them to one of our favorite mexican restaurants here in Austin, Pulvos. The food was great, as always, and their service has gotten so much better! We took them to their rental car and then took them out to Freedman’s for dinner. Freedman’s is some of the best, most consistently great food we’ve had in Austin. Their drinks are great and their people are friendly.

Friday I had an early row and then we met up with my parents to introduce them to Whiskey, our dog. They’re going to be keeping her while we’re away next month so they wanted to spend time with her. We took her for a walk and we introduced them to coffee, the best coffee in the world. Anderson’s. Then it was time for the rehearsal dinner!

Whiskey, up close.

Whiskey, up close.

My amazing cousin Dan hired out Cru: Wine bar in downtown austin for the party. It was wild to see so much of my family all grown up and financially stable. The night came and went and we were so friggin tired. I had to be up early the next morning so we took a car2go home.

Like mother, like dog-ter.

Like mother, like dog-ter.

Saturday was the wedding. We spent more time hanging out with the rents and grabbed some lunch at some place that serves food then they went to the wedding and reception at  the Driskol hotel in Austin…amazing. We weren’t technically invited to the reception but we decided to crash, and it was welcomed. Not a bad crash, a good crash. At the wedding I was asked to sing an Irish Lullaby that makes me cry and makes me think of love every time I sing it. This is a big Irish family so I was more than happy to oblige the requests.

photo-2

That moment up there, singing, made me realize that I need to refocus on my singing and get that moving. I am never happier or more at ease than when I am singing. Alone, with people, doesn’t matter. Love it all.

Also, they had a photo booth, which always makes me happy. Who says I’m not my father and mother’s child. I look just like them.

Sunday was still a fun day! We went to Russell’s for brunch (FREE MIMOSAS) and then we took Whiskey for a walk out to Red Bud Island, one of the great off leash places here in Austin.

photo-2 copy 3

Mum and Dad had to leave but I know we’ll see them soon. It’s never fun to see parents leave but I’m glad to know we’ll be back in CO soon for a spell. All in all, it was a fun filled, family-filled weekend.

2014-01-19 15.02.572014-01-19 15.03.26-1

 

And there was the Photo Booth.