That’s all I wrote

 

 

Back in Colorado. Sorely missing Alaska, but glad to be almost home.

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We finished up the trip so well! The shows were all fantastic.

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Here is the cast from Barefoot in the Park by Neil Simon. It was a good show, and a great experience to memorize lines again.

 

 

Behind the scenes at the theatre we had some great artwork to look at. I LOVED THIS PIECE. I don’t know how Royce felt about it. DSCN0470

It was done in Maori of New Zealand style, by an Australian woman who lives in Alaska and Arizona. That enough diversity for ya?

On the flip-side we had a great improv show as well. Each was a week apart and worlds apart to boot. I can’t imagine two more different shows but laughs were a common theme.

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I love laughing with my husband! Love it, love him.

DSCN0399After all the hard work of putting together dozens of programs for the show Austin and I went on a photo safari.

I love coffee houses, in AK they are mostly little trailers all over the place so we took a walking tour to see everything we could, and a few other things along the way.

DSCN0412(Seriously, how well does he fit in Alaska? He’s like the king of the Salmon)

DSCN0415Over the river and through the town. We got a great look at the thawing river with some nice jet trail like clouds above us.

DSCN0426I hugged a bear.

DSCN0428Austin hugged a bear.

Then we got to coffee-house searchin’. It’s not really that hard, they’re everywhere and they are usually staffed by adorable high schoolers. They must be permanently hopped up on sugar. Every time I asked for a regular Americano without room, without flavor, without anything they had to pause before starting. This concept must not be common. 2014-02-24 16.00.062014-02-24 16.00.12-1

They may not have been used to us walking up either. You gotta do what you gotta do when you only have one car for four people!

2014-02-24 16.17.56I love coffee-house stickers.

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I’m not sure where the Java Junction 1 is. DSCN0448

The Daily Buzz featured a “buddy window”.

DSCN0449I love the theming on this one.

DSCN0451This one really committed to the rustic Alaskan theme.

DSCN0459This fine lady was my favorite. Nothing like anthropomorphic sexy foxes to sell your coffee in the dark days of winter. Also, it was the best coffee.

We enjoyed our last night in Soldotna and took some final sunset pictures on our final evening at the Parker house.

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UP NEXT: The final leg in Anchorage!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Moose is Loose and I’m riding a Salmon

Over this past weekend we had our second round of out-of-town gigs. We had two shows and one workshop. We wanted to get up early on Friday to get to Homer as quickly as we could because Royce told us it was a pretty cool town. 

Because Friday was V day we decided to start it off with something sweet. We went to the local bakery The Moose is Loose! and got a cinnamon roll. I had a bit, and it was pretty tasty. They don’t do GF stuff so I mostly abstained but it all looked SOO GOOD. Also, fun little side note, they all wear footie pajamas at work. These ladies were seriously cute and comfy.

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This guy greeted us on the way out. Big truck, big dog. DSCN0170We got to Homer pretty quickly, it was only about an hour and a half drive. Then we got the “Airport”. It was really just a building with some guys sitting around talking about whether or not we’d be able to fly in this. 2014-02-14 13.40.15

Turned out the answer was no. The weather didn’t clear up so we got to go on a boat ride! Time to get on the Mako water taxi! I was really happy, and I think we all were. We were not too keen in flying in a small busy plane when the weather was crappy. So we hitched up with Mako’s pilot Gart and he took us over. 2014-02-14 14.59.28 2014-02-14 15.08.21

We found out we were also the grocery delivery for the day so we helped load that all on and we took a quick ride through this for the next 30 mins!2014-02-14 14.59.34

Ok, so it wasn’t all this bad, this was just in the harbor. We got through this pretty quickly and then it was smooth sailing until we got to Seldovia! This town has a winter population of about 200 so we had a great turnout at our show. We assume it was about 20% of the population, how’s that for a good draw?

Seldovia is absolutely stunning, and has NO CELL SERVICE. It was heaven. I loved not being able to check my e-mail, facebook or anything. We just walked, talked and laughed. The city will be on my must visit again list. 2014-02-15 09.55.13

In Seldovia they have a chainsaw festival where they make amazing things from wood using only a chainsaw. This is not your average “Hello Bear” that you see outside of a lot of houses in Colorado and other places. This stuff is legit. 2014-02-15 10.01.38 2014-02-15 10.03.36

How many people can say that they’ve ridden a salmon. Not many. I now count myself among the few. 2014-02-15 10.11.10

Austin took this one using my phone! He’s too talented. Seriously, I’m glad I married that one. 🙂 The boat below is the boat of our Host family. They couldn’t have been any sweeter. 2014-02-15 10.28.14

 

This is Tobben and Tania. They were the most amazing Alaskan/Norwegian couple. They made great food, great drinks and we had a great time. 2014-02-15 12.38.37

2014-02-15 12.31.54This is our kick-ass water taxi making waves, coming to pick us up. He was going much faster than the picture lets you see. 2014-02-15 12.41.00-2

We all had to say goodbye to our home away from home with Tania and Tobben. We miss them already! I can’t wait to be back in Seldovia. The people were wonderful and, as always, unexpected.

We had to take the water taxi back again because our plane was cancelled the next day as well. We had a gig in Ninilchik in the evening so we had to make a quick getaway up North. We drove by Two Sister’s Bakery…amazing…to grab a cup of coffee and hit the road for our workshop and show. 2014-02-15 12.58.38But before we got off the boat we saw Otter…everywhere!! This is a really lousy picture of an otter mama and her baby on her belly. Gart told us the males can get up to 90 lbs. That’s a friggin huge otter!

We made it to the gig on time and had a great show. They loved getting the chance to see some outside talent and we love sharing it. Improv can be a game changer.

We were totally spent by the time that show was over on Saturday so we went back to our rooms at the AK Supper Club. We hadn’t seen the place yet but we were told it would be amazing. They did not disappoint!

If you’re ever in Ninilchik you must go to the AK Supper Club to stay or eat or both. The owners, Paul and Angela treated us like family. Even though we were smelly, tired and really road weary they offered us wine and brownies. It was like Manna from heaven and we stayed up way too late talking about everything. Life is good.

Just to give you an idea about the scope of the awe this place inspires, this was our view at breakfast. 2014-02-16 08.54.04

We noshed on a breakfast of yogurt, fruit and french toast and then we had to get back up to Soldotna, but not before we could take a picture of the whole gang. 2014-02-16 09.46.02

Why did we have to rush back to Soldotna you ask? Because Royce’s wife Makenna had gotten in from Denver the night before and they needed to be reunited!! And reunited they were. The rest of the weekend was full of more rehearsals and work so all the boring stuff. I prefer to stick to the amazing weekend we had. I’m already ready to go back to Homer and Seldovia. We do have some free time next week…

We’ve got some Wicked Digs

So now that we’re into rehearsals and moving around a lot less I’ve had a chance to take some more pictures of where we really live here in AK. The town of Soldotna is what I keep hearing is a “small fishing village”. I’m sure during the summer it is just that, but during the winter it’s a normal, little town.

Our house belonged to an older couple here in Soldotna and their children are the caretakers now, they were kind enough to let us use their parent’s old house for the month. It’s really amazing.

Panorama of the house

Panorama of the house

Inside of the house

Inside of the house

Game time

Game time

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I don’t know how well you all can see the Panorama of the first floor but it’s a pretty big house. There is a nice large fireplace and a TV but it doesn’t get any channels. This is pretty great because we watched a movie last night and it felt like a total waste of time after playing some of Royce’s fun games every other day of the week. I think we’ll stick to Zombie Dice before we decide to watch another movie again soon.

I’ve been trying to keep up with my workout routine up here but unfortunately Mario isn’t faring so well.

No Mariooooo!

No Mariooooo!

Time to retire?

Time to retire?

After we were up and working we had to go over to do a short radio interview and, of course, three actors would totally ham it up.

Merill and the radio

Merill and the radio

Our big interview

Our big interview

Austin is really taking to selfies

Austin is really taking to selfies

And while we’re living the cheap life of actors we’ve been given a few gift certificates to some local Restaurants so we can actually eat! Yay! This most recent location was an amazing museum of dead animals. They love their animal skins up here, and this place was no different.

Ghost Royce

Ghost Royce

Whole lot of em'

Whole lot of em’

Lot's O animals

Lot’s O animals

Hanging out at the hall of death

Hanging out at the hall of death

Places like this always make me think of Ace Ventura 2, “What a lovely hall of death you have”!

Anyway, I’ve got to get on my lines right now. Have a good night!

 

 

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.

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!

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A VERY long holiday ho-ho-ho my God

Welcome back to my brain. The holiday season is still in full swing in our land. We had a fantastic Christmas day in Lubbock and now we’re on to Ft. Worth, TX where we have more family.

Dog Tired.

Dog Tired.

We drove for about 6 hours to get to Austin’s parents’ house and after that long day we were pretty tired. Whiskey slept right on me all night. And yes, those are the best pants I’ve ever been given. They have tiny french Bulldogs on them. I love them and I wear them every night and while I work from home some days.

We got a bit rested-up and took the Christmas, by the fireplace pictures. 2013-12-25 10.13.322013-12-25 10.15.02-2Then I had to pic Whiskey up to get a better picture.

We celebrated Christmas morning with a long walk in the park with Whiskey before opening presents. I saw this very pretty feather covered in dew. I chose to not imagine the nasty goose that the feather came from. The geese in Lubbock are angry, vengeful geese. 2013-12-26 09.10.51Then we had breakfast and did the present thing. I have to admit, my gift-giving skills are finally getting better. I’m slowly hoarding presents throughout the year to give to people and that alone makes the final push of commercial gifts much easier for me to deal with.

Our good friends live in Lubbock so we went to their annual cookie party on Boxing day!2013-12-26 11.24.56 2013-12-26 11.24.51 2013-12-26 11.24.48 2013-12-26 11.24.42It was a blast. There were kids, babies, tons of amazing food and some of the best friends I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. We all talked for hours and had a great time. Liz, one of our friends makes amazing food, like beyond what your normal friends can do. She’s a baker and has kitchen knowledge in her DNA. She introduced me to the Test Kitchen Podcast which made the trip to Ft. Worth much easier.

Sometimes I wonder how people manage to talk for hours at bars, or stay at friends places all night playing games and then I find a group like this and it all makes sense. They are honest, genuine and funny. Hard to find in some big metropolitan towns.

We FINALLY saw the hunger games that night! It was pretty damn good. I really like the books and this movie was spot on.

Friday we were on the road again, this time to Ft. Worth to visit more family. 2013-12-27 16.35.20 2013-12-27 12.12.57 2013-12-27 16.33.29On this trip we were road ready. Whiskey was asleep in five minutes.

This route took us only about 4 hours so we were just in time for Dinner! His family wanted to take us to this amazing BBQ place called Woodshed in Ft. Worth. Totally Ft. worth it! 2013-12-27 18.48.42There is always a meat on the spit and all of the seating is outdoors or covered outdoors. Really fun place and I’m sure it’s extremely busy in the summer porch-sitting season. We were a bit chilly last night but that was fine…because they had Snuggies free to use! I’m guessing they make them a terrible print so no one wants to run away with the. 2013-12-27 18.43.09

I really liked my “travel plait” as one friend called it. I call it the Katniss hair.

Anyway, the food. Great BBQ, inventive dishes but solid meat. You can’t mess with the originals so I decided to stick with Brisket and a three-kale salad to mix it up a bit. It was ON! The brisket was good and moist without being too fatty and the salad has just the right amount of pork-to-kale ratio that made it all come together.

Their BBQ sauce had a good vinegar to it, I don’t care for the ones that are too sweet so it totally hit the spot. If I had to live in Ft. Worth this would be a mainstay. The prices were good and the food was damn good. 2013-12-27 18.46.53 2013-12-27 18.46.59 2013-12-27 18.47.56 2013-12-27 18.48.09Next time we go back, it’s time for goat.

Now it’s time for Christmas part 2. Second part of the family and then later this week it’s my Birthday! I’m very excited because we’ll be at a party that has nothing to do with my birthday. But I’m going to do a post on that later. I have a lot of thoughts about Birthdays in general that I’m looking forward to sharing.

Trail of Lights! and Giant Jackalopes

Last night one of our friends suggested we go to the Trail of Lights which is a great, FREE event here in Austin during the holiday season. We decided to take a Car2go there so we wouldn’t have to pay for parking. It turned out great even though the police didn’t quite know how to handle the large amount of people this first night.

2013-12-10 17.54.36We got all bundled up and went out into the frigid (read 50 degree) weather of Austin the in early Winter. It’s a great light set-up they have all through Zilker Park and it was the perfect thing to get us into the Christmas Spirit!

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You were supposed to stand under this giant tree and spin so it gave you a cool (yet dizzy) feeling. It made us feel like kids…or drunks.

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This is the weird log-fire-thing. Whatever, Christmas!
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Photobombing Triceratops. Boom. Got-ya. 2013-12-10 19.09.14 2013-12-10 19.10.16 2013-12-10 19.14.51

Very Creepy Elf or VCE2013-12-10 19.19.28At the end we took a nice little group picture and made our way home WITHOUT traffic. It seems like you can only drive freely in Austin when it’s 8:00pm or 3:00am. The traffic here is just terrible. But hey, we put up with it for good friends, good lights and Christmas. photo 4

And GIANT JACKALOPES!!

photo 3I love things that are tiny and things that are huge, this is the counterpoint to my tiny spoon collection.