28 July 2010

Baseball Pizza

This is going to be a very short post, but I have to do it because I'm really proud of my latest creation!

Beer-dough pizza crust (yay for the end of a growler of Baranof Brown Ale!), covered in beer/mustard marinated cabbage (unfortunately, no sauerkraut was immediately available for sauce), covered in sliced hot dog and green onions and cheddar cheese.


Incidentally, nobody would fault you for cutting the middle out of this pizza and just eating the crust because OH MAN was it delicious.

27 July 2010

Politics? On THIS blog??

JoElle's given me a one-time dispensation to talk politics on this blog. If you want to know more about my political thoughts, there are other places that you can find them.

The reason I've been authorized to talk politics is because we were listening to Raven Radio on the way home from being Out And About today and got to hear part of the Sitka Assembly meeting, and the proceedings illustrate how great the difference is between our new home and our old home. Specifically, when we were almost home, the seven voting members of the Assembly (including Mayor Scott McAdams, who is running for Senate) took up the issue of altering the Sitka Code to allow for revised opening and closing hours on Sunday for businesses licensed to sell alcohol.

Discussion of the issue revolved primarily around whether there was any reason not to let businesses open earlier in the day. A mention was made of church attendance and whether employees would be able to work out the conflict there, and mention was also made of the desire of some community members to watch Sunday games on the big screens in the bars (remember, we're four hours behind EST here). One Assembly member even said that she saw no reason not to let them watch the game on the big screen and "they can have a beer if they want while they're at it, gosh darn it!" The police chief was asked for his comment, and he stated that the police department was really ambivalent about the whole idea, but that he could think of no reason to object to letting alcohol-serving establishments open earlier.

After discussion ended, a quick roll call resulted in the measure passing 6-1, allowing these businesses to open earlier on Sundays. At this point, JoElle looked at me almost incredulously and pointed out the brouhaha that would result from such a resolution even being proposed in Arizona, much less adopted. In Sitka, it was adopted in a very nonchalant, let-them-do-what-they-want-if-it-ain't-bugging-anyone-else manner. In Arizona, well, it's Arizona. I'll let you find my other political rants elsewhere to know what I think of Arizona politicians.

24 July 2010

On Inventorying A Music Room

Some quick thoughts, after inventorying the musical instruments in my new office:
  • This band must have had some unusual instrumentation in the past. We counted
    • three trombones
    • two baritones
    • two bass clarinets
    • a sousaphone (an ANCIENT Martin sousaphone)
    • a tenor sax
    • an alto sax
    • two partial clarinets
    • several cornets
    • one concert bass drum
    • one pair of cymbals
    • some auxiliary percussion
    • and the toms and bass drums from two and a half different drum sets.
    For those playing along at home, this means a complete lack of snare drums, flutes, and very little in the way of treble instruments at all (alto saxes, clarinets, trumpets, flutes, etc.).
  • Where did all of the music stands go?
  • There are two different marching band uniforms and majorette uniforms to go with them, but where are the rest of both sets? There are shakos aplenty (yuck).

JoElle helped me out a lot by putting together a database in OpenOffice.org, but it unfortunately won't save to any other format and we can't find any database software that can be shared freely without making PDFs. We've looked at Google Docs, but they don't have that software at all, and also at Grubba, but they require all users to register, so I can't exactly share this file easily. My goal is to have a file that I can share with administrators and other local teachers so that everyone knows what I do and don't have available, and to do the same for my sheet music. Ideally, this would make sharing with colleagues far more easy and would make repairing and replacing instruments easier, too. Any thoughts would be very appreciated.

21 July 2010

taking in some scenery

I've been taking pictures all over town of pretty areas, broad seascapes, and scenic views from unlikely places. I wanted to share some of these with you so that you can get an idea of what we see all around us every day. I hope you enjoy these sights as much as I do. :)

One of my favorite spots to look out into the ocean is from the parking lot of the grocery store, located about ¼ of a mile down the hill from our house.

Shore and islands viewable from the Seamart parking lot.

More view from Seamart.

Same parking lot.

Obligatory sun-shining-on-the-water picture, taken at the Seamart parking lot.

The shoreline on a different day.

View of MEHS from Seamart's parking lot.

If we paid enough attention, we'd see dozens of float planes like this one every day.

Even McDonald's has a fantastic view of the marina from their main dining room!

McDonald's tabletop overlooking the marina.

I've talked about the view from our living room before, but here are better pictures:

View of Japonski Island (MEHS on the left), taken from our front porch.

MEHS and lots of sky.

And the view from Mt. Edgecumbe High School's parking lot is just as spectacular.

Marina and mountains viewable from MEHS Parking lot. (Look familiar at all? --Stephen)

Boat heading into the marina.

Same boat, different perspective.

O'Connell Bridge, as seen from MEHS.

Downtown Sitka.

More of the marina.

We spent an afternoon at the Old Sitka State Historical Park, just checking out plants and mussels that had washed up on the shore and skipping stones. These pictures were taken there:

A little bit of shoreline.

A dead tree on the pebbly beach.

More beach.

Sparkling water.

Just a beautiful day to be near the water.

Mountains and placid pools.

Seren trying to decide if the water is too cold to try out. (Hint: It is!)

Kind of reminds me of "One Morning In Maine."

Clear pools and water trickling down the rocks.


More driftwood.

A small island nearby.

Throwing rocks.

Pretty little flowers in the grass.

Finally, here are just a few pictures taken from the downtown area:

O'Connell Bridge as seen from Baranof Castle.

Different perspective.

Totem Square.

20 July 2010

here and there and back again

There are a few things I've wanted to post about but haven't yet for one reason or other, so this post will probably be a mishmash of just about everything I can think of.

Three days after we arrived in Sitka, we celebrated Porter's 1st birthday. We didn't have the energy (or the money) or the resources to throw a big bash, so we bought a grocery store carrot cake and had a quiet dinner at home. The fun part was doing everything picnic style for lack of furniture.

Porter's birthday cake.

Singing 'Happy Birthday.'

Getting ready to blow out the candle (Seren helped, of course).

Birthday cake is serious business.

It's just what babies do.

Very contented.

Decisions, decisions.

A close up of the icing.


Good thing it's not carpet.

Yes, that whole mess is his.

One of Seren's favorite places is a little out-of-the-way area called the Whale Park. It has massive statues of whales in the front that she likes to climb on, a picnic area, and lots and lots of boardwalk and stairs that take you down to the shore. At the bottom of all those steps, you will find a small sheltered area with viewfinders so that you can whale-watch for humpbacks, orcas, sea lions, seals, and other mammals common to the Sitka Sound. There's even a submerged microphone for listening to whale song.

The steps leading down. (There are more below!)

Boardwalk to the viewing area.

The shore.

The view.

Rainforest all around.

One of the hardest things for either of us to leave in Arizona was the wealth of authentic Mexican food. You can imagine our joy when we found a little restaurant out here (advertised as a pizza joint) that serves Mexican food nearly as good as what we are accustomed to. The place is called Pizza Express and this is what a taco dinner looks like:

Two shredded beef tacos, rice, and beans, garnished with red tortilla chips.

The best part? Not only is it good and not terribly expensive (relatively speaking, of course), but they deliver, too!

Speaking of food, I made Salmonberry Cobbler over the weekend. Salmonberries grow all over the place up here. You may be asking, "What is a salmonberry?" A salmonberry is a cluster berry, much like a raspberry or a blackberry. They are about 2-3 times larger than your average wild raspberry and are on the sweet side in comparison. They are called salmonberries because they are salmon in color, ranging from a dark yellow, to orange, to deep red.



Want the recipe I used?
  • Melt 1/2 cup butter in the bottom of a medium to large baking dish.
  • In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1½ teaspoons baking powder, and ¾ cup milk.
  • Pour mixture over melted butter and spread evenly. DO NOT MIX!
  • Drop 2 cups berries evenly over the top of the mixture. DO NOT MIX!
  • Top with an additional ½ cup sugar. DO NOT MIX!
  • Bake at 350°F for about 40 minutes or until browned.

In other news, I finally got to see a little bit of Stephen's new school. It's a nice place with very friendly people. I got the 10¢ tour of the administrative offices, the field house, and finally, the space that Stephen gets to claim as his own.

Stephen's practice space. (His office is attached off to the right.)

A really neat mobile made of hundreds of folded paper cranes hanging in a corner of the practice space.