Sunday, June 23, 2013

Breaking Boards for the Spirit Challenge

Yesterday was the last day of the Thousand Waves Spirit Challenge and we finished strong with an impressive breaking challenge, but we still have three days to help raise funds for Thousand Waves. Our dojo is a wonderful place that runs karate programs in partnership with the Rehabilitation institute of Chicago (doing karate with children with disabilities), as well as outreach self defense programs all over the city. It is run as a not for profit business and our fundraising also helps people who would not be able to afford classes attend our school. Please consider donating any amount by going my donation page. Just go to Janet's Spirit Challenge donation page.

The challenge was to perform a kata (a karate form) while breaking with techniques in the kata.  I performed Seido 4, and broke three boards out of five total. I'm particularly fond of this backwards elbow break while standing on one leg.

My husband Dan, a black belt at Thousand Waves, made several impressive breaks during this challenge as well.
Don't mess with Dan

It is really empowering to break a board and although I was very nervous it was really fun to do this breaking challenge. It makes the artform feel more real and gives you immediate feedback on the techniques. By the way, I didn't hurt myself either, because I was using proper technique. That in itself makes me feel great!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Grilled Tuna with Sweet Corn Relish

My wonderful husband took a class in Seafood at the Chopping Block recently. He cooked one of the dishes for me and it was a complete and utter success. Grilled Tuna with Sweet Corn Bacon Relish. It was fantastic. He said it was fun and it was so good, I hope he'll make it again sometime. Although it won't be nearly as nice as Dan's, I'll even offer to help chop!

 Dan is excellent at chopping.

Dan mixing Aioli, which I found out is just another word for mayo.

Our lovely copper Kitchen Aid.

Tuna with marinade before Dan seared it.

Sweet corn and bacon relish.

The Final Product-yummm!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Picnic in the Park

      I know that this isn't Alaska, but Chicago in the summertime can be nice, too. A couple of weeks ago I trailered Gypsy to the park on my Oma bike. We set up a little picnic.

Gypsy sitting nicely by the Nature Walk near the Zoo.

Gypsy enjoying a stick.

      Gypsy and I enjoyed our time together under a tree. She chewed on a stick and I listened to music while looking up at the blue sky. Not as dramatic as Alaska, but nice just the same. Hope everyone is having a good summer!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Grizzly Bears on the Last Day in Alaska

     On our last day, we visited Katmai National Park, where the grizzly bears go to fish for salmon. When the float plane taxied up to the beach, we spotted a mamma bear with her cub on the beach. The pilot told us we'd have to "hustle" away when we got out, because we were going up on the beach about 100 yards from them.

We took a float plane to the park.

Which is the only way to reach it.

Glacial rivers.

     When we arrived, we had to go to the visitors center for an orientation on bear safety. The lodges in the National Parks are all sort of log cabin style.

The Ranger was giving her speech when...

      A bear walked right through the middle of camp past our window! This is a photo I took of the bear from inside the visitor center.

The mamma bear and cub walking along the river.

     The bears were everywhere, springing out of rushes and trees. The rangers would close the bridge when the bears came by and people would have to wait on the secured platforms until the bear went away.
Salmon spotting.

     While we were watching the bears, something about them seemed familiar to me. I realized I had a little bear waiting for me at home.


My little house bear.
     You can see the resemblance, can't you? They even look the same when they are shaking off.

Grizzly shaking off.
Gypsy shaking off.

      The higher falls were where the bigger bears hung out. Better salmon catching there.

Look how close this guy is to the crowds of people on the opposite side of the bridge.
     There were also people out fishing for salmon in the streams, which I thought was nuts in this bear country.
He'd just finished chasing a bunch of fisherman out of the water and now he was going to have a sit down.
The bears rub against the trees to get their winter coat off.
This guy was surprised on the trail and the ranger threw a rock at him to get him to turn around and go back to the beach.

Our float plane home.

Louise and I about to leave.

Louise getting on the plane.

Taking off from the lake.
     Once we land we get right back on a plane for Chicago. It has been a wonderful experience. But I know I have my very own little bear at home, so the wildlife continues! Thanks to everyone who enjoyed the photos along with me, it was fun to be able to share. Happy Trails!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kenai National Park

 We took a cruise in Kenai National Park and saw lots more wildlife. Here you can see the seals sunning on the rocks. But first there were more lovely views on the scenic drive to Stewart, where the ship sailed from.

     Here I am sitting on the bow of the boat, where we spent most of our time searching for wildlife. Of course, I was satisfied that the trip was worth it when we spotted a.....

 Sea Otter! My favorite creature of the arctic seas. Otters are the wizened old men of the ocean and as far as I'm concerned, super cute. We saw tons of them the first time we went out, but I got no photos because the boat sped right by them. There were many female Otters with their pups resting on their bellies as they floated with their feet in the air. One mamma Otter had a pup so big on her belly, it was almost half her size. As we watched, she kicked it off her tummy and swam away, the pup in hot pursuit. But she never got too far ahead. She was teaching it to swim!

I love how his flipper feet stick up in the air. He kicks them when he wants to move.

     We also saw a hump backed whale!

Other marine life included humans. What a place to sail!

Lovely turquoise water.

      These were the seals sunning on the rocks on the little island in the middle of the sea.

     This was our last marine tour, and we saw tons of wildlife. Tomorrow is our last day and we go by float plane to Kenai National Park to see Grizzly bears. We were told that the salmon are running, which means there should be plenty of bears to be seen.