Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner!

Thanks to all of you for playing, posting, visiting.  I enjoyed reading your comments.

So that you can experience the suspense of the process with me, here is how it happened:  We had a total of 8 posts.  In order to save time (as it is past midnight here), trees (as in avoiding paper) and the real reason folks: effort (as in even trying to find paper in an office regularly ransacked by children) I decided to use instead of doing a traditional paper ticket draw.  I got a random number between 1-8 to correspond with the number of comments.  And what did I get?  The result is on the right highlighted in blue:

It is the number 7, or post number 7, which means the winner is (drum roll):

~~~~~~~~~~~~Congratulations Sabine!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You are the winner of the first official This Alaskan Backyard giveaway, and the recipient of a weird but cool lot of Alaskan souvenirs.

In fact, Sabine you won twice.  As it happened, it occurred to me that some of the posts technically did not qualify for one reason or another, for things like opting out "hey I am just saying 'hi' but not interested in the giveaway" so really there were 4 posts that were actual entries.  So I did a redo just to humor myself.  Just to see if the result were any different on 4 unique numbers.  Well, guess what, this is what I got:
the number 3.  Which is still Sabine, as hers is the 3rd qualifying entry.  So dear Sabine, send me a message on FB with your address and your gift will be on its way :-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

A little bit of Alaska -from me to you.

(Magyar verzio a szoveg vegen :)

This is the first This Alaskan Backyard giveaway.  It is my way of saying "thanks" to you all for joining us on our journey.  Oh, but what to give when there is so much to choose from!  Well, one lucky winner will take it all, and the prizes are as follows:

The items I chose are pretty random, chosen in part for their Alaskan-ness and in part for their mail-ability.   First in this group is an Ulu or "Legendary knife of the Arctic" as it says on the box, made of  U.S. Stainless steel with a lifetime guarantee.  The carved wooden handle shows a fancy moose with a quintessentially Alaskan landscape.

All right then, this is pretty awesome so far!  Something to skin chicken with for dinner or cut hair in a pinch.

The second item for the lucky winner is........Alaskan wild blackberry tea.  This is REAL berry tea folks, picked from the wild river valleys and lush tundra of Alaska.  Brew up this bad boy, and dream of the wild Alaska landscape from which it came from as you enjoy with friends and family.  10 teabags to savor.

OK, so Ulu -check, berries -check, what else goes with this Alaskana theme?

Well, you guessed it: a book on something few know about Alaska outside of Alaska: outhouses. 
Yes, ladies and gents, this book takes a whimsical look at an often-ignored aspect of life in Alaska and answers such age-old questions as why are outhouses adorned with a crescent moon? and how do you use an outhouse at fifty below?  Titled Outhouses of Alaska (by Harry M. Walker) it is a good read to enjoy while sipping your Alaskan wild berry tea. 

Read of the Rhoads for example, whose plush, floor-to-ceiling carpeted outhouse bears the sign: Spiffy Bippy:  All Plushy....but no flushy!  By the time you finish, you will wish for an outhouse to make your very own!....well, almost.

And the final gift in this bunch is an Alaskan bumper sticker.  If you are Alaskan, Alaskan-at-heart, or know someone who is and would like a bumper sticker to show it, this one's for you:
Well, there you have it: the first giveaway from me to you:

So here is how you enter:

STEP 1: sign up as a Follower (if you haven't already done so, if you have then sign in with your user name so I won't have to figure out which one of 5 Anonymous posters is the winner :)...and by the way: don't think of yourself as a Follower, but rather as a reader.... :) and if you're worried that annoying email and spam will follow your post: don't.  Being a follower does not automatically sign you up for updates and such.

STEP 2: leave me a comment by Wednesday, March 23rd midnight Alaska time.  What kind of comment you ask?  Well, tell me which one's your favorite gift and why.  That's how easy.  Accepted languages: English, Hungarian, French and whatever else Google translator can handle. 

On 3/23 I will randomly choose one lucky winner either by enlisting J's help and by doing an old fashioned paper ticket-draw, or via a random number-generator site.  The winner can then email me their address privately so I can mail them the goods.  There you have it folks, comment away and Good Luck!

Hungarian version:
Csatlakozz a bloghoz mint "Follower" es kommentalj itt lent.  Annyit irj, melyik lenne a kedvenc szuvenired, es miert.  A szerencses nyertest sorsolas alapjan dontom el, es a fent abrazolt 4 ajandekot kapja meg.  Eszkimo Ulu kes, alaszkai pottyantos budikrol szolo konyv, alaszkai szeder tea, es alaszkai autos matrica.  Postan kuldom, sok szerencset!  Hatarido: Marcius 23. ejfel, Alaszka ido szerint.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Northern Lights Revisited

Bathroom with a view -March 9, 2011
This is my second post on the Northern Lights.  I decided to revisit the topic because last night I saw perhaps the best show I've ever seen in the 10 winters I've spent here.  And yes, I still have the same point-and-shoot, just because Ashton Kutcher pretends he uses one at his yacht soirĂ©es on TV it's still cheap in every way-camera I did in my first Aurora post, so there is a limit to what I can do for you on this blog.  And yet the lights were so very amazing for a 30 minute period yesterday (a fact I discovered while brushing my teeth and peering through my bathroom window) that I threw on my coat and boots in a hurry and raced to the deck.

Off my deck, and over the neighbor's house

Now, I've always heard that the lights can make some sort of a celestial sound, but I believe this to be an unsubstantiated urban legend.  I listened very closely last night while the lights were wildly dancing overhead -filling the sky with green and red- but once more I heard nothing.  Actually, there was a moment when I got super excited upon hearing an electric, static-ish sound that was eerie yet in my imagination easily attributed to something outer-spacey like the Northern Lights....... However I soon realized it was the sound of approaching truck tires on a nearby road.  So no sounds for me, but the lights were very intense, and showed that seldom-seen red lace around the edges just to make me happy.  So here are a couple of pictures of one of the most beautiful phenomena in nature we are privileged to see on occasion in Alaska.  Take that Ashton Kutcher!

PS and off-topic: stay tuned for my Alaskana gift-giveaway to come in a few days :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

The flu

Photographer: Sebastian Kaulitzki | Agency:
We are sick with the flu.  Well, most of us are to include myself, Little Fish, Little Moose and Big Moose.  I haven't been sick for years, but oh boy do I feel awful right now.  This bug is giving me a smorgasbord of body aches, fever, chills, headache, achy lungs, cough and perhaps the most annoying: a stiff neck.  I can't sleep at night.  The children are in the same boat and I am having a hard time being the caretaker, nurse they need me to be.  In other words: we are in survival mode and the kitchen remodel came to a grinding halt.

On a lighter and much more fun note: stay tuned for my Alaskana gift giving to come shortly ( I am aiming for this weekend for a start date) where you can sign up to win cool Alaskan souvenirs :)


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