Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Something I found on facebook....

I don't know who Gina Rene is but she posted a picture on her facebook that blew me away.  As of recent, I have been involved (donating money and writing letters mostly) for Ric O'barry and his fight to end dolphin slaughtering in Japan, as well as whale slaughtering in other countries.  His fight is amazing.  For those of you who don't know Ric O'Barry, remember the show Flipper?  He was Flipper's trainer.  One of the five dolphins used for Flipper, Cathy, had looked at him in his arms and stopped breathing, Ric believed it to be a suicide and from that day has done a 180 and become the biggest freedom fighter for dolphins today.  This picture is just another testament of how beautiful dolphins and whales are.  They have feelings, our gracious, helpful, appreciative, and try to communicate with us.  If you want to help, please visit Ric O'Barry site for letter writing recommendations and also watch his movie, The Cove.

Whale... If you read a recent front page story of the San Francisco 
Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had
become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was 
weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to 
struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope
wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her
mouth. A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands 
(outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for 
help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined 
that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and
untangle her. They worked for hours with curved knives and 
eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in 
what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and 
every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently 
around as she was thanking them. Some said it was the most 
incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the 
rope out of her mouth said her eyes were following him the whole 
time, and he will never be the same. May you, and all those you 
love, be so blessed and fortunate to be surrounded by people who 
will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. 
And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.
I pass this on to you, my friends, in the same spirit."  Gina Rene

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The last of "Heard on the Wind" for 2010 season....

     Last weekend a tourist walked inside "The Caboose on the Dock" (coffee and gift shop operated by White Pass) reading his tour-instruction print-out, and asked the barista, "If I keep walking down this street (pointing towards town from inside the caboose) will I eventually see a red caboose that has a gift shop and coffee bar inside?"
     From the shore ex front:
     "When I get off the ship...how will I know where the dock is?
     "How will I know which side of the ship the dock is on?"  (Shore Ex: Well... one side will be really wet and one side will be cement!")
     "Where do they (Skagwegians) put all the wildlife in the winter time?"
     A woman, pointing at the Alaska Highway on the map, asks, "Is this a real road?"
     A boy was looking through a store's bulk rocks showcase which has the name of each kind of rock.  As he was looking through the bin he asked "Are the rocks real?"
     "No, they are a figment of your imagination," the store manager replied adding that the boy thought it was funny and laughed with her.  (I was the smart ass store manager! he he)
     A man coming out of the Red Onion, (an old time tourist brothel), commented to this wife, "It's better than Hooters!"
     "Do you have a drugstore?" asked a visitor.
     "No we don't," replied the cashier.
     "Oh my goodness," the visitor responded.  "What do you do with no hairspray?"
     "I don't use it," replied the cashier.
     On or about the 8th of September, after holding the door for a couple leaving the Post Office, a local was asked, "Which way is the ship?" by the husband, who pointed north and then south.  Certainly, when pointing south he had to have seen the cruise ship, but didn't seem to pick up on his surroundings very well.  Almost simultaneously his wife, and the local pointed south and said "It's that way".
     To cover up for not noticing the obvious, the man said, "We can get there by going either direction."
     Notorious for sometimes being less tolerant than required to live in this town the local said his next comment was not received well by the gentlemen, but was seen as informational/geographical humor to the wife.  He told the man, "Sir, you are right of course, except if you go that way, (pointing to the north), it is a 25,000 mile walk and if you go toward the cruise ship at the end of the street it is slightly more than a quarter mile."

Gotta love the 2010 tourists this season!!

Only 7 more days left for me in Skagway!  I will be heading to Ketchikan via ferry on the 2nd! I can't wait!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tourist Etiquette

Okay, so tourists are my livelihood.  They are the reason my business is successful.  They are the main source of my income.  I love them!!  They are awesome!!!  There are, however, a small % who just either don't get it or are super grumpy!  I would like to point out some good tourist etiquette, as well as, some of my pet peeves, that not only goes for tourists, but anyone shopping in a store.

1.  If you insist on picking up every folded shirt, in every size and design, please do not leave them on the floor, in a random section such as the candy bins, shoved in corners (we once had a tourist shove one in our toilet, why?!?!?) and at least TRY to fold it back into place.  I understand the need to open a shirt up and look at it, but I have actually witnessed people just kind of pick it up half way and flop it back down and move on to do that to 13 more shirts...... are you really interested or just wanting to annoy me?

2.  When I tell you that I don't have that shirt in small, I really mean it.  No, I don't need to go look.  I stock those shirts everyday, all day and I know that shirt has been out of smalls for the last few weeks.  If we had it, don't you think I would want to sell it to you?  I would, really, I would, but I DON'T HAVE IT IN A SMALL, SO STOP ASKING and please do not look annoyed when I don't go and look.  If I have to pretend to go look, its just wasting my time!

3.  If you must fart, and you know it's going to be stinky, for the love of all holiness, please go fart outside or go take a crap in the public restroom.  I think I actually tasted some farts this year.... heavens, what do they feed you guys on that ship?

4.  When you bring your items up to the counter, I don't need you telling me the price for each item.  It will automatically ring up that way.  I promise.

5.  Or vice versa.. if you bring up all 20 items and ask me "how much is this? how much is this? how much is this?" for each item.  I will get annoyed.  Look on the back, as everything is individually priced for your convenience.

6. "No Sir, that shirt isn't on sale.  Do you see a sign by it that says it's discounted?  No?  Well then it's not on sale.  Nope that one isn't either.  Everything we have on sale will have a clearly marked sign by it that says it's discounted or not.  No Sir, not that one either. *sigh! Would you please open your eyes and look at the signs and READ?"

7.  If you want us to give you a bag for each of your 33 key chains for 33 of your friends because they are "gifts".  I will either charge you for the 32 bags (the first one's free!) or tell you to go buy some gift wrap at the store.  They are, after all, "gifts".  But I will NOT give you 32 more plastic bags that will end up in landfill, even if you promise to recycle them.  It's wasteful and stupid!

and speaking of bags 8.  If you buy something from our store and already have bags in your hands that you can use, why not use them?  My number one pet peeve is when a customer will insist on having a bag, and then they take that bag and shove it in their other bag!  What a waste!!?   Have you ever heard of the term "reuse, renew, recycle"?  A bag to put in another bag..... so ridiculous.

9.  "Did you just eat that candy sir?  oooooooh you were just sampling it?  Well, see, it's by the weight, so you just technically stole from us.  Would you like to be arrested for shop lifting?  Oh, you didn't knooooow.  Can you read?  There is a sign right in front of you that says NO SAMPLING!"

10.  Oh lovely, what is this? Gum!  Who does that?  Who spits their gum on store floors?  HOW RUDE!

11.  "If a coupon expires, then it expires.  I'm sorry you missed your chance to get the free train whistle with any purchase.  I understand you just got that book today, but the other 6 coupons haven't expired.  Why did it expire?  Because everything goes on sale in the month of September.  If you REALLY want your free train whistle, I will gladly charge you full price for everything you're buying.  Oh!  Now you don't care for the train whistle?  Are you sure, because you just yelled at me and threw the coupon at my face and got all huffy about it?"  (like a 3 year old!)

12.  If you come up to the register with a huge basket of items to purchase, please have already committed to buying them.  Sitting their debating all 27 items ("hmm.. should i get this?  how much is this?  no, put that back.... ooorrrrrr no keep it... hmm... ") is taking up a lot of time, and now there is a line of 10 people.  You are not only annoying us, but everyone behind you.

and speaking of lines  13.  Remember in 2nd grade when you got in line, and you waited in line and it was EASY!  Let's remember that when you have the urge to cut in front of people.  Cutting is rude.  We don't like cutting, and it only causes 2nd grade fights in our store.

For all the 95% of tourists that rocked this summer, thank you for not doing the 13 things above... and for the 5%... well I hope that the next time you shop in a store, anywhere in the world, you remember this blog and now know what to do and what NOT to do. :)

Happy shopping!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

AB Hike

I hiked AB Mountain today.  The weather was nice, I wanted to get outside, so why not AB?  The way up was nice until it got to the straight up part.  Man that's tough, but I conquered it!  I brought my journal to have some nice writing time up at the top, but no such luck.  The bugs were relentless.  If I stayed still for more than 5 seconds I was being bitten on every part of my body.  So I got to "my summit" and headed back.  On the way down, I picked a bowl full of blueberries!  YUM!!  

A tree on the hike that appeared to be alive.  I found many trees that seemed to be telling stories.  Trees hugging trees.  Trees growing out of other trees.  Have you ever been to the Trees of Mystery in California on highway 101?  There were many similar trees today on my hike that resembled some of those at that park.  Trees trees trees.

Glacier view

Skagway view!
WOW!!  What a surprise... i wonder who it was...it made me want to try!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Remember the half orange book I raved about.....

......well Mrs Amy Spencer herself (the author) of "Meeting Your Half Orange" commented on my blog that I wrote!!  How cool is that?  But even more awesome, she blogged about MY BLOG!  I have had so many hits because of it.... wow!!
And for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, read my blog that's titled "Meeting Your Half Orange".  It is a must have book for all single woman out there doubting their future.  I am on my second round reading it and currently working on my dream board :o)  I'll blog it when it's done (sometime in October when I get to my Seattle home!)


Sunday, September 12, 2010

I should have been a baker!

I love to bake.  I used to do it a lot more often, but for some reason this summer, I haven't done it enough.  Some people have told me that some of my stuff could win awards.   Ha!  Maybe I should take my Aunt Cori's lead and start entering baking contests! Aunt Cori, for those of you who don't know, is my Dad's sister, that he met later in life, and she has won many cooking contests!
Okay, so I'm not Miss Betty Crocker, and no I haven't ever made a wedding cake, or something extravagant, but I do enjoy it, a lot!

Here are two of my favorite and simple recipes that I make often and get the most rewarding compliments for.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 lb butter (I use Earth Balance as it's dairy free and not as bad for you)
2 1/2 cups white sugar
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
6 cups WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR (not all purpose white flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
4-8 cups chocolate chips depending on how chocolaty you want it.  Sometimes I also you peanut butter chips, or dairy & gluten free chips.  It all tastes just as good!

Preheat oven to 350.
Beat softened butter with sugars.
Add vanilla, eggs and beat 3-4 minutes
Add dry ingredients and continue to beat.  It's going to thick and crumbly.  I often don't use the beater but instead, after washing my hands 3 times, I kind of kneed the doe like bread, squishing all the doe together.  Add the chocolate chips.  I have broken spoons doing this cause the mixture can be so thick, again, I use my hands.
Make medium size balls, (bigger than you usually do) and place on a cookie sheet with wax paper.
Bake for 11-15 minutes.  My oven it takes 15 minutes but I have used others and burned them, so watch out!
Leave on the pan for 5 minutes before taking them off to a cooling rack.

Swedish Strawberry Shortcake

Angel food cake (Betty Crocker thank you very much!)  or make it from scratch, one up me already!

Strawberry Filling
1-2 cartons of Strawberries (about 20-30)
Blue berries (this is a great addition if you are wanting to add flavor or need a red white and blue them for the 4th of July!)
Sugar - a couple of spoonfuls to sprinkle over the berries

Vanilla Custard
The custard is what makes this desert so good, so I am going to tell you how I make it, but if you are a dairy lover, then go ahead, use the real stuff.... though I still have people telling me that my way is DELICIOUS!
4 cups vanilla almond breeze (or milk)
10 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, cut into halves lengthwise
4 tablespoons corn starch
2/3 cup sugar
Whipped cream (two tubs of it) (yes they have dairy free kinds, but I have also just used cool whip) (or heavy cream)

Bake your angel food cake and put it upside down on a bottle until cool.

Once you take it out of the pan, you will cut it into threes horizontal layers, put aside.

Cut the strawberries into halves, stems cut off.  Save half for decoration and the other half put into a bowl with sugar sprinkled on it.  Let it rest until the sugar has dissolved and has created a kind of syrupy texture.  If you are using blueberries, save half for decoration and the other half put with the sugar and strawberries.

For the Vanilla Custard, bring the milk, with the vanilla been added, to a simmer.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and corn starch.  Remove the vanilla bean and then pour the milk over the egg mixture and whisk briskly.  Pour the mixture back into the pot.  Gently reheat the mixture and continue whisking until it becomes thick and creamy.  Pour the cream through a sieve and let cool.  Fold about 1/2 - 1 cup whip cream (or heavy cream) into the custard. 

Take your angel food cake apart, with the bottom layer on the serving tray you will serve this cake on.
Take 1/3 of the custard and spread it on the bottom layer, covering the top, and a little on the sides.  I put the strawberries and blueberries on the top of it as well, and some in the middle of the hole.
Put the 2nd layer on to the bottom layer and repeat, covering it with custard and berries.
Put the top layer on and repeat (except don't put berries on the top yet, just the custard).  Fill the hole with berries and custard.

If you have extra time on your hands, cover with saran wrap and put in the fridge over night.  All that custardy goodness will soak into the angel food cake and be so much yummier!!

Take the rest of the whip cream and cover the entire cake.  Top and sides.  Then decorate the cake to your liking with the blueberries and strawberries!  Don't say I didn't warn you.... but this desert is going to make people want you baking for them forever! 

I made two a long time ago for Rosie's Birthday
This is what the inside looks like!
Notice in this picture I put the custard around the cake and put the berries in the custard.
I like having extra custard cause people LOVE it and will actually pour more on their cake because 
it's THAT yummy!


hahaha.. tourists crack me up!

All of these are from The Skagway News Vol. XXXIII, No. 16.

     A woman was told by a train agent three times how to get to the end of the dock.  When she finally wandered very slowly down to the end, she weaved over to the tour shack.  There, she asked one tour seller where the shuttle bus was, and how much it cost.
     "It's right behind you ma'am, and it's two dollars to ride into town," he said.
     She looked at him, and asked again, "Where's the bus?"
     He told her again, but again she asked "Where is the bus, and how much?"
     A bit frustrated now, the seller repeated the answer, telling her this was the third time he had told her.
     "Oh, I'm sorry," she said.  "I drink."


     A man walks up to the clerk in the ticketing window at the White Pass rail depot and says, "Do you work here?"
(This is one of the most annoying questions I get everyday "do you work here?"  um..... no, I just have 50 things in my hand and putting them back, an apron on, and re-folding on the shirts you just screwed up... all for fun!)


     A woman on a SMART bus said she was "having difficulty breathing because of the high altitude."  (For those of you who don't know where Skagway, AK is, we are at sea level right next to the sea.)


     A young man, peering into the window of the bookstore, looked at his wife and a friend said, "Oh, they have a book about you two, Two Old Women."


     "I really hate when they stand in the middle of the road taking pictures or just walking down the street oblivious to vehicular traffic around them," said one man.
     The man with him agreed, as they both walked down the middle of Broadway with a truck and bus behind them.


     Two women were walking down the street, and one remarked to the other, "See, they don't have parking lots, they have bike racks."


     I told you all this one last week, but it was published.  Here it is again:
     A customer came up and asked, "In your bulk taffy bin, do you have salmonberry flavor in it?"
     The employee replied, "No we sell the salmonberry taffy separate in its own bag."
     "Oh good, because I'm allergic to fish and I just wanted to make sure before I bought from the bulk taffy bin."


     As a people-mover was driving her cart back to the ship on the Railroad Dock's aft berth, and weaving around tourists, the little old lady sitting next to the driver remarked, "It looks like a damn Wal-Mart parking lot."


(This one is from me too, and I am the clerk.)
     A customer came up and asked if there was anywhere "reasonable" to eat?
     The clerk (me) said "Why yes!  We have a lot of nice yummy places to eat, such as the Fish Co, Smoothie Shop, Sweet Tooth...."
     The customer interrupted:  "No, I mean like a McDonald's."
     "No Skagway doesn't have places (franchises) like that."
     "Well they had one in Juneau?"
     "Yes, Juneau has different laws there  Each city has it's own way of running."
     "I just can't understand it, how can you not have McDonald's?  Where is the closest one?"
     "Juneau or Whitehorse.  Whitehorse is about a two hour drive, though."
     Her mouth was open wide.  She then looked the clerk (me) up and down, as even she did not believe what she had been told, and then snorted and said, "Well.... I guess I'll just have to go try that Red Onion place if I want to eat," and stammered off.

One more last Heard on the Wind will be coming soon!!
Until next time!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

More of Heard on the Wind

The Skagway News Vol. XXXIII, No. 15 was out on the shelves August 27th, and I have been too busy to put up the latest of the "Heard on the Wind" until today.  And even now I'm a little too sleepy but these are just too funny not to let you read them.

     Our summer reporter intern locked herself out of the newsroom and came down to the bookstore to borrow a key for the upstairs door.
     "Can I borrow the key?" she asked the clerk, "I locked myself out."
      The clerk obliged, loaning her the key (this wasn't the first time).
     A tourist in the store then asked the clerk, "Do all of your houses share the same key?"


     A Haines man called to file a "complaint" about Skagway.  A friend of his was getting married and a bachelor party was being organized.  So he calls the Red Onion Saloon asking if any of the brothel girls would be willing to come over to Haines and be a stripper for $250.  There were no takers, "Your prostitutes aren't real," he complained.


     At the post office a woman standing at the closed gate looked at the parcel window which listed Saturday hours.
     "I can't believe this post office is only open on Saturdays," she said, oblivious to the sign that directed people to the counter on weekdays.


     A bicyclist who crashed to avoid three tourists that blindly stepped in front of him was heard saying, before remounting and riding away... "You people need to watch out for yourselves.  This isn't Disneyland and there's traffic on these streets."


     On day five of the Cassiar Highway fires, a woman comes into the visitors center and asks if the Cassiar Highway is open yet.
     When told no, she comments, "I thought it would be all burned up by now."


     Very seriously, a woman whips up to the postal counter and asks, "I'm assuming I can mail a package from Ketchikan?" She is assured that is so.


     A local man parked in front of the hardware store with his dog in the back of his truck.  A visitor asked, "Why do all of the guys in Alaska have dogs in the back of their truck?"
     The local replied, "Because the women insist on riding in the front."


     A visitor walks in and says, "Wow, the sun's coming out."
     A tour driver (who obviously has had better days) replies, "No, the clouds are just all f---ed up."

and this one was from our store and hasn't been published yet (but I did submit it).

     A customer asked one of my employees, Brittany, if there was any salmon berry flavor in our mixed taffy?  Brittney replied "No, that flavor is sold separately in it's own package."
     "Oh good," said the customer, "I'm allergic to fish and I didn't want to exactly get a salmon berry piece in my bulk bag."  Brittany just smiled.  WOW!!!

Enjoy everyone!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Meeting Your Half Orange

I am currently reading "Meeting Your Half Orange" by Amy Spencer and I just have to say that it is the ultimate bible for single woman in this world.

half-orange (haf or’inj) n., translation of the Spanish phrase mi media naranja, which means “my half-orange”; use to describe, in love, one’s sweetheart, one’s beautifully perfect other half.

Not only has this book been eye opening, but it has really turned me upside down and shaken me!  "HELLO NICHOLLE!", shake shake shake!!  I am picturing myself upside down right now with stuff falling out of my pockets, such as: low self esteem, "why doesn't he like me?" kind of questions, self-doubt, pessimism.  This book has changed and/or made me more perceptive of my attitude, actions and overall lookout on life.  I mean, literally, I feel like every chapter I have read so far has been written just for me.... as if Amy Spencer has been watching my every move, not just with relationships, but with every life decision, and said "Ok Nicholle, this one's for you, pay attention!".

If you have a friend, sister, cousin, any girl who is single and looking for her half orange, her soul mate, her love of her life......... then please, please buy her this book.  I have also heard married woman have read this book and even gained from Amy's words. It doesn't just pertain to relationships, but career changes, getting what you want, and knowing you'll get it cause you deserve it!

Some quotes from the book (all by Amy Spencer) that I loved:
"It's not your job to figure out how you're going to bring your dream relationship to you.   It's your job to want it!"  Amy Spencer
This quote reminds me of the quote I have on the end of my email:  "Life is to be felt, not just figured out."

"Our thoughts are not merely reactions to events, they change what ensues." 

"If you don't believe it can happen, then you're holding yourself back from letting it happen!"

"Your thoughts change your body language and energy, and your body language and your energy can change your life."

"You attract what you think about, focus on, and feel!"

"Become the happy woman NOW who you want to be in your happy relationship LATER."

"Dress from the inside out."

"Anything that's really worth doing in life makes you want to throw up before doing it." (She's talking about nervous energy, the butterflies, the excitement, etc...)

"I believe the happier I am, the more likely he'll come along.  And the more authentically me I am, the more I'll know for sure if he's right for me when I meet him."

"If you’re afraid of it…then it’s probably exactly what you need to do." 

"If you’re not laughing with your partner straight from the heart, something big is missing and it’s time to move on. Go for the gut-busters!"
—Amy Spencer

I could keep typing and typing her words.... she is an inspiration!  I'm going to read the book again!!