Chocolate with a Champion

Another episode of the adventures of Jessica and I in Salt Lake:

Today we decided to visit the prestigious Hatch Family Chocolates. They are “little people”  – husband and wife team who run a  hand dipped chocolate shop. They were featured on TLC  ‘Chocolatiers’ TV contest.  They refered to themselves in an interview as the ultimate, real life oompa loompas – so of course I wanted to see them in action. I guess we were expecting knee height counter tops with child sized cash registers.  To our dismay we were greeted by friendly teenage girls far taller than myself. I couldn’t resist the urge to get up on my tippy toes and peek over the counter to try and find the lil’ chocolate chefs.

I should be ashamed of myself.


It was overwhelming! and I had to be careful because they are $26.99 per lb! I Stood there swaying back and forth biting my lower lip with nervous aticipation: “Coconut delight, Peanut butter, mint truffle, Orange cream, and milk chocolate truffle…Ahhhh!”  In fear that my brain would explode from all of the milk chocolate coated possibilites I chose the later three.

While we were sitting and quoting lines from Forrest Gump, an elderly woman commented on my camera and asked if I liked taking pictures. We talked for a little while; her son ended up being a photographer and gave me his card. Then all of the sudden she burst out: “Would you like to see my MEDAL!?” without hesitation, at first out of politeness I said, sure. She feistily urged her son to go out to their car and bring it into the shop. I was curious to say the least what on earth this medal was for.

Was it from a chili cook off ? She knitted the world’s largest afghan?  Do they carry it around in the car all the time?

He returned with a fancy decorative box and she exclaimed: “I helped change the world!”

It was a congressional gold medal. Woah.



She was a member of WASP (Woman Air Force Service Pilots) during World War II. She let me hold it and pointed out the three women walking towards the edge of the circle – “thats us breaking through the barrier, we went where no woman had been before!”  I just stared at it, then back at her and allowed myself to quickly daydream about all the things she must have seen and experienced. I instantly thought of my Rosie the Riveter  “We Can Do It” poster and realized  she was flesh and bone proof of that powerful female force during the war.  Its always so humbling and sometimes an emotional experience when I see veterans and our current servicemen and women in moments such as that – they make freedom possible for us, fully aware that they may end up sacrificing themselves.


She gave me her autograph (she asked if I wanted it – and of course I did!)

Millicent Peterson Young

WASP 44-W10

more about her here


Today’s little joys….


My current goal is to enjoy life in the present moment. Well, when you think about it,the present moment is really all we have. Its what makes up all of the little pieces of our past and what will eventually create our future. Amazing thought!


So I’m dedicating this blog post to things that are currently making me happy!




Since I’ve returned to SLC and have been actively pursuing work, I’ve been spending lots of time with my sister and her nanny child :) We have had some fun adventures so far. Wendy’s drive through has become a regular part of our routine as of late. I cannot believe I can get a bowl of chili and a small frosty for less than 2 bucks!!! Its almost magical! (I’m used to AK prices, okay?) Saving $ also makes me mucho happy.

Here’s lil’ miss silly-pants:






I won a contest! I won a cute pair of  “madebyjewls” earrings. I got a few pairs of her earrings for Christmas last year and they are now the most used pieces of jewelry I own. You have to understand HOW big of a deal that is for me. I rarely wear jewelry. I’m a very basic girl. I always prefer flats over high heels, scented lotion over perfume – and I have never been a dangly or big hoops wearer. Thats just not me.

But I can’t get enough of these adorable lil’ button earrings. I want a pair to match every outfit I own! I now have 8 pairs…..again – thats a big deal for a girl like me :) I won the little birdie pair through a “name game” she does on her facebook page (add her and win!) I suggested that she name them “Sweet Sparrow”.


I’m totally going to wear the red/white polka-heart ones on Valentines day!



Another thing that has been making me happy : my new ringtone

I really dislike phones. And I don’t think that my relationship with them would improve even if I upgraded my crummy lil’ Samsung to a Droid or an iPone. I have telephon-a-phobia! I realized one day that when my cell phone went off, that I instantly cringed, my heart quickened, and my hands got all clammy. ‘Geeze, Annalise – its a cell phone! Not your first middle school dance!’

Simply put, my phone now emits happiness and joy. Take a listen.





I’m kind of a junkie for Priscilla Ahn’s voice. I don’t know what else to say about it besides it always cheers me.

I found out she’s singing at Sundance tomorrow. Dang it! I knew I should have gone this year!

Here’s a cover she sang of The Beatle’s “Julia”. I can’t stop listening to it! I think she serenades sweeter than Lennon did in the original version. (although I do respect the fact he wrote it in memory of his mother.)

video quality is poor and shakey, but gorgeous song regardless





I kept humming “Good Day Sunshine” and “Here comes the Sun” as I was eating my grapefruit this morning. I guess that’s my subconscious’s way of celebrating its citrusy awesomeness.

I bought a huge bag of them for $2.50!!! and I’ve eaten one every morning for the past week and a half!



Its gonna be a great day!!!





Rain? Splendid!

loving all the rain we’ve been getting……

I finally got an umbrella at my friend Janet’s garage sale the other day for 25 cents. Now I wont get soaking wet waiting for the train when I go back to SLC. I’m really loving being home though.

i love falling asleep to the sound of it….and tonight I’m falling asleep to the real sound of it, instead of my white noise machine.

Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.
– Langston Hughes

Sweet Sunday

Spending a lazy sunday with my doggy. Oh how I love him.

Its fun to pretend like there’s something in the forrest and exclaim: “OH! GO GET IT!”. He falls for it every time. He thinks he’s such a ferocious beast. He really is though. He’s the only poodle I know of that goes rabbit, squirrel, and spruce hen hunting. Oh, and something we discovered about him recently… he absolutely LOVES eating dandelions (when they’ve turned to seeds – not when they’re yellow). We couldn’t stop laughing. I picked about 8 of them and he just kept mowing them down like they were doggy treats. Silly pup.

This weekend Richard, Dad, and I stumbled across some old treasures (at least I think they’re treasures). Old dial telephones, cool glass bottles, old school stereos, umbrellas, ect.  I found this old polaroid which had been collecting dust for at least 25 years. I’m skeptical if I’d ever use it. I’ve always wanted a polaroid though.

Gone Fishin’

Dad and I went fishing this morning at Kasilof beach. Actually let me clarify. I don’t fish. My job usually involves walking alongside the beach while keeping a close eye on Dad and his net. And at the first signs of struggle, I rush down to the shore with my handy lead pipe and club them to death. (Its really not as terrible as it sounds) It was a slow day for salmon due to the commercial fisherman being in the vicinity for the past few days – so I had a chance to have some fun with my camera and play on the beach!

Its a creeper seagull! Look at his unsuspecting friend!        These italian guys kept floating up and down the river going: “Here feeshy, feeshy!”

While I was waiting for the fish to come rolling in I decided to do some beach combing.

Guess what? Nutritionists and many studies have proven that salmon caught in the Kenai waters of Alaska are the healthiest in the WORLD. Lucky us!


I LOVE black and white. About 75% of my wardrobe is black and white. I love zebras. I love old black and white movies. I love white chocolate and black licorice (not together of course). But as much as I love black & white photography and admiring its beauty, I seldom do it myself. I love COLOR. the bright greens, yellow sunsets, blue skies…but there’s something about a black and white photograph.
Mysterious beauty.

I’ve decided to take more from now on. Heres some recent ones along with some I took last year.


My test results for my coding certification came back with a big giant F this morning. I’m disappointed. This test was going to speedily launch me into my new career – emphasis on the speedily. But I am allowed a retake in July, so there is much hope. Its not the end of the world. “You’re smart, you can do this…”
Sue Bender, an amazing and insightful author (whom I like to quote a lot) said something that has
been lingering in my mind all this morning:

“My disappointments I remember clearly. They are etched into my body and psyche. My victories are sometimes harder to recall. My intention is to give as much attention to my successes as I do my disappointments.”

Venturing Out

Some pictures I took of Carissa last year. I have yet to see a more feminine display of graffiti (very tall 8 year old girls?) But once I saw it on the back wall of the local Soldotna Key Bank….I couldn’t resist. Its also helpful to have a very photogenic and patient sister as a guinea pig.
It’s been a while since I’ve taken portraits. I’ve gotten far too comfortable with inanimate objects like architecture, flowers, ect. and its something I need to get familiar with again. My current mantra I’ve found myself repeating to myself over and over again: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” It’s so true. Or my recent favorite I saw on Jamba Juice’s wall: “Go out on a limb – thats where the fruit is.”

“Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity…” – Gilda Radner

My Weekly Eclectics

I’ve been walking a lot. I’ve also been reading a lot as well. I read somewhere about “miracle walks”. What you do is observe/watch/listen to all the things that cross your path that please you. Here’s my list of discoveries:

  • Vines growing on buildings, fences, and telephone poles.
  • Sun shining through trees, making the leaves a translucent green.
  • Potato bugs scurrying across the cool pavement.
  • The smell of fresh cut grass and lawnmower exhaust- triggering memories of my Dad.
  • Friendly hispanic banter while passing sidewalk taco stands.
  • Eating my breakfast (green apple) while having the wind blow in my face.
  • Listening to “1-2-3-4” by Feist on my iPod. It makes me so happy I skip like I was 5 again.
  • Carrying around my new handbag Grandma sewed for me. Its like I’m toting around her love for me.

Good Day, Sunshine!

Glorious sunshine was pouring through my bedroom window at 7:30 am. I peeked through the blinds for a better look to find the dawn glow making the blossoming trees look like a heavenly pinkish dream. All I could think was “This morning can NOT be wasted!” So I ran into Carissa’s bedroom and declared: “Wake up! We are going on an adventure! I say we go on a quest – on foot – to the nearest Jamba!” It took a little coaxing, but once we walked out the door, smelt the sweet air, and felt the sun’s warmth we were very pleased with our decision. Everything was all too perfect, and all I could think was:

“How can I NOT be a morning person?”

Jamba Juice. Instant sip-able happiness. I call it “edible sunshine”. We sat under an umbrella outside the store and drank in the beauty of it all.
We’ve decided morning adventures are magical and much more are soon to come.