I was born in Juneau, Alaska. Alaska was still a territory and not a state. My mom was trying to fly out of Alaska so that she could have me in civilization. Personally I'm glad that I was born in Alaska because at that time it was a territory - not a state. Alaska means "Great Land" and it truly is. I love living here. Click here for a couple of recent photos.
One of the most significant events of my adolescence was the Great Alaska Earthquake that occurred on Good Friday, March 27, 1964 at 5:36 PM. This earthquake registered a magnitude on the Richter Scale of 8.2 to 8.7 (some seismographs actually recorded readings up to 9.2 on the Richter Scale).
Friday, March 27, 1964 was a school holiday and I was home. My family's house was located in an area of Anchorage called "Turnagain by the Sea." Our house was about six blocks from the ocean before the quake and after - about three blocks!
I had just sat down in front of the television to watch "Fireball XL5." (Does anyone remember that TV show?) I remember hearing a distant rumble and then the first shocks started to hit. My mom and I ran to the doorway in-between the kitchen and the living room. But the jolts got stronger. We ran to the front door. I can remember struggling with the door to get it open. Finally we got out-of-doors and we were standing in the driveway holding on to each other to stand up. We kept falling. Snow covered the ground. I can remember watching black cracks in the earth snaking their way along the ground. A tree in our back yard was actually split in half (its roots were frozen in the ground).
As suddenly as the earthquake started it was over. Dead silence. Then a light snow began to fall. All the power was off - no radio - no TV - no communication with the outside world. We found out days later that three people died in Turnagain. Seventy-five homes were destroyed. The ground area was lowered an average of 35 feet.
My dad somehow managed to get home from where he worked in downtown Anchorage. Buildings collapsed or sunk into the ground. Dad told us about the front of the JC Penneys' building collapsing into the street. About 30 blocks of dwellings and commercial buildings were destroyed or severely damaged.
Later that evening we were told to evacuate the area because a Tsunami (tidal wave) was expected. We spent the night and the next day and night away from home at the shelter. After-shocks would send people running out of the shelter. That following Sunday, mom and I were air-lifted to Fairbanks, Alaska.
I often think about the courage my dad displayed by staying in Anchorage during this time. Before dad retired he was an executive of the pioneer department store, Northern Commercial Company. The Anchorage store was severely damaged as a result of the quake. Dad stayed in Anchorage to rebuild the store and rebuild our family home.
A lot can be said about the spirit of Alaskans, because rebuilding started almost immediately after the last noticeable after-shock. Today, you can find little trace of the Great Alaska Earthquake.
A couple of years later I attended West High School in Anchorage and upon graduation went outside (that's what we call traveling to the lower 48 states or any where away from Alaska) to Seattle University and University of Hawaii. I married after college but sadly I was divorced two years later. One wonderful blessing of the marriage was my beautiful daughter. She's now in her 20s and she's a joy in my life.
During my 30s I woke up one day and realized that I was weighing in at close to 200 pounds! (Click here to see before and after pictures.) I was still eating like I was twenty years old but not exercising at all. It seemed like it was much easier to spend the long winters cozy on the couch watching television and snacking. My doctor, Martin Palmer, told me that I could continue on that way but to expect increasing health problems. I decided I was going to change my condition.
I began by reading everything I could on diet and exercise. I started to run daily. At first I ran for a few minutes, then walked for a few minutes, and then ran, and so on. I set a goal of running and walking at least 30 minutes per day, five days a week. Each day I tried to run more and walk less. Finally I was running for the entire 30 minutes.
Eating healthy, low fat and exercise burned the fat off and I was loosing weight. Eventually I was able to run a 10K race and then another race! What a wonderful feeling to live a healthy life-style.
Working out and taking care of myself allowed me to become aware of the real differences that were taking place in my body and in my attitude. But somehow something was still missing. Around about February 1992 I joined Alcoholics Anonymous and my life was really transformed. I stopped drinking alcohol and the miracle is that I've had no craving for it since. I realized that all these years alcohol was making me sick. For me alcohol was poison; I was severely allergic to it. Alcohol is OK for some people but not for me.
About a year and half later I mentioned to my friend Linda that I always wanted to compete in a body building contest. Linda is a "can do kind of gal" and she put me in touch with Glynis, a personal trainer at Gold's Gym Anchorage. (Picture of Linda, Me and Glynis at Gold's.) Glynis taught me how to transformed my body from a fit individual to a body builder. She prepared me for my first contest: the March 1995 Alaska State Body Building Contest, then the October 1995 Anchorage Body Building Contest, I came in first place in the Master's Division of the Anchorage Body Building Contest and fifth place overall.
The 1996 Alaska State Body Building Contest had some tough competitors. Bud, the fellow that won the Master's Division, looked terrific; he was totally shredded. Bud took second place over all. I came in third place in the Master's Division.
The diet was the toughest part. I lost some size as a result of what I was eating. Trying to balance maintaining muscle mass and also loosing body fat is not an easy task. Towards the last days before the contest if I saw a Dairy Queen TV advertisement I'd go nuts! Hot fudge sundae - mmmmm. I was lucky though, because my friends and co-workers were very supportive. They gave me a lot of encouragement.
My favorite pal is my dog, Sa Dee. She is a Bouvier des Flanders, a beautiful dog who loves to exercise with me. Sa Dee is my shadow when I run and she's always ready to play ball.
I work out because it makes me feel better to be in shape (click here to see my Body Fat % stats). My quality of life is improved because I'm fit. I have my high energy days and I have my low energy days. I live my life with moderation and respect for my fellow creatures; being thankful for abundant gifts from my Higher Power.
Special people have come into my life: Friends (click to find out more).
Remember: slow and steady wins the race!