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How to pass a job interview

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Well now who would I be if I didn't write a blog on Leap Day!!

I had a pretty non-stop day with nary a break (kind of glad Feb 29th only comes once every four years!), but even so, it went pretty well and I ducked out just in time to get in a good workout before coming home.

The only danger zone I got into was a luncheon I attended and the fixings were none too good; fried chicken, rice pilaf, beef stew, grilled corn, rolls and dessert.

But here's progress for you; last year I'd have grabbed a big fat fried chicken breast (or 2), loaded up with rice, drenched my salad with ranch, loaded up my rolls with butter and wondered if I'd be too conspicuous grabbing two desserts.

Sheesh, what a way to live!

Today, the thought of eating a big fat fried chicken breast occupied one nanosecond in my brain, then I quickly moved away. I put a serving spoon of stew over a serving spoon of rice, grabbed 2 cobs of corn, and passed on salad and dessert.....I was full and I was happy and my lunchtime nutrition tracker was none the worse!

My afternoon went pretty well. I conducted a few interviews for a summer hire I need. I never would have thought that my biggest leadership challenge would be to find good talent! I had about 30 resumes to look at, culled them down to about 8 or 9 that had the right skills I was looking for. Did some checks with their past & present bosses and reduced that down to 6 to do telephone and in person interviews.

I knocked out 3 today. One I really liked, and I'd be confident to hire him today, but I want to explore all my options with the other 3 as well.

A little life advice for anyone out there looking for a job.....confidence, poise, humility, clear, steady, human eye contact matters a lot in an interview....at least it does to me.

Most people that make the cut have good paper, good resumes, references. etc. In the end, I do a lot of my senior leadership hiring based on how well I think the person will work in our environment, as part of a team, how decisive I think they will be under pressure, how they exude how they will help the organization grow and do better.

Bottom line, lots of intangibles...of the folks I interviewed, one was hesitant, somewhat indecisive, answered my scenario specific questions ("How have you handled.....") with lots of answers on how things should be, not on what he actually did, and the other talked a lot about himself, so much so that I wondered if there had been any other people in any of his previous jobs.

The one I feel pretty solid about was confident but humble, talked about what he had done, but also gave credit to the many folks that he had around him that also helped him succeed. He also asked the right questions about where I wanted to take our business, had done his research on what we do and wanted to make sure he understood what I'd have him doing, then after I told him, he commented on how he had accomplished similar actions in previous jobs. That showed me he knew how to listen.

Looking forward to doing the rest of them, but I felt a pretty decent sense of relief that I've got at least one good prospect in the bag already!

So my advice to any job seekers out there is to realize that whenever you interview, the challenge for employers is to how to find good talent....there aren't enough good ones out there....make yourself one!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHERYL_B 3/1/2012 7:07PM

    I completely agree on the interview thing!

When we interview we ask scenario questions. During the introduction, we tell them that we want specific examples and if they need a minute to think about their answer, that is perfectly acceptable. Most don't even listen to the question (or at least their answers would lead you to think they didn't listen) and rarely give actual examples of how they have handed it in their life - like you say they answer how it should be (if they even get that close).

I would say 1 out of about 10 actual give a good interview.

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JECKIE 3/1/2012 9:40AM

    Ah, the joys of interviewing.

I find in my particular part of the business world (revenue accounting) humility is impossible to come by. These kids all think they are God's gift to the business world and no one has ever thought of the things they have. I just laugh and move along.

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STRAWBERRY42 3/1/2012 8:32AM

    Good interview advice thank you!! emoticon

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FANGFACEKITTY 3/1/2012 7:11AM

    We've been trying to fill a position for months. With unemployment the way it is today you'd think it would be easy. We get many, many applicants but none with the right skills or having the skills (on paper at least) just do not present well or are able to answer job specific questions they should already know (what's the difference between price & cost is kind of useful for a purchasing professional to know I think). One more piece of advice for would be interviewees...avoid repetitive phrases. One lady we interviewed ended EVERY sentence with "and things of that nature". It was beyond annoying.

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KAYZAKCX 2/29/2012 11:39PM

    Reading this I was reminded of interview disasters I've had. In one, when asked about my having done X, Y, and Z, I asked them, "Why do you think I did that?". They replied, "It's on your resume." I didn't get the job. Wonder why?

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BRADOS 2/29/2012 10:57PM

    I hear you brother - just had campus interviews last week and have many more to come

good luck!

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SAFARIBABE 2/29/2012 10:28PM

    Oh Great Interview King....PLEASE come north next fall and help me interview for interns!! I suck at culling the wheat from the chaff!! The two I got this year came off well but they are SO indecisive! In my office every two mins asking stuff they should have well in hand by now! PLEASE!!!! Bring SWMBO to NYC and interview my interns!!!!

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Leave the gun. Take the cannolis

Monday, February 27, 2012

So I'm in a better mood today than yesterday....my fury at the airlines has dissipated some and I got so wrapped up in my Monday schedule that I didn't even have time to think whiny thoughts about the airline industry.

I also started making some of the changes I blogged about yesterday to kick start some more fat loss.

I made a fruit smoothie last night and that satisfied any craving I may have had for peanut butter or nuts or anything else, so I'll keep that in my cross check routine.

Oh but get this....I've been really digging the Green Smoothie thing lately, mixing in all sorts of goodies like spinach, parsley. mint, & kale with bananas, oranges, apples, ginger and you name it....they really are great tasting and they're mine, all mine.....no sharing...right?

Wrong!

SWMBO looks at my magnificent pitcher full of green goodness last night and says, "oooohhh, that looks real pretty!"

"Yeah, pretty," I say smacking my lips as I pour it into a tall, frosty glass

Pause

I turn towards her, sporting a green mustache, "Uhhh, did you want to try some?"

"Yes dummy, pour me a glass!"

"Uhhh.....OK.....you just want to try a sip of mine? You may not like a whole glass"

"Here," she said sliding me a 16 oz tumbler.

She took one sip and I knew right away that my monopoly had been busted up and I could no longer enjoy the sheer power of a vertically integrated business.....is this what Rockefeller felt like when they split up Standard Oil?

So the good news is we now have something we can share and enjoy.....I'm the house Smoothie King, I have sole ownership and creativity rights to the ingredients and final say so in all recipes. Of course this means I now have one more thing to do in the mornings before heading out the door, but hey it's a living!

ST went real well today....got there early enough to do a good cardio warm up, which always helps. I'm going to work hard to find some time for extra cardio this week, but my schedule is a bit of a mess. Have a semi-formal dinner event tomorrow night, so I'll have to find some time earlier in the day to get it in.

Bottom Line, I'm easing in pretty smoothly to my new plan here, so I'm looking forward to some changes in the next few weeks.

Now AMC is having a 40th anniversary Godfather showing tonight. Luca Brasi just went to sleep with the fishes.....and it just gets better from there!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHERYL_B 2/28/2012 2:41PM

    My daughter loves smoothies, but only if I make them. We are fruit smoothie girls though. I love spinach, but I just can't imagine drinking it.

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KAREN_NY 2/28/2012 12:23PM

    Love smoothies! But I confess I can't get into the green one. I love green, I even love kale. But I don't want it liquidified. Not ready, lol. So you two enjoy!!!!
K:)

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 2/28/2012 11:57AM

    I don't let John touch my smoothie maker either, I just give him the smoothie and he enjoys it. Recently got some acai berry packs to add and he thought it tasted funky.

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BEATLETOT 2/28/2012 8:59AM

    Hmm...and they're really filling, you say? This blog makes me want to look into it, though I'm very anti-drinking calories!

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BELSNICKEL 2/28/2012 7:34AM

    great now I want one too, how neat that you've come to sharing slowly. You may soon be known as Mr Smoothy.

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KAYZAKCX 2/28/2012 2:21AM

    I went through a similar smoothie experience with my kids a few years back. Suddenly, I was having to make smoothies three at a time. Not, green ones, but banana, yogurt, and berries. Then the smoothie maker burned up. I replaced it and that one burned up, too. Eventually, they grew tired of the smoothies. Either that, or they grew tired of the smell of small electrical fires coming from the kitchen.

BTW, I went and saw Ghostrider 2 tonight. It was enjoyable, but made no sense. I loved it.

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STRAWBERRY42 2/27/2012 11:17PM

    Do you have any links to websites or articles or book suggestion for recipes on green smoothies? I've been very interested in trying these but have no idea where to start, any suggestions would bee appreciated!

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SAFARIBABE 2/27/2012 9:56PM

    So sorry to hear about the smoothies. You shouldn't have enjoyed them quite so much in front of her....should have gone with the pained faces and the grimaces of mild disgust, alternating with winges of discomfort and eye rolls toward the heavens as tho SP were MAKING you drink them! The moans of exctasy were a dead give away you were holding out on her, grasshopper! Live and learn!!

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Vacation planning and a new bodyfat reduction plan

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Well I've got to admit Spark friends, I'm feeling frustrated today....not for anything about weight or health or anything else other than trying to put the finishing touches on our summer vacation plans.

Last week I booked our Alaska cruise. It leaves out of Seattle on 22 Jul and returns 29 July. I saw the airfares the travel agent offered and figured I could do much better on my own booking through Delta and using my Skymiles. So last weekend I took a cursory glance at the website and indeed, I could get all 3 of us to Seattle and back for about 95K miles.

Of course I got distracted and didn't book them, and so today as I sat down with my morning coffee, I decided to put the finishing touches on our trip.

The same trip would now cost me 150K miles.....that's about $1000 if it were real money!

Now I know that all these rewards miles for airlines, hotels, and credit cards are kind of like monopoly money, but it really pisses me off when my sense of balance is kicked around like that. I try to figure out the cash value of these things to get the best use of them and hate feeling like I'm getting ripped off.

But enough of my venting. You know, If I didn't have last week's figures anchoring my brain, I probably wouldn't have thought twice about it (I think it's called "anchoring" in negotiation theory if I remember my business classes from way back when).

So of course I didn't get them yet....I'll climb down off the ledge soon and book them later this week....unless they decide to raise prices again, upon which the whole damn family and I will drive cross-country before I feed those ravenous, money-grubbing basterds any of my hard-earned miles!!!

Anyway, today I spent my cardio time stretching instead of sweating, which was a very smart move because I felt 3 inches taller and much less stressed out about the Delta debacle above (grrrrr!!). Then #2 son really, really wanted to see Ghost Rider 2, so off we went for a matinee showing....so-so overall.

The rest of the day I spent in some contemplative thought developing a strategy to survive almost 7 weeks on the road starting next weekend. It's going to be a wild March and April. I'll be in San Antonio from 4 - 23 March, come back home for a day, then Salt Lake City, Albuquerque, & St Louis in a 6-day whirlwind. Back for another day, then to.....I forget, but that takes me into April already.

I'm pretty serious about getting the bodyfat percentage down in the next 6 months, so I'm going to focus on doing a lot more cardio these next few months. I'll keep doing ST, but mostly body weight stuff like pushups & squats....I'm going to lay a tentative mark to put in 2000 minutes a month and see how that pans out.

I'm also going to start substituting fruit, maybe in the form of smoothies which I'm really getting into, for snacks like peanut butter and nuts. I'm planning to take a travel blender with me on the road and stock up the hotel fridge with tons of fruits & veggies to kick start the whole process. Here's my beautiful little machine!


One of the things I haven't done as well is to focus on breakfast. I have a snack before 9:00 AM, usually half a sandwich to keep from getting hungry. On weekends, I have a smoothie and find it much more satisfying, so I'll try to get this into my weekly routine as well.

I think the 3rd part is to get back into the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), I did real good with these in the fall, then tapered off for no good reason, so 2 or 3 of those cardio sessions will be HIIT as well.

Well those are the large muscle movements of a plan....as always, my first measure of success is going to be my ability to make these changes in a sustainable way and not in a 2-3 month gut it out free-for-all.

That's all for now Spark friends, have a great night!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHERYL_B 2/27/2012 6:15PM

    Make sure to keep some snacks in your bag too so that if you get stuck on the plane or at the airport you don't have to settle for fast food!!!

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KAYZAKCX 2/27/2012 3:08AM

    Road smoothies...way good idea. I think Safaribabe has a point about the plane tickets. About Ghostrider: what did your son think about it?

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REBECCATKD 2/26/2012 9:13PM

    Strong plan -- let's get it in motion.

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SAFARIBABE 2/26/2012 9:07PM

    WTG planning for smoothies on the road!! That's awesome! Don't know what you're wingeing about the miles for...with all the travel you have coming up in the next 2 mos....I think you're not going to have any trouble making them back!! Perspective, grasshopper!

Have a great Sunday night!!

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Cattlemen steaks, phase 3 life-plan, and a non-scale victory!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Greetings from Oklahoma City.. ..y'all!!

It's a pretty quick trip for me....just a few hours worth of meetings this afternoon, which worked out quite well. I did a little prep in my hotel room this morning, then hit the gym for an hour before the meetings started. We finished up about 3:00, so I decided, "why the hell not" and went back to the gym for another 45 minutes before dinner.

DINNER!!! Oklahoma City.....cowboys, stockyards, and steaks!!

Now truth in advertising....I lived here many years ago....SWMBO is from OKC and her mom still lives here, so I took mom-in-law to.....Catttlemen's Steakhouse! ( cattlemensrestaurant.com/ )




Now let me tell you, these guys know steaks! There's a cut called the Blue Ribbon Ribeye, 14 oz of aged beef that's so tender you don't even need a knife to cut it, served by blue and pink haired waitresses that call you sweetie-pie and honey-bun. I had been saving up all day for this, hence the 2 workouts (breakfast was a sesame bagel, lunch a cup of Starbucks oatmeal)

Anyway, we had a nice little time out and now I've got money in the bank for the next time SWMBO says I'm insensitive...."Oh yeah, ask your Mom how nice I was to her at Cattlemens!"

Of course 14 oz of tenderly-aged beef for dinner is not the right start for Phase 3 of my life make-over.

Oh, did I not mention before that I have decided to create a Phase 3 plan?

Yes, Phase 3 Spark friends!!! Phase 1 was the old, pre-Spark me, plodding along, exercising on and off, not watching what I ate.....a 200 lb fun guy

Phase 2, was post-Spark (Jan 2011) me....a health conscious, athletically-minded, food-tracking, slimmed down to 185 lb fun guy.

But that's not enough.....must move on to Phase III.....get rid of more body fat!! I had a fairly accurate body-fat measurement done this past week ( www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4750201
) and decided that, even though I've made some great progress this past year (down to wearing size 34 jeans!), that I can do better....science demands it!!

What use are Heart Rate Monitors, GPS Trackers, Air Displacement Plethysmography (Bod Pod), fitness trackers, nutrition trackers, and all these other gadgets if I don't have a plan to use all that data towards a meaningful goal?!?! Yeah, weight is sort of important, clothes fitting good are pretty important....but I think I need to use all this info at my disposal to shoot for an even leaner me.

So more to follow on this front....I'm going to try to make it fun and challenging, otherwise I'll end up hating the journey.....but that's been the great thing about Sparkpeople....it's been fun so far every step of the way....it's good to have the happy meter go up while the scales go down.

Here's a good Non-Scale Victory on that point for you. I got in to OKC late last night (Delta delays once again....go figure). I go to the Avis counter to pick up my ride, and the 20-something gal asks me for my license and credit card....then starts asking me to tell her all the info on the cards;

"Current address?"

"Ft Walton Beach, FL"

"Expiration date of your credit card?"

"Nov 2014"

"Date of Birth?"

"Dec 1959"

"Seriously?"

"Yeah, Dec 1959"

"So, you're like 50?"

"More like 52"

"Wow, you look like you're about 35!"

"......Why you sweet little thing....are you working for tips here at Avis?"
emoticon

Have a great night Spark friends!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHERYL_B 2/25/2012 9:16PM

    I had a steak last week when we went out to dinner too (although I am sure Cattleman's was better than mine)! Yum, I love steak, but don't eat it very often!

Don't you love it when people are surprised at your age!

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BRADOS 2/25/2012 12:30PM

    That would be an awesome compliment - congrats on your hard work!

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SAFARIBABE 2/25/2012 11:22AM

    WTG!!! Both on the MIL AND on the compliment!! So if you're such a hottie, where's your pic?? LOL Can't wait to hear more details on how you plan to lower the fat. Don't use the MIL card unwisely, grasshopper!

Have a safe trip home!

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BILL60 2/25/2012 8:46AM

    I too love those compliments. Nothing like a super steak to get a person in the right mood. Sucking up to MIL is a very smart move. Phase 3 of your Life Fitness Plan, PRICELESS. Hang tough.

BTW: when is that century ride scheduled for??

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BELSNICKEL 2/25/2012 8:11AM

    good job. You impressed both MIL and the the rental gal. emoticon

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JUSTLYLE 2/25/2012 7:39AM

    Sure enjoyed your blog, made me hungry for a great steak. That season is coming soon here in N Il.
Well KID just keep on Sparkin, looks and sounds like it's really working.

The Ole Guy Skeeter emoticon

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FANGFACEKITTY 2/25/2012 7:09AM

    Yummy steak, sensitivity points, and an awesome NSV, all while doing the road warrior thing...doesn't get much better!

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HEALTHIERKEN 2/25/2012 1:31AM

    Holy doodle! You're not even middle-aged yet : ) speaking of which, have you taken the Real Age test on Dr. Oz's website? I'm sure you'll be pleased with your results!!!

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ANEWME423 2/25/2012 12:09AM

    Ahhh...Cattleman's.......a steak really just doesn't get much better than that.

Happy Sparking!

Amanda (a former okie)

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KAYZAKCX 2/24/2012 11:46PM

    Steaks...mmmmm...

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ADVENTURESEEKER 2/24/2012 11:34PM

    Awesome!

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BEATLETOT 2/24/2012 11:30PM

    Wow! What a compliment!!! Emjoy OKC!

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New Goal....20% Body Fat for Alaska Cruise in July!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

So these have been 3 very nice days off....I got a lot of things done that I needed to and wanted to....and even had some free time for myself to boot. The only work I had to do was a few quick e-mails on the berry and I reviewed about 30 resumes of some folks I need to hire this summer.

The highlight of my man-cation was to finally get our summer vacation plans finalized! I have been trying to get us on a cruise for about 7 years. We came real close in 2005 but, believe it or not, Hurricane Katrina destroyed our plans. Last year was touch and go, but I got started too late in the season and lost out on some choice deals, so we went to Santa Fe instead (which was a blast! www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4398141
)

Well not this year dammit! We love living here in Florida...the weather here from Sept-May is the real reason people move here....but June to August it is just a hot & muggy mess. So I cleared my calendar for the end of July, then spent about 2 hours with an agent today, and walked out booked on a mini-suite for three on board the Princess Star from 22-29 July on the Inside Passage tour of Alaska!



So that gives me 5 months to get down to 20% body fat in time to go feast on some freshly caught King Salmon!

Have a great night Spark friends....tomorrow, back on the road and I blog from Oklahoma City!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FANGFACEKITTY 2/24/2012 12:56PM

    Sounds like an awesome trip! I prefer the heat and sun myself, but I've been told Alaska is supposed to be gorgeous. And it is a great motivator for your goal. Here's hoping your dream cruise does not turn into an episode of The Deadliest Catch!

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HAKAPES 2/24/2012 1:09AM

    That's a plan! :-)
What is your fat% now? (how much do you want to get off?)

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HEALTHIERKEN 2/23/2012 11:11PM

    You'll be *the* guy for the girls to oggle at the pool during your cruise : )
emoticon

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SHERYL_B 2/23/2012 7:10PM

    I love planning vacations! I plan year round, it is one of my relaxation processes.

I am super proud of you with the minimal work you did the last three days. I honestly thought you would break down and go in. Congratulations!!!!

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DDOORN 2/23/2012 6:44PM

    Wonderful goal for an AWESOME trip! That's been on my "bucket list" for a long time!

Don

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BEATLETOT 2/23/2012 8:48AM

    Yowza! Looks like fun!!!

I wanna work for you!!! Who are these lucky folks you're hiring this summer?!

Note I have no idea what you actually do, what skills are involved, whether I have them or not, and that I live several states away, but I just want to work for YOU!

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BILL60 2/23/2012 8:38AM

    Sounds super. We've done a bunch of Caribbean cruises and thoroughly enjoyed them. Luckily, the gyms on the boats are pretty awesome and help limit the food damage.

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LIVELAUFLUV 2/23/2012 5:37AM

    Woo Hoo!!!! We are booked on an Alaskan Cruise from Vancouver to Anchorage from 8/15 to 8/22. I can't wait. It's been on my bucket list for years and it's finally time!



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SAFARIBABE 2/22/2012 11:27PM

    Awesome!! Are you going to Denali? Have you booked your dog sledding yet?? Come on...we need details!!! Boat is nice but what'cha going to do OFF the boat??

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ADVENTURESEEKER 2/22/2012 11:05PM

    mmm....fresh salmon :) Is it too soon to say have a fabulous trip? emoticon

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