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Some more or less anxious thoughts on my birthday

1.  Hey I should do all the things I like today to make myself happy and if I’m not happy doing those things maybe I shouldn’t be having a birthday!

2.  Am I a late bloomer? I think I am. What if I already bloomed and I didn’t notice? Why didn’t you guys tell me?

3. I just decorated the yard, not for my birthday, but because it’s my birthday, and I get to do what I want. Here it is.

It's a little busy but there are lots of dead people in the world

It’s a little busy but there are lots of dead people in the world

There is a fish theme going on. There’s a shark and two baby ghosts in the cauldron.  The big ghost is holding a salmon.   Good thing my birthday isn’t in March or I would have Brutus and Marc Antony out there.

4. I should have exercised. I’m not getting any younger and it’s not like I was working today. I just don’t feel like it. I feel like solving all my life problems at once. That’s about as healthy as the discount cake that I bought myself at the supermarket. Not day old cake, but it had kind of a crunched corner as if another cake did a hit and run. I just took a break and rode my bike. It was cold and people kept telling me there was a big bull moose on the right. After  a half mile of hypervigilence I quit looking. Turns out his butt was towards the trail so he was hard to see even though he was close. That’s good for me since he was eating and not looking to hoof me to death. Bad for you because you don’t get a photo. I don’t feel any less tense.

5. I should be grateful. I watched Captain Phillips last night. At least there are no pirates at my house. There are however fishermen and fishing gear.  In the film, there was some debate as to whether the men from Somalia were pure pirates or half fishermen.  I don’t think I have to worry because my current roommate is half greenhouse man and half fisherman.  Not much of a pirate although he does pay the rent in cash. None the less, there is  not 30,000 dollars in a safe anywhere close by.  Really not much exciting to hijack here, but it’s home.

We are fishers of men

We are fishers of men


6.  I never tell facebook my birthday but somewhere about half way through the day I announce it myself  because I can’t stand knowing that I am just one of a billion fleshy balloons  rolling  around on broken glass. I want to be special enough that my buddies stop looking for the 10 million dollar ransom and  fix my hurt foot.


7.  If I just started telling people I was a Taurus would I become more “lean in” and “take charge”? Can I make up a zodiac sign like a “Virbra” or “Libro” because I want to be on the cusp of something?  The symbol could be a woman sitting on a fish scale or metal scale with breast armor. It would be confusing and fit me perfectly. I don’t really believe in this stuff but there is something about the sun and the moon that does something to my psyche. I like to go for a ride at sunset. Sometimes I can relax afterwards, as if the lease on the day is up and I can give up trying to achieve anything.  I don’t know what I’m trying to prove.

sun going down on my birthday

sun going down on my birthday


8.   Is it too late for me to be more like Ponyo? I hope not.  I will approach my next interview like the little fish girl who could. Maybe I will even ask if they have ham!

keep running after what you want!

keep running after what you want!

Anxiety woman peruses The NY Times for possible birthday gifts

I could have scanned the ad inserts from Fred Meyers and J C Penney in the local rag, The Alaska Dispatch, but this was much more depressing, right up my alley. My birthday comes but once a year and this is a marvelous way to prepare. Find all the expensive rubbish you don’t need and vow not to buy it, nor receive it.  It’s like vowing never to marry, you may actually be fighting off the offers.  So without ado, here’s my non-wish list.

Upscale serenity

Upscale serenity


 Just say NO to Meditation Bells

These things are crazy! Are all Buddhists nuts or just The rich American ones?  These look like the bells that the Altar boys rang in Catholic Church when we said “Body of Christ.” Did Jesus/Buddha really like tinkly bells and bling? Perhaps just the priests?  Isn’t a diamond studded meditation bell a little like a diamond studded social security card? I never understood the diamond studded crosses either. What would Jesus wear?


Instead get me chocolate



Respect lost? Priceless!

Respect lost? Priceless!


No, I do not want  “One more day in Vegas

= one more STD, one more night searching for my room in a vast sea of what looks like corridors of a state penitentiary,  one more false expectation that I will meet the love of my life and he won’t have a drink and a cigarette in his hand.

Instead see above


And it is the path more travelled by

And it is the path more traveled by


NO! NOT Another Inspirational handbook for changing my life/the world. If I was able to help myself, don’t you think I would have done so by now? Do I still believe that helping others is going to make me happy? That maneuver gets old quickly. Why are we put on this world? Only God know, so don’t over think it. That’s my new Golden Rule.

I can’t handle any more advice on how to get a man, get a job or get happy. I have chocolate for the last one and I think it may work for the other two if just I got more creative. I’m aware that escaping into chocolate won’t save the world since there are people who are actually allergic to it just like  they are to gluten and exercise . I am also aware that most people change the world without ever knowing it,  getting paid for, or publishing about it.

This particular book, “A Path Appears,” is universally liked by both movie stars and mystics.  Should there be a shortage, I will be doing my part by doing without it.  I am more likely to change the world by making a complete fool of myself and creating a bit of  unintentional laughter in my wake.  One more piece of information on how to be more effective in my life might fire up the overdoing, people pleasing urges which have already almost brought me to ruin. Please stop the presses, and the facebook game apps (available tie in with  sister book, “Half The Sky.”)


NO.   NO.   NO! to gigantic metallic accessories!

Hope you got your matching dental grilles

Hope you got your matching dental grilles

I love glitter  because it is not gold. These cameras are not as funny as the Flavor Flav clocks. No they are more like golden tennis rackets or golf clubs presented to winners at the country club tournament.  How would I know? I don’t know. I’m making this all up because I have issues and need to complain about something.


These are classy, if you have the record to pull them off.

These are classy, if you have the record to pull them off.

I haven’t been to jail so I don’t think I would look right walking around with an electronic ankle bracelet or gigantic lock and chain just for fun. They look tiny here but the effect is something like observing a smiling extra in Twelve Years a Slave.


Here is an entire outfit I don’t want or need. Do you?

Never sit on the grass wearing white!

Never sit on the grass wearing white!

The coat is made of white plastic so perhaps that is why the model looks so uncomfortable. She can wipe that clean but the $4000 skirt can not touch the ground.   I have an idea for a TV series. Sr. Bertrille, The Flying Nun, crash lands during a hurricane. She winds up an unwilling contestant on Survivor. Would you vote her off the island and bring on the wrath of God?


I still have lots to read of this Sunday’s NY Times  so there are plenty more things to not want. I have my paper, and that will be recycled, eventually.

Happy birthday to me!




Anxiety woman attempts to enjoy her first day of unemployment

No, I am not the anchor lady in Anchorage who quit her job on the air. I am just a lowly seasonal tourism employee who is lucky enough not to have to wake at 4:15 am this morning, but unlucky enough to no longer be receiving a pay check.  Sure I could go on unemployment but what’s the sense of that when unemployment just makes me more anxious and really does not lend street cred to being an employment counselor.

I lazed in bed this morning until 10:30 am then set about applying for jobs even though I felt like eating chocolate. I managed to stall the chocolate eating until the season premiere of The Big Bang Theory at  7 pm. Who the hell thought that having another show about geniuses right after Big Bang was a good idea? Especially geniuses who look all hip and try to save the world? We want loser geniuses!  We want less explosions and more humiliation please. At least I do.

I managed, with the help of my friend Alexsys, the Alaska Job Source, to apply for three jobs. The first job, for which I am not really qualified and which pays the least, called me up within 5 minutes of my submitting my resume. This leads me to believe that they are desparate  I am not, yet.   One of the other jobs is on a military base which will probably require months of waiting and red tape, and the third job is at a corporation where I have applied several times before and never gotten an interview. Only now I have my license! It is the license of a Professional Counselor. I also have a driver’s license which is infinitely more useful as a Professional Counselor can’t cure people only listen and try to encourage growth, kind of like a farmer or a school teacher with duct tape on their mouth.

Luckily, I was saved from applying for more jobs by a phone call from a friend who was spending his first day completely alone with his infant daughter. We went for a hike, as much as a hike as a person carrying 12 extra pounds of tiny nose, mouth, hands and feet can handle.  My friend, new dad that he is, stopped occasionally to check for breathing and such.  We saw quite a few moose as it is the time of year when moose tend to congregate for baby making themselves.  He remarked, off the record that  getting a photo of the baby with a moose would be cool but would probably result in a quick divorce.

After the hike I bought fried chicken at the local supermarket. This is not something I usually do but I was very hungry and feeling like celebrating making it through a summer of ending two jobs well and not telling anyone to F* themselves on the air.  Sure I’m anxious but I’m lucky in that I have a chance to redefine myself not as a job but as a person.  I can spend some time each day singing and painting as well as job searching. I can apply for unemployment if I want but I bet I can find a Holiday job which would pay as much and make me some friends.

I also sent my brother in law a photo of a cat looking at their claws exclaiming,  ” I am Wolverine.” That was probably the highpoint of the day.

This is how I feel when I get in touch with my anger!

This is how I feel when I get in touch with my anger!

Skills I have learned at my new job which will help during the Zombie Apocalypse

What I will look like after I am bitten

What I will look like after I am bitten


1.  Maneuvering two loaded luggage carts at once.

You may think this is easy. There is an art to getting the momentum balanced with the control of two artfully placed piles of duffels and a combination of hard/soft wheeled luggage through doors and onto a motor coach. Imagine how much more difficult this will be when you are maneuvering two full carts of provisions through a wasteland while being chased by zombies.


2.  Clear meaningful communication on a walkie-talkie

I have not mastered this yet. It helps to have a distinctive voice so that people develop a human connection with you as opposed to responding just to your code number. They will be more likely to save you from brain consumption if you sound like an Australian, a slacker or a very elderly woman.  I know this because these are the people I recognize on the walkie talkie. The rest could be zombies for all I know. I’m sure they think I am a zombie as I frequently forget the rules, don’t sign off and talk on and on as if I don’t have a clue about radio etiquette.



3.  Making your uniform  lasts as many days as possible without laundering

There’s not going to be a lot of time for laundry in the Zombie Apocalypse.  That doesn’t mean you have to smell bad. One hint, don’t work so hard and fast that you sweat profusely. Slow and steady produces less sweat for zombies to smell.  I just brought some Febreeze –  unscented.  This will be an essential in any zombie survival kit.


4. Signing in/Out on the timeclock including breaks

I used to do a time sheet once every two weeks. Now I have a time card and access to a telephone time clock for lunch breaks.  In the future, it will be extra important to let workmates and loved ones know when we are in and out of Zombie Safety Zones.  We will be logging in and out of the shower and when retrieving mail. A missed punch could indicate a sudden change in un-dead status.


5.  Negotiating an ever changing schedule

Once the Zombie Apocalypse arrives there will be no 9-5 jobs, no 4 10’s with three days off. Everyone will be on call like they are in retail, hospitals and in the hospitality industry.  You might as well train for it now because your co-workers could have their arms bitten off in an instant and someone is going to have to take their place. Also a bit of unpredictability might  make the difference between life and death. You don’t want to meet a wall of zombies waiting for the rubes as they pull in and out of downtown during rush hour do you?  I don’t believe the Unions are prepared with regulations to deal with benefits for undead members and their significant others let alone the overtime which is going to be necessary from live workers to cover their hours.


I have only been at this job for one month and I have one month to go. Hopefully the Zombies will not arrive until I have managed to squeeze out all the knowledge I need from my current position.  I’m sure your job is teaching you some survival skills. Sometimes I blow things out of proportion. It may be that most of the Zombies will be totally preoccupied by texting and binging on seasons of Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. Keep the faith and toil on.



Don't forget to wear your safety gear!

Don’t forget to wear your safety gear!

Captain Cook, I presume

I’m working a super chill summer job. I help tourists figure out where they’re going in Anchorage, Alaska. I took it because I really needed to calm down and have some fun. I have rediscovered parts of myself that are rather cool. That leads me to Captain Cook.

The Captain, a good looking man

The Captain, a good looking man

James Cook dominates my work place which I sometimes call  Musee d’Cook, le Capitaine.  It’s a fancy hotel which sports bellmen in black livery with gold braid as if they were officers on his crew.  The hotel has its own coat of arms.

It's a polar bear meeting a penguin for the first time. Maybe not so good for the penguin.

It’s a polar bear meeting a penguin for the first time. Maybe not so good for the penguin.


It appears that Cook was a man who was grew up on a farm, was not suitable to work in a shop, then worked his way up in merchant shipping and the Navy to become a cartographer and explorer.  He also had a bit of a temper.  He went on many journeys, three of which are quite famous, in which he visited Hawaii,  Alaska, near Antarctica and circumnavigating New Zealand, all near the time of The Revolutionary War.  He was known for not losing a man to scurvy due to frequent stops to replenish food.  Although honoring The Earl of Sandwich, naming Hawaii after him  suggests a desire for fresh fillings.

Cook was drawn to the extreme North and South so the hotel features large paintings of ships and icebergs which predate The Titantic.

Before global warming

Before global warming



Whale oil was a precurser to our addiction to petroleum. Good luck Mr. Whale!

These paintings are enormous,  maybe not as large as a blue whale but easily as big as a Beluga.

Many of you may know that le Capitaine met his death  after trying to imprison a king whose subjects had stolen a boat.   There is a nook with a little fake jungle  which overlooks this artwork.

I usually eat my lunch gazing at the death of Captain Cook

I  eat my salad gazing at the death of Captain Cook



Sometimes I eat here instead

Sometimes I eat here instead


This is a gigantic painting of  Captain Cook’s better times with the people of Hawaii. They held a feast for him. But when you look closer at this painting it is a bit disturbing.

It appears that The Captain is being served his head on a Turkey.


None of the Cook’s chef’s prepare this traditional dish

The hotel has least five restauranty places to eat and many more nooks to sit at with one’s yogurt container and a good book on Arctic and Antarctic Exploration. Might I suggest “The Frozen Ship” by Sarah Moss?

Amazon link to The Frozen Ship

The wooden walls of The Cook resemble the polished surfaces of a yacht. The ambiance is refined  and I am on my best behavior. Sometimes that is what makes work wonderful. I become the person I want to be in an interesting place amongst interesting people. It’s virtually impossible to complain about working in the tourism industry of Alaska in the summer.  If you are unhappy with your current position, take an adventure, like Captain Cook, and give us a try. We promise not to eat you alive but I can’t vouch for the mosquitoes.


Stop losing weight, looking younger and making more money with the new human being plan!

Let it go!

Let it go!

1.  Wear shorts this summer!

Stop worrying about how you look and what the dress code is.  There are amputees out there in shorts. Don’t go telling me they’re lucky because they don’t have your ugly legs.   I won’t go as far as saying you have to wear a bikini, speedo, micro-mini or short shorts.   Just take the challenge to let those legs breathe, varicose veins, sun starved, rashy, hirsute whatever.  I have a rosy red birthmark in the shape of a human hand on the rear of my thigh. You can imagine the comments I get. Since I have grey hair I no longer get asked if I knew I was bleeding.  Remember when shorts weren’t allowed in school so we couldn’t wait for summer to start? Shorts mean fun. My mother always said, no one can really get a look at you on a moving horse.  Don’t just lie outside, get a move on.  For those of you with doubts, just try running out to get the mail in your shorts. I do it in Alaska, even in the winter.

2. Eat something bad for you everyday.

Not arsenic, but give your healthy diet and the rest of us a break.  Do you really want to be the last one standing? When I obsess about  food, my figure, my health or try to change the eating habits of others, I’m just advertising my anxiety.  Eating healthy also means enjoyment and flexibility. You may be allergic to gluten or a carbo-holic but you might enjoy a treat of some sort now and again. Please make enough for everyone else while you’re at it.

Sooner or later someone will feed you something with gluten, meat or sugar inadvertently and you can thank them for reminding you that you are human but not made of glass. Yes, you could die from peanut butter or clams or leftover souffle but  hypervigilence is also toxic. I should know.  I went to Walmart and bought some kale today. The checker had no idea what it was. Meanwhile, at the other check stand a 7 year old was enjoying a fried chicken leg and Mountain Dew because he couldn’t hold out until they paid. Is that my business? No. Neither is the emaciated man who I saw walking into the health store parking lot earlier. Was he alive because of his health food or dying from it?  No clue.

I would rather be the chicken boy. He looked happy.   My mother followed every health trend she could find – no butter, then no margarine, water to drink, no coffee, alcohol or cigarettes, restricted meat, raw veggies, jogging, swimming. She died  in middle age. It must have been the chocolate and ice cream.  Just saying, at least she had some fun.

3. Throw some money away.

Down the toliet, into the hands of someone you don’t know or trust, or just drop it in the street.  I was in a bank today and another customer told me that we don’t get interest on savings accounts anymore because money isn’t really worth much.  Let’s celebrate.  Maybe it’s time to investigate the power of barter?   I just visited a friend who told me that her son had conducted a brilliant experiment in college. He dropped money and had an observer tally the reactions.  More people returned it than he thought would.  Think how good this would make you feel.  Yesterday a man called to me, ” You dropped your pocket”. I was carrying a purse so I thought perhaps he meant my “pocketbook” was open. He was just trying to make me laugh.


4.  Be real bad at some form of art

Enjoy your bad ass attempts.   Sign your paintings Madonna or  Justin Timberlake.  See if you can get a group of friends to have an bad art show and donate the money to the charity of your choice or just buy or trade each other’s work and have a big party!



5. Rejoice in your errors!

I let a cart run into a motor coach the other day. I also misrouted Mr. John Smith’s luggage to another Mr. John Smith.  I said something stupid on Facebook to someone I didn’t even know.  This is progress for me. I’m used to alienating people with my anxiety to get everything right and please the world.  People like me better when I’m human.

Anxiety woman goes to summer camp in Fairbanks, Alaska

Posted on

It was an adult summer camp. Not in that way.  I grew up near a beach so there was never any reason to go to summer camp.  I’m glad I finally did because of the wacky adventures I had. The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival attracts people who want to have fun,  try something new, and do it way far away from everyone they know.  Fairbanks people are cool.  They aren’t out to impress anyone with their fancy -danciness so they wind up impressing you with their homey smoked salmon, moose sausage, and fancy spoon playin’.

The road to Fairbanks is absolutely lovely even in the pouring rain, with Pilot cars to help you navigate the many miles of construction. Once you get there you might have to get over the several expressways, multiple Safeways and  mini-mallness of this small city because it’s cuter than you think. I stayed at The University of Alaska Fairbanks dorms. Here’s the greeter.

Welcome to The Cheapest Place to stay in town. I'm made of paper!

Welcome to The Cheapest Place to stay in town. I’m made of paper!

It’s only $30. a night and there are all sorts of interesting researchers and adult travellers  sharing your bathroom and kitchen.  My adventures included someone putting up an “out of order” sign on the ladies room, I believe just because they didn’t like the door slamming.  I wasn’t sure, so I showered on the next floor down then wound up quite wet and underclothed on the elevator back up with gentleman wearing a suit with nice rolling luggage. I had my tooth brush and shampoo in a recycled Safeway bag.

On the other hand I met a man at the ice cream machine who asked me to have salmon with him the next night.  I was impressed that there was an ice cream machine in the dorm. I bought a raspberry sundae ice cream pop, then watched one of the travellers show his photos from Mor0cco on the TV. Some of the researchers also helped me  get unlost when I attempted to hike the UAF trail system. My first mistake was  assuming that this was the correct trail.

NEVER attempt a trail which looks like this!

NEVER attempt a trail which looks like this!

This is Cotton Grass. It only grows where it is very wet!  I wound up throwing away my socks because they were crawling with unidentifiable  water bugs.  Then when I got to  next part I thought I was lost in space.



Had  I had stumbled on part of the High Frequency Auroral Research Project?  HAARP is more of an array of antennas. This is probably just to allow the Physical Education  Staff to enjoy Monday Night Football.  Luckily a researcher and her dog  jogged by just as I was beginning to be devoured by the mosquitoes in the the air and the bugs in my socks. Also it began to rain.  I got home and did not practice my dancing.

I took Irish dance, spoons and lilting with this fellow here.


Worth the money just to hear him talk, and talk he does

Worth the money just to hear him talk, and talk he does

Below  is a link to his profile as a performer/ teacher.

Funniest Dance teacher ever

The best thing about Niall is that he gets that some of the folks in his class are dancers and some are just out of their minds like me.  He kept encouraging me to “Just keep going in the same direction as the other girls.”   I had blisters on my toes but I did learn a routine even if I forget it now. He also had us doing  “The Walls of Limerick” which is  kind of what our gym teacher, Mrs Cero, taught us as square dancing. I was good at this  because of my elementary school training and  because I love doing things with partners.  Call me lonely and desperate but I was workin’ those Walls of Limerick.  We wound up dancing this with the Irish session musician class at The Hot Licks Ice Cream stand on College Ave.  We  grabbed a few tourists to make it work. It was so much fun that we did it  without the music afterwards so they could get a video.  I had  Arctic Slope Berry Snap ice cream which had bits of ginger snap in it. Awesome!

Here is what the dance is supposed to look like.


We looked a bit less Irish than them.


Have you ever wondered how people play the spoons? Probably not.   Did you know that keeping a “bicycle” (jig) or “motorcycle” (reel) beat is quite fast? Even better, we learned some fancy handwork and looked and sounded awfully funny.  I think the guy in the following video is a good example. He seems to be wearing some sort of official very tight spoon pants.

Then there’s the lilting or “diddle-dee-dee ‘ing”

You can learn some lilting tricks but when it comes down to it you have to kind of make up the words each time, although it’s good to know where a diddley, doodley. or such might fit in best.   It helps if you know the tune. I loved how Niall told us you wind up saying “Die” a lot so you might want to change it a bit so it doesn’t get too morbid.


I learned some stuff, had lots of laughs, sweated my arse off in a hot dance studio then slept in a single bed on the eighth floor  locking my room when I went to the bathroom just like I used to do when I was seventeen.  You can do it too. They have the festival every year.

Don't worry if it rains, you'll be dancing!

Don’t worry if it rains, you’ll be dancing!






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