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Top 10 Reasons we’re excited that Obama is visiting Anchorage, AK!

Note the casual poses of the secret service to the left.

Note the casual poses of the secret service to the left.

10  .Pat Benatar cancelled at the State Fair. Obama, in some ways, makes up for this incredible loss. Maybe he will sing a little something.

9.    Michelle! The only things we really have to eat here are cabbage, kale and salmon. I think she’ll like it.  If she doesn’t come it will be a little sad as no one here ever wears a dress.

8.  He will feel right at home as our Independent Governor is being sued by our Republican Legislature for trying to expand Medicaid.

7.  We need the tourists to stop looking for Sarah Palin.

6.  He could be filming the first episode his new reality TV show – “Guess what state I’m going to live in after I finish being President? ”

5.  Two hundred people showed up to see Rand Paul yesterday. I think Obama can get at least half that.

4.  He can almost see his old home in Hawaii from the Aleutian Islands.

3.  Downtown Anchorage now looks like a movie set, at least before the bars get out.

2.  He can personally observe how the heated fury of Don Young  has single-handedly melted the glaciers.

I want to be happy and you can be happy if you are free to have a gun!!

I want to be happy and you can be happy if you are free to have a gun!!

1. Secret Service guys are cute in a sneaky sort of way.

secret service

Welcome my ideal reader you sorry bastard!

You could be doing so many better things than reading this. Perhaps you are thinking, as I often do when I read other people’s blogs – Bullshit! or if you are more the polite sort – I can write better than this piece of crap if I only had time between handfuls of Brookside Farms fake chocolate covered fruit bits!

I am hungry, apoplectic, lachrymose and timid. (HALT). I can’t speak for all my readers but I trust many of you are as well.  I take responsibility for my judgmental, vindictive feelings knowing that they come not from you or your blog where you rant about how unhealthy foods can kill you. These emotions spring from my genetic code and my desire to overdo things.They began way before I met you and will continue on no doubt through many medication regimens.

It is not about the food.  It’s not about Planned Parenthood. It’s not about cell phone radiation nor is it about mean people or fluoride in the water. This blog is actually about mental health and mental illness. These are diseases which happen to people no matter how much or little sugar they eat or whether or not they get an abortion.

Did I ever tell you about the psychic I visited in L.A?  I was miserable. She looked at all my Irish freckles and tears and  said, “Tell me about the abortion.” I almost punched her. My mother had died, my boyfriend was drinking too much, I had no job and had just moved across the country away from everyone I knew but him. I thought these were my problems. What an idiot she was. I know now that I was also just as much in the dark.  I didn’t know how long it took to grieve or that I had started to worry about someone else’s drinking in order not to focus on my own problems.  What a chump! But I looked great in a bathing suit.

This blog is also about humor. I am not funny because I am depressed, I am not depressed because I am funny. I am lucky to be funny 1 percent of the time. I keep my expectations low so that I am a superstar!

Speaking of superstars. I tore down a poster yesterday. This is very unlike me. I am all for freedom of speech. It was a quote from Banksy. I am sure he is a fine person once you don’t get to know him.  The thought of someone tagging the trail that I live on  felt like someone wanted to build a strip club or a twelve story apartment tower without asking the neighbors, (ie me) because their own art was so damned important. What about my art? Moreover I was sick and I wanted to kick myself so I kicked the closest person who wouldn’t get their feelings hurt – Banksy.

In order to atone for my sin, here are some photos of Banksy’s art.  He does not usually charge money for his art which is refreshing in this day and age.  Enjoy!

Nordstram's Rack is opening Sept. 3rd!

Nordstrom Rack is opening Sept. 3rd!

I hope a laughing ryot is okay

I hope a laughing ryot is okay

Old Man River

Old Man River

I did not choose my blog’s name for dating purposes

If I had done so it might be a title which expressed heat instead of coldness, lust instead of desperation. I would have used a photo of The Love Boat instead of The Titanic.

The word Polarflares works for me on however many levels there are in a cruise ship.  I currently work in the cruise ship industry so let’s use a technical word and call them “decks.”  On the lowest deck of meaning, which might be called  literary steerage, we have the phenomena of solar flares. The more powerful the flares are, the more intense the displays of the Aurora Borealis or  Aurora Australis.  I live in Alaska. When I first moved here I would see The Northern Lights quite a bit.  Sometimes I just write about Alaska, The really low decks are where the crew lives, so if you read my blog just for the Alaska stuff, you are very important. I don’t think anyone really does. Except some lady from NPR who wanted me to add a photo of me being attacked by a moose to my biking post.  Most people read my blog because I am their friend or because they have a mental illness, or both.

Up one deck to economy class, The Northern Lights appear in cycles and I am also a cyclical person.I write about my moods to which I wish I could attribute some structure or cycle.   Actually The Northern lights are not really as predictable as people would like them to be and we are without their glory for long periods. Like inspiration, we’re just lucky to be there when they happen. This leads me to one of my favorite TV quotes about freedom, chaos and The Cold War.

prisonerI am not a number. I am a free man

Back to The 1st class deck.  “Polar” is a word that conjures up the extremes of weather.   “Flares” are emergency signals which might be confused for fireworks. Have you ever seen someone caught up in extreme anxiety? We act as if we’re gonna die but it’s actually all a matter of interpretation. I believe one can only die from anxiety if one acts on a stupid decision made when possessed by it.  To see the meaning in this it helps to be a poet or a therapist or once again, taking some kind of psychotropic medication.

Not to analyze this metaphor to death but I am someone who is prone to think and write about death. My grandparents ran a funeral home. Mostly I am curious as to how other people deal with adversity. Do I think that information will help me?  Perhaps, ruminating on that subject blog post after blog post will build an informational safety net?   Probably not. I am not extremely tough emotionally and only marginally tough physically although I could play tough on TV! That is why I found this lovely photo of The Titantic, mid sink, flares aloft, looking as if she was going to go down with a party going on. That’s how I want to go! There’s your Skydeck going down at the exclusively last moment with the band and free drinks!

The whole tag line here is to get across that this is also a humor blog. Humor is one of the heartiest remedies I know for depression, alienation and anxiety.  I feel powerful when I make people laugh. I have transformed terror into connection, hopefully without electrocuting anyone. One must remember who is in charge here. It isn’t me. If I try too hard, I sink. I must rely on that cosmic clown or God, as some of you might call him, who decided to sink the unsinkable ship.

It is hard work being funny, then again sometimes it comes out like honey. I have used humor to both amuse and alienate my friends, clients, co-workers and to distract that viciously unhappy child within.

So if you are looking for a title for your blog that is going to market your product well, don’t listen to me. My title means more to me than to anyone else. But then I’m the one who reads it the most.

Why am I here? Such a tiny question

From the famous depressive Charles M. Schulz:

“My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?”

I try not to begrudge myself happiness just because I don’t have anything to show for my day. Sometimes it helps to have paid the rent, to have made dinner or have gone to work. Today I was so ill that I found myself looking down at the ground as I was out walking. I saw some lovely clover. I was tempted to sit on the sidewalk of 15th Ave to see if I could find a four leafed one but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get up.  Usually I walk with too much speed to see the details of things but I suspect I still see much more than those who are driving. I guess I am like the clover in that I am just waiting for someone so sick and tired that they see me.

Don’t worry. I only have a sinus infection and laryngitis but  physical illness does kick depression into 1st gear. I know I blog for the same reason I perform theatre. I need not to disappear. This thought is fueled by an anxiety which takes the form of shocking chatter, inappropriate dancing and brightly colored fashions.

Some depressed people dress in black. I have silver hair and wrinkles so that is not an option. I think of myself as a long icicle.  I live in Alaska so I will not melt as quickly.  I am not the obvious depressed person, well maybe not completely obvious. I am counter-phobically  depressed. People tell me “don’t do, just be.” Thanks, but there are some of us who need to be outside in the sun and breeze just to survive. We also need to connect to others with some sort of feedback or we fall pray to fantasy lives which make Game of Thrones look like Gumby.

Blogging gives  me some positive feedback as well as perspective. In my head I am a funny, talented, beautiful woman with an amazing life ahead of her.  Then only two people like my post. No one responds to my clever profile on OurTime.com. I wind up so emotionally drained from being a therapist that I choose to count luggage at a hotel for my summer job. I know many things about luggage now and a little bit about hotels.  I am still learning about who I am each day and that I change as fast as America’s Top Models.

One day I think I might be good at HR. The next day I am thinking Substance Abuse work then Mediation.  I guess this happens to other people in their fifties. I am a reaction to my mother who felt herself defined by her children and at a loss to start finding herself outside of fashion, performing and crazy comments. Notice that in this case every action is followed by an equal and similar reaction. Really my challenge is to wait until more is revealed. That is the great thing about blogging. I never know how much I’m going to reveal until I’m done. It is a form of sleuthing that can be shared with others. Blogging is a cheap form of the essay, except the topic is always me, or what I notice and what that says about me!

Despite my moods. There are parts of myself which have been pretty stable through the years. I don’t trust being tied down …. yet, maybe never. This happens to some people who lose their parents early. It also happens to people with high anxiety and those who got mixed messages about taking care of themselves, like women. I have always used humor to transform my foul moods into something that passes as normal most times and as genius on a good day. I supplemented my college and graduate school degrees with Clown school and Comedy college. Going to school did not give me more knowledge really, just more confidence. I’ve heard it said that only the most anxious people go to grad school and I highly agree!

I am taking this weird course called Blogging 101 because I am supposed to be memorizing lines for a show but I don’t feel like it. I like my own lines better.  So I will be blogging more and I hope sneezing less. I am probably never going to be a neat, detail oriented blogger but I do pride myself on getting down to the essence of things. It’s not my job to write. I just show up and let God or whoever is in charge do the work.  That’s why I can never quite figure out why I’m here. Not God, barely human and full of mucus at that.

clover

My life as a snob

Yes, I am lonely at times but I will die with my unspoken standards held high.  We all have unreasonable expectations, some of us are just more unreasonable than others.  Let us speak of our discerning palate before we die of emotional hunger.

Humor

I would love to be a humor omnivore but alas I am not. I have been known to laugh at talking animals but that is an unhealthy weakness. Here is an example of the level of humor I would like my friends and I to share, were it possible, on a daily basis.

I will never be so funny.  Maybe I would if I were undead, or surrounded by like minded people or undead people. It is a shame to have such high standards. I don’t know what I would do if a person did not find this film funny. I might shed a tear at their shallow sensitivities and allow for their simple delight in Transformers. I might have to move very far away from them before I barfed.

I also find comedy that addresses racial and political issues funny as long as it is not on a fake news show. Please stop this trite setup. I know it is a money maker which is loved by millions as was Mad Magazine and The Three Stooges. I confess that this dislike might arise because I would prefer anyone but a white man to deliver my comedy. Now my prejudices are revealed and my advice will be discredited and discarded. Oops, it almost always is anyway.

Dessert

I hate boxed brownie mix. It’s the Pringles of dessert.  I have met brownies that were overpriced, salty, gritty, hard and then there are the unfathomable “cake like” brownies.  No one loves a hybrid. Eat cake if you want cake!  There are many good brownies in Anchorage. George and Deb at Side Street Café have a good gluten free one. If you want to be sure of quality I instruct you to look for The Illusions label. Illusions is a wholesale bakery in Spenard which sells the highest quality of moist brownie-ness to retailers in the Anchorage area.

So you don’t live in Anchorage? How about this?

It was enormous!

It was enormous!

This I had in Paris. I shared it with my sister but just barely.  Giant raspberry macarons have not hit Alaska yet but there are many ripe berries poking out in the alley up the street from me. They are fair game as far as I am concerned. Raspberries look like little crowns because they are the king of berries. Strawberries and blueberries are so weirdly large and bland when cultivated. I suppose fresh home grown ones are okay. Even a frozen raspberry is a gift from God. If you doubt what I say, visit The Holocaust Memorial in Boston where you will find this.

A tribute to love and to life

A tribute to love and to life

and to a raspberry.

I don’t care for dark chocolate. I am not that kind of a snob. I am a shaky snob and the higher the cacao content, the more I shake and the less I sleep. I don’t like coffee for the same reason. Drink whatever beer you want. I do not judge as it means nothing to me.

Writing

I enjoy the occasional Viking in Ireland novel or Icelandic murder mystery but really one can not beat existential or post-apocalyptic fiction. I can not fathom why The Road was an Oprah’s book club choice. Was she high? I don’t believe Oprah and I read the same books.  She may have some choices that were not necessarily mass marketed. We may actually have more in common than our love of bright colors and lack of desire for matrimony.

I do not like fancy decorative writing about birds or the desert. I want something that is less fine and detailed, something that has character not bouquet.  I may have a mediocre mind but I want to see some angst sans literary musings on anything less than the suffering of humanity. Do not try to uplift me with your American Sniper or your Unbroken heroes.  They are just that, heroes. I want to hear about you and me and the other broken snobs of the world.  That should be my new name for a book club.

Theatre 

I get lonelier by the minute. I like theatre, but I can’t see plays for which I auditioned  and did not get cast. Sorry, I am an actor and I am insane.  I have given up on  ever seeing Wicked but still embrace the possibility of seeing Hamilton. As a mediocre actor, I am accepting of mediocre acting. I can not stand poor direction.  I figure a good cook should be able to produce a good meal even If they have slightly withered produce or a tough piece of meat. If you put yourself in charge then don’t blame the vegetables! I do not care to see Arsenic and Old Lace again or even hear its name spoken, please.

Music

I prefer popular music that is not about love. I despise love unless it is broken. I am single. I like broken people. I don’t trust unbroken ones. But I repeat myself. I like happy songs as long as the people aren’t in love. If you like love songs, I look down on you. You believe in magic and probably have visited Disneyland. I will not. I am a vampire who can not tolerate the sun and has many roommates. We have turned away from and are turned away from Disneyland.  These people I live with are men. They  force me at times to listen to their musical choices which I can not fathom without a shot of testosterone to ease the translation. They let their musical tastes define them. I let my distaste for all define me. I embrace diversity of taste only because I find it  so entertaining and challenging. I like real drag queens but I can not enjoy The Rocky Horror Picture Show no matter how hard I try. Its sad. They have auditions so often.

I’m sure you’re a snob about something if not about everything like I am. Let me know in the comments so I can laugh with/at you.

My toe demands a chocolate donut and other distressing thoughts about luggage

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I ran over my little toe with a full luggage cart. The cart was running away from me towards the busy street and I slowed it with my shoe at the expense of a very angry toe. That was over a week ago. Ever since then I’ve been dreaming of donuts. Last night I was in a big homeless shelter/visitors center where hundreds of delicious donuts had been donated. Because it was a dream I was, as usual, anxious, not being homeless or a tourist, I was not sure I was entitled to but still craved a donut.  I don’t buy donuts in Alaska. When around Boston I am compelled to as there is nothing more Bostonian than to be seen with a Dunkin Donuts bag. Anyone can wear a Red Sox hat, but the true Bostonian buys a donut at the airport to rekindle the accent and the attitude.

I am in love with luggage carts. The ones we use at The Captain Cook Hotel are brass and can carry about 15 bags max. I feel like I am in another century when I roll down the tile floors and out to the motor coach.  Like library carts, they have a preferred direction of motion which I have just figured out in my second summer here.  If you have ever tipped a full library cart or a luggage cart in an elevator, you know of which I speak.  Do not F* with the preferred direction! For those of you using one for the first time, make sure the wheel with the support at 45 degrees is in the front!

It is not clear on this cart which way is front or back so prepare for one hell of a ride

It is not clear on this cart which way is front or back so prepare for one hell of a ride

To accommodate my angry toe, I ate some chocolate and bought new shoes. They are incredibly boat-like and comfortable, basically Birkenstocks but not quite as hippy.  They were not in my salary range as a summer worker but I figure that I will wear them when I get another job as a therapist, God willing.  It is a dork’s shoe and I am a big dork. I work moving luggage and getting people from one place to another. I would have been a good shepherd.  I am not particularly religious like the lady who  turned her key in the other day. She said she could not stay in a room numbered “666”. I wonder what she thinks people do in the other hotel room beds?

Makes your foot look very big and feel very good!

Makes your foot look very big and feel very good!

I love working with people but forgive me if I posit that luggage is a mirror of the soul. So many people are afraid of identity theft that they are not putting any kind of identification save maybe a ribbon on their luggage. Here’s a hint:  It will not follow you without a name.  Maybe it will follow in your general direction as I am aware that you are amongst a group going to a certain hotel. But it will not be in your room. It will be sitting somewhere where someone can look up your identity!

Just tell us your name. If your name is John Smith, I feel your pain. Your luggage will always go to someone else. Sorry. Just carry it with you. Same with Jose Garcia and Jung Lee.  Even if you have a zebra striped bag you are doomed because although you recognize it as yours, we don’t if it doesn’t have a name on it.  What kind of person doesn’t put their name on their luggage? A person without faith in humanity? A person with so much anxiety that they believe their luggage must go under cover? A person so narcissistic that they believe their luggage is special? A person who doesn’t think ahead to realize we might be more inclined to open it up than other luggage in order to find out whose it is? Really, most of you have more stuff in your bag than owned in total by people in other countries. Consider your luggage a potential gift to a stranger or an opportunity to purchase new, better clothing. Get the travel insurance if you need to but put your name on the bags!

Some people write their name in big fluorescent letters across the top. I like that. Some have funny tags which read, ” This luggage belongs to the guy standing behind you!” I would prefer a tag  reading, “Choose again, no booze in here.” or “All clothes contained within are not necessarily clean nor odor free.”   Here is my favorite one:

Thank God, Bones!

Thank God, Bones!

Let’s talk about those fancy hard shelled bags. Do you think a hard boiled egg is going to look much better than a cooked one when handled roughly? Not really.  The only other rule I have for luggage is “Don’t put your baby in the bag.”  If your computer is your baby, or your wedding ring or your bottle of champagne, CARRY IT ON!  In reality a cardboard box would work just as well and be recyclable. All luggage breaks down eventually. The little handles are quite spindly. The wheels are not really industrial, you could not skate on them. The heavier you pack, the harder it is going to land on a truck.  When you freak out about luggage that has not arrived, we empathize. It has happened to every person who has ever travelled to Alaska, myself included. Your crying will not get it here faster because as humans that makes us nervous and then we make more mistakes! Go have a drink with someone who carried their booze on with them and let us sort it out logically.

I am a little jealous of pretty luggage. Some bags look like a tardis. Yesterday I saw two matching pink leather bags with rhinestones.  I could choose someone to date by their luggage. Ideally it would be very small with a funny tag on it and of course their name.  Perhaps it would also have a Dunkin Donuts sticker.

Thank God that’s over with – Farewell to Solstice and Father’s Day

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Did you go to the big Summer Solstice Celebration in Anchorage? It was brilliant. Free barbeque with coconut/lime macadamia  cupcakes from the Captain Cook and a Kayak pool brought in more than a thousand people. I enjoy a good party but alas I also have a mood disorder which does not respond well to vast fluctuations of light and dark. So as I found myself weeping uncontrollably for the better half of the day, I also had some fun.

Father’s day followed with an emotional hangover  which did not benefit from my attendance at a free herb walk. Said walk  involved no walking, just endless standing, actual tree hugging and a diatribe about dandelion root as the new/old cure for cancer. Meanwhile the mosquitoes feasted and I found the proportion of spiritual to scientific information upsetting to my stomach.  I should have gone to see the re-release of Jaws.

Father’s Day used to upset me because I didn’t know my father that well and no one likes to speak ill of the dead. Now it upsets me because it seems everyone’s father is dead. Facebook is filled with tributes. I am sad for everyone. These dads were so strong and full of life even if  they did drink too much or vote for Nixon. The overwhelming message is that we are next. Even the vegan must die. This is another way I know I am in a bit of a depressive cycle, by counting the times I reference death in each post. Does wanting to go see Jaws count?

On a brighter note here are some photos from The solstice. I love hats. The opera association brought out some of their costumes to try on in order to induce folks to order season tickets. I intended to order them but the line was so long for the barbeque that I never got back there. I do however have some lovely memories.

My best Captain Cook imitation or the very model of a less modern, eaten, admiral.

My best Captain Cook imitation or the very model of a less modern, eaten, admiral.

The opera is not doing HMS Pinafore this year but The Mikado instead. Anyone from grade school interested in coming up to Alaska to attend? We can go in costume and sing along.

I'm going to play the ponies, it's in my blood!

I’m going to play the ponies, it’s in my blood! Note the Captain Cook hotel in the background.

Even though I was having fun before my crying jag. This is what lay underneath.

I am crazy insane with all this light! Stop me before I burst into tears.

I am crazy insane with all this light! Stop me before I burst into tears.

I did not spontaneously combust into tears. Other people were exploding and I just caught on fire. Unfortunately, the way my brain works I can not self smother, even with the many medications I faithfully ingest.  It takes more time than the usual human for me to calm down. It’s not that I don’t know how to “self-soothe”. I just have a very acid chemical bath inside my skull and I need time for it to neutralize.  Some people are fine right after a conflict or an exciting adventure. I need time to recover just like a deer in the headlights.  Remember how long it took to recover from your first romantic break-up? It took me about  six months. I’m doing better than that now.  My father was similar. Once he got heated up it was difficult for him to calm down so he would take off. Most of the time his destination was the American Legion. He walked lots! Not such a bad idea sometimes. He and I are/were mostly string and bone.

Some people mourn the passing of the solstice as the days are getting shorter. I can’t imagine focusing on the loss of a few minutes a day when we have such an abundance of summer left.  Here is a view from Cuddy Park in midtown. Note that the mountains have very little snow since Boston stole all of ours this winter.

Mountains of flowers, with snowless mountains

Mountains of flowers, with snow -less mountains

The carnival is still in town. When I went to investigate the rides I was repelled  by the smell of rancid grease. I can still smell it hours later. Perhaps my nose is getting as sensitive as my brain.  That’s not going to work when  I go to the bathroom several times a day. I suppose I can try a mantra like ” My SH*T smells like roses.”  Wish me luck.

Can you smell it from here?

Can you smell it from here?

Happy/sad Solstice & Father’s Day

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