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Alaska earns title “Most Delusional State”

Perhaps you saw this article in The Huffington Post or USA Today.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/19/well-being-index-alaska_n_6706222.html

We made it – We are clearly the most un-empathetic, self involved state in the Union! In a time of racial conflict, economic repression, religious and military turmoil, we Alaskans are giddy with our finances and well being.  I bet  the poll numbers in Dubai are high up there on self satisfaction as well.

Who answers these surveys? People who think Game of Thrones is a reality show?  Are our ridiculously high sexual assault rates or our nationally highest rate of fetal alcohol syndrome disorders the particular Alaska trends they are ignoring? Perhaps it’s because everyone who answered was drunk or high?

I acknowledge that happiness is not my strong point. Maybe people here are overjoyed to be moving into the Twentieth Century while the rest of the world sails into the Twenty First. We have finally given up the right to discriminate against gay marriage although I watched a Lisa Murkowski video on The occasion of Black History month where she  bragged about our being twenty or so years ahead of the country in getting rid of Jim Crow laws.  I note that one can get rid of laws but that prejudice against Native peoples still thrives.

Seasonal affective disorder layered on top of depression is not a burden I alone bear.  Many people at this latitude have been bemoaning low gas prices and the lack of snow this winter which would seem to other more sane states to be an upside down attitude. If you love to make money out of people by overcharging for oil, by all means, you belong here. If you want to ski, move to somewhere it snows like Virginia.

I agree that some people in Alaska are pretty happy with themselves. We have jobs to pay for our extraordinarily high health insurance and plenty of wilderness to roam in. But bring up the subject of Federal Government oversight and you might have to call an ambulance to stop these same folks from choking on their own bile/oil.

Do I begrudge the happy Alaskans? I’ve tried not to be one of those awful people who say, “If you’re not angry, you’re not listening.”  I just don’t think that the kind of happiness we have in Alaska is sustainable. As long as the economy is good, we are happy. That’s not real happiness. It’s the bliss of the overfed, extreme sport loving not quite deep thinker. It’s a self righteous, young and entitled kind of bliss. Even if you look and feel old you can have it by thinking that you earned it by being rough, tough, individualistic and perhaps white.  I encourage you to try it. It seems to work well for certain political parties.

Anyway come visit Alaska and see if any of our wacky happiness rubs off.  We’ll share our amusing stories about shooting and eating wild animals, overcoming the elements and hope that you don’t notice that we bulk shop at Costco and Sam’s. We have an image to maintain. Notice it’s never raining in our brochures. Don’t believe everything in print, including this. It isn’t all that bad.  I’m just jealous.

A reason to celebrate –  I feel something thus I must still be alive..

Global warming update – winter griping finally starts in Anchorage, AK!

suzy

It’s all Anchorage can talk about – Snow! Temperatures near 0 degrees Fahrenheit!  It’s been a long grey fall up here. I used my superpowers to help encourage the weather  by purchasing a lovely spring dress online yesterday. Contrary to all logic, it actually shipped within 24 hours. Now I can wear it while I shovel.

If you’ve never lived in Alaska, you may not be aware that many online companies refuse to ship here, as if we were not part of the United States. It’s even funnier when they  claim they only serve  “the Continental U. S.”  They mean the “Contiguous U.S.” but then I’m  not sure there are any more than 700,000 other people who care about this and not many of them buy from Tall Girls catalogs.

There are also a good many companies who for a $10.95 order will charge $45 in shipping fees.  On the other hand, Alaskans all get a free checked bag on Alaska Airlines. At least they used to. I haven’t flown them for awhile because they are pretty expensive.

But enough complaining. Almost enough. I paid $7.98 for strawberries today. I didn’t have to buy them but I was bringing a treat into work and I thought I should have something for the gluten free folks.  I admit I get paid much more than I would if I worked in the lower 48 but you can see how it evens out. I spend more money on antidepressants and chocolate due to the lack of light. I almost had to go with The Affordable Health Care Act which had arranged a nice fee of $750 a month for  mid-range insurance but I got a job.  I had an insurance plan a couple of years ago which offered the benefit of paying for the flight and any surgery in Seattle rather having it performed in Anchorage. It was just too damn expensive for them to pay for it up here. Also you got paid airfare for a caretaker of your choice and a weeks stay at a hotel for them.

Some people believe that only the worst health care providers end up in Alaska. As someone who works in a health like profession I say NO! Some of us are at least mediocre!  I actually strive for mediocrity as that keeps my ego in check. I know that there are plenty of people better at what I do and often wonder if I should choose another profession to be mediocre in.  But life is not all about work. I am exceptional at making brownies, making people laugh and complaining so I really should be grateful.

On that note I’m going to stop worrying about my sore throat, the results of my HSV test, my increased ability to see the negative in people, places and things. Instead I will bake the peanut butter brownie mix I bought to deal with such emergencies and watch for the first flakes of winter. Hah, flakes of winter – that would be me!

Holiday Adventures with Anxiety Woman!

Let’s start with my holiday party for which I had lowered my expectations and bought only food I would be able to eat should the world be too busy to attend. My roommate surprised me by buying a real tree and decorating it from the listing fake mini tree with the broken base containing landfill from a distant Chinese province. Then he ate some day old sushi, (marked half off) and began a race for his life to and from our only bathroom.

I could have cancelled the party but it was a caroling party meaning we would only be here a half hour and then hit the streets. Only about 6 people had RSVP’ed so  as long as they didn’t have to go to the bathroom I figured it would be okay. By 7:15 pm I had close to 50 people in my living room and kitchen, this number includes the children and the two dogs with antlers. I knew about 6 of them.  I built an event on the “Nextdoor” social networking site and they came! I got to know which of my neighbors could sing and who was okay with the food poisoning thing.

We got out of the house pretty fast and decided that whoever knew someone was home in a nearby house could pick the song and knock on the door.  We saw some people peek out their windows and hide. Was that you? I thought so!

We did this for a couple of hours, which due to the warm weather we’ve been having in Anchorage is how long it took for us to begin to get cold.  Here is a bad photo of what anarchist caroling looks like.

It was too cold for the drum to make any sound

It was too cold for the drum to make any sound but the bells jingled and the Turkish Delight flowed.

We had many leftovers which sat out on Miss Havisham’s table until today (New Years). One reason is that the food poisoning of my roommate turned out not to be food poisoning. I deduced this  in the midst of a spaghetti dinner with home made sauce at a friend’s house. It tasted so good but I felt a little dizzy and could not feel anything landing in my stomach which was an unseen  broiling ocean of bacteria. After 3 trips to the bathroom and a pit stop at the grocery store I settled into 8 hours of stomach/bowel illness sharing the bathroom in tandem with my roommate. Thank goodness the 3rd roommate did not move in until today!  One thing I learned is that spaghetti has the opportunity to strangle you when coming up in an undigested state. Don’t let it!

Other than not being able to eat for Christmas I received several lovely gifts and bought many for myself. As an adult  I practice this as a resentment prevention tool. It was not necessary this year as I received lots of chocolate and the world’s most delicious caramels which all got eaten in one sitting after a combined 30 lbs were safely shed by myself and my partner in unintentional weight loss.

My roommate also gave me a card calling me “the best roommate ever”! That’s a keeper. I think I deserve it even if he doesn’t know I had to use a chamber pot during one of his bathroom occupations.

But enough of that. Here is our lovely tree.

note the red and white theme and how symmetrical  it is, unlike me.

note the red and white theme and how symmetrical it is, unlike me.

I had to work between Christmas and New Years but here is a food based image from on The Joint Base. I don’t think I’m supposed to take photos but  maybe this one is okay. All of the buildings look the same anyway.

Alaska noodle house!

Alaska noodle house!

I went to a New Year’s Eve party where I got to yell “CRAP!” many times which was fun for me even though there was nothing close to being Scottish involved and my illness was completely healed.

I visited the light display downtown several times. It’s made of recycled holiday lights from other decades. Great way to say goodbye to the old year which contained several entertaining jobs, unpleasant dating experiences, fun with family and learning the spoons. No idea what this year will bring.Not that this makes me anxious. Happy New Year!

Goodbye to the old year!

Goodbye to the old year!

Holiday Presidential Tribute

Sure it’s not synched right and it’s been done before but it’s goofy and up to date. Happy Holidays all!

Merry eccentric Christmas

I live in a house with a chain link fence. This has  influenced the way I live my life. There are no pretenses behind chain link. My neighborhood is home to many duplex apartments which are identical in design. None of us are rich, all of us put some effort but very little money into decorating our yards.

I focused on my fence this year because it is so unpretentious,  so un-white picket, like me.  I don’t know why I’ve made the choices I’ve made. I don’t own a house, have kids or a spouse. I don’t even own a cat which is really surprising for a woman who spent many years working in libraries. The fence is a homely scaffolding for my approximation of holiday cheer.  The decorating process was quick but fun. It doesn’t require computer synchronization or air blowers although some food coloring and balloons to create the ice globes. Also bleach wipes to clean up the mess from trying to tie up spurting crazy colored water balloons.

Away in a manger, a planter for his bed

Away in a manger, a planter for his bed

There are planters on each side with …. Angels!

A big old fluffy angel from the second hand store looking over my house

A big old fluffy angel from the second hand store looking over my house

christmas on w 19th - 7

Not really an angel  but shiny!

My Christmas wishes hanging on the fence

My Christmas wishes hanging on the fence

Snow globes!

Snow globes!

When balloons backfire

When balloons backfire

Merry eccentric Christmas to you!

How not to let Winter in Alaska DESTROY you!

I’ve lived in Anchorage for 14 winters but I lived in New England for 25 winters so this is not news  I have depression and anxiety which becomes worse in the cold and dark.  I was up last night with insomnia and counted off the times I almost got beaten by the beast. I’m writing this to remind myself that I can make it through and so can you. Please assist me by adding your ideas in the comments.

1. Stop trying to WORK so hard!  Tis the season for good cheer. No one wants to have their attendance record and productivity listed on their gravestone. Hell, they don’t even give out gold watches for that stuff anymore. People tend to like relaxed people. Even bosses don’t want more worries.One good deed or interaction a day is worth more than 20 desperate panicked ones. But I can use the panicked ones as fodder for my blog. Go slowly and in peace, although a good holler is healthy when slipping on the ice. In the spirit of Christmas, I just bought a shirt with this logo online.

Calmness - good! Humor - more likely!

Calmness – good!
Humor – more likely!

2. It is not all in my control!  Did you know that cold weather makes our muscles clench? This in turn makes us warmer but if we are already kind of a tight ass this can make us even less flexible physically and emotionally.  I trip and fall in all seasons because I’m rushing around. I bounce more in the warm weather.  I’m more brittle, like rubber and plastic are, in the cold.  I could wear more padding. Accepting the sense of it makes me feel that no matter how many yoga classes I am advised to take, it’s in the nature of things.  Please don’t tell me to relax! Help me to relax by telling me a funny story or giving me the gift of kindness.

Increased hours of darkness make leaves fall from trees and animals hibernate. Before the electric light, many of us  would not been able to live the lives we live, let alone do the work we do. We would have depended upon daylight.  The few things I do accomplish each day are part of an electric miracle. Any work done under the influence of electricity counts as overtime!

Are you sure they don't interfere with sleep?

Are you sure they don’t interfere with sleep?

3.  Eat! Get out! DO NOT SKIP LUNCH OR EAT AT DESK IN ORDER TO LEAVE EARLY!  It’s still going to be dark when I leave no matter what I do.  I have to get out at lunch in order to get my vitamin D. I do this in the summer as well.  I may have a walk or a jog but I’m not going to eat at my desk.  Everyday I get vacation time before work, at lunch and after work.  I’m the queen of delayed gratification (work through lunch for early departure)  but in doing so I spend the last couple of hours at work in a state of resentment, too tired and hungry to get anything done.  I can go for a short jog and eat snacks all day if I want but somehow I feel that should work the way everyone else does, or looks like they do. I’m sure they spend more time on their cell phones than I do because I don’t know how to work mine. Live a life of abundance. There will always be work left for tomorrow!

If this is what abundance looks like I'm not sure I can handle it.

If this is what abundance looks like I’m not sure I can handle it.

Some less philosophical advice. Go to every party  to which you are invited. (except ones which cost money). Bring food, eat food, dance, sing.  Get out at least once a week with friends, preferably twice. Read and write. Only watch television on Sunday nights when The Good Wife and Madame Secretary are on and maybe Thursdays when Mom and Elementary have new episodes.  Most of the problems of the world are not going to be solved by me but I can work on the ones that are made by me. Have a good holiday season and  remind me to post at least once a week this winter, for my own health!

Living on The Dark Side

A few photos to illustrate my mood:

I've got a growth!

It’s not a bush, it’s a growth Buddy.

Welcome to your doom

Welcome to our final restroom

Yes, Halloween is gone but I have two new jobs starting in the next couple of weeks and an impending sense of doom. I had a scary actor dream last night where I didn’t know my lines and the play was cancelled because of me.  I’m feeling most inadequate at getting all the prep work done for employment.  Every time I think I’m done with the paperwork there’s another bale of it.  I should be excited. Instead I’ve started reading Holocaust literature again.

It would help if there was snow. Alaskan winter nights without snow are desolate. Nobody comes to rob your house or is screaming in the street.   I went running tonight with my little headlamp and my reflective winter hat.  It’s warmer running outdoors than sitting in my house.  We keep the heat at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  My sister told me we should bubble wrap our windows to keep the heat in. It sounds like there would be much postal tape involved and I would make a mess of it.  It’s pretty convenient just to sit under the covers and mope or swear at some form I’m trying to fill out.

I attempted to make business cards today.  You make them 10 to a page then print them out on this cute little paper with 10 cutouts. Unfortunately, I backspaced and one of the cards disappeared, then three more lost their photos. Perhaps God is telling me to replace the cute little photo with a skull and crossbones.

I got a new smart phone because I thought it would help me feel professional. I keep stabbing it with my finger to make it do something. Today I dialed my landlord by mistake. He thought it was funny because I usually only call to tell him something is wrong. i pretended everything was okay.

So don’t go and worry about me. If my paperwork is incomplete so I can’t work tomorrow I will make fudge instead.  Even if I do work I can make fudge later.  I can also wear my annoying orange costume from the Halloween store to keep me warm.

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