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Season’s Greetings from Quake Town U.S.A

I propose that Anchorage, Alaska change its name to Quake Town, U . S. A. Our current slogan is “Big, Wild, Life.”  In truth, “Big Moose/Many Gift Shoppes” would be more appropriate. “Quake Town” would capture the peril and uncertainty which most adventure travelers are seeking. Could we meet their expectations? If we have learned anything from the last earthquake I would say YES!  We could provide certificates authenticating quakes which occurred during your visit, conduct bracing earthquake drills at each hotel. auction off broken dinnerware or create desserts of ice cream with broken pieces of chocolate bark to illustrate the effects of seismic upheaval.

Perhaps this appeals to me because it is late and I can’t sleep, not because of earthquakes but because it is nearing the winter solstice.  My mind and body struggle to keep up with the increasing loss of daylight and the greyness of global warming. Yet I persist in attempting to create Christmas cheer. Behold my new lawn display:

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These exquisite creatures arrived in my driveway anonymously last week in response to my post searching for a light up snowman. Now that is the true holiday spirit! I did not know I needed penguins but now that there are three people living here and a need for both humor and earthquake detection I am convinced that there is a God.  I am the tipped over one. The sheet over the chairs is supposed to be a glacier since they looked a bit sad in the globally warmed greenery of my yard.  Here is a photo of them on active alert – triggered by the motion sensor I have them plugged into!

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I also have a special aftershock detector installed in my bedroom which allows me to travel in time to a place of aliens, Time Lords and Daleks where earthquakes are the least of my worries.

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This suspended Tardis, also a gift, responds to settling tremors by absorbing the energy waves and swaying peacefully to transport my consciousness to another level. I enjoy the new Doctor very much and continued to be surprised how the writers get me to cry at the end of almost every episode.

I have tried some not so successful methods of cheering myself such as commenting on controversial posts on the internet. I do not advocate this unless you just want to wish them “Merry Christmas.” This is what I will be doing from now on so that when I receive emails telling me to “Shut up!” I will assume I have offended their religious beliefs and will apologize profusely instead of continuing an argument.

Also I attempted to make a holiday skirt out of a Christmas tree skirt which is now lying crumpled on my bedroom carpet.IMG_20181204_211620608

Although my waist is closer to 30 inches than 34, I cut the hole in the center to the latter dimension so that the skirt would hang longer and thus created a cascade of unraveling destruction. I may try to use my mini sewing machine to reconstruct the damage much as one might do after an earthquake.

Alas another fail, I attended a party yesterday and in my unbridled enthusiasm ate a wide variety of delicious foods, ignoring my previous experiences only to soil myself on the way home. Too much information?  May you all grow old a bit more graceful than I!

Here are a couple of more successful attempts at cheer.

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My new hat has met with nothing but compliments. $6 at Walmart well spent. I also purchased an outfit for my car which is modest but effective.car

I hope this will bring cheer to little children and those who are children at heart as they see it parked on the icy streets of Anchorage. ’til we meet again, take it one quake at a time!

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Anxiety woman survives Anchorage Earthquake!

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Feeling a bit tipsy in Anchorage

 

I love crazy weather. Earthquakes are not really weather but they are crazy or rather they make people crazy. Most everyone in Anchorage got a shot of adrenaline yesterday at 8:30 am . If you’ve never been in an earthquake it’s like a car hit your house. But then said car, or other cars behind it, randomly ram your house numerous times during that day and evening.  Just for the record, “numerous” means  about 1000 earthquakes between 8:30 am yesterday morning and 6 pm tonight in the Anchorage area. I felt about 25 of them and at least one more after 6 pm tonight. You might think it would get boring after awhile. It does not.  I still find it humorous that at 2 am I can hear my roommate shout, “ENOUGH!”, from the other room.

I made the beginners error of trying to go to work immediately after,  (making sure my house didn’t smell like farts, and picking up my television then deciding to put it back on the floor in case there was another trembler.)  Clueless me joined the frantic but polite crowd attempting to go to work, get home from work,  to pick up kids from school,  as well as those out to check other properties for damage or to buy items necessary for the End Times.

I spent an hour stuck in traffic several blocks from my house before I heard on the radio that the highway was blocked by rocks in one direction and a broken bridge in the other. Main  roads were clogged to the max by clumps of hair like myself. It’s ten mile across town to work so I parked the car and walked home to change the tires on my bike to studs. Why be part of the problem when I can be part of the solution? I’m not an essential worker but I work at a nursing home which was bound to have a number of chachkis to clean up and residents in need of cheerful diversion. Cleaning and clowning are my specialties.

A tsunami warning went out which everyone ignored except out of state visitors who could not be expected to know that Cook Inlet is not the ocean. The roads emptied out by noon after authorities encouraged all to “shelter in place” so that infrastructure could be assessed. I packed an overnight bag including my antidepressants and anxiety meds just in case I didn’t make it back home. I wound up putting the bike in the car, just in case. I could be swallowed up by a sink hole or  be asked to stay for several days  which I would do because I have always wanted to save the world. When I finally arrived at work the building was a bit cold, considering how sweltering nursing homes usually are.  The kitchen was also down do to gas being checked. The saving grace was no computer access! I love improvising so I went about my work as usual but added a pantomime of grabbing the walls and swaying as I entered each room.

I began to understand what Donald Trump has been saying about the media. First off, I agree that when he points his finger, four others point back at him.  Also I will say that KFQD 750 AM, the radio station, was outstanding in taking calls and pointing out fake news. When people suggested that a giant aftershock was predicted at 4:35 pm or that free food and gas was being given away DJ’s hung up chanting, “SAVE IT FOR FACEBOOK!” They are my heroes.

Unfortunately the television was not set on the music station in the resident courts. Instead everyone was quakefully watching the not-quite-a disaster broadcasts. The  Anchorage media, perhaps unwittingly, fomented terror in folks by repeatedly showing the same broken bridge, rockslide and sinkhole as if Anchorage was besieged.  There was some crying, some people wanting to go home to check on loved ones. I’m sure viewers who lived far away  or who were prone to panic felt the same. A jaundiced eye could discern the same bridge shown an average of 20 times an hour with a shockingly similar car stuck on a slab , also a familiar looking boulder tumbled in the center of the highway showcased every 5 minutes.  To what purpose was this? It felt like The World Trade Centers being shown every five minutes on 9/11 only no one died here.  The information age does not mean that information sharing has matured. Television, like most adolescent corporations, sells fearful images instead of responsible information to aid in calming the public.

I know that when I’m anxious, I’ve shared stories without knowing all the facts. I expect these announcers were doing their best with their serious faces and recurring images.  It made me laugh though when I first moved to Alaska that there would be teasers for the evening news – ” Car crash on Lake Otis. Man breaks leg, more at 6 pm.”  We are a small town at heart so almost anything is big news including books falling off shelves.

After work this evening, I stopped by Best Buy to look for a particular Christmas video.  A small note on the door indicated that they will be closed until Monday in order to pick up and inventory damages.  This seems fair. What didn’t seem fair was that it was 47 degrees in December in Anchorage with winds gusting 45 MPH and the plastic carts from Target were zooming across the icy parking lot chasing people and crashing into vehicles.    I imagined my roommate yelling, “Enough again!” and I smiled.

 

 

Anxiety Woman goes to a Gun Show

I was driving to the hardware store this morning to buy a timer for my new “Let it Snow” holiday lights when I passed a sign for a gun show. I have NEVER wanted to go to a gun show until now. I had a few reasons

  1. I read Paul Theroux’s Deep South earlier this year. In it, he visits numerous gun shows to uncover parts of Southern culture with which he was unfamiliar.  I thought I might learn something about Alaska.
  2. There are many men at gun shows!
  3. I’ll try anything once.

This particular show was being held in the common room of a Catholic High School. I was not the only one who thought this strange. Everyone in the parking lot marched in the wrong direction to the church hall thinking- no it won’t be in the high school, but we were wrong. I guess The Catholic Education system needs all the friends and money they can get.

I was only slightly shaky going in, as if people could read my mind. They can sometimes read my hands so I kept them behind my back, like I was visiting a museum. ” It’s just another Holiday fair”, I told myself. “People will be happy to see you. Lighten up”, I thought.

No one was mean to me but there was no attempt to be overly friendly and no Christmas decorations or music.   They could have had some LED Holiday lights made of little pistols or a target practice booth starring Rudolph. It was a refreshing to find such a low tech affair in this season of bedazzlement. The only snacks available were man snacks – hot dogs and chips.

Yes, men.  This group was not diverse.  Everyone who ever visited my online dating profile, (and who was a real person), was in attendance. Lone, unsmiling men with not just a gun or two but with COLLECTIONS of FIREARMS are surprisingly available. I’m not saying these men were dangerous but perhaps authorities should scan my dating hits.

As Theroux noted, no one seemed to actually be buying guns. Everyone was just looking, like at a car lot. At the entrance, the historical guns drew me in. These aren’t bought for killing but for the craft and the provenance. Since this is Alaska, most of the old pistols looked Western in nature although I admit I was afraid to ask. I’m sure people don’t mind talking about things they love but I believe they like selling these items much better. I didn’t take photos either, because then I would have to ask permission and I was just getting by without pooping. That’s my default when I’m anxious. So I told myself, “It’s okay to just observe. Next time, when you’re really in the market for a killing machine, you can be more social.”

I now know what a pepper pot pistol is. It has multiple barrels like this one from http://www.deactivated-guns.co.uk/obsolete-calibre-firearms/rare-b-cogswell-percussion-pepper-pot-or-pepper-box-pinfire-five-shot-pistol-/prod_6305.html#

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Army Surplus greeted me next. Ammo cans were available at low, low prices. Next came some more modern firearms and knives.  No poisons or concertina wire, stuff a murderer might want, just stuff for hunting and self defense was for sale.  A few first aid and survivalist items booths came stocked with clotting sponges and Quikclot. One vendor brought some random DVDs, cookbooks, Alaskana and costume jewelry.  I spent an inordinate amount of time at this booth even daring to touch the goods.

I got to practice restraint. Some might say I’m just a coward. I overheard conversations where I chose not to butt in and offer my opinion. One shopper began quizzing a vendor in a loud voice, ” You know what the sole purpose of the government is..?”  I was curious, in a bad way, to know the definitive answer to this one but God showed me the nature of my wrongs. The man repeated the question at least ten times before I moved on. I’m sure the vendor would have liked to have left as well.

Then there was the not so gentleman who was arguing, with a fairly reasonable salesman, about the rights of Native Alaskans/Americans.  He informed us that they were “a conquered people” and “It doesn’t seem fair” to have to pay in order for him to hunt and fish on “their” land. The salesperson did not agree and was trying to educate in a polite way so I left well enough alone.

This was worth the price of admission. I sometimes need to step back and let other people fix things or let them be unable to fix them. Also I need to not complain about being single.  The admission was $5. I paid it because that’s pretty cheap for admission to the enemy camp. Not that these people are really my enemies but at least I got a look at their weapons. I left without an emotional or physical injury and learned that Paul Theroux must have been on acid. These weren’t the folksy, funny people he showed me. Maybe if I spent more time with them, I would have seen this side but I don’t have time to give every white gun owner in town my empathy right now. It’s the holiday season, and that’s all I have scheduled for them.

I’m sure some of you have other insights to offer me. Feel free to share them in the comments but only if they include some humor. If you are short on that I may be sponsoring an Anxiety and Humor fair next holiday season. I’ll have to see if The Catholic Schools have any room for that. There will be lots of Christmas lights, music and much better food!

 

 

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How to keep the holidays real

When it comes to the holidays how we  “keep”  them can be connected to a deep or superficial set of beliefs. This includes beliefs about who we are. Here are some beliefs which influence how I spend the holidays. Let’s get the negative ones out of the way first. It’s a short list but sometimes powerful enough to discourage me from enjoying what can be a very fun time of year.

Negative Beliefs which are probably not based in fact

  1.  I am a misfit. I don’t have the energy for this.  I’m depressed. I can’t figure out what I want to do for the holidays.

2.   Holidays are for families with young children. I am out of place at holiday events. Something is wrong with me because I don’t have a spouse or children. I’m an adult. I should act like one.

3.   This holiday is just manufactured to make me spend money.

Reality checks

  1.  I am unique and I have unique gifts which aren’t always “as advertised on television.” I have to watch my energy but if I only do a few things for the holiday I will enjoy them. I do get depressed when it’s dark and there is no snow but I am also creative enough that I don’t need the weather to be as I want it in order to have a good time.  Many people don’t know what they are going to do for the holidays so they go with the flow. Others feel trapped by traditions and obligations they would rather avoid. I can try something new every year just to mix it up.

2.   It’s not productive to hide my joy under a bucket. I might as well go out and share it. If I set an example that older women can have just as much fun as young folks then maybe someone else will feel empowered. There are many reasons I am single. Being in a relationship and having children is not something everyone gets to do. Live with it.

3.   Holidays can be corrupted by capitalism but someone has to keep the faith whether that’s faith in good cheer and charity or in Jesus or Santa. Halloween doesn’t have to be sexy for me. Christmas can be small. The winter solstice can involve an outdoor challenge.

How I keep it real

Spending time with people is more important than exchanging objects. It’s also nice to make gifts and shopping with a friend can be fun. Don’t beat myself up over gift giving. I can’t make other people happy.

Use winter as a time to clean out garbage, do research on my future. Do something creative most days. That includes making dinner.

Give to people who need it, not just out of obligation. Don’t measure gifts in terms of money spent but rejoice when I serendipitously have a part in getting someone to laugh or get out of their comfort zone.

Decorate, sing, bake. These are activities from my childhood which bring me joy.  Share this joy when possible, and also enjoy my own company. Share with the neighborhood.

Remember if people in Poland can hang their Christmas trees upside down then I can make up my own way to celebrate.

I am on the hunt for some old holiday “blow Mold” decorations that are more often seen on the East Coast, probably a snowman like one of these.

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You might think, ” These snowmen don’t look very REAL.” But to me, the joy they elicit is real even though they are made of plastic and they are very low maintenance as far as men go. Happy holidays!

 

 

 

Walk with me

This is a writing prompt from:

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/19271780/posts/2070559232

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In Flanders field, the poppies… but here nothing will grow,  not for a long time. No one will come back for the guns, or the mines or to look through the arch, especially to look through the arch.

When we killed the entire community we forfeited our right to look back at the culture we destroyed. Their loves, their glory, the winds which carry smells of dinner, illness, bird calls and bells – all are frozen to us. We will call the vanquished  “backwards”, “dangerous”, “collateral damage.”  We will see the events in black and white. We can’t afford not to.

The arch did not seem of any consequence at the time. It had been part of a post-modern villa in the hills. It did not fall. Soldiers would be drawn there to talk or rest. It was on the old road but perhaps it was something more. In the other times, villagers must have gathered, perhaps to celebrate a harvest or a wedding. We could only guess. When the war ended troops left their guns where they stood and began the dazed journey home. If we ever returned we would see the wasteland we created with the weapons we used planted like lifeless trees which give no shade.

But someone will come. Someone who slipped our grasp. Maybe one of their children who was sent away or a sister who was married off to a different village. They will come back when it is safer and see what we could not.  The remnants of poison will soften their brains. They will see the palm trees caught mid-wave, the birds stuck in flight brilliantly framed by the arch . This is where the ball rolled, where the bouquet landed, where the girl smiled. The arch still stands. There is something to lean on in this ugly world.

They can laugh, weep and curse but they can only be at home in their minds eye. They can enter the beautiful place they called home, frozen in its last breath inside an arch. It is real enough to cause insanity, or as we say, their insanity makes it real.

We, with our beautiful spouses, children, lawns and kitchens returned to our homes but our minds were closed. We attempt to open up with liquor, danger, sex. Everything  and everyone continued to grow but us. We are stuck, without feelings, without movement. We are the dead trees of our own landscape and only our loved ones remember us the way we were. The way we never will be again. We have no arch because we were not attacked or provoked. We went far away to kill others for many reasons that seemed to make sense. Now nothing does.

It turns out that the only way we can move on is to return to the arch with one of our former enemies and be led through to feel the life and loss of the place and people. This will take enormous work, reparations, and willingness to forgive on their side.  It will take a long time. Then the trees will bend back and the birds will soar. The wind will blow all of us clean. We can not wait for the day. But how to begin?

Trump & Pumpkin Spice – a holiday voter conspiracy?

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The purchase of this aberration correlates and may actually cause voters to believe in and vote for Trump. Is it something in pumpkin? NO! As we all learned in grade school there is no pumpkin in Pumpkin Spiced anything. Pumpkin Spice is instead the very old fashioned mix of allspice, cinnamon and cloves which makes people think of their grandmother’s kitchen and how everything was better in the old days. The sad thing is that a child would never add allspice or cloves to their food, as it would be similar to eating potpourri or bath salts. Coincidence that before the opiate crisis we had the “Spice Crisis?” That bath salts and potpourri were the innocuous labeling under which Spice was sold? How about the idea that almost everything sold at a Trump hotel is a “Limited Edition?” Also cereal is the easiest food for an American to eat for breakfast lunch and dinner, besides pizza which is not really American.

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More likely it is the kind of mentality that we Americans have about always trying something new and spending money on frivolous items which draws us to Trump and Pumpkin Spice. This is the new renaissance of civilization, one which belongs to The White people of the USA just like Thanksgiving does.   People in the incoming Mexican caravan may have tasted apple pie or a hot dog. They may even put cinnamon in their hot chocolate but they probably have not consumed pumpkin spice cereal. In due time Pumpkin Spice will be integrated into citizenship tests.

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New voters are being manufactured everyday. What kind of parent would feed these frosted flakes to their children? A Republican, that’s who! The key to this conspiracy is that Pumpkin Spiced products always come out just before November elections.  They were in their infancy in the Obama days and I daresay they do not go very well with cigarettes or with Michelle’s propensity for healthy eating. These products were not created to take over the world but they have morphed into a polarizing force in our country. Either you love them or you hate them. And if you hate them you are probably not American enough.

My warning to you is to avoid purchasing such items until after elections and consider the presence of Pumpkin Spiced products on the shelves of your neighbors as similar to bags of cocaine or framed photos of The First Family. Do not directly challenge these neighbors but instead ask them to brunch at your own home. There you can introduce them to Matcha Tea, Marijuana Gummies or whatever flavor of Kombucha you prefer.  It is always graceful to meet people halfway so have some cinnamon, allspice and cloves on hand. Good luck in your fight to end this plague. Remember this Thanksgiving, you can always make a pumpkin pie bourbon flavored instead.

 

A Preview of Trump’s trip to France

“It should be a very beautiful period of time, the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War I. We have many countries — the leadership from many countries will be there, especially since they heard the United States will be there. And we look forward to that,” Trump told reporters Friday before leaving the White House. “I’ve seen what they have planned, and I think it’s going to be something very, very special.” ( http://www.pbs.org)

And so it begins. Mr. Donald Trump, our current dictator, is the opposite of a vampire as He sees only his reflection in every person he meets, remark he hears and place he visits. Thus it took only a bit of jet lag to label his host’s ideas about a European army, “Very Insulting.” The French may be mad to suggest wasting money to arm themselves against the most armed nation of the world but one must admit France’s leader is clever to know how Trump would take this and almost any other remark personally.

Experts have spent a little time and thought predicting other reactions Trump might have during the upcoming visit.

On visiting WWI battlefields:

” I know that the souls who died here are happy to see me and silently applauding  my efforts to make America as great again as it was in that time when we saved the world. Especially the beautiful nurses, they were beautiful. Why can’t nurses dress like that again instead of wearing formless scrubs? Why can’t they show a little leg? Am I wrong here?

On avoiding the peace talks:

“Melania and I have chosen to use our time more wisely and visit Disney Paris which is a American emblem of Magic and Peace.  The “Fake Peace talks” are for stupid people who think you can talk about peace without me. Instead, we will be dining at Café Mickey in the company of Disney royalty – Goofy, America’s most effective ambassador and  King Louie of The Jungle Book, who is a very interested in learning about fire from me.”

On French food and restaurants:

“The food here is not very fast, very slow. America is much faster at food.  I don’t eat salad but the waiters kept harping at me “t’es un salaud.” And they constantly hard sell some little duck dish. Every time its “t’es rien qu’un petit connard.” If I want duck, I want a big American duck!”

On visiting The Louvre:

“The art here is just great, very moving, very beautiful. I was impressed by how the female body has always been an object of desire. It’s a very natural thing for men to come here to have a good long look at some beautiful women.  Call me crazy but I think the ladies in these paintings were happy to see me too. The Mona Lisa was definitely smiling at me. Really, she gave me a look. I would love to spend some time with her after hours. “

 

But even as the experts guess, Mr. Trump is sure to surprise us with  statements which will make every American visitor after him seem more kind, intelligent and respectful. Thank you for your service!

Steve Sack  Copyright 2017 Cagle Cartoons

(From TheWeek.com)