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The year Alaskan summer never ended

We’ve all dreamed about it: Never having to face mortality. It’s an incredible fantasy which can only end in sadness and loss. The same with a never-ending summer. An Alaska without winter is what? Texas?

We have had two full months of sunshine, day and night. Tomatoes grew. The grass turned yellow. Berries were harvested in July. Fans and blow up water toys sold out. It’s still not over, but we trust winter is coming because if it does not then all the ice will melt and we will die. Even with winter we will die, but until then, we enjoy and consider how we wound up in the Alaskan Riviera.

Today I celebrated summer with my own tiny parade. It consisted of a dog with wings, a friend with horns, a redhead, a comrade bearing peppermint shortbread and me, in a blow up T-Rex costume with parasol. I didn’t ask to be the star. I asked for other people with T-Rex or lively costumes but perhaps these items are not as popular or useful as fans and pool toys.

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This is a photo sent by my devilish friend of me and the redhead walking through a tunnel on the Chester Creek Trail. I like how I appear to be her pet. We may not have been mighty in numbers but we were very cheerful and were met by tourists and children alike with smiles, waves and hugs. Except for a couple of children on the playground who punched and threw rocks. I was able to defend myself with my parasol and the dreaded words “I’m going to tell your mother!” You may guess their gender.

I had a unicycle and stilts which I gave away this year because I am getting to old to enjoy falling over. But a T-Rex costume is ageless. It can come in handy for a protest with a “Make America Great Again – Jurassic Style” poster or to create awareness of ice melt/fossils/global warming/extinction – “It’s getting hot and I’m back.” But today we got high fives from people who spoke different languages and offers of chicken wings from teenagers.

At almost 80 degrees F, I was quite hot in my second skin despite the fan recirculating my warm breath. You might wonder why I was walking in front of my friend if I was so oppressed? Because my oppression was overcome by the excitement of bringing joy, of not knowing who we would meet and rejoicing in goofiness, a quality that is extremely underrated. Perhaps there is a line to walk with silliness, but each time I’ve sensed that line, I ‘ve crossed it and lived to tell the tale. Needless to say I will never be The President of The United States or similarly responsible. That would require a person to be highly sensitive to how one was perceived and far less egocentric than I am. Or not.

The Redhead and I sat down afterwards enjoying peppermint shortbread. We shared this and tales of Alaska with some folks from Denmark. Their country will be receiving a visit from our President shortly. He will meet with their Queen who they assured us will be speaking “between the lines” to him. She is no pool toy. The gentleman found our leader humorous and wondered how much harm he could do in 4 or 8 years. The woman found our President dangerous. I would agree with both assessments because Trump is a bit like a T-Rex: A relic of an age where fear and size ruled the world instead of cooperation and introspection. We all hoped the inflatable Baby Trump will be visiting Denmark as well.

Here are a couple of photos which capture a bit summer in Anchorage.

crane


The redhead, the provider of shortbread and I agreed to take a trip to Chena Hot Springs this winter. I will not wear the T-Rex suit as surely the batteries will fail in the cold. But before that, I will be taking a trip to France. I may have a fossilly friend packed away in my luggage.

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Insanity vs mental illness and also the gun debate

The internet is NOT a good place to get your news. It does not help us understand world affairs as much as to feel like we know what is right and wrong with a tiny bit of information then fit it to our own beliefs and reactions.  Solutions requires time.  The internet tells us that there is no time. If one more child dies, we are responsible. Just so you know, I am not God. I cannot stop other people from doing hardly anything. I can barely remember where I put my phone.

History favors people who figure out things quickly.  The first one to discover something, (or to get recognition for it), wins. Sometimes we even kill them! We seldom learn about the people who worked on figuring stuff out for centuries but did not succeed, or the people who let someone else do it because these others were more capable. These people might however have longer lives. Then again maybe they sat down too much or ate processed meats.  What I am saying is give yourself a break.  Not everyone has the calling to meet every disaster. I cannot rally to every cause because of the nature of my emotional makeup. Am I insane? No but I do tend to depression. Is this an excuse? Maybe. Everyone can do something to help the world each day but everyone can not do everything for every cause. That is insane.

Mental illness is not the equivalent of insanity. Mental illness is a PHYSICAL problem which is difficult to detect and control. Despite all you may read about diet, medication, love and trauma, we don’t have a cure for everyone who has mental illness. Also it is not dangerous to self or others in MOST cases!

Insanity is something that can take over a person or a crowd whether they have a mental illness or not. I would define it as :

 Paranoia derived from believing one is infallible, is directly hearing, interpreting and carrying out God’s plan and actually putting this plan into effect and/or encouraging others to do so.

A crowd can become crazy. A whole land can become confused, paranoid and act horribly. An individual can become lethal.   I don’t really trust any human being with a gun because of these tendencies.   People believe The Bible and The Constitution are infallible despite our knowledge of humanity’s failings because they were “divinely inspired.”

I don’t think religion is insane but carrying any belief system out without constant revamping to fit modern circumstances and knowledge is insane. We can’t “Be Great Again.” We can only be more aware of being mediocre.

Is it Trump’s fault? Sadly no. People like power and security. Believing that a big corporation or military power will take care us seems very quaint but there are enough smart people to fool those who need to believe. In case you think you are too smart for all this when was the last time you listened to advice you read online about diet or dangerous health conditions?

I took a survey an hour ago which asked what percentage of gun deaths I felt were caused by mass shootings. The second question was about Volvos. Now that is insane but I fell for it. Don’t do what I do. Don’t do what I say, but be aware of  your own tendency to insanity and while you are at it ask your doctor about mental illness. It is not necessarily dangerous but it can change your outlook on life.

 

 

 

Alternative reasons why there’s only one set of footprints in the sand

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footprints

 

There were two sets of footprints then at a certain point only one.  Sometimes, when you are tired, heavy burdened or hungover, God carries you. Other times…

God sees someone he hasn’t seen for a long time and stops for a minute at their beach towel to catch up but you get a little jealous and keep  going.

God screams, “Tsunami!”, and takes off for higher ground but you have your earbuds in.

God is in a wheelchair and you leave him back at the boardwalk, asshole!

God likes to walk in/on the water so his footprints wash away.

God remembered the keys were in the ignition and the window was down.  You told God to take care of it.

God saw something sparkly and had to pick it up.

You just couldn’t wait for God to get out of the porta-potty.

God started singing a Broadway show tune and you bailed.

God had to bring up politics and you weren’t in the mood.

God turned into a seagull just because God can do that kind of stuff.

God bowed out of this one, “It’s just a fucking walk on the beach, can’t I leave you alone for one minute?”

Those were the footprints of death, you idiot. Lucky for you he got stung by a bee and he’s allergic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New DNA info reveals what you really should be anxious about!

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Are you anxious about what vulnerabilities you have inherited from your bloodline?

Do others mock you for your concern about “things you cannot change”?

Do you feel you have a God given right to spread your distress about potential ailments/dangers with others?

Do you not have the resources available to pay for a weekly total body scan or safe room construction in your home?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions then this new  scan offered by 27,000,000 and Me will prove to your friends, people who have un-friended you, and random people you have had intercourse with that you were right after all.

Remember what is true for you is absolutely true for everyone else, especially here in America, so it would be un-patriotic not to get these facts straight immediately!

Our competitors may be able to pinpoint some meaningless issues you can pretty much self diagnose but only 27,000,00 and Me gets to the meat of it.

Here is a list of detection claims directly from the website of 23 & Me, our biggest competitor:

Ability to Match Musical Pitch
Asparagus Odor Detection
Back Hair (available for men only)
Bald Spot (available for men only)
Bitter Taste
Bunions
Cheek Dimples
Cilantro Taste Aversion
Cleft Chin
Dandruff
Earlobe Type
Early Hair Loss (available for men only)
Earwax Type
Eye Color
Fear of Heights
Fear of Public Speaking
Finger Length Ratio
Flat Feet
Freckles
Hair Photobleaching (hair lightening from the sun)
Hair Texture
Hair Thickness
Ice Cream Flavor Preference
Light or Dark Hair
Misophonia (hatred of the sound of chewing)
Mosquito Bite Frequency
Motion Sickness
Newborn Hair
Photic Sneeze Reflex
Red Hair
Skin Pigmentation
Stretch Marks
Sweet vs. Salty
Toe Length Ratio
Unibrow
Wake-Up Time
Widow’s Peak

Now take a look at the essential health and safety questions you will be able to answer correctly  for yourself and other people just by giving us a sample of your DNA and a small processing fee.

  1. Which  environmental substance is most dangerous to your health?

a.  Bisphenol A, as found in plastics

b.  Lead

c.  Alcohol

d. Donald Trump

 

2. Which life choice life could cut 20 or more years off your life?

a.  Stress and pollution of residing in a major metropolitan area

b.  Stagnating in the countryside surrounded by cow/pig manure

c. Excessive cell phone and internet use

d. Repeated exposure either in person, print or video to Donald Trump and/or his policies

 

3. What kind of people is it most dangerous for you to associate with?

a. Negative people who criticize often and want to change things

b. Super positive people who don’t seem to have a grasp on reality

c. People who are so “different” that it challenges everything we have come to hold sacred and gives us migraines.

d. Donald Trump and his cronies

 

4. What will cause you the most pain?

a. Giant Japanese Hornets

b. Bald faced Hornets

c. Bullet Ant

d. Donald Trump and The Republican Party

 

5. What is the most likely catastrophe to kill you?

a. Global warming

b. Boeing 737 JT8D ticket you bought on a discount site

c. Ebola

d. Re-election of Donald Trump

 

6. What system immediately threatens your way of life?

a.  Illuminati takeover of the media

b. Tsunami like proliferation of Sharia law in USA

c. Christianity

d. The Trump Organization

 

This is just a small sample of the lifesaving information we can offer you. Our rates have been discounted from 5 bitcoin to 2 bitcoin, only until the 2020 election!

Your  personal DNA information is safe with us and will only be shared with the U.S. government to determine immigration status.

 

 

 

 

Anxiety Woman celebrates 4th of July

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4th girl

Yes! That’s me. I don’t look anxious! I am a gorgeous American woman on the French Riviera, not a person who worked all day eating just an apple and several cookies then arrived at a BBQ and proceeded to eat three hamburgers.

4th boy

Yes, That’s me too!  I made these cutouts for work and brought them to the BBQ. My 4th of July leggings look like coordinated knee braces! See the hula hoop in the background? I had fun with this after the three hamburgers and wound up running to the restroom three times as well. Also I had a Klondike bar, rhubarb cake, sticky rice treat and homemade lemonade. I might have overdone it.

I am very enthusiastic about the 4th. I blew up a wading pool by hand at work. We rolled people under the sprinkler, (not like burritos but in their wheelchairs). We had a parade.  Eventually my body gave in and I had an allergy attack. No big deal. I took a Benadryl which my nurse friend informed me is Diphenhydramine. I seriously thought Benadryl was the generic name for the last 40 years or so. But then Southerners call every soda a Coke. I’m just another marcher in the long parade of American consumers of brand names.

Luckily, my difficulty breathing resulted in a retreat to my friends’ very cool basement to watch Team America: World Police. I highly recommend this as a 4th of July activity. Who doesn’t love fighting marionettes and singing  along with the theme song “America Fuck Ya!”

team america

It is a surprisingly timeless film. One could almost imagine this particular gentleman taking over a revolutionary era airport. In the movie he just destroys the Eiffel Tower and maybe The Louvre.

I went to a garage sale and got this painting that was kind of dark and stained but I spruced it up with a dose of anxiety.

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My fear about blinking, or not keeping an eye out at all times, is that I will miss something fun. I like fun, but it’s no use being anxious about fun because that defeats the point, kind of like Team America defeating the world, even if the world does include Matt Damon.

I also chose the book for book club this weekend. I hoped everyone liked it as much as I did. I found it so entertaining I am going to start reading it again right after I write this. As I feared, no one else found it quite as amusing and they collectively wondered how it won the Pulitzer Prize. A book addressing anxiety about aging, love and artistic success in America not worthy?  They considered it lightweight but that was what they  asked me for “Please Joan – This time no holocaust or books containing torture.”  I highly recommend “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer for an well written laugh inducing read that you can finish in a weekend if you wish. Feel under no obligation to award it a prize.

less

From a review by Patrick Gale in The Guardian:

Novels about novelists are always a risk, but Less is about anyone who has allowed their calling to define them at the expense of their humanity. Writers may blush in the mirror it holds up to them, but many readers will find it as endearing as the very best of Armistead Maupin.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jun/01/less-andrew-sean-greer-review

Please don’t be jealous of my fun filled weekend as I have no children and plenty of time to amuse myself. I can only hope that you ate as much as I did and sneezed a bit less.

 

 

 

Burning up in the Arctic

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fire

This photo was taken in the living room of my apartment, just across from the window around 9 pm. The sun was nowhere near setting. The rosy glow is from a fire about a hundred miles away.  It is also HOT here again, 83 degrees F., which is a bit too much for we Nursing home workers although the people who live there don’t complain as much.

The problem is not the fact that there is no air conditioning. The problem is moving so fast like we usually do when it’s cold out. I had to channel my childhood self and slow down like it was summer in New England. Perhaps you don’t remember it that way but I never saw a runner look forward to an 85 degree race day with smoke. So when visiting Alaska, consider this. We have much, much more forest than California. No one needs to set a fire. The trees get fed up with the heat and decide amongst themselves to burst into flames. As you may know, fires are nature’s way of burning out the deadwood to make way for new growth.  Remember this next time you decide between engaging in life versus vegging out on the computer.

You probably weren’t expecting to burst into flames in Alaska. You will bring your long coats and boots and then be caught sweating and wishing your hotel had a pool which it WILL NOT! Okay, the Captain Cook and The Hilton have pools but most don’t. We do have lots of lakes. I blew up my tiny rubber raft last night and joined all the friends I do not know at Delong Lake. There were swimmers and paddlers, BBQers, also a sign on the dock which said NO SWIMMING. I have been swimming here for years and that is the first time I saw that sign. I swam anyway. Only as I was writing this did it occur to me it was probably because the lack of Elodea weed. Most of our other lakes are clogged with it.  Westchester Lagoon is full of it. I just looked it up and here is what I found under Elodea mitigation Anchorage:

1.4 Proposed Action Eradicate Elodea from infested lakes in the Municipality of Anchorage using a systemic herbicide. Fluridone in both liquid and pellet form will be used. Eradicating Elodea will allow native aquatic plants to repopulate, return habitats toward their natural state, and reduce the threat of this highly invasive species from spreading to other water bodies in the state. Eradicating Elodea will also reduce potential damage to native fish species resulting from habitat degradation or loss.

The expected time for the initial herbicide treatments to occur is June 2015. This will ensure maximum effectiveness in controlling Elodea by applying the herbicide early in the season when Elodea plants are actively growing and taking up the herbicide throughout the plant.

1.5 Location of Project The three lakes located in Anchorage that currently have Elodea are DeLong Lake, Little Campbell Lake, and Sand Lake. DeLong Lake is located at S3, T12N, R4W (Seward Meridian, Anchorage) in the Campbell Creek watershed. Little Campbell Lake is located at S5, T12N, R4W (Seward Meridian, Anchorage) in the Municipality of Anchorage Frontal Cook Inlet drainage basin in Kincaid Park. Sand Lake is located at S10 and 3, T12N, R4W (Seward Meridian, Anchorage) in the Municipality of Anchorage Frontal Cook Inlet drainage basin (Figure 2).

http://plants.alaska.gov/invasives/pdf/FINAL_EA_Anchorage2015.pdf

So maybe we had all better go swim in the gummy murky lakes or burst into flames rather than get poisoned. If this info had been posted I probably would not have swam but it is too late now and it is too hot to worry about as I sweat through my tank top in my kitchen hot from boiling rhubarb.

Here are some safer alternative ways to cool down.There are about 100 tee shirt shops downtown so don’t worry about finding a cool shirt if you only brought plaid flannel. There are only two ice cream shops downtown although it looks like we may be getting our very first gelato shop within the year. The line at the gourmet ice cream shop, Wild Scoops, is hardly worth it. I mean there’s a store which sells Haagen-Daz Bailey’s Cream & Brownie which is a 10 minute walk away and you can eat it and be back before you get in the door at Wild Scoops. That being said, you should try the fresh rhubarb or Spruce tip ice cream at Wild Scoops. I saw no less than 10 locals bringing in bags of rhubarb from their gardens the other day. They get a coupon for a free cone. If you are lactose intolerant, you can just hang around the freezer section of any supermarket. I find this is also good for Mitigating pollen allergies without having to ingest potentially harmful chemicals.

I’ve been making lots of rhubarb syrup. I add it to sparkling water which makes it just as bad as drinking Orange Crush. Except the garish color of Crush is due to some unknown, unnatural additive as we all know there is no orange in Orange Crush. Rhubarb syrup is a brilliant pink like Hawaiian Punch but a bit thicker, gummier.When the syrup is added to bubbly water it becomes a pretty pale pink and tastes so delicious even I will concede to boiling 4 cups of sugar, 8 cups of water and 8 stalks of rhubarb as the evening cools to 75 degrees. The gumminess is probably from the leftover rhubarb fiber as well as the simple syrup. Some people like gummier foods, like a work friend who made a stew from a bear paw which thickened itself with the melting of the tendons and ligament.

Alaska is all about harvesting your own food as the food in the stores is second in expense only to Hawaii. The exception here being junk food. If you buy 4 two liter bottles of Coke, they are only  $1.29 each! It might be good to have a bunch of these on hand as well in case you burst into flames.

Summer in Anchorage!!!!

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sky

9:30 pm, Weds 6/6/19 on Anchorage’s Coastal Trail.

Yes it’s finally here.

Everyone is sweating. It was 68 degrees today. People were cranky. Why don’t we have air conditioning?  Why are there so many bugs?

It’s raining now. That’s what happens when you get out of work. It’s 730 pm so the sun could come out at 9 pm like it did last night and people will pop out of their houses  with their dogs, their babies, their cigarettes, bicycles and dancing/drinking clothes.

I was just out walking in the rain and passed a man BBQing chicken wings in the downpour. I complimented him on the smell and was hoping for a taste but his lady friend appeared and I moved on.

The streets clear out in the rain. People run, bike, walk, in the snow but they hide in the rain even after they have been complaining about the heat all day. I was incredibly grateful for the smell and the thunder. I had wanted to go swimming in a lake but the water has not warmed up to the high 40’s yet. I prefer the low 60’s for swimming water but will jump in just about anything that hasn’t crystallized. Also there is lightening.

I haven’t blogged recently because I’ve been obsessing about the possible shortage of avocados.  I grew up avocado-less in Ye olde New England and have been frightened of returning to that state of tasteless ignorance. You could say the potato is the Irish equivalent of an avocado. It tastes good with butter and you can incorporate it into almost any meal. But whereas a potato famine could actually cause death, an avocado shortage causes only an awareness of entitlement which is miserable in a completely different way.  Young people might revolt as they do in hot summer weather but no one will die over an avocado . At least I don’t think so.

We fight about oil, racism, immigration, water, and money but I hope it doesn’t come down to avocados.  There are substitutes for avocados just as there are substitutes for petroleum but no one is really pursuing them. Pureed peas or asparagus make a passing guacamole.  Hummus is good on toast. Ice cream tastes as rich if not as warm.

We white people will live through this, as we have lived through our cold winters and too hot summers, using our wits and our privilege to keep ourselves supplied with food that other people pick for us until those other people decide we are not worth it. Perhaps Trumps tariffs might be a good thing after all.

I have been thinking for a long time that life in Alaska is not environmentally responsible unless one has the skills and time to produce/hunt/fish/pick their own food.  Just the cost of shipping up avocados, cashew milk and ice cream that I consume in bulk makes me an abuser of resources. Then there are my trips of enormous distances by plane.  Maybe I will leave, but not yet. Not while I can have the streets to myself in a summer rain.  We shall see what happens on June 10th!