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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.

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Impress your friends with a winter ice cream treat!

Got some friends held hostage by Trump’s demands? Host an ice cream party with your neighbors/community and find out what they need help with! Could be a group temporary loan, some sneakers for their kids or a ride to the doctor or church. Ice cream and commiserating also help if financial resources are unavailable.

Here in Alaska, WE LOVE ICE CREAM! Baked Alaska is basically an imitation of melting permafrost! But have I got a treat for you!  I served it last night after running/jogging a ridiculous 5k in zero degrees. It was such an Alaskan experience. They lent me used Ice Bug shoes to run in, just in case I wanted to purchase some later. Icebugs are shoes with screws in the bottom and they were absolutely outstanding.  I usually just wear strap on spikes but they constrict my shoes and also fall off randomly on bumps.  I am scared to see how much these Icebugs cost but was assured by a friend that they also have a guy at the store who will just drill some spikes into any of my old running shoes.

There was no real group start at the race. People just moseyed off and we followed them hoping we had the right turn around spot since there were only about 20 of us running in the dark. The cocoa and the free tee shirts from runs which happened 10 years ago were appreciated.

Anyway here is the ice cream.

icecream

This is what you do to make it even more delicious. Make some mini pancakes. Put  this delicious ice cream on top and drizzle with maple syrup. You could serve these at a restaurant and charge $8 and people would be loving it. But then I am someone who can eat a pancake anytime of the day.   I guess I would call this a  “Maple Heap”, ( you could even sprinkle chopped up maple sugar soldiers or put a Canadian sugar Maple leaf on top).   Perhaps marketing it as a “Vermont Landscape” – Maples and cows or “Over the River and through the Woods?” How about a classy French name like “Un Miracle Erable?”

The taste is like Christmas morning or Apres Ski in New England.  I don’t recommend it in the summer as it would be too sticky but you could eat it while watching “White Christmas” or “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

If we fed President Trump one of these he would forget about his damn wall for a minute and say, “Outstanding!”   If he ate a couple of gallons he might even pass on to eternity.

We eat lots of ice cream in Alaska because of the fat. I am skinny but I like to have a small roll of fat on my stomach just in case I need to avoid being the first one in a group to freeze to death. I would rather not be cannibalized but if I must be at least let me have something besides bone and sinew for my friends to feed on.

It is refreshingly cold today as well. Minus something. Nothing impressive. Minus twenty is the threshold for no physical exertion if unnecessary.  We are not there yet.  Tomorrow I go back to work from my mini staycation. It has been a great chance to meditate on my post holiday Seasonal affective disorder and my positive response to increased outdoor time and exposure to friends. I highly recommend these to anyone with emotional fatigue. And ice cream!

 

Why eat ice cream

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  1. Because Donald Trump does not make ice cream.  No I meant “does” make ice cream but “does not” make it or sell it for outrageous amounts in Alaska where I live. He “doesn’t” make it personally so I can see how what I wrote might  be unclear or misconstrued. Please see   http://www.trumptowerny.com/ice-cream-nyc
  2. Because we can no longer process alcohol, are taking the highest dose of our prescribed anti-depressant and were totally unprepared for the potency of modern day marijuana. Resistance is futile.
  3. There are just as many flavors of ice cream, if not more, than there are of Oreos. If  only the flavors existed that did when I was a child I would not eat as much.  We ate ice milk. It was not as creamy or fluffy as what people eat today. When people are poor, they will eat horsemeat. Japan has a horsemeat ice cream but I can not imagine it is for poor people. It’s for people like me who need something to feel brave about, to laugh over a bowl with a few close friends and then vomit. It’s a crazy adventure – and the meat is even raw! I would eat ice milk again rather than horsemeat or breast milk ice cream. Well, maybe I would try them once. https://www.stylist.co.uk/life/recipes/top-10-weirdest-ice-cream-flavours/37558
    ice cream neigh
  4.  It is generally considered sad to eat ice cream alone for dinner but given the alternatives – yogurt, expired tofu, carrots, it’s a viable choice. Also it’s a better choice than actually telling people how you think you really feel when you’re exhausted after work. Believe me, you won’t be telling people you’re exhausted, that’s not the way it works. That’s why ice cream was invented.

5.  When it’s hot outside, ice cream makes you sticky and thirsty!

6.  Ice cream is served in hospitals so it can’t be that bad for you. Unless you are on the renal diet, the heart diet, the gall bladder diet or the lactose intolerant diet because ice cream is trying to kill you.

7.  I can congratulate myself when I purchase a half gallon of ice cream rather than an absurdly priced pack of ice cream novelties or a fancy creation from an ice cream shop. Oops, I just found out that Carl’s Jr. has a Hostess Ding Dong Ice cream sandwich. I wonder if they are still open at 11 pm?

https://www.dairyfoods.com/media/photos/86-12-new-ice-cream-novelties-and-other-frozen-novelties

8. It’s always nice to support your local ice cream truck. Except when it plays a racist song.  https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/05/11/310708342/recall-that-ice-cream-truck-song-we-have-unpleasant-news-for-you

9.  It’s okay to eat ice cream to stop someone else from eating the last of it.

10. It’s a nice thing to eat under a pile of chocolate sauce. I could eat just the sauce, and I have before, but I feel better about eating them together in public.

If you haven’t seen enough to convince you to have some ice cream right now. Take a look at these:

https://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/packages/best-summer-and-grilling-recipes/summer-dessert-recipes/photos/the-craziest-ice-cream-creations-ever

https://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/giant-milkshakes-drawing-huge-crowds-york-city/story?id=36376855

 

 

What made me want to write today

1.  Watching the panic over Hilary Clinton’s health.   Let’s admit that all of us are going to die, make mistakes, get sick.  I would rather have a president with a mental or physical illness who gets to know their limits than Trump or Putin who have no limits. Leaders are no longer descendants of the Gods. They should reflect the imperfect population they serve.  We are vulnerable, but in our leaning on others we are better on the whole than those who can not bow due to their rigidity.

2. The 9/11 tribute I just watched was a great example of this. Public Servants did not run away from their job but ran towards it. Even though their lives were in danger. They held each other. They cried. Everyday there are things in this world to cry about. We are lucky enough that there are things to laugh about as well.  When a firefighter is overcome or a fellow social worker breaks down, I don’t laugh or pity them. I may fear that I will be next but I acknowledge my imperfections and move on. I attempt compassion and believe they can recover to what extent they are able with support.

pumpkin

 

3. Pumpkin Cookie Butter ice cream by Tillamook Farms. It has something named “Speculoos” in it.  It tastes good. They could make it anytime of year but it only comes out in fall because there’s a market for it. Its appearance underscores the inventional explosion of Oreo Cookie and Chips Ahoy flavors which are too numerous to name.  FYI, Chips Ahoy filled with brownies is a loser.  Living in a feeding frenzy for “trending” in terms of flavors and media, I want to push back, not just to the basics but to what real creativity is. Putting your own style together, making a recipe with leftovers, throwing some friends together and improvising a script that doesn’t have to be filmed in 3-D, seeing past an illness to the person behind it, and knowing when the rules have begun to break your back then coming up with acceptable alternatives.

As an actor, I enjoy breaking the fourth or fifth wall when it fits the scene. As a clown, I show my dirty laundry for laughs. As a social worker, I  let my heart bleed but keep my head on straight. As a human, I eat my roommate’s crazy flavored ice cream and cry, “O, the humanity!”

Let’s each make our own twisted way in the world today and hope that the weave spins something magical out of us.