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Survival Guide to The Anchorage Fur Rondy Experience

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Unfortunately, Fur Rondy has nothing to do with this:

fabulous furries

https://lifehacker.com/all-hotel-guests-should-behave-like-these-furries-1820990478

These particular “furries” left a large tip at the hotel where their furry convention was held.  “Fur Rondy”, alas, is about dead pelts and 2000 people running with 20 reindeer. Oh also there are many dogs pulling sleds with people on them. It’s a two week season of  sunny spring madness which forces all Anchorage residents to change the way they drive to work as well as to attend at least one officially sanctioned “Fur Rondy Event.” If you don’t wear a Fur Rondy Pin downtown, (where you will find it impossible to drive anyway), a “cop”, usually someone from The Lion’s Club, will falsely imprison you until you buy a button for bail. I have only been arrested in this way once and it was by a friend. It does not go on your record unless you are publicly drinking or smoking pot at the time.

This year I attended several Fur Rondy events which explains my current state of exhaustion. We get 5 minutes more sunshine each day and the sun no longer cruises the horizon but sits about 45 degrees above the edge of the earth bringing us a dose of solar energy similar to a niacin rush. If you have bipolar disorder you may want to take out some trip insurance.

I cross country skied over to Campbell Airstrip to watch dog teams zip by, attended a skating party with  hip hop remixes of all the pop songs of my youth. I crammed our company van onto a skinny path parallel to the Iditarod dog trail to make sure the older and less physically snow- able folks we care for had a chance to take part in the fun. My backing out of the parking space got the most (nervous) laughs.

I’ve blogged about Fur Rondy before. At first I took the event at face value, as a winter carnival.  It’s actually a spring fever/Mardi Gras/Equinox, anti-suicide intervention thing. Fur Rondy screams, “Get out of the house you the people who have chosen to live in unfriendly climes!”  Folks wear over-the- top fur hats and coats because they’re going to have to put them away pretty soon. It’s a time for outhouse races, blanket toss, ice bowling and Duck Tape costume balls.  This is Anchorage at its goofiest and least costly as many events are free or at least free to watch. It’s not cold enough to kill you and there aren’t enough tourists for the locals to want to kill you. Reminder: everyone is carrying a firearm except for you and maybe those Keystone cops.

I tend to stay out too long and have too much fun which means I suffer sunburn in the summer and near hypothermia each winter.  It’s probably safer for someone like me to live in a town that serves wine and cheese at indoor events instead of hot chocolate and cookies by a trash barrel full of flaming logs on an icy wind ridden lagoon. But we all find places we feel at home whether wearing real or fake fur. I keep trying to escape but I just can’t seem to find a weirder place. I do hope there is someone clever enough to schedule a Furry Convention during the Rondy next year. Just think how comfortable your  Fursuits will be!

 

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Anxiety Woman cannot finish a movie

 

fall4Serenity Now!

The funny thing is, I don’t feel extraordinarily anxious but my hands are shaking, my legs are aching and I can’t seem to find a movie that does anything for my serenity. I constantly worry about the characters.  I don’t watch TV anymore. Does anyone? I even have trouble with sit-coms. I hate it when I know people are going to be disappointed or embarrassed. I’ve picked up enough lingo that I can play along with co-workers when they talk about Jon Snow. I like his coat.

I don’t mind zombies as much because they are so stupid. They are stiff, awkward, and always hungry like me. They are funny. So am I. I was just watching a WWII show. Why would I do that? People are going to be killed! I tell myself I am just a sensitive person. The truth is I am so highly strung I start to vibrate unless it is a real emergency then I calm down for some reason. Maybe because I know from history that I can’t afford to get worked up and I am much more effective if I slow down,

Then there is the news. Why would a person like myself check in on the status of the Supreme Court nomination proceedings?  That’s like taking amphetamines. Nothing good comes from it.

My body recently decided that it was too excited to process food! Once again I did not feel overly stressed but I hadn’t been sleeping much. My intestines went into crisis mode and shot everything out like a cannon.

“That should take care of things. We got her attention”, they said.

I have been eating bland food for fear of another explosion. Maybe I need to watch bland shows as well.  I sort of like documentaries about different kind of occupations like hatmakers or cider making but then these small businesses die off and I feel sad. It gets hard to tell whether being under the weather physically makes me sad and anxious or it is the other way around.

I tried making some fudge tonight. It was a disaster. It turned into chocolate caramel. I became even more rigid. So I went outside. Sometimes I have to go out and look for beauty.

I love Fall and this has been a beautiful one in Anchorage. Fall is sort of sad so that might have something to do with my mood.  Here are some fall photos I took. I’m so lucky to live here. You should visit in Fall. It’s quiet, less crowded but still alive on the streets and trails. You’re more likely to see The Northern Lights.

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That’s me and my shadow persona. The salmon are no longer jumping up the falls here at the hatchery. Instead, there are about 30 of them hunkered down under the bridge at the end of my street. Difficult to photograph when they are so shy.

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The swans are ready to leave!

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The evening light is so soft. Everyone is out walking, biking, jogging. I say hello to them all.

From writing this I’ve confirmed that relaxation is not mine to be found on the internet or in forcing activities. Serenity is more important than keeping up to date with what everyone else says is important. I have to keep my focus there or else I may spend the rest of my days in the bathroom.

 

Trail Etiquette: Alaska rules

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  1. When a crash of two bicycles is imminent, the faster biker should hit the wall, go over the cliff, or burst into flames. The slower biker is required to applaud or say something to the effect of “That was awesome!”
  2. When a bike rider attempts to pass a walker/runner/ space cadet wearing giant earphones/tiny ear buds they should announce their presence by screaming “Bear!!” , “On your left idiot” or spelling out a similar sentiment in American sign language as you pass them.
  3. When rollerblading down a hill at high speed with absolutely no control, it is acceptable to scream “Get out! Get out! I can’t control these m$therf*ckin’ things” even if the people in front of you are aged and speak a different language.
  4. If you notice families feeding  ducks/geese  trailside it is common courtesy to inform them that Alaskan wild fowl are gluten intolerant and also full of rabies and bird flu.geese
  5. When faced with a small toddler erratically hogging the path, bikers should bare their teeth, howl like a wolf and accelerate in order scare the living daylights out of them.
  6. If your leashed dog is confronted by an unleashed dog on the trail it is acceptable to pull out a dog treat and run away with both dogs while the former owners try to figure out what is going on.
  7. If you encounter a moose on or close to the trail it is important to remind approaching biker/ hikers that if they don’t secure the animal’s permission for a photograph then death or dismemberment may result.
  8. When you meet a friend on the trail it is always okay to stop in the absolute center of the path so everyone can observe how popular you are.
  9. Anyone wearing a spandex bike shirt, padded shorts or clip in pedals  shall be considered at fault for all accidents within a 5 mile radius.
  10. If you encounter an injured person on the trail, do not attempt to move them. Call for an ambulance then hide in the bushes just in case a bear gets there first.trail2Strangely deserted portion of The Chester Creek Trail in Anchorage

Do I live to make people laugh and is that sad?

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I just got back from vacation with a not to be named relative who fears their identity will be kidnapped and held for ransom baked in kitty litter. We were in Waikiki which is beautiful even if though it is full of human beings. Many of those humans were also on vacation which means they were having fun or supposed to be doing so.

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Come in thin, leave Fluffier! That’s the Aloha spirit.

My not so distant relative was appalled at my habit of cavorting in the elevator. The hotel was about 80 percent full of visitors from Japan. They would innocently pile in on their way to or from the free breakfast not expecting a six foot tall lady in a pink hat to pretend to shrink in size as the floors went down or grow as they rose. They did not expect dancing or bird calls but these were included gratis. Some people chuckled or danced a bit if there was any room. Most people looked down. That just made me want to roll around on the floor. I kept thinking “Snakes on a Plane!”, “Clowns in an Elevator.” Clowning is a universal language best practiced when a language barrier is present.  It is important to communicate to people that they are in the elevator with a crazy person and should exit promptly.

Today, I’m back in Anchorage and  saw this gentleman out painting.

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Which would you prefer? A clown in the elevator or a mime painting your business?

I was not really motivated to go on a bike ride but I’m glad I did. Riding against the wind, passing baby geese and tourists covered in similar fleece I was excited to see the meter which counts the bikes that pass Westchester Lagoon log my passage. I biked around the triangle turnaround to see if the number had increased and found two other folks trying to figure it out. They observed that kids on bikes had not triggered the counter although I had, so it was not emotional age which was a problem.  We finally decided that it was magic. Then something set off a flight of about 60 gulls and I cried “The Birds, The Birds!’ as I leapt on my bike and set off screaming.

I like having the power to create something out of nothing. I especially enjoy creating a moment,( some relatives might call it a scene), that will make a great future story.  My look alike relative is not always averse to this idea. For instance, they were not familiar with the idea of “Aloha Friday” where people in Hawaii wear their Aloha gear to work, a reminder of the laid back welcome of Island culture and the coming of the weekend.

We both jumped into and out of the above mentioned hotel elevator and onto  the streets of Waikiki yelling, “Happy Aloha Friday!” to everyone we saw.  This cleared quite a path in front of us. We are tall, loud and very white.  We sounded drunk. I don’t think anyone said a word back to us but we made ourselves laugh. Yelling “Aloha” is like screaming “I love you”, probably not the most common approach.

I have very few silly photos of Hawaii only because I don’t like taking pictures as much as I used to with my old brownie camera. Here is a photo of a mask from The Honolulu Museum of Art which I feel is a fine resemblance of me.

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My doppelganger pointed out that my nose seems to be growing longer. I parried that my face was just receding, like the glaciers. My appetite for humor is still healthy and I find still find beauty in strange places. This is a great quality to build as age demands we let go of conventional understandings of life and love.  Here is one of my favorite photos of our trip. This is the look I am going for as I get older. I don’t think it’s a sad bicycle or a funny one but it’s different and it wants attention. That’s not so bad.

bike1 (2).png

 

In my culture – Tips for eating in the USA

In my culture, we reward the ingestion of nutrients with a non-nutritious dish

In my culture, only the ancient ones are allowed to consume non-nutritious dishes before the nutritious ones. If a nurse attempts to move the non-nutrition out of your reach it is within your rights to kick them.

dessert-far-left

In my culture, there is one meal which is so delicious that many restaurants serve it all day. This meal often includes a salty/sweet/greasy crunchy strip of meat as well as a batter which has been pressed into patterns that can hold a heavenly tree sauce.

In my culture, chocolate can be served in a solid, liquid, puddingish or cake like form. It is also available in an e-cigarette.

In my culture, a pizza can now contain Nutella.

In my culture, what goes in the spring roll, stays in the spring roll.

springroll

In my culture, you can kill someone with raw cookie dough

In my culture, almost everything is better with mix-ins.

In my culture, it is acceptable to sell Nyquil in several different flavors.

In my culture, Oreos lead the way in diversity

In my culture, eating more than your share of donuts may result in being shunned.

In my culture, it is possible to purchase a gourmet garbage meat tube in a roll or on a stick.

In my culture, “artisanal” usually means “rip-off.” It may also mean “Made by hipsters.”

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Pokémon forecast for Anchorage, AK 7/14/2016

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heli

Today on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail it was cloudy with a chance of Pikachu. The pilot of the above helicopter was charging extraordinary large sums to tourists obsessed with Pokémon Go.  This was troubling to every couple I almost mowed down on the trail because they were searching for invisible monsters while their dogs and children obliviously enjoyed the beautiful Anchorage weather. It was about 70 degrees, warm enough to bake me in the costume I’m considering renting tomorrow.  What could be more fun than running through a crowd of people looking down at their cell phones when you’re are professionally dressed as a Pikachu?

This is the gold standard which I will rent if available.

pika1

This is adorable but probably difficult to run in considering someone may try to tackle me.

This next guy  is actually labelled “Sexy Pikachu” in the costume listing.

sexypika

His figure is very similar to mine so I am starting to feel a little sexy. But given that both of these are probably outside my budget I may have to resort to this next costume, which costs about $30 to buy. They wanted $28 dollars to ship it which is common for Alaska if  also stupid. I could run easily in it, wear it to bed, maybe even to work and possible carry candy to throw at people in case they chased me.

pikareg

I read on Facebook, (I know, not a reliable source, but who needs reliability for these kinds of things), that there were  about 100 people milling around Town Square Park in downtown at 11 pm last night. They were playing Pokémon Go.  I thought we had posted extra police to contain that kind of thing?  Maybe they were police?

Who am I to question this fanaticism? I baked 7 pies this month just so I could have something to look forward to. It’s not like I’m any more mature than these folks. I threw a water balloon at my roommate yesterday and I’m 56 years old. He wasn’t even outdoors. He was sitting at the kitchen table!  I haven’t been blogging lately because I don’t have anything important to say but that doesn’t stop anyone else.

May your world be full of monsters that only you can capture. I was informed that there was a Pigeot or Pigiotto in my kitchen for a short time this morning. My roommate, who does not have a smart phone, was  able to capture it  even though he felt emasculated by having to watch a similar monster prance around across the street.

The sky may be grey tomorrow but wonderful monsters will fall from the sky and  people with funny brains will be out to meet them along with some nut dressed like a Pikachu.

Pokémon GO!

Unemployment – humbling but fun

How can unemployment be fun? I admit I have to make it entertaining but isn’t that what we do with work? It’s an excellent opportunity for creativity. If I do a good job looking for work I treat myself to a nice jar of Nutella and the task of learning how to draw a reindeer so I can paint it on the window

It’s unfortunate that so many people want to know what you do for work whether you’re looking for work or not.  If I tell them I’m unemployed then they want to know what I’m looking for and give me lots of suggestions. I try to beat them to the punch with “I’m just going to let the right job find me.”  They may respond, “Oh you must have lots of money!”  To which I say, “Doesn’t really matter.” At this point they hate me and walk away. I have had my fun.

Why doesn’t it matter? I live very low on the food chain. That could change any minute but that too is out of my control.  What I have to watch out for is my own anxiety which smells pretty bad.  Luckily, many first interviews are by phone now. I got a call about a catering position the other day. They asked when the last time I catered. I started babbling about how I ran a kitchen at the mental health center for over ten years and considered bragging that no one got food poisoning but “food poisoning” is not the phrase I wanted to be remembered for.  Instead I mentioned that food safety was very important. She liked that.

I have been on a career search since I finished a decade working at the community mental health center. I tried counseling at the military base. I worked in hospitality,  and at The Halloween Store.

I always take a small trip between jobs just like some people do between marriages.  This time I went to Paris. This is where I figured out that what I do for a living is not that important as long as I have the flexibility to see my family. I love my family and we  laugh  sometimes harder than anyone else can make me laugh. Paris might not be the funniest city in the world but it can be a silly place despite the terrorism. Isn’t that the way of the world?

Here is some silliness from The Chateau of Chantilly which we went to for the cream and stayed for the horses.

jcchaval

There is a Museum of The Horse here and a giant race track. The museum has real horses in the stable and lots of statues and carousel pieces.

big bunny

Here is Beth trying to get a rise out of a giant carousel bunny.

There are extensive grounds at this chateau, and we found ourselves at the Hameau on which Marie Antoinette  based her little village.  At the edge of the village were these excellent things. I don’t know what you call them, but we had them all to ourselves!

beth earring

Beth as the lady with one pearl earring and her scary outerspace consorts whose heads are made of straw.

beautiful beth

Beth is a medievalist so she naturally looks better in period garb, as opposed to me.

me silliest

I look a bit out of sorts in this scheme. My expression would fit in better were I on a roller coaster.

Here are The Dauphin pictures, both are pretty good I think. Once again Beth just seems to wear it better.Although you can definitely tell we are related.

bethdauphin

 

medauphin

But enough of this silliness. I hope you don’t take offense given all the tragedies in the news but sometimes I have to just look for the bright side. If I look hard enough I will find a reason to keep on. Here are some more silly things we saw on our many walks.

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Here is Beth greeting another bunny. It is too bad he is locked up in the Museum of Taxidermy.

Next is an international warning sign we saw on the windows of L’Hopital de St. Denis, the old leper hospital.

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You can see the ancient decaying walls separating the hospital from the neighborhood but inside it seems pretty modern. The old building which had “Baths” for leprosy therapy  is now some kind of outpatient treatment building next to  the Musee de Moulange.

This is an example of Moulange.

wound

It’s a French casting technique which was used to teach medical personnel about skin diseases and wounds. You can see why a leprosy hospital might have lots of these wax models on hand and turn them into a museum for freaky foreigners.

When we visited a cemetery to look for the graves of Dumas Pere, Njinsky and Collette, we were sorely disappointed.  Colette’s grave was fine, we couldn’t find Dumas Pere, and look at Njinsky’s grave!

njinskey

I would sue if they put something like that on my grave. I know they are basing it on this particular role.

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But could he not be remembered like this?

nijinsky-dans-les-orientales

 

I don’t know how I will be remembered. Read the rest of this entry