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Spring Forsakenings

Most people look forward to spring. To people with mood issues and to people who live in Anchorage, it’s just another day in Mar a Lago but without the green, the golf and, thank God, the president.

My winter was okay, plenty of cross country skiing and skating, employment, fun. When spring comes to Alaska the winter sports end and the waiting begins. Waiting for summer because spring is a mess just like my head.  This photo sums it up.life.png

This is what snow looks like after the spring plowing exposes it to the light. Layers  of  snowflakes crushed  into prickly ice mixed with months of dirt. That’s what I feel like right now. More like layers of ice cream crushed into bitterness mixed with months of black mood morsels.

Spring cheer is not based on a date or on the return of sunlight. It’s rooted in hope and opportunity.  I like to go on walks but this is what greets me.

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Icy hills North or South are my only alternatives. Deathtrap. Stay inside. Eat. Mope

But if I do I miss the view at the top.

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Or what’s on the other side.

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The little birds are back despite the ice. The geese and gulls are waiting. The actually greening will occur in early May over one short week. Until then I will keep my car plugged in and trudge on.

 

You don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind is blowin’

It recently snowed, lots, for three days straight. The news  projected “overcast skies” with zero percent chance of precipitation each day. This photo was shot at the half way point.

house.pngThis is how it can feel anticipating the next four years.

My guess is that the chief weatherperson is on vacation in Hawaii and there is no backup but someone akin to a vice president who looks things up on Wikipedia, Encylopedia Brittanica  or Lands and Peoples from their home in Seattle. Even to Alaskans, Seattle is not the center of the universe.

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I give the vice president, or whomever, the benefit of the 1955 edition even though the 1932 edition is more colorful.

1932.jpgEverything looks more colorful in the past – the reign of Queen Victoria, the winters of my childhood, the loves and losses. I distrust predicting the future with polls or by use of the vast amount of information available to me. The present continues to surprise me even though I speak to live people. Perhaps that’s because I know myself so poorly.

Only on few occasions do I speak to people without my hidden agenda oozing over my attempts at connection. Why should I expect any different from others? You would think I would have learned this practicing as a therapist but I continue to assume that with enough information I will be able to predict the behavior of others and even improve upon it. This is called grandiosity. Welcome to The American ideal.

I suffer from nostalgia which throw me into fantastical worlds where I am both old and young, safe yet brave, gifted yet of the common man. There are elements of these in both President Trump and Bernie Sanders. It must be difficult in a land of superheroes to elect a practical commander in chief.  Perhaps, the Christian culture fosters the search for a savior instead of a professional paper pusher. I forget that there is no paper anymore, just email, video and tweets.

I delight in ferreting out the B.S on Facebook, in The Huffington Post and The Anchorage Dispatch News. Perhaps those who practice Biblical Exegesis do this habitually or is it just the curse of the depressive? Paid adverts are deleted immediately, any post with a small child or wounded animal pleading not for themselves or their personal freedom but for the plight of their peoples are suspect. Promises and cures are equally annoying. I would enjoy reading that someone lost weight using tricks that would only work for them personally and may not be permanent.  The message is Hope. The command is Faith.

Even when I see many women marching in cute hats I question what I am supposed to feel. If I am honest, I know women used their savings, employed babysitters, and gained a sense of power on Saturday. These are women who vote and yet their vote did not win the election. I am not that interested. It’s good practice for the minority voice to be heard but I care more about the snow. It has fallen in vast amounts. People are mourning. I get it, but what about the snow? It’s still falling. I can be nostalgic and think about the good times we had but my source  is both removed and outdated.

  I am more interested in those who did not attend. Those who disagree, those who don’t vote, those who have an alternative solution to the world’s ills. These are the people who won the last election.  This is the weather I could have foretold by looking out the window in Alaska instead of listening to a weatherperson in Seattle.  It may be too late to get them to listen to me. I approach them not with my political agenda but with my own person, in my own hat. A show of force can be effective in some cases but in others it takes a fool to survive the chaos of the world. Wish me luck.

Another chance to get it not quite wrong

Happy New Year! This is a strange holiday for those of us who have to take it one day at a time, and isn’t that just about everyone?

Things I am noticing already –

It does not feel warm? Where has my global warming gone? It’s 4 degrees every time I get out of my car.

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This is what it looks like when it is too cold for live people to be outdoors

Also, I am overwhelmed by new shopping choices . Why is there chocolate peppermint  drizzle popcorn? How come the sale price is $3.99 and it’s after New Year’s? Isn’t it getting both stale and soggy? Can I get a free sample?

Why is there a cauliflower  product ground up into dust then sold for more money? Can’t these people who want to lose weight just eat sand?

Don’t even look in the frozen section if you know what’s good for you.

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SURPRISE! Is there really an asterisk after the words “Hormones” and “Steroids”?

I am considering hosting my own local version of the Presidential Inauguration Ball, featuring these corn dogs. I learned  from The Guide to the 2017 Presidential Inauguration on Washington.org that

“It is cold in January in Washington, DC. Dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes.

Thousands of portable toilets are brought into National Mall and in front of Metro Stations for the event. Bring your own water and snacks or purchase some from hot dogs and pretzel stands.”

What exactly do they mean by cold, and are their dogs gluten free?

May I also add that I went for a cross country ski the other day out by Point Woronzoff. It was beautiful but the sewage treatment plant smelled like it was in overdrive. I assume the portable toliets at the inauguration will smell the same. It will make you consider going on a liquid diet and never defecating again.

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Here is the view from Point Woronzoff. I will let you imagine the smell of the fecal matter of 300,000 people after the holidays.

If you wish to attend an Inaugural ball and are in a decidedly funereal mood, the internet is ready to help.

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Yes, it’s cosplay, but found under search terms “funeral” and “ball gown”

Meanwhile, the ice fog has cleared and perhaps I shall see The Northern Lights this weekend. I wish you all a warm place to sleep and plenty of gluten free sweets in your pantry. Don’t let a little inauguration get you down. Find your own way to have a ball.

 

5 degrees and holding w/ mint chocolate

Today there is a big old man in my bedroom blasting the Grateful Dead. One would hope that I got lucky last night but the mattress, box spring and I  are out in the kitchen. The bedroom carpets are being replaced and the walls painted. ‘Tis the season for home repair discounts. I have been in this apartment for over 12 years so I’m lucky we’re getting an upgrade before they have to carry me out in a box.  Speaking of boxes, I meant to mail out a present today but I can’t find it because all my stuff and my two roommate’s stuff is mingled in a Close Encounters mound centered in the common space.

 

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The belongings of three people who do not need anything for Christmas

 

I could spend the day outside but I did that yesterday and got a bit cranky. It’s about 5 degrees, I’m being generous here. When the trees are covered in Hoarfrost, you know it’s a little damp and a lot cold so I am prepared for my ice beard. I have hair all over face which gets wet then icy. Yesterday after skating I looked like Scrooge. My pale white hair frosted over and stuck straight out at the sides. I shouldn’t complain. It’s actually good weather for sleeping and taking a walk to see Christmas lights. I know I’m in trouble when I open the door and a cloud of mist appears when the warmish house air hits the super cold outdoors air.

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The white stuff on my collar is my breath

 

Now my cranky housepainter is listening to The Rolling Stone’s Shattered. I wonder if he started painting at 20 and has been listening to the same station ever since then. I bought myself the cheapest peppermint patties I could find to cheer me up. They taste a little waxy but that way I don’t eat as many as I would the York ones.  I almost bought peppermint tea but I have 4 boxes of other teas I really should drink first. But peppermint is so delicious. It’s like winter in a cup but warmer.

Alaska Sausage and Seafood is like a winter wonderland of food. All the food is German, Swedish or Alaskan and wrapped in colorful foil, covered in powdered sugar, or filled with squishy marzipan. Of course there are also many sausages including a potato sausage  which I thought might be vegetarian but was mixed with pork squeezed into somebody’s intestine. I spent a good amount of money there because I am only doing edible gifts to most people this year. Having cleaned out my room, I was depressed with all the crap I have and how much time it takes to go through it. I have photocopies of things. No one keeps photocopies anymore. I have photos. I still have a few VHS tapes and way too many books. Salvation Army will save me if I can just get them into bags and out the door. But I must give because I love Christmas so here are some of the things I got. My roommates don’t read my blog so these are some of their presents.

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Not from Alaska Sausage, from Fred Meyers, not the seafood dept.

 

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Looks delicious, I hope they share

 

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A classy looking gift for about 10 bucks

Now I must go because it is time to bake. Then I will go downtown and buy a dreidl because I want to get the residents of the nursing home where I work to earn their gelt.

 

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Happy Hoarfrost to you, and to all a good night!

 

 

 

 

Anxiety woman survives another Anchorage “winter”

I use the term “winter” quite loosely as it has been an unheard of 40 degrees F most everyday this week.  The Fur Rondy sled dog races were abbreviated from 30 miles to 3 as the dogs are mushing through slush brought in from the local snow dump. I biked to the fireworks tonight. I have done this before bundled up like a blimp but today I wore fingerless gloves and a light jacket. Note the lack of hats on these festival goers.

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You would think we Alaskans would rejoice in the warmth and lack of snow but instead we are MISERABLE!  It is darker when there is no snow to reflect the small amount of light we get. Also there is no skiing of any sort and now the skating is also impossible. Biking with studs and running with cleats are my fallbacks.

So here is how I got through this pseudo winter.

  1.  I paid no attention to the presidential campaign.  Sure, I laughed at some Trump memes on facebook. Especially the one my friend Luke posted of the entire library staff wearing a familiar hairdo.

2.    I didn’t force myself to blog, as I would have bored you to death with my petty problems and horrible anxiety about my new job. It is a pretty good job by the way but like most people I feel I am doing a horrible job when I start something new. Unlike most people, my mind exaggerates it to a life and death struggle and I accumulate as many stress related diseases I can manage to contract at one time.

3.   I did a play. It was an awesome opportunity as I only was onstage for two minutes so I had plenty of time to either be anxious or remind myself that I was having fun. One way I have fun is trying on hats. There’s no better place than a theater for outrageous hats.

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Is this not one of the best hats ever? My costume was pretty cool too. I was playing a dead alcoholic in heaven. The play was Kurt Vonnegut’s Happy Birthday Wanda June. You can’t find it on the internet because he hated the film but the play is hysterical.  Here’s another winning hat:

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I realize this is not for everyday wear but Easter is coming up.

By the way, this particular theater, Cyrano’s in Anchorage, has a lovely anti-anxiety poster backstage.

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When I catch myself thinking just how bad I could screw up, I remind myself that Richard Nixon just made things worse for himself by being all tense. Must have been very difficult to deal with getting impeached. If I lost my job or got kicked out of a show at least it wouldn’t be the biggest story of its day.

Here is some lovely headgear I wore today.

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I am working at a nursing home. My costume was a 60’s waitress uniform. Our African American history celebration fell to me as the sole activity staff working on Saturdays. I came up with a successful theme – The Integration Cafe ( like a much nicer place than the Woolworth’s where the black students were not served.) Since we had already used up our entire budget for the month, all we needed were pies and a bit of ingenuity.  Everyone was encouraged to sit by someone they didn’t know well, I served pie and ice cream shakes ( we already had the ice cream and the milk!). We watched an excellent film on the music of the civil rights movement, followed by  someone who had prepared a solo and a spontaneous sing-a-long of songs from the movement. I had library books on The Harlem Renaissance, The Tuskegee Airmen and such on the cafe tables and photocopies of famous and not so famous African American pioneers.  Can you tell I am proud! I’ve come a long way from hating myself completely! The singing helps. Also the family members and friends of the residents who helped out. I feel like I am part of a team now.

So I have to remind myself that I can always try on a hat. There are many people to help out if I only ask. There is always chocolate and I don’t have to beat myself up for eating it when I’m anxious and depressed because very soon I will have A DENTAL PLAN!!!!

 

 

Marching into winter- Alaska style!

It’s not spring yet, oh Non-Yeti people of the South. I fell on the ice three times in the last two days, twice trying to unplug my car and once ice skating. It’s balaclava weather, a stiff wind with cold, dry undertones of glacier.  And yet, no snow. This is why I keep slipping, not because I am old and clumsy and I have to climb an icy hill to wrap my extension cord around the fence after I unplug my vehicle. It’s the Ice, baby, ice.

In Alaska, this is time for the midwinter festival. We have an outdoor carnival, parade and usually, if we had snow, some dog races. What we had this  year were faux races, kind of like a reality TV show of what is supposed to be a ceremonial start, (read not even real when there is snow!)  Here is a photo from the ceremonial start of The Iditarod in downtown Anchorage this year. It was about 15 degrees F. but felt like 0 because downtown is a wind tunnel. There’s nothing like pink hair and a fuchsia beard to warm things up.

We may not have snow but we have style!

We may not have snow but we have style!

That slushy snow you see was hauled in from the snow dump in town only to be rained upon the night before the race. To see what the downtown streets really look like, here are some scenes  from The Fur Rondy parade the week before.  Let’s start with my all time favorite float – the giant inflatable colon with Mr. Polyp!

Next year I will volunteer to be Mr Polyp!

Next year I will volunteer to be Mr Polyp!

Note that there is no snow or ice on the colon!  Behind the serious health message of Mr. Polyp was a float from a  local business with a similar theme.

Sitting down on the job

Sitting down on the job

And while we’re at it, let’s not forget the roughage!

Sad to say, only the white bread was marching. I will boycott until I see brown bread represented

Sad to say, only the white bread was marching. I will boycott until I see brown bread represented

I did find what looked like a marginally local clump of snow off the parade route.

Parking was a little tight downtown but this is just showing off!

Parking was a little tight downtown but this is just showing off

And thus arrives March with a bite of frosted but no flakes, okay perhaps a few human ones. Self included.

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

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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!