Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Subtleties of Living in Alaska

Eight signs that you live in Alaska (probably not mentioned in your travel guide):

1. You realize that virtually every home you visit has multiple thermometers, placed strategically outdoors so they are visible from most rooms in the house.

Part II of this observation: talk of the weather is a real topic of interest, as opposed to empty space / awkward silence filler.

2. You find yourself in a heated debate about the current temp when you drive around during the winter months, and get a dozen different readings from the many digital clock-thermometer signs businesses put up outdoors. And by the way, over time you get to know all of them, and know which ones are most accurate.

3. You don't see your neighbors at all for 9 months of the year, but when they emerge for summer, they spend the entire season weatherizing the house for next winter.

4. Children -even preschoolers- are marched outside for fresh air or recess up to -20F (approx.-30C) daily.

5. You find yourself hoarding winter gear for every member of the family. Over time, you accumulate enough boots, coats, face masks, hats, scarves, mittens, snowsuits and pants to put an REI store to shame.

6. You call winter jackets "parkas."

7. Your new mantra: "Duct tape fixes everything." In fact, you may even own a parka so old, it is held together with duct tape in several spots, but you won't throw it away "just in case" (see point 5).

8. You find a moose tooth in your car during cleaning.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Moose Molar: or, when you know you're Alaskan

So the other day, while picking up in the far back row of our vehicle, the one I rarely dare venture into, and clean even less, and never without steadying my heart first (I never know what horrors await) this is what I found. A moose tooth. Which is not the worst thing I've found in my car, not by a long shot.

Not too bad, I thought. At least the skull wasn't still attached. Big Fish found it by the river the other day, but I didn't know she kept the car.

And then, it hit me: Big Fish really is interested in wildlife, and maybe she will be a vet after all. Furthermore, I felt Alaskan. For a brief moment, it was so tangible. Because life is mundane most days. Wherever you live, there you are. Living in Alaska can be exotic, but those moments seldom reveal themselves. Yet, this moment for me, was one of those. Usually I find notebook pages, drawings, pencils or remnants of nacho chips under the seats. And now, moose molar in back of car.... I checked it off on the list.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Proper Summer Treat for Adults

This Campari-Citrus Sorbet is a frosty, fruity delight made with either orange or grapefruit juice. Well, and Campari of course! Very smooth...thank you Mowielicious! Recipe here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Oh, Alaska!

A conference I attended recently brought me to Anchorage, and J and I decided to take the whole family and made a road trip out of it. Driving through the Alaska Range is always breathtaking. Here is a sample of what it looks like just outside of Denali National Park. This was taken on the way back home, as we are driving from Anchorage up north, about to reach the small town of Cantwell just outside Park borders (find Cantwell on the Google map below). The video quality is not great because I compressed it a lot for internet use.

View Larger Map

When we stopped at the Cantwell gas station, I snapped a picture of this ad. It is SO Alaskan.

Here is Big Moose in Denali Park at the Crow's Nest restaurant.

And here is the wildest moose of all, our very own Small Moose:

Big Fish has been the quiet, reserved type lately, but I managed to snap a few pictures of her.

UAF Commencement 2010

I finally done did it: finished my MA at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (thanks for everything Dr. Lovecraft :) Commencement was big fun. Big Moose and Big Fish attended the whole thing with some of my friends, while J and the two little ones came for the last hour. Needless to say that the children enjoyed the balloon-dropping finale the most.

Afterward we headed to Pike's Landing for snacks and drinks on the river. It was a fun afternoon.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The (not-so-) Short Break

This blog needs some life. This is just a quick post to say that I've no time for blogging for a few more weeks. Life can be summed up in this simple equation right now:

Time Spent (Writing a journal article + working as a research assistant + caring for 4 children + a house in constant need + some sleep) >= 24 hours

which also means Time Left to Blog = 0

But much fun has also been had, and chronicled on a maxed out camera memory card. I will have to retro-post soon, as a shameful last resort and testament to the fact that I am unfit for blogging.


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