Thursday, June 27, 2013

Moving and Grooving- Alaska Style

So everyday at work, I give this 'talk' or 'orientation' about the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake 'that devastated not only Alaska (indeed economically, environmentally, and emotionally) but really a significant amount of the Western Seaboard.' [Thank you thank you, I do make these things up all by myself.  I sometimes like to talk pretty].  Every. Single. Day.

Anywho. I inevitably get the question- 'Are there a lot of Earthquakes still?' I inevitably answer- 'Yes, of course.  They literally happen all the time.  But most are so small you'll never even notice.'  I'm not lying.  They do happen all the time.  It plays out a little like sudden onset vertigo if you can even feel one... but for the most part you just don't notice.

Until last night.

I wake up at 3:30ish in the morning wondering why on earth it feels like I am suddenly on a boat. There I was, all tucked into bed and happily snoozing away and then I am inexplicably pitching and rolling.  Oh that's right.  Earthquakes.  Alaska.  Plate boundaries and movement. Gotcha, I'm on it.

Alas, there is not such an amazing end to this story.  The house jerked a bit.  The land shook a bit.  I turned onto my belly and went back to sleep.  I hit the 'post-earthquake snooze button' in my brain and returned to dream land.  I actually even kind of forgot about it a little.  Seriously.  I only remembered an hour into iPad Accessibility Training and texted my parents to say 'hey- by the by- had an earthquake last night.'  They then related the news to my dear brother. And from him (via text message) I received the following response of concern: 'is it just like i have imagined terror everywhere and people running around with towels on their heads.'  Grammatical errors notwithstanding, I got a hearty chuckle out of that one.

I literally went back to bed.

I think he was a little disappointed in my earth quaking story.  So for him I give you Moving and Grooving China Style. 

The first earthquake I experienced was indeed in the Chengdu, China, back in the day.  I probably did not blog about it.  I know I did not tell my parents about it for fear that they would fly overseas and bodily remove me from my (at the time current) situation.

Standing in front of open windows, on the sixth floor of a shoddily-built Chinese apartment complex, the building started moving.  This is, in essence, a HOLY SHIT I'M GOING TO DIE kind of moment.  It is one thing to be in an earthquake.  It is another thing to be in an earthquake in China (see afore-mentioned shoddily built apartment complex comment).  Their infrastructure is not exactly equipped... well for anything, really... but certainly not for major disasters.  And the fact that my building was literally swaying like a lovely bit of wheat in a windy field was less than comforting.  Less than comforting enough to have my life pass before my bespectacled eyes.  I called Pat afterward and yelled into the phone 'DID YOU FEEL THAT?!?!?!'

His response was, of course, 'Yeah.  That was nothing.'

So there you have it.  The good, the bad, the Alaskan, the Chinese, the responses of men in my life to my earthquake responses.  Hopefully the second was a better story for the masses.

The Earth, she shakes.

Until next time... you should probably google quakes in China.  It's only marginally depressing ;).

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hello Holly King

And a Happy Solstice to All.

I adore this holiday.  And I will get right to the point- on this day of longest days the Oak and Holly Kings will battle- as is their tradition and right.  And the Holly King, my King, will win.  He will usher in the shorter, sweeter, hibernative (yes I made that word up to suit my grammatical needs) days which eventually lead to the late summer and fall darkness.  He brings the seasons into the Winter, he brings me into Winter.

The Summer Solstice, Litha, marks the day during which the most hours of sunlight (in Alaska this year it does not seem to make a lick of difference what day it is- there are many MANY hours of sunlight) will shine.  We celebrate light, lightness, and warmth even while we begin to arrange for the disappearing lightness that follows.

It always seems to strike me- this constancy of celebration and preparation- on the Big Days.  I rediscover the dualism of grief and gratitude in every moment of every day during these holidays which recognize both.  Grief and Gratitude.

There are so many sides to so very many coins.

Merry Midsummer, Loves.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

From Here You Can Almost See the Sea

Yes, there is a reason I hijacked the David Gray song title for the title of this post- because today I could smell, smell, the sea.  I went for a run during my too-long lunch hour, and could smell it.  Upon scenting it, I immediately craved hearing this song.

As of that, this one, moment, I had not yet scented that wonderful Bering body of water.  Mostly Anchorage smells of dust.  And onions.  And reindeer hotdogs.

But today it smelled of the Sea.  The air was fresh and clear and someone planted Queens of the Night Tulips along my regular running path.  Perfection.  Unbelievable, unusual, rare, perfection.

Until next time-

From Here You Can Almost See the Sea...

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Little Things

That keep me going:

Our neighbors are using the fence between our yard as a planter. It's so beautiful and so simply charming and makes me smile every time I pass by.  Also, to add to the delight, she put in Celosia, my favorite flower (its the one that looks a little like a red Christmas Tree).  Which came as such a pleasantly cosmic little surprise as they had never even met me upon planting said fence-box.

The next Little Thing requires some naturally bizarre background.  To begin- everywhere I go, I find a place, a house/home/structure that I want to be mine.  There is a house in Claremont, New Hampshire that I would cut off my right arm to buy.  There is one in Sheboygan, a block away from my Aunt Nancy that has "Kate" practically written across the thresh-hold.  The purple house in Southport NC, yeah- that's mine, too.

Here in Anchorage I have become smitten with this run-down creature.  The white paint is peeling, the green is fading fast, but there is something so old, and so giving about this house. I cannot quite put my finger on it.  Well, yes I can.  If you take this house, move it to the coast of Maine and install yours truly on the inside, I would pretty much be set for life.  Add a dog, drop my jeep in the mix, a flannel blanket or two. It is a dream.

Then the Last Little Thing- well maybe it is not so little- I am constantly astounded (this you all know, I know) by the mountain ranges here.  The freaking mountains! The bullying, bold, breathtaking mountains that somehow sneak into every horizon.  They never quite seem real.  Yet there they are- persistent; ancient; always.

Until next time- I promise I am not making these colors up! I am not photoshopping anything.  It really looks like this!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Big R

I know.  I know.  One minute I am happily typing away about mountains and Swedish/British television and other nonsensical obsessions and the next I am rabidly tap-tap-taping away about spiraling into insanity.  What can I say?  This diseased brain of mine is a complicated maze which even I have immense difficulty navigating- and often.

I digress.  Sort of.

So, what happens when people move to Alaska, you ask?  Most of them see moose; sometimes they see bears.  All of them see mountains and clouds; fireweed and magpies.  They see beautiful things.  I see beautiful things here every day.  Every single day.  And I hold onto those beautiful things with a fervor not unlike obsession.  But... if you ask again...what happens when people move to Alaska? If they are this people, they relapse.  Relapse.  The Big R., the Bad R.  It's happening.  And my honesty, my uncompromising honesty, forces me to type these words as an apology.  As an admittance.  As an active bargain for help, patience, and kindness.

You see, my control over circumstances best not mentioned in a public blog has slipped.  And so my grip tightens elsewhere.  Specifically in one already troubling "elsewhere" of my existence.  This would be the afore-metioned Big Bad R.

So please.  Feel my love for you all even though I am troubled and tried.

Until next time.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Obsessions Confessions

The June Edition:

So, I know that I am something like a decade behind on this one, but I finally buckled down and watched the first series of Wallander.  Kenneth Branagh is perfect as the Swedish detective- his emotion and world-weariness plays out PERFECTLY onscreen.  I almost could not stop crying when he broke down in the final episode- crying himself in front of his 'daughter.'  So perfect.  It does not hurt that Tom Hiddleston is also in the series.  Yummy.

Totally and Utterly Obsessed with this
Unnamed Mountain Range.
She's All Mine.
These chirpy little devils are just charming my pants off of late. They are loud and mean but smart as whips.  And part of the Corvidae family of birds who, interestingly enough, have a brain to body ratio of 50/50.  That's pretty damned awesome.  

Hugs.  I love hugs.  I always want hugs- I truly believe they are the most satisfying form of human contact- when they are good ones.  I want, more than anything else on the planet right now, a hug from my mom.  I do believe that would heal the hell out of me.  I don't need to describe it.  Just go and be overwhelmed by the number of people who are looking for goodness.  And willing to pay for it... with benefits!  

Imagining all the places I still have yet to go has become and obsession as well.  Not that I DON'T do this every single time I go somewhere.  I like to jump the travel gun... it's a weakness... and, I think, a birthright.  I want to go go go.  And right now I want to go go go to... ahem... Argentina, Chile, the Mediterranean Coast, Eastern Europe, Turkey, the Northern Countries.  ARGGGHHH.  Everywhere- let me go everywhere and experience everything.  The West Coast of the US- hell, more of the East Coast of the US.  

The following statement from my roommate, Wifey, detailing her various international connections and disconnections and redirections: "I am a mini-UN." 

And that's all folks.. for now I guess. 

Cheers till Next Time, Dearhearts.