Currently living/working in: We started Leave No Trace work 6/29! It’s all based from Alaska and online for now, but it takes some adjusting to be back on a specific schedule. Knowing this was coming, we spent most of June tying up quite a few freelance content projects, including a secret project that hopefully I can reveal soon!
Current mood: I’ve been having a hard time this month processing what’s going on in our grieving and raging country. Between the ever-changing virus and recommendations, and our role/miseducation in social justice, there’s just a lot of resource overload.
Currently worried about: It seems the virus has had a delayed reaction here in Alaska, as the number of virus cases doubled from May to June. There’s probably a bit of correlation to our summertime population uptick—even with fewer tourists in 2020. I think I am in disbelief that the virus numbers are rising again. Everyone has restriction fatigue and has become complacent (including us!). We used to be so careful, as the smallest, routine tasks felt infused with danger. But the glittery allure of normalcy got to us and I don’t know how to get back to a guarded stance. The signature dilemma of the pandemic era—risks versus sacrifices. We are the only ones who can draw the line between what’s okay and not okay for ourselves, but I’m not sure we’ve decided yet. Do we even have the best information to make the call?
Current confession: Getting up early is not our forte. One of the advantages of the freelance life is making your own schedule. The return to our LNT contract certainly means we are on more of a schedule. Thankfully, when we were arranging meetings for the first 2 weeks, one of our supervisors asked us if we prefer to start 9am AKST or 9am MST (which would be 7am AKST). Honestly, we still had to set our alarm to be ready for our daily 9am AKST start time! And we’ve now joined the Zoom world on a regular basis. We’ve done video phone calls here and there in quarantine, but not nearly as much as others. Actually, all this online work does scare us a bit, but we taught ourselves how to use Google Docs/Surveys from a recent project, so I suppose you CAN teach two old dogs new tricks!
Current guilty pleasure: We optimized the last of our free time before returning to a “schedule.” The wonderful weather and extended daylight hours this month meant tons of day hikes (sadly no backpacking yet). Oh, and no big surprise, Justin played golf 21 days out of the 30 in June, knocking out 35 rounds of 9 holes! He’s on fire!!
Currently excited about: Our dry cabin came with a well, but the previous owners were skeptical of its performance and reliance. We didn’t use it all winter, but now our well is pretty much up and running. All tests say it’s good, although sometimes it comes out a little brown (that’s what filters are for?!). Our previous caretaking experience in New Mexico came in handy when understanding well water quality and it tests perfectly. We still haven’t piped the water to the cabin (maybe the next step!), but it’s still nice and convenient to be like, “we need water, let’s turn on the well & fill our containers.”
Currently not excited about: Alaska has always half-jokingly called the mosquito the state bird, with 35 different species across the state. We honestly never felt they were too terrible other summers we’ve been here, whereas this spring and summer, they—and other bugs—seem particularly ravenous. Might have to do with the fact that we have a pond 25 yards from our cabin …
Currently thankful for: Long days. Sure, we’ve hit summer solstice, which means we are losing daylight daily. But we still have midnight sun and can pack our days full!
Currently amazed by: More June flexible schedule productivity! Justin & I made a long list of things we’d like to do to the cabin. We do not consider ourselves particularly handy, but with enough patience and trial and error, DIY is possible. Although hiring professional help will be a must for other projects!
Currently proud of: I know a lot more people are doing home haircuts these days. I’ve often cut Justin’s hair over the years because we typically live remotely without a nearby barber shop. I was particularly lazy about it lately and let Justin’s hair get a little too gnarly. Instead of resembling Ed Norton, he turned into Jim Carry. Knowing we were going to have Zoom meetings for LNT and potential online and in-person presence, it was time.
Currently regretting: I am not composting. First of all, among all the things that are still stuck in storage is my indoor compost bin that we’ve had on the road. But second of all, composting is complicated in Alaska because … bears. During the last 2 summers we’ve been up in Alaska working, we’ve always been able to drop our compost to Aramark & Denali Education Center, both of which have bear-proof special composters. That’s not possible now, so while I could have explored other options, I just had to forgo it. Let me tell you, recycling is hard enough in Alaska! We bring most of our recycling to Fairbanks (aluminum, plastic & cardboard—our neighbor burns a lot of this in his wood stove and we also do some in our fire pit). There is a recycling center in Cantwell 45 minutes away that takes tin. But no one takes glass, so we try to limit those purchases, which is hard! Overall, collecting and storing in our small space is challenging.
Currently reading: 3 books in June! To be fair, they were short. I have a girlfriend in NJ who generously sends me packages of all the books she’s read every so often, which has broadened my genre and title list. It’s been fun!
I read 2 Glennon Doyle books, Love Warrior and Untamed. I didn’t love them, like so many people. But, she is a strong writer with so much story to tell. Lots of good insight to share, including my favorite takeaway quote: “Privilege is being born on third base. Ignorant privilege is thinking you’re there because you hit a triple. Malicious privilege is complaining that those starving outside the ballpark aren’t waiting patiently enough.”
I also read Busy Phillips’ This Will Only Hurt A Little. It’s not that I am a Busy fan, or even really remember her from much more than Freaks and Geeks. But wow. Celebrity culture is fascinating.
In case you haven’t noticed, Justin is on a hiatus to reading. Golf is more important!
Currently watching on Netflix: We finished Season 3 of Longmire, and this was our favorite season thus far. Hopeful Season 4 will bring the same intrigue. I mentioned this already, but Longmire was filmed where we used to live in New Mexico (even though it is based in Wyoming), so it’s also the nostalgia we enjoy. Three more seasons left.