Currently living/working in: We are well passed the halfway point of our Leave No Trace contract—still from Alaska. The full schedule continues. We finished up in-person programming at the campgrounds in Denali National Park and did some cleanups in September before the snow covers any summer trash! For October, we’ll be focusing more on online programming and strategizing. As for everything else we work on simultaneously, it makes for an overflowing plate right now.
Current mood: I definitely feel scatterbrained lately. I think I need a day (maybe 3 days?) to just triage/prioritize all my different projects, plus catch up on life administrative tasks. It’s our fault, just inherent in our chosen career path with a mix of jobs and not saying no to new writing projects.
Currently proud of: Well, our local golf course closed for the season on Sept. 23, and Justin is already counting down the days until it reopens. If someone told us 15 years ago that we’d live 1 mile from a golf course, I think we never would have believed it. But here we are. Justin thoroughly enjoyed getting back into his golf game this summer, and he squeezed it in every chance he could get. Again, the course is only 9 holes, so would take him about an hour to play when solo.
Anyway, here’s the grand total. From May 22 until Sept. 23, Justin played 106 rounds of 9 holes (doesn’t count additional practice rounds). Sometimes by himself, sometimes with friends (there might have been some betting involved). Bottom line, his membership investment was well worth it because this means he paid about $2 per game!!
For anyone who cares how he did … he shot 3 eagles and 60 birdies, but PLENTY of boggies and double boggies. The 9-hole course is a par 34, and he shot under par once (during his last week of golfing!). And not for nothing, he always walked with his pull cart, so this means he logged more than 300 miles just from walking the golf course this summer!
Currently not excited about: Just as quickly as the sun returned in spring, it disappeared in the fall. I remember an Alaskan friend warning October/November/December is the hardest time. Last year, we weren’t here consecutively during those months, so to be here throughout was a new venture. It was certainly exciting to see stars and night again, and I am stoked for snow and winter, but the waning light, barren trees and boarded up summer buildings are a tad depressing for sure!
Currently excited about: Fall in Alaska may be short, but it certainly captured my heart. In fact, September might be my new favorite month in Alaska! I think the termination dust was the icing on the cake for beautiful scenery. (The literal meaning of termination dust is the first sign of snow dusting the mountains that keeps dropping to lower and lower altitudes reminding us that summer is terminating.)
Currently amazed by: When we lived and worked in New Mexico at Fenton Ranch, we actually played a migration game with the Manzano third graders to teach about the sandhill crane population. They would take a field trip to see them migrating every year in Albuquerque, but we didn’t go on it and so never witnessed the cranes. Imagine our surprise when we started hearing the honking in the skies above us in Alaska. THOUSANDS of sandhill cranes have been migrating right above us for weeks in September. They are journeying south for the winter to Mexico and southwest United States from the wetlands of Alaska and Siberia. So cool!
Currently regretting: Would you believe we saw no grizzly bears this summer? We saw 2 from a distance in the park this spring, but none the rest of the summer. I mean, for all the times we drove in and out of the park for amphitheater programs, we should have seen a bear. But no luck. Now moose on the other hand … we’ve lost count.
Currently worried about: Seeing family in Denver and NJ at some point in 2020 is proving to be very complicated with so many moving parts, especially because it is 2 different states with 2 different sets of requirements and 2 different family expectations.
Current confession: Am I selfish for wanting to visit family? We want to be safe and smart about it, but good grief. Experiences that were pretty forgettable last year—like a simple family dinner—feel so unattainable. As one of my friends puts it, “it feels like a disaster waiting to happen—family gets together thinking they are fine, then they all end up in the hospital on ventilators.”
Current guilty pleasure: Uncrowded public spaces. I mean, I’m not sure Alaska is ever “crowded” by most standards, but hearing reports of outdoor spaces being “loved to death” with unprecedented crowds makes us appreciate where we live again and again and again.
Currently reading: I read City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. Not my typical book (fiction), but I figured I’d give it a try after a friend gave it to me. Actually, I have a whole stack of fiction reads that I might slowly try to work through. Anyway, City of Girls was LONG (470 pages), but I like the writing style of Elizabeth Gilbert. This one was about an affluent gal who moves to NYC in the 1940s and does a whole lot of growing up in that time.
Currently watching on Netflix: We are on Season 4 of Money Heist, and it is excellent. It’s about a team of criminals and their heists in Spain. Sometimes it gets a little ridiculous with love drama, but the mastermind of the heists is what keeps our attention.