Currently living/working: It’s been full-on gangbusters still this month, but summer tourists are dwindling down, which means we both SHOULD have more time in September without our seasonal jobs. Plus, I’m putting the finishing touches on the Leave No Trace curriculum project and UCO history book project, wrapping up my biggest freelance projects soon. Maybe I’ll even have some time for new pitches and/or blogging more than 1-2 times/month?!?!
Current mood: August is typically our rainy month, so while I didn’t spend a whole lot of time recharging my batteries outside in nature, I did find more time this month for writing, and it’s been refreshing to be creating again! I recently wrote some reflections about turning 43 and it felt good to put that all down on paper, err, on the computer screen.
Currently proud of: Remember I published a book??? Anyway, marketing that book is STILL part of my livelihood and to do list. And someday I’ll write another blog post about those efforts, but my summer marketing included local markets, books clubs and libraries. Amazon is a tricky beast with a crazy algorithm, but we noticed a few surges in sales ranking lately, which meant my endeavors were having an effect!!!!!
Currently excited about: Summer in Alaska always rockets by, and what I’m learning is if you don’t put things on the calendar, they won’t happen and you’ll just watch the season slip through your fingers while you are working it away. I’m excited we put one trip down to southern/coastal Alaska on the calendar months ago! Coming up this week, we’ll spend a few days in Seward, followed by a few days in Sitka. Justin visited Seward many times, but I was only there once for like 24 hours in 2003. And Sitka will be a brand-new place for both of us! The trip is bookended by our wilderness first responder (WFR) recertification in Girwood, AK, and our friends’ wedding in Sitka, AK, so it’s part work, part play.
Current guilty pleasure: Back in June, I purchased something at an estate sale that I’ve been wanting for many, many moons. A fancy dancy weather station! With a rain gauge! And a wind sensor! And a lightening detector! I’m pretty obsessed with weather, but these stations are wicked expensive, so when I saw it at the yard sale intact (new in the box!) for double instead of triple digits, I knew I had to have it. And like I said, it rained pretty much every day in August, so now I officially know we got 4.88 inches of rain (including one day of snow) in August, with a high of 81 degrees (on 8/2) and a low of 32 (on 8/29).
Currently not excited about: Of course we’re bummed summer is essentially over. I blinked and the beautiful wildflowers gave way to a fall palette. Not only was there not enough time for hanging on the deck, playing golf, hiking/backpacking/kayaking, etc., we’re now in a frenzy to complete all the outdoor projects before our landscape freezes over (spoiler alert: we won’t succeed.)
Currently amazed by: Jury Duty served! I did have to report in person to court in Fairbanks for one day this month. There were 46 other potential jurors for a criminal case, and they picked 14 after we all answered various questions about our work history, family life, jury duty history, residency length, relations to the court system … Dare I say, it was fascinating to watch the process unfold. Dare I also say, I was a bit miffed not to be picked – why not me?? Again, this was my first time I was called. It seems unbelievable that in all my 12 states of living and 42 years, I never had jury duty. But I am certain this won’t be the last time.
Current confession: For a second year in a row, I have failed to grow much in my container garden during the very short Alaskan summer growing season. I really need a greenhouse, but I know it’s more of a want than a need. Justin’s mom did get us an Aerogarden as a gift, so I’m excited to use it this winter!!!
Currently worried about: We are taking our wilderness first responder recertification class this coming weekend, and it always involves a test, which always makes me unnecessarily anxious. Testing is the reason I stopped at my bachelor’s degree. Good student, bad test taker. Wish me luck this weekend!
Currently thankful for: Another blog post I have planned in my head, but haven’t put out on the Interwebs: our water situation at our cabin. We still mostly live in a dry cabin (still love our outhouse!), but last summer, we hired someone to build an insulated well house to connect our well water to our cabin. It’s lovely having piped in water, HOWEVER, that well house has been the bane of our existence because of an electrical problem resulting from the build. I’m not going into details, but the main complaint: we had to flip a switch outside for the pressure tank to work. Not a huge deal, except when it’s 20 below. With no electricians in Healy, we asked COUNTLESS “people who know electrical work” if they could fix the problem, and no one wanted to touch it with a 10-yard stick. FINALLY, one year later and thousands of dollars, we found a real electrician and no longer have to “flip the switch” when we want water. Plus, it’s legit electrical work instead of Alaskana style.
Currently reading: There are a lot of fellow authors who live in Healy, and it is my goal to meet and read all the works! I haven’t met Christine Byl, but I read Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods this month. Christine’s line of “trail dog” work is very respectable, so it was really interesting to read about that trail crew world. She also included a lot of Alaskan musings, which of course I loved. I think she is a very good writer, but the shortfall for me was how she skipped around and it’s just my personal preference on storytelling methods.
I also read The Cactus Eaters: How I Lost My Mind and Almost Found Myself on the Pacific Crest Trail by Dan White because a friend lent me this book. While I enjoyed the dramatic trail narrative of an underprepared long-distance backpacker, I cringed a lot from Dan’s commentary because he is a bit of a chauvinist. He was admittedly self-absorbed and ignorant at the time of the hike, and was inconsiderate to his partner, Allison. If you can get past this, he is a talented writer!
Currently watching on Netflix/Hulu/Apple TV/HBO Max: We’ve been watching the Netflix short docuseries “The Movies That Made Us.” It goes behind the scenes for a number of movies from our childhood (i.e., Back to the Future, Dirty Dancing). It is amazing to see this look behind the curtain! A few good movies we’d recommend from Netflix this month: The Next Three Days, I Am All Girls, Awake, Sweet Girl and Ice Road.