Currently living/working: As predicted, we’ve had a bit more time now that our summer gigs (e.g. Justin guiding, Patrice cleaning) mostly wrapped up mid month. I say a “bit” more time because it doesn’t feel like enough yet! I’m still putting the finishing touches on the Leave No Trace curriculum project and UCO history book project, plus I had another deadline for Alaska Magazine this month, so it was still a lot of juggling. We’re also both about to start writing reviews for Backpacker’s Spring Gear Guide (poles, food & knives/tools), which is always a HUGE amount of work in October. So I think I need to move the goalpost for a desired slowdown!
Current mood: Even though those long summer days are intoxicating with endless productivity and work opportunities, I do feel like I am literally ready for a long winter’s nap! This summer was a true test of time management with my burner on full flame all the time. I need it to simmer down!
Currently regretting: We both spun out multiple project goals BEFORE THE SNOW HIT. Which ended up happening early on Sept. 17. We were counting on having until the end of Sept to do it all, but nope, big fail. We went from “hmm, there’s a chill in the air” to borderline hypothermia overnight. Failure to accomplish all we wanted to with the little free time we had at the beginning of Sept was a true bummer, and let this be a note to 2022 self: start winter prep earlier!!! Also, I love a magical word my bird expert neighbor (Sarah) taught me: “Zugenruhe!” It’s a German scientific word (Zoog-Oon-Rooha) meaning migratory restlessness. Birds behave as if their feathers are ruffled, with wings fluttering, restlessness, jumpiness and sleeplessness. Yep, that adequately described us—and probably all of Alaska—the last few weeks.
Currently excited about: The dark and the winter give us that permission to live a slower-paced life. As our days are getting shorter and the temps keep dropping, I am lowering my expectations for productivity and finding solace in sitting still.
Currently proud of: My alma mater, King’s College, featured me for their Alumni Spotlight!!!! It feels nice to be seen, and to have book marketing work for me!
Currently not excited about: We qualified for the COBRA premium subsidy from April until September, so now that the relief is ending, we have to start paying about $800/month for health insurance again! Boo. And not only that, but I will be researching to enroll us in one of the plans under the Alaska Marketplace, which means sending my brain into a tizzy comparing premiums, deductibles and coverage. Double boo.
Currently amazed by: Justin’s job with Traverse Alaska as a guide wasn’t even on the radar until he saw the posting in April. And it couldn’t have worked out better! He was very much in his element as a guide! He logged about 165 miles and met tons of cool folks. Plus, the Traverse team is a tight-knit family-run business, so I have a feeling this will be a lifelong role.
Currently thankful for: Surprise visitors! Our friends Mac & Alex (whom we met on the Appalachian Trail back in 2011) had been on a sabbatical road trip around the lower 48, and decided since they couldn’t drive up to Alaska, they would fly! While their timing was great to hit the tail end of our fall before the snow fell, the dates they made it to our neck of the woods coincided with a work backpacking trip for Justin. So he didn’t get to see them as much as I did!
Currently worried about: My mom has been living on her own in their house since my dad passed in 2019, and she seems to be on a string of bad luck with homeowner woes. Between a massive ant’s nest living in her generator to needing to dig up an old oil tank to replace, I feel bad she has to deal with so much on her own. These are all headaches for anyone, but especially for a 76-year-old! Somehow she presses on!
Currently perplexed by: Back in 2009, I wrote a blog post about receiving restitution checks from a guy who broke into my car in Phoenix back in 2004. I wrote how these checks show up randomly at addresses I haven’t lived at for years. It happened again this month! I haven’t gotten a restitution check since 2009, then one shows up at our old address in New Hampshire. Go back and read that 2009 blog post for the full story, but I am just so perplexed that I still get these!
Current confession: We (mostly me) cleaned 160 times this summer! In all my cleaning, I decided my least favorite tasks are: dusting shelves, cleaning tubs & sweeping. With dusting/sweeping, it seems the before and after always looks the same to me. For tubs, it is an awkward position to reach all the spots and … other’s people’s hair … need I say more.
Current guilty pleasure: I think people take for granted that they can eat out or get takeout anytime they want, but everything in our area is closed for the season until May! We didn’t hit all 20+ restaurants that were open this summer, but we definitely indulged more than any other summer. And the last week when the restaurants were open, we ate out THREE times.
Currently reading: I read Nothing to Get Nostalgic About by Eddie Brophy this month. It’s not my typical genre—fiction with a bit of supernatural—but Eddie is a fellow Atmosphere Press author (that’s my publisher!) and I wanted to be supportive. The story is about a dark and twisted childhood that was sometimes hard to read, but the writing brings you so well, you are rooting for the characters the whole way.
Currently watching on Netflix/Hulu/Apple TV/HBO Max: Our Hulu $1.99/month promo subscription will be ending in November, so we are trying to focus on watching what’s on our list there! Our freebie Apple TV will also expire in December, but we don’t find much to watch. Good ‘ol Netflix is our favorite. We haven’t started another series because we’re waiting for Better Call Saul, Ozarks and/or Outlander Season 5 to become available!!