HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Currently living/working: We’ve spent nearly the whole month in Alaska, and it’s been so incredible to settle into winter routines at home after so much fall travel. I’ll be honest, this month has been less about paying work and more of a mix of life tasks, relaxation and play during this holiday season. But I know work routines will reappear more regularly in January.
Current mood: With temps not rising above 0 for the majority of December and no more than 4.5 hours of daylight per day, we gave ourselves permission and grace to lean into a reduced capacity of accomplishing.
Currently regretting: At least once a week, we’ve been “vacationing at our second home, the yurt.” Since we only purchased the yurt in August 2021, and it did so well in rentals for its first summer 2022, we hardly got to spend much time there except for working on it/cleaning it. So we both agreed we would make it a point to enjoy it this winter. Furthermore, we upgraded the heating system to a Toyo oil heater this fall, so we figured that would help in the four-season heating factor. WRONG. The yurt is burning through oil thanks to the arctic outside temps. The yurt has been a live and learn investment from the beginning, and though it is the same square footage as our cabin, it certainly has less R-value insulation and loftier ceilings.
Currently not excited for: As much as we wish we could continue to “vacation at our second home, the yurt” into 2023, it is obviously only a 3-season home. And we can’t afford to burn $1000 in fuel on a vacation home, so we are reluctantly shutting it down until the spring.
Current guilty pleasure: Missing the mayhem of holiday travel … last year, we had our post-Christmas flight cancelled three days in a row before we came up with a Plan B. So we told our families we needed a break from the airport holiday debacles. Clearly we made a good choice. Instead we enjoyed a few very merry Friends-mas.
Currently thankful for: I finally hit 100 reviews/ratings on Amazon for my trail/travel memoir, Between Each Step!!! Thank you readers!
Current confession: I mentioned in my last Currently post that we were getting a temporary cat (aka, cat sitting). Ted has moved in, and it definitely took a lil bit to get to know each other. The owners warned us she can be go from sweet to sassy in a moment, and she sure does. Here’s the thing: she is 60 years old (10), and what cranky old woman really wants to be forced to move into a tiny cabin with 2 strangers?
Currently proud of: 19 bylines for me in 2022! 18 for Justin! I am in disbelief with how many words I pounded out on my keyboard. Not sure I will match that in 2023.
Currently excited for: Hawaii!!! After our epic 3-week Hawaii trip fall/winter 2021, I knew we’d return, but didn’t think so soon. But the Alaska Airline flight sale in October roped us in … of course everything else about Hawaii is expensive, but still, I’m stoked for 8 days in Hawaii in January, and determined to stay on a budget.
Currently amazed by: Our spruce Christmas Tree started sprouting new tips. I’m no expert, but I’m guessing it thinks the artificial overhead light is sunlight. We made tea, but I’m gonna say we don’t need to go out an harvest any tips come spring … not my favorite tea flavor.
Currently worried about: Our 2020 truck finally succumbed to the Alaska fate: a broken windshield. We’ve had a small chip for awhile, but the crack spread across the whole length. Every Alaskan says don’t fix cracked windshields because there will only be more …
3 books complete in December!
I love Ann Patchett’s nonfiction works, but I wasn’t sure if I would love her fiction (mainly because I don’t often choose fiction). But a local book club picked Dutch House as the December book, and though I missed the actual book club discussion, I still tackled the book. And surprisingly loved it! I might just have to read more of her fiction works. She is so talented.
I read a more recent book (published 2015) by Kim Heacox a few years ago that I loved, so it was natural to pick up his first memoir (published 2005), The Only Kayak. I love Kim’s writing; his depictions of Alaska are so poignant. However, I didn’t love the storytelling in this one compared with a newer book, Rhythm of the Wild. It felt a bit disjointed with no central plot to hold my attention. My other gripe is that it was a bit preachy about over-tourism and comes off self righteous. I get it: Alaska is a hard place to live and work. It’s a battle between resource development and resource conservation, and tourists sometimes do not appreciate our unpeopled wilderness. Overall, I still appreciate Kim’s stance and poetic style, and I would still read other books from him.
Mike Green lives locally here in Denali Borough, and I just met him, so we exchanged books. Wandermust weaves Mike’s personal and client stories of the transformative power of nature and travel. Mike is a leadership coach, so certainly knows how to provoke introspection. I really appreciated that Mike was authentic throughout the book, exploring his own journey and even had the courage to admit his faults (i.e., his experience working in Antartica was so humbling). We can all afford to be more self aware and live a life of integrity.
Currently watching on Netflix/Hulu/HBO Max/Starz/AMC: We got suckered into the 99 cent Peacock deal offered around Thanksgiving, mainly because we’ve been wanting to watch the series, Yellowstone. We are already happy with our decision as we blew through seasons 1-4 already! It was supposed to be an all-winter binge, but it’s just that good in our opinion. I would rank it up there in my top 3 series!