Currently living/working: Neither Justin nor I had any deadlines in April, nor any virtual presentations, nor much cleaning, nor any hours working at the library, so it felt like we didn’t work since we didn’t get paid! But, we were pitching and prepping for future projects, which is a very important piece of the freelance pie, and actually the piece that takes the longest.
Current mood: The spring days are stretching daylight until after 11pm, erasing the darkness and winter from our life. Seasonal folks are returning just like the birds and bears, and soon, tourists will bring our tiny gateway town back to life. As overstuffed as I know summer is, I am ready for it!!
Currently proud of: Justin & I were both pitching machines this month. Self-employment lets us choose flexibility and balance, and April was one of those months where it’s more about the hustle than the immediate paycheck. Pitching is of course it is unpaid until it becomes an assignment. For example, I sent out 8 pitches to libraries for virtual programs, and heard back from 2 that are now scheduled for October. I crafted and sent out 4 pitches to a new-to-me publication—1 of which was kindly rejected, 2 that were tabled as possibilities, and 1 which I haven’t heard back. I have 10+ other half-researched pitches marinating in documents and another 10 unresearched ideas marinating in my head, but have lost steam and time, as we are on the edge of our busy summer.
Currently not excited for: Our temporary cat, Ted, will be returning to her owners at the beginning of June. It will be bittersweet to say goodbye, as we enjoyed having a cat in our life again for the last 6 months. At 11 years old, she definitely has an attitude from time-to-time, but once you get past that rough exterior, she is like a low-maintenance, snuggly, stuffed animal.
Current guilty pleasure: I ended up buying a new laptop. I’ve been having issues with memory, disk space and just all around seeing the age of my 8-year-old laptop. I could no longer update the operating system, which caused a few other glitches. So I decided to bring it into the Apple Store while I was in NJ earlier in the month. They said it was amazing it was still working at all, and I could just ride it out. Justin was immediately asking me to just buy the laptop while I was near an Apple Store, especially because they could do the transfer. He didn’t want to witness the breakdown that would inevitably happen when I’m stuck in the middle-of-nowhere Alaska with a dead laptop.
Currently regretting: We definitely spent more money (i.e., laptop, used car, travels) this month than we made and I dread our upcoming credit card balances hitting early May. Besides my laptop, we’ll probably have to buy Justin a new laptop and iPad soon, as his devices are just as old as mine was. One exorbitant purchase at a time please.
Currently amazed by: I just returned from an ultralight backpacking gear-testing trip with Outdoor Life, and I can’t stop beaming about it (dedicated blog post coming). There were 5 women, and we hiked 27.5 miles over 3 days. It was honestly an enormous amount of work, but there was laughter, endorphins, adventure, growth, creativity, sun and peaceful nights in a solo tent. As Anne Lamott says, “almost everything will work again if you unplug it, even me.”
Currently thankful for: Justin has Gold status with Alaska Airlines, which means major perks. My Uncle Fred has lived in Alaska for 40+ years, and knows all things AK Air, and has turned Justin into his protege. Anyway, Gold status means Justin gets 4 free first class upgrades (and automatically gets himself on the first grade upgrade list). I’ve enjoyed first class TWICE this year already thanks to his perks. I am getting very spoiled!
Currently excited for: Our first yurt guests checked in April 30, nearly a full month earlier than the year before. We were wavering on whether to open the yurt up in May, knowing the snow can be unpredictable, and also knowing Justin had some upgrades to do to the water system, including a new electrical box (thanks Matt for solving the puzzle!!). But we (he) got it all done and how fun to be going into Year 2 of Airbnb-ing.
Currently worried about: April has been the month of snow removal. We certainly did not have as much accumulation as last year, but winter hung on tight and the snow drifts were in all the wrong places. Justin & I had to clear the path to the yurt’s outhouse thanks to a few of our Healy hurricanes in early April. As snow continues to melt slowly, it remains to be seen how things will look around the yurt. Mud and floods are Spring’s messy product launch, and every year looks a little different.
Current confession: I swear I still have PTSD from my moose charging in February. Thankfully with the returning daylight, I don’t need to be afraid to go out to the use the “restroom” in the dark. This time of year when the snow is lingering and plants haven’t greened up, the moose are hangry from munching on twigs and bark all winter … can’t say I blame them.
Currently reading: I read 2 books that blend stories with beautiful color photos.
Shopping for Porcupine: A Life in Arctic Alaska by Seth Kantner is a collection of his previously published essays, so it doesn’t read as a start to finish chronological memoir. He is white, so not Alaska Native, but his family lived by the old Inupiat ways in the rural North, raised as a homesteader leading a subsistence (living off the land) life. I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second, as in the later chapters are full of ruminations about his internal dilemmas about the impacts of materialism and technology and hunting regulations without really fleshing out his stance. Overall, most of the stories are sprawling with beautiful depictions of life above the Arctic Circle.
We are giving our niece Orange is Optimism by “professional nomads” Kit Whistler and J.R. Switchgrass as part of her graduation gift, and I started flipping through the book and quickly found myself reading the whole thing! I’ve been following Kit & J.R. since we met them at a Van Life event in 2018, and Kit really has an inspiring way with words. If you want to spark a dream of the roaming hippie life in someone, this is a great book for that!
Currently watching on Netflix/Hulu/HBO Max/Starz/AMC: We slowed down on watching Below Deck on Peacock every night, mainly because we weren’t together a whole lot this month. Justin discovered—and binged—the 1.5 seasons of Yellowjackets, and I tried unsuccessfully to catch up.