It was time to hug our East Coast kids and see some fall art. Husband Dave and I flew to DC for a weekend of soccer starring our grands, Tess (8) and Kai (6). Late October in Alaska is not conducive to outdoor activities but soccer fields adjacent to George Washington’s Potomac home were still verdant with parents decked out in polar fleece cheered for their toddling players who often put the ball into the wrong goal—to grandparents it’s all love.
Fall in Alaska is that glorious 3 days of the year where the leaves turn beautiful shades of yellow and orange, there’s a distinct smell of sour cranberries and wood smoke lingering in the air, and the Chugach mountains look like they’re on fire with all the brilliant red of the dwarf birch and blueberry bushes.
Recently I met up with Jay Sargent, a former high school classmate, and discovered that not only does she still love horses, she now loves dolphins – enough to go on vacation with them.
During our planet’s most recent cold period, a slab of ice smothered Manhattan. Canada looked like Antarctica but with no protruding mountains. When the last glacial maximum peaked about 20,000 years ago, most of the continent — from the Arctic Ocean to the Missouri River — slept under a blanket of white.
It was June, 1962, and I was in Anchorage, living temporarily at Terry D’s, waiting for July. Then I would fly to Dillingham to begin a temporary summer life as a salmon counter for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
My daughter Jenn’s 20th wedding anniversary coincided with Labor Day. So my husband, Dave, and I adopted Averyl for the weekend which included an afternoon at the Anchorage Museum. The three of us headed for the exhibition Gyre–The Plastic Ocean.
I have a massive issue when it comes to foraging. Some would call it my gift. Others (like my berry-picking friends) would call it my curse. You see, deep in the incomprehensible double-helix thingy of my DNA structure, I have an unmistakable gene for hunting and gathering. I love it.
As Jerry Seinfeld says, buying fruit is a gamble—so are some art trips. In mid-July I headed to Providence, Rhode Island to take my art-philosophy Ph.D. orals. My husband, Dave, came along so he could eat tons of lobster and give me hugs. Happily, I passed – though going before academics is scary, even if you’ve studied hours and hours. Stay tuned as it’s going to be fun to report on my project: The Art of Winston Churchill.
I was raised an Anchorage forager. From fiddleheads to blueberries, some of my fondest childhood memories are of gathering food from local parks and forests and preparing our edible treasures to be enjoyed throughout the year.
One of my favorite foods to collect is boletus mushrooms — a.k.a. wild porcini. My mouth waters just at the thought of the dense, earthy fungi sizzling in a pan with butter and garlic.
The windshield has a crack running through it, there’s a little rust and a dent or two on the body, and some of the paint is chipping off the hand-lettered sign affixed to the vehicle’s side, but we look for Patrick Johnson’s little black truck every summer when we’re cruising around Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula.
If we don’t happen across his truck, we go find him at his Shrimp Guys Seafoods shop in Soldotna.
It’s June and I’m studying for PhD art-philosophy orals coming up mid-July. I’ve told everyone in my life to scram/skedaddle until August.
I’m at my desk, five hours daily, yellow highlighter on textbooks, in front of my wide screen computer, pounding keys, and looking things up on Wikipedia.
In the early 1980s, when money was no problem and anything was possible, I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse by none other than Mafia Mike, thus becoming the custodian of an important historical icon.
Had I known at the time what a maintenance nightmare it would become, I’m not sure I would have been willing to accept the responsibility, regardless of the possibilities—or consequences.