Hello, Little Birdie

Many of you, I’m certain, have your own window-sill menagerie

In our case, a wishbone from a chicken was re-purposed as antlers. HW thought to affix it to our fuzzy ungulate wolf, thus transforming him, or her – female reindeer may also sport antlers – into an Alaskan reindeer. No sooner had we done so and it seems s/he took a fancy to vulnerable birdie, whose expression suggests, may I say, curiosity? As opposed to No-Means-No.

For those of you who were recipients of our annual newsletter, breathlessly wondering if I got the position or not, well, how does the saying go, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” Really, it’s okay. I was never sure it was the right position for me anyway, so I was spared the challenge of having to decide. On the other hand, the ego was hardly amused being denied its first right of refusal.

And so we move forward. Spring is nigh, Summer after that (60% chance say the forecasters!), Fall in tow, and then copy/paste Winter. Another year above ground. Plenty to be thankful for.

Isn’t The Snow Pretty

A pesky avalanche toed out onto the road to our Nest

For those of you who’ve not been to The Nest, this is along the last two miles you have to travel to get to it, looking south. I was on my way back last night after drinks and dinner at Thorns. Yes, I took The Dog with me, as I had promised Happy Wife I would – “What if the road closes from an avalanche, how will we get back to get Chester!” She’s right, there is no other road. Water taxi would be the only alternative. A beautiful drive by day, but it can quickly turn treacherous. Right over that snow berm on the left is Resurrection Bay – deep, cold, brooding, and merciless. On the right, a steep mountain face, from which an avalanche had crept back onto the road. All the while I ate my patty melt and tipped back a few glasses of wine, jawing the whole time with Sean, one of my favorite bartenders in Alaska. That’s how quickly conditions can change. It wasn’t like this earlier when I drove into town. To make it worse, the road was glare ice. I stopped the car and thought about it first. Snapped a picture and texted it to Happy Wife (still in Fairbanks). So she would know, just in case. Glare ice, a single car width to pass through, hmm. What if it decides to sluff a ton more snow the second I pass by? Then I think to myself, that’s the wine talking, Rod, avalanches can’t “decide,” don’t be silly. It’s the kind of situation where you want to close your eyes and go for it. But of course I was driving. Even The Dog shot me a concerned look, “Looks sketchy, Dad.”

I put it in drive and onward we went.

Whale’s Tale

Spin class Wednesday, with Task Master Beth again. All the bikes have saddles, of course, although actually sitting in the saddle while you pedal is evidently a sign of weakness, for Beth anyway. When she rises out of her saddle we’re supposed to as well. And stay like that, pedaling hard, five minutes, ten minutes, whatever she instructs motivates us to do. It’s like that for 45 minutes, with one or two very brief breaks to gulp water and smear the sweat from your face with the towel provided. At about minute 35 we’re told to grab our weights and do with them whatever Beth does with hers – over the head, bicep curls, behind the back, up and down, whatever. After that we put the weights back in the little tray clipped to the bike, and the final two songs are cued up. We’re back to standing in our pedals, pedaling hard and head bobbing to the whomp-whomp of techno pop. By now the room is like a sauna, we’re all sweating like flu victims; the collective odor is like fetid pond water in Louisiana in August. Now you understand why I keep going back!

Monday it’s Jen at the helm, who’s a tad more laid back, though just a tad. Beth returns for Wednesday’s class. Ugh.

Happy Wife’s birthday this month. I asked her for gift ideas. “I want a makeup mirror and a meat grinder.” Went to Amazon and discovered these two items have never been purchased together. You know what I mean, beneath the item you’re looking at there’s always a list of suggested items – “People who purchased this also purchased X, Y, or Z…” While I reviewed a makeup mirror none of the X Y Zs was a meat grinder.

She’s in Fairbanks this weekend for a one day conference. Monday the Iditarod start is in Fairbanks. It’s usually in Willow, AK, just north of Anchorage, but the snow this year is cruddy in certain spots along the normal route, so the course was changed and the race start moved to Fairbanks. Forecasted high in Fairbanks Monday: -1. Low: -31. Thanks, but I’ll take millennial motivators in a sweat box anyday over that cruelty.

I’m going down to our Nest with The Dog to check up on things. Good news is, it’s forecast to be sunny and clear for days, but on the chilly side for Seward, mid-20s, what many of you might call winter. Although, believe it or not, two weekends ago when we were down there we saw a whale in Resurrection Bay, not more than two hundred feet from shore. A whale in February?! We don’t normally see the first ones arrive until May.

There’s something happenin’ here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a whale breaching over there
Showin’ me, I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, look at the whale
Everybody hear what he has to wail