late October –
I’m sharing some rambling thoughts before leaving Alaska for my next RV adventure, when I’ll update this web journal more often. I recently discovered that hosting services were dropped from Google Drive so the links to my old websites stopped working, but the data is still there. The websites are also on my computer so nothing is lost, but it isn’t public and since it’s mostly for myself anyway I won’t get it hosted again online. If anyone is interested in Romania and the Peace Corps experience I’ll be happy to provide info. Thanks to friends who followed along and supported me for all those years! I have been asked to include more stories from my decades of life in Alaska — homesteading years in the 1950s, raising children in the woods outside Fairbanks in the 70s, life back on the Kenai Peninsula in the 80s, sailing in the 90s, and perspectives about it all. Maybe I’ll do that.
Here’s the cabin in Fairbanks, photo taken when I sold it — see Pleides in the northern lights!
I have friends who are traveling abroad now, housesitting in Spain and Romania, RVing in Turkey and Morocco. I’m green with envy and my vagabond itch drives me crazy, but as long as I have a doggie companion I’ll stick to my motor home winter life and hope I stay healthy enough to wander further in years to come. The vet says Cheyenne is very healthy for an old lady dog, she’s eating, drinking, and sleeping just fine, and even walks with me a couple miles most days.
Here’s Cheyenne’s sweet face this summer, one with grandson Janek, and some of my caribou visitors who came by to enjoy my lawn.
It got down to 7 degrees earlier this week, and it’s time for me to fly south. The lake is frozen over, but maybe the ice isn’t thick enough to skate on yet.
from mid October –
I have two more weeks of what is quickly turning into winter, before I take my dog Cheyenne and head south to the motor home and into summer again. This seems like a topsy turvy life, to be able to change the seasons at will. But I’ve always liked living with weather, and this way I get at least four seasons every year, more if we count breakup. When I get tired of sunny warm southern shorts weather I can come home to Alaska where it’s still snowy through the spring. When I get enough of darkening frosty northern days in the fall, we can get on the plane again and go to warm sunny winter months. It started snowing on October 17 and melted, but snow came again and will stick. Soon we’ll head south like the birds that already left. There is a skiff of ice on the lake, soon it’ll be solid. I love this time of year, frosty at night, golden leaves on the ground, a cozy warm bed to snuggle in the dark mornings and read books on my tablet, then check the New York Times, the Washington Post, Guardian and BBC to see what’s going on in the world. After 9 a.m. the dark barely lightens the room and I get up to make coffee.
It was clear a few days ago and the moon was full. All night long it circles my bedroom and blasts through the curtainless windows onto my bed, and if I wake up to pee after midnight it’s right in my eyes. I adore the winter moonlight even more than the 23-hour daylight in the summers. Before the lake is frozen it reflects off the water and I get double. I’ve heard that other lifelong Alaskans like me also are sensitive to light and are addicted to it. Our light in the North is softer, gentler, fuzzier, kind of sideways, compared to the blazing overhead sun in the south. But this time of year we lose more than six minutes a day, so I’m already missing it.
This monlight reflection photo was actually taken while I was lying in bed, at about 6 a.m. in the morning.
My beautiful house, painted by my dear friend Jo for my birthday many years ago.
Oddly enough in the southern winters I’m up by 6 a.m. every day, puttering with coffee and downloading my daily podcasts. I’m pretty much like a chicken, getting up with the light and hunkering down in the dark. My motor home is completely powered with solar panels and the batteries get to 100% every day by about noon. I’ve heard that other RVers do fine in Alaska too, during the summers. Our sunlight isn’t strong but it’s up for long, so I’ll be interested to try it myself. I’m thinking I’ll drive my “other home” up here next spring and see for myself. Before my family arrives in June I can get out camping, and wander around Alaska after they leave in August. Maybe.
I am gradually losing friends who emailed often but have died suddenly this year. I know this is to be expected for people my age, but still it hurts and I miss them. Perhaps it hits especially hard because I am single and those friends provide stability and companionship that many get from a life partner. Cheers to the memory of my great friends who are gone, to those who are still around, and those who are still to come.
My 70th birthday! While visiting my friend Cinda, she gave me a piece of special birthday cake! Funny, but 70 doesn’t feel any different than 69, or even 55!
… and here’s my favorite photo from this summer, with my grandson (and good friend) Janek
and one more, of us when my son Peter took his fishing boat out of the water in August.