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Cold makes me homesick for Barrow

Did you notice it was 37 below in Barrow recently? Boy, talk about getting hit with an overwhelming wave of nostalgia and homesickness.  37 below. Just the thought of it sets my heart pounding and my feet itching to lace up and go out and take a long walk on the tundra.  Of course, I learned a long time ago that expressing these opinions just gives my relatives another piece of paper for the file marked “Why Elise needs to go to a home” but I can’t help it.  I can’t not express my exuberance at the idea of challenging

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Columns 2003

I don’t have a cell phone.  I don’t want a cell phone.

I may be the last person alive who neither owns a cell phone nor knows how to use one.  Whenever I am with my friends and they hand me their cell phone to use – say, while they’re doing 65 mph on the highway and I’m hysterical because they want to dial and talk on a phone at the same time – I have to ask one of their children to get the dial tone and then send the call for me. 

When people tell me how lost they are without their cell phone, I honestly question their sanity.  In

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A politician who actually stands up for what she believes in

When I think of politicians in general, I think of lemmings all heading mindlessly over the cliff because that’s what the ones in front are doing.  Many politicians nowadays shy away from taking a stand on principle that will cause them to break away from the pack. They don’t lead the people they represent to a hopefully higher plane of thought and aspiration. Instead, they wait for the latest poll to come in and then cater to the lowest possible denominator. 

That’s why someone like Lisa Murkowski is such a breath of fresh air.  She actually seems to have principles

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Good pet sitters are a blessing

Going east to visit my family is always a fun moment.  Coming home to three birds and a dog who feel they have been sorely tried by my absence is not so much fun.

I was away for three weeks this go round and I believe they all felt that I had stayed one day too long at the fair.  My dog Mr. T expressed his feelings by sitting on the carpet outside my bedroom and howling and barking till 1 AM.  Mind you, the door to my bedroom was open. He could have come in if he wanted.  I’d

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Alaska winter driving – not for the fainthearted or weak-bladdered

Thank god winter finally arrived here. I’ve been on the East Coast for three weeks and it was getting downright embarrassing to answer people’s questions about the weather in Anchorage. As the northwest endured snowstorms and ice storms, Anchorage basked in 50-degree weather.  People were starting to look at me funny and muttering about how I brought it all down from Alaska with me.

Just the threat of a snowstorm caused my sister to check us out of a perfectly lovely casino in Connecticut called Foxwoods – where we had free accommodations thanks to friends in high places – a

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What is it about a karaoke machine?

What is it about a karaoke machine?  When you turn one on, normally quiet, dignified people suddenly act as though they are in the privacy of their own shower and start emoting like Little Richard on acid.  I think a survey of any karaoke bar would quickly show that most people should barely be allowed to sing at all, let alone in public.  Carrying a tune, it turns out, is a lot harder than it looks. Hitting the right notes is, for some of us, downright impossible.

I can still remember the days of my choir singing at St. Michael’s,

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What is it about a karaoke machine?

What is it about a karaoke machine?  When you turn one on, normally quiet, dignified people suddenly act as though they are in the privacy of their own shower and start emoting like Little Richard on acid.  I think a survey of any karaoke bar would quickly show that most people should barely be allowed to sing at all, let alone in public.  Carrying a tune, it turns out, is a lot harder than it looks. Hitting the right notes is, for some of us, downright impossible.

I can still remember the days of my choir singing at St. Michael’s,

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Morris is finally flying free without pain

I am a rabid animal lover.  Since I bought my first parrot in a department store in Brooklyn in 1970 till now, my life has never been without pets.  I lavish love, care and attention on them out of all proportion to what rational human beings think of as normal.  Which makes it twice as puzzling to figure out why I once let my dog wander around my house with a broken leg for over a week before I figured she wasn’t just being lazy and something might really be wrong.

In my defense, let me say that anyone who

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A sandwich that stays fresh for three years?

As always with the really important news, the news that will actually affect your life, it was buried on the third or fourth page in a small paragraph of a small article. The story detailed the attempt by the US Army to create a peanut butter and jelly pocket sandwich that will last without refrigeration for at least three years – every child’s dream come true.  Here’s what a gentleman named Jerry Darsch, who directs the Defense Department’s feeding program, had to say.

“Darsch said his sandwiches are designed to be as resilient as the troops they feed. �This bad

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Jenny gets engaged

Some people are lucky in love. Some people aren’t. Some people have their romantic fantasies come true.  Others of us watch it on the screen or read about it in books and know it will never happen to us.

Do I really have to tell you which group I belong to?  Let me just say that the first love of my life left me for someone named Pedro. My engagement to that man was the highpoint of my romantic life. He proposed by looking at me one day while we were at a party and saying, “Well, I always figured

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