Uncategorized

Take me, take my pets

Here’s the thing.  When I left the East Coast, I left my family behind.  While I’m still close with them, and visit frequently, the bottom line is that on a daily basis, they are not here.  It’s the same thing with my friends.  I have made deep, lasting friendships here in Alaska. But those friends don’t live with me. They have their own families and other friends.  So as close as we may be, they do not share my daily life; they don’t define my daily routine.

But my pets do.  Every day I wake up to my ancient dog

Continue reading →
Uncategorized

Heat and humidity anathema to Alaskans

As news of the evacuations from the latest hurricane in the south hit the airwaves in the Northeast, I found myself rooting for the people in harm’s way to find safety. But I also found myself rooting for the storm in the probably vain hope that the rain and wind would chase away the heat and humidity I have had to endure for the past week.  If there was ever any doubt in my mind that Alaska is where I was meant to live and die, this trip to the East Coast in August has wiped that doubt from my

Continue reading →
Uncategorized

Let me be healthy for just one day

Let me start by saying that I have some of the most wonderful doctors in the world taking care of me.  I must have or I wouldn’t have lived this long with the rather precarious hold I have on anything that can be termed good health. From my chiropractor to my diabetic doctor, from my alternative medicine practitioner to those wonderful guys who keep my eyes functional, all conspire to keep me alive despite my body’s best efforts to the contrary.

So I don’t want this to be taken as negative towards them but seriously guys, give me a break.

Continue reading →
Uncategorized

All she needed was her Dr. Pepper

All together now, hats off and one big Alaska hurrah to Matralle Morton of Jacksonville, Texas.  She’s the intrepid tourist who, with just a can of diet Dr. Pepper and a lot of moxie, foiled a carjacker here in Anchorage last week. Matralle has single-handedly proven that size (she’s 5’4″) and age (65) are meaningless when you have a cold can of Diet Dr. Pepper in your hand and legs too short to jump out of a moving vehicle.

This perhaps impacted me more than normally this week since I was in the middle of scanning through my AARP magazine.

Continue reading →
Uncategorized

Relax and have a latte when stuck in traffic

As a displaced native of the great megalopolis that stretches from Boston to Washington DC, I believe I am uniquely qualified to speak to the issue of traffic in our fair city.  Especially since I also spent 30 years in Barrow where a traffic jam meant someone’s dog was crossing the street and you had to wait till it got to the other side, which inevitably resulted in at least a three car backup at the town’s main stop sign.

Life, however, has gotten busier in Alaska. Barrow now actually has something that can, if you look at it sideways

Continue reading →
Uncategorized

Jay Hammond, a gentleman politician

I didn’t know Jay Hammond personally.  After reading the paper and listening to the radio this past week, I can see where that was definitely my loss. But Jay Hammond still managed to influence my life, one of the many he probably influenced without ever knowing it. It was the mid to late 1970s. I was a newly minted bureaucrat for the North Slope Borough’s Health Department.  I was heading to Anchorage for a meeting and with me on the trip was Mary Edwardsen.  Mary was a Barrow lady, one of those Inupiaq women who made the Mother’s Club a

Continue reading →
Uncategorized

Fight over dental aides continues

Well, they’re at it again. The American Dental Association is now running ads on TV asking Governor Murkowski to stop the provision of what they term second class dental care to Alaska Natives.  The ad claims that the same unfeeling bureaucrats who have ignored Native dental care needs for years are now proposing second class care as the solution to this long standing problem.

There are so many things wrong with this ad that it’s hard to know where to begin. But let’s start with the fact that it isn’t faceless bureaucrats who are proposing a dental health aide system

Continue reading →
Uncategorized

Suicide bombers just losers

Saturday was one of those perfect days in Anchorage.  The sun was shinning, there was a nice breeze and summer still seemed to stretch forever in front of us.  Even the mosquitoes took a day off to just laze around and enjoy the antics at the dog jog in Kincaid Park.

I was there with the Parrot Education and Adoption Center. I had my two foster birds and my very own African Grey, Abdul.  They all seemed to enjoy the warmth, noise, dogs and attention.  Abdul in particular thought it was all quite amusing and couldn’t look in enough places

Continue reading →
Uncategorized

Denali suffers from trashy entrance

Back in the 70s, not long after I’d arrived in Alaska, a social worker from Indian Health Service invited me to go on a road trip with her to Denali National Park.  I hadn’t seem much of Alaska on my way to Barrow so I was more than amenable to discovering some of the beauty of my newly adopted state.

The drive to Denali – or McKinley as it was then known – was truly a drive into the wilderness in the 70s.  If you didn’t pay attention, you were in Fairbanks long before you realized you’d passed the one

Continue reading →
Uncategorized

Alaska – land of the latte stand

I try to limit the amount of caffeine in my system on any given day for the sake of those around me.  Given that one drop too much, I become intensely manic, and not at all in the good sense of the word.  I have the attention span of a gnat when over-caffeinated and can’t put two sentences together without thinking of something else that I need to absolutely do at just that moment.

That is why this column has been on my computer for three days now being painfully scratched out two to three sentences at a time. In

Continue reading →