Nov 30

So far this week…

-truck that won’t start at -40 even though you plug it in and do everything right
-then having to rent a truck from the only guy in town who completely gouges you for 150 bucks a day. (did I mention it is a used piece of shit truck?)
-the toilet backing up at work, and when the guy comes to fix it, it’s way worse than he thought, so he just completely unhooks the toilet, looks at you, and asks if you’ve ever “shit in a bucket?” completely cracking himself up, because he thinks you are some priss-pot because you actually make an attempt with your looks.
-getting the absolute joy of looking him dead in the eye with a smug look and saying “I lived without running water for four months in the dead of winter, you take a wild guess.” and seeing his expression almost literally melt away.
-BOO FUCKING YAH for me.
-actually feeling joy of reliving that experience and feeling pretty good about it because you can totally put jackasses like him right on their ass. And because hey, this prissy little bitch, is completely fucking adaptable!
-getting the 150 dollar piece of shit rental stuck in a ditch. Really fucking stuck too, ya’ll. So bad that even the dude that pulled you out said “damn lady you really did a number on that ditch”

SO that’s my week. And it’s only Wednesday. And the toilet still isn’t fixed at work. And yes, I did draw the line at using honeybuckets. I’ve had enough of those for one lifetime. Bladder problems, be damned.

Too much information? Yes. Which why I am going to stop typing and go to bed.

Nov 28

Tonight, I was talking to my friend, Tim, when I made the passing comment that Tom Cruise makes my ass hurt.

Tim looked at me for a minute, blinked his eyes, and then laughed nervously. Not really knowing what the hell to say. I mean, we’d been talking about Tom Cruise and neither of us like him but I really put the poor guy on the spot.

It was one of those moments where the words come out of your mouth and you instantly regret it. You feel like you have Turret’s Syndrome, and wish that words were really tangible because I really wanted to grab them and shove them all back in my mouth.

I looked at Tim and finally said “I’m sorry, that’s just a term I’ve used for years, my friend Pam, and I just started saying it after we both watched Jennifer Love Hewitt on Party of Five for the first time.” Which is completely true.

Then he started laughing and said, that was the funniest expression he’d EVER heard. Then I started laughing and felt much better. Then he said, he always wanted a way to express how much a person can grate on his nerves and he thinks he finally found it. So we had a good laugh and I felt inspired to come home and make a list of people who make my ass hurt. This MY opinion only. It doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t like the person, it’s just when I see them on tv, I cringe and for some reason when I say “He/She makes my ass hurt”,people, eventually always understand. I guess it’s akin to hearing nails on a black board. Okay. I’m shutting up already and presenting a top five. In NO particular order.

1. Jennifer Love Hewitt
2. Neve Campbell (oddly enough, in spite of these two answers, I enjoyed Party of Five immensely and enjoy Ghost Whisperer minus all my cringing of course)
3. George W. Bush (seriously people, don’t email me, this has nothing to do with politics, he just makes my ass hurt watching him speak publicly, it’s a quirk, leave it alone)
4. Tom Cruise
5. Paris Hilton

Though #4 and #5, I genuinely do dislike. Sorry Tom and Paris.

Nov 27

But can I whine about my day first? This morning, it was -40. That was the REAL temperature. It wasn’t just with the wind chill. McGrath is one of the coldest places in Alaska during the winter. The north slope was warmer than we were. Anywho. So I got up early this morning and decided to go in to work to get all of my month end and week end paperwork done and then get back home, and enjoy the rest of my day off, knowing it was all done.

Well.

I went to crank up the truck and the ignition switch was nearly frozen in place. I ran back, grabbed my hairdryer, unplugged the truck, and used the extension cord for my hair dryer and warmed it up enough for it to turn. The truck, coughed and aaaaalmost turned over before it completely went dead. “No biggie”, I thought. I still had a few hours before the store opened (I wanted to do all my paperwork before we opened for business, because no matter what, if you are in the store on your day off, and you’re the manager, people automatically assume, you’re working) and I figured it might warm up a bit.

No such luck.

I tried it again and then woke up Howard. He bundled up and went outside but didn’t get anywhere either. THEN he went over to the snowmachine and tried to start it. But it was just too damn cold. The old truck and the snowmachine weren’t budging. So I had to call my friend Todd and have him drop me off at the store. By that time, my book keeper had arrived, and I had about an hour to get my stuff done before the doors opened. Long story short, I FINALLY finished almost three hours later, THEN my cashier told me, the produce cooler wasn’t coming on (something that happens anytime it gets this cold). So I had to run to the back and get it going again. THEN my other cashier was in the bathroom when the toilet overflowed. I just said “Get a mop, clean it up” after going to the sink and making sure the pipes weren’t frozen. Then Chris, my quasi-son, took me home. On his snowmachine. I? didn’t even think to wear gloves when I left the house this morning. Nor did I put on thermal underwear. So I arrived back home, to a worried husband, who thought I had frostbite. I laid down in front of the wood stove and Howard inspected my legs and fingers and though they were hurting pretty bad, no damage was done. And now I’m all toasty. But seriously. We need our new truck now. I WILL NOT walk almost 2 miles to work in these temperatures.

Other than that, my Thanksgiving holiday was fabulous. The turkey turned out to be really good. It was the very first turkey I’ve ever made (because Howard is the cook in our family but I wanted to impress this year) and both Susie and Todd said it was “awesome”. We also made a ham because Todd isn’t real big on turkey, and I made a yummy stuffing, Howard made mashed potatoes, green beans, and corn and I baked a loaf of french bread. Susie brought a pumpkin pie and we had petit fours and a pumpkin yule log I ordered from Swiss Colony.

We had Chianti, which tasted much better with meat, (when we first tried it, we just had it with cheese and hated it) and a 2003 Santa Cristina Italian Syrah. Todd isn’t into wines but he loved the Chianti and polished off the bottle. The rest of us finished off the Pinot. We were buzzing and pleasantly full when we were finished eating. I? Was very satisfied with myself and Howard.

We still made it steak night on Friday albeit way too many leftovers but this girl is NOT giving up steak night unless she is out of town!

So, all in all, a wonderful holiday. The only flaw was the absence of family and friends who couldn’t be with us.

Nov 26

When you’re trying to mix a drink that needs 1 part lemon juice? Never. Ever. Think that you can substitute it with Tang. Just. No.

In fact? It will be a complete waste of top shelf, overpriced, vodka.

Nov 23

So like I said, Howard’s family’s Thanksgivings are less stressful.

Mainly because there is less dysfunction. Not saying there isn’t any but there is a lot less.

We’ll usually arrive to find Howard’s mom zipping around the kitchen, denying our offers to help, then we’ll sit down on the couch and watch some television and chat with Howard’s brother Chris (yes he has a brother named Chris and I also have a stepbrother named Chris, family functions like holidays are hilarious) and his other brother Tim. Tim’s wife and I usually sit and catch up because she and I have always gotten along really well. (Thank GOD for such good inlaws) Then Howard’s mom will call him into the kitchen to carve the turkey. Because my husband can carve a mean damn turkey. Even arrange it all by cuts on the plate. Martha Stewart would be proud. Jean (Howard’s mom) always puts out the good china and good tablecloths and we all sit at the dining room table to eat, all proper and shit. Which I kind of like because it is sooooo unlike my family. We’ll eat and talk afterwards, while Jean clears the table. We also divebomb our drinks and keep them IN OUR HANDS AT ALL TIMES. Because Jean is a complete neat freak and if she sees a glass not claimed by anyone? It will be promptly snatched up and washed. Then she’ll feel bad afterwards when you tell her she took your iced tea. She WILL NOT allow us to help her wash dishes either. We all just know. When Jean’s in the kitchen, leave her the hell alone. It’s HER kitchen. She enjoys it too. She has a tendency to spoil all of us. Tim and Jennifer are usually the first to leave because the kids need to get to bed and then Chris, whoever he is dating at the time, Howard, myself and Jean usually pick a movie to watch. Then Howard and I head back to memaw’s. (where we always stay when we’re in town)

Howard’s family also has the huge, extended, family Thanksgiving on the following Saturday. Because Howard has a huge damn family. If you’ve watched “My Big Fat Greek Wedding?” That’s his family. Minus being Greek. Though the family probably has a greek or two somewhere down the line. Because this family? Is a rainbow of ethnicity. white, black, jews, hispanics. Holy shit, there I go with the tangients.

AAAAAANYWHO. This is always a loud, and fun affair. Everybody hugs everybody when they arrive. (Howard’s uncle Bob usually hosts the event) Jason and I usually find each other so we can begin our mischief and snark. Fun-loving snark because it’s family and all but it’s still snark. And before we eat, each member of the entire family (including any significant others, and friends you might bring) must say something they are thankful for. It sounds hokey but everyone loves it. Because if you EVER come to one of these events you’ll feel like you’ve been in the family forever. That’s just how awesome a family I married in to. Then we all dig in, eat, talk, usually drink some alcohol and Jason and I usually end up giving some sort of floor show, be it dancing to ABBA, belting out our favorite songs, or harassing everyone with a toy R2D2 doll until someone takes it and hides it from us because we are just big fucking kids! These events usually involve a lot of laughter. And it makes me thankful.

These days, in Alaska, I miss not being with both our families, even with as tense MY family can make me. I still miss them. I miss the arguing, the banter, the laughter.

But every Thanksgiving since then has been spent with new friends we made in whatever village we’re living in. And I have to put it into perspective. If we weren’t in Alaska, we wouldn’t be sitting here getting to know and making new, hopefully lifelong friends. The friendship and adventure is worth the sacrifice. And deep down our families feel the same.

Tomorrow, we’re hosting a dinner and five guests will be joining us, with a few others perhaps dropping by. I’ll get up tomorrow morning and start the turkey, and Howard will cook the side dishes, we’ll clean the house, and call our families to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. Then we’ll greet the guests, open the really expensive wine we bought in Anchorage and tuck in. And give thanks for an amazing life.

I am so incredibly grateful for my wonderful (albeit dysfunctional) family, and for Howard’s wonderful family. I am beyond words grateful for all my friends, old and new. I am thankful for this crazy adventure and for the courage in my heart to not be afraid anymore to be the person I am. I am grateful for a husband I do not deserve. I am grateful for every blessing in my life.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Nov 22

If this were three years ago, Howard and I would be rushing around, packing and getting ready for the big road trip home, because we are the black sheeps who always live a “safe but drivable distance” away from family. Except for this current venture in AK, of course.

By “safe”, I mean, the only time we lived near family since I left home for college? Was a time between 1997-1999, in which I didn’t work for 7 months, realized I make one BORED ASS housewife, (I mean you can only eat off the floors so much, know what I mean?), had some serious mental issues, lost a baby, and my family only actually made the ten minute (ten minutes people!) drive to my house about twice. And those visits were from my mother and grandparents. This, when they tell me they miss me all the time, when they act like they are devastated that I’m sooooo far away. It was a dark time in my life, my grandfather’s death? was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was time to get the hell away. So they would begin to miss me again. And bad things would stop happening. And I like “fresh starts” when I can get them. God, wait. I totally got off on a tangient there, didn’t I?

Anywho.

Usually we’d have the jeep packed by now, so we could make the drive across the state immediately after I get off work. We’d arrive at memaw’s house, have her hug us and cry a little then we’d stay up and chat for about an hour then crawl into bed.

The next morning, I would wake up and immediately hear my mom and memaw bickering. I would hear crescendos of their bantering back and forth. Occasionally hearing them call each other by name:

“DIANE!”

“MOM!”

It’s pretty funny to them, because they think nothing of it. I don’t spend that much time actually WITH my family so I get all tense and it predetermines the mood of my entire day.

Howard and I quietly make our way to the bathroom to share a shower and get dressed, then we sneak into the living room, past their arguing, then WE argue over who gets what section of the newspaper. We also quietly look at each other and giggle at mom and memaw’s bickering. They both pause to tell us “Good morning!”. My mom always comes over and gives me a snuggle and says and I quote “MMMMMM (as she is squeezing me), there’s my baby!” I admit, it makes me feel good. Memaw is just as affectionate but always worried she woke us up. If we’re up before 11am, she gets worried that SHE’S the reason we woke up. She has this notion that because we are young? we must possibly sleep until noon. She’s so adorable. TANGIENT AGAIN! SORRY!

The rest of the family begins to arrive. My sister comes in the door with her kids, I go a little nuts over my niece and nephew, because I really don’t get to see them as much as I’d like. She immediately becomes like a damn mama bear with her kids. She is frighteningly overprotective (Kim, this is nothing I haven’t told you a million times and yes I am broadcasting it to all of the internet and my 2.2 readers) of her kids. Howard and I just ignore her and hug and kiss them anyway. Her husband just stands back because he knows how mama bears can be. My aunt and uncle arrive and my two cousins. My stepdad arrives (because he is smart and knows to stay away until the cooking is done) with my stepsister. At noon sharp, it is a flurry of plates, turkey, forks, not knowing where the salt is, ALWAYS finding the innards that memaw ALWAYS forgets about, and then we all sit down and eat, the conversation is lively, usually my mom and sister end up arguing over something, because those two? I have now accepted, will always argue. It’s how they show their love for each other. (warped? now you’re beginning to understand ME aren’t you?) I end up getting VERY upset because I want to live in a fantasy world where we’re all happy for once. Ye tho I hold it all inside. Afterwards, my aunt, my sister and I all pitch in and do the dishes and do not allow memaw or mom to do any of the clean up because they do all the cooking. My uncle and my brother in law usually go outside and talk about cars. Howard usually stretches out in the recliner and talks to my stepdad and my cousin, Kevin, while they channel surf. Then my sister will begin to get antsy and announce to everyone that she’s leaving. Howard and I shower the kids with hugs and kisses once again. Then mom, memaw, my aunt, and myself will sit in the kitchen and nibble on desserts and gossip. Then mom will give us a hug and she and my stepdad and stepsister will leave, my aunt and uncle and cousins will leave and me, memaw and Howard will take a long nap before going over to Howard’s mom’s where it is much more sane. But that will be my entry for tomorrow because reliving all this familial bliss? Has spooked me.

I need a valium. Or perhaps just a stiff drink.

I’m kidding. I think….

Nov 22

I forgot to mention that Rome’s season finale? Completely impressed me. As the show totally has all season. I did weep in some parts.

Especially last week when Varenous jumped in at the last minute to defend Titus. Oh my God, the brotherly love.

And I wept when Naobi lept to her death sending Varenous into hysterics.

Ooookay and when Titus redeemed himself and Ureni acknowledged it and reached for his hand as they walked off into the sunset.

And maybe when Caesar was murdered. God, that was awful!

Not that I didn’t know any of this was going to happen but let me tell you, this show really know how to dramatize.

It did inspire me to read the rest of my National Geographic Traveler and Howard and I did a lesson in Italian last night.

Because I won’t have his Spanish to fall back on in Italy.

And of course, another show that I love is now over. Bah.

Nov 21



Let’s all say “awwwwwwww”. Katie loves her daddy best of all. Enough said. I’d be jealous if I weren’t so overjoyed at my big, ex-jock, ex-army captain being all gah gah over his “little princess”.

Annnnnd, in case you were still rubbing your eyes at the hideous object that is our couch? We just got approved on our CAPEX budget in 2006 for a new refrigerator, couch, and loveseat. That’s in addition to a new truck. Go us! “Quick, order the shit before they realize what they’ve done!”
(for those of you who are unaware, we live in housing furnished by our company, all purchases have to be approved by the powers that be, you know because, we’re not paying for it and all)

Yes, my life is so exciting.

Hey know what is less than two months away? VACATION! FAMILY! FRIENDS! ROME!

And that’s all I’ve got folks.

Nov 20



We had TWO days off together. The mischief! The mayhem! (honestly? the tv watching!! the naps!! and an exhilerating snowmachine ride) Here’s a few pics. We stopped to take a break (you don’t understand how much of a workout it can be) and breathe in the fresh, crisp air. We had some breathtaking views on the trail. The animals? They opted to stay home and nap. They have such a hard life, no? (sorry you can’t see our faces, but we have to bundle up like the Michelin man on these trips, lest we freeze our asses off)

Nov 19

I know everyone said it snowed A LOT here in this village but Christ. And you know what’s funnier about the interior, western, and arctic slope of alaska? It has to warm up enough to snow, during the winter months.So I’m happy that we actually have temperatures above zero, (Yes, believe me one can actually tell a difference in -10 and 10 above when you live in it half the year) and there is no wind because it is perfect weather to hit the trail with the snowmachine.Which arrived FINALLY after being in stored in Anchorage since April (we had it shipped out of “Hell or somewhere similar” on the ice road due to dirty little punks wanting to put their grubby hands all over it) and it cranked up right away.So we’re hitting the trails today, and enjoying this massive amount of snow. Yes. Yes, I’m definitely in love with winter again. Posted by Picasa

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