16 January, 2011

Jack Frost

This past week has seen several days with the highs in the single digits (and Anchorage has been warmer than lots of other places in the state).  I recently noticed that we're growing ice crystals (hoar frost) on the railing of the deck.  They're pretty impressive - in size, and also that it's been that cold for that long so that these have formed.  I took the pictures below using the macro function on my little point-and-shoot camera.
The forecast for the next few days is more of the same.  If I can just suck it up, this will pass.  Soon we'll be to February, where the growing daylight is much more noticeable, and temperatures start easing up the scale...

09 January, 2011


Rather than a Christmas party, each year my work hosts the Dinner Dance.  It's a gala affair to present the company's profit sharing donation and recognize all the "milestone" anniversaries (5, 10, 15, 20, 25 years, etc. - we've even had a few (very few) 40 year anniversaries).  Todd was being recognized for his 10 year anniversary, so there's no way we were missing this shindig!  It's a free dinner followed by a band for dancing, and a chance to socialize with coworkers that you may not see very often.  In my circle, we call it Prom - everyone puts on fancy duds, you get pictures taken, dinner and dancing... you get the drift.
My favorite parts of Prom are people-watching and visiting after the presentations.  I enjoy watching the couples dancing - some because they're rather goofy (I envy their abandon and lack of self-consciousness), some because they're interesting (one year we had a impromptu hip-hop competition), and some because they really know how to waltz/two-step, etc. (that's one of the things on my Bucket List).  I was excited that the band this year had a horn section but the music they played did not get people up and dancing, which was a little disappointing (for the people that wanted to dance also, I'm sure).  Greg and I usually try to get in a slow dance, but they only played two - and the tempo they used on those wasn't really that slow.  Oh well.  There's always next year.

I'm bummed that I didn't get a picture of Stacy in her cute black dress, but I did feel her leg... (she had on lovely stockings with a cool pattern).  So after an enjoyable evening visiting, we moved our small party to another venue to continue the fun.  On the way out, we noticed that the weather had cooled off significantly.  Not really a big surprise, since it's January in Alaska.  The biggest distress was to my freshly-shaved legs.  Apparently, when you only shave once every few months (in the winter), that extra hair acts like insulation (or fur?) to retain body heat.  My poor legs were shocked at the change, and my pants just didn't seem to retain heat like they've done before.  Almost makes me want to invest in one of those insulated over-skirts (like the one here).
It's been a long time since we've been out until after 3am.  I can tell I'm getting older, since it took a while for me to recuperate on Sunday.  Thanks Anita, Tasha, Amanda, Stacy, Greg, James, and Todd!!  If we don't do it sooner, let's plan another get-together like this for next year...  =)

05 January, 2011

Life Lesson #514: Silk Sheets Aren't All *That*

When Greg brought home our first set of silk sheets, I was enamored.  But somehow, my reality doesn't come close to matching the perception of what I think silk sheets should be.  When I contemplate silk sheets, I immediately envision a scene from the movie The Holiday (a cute, if unrealistic, romantic comedy with Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black).  The image I see is where Kate Winslet's character has come from London to a mansion in LA and she's enjoying sleeping in an oversize bed with puffy blankets, loads and loads of pillows, and silk sheets.  It's the ultimate in decadence and pampering, the epitome of a life of leisure.  Who wouldn't want something like that?  I want something like that.

My reality is that I'm probably too plebian for silk sheets.  They seem a lot like pedicures to me.  On the surface, pedis are a relaxing treat to pamper myself.  The more significant reason for such a treat is that I have calloused feet.  I do not have smooth, silky, soft, pampered feet.  For a couple hours every 5-6 weeks, I get a soak and scrub finished with a pretty polish.  The intervening 35 to 42 days my feet are working-class marvels (that are entirely under appreciated).  And how does this apply to silk sheets, you might ask?  In more ways than one.

With silk sheets, it doesn't matter that I'm fresh from a pedicure.  My scaly, tough soles catch the fabric.  My feet will apparently never be soft enough or callous-free enough to avoid snagging the sheets.  So instead of sliding smoothly between them, I stutter and have to free my animal-hide soles from the clingy sheets.  I can tell you from experience that after a while, silk sheets tend to ball up where they've been snagging on tough soles.  And the balled-up portion detracts from my perception of how things should be (and it's less comfortable, to boot).

In addition, I'm not one to make the bed every day.  If you're lucky, I pull the blankets up to the pillows so everything's kinda straight.  Knowing that, it shouldn't bother me that the blankets slide off the bed at random times.  Sometimes it's the middle of the night and I wake up freezing, and sometimes we get home and they've gone from on the bed to somewhere beside it.  (I blame the cats and their monkey-business for that.  If they wouldn't horse around so much, they wouldn't've created the blanket avalanche caused by the unstableness of slickery sheets.) 

So now I've got silk sheets that are pill-y, I wake up cold in the middle of the night because my blankets are off the end of the bed, and I have the distasteful realization that I'm not a pampered princess (nor will I likely *ever* have the leisurely lifestyle that includes afternoon tennis - I don't even play tennis - country clubs, and martinis at 3 o'clock - if it's an appletini, otherwise I'd better stick to fruity beer).  Not really the happily-ever-after that I've worked silk sheets up to be.

I much prefer sateen.  Smooth and rich, 800 thread count, sleek and lustrous.  My blue-collar feet haven't snagged on them yet, and it's so... luxurious... especially with freshly shaved and lotioned legs...  Good thing my real sheets are just about done in the laundry!

01 January, 2011

Bringing in the New Year

It's hard to believe that we've just begun a new year.  And yet, this past year has been long, sometimes hard, enjoyable, rainy, cold & dark, peppered with friends and family, interspersed with sun here and there, and extremely full.  We've had accomplishments and setbacks, triumphs and pitfalls.  In short, it's exactly the same as every other year - only different.  =)
To usher in the New Year, we went downtown with friends to the Anchorage Fire and Ice event.  It reminded me (on a very small scale) of New Year's Eve a couple years ago in Salt Lake City (my post is here).  Weather-wise, we were very fortunate.  It has warmed up over the past couple days to actually getting highs in the 20s.  The forecast for Friday was rain, but by evening it had cleared up and was a downright balmy evening (for December in Alaska).
We wandered around Town Square, taking in the ice skating and dancing, as well as the ice sculptures and fire dancers.  (Most of the pictures on this post were taken by Greg and his fancy-pants camera.  My poor little beast has such a long delay, especially when it's dark, that it was practically useless.  One of these days, it'll be time for a new one...)  It was an enjoyable, fun evening.  Everything had such a festive air, it's been a long time since I've been to an event with that kind of enthusiasm.  The kind that turns pressing, pushy crowds into comrades who are just as exhilarated as I am to see the sights and hear the sounds of gaiety produced by such an event.
For some reason that eludes me, the fireworks were scheduled for 8pm instead of midnight.  Maybe so that the kiddies could enjoy it and still be home and tucked in bed before they turn into pumpkins?  Regardless of the reason, we were able to spend a few hours enjoying the sights, watch the fireworks, get dinner at a sit-down restaurant, and be home before midnight.  We were tempted to go to bed before midnight too, but instead spent some time watching out the kitchen window for the fireworks going off in our neighborhood.  (This is the first year in a very long time that Anchorage allowed personal fireworks within the city limits - there were LOTS of people taking advantage of the change...)
The new year (any new year, THIS new year) brings with it a fresh start and open possibilities.  May this be a year of productivity and enjoyment, full of laughter and love, for all of us.