24 mar 2010 peace testimony

It's been one of those weeks with a convergence of work and volunteer commitments. The volunteer stuff leads to fun though ... kicking off our women's mountain biking club season, planning a Quaker retreat in Talkeetna, and supporting the Great Land Trust as it helps protect important places in south-central Alaska. I can't say that my job duties this week -- annual budgeting, proposal writing, and attending an assembly meeting -- are fun. On top of being sick this last weekend (which means sitting around looking at how dirty the house is), life seems a little too fast and messy. This is one of those weeks when it's tempting to just hunker down until things slow down.

Despite my inclinations, I didn't do that this evening. I decided to leave duties aside and join some other Quakers to discuss our faith's peace testimony. I could say I was supporting the Friend that has been organizing these talks, but really I was hoping for an evening where I could put all tasks and responsibilities out of mind. The evening was a chance to examine my own attempts at peace in my life and an inspiration to hear how others have approached much tougher situations. Three men were of draft age near the end of the Vietnam war. They took different paths of conscientious objection, illustrating that each of us has to follow our convictions in our own.

I'm glad I didn't stay home to do laundry, write emails, or type up minutes. Sometimes a serious discussion is an escape from ordinary life.

14 mar 2010 Talkeetna lakes skiing

We toured the Numbered Lakes Natural Area and beyond last Saturday and Sunday.

7 mar 10 snow and sun return

It's a happy weekend in Anchor-town. Over 4" of snow Thursday evening through Saturday and blue-bird skies on Sunday.

Despite the fresh snow, we both decided to go biking on Saturday -- Paul because he's still being careful with his ankle and me because that's what my friends wanted to do. Paul and I biked similar routes, just not together. Rose, Jo-Ann, Wendy, and I circled Far North Bicentennial Park (FNBP) mostly on singletrack trails packed by the fat bikes. The skies almost cleared when we started out but the snow was falling heavily when we finished late in the afternoon. I've posted a few more photos of my ride, including my most spectacular crash of that day, on the Alaska Dirt Divas site.

Paul would have gone for another bike ride today but I hated to pass up the opportunity to ski on this new snow. We just haven't had that much snow this year or been skiing much. His ankle felt good so we skied the little-used skijor trails on the east side of FNBP. The fat bikes have been out there as much as the skiers and dogs. We saw a few people and as many dogs but mostly had the trails to ourselves. The sun was blasting and is definitely emitting heat again.

I'm so glad for the new snow and the snow. This is one of the best times of year to be here.

28 feb 2010 different is good

Paul and I have long suspected that we're not like other people. Not that we're smarter, or better, or anything. Just that our priorities and how we spend our time is a little different than our neighbors ... or maybe most of middle class America. We seem to be like many of our friends, not surprising, and given the places we work, like many of our co-workers. Recently we've been reminded that our lives are a little different from the norm.

About five weeks ago we arranged to meet some friends from Talkeetna to catch a matinee of Avatar. They wanted to come to Anchorage to compress some movie going into one weekend. Avatar had been here for over a month. On a beautiful, sunny February Saturday, we didn't imagine that many people would elect to spend the afternoon in a dark theater. We'd managed to fit in a bike ride early in the afternoon. So we were very surprised that the humongous parking lot at the theater was full. When we finally hiked over from the parking spot we found, we were shocked that the film was sold out. But we weren't disappointed. The film hadn't been high on our list to see. So we drove back home and Bhikkhu got a nice walk on a sunny afternoon.

Yesterday was my first chance to ski in weeks, and I was excited to ski on the 6" of snow we received a few days earlier. Paul is recovering from a sprained ankle so I headed alone to the municipal park nearby. We classical nordic ski. Based on the nordic ski club's trail priorities and the people usually passing us on the wide groomed trails, sometimes it seems like most of Anchorage skate skis. Yesterday the parking lot was full and I expected to share the trails and the best snow in weeks with a few of the 250,000 people in Anchorage. After I left the skate ski highway, however, I skied alone for the better part of an hour on a narrower classic only trail. I glided along through silent woods where fewer than a dozen people had skied in the past few days. Our decision to stick to classical skiing seems to be rewarded with solitude on the edge of the city.

We've also been reminded recently about something that's different when you live in Alaska -- the number of people who come and go. Except for college, I've never lived anywhere else where many of your friends are likely to move away. Some leave for better jobs, others to follow or find love, and young families often head out to be nearer to family. Last week our friend Shane came up from California to work a booth at a conference. We hadn't seen him since he, his wife, and their baby left 4 years ago. We've kept in touch via email but that doesn't replace hanging out around the house, walking in the woods, and enjoying good microbrew together. He stayed with us for a week. We caught up over long dinners and walking Bhikkhu every day.

We aren't going to the mall or the theater every Saturday afternoon and our meals are definitely more slow food than fast food. We are lucky to have friends who prefer the woods to the mall and meals of fellowship to the food court. Friends like that are friends forever, whether they live across town, up the highway, in California or Colorado or on the East coast. We're blessed to live in a place where we can pursue our life choices and find lifelong friends.