A “tropical” summer in Alaska

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn case you haven’t noticed global warming is causing havoc with the planet, and Alaska isn’t exempt from its effects. If you talk to anyone that’s lived here for a long time, they will tell you that this is the best summer they’ve ever experienced in Alaska. It’s sunny most days, the temperatures are soaring (mid-70’s ) and everyone is enjoying the beautiful outdoors. Usually when I’m visiting Alaska in the summer I always have a sweatshirt or light jacket handy, but this year I’ve even gone outside with shorts and a t-shirt~~a true sign of climate change if I’ve ever heard of one!

This beautiful weather has had another added benefit, it’s made this place even more gorgeous than it already is….of course ask me that the next time I’m here and there’s 4 feet of snow on the ground and I might be singin’ another tune!! In that case just remind me of what I’ve written here, so I can look back at these lovely pics!




Take a hike!

IMG_0929When I’m walking with the pooch through the neighborhood I can’t help but chuckle at how my strolls have changed over the years. When my kids were little, really little, and I was pushing them in their strollers I would be soaking in the sights and sounds and pointing out birdies, squirrels and pretty flowers to them along the way. Then when they got older, I would be huffing and puffing trying to keep up with them while they rode their Big Wheels, tricycles or big girl two wheelers, yelling at them to wait for me at the next corner and not to get too far ahead.

Eventually it wasn’t cool to walk with mom anymore but luckily for me I’ve always had a dog in my life who doesn’t mind in the least! That latest pooch is, of course, Jasmine. Now when Jasmine came into our family she was supposed to be a lap dog, our first small dog, but she definitely had a different idea. She ain’t nobody’s lap dog!  She’s rough and tumble, loves to run and fetch, and thankfully a walker extraordinaire!


We’ve logged a lot of miles, more than I ever realized until I started keeping track, and the fact that she expects numerous walks every day come, sun, rain or arctic snows, means I can’t rest on my couch all day long as I’d prefer.


Being small, and just over 8 years old (not me, the dog!) hasn’t stopped us from logging an average of 3-4 miles a day. While we mostly meander through our neighborhood(s), we do occasionally get to be a bit more adventurous and see some pretty amazing sights!

And just like when my kids were little, I find myself yapping away to the dog telling her to say “hello” to her (doggie) friend, and “hurry up and cross the street”, and “RUN, there’s a moose in that yard”! Well, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea.


But sometimes all that exercise can tire the little pup out…

…. and I won’t show you my picture ’cause it ain’t a pretty sight!

On the road again….too soon…

I can hardly believe that I have been in Alaska for six weeks already and that it’s time for the Jazz and I to wing our way home tomorrow. I always have to psych myself up to come, anticipating the journey, the cold and the change of scene, and then once I’m here I acclimate quickly, revisit all my favorite haunts and then at the end I get sad thinking about leaving.

But I’ve enjoyed a few beers,


drunk way too much coffee,


got snowed on continuously (not really it just seems that way!),


enjoyed the beauty of Alaska,

eaten delectable food,


then tried to walk a lot to (unsuccessfully) keep the pounds off,IMG_0254

and as a result, tired the pokey little puppy out.

IMG_0092I think it’s time to go home!


Okay that headline probably doesn’t seem too crazy considering I am currently spending my annual weeks in exile up in Alaska, and even the midwest is still getting pelted with snow, but even for Anchorage the current snowfall coming down is pretty excessive.IMG_0390

The snow started falling during the early hours on Sunday and it is still coming down on this Monday morning with no plans of stopping until sometime on Tuesday. Now that’s a lot of snow!

For the first time in many moons I am literally snowed in, which seems crazy to me in this day and age. You would think that here in a snowy state like Alaska they would be on top of stuff like snowy streets, but you would be wrong! They do a mediocre job of clearing the streets and they don’t use salt they use gravel.

Last night on the local news they said the plows would come out after 11 pm and plow all night to get ready for Monday morning. I guess that was the first time they were coming out to clear the already 8 plus inches on the ground. Crazy, huh?IMG_0389

But people here are a hardier lot than I am, plus they have cars and trucks with studded tires and four-wheel drive, we, on the other hand, own a 1990 something vehicle with lousy tires, so I guess that makes them hardier by default!

But I am also a bit of a spoiled princess! I’m used to living in a town near a big city where the streets are plowed quickly and efficiently and everyone on the block owns a snow blower. Here in our little condo neighborhood we have a couple of guys with shovels clearing the front stoop and little bobcat vehicle trying to clear the snow from the driveways and streets. I think they are finding it a bit of a losing battle as fast and heavy as this snow is coming down! I feel for them I really do.IMG_0397

Little Jazz is also finding it a bit bewildering. She loves the snow, but this morning’s depth of the white stuff left her confused and paralyzed with indecision about how to navigate her way around the unplowed driveway and streets. She pretty much sticks to the tire grooves to walk but even those were and are filling up quickly with snow.

Our shoveled front walkway

Our shoveled front walkway

Right now as I look out the window it’s become a swirling, pelting, blowing white out, which has totally obscured any view of the majestic mountains normally within my view. I’m really glad I don’t have to venture out in this and it’s not such a bad thing to be snowed in when you have a nice warm place to wait out the storm, plenty of reading material, adequate food supplies, electricity, and communication with the outside world, it could be worse! Although it could be better because I’m out of beer!!


Oh, the weather outside is icy!

photo-4Here in Alaska the neighborhood side streets are ice skating, hockey playing slick. It’s treacherous and pretty scary taking that first step off of the driveway onto the glass-like surface that greets me every chilly morning when Jasmine and I start out on our morning constitutional.  So the other day I got smart and bought myself some grippers for my shoes.

IMG_0088Man these things are great, although a bit loud!

There is no chance of me sneaking up on any wild life, or for that matter hearing any if they decide to sneak up on me!

Middle Seat Agnst

Flying to Alaska

Flying to Alaska

Last week was another flight and yet another middle seat. I’ve always avoided these in the past and sought out the aisle seat, but since I’ve been flying with the wonder dog, AKA Jasmine, I have done a 360 and actively been seeking them out instead!

I discovered the hard way that her soft-sided dog carrier does not fit under the aisle seat. Our first journey to Alaska had me sitting in the aisle, struggling to jam her and the carrier under the seat with the result being a squished Jasmine. I felt terrible. Luckily for me no one showed up to take the middle seat and so I placed her there and discovered the extra real estate the middle seat possesses. Since then the middle seat it is…

Jasmine under the aisle seat

Jasmine under the aisle seat

Jasmine hanging out in the middle

Jasmine hanging out in the middle

It’s a terrible seat to sit in for 6 plus hours, fighting for the arm rests from my fellow passengers, a dog between my feet, nowhere to go….and now that we’ve just completed our ninth one way flight I have to say it hasn’t gotten any easier! Every journey is different because my seat companions are always different. Most people are nice, but as anyone who’s flown knows, not everyone is pleasant and understanding, or even likes dogs for that matter!

There was the red-eye flight where the guy in the aisle seat shut his eyes at takeoff, placed his arm on “my” arm rest and never budged for the entire 6 hours, sleeping pill perhaps? or the impatient woman who got mad because she had to wait in the aisle for 20 seconds while I got Jasmine placed under the seat and then pouted the entire journey.

But the worst was the crabby old woman in the window seat next to me that screamed, “There’s a dog on the plane, there’s a dog on the plane!” and asked the stewardess to move me. Luckily for me the stewardess said I had paid for that seat and she would be glad to move her if she liked, which of course she didn’t, so unluckily for me I had her sitting next to me the entire flight. Even more unluckily for me she had her deaf, 80-year-old boyfriend moved to the empty aisle seat next to me, and throughout the trip she leaned across me with her arm patting him to get his attention, and passing him food from her voluminous carpet bag of a purse! Worse trip E-VER! The best part though…when we were deboarding and her very nice boyfriend (he was too nice for her!) said, “There was a doggie under the seat the whole flight?, what a sweet dog”. Oh brother!!

But the nice people make up for the bad, the stern looking businessman who turned to mush when he realized there was a pooch next to him on the flight, the people who spot Jasmine and get a wistful look in their eye when they tell me they wish their pup was along for the ride too, and the Alaska Airlines personnel (and some TSA agents too!) who always fawn over her and comment how she is so well behaved.

It always gives me a warm feeling when Jasmine and I are strolling through security and the airport concourse before a flight and I see how excited and happy people get when they see this peppy little doggy strutting amongst them. That part alone makes the whole thing worthwhile!