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23 November 2009 @ 09:15 pm
dry alaska is dry. and dark.  

Agghlg. Dry Alaska is dry. I could sleep in a tub of lotion and I would awaken with all the lotion having schlucked into my skin and I would still feel dehydrated. This is not an aspect of Fairbanks that I miss. Nor is the early dark, though that’s not so bad right now. The sun’s gone down in Barrow and won’t be up again until late January, but Fairbanks still has almost eight hours of light. It won’t be until the solstice that it’s down to three. Still, when it’s full-on dark by 5:15, I do find myself getting pretty sleepy.

I do miss the amazing white frosted trees and the indirect gold sun and the pale blue skies that come with extreme cold and dry. Not enough to live here again, you understand, but it is absolutely beautiful.

We had a smashingly good Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. Turkey and ham and stuffing and corn and green bean casserole and mashed potatoes and three kinds of pie (oh man, Ted’s mom made a strawberry rhubarb crumble to die for), and everyone seemed to have a good time as we ate too much. We watched movies, played cards, and did a small gift exchange. We now have a gift certificate to the comic shop. I know what *I* want to spend it on, but I’ll see if Ted can be convinced. :)

We filled up the car while we were driving around yesterday–$45 for 13ish gallons (which, in terms of gas prices in Ireland, is still dirt cheap), and it got us off on the topic of how we’d changed, living in Ireland. Ted said, “It does my head in to throw everything away,” a phrase which I thought was proof of change both in content and semantics. :) I don’t even know if there’s a recycling company *in* Fairbanks, but recycling cuts down on our garbage by about 70%, and composting takes care of another twenty percent of it, and after four years, we’re completely in the habit of it now. It’s extraordinarily weird to just throw things away.

And it’s equally odd to drive twelve or fifteen miles to get into town. I’ve become so very accustomed, whether in Longford or Cork, to living within walking distance (and in walking weather) of everything I need, that the idea of living somewhere as spread-out as Alaska is truly peculiar. But what *really* throws us is the size of the vehicles, and the fuel inefficiency of them. We were saying to each other, “If we still lived here, we wouldn’t own the Jeep anymore because of the price of gas,” but I wonder if that’s true. If we moved back here, we wouldn’t own a Jeep, because it would seem huge and awkward and gas-guzzling, but I’m not absolutely certain we’d have switched it out if we’d been living here all along.

Also, we went out to shop yesterday morning, with ‘morning’ being the operative word. The shops (which they refer to as ’stores’ here) are all open early and remain open until late. It’s very strange. And they think *I’m* very strange *indeed* when I say, “I don’t need a bag!” and whip out one of my little foldable cloth bags. :) But it drove me nuts, last time we were here, to keep getting plastic bags at the stores. So wasteful!

All right, off to lunch with friends, and then to make a cheesecake!

(x-posted from the essential kit)
Lauraskeagsidhe on November 23rd, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC)
I have contemplated going to Fairbanks in the winter just to experience the styrofoam crunch of the snow and the dry cold that takes your breath away and that low-angle light on the snow-covered scraggly trees again.

I suspect that it would be as beautiful as I remember. I also suspect that my de-aclimated self would be far, far colder than I ever remember being and that I would be thrilled the day I got to fly back to more temperate climes.
Kate Kirbykirbyk on November 23rd, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)
But, do you have a hint of an irish accent, in your Alaskan relatives ears?

Because that would make it all worth it!
martianmooncrabmartianmooncrab on November 23rd, 2009 09:09 pm (UTC)
we do better in Oregon about recycling and stuff, you should see us where they dont have a bottle deposit and someone throws a popcan into the trash. (now we do bottled water with deposit too.. its quite exciting) Some stores give you a nickle off when you bring your own bags too.

I still miss the walking to the shops, but, living out in the suburbs makes it quite a hike into town.

I joke with Miss Annie about when she lived in Fairbanks, if you didnt throw everything away, where would the bears eat?
dancinghorsedancinghorse on November 23rd, 2009 09:41 pm (UTC)
In Arizona everyone whips out a cloth bag or a Trader Joe's bag now. It's the thing.

And it's dry here, but cold it AIN'T. ;>

Edited at 2009-11-23 09:41 pm (UTC)
Trent the Uncatchableknappenp on November 23rd, 2009 09:51 pm (UTC)
The 'green' shopping bag is in full swing in the midwest, too. But I still need plastic bags for the cats.

Probably not a fair question, but does it seem *more* dry now that you've been in the wet of Ireland? Or are you just no longer used to it?
Trent the Uncatchableknappenp on November 23rd, 2009 09:51 pm (UTC)
Er. Litter. For the cats' litter.
irishkate: Cosyirishkate on November 23rd, 2009 10:50 pm (UTC)
yeah right - that's your story and you're sticking to it...uh huh - we believe you......

Laura Anne Gilmansuricattus on November 23rd, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC)
NYC's getting much better about recycling, but I still feel a twinge when I see what goes into the waste chute. If i could only talk my building into composting!

I do carry my own bags with me when I go to the stores. It only just makes sense...
irishkate: tardisirishkate on November 23rd, 2009 10:51 pm (UTC)
going to be interesting to talk to you about all your experiences when you get home .. er back.. whichever..

Finding out what being away made you aware of, what going back reminded you of, etc..

meanwhile I am full just reading about your dinner!
Harold Zablehzatz on November 23rd, 2009 11:15 pm (UTC)
I'm definitely a Florida boy. This time of year, in the SF Bay Area, when the sun is going down around 5 and comes back up at 7, I feel tired and a bit down. I think I'd be a really bad candidate for life in Alaska.

Maybe the Earth's yellow sun is the source of my super powers...
Dinidamedini on November 24th, 2009 12:55 am (UTC)
Photos!!!??? Pleeeeeze?

I hear ya on the recycling and such - there's a huge culture clash with my folks in Ohio. In Toronto, I recycle and compost and use reusable bags (the people who don't have to pay for plastic and boggle my mind), but where my folks are there just aren't facilities. Waah!
Dinidamedini on November 24th, 2009 12:57 am (UTC)
Oops, more:
I remember being a kid when it was commonplace to just toss refuse out of your car window. And dropping trash on the ground was just what was done. Seemed odd to me then, and now, looking ack (and watching a 70s movie the other day and seeing it there) is brain-breaking! Being a very diverse sity, we still have lots of people who do this. And, strangely, there seems to be a *thing* amongst teens and early 20s to just drop trash. Confusing.
Al Pettersoneyelessgame on November 24th, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)
> We had a smashingly good Thanksgiving dinner yesterday.

Man, you just live in the weirdest time zone.
kitmizkit on November 24th, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC)
*laughs out loud*