High school basketball is rather like Christmas; it gets me through a dark and dreary part of the year. Walking into the brightly lit gym, with the pep band playing, is like entering another world. Youth rules. Kids rock. Looming old mountains and foul weather stay outside and I spend a few hours with the vibrant energy of hard working teenagers. Songs like "Smoke on the Water" and "Surfing USA" blare out from the balcony and ring in my head for days.
Mostly I come for the basketball. I really love the game. Originally I went along with some friends of mine who had a freshman son playing on the varsity team. One year our exchange student, Leonardo, was a member of the stunt team and I had a quasi-parental reason to go. But I don't really need a reason beyond a simple enjoyment of the show.
Our high school teams have done well over the years, winning both boys and girls state championships several times. One boy from Juneau made it to the NBA and is racking up double doubles this season for the Utah Jazz. This year two of the seniors, one girl and one boy, have already committed to playing Division I college ball. It is gratifying to see such fine results of the all out effort and commitment these kids make to the game.
Each year some of them graduate and move on. Former players appear in the stands every season, home from college for Christmas break or home from the war. Wedding pictures are printed in the newspaper. I hear from parents about jobs and babies and medical school and all the things that people do after high school. Their years on the basketball team or the dance team, playing in the pep band or cheerleading do not define these students now or in the future but they are shaped by putting their young hearts and minds to this work. They mostly look like kids having fun and the faces of their parents and fans look proud.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
There is a bus that goes directly to the ski area on weekends and school holidays. It leaves from a mall about half a mile from our house and only costs $5 round trip. Parents ride free. Yesterday's load of passengers ranged in age from 13-16 with the exception of Ray and his old mother. It was a pretty fun ride and was certainly no slower than driving ourselves. We ended up riding back down with some friends who live nearby. It was Ray's call; I rather liked the bus.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Last week the motorcycle got new tires, a jack for the snowmachine needed to be modified and the new lift for working on the bike had to be assembled. There is always something to do at the hangar.
There is a bar/restaurant in town called The Hangar. Sometimes we joke about Dave being there instead, drinking beer or ogling waitresses, but that wouldn't amuse him for long. He could be getting something done at the airport.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Saturday, December 02, 2006
It was too cold to be outside for awhile this month so I resolved to go check out three of the local gyms. I only managed to walk in to one and I didn't last long. I don't think I am a gym person. Besides the weakness of the overall atmosphere, the $150 membership fee and the fact that I have to drive somewhere to exercise put me off. I was glad when the temperature rose to 20 degrees. I strapped on the snowshoes and have been back out in the fresh air. The first day I was breaking trail and up to my knees. It has been progressively easier since then and way better than that gym.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
It snowed 19 inches yesterday. There was very little traffic at the airport. Tinkerbelle was the only passenger plane that made it out and that was only because it had landed before the snowstorm started. Dave took some pictures of the plane being deiced on the apron. It was deiced again while it sat in takeoff position at the end of the runway. The snowplows made a sweep down the runway, pulled off to the side and the jet followed the plows on a takeoff roll. A Fed Ex prop plane took off and that was it for the day.
Monday, November 27, 2006
So, instead of winter sports, we have savory dinners, with spicy sauces over rice. We have Netflix and Blockbuster and NPR podcasts. I have melancholy poems to read. The phone rings and it is one brother hauling fuel on a Nevada highway, then it rings again, another brother hauling a whole tanker of fuel across the Atlantic Ocean. Heading for Spain, driving to Elko.
We shared a turkey and all the sides with friends downtown. Katherine was with her mom on Thursday so we will conjure up another feast with her soon. Thanksgiving is a holiday with a false history that somehows keeps an intact core. Most of us are thankful for our rich lives and that is what we celebrate.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
I have been neglecting the blog and the knitting while watching The Sopranos on DVD. It would sound better if I was busy staying in shape or learning to speak Spanish but it wouldn't be true. Tony, Carmella, well, they do speak a little Italian...
These socks, St Peter Port Stripes from Folk Socks by Nancy Bush, are my third pair from the book. I have pair number four on the needles, but they are mostly just sitting there. I like to have this link with the past, these very traditional socks in my hands as I knit them and then on my feet as I wear them. These hail from the island of Guernsey and were all the rage in the seventeenth century. They were knit by the islanders for export. The hand knitting industry provided a major source of income in the Channel Islands for more than 200 years. Apparently Ms. Bush created this pattern based on a written description found in a letter from a Parisian merchant. History comes alive.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
School was canceled today for the second day in a row as we are getting a lot of snow! Shovels, hot chocolate and snow forts are on the agenda. We don't really have to go anywhere so we will leave the snowy roads to the other drivers.
Monday, November 13, 2006
I used the tubular cast on recommended by the designer. I liked it. It is stretchy and it was nice to learn a new technique, especially one that works. The yarn is also a new one for me. It comes in many solid colors and I want to find a good "go to" yarn for color work. I will compare this with Lang Jawoll after a few washings. I also have some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in the cupboard, which seems to be a favorite amongst knitting bloggers. Maybe a new favorite will emerge.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Yesterday the renewal notice for my nursing license arrived in the mail. I threw it in the garbage.
My license is due to expire November 30. To renew, I would need to pay a fee of $215, and to check two out of three boxes: 30 hours of nursing education, 320 hours of nursing employment or 30 hours of volunteer nursing professional activities. This is something I could accomplish, but I simply don't want to anymore.
It was a good choice of a profession for me. I was 19, working part time at a hospital and enrolled full time at a university when I decided to major in nursing. I really wanted to be a paramedic at that point but it seemed silly to drop out of a four year college to go get a certificate at a junior college. I also thought, correctly, that I would have more flexibility and mobility with a nursing degree and I could always work as an ER nurse.
I did work 11 years in an ER which was my favorite job overall. I also worked on post-op surgical wards, in a public health clinic for a year, in a surgeon's office, and in a tiny clinic in a very small town where I did blood tests with a microscope and took and developed lousy Xrays all by myself. I worked for the Peace Corps in Zambia. I then worked 10 more years at the Juneau hospital, in the OR, in recovery and in the Same Day Surgery unit. When I quit to go to Mexico for a year, I pretty much knew I would not be coming back.
I may work again but I am no longer a nurse. It was right for me for so many years, a way to make a difference, to connect with people, to do something important with my day but it is over. The lapsed license seals the deal.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I am reading a bit more, as my enthusiasm for knitting socks has waned temporarily. I have a pile of used books but I seem to spend at least as much time in front of the computer as I do with my nose in a book. Sure, I read knitting blogs but also I have wandered over to blogs about infertility, large families, design, cancer and art. Huh? There are talented writers everywhere. I don't spend any time on eBay. I read the local paper online and the news that is posted on the web by a local radio station. So when I repeat something I got from the news, the vocabulary sometimes trips me up. "I read it on the radio."
I am also listening to a library book, via my iPod, a David Sedaris CD, Me Talk Pretty One Day. I have read his short columns in the New Yorker before and he is really funny. He has been living in France and his tales about Americans abroad and the struggles to communicate in a second language are reminiscent of our time in Mexico last winter. Hearing his high, lispy voice and his imitations add so much to the narrative. It is good stuff but I am glad he is not my little brother. His family stories are merciless.
This time of year also finds me in front of the television. You might think I am watching Project Runway (which Dave thought was about an airport, poor guy) but no, it is Major League Baseball that has captured my attention. October is World Series month, and once I become aware of it, I am up on that bandwagon. I never think about baseball at all during the rest of the year, and I really don't even remember which teams played last year or who won. It's a short lived interest, a bright light during a dark and rainy season. I find something delightful in the drama, the peek into a world that totally consumes so many people. There is a pitcher with grey in his funny beard, a twenty two year old up to the majors for the first time, the announcers explaining that the second baseman and the shortstop communicate who will cover second by an open mouth and a closed mouth. Things like these intrigue me.
I am pulling for Detroit. Why? Well, my brother-in-law, an Oregon hippie, grew up in the Motor City and he has an automotive core that he can't escape. I love that about Michael, his stacks of car magazines and intimate knowledge of motorcycle history. My only other reason for being a Tiger fan this month is Elmore Leonard. Sports fans don't have to be logical, just enthusiastic.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
"Are those for me?" Dave asked. I was knitting some socks that were not for him. But it sounded like a request to me so I made him some simple, manly socks. He likes them and wears them so much that he might need some more right away.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
After two Alaskan summers and a Mexican winter, it has been awhile since I have felt temperatures below 50 degrees. The clouds parted a couple of days ago, revealing fresh snow on nearby peaks. I haven't been able to capture any spectacular lighting effects so snapshots will have to do.