Who goes to Alaska in February? This is the time of year even Alaskans try to escape.
Well, my mom, for starters. And my brother. They’re both moving back to Alaska and decided to caravan together.
Last time I went to Alaska, it was in the middle of summer.
I took these photos on our last trip to Alaska. Mom was moving back up there that time as well, and Gem and I tagged along with her.
She was so little then.
This time, they are taking the ferry rather than driving the entire way through Canada, and they invited us along for the ride. The ferry leaves next weekend and it all hinges on whether Gem’s passport arrives in time.
I can’t say goodbye to the cancer experience just yet, I’m still dealing with some residual complications, but I am in the process of moving on. I did so much more than deal with cancer in 2011, but it featured prominently in my life.
Before we get to the rest of my life, I did write up a post detailing what a day of radiation treatment is like, which has been quite a popular post over the past year. I hope it helps people who are facing this treatment, and a little nervous about what they are in for. (I also wrote a similar post about chemotherapy.)
Random act of kindness: I received an amazing gift that still brings a smile to my face and checks my attitude every time I use it
I am so ready to get on with 2012.
I’m not doing resolutions this year, instead I’m picking a couple of words on which to focus as a kind of guiding principle for the year.
I picked “habit” and “kaizen”
The two are related. By habit, I mean I’m going to be intentional about creating healthy habits, slowly and gradually, the same way my bad habits get their start. For instance, I’m gradually improving my diet instead of going on a crash diet cutting out everything at once. Kaizen was a new term to me, meaning small improvements made every day will lead to massive improvements overall. This year is going to be all about incremental, sustainable change.
Do you have any plans, resolutions, or words of the year for 2012?
This is the house in which I grew up. It was my grandparents house, but it was my Grandmother who made it a home.
In 1948, my Grandmother packed up her children, and left her beautiful home in Michigan, to join her husband in Alaska where he had moved his dental practice.
She moved from this:
To a 32′ by 32′ log cabin
Her youngest child was 7 months old.
This wasn’t just a house in Alaska. This was a house in an area that was, at the time, the middle of nowhere, Alaska. My grandfather commuted to work in Anchorage by airplane.
Of course, they needed to embiggen the house a bit to accommodate all those kids
And Grandma made sure their newly enlarged home was lovely. Just because they were in the middle of nowhere, Alaska, didn’t mean they were going to live like country bumpkins. Grandma had standards.
This was dinner.
And after dinner
Notice Grandpa’s commuter plane out the left window…
Sure they had chores, a fully operational farm, in fact. But those boys mucked out the pig pen in jeans that were ironed.
Years later I came to live with Grandma and Grandpa, on my own at first so I could attend the local kindergarten, my parents and brothers joined us later. This is the house that comes to mind when I think of my childhood. I think of the wind that blew right through those walls bringing with them the glacial silt from not one, but two nearby glaciers. We dusted every single day. And every week we baked bread, with wheat we ground ourselves in a heavy, loud, wood and metal flour making contraption. Then when the loaves came out of the oven, she’d cut me a thick slice, still steaming, slather it with homemade butter from our cow, and then sprinkle a little brown sugar on top. Heaven.
I think of myself as being busy now, but truly, Grandma got some work done.
Grandma lived to be 99 years old, and she was beautifully pulled together every time I saw her.
Oh, my, I’m glad Grandma can’t see my home right now. I’ve fallen a bit short of her standards.