And now for something completely different…

Y’all were getting real serious in the comments box yesterday. You know the fur is just starting to fly when issues like authenticity, cultural appropriation, how they do things “Outside,” etc. etc., are all raised in the same (more or less) discussion. Hoo boy. Well, I’m in a less serious mood today. And I recall I never pointed out, dear readers, that the name of this blog changed back in Jan. 1 from “49 writers, no moose” to the simpler, albeit potentially less intriguing, “49 writers.”

Which means it’s open season now on posting the occasional photo of — just guess — as I have done here.
Photo one, you’ll see, is taken from my kitchen window yesterday. This is my own portrait of my version of the “authentic Alaska life.” Or at least the “authentic Anchorage life.” In my case, it involves a new Aerogarden, a gift from my husband Brian on my midwinter birthday (Dec. 29) when I was feeling down in the dumps. About 5 weeks later, seeds have grown into plants so big I have to trim them back. I’ve never succeeded at growing basil before owning this device, which — second to a SAD light — should be owned by every Alaskan suffering through dark winters. (Is this product placement? Will I get any free seed plugs for this? Somehow I doubt it.)
Notice that the dark spot above the Aerogarden is — bigger photo below — a moose out my window. I don’t care what anyone says, life in Anchorage is not like life in Los Angeles or any other big or medium-sized city. Moose in the front, back, and sideyards are commonplace. Yes, I sit around slurping espresso and working on my laptop, but I also keep a thick garbage bag ready in case the volcano blows (has it changed its mind yet?) and I’m suddenly required to protect our electronica from the glassy dust. Meanwhile, I just got a new writing gig — more on that at some point — which requires me to watch dozens of hours of amazing sea otter and orca and shark footage. From Prince William Sound, just a short drive away, where I’ve enjoyed spending time with real sea otters and orcas. (I’ve never seen a shark, though. I’ll admit that.)
It’s all pretty amazing. Especially in these dismal days, when I spend far too much time griping about the economy and worrying about the state of publishing, I don’t want to take my own Alaska life for granted. I don’t care what anyone else has to say about how my life compares to someone else’s life in Seattle or Nome, Portland or Kotzebue. I’m pretty happy here, in this strange inbetweenland, where I watch wildlife, dipnet salmon, write whatever the hell I want to write, and still get to be ridiculously picky about my coffee.
That’s all I have to say. More serious topics — maybe — tomorrow…

8 thoughts on “And now for something completely different…”

  1. Love it! I’ve been coveting one of those aerogardens. Just need to find a place to put it. Maybe next to the respirator masks and the goggles, which happily aren’t getting much use.

    On the subject of moose, yesterday I was deep into an update of one of my travel guides. I will go out on a limb and admit that writing travel guides is not exactly my first love, but freelancing pays the bills and someone has to write them and I use them myself and, hey, I’m glad at least they ask someone who lives here instead of someone who’s just breezing through. My quandry was what to say about in-town encounters with moose, besides pointing out the obvious, that’s it’s best for all parties that you not smack into one with your car.

    I’d lived almost thirty years in Alaska before someone pointed out that you’re supposed to be afraid of moose. That they’ve killed people. Somehow I missed that. Fear now displaces a bit of wonder and gratitude. But not much.

  2. I got charged by one yesterday in my driveway, just as I was thinking about Wild Moments. (I swear!) Fortunately, I’d already picked out a tree to hide behind.

    Hey — did I mention that blurbs are one of my pet peeves?

  3. Andromeda Romano-Lax

    All right, Michael — that last sentence made me laugh. Enough said.

    And yes, Deb, we must not forget about those killer moose! I actually remember a moose-caused human fatality my very first year in Anchorage, and yet, I still spent the next summer terrified of bears instead. (Of course, I also spent my childhood afraid of great white sharks, even when I was in a chlorine-filled swimming pool, so my anxieties have rarely been realism-based).

  4. when i came here, I WAS PROMISED NO MOOSE!!!!

    just kidding. 😉

    when my dad lived in Alaska–he was 9 when they moved there–he was chased up a tree at sunset by a mother moose because he accidentally came too close to her baby (which he didn’t see). he was nearly stuck over night and probably would have frozen to death. yet we all look back on this memory with fondness and humor–even those of us who weren’t invented yet.

    moose. it’s just a funny sounding word.

  5. Andromeda Romano-Lax

    Moonie, I didn’t know your dad lived in Alaska! That makes you an almost-honorary-Alaskan, sort of. Explains your good taste in food (i.e. raw fish).

  6. Yes, even in Anchorage, life IS different. Was reminded of that this past week. Sunday afternoon: skiing on a trail, had to stop at an intersection to wait for a dogsled team to go by (16 beautiful dogs, by the way). Monday late afternoon, riding the Metro in Washington DC to my hotel, thinking how odd it is that they are both America.

    I like Alaska’s America better. Nobody ever says, “Wow! You’re from Nebraska? Is it true they have plains there? Have you ever walked them? Have you ever seen a prairie dog?”

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