Thursday, April 25, 2013

It's Really Spring!!!

We have finally welcomed spring in Anchorage. On my other blog in WordPress, I was a bit discouraged over the delay of the arrival of spring, but on the front page of today's paper -- above the fold -- I see the snow geese have arrived, too.

The cruise ships are coming soon, and the tourist season promises to be bigger than ever. I'm not involved personally with this, altho' I am a relocation consultant for those planning their move to Anchorage. I understand that apartment rentals are saturated, which tempts me to rent my two bedroom condo. But that won't happen, as there's no place more beautiful in the summer than right here. The golf courses are even showing green again, and the bike trails are upgraded, fishing looks to be the best year, and the price of gas has even dropped at least a dime! Don't forget we do have a six-week baseball season, and the Anchorage Bucs look forward to winning the Alaska Baseball Title. The Bucs are now sharing the office building with the other local team, The Glacier Pilots. To explain that, both teams are leasing for Muni owned Building on the park strip, but of course, there is a partition between the offices.

The performing arts and visual arts are thriving, as the Concert Association welcomes Mary Poppins and Tony Bennett, among others. The Opera season was wonderful, as was the Symphony, but now we look forward to outdoor activies. I would also remind you potential visitors that we have NO sales tax in Anchorage, nor does the State of Alaska have an income tax. Yep . . . life is good here . . .

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring into Anchorage

It's spring! I know that because the calendar says so, but don't look at the thermometer. The sun has been shining, but it's chilly and windy, too. But soon, the icy streets will be gone, and walking will be easier/safer.

Our local troubadour has come out with a new album, but he is noted for his popular original song, "I Did, I did, I did the Iditard Trail".
Here's Hobo Jim.

The Iditarod was pretty well covered internationlly, as riders are coming here from all over the world nowadays. This year even Argentina was represented. Kincaid Park has hosted it's usual number of cross-country ski races, and there is a proposal to allow some snow machines on a limited basis. The trail connects with downtown Anchorage over 15 miles, skirting the Inlet and airport, too.

The summer tourist season is also gearing up for a big influx this summer, and will probably have more economic impact, as the oil industry has been handcuffed by the federal government. Well, I won’t go into that, as this is a non-political column, remember.

It seems that the social networks have taken over the blogs, but I’m an old-fashioned gal, and don’t relate to the opened-ended comments on Facebook. But it’s really the bible of many of my friends and readers.

I’ve not a lot more to say except that the Anchorage Centennial is coming in 2015, so the municipality decided to make it a 3 year celebration, So we’re starting to be deluged with even more events of all kinds being planned

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Loving Alaska

It's been a while since I've posted a blog, but I had a reason . . . I've been traveling to escape the weather in Anchorage. I found myself wearing my coat more than I had anticipated, and even brought some summer attire I never wore. My bathing suit remained dry (and in my pullman). I visited 8 cities for 5 - 8 days each. Altho' it was sunny weather on arrival, it became rainy before I left each one!

I did have a wonderful odyssey, but I feel we can match most things I saw, and did. For instance, everyone of my friends' homes were at least 3 miles to the closest store/destination. Well, that's okay for once in a while, but I am speaking of multi-trips daily. In Anchorage, I am less than that distance to the airport (to the south) or downtown (to the north). My life is basically in mid-town, and walking distance to shopping, movies, clubs.

Some highlights of my trip are listed here:
The Museum of Science and Technology in San Francisco: great building and exhibits.
The Museum of Art - SF: featuring Vermeer's Girl with Pearl Earring and Dutch artists on one level, and Nureyev collection of his costumes, videos, etc.
Ritz-Carlton Hotel - Half-Moon Bay, CA: great jazz and sliders in their lounge, and the views of the Pacific were formidable. . .
. . my hostess with the mostest, and grandaughter.
San Luis Obispo - The world famous Madonna Hotel . . . my surrogate daughter and son who is being graduated from CalPoly in May!
. . .
the region includes Morro Bay, Cambria, Santa Maria, Cal Poly, etc.

The Magic Castle - Magical arts in fabulous art deco building with great magicians.
American Legion in Avondale AZ - suburb of Phoenix, theatre, lunch with long-lost friends, driving miles thru retirement areas.

Phoenix: a sprawling area of big city and senior/retirement cities.
Jackson MI: beautiful suburb of Flowood, and Million Dollar home with landscape to match . . . the rain didn't diminish the beautiful home's relaxing atmosphere. Biloxi: gaming but no live music around
Houston TX suburbs: Alley Theatre and activities with friends.
Lake Charles LA: visiting relatives, and city tour . . . smaller Mardi Gras
Tampa: Opening night of Ringling Bros. Circus - always great!

That's a quick look at some stops along the way. It's good to be back in Anchorage where we have no sales tax, no traffic snarls, little crime, equally great restaurants and theatre, and lots of live music!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Anchorage Temperatures Hit New Low

Betcha think I'm complaining. Well, not exactly, but as one gets older, it seems harder to take the below zero weather, so I've decided to escape to warmer climes for a month or so. As a visiter, you might enjoy visiting here this time of year, as we have many outdoor attractions, and the night sky is so beautiful. They just opened a rain forest ski trail of 5 K's thru the woods of Girdwood, and the pictures show it to be inviting, if you're dressed for the weather!

This Christmas season seems unseasonably (Pun) long, perhaps because the stores started pushing the buying period in October. Yes, as soon as the witches came down, Santa went up. For me, personally, it's been a period of losing old friends, as there seem to be a heap of close friends who has passed away.

There haven't been any movies to my liking lately, but Christmas day promises to bring several good new films, and the theatres are a toasty place to relax and keep warm. I did go to a film last week, and I had blinking bulb necklace, and they told me to turn it off - well, okay.

The fiscal cliff is supposed to be resolved this week, but I wouldn't bet on it. I am trying to not turn political in my blogs, but it's all around us, and I keep a 'political' folder that is buldging with over a hundred 'gotta save this one' letters. Some are really funny, if you have a warped sense of humor.

Since I've started griping, you may not be interested in this upcoming paragraph, as it's stricty Spenard news. First of all, Spenard is a suburb of Anchorge, called mid-town Anchorage, and it starts in the 2200 block, so I live on the edge, but Spenard Road is fairly short, but cuts thru the club scene. Well, they decided to make a 3 lane road out of the present 4 lane road, to make the traffic flow better. They tried this with Arctic Boulevard, only 2 blocks east, and it didn't work, so now they're going to do it again. Yes, you read that right. Also on Spenard Road is Sunrise Bakery, with Hostess Twinkies and other favorite treats. Well, change that 'is' to 'was' - they went bankrupt, nationally, and that was part of the history of old Spenard.

Our favorite car is parked indoors for the winter, but thought you'd enjoy a picture from warmer times -- he brings it out to our parades, too. Pretty clever.

By now you realize that this is a curmudgeon writing this blog, but let me say that some good things remain, namely my haunts, the American Legion, the Petroleum Club, and Barnes and Noble. As long as they're intact, I'm happy. Downtown is just 2 miles form my condo, and there is a lot of activity there, but parking has become such a problem, most of us limit our trips to town, unless you work there and are provided a parking space. We're just catching up to the cities in the lower states, but it had to come. My next blog will be from sunnier climes, as I'm becoming a snowbird.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Coldest December

It's below zero again today, so I can't wait any longer -- I have to post something and forget about the comfort zone. It's true that I keep a space heater by my desk in addition to a fairly comfortable condo. My big mistake is going outside in all of this, and when you drive south in Anchorage, the sun hits you in the face. I've had to pull over several times just because you can't see the road. So far I've been lucky and no mishaps, but I avoid going out midday. Of course you're aware that our days are still getting shorter, and it's dark by 4 pm, which does affect your mood around here.

Cold or not, activities still abound, and being the Christmas season, there are more parties than ever in Anchorage. Shopping is still the big thing, altho' I read that more people are shopping online these days - it doesn't seem like it in the crowded downtown stores and malls.

My circle of activity was recently expanded and I find that Anchorage now had 2 Olive Gardens, a Coach store and Target. Now, I'm waiting for a Famous Dave's, or is that just a local one in Wisconsin. They advertise The Red Lobster and Macy's on TV, but that's in the future somewhere. But Anchorage is surely different from the Anchorage I first saw when we arrived in 1966. Kind of sad, really, as we don't see women wearing fur parkas, nor any totem poles around, and the parking meters downtown take credit card. We've just been absorbed by progress. I remember getting TV shows a week late, and reading scores in the paper before the games were shown. Now we have so many sports bars, but none as big as The Peanut Farm, which is too big to even explain -- it's huge, and I went there recently for a reunion of my college and it was so mobbed, I felt pretty small in the crowd.

Well, I'm off to an annual party by the visitors and convention bureau, which is now called "Visit Anchorage" -- why would they change the name. . .. perhaps, to spend a few bucks. Thanks to the oil companies, we are in much better financial position that the feds, so I'm in favor of secession, but I won't go into politics here. I promise . . .

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Anchorage visits Soldotna

So you say, where on earth is Soldotna... it's a town on the Kenai Peninsula which you pass thru on your way to Homer. Homer is the end of the road, and the Homer Spit is world-famous, but this time I actually stopped in Soldotna which is on the Kenai River. This is a real vacation spot for inbound travelers, and has grown a great deal since my last visit. But this week, we have experienced huge storms, winds and flooding, and even the old trappers are shocked over the weather and the problems it has caused.

We drove there for the Grand Igloo of the Pioneers Annual Convention, and being the hearty bunch, over 300 Pioneers made it from all over the state. It was actually publicized on the front page - above the fold - of the Fairbanks paper because the vote allows this 100 yr old group to allow women to be officers in the Grand Igloo (state)! Pretty shocking, eh!

The fishing hasn't been as good this summer as it usually is, but sufficed in keeping the guides in the black. It's been a week now, but every so often, the sun peeps thru for a few hours and you remember why you live in Alaska. This picture doesn't show the chaos caused on the Kenai Peninsula, but also, flooding north of Anchorage was just as bad. The Alaska Railroad lost a few feet of track, so all trains were cancelled. Three days of work crew and a million bucks lost found it all fixed up until the next disaster.

Sorry I haven't been blogging a lot, but I'm into some other social media these days . . . not as good as blogging, tho'.

The social scene has picked up in Anchorage with the Symphony's start of the Champagne Pops, new theatrical offerings, the Opera announcing it's season, and the stage show of Schrek comes for a week. .. not my cup of tea, but I'm sure the young 'uns will love it.

And football season is big here at the Petroleum Club, and I won a door prize to make for a good start of fall. . . The stores are already pushing Hallowe'en, and even Christmas, but please . . . . spare me . . . one thing at a time. Come visit my blog again, and I promise to write more often, and more stuff.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Anchorage Saturated with Activity

What with the Olympics on TV most of 24 hours a day, it's hard to find time to take advantage of local events. But, I noticed a clip about a visiting writer from Mad Magazine, who was here to give a presentation. It's been a while since I picked up a copy, but I dropped everything and went to our library to hear Joe Riaola, who spoke off the cuff for a half hour and used video for his second half. I laughed until I cried, and the reader should goto the Mad Magazine website to enjoy the sarcastic humor - if you're into that kind of thing.

The weather has been so beautiful, sometimes that is. Its been changing from hour to hour, but I will say that only one baseball game was cancelled the whole season. I've written before about our short season, which ends by August, but American Legion sponsored games have taken over our ball field, and continue to draw a minimal crowd. The half million dollar ball field is so great, it drains rainfall within minutes. Only the pitcher's mound is 'real dirt', I think.

Since this has become a 'personal interest' blog, let me mention a variety of summer day camps. One of the big draws is the magic camp led by our famous magician, Don Russell.

Nope, this isn't Don's poster, but I just liked it so I stole it - no copyrights here.
Guess I should give a mention to the other activities that fill our time - namely, wakes and political benefits. There just no end, it seems . . . end of blog for now. Come back!