Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu Has Not Reached Alaska!

I hear from some of my faithful followers that they're tired of reading about our volcano, Mt. Redoubt. I don't blame them. Now the big scare is this swine flu starting from Mexico City, but it's not here. Don't forget to get travel insurance, especially if you leave country! We have only beautiful springtime days and it's so great to go outdoors coatless. I'd post some pictures of flowers, but it's a little early, so you'll have to visualize some of Georgia O'Keefe's great art. We have our fair share of artists here, too, and one of the best (watercolor and sumi-e) is my magic partner. The Anchorage Museum of History and Art is being renovated, and a multi-million dollar extension promises to make it a visitor's destination when it reopens late May. Until then, the first Friday Art Walk continues to draw art lovers, and wine sippers, too.

The bike trails continue to grow, and as the bears come out of their hibernation, we read daily about encounters with bikers and runners. Another of our year-round attractions is Kinkaid Park, which is a huge 40 (?) acres park with cross-country ski trails, a popular chalet, etc. It's just south of the Anchorage International Airport as the crow flies, but a longer drive to reach it. The bike trail goes from Kinkaid Park all the way to downtown, and it skirts the inlet, Earthquake Park, Turnagain Subdivision, and Westchester Lagoon. Pull out your GPS or Mapquest, and you can enjoy viewing from above.
As April fades away, I'm trying to post my Midi version of "I'll Remember April" but I have to figure out how to get my piano hooked up again. Lots of visualizing needed on this blog, eh? Well, after you picture the flowers, picture the music. Til then . .. cheers.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Springtime in Alaska

Moose are all over the place this time of year. They come into Anchorage to feast off of the trees, growth, and anything else happens to be within reach. However, you can enjoy seeing them from a distance, but not so great when they come out on your route home. I just avoided a cow moose with her newborn recently driving home in the evening. Now, I only live 2 miles from downtown, and you would not expect to see them on a main road . . . but I would. I've had friends who have hit a moose with their cars, and it's totalled in most cases.

Aren't you glad I'm not talking about the volcano anymore. I've had enough of it, too, but I am thankful in a way that it had helped promote my travel insurance business. I won't go into the horror stories any more, but you know there are many more reasons to take out insurance for your forthcoming trips. See why!

Anchorage is bustling with trade shows, promotions at the new Dena'ina Center and the Performing Arts Center with it's three theatres filled most evenings. Right now, Spamalot is playing with John Hurley in person, and a good review in the local skinny newspaper helped promote this already popular attraction. On a personal note, the Godmothers of Magic are performing a magic show, today, in fact!

Add to this the attendance at funerals and wakes keeps the locals pretty busy. We did lose a giant in the news writing line this week, and Bill Tobin's popularity with all will be sorely missed. He was also a 'closet magician' . . . my term for those who dabble in illusions.

Breakup is not the prettiest time of year in Alaska, but soon we'll have beautiful gardens again. I promise to post some of the best ones. So check back.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Springtime in Alaska

Looking over my recent blogs, I realize I never shared this image above . . . quite out of date, but it's so beautiful I had to share it with the reader. It was sculpted in Fairbanks, not Anchorage, but I have to give them credit for their challenges.

If you saw my last blog were posted, you would know that I recently returned from a trip to Oregon and California. It's springtime down there in reality, and here in Alaska, it's just on the calendar. The hardest time of the year here, as the snow is all dirty, and the eruption of Mt. Redoubt hasn't helped a bit. It's like dirt and soot all over your car, lawn, flowers (joke) . . well, I'm exaggerating, because it's still winter, and breakup is a messy time. However, we have plenty of indoor sports in Anchorage, and a fairly new addition to the city is "The Dome" which is a bubble the size of two plus football fields. It's been a boon for the school's sports programs, as they can start practicing track and field early.

So I'll sign off here check my other blog . . . I know Google would not like for me to tell you that wordpress dot com has my other blog and they have a few advantages . . . my name there is alaskab4udie. My next blog I'm going to write up some stories about the travel insurance I'm selling now and how it hasn't covered volcanos. It was a lesson in futility, but it's still wise to take it out. You never know. I ran into a girlfriend, Pam, who was returning to Anchorage from N.J. and was stranded in Seattle four nights, waiting for flights to resume. She couldn't even get her checked bag, so had to buy the usual necessary things, all at her own expense. Don't you know she would have benefited from having insurance. Why not buy, just in case.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Return to Alaska

The title refers to our return, but still encouraging your visit. That is, assuming you're reading this from afar. We did return last night, and it's always good to be home. It was an 'iffy' takeoff when we left last week, as most flights were cancelled due to the continuing eruptions of Mt. Redoubt. However, we were lucky as our pilot announced we had to go right away as another eruption was starting, and we were the only flight that day to make it. Since we were going to a meeting in Portland, Oregon, we had to make a connection from Seattle. We didn't. So one hotel room and a three hour drive later, we did arrive in time for our two day meeting. Portland is a very beautiful city, but our free time was limited to a drive around town, lunch at the famous Kennedy School, and two nights in Lake Oswego. A great visit, nonetheless.

Next came our flight to Santa Barbara. This sounds easy enough, but we did it the long way, as we had to return the car to Seattle and then fly south. When you deplane in SBO, you are left alone. No public transportation, and it's 60 miles to Santa Maria. Lucky for us that a friend picked us up, took us to her beautiful home, which was a menagerie of 6 cats, 2 cockatoos, 4 lizards, two huge fish, plus little guppies, etc. and any stray animal that should wander by. The garden was on three sides of the house that was a delightful combination of gazebos, brick walls, stone walks, bushes, trees, flowers, that had been carefully planned with an artful eye. She kindly loaned us her car for the trip further north.

Still not at our destination, we drove up to San Luis Obispo, which is the site of Cal Polytechnic. This was another 30 miles, past farms, ranches, open country, and close to the coast on good highways. The college is huge, as are most, and we parked and went into the men's dorm to visit with my friend's son, a freshman there. The dorm was a typical assortment of beds, books, bookcases, one large piece of art, and 'stuff'. Since it was a holiday some places in California - Caesar Chavez Day - we were able to take off for Pismo Beach, which was crowded with students, in bikinis, even though it was chilly. We went to dinner with friend's in Cuyucos, just north of Morro Bay, and spent the night there in their lovely home overlooking the ocean.

The couple fixed a beautiful dinner for us, and we left shortly after breakfast to return the college student to his early class, and continued into the town to visit some more friends in the courthouse, this time. After a short visit, and shopping, we returned to Santa Maria for the night, and flew home without any problems.

It was a whirlwind trip, but always good to be home, and continue tracking our pet volcano. The next blog will be back on track with Alaska happenings, so check back.