Saturday, March 22, 2008

halibut is here

The vernal equinox is also the time the first fresh halibut of the year hits the market.

What a wonderful fish! Mild, sweet. It can be cooked any of hundreds of ways and they are all good. Halibut is one of the best parts of living in Alaska.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

spring really is coming

Linda has a south facing exposure, and her bulbs are always the first out. Look!

Spring in Alaska is much better than spring in New England. The days are long and usually sunny. Breakup happens with thrilling speed. There is no mud season - just a few days of floods and excitement.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

the best Iditarod ever

I know I said that last year. But really, seeing Dee Dee and Paul in the early leads, friends Jim Lanier and Robert Buntzen having such good runs.. And the trash-talking but gentlemanly stuff between Lance Mackey and the great Jeff King... and Lance's second win! The second time this crazy man and Larry, Hansom, etc won both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod back to back,,, what a thrill!

The teams run at night because days in the Arctic this time of year are too warm for the dogs. During the Idtarod I often dream that I am on the trail. I see my dogs ahead of me in the light of my headlamp.

Last night I dreamed of Lance running through the night. I was amused when four different people told me of similar dreams.

Imagine all of us dreaming of Lance as he runs...

Good dogs!

Monday, March 10, 2008

my first trip to New Orleans

This was a business trip, and I suffered through 36 hours of Death by PowerPoint in an over-crowded ballroom.

But what a weird and wonderful city! The food was so good I found myself tearing up with joy. (Ate a lot of crawfish.) The Cajun brisket at Tujacques came with a tomato horseradish sauce to die for. The locals all sound like they come from New York. I was surprised to find large and active Irish, German, and Italian enclaves. The language I heard most often was Spanish. Great Cuban restaurants. No bookstores anywhere, unless you count porn.

At night, the "Touchdown Jesus" casts a shadow as high as the cathedral.

The architecture made me laugh out loud. Tara next to Greco-Roman next to ...

There is something called a dacquiri. This is a Slurpee in a variety of lurid colors generously laced with grain alcohol. They range from large to gallon at very modest prices. What a horrible way to drink! I liked the mango ones best..

I took a bus tour to look at Katrina damage ( a lot) and recovery (very little). Miles and miles of devastation, almost three years out. We looked at levees that failed, and levees that held. The most poignant thing, to me, was how lovely these devasted neighborhoods must have been. Little "shotgun houses" with front porches and fenced yards, the bright paint still visible on the ruins. I can imagine people on the porches and dogs in the yard.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Dee Dee first into Cripple!

Got into a cab this afternoon, a little disoriented after five days in New Orleans. I asked the cab driver how the Iditarod was going, and he told me beautifully. Dee Dee was first into Cripple, the halfway point, after Paul Gebhardt got turned around and started back the way he had come. We spent ten minutes deep in the details of mushing. Aside from baseball, this is the only sport I know and love and can talk about endlessly at the slightest provocation.
Dee Dee scratched last year, and I didn't think she was going to run again. She broke her hand and blamed it on the drugs she was taking to prevent a recurrence of her breast cancer. She had run the 2003 just weeks after completing chemo.
But maybe this is her year!!!!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Iditarod start

On a perfect spring day I volunteered at the take-out for the ceremonial Iditarod start. Over one hundred teams came through, including the absolute heroes of Alaska, Lance Mackey with Larry, Hansom, Rapper, and Hobo.

I also make an exception for celebrity breast cancer women and even pink ribbons for Dee Dee Jonwroe. Here she is signing autographs. Pink was her trademark long before she had breast cancer - even her dogs' harnesses are pink. I hope she has a great run. to Nome this year.