And Then…

The last year (or two, if we’re being honest) have brought a lot of changes, and there haven’t been many opportunities for introspection.  But that seems like too much to tackle, and so today I write about “Flotsam and Jetsam,” running down Nostalgia Lane to revive an old Profanation series.

I’ve been saying that I need a hobby for awhile, and I think I’ve found one: I think I’m going to participate in Novel in November this year.  No topic, no theme, no characters in mind – but I crave a long slog and big project all for me.

I’ve been branching out on my reading, and I just finished “The Night Circus,” by Erin Morgenstern.  It was enchanting, and I immediately began re-reading it.  No spoilers, but the book jumps around in time every chapter.  I’m getting more out of my second read.  Am I the only one who does this?  I think more people should re-read books.  Or I should slow down when I read.  When I’m really engaged in a new book, I basically inhale the words through osmosis, rather than forming each word in my mind, or picturing the scenes, or trying to hear the dialogue in my mind.  Without having any way to prove my suspicions, I think I imagine everything at warp speed, too.

I have finally chosen my pre-workout mix of choice.  I don’t know if I even need it, but for some reason, it makes me look forward to my 0500 alarm.  So I’m keeping Cellular C4 (in either Strawberry Margarita or Pink Lemonade) in my line-up.

Also added to my morning line-up: Vital Proteins Marine Collagen Peptides and GNC’s CLAs.  The first because these law-school-induced stress lines are starting to get deeper as 30 looms closer and closer, the second because, duh, fat-burning.  I can’t say that my stress lines are being reduced, but my nails and hair are already substantial stronger.  I think my Kiehls obsession has more to do with my improved skin tone than the collagen, to be honest.

We (more on the plural later) spent last weekend in the Talladega National Forest.  We planned during my lunch hour on Friday, and we launched after a leisurely, nonscheduled Saturday morning.  It took us four hours to get there and two hours to get back (why are we so bad at navigating?), but we did get to drive through a lot of historic Alabama as well as the national forest.  Just one night outdoors, but we slept under the full moon without the rainfly on – talk about rejuvenating.  Sligo was the only thing missing.

Talladega Natl Forest.jpg^I bought a new Macbook Pro (!!) yesterday, and I even downloaded darktable…but I haven’t learned how to edit my photos yet.  More to come.





Summer in Alaska

Dear Faithful Readers (aka Ellen and Jesse),

I bet you think that a blog entitled “Summer in Alaska” will have lots of photos like this:

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and this:

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and this:

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Or maybe you’re hoping it will be beautifully introspective like my northern lights post. In a way, you’re right because I am chronicling another of my Alaskan adventures, one that can only happen in the summer. I took this job and moved to a distant land to experience new places and new faces and have big adventures. I wanted to be challenged.

But of course reality has a way of looking different than one’s dreams. My biggest adventures have been doing new things and solving stupid problems by myself, like learning how to use a lawnmower (someone had to come show me), troubleshooting a water softener (apparently they work better if they’re plugged in), and using power tools (I called my dad and only made one accidental hole). I haven’t lived alone in a long time, and I’m accustomed to a support system. So my big adventure in rural Alaska has really been more of a social experiment than the cinematic experience I imagined.

Today’s post is about another Alaskan issue I’m trying to solve. Today I will write about what has happened in the 4.5 hours since I woke up.

I thought it was going to be a good day. I woke up, thought it was Tuesday, but then realized it was Saturday! I was delightfully sore from Friday’s workout, and Sligo was snuggled into my side. What a nice Saturday. There was a mosquito buzzing in my room, though, so I got up, turned on the lights, shoved my glasses up my nose, and went to swat it. I got one, but I could still hear buzzing. I killed 3 more mosquitoes in my room.

Then I went into the bathroom. Killed 2 more in the shower stall. At this point, I’m starting to feel like 6 mosquitoes in 3 minutes is unusual because I’m inside a house, and I don’t open my window (they’re so small they come in through the screens). I walked into my living room, and one corner of the room was covered in them. 8 mosquitoes all at once. Now I’m crabby, and I’m starting to think there’s a biblical apocalypse happening just in North Pole.

I stalk through the rest of my house, cursing, leaping, squatting, swatting, clapping, and grunting. All of this is made more difficult as my legs are essentially dead to me and worthless because of lunges and squats. Stairs are torturous. Sligo, bemused, follows me, but seems unperturbed at the infestation. I give up counting at 70 mosquitoes. They’re everywhere, and I’m upset. I check all the windows and doors, but none are open. At last, I make a final sweep through the house and don’t see anymore. So I decide to make some breakfast and regroup after the battle.

But mosquitoes that must have been hiding become attracted to the heat of the stove burner where I’m scrambling my eggs, and I end up burning my breakfast as I run around like a loon, clapping my hands and banging into walls. So I go through the house one more time, squishing errant mosquitoes as I go. I notice a spider this time, and I yell at him that he’s a bastard for not catching any of these mosquitoes. Sligo thinks I’m yelling at her and runs under the bed.

But by now (hours later), my wits have awakened, and I realize there must be a way to stop them at the source. They’re not coming in from outside, so they must be breeding in the house. Ew. Mosquitoes breed in water, so I dutifully check all the toilets, drains, bowls, glasses, and houseplant pots. It rained heavily for about three weeks, so I go into the crawl space under the house to see if there are any puddles. I can’t see anything that looks like evidence of mosquitoes, but I’ll admit I’m not sure what that looks like. At any rate, I move all the houseplants outside, I wash all the dishes (including Sligo’s water bowl), and I get the tape.

So now, as I sit here writing, all of my drains, toilet bowls, and the door to the crawl space have been covered over with packaging tape. I’ve killed 2 mosquitoes that came up here into the office with me. I hear a constant screaming whine in my ears, but I think that’s just psychological. At any rate, I believe I’ve killed the majority of the mosquitoes that have hatched, and I’ve narrowed down the places they could be living. In a few minutes, I’ll finally go buy propane for the mosquito magnet somebody lent me.

Tonight, if the problem seems unabated, I will erect my tent inside the house and sleep in that. It will be much easier to patrol a two-person tent than an entire house, and anyway, then I can learn if Sligo is good at camping.

Welcome to summer in Alaska. I’m going outside where there are fewer bugs.

Bonus material:

  • There are 35 species of mosquitoes in Alaska. 
  • Alaskan mosquitoes do not carry diseases.
  • Caribou have thrown themselves off cliffs to avoid biting insects (though I can’t find a source for this, so it might be an urban legend).
  • One etymologist estimates that the number of migratory birds that nest in the tundra would drop by as much as 50% if mosquitoes were eradicated.

The Times, They Are A’Changin’

As my best friend would tell you, nostalgia is like kryptonite for me.  I get sad during events before they’re over because they’ll be over eventually.  It’s likely irrational, but it does make me particular sensitive to the changing of seasons.

I also track changes.  I find chronicling evolution and metamorphoses important.  I reason that it’s because I like to be aware of accomplishments or something.  I used to obsessively journal, which I guess has turned into blogging.

But something passed me by almost unnoticed.

Last night, I registered to run the Turkey Trot with my father and some family friends on Thanksgiving morning.  It’s just a 5k, but this choice is particularly significant for me personally.  I’ve never run a road race.  I started running and training to apply for JAG a year ago, but I haven’t raced yet.  To me, the Turkey Trot represents a culmination of all of my efforts and obstacles for the last 12 months.

In years gone by, I’ve been baffled by my friends’ desire to run at all, or even perambulate in an area that wasn’t between the dining room and the couch, on Thanksgiving.  I thought that was ridiculous.  After all, Thanksgiving might be about pilgrims to some, but to most of us, it’s a day of complete sloth, gluttony, and lethargy.  And I liked it that way.

Today, however, I find that I am the type of person who will take great enjoyment out of running a race with my father and some friends on Thanksgiving morning.  It seems like a fun family activity.  I might not be able to keep up with the family friends, all of whom are tremendous athletes, but I’m really looking forward to it anyway.  Old Kristin was completely shocked and seemed disapproving, but new Kristin is very excited about this change.  Also, it seems very positive to burn a few hundred calories before we eat ourselves into stupor.

A new Thanksgiving tradition has been born, all when I wasn’t looking.

What are your Thanksgiving traditions?

Happy New Year!

Ok, so it’s not the new year in any society of which I’m aware.  However, I tend to associate the new year with positive resolutions, goals, new lifestyle changes, etc.  So, today is the first day of my new year of blogging.

The blog I’m starting today will be about health and exercise science issues that pertain particularly to women.  Much of exercise science as we know it is the result of research on MEN alone.  Only recently have scientists begun to discover that women don’t benefit from the same types of nutrition or fitness techniques the same way.  Of course, eating healthy and gettin’ outside and being active are ALWAYS good habits for ALL people, but there are unique characteristics to the female body.

I’m not a doctor, but I am going to compile professional advice that was helpful to me and also post abstracts of articles on cutting edge health issues for women.  I have stockpiled some valuable topics already, such as the risk of stress fractures to women athletes, the use of protein powder to boost recovery, carbo-loading for ladies, the IT band bane of our existence, and the perfect sports bra.  I’m also going to run a Meatless Mondays section in honor of (1) general health and (2) my new vegan lifestyle.  I’ll include recipes and do my best to create menus that don’t include super-processed soy products and Boca burgers.  Sneak peek: lentils and tofu and beans, oh my!

After all, we girls have to stick together.