Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ah, the warm spring days of April in Alaska!

This is one happy puppy! He adores the snow. He obliterates any snowman I try to make and he catches huge snowballs in the air. If it's too big, he smashes it with his paws.

Oh, yeah, snowman and snowballs. Yesterday's snowfall is wet enough to make these things. All winter the snow is so dry it just falls apart. Which is good if you're cleaning off your car. It's like your car has the worst case of dandruff.

So I was doing the happy dance at work when it was snowing all day and the locals are looking at me like I'm nuts. "It's the kind of snow you can play with!" I try to tell them. But I'm the only one who's happy about it.

Well, me and Bruno are happy about it. Yup, definitely my dog.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Book mania!

Wow, it's been longer since I last posted to this blog than I had thought. I've been working too much, as usual. And Logan's putting more hours in than I am, the poor schmuck.

It's been snowing like crazy here in Wasilla the last few weeks! All the locals are grumbling and complaining. It's not supposed to snow here in April, they mutter.

Every time I see snow flurrying about outside the store's sliding doors, I start cheering and dancing. The locals shake their heads and say, "It's because you've only lived here a few months. By the end of next year, you'll get over it."

I stop dancing long enough to tell them that it snowed in April where I came from, too, and it was still magical. This snow is even better because you can literally see the crystals! I wish my digital camera could catch what I see sprinkling my black jacket when I walk in the snow. I feel like my own fairy tale were coming true.

But it only lasts until I go back inside and get back to work. Sigh.

But Logan and I finally got a day and a half off together. We went to Anchorage for the half day. We hadn't been for a couple of months and my trepidation about meeting another mean panhandler that would beat me like she were my baby sister was wearing off. Besides, this time we had a plan and it didn't involve taking our car to the shop. (If you haven't heard about how that went, let me know and I'll tell you. It's kind of funny now, but it wasn't back then!)

We decided to check out the other mall in town, the one that has an ice rink in the center, and then hit the bookstores. We'd already been to the five story mall.

This one wasn't as tall, but it sure did sprawl. We found a map and it didn't have a "You are here" button on it, so it took us a while to figure out where we hadn't gone yet. This mall was different because it had an ice rink in the center and we watched a young girl learning to do some of the fancy stuff you see on the Olympics. I checked out their calendar and sure enough, no lessons for old people, just kids. Sigh. Don't they ever have any adults who want to learn new things?

Oh, right. Adults are worried about looking silly whilst they learn. That sucks the fun out of everything, man.

I wish Myndi, Tiffy, and Matthew were here. They'd be right there with me, ready to look as idiotic as we possibly could in someone else's skates and having a glorious time doing it. Oh, and Awwen, too.

When we finally hit Borders, I went a little nuts. I bought about five books there. Then we went to one of the smaller local chain bookstores called Title Wave Books. It was pretty big for a small chain (I think there are two of them in Anchorage) and it had used as well as new, kind of all mixed together. I bought about six books there.

I think I'm getting bored. You'd think I was laying in a supply for a long winter. But winter is over! (At least, the calendar says so.)

I got a wide range and I've finished two already. I read one called the Raw Food Detox Diet. It makes a lot of sense and I'm really tempted to try it. But there are things Logan refuses to give up and I can't say I blame him. Not to mention a raw food diet doesn't lend itself very well to survival oriented people who like to stash food away in case of an emergency. I wanted to email the author and ask about that, but her website states she no longer answers emails. I guess a survival diet would be very different from what a person could do now, especially living in an apartment like we do.

The second book I read was a story called Marley and Me; Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog. It was a really good book. Even though you knew the end would be sad, it's hard to put it down once you get going. Everyone who has had a dog can find some part of their dog in Marley's life. What sold me was a picture in the middle of Marley with the author's wife and he was chewing on her wrist. The caption said something to the effect of: Marley never met a watchband he didn't like.

I thought, "That's my Bruno!" and grabbed the book.

Now that I'm done with that one, I've got to decide what I'm going to read next. I'm thinking one of my writing books. I'm determined to read every single one of these books that I brought home. When I buy used books, I have a habit of buying them only because they're dirt cheap and end up not reading them. Not the case with these books.

When we drove home, it was snowing and starting to stick, so we had to go slowly. It drove me insane because Bruno was at home alone in his kennel and I wanted to get back to him so he would know we didn't forget about him.

But we were happier than we'd been for a while. We'd gone out and had fun. We spent time together.

And I didn't get punched by some homeless lady taking her frustrations out on me. That was definitely a reason to be happy.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The differences in DMVs

I'll bet you've never considered the differences between DMV offices in different states. It's not something one lies awake at night pondering. "I wonder if Alaska DMVs have brown counters or tan counters..."

But I must admit that I was surprised and delighted when I visited the Palmer DMV to get my Alaska Driver's License.

I've seen several DMVs in California. Here's my impression. Mellybean will appreciate this.

Everything is brown... F**king brown... Brown again...

Brown, tan, cream, beige, neutral, whatever you want to call it. No wonder people who work there are so bitchy. I'd go nuts spending eight hours a day, five days a week in a dry, airless, brown building where the customers get so bored they start off with an argument just to wake up again. And the workers reply in kind.

Here's the first thing I noticed at the Palmer DMV: Quilts.

Quilts hanging on all the walls behind the counters. The walls were pale green. The counter tops were pink and the walls under them were teal. Only the carpet was brown. (Considering how there's a lot of dirt and gravel and mud everywhere here, that was probably a good choice.)

The guy I got to talk to the first time was chewing gum. He yawned just as I got up to the counter. I thought, man, this place is lax!

I didn't see a single person having an issue with waiting. Or with any of the workers helping them. They actually looked like they enjoyed being there.

Imagine, enjoying something as mundane as a visit to the DMV!!!

Well, I flunked the test the first time. It was my first time using a computerized test, so I guess it's to be expected. But I passed the second time the next day.

That was another thing: For some reason, I remember having to wait a while between taking the written tests if you flunk. Is that still true? Here, I got to take it again the next day. I was still a bit miffed because I was doing this on my days off, but at least now I'm an official Alaskan Driver.

My picture actually turned out decently, too. That's the true miracle.