th6 Junk food: Sometimes it just tastes good.It’s National Junk Food Day, apparently. And me without a single Moon Pie in the house.

In fact, I’ve eaten quite well today. Breakfast was oatmeal made with half yogurt whey and half water and flaxseed, plus half of the last banana in the bunch (shared with DF, because I’m kind like that).

For lunch I had rice topped with roasted vegetables – carrots, broccoli, Walla Walla onions and home-grown turnip, plus a dish of homemade yogurt mixed with a spoon of homemade orange marmalade and more of that flaxseed.

If only I’d known about the holiday. I might have gone to McDonald’s for breakfast and Burger King for lunch. Nothing says “bad for you” like a single meal that holds all calories needed for the entire day (with way too many in the form of grease).

On the other hand, I did eat white rice instead of brown. So am I junking out sufficient to the day?

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th3 Vortex, shmortex: Just stay cool.The other day I wished I could send some of our weather (52 degrees and raining) to the parched areas of the country, especially to farming regions. Turns out that the Gulf of Alaska was thinking along the same lines.

The Midwest and, eventually, the East Coast will be feeling the effects of “a poor man’s polar vortex” in the week to come. That’s what Washington Post weather editor Jason Samenow calls the “deep pool of cool air” that will dip down into the Great Lakes region in a day or so.

You’re welcome.

Before and after, though, U.S. residents worry about the cost of keeping cool. Nearly two-thirds of the 2,035 people surveyed by HomeServe USA are concerned about the hit that air conditioning will have on their budgets. Yet 55 percent will suck it up and pay whatever it takes to chill out.

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th8 The marvel of an Alaska summer.I am growing popcorn. Really. Last spring a company called Boom Chicka Pop offered free popcorn seeds. Knowing full well that you need either a greenhouse or floating row cover to grow corn successfully in Anchorage, I nevertheless requested seeds because hope springs eternal in the spring.

Ten corn plants are now flourishing in the heat sink that is the south side of our cream-colored home. In about a month’s time they’ve gone from sere seeds to six-inch green stems with multiple leaves, even though that month was marked by near-record amounts of rain and some very cool overnight temperatures.

Will they have sufficient heat and time even to set ears, let alone ripen them? Probably not. But I’m getting such a kick out of watching them grow that I don’t much care.

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th4 150x150 The green sneaks up on you.I spent part of Mother’s Day running errands, including stopping by a charity yard sale, going to the credit union, doing a little Dumpster wading and buying a few groceries. Mostly it was an excuse to be out and about on yet another perfect day.

We’ve had a run of them lately: sunny, sunny, sunny days with temps reaching as high as 70. In southcentral Alaska in May, that’s petty darned warm. In fact, it set a record, and I’ve got the sunburn to prove it.

So does my great-nephew:


10314683 10202879533042539 239112961186704540 n 300x224 The green sneaks up on you.

(His mother really does feed him, and you should see how he chows down at Café Awesome. He’s just a beanpole.)

Yes, I know the rest of the world considers that mild. I lived on the East Coast and in the Midwest myself. Just be happy for us that we’re getting marvelous weather.

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th8 300x300 11 signs of spring in Alaska.The first shot in the dandelion wars has been fired: Over the weekend I pulled up a fledgling and chopped its leaves into my pot full of garbage soup. Take that, Taraxacum officinale!

Not really a war. In fact, I think dandelion blooms are cheerful and last year DF made homemade soda from them. It wound up fermenting and tasted more like a hard cider than a soft drink.

(Acted like one, too, which made DF pretty cheerful as well.)

Even if I hadn’t seen the dandelion greens I would know that it’s spring. Real spring, not calendar spring (March 20, my boot-clad foot), although some refer to it as “breakup.”

How do I know? Let me count the ways.

1. Vanishing snow piles. On today’s walk I had to pick my way past the remains of a  pile that had been plowed into an alley, and patches of snow still linger in shady spots. Mostly it’s a thing of the past, although some pretty impressive mountains of the stuff persist in the city’s various snow dumps.

2. Nighttime temps at freezing or better. The other day it was 23 when we got up, but generally the overnight temperatures hover in the low 30s.

3. Daytime temps in the 40s. When you’re in the sun that feels great. In the shade, or when a north-facing breeze smacks you, still a little chilly. But you couldn’t prove it by…

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