Over the weekend I went to Fairbanks with my friend Linda B., who had a play in the annual 8 x 10 Festival. It’s a very cool concept: The Fairbanks Drama Association puts out a call for 10-minute plays and, after blind judging, selects the best eight to be performed as an evening of staged readings.

As usual, it was a great evening. Linda’s play, “Here There Be Dragons,” was a delightful mashup of satire, swords ’n’ sorcery, and Pokemon Go. The other seven shorts were pretty entertaining as well, especially one called “Smartphone” – imagine asking the GPS on your phone for directions to a date, only to have the device direct you somewhere else instead and try to get you back together with your former partner. (Not to give too much away, but the phone had a personal reason to rebel.)

We saw swans and moose on the way up and back, had pie at Rose’s Café (although, alas, the sauerkraut pie is no more), bumped into a former co-worker who’s now teaching school in Fairbanks, and ate the sourest sourdough pancakes I’d ever tasted. It all would have been a lovely weekend had that stupid virus not still been kicking my keister.

But that’s not what this story is about.


read more

A sick-day roundup.

Some people who visit Florida bring back postcards, or ashtrays made out of seashells. I brought a virus: sore throat, chest-tightening cough and general malaise. I’m achy and wheezy (two dwarfs whom Snow White never mentioned) and the switch in time zones messed with my sleep both there and back at home.

Worth it, though, because I got to see my father and stepmom plus my sister, brother great-nephew. I even met a reader named Cheryl, who lives in the area and met me and Dad at Dunkin Donuts for a stimulating discussion about money and life.

Finished the rough draft of the new Playbook For Tough Times while I was there, too. Now all I have to do is edit it, work with the formatter and the cover-design guy, write a press release and start in on promotion.

At that point my inability to take a deep breath will, with luck, be figurative rather than literal. However, if this crud is the same one everyone else has been talking about I could be stuck with it for weeks.


read more

As we neared my dad’s place yesterday I noticed a Dunkin Donuts. It’s been ages since I had a sugar-raised sinker from DD, which operated in Anchorage when I arrived back in 1984 but has long since decamped.

Then Cheryl, a reader from Tarpon Springs, left a comment suggesting a meet-up at a local Wendy’s. She didn’t just pull that locale out of thin air; when I visit my daughter* in Phoenix I always have reader events at Wendy’s.

But…doughnuts. And it’s within walking distance of where I’m staying.

Anyone else interested in coffee and crullers? Cheryl and I will make room for you at the table.

read more

On Saturday I hung out the first laundry of the year. We’ve been putting the bedclothes out  air all winter long in order to sleep in fresh air, but this was the first time in months that it’s been possible to dry stuff on the line. (It helped that I’d first tumbled those clothes in the dryer for a few minutes.)

Not that it was super-balmy, mind you. This was mid-30s weather, but a nice breeze blew and the sun was strong and constant. By midday the temperature in the greenhouse was in the 70s. Maybe I should have dried the clothes in there.

The next day DF put the comforter, blanket and top sheet out to gain the benefit of the sun and wind. He had to hang the linens lengthwise to keep them from dragging in the snow. Despite steady daytime melt, the drifts are still high near the clothesline because of DF’s use of the snowblower.

Two days after my second cataract surgery we got another dumping of snow, the first in several weeks. About nine inches fell at our place, plumping up what already lay on the ground. I don’t know how much has fallen this year and I don’t know how much of it was still there after sublimation and melt. But the back yard still looks fairly snowbound.


read more

Those who follow my daughter’s blog already know what happened recently: Her husband broke one heel and sprained the other quite badly.

Tim is feeling extra-crummy about the way-preventable incident (see “The whole story” for details) and Abby’s feeling overwhelmed by needing to take on Tim’s share of household responsibilities in addition to her own, and to her full-time job.

For those who aren’t familiar with my daughter’s situation, both she and her husband have chronic health issues. Some days she has more spoons than others.

After she e-mailed me about what had happened I wrote an “oh noes!” sort of note in return. As a P.S., I said “let me know if you want me to use one of my buddy passes and come do a little heavy lifting.” She wrote back something along the lines of, “Were you serious about that? How soon can you get here?”

And that, Phoenix-area readers, is why I’m heading south once more.


read more