Sunday, April 17, 2011

Adele and Pizza

Yes I know, an odd combination but it makes sense in my little world. First of all, Adele. Wow. I'm not your typical fan-girl who gets crazy about every single brand new artist to come down the pike. Also, I realize with humility and a smackerel of shame that she's not really a brand new artist. Apparently whilst I was asleep under a proverbial boulder, Adele won two Grammys in 2009 (no big deal, am I right?)... uh, yeah. I only discovered her a couple of months ago and now I can't shut up about her. My favorites in no particular order:
  1. Make You Feel My Love ( a Bob Dylan cover)
  2. Rolling in the Deep
  3. Chasing Pavements
  4. Someone Like You
  5. Cold Shoulder
I honestly think that so far in my relatively short life, she has the best voice of any female vocalist I've heard. I appreciate her range, her control, and am enamored by the fact that she writes most of her own stuff. Her education in music only deepens her ability to create and gives her more tools to utilize though some of it I'm sure she was born with. Sigh. If I can convince one person who has not heard her yet, please go to YouTube and check her out. Here's the link to Make You Feel My Love... it was the first I'd heard of her and my infatuation started there.

Now for the pizza segment of this bulletin. I've had a pizza recipe that I have been using almost weekly for a solid year. Last week it failed me in a big way. It was a doughy, almost inedible mess. Too bready, not crisp on the outside, soggy in the middle. Words escape me to describe how truly awful it was. Perhaps you may have heard me bragging about it in the past: "I can go from nothing to pizza in 35 minutes." Well, it tasted like it took no time, I can tell you that much. Last week's episode pushed me over the edge and I was starting to abandon the idea of delicious homemade pizza, when led by fate and destiny into the environment of an Anchorage pizza place named comfortingly, Uncle Joe's Pizzeria, I realized the perfect crust is out there and it's up to me to find out how to make it. I've found some promising instructions on the interwebs, and have access to a covey of lovely friends who can actually cook, so my prospects are good. I am now investigating a pizza stone and I'm getting excited about pizza again. I will let you know when I have a finished product worth taking a picture of (and eating). I love pizza so much, I may plant some basil this year for the first time, any advice would be welcomed. I leave you with my favorite pizza-eating song: Mambo Italiano sung by Rosemary Clooney.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Write your name in the land

I was awake at 5 this morning, a little earlier than planned but what can you do. I lay in bed for a while trying to go back to sleep and thinking about spring. And then I thought about summer, and then I thought about cloudy days, then frost, and winter. Then I had an epiphany. I live in the freaking arctic. Well technically the Arctic Circle is around 125 miles north of here, but close enough. And then the thought: Why do we live here?

I'm glad I asked. I actually have a great answer for this after being here for 30 years. It's good to remember when confronted with the hassles of living in this climate. Here's a partial list of pros:

1. My husband. He lives here. That would seem obvious but I have a thing where I really like being where he is.
2. My family and friends. Including my daughter I currently have five relatives that live here with me and countless dear friends that are "Alaskan Family".
3. Appreciation. When you have the contrast that we do, -60 F* in the winter and up to 90 F* in the summer, you really appreciate things like green leaves on trees and grass on the ground and sun on your face and birds singing, etc. Summer is like a high for me. It's only three months long but who ever heard of a three-month long high.
4. Repeating traditions. I've only ever had one Christmas that wasn't white, and that was in California. It's really, really pretty. Just last night my daughter and I played in the giant icy puddle on our street, and she fell in and cried, just like every other kid growing up in Alaska does at this time of year. It's fun watching her experience the things I did when I was a kid.
5. The sky. I've been to a lot of different places, and the sky looks completely different here, and amazing. When I am not here I get lonely for the way it looks.

Yes I could see picking up roots and moving to a warmer place somewhere along the line, we like Costa Rica a lot... could you imagine eating locally grown mangos on a regular basis? But for now when things get tough, it's dark and cold, or wildfires have filled my valley with smoke, I just remember to write my name in the land. Remember Skylark, the sequel to Sarah Plain and Tall? "You don't have to love this land," said Maggie. "But if you don't love it, you won't survive. Jacob's right. You have to write your name in the land to live here."

You can't spend all your time daydreaming of other places. You must embrace it. And if necessary get out there with an actual stick and write your name in the actual land. When the snow melts, of course.