An unplanned break from blogging. The anxiety of not knowing where I'm going. Now that the holidays are officially over it lodges somewhere in my breast bone. I try to make a schedule of my days, feeling it somewhat empty, but needing to create some sort of structure nonetheless, needing to make sure I get applications in, and get out and exercise in the sun, and keep my sanity. So my schedule for the moment is this, up in the morning for running, currently mostly an indoor activity, then job applications until hunger for lunch over takes me, lunch and then out with the dogs on a hike or a ski or a snowshoe, out where the sun is. I've been dragging my mom with me often on these trips but also often go alone. Then in the afternoon I want to work on publishing my thesis. I haven't actually done that yet, mostly I do more job searches (I'm not keen on interacting with my erstwhile advisor who is sure to tell me what an idiot I am - and who thinks the work should age! Science is not like cheese or wine, generally it does not age well - and so must take myself firmly in hand and get this done). Then an evening walk with the dogs, I've ceded the morning walks to my father to whom they seem more important although I miss them dearly but it seems we both need our alone-time walks with the dogs as grounding moments in the day and you simply cannot tell one dog that it is going to be left behind while the other one goes out.
I've spent many of my evenings with long ago friends, many of whom I haven't seen in 15-17yrs. It's a bit of a shock but it's also grand fun, catching up with these people who I haven't seen in a decade or two although I have a hard time answering that question of what I'm doing now and where I live.
There are things that are hard for me to adjust to: the excessive use of cars as the two ends of the valley are quite interconnected though it takes an hour of driving to get from one end to the other. I miss my bicycle and find it strange when people are shocked if I take the bus, a system which has greatly improved since I last lived here. One of the things I find the strangest of all is that people here seem unable or unwilling to express a firm opinion on something, as if they are afraid to offend someone. I am not sure if this is usual to the rest of the lower 48, or a peculiarity of this particular region, any more as I have been in Alaska too long. Alaska does have it's unique culture and perhaps it is the lifestyle which allows people to express differing opinions and agree to disagree and then get on with it. Or maybe it's something else entirely.
My niece & nephew were up for the weekend, including Friday, and they absorbed all of the time I and their grandparents had to give while my sister & bother-in-law were off to their own devices, mostly skiing. They are perfect mimics of their parents and every now and then it is as if they are challenging their very spirits. I spend hours dragging them outside whether it is a walk with the dogs (and them being pulled on sled for most of the way) or careening down the driveway, or building snow forts. I simply cannot remain for the better part of a day inside when the sun pours in from the south and they are full of wild energy or when the snow comes down in such thick clumps it obscures our footprints before we return. I don't think they are used to all this outdoor time but I simply get itchy the longer the shadows grow and I am indoors.