Sunday, February 24, 2013

Fur Rondy

Last week one of my customers at the cafe told me that this weekend was Anchorage's Fur Rendezvous festival.  I looked into it and it sounded great!  Apparently Fur Rondy, as it's called, has been around for a very long time and originated as a time for fur traders to get together and sell their wares.  These days it still has a fur element (many people wearing and selling fur) but seems to be more of a winter festival.   I had a thoroughly enjoyable time!

Nathan, Dan and I started the day off by breakfast at City Diner.  I've been looking at that building every time I drive by, so it was fun to finally eat there.  It was a cute, fifties-style diner, and we all ordered pancakes.

Coffee. Need. Coffee.

After breakfast we went downtown to catch the dogsled race.  I was surprised to see that most of the dogs weren't big huskies or malamutes, but little mutt dogs instead.  I was later told that the big dogs are for long races where they need endurance but the little dogs are better for short, sprint races.  It was fun to watch, but my feet got so cold standing in the snow.  

There were a lot of people selling food up and down the streets.

Run, doggies, run!

Trying to stay warm.

After the race we wandered down to the Railroad Station where they were having a miniature train show.  They had a bunch of different environments (if that's even what they're called) but my favorite one was the miniature Hogwarts. 

Afterwards we wandered through the carnival and stopped to watch some of the fur auction.  Of course, the fur auction is how Fur Rondy got started in the first place.  While I'm not particularly interested in fur (although it does look super warm and fuzzy), it was still fun to watch the proceedings and the people in the crowd.

Can I get three hundred for the artic foxes?

Many people were really into the Fur Rondy spirit.

We were a little cold at that point so we stopped in Sidestreet Espresso for a hot drink.  I really like Sidestreet.  It's very quirky and eclectic, and has apparently been around for twenty years.  The owner creates intense whiteboard special boards for their drink of the week.  He draws authors or literary figures or adventurers or musicians and has a quote included on the board.  They're awesome!  

We walked around downtown some more, looking in different shops.  I stopped in the art fair to look around.  I found the original customer who had told me about the festival at a booth selling some of his handiwork.  After walking around for awhile, we were getting hungry so we stopped in a little hole-in-the-wall that sells pelmenis, Russian dumplings.  The owner was very friendly and chatted with us while he cooked us up some dumplings.  

I had the potato and Nathan and Dan had the beef.

SOOOO good.  Perfect cold-weather food.

After filling up on delicious dumplings, we headed over to the the snow sculpting contest.  There were so many fun sculptures and it seemed like everyone was having a great time!

Near the snow sculpting area, they were having a snowboard/ski competition, so we went over to watch.  It was the first such competition I'd been to, and it was fun!  The one downside was that the competitors kept wiping out.  I'm no expert in the least, but it seemed as if something wasn't set up right.  Maybe the original ramp wasn't high enough or the angle of the slope was wrong or something, but it seemed like most of the skiers/snowboarders were having trouble.  Still, a couple of them managed some cool flips and stuff.  It was a good ending activity.


The ramp.

In the air!

By that time we were tired and ready to go home.  As we walked back to the car, it started snowing, a lovely, soft snow.  Beautiful.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sunday Drive

I've really been enjoying myself here, although I'm not doing tons of crazy things.  I'm just enjoying being here in a new place.  I love the cold weather!   In Arkansas right before I moved, it was in the seventies!  In November!  So terrible.  I think cold weather feels so fresh and invigorating, and it's nice to wear coats and scarves.  The one thing I don't like is about it is that it's harder to wear jewelry.  I'll start to put on a bracelet but then think, "What's the point? My coat will cover it up anyway."  Also shoes.  I have a lot of shoes I like, but they're all summer shoes.  Fun, but definitely not snow friendly.  I do have one pair of boots that I wear all the time.  

Now that I'm more settled, I'll try to post more.  I have a lot of ideas of things I'd like to post about (especially sketchy food places) but I keep forgetting my camera!  I'll have to remember to carry it around.  Well, here are some pictures that will show you a bit of the area around Anchorage.

One Sunday afternoon, Nathan and I decided to go for a drive.  It was a beautiful afternoon.  We went down the highway by the frozen bay.

See the sun setting?  It was only threeish!  Although the days are longer now, when we first arrived the sun would start coming up at nine thirty to ten and start setting around three.  It would be totally dark by four!  

The water looked so cool with all the floating ice.  The current was making the ice chunks swirl around each other and it was actually moving really quickly!  

Of course, we stopped at a little coffe place to get some espresso!  Man, there are SO many espresso places around here.  There are coffee huts everywhere.  I guess that's what happens when it's cold and you only have five or six hours of sunlight in mid-winter.  This little shop was so quirky and interesting.  See the fluffy dogs on the porch?  I also bought some fun cards to send my penpal.

The light was fading, but I was still able to get one of the ski mountain.  So twinkly!

Hope you enjoy these, and look forward to more frigid fun!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Making Christmas

Of course this is WAY late, but I thought I'd give a little update about my holidays in Alaska.  First though, an update.  I have found two part-time jobs!  I work three days a week at a small cafe.  The owner is great, and I really enjoy it.  I also am working at a Target Starbucks (yes...).  I'm very grateful to be gainfully employed!  It's also nice that both places are relatively close to where I live.  I bought a car, but it's not quite in running shape yet, so until them I'm walking.  Yeah for forced exercise.

Anyway, the holidays were pretty uneventful, but not bad.  Nathan and I skyped with Mom, Dad, and Amelia on our Christmas Eve, so that was nice.  We opened our presents from Mom and Dad, and Dad opened the present from me, but our other packages hadn't arrived yet!  It got there, eventually.

I had all these plans to decorate and stuff, but I lost my motivation.  We still weren't unpacked and had stuff everywhere.  Besides, I wasn't feeling up to buying a bunch of stuff that I probably wouldn't use again.  SO, I had to settle with my favorite little Santa.  We didn't have a tree, so I figured he'd do, since he's kind of tree-shaped.  

He was kind of small for a tree, but since our presents were small too, it worked out perfectly! 

Nathan gave me a coat!  Isn't it cute?  We went to REI a few days later so I could pick up my present. 

There's nothing like a good Christmas dinner!  For us it consisted of porkchops (which I don't often cook), potato salad (my favorite), cranberry sauce (my second favorite) and garlic spinach.  It was pretty yummy, if I do say so myself.

In the afternoon we decided to go see a movie.  Funnily enough, a few weeks before I was incredulous that Les Miserables was coming out on Christmas Day.  I think my words were somewhere along the lines of "what loser would go to a movie on Christmas day."  [side note: I was half joking and not trying to offend anyone].  But then on Christmas, it was just me and Nathan and no other family to hang out with, so what did we do?  Yup, went to a movie.  

The first theater we went to was sold out, so we went to another one.  That had a later show available, so we bought tickets and went for a drive while we waited.  It's like driving around in Narnia.

All in all, it was a quiet but nice Christmas.