Sunday, June 29, 2008

Life in Alaska

Sometimes people want to know what life is like in Alaska. I thought I would post some interesting things when they come up...

1. Three of the waitstaff at Chili's seemed to be native least that was their first language. There are a lot of people of Russian descent here, which is very interesting to me!

2. The Wonder Sweetie and I went to an extremely nice jewelry store for our anniversary present, and heard the very mild mannered manager fellow and a saleslady discussing with a customer what caliber of bullet is best for bear attacks. Yes, that is actually something to consider. We had a griz sow and two cubs a couple of doors down from us several years ago.

3. Fireworks (even the really good ones!) are legal in Alaska, at least in most places. However, there is ENTIRELY too much light to enjoy them much this time of year. I think we are just going to get the ones that release little paper parachutes for the kids to catch, and save the really great fireworks for the New Years (the other time they are allowed to sell fireworks).

4. How light is it this time of year? Well at the darkest point of night, it is just like an overcast daytime where you live--it has been impossible to see stars for at least a month or two. We are losing a great deal of light every day, though we will not notice it for several weeks yet. At this time of year the sun rises at 3 something am and sets the following morning after midnight (that cracks me up that the sun does not SET until the following day!). The picture above is at 2:30 am during a would be lighter if it was not raining so hard! It is hard to tell, but it is light enough to read. If i can get a better picture, I will.)

5. We do not have a lottery, we have the Nenana Ice Classic, where you bet when the Tanana river ice will break up.

This is the first installment of "Life in Alaska". If you have any questions, please let me know! I love talking about Alaska.

Victorian Tea

Hello everyone!

What a blessed day this turned out to be! Precious and I went to a Victorian Tea in the botanical gardens here. It was a blessing from the Lord. It showed me how He really works everything out, how He puts things in our path, and how He helps us.

Let me begin at the beginning...
Last week the Wonder Sweetie needed some things from town. After shopping we quickly pulled into the local nursery for some fertilizer for our tomatoes. I stayed in the car, deep in thought and struggle with the Lord about something I cannot remember now (funny how that happens!). WS came out with an advertisement for this tea--he thought I might be interested.

To be honest, I was but I thought it would be too expensive for tickets for me and Precious and for the costumes (which were not necessary but encouraged). Wonder Sweetie insisted, so I bought the tickets and spent the past week scrambling for supplies for our costumes. Thank the Lord I had most of a Victorian outfit for myself, but Precious did not have anything. I looked for a pattern and found none, so it was pretty much whatever I could manage. The fact that there was no pattern was a blessing--the dress turned out so much better than it would have with a pattern (the Lord just let everything work perfectly!)! I spent most of the week sewing and decorating hats--I love that the Victorian era is very fond of "stuff on things", like birds on a hat or ribbons on a skirt, etc.

Parenthetically, I also spent an inordinate amount of time chasing off the cat who figured that there is also no place in the house so comfy as the skirt on the floor that I am on my hands and knees trying to carefully pin. Oh and I discovered he stole a satin rose for my costume, which I had to hunt down. Our best moment, though, was when he thought that under Precious's skirt (while she was wearing it) was the PERFECT place to hide and conduct surprise kitty attacks on me. I finally had to get the squirt gun. Precious did not even complain when I lifted the hem of her skirt to fire salvo after salvo of water at the cat who rolling in the tulle around her ankles!

The show itself was superb. Everyone was so very nice! There were many people in costume. They had tents set up around the gardens where you could find something to eat, tea to drink, crafts to do, or craftsmen to talk to. They had a quintet in the upper part of the garden and a dulcimer player in the lower part. Yesterday Precious and I watched Greer Garson in Pride and Prejudice just to get in the mood, and the tea today was very much like the scene of the picnic at the Bingley's.

I wish I could set up a place where people could just come, talk quietly, homeschool in the shade, putter in the flowers, have spontaneous instrument playing, bring their art supplies and paint the Lord's bounty, gather together to do some charity work....all in the fresh air and pretty surroundings (Victorian Dress optional!).

I cannot count how many people asked if they could take a picture of Precious and me, though my favorite request came at the end of the tea. I was taking down the number in my Treo of a fellow who is part of a dance group, and a teenager came up chuckling and said "Can I take a picture of you in your Victorian dress, typing on your Blackberry?". I loved the irony in that picture!

The day was wonderful for Precious. She has been having some struggles lately, and it was a wonderful chance to get out, be pretty and delicate, feel the sun and the breeze, take pictures, and be surrounded by beauty and grace in everyone and everything around her. She is usually pretty reserved (her best compliment is usually a mildly surprised "That's not bad"), but has thanked us profusely for the experience. I direct the thanks and praise to God who arranged an incidental, spur of the moment, "let me just run in and grab something" stop at a store into one of the best days we have had in a long, long while. I realize more and more that He WILL arrange things, will put things in our path. Also, though His chastisement is painful at times, His bounty for each of us individually is overwhelming. He has specific bounty for each of us, specific kindnesses that come at just the right time. He is altogether wonderful.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008