Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Small Town Gripes

Returning to the town where I grew up after my mother's death seemed like a good idea at the time. When she was in the hospital in September, 2008, I was all "it's so beautiful here, the air is clean and the people are friendly, why did I leave?" After being back for two years, I TOTALLY remember why I couldn't wait to leave.
I miss the energy and anonimity of big cities. I miss the fast pace of urban life. I miss the option of refusing to return to a store when I get crappy service. When there's only one place in town to get something, then you pretty much HAVE to go there, crappy service or not. The other options are to order over the internet (and pay for shipping,) or drive a hundred and sixty miles round trip to the next, slightly larger, town (and pay for gas) neither of which is a great choice.
Having lived here for over thirty years, my mother had quite a history. She was a visible, active member of the community, ran for city council a couple of times, never failed to make her opinions known. It can be a nice thing, being known for your family, but sometimes you can just feel the judgment when someone finds out who your parent was. It can leave a bitter aftertaste. And did I mention seeing her ex-lovers? That can be rather embarassing, especially when some of them really have NO idea what's in good taste.
I like running into people I know, even though I've become quite masterful at the sweet-but-swift brush-off, since otherwise a fifteen minute trip to the store becomes a forty-five minute "Oh I haven't seen you in so long!" conversation. Being surrounded by people who've known you for years is great, except when it's not, when it's petty and spiteful and grudge-holding.
Small town life can be amusing. There was a letter to the editor in one of the local papers this week about the illegalities of shooting and butchering a neighbor's goat that happened to get loose. It was funny, but it also struck me as being so provincial and vaguely ridiculous.
I liked having my choice of first-run movies to see in a variety of luxe theaters, even if we rarely went. Ditto with other entertainment and dining options. Here, there is ONE theater that hasn't been updated since the 70's, showing two or three movies per week. Last time I saw a film on the big screen, I was distracted by the ratcheting of the projector and how cold the building was.
Maybe I'm being petty or short-sighted, maybe I'm spoiled or impatient, but 99% of the people I went to school with now live elsewhere. Some of them didn't go too far, a couple of really good friends live in Anchorage. Anchorage is a city, a small city, but a city nevertheless.

Friday, July 29, 2011

No Free Bags

I guess this would not come as a surprise to those (wonderful, loyal) few who still read my almost-nonexistant blog, but I often find my mind wandering far afield. Like the old "paper vs. plastic" debate. Pretty mundane on the surface, but rather complicated once you delve deeper. Because you have to kill trees to make paper bags, and you have to drill oil to make plastic ones. At least trees are a renewable resource. And probably the best bet is to bring your own reuseable bags to the store with you, provided you don't wash them too often, which uses water and detergent and electricity. Which brings me to the thought that that's how it used to be, you brought your own containers to carry things home in, because there were no free bags. You brought the miller your wheat, he ground it, and you carried the flour home in your own sacks. So who started giving away free bags when you purchased something at their store? I think it's a pretty enterprising thing to do, people were maybe more likely to shop there, but then, how did it become standard? And these days, it seems we're coming full-circle, with a movement by stores to stop giving away bags. Hmmm...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I haven't been AT ALL. No journal, no blog, no memoir, pretty sad really. I have been tweeting, but only sporadically, and how much can you really accomplish in 140 characters or less? I keep promising myself I'll do better, but all that's proven is that I'm bad at keeping promises, even to myself. I have big ideas, but without follow through, ideas, big or small, mean nothing.
I've been watching too much T.V., letting myself get lost in other people's fantasies. It's easy, which is such a trap for me. I've been doing nothing creative, and very little that's healthy. I haven't worked out since leaving California, and Alaska makes it expensive to eat well.
I socialize more than I did in So Cal, there are so many people I know here and it's generally okay to drop in for a cup of coffee and a chat, but I'm not sure how productive it is. I feel the love and support, but there's no real impetus to change or be better. Also, it can be a huge time-suck.
I'm dealing with a beautiful but moody boy-cat who gets upset easily and likes to pee in inappropriate places, like MY BED. He's one of Mom's cats and I tried to adopt him out, unsuccessfully. He spent three months in the local shelter, which did not help at all.

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Year's Resolutions I Can Live With

  1. Drink more red wine.  Two (6 oz.) glasses a day is okay.
  2. Eat more healthy seafood.  I kind of forgot how yummy salmon is, and fish-oil capsules give you nasty burps.
  3. Ask for help when I need it.  There are lots of people who love and support me, but they're not mind readers.