Last winter, I discovered a recipe for a veggie-rich lentil soup simmered in red wine with a dash of dijon. A few tweaks (like adding qinuoa to complete the protein) and I have a favorite hardy winter meal that keeps for ages and is a perfect lunch at work.

A few weeks ago, I realized that the swimming goggles I have never once used have been hiding in my yoga mat bag since we moved here two years ago.

Tonight, just as I made the first cut in the onion dicing part of lentil soup preparation, I put the two together. The swimming goggles now live on a hook over the counter. Johnson & Johnson can kiss my stock pot ... no more tears for me.



As much as we whine and complain about the cultural wasteland that is Fairbanks, the truth is that we hardly ever get out the map and go explore it. The reality is that we are simply more apt to buy a pizza and stay home with Netflix than shell out for tickets to a real performance or beer and a cover for good music around town. This weekend is a shining exception to our homebody ways. We'll see if the exception sticks, or proves the rule.

Last night we went to see Sarah Vowell read and answer questions about her writing and life (favorite place in her adopted hometown of NYC: a SoHo loft full of dirt.) Considering that Peter is currently unemployed and my hours this week barely added up to part time, we decided that a Vowell reading was too good to pass up, even at $27 a ticket. I don't regret it. My introduction to Vowell was in college, when I happened upon her Goth Makeover piece on This American Life. I've been a fan ever since, and the audio tapes of her books (read by the author, and so much better for it) kept us in stitches on the longer stretches of the Long Trip North in 2006.

The thing that I loved about her reading and subsequent Q&A time was the low-brow/ high-brow nature of what she does. She talks about going to some of the campiest American history based tourist traps, yet her jokes and nuance would be lost on anyone without a decent grasp of the whole of US history from Plymouth on. (I will pause here to admit that I missed a few. My grasp of US history has never been stellar, but I was relieved to follow most of it.) I resonate with her essay style, and her sardonic view of this country amidst an obvious love for it is refreshing.

Tonight we are going to see our neighbor Holly, who is starring in A Thousand Clowns, a second night out on the town in as many days. Last weekend, there was a Retro Ski-Wear themed wedding inside the Ice Museum at Chena Hot Springs (much warmer inside than out, this time of year.) In the mean time, I am tackling laundry and Peter is taking a fly-fishing class in anticipation of the ice melting out of the rivers sometime in the next three months. I hope. I am pretty much over winter at this point (since we still don't have sled dogs) but at least daytime temperatures are hovering around freezing even if the snow will be around for awhile. The real test: Nyssa was out on the porch chewing a bone for an hour this afternoon with narry a whimper at the door. Spring is just around the corner, and we are emerging from social hibernation alongside the equally cranky bears.



Hey there baby.

I think you're pretty neat.

And I'm ready to celebrate!

Cause the last two years have been a wild ride ...

And as long as I'm with you, I'm ready for whatever life can dish out.

I love you.

Happy Anniversary.


Last night was a fire station night. In order to run with the ambulance crew as an EMT, I am required to pull five shifts and two trainings a month. I try to pull my shifts on weeknights, even though this may leave me a little out of it at the kennel. On weekends, there are plenty of folks hanging around waiting for calls which means my chance of getting good hands-on experience in is greatly reduced. I realized this morning that I am getting better at sleeping in the station, although the total lack of calls helped with the good shut-eye. My first few shifts, I was so nervous I would sleep through a call, that I woke up every half hour all night. This left me in rough shape for work, although I doubt the dogs noticed.

Our district averages one medical call a day, so the fact that I slept like a baby all night was not unusual. Usually, I arrive at six and curl up on a couch with a book until I fall asleep or the tones go off and never see a soul besides my shift captain and an occasional extra medic. Last night, the station was hopping. Folks were dropping in, hanging out, and a number were pulling a rare weekday night shift. Someone dropped in for a shower, someone else for some wind-down TV and conversation after 12 hours of Taxi-driving. Another officer was in the bay for awhile using the mini-gym. Another medic was being checked off for his EMT-II skills, so I lent my arm for an IV poke. I tagged along to the rig as he was quizzed on nitrous oxide and IO procedures. Soon, four of us were packed in the back of the ambulance checking expiration dates and trading good run stories. An off duty BC dropped by and stuck his head through the door to see if there was ice-cream in any of the freezers (negative,) then climbed in to join us. It was hard to tear myself away to the bunk room to try and get some sleep.

Perks at the station go beyond the available hot showers (no waiting in line and shelling four fifty over at the laundromat for tepid water anymore!) cable and quality folk. Once a month, we get to take something like this ...

or this ...

and turn it into this.

I'm hard pressed to think of a better way to spend an a week-day evening than with the Jaws of Life.



Six months later. The light is perfectly balanced between dusk and dawn, picking up speed in its ineluctable swing to the ever-day summers of the north. Another eternal winter is in retreat.

Three years ago, I named the blog Entelechy. I could not know that the time from then to now would bring such an assault of upending change after change after change. From Alaska to Utah, then Texas and Pennsylvania in quick succession. I jumped from four-square and dodge ball with FAS kids in coastal Alaska to backpacking with young adults in intensive wilderness therapy in desert canyons to nannying in a suburban home on the concrete-and-asphalt wilderness that is the eastern states, all in a manner of months. Then engagement, a wedding, starting graduate school and a month long trip back to Alaska. Already sprinting away from the Evangelical milieu as fast as I could, I dove briefly into Eastern Orthodoxy before moving into the vast, trackless expanse of an agnosticism. I have wanted to write more of the turmoil and of the hilarity such relentless change brings, of other things that have passed through these two years. Especially this last year, these last six months.

But silence has won out, and I have needed it. This equinox, I should not be so startled to find myself tumbling down yet another path. There is less ambivalence now, but still no sure steps. Gravity takes over, and you close your eyes and fall, sometimes. You hope the landing isn't too rough.

I am no longer in graduate school. I spend my days shoveling dog and horse shit part-time at a ranch and kennel outside of town. I drive tours on the ice-road that is the winter Dalton for Japanese seeking the elusive aurora. On a handful of days, I sleep at the rural fire station that serves our area, stumbling through my first calls as an EMT. If I am lucky, I am called on to help a friend run her seventeen sled dogs over the trails around our cabins. These things make me happy in a way that I had almost forgotten about on the stiff-shod, paper-strewn trail towards a certification to teach in public schools. I have not looked back once without a rush of relief.

When I started nannying my nephews, I was a strong believer in the strength of the nurturing side of the development equation. Watching three-month-old fraternal twins elbow their identically nurtured little selves into vastly different little boys blew my presumptions out of the water.

I'm still not sure how to grab a hold of that inborn thing that so shapes how we make it through the world, but I am getting an idea of what a powerful and inevitable force it is. If entelechy plays into how I stumble across these first years of independence, of marriage, of work and play and rest, I still have precious little idea of how it is pushing and shaping these things. But the journey is getting pretty interesting.