Tuesday, May 24, 2016


When I was in college, my roommate and I lived at 1112½ Flint Street, in a dark little hole under a house that cost us $60/month in rent, and we didn't even have to pay for heat or electricity.  It wasn't the most appealing place to live, but we were in college so it seemed pretty normal. This evening, I was invited to dinner with the UAA coaches at Mack, Pati and Hanna's house, so of course I figured we'd be hanging out in a dark grimy cellar in the back of an alley someplace because that's just college life. So you can imagine my surprise when we were all hanging out on the back deck, overlooking the expansive fenced yard in the evening sunshine.

What a lovely evening I had with my friends!  Dinnertime on this team is always the best part of the day; a time to stop and just hang out together and tell stories and share each other's company. And tonight was the best of all. Mario has been mountaineering on Denali for the past few weeks, and just got off the mountain today. He lost a lot a weight up there, and had lots of fun stories about pull-up contests at 14,000 feet, staying inside his tent for days waiting out storms, and watching the Euros wander around all over the mountain, unroped. He'll fly back to Italy soon for a short visit before coming back to New York City where he'll be starting a new job in the upper east side of Manhattan. Pati will be staying in Alaska for three more weeks before loading up her silver car and driving south to the desert with her sister before starting her graduate degree next fall in Switzerland. Hanna is leaving town this weekend, headed toward Sweden where she'll teach kids how to be successful business owners and entrepreneurs like herself. Mack has plenty more college ahead of her, so she'll be taking classes this summer and a full load next year to finish in the spring.  That's good for us - maybe we can talk her into coming out and training with the ski team! Sara and Zach just got back from Mexico, and they start coaching a biathlon training camp early tomorrow morning.  And we're fortunate to have Andrew with us because it sounds like he almost didn't make it back from an epic mountain bike saga in the Kenai Mountains last weekend.

On the bike
Summer is in full swing, and I found out tonight how wonderful it can be to ride across Spenard in the late evening sunshine, carrying an orchid. The girls sent me home with a backpack full of thoughtful gifts and an orchid to carry.  When you're biking with an orchid, it's important not to ride too fast so the petals don't all blow off the flower in the wind. Going so much slower than normal, though, you get to notice so much more detail. You get to meet so many new people. Tonight, I finally chatted with a couple of people who live in a thicket of brush in a neighborhood near where I work. Closer to home, I got a wave and a little grief about my purple flower from a working girl who I see often on my way to and from work, though we rarely acknowledge each other when I'm riding normal speed on my bike and we're both thinking about getting to work and making money.

In my beloved Spenard, with an orchid from Mack, Pati and Hanna
And I stopped to read the poster on my street corner about Tweak, the lost cat.  It felt good to be home again in Spenard where even the pets are called "Tweak". If you see Tweak kicking around, please help him find his way home.

I like to live pretty fast.  I don't like to sit around too much. I don't always notice everything around me, and I don't always soak up the good vibes from my friends. Spending this evening with my UAA Ski Team friends, and biking home with the gifts that they gave to me felt very special.

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