Thursday, July 17, 2003

Have We Been Busy!
Almost since we landed Friday night, we've been rushing from one place to another to visit friends and family. Today is our 4th wedding anniversary. Yesterday was my 39th birthday. We've fagged up and down from one end of the Anchorage Bowl to another, again and again.

This really has been a wonderful visit. The weather was "record hot" (by Anchorage standards) for the first five days we were here. The sun is pretty powerful up here. The thermometer might say it is only 78 degrees (nothing to a seasoned New Englander, especially if there is little humidity) but if you are out in the sun for a while, you will feel the effects. Yesterday and today, it has been cooler, with clouds. Usually there is a rainy season that starts just after July 4th. We were prepared for drizzly days, but have had nothing but clement weather during the day.

I love the long summer daylight hours. You can play 18 holes of golf after work most evenings in June and July. It never really gets dark at this time of year. From midnight until early morning, there is a sort of twilight. Of course, Alaskans pay for that in the winter, when the sun rises after 10:00 am, and sets a little after 3:00 pm (in Anchorage; there is less daylight in winter further north, and we won't even talk about Barrow).

We've hit all the restaraunts and shops we wanted to. You might say, "We came. We saw. We ate." Special kudos go to Sullivan's, in the Fifth Avenue Mall (a chain that specializes in great steaks), Mexico In Alaska, down on Old Seward Highway, Atlasta Deli (Anchorage's first and, for a while, only deli), Pizza Olympia, with its gyros fit for gourmands, New Sagaya's City Market for their chocolate croissants and rosemary rolls, and Alaska Sausage Company, for its reindeer sausage.

Non-restaraunts we like a great deal are Junior Towne, a store that specializes in clothes for children, The McMac Shoppe, an Irish/Scottish import store (both in the vicinity of Fireweed Lane), Title Wave, a huge used book store on Northern Lights Boulevard.

Since Mrs. F.'s family is almost all in the city, and we are neither of us interested in hunting, fishing, boating, jet-skiing, or mountain climbing, there is not much beyond Anchorage itself to pull us out of the city.

We spent Sunday afternoon at my brother-in-law's cabin near Big Lake (which is about 30 miles due north of the city, though it takes a long time to get there because fo the lack of a bridge or ferry across the Arm). But it is a well-travelled highway getting there. We took an even more well-beaten path to Eagle River to see friends on Saturday. So we have not done many of the things people associate trips to Alaska with. Haven't even seen a live moose (though the moose motif is employed in many tourist shops).

It has been hazy, so I haven't even caught a glimpse of Mount McKinley or Mount Susitna on this trip (McKinley, or Denali, to use the increasingly popular native name for it, is over 200 miles away, but can be easily seen in clear weather from the Knik Arm shore front). You can see the Chugach Range on the city's North and East from just about every point in the city.

Yesterday we spent a few hours over at my wife's godfather's house. Recall he is the one recovering from a sextuple bypass performed last month. He looks great, and is doing really well. He was delighted to be told by his doctor that he can drive again very shortly.

A number of people from my wife's old school are giving us a party this evening. Tomorrow morning we are off to Seattle, with a lot a regret over the shortness of our visit. We'll be in Seattle for a day and a half, and then back to Boston on Sunday.

And I see that things have changed yet again on the blogger's side of Blogger. I can't say that I cared much for the changes they made earlier. This seems a little more reasonable.

I have no idea what is going on in the news. One of the bad things about taking a vacation is how easily one falls behind, and how long it takes to catch up again. Maybe by the middle of next week I'll be caught up again.

Yesterday, of course, was the feast of Mount Carmel. We attended Mass at Holy Family Cathedral, which is built in the fashion of a Spanish mission, and is staffed by Dominicans. Sadly the congregation seems to have been trained to raise their hands in praying the Pater Noster. But that was the only thing we found off-putting. Many women, and not all older women, either, in chapel veils, something you never see in the Boston area.

Catch you all later.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Hi From Anchorage!
We had two uneventful flights up here, and have been busy visiting with friends and family since we touched down. The weather has been record-breakingly hot (for Anchorage). The temps have been in the 70s and 80s, with strong sunshine. But that is not bad compared to normal Boston weather at this time of year.

I'm limited to just 15 minutes on the public library computers (most of which I used going through our e-mail), and have no idea what is going on besides the weather. So I won't have much to say today. Tomorrow, I hope to have access for hours on end at my wife's godfather's house.

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