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It’s Gotten Away From Me Again

It’s gone.

Irretrievably.

I’ll never get it back.

Time. Time has escaped me in its typical fashion. By the time I look up, expecting to find an extra five minutes at the end of the day, it’s gone, and I’m trying to keep my eyes open until nine p.m. Sometimes, it doesn’t work. I’m not exaggerating. My son still thinks that five a.m. is a good time to start the day.

But it’s more than parenting an early riser. It’s summer.

Summers in Alaska are busy. They are blink-and-you’ll-miss-it busy. People spend all day outdoors, trying to soak up as much of the never-ending sunlight as possible, intent on making the most of what is about a three-month season here in the Interior. You really don’t know what a “long day” is until you come to Fairbanks in the summer. Here, we pack in grocery shopping, a doctor/dentist appointment, three sporting events around a trip to the playground, and a BBQ/bonfire all in one weekend day.

How do we do it? You see, there’s this event Alaskans have been blessed with. By June 21st, the sun won’t really set. There’s something like 21 hours of official sunlight on that day, but it never gets dark. The sun merely dips below the horizon and we have a twilight-ish glow until the sun officially rises again.

The downside I find to Alaskan summers is–drumroll please–the lack of stars. What? Not what you were expecting? I miss them. I love looking at the stars, admiring their celestial glow and picking out the constellations. But it’s difficult, nearly impossible, to appreciate them in the winter here because of how cold it gets. Instead, stars are one of those things you appreciate from inside your warm home or car, that way you can look at them longer. There’s no sitting outside in Fairbanks and stargazing. By the time the weather warms up enough to do so comfortably, the stars don’t make an appearance until fall.

Image by Jeff Milner, Flickr.com

Image by Jeff Milner, Flickr.com

Don’t get me wrong, there are other downsides to Alaskan summers, too. Most everyone leaves the state to visit some friends or family Outside for a week or two, you’re trying to make the most of your summer as well, visiting your own friends or family Outside, or you’re outside playing sports, or driving your kids around for playdates and sporting events, there are BBQs and parties, graduations, summer jobs, etc., and before you know it, the blip that is summer in Alaska is gone. Irretrievably. Then the leaves have fallen, the nights are frosting over, and you’re seeing stars. Real stars. Turns out they never really left after all.

In some ways, that’s kind of how returning to Alaska feels to me. I’ve been back “home” in Alaska for almost ten months. In some ways, it’s felt like I’ve never left. I still run into my high school teachers at Fred Meyer, and high school acquaintances at Barnes & Noble. But there are days I miss our Outside home more than I care to dwell on or admit. At times I feel torn between Washington and Alaska, and although I’ve made new friends here, they do not replace the close kinships I had with my Washington friends.

Still, as my husband and I were discussing a return trip to Seattle the other day, I know that my Outside friends will be there–waiting, just like the stars, for me to look up and be able to see them again.

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Spring is Here

It’s officially spring in Fairbanks. The snow is (pretty much) gone, and the trees are finally budding. Soon they will not be barren at all, but bright yellow green and full of life.

      

There is a sense of renewal this time of year, almost like New Year’s. Everything starts over, and beginnings even smell fresh. 

 

This year is no different. Well, perhaps different from the past five springs, as I spent the last five springs in Washington State, and now return to my home state springs. In Washington, the world is almost always green. Although the trees lose their leaves in the fall, the ferns remain green, there is moss all over the trees, and the grass remains green. Winter never truly seems to arrive there.

Here, it’s vastly different. Since September, we’ve had lifeless trees and all winter they have been in alternate states of barrenness, snow-covered, or iced over. It is a relief to have warm days (60F or higher) and be able to go to the playground and peel off the jackets.

Been Awhile

Excuse me while I blow the dust off this little blog here.

Where have I been spending my time, you ask? Well, mostly on Instagram, if I’m on my technology at all. I’ve grown tired of most social media, tweeting only occasionally and largely ignoring Facebook except to see what my friends are up to. Yes, I’m a lurker there. So I’ve instead posted pictures of life on Instagram. Find me there, if you’re interested: @kelsieengen.

It’s funny. After the holiday season, i.e. Christmas, I always expect the new year to slow down and thing to settle down. Perhaps this year is just different because it’s my first year as a mother. But 2015 has been crazy busy and exhausting in all senses of the word.

The weather up here in Fairbanks has finally turned for the better. Nighttime temperatures still dip below freezing, but the past week has been mostly above freezing during the day.

It’s lovely weather to go walking outside in with the kiddo (who is now one year old–but not quite walking alone yet), and it’s inspiring to go running outside with summer races coming up and more sunlight every day.

Soon the roads will be clear of snow and it will only exist in parking lots of gravely heaps of melting ice. The longer days will give more time for the snow to melt, more time to be outside. And soon, all too soon, the first mosquito will appear. Most likely in my bedroom at about ten o’clock at night, keeping us awake.

Despite the warmer weather, it’s a mess outside. And it keeps me, to some extent, inside for awhile longer. I don’t like getting dirty–especially when I don’t have a chance to shower right away, and with a one-year-old, getting a shower unless he’s napping just isn’t happening. Right now, his nap schedule has not led to outdoor runs. So I’ve been using the Nike Training Center App on my iPhone to complete the “Get Lean” program.

I’ve used this app for a few years, off and on. The workouts are often updated, with new ones all the time, and they are intense. Right now, I’m using them to bridge the gap between the end of my half-marathon training and the 10K training I’ll start in a week or so. The end of February marked the end of my half-marathon training, and I managed to run 11 miles for my half-marathon, not quite meeting my goal. It was a treadmill run, and I completed that distance in a pretty decent time for me, but at about mile 10, my calves started cramping, and then the kid needed some attention, and it was just time to quit. I regret quitting, really, as I always do when I give up, or when I lack discipline in some area of my life (lately: overeating/snacking). It’s unfortunate to have run so far, only to give up with only two miles to go, however, recent weeks have revealed to me just how badly my knees are hurting me.

After the birth of my son, I was told I had developed Runner’s Knee. Ironic, since I hadn’t run in about eight months. But over the past year, since I started running seriously again, I expected it to get better. Instead, it’s gotten worse. Much worse, I’d have to say. Both knees now seem affected, and so I’m trying to get serious about the exercises that the doctor gave me to do. But the grating behind both knee caps every time I squat or lunge is really quite bad. And the exercises exacerbate them. It’s a Catch-22, and I feel silly complaining about it, but…there it is. My excuse for not helping myself out: laziness.

I’ve gotten into some bad habits lately too. (My, isn’t this turning into a confessional blog.) Such as binge-watching the entire serious of House. Good series. Finale a little bit of a letdown, really. But a fun series, nonetheless. Now, I’m watching Sherlock, and enjoying it quite a bit too.

Have you ever done that? Been really good for awhile, then realized that you started slipping somewhere along the lines? I’d been able to slip a lot since I had lost about ten more pounds than I ever planned on losing after my pregnancy due to a restrictive diet. Now I’ve gained all that back, and my pants are getting tight.

So now it’s really time to get serious. Knock off the bad habits and clean up my act. I’ve been committed to these NTC workouts, and soon my running will start up again, and I can focus on that. Perhaps the warmer weather will help me get motivated to watch my diet as well!

Too Much Fun, Too Little Time



I don’t ever get tired of the sunsets during the winter.



It’s been beautiful and warm here in Fairbanks lately. We’ve had both fresh snow and melting snow, evidence of cloven hooves visitors (moose), and icy roads that have canceled school and closed businesses (a rare occurrence here in Fairbanks, I assure you). 

We didn’t see these moose, but it must have been a mama and baby judging by the size of the prints.



The roads around our house were pure ice for a day or two this past week.



So finding time to blog should have been easy right? Well, not so much. 

The kid, who is quickly approaching his first birthday, decided that ear infections are all the rage, as well as never, ever sleeping through the night. It’s been great fun, both literally and sarcastically. The son enjoys playtime in the snow and all new experiences, but sleepless nights and fussy days are challenging. 



The son has decided that crawling arpund in and eating snow is great fun. I just have to keep him away from the parts the dog has visited!



Still, we’ve been having great fun in the warmer and longer days!

Why Fools Remain Fools: Plato, Symposium 204a

So true….

SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE

“Nor moreover do the unlearned love wisdom or desire to become wise, and this is is exactly why ignorance is such a bad thing: a man who is not noble, good, or sensible will be satisfied with himself as he is. When someone is unconscious of the fact that he lacks a particular thing, he naturally does not desire it.”

οὐδ᾽ αὖ οἱ ἀμαθεῖς φιλοσοφοῦσιν οὐδ᾽ ἐπιθυμοῦσι σοφοὶ γενέσθαι: αὐτὸ γὰρ τοῦτό ἐστι χαλεπὸν ἀμαθία, τὸ μὴ ὄντα καλὸν κἀγαθὸν μηδὲ φρόνιμον δοκεῖν αὑτῷ εἶναι ἱκανόν. οὔκουν ἐπιθυμεῖ ὁ μὴ οἰόμενος ἐνδεὴς εἶναι οὗ ἂν μὴ οἴηται ἐπιδεῖσθαι.

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