(The first part of this was written in the morning. I’ll denote where the second part, written after a rather full day, begins.)

I spent yesterday slowly unpacking the car–slowly enough that it’s on the agenda for today, too–and shopping for various things I needed, like a shower curtain and laundry detergent. (Showering in the morning was an adventure.) I also got a couple of things I wanted, like candles and a pottery mug–my giant one is too much commitment for some beverages, and it’s still somewhere in the car, anyway. :) Target has these candles with wooden wicks. I love them so much. They crackle as they burn.

Anyway, I think the birds are starting to settle in, too. Phoebe’s broken blood feather finally fell the whole way off. She looks a mess and seems a little woozy, but I think she’s healing. I’ve got some vitamin-fortified treats in there for her. Grace is continuing to heal. And Francis is experimenting with his new squawk. He used to be such a nice, quiet bird. They all spent the day being really needy and really screamy, with little breaks for walking around the apartment and finding things to try to chew on.

Part of my shopping was, as I mentioned, at Target. Very standard move-in stuff. But the better part was at the Anchorage Market & Festival. This is the last weekend for it, and I wanted to see it before it ends for the season. That’s where my mug came from. Also, some vegetables that are now in my fridge (including a very large zucchini), some birch syrup, and a salmon quesadilla for breakfast. (I’d been up for hours, playing with the birds and by turns carrying boxes and putting things away. Mostly playing with the birds. And I hadn’t eaten, before I left for the market. Which, by the way, I found from memory!) It was pretty fantastic; I’ll go back when they reopen, next year. I posted this pic to Twitter, and people were amused:texas
I still don’t have much furniture–a Murphy bed comes with the place, and I bought a barstool, so I can sit at my counter–but I’m making do. One of my Rubbermaid-type boxes is serving as a plant table. (The plants may pull through. It’s hard to tell. I should buy dirt and a pot today, for the Christmas cactus.) And I have a couple of pretty things on there, along with the plants, as well. The spices I brought with me–an odd assortment based on their ages more than on what I’d do with each one–are all set up by the stove. It’s nice.

My landlord–or, well, my agent for the property company, who won’t be for long, because she quit (it’s all very confusing)–was super nice. She let me borrow some sheets and a coffee maker and a towel, when I moved in. That saved me buying sheets for a different-sized bed than I’ll be buying in 4 months. And her friend lives on the same floor I do, and we’ve chatted a few times. I think we’re going to breakfast this morning! (Which reminds me. I should wrap this post up and get a shower. My clothes will be out of the dryer soon.)

Looking at my last post, I meant to tell you some other things. One is that the gas station right after you turn off of the Tok Cutoff onto the Richardson Highway (it looks like it used to be a Texaco, and the owner just put together some of the letters to spell “ECO”) is pretty nice. Their gas is the standard high price for gas along the Alaskan Highway System, and they have an outhouse (with electricity!) instead of a running-water restroom (also fairly normal), but the owner is a super sweet guy. We got to talking–in part because I asked him if I could get to Anchorage by dark–and he welcomed me to Alaska and gave me a print of some sled dogs (two of them, twins), drawn by a friend of his who is the Iditarod artist. So I’ll get a frame for that, because it’ll make me happy each time I look at it.

The Glenn Highway isn’t at all like the Alaskan Highway. I had gotten really used to the former–and the Tok Cutoff is enough like it that I sort of lump them in my mind–so I was feeling pretty confident, and then all of a sudden, there were these really tight curves, 30-40mph dealies. It was a little hair-raising, because of course nobody in the opposite direction was going that slow. And just as I was beginning to adjust to that, I got dumped onto the freeway into town. I was totally unprepared for driving in civilization, which was more or less what I needed to do (although there’s some argument about whether anyone else on that freeway was exactly prepared for civilized driving, either, that night). It was all very strange and disconcerting.

The final trip mileage was 4202.6. The last day of that was between 600 and 610; it looks like it never made it to my Twitter stream, and the phone is in my room. I’ll look it up.

(This part is new.)

Today, I went to breakfast at Middle Way Cafe with my neighbor (the friend of my landlady’s I mentioned above). Great brunch location, with tasty (and mostly pretty healthy) food, as well as fresh juices. Then we decided to try picking berries, though that sort of failed–there were a few left, but only after a pretty long walk up a pretty large hill, which we might have tried to do, only we had no cell coverage, and she was on call. Earlier in the season, next time! But we went to get dinner at Moose’s Tooth, where I got a 4-beer sampler. Everything was good, though I got distracted and forgot to pick up a growler. Tomorrow, perhaps!

Around the end of dinner, a local gamer I’d been in touch with over the Internet called, and we agreed to meet and talk about the game he’s starting, which I’ll be playing in. Call of Cthulhu. It’ll be on Saturday afternoons for the next few months (unless that’s when my reference shift falls)! It sounds like a good group of people. And he gave me a whole bunch of advice and tips about living in Alaska, everything from “go ahead and buy that bear bell” to what kind of reel is easiest for newbie fisherpeople to what kinds of people to expect to run into around Anchorage. It was pretty great. I feel like I owe him cookies. :)

The birds are a little less whiny, despite my not giving them as much attention today–because I was out. I think Phoebe’s recovering, and Grace definitely is. They both seem alert (well, as much as Phoebe ever is) and curious and generally more like themselves, though maybe a tad needier than normal. I may ask the vet if I can come in on Wednesday or Thursday, so they have more time to really get situated and de-stressed. As much as I want Phoebe’s wing looked at, I just don’t have the heart to put them in the car. It’s going to kill me to do that to them. And it’s going to make them trust me less.

Other errands: getting George’s mechanic appointment set up, since the 3000 mile mark is pretty far gone. Signing a lease and getting a parking spot officially assigned and calling the utility companies. Getting an Alaskan license and registration (though I may put that off for another week or two), as well as dealing with Geico. Getting a pot and dirt for the cactus. Grocery shopping–and man is it going to be a big trip. Finishing with the car unload, including getting the stuff down from the luggage rack. I’m not relishing that thought, short and uncoordinated as I am.

But I still have two full weeks before I start work. I should be able to get all of this stuff and a fair bit of exploring out of the way before then. (Also, I’d like to look at some Web development books. And maybe tune back in to what’s going on in the library world. The mental break has been great–and will continue to be great for at least another few days–but I’d like to be sharp when I start.) I’m pondering driving down to Seward and/or Homer, after the car’s had its checkup. I’d like to collect some glacier water, which I can do on the way, though I don’t have enough vessels to get enough of it for brewing. (I also don’t have enough bottles. Or other ingredients. But the water’s pretty time-dependent, I would guess, what with freezing and all.) Also, I plan to go to the zoo and maybe the Imaginarium. And the Ulu Factory. And I’ll have to pick up a tourism guide to see what else I need to check out. Dale said he wanted me to “have seen everything, so [I] just share the good stuff,” by the time he gets here.