Dale and I had a very good, very hectic 2012. This post is just part of the picture—mostly the stuff I thought would be most interesting to family and people curious about Alaska—but if you want to see the rest of what I’ve been up to, mostly professional stuff, I posted about it at my librarian blog.

Although I hate to start the post on a sad note, 2012 marked the passing of my grandfather. He was a good person, and I am sad for his loss. Something so sad does not fit in well with the rest of the year, but it deserves mention.

The shed, early in the destruction phase

The shed, early in the destruction phase

We spent a lot of 2012 settling into our home, some of it dealing with contractor stuff, some of it demolishing an old, moldy shed on our property and putting up one of those Rubbermaid sheds to replace it. We owe several of our friends dearly for their help in the shed demolition. We (mostly Dale, and, again, helpful friends) also replaced a toilet, and we dealt with a couple of leaks (both of the roof and of the downstairs bathroom sink). We have a cozy living room, the birds live in the dining room, the kitchen has mostly come together, and the basement is good for parties. The craft/project room and exercise room are still in need of some work, but have come along nicely. I spent part of my week off moving my bedroom around, which made enough space that I could put in a dwarf lemon tree! It is supposed to start flowering pretty soon, and I’m very excited. The chinchilla lives in Dale’s room, which makes her very happy, and now Dale has acquired the necessary pieces to put together a workstation in there, as well (I offered to make the craft/project room more hospitable, but he says it’s too cold to work there). Soon he’ll be able to work on more computer projects in his spare time!

Lots of snow

Lots of snow

Since the 2011-2012 winter broke the record for the most snowfall since they’ve been measuring in Anchorage, dealing with the snow took up a lot of our time in early 2012, as well.

This winter has been far less snowy, so far.

Another change on the homefront was our acquisition of a second vehicle. Since Dale’s job moved—same job, different location—sharing a vehicle wasn’t going to work well for us anymore. A coworker who was leaving town gave me a fantastic deal on a Honda CRV. It’s over 10 years old and has had a couple of issues since we got it (including being rear-ended earlier this winter), but overall I think it was a good purchase. I drive the Honda, and Dale drives the Subaru.

In Alaska-relevant news, we saw two big-name acts that came into town, last year: Eddie Izzard and Flogging Molly. (Barenaked Ladies and Cake were here the year before. And Dan Savage comes up most years, too.) So we’re not as far behind as all that.

We also saw our first really good Aurora Borealis (northern lights) display. It was awesome—in the original sense of the word.

And, in a feat of sheer luck, we managed to win the Denali Road Lottery, so we got to drive into Denali National Park. It took place the same week as the Sheldons and Brungards were up here visiting, so they got to join us. Luckiest tourists ever. (Or least lucky, if you’re a pessimist—it’s a hard trip for six adults and a baby.) The Mountain even came out for us while we were in the park! And we saw a mother and baby grizzly bear and several other animals. It was very cool. And, besides Denali, the Sheldons and Brungards got to see a lot of Anchorage and seemed to enjoy their trip. We’re getting two more Sheldons in May. :)

It’s a small thing, but I got called for jury duty for the first time in my life. I was excused from serving, because the defense (I presume) decided I was too close to the case to judge fairly, but it was still an interesting peek into our justice system.

Another small thing: 2012 was the year when I learned to crochet. I’m working on a blanket. I think crochet suits me better than knitting, for whatever reason. Fewer moving parts, maybe.

And that just leaves health stuff, I guess. I won’t go into detail on everything that happened, but on the bright side I started immunotherapy for my allergies, which I’m hoping will allow me to visit friends with pets and live happily through birch season in May. On the less bright side, I learned that I’ve been slowly poisoning myself with what I’ve been eating. In addition to being allergic to some tree nuts (definitely almonds and hazelnuts, but others are unknowns), kiwi, watermelon, and apparently milk thistle, I’m sensitive to wheat and other gluten-containing grains, duck and chicken eggs, and milk and dairy products from cows. (It isn’t the lactose, either; I’m sensitive to both whey and casein.) I’ve had to completely relearn how to cook, which is an ongoing project. Dale has put up with it remarkably well. And, to be fair, I cheat with dairy a lot. Way more than I should. Which might be why I’m still having weird pain issues; I’m planning to eat clean for a while and see if those die down.

I’m currently caffeine free—not to the point where I won’t drink green or white tea or eat chocolate, but to the point where I won’t drink caffeinated coffee. I feel a lot better when I’m not drinking caffeine every day, so I will probably stick with that.

Our 2013 plans include getting a door to separate the not-really-insulated arctic entry from the living areas of the house, a new back door, some insulation in our crawlspace, and other house stuff; biking in Tour de Cure again; getting visitors; going to Hawaii; and hiking up Flat Top, which we still haven’t done. And probably some other stuff I’ve forgotten. :)

2012 was good, and here’s hoping that 2013 is even better!