Winter is here and JC it's cold. (about minus 18 Celsius during the day and colder at night)
Yes, friends, it will only get colder. Sigh. And darker. But, I'm getting prepared. This week I will purchase full spectrum light bulbs to combat the effects of the decreasing daylight. In short, each year around December and January, I want to stick my head in the oven until it's about medium-rare. That is to say, I get sad because, are you ready for this? I get SAD. I don't know about the name, but I do know that despite leading an active outdoor winter lifestyle, I call my father annually around those darkest months and tell him that either I'm moving back to Ontario or announce some other, equally rash, decision. Because Fairbanks is farther north than Whitehorse, it will be even darker here: just a few hours of real daylight at its darkest. I do have to say that Finland was very dark. We were above the Arctic Circle and had a month of polar nights (where the sun doesn't rise above the horizon.) That was tough to take and I again called my dad, who has been saying for years that my problem is the lack of sunlight. I must admit, on the day in Finland when the sun did peak up again, I was on a dog sled and came up over a ridge to feel the sun in face for the first time in a month and honestly, it was euphoric. Not to get too cheesy (too late) but it was a feeling of joy I won't soon forget.
Anyway, this year I'll be ready and will keep busy training the dogs and getting ready for the Quest 300 in February. (The Quest 300 is a 300-mile qualifying race for the longer, 1,000-mile Yukon Quest.)
I've bumped up my two teams of 10 dogs to 12 miles every two days. We're still running with the four-wheeler because there isn't enough snow to get the sleds out. The 12-mile trail is a really bumpy, winding route that has several road crossings and is therefore a little scary. But, looking on the bright side, when I'm nervous about a trail, I stay warmer because my heart's pumping like crazy.
So, I've been staying nice and cozy bouncing along behind my team.
I sent a portfolio package to the Associated Press yesterday in hopes of getting on as a stringer (regular contributor) for them. Fingers crossed. We're expecting my green card this week. (Toes and fingers crossed)
Had breakfast with the girls of OMD this morning. They're a group of musher friends who live up on Old Murphy Dome road (where I'm training the dogs). So we ate and gabbed and ate some more. They have some pretty hilarious mushing stories and some sound advice for a neophyte like me. I came home and worked on clearing brush from the trail that Sam put in yesterday. The sun went down, the full moon rose and the temperature plummeted. I was bundled up and had a fire going so it was nice being outside for a while.
I'm a little worried about Bull. Great lead dog, but since I've had him I've spoiled him rotten which includes a toasty warm spot on the couch inside the cabin. If he's outside for more than 10 minutes he tiptoes around like he's walking on hot coals. Each morning we go out to pee and he sprints back to the door and the couch. Sled dog. Pfffftt. Here are Bull and Strider chillin' on the couch with Hazel looking for something better to do. This was after Friday's run.
Raven and Strider have also taken quite a liking to the couch. I didn't feel so bad when I went to Julie's for breakfast and there were about half a dozen sled dogs in the house. Ruffles and Hazel will come in but just pace around until I let them back out again.
Side note: Sam's downstairs installing the last of the cabinets and, I'm not sure what yet, but something happened and, wow, I've never heard such a string of curse words.
Now he's muttering 'listen to your wife, listen to your wife.' I swear to God that's what he's saying. I told him it looked fine and to just leave it, but he's a perfectionist and had to fuss with it. Now it's cracked. Let this be a lesson to all you guys out there. Listen to your wife. In fact, go give her a big smooch and tell her you love her right now. I'll wait.
Done? Good. Well done.
I signed up for a handgun course later this month. I need to learn how to shoot my pistol before those ornery moose start charging dog teams around here. The guy who's teaching it lives on NRA Lane. He promised comprehension instruction and cookies. I'm actually just going for the cookies.
Speaking of cookies, Sam and I are going to a 'chocolate party' this month and I'm wondering what I should make. Any suggestions? I'd like to try something a little more elegant that fiddle-diddles or cupcakes, even though I LOVE both of those.
I love cooking and baking in the new digs. So much space.
Anyway, that's it for now. You stay classy, world.
I'd like to give a shout out to Sheila, Pat and Ruthie. Miss you girls.
The girls of OMD. Michelle, Gwen and Julie. The reason for the acronym is there was (is?) a show called The OC, which I've never actually seen but apparently was (is?) pretty popular. We were thinking of making an Alaskan spin-off called The OMD, but then realized we have no scandalous gossip that makes for good TV.