"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Monday, March 14, 2011

Half Full, Half Empty

I suppose if you search long enough, you could find a bit of good in anything, no matter how dire the situation.

As I recently told a friend who was having a bad day, “all of life is a writing prompt.”   Take my frozen septic system, for instance.  Following my own advice, I’ve been having fun writing about that chunk of ice that effectively blocks the effluents from flowing to their intended destination.

All is half-well now, because the line to the tank is thawed and I can use the indoor facilities, as long as I keep the tank pumped down so the liquids don’t back-flow into the underground line and freeze again. 

And they will if they have a chance, because a very stubborn high pressure system has been homesteading over Alaska since forever.  That is causing temperatures at and below zero each night. 

Yesterday when I looked at the thermometer, it was two below zero.  Ditto today.  “I’m getting tired of this,” I said.  Now that we have several hours of direct sunlight, I want temps in the thirties and forties.  Or higher.

Today, I think zero is just fine.  Why?  Because that obstinate high pressure is forcing the jet stream to move south of Alaska.  And why should that make me happy?

Because it keeps any radioactive particles in Japan that rise high enough to enter the eastward-blowing jet stream from drifting over me and Pablo Parrot.  That’s why. 

NASA photo
Don’t think that’s so far-fetched.  A couple years ago, we could see smoke from Russian forest fires and clouds of dust from sand storms in the Gobi Desert as they wafted overhead.  So, you see, Tina Fey wasn’t too far off the mark when she “quoted” Sarah Palin as supposedly saying, “I can see Russia from my porch.”

While a jet stream missing Alaska is good news for me, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the West Coast.  Assuming, of course, that glow-in-the-dark stuff rises high enough, and that’s a big “if.” 
I guess this is as good a time as any to leave on a pre-planned trip.  My bag is packed and here is the astonishing thing about that:  18 days in Germany and Austria, including travel days, and all I have is a carry-on bag weighing 25 lbs.  Plus my usual purple shoulder bag with laptop and Kindle, and my “bedroll,” which consists of a neck pillow, a small fleece travel blanket, and a pair of warm socks.
I find all that hard to believe as I usually fight to stay under the luggage weight limit.  I’ve picked up quite a few tips on light-weight travel, so perhaps I’ve learned.

Either that or I’m forgetting something really, really important.


  1. Have a great trip Gully! I can't wait to see it with you via your awesome pictures! Stay safe and have a blast! (No nuclear pun intended)

  2. I hope you have a wonderful adventure! Looking forward to seeing your pictures :)