I’ve been traveling an awful lot lately. This week is the seventh in a row in which I’ve flown at least once. Almost all of those trips have been for work (I did take a couple days off to go to Philadelphia for the seder). They generally aren’t long flights, but it’s still tiring. On the other hand, I’ve had the opportunity to see some really interesting places. The next few weeks are looking about the same, so this is just my life for now I think. I have already qualified for elite status on Alaska Airlines for next year, so that’s nice.
One way in which this sort of lifestyle is easier for me than for a lot of people is that I don’t have a family or any particular obligations at home that would make it difficult for me to travel this much. I’m getting to the age where a lot of my friends are getting married and having kids, so I’m no longer the kind of young person who could be expected to do this sort of thing as a matter of course, but as it happens I’m not at that point in my own life so it still works. It’s not a bad life, really, and I’m gaining a lot of valuable experience. The projects that are the reason for most of this travel are mostly going well, too, which is encouraging. Anyway, things are good, even though I don’t have much time and energy left for blogging.
I’ve been using WordPress for this and my other blogs since I started them, but I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to use for the style of blogging I do. They keep changing the posting interface, I guess to move in a direction more like social media, so that you have less control and fewer options, which drives me crazy. For a while they at least offered an option to go back to the old interface, but that seems to be gone now, or at least I can’t find it. I guess this is all symptomatic of the way the internet has moved on from the kind of blogging I’m used to, but it seems like there should be some options for people who want to write at greater length with more control over formatting and so forth than is typical of Tumblr or whatever. It’s frustrating.
Edit: And now that I’ve complained about that, it appears that the old interface is available when editing posts, at least, so that’s something. Still, annoying.
So I did some travel for work this week, which was originally going to entail a quick day trip to one of the rural hub communities for a regional meeting on Monday. Then a couple of visits to communities in another region got added on, since the flights worked out well to go to that region’s hub, to overnight there Monday night. Then we were going to go to one of the communities Tuesday, overnight there, then fly to the second community Wednesday morning and back to Anchorage that evening. A bit complicated, but combining the trips seemed to make the most sense.
The first part of the trip went fine; I went to the first regional meeting, which went well, then to the other regional hub where I spent the night. The visit to the first community the next day also went well, and we overnighted in the school there in the expectation of continuing with our itinerary the next morning.
Well, morning came, and with it heavy snow and the intensely strong winds for which that area is famous. We ended up staying three more days, each day waiting to see if the weather would clear up enough for planes to get in, and each day being disappointed, until today, when the storm finally broke and it was beautifully cold and clear. The flights today worked out fine, and I just made it back to my apartment in Anchorage. It’s awfully nice to be home.
It’s obviously not pleasant to be stuck somewhere for much longer than intended, but the experience this time was actually not that bad. The school was very hospitable, so we always had a warm place to sleep and plenty of food to eat, and there is a store in the community where we could get any additional food or supplies we wanted. The school also had internet access, so I could get some work done and keep track of how things were going in the office. It was interesting to see what it’s really like to wait out a storm like this, and the community itself was very welcoming and friendly, so it was a pretty pleasant time given the circumstances.
Man, it’s been a weird few weeks, but in ways that are hard to explain. Nothing bad, really, but work continues to be super-busy and stressful at times. I’m doing fine overall, though. I haven’t devoted much time to blogging, obviously, but that’s not really for lack of time. It’s just hard to think of things to say, especially for this blog which hardly anyone reads anymore.
Once again a year has gone by, and it’s time for my annual list of cities I’ve visited this year. As in previous years, this only includes cities where I spent at least one night, and each city is only listed once, in the order that I first visited it. “City” is defined broadly to include some very small communities, but not actually rural areas. With that in mind, here we go:
- Anchorage, AK
- Juneau, AK
- Fairbanks, AK
- Noorvik, AK
- Nome, AK
- Philadelphia, PA
- Bethel, AK
- Aniak, AK
- Glennallen, AK
- McCarthy, AK
- Albuquerque, NM
- Sitka, AK
- Phoenix, AZ
- Unalakleet, AK
- Flagstaff, AZ
As in past years, the exclusion of day trips makes this list slightly incomplete, but less so this year since I did fewer day trips and many were to places where I spent the night on other trips. Overall it’s a pretty good picture of my life these days.
I’ve visited my mom’s family pretty regularly in the past few years, but I’ve fallen somewhat out of touch with my dad’s family. This year, however, I decided to go have Thanksgiving with my dad’s cousins. They’re scattered all around the Southwest, so they tend to rotate holidays around different locations, but this year Thanksgiving was in Phoenix so that’s where I went. It was very nice to see everyone, and they were all very happy to see me, so I think I’ll go back for Christmas (also in Phoenix this year) and probably other holidays in the future as well.
This week I went to Sitka for work. I’ve been wanting to go there ever since I read The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon, which takes place in an alternate-reality Sitka inhabited by Jews displaced from all over the world. I liked the book but had some reservations about it, due partly to its implicit political message and partly to the fact that I’m just not that into gritty detective stories. Anyway, as I had expected, the real Sitka is a very pleasant little town and not gritty at all.
My dad died seven years ago today. Ever since then, my mom has had a tradition of going camping on September 27th, usually with her sister or one of her friends. This year, I took a few days off to come down to Albuquerque to go camping with her. We didn’t actually go camping today, since she’s teaching Sunday school and wants me to go with her tomorrow to help the kids build a sukkah (which it’s a little early for, but whatever). It’s also just generally more pleasant to go camping during the week since it’s less crowded. So we’re going down to Oliver Lee State Park next week, which should be nice since that’s a part of the state we haven’t spent much time in. After we get back we’ll go to Yom Kippur services at the synagogue, then I’ll fly back to Anchorage.
Anyway, since we weren’t going camping this weekend, tonight we went to see This Is Where I Leave You, which my mom has been wanting to see for a while. It’s about a Jewish family that gets together to sit shiva after their father dies, which wasn’t actually the main reason my mom wanted to see it but made it a particularly appropriate choice for today. I wouldn’t call it a good movie, exactly; it’s certainly formulaic and sentimental, and the plot is weak and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Still, it’s kind of sweet, and the parts about the various siblings and their personal struggles definitely struck a chord with me.
This has always been a difficult time of year for me, for various reasons, and the past few weeks have been very busy and stressful, so it’s nice to take some time off and do some different things for a change, and it’s definitely nice to spend time with my mom.
Not a whole lot of major interest to report this month either, but I’m still doing well. Work has been busy, but I think I’m starting to get the hang of some of my new responsibilities and am less stressed out about it than I had been.
I’m still busy with work, but at least I’ve been traveling more lately than I had been for a few months. This week I went to McCarthy, which was very interesting, and I have a couple more trips coming up in August and a lot of stuff going on in September. So yeah, things are going well.