I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

Last night the basketball games were crowded, no matter if it was a school and work night and skin could freeze walking (well, creeping, the ice is so hard to see) across the parking lot. Tim is volunteering on the radio this morning and of course praising this paradise we live in and saying that we have, “The best darn radio station this side of Mars,”  and apologizing, with a laugh, for the weather report– “Hey, I just read it folks.”  These are the kind of days we brag about in July. (And they get colder and more miserable with each telling.) Truthfully, it feels a little warmer, with the snow, and the wind has died down. Some. It is January in Alaska, which is kind of a universal definition for cold, you know? Like Siberia. On the plus side we almost have 8 hours of daylight now. ( Tim said 7 hours and 52 minutes today. We are gaining about five minutes a day. Yes, I’m counting them.) All the same,  beach wear is a little different here than Florida:

I am still on enough of a vacation schedule though, that I keep opening my book and thinking I can sit on the couch and read instead of do everything else I’m supposed to be doing. Like unpack. And write a book. Last night I just had to start the new season of Downton Abbey after the game and so I stayed up too late to read. (We recorded it.) But I will tell you of three great books that I just read or am reading– I like to read essays and a novel at the same time– First, my fellow Alaskan Dan Coyle and cyclist Tyler Hamilton’s  The Secret Race, all about the Tour De France and doping and Lance, to a degree. As a fan of the race and a weekend cyclist I was gripped by it and read it in two days. Really. It puts the recent headlines in perspective.  I’ve just begun Louise Erdrich’s The Round House, and can’t seem to put it down either. It’s a novel about a boy on an Indian reservation whose father is a Native judge, and whose mother is raped and nearly killed. The boy and his friends are determined to find out who did it. His voice, and the story, remind me of  To Kill a Mockingbird. And finally, Martha Gellhorn’s Travels with Myself and Another,  a frank, funny, pithy look at some of the worst, and thus memorable, trips this journalist who was married to Hemingway took, as well as a kind of look back in time. I like her company. Which all is to say I better get to work so I can reward myself with a few more chapters while the weather remains good for reading. One more note on the weather. In the next few days it is supposed to warm up a lot- like mid to upper 30s. And while it sounds counter-intuitive, watch your pipes. Remain vigilant.The warmth drives the cold deeper, and freeze ups are likely if you let your guard down.