Okay, mesdames et messieurs, get ready for a big ol' update that will hopefully tide you over for another two weeks, or whenever the heck I get around to posting again - whichever comes first.
C left this morning; R stayed over last night after we ate tasty hot-oil fondue dinner and fresh-baked Silverbow cookies at the home of the museum curator and her husband, and we watched C pack and played one last round of Nerts for old times' sake. Then we went to sleep a little too late and woke up a little too early. At least R and I got to stay in bed until 4:15 since we were just the chauffeurs; C was only allowed a tantalizing 2-hour nap before popping right out of bed again and getting ready for the 18-hour journey home. (At least she wasn't driving to Delaware, eh Cita?) We drove her to the airport through the black blustery morning and then came back... and went promptly to bed. I suppose we could have stayed awake and carped the diem - but when the wind's trying to pull your house out of the ground and you know the sun won't be up for another 2 hours, there just isn't the incentive that there might be. Go figure.
What else have we done lately? I've actually been to a bunch of concerts... like starving men scraping their empty plates with their teeth, R and I devote our Alaskan lives to trying to squeeze as much music out of the void as possible (incidentally, going to Musi-Cal and running a search under "Juneau, AK" followed closely by a search under "Austin, TX" has become my new favorite get-excited-about-moving-to-Texas activity). We just went to see a fiddle-guitar duo from - of all places - outside Boston; very New England contra-dancey, and totally wonderful. (Probably more so in this context than in any other, but I'm not complaining.) I toyed with the idea of sticking around to talk to them and figure out what percentage of acquaintances we have in common, but I decided I spend enough of my time tracing the incestuous lineages of the northeastern folk scene, and I let it go. We also went to a performance by the Juneau Bach Society, which was equally wonderful in a squeaky-violin-flat-soloist-wrong-note-on-the-organ sort of small town classical music way. The best part about concerts in churches around here is that they always have receptions with tasty homemade snacks and tea in paper cups afterwards. Mmmmm. And, just to make my cultural concert-going experience complete, I also went with C to see a free performance by this very young, hip Yup'ik band from near Anchorage. We were sitting in front of these two teenage girls who were RABIDLY in love with them and kept squealing and singing along quietly with all their songs. Totally cute.
Other than that, life is fairly uneventful. Darkness update: sunrise is now at 7:50 am (and quickly getting later), sunset is at 5:30 pm (and quickly getting earlier). Sunset is kind of nice, because you tend to feel like it's 10:00 at night, and then get pleasantly surprised when you discover it's only 6. And it makes for very cozy soup-eating and movie-watching evenings. But it doesn't usually get too light even between 7:50 and 5:30 because of the low heavy clouds, and I suspect that by Thanksgiving, I'll be dying to photosynthesize.
Okay, I'll close with a pop quiz: How many pounds of lard did Joe Juneau and Richard Harris bring along with them on their fateful gold-finding expedition in 1880? (I have no idea how long they were planning to be gone for - er, that's probably a fact I should be familiar with, eh? - but they brought 5 bars of soap and 2 jars of pickles, if that's any indication.) Whoever guesses closest will win a special Alaska-themed prize.