Friday, February 28, 2014

Homer Feb Ski and Sunsets

Its been a mild time in AK. My second winter here and I have not escaped yet for a warm vacation break during our dark winters. I was thinking to flee to Hawaii but I just did not feel a need to and now I am glad I did not.

Winters will always continue to be dark especially late December through mid Feb. and I dont think I will ever adjust to that. But it is not as cold as I had thought it would be. And now the sun is setting at 6;30 and I am going to work in daylight. Such a great feeling to wake up and see!

Feb. flew by and I am so screwed up b/c since January, its has felt like spring was around the corner. Last summer it was amazingly warm. I am so curious what this summer will bring us. 
Not much news to report otherwise. Have not gotten to do all the winter goals I had like ice fishing or ski during night of a full moon and still have yet to see the northern lights see I face south and I am in town, but can't have it all and that's what next winter is for :)

Click here for snow and AMAZING sunset pix.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

the Housing Craze

I attended an open house last week of a newly constructed "house" that is meant for retreats, weddings, huge traveling groups, etc. At first many of us thought it was another huge summer house. We got a few of those as more and more people want to live here in summer only. (I did find conflicting articles online say it is this UT's fam house and them calling it a rental property.) Homer's also becoming a retirement community b/c of the tax incentives for the elderly and its beautiful location.

Here's how they describe it: "Homer’s most magical luxury rental property. This 17,000-square-foot home, is situated on 3.5 acres of oceanfront property overlooking the incomparable Kachemak Bay in the North Pacific Ocean. Eight luxurious bedroom suites, each with its own theme, can accommodate up to 30 overnight guests. Additional amenities include an indoor pool, massage room, Turkish bath, sauna, steam room, gourmet kitchen, formal dining table for twelve, library, three fireplaces, game room, theatre room, and a 3,000-foot wraparound deck complete with an outdoor fireplace & pizza oven, direct beach access, and a 2,000 square foot replica of Neverland itself."

Our town faces some huge issues from what I have read and observed. My age group is the least represented here as there are not many professional long term, year-round jobs. Mainly tourism, construction, oil slope workers, and your own your own business. So its super tough here and i worry about the long term issue of the few that are going to support the city while the majority benefit and don't pay in. Summer housing peeps make lots of money elsewhere and then come here raising the real estate prices for those who do live and work here year round can't afford to live somewhere descent or own their own land. It was not always this way...and yes I am simplifying and generalizing here and I am not an economist; its just my opinion based on what I've seen, heard and read :)

I feel this new place is a good example of what I describe above and what is happening to our country. The middle class is vanishing. It is sad to me that this place  is here and that most likely it will be empty more than full, except when someone can afford $3K a night to stay there. While I have friends here that can't get a job with their college degrees and they live in a tiny cabin w/o water and plumbing. 

Very curious to see what happens to this place in 5 years. They have properties across the bay and in Anchorage so I guess its a successful plan.....Click here for pix. I was super overwhelmed and we all just could not believe this is here. It's more than insane.... Not very Homer or Alaskan..

Sunday, February 2, 2014

my own space

This year did not start so great with the flu and now two weeks w/ a sprained wrist, but its shaping up. Work-wise, I am off to Anchorage for a grant writing workshop which i am very excited about as it's been many years since grad school. And ironically, I got a grant to attend a huge fundraising conference in San Antonio in late March. I hardly write grants so getting accepted was awesome and I am looking forward to this conference as well as checking out San Antonio.

In other big news for the first time in 3 years I have my own place. I left PDX in Feb 2011 not knowing where I would end up. I traveled for almost a year. Moved to VT briefly and then came back to Alaska while bouncing around for a while. I met an interesting, caring and talented  couple and we've been roommates for almost a year. HeidiJo is a singer and pianist whose been focusing on her music and they headed to New Orleans after she released her first album. The music scene here is bluegrass/folk and she is jazzy blues.

They are down there for 3 months for all the music festivals and then who knows what will happen but they do hope to come back to make Homer, a summer residence. We were sharing two small apartments, so I signed the lease for the south facing one. And, I will have a neighbor vs a roomie. It was weird b/c I was in their shoes 3 years ago and I went through letting go of all my apt stuff and now I've acquired their apt stuff. I also thought holy shit, I am never leaving AK, I got too much stuff now :)

And, yes my expenses are now up which is a bummer as Homer is an expensive town to live in, but I've also been wanting some more alone time. This town is super busy year-round and so is my job. I hope to focus on my fun creative projects. It will be strange coming home to no one to talk to though..Oh and my apt kicks ass so I am very fortunate and can;t see myself anywhere else here...

Well we had summer for a week here. I did not need gloves, no jacket and even one day wore sandals without socks outside. Totally nuts and we all want snow and we have great cross country ski trails here. Its gotten cooler but we had some beautiful sunny days which makes it super hard to stay indoors m-f ;)

Click here for some Jan snow, beach sun and apt pix.