Tag Archives: characters of Fairbanks

Lost In Translation

So, I walked into the local beauty salon ...

With high hopes to cash in on a promise I came across in Hawaii, the Brazilian Blowout. A salon treatment that promises smooth, silky, shiny, wash-and-go hair for 12 weeks of zero mane-tenence beauty.

(My new goal in life is to have Michelle Money hair).

SO … with visions of Michelle Money hair dancing in my head, I walk right in to the local salon.  Over the smell of perms and the hmmm of dryers, all the wet and foiled heads turn to see  who’s come in.

It’s me.  “Do you do Brazilian Blowouts?”

Blank stares freckled with a few looks of horror.

“Like hair removal?”  Asks the woman wearing gloves over the shampoo bowl as her eyebrows arch straight off the top of her head.

“NO!”  I cry a little too loud.  “No, it’s like a blow out. Like a straighteing treatment …”

“You want me to STRAIGHTEN?, to BLOW DRY, down there?!” She is aghast.  Horrified.

Oh. Good, night!

Everyone looking at me. I’m hot. Really hot.

I smile and stammer,  “No, no!  It’s like a treatment for your hair.”  I say, and then point to my head, “On your head?” My pit stains have now battled through three layers of poly pro and one layer of sub zero down parka.  Who has pit stains on the outside of their parka? Not Michelle Money.

All the heads are shaking. “No. No. No.”

People looking at me like,  “What?  The …”

The good news?  I’m starting to look more and more local.

Photo Credit: Nick Ondrasik


Karella, Musk Oxen


What? You Wanna Roll Wit’ ME?

An Arctic Parking Lot

Oh. My. God.

It has taken me three days to even be able to talk about this.

You are NOT going to believe what happened to me.


You’re not.

Until three days ago, there was only one other time in my life when someone, besides my younger brothers, tried to fight me.   Now the count is up to two!!!

The whole thing is so surreal, it’s like a play.  So, that’s how I’m gonna tell it:

Set Scene:  (Snow and ice covered grocery store parking lot means that parking stall lines are totally covered, obsolete, all but forgotten since October.   A man is struggling to get baby car seat into car because the narrow space between the parked cars is making it hard for him to completely open his car door.)

Me:  (walking out of grocery store, notice man struggling with car seat on my drivers side, so I walk around my car and open my driver’s door from the front end of the car.  As I’m getting in..)

Woman: (bucking toddler in from the driver’s side of her car,  scowls through the open car doors) Thanks for parking so close to us.

Me:  “Ya, the parking spot was really narrow.  It’s a tight squeeze on both sides.”

Woman:  I have a car seat .. (proceeds to show me with arm dimensions how big the car seat is)

Me: I have car seats too.  I know that can be tough.

Woman:  You Bitch.

Me:  What?

Woman:  You are a f*&$) bitch.

Me:  WHAT?  (normally, I have to say, I would get in my car and steam the entire way home.  But, you know what?  I TOO have been stuck inside for the past several months!  SO … I get OUT of my car, and walk around to the back of hers, so that I am talking to her face to face.  And, with my voice vibrating, I say,) Do NOT call me a bitch. ESPECIALLY in front of your children.

Woman:  Park somewhere else.  Bitch.

Me:   What?  The entire lot is full.   I didn’t design the lot, and I’m not going to take the credit for it. (I really don’t know why I said that.  I walk around to my car.  And then I say thought the open doors,) When I run into this issue with my baby-seat, I back my car up so I can fully open the door, and then pop the baby seat in.  Then, I pull forward, and load the groceries.   (looking at husband) It’s even easier when you have two adults.

Woman: You f*&% b*$@%!  (and starts running for me!)

Me: (dive into car and slam the door!  She’s cussing at me thought the window of my car and hitting my car with her fists!  I back up, and then stop behind her car the way you do before you pull forward and drive away … but then … something GOT INTO me!   And, with my car blocking her car in, and her cussing me out from where my car used to be, I roll down the window and say…)

Me:  Your behavior is out of line.  I hope your day, and for that matter your life, gets MUCH better.

Woman:  (Raising Fist) GO ON! GET OUTTA HERE!! JUST GET OUTTA HERE!  YOU F*&^% B(*&&%#@#!  GET OUT!”

Me:  (compliantly drive away.  And spend the ENTIRE next three days thinking of all the things I should have said!   My favorite being,

ME: “SMILE!  I’m a blogger!  I can’t wait to show the world the kind of folks that live in Fairbanks!”

And then, right here, you’d see a photo of a short, plump, 20-something woman with a GIGANTIC mass of brown frizzy bangs and a bad perm slicked back into an exploding ball of pony tail, wearing an ugly purple-and-white 1980’s parka and tapered stone-washed jeans having an absolute shiffazle in the snow covered narrow parking stall in the Fred Meyers parking lot.)

— end scene —

DAMN. I can’t wait until next time.

Ready to Roll,

Alaskarella, F’n B.

A Toast.

Good gluten-free beer?  That is unusual!  And I was one of the unusual people drinking it!  Cheers!

My gluten-free toast to you: May you come across something unusual that makes you smile AND allows you to imbibe, today.




Determined to make some friends, and possibly something of myself, I decided to join the NaNoWriMo movement this year.


The what?

I didn’t know you were a dog person.

I know, it sounds like a high-strung dog thing.  NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month), is a challenge set in November (so ready, set .. GO!), for all those aspiring to write a novel (everyone I’ve ever met, I think?) to produce it. This month.

You sign up.  You produce 2,000 words (three pages) each day.  And by the end of the month? Viola!  You have 50,000 words.  No one cares if they are coherent.  And you can call yourself a novelist!

A novelist. A writer. An author. An artist.   Who me?   Just everything I’ve ever wanted to be.

Throughout the month NaNoWriMo sends you strategies, tips, encouragement, and virtual Kleenex from actual published authors and seasoned NaNoWriMo veterans.   Plus, with the whole goal being quantity, not quality, they continually tell you, “Just write.  Who cares if it’s crap? So is mine!”  To someone who’s been tweaking and re-tweaking crap on-and-off for the past 15 years, this Kamikaze call sounds like a liberation cry.

NaNoWriMo also organizes local chapter groups everywhere from New York City to … you guessed it, Fairbanks, Alaska!  Most chapters, I noticed as I excitedly googled my fingerprints off, have regular meet ups featuring write-ins and word-warm-up exercises at charming local bookstores with wifi internet and cafes.

I pictured meeting people wearing Tina Fey smart glasses and scarves.  While drinking Carmel Macchiatos, eating Lucy’s Glutton Free cookies, and giggling about our upcoming best sellers we would be tap, tap, tapping across the dance floors of our Mac Keyboards.

Maybe I’d meet someone just like Chelsea Handler? David Sedaris, is that you?!

A novelist? An author? An artist?  A writer.  An author with a new friend who lives within this arctic jurisdiction.  Could it be possible?

With visions of book tours taking me far, far, from here (and a friend to pick me up at the airport upon my return); I signed up!

Hold the lithium.  My delusions of grandeur were sufficiently smashed by the Fairbanks NaMoWriMo Kick-Off party.  It happened last night.  At Hot Licks.

Hot Licks? Not a charming local bookstore.   The palest, starkest, ice cream place ever.  Set in a strip mall.

Tina Fey smart glasses?  One skinny worm attending was wearing a cheap tuxedo.  Another donned a tie-dye tee shirt that hugged her fat rolls way to intimately and said, “Ride It.”  across the undulating waves of her bosom.

Scarves?  No.

Wi-Fi internet?  I must have forgotten everything I’ve been struggling with since September 9, 2010.

Mac Notebooks?  One writer brought a trapper keeper.

Laughing about our upcoming best sellers?  As we went round the circle introducing ourselves each writer offered a brief plot synopsis: zombies taking over the city; a war between the planets; brain draining dream eaters (?), a baby that is actually a bird monster and pecks out the eyes of it’s care takers (that one is part two of a trilogy).  One writer noted, “Looks like we’re all writing Sci –Fi, except that girl.” To which another added, “Well, we are in Fairbanks.”  Everyone in attendance, save “that girl,” giggled and smirked at that last insight.   WTF is wrong with these people?

Try saying, “Hi. I’m Katie.  I was thinking Chick Lit.”  To a circle of open- mouth breathers as two of them literally tongue each other.

“Me and Her?”  Said one of the tonguers, “We love to write.”

“Boris is SO talented,” slobber, slobber, kiss, kiss.

When I got home I had to take a shower.

And then, I consulted my “real” friends, you know, the ones on the internet.

And, guess what?  The subject of my best friend’s daily blog post? NaNoWriMo!!  And why I should do it!  I balked.  And then I started daydreaming about the solo tap dance I’m going to start composing on November 1st.  I guess it really is a high-strung dog kinda thing.

Delusions of grandeur > reality,




Check out my neighbor

Isn't he hot?

Alaskafella’s a little worried I’m gonna be creepin.’  Can’t blame him.

Hey Big Fella,

I’m Alaskarella.

Bon Jovi and The Mail Lady

Mail Trail (is a true street name! This place cracks me up!) was callin’ our name; so, we hopped, sliiiiiid (see that road of ice? That ain’t no photo shop!), and then inched our way on down to the post office where an ENTIRE polar cub winter wardrobe collection was awaiting us.  (Thank you to our clothier, Grandma Ghee.  We would be butt naked in Alaska if it weren’t for you).

The guy in front of me in the post office line looked just like this.  Well, he wishes he looked just like this.  I wanted to take his picture sooo badly, but haven’t yet figured out a way to say, “Can I take your picture because no one outside these city limits will believe someone is actually walking around looking like you do right now in this 2010th year.”

I didn’t say that.

Instead, I watched him do the chin-up mane shake out (you know, feign interest in something on the ceiling tiles, lift the chin and shake your locks) about 93 times.

By the time the mail lady (a funny word combo, “mail lady” because she’s a female not male, but in the mail business, anyway ..), by the time the mail lady (ML) called him forth, the 1982 Bon Jovi Wannabe’s (BJW) hair was perfectly feathered.

And this is how their conversation went (This innerchange replay will go better if you have modern english challenged people mumble each part, or just kinda’ run through it without opening your mouth any more than 2 cm.):

ML: “How’s the roads?”

BJW: “Fine. ‘Cept the new people.” (what? and excuse me!)

ML: “Damn chichacos.”  (What? and excuse me!)

BJW: “Got stuck behind one of ’em goin’ 5 the last 2 miles here.”

ML: mmm hmmm

WHAT? And excuse me!  You know who BJW was “stuck behind?”  ME! And, I was going WAY more than five miles an hour! (like 10!)

You know what I said? I said, “Keep your stone washed jeans on buddy!”  No, I didn’t.  I’m just kidding.

I said, “Hold your mooses, Bon Jovi! And hold the hairspray while you’re at it!” Nope. Didn’t say that either.

What I really said was, “I’m slow?! You’re like two decades behind.”

Nope. Didn’t say that at all.

But I shoulda!  I mean, it’s my life! And it’s now or never! And, I’m not gonna live forever.  (But I did live through the 2-20 minutes my self-assertive self and I spent together hiding in the bathroom until we were sure BJW was looong gone.)

And then? I hopped (ok, inched) right back on to Mail Trail and carried forth toward a totally rad day.

This is one Damn Chichaco just Livin on a Prayer,


Thank you Grandma Ghee!