(I wrote this about 4 days ago, but was unable to post for a variety of reasons. Enjoy!) For the second year in a row, I'm spending my Christmas in the great state of Alaska. Yes, it's snowy, and yes, it's cold, but it's also quite beautiful. Cold is only relative, as currently it's 30 degrees (F). The darkness feels like it is a bit much, but I realized the other day the sun sets only an hour or so before it does on the east coast. No, I can't see Russia. And no, I don't see Sarah Palin. These are the two main questions I'm asked when people learn I'm going. I stay with my sister, she lives just outside Anchorage (the most populated city in the state). We don't have to mush about with dog sleds, although I would love a husky to call my own. Anchorage isn't some sort of social backwater people imagine it to be. There are all the amenities you can find in any other place in the "lower 48." Sure, there are rural areas, but I grew up in the rural south and find that Anchorage has much more to offer. It's a beautiful state, and everyone should visit. But I do recommend the summer as it's a bit more mild and less adverse-weather prone.
My favorite parts about this trip: sledding down the driveway with fear of running into the road, making cranberry-popcorn garlands (pictured above) for the first time ever, making the best kugel of my life (without the apricot nectar), watching White Christmas with my sister, meeting my nephew for the first time, and catching up on season one of The Big Bang Theory. Oh, and wearing these astoundingly comfy and warm slippers from the bestest sister ever.
I've yet to get my usual sludge cup though. (Yeah, we never got around to that.)