Your husband is a polar bear, skinny

December was quite a month.  I finished two huge projects, on which I’d been consulting for two years, and then went to Portland, OR, to spend Christmas with family.

The day I arrived was purported to be one of the coldest December days in 100 years.  I walked out of the airport, took a breath, and ran back inside. I went first to my nephew’s house and later to my sister-in-law’s; well, my ex-sister-in-law, whom I’ve known since I was ten years old.  Both houses were beautiful and, most important, well-heated. I spent a week there, my first in Oregon, and also visited with my step-brother, who lives there with his wife. All went well, and Christmas Day started at 4:00 pm, because we waited for my great-nephew, who had gone skiing in Utah and, due to storms, could not fly back until 2:00 on the 25th.  I flew home over a rainstorm in norther California and arrived safely.  All in all, a very pleasant, if chilly, travel experience.

January has been busy as I prepare a school for its accreditation visit, which will happen the second week of February.  The team’s job will be to assess the accuracy of the report we wrote describing the school, its programs and services, and its strengths and “growth areas” (euphemism for “gaps”).  Preparing staff and community members is like herding cats; they tend to either try to impress the team or complain.  Many don’t get that this is not an evaluation—it’s a verification of the accuracy of our years-long self-study. 

I’m confident that the school will do well.  The hardest part for me will be to be in Coachella, 40 minutes from my condo, very early in the morning three days in a row.  Pray for me.

As for the title of this post, it’s from an actual FEMA form poorly translated for Alaskan natives to request financial aid.  “Tomorrow he will go hunting very early, and will (bring) nothing” and “Your husband is a polar bear, skinny” are two examples of fractured English by a translator who clearly did not speak or write Yup’ik or Inupiaq.  I have collected such gems over the past 50 years.  Who can forget that classic Lee Marvin movie whose title was translated into Thai and retranslated into English as “Crazy Boy in Spain.”

I am making plans to travel again, this time to get a dental implant for $4000 less than I can here. Costa Rica is a medical tourist destination, with state-of-the-art dental facilities, and I have a good dentist there.  While reading through Airbnb rentals, most of the testimonials from previous guests mention that they were there for dental work. OK, so no points for originality.

I recently finished Kim Stanley Robinson’s Ministry for the Future, a science fiction novel which is really climate fiction, an interesting new (to me) sub-genre.  Amazingly well-researched and -written, it paints a realistic picture of what the near future might well look like.  He (the author) is knowledgeable about government, economics, climate science, sociology and psychology; and his analysis and solutions are so well thought out that certain leaders, including Barack Obama, call this book a must-read.

The newscasts showing the increasingly extreme weather and the book I read have compelled me to research the best place to live for the next 15 years, which I figure is my max. Where will there be enough potable water, edible food, uninterrupted energy and tolerable temperatures?  The beaches and other places at sea-level are already disappearing, and the desert, I fear, will be even hotter in the summer months. Well, we’ll always have Paris.

If your humor tends to be dark, watch Wednesday on Netflix. The lead actress is cynical, beautiful and plays a mean cello.  Avoid Black Adam (Yikes!) and Moonfall (silly, silly).   The White Lotus was great, and His Dark Materials was fine. If I can get up my courage, I’ll go out to a cinema for the first time in three years to see Avatar in 3D. I’m not worried about viruses—just rude people on their phones.

Stay well, and, again, Happy 2023.