Twelve Degrees and Smiling


Leo in winter

Today it is only 12 degrees, not cold at all, at least compared to the -10 low last week. Everything is white and frozen, but as a newcomer to Alaska and recent retiree prone to slippage, I am surprised at how warm it feels. Of course, I recognize that this 12-degree stuff is only the beginning of winter. But so far, so good.

Even Leo, our short-haired Vizla, is adapting and we have decided to keep him here through winter rather than ship him off to warmer climes, as originally planned. He now has a high-tech coat, which the manufacturer vows will keep him warm down to -100.

It’s 75 in Washington DC, our hometown. Friends send us regular weather updates and photos of autumn leaves. I respond with pictures of grizzlies and  of our car with its plug hanging out of the grill, so that we can plug into heaters to keep the engine from freezing while we are parked. (Many people just leave their cars running.). One of my favorites is  the view from our window two months ago, when everything was gold and green. Plenty of time to send the white.

View from apartment window (in September).

She/he came right up to the bus.

Our new (used) car with plug.


First snow, first slip


Lew slipped today on the steps. Luckily there was no harm done. but it was a warning and today he went off with his heavy heavy boots with a heavy heavy tread.

We had our first snow on Sunday, and the snow is very light and fluffy, not slippery but he slipped anyway.


 Testing pix input

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Twenty-somethings and the job hunt

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This post has nothing at all to do with my blog, But it us timely and based on my experience as an economic security editor of AARP publications.  Future blogs will cover “coming to Alaska.”

As bad as the jobs market is for all Americans, with a national unemployment rate at 8.1 percent, young people have been hit the hardest.

Nearly 14 percent of workers in their early 20s have been unable to find a job, according to the Department of Labor jobs report released Sept. 7. Teen job seekers 16-19 have been hit even harder—more than  24 percent of them are unemployed. But they manage to muddle through by choosing to go back to school or wait for better times. They are young enough to do drop out.    insert  Youth unemploymenr rate (Atlantic Magazine)

Unlike teens, 20-somethings can’t drop out. Many have crossed over into the realm of the self-supporting, with rents to pay, loans to repay and often families to support. Burdened by new responsibilities, they are asking, “where are the jobs?” And so far it looks like the jobs market will not change until after the presidential election. For young job seekers, this means another two months of trying to read the crystal ball as they plan their lives.

One recent study provides a peek into the future. Laurence Shatkin, author of 150 Best Jobs for Your Skills, culled his statistics to come up with a list of the best jobs for young people, published in Forbes magazine. Not surprisingly, half the list was related to health-care, the fastest-growing sector of the economy today. Many of the jobs offer flexible hours, decent pay — and require less than a bachelor’s degree. Fortunately, health care is a broad category and incorporates an enormous range of job opportunities, from the obvious physicians, clinicians and lab assistants to  to  self-enrichment education teachers, fitness trainers and coaches.

Other growth sectors include retail, service industries (restaurants, hotels, travel), technology and somes areas of government,

The ebb and flow of top job sectors is nothing new — the U.S. economy periodically is spurred by social, economic and political forces. For example, during World War II, women entered the labor market — and never left. The Gold Rush brought development West. The Depression expanded government and resulted in huge construction projects. Technological advances led to an entire new hiring sector.

Finding a job in the current market is no easy task. Job seekers have to plan, prepare, network, realistically assess their abilities and, perhaps, readjust their expectations to find success in that crystal ball.

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