Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A Story Recalling Meandering, And the Flaneur

This all started out fairly early Tuesday as I went along with my daughter and granddaughter to watch the little one bounce for a couple of hours.

But to be an observer I had to fill out an online waiver.  I understand.  Trampolining can be dangerous.  Someone I know broke his neck at a place like this (maybe even this one.)  He was lucky and after painful, scary months and months we was pretty much back to normal.  But there's a lot of liability with a place like this.

But I was only there to observe.  And the online form there asks for dribbles of information.  A paper form you can see what they're asking for all at once and decide if you want to share it all.  So I asked - how much more are they going to ask?
She didn't really hear me and said, "everyone has to fill one out."
Me;  "But I'm only observing."
She:  "Observers can be injured too."  [Isn't this the time people should leave?]
She:  "They don't use the information."
Me:  "Then why are they collecting it?  [I was being snarky.  I understood what she meant - that it's only in case of an accident.]  But even if they don't, someone can hack the computers."

Out of principle - that way too much information is collected about all of us - I decided I would not stay.  Besides I really didn't want to see my granddaughter risking her neck.

So I decided instead to walk around this South Anchorage neighborhood - between Old and New Seward Highways -

I'd only driven by on occasion, but had never really looked at carefully.  It's a funky sort of place with all sorts of housing and yards.

[I'd note the meandering reference in the title beckons back to a long ago post about meandering that comes from Charles Dickens opening to David Copperfield.  It's also a good description of how I often write.  The Flaneur references a post I did about a book by that title that I read while we were in Paris and is about just wandering with no goal through neighborhoods.]

This sign below the mailboxes - click to enlarge so you can read it - was the first that suggested people weren't cleaning up after their dogs.  "Attention Humans:  Please Pick Up After Your Dogs, Thank you."  Then it addresses the dogs.

There were big houses with big yards and gardens.  This one was next to a lot with a  double wide trailer.

Here's another inviting tree filled green yard that reminded me more of the mid-west than Anchorage.

Near another lot that reminded me of old Spenard.

And there were lots of trees and green.

But there also were dozens of zero lot line condos (presumably) scattered in the neighborhood.  Some had more green space around them than others.

If you look closely, Spyglass Hill is a private street, so I didn't go there.  As I wandered around I only saw one other pedestrian.  A woman with a walker and a tiny dog that took his job as her protector seriously.  She was laboring up the steepest hill in the neighborhood.

But I did wonder whether people might not be alerting NextDoor  (I think you may have to sign in to get to the link.) or the police if I had been black or worse dressed than I was.    Especially since I was taking pictures of people's property.

After wandering streets and alleys a while, I got to a bike path that started green and shady, but after about a quarter mile I ended in an industrial area.

It came out near a school district complex.

Past the student nutrition area was a nursery I had never seen before.

I wandered around outside, excited by this find.  (It turned out everything was outside.) But when I saw this item, I realized why all the rocks in my garden were picked up along highway construction sites.  A cubic yard of 'angular boulders"  was $195.  Gravel was only $95.  A cubic yard of gravel is a lot of gravel, but I suspect a cubic yard of the boulders has lots of empty spaces.

There were also also lots of different kinds of trees at serious prices as well.  I quickly deduced this was more for professional landscapers, but homeowners can buy here as well.

Lots of ways to spend your money on things I didn't know I needed.

This natural stone table (and stools) was only  $2786.

Rows of critters of all sorts.

I can see possible uses for these planters.

This dragon was certainly the most interesting item. I didn't check the price tag.

It's interesting to know this is in town in case I ever need something like this.

But then I made my way back out and got to a small strip mall.  I don't know what they do at this place, but it doesn't sound like a place I would ever want to need.

Then as I got back to Old Seward Highway. . .

First I saw the cross. Then I saw the sign.

I checked on line to find out who Justin was.

From his ADN obituary:
Justin Grey Ashley was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident Monday evening, July 8,
Justin was born on July 9, 1992 in Fremont, California to Brian and Charise Ashley. He grew up playing soccer and baseball and loved to ride his bike with his two childhood friends, Josh and Alex. He was a Cub Scout and bridged over to become a Boy Scout.
Justin moved to Alaska with his family when he was 12. He quickly made friends. . .
So yesterday was just a few days past the fifth anniversary of his death.   My sympathies to his family.  My brother was two years older when he died, so I have a sense of their terrible loss.

As I passed Judy's Cafe it reminded me of the place where they charged me an extra $.50 to NOT have cheese in my omelette.  I checked with K who was with me at the time and he said it was not Judy's.

I was getting close to full circle back to pick up the jumpers, when this car with a Begich sign pulled up onto the sidewalk in front of me.  He got out and struggled to get some sandbags that
were at the curb into the car.  I did mention to him that it didn't reflect well on his candidate to be driving on the sidewalk, though parking in the street wasn't a good idea either and he clearly couldn't move the sandbags very far.

At a dog kennel nearby, a woman pulled up and parked right in front of a No Parking sign and went in.

Almost back and I passed what looked like a single family home, but it had four mailboxes in front of it.

I got back just in time to get into the car and open the newspaper before my bouncing family members came out.  I'd had my adventure too.

I thought of the year we lived in Hong Kong when we decided that we could take urban hikes - and just walk three or more miles as we would in a more wild setting.  And there we could catch public transportation home from wherever we ended up.


  1. Hi Steve,
    I really enjoyed your "travels with Steve." The dragon is great.
    Thank you for sharing.

    1. thanks. When I realized how many pictures I had, I wondered - how can I have this many for a small neighborhood in Anchorage compared to a similar post (with fewer pics) in Paris? But every place offers interesting things to ponder.


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