"What!" I screamed into the phone. "What do you mean I don't have enough travel points to travel to Fiji? I've saved up all my air miles from itty bitty airlines, and stocked up mileage from my grocery purchases for a year, and still I don't have enough to travel four feet past Sterling?"
I hung up the phone and starting scheming what to do now that it was clear I'll be home for Christmas.
I got busy and packed up a winter-holiday what-to-do-around-here itinerary.
Here's my list of resources for December thrills:
Save film while on your hometown vacation and visit the Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center. Photo shows by Robert Glenn Ketchum and Pat Dixon are on the December agenda. The weather outside may be frightful but "Bobs Shorts in Public" will be a main attraction at the film festival at 6 p.m. today. On Saturday at 1 p.m., Steve Stringham will lecture on the body language of bears and on Dec. 21 the Kenai Photographers Guild will treat spectators to a slide show. For more information, call 283-1991.
A jolly long list of community events can be found at www.radiokenai.com.
Forget sending post cards; e-mail Mike Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org and get on the arts and music happenings e-newsletter list. Everything from coffee shop gigs and local performances to what is up with World Music for the Kenai, as well as First Thursday art happenings are all wrapped up neatly in this gem of a newsletter.
On a similarly festive note, World Music for the Kenai, in conjunction with Kenai Peninsula College's Sunday Showcase program, presents Kim Acuna at 7 p.m. Dec. 14. On Dec. 15, the KPC Sunday Showcase will feature "Elka," a musical gift of celebration of Alaska's past. More information about KPC can be found in its monthly newsletter at www.kpc.alaska.edu.
Worried about a jelly belly from all the holiday snacking? The Kenai Recreation Center has a sauna, racquetball courts, a weight room, a basketball court, a volleyball court and a tot gym. Also located at the recreation center is the teen center. A great ski trail guide and monthly calendar are available at the desk. For more information, call 283-3855.
Don't toss that swimsuit out just yet. Visit the Soldotna pool (262-7419), Nikiski pool and recreation center with ski trails, an ice rink and running and fitness trails (776-8472 or 776-8800), Kenai pool ( 283-7476) or the Skyview pool (262-7675). No need for expensive sunscreen and you can have gallons of fun!
Rather do a few merry laps and remain warm and dry? Visit the Kenai Peninsula Sport Center (262-3151) or Great Skate (262-9880).
Had enough of stringing popcorn for the tree? Get a fresh bag of the fluffy white stuff and a little rest by seeing a movie at the Orca (262-7003) or Kambe (283-4554) theaters.
Need a good recipe or craft idea? Check out the local library scene. The Kenai Public Library has story time for tots every Monday and Wednesday. The Totem Tracers, a genealogy club, an Internet class, the Writers Group and a book club meet regularly. A calendar of events is available at the front desk. For more information, call 283-4378.
The Soldotna Public Library has toddler story time at 10:30 each Wednesday morning. For more information, call 262-1907.
Want to spread a little holiday cheer or find a way to give all year? Bridges Community Ce-nter, located at 145 Kasilof St., across the street from Fred Meyer in Soldotna, has a comprehensive volunteer directory.
Have a tendency to get the post holiday blues or a little Seasonal Affective Disorder? Rosie Reeder, director of Soldotna Community Schools, says the community school schedule will appear in mailboxes and will be available at libraries the first week of January. For more information, call 262-6315.
Check in with the Peninsula Clarion. The What's Happening, Around the Peninsula, Religious Briefs and Neighbors sections are great hot spots for the latest news. Or surf over and visit www.-peninsulaclarion.com on the left under community tour for the arts, events and community sections.
"Departing" thoughts: Attend a play, host a party, bake some cookies, get creative, hibernate, go to a tanning booth, impress friends and neighbors with amazing travel anecdotes, write a great fiction story about it all, make a million dollars or travel to Fiji on spring break.
Jacqueline Michels studies journalism at Kenai Peninsula College. She lives in Soldotna with her husband and children.
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