About Me

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Douglas, Alaska, United States
I have lived in Alaska since 1978, having come to Juneau as a Jesuit Volunteer. I fell in love with Alaska and now live on Douglas Island with my husband and two dogs.

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Walk to the Waterfall

(Warning: This post has a LOT of photos...)

Charles and I took a walk out to Nugget Falls at the Mendenhall Glacier on Sunday.  It was a beautiful autumn day and we wanted to check out the new trail and the fall colors.

First we stopped at the meadow to see if there were any bears to be seen.  There weren't, so we continued our walk.

Charles poses on the trail.

Romeo was a black wolf who liked playing with (and sometimes eating) the local dogs who visited the glacier.  He was shot by a local person for no reason.

Nugget Falls.  This waterfall was covered by glacier ice when I arrived in Juneau in 1978.  You can see how far the glacier has receded since then.

There were some amazing cloud formations that day.

Fall colors.

I really need to suck in my stomach when I am having my picture taken!


More fall colors - I love the sunlight in the foreground!

It was a nice walk with Charles!  What a beautiful place to live!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Playing Around (with photos)

I discovered this cool website Big Huge Labs that I used to make some mosaics of some of my photos.

It was pretty easy, and FREE!!

Here are the mosaics I made:

The first one was just of random photos.  I need to work on making them more consistent subject-wise.

The second one was of various icons that Charles has painted over the years.

Pretty cool, huh?

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Oh, The Dreadful Wind and Rain...

We are having a fall windstorm today - winds to 60 mph with torrential rain.  I drove Phoebe to work and had a hard time holding the car steady against the gusts of wind.

I was grateful to get home to my cozy house, make a fire and have a cup of coffee and a short visit with my friend Therese, who just returned from a bike trip to Romania with a group of women friends, including her sister.

She showed me her pictures, which were great!  One of the best pictures was of the Bank of Transylvania, which she assured me is NOT a blood bank!  She saw the castle of Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula.  The countryside was beautiful, and she had a wonderful time!

After she blew out the door, I refreshed the french press and settled down on the couch with my book and some biscuits to go with my coffee.  It was definitely a day to curl up with a good book in front of a nice warm fire, with a little furry friend to keep me company.

I did have to get up when the lights blinked a couple of times to make sure I had a flashlight if the power goes out.  So far, so good, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if we lose power later tonight - the weather system is supposed to stick around for a couple of days.  I hope we don't get any flooding - the creeks are pretty high and Gastineau Channel is brown with muddy runoff.  We are on high ground, but other folks might have some trouble.

We have to go to a gallery co-op meeting tonight - I wish we could just hunker down and stay home, but we want to be good co-op members, so we'll head out into the weather!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Porcupine Suits and Flower Arrangements

Yesterday, I stopped by the Salvation Army Thrift Store (we call it Sally Ann's), because you never know when you're going to find something great.

I lucked out!  I found a great long cozy nightgown.  Charles calls my long cozy nightgowns my "Porcupine Suits".  Porcupine or not, I like being comfortable and this one is definitely comfortable.  It even has a hood and pockets.  It's like an ankle length hoody, only not made of sweatshirt fabric.

My mother had a friend named Julia, who used to go to bed every night in a long flannel nightgown, buttoned up to the top button, with a Sacred Heart medal pinned to the collar (in case she felt like a novena in the middle of the night, I guess).  She put her hair up in curlers and removed her teeth before bed.  Every time I come to bed in a Porcupine Suit, Charles asks me if I am going to turn into Julia.

My other great find at Sally Ann's was a lovely vase.  I usually don't buy vases, because I am not a very good flower arranger - my sister Mary is a great flower arranger and has been asked to do the flowers for weddings, anniversaries, banquets, etc.  Flower arranging is not one of my talents.

But today, when I was done with my grocery shopping, I stopped by the floral department and picked out a bouquet and a cube of Oasis, that green foam that florists (and my sister) use.  When I got home, I soaked the Oasis and then got to work.  Voila!  I made a not too awful flower arrangement in my new gold vase!

I like how the shape and color echo the shape and color of the garage sale find candle holders in the front.  And in the back is a print of the icon of the Exaltation of the Cross, which we celebrated a couple of days ago.  Charles painted the icon for St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Anchorage several years ago.

I will not be posting a picture of myself in the Porcupine Suit, so don't hold your breath.

I'm linking up at:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Clan Mother

Meet Naa Tla'a.  Her name in Tlingit translates as Clan Mother.  She is a 24 year old sow, who comes to Steep Creek in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area to eat spawning salmon.

She is a black bear, but she has brown coloration.  In years past, she has been more cinnamon colored than black, but this year, she is darker.

She is the grandmother bear of the area, the mother of Nicki, a younger mother bear who has twin or triplet cubs every year.  The U.S. Forest Service and Alaska Department of Fish and Game have stopped giving the bears at the Mendenhall Glacier human names, and now identify them as "C1 - 2011 (Cinnamon Bear 1, born in 2011) etc.  Naa Tlaa is identified by the blue tag in her ear.  I know it is not as scientific, but I like giving the bears names. 

It was wonderful to see her last night when Charles and I went out to the Glacier on one of the three days of sunshine we have had this month.  We were so lucky to be able to spend about 40 minutes observing her.  

A young boy standing next to us told his dad that he wanted to climb over the fence to go and see her more closely.  His dad told him that not only is she a wild animal and could be dangerous if disturbed, but that she deserves respect and a quiet place to eat and live.  He gently remonstrated with his son for clapping his hands and whistling at her to get her attention.  It was such a privilege to see a father passing on the Tlingit tradition of respect for nature and our animal neighbors.

We are so lucky to live in a place where we can be among the bears!

The Juneau Empire had a wonderful story last week about Naa Tla'a.  Click here to read some of her story.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


‎"God of understanding, overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy, we seek your light and guidance as we confront such terrible events. Grant that those whose lives were spared may live so that the lives lost here may not have been lost in vain. Comfort and console us, strengthen us in hope, and give us the wisdom and courage to work tirelessly for a world where true peace and love reign among nations and in the hearts of all."

-Pope Benedict XVI (excerpt from prayer at Ground Zero)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Organization (or The Lack Thereof)

You might remember this photo from a previous post:

I was blogging around in my usual Saturday morning stupor and found this really great website, Mod Podge Rocks.  Since I use Mod Podge to make my icon shrines, I thought this was chock full of great ideas for getting my fingers all gluey and to find different ways to use paper for other projects that I can do in my copious spare time (hahahahaha!).

So, anyhow, while checking out Mod Podge Rocks, I saw this post about a wonderful cabinet for scrapbooking supplies, etc.  Then, I remembered the above picture, which is of my icon shrine making supplies in containers perched on top of a cabinet.  

The cabinet was holding a bunch of stuff that belongs to my son, who is away at college at the moment.  As you can see this was the place we shoved carefully put away the items that he wasn't using.  So I figured that, since HE wasn't using the cabinet, I would.

I dumped lovingly placed his treasures in a container to put in the attic and put my icon shine making supplies in the cabinet, thereby freeing another surface to pile stuff on decorate.  I put a lovely deep basket on the top to put all the stuff that needs to go upstairs to my office/sitting room.

Now the cabinet looks like this on the inside:

And this on the outside:

Quite an improvement over how it looked before, no?  

PS: By the way, even though I look at the label of the containers of Mod Podge several times a week, it wasn't until I found the Mod Podge Rocks website that I realized that Mod Podge is NOT spelled (or pronounced) "Modge Podge"!  This coming from the grammar and pronunciation queen herself!  Oh, well, I think I will continue to pronounce it "Modge Podge" anyway, because I'm a contrarian!

I'm linking up at: 

Stuff and Nonsense

A Marvelous Mess

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Name (and Photo) In Print!

I just wanted to let you know that a photo of mine will be printed in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday (she said calmly).  Let me rephrase that:


My friend Anne Hurley and I went to Vashon Island for a quick overnight last May and being a writer, she did a freelance travel article about our stay at the Betty MacDonald Farm there.  Her camera wasn't working so she asked me to take some photos to accompany the article. Here is the photo they chose:

Pretty exciting, no?

Here are some of the other photos I took on the trip...

I loved this little birdie planter with the Hens and Chicks - perfect!

Here is the deck of the cottage.

This is the beautiful gate.

Items in the barn and museum

I loved this old shed surrounded by forget me nots!

The barn

It was such a fun trip, now made doubly so by the excitement of being published!

Thanks Anne, for writing the story, and for having a broken camera!