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.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Happy Discovery - Memories of My Mom

June 1 was the anniversary of my mom's death.  She was 93 when she died.  She grew up in a "little mining town in the West", Raton, New Mexico.

On the back of this photo she wrote: "This is 140 N. 5th St, Raton - I grew up in this house with my father and mother and sisters - I had many good times while I lived there - a happy childhood and carefree times.  My father planted a peach tree from seed and many years later it bore a beautiful big peach (only one) and Papa but it in a box and sent it to me!  Dad and I 'spooned' on that porch!"

While straightening my closet yesterday, I ran across some memorabilia from my Mom's house.  There were photos, notes, cards that I had sent her over the years, my old report cards ("Spelling: Excellent.  Arithmetic: Needs improvement." Some things never change.)

Among the things in the box was a note that she had written about her visit to Juneau in November of 1984.  She wrote:

"Arrived 11/16 1 hr late.  But had pleasant flight.  P&C met me.  Sat - 5:30 p - went to Mass.  Mona and Dave's baby was baptized - Paula & Charles were godparents.  Small party after Mass at Paula & Chas house.  Nice group - all brought food and drink.

Sun.: First thing in a.m. Paula got up - went to bathroom - then came to my bed and got in w/me - and we talked - then Chas. got up, called her into bathroom then both came out and said in unison - 'Good morning Grandma!'  Paula had done an Early Preg. Test and when they checked it, it was POSITIVE.  We were all so happy - all sibs and parents were notified by phone and all responded with joy.  Paula and Charles are ecstatic.  July 17 is EDA.

This has been a most pleasant visit.  Have seen lots of old friends and after baptism of Mona's baby we gathered and had food and conversations like the way they do here, all contribute, all enjoy - Paula and I made guacamole - everyone loved it.  These young people are amazing!  Self-assured, self sufficient, yet all bound together in a strong bond of religious faith and true friendship - so that they are dependent on one another but not in a way that's cloying nor burdensome - only helpful and strengthening.  I love these young people.  I think they portray my ideal of real friendship and fellowship - concern for one another - sharing joys and problems and sadness and trouble as a group and as a group praying for God's help for the grace to handle it.

I know Paula and Chas. will be good parents.  I pray Paula's pregnancy will be a easy as mine.  I know they will do everything they can to assure a health baby and that when it's born they will bring it up right.  There's a whole new generation of babies now, all belonging to the original group of young people I met while Paula was still with JVC."

Reading this note, and seeing how much my Mom loved visiting here, getting to know my friends, and how much she approved of our life here in Alaska meant so much to me.  I am so grateful for her approval, and for her love.  I miss her more than I can say.

Wherever Mom was, there was PIE!

On the Alaska Marine Highway

Mom, with my sisters Mary and Rita and me

Mom's first visit to our new house

Mom with baby Miguel and 7 year old Phoebe

I had a good cry, looking at the pictures, reading her notes and remembering.  She was unforgettable in so many ways.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Best Weekend Ever!

On Friday, my friend Mary came for a quick visit.  She was attending a meeting in Seattle, and since she was most of the way here already, she flew up to Juneau.  We had a lot of fun together.

You wouldn't think that something as mundane as taking the recycling to the dump and doing a Costco run would be that exciting, but Mary was game for anything, even a Costco hot dog (the cheapest lunch in town)!

On Sunday, we were joined by my friend Jeanie (remember Jeanie?) who is visiting from Cheney, WA for a ride on the Alaska Marine Highway to Haines.  We got off during the quick turnaround at the Haines Ferry Terminal and met a new friend, a Havanese named Max and his person, Michelle.

Michelle kindly took a picture of the three of us.

On Monday, Jeanie, Mary and I were joined by my friend Nancy, who was visiting Juneau just for the day on a cruise ship.  Jeanie and I took them on a tour of Juneau, including the Mt. Roberts Tram.




Mary, with Gastineau Channel in the background.

I can see my house from up here!

We continued our tour with a visit to the Shrine of St. Therese.  While on the Island, we watched the fisherman fish the Breadline (a local favorite fishing spot).  We also saw eagles and sea lions.

The Shrine Labyrinth in bloom.

And of course, no visit to Juneau is complete without a stop at the Mendenhall Glacier.

Arctic Tern nesting grounds.  They fly all the way to Juneau from Anarctica to lay their eggs.

Nugget Falls.  Those tiny dots are people.

A recent calving.

The face of the glacier is a mile and a half away.

What a great group of women!

Mary relaxes after our excursion.

Nancy checks out the pictures she took.

We ended the day with an enchilada dinner with apple pie for dessert, to celebrate Charles' birthday.  Then I took Nancy back to her boat for a 10:00 p.m. departure.

Mary left on Tuesday morning.

Jeanie is still here until July 7.

I loved being surrounded by my best friends!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Come Holy Spirit!

Before the week is over, I wanted to share my photos of our Pentecost Sunday decorations at our parish, the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Juneau, Alaska.  Our church is the smallest cathedral in North America!  (Sorry about the poor quality of the photos - I was trying to be unobtrusive so I took the pictures in a hurry!)

Here is the sanctuary, with Charles' San Damiano Icon Crucifix in the background.

A close up of the crucifix.  This is the image that spoke to St. Francis in the abandoned church of San Damiano in Assisi.

The beautiful flower arrangement in front of the altar.  Our church decorators and flower arrangers do such a great job, don't you agree?

Come Holy Spirit!
Veni Creator Spiritus!
Envia Tu Espiritu!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Icons at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Juneau, AK

As long as we're on the theme of icons (see previous post), I thought I would share some photos of the icons that Charles painted for St. Paul the Apostle Parish in the Mendenhall Valley.

The view from the pews.

The Holy Family

The Risen Jesus with Mary Magdalene at the tomb.

Christ in Glory

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Icon Prayer Shrines

I love making these little prayer shrines!

I use recycled Altoids tins....

and beautiful paper...

and prints of Charles' original icons.

Here is one of St. Agatha, patroness of women with breast cancer.

These shrines are lovely for home prayer spaces, for hospitals, hospices and for travel.  I love making them because it is a small way to glorify God and to spread the word about icons!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Big Trip Vol. 3: Turnbull Wildlife Refuge

While I was in Cheney, WA, Jeanie and Bob took me to visit the Turnbull Wildlife Refuge.

The beautiful view at the start of the trail.

Geese, swans and other waterfowl abound.

Jeanie and Bob!

Two curious river otters.

A close up...who is looking at who?

What a beautiful day for a hike!

This deer was checking us out - the deer there are so much bigger than the Sitka Blacktail Deer we have here!

We rested on a convenient log and posed for a picture.

Wild flowers were everywhere.

This moose was browsing.  We almost missed seeing her because they blend in so well.

These owlets refused to turn around for a picture.

It was a wonderful day!