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, October 28, 2011

Happy Hallowe'en!

The Raven

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before 

On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!
                                                                        Edgar Allen Poe

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Our Trip to Portland

I can't believe it has been almost three weeks since I posted!

Charles and I were in Portland for a week (10/10 - 10/16).  Charles was attending the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions' national meeting.  While he was engaged in matters liturgical, I spent my time relaxing, shopping, and getting to know my home town.  Since the meeting was held at the Doubletree Hotel close to Lloyd Center, we stayed there, although it was very strange to stay in a hotel in my home town!

My brother Phil picked us up and took us out to breakfast one morning.  We went to his favorite diner - check out the great color scheme!

After breakfast, Charles went to his meetings and Phil and I sat in Holladay Park and visited and watched unsuspecting pedestrians get sprayed by the fountain.

At Evening Prayer at the conference, the organizers had built a giant puppet of Pope John XXIII, in honor of the 49th anniversary of the opening session of the Second Vatican Council.  The puppeteers processed slowly up the aisle, with the hand blessing the assembly.  It was very moving and beautiful!

"Let my prayer rise up like incense, let the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice..."

We went out to dinner with the representatives of Region XII (Oregon, Washington, Idaho. Montana and of course, Alaska).  We went to the Portland Grill.  When they told us we were going to be eating at the Portland Grill, we were thinking burgers and fries.  I knew it was going to be a bit more upscale when we got out of the elevator on the 30th floor.  We ended up spending a LOT more than we had planned but, it was a lovely meal and there was a beautiful view of Portland.

We finished off the week at my brother Marc and sister in law Kerry's house - a beautiful home in the Irvington District in NE Portland.  They hosted a family dinner - my sister Rita and her husband Walt came down from Seattle, along with my brother Vince's wife Mary Ann and her daughter KC.  Vince died in 2001, so we treasure the times we remaining siblings can get together.  My sister Mary and her husband Richard were there, along with Marc's son Mitch, an amazing musician, who treated us to a little home concert!  You can find his music at http://www.myspace.com/mitchellsumner.

Marc and Kerry's beautiful dining room - made even more wonderful by the great conversation!

Charles, Mitch and KC enjoying the witty repartee...

My two big brothers, Marc and Phil.

Charles and I admired the wildlife in downtown Portland...

...and saw two separate demonstrations in Pioneer Square.  The first was against the Chinese by the Vietnamese community...

...and the second was by Occupy Portland.

This gentleman was oblivious.

We saw some beautiful foliage!

And for all of you Beverly Cleary fans, here is the street that Ramona Quimby lived on: Klickitat Street!

It was a great trip, and I can't wait to go back!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

There Is A Lesson Here Somewhere

So last night I was craving a caramel apple, because it's autumn.  

I stopped at the store and instead of a caramel apple, I picked up a package of two little containers of caramel apple dip and two Red Delicious apples (my favorite).  

After dinner last night, I ate one of the apples with the dip and it was delicious.  Then this afternoon, before eating the second container of caramel with the other apple, I thought I should check the fat and sugar content of the caramel dip.  

I looked in the recycling bin and couldn't find it, and then remembered that after I opened the package, I threw the wrapper in the fireplace, which proves to me that in the end, I really didn't want to know the fat and sugar content of the caramel apple dip. 

 I just wanted to enjoy eating the caramel dip and a Red Delicious apple.

And so I did.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Happy Feast of St. Francis of Assisi!

St. Francis

Today is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, probably the best loved saint!  He was born in 1182 to a wealthy merchant, joined the military, and lived the life of a privileged young man until he experienced a conversion and decided to live in poverty as Christ did.  He was joined by many followers who also embraced poverty and simplicity.

One day, while praying in front of the crucifix at the abandoned church of San Damiano, he experienced a vision of Christ, speaking to him from the cross.  Christ told him, "Francis, go out and rebuild my house, for it is nearly falling down."  Francis, taking the command literally, began to rebuild the building, and worked on many derelict chapels to build them again.  However, the command he was given was to model out a new way of being Church - to embrace the simplicity and poverty of Christ, and to share  this with the rest of the Church.

He renounced all possessions and trappings of his former life and became a beggar, spreading the word of the joy of the faith, the command to share all possessions with the poor, to honor all of Creation, especially the animals.  He is the patron saint of animals, of love for the earth, of Italy and of merchants.

He died at the age of 44, after receiving the gift of the stigmata of Christ, sharing the same wounds in his hands, feet and side.  He was surrounded by his Franciscan brothers as he died, naked, lacking any possessions, in imitation of Jesus.

Last night at the Cathedral, we celebrated the vigil of his feast by commemorating the Transitus of Francis from earthly life to eternal life.  It was a beautiful service!

If there are any Franciscans in your community, congratulate them on the feast of their beloved founder, and if you don't encounter any Franciscans, then pet the nearest dog, cat, guinea pig, cow, pig, llama, rhinoceros, giraffe or any other animal you may come across today!

Beans, napping.

Gwinnie, God rest his soul!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Walk in the Woods with Phoebe

Phoebe and I went for a walk yesterday on a trail that runs along the Mendenhall River.

The Mendenhall River flows from the Mendenhall Glacier.  Note the blue cloudy water - dust from the rocks that the glacier grinds into a floury silt.

Fall colors at the Mendenhall River

A beaver has been at this tree!

The beaver tree against the blue sky.

"I AM smiling!"

"Just take the picture, already!"

It was a fun walk with my daughter!