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.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Feast of the Holy Family

Happy Feast of the Holy Family!

Icon of The Holy Family, written by Charles Rohrbacher for
St. Paul the Apostle Church, Juneau, Alaska

May the blessings of the Holy Family be with all of you today!

Please continue to pray for my sister, who had surgery yesterday.  She will be in the hospital for a few more days.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New Recipes (And A Prayer Request)

We didn't have our usual big Christmas Open House this year, but instead had small gatherings with the neighbors and other close friends.

I didn't even make my usual traditional Christmas cookies - I ran out of time and energy (I am just three weeks post surgery)!

Since I had a couple of glass jars of marshmallows left over from this summer (I over-estimated the number of s'mores we would be making), I decided to make fudge.  I used this recipe from Martha Stewart, without nuts.  It was delicious!

Simple Chocolate Fudge recipe - for all those marshmallows left over from this summer!

I read about Pippa Middleton's Peppermint Creams in US Weekly Magazine and decided to try them.  They were wonderful and everybody loved them!

We had Christmas dinner with our friends James and Maura and Pat and Kim (along with James and Maura's baby Seamus and Pat and Kim's kids Molly, Elias and Toby).  We had turkey with all the fixings.  I made a Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread Cake.  It was fantastic!  I made a glaze with powdered sugar, brandy and a little milk and sprinkled red and green sprinkles on it.  The secret ingredient is Guinness Stout (although any stout beer would probably work).  It was deep and rich and flavorful and just right for Christmas dessert.  We made whipped cream to top it off with.

gramercy tavern's gingerbread
Smitten Kitchen
It was fun to try some new things this year!  Did any of you try a new recipe for Christmas?

By the way, as we were getting ready to leave for Christmas dinner, yesterday, I got a call that my sister was hospitalized and was in intensive care.  She is doing much better today, but will be in the hospital for several days to monitor her status.  I would appreciate prayers for her recovery and also for her family who are understandably quite worried.  She had a miserable Christmas, poor thing!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Visitation Icon by Charles Rohrbacher

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.
                                      Luke 1:46-55

I love this image - women meeting, cousins greeting.  Jesus and John encountering each other for the first time, while still in their mothers' wombs.

May our hearts leap with anticipation just as John leapt in his mother's womb when he looked forward to meeting Jesus at his birth!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Nativity Set

A few years ago, Charles painted a Nativity Set for our home.  It is based on the icon of the Nativity of Christ and has all the elements of that icon, including figures of the Three Wise Men, which, of course would be in the icon of the Epiphany.

Charles' intention at the time was just to have the Nativity Set for our family, but when we began to display it, our friends were so taken with it that they urged us to sell reproductions of it.

So, we began to make reproductions, which was quite an arduous process, involving having prints made of the images (we had them made smaller because the original figures are quite large), cutting them out and and affixing each image to the Gator Board (like foam core, only with wood instead of paper), with Mod Podge and then sealing them.  We ended up purchasing  a scroll saw to cut out each figure.  After all that, we would paint the backs and edges and glue paper easels on the backs (I say "we", when what I really mean is "Charles"!).

A couple of years ago, I found a dry mount press, which made the process so much easier - we could mount the images on the backing without glue and laminate the front as well.

We sold them at the Juneau Public Market for the two years that we had a booth there, and then when we moved to the Juneau Artists Gallery, we displayed them there.  We only sold a few, and they didn't fly off the shelves like hot cakes like we were certain they would.

The cost of each set might have be a factor - as each image takes a great deal of work to reproduce and manufacture, we decided to charge $100 a set, basically, $10 for each image.  When Charles added the Wise Men to the set, we decided not to charge extra and kept the price at $100.

I think that since the sets are so large (the largest figure is of the angels and is about 15 inches tall), it prevents people from purchasing them, along with the price, which is pretty expensive, unless you are in a position to spend that kind of money.  A few Nativity Set collectors have bought them, which is nice as well.

This year, we decided not to manufacture any sets and just put the word out that if folks want them (they would be for next year) they can let us know and we will make them to order.

I am thinking that it would be good to make them a bit smaller or at least to offer the option of having a smaller set than the size we have now.

I sent off a set today that had been ordered last year.  It was kind of fun, as I had to pack them at the Post Office and the folks waiting in line were intrigued by them.  I had a couple of folks ask if they were for sale.  I told them not this year, but we would be taking orders for next year if they were interested.

Charles did such a beautiful job painting the original set that I wanted to share it again this year with my readers!

It is such a lovely and unique addition to our Christmas decorations and helps keep us in mind of what the season is all about.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sleep In Heavenly Peace

I was too tired (and frankly, too sad) to stay up and watch Saturday Night Live this past week, so I missed a beautiful moment.

In a tribute to the victims in Connecticut, a children's choir sang a simple rendition of Silent Night.  No instruments, no fancy lighting or costumes, just children in red choir robes, singing a capella and in unison.

In case you missed it, here is a link:

New York Children's Chorus

Sunday, December 16, 2012


- mittens on a string

I am deliberately avoiding watching the news on television, listening to the news on the radio, or reading the news in the newspaper.

I know enough of the facts:  On Friday, a mentally ill young man killed over two dozen people, including little children, in an elementary school in Connecticut.

There are so many questions.

How could this have happened?  How could it have been prevented?  And inevitably, who is to blame?

Proponents of gun control blame the fact that huge numbers of guns that are readily available, with little difficulty. to the public.  People who are in favor of upholding 2nd Amendment rights argue that madmen would find ways to kill regardless of more stringent gun laws.

I have my own opinions, but would rather not get drawn into the debate in this forum, and I respectfully ask that your comments reflect this.

What really matters in the end is that, because of what happened on Friday, there are empty little pajamas at the end of empty little beds.  Little jackets are hanging on hooks with mittens hanging off the cuffs, and little boots are lined up next to back doors, waiting for snow ball fights and snow man building adventures that won't happen.  Presents are wrapped and under trees for children who won't be there to open them on Christmas.  And parents and grandparents with empty arms are mourning.

Families are shattered by grief, friends are unable to find a way to help or explain, and strangers who have never heard of this town in Connecticut before Friday dissolve in tears because of this tragedy, and at the thought of something similar happening in their own town, in their own school, to their own children.

And through my tears, all I can do is pray.

Protect us all from the violence of others,
keep us safe from the weapons of hate
and restore to us tranquility and peace.

We ask this through Christ our Lord

                                                                                                                           Book of Blessings

Friday, December 14, 2012


"And it's not a cry that you hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah"

                                                            Leonard Cohen

Eighteen little children killed while attending school.

When will we truly have Peace On Earth and Goodwill Towards Men?

When will it be time to say "Enough".

When will it be time to get rid of the guns?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Just The Name Alone Should Persuade You

Looking idly at my blog roll this morning, I was suddenly transfixed by this post title:

"Boozy Eggnog Loaf Cake"

And then I was further drawn in by this photo:

I found the recipe at one of my favorite blogs by fellow Alaskan blogger Nicole Pearce.  Her blog is Arctic Garden Studio and she has great photos and wonderful recipes.  She blogs from her cabin in Fairbanks, which is really, really cold in winter.  We Southeast Alaskans know that we mostly have it easy when it comes to subzero temperatures!  However we make up for it in rain.

I hope you get a chance to try this recipe - it just looks delicious and I can't wait to try it myself!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Seven Quick Takes: In Which I Complain For A While

One:  I hurt.  

You know how they say bone pain is the worst?  They are right.  I woke up after surgery and was doing OK until the nerve block thing wore off and then Sweet Mother of Mercy!!!  "How is your pain level from one to ten?"

"Nine!"  Boy, did they scurry about to do something about it.  At that point, I was not convinced I was going to be able to go home.  "They won't send me home hurting like this, will they?"  "No, no we're just going to get the pain under control."

Whatever it was it worked.  For a while.  Enough to get me home.  And then, SWEET BABY JESUS!!  Time for the oral meds to do their magic.  I was supposed to take two of the prescription ones and three ibuprofen every 4 hours.  They worked fine for 2 1/2 hours then it was grit my teeth time until the four hours was up.  That was good for about 4 days, when I stopped taking them around the clock.  Now I take them so I can sleep.  Sleep is good.

Two:  I look like I have been run through a wringer

If Jabba The Hut wore Hot Pink Crazy Cat Pajamas.  Not my best look.  Note the pain-furrowed brow.

The night before, and the morning of, the surgery, I was told to cleanse the surgical area with this really  strong soap, and to wash my hair with shampoo.  I went to the hospital squeaky clean and smelling like a very antiseptic flower.  My hair was silken and smooth as, well, silk.  

That was Wednesday.  Today, Tuesday, I look like the wrath of God.  My hair is sticking up, I have cowlicks that any sane cow would run away from, I am forced to wear an XXL chamois shirt with one arm through the sleeve and the other arm in a sling under the shirt, so it looks, (as Charles so helpfully pointed out) like I have gained about 30 pounds on one side of my abdomen.  "But everybody knows you didn't", he said comfortingly.

I can't wear pants that require buttoning or zipping, so I have been wearing either my new (to me) Hot Pink Crazy Cat Pajamas that I got at Salvation Army, or the aforementioned giant chamois shirt with drawstring pants or pull up fleece pants.   While I never claimed to be a fashion icon, I know that even I can do better than this under normal circumstances.

Three: I smell like a polecat.

I haven't bathed since Wednesday morning.  I have attempted to dab at myself with a damp washcloth but it is hard with one hand.  Charles has tried to help me with a sponge bath, but he is so afraid of hurting me, ("Am I hurting you?  Am I hurting you?"  he repeatedly asks while ineffectually waving a dripping washcloth over me.)  that I have given up until Thursday, when I go to the doctor and will get the green light to take a shower.  I have resorted to using baby powder.  I think it is bad, though, because even Frida has to think about cuddling up next to me, and she is no bundle of sweet peas herself.

Four:  The house is a wreck

It isn't as bad as it could be, thanks to Charles.  I have a call in to a young woman named Rose, who hopefully will put things to rights soon.

Five:  I have wonderful friends

Several friends have brought over delicious food for us.  This is a boon in a difficult time.  I never realized how much it helps to have someone just drop off dinner.  What a blessing!  And another friend stopped by to visit and pray with me - very helpful!  And I have had at least a couple of calls a day from folks just checking in on me.

Six:  I have a wonderful family

Charles had to travel the weekend after my surgery for work, so Phoebe, who had just moved out and was probably so happy to be in her own place at last, came home to help care for me.  She did the stuff that Miguel just couldn't do, and Miguel took care of cooking (actually they both did a great job with everything).  They made a meal on Sunday that was just tremendous.  I am the luckiest woman alive.  All this, AND Charles strokes my brow while waiting for my meds to kick in.  

Seven: All of you in blog land

Thanks for keeping me entertained this week!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Hunkering Down

Here we are pre-performance last night!

After weeks of rehearsal, today was the final concert of the Juneau Bach Society.  It was the last thing that I had on my calendar for the next six weeks!  It is now time for me to hunker down for awhile.

I'm having shoulder surgery on Wednesday, and my arm will be in a sling for six weeks.

While this doesn't mean that I will be completely immobilized or helpless, it does mean that Christmas will be considerably scaled back this year (for me anyway).

Here is what WON'T happen this year:

1.  Our annual Christmas Open House
2.  Major decorating
3.  Cookie baking on a large scale
4. Manufacturing of icon Nativity scenes (in the past, we have made and sold these at Christmas time, but they are pretty labor intensive!)
5. House work (by me, anyway)

Here is what will happen this year:

1.  Quieter, small gatherings with family and close friends.
2.  A more thoughtful, measured approach to decorating, with an emphasis on family traditions.
3.  Cookies baked by Charles and the kids, again with an emphasis on the family traditional favorites.
4. Creation of small, hand sewn Christmas ornaments (which don't require a lot of arm movement), including a lovely little felt Holy Family.
5.  The finding and hiring of a temporary housekeeper to do some deep cleaning and maintenance  while I am unable to take care of housework (the rest of the family is capable of taking care of this, but having someone else do it will make the month easier for all of us!).

While I'm not looking forward to having surgery and the long recovery period, this means I will be able to actually have a quiet and reflective Advent this year, instead of running around getting ready for our open house and generally being grouchy for three weeks.  Friends have offered to bring meals for the first week of my recovery, which will make things easier for everyone - I am blessed with a loving community!

Christmas gifts will be fewer and simpler this year.  I won't be running so many errands.  I will be sitting at home, reading, stitching, and reflecting.

The snow is falling outside, the high winds have died down,  Miguel is making Jambalaya in the kitchen while listening to Cajun music.  Phoebe just arrived for Sunday dinner, Charles is in the studio and I am grateful!

Please keep me in your prayers this week!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Latest Project

This year I decided to make some home made Christmas ornaments.

I have always liked the look of embroidered felt, so I decided to give it a try.

Charles drew a simple bird and heart shapes for me, and I embellished them with simple stitching.

I think they are turning out pretty cute!  What do you think?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Just Beautiful

The other day I was downtown running errands and I looked up and saw this:

This is what Mt. Juneau looks like on a sunny day in winter.  In the foreground are the Valentine Building, the Viking Bar and the Gross 20th Century Theater Building.

Sometimes, I am so busy with my errands and chores that I forget to look up, but I am so glad I did this time!

I was tootling around on Facebook, and found this picture snapped by Akiko Nishijiama Hotch of the view south on Sandy Beach that same day:

This is just a few blocks from my house.  I can hardly believe that I live surrounded by such beauty every day!

Then, another friend shared a photo that he took of my kids at an event honoring our new state writer laureate:

My beautiful children!

And finally, I was so proud last night to attend a screening of "How To Survive A Plague", a film commemorating the efforts of AIDS activists to develop medications that transformed AIDS from a death sentence to a chronic disease.  The event was sponsored by the Alaskan Aids Assistance Association.  Phoebe works in the local office as a case manager.  She is doing a wonderful job.  Here is a picture of her giving a talk to the audience before the film.  She was so poised, professional and confident!

I am so grateful for all of this beauty in my life!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

White Meat and Dark Meat: Take It Away!

Here is a goofy Thanksgiving greeting from one of my favorite movies!  Enjoy!

"I am a turkey.  Kill me!"

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!  I am thankful for all of you!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Slings and Arrows (Well, Slings, Anyway)

Full-thickness tear.
Not my shoulder
I went to the orthopedist yesterday (I know, I'm just falling apart, right?) to get the results of my shoulder MRI.  I have a torn rotator cuff, arthritis and some other thing that he described about my collarbone and shoulder bone that all need repair.

So, on December 5th, I will be having surgery.  I thought it was going to be a quick procedure like my knee surgery that I had a few years ago, but no such luck.  It will be a two hour surgery, but fortunately, I won't have to stay overnight in the hospital.  I will be having physical therapy starting three weeks after the surgery and will need to have my arm immobilized in a sling for 6 weeks, with  no reaching or lifting anything.  I'm right handed and of course it is my right shoulder...

Not the best way to get ready for Christmas, but we are downsizing a bit (no Christmas open house this year).

I am so grateful that I have health insurance and that this is all fixable.

I will be glad to have it done as my shoulder has been hurting me for quite a while.

Boo hoo.  Off we go on another medical (but thank God, not serious) adventure.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving Memories

-turkey, turkey.

First of all, THANK YOU!!!! to the many followers who commented on my last post, which, I admit, was rather of the "poor me, quivering chin, whiny butt" variety.

It was so reassuring to hear that many of you do not receive regular comments either, but continue to post because you know that there are people who are enjoying, if not commenting on, your blogs.

So, in the spirit of gratitude, which we will be concentrating on this week (especially on Thursday), I decided to share some of my favorite Thanksgiving memories, and to ask you if you would also like to share some of yours, as well!

We always had Thanksgiving dinner at my childhood home, and everyone would come there for the feast.  Since I was the youngest of six, my older siblings were married and had children of their own when I was quite young.  As a matter of fact, I became an aunt when I was three years old.  So, of course, I was always "invited" to sit at the kids' table for Thanksgiving (and Christmas, and Easter) dinner.  I didn't mind this too much, except that I missed all the fun conversation at the grown ups' table.  I think I was about 15 when I was finally allowed to join the adults.

We always had the traditional foods for Thanksgiving: turkey, with my mother's amazing oyster stuffing, mashed potatoes, my mother's amazing giblet gravy, cranberry sauce, salad, and some sort of side vegetable like peas.  My sister Rita liked the canned jellied cranberry sauce, so my mom always bought one can just for her.  Over the years, my mom experimented with cranberry relish, but she usually just settled for making the whole cranberry sauce from scratch.  There was never a sweet potato to be found at our table.

We used to tease my mom about her gravy.  There is no better gravy in the world than the giblet gravy my mom used to make, but we would jokingly accuse her of using some product like Kitchen Bouquet to flavor her gravy.  She knew we were joking, but she would be a good sport and play along, vehemently denying the accusations.

My job was to mash the potatoes.  One thing about my mom, she always had me help with the cooking and she taught me a lot.  I would use the old wooden handled potato masher and I can still remember the clinking sound it made in the big pan she used to cook the potatoes in.   Several big knobs of butter, and some splashes of milk later, the potatoes would mash up thick and fluffy.  They would go on the back burner to stay warm while she made the gravy.

She would have one of the guys move the turkey to a platter to rest and she would pour the drippings from the roasting pan into a big saucepan.  She would drain most of the fat off of the drippings, but not all of them, because "that's where the flavor comes from".  She would heat up the drippings in the saucepan while she mixed flour and milk together.  She would pour the milk/flour mixture into the drippings, stirring it with a whisk and stir and stir and stir until it started to thicken.  She would salt it (a lot) and put in the cooled and ground up giblets (it was also my job to grind the cooked giblets with the meat grinder).  One final stir and then the gravy would be put into the "nice" gravy boat, that was part of the china that my dad had bought for her, china that became even more precious after he died when I was five.

When my mom cooked a huge dinner, everything always came out even.  The potatoes would be perfect, not gluey from warming too long, the gravy never had a hint of lumps, the turkey would be roasted golden brown and the cranberry sauce always jelled.  She had a gift!

One year, our neighbor Doris came over after dinner to show us her new puppy, Julie.  Julie made a beeline for the counter, on which the turkey platter was resting.  She jumped up and her paws caught the edge of the platter.  Down came the platter, turkey and all, shattering on the kitchen floor.  The platter was part of the aforementioned precious china set.  My mom tried to reassure Doris that it was alright, but poor Doris was completely mortified, and my mom was heartbroken.  Doris did her best to replace it, but the pattern had been discontinued.  She did replace it with another lovely platter that we used after that.

After my siblings married, they had to join their in-laws for some holidays, so they usually would do one year with us and one year with them.  My sister Rita, who was very slender, could eat like a horse, and would usually eat a full meal at the in-laws and then come and eat leftovers at our house with pumpkin pie for dessert.  She would then sigh and say that she "ate too fast" (never too much, just too fast)!

After I moved to Alaska and married Charles, we would usually have Thanksgiving with several other friends who didn't have family close by.  One year, we were invited to our friend Therese's house for dinner with her and her family, including her parents.  When it was time to make the gravy, Therese and her mom were getting things ready when Charles said: "Paula makes the BEST GRAVY in the world!"  Therese's mom, Ril said: "Oh, I'd love to know how you make your gravy - can you show me?"  I was horrified, because Ril had probably made at least 40 Thanksgiving dinners in her life and was no doubt a gravy expert, but I gamely went into the kitchen and made the gravy just like my mom did, praying that there would be no lumps and that it would thicken.  It turned out fine, but I could have killed Charles that year.

There are so many memories, but I don't want to go on too long.  What are some of your favorite memories?

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We have so much to be thankful for this year!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Helloooo Out There! (With Random Old Photos)

I am so grateful to the three or four of my followers who regularly comment on Home In Douglas!

I have 54 (FIFTY-FOUR!) followers.

I know that folks are looking at my blog from looking at my statistics.

I am wondering if the lack of comments means that the content is not comment-worthy.

I started Home In Douglas mostly to share with folks about the goings-on here in our home and our community, and to share my thoughts, feelings and my "most appalling secrets" (h/t to "Little Women").

However, it is disheartening to get only a couple of comments (if any) on my posts.

I go to blogs that I follow (see the list to the right of the screen) and usually leave a comment, even if it is just "Nice post!",  just to let them know that I was there.

I go to the blogs that my followers follow, and sometimes will leave a comment, and also will become a follower if the blog looks interesting to me.

I'm not sure if I am doing things wrong, if my blog isn't interesting, if there is some rule that I'm not following, or what.  I don't subscribe to email updates or RSS feeds because I always go to my blog list to read new posts.

If you have advice, please share it with me.

And thanks for listening!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Please Join Me In Prayers for Sherri!

Here is a link to Kimberly's blog, Camp And Cottage Living, in which she asks for prayers for our fellow blogger Sherri from Little House In Paradise.  Sherri has recently been diagnosed with cancer (I hate cancer!).  Please join your prayers to Kimberly's and mine for full recovery and healing for Sherri!

Make sure you check out both of these great blogs!  It has been fun getting to know Kimberly and Sherri!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What Really Matters

Election Coverage Brings 4-Year-Old to Tears

How many of you have been feeling like THIS lately?

Me too!  I am SO glad that it is over.

I have certainly found out that politics brings out the worst in people!  I have seen such hateful and extreme rhetoric on Facebook and on various blogs in the past few months, weeks, and even today, AFTER the election.  And not just by people who voted differently than I did.

It is so important to remember that we are all one nation.  Democrat, Republican, Independent, Green...it doesn't matter.  What matters, as I said to a fellow blogger and Facebook friend, is relationships.

Charles was in California these past 10 days to be with his family.  His Dad fell ill and was hospitalized a week ago Saturday.  Charles flew down that evening, overnighted in Seattle and was at his Dad's side at the hospital on Sunday morning.  Thank God we were able to afford a sudden plane ticket.  Charles was all set to come home after a week, but his Dad had a little setback on Saturday, so we changed his ticket until he could be reassured that all was well.  We are grateful for the doctors and hospital staff who cared for him, and grateful that he felt well enough to go to the polls and vote, along with Charles' Mom.

View up Franklin Street in downtown Juneau as Capital City Fire/Rescue personnel work on a fire at the Gastineau Apartments at the corner of Franklin and Front Street on Monday.  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Photo: Michael Penn/Juneau Empire

On Monday night, a fire broke out in a low income housing building in downtown Juneau.  Thank God, there were no fatalities (except for a pet cat), and the injuries were minor.  All the residents were able to get out of the four-story building safely.  The air in downtown Juneau was thick with gray, toxic smoke.  I was heading to a restaurant downtown to meet a friend for dinner before choir rehearsal (I'm singing with the Bach Society).  As I got closer to downtown, I noticed how hazy it was, and as I got even closer, it was apparent that there was a major fire close by.  I parked and asked a passerby where the fire was and she told me, "The Gastineau Apartments".  My heart sank.  It is home to 50 low income, disabled and elderly tenants.  I proceeded to the restaurant for dinner and at the end of our meal, the power went out. The Fire Department had cut power so they could safely use water on the fire.  I ended up going home - just the 20 minutes that I had been outside in the smoke made me so congested and wheezy, I knew I couldn't sing at rehearsal that night.

The Red Cross set up a temporary shelter for the displaced tenants, and for the guests at the nearby Baranof Hotel, who also had to be evacuated.  The building tenants will have a difficult time finding new low cost housing.  The Gastineau Apartments were pretty shabby and run down, but as I told someone, even a sub-standard home is better than no home at all.

Our small town is rallying to help these folks.  Donations of funds, clothing and other items are pouring in for the victims of the fire.  A local movie theater is having a movie marathon to raise funds.  Local restaurants are giving them free meals.  Nobody cares what political party anyone belongs to in this situation.

So, you see, in the end, the things that make us different are less important than the things we have in common, especially those of us who share a common faith. 

Our faith in a loving, wise, just and merciful God.   Our families.  Our friends.  Our health.  Our homes.  Our communities.  These are the things that matter.  

In the days ahead, if you find yourself in a debate with someone over the outcome of the election, don't get sucked in.  Don't succumb to the temptation to hammer your point home.  It never works, and it could damage an important relationship.  Unfortunately, civil discourse appears to have gone the way of the eight track tape.  It seems to have disappeared from print, broadcast and online media.  Don't contribute to the decline of the polite conversation, especially in your homes and with your friends.  Appreciate our similarities, and pray for those who have different views.

Charles is home now, there is a fire in the wood stove, the skies are clearing, and it is time to start preparing for a busy weekend and week ahead.

And I am grateful.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What Are You Doing On The Computer?


It is our right, duty and privilege as citizens of the United States of America
to VOTE today.

No matter your political beliefs, regardless of political party,  all Americans must exercise their right to VOTE.

People, many displaced by Superstorm Sandy, line up to vote  Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, in Burlington, N.J., at a Mobile Voting Precinct. Many victims displaced by the storm are taking advantage of offers to vote early. Photo: Mel Evans / AP
Voters displaced by Superstorm Sandy line up to vote at a mobile voting station.

If the folks in the photo can do it, so can you!  
No excuses!

So, turn off your computer,
walk out your door,

(if you have already voted, thank you!)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Feast of All Souls

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord
and let perpetual light shine upon them.

May the souls of all the faithful departed
through the mercy of God
rest in peace.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Hallowe'en!

"I'm like every modern woman trying to have it all...a loving husband, a happy home.  I just wish I had more time to seek out the dark forces and join their hellish crusade."
                                                                                Morticia Addams

Happy Hallowe'en to all my friends and followers!  Have a safe holiday, and in the midst of the fun, please continue to keep those suffering the effects of Storm Sandy in your prayers.  For those on the East Coast and the Caribbean, may our prayers and the mercy of God and the efforts of the disaster relief workers ease their burden.

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Uh Oh! I've got...HAPPY FEET!"

The foot saga continues.

I went to the other podiatrist today and he was a huge improvement over the first one I saw.  He introduced himself, sat down, and asked what he could do for me.

He obviously had reviewed my notes from the orthopedist before the appointment, was very polite, gave me a little tutorial on the mechanics of feet, told me exactly what he was doing when he did the examination, asked me repeatedly if I had any questions, and gave clear explanations.  He recommended orthotics and sturdier shoes and gave me a great handout on how to test the shoes I already have.  I think I am going to be disposing of most of my shoes :-(...

I was very satisfied with my experience and relieved that I don't have to get steroid shots or surgery!

I immediately went and bought orthotics and new shoes.  I'm looking forward to feeling much better soon!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Bless The Beasts (And The Humans)

Last Thursday, we celebrated the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.  On his feast day, we bless our pets, because Francis is well known as a lover of all God's creatures.

Frida was freaking out, so I carried her.  She acted as if we were walking the last mile.

We gathered at the Cathedral and processed, singing, over to Cathedral Park, accompanied by dogs...


and a ferret.

Charles blessed the animals and they were all quiet and respectful.

Some of them even exchanged the sign of peace!

Charles blessed our little Beans...

and the ferret...

and finally, the humans.

Frida was the only one who disgraced herself, but I had a plastic bag in my pocket, just in case.  It's funny, she was really anxious in the car on the way to the church, but on the way back she was as calm as could be.  It must have been the influence of the other, more well behaved dogs, or perhaps the blessing worked!

It was a wonderful celebration!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Professional, My Foot!

Not my feet
So I went to the podiatrist.

I waited for an hour in the waiting (and waiting, and waiting) room.

I waited for a half hour in the exam room.

Then she came in, didn't apologize for making me wait, poked around on my foot, shaved off part of a callus (without asking/telling me what she was doing), and then said that she thought I have BOTH a Morton's Neuroma AND Metarsalgia, and I need a steroid shot and/or an orthotic, but she couldn't be sure until she saw my x-rays, and told me to go and pick up my x-rays from the orthopedist's office.  "You don't mind an extra errand, right?"  Why didn't her office tell me to bring my x-rays with me when I made the appointment?  And I DO mind an extra errand - "pick up my x-rays" meant driving to Salmon Creek to the orthopedist's office, filling out a request form ("We'll call you when it's ready!", the receptionist said sunnily, assuring me that it would be later in the day...it wasn't), and then taking them back to the podiatrist for yet another appointment for which I will be charged, when I could have had only ONE appointment in which my foot was examined, my x-rays reviewed, my foot shot up with cortisone and measured for an orthotic, if only I had been told in advance to BRING MY *&^%$#@ X-RAYS.

Then, when I told her that I was nervous about a steroid shot in my foot, because I have heard that steroid shots are very painful, she shook her head, sighed, and said slowly (as if I were mentally deficient): "It feels like a needle going into your skin.  It's a shot."  Her bedside manner leaves a little to be desired.

She told me my problem was related to having wide feet (Huh!  You think?), and then very scientifically drew an outline of my foot and put my shoe on top of it, to prove that my feet are wide, and my shoe is not wide enough, regardless of the fact that I ALWAYS buy wide shoes because (guess what?) I have wide feet.

But, she said, she can't do anything until she has seen my x-rays.  Oh, and by the way, to be sure to check with  my insurance company to make sure that treatment is covered.   Hmm.  My regular doctors always provide that service themselves.

Needless to say, I was not impressed.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux

Today is the feast day of St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as the "Little Flower of Jesus".

She was very young when she entered religious life - only fifteen.  She had to fight to be accepted into the convent.  She even traveled to Rome and personally petitioned the Pope.

She died very young, but in her short life, and in her writings, she influenced many people.  She is honored as a Doctor of the Church, along with Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom and other great thinkers and theologians.

Pretty impressive for a young woman who died at the age of twenty-four, and who never left her convent for the nine years that she was in religious life!

Therese is the patroness of Alaska, and the patroness of our Shrine of St. Therese, one of my favorite places.  Bishop Crimont S.J., the founder of the Shrine was personally acquainted with Therese's parents, Louis and Zelie Martin, and had a great devotion to her.

The Shrine Chapel

Today, all of the diocesan and parish staff are gathering in Wrangell for their Full Time Ministers meeting.  They will be there for four days to plan the upoming Year Of Faith.  It is wonderful that they are starting their meeting on this feast day!

St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us!