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, February 26, 2012


Both of my little birds are back in the nest.

We are so happy!

Welcome home, Miguel!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

Here is an article that Charles wrote for the Southeast Alaska Catholic, the Diocese of Juneau's newspaper:

What he says about Lent is better than anything I could come up with.

We are pulling in our horns a bit, becoming more reflective, quieting things down, and getting ready.

The blog posts will be less frequent over the next few weeks.  Please keep me in your prayers, and I will be praying for all of you as well.

We can do no great things, only small things with great love.
                                                                              Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

10 Things You May Not Know About Me

This is an idea borrowed from Allison at Rambling Follower (a great blog, by the way, check her out here), who swindled (her word) it from Granola Catholic (another great blog, check HER out here).  I am going to do this Letterman style, starting with #10.  To those of you who know me well, some of these things are old news, but here goes:

The Top Ten Things You May Not Know About Paula (Assuming You Give A Rat's A**)

I wanted to be a nurse, but was so nervous about taking college algebra, I chickened out.  Too bad, I would have made a great nurse.  A lot of people think I am a nurse anyway, since I worked at the State Public Health Clinic (as a public health nurse aide) for 15 years.  When Charles was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, his doctor told him that if he had any questions, "Paula can answer them, because she's a nurse."  WRONG.

Charles and I fell in love within two weeks of meeting.  Two months later, I went to visit him in San Francisco and by the middle of the second week, we were engaged.  We got married seven months later.  When we decided to get engaged, we had only been in each other's physical presence for three weeks.  It was fast, but it stuck, as we are still married almost 30 years later.  However, if one of my kids did the same thing, I would be hysterical.

I am 4'9 1/2'' tall.  I used to be 4'10 3/4", but I shrunk.  It is a cruel thing to shrink when you are under 5  feet tall.  I tell people that I am vertically challenged but horizontally gifted.  For some reason, people think it is important to remark on my height when they meet me.  For example, "It is so NICE to meet someone who is shorter than me!"  to which I want to reply, but don't (because my mama raised me to be polite): "I am so glad that I could bring some joy into your otherwise empty and meaningless life".  I wish I am able to respond as my sister Rita did once (she is also short), when a guest at a party stood up and offered her his chair, saying that the chair was reserved for midgets.  She pulled herself up to her dignified 4'9" and said: "Just mental midgets.  Be my guest."  Ah to have a rapier-like rejoinder like that.  Maybe someday I will be so quick.  In the meantime, I just get annoyed.

The most amazing, affirming, and healing thing I have ever done in my life was to address the U.S. Bishops at their meeting in Dallas, Texas in June 2002.  I will not go into detail about why I was there, as my statement says it all.  It changed my life.  Here is the link:  Statement of Paula Gonzales Rohrbacher to the Bishops of the United States.

To the amusement of a number of preschoolers, I can wiggle my ears, cross my eyes and curl my tongue at the same time.  Unfortunately, I was never able to sell tickets for this.

I lived in North Portland until I was 4 years old.  Because I had a lisp, I used to amuse my family by stating that my address was "Thixteen Oh Thixth North Thimpthon Threet".

I am a clergyman's wife.  Charles is a permanent deacon of the Roman Catholic Church.  While he is a tremendous, holy and pious man, I am a miserable lowly worm and have much too big a mouth to make a good deacon's wife.  Plus, I swear an awful lot.  But I try to be worthy.

I have the kindest, most wonderful children that God ever placed on this earth.  They are funny, smart, beautiful, quick, loving, gracious, faithful, loyal, and good to their mother.  They are a credit to me, and I mean it!

I am married to the best person in the world.  No lie.  He is the BEST husband and father around.  He is a wonderful artist - here is a link to see more of his work: New Jerusalem Workshop.  He is also very holy (see #4).  He is very funny, which surprises people who don't know him well.    One time, he was in the kitchen and listening to a CD while he was cooking.  A beautiful song came on and we heard him say to Gwinnie, our dog: "You know, Gwinnie, if we could sing like that, we would never have to work again."  He said it to the dog.  That's just one of the reasons I love him.  To list them all would take up far too much space.

And the Top Thing That You May Not Know About Me:

I am allergic to dust mites.  Which is hilarious, because, have you ever SEEN my house?  Every once in a while, I go on a rant (like I did the other day, but deleted because it was so snarky) about how messy the house is.  I had dreams of the house being pristine, like a picture in a magazine, after I retired, because, after all, what else would I have to DO, but clean the house, and organize, etc.  Well, that was a wash (or not wash, as the case may be).  I am no more organized or tidy than I was before I retired.  I now sit among the clutter and disorder, eating bon bons and looking at blogs.  Not really - I don't even like bon bons.  (What ARE bon bons anyway?).  The point is, I have to get in gear.  I have made a good start with organizing the closet in our bedroom.  Having a new puppy makes things a bit more problematic.  (Note to self: DO NOT GET A NEW PUPPY IN THE WINTER EVER AGAIN!)  I should post BEFORE pictures, but I worry that there won't ever be an AFTER, and the pictures of my disgusting hovel will just be out there, waiting to be resolved like a minor chord.  

And there you have it folks:  Useless facts about me.  Tell your friends, because after all, who DOESN'T want to know ten things about someone you never met?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day to all my loyal followers!  Sorry about the snarky post yesterday (now deleted)  - I was having a very difficult day.

Today is brighter, however, and in the spirit of St. Valentine, I am sharing a few wonderful quotes about love...

"Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house.  Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor...let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.  Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting."
                                                                   Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything."

                                                                        Pedro Arrupe, Society of Jesus

"A heart is not judged by how much you love, but how much you are loved by others"
                                                                          The Wizard of Oz

and finally, from our friend Buddy:

"Cupid shot an arrow
He shot it with a bow
He's locked and loaded 
and ready for the show.

Love me sweet baby
Love me all of the time

Wrap your arms around me
Be my Valentine!"
"Valentine" by Buddy Tabor

No teas'ing - 

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lay Down Your Weary Tune

Today was Buddy's funeral.  It was a beautiful, heartfelt occasion, and a wonderful opportunity for Buddy's friends and family to express their sorrow at his passing and to celebrate his being born to new life.

Buddy's ashes are in a beautiful box made by his friend Jim.

Buddy's friend Ken gave the eulogy.

Charles gave a beautiful homily.

Me hugging Buddy's wife Jeannette before the funeral.

Jeannette with her son and her siblings, who came from New Mexico for the funeral.

Jim and Martha were the music ministers.

Pastor Sue, from the Lutheran church read the prayers of the faithful.

Charles did a wonderful job presiding - not an easy task to do the funeral for a good friend.

Special friends Colette, Maridon and Riley sang Buddy's song, Wait For Me

It was a very special day, what a privilege to be there.
Thank you all again for your prayers.

Here is the song we sang at the end of the funeral.

Lay Down Your Weary Tune

Lay down your weary tune, lay down
Lay down the song you strum
And rest yourself 'neath the strength of strings
No voice can hope to hum.
                              Bob Dylan

Rest in peace, Buddy.  We will miss you.

(Photo credit: All photos by Brian Wallace)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Look What I Did!

I know, two posts in one day!  Unheard of!  But, I was looking at Mockingbird Hill Cottage (a favorite blog - go visit Claudia immediately!) and this is what I found: Pixlr!

It is a really fun photo editing website.  It is idiot proof.  Just look what I did!

I took this...

...and turned it into this!

And I took this...

...and made this!

Aren't they pretty and vintage-y (is that a word)?  They look like they were suffused with sunshine and it was a pretty cloudy day when I took them.  I love these two photos, and now I love them even more! Thanks, Claudia!

A New Baby In The Neighborhood, And A Ton Of Snow.

Our friends James and Maura brought home their new baby last week!  He is a darling little guy - I had forgotten how tiny a newborn is, although I swear you can see him growing.

He's got poetic toes (Longfellows).  I am going to wait to post pictures of his little face...after all, his mom and dad should have the chance to post his pictures first, don't you think?  But I couldn't resist his little toes.

This is what our back door looked like earlier this week.  Between the snow falling from the sky, and the snow sliding off the roof,  the back door (and therefore, the dog door) was completely blocked.

So, we chipped and shoveled....

....and shoveled and chipped...

...until they were able to go outside.  Of course, Frida puts one paw in the snow and looks at me as if she is saying, "You're kidding, right?"

Beans doesn't care - she loves the snow.

It's raining now, so we have a ton of slush in our future.

(I hate slush.)