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, May 31, 2012

Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain

I know,  I live in Southeast Alaska.

I know, Southeast Alaska is a rain forest.

I know, it rains a lot here.

I know, the rain makes everything beautifully green and lush.

I know, the rain keeps the streams and waterfalls full and magnificent and good for the returning salmon.

I know, the rain makes the flowers bloom and the grass grow (and grow, and grow - our front yard looks like Vietnam).

I got it.

But for the love of God and everything that is holy....

Can we just have some sun and warmth?  Just for a week or two?  And not for just a couple of hours?  Please?


RealFeel®: 33°F
Humidity: 92%
Cloud Cover: 100%
Dew Point: 44°F
Ceiling: 3505 ft
Pressure: 29.81 in
Winds: ESE at 16 mph
Visibility: 10 Miles
Gusts: 16 mph

Monday, May 28, 2012

For The Wounded

On this Memorial Day, I want to honor and remember those who have been wounded physically, mentally and emotionally while serving in the military.

There is no special holiday for them.

Memorial Day is for those who died in the service of our country, and I am grateful for their sacrifice.

Veterans' Day is for all living veterans, and rightly so.

But the veterans who struggle every day as a result of their wounds are especially in my thoughts today.

So today, I pray for healing and peace, for them and for their families.

Friday, May 25, 2012

An Amazing Woman, And A Remarkable Family

Seven Children  One Family
This is not a picture of C's family, but it is so cute, I had to steal it from Pinterest!

Thank God for my terrible memory.  A few weeks ago, my friend C bought a copy of Charles' book and gave it to me to bring home to have Charles sign it for her.

I have seen her several times since then and always forgot to bring the signed book with me.  So last time we saw each other, we made a lunch date so I could bring her the book.  Today, I drove out to the Mendenhall Valley to meet her for lunch and realized I forgot the book once again.  So, back to Douglas I went to get the book and I drove back out to the valley for noon Mass and lunch with C.  I am really glad it worked out this way, because I got to know her a little bit more today.

C and I first met at a women's weight loss support group.  Meeting the women in the group has been fun, and has been a motivation for me to be more mindful of my eating habits and exercise regimen.  But our meetings are too short and sporadic to really get to know each other on a deeper level.

So, back to today's lunch...

During our conversation, I asked C about her kids.  She has seven, one from her first marriage, one with her current husband and five that she and her husband adopted.  After C had her second son, she and her husband really wanted to adopt a baby girl.  They applied for adoption and soon their social worker called and told them that there were two children that needed adoption, a boy and a girl, not infants.  Christy and her husband decided to go for it, and soon had two additional kids.  Before the adoptions were final, the social worker arranged a visitation with the children's three older sisters, who were still looking for families.  Christy and her husband met the older girls and after much prayer and an announcement from their second oldest son that "God told me that we have to save these kids", they decided to adopt the whole family - five children total.

The kids came from a terrible situation: drugs, alcohol, domestic violence, sexual abuse... these poor kids had experienced it all.

C, her husband, and their two oldest kids welcomed the family with open arms and loving hearts. The kids, now ranging in age from 7 to 14, are affected by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, ADD, Asperger Syndrome, anxiety and PTSD.  They struggle with school, so they have decided to home school them next year in their new home (they are moving out of Juneau for her husband's job).

Every time I see C, she looks serene and happy.  She is delighted with her children and her new grandbaby (her oldest son, now 21, is a new father).  She is excited about the new chapter in her life, moving to a new town and helping her kids adjust.  She is beautiful, inside and out.

I wish now that I had spent more time with her, and taken the opportunity to get to know her better.  But my short lunch date with her made me realize that she is an extraordinary person.

She and her husband and sons answered the prayers of five small children for a safe home and a loving family.  They listened to God's voice asking them to "save these kids".  Who knows what the lives of these children would have been like if it hadn't been for the courage of C, her husband and her sons.

I am so grateful that I got to hear her story today, so I wanted to share it with you.  Please keep C and her family in your prayers as they continue their journey together.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Worthy Cause

I came across this post by another blogger, Rosario Rodriguez, via Dwija at House Unseen, Life Unscripted.

Rosario's brother Charles (Hooray, another Deacon Charles!) is soon to be ordained, and needs a car to get him to his summer assignment.  Rosario is raising funds for him.

Read her post and contribute if you feel called to do so!

Here is the link: The Shield About Me

Thanks!  And good luck to (soon to be Deacon) Chuck!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

They Always Look So Innocent

Look at that face!  So sweet.  So lovable.  So innocent.

Oh, yes.  She is adorable, all right.

Until she makes a giant puddle on the rug in the living room.

And barks maniacally at 3 in the morning.

And leaves a little offering in front of the washing machine.

And chews on every pair of shoes we own.

And generally makes a pest of herself.

But, she is cute.

You do have to say that much for her.

Cute isn't quite doing it for me right now.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Look What I Made!

I am not a seamstress, by any stretch of the imagination.  I have a beautiful Bernina machine, which is the envy of all my sewing friends.

I tried to make a dress once when I was a teenager, but I made a mistake of such monumental proportions, that even my mother, who loved me, couldn't help but laugh.

So, please excuse my boasting when I show you what I made:

TA DA!!  An envelope pillow!

Here is the front:

And here is the back:

A closeup of the fabric, a batik raven print made here in Alaska:

And the back, a deconstructed pillow case:

I  know all of my experienced seamstress friends are probably chortling to themselves: "But it is just straight seam sewing, where is the skill in that?"  But to that I will answer:  "I AM TERRIFIED OF MY MACHINE!  I am so afraid of making a mistake when cutting and sewing that I am loath (LOATH, I say) to even start a sewing project!"

So, please humor me as I admire my handiwork.  Not only did I make a pillow, I got to use the word "loath" in a sentence!

It's been a good day, my friends.  A very good day.

Linking up to: 

Monday, May 14, 2012


Phoebe got a house sitting job for 10 weeks!

Which means that her room will be vacant, which means that Charles and I can temporarily move upstairs, which means that we can rip up the disgusting carpet in our bedroom (see My Wish List)!!

I never thought I would be so excited about what is certain to be a really gross and unpleasant task.  However, the end result will be a new floor in our bedroom!  No more yucky carpet!  No more eye burning smelliness!  No more dust mite habitat!

I think we will be putting down laminate, which is cheaper than hardwood, and a lot easier to clean than carpet, especially 20 year old carpet.

The first step will be packing up all the books in boxes, then packing all the clothes and the contents of the linen "closet" (just a particle board enclosure) in boxes, then moving out the furniture, then demolishing the particle board, and finally, ripping up the carpet and installing the new flooring.

I will keep you posted on our progress.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

This Just In....

This is a picture of Pope Benedict XVI looking at a copy of Charles' new book, the Illuminated Easter Proclamation (Liturgical Press), which was presented to him by our Bishop, Edward Burns at Bishop Burns' ad limina visit last month.  The book was presented to the Holy Father as a gift from the three dioceses of Alaska.   In this picture, Pope Benedict is reading the inscription that Charles wrote to him.

You can read more about it at Charles' blog, Loaves and Fishes .

We are pretty proud here in Douglas!

Sitka By The Sea

Last week, I took the Alaska Marine Highway to Sitka with my friend Irene, her daughter Marisa and her grandson A'eden.  Marisa and A'edan were visiting Irene from El Paso, Texas.  Irene has been here since August, serving as a Jesuit Volunteer.

The view from the ferry observation lounge - it was a gorgeous day!

A'edan is a very cute four year old.  Here he is talking to Irene.

Coming into Sitka Sound

We visited the Raptor Center, where they care for injured and sick birds of prey.  We saw bald eagles, golden eagles, owls, hawks, and ravens.

We took a short hike in the woods - I talked a lot to keep the bears away.

Irene, showing that she's not afraid of bears!

We saw a wide variety of plants.

This little guy had a broken wing and hung out in the office.  He was so tiny!

There was an indoor rehabilitation center.  This snowy owl was learning to fly again.

We also visited the Fortress of the Bears - a place that was put together by volunteers to house orphaned brown bears.  Their mothers were shot after venturing too close to town.  Rather than put down the cubs, they were saved and brought here to live.  I have mixed feelings - but apparently they can't be rehabilitated to live in the wild.

The bears looked healthy and were playful.  It hurt my heart to see them enclosed, but I suppose it is better than putting them down...

We went to Castle Hill in downtown Sitka - the remains of the old Russian fortress, and site of the raising of the first American Flag after the transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States.

Irene, Marisa and A'edan pose on Castle Hill with St. Michael's Cathedral in the background.

Mt. Edgecumbe looks just like Mt. Fuji in Japan, and it is a dormant (not extinct!) volcano.  One April Fools' Day, some local pranksters dropped tires, rags and gasoline into the cone from a helicopter, ignited it and watched the town panic, thinking it was erupting.  They were heavily fined, but I think they thought it was worth it!

Sitka is a beautiful little town!

A'edan posing on a cannon

Waiting for the ferry home.

We had a tired little boy on the trip home!

We took the fast ferry home - it only took four hours on the Fairweather as opposed to nine on the Columbia - I like the Columbia better - it is larger, and more comfy and it is such a pretty trip!

We had a wonderful time in Sitka - we stayed with our friends Ron and Kathy and their little girl Ceci.  A good time was had by all!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Dear Abby

Dear Abby:

I love going out of town.  First California for a week, then Sitka for a couple of days (I will post the pictures on my blog soon!).

But going away means coming back.  Not that I don't love coming home to my darling husband, my wonderful children, my sweet doggies, and my comfortable bed, I love it!  But what I came home to was disorder, and clutter, and laundry, and mess.

If I'm not here to try to keep a handle on it, it just spirals out of control.  I got home late Thursday evening, and on Friday, I did a lot of picking up and thought I had it licked.   But this morning, after working at the gallery all day Saturday and being gone at church and then another gallery stint and an evening concert yesterday, I woke up to this:

The Bathroom

After some random cooking project (not mine)

Laundry basket next to an abandoned art project (again, not mine)

The dining room table.  Except for the grocery list, none of these items is mine.

A belt, a Seahawks hat and a pottery cup with a spoon in it - not mine

A green sweater on top of shoes: you guessed it - not mine
The computer and cell phone: mine.  The handset to the land line: mine.  The other stuff: not mine
My laundry basket and boxes to be recycled
Clutter on the floor of the entry way closet: Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here!
Too many shoes


Newspapers that need to be recycled and more shoes

A busy household of four adults, three of whom are working full time, creates a lot of clutter.  A busy household of four adults (three of whom think they have a maid/laundress/cook named Paula) creates a worse problem.

Should I go on strike?

Chore charts, family meetings, lists, etc. don't seem to do the trick.

It isn't necessarily laziness on their part, it is just blindness.  They don't see it and I do.

Abby, I love my family, but this is getting out of hand.  What should I do?


Discouraged in Douglas

I am not posting this on Facebook, nor am I sending this out via email - the SHAME is too great.  I will merely put it out on the internet for thousands of random strangers to see.