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.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Woke Up, Fell Out Of Bed...

(I didn't really fall out of bed, I just was thinking about the Beatles.)

I did wake up late today - usually I am up by 6:15, snuggled on the couch with the computer on my lap and Frida wrapped around the back of my neck, Charles slurping sipping his tea across from me in his chair.

But today, I woke up at 7:30.  And I didn't get a restful sleep.  I woke up from a nightmare about my glasses being broken by a mean sister (religious, not sibling).  The sister in the dream is really  somebody that I know, and she really is a sister, and not the kind of person who would deliberately break someone's glasses.  Don't ask ME what this means, ask Dr. Freud.  It could have been the curry that I ate for dinner last night.  My jaw hurt from clenching my teeth, and I was out of sorts when I woke up.  I was running late, and I had a million whole bunch of things to check off of my list.

Anyway, I got up at 7:30 and after I drove Charles into town and came back, I set about making banana/berry muffins to drop by the Thibodeau house (see my previous post), because I'm Catholic, and that's what we do when someone dies.  We cook, we bake, we drop off.

Then I came home and rescheduled my foot doctor appointment because Miguel needed my car to get to the university.  I had to make a foot doctor appointment in the first place because the ball of my right foot feels like someone is taking a red hot sharp object and poking it into it.  I called an orthopedist here in town and they said that they usually refer foot problems to a podiatrist.  I told them I preferred to see the orthopedist because he is an M.D. (I am kind of a snob that way).  So I go to the orthopedist, girding my loins because I had done some research and was convinced that what was wrong with my foot was a Morton's Neuroma, which would require a cortisone shot in the ball of my foot, which, I had heard, would hurt like HE-double hockey sticks.  I even took Charles with me to hold my hand.  However, the orthopedist told me that I don't have a Morton's Neuroma, what I actually have is Metatarsalgia (which means "A pain in the ball of the foot that feels like a red hot sharp object is poking into it"), and recommended that I see the local podiatrist for a thing to put in my shoe.  So much for medical snobbery.

I made the appointment for today, but rescheduled it for Tuesday because I don't have the car.  Now, I am waiting for my bread dough to rise.

I was planning a different day today, a day of running around out in the valley, seeing the podiatrist, paying bills, doing errands,  but it turned into a day of doing a good deed (maybe two, if you count letting Miguel take my car), and baking bread.

Instead of being frustrated by this, I am actually grateful.  I have a few minutes to sit, write, and wait for the bread to rise, when instead, I could have been out driving from place to place, getting things done that can wait until tomorrow.  Or even Tuesday.

Wait for the bread to rise: that's my new motto.

This is bread that I baked a few months ago.  I am still waiting for today's bread to rise.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Juneau Has Lost A Treasure

Yesterday, our friend, Bob Thibodeau left this Earth and went home to Heaven.

He was the father of our friends Bobby, Tom, John, Mary Catherine, Ray, Rick, Guy, Celeste, Marilyn, Geri, Therese, and Roger, and the husband of Ril.

Bob was a legend in our town.  He was the retired proprieter of a grocery store in Douglas, an outspoken pacifist, a witty storyteller, a enthusiastic partier (when you have twelve kids and countless grandchildren, every gathering is a party!), and a faithful member of our parish, the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  He never hesitated to give his opinion on any subject, and I have to say that most of the time, I agreed with him, especially in matters of peace and social justice.

He was a regular at the Augustus Brown Swimming Pool sauna, which was conveniently across the street from his house.   Until a few years ago, he and his family had a Christmas tree lot in their big front yard.  It was a Christmas tradition for many Juneau and Douglas residents to pick out the perfect tree at Thibodeau's.  He celebrated his 90th birthday and his and Ril's 66th wedding anniversary with wonderful parties in the Cathedral parish hall.  At both celebrations, he danced to the Thunder Mountain Big Band with youthful abandon.  He still was in pretty good shape up until this last year or so.  His mind stayed sharp, and he was still funny and charming, even on the day last week when Charles went to visit him.

But in the end, as will happen to us all, his heart wore out.  Surrounded by his children and with Ril at his side, he died peacefully.  Bob lived a long and accomplished life.  We have lost a treasure.  Our loss is not as profound as that of his family, but it is a loss nonetheless.

Our dear friend and brother in Christ, Bob, is dancing in heaven and probably sharing a joke or two with his friends who went before him.

Rest well, Bob and be at peace.  We'll miss you.

All photos are courtesy of the Thibodeau family.

Here is a lovely reflection about Bob, written by his grandniece, Katy.  I thought it was a beautiful tribute:   Blessed, Broken and Shared

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bear On A Wet Tin Roof

The tranquilized bear in the back of the Fish and Game truck.

The same bear that was on the roof of one of our downtown buildings came back yesterday and climbed on the roof of another building.

Fish and Game came and tranquilized him and decided to put him down.  It is unfortunate, but necessary, since they had already tranquilized him and taken him out the road before.  He traveled back to town, however, and as you can see, he was pretty used to being around people and had been raiding unsecured trash cans.  He is the third bear that has had to be killed this year.  The other two were hit by cars and were euthanized.

Here is a video of the downtown bear.

News From The Alaska Department Of Redundancy Department

I thought this article about how the State of Alaska is handling an employee's request for a replacement ball cap was pretty funny.   Enjoy!

Here is the link to the Alaska Dispatch article:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's Not Raining, It's Not Pouring: A Nice Day

This morning we woke up to thick fog and the moan of the fog horns on the cruise ships as they made their way up the channel to the docks.

The weather forecast was for clear skies today after the fog burned off.  But, as I sit here this afternoon, it is cloudy, but not raining.  I'll take it!

Today, we had a wonderful treat!  Last Christmas, our local Perseverance Theatre put on a production of "A Christmas Carol" with an actor from Anchorage, Dick Reichman, playing the lead role of Ebenezer Scrooge.  His wife Christine and daughter Amanda joined him for the play's run and we met them at church.  We invited them to our annual Christmas open house, and really enjoyed their company.  When we heard that they were back in town for Dick's appearance in "Of Mice and Men", we asked if we could get together.  They invited us for lunch at the Thai restaurant out in Auke Bay.  We had only been there once, and the long lines at dinner prevented us from going again, because, although the food is great, standing out in the rain for an hour is not!  Going there for lunch was perfect!  No waiting, and their lunch menu is just as good as their dinner menu.

Visiting with Dick and Chris and Amanda was really fun.  We learned a lot about their travels, the actor's craft (Charles and Dick compared notes about painting and acting), and just enjoyed getting to know them a little better.  Amanda was a great lunch companion as well.

All in all, a very nice day.  It is fun to go to a place in Juneau that is new(ish) to us, and to get together with new friends.

Juneau and Douglas friends:  If you haven't seen "Of Mice and Men" yet, make sure you go.  It is definitely a performance you won't want to miss!


Friday, September 14, 2012

How Did THIS Happen?!?

Yesterday, this bear was on top of the building next to the Senate Building, (where the Juneau Artists Gallery is located).  I'll bet if he could have climbed down to the street, he would have come into the gallery for an icon print!  There is also a shop called The Bear's Lair in the Senate Building, so maybe he was looking for a friend.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sweet The Wood, Sweet The Sign

Charles' latest article for our diocesan newspaper, The Southeast Alaska Catholic, is so good, I thought I would share it with you!  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Dear Mary, Happy Birthday To You

Today, September 8, is the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, and our parish's feast day.  Our parish name is the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which means that I have to write very small when I write out that weekly collection check.

We always have a celebration at the parish on (or close to) her birthday.  This year, because it  falls on a Saturday, we will have special readings and emphasis on Sunday, as will every other parish that has this patronal feast.

Until I moved to Juneau, this feast day didn't mean that much to me.  The Annunciation: of course!  Christmas: absolutely.  But the birth of Mary?  Not so much.

But the conception and birth of Mary are very important in our faith story.

Joachim and Anna, Mary's parents (and Jesus' grandma and grandpa!) were surprised by the late in life pregnancy and delighted by the birth of a little daughter.

They watched her grow into a toddler, a preschooler (maybe they didn't have preschools in Nazareth) a school aged child, a tween, and a teenager.  They watched with pride as she was betrothed to a nice carpenter and then were no doubt worried when she became pregnant while still unmarried.  They worried as they saw her off on a journey to participate in the census - wondering if her child would be born along the way.  They were frantic when Mary, her husband Joseph and their grandson had to flee to Egypt.  

This was probably not the life they had imagined for their daughter.  I would imagine that Joachim and Anna had probably already died before Jesus began his public ministry, suffered his Passion, and rose again.  I'll bet that when He returned to heaven, he had some explaining to do to grandma and grandpa...

But to get back to the subject, today, we celebrate Mary's birth.  Conceived and born without sin, so to be a worthy vessel to carry the Son of God, she is Mary: The Mother of God, Mary: The God-Bearer, The Theotokos, and the Mother of us all.

Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us, who have recourse to you!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Oil, That Is...Black Gold. Texas (I Mean, Alaska) Tea

I live in Alaska - one of the richest oil producing states in the Union.

We heat with oil in our house.

Every time the oil company (Taku Oil Sales), fills our tank, it costs between $800 - $1000.

So, we make monthly payments to Taku Oil Sales, because we can't afford to drop that much money at one time.

The problem is, the Taku Oil Sales won't deliver oil if you are carrying a balance.  I understand they have to pay for the oil they sell, and pay their employees, etc.  I understand all that.

However, we are out of oil.

If we lived in Florida or Southern California or Arizona, this wouldn't necessarily be a problem.  But, like I said, we live in Alaska.

The days are getting cooler.  The nights are getting colder.  The leaves are falling from the trees.

We are bundling up during the day and making fires in the woodstove at night.

I called the oil company to tell them we are out of oil.  They said to pony up the rest of our balance (almost $1500), or they won't fill our tank.

So, while our plan was to pay down our credit cards to eventually be debt free (ha!), I now have to cobble together enough to pay the %*&@ bill with the cards so they will come and fill our tank, which will incur another charge of almost $1000.

I hate stressing about money.  We will get our Permanent Fund Dividends in October (we plan to do major car repairs with that money), and also royalties from Charles' book (yay!), but the oil company can't wait for payment until October, and we can't wait until October for oil.


Black Gold, indeed.

Alaska Oil Pipeline