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, August 28, 2012

A Slightly Crazy, But Maybe Good, Idea

 The other day, at the parish picnic, I was talking to a friend who was bemoaning the fact that she was so far behind in her housework that she was afraid she would never catch up.  I said that I have a bunch of things I want to get done as well, but I can't seem to motivate myself to do them.

Then I said: "Wouldn't it be great if we could form a group that would commit to spending a few hours every couple of weeks to help each other with these kinds of things?"

It would be like a chore co-op.  One person might need to paint a room, another might need to refinish her wood floors, and a third might just need to deep clean her house.  The group would meet at each other's houses, work for a few hours and then order pizza, break out the wine and celebrate their accomplishment.

My only problem would be revealing how disgustingly filthy my house really is, how scuffed the floors, how dingy the walls, how embarrassingly high the piles of flotsam and jetsam my family can produce.  But, if I could get a group of women to help me with my chores, I could be persuaded to get over this particular hurdle.  Not to mention how happy I would be to help other women with their house keeping jobs.  I always work better when I have someone working with me.  It would be like an old fashioned barn raising, or a quilting bee, only slightly different.

Am I crazy, or is this a good idea?

Monday, August 27, 2012

The View From The Rookery

"Sometimes I Sits and Thinks, And Sometimes I Just Sits"
                                                                 Satchel Paige

Today I got up early to pick Miguel up at the airport after his road trip from Prince Rupert, B.C. to Billings, Montana.  It is so good to have him home.

I ran errands later in the morning, first, to the gallery to restock our Christmas cards, and then to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions.

Finally, I treated myself to some quiet time at the Rookery (my favorite coffee shop) for a few minutes to sit and read in my favorite spot by the window.

I found myself distracted by the tourists walking by.  We are over run with tourists this time of year - they come in on huge cruise ships that look like sky scrapers turned sideways, floating down the Gastineau Channel.  By this time of the summer, we are getting tired of dodging them as we attempt to drive down town.  But, they bring a lot of revenue to our little city, and I always remind myself that they are individuals, coming to Alaska for a trip of a lifetime.

The gallery was crowded the other day with visitors - from Germany, England, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, Japan, and from other parts of the United States.  Often they come in, look around and exclaim: "Ahh, real things!"  They are directed on the ships to shop at the stores owned  by the cruise companies, so when they stumble upon our gallery, they are delighted there there are no items made in China, no t-shirts, no kitsch, just beautiful artwork, photos, and jewelry made by local artists.

Anyway, back to my time at the Rookery today:  I was sitting in my window seat, watching the tourists stop outside the window and peer in (I felt kind of like a zoo animal).  Sometimes they would decide to come in, and I would be treated to their conversations (only if in English or Spanish).  They talked excitedly about what they had seen that day (the Mendenhall Glacier, bears, whales, the hatchery), and what they planned to do later (shop, go back to the ship and rest, hike, visit the museums), and I would smile to myself because they were so happy to be here.

I sometimes think, watching the tourists, that they spend thousands of dollars to come here and see these wonders, when I can see them all the time if I want to.

It definitely is a reminder of how lucky I am to live here, where the waterfalls cascade off the mountains so powerfully that we can stand in our front yard at night and listen to them from across the channel; where it isn't out of the ordinary to be sitting in a restaurant and see a black bear amble up the street after raiding a garbage can; where one can see 20 Bald Eagles at a time, sitting in a tree, checking out the pickings at the landfill; where, in one day, I can have a conversation (if I'm lucky) with people from five or six different countries who are so happy to visit where I live every day.

I only read a chapter of my book, but I was content.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Portland Trip

As I mentioned earlier, I spent a week in Portland earlier this month.  I went down to attend my brother Marc's 60th birthday party, which was held at their Mt. Hood cabin.

I spent the night at Marc and Kerry's house in NE Portland before we headed up to Mt. Hood for the party.  Marc checked their bee hives to see if the bees had produced any honey.  No luck this year!

Marc proved that he is braver than I am when it comes to bees.

My sister Rita, my brother Phil and I enjoy the warm weather on the cabin's deck.  The Zig Zag river runs right by the cabin, so we were treated to the sound of water rushing by, and no bugs!

My nephew Mitch is a musician, and treated us to a great mini-concert.  Look how proud Marc is!

We had such a great time and ended the evening around the outdoor fireplace, swapping family stories and laughing.

It was a perfect day!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gee, It's Good To Be Back Home Again

I just got back from a week in Portland, with a 12 hour layover in Seattle.

The Seattle part was lots of fun - I took the light rail into downtown Seattle from the airport (so easy and quick!) and was in (window) shopping heaven for several hours.

I bought new walking shoes, a new wallet and a tank top, but mostly just walked around.  It was hotter than the hinges of hell (at least to me), so I spent more time inside than outside.  I stopped into allrecipes.com to surprise my friend Anne, who is an editor there.  It was a nice, although short, visit.

Then back to SEATAC and on to Portland.

I had a fun visit with my family, and spent some quality time with my brothers and sisters, especially my brother Marc, who was celebrating his 60th birthday.  Marc being 60 means that I only have three short years before I too become a 60 year old.

We went to his family's cabin by Mt. Hood.  The weather was perfect - hot and sunny.  I went for a two hour hike with my sister in law and some of her friends, and I did great until the last part, which was steep.  I was puffing like a steam engine and sweating like a pig at the end.  Back to the cabin for a nice party for 50 of Marc's friends.  Marc introduced me to a nice cocktail that is called a "Dark and Stormy" although he has renamed it a "Cabin 10" after their mountain house.  You put a jigger of dark rum in a tall glass with ice, squeeze a half a lime into the glass, and then put the lime half in, and fill the glass with good ginger ale (the strong and gingery kind).  Stir and enjoy.  YUM!

The menu was enchiladas, grilled flank steak, pasta salad, green salad, grilled sweet peppers, cakes made by their friend Emily (a professional chef), and pies (apple, peach and cherry) made by my sister Rita, who is a tremendous pie expert.

After the weekend, it was back to Portland, where we all crashed for a nap and then a light supper of leftovers from the party.

Miguel and I went shopping downtown and at Lloyd Center, which is really close to Marc's house.  We got some necessary items and a couple of fun things, one of which is a beautiful short sleeve cashmere sweater in a lovely blue shade for me (a bargain at fifteen bucks at Buffalo Exchange)!

I came home on Tuesday, and Miguel set off on his road trip adventure (meeting a friend in Prince Rupert. B.C. and driving to Montana).

I came home to blue skies, and cooler temperatures, thank God!

I am glad to be home, and later I will be posting the few pictures I took, along with pictures of my new goodies.

I have some catching up to do, blog reading-wise, but I also have a LOT of housekeeping to catch up on, bread to make, restocking of kitchen staples, etc.

Charles was in New Hampshire the same week I was in Oregon, and Phoebe was holding down the fort with the two dogs.   Right before I came home, Frida and Beans got into a little fight, and Beans (who I think Just. Couldn't. Take. It. Any. More.), bit Frida on the ear.   Frida's ear bled like a fountain, and so Phoebe had to clean up the mess, tend to the wound (not bad) and scold Beans, who was sulking.  Beans is the most patient dog in the universe, so if she snapped, I think Frida must have
 deserved it.  It was just the usual pandemonium at Fortress Rohrbacher.

It is good to be home in the peaceful, quiet, and tidy (HA!) bosom of my family!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Banana Rhubarb Upside Down Skillet Cake

This is a recipe I adapted from The Pioneer Woman's Apple Skillet Cake recipe.

I substituted sliced rhubarb (from our garden!) for the sliced apple.  Instead of the diced apple in the batter, I put in one very ripe banana, and since I only had one egg, so I added another very ripe banana (did you know you can substitute banana for egg in a recipe?  I didn't, before I Googled it!).

I cooked the butter, sugar and rhubarb a bit too long and the rhubarb got a bit too carmelized, but it didn't taste burned, it just looked too dark.

And the proof of the pudding (or the cake) was in the tasting!

It was delicious!

I love it when an experiment turns out right!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Loudmouth

I had a very busy day yesterday, and today is shaping up to be just like it!

Yesterday, I had to run a whole bunch of errands, including stopping by the bank to pay the mortgage (yes, I know I can do this online, I just don't want to).

Anyway, I stopped by the bank, where there was a loooong line and only two tellers.  The teller at the far end was dealing with a man who was having some sort of difficulty ("That can't be right - I have plenty of money in that account..can you look again?").  The teller closest to me was a trainee with a supervisor helping her.

The Trainee was conducting simple transactions, and the Supervisor was happily chatting up every customer that came to the window "Hi!  How are you doing?  What's new with Ginny?  I haven't seen her in ages!   Did you and Joe go on that trip?  Hawai'i?  Oh my God!  Was it nice there?" [OF COURSE IT WAS NICE, YOU IDIOT!  IT WAS HAWAI'I!!].  

The Supervisor obviously wasn't needed by the trainee, since the Trainee was handling things just fine.  So, why in the name of all that is holy didn't the Supervisor go to another window to assist the other customers, which were now snaking out the door and into the foyer?

Then, the Supervisor began to visit with people waiting in line: "Hey - George!  What are you up to?" [HE'S AT THE BANK, DIM BULB!].

But the worst was when the man in front of me answered his phone and began talking in a VERY LOUD VOICE.   He was all: "God damn it!  I told them not to put in that @*&^%$ing water heater.  I know - I know!  I'm at the bank!  I'll be there in a minute!  I'm at the bank!  The bank!  G-D it!"

He then started to tell the man standing behind me the saga of the water heater: "It's a propane heater - I don't trust those G-D things - it's gonna blow us all to kingdom come.  I told them to get electric - the least they can do is electrocute you - HA HA HA HA HA!"  Then to the young trainee: "Hey sweetie?  How about getting your little ass in gear so I can get out of here?"

The young Trainee started to get nervous, and the Supervisor started bantering with the Loudmouth: "Now c'mon Pete!  We are going just as fast as we can!"

"Well if this is fast, I must be running a marathon!  Hey!  Have you been watching the Olympics?  Those G-D gymnasts must be made of rubber!"  And then he and the Supervisor were off - the poor Trainee was getting more and more nervous, the people in line were more and more restive, and I was getting more and more annoyed.

After 20 minutes standing in line, the difficult customer at the far end finished his transaction and I finally was able to pay my mortgage and get out of there.

I wanted to say something to the Loudmouth about the swearing, the shouting, and the distracting of the tellers, but I was afraid to get him rolling on another rant.

It made an already stressful day even more so.

Do you have a Loudmouth story?

Loud/Obnoxious People.