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, March 28, 2013

Theme Thursday: Celebrations

In May 2011, I traveled to Portland to celebrate my sister Mary's 75th birthday with my family.  Since we lost our Mom and our oldest brother Vince, these celebrations are even more precious to us.

Mary is my oldest sister, and was in college when I was born. Our family had two sets of kids, three born before World War II (Vince, Mary and Rita) and three born after (Phil, Marc and me).

I am the youngest, and I love all my siblings.  My sisters have called me "Pete" ever since I was born.  My middle name, before I changed it at marriage, was Therese, so they started calling my by my initials: "PT" and it got shortened to Pete.  

My friends used to ask me if my oldest siblings were more like parents to me.  I would tell them that no, I recognized them as my brothers and sisters, just older than the brothers and sisters that my friends had.  Because my brother Vince married and had kids when I was young myself, I became an aunt at the age of three.

This party for my sister Mary was so much fun - the entire family was there, and several of the nephews and nieces.  Mary's friends came - some that she has known since high school at Immaculata Academy (her husband Rich always jokingly calls it "Immaculata Tech").

Marc, Rita, me, Mary, Phil
This picture of the five remaining siblings, which, while blurry, and has a thumb in the upper right hand side, (I didn't take it!) means a lot to me.  There we were, all together, all happy to be together, and all missing our brother Vince, who would have been with us if cancer had not taken his life.  His absence at that party was palpable.  But he was there with us, I know it.

Hazelnut, Spice, Chocolate, Carrot

There were four birthday cakes!  The one with the strawberries is a North Douglas Chocolate Cake made by yours truly.  Isn't that built in sideboard gorgeous?  The party was hosted by my brother Marc and his wife Kerry.

The Gonzales family knows how to throw a party.   We know how to celebrate each other, and appreciate each other and love each other, because we know how precious we all are to each other and that life can change in a twinkling of an eye.

I'm linking up with Clan Donaldson.  Hop on over there and look at the other lovely pictures of celebrations.


  1. Love it! What a beautiful reminder that life is something to be celebrated. And hello? Four cakes? I want to be an honorary Gonzales. Cake is my favorite.

    1. Poof! You are now an honorary Gonzales! I sent off the shrine to Wendy today. I didn't have her last name so I just addressed it to "Wendy".

  2. Me, too! Love cake and happy celebrations. Just celebrated my first cousin's fiftieth birthday. I don't have siblings, but blessedly have dear first cousins to share happy times with. We had two fabulous carrot cakes for our celebration.

  3. Family gatherings are good for the soul. :-) You have a beautiful family! Look at those smiles!

  4. Yay! What a wonderful family story, and a beautiful family. And YES to cakes. I'm not usually a big fan of cakes, but those look absolutely scrumptious.

  5. Great story. Hope my children have as much love for each other when they are all grown up.


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