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, May 28, 2013

It's Called "Summer"

When we get beautiful weather here in Southeast Alaska, everyone goes a little funny.  A little funny in the head.  You know, just a little...funny. (Name that movie!)

Anyway, this weekend it got up into the 70s.  Seventies!  As in over 69 and less than 80!  Degrees!  Outside!

People were out mowing lawns (not us, but I will go into this in a later post), hiking, camping, fishing, gardening, having beach fires, doing outdoor home maintenance (not us, again), and grilling (and actually eating said grilled food outside).

We went to a barbecue at our friends Pat and Kim's house.  They left on the ferry this morning for an excellent adventure:  a three month road trip.

So, to say goodbye to their friends and to celebrate Pat's birthday, they threw a party on Saturday evening.  We sat outside (I know I sound like I have never seen the sun, but it does rain a LOT here) and watched their kids and other people's kids frolic about.  One parent stopped his son who was running around in his socks and told him, "If you're going to run around in the grass, take your socks off".  The boy looked at his dad like he was crazy.  "Take my socks off?  But then I'll have bare feet!"  I know, it's sad.  Kids here are not only wary of things like running around outside with no shoes on, but I once met a little girl who, upon experiencing HOT sun on her first trip out of Juneau (in Texas), put her hand over her eyes and yelled: "What IS it, Mama?"  Her mom said it was just the sun.  "Make it STOP, Mama, make it STOP!", she cried.

Anyway, we had a great time at the barbecue, and then yesterday, Memorial Day, we drove out to the Shrine of St. Therese for the annual Memorial Day mass and Knights of Columbus spaghetti feed.

On our way out, we saw a large number of cars parked by the side of the road, which usually signifies a wildlife sighting.  Sure enough, there was a large bear munching on dandelions.  We stopped and I took several pictures.  Of all of them, this is the only one with a clear image of the bear:

At one point, she lifted her head and she had a dandelion hanging out of her mouth.  I wish I had been able to capture THAT goofy image!

We arrived at the Shrine and while Charles was helping prepare for the outdoor Mass, a pod of Orcas swam by.  We heard them blowing first and then saw them.  There were about 10 or so, adults and babies, breaching, diving and swimming around.  I got this picture with my phone - the little black dot in the middle is a dorsal fin...but at least you can see the gorgeous mountains and water!

We came home a bit sunburned from being outside during Mass and lunch.  Yes, Charles used sunscreen, but as he said, he can get a sunburn if the "Check Engine" light goes on in the car.

We ended the long weekend by picking Phoebe up at the airport.  She is home from her visit to New Mexico, where she met my cousins and my 93 year old aunt.  After Christmas in May (she brought many presents and photos), we came home and collapsed in bed, with the bedroom windows wide open to let the air circulate, because our bedroom was HOT.

Miguel got home late from his work on the whale watching boat.  He has been promoted to the naturalist position, which is great!

A very busy, but happy weekend!


  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend!

  2. What a fun, busy weekend. And I am not sure whether to smile or be dismayed that it was in the 70's there, when it was 42 here on Sunday. It did warm up on Monday.

    I love the feeling of joy in this post. Including the idea of a bear munching on dandelions!

    Congrats to Miguel!

  3. Sounds like a wonderful week-end. Gland you are getting a chance to enjoy some warm weather. How long does your "summer" last?

    1. Lana - summer can be as long as 3 months or as short as 1 week, so we treasure all the sunshine we can get! Officially, it begins on June 21st, just like the rest of the Northern Hemisphere! The long days are a plus, however. The sun goes down about midnight in late June.

  4. Oh, you live where it is so...beautiful Paula!
    I'm going to miss the West this summer.....

  5. I've loved this post, a little bit of everything!


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