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.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Colors, Colours, Colores, Coleurs

I have been thinking about colors a lot lately.

It might be because it has been so bright in Douglas, with almost three and a half weeks of sunshine, blue skies, flowers and warmth.

I finally got my camera charger back from a certain borrower (*cough*cough*Phoebe*) and so I decided to take some pictures of the colors around my house.

Fiesta Ware!

The Fisher-Price Chicken Charles stepped on when Phoebe was two.
Yes, we saved it.

The chicken with a goofy bull bottle opener our friend Sarah gave us.

Some nice amber colored tea light holders I got at Salvation Army!

A goofy cat bank Charles got on a trip (we do a lot of goofy here)!

Granny Smith apples

I love having my camera back in operation!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

An Injury, A Birthday, A Wedding, And A HEART!

We have been enjoying beautiful, record setting weather for the past couple of weeks (including two very rare thunderstorms)!  We have had all of our windows open for the entire time.  We finally got around to putting up a clothesline outside, and just in the nick of time, because our dryer has decided to go on strike and stop emitting any heat.

Phoebe went out for a run with her friend Tristan on Tuesday night, and when they got back, she bounded up the stairs outside of her house and tripped on the top step.  The steps and walkway are made of metal grating, perfect for our snowy winters and ubiquitous all over hilly Juneau.  When she fell, she slid along the walkway and sliced her leg open below the knee down to the tendon.  (I will spare you pictures!)  Tristan took her to the Emergency Room, where they spent four hours getting the wound cleaned and stitched up (17 stitches).  She was put on two powerful antibiotics because the wound was so deep.  They gave her a leg brace to keep her from bending her knee.  She was in considerable pain for the next few days and stayed home from work.  Thank God for her friends and housemates, who watched over her, and especially Tristan, who gets a gold medal for helping her!  She is much better, and was able to attend and even dance (albeit carefully) at her friend Heidi's wedding (more about the wedding later)!

Charles' birthday was last Friday.  He has been enjoying working on the Mary Garden, so I gave him a copy of Gardening in Southeast Alaska, a book that is a local favorite.  I will admit that I have wanted a copy for years, so it was a present for both of us.

We went to a potluck on Friday night at the home of the John and Nancy, parents of Phoebe's friend Molly, who was in town with her boyfriend for the wedding of Phoebe's and Molly's high school friend, Heidi.  It was so nice to see Phoebe enjoying her friends, who also came to the potluck.  The weather was incredible, and the food was great, in particular a mango/avocado salsa that I am dying to try!

Saturday, Phoebe and I went wedding gift shopping.  We bought two beautiful wine glasses, similar to a pair that Charles and I received as wedding gifts 30 years ago!  Phoebe bought a beautiful bottle of wine to go with the glasses.  I found a perfect card, with a picture of two Adirondack chairs with glasses of wine on the arms of the chairs.  The chairs were facing a sunset.  Lovely, except, when it came time to sign the card, Miguel discovered that it was an wedding anniversary card rather than a wedding card.  Oops.

We went to the wedding at Chapel by the Lake, which looks out on Auke Lake and the Mendenhall Glacier.  I don't know how the members of that church can pay attention to the services, the view is so stunning.  Nonetheless, we were able to focus on the lovely wedding of Heidi and Dennis,  her groom. There were little flower girls, one of whom was just a toddler, who dropped her basket of petals and waddled up the aisle in her little taffeta dress.  The wedding was so beautiful, and it was so nice, again, to see how all of Phoebe's friends from high school have all grown up into such nice young men and women.  The parents were beaming and the bride was radiant.

Charles had to preach at the evening Mass, and so he and I stopped and got a bite to eat and I picked up another (more generic and not nearly as pretty) card, which I signed and tucked into the ribbons on the gift.  Charles went to the Cathedral and I met the kids at the reception.  Everything was beautiful and they had a lovely buffet.  The cake was decorated with flowers and topped by figurines depicting Dennis cross-country skiing with Heidi getting a piggyback ride!

I ducked out of the reception early and left Phoebe and Miguel to have fun.

Phoebe and Heidi
On Sunday evening we went to a potluck across the street at the home of our friends Ed and Betsy.  I brought a cheesecake (Charles' favorite) so we could celebrate his birthday (finally)!

We all sat in the sunshine, including Ed and Betsy's dog, Ella.

The only picture of the birthday boy I was able to get.  He is squinting, the candle has blown out, there are dirty dishes and a beer bottle in the background...obviously, I am showing you this picture to ensure that I remain humble.
And finally: yesterday, I received a wonderful gift from one of my favorite bloggers!  Carol from Art and Sand set out on a quest to create 30 Pinterest projects in 30 days!  For one of the projects she created lovely felt hearts.  I admired them and she kindly sent me this one:

It looks like a Forget-Me-Not, Alaska's State Flower!  Check out her blog - she has the loveliest home and amazing sense of color.  Plus, like me, she is married to an amazing artist!

Whew - busy weekend and a very long post!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Father's Day Beach Picnic and Monday's Weather Phenomena

On Father's Day, I had to work at the gallery in the afternoon and evening.  It was another incredibly beautiful day (we have been having record breaking hot temperatures)!

The kids decided to take Charles out for a beach picnic at North Douglas.  They loaded up the car with folding chairs, a grill (to cook the rockfish that Phoebe marinated), beer, mineral water, turkey sausages, fruit salad, SPF 1,000,000 sunscreen (Charles burns easily), and the windup powered emergency radio (they weren't expecting an emergency, they just wanted to listen to classic hits from the 60s).

While I was languishing at the gallery, slaving away making shells for icon shrines, chatting up tourists and eating the gallery's supply of cookies, Charles and the kids had a great time at the beach (I wasn't really languishing - I had a nice time in the air-conditioned gallery).

Here are some photos that Miguel took:

Awkward Family Photo

Charles eschewed (love that word!) his usual beret for his felt hat with a brim.

Beans dried off from her swim in Gastineau Channel by rolling in spruce needles.

Phoebe and Beans.  I love Beans' smile in this photo (and Phoebe's, too)!

Yesterday, after a long stretch of hot weather, we had a thunderstorm.  They are very rare here - it usually doesn't get hot enough or stay hot long enough for a thunderstorm to form.  But the conditions were just right.  I was downtown and looked up and saw this impressive thunder cloud and could smell the ozone in the air.

It was an amazing storm.  It started when I was in Juneau Drug, waiting for my prescription.  I ran to the car in a downpour while lightning flashed and thunder boomed.  All the locals went outside to watch (like I said, thunderstorms are rare here!).  Charles and I drove home in  drenching rain and by the time we got home it was hailing.  We dashed in the house and watched and listened for a half hour until it blew over.

After the storm, Charles and I went to the Glacier Cinema to see Man of Steel.  It was pretty good.  The villain was villainous, the hero was heroic, both Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner were nice surprises, and the popcorn was delicious.  It was both loud and violent, but nothing I couldn't handle.  The back story was interesting as well.  All in all, a fun time!

On our way home, we saw some amazing post storm skies.  We stopped at the Temsco Helicopters parking lot and again at the scenic outlook on Egan Drive to take these pictures.  My phone doesn't do them justice:

I am convinced that we live in the most beautiful place on Earth!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I Don't Remember Him - A Repost

From what I've heard, he was bigger than life.

Not big in stature, but a big presence.  Big laugh, big smile, a pack of Lucky Strike Straights in his pocket, his booming voice (passed on to my brother and my son) able to be heard in the kitchen at one end of the house when he spoke at his normal volume from the other end of the house.

He worked hard, drank hard, was a stern disciplinarian to my older brother and sisters (stories of the razor strop still are told at family gatherings).

He was quick with a stinging response and a sarcastic comeback.

He loved my mom and once called her the "Gem of the Ocean".

He wrote letters to the family back home when he was traveling for work, always ending with a note in shorthand just for my mom.

He died when I was five.  I didn't discover what he had died from until I was 19.  Our family was always big on secrets.

He was a handsome man, dark hair, dark eyes, straight nose, "built like a fireplug", square hands, short fingers.  I inherited everything but the straight nose.  Two of my brothers look just like him.  So does my son.

One Labor Day, he had big plans for the older kids to work on the house.  My sister protested, "But Daddy, it's LABOR Day!", to which he replied, "That's right, and Goddamn it, you're going to LABOR!"

One time, he and my uncle gave each other haircuts.  On a whim my uncle shaved a bald stripe down the middle of his head.  My dad responded in kind and they both ended up totally bald.  They rang the doorbell at my parents' house and they swept their hats off at the same time.  Ta-da!

He loved me.  He called me his little angel.  I only have two pictures of me with him.  In both, he's kissing me.

I don't remember him at all.  Not at all.  But I'm glad I have these pictures.

Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 7, 2013

I'm All A-Tingle...

...and not in a good way.

Yesterday, I noticed that my back was kind of itching.  I kept rubbing against the sofa cushion, because it was in a place that I couldn't reach.  I finally took off my bra because I thought it was a tag or something that was irritating me.  I even ordered two new bras, because this was my favorite and most comfortable one, and I thought it was wearing out.

When I went to bed, I noticed that the itching had turned to a sensation of prickling, like somebody was sticking me with a pin about every 90 seconds.

It was driving me crazy, and I was tossing and turning.  I finally fell asleep.  This morning, I got up and noticed that the prickling sensation was still there (and getting worse).

I went downtown for First Friday Eucharistic Adoration and I found it very hard to concentrate on the Sacred Heart of Jesus because the discomfort was giving me fits.

After Adoration, and before Mass, I asked Charles to check my back (of course we went into the restroom).  He said there were about three little red bumps in a line.

I called my doctor immediately because I suspected shingles.    I was right.

So now I am taking a week long course of antiviral meds.  I am only contagious to people with compromised immune systems, newborn babies and individuals who have not had chicken pox (which, because many people choose not to immunize their children is a larger number than you might think).  I am not trying to start a debate here, but people who have chicken pox are more likely to develop shingles later in life.  Those who have been immunized against chicken pox can't get shingles.

I am not as miserable as Charles was when he had shingles.  As a matter of fact, I am not feeling too bad at all - just upset that I didn't get to go to the First Friday Art Walk and the Friday Night Concert at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center (I missed music! I missed food trucks!  I missed fresh locally grown produce!)

So instead, I stayed home and watched Seinfeld DVDs and the Friday night news magazines on TV.

So, the lessons in this story are:

  • Immunize your children against chicken pox, so they won't get shingles later in life.
  • Get immunized against shingles.  It lowers the chance of developing shingles by 50%, and if you do develop the disease, it will be a mild case.
  • Marry a man like Charles, who, when he picked up my prescription, also bought me a Almond Joy to cheer me up.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Theme Thursday: Girls

The theme this week is "Girls", and the first photo I thought of was this wonderful picture of Phoebe, her good friend (and ours) Rachel, and me. The photo was taken at Phoebe's show at the City Museum, which was a wonderful success.  I love this picture because Phoebe and Rachel (and I) look so happy and both of the girls are so lovely and full of promise.

Phoebe met Rachel at Seattle University.  They both were art majors.  Rachel is a wonderful artist as well.  We absolutely fell in love with her when we met her.  She came up to Juneau to work for several months, helping a local girl in Juneau's small Jewish community get ready for her Bat Mitzvah and to help Phoebe get ready for her show. She experienced her very first celebration of Christmas that year.  She is a darling girl and we love her!

Since that show, Phoebe has exhibited in several other galleries.  Her most recent show featured this portrait of Rachel:

"Rachel Thinking" by Phoebe Rohrbacher

We are so proud of Phoebe - she is a tremendous artist!

So, there you have it: two of our favorite girls!

Scoot on over to Clan Donaldson to see some more pictures of Girls!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

DNA Is Powerful

After I posted my Self Portrait for Theme Thursday last week, I was looking through the photos that Phoebe brought back from her trip to New Mexico.

I have several cousins and an aunt who live in Albuquerque and they were so wonderful to Phoebe! My cousins gave her family pictures, gifts, and a big family welcome.

One of the photos was a portrait of my grandparents.  I looked at the photo of my grandma, which was taken when she was my age.  And then I looked again...

I finally have genes that fit!