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 27, 2013

What I Did Today: A Hike, A Nap And Purple Toes

My friend and walking buddy Linda and I took the Mount Roberts Tramway today and then walked up to Fr. Brown's Cross, a nice uphill hike.

We met a lot of people along the way, most of whom took the tram as part of their visit to Juneau on the cruise ships.  

Every once in a while, I would see a local face, and the person would do a double take, just like I did!

Brian, tram conductor and local famous photographer, very badly photographed by infamous me.
We hiked along switchbacks, and were able to see the back of Mt. Roberts, and Basin Road and the Mount Juneau trail.

I took a picture of Douglas from the Cross.

I can see my house from up here!
Linda and I stopped to take some photos of the view, and a kind tourist took a picture of the two of us.
In the background, you can see the Gastineau Channel and the Juneau International Airport.

We made it to the Cross, along with a lot of other folks.  It was kind of like the United Nations.  I heard French, Portuguese and German, in addition to English.

When we came back down from the cross, we went and sat in the sunshine on the deck of the tram restaurant and had a Diet Coke and chatted with a nice couple from Yorkshire, England - a retired judge and nurse.  We had an interesting discussion.  Meeting interesting new people is one of the benefits of living in a tourist town!

We took the tram back down the mountain and I headed home for a nap!

Later in the day, I had scheduled a pedicure.  It was so nice to have a soothing foot rub after a long walk, and I even got my toenails painted.

My pudgy, purple piggies.

All in all it was a great day!

Monday, August 26, 2013

2013-2014 Juneau Jesuit Volunteers

Welcome to our new Juneau Jesuit Volunteers!

Meredith Kalinski: I grew up in the very small town of Dunbarton, NH and have lived there all my life. I graduated from Stonehill College this spring where I studied English and Interdisciplinary Studies focused on Women and Girls' Empowerment through education. I'm very passionate about education as a social justice issue and hope that I can bring my knowledge and zeal to the Yaakoosge Daakahidi Alternative High School where I will be serving in Juneau this year as a Student Advocate!  

 Maura Baker: I love listening to the likes of Patty Griffin and Alison Krauss.  My favorite place is my front porch swing.  I love the smells of matches and lake water.  The University of Missouri has been my home for the past four years, my family in St. Louis has been pivotal in shaping who I am and I am thankful for my friends.  Juneau, Alaska is where I will be serving this year and I could not be more excited to stand in awe of not only what I will find but who I will meet.  I will be serving as a Young Parent Healthy Teen Center Assistant at Catholic Community Services.  Namaste.        

My name is Meaghan Crowley, I am originally from Columbus, OH, and just graduated from the University of Dayton where I studied Art Education.  During my time at UD, I became involved in many things in and around Dayton, including Campus Ministry, summers of service, tree climbing, goodwill hunting, and copious amounts of tea drinking.  I will be serving at The Canvas in Juneau, Alaska next year as an Art Studio Support Specialist. 

 Hilary Zander: Has lived in the Chicagoland area and Minnesota for the past 22 years, I am thrilled to leave the landlocked Midwest, with its endless rows of corn and soybeans, and live in Alaska! Having completed a degree in Anthropology/Sociollogy and Biology at St. Olaf College, I am intrigued by the intersection of human culture and the natural environment, as well as the systems that govern human experience. I am excited to serve at the Zach Gordon Youth Center as a Youth Healthy Living Advocate! 
Michael Putnam: was raised in the sunny state of California and decided to discover the terrain and culture of another state when he went to Whitman College in Washington.  It was here that Michael majored in Philosophy.  Michael’s passions revolve around meaningful relationships, care for his garden and a small flock of chickens that he raises.  Michael will be serving in Juneau as the Juneau Choice and Accountability Program (JCAP) and Legal Advocate at AWARE, Inc.   

My name is Molly McCarville, I grew up in Casa Grande, Arizona with 4 amazing siblings.  I graduated this past year from Creighton University in Nebraska with a BA in Psychology.  I love reading, good movies and TV shows, and running.   I will be serving this upcoming year in Juneau with Catholic Community Services as a Case Manager/Behavioral Health Associate!   

Cara Gubbins hails from the sandy shores of Cape Cod, Massachusetts and completed her undergrad in Comparative Literature and French Studies at Smith College. An outdoor enthusiast she is delighted to be serving her second year in Juneau, Alaska as a Shelter and Children’s Advocate at AWARE, Inc.    
My 2nd year JV community
I came to Juneau 35 years ago as a Jesuit Volunteer in 1978, and volunteered as a child care worker for two years.  I fell in love with Juneau, especially the faith community of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and decided to make Juneau my home.  The Jesuit Volunteer Corps promises their volunteers that they will be "ruined for life".  That means that our experience of living simply, as a person of faith, in community and in solidarity with those living in the margins of society, will transform us forever.  This certainly was the case in my life.  I am grateful for my experience as a Jesuit Volunteer and I am so happy to welcome our new Jesuit Volunteers!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Theme Thursday: Food

I know it is Saturday, but it took me this long to get the pictures off of my phone!

On Monday, I got a call from my friend Sr. Dee asking for my help with putting together a retirement party for her friend and office mate, Pat.  The third office mate, Katie was going to help, but she got news that her mom had been in a terrible bike accident, so she had to leave suddenly for Minnesota (please keep her mom in your prayers for healing).

Sr. Dee and I decided that we would make little sandwiches and she would provide some Lemon Brownies and punch.

So, Thursday morning, I went to the convent and we worked together to make cream cheese and cucumber open faced sandwiches and egg salad sandwiches.  Charles volunteered to make smoked salmon spread (from our home-smoked salmon).

It was so fun to visit with Dee as we worked together.  I had found some fresh dill at the grocery store, so instead of sprinkling dried dill on the cucumbers, I put a dill blossom on each sandwich.  It looked so pretty and tasted great.

Between the two of us, and with Pat's contribution of some more cookies and some fruit, along with a carafe of Heritage Coffee's finest brew, the food turned out great!  A lot of Pat's friends and colleagues came and it was a wonderful party.

I love throwing parties, and cooking for a crowd, so I was happy to help.

The sandwich platter with the salmon spread in the background.


I am linking up (a little late) at Clan Donaldson!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Energy, At Last!!

I have been struggling with fatigue and increased depression for months.  My doctor fiddled with my medication and added something to my regular regimen to boost the effect.  It worked.  I not only am not fighting to stay awake, I am filled with renewed energy and life.  I am so glad.  I was not looking to going into the autumn and winter dark and rain feeling like I was.

I knew that things were looking up, because in the past couple of days,  I accomplished the following:

Picked four cups of raspberries and made four jars of jam...

...repaired four torn sofa cushion covers (they needed the backs fixed, so the fabric I chose doesn't show)...

...made a small pillow cover,,,

...altered a University of Alaska t-shirt that Miguel didn't want so that I could wear it...

...hemmed a pair of pants...

...sewed a separated seam on another pair of pants...

...and started a granny square afghan.

Hello, world, I am BACK!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

My Throat is FLAME!

The first person who gets the reference in my title, wins some antibiotics!!

So, anyway, after a couple of days of enduring a sore throat, I finally decided to get it checked out to make sure it isn't Strep.

Unfortunately, I came to this decision at 11:30 p.m. last night.  After brushing my teeth, I decided to look at my throat with a flashlight (TMI alert!!) and saw yucky white patches.  With the combination of no other symptoms but the sore throat and white patches, I thought it could be strep, and rather than giving it to my family, I decided to go to the ER and get antibiotics if necessary.  I looked up strep throat online and read info that convinced me to get it checked.  The info was accompanied by this illustration, which I thought was kind of creepy.

            Who wants a doctor with blue eyeballs, scary spiky
               eyelashes and an apparently disembodied head that
         floats creepily above her shoulders?  Not me!
We arrived at the ER and they took me right in.  Quick triage turnaround and then I was put in an exam room.  About an hour later, after I had read both the old People magazines and was reduced to looking at ZooBooks (remember those?), the doc finally came in.

He was very thorough and explained about strep and how they don't just automatically give antibiotics anymore.  I told him I agreed with this approach.  He looked in my ears and said: "Well, I can't see any light from the other side!" (ha ha).

He said that he actually had one time looked into somebody's ear and saw light from the other side, but that was a patient who had shot himself in the mouth (you know, casual banter takes on a different flavor when it is coming from an ER doctor).

Anyway, after going on (and on, and on) about how he wasn't going to give me antibiotics unless the quick strep test was positive (and this was after I had agreed, and Charles informed him I used to work as a Public Health Nurse Aide at the Juneau Health Center and knew just enough medical information to be dangerous), he finally did the quick strep test and left the room.  Charles and I waited for another 45 minutes, Charles dozing on the hard plastic chair, me looking at Charles' iPhone because my phone had died.  I don't know how to work the iPhone and I didn't want to wake Charles up, so I had to look at what he had just been looking at, which was an article about Civil War veterans.

The doc came back, said it was negative, and (AGAIN) launched into his "We're not going to give you antibiotics" song and dance routine.  For the love of God, it's not like I was seeking prescription painkillers or heroin.  I hadn't even asked for antibiotics in the first place.  He said that they are doing a culture and if that comes back positive, then I can have antibiotics.

We left the hospital at 2:45 a.m., not before getting a call from Miguel ("Where ARE you guys?"), and went to bed.  We woke up at about 10:00.  The throat is still sore, so I got some juice bars (sugar free, so Charles can have some too).

It wasn't a waste of time, and while we didn't like the sitting and waiting part,  I do realize that there were other patients with much more pressing needs than a sore throat.  I think I will take a bag of magazines to the hospital for their waiting room and exam rooms, so people will have something to do while they wait, besides groan and twiddle their thumbs.

This lady looks happy.
      Probably because her head isn't
            disembodied and floating creepily
above her shoulders.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Morning at the Shrine of St. Therese

I spent this morning out at the Shrine of St. Therese, as kind of a day (well, a half-day) of recollection.

I walked around the grounds, did some Centering Prayer, walked the labyrinth and said the Rosary and took some photos.  I also chatted with tourists, all of whom were overwhelmed by the beauty and peaceful atmosphere.  Contrary to what Alaska Magazine claimed in their last issue, that the Shrine is not a place of faith and religion, but a peaceful place, nonetheless(!), the Shrine has everything to do with faith.

Bishop Joseph Crimont S.J. had faith when he gave permission to Father William LeVasseur S.J. to build a Shrine to St. Therese.  The Shrine chapel was built in 1933, during a time of worldwide financial hardship.  Fr. Levasseur recruited men to carry stones from the beaches around the Shrine with which to build the chapel.  Soon, not only the Chapel, but the Lodge and the causeway between them were complete.

Hundreds of people of faith have come to the Shrine for retreats, days of recollection and liturgies.  Thousands of visitors come from around the world to see the Shrine.

The Shrine is not only a beautiful place in which to reflect on the natural beauty that surrounds it, it is also a place where people can praise and thank God for that beauty.

The chapel has undergone major renovations in recent years, to remove the old plaster, and to refinish the wooden beams that hold up the roof.  The windows frame the trees and mountains and the view is more beautiful than stained glass.  The chapel is also the final resting place of both Bishop Crimont and Bishop Kenny, who were interred in the crypt beneath the altar.

On the grounds are the Columbarium, where cremated remains can be laid to rest.  There is a Rosary Walk, the Stations of the Cross and a beautiful replica of Michaelangelo's Pieta.  In addition to the Lodge, there is the Post Office Cabin, the Jubilee Cabin and the Little Flower Cabin.  While the word "cabin" makes one think rustic and  rough, these cabins are anything but.  They are modern, light, airy, handicapped accessible and comfortable.  There is also a small Hermitage that has no electricity and is heated by an oil stove, for those who want a more primitive experience.

The view from the Shrine Island is spectacular, with views of the Chilkat Mountains and Lynn Canal.  Often, both orcas and humpback whales swim by.  Sea lions swim up to the rocks to bask in the sun.  Eagles, crows and ravens call back and forth to one another.

John Gitkov had faith.  When Mr. Gitkov, a neighbor of the Shrine of St. Therese, recently heard that there were plans to tear down the Lodge due to extensive wear and tear, he volunteered his construction company and tools and equipment to do the necessary repairs.  He and his crew managed to save the Lodge for future generations.

Deirdre Darr has faith.  She is the new Executive Director of the Shrine of St. Therese.  Her vision is to boost the retreat program at the Shrine, and to utilize it's resources, both spiritual and physical, to help the people of the Diocese of Juneau to grow in faith.

Every visit to Southeast Alaska should include a visit to the Shrine of St. Therese.  It is a gift from God to all of us.

Here are some of the pictures I took this morning during my time there.

Leo the Shrine  Cat joined me on my Labyrinth walk.
The view from Shrine Island
The Shrine Chapel
Better than stained glass!
The entrance to the chapel.

The beach
Many visitors come and go...
...while others sit in quiet contemplation.
The newly renovated Lodge
The caretakers' cabin
The Post Office cabin

Deirdre, her husband Ben and their son, Quinn.

You're Getting Sleepy....S..L..E..E..P..Y..

I tossed and turned last night until 4:00 a.m., when I finally got up.  I sat on the couch and read Facebook and looked at Pinterest and read my wonderful Elizabeth Berg novel Tapestry of Fortunes, until 5:00 when I decided to make blueberry scones.

I have a feeling that I will be kind of wiped out today.  Rats.  I am spending the morning out at the Shrine of St. Therese, one of my favorite places.  I will look at the flowers, pray in the chapel, check our inventory of icon prints and shrines in the gift shop and then stop at a friend's house to pick raspberries.  I will be doing all this in a semi-fog, I think.

I will probably look something like Frida did yesterday:

You are getting sleepy...



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Serendipitous and Moving Visit

On Saturday morning, we attended Mass as part of our celebration of Charles' ordination anniversary.  Before Mass, folks gather to say the rosary together.  I noticed that, in addition to the regular parishioners, there were several visitors.  When the rosary was over, just before Mass started, they came up to Charles and told him that they couldn't stay for Mass, but could they receive Holy Communion before they left.

Charles wrote on his blog, Loaves and Fishes, about this experience, so I am posting the link so you can read it in his own words.  He didn't put links to several organizations he mentions in his post, so I will post them here as well.

Catholic Relief Services

Aid to the Church in Need

Catholic Near East Welfare Association

And please, keep the suffering Church in Iraq, Syria and Egypt in your prayers.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Happy Anniversary Charles!

Tomorrow, August 10th is the seventh anniversary of Charles' ordination to the permanent diaconate of the Roman Catholic Church.

He is a wonderful husband, father and deacon.  His ministry fits in so well with his personality: patient, kind, and good.

He is excellent at what he does.  He proclaims the Word, he preaches, he teaches and when he serves at the altar, he is completely present.  He is passionate about the social teaching of the Church - he serves as the Juneau Diocese's representative of Catholic Relief Services and always is helping our parish and diocese know more about what we can do to help the poor and marginalized in our world and in our community.

He lives out what he believes.  He is infinitely patient and kind and will always take time to listen to someone in crisis or who just wants to talk, even in the frozen food aisle of the local grocery store.

He assists our Bishop in so many ways: serving at Mass, in his work as the Director of Ministries for our Diocese, letting the Bishop know of the needs and concerns of the Church in Southeast Alaska, especially in the missions.

He is simply the best deacon I know (and he also paints icons)!

Happy Anniversary, Charles!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Skagway Trip: Jewell Gardens, Part Two

As promised, here are some more photos of Jewell Gardens in Skagway.

In addition to beautiful flowers, Jewell Gardens also has a variety of vegetables and fruits.  Two large greenhouses have rows upon rows of veggies.  Rhubarb plants abound and there are cherry trees dotted around the back of the property.


...and boots!


...and cabbages.
Ducks and chickens!

It was a wonderful afternoon, poking around in the gardens, admiring the lovely glasswork, and enjoying the beautiful, sunny day.  We were refreshed and ready to take the ferry home to Juneau and resume our regular day to day lives!

I have always loved this poem!