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, September 22, 2013

A Bad Day

The day got off to a bad start when I turned on the radio and heard about a massacre in Pakistan at a Catholic parish, AND another massacre and hostage crisis in Kenya.  I mourn for the families of those who were killed.

Then (I realize that this is ridiculous compared to the above news) I forgot that our family was in charge of this week's after-Mass snacks.  I was grateful that the folks in charge of snacks after the 8:30 left doughnuts, muffins and bagels, which I supplemented with cheese and crackers and chips and salsa.  Not our usual standard, but what mattered was that people enjoyed visiting with each other while eating the snacks.

After Mass, Charles and I went out to the valley and dropped off two boxes of books at the Friends of the Library Amazing Bookstore (and left the store with only five books).   We stopped at JoAnn Fabrics to look at some material for making bags to transport icons in so they don't get banged up in transit.  We had a burger together at The Broiler and both of us did a little venting about various things that are frustrating us right now (not about each other).  It felt good to spend some time together, even if we were both feeling snarky.

Then we came home to the news that one of Phoebe's high school classmates had died suddenly. Commiserating with her, I realized that the frustrations that Charles and I were feeling earlier are nothing compared to the pain of losing a loved one.  The families of the victims in Pakistan and Kenya, and a family here in Douglas are grieving today.

The people who died so tragically in Pakistan and Kenya this weekend today were just doing their normal Sunday routine, going to church, doing a little shopping, just having a regular day.  Phoebe's classmate didn't have any idea when he went to sleep that he wasn't going to wake up.

Hug your kids, your spouse, your brothers and sisters today.  And remember that life can change in the twinkling of an eye.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Seven Quick Takes: Sickness, Wellness, Opera, Transportation And The Pope

I was sick with the Juneau Crud last week.  Sniffling, sneezing and mostly (and worstly) cough, cough, coughing.  Not just coughing, but that "wake up suddenly feeling like I am choking to death and then realize if I just cough it will fix it" feeling.  Thank God for those Halls Vitamin C drops to sooth my poor throat (not a commercial, I just like them).

I got better after about four days, and then had to go get a mammogram, which was fine except that the radiologist "saw" something.  So back I went yesterday and got the bejesus squeezed out of Lefty once again.  Then the tech came in and said that the radiologist wanted me to have an ultrasound.  Wearing my superhero cape (Breast Woman!) I followed the ultrasound tech into the darkened room to lie on the bed and have a magic wand (and some very cold and slimy gel) applied to Lefty.  Nothing there but some excess fat (I could have told them that) and I was given instructions to come back in 6 months.  I can't wait.  I am grateful, however.  I know so many women who have been through this, but with bad results followed by surgery, radiation, chemo.  So Lefty and I said a prayer and went home.

I am in the chorus of La Traviata with the Juneau Lyric Opera.  I missed the first couple of weeks of rehearsals because I didn't make up my mind about being in the chorus until they had already started.  Then, being sick, I missed an entire week last week.  The music isn't a problem, but singing in Italian is.  So many syllables and interesting letter combinations.  It is much harder to sing than I thought it would be.  Give me German, Latin or French any day.  Last night after singing it through with the orchestra, our choir director had us speaking the words of the "Matador Song" in rhythm.  Lots and lots of words.  We open a week from tomorrow. 

We got a new car.  Well, new to us anyway.  It is a 2003 Volkswagen Beetle.  Not quite as practical as the Subaru Forester we just sold, in terms of cargo space and snow performance, but it is much more fuel efficient.  Since both of our adult children have their own cars, we don't need as much space, and besides, it is so stinking cute.

If you live under a rock, or don't watch the news, you might have missed that the Holy Father gave an interview to America Magazine.  I haven't read it yet, but according to the secular world it is groundbreaking.  The Catholic blogging world is reeling with lots of opinions about what it all means.  From what I have read, it sounds like he is being practical, pastoral, and in keeping with Church teaching, as he would be expected to be.  I don't think there will be any major changes forthcoming in Catholic Social Teaching: care for the poor, respect for life, respect for the dignity of each person.  It's all there, folks!

Speaking of our new car - our poor old car was ready to bite the dust.  A nice guy at our service station has one just like it and bought it from us.  He said he can fix all the things that were wrong with it - blown head gasket, rear brakes, back hatch latch, CV joint, etc.  And so we sold it to him for 500 bucks.  Charles had the following conversation with him over the phone:

Charles: Are you still interested in the Forester?
Guy: Yeah, I think I want to get it. 
Mrs. Guy (in the background): We don't have no ROOM!
Guy (after mumbled conversation with Mrs. Guy): We might not have room for it.  I have a boat, a truck, a snow machine and another Forester.  I'll call you back.

Ten minutes later, he called back and said he was going to store his boat elsewhere and would take the car.  Yesterday, he and his wife came by and bought it.  I was not sorry to see it go, dripping oil, with the back hatch rattling.

I got nothing.  Wait - I do have something.  We are going to use the money from the sale to finally fix up our bedroom.  We are in the process of culling our books.  For me, just a question of throwing books into a box.  For Charles, like removing a limb.  So it is slow going, but soon we will have the excess bookage out to the Friends of the Library Amazing Bookstore, and everything else packed up and stored in the Tool Room, which also needs to be cleaned out.  Wait - we just got rid of our Subaru with the cargo space...oh well, we have a son with another Subaru that we can use for dump runs.

That's it.  That's all I got.

Scoot on over to Jen at Conversion Diary to see everybody else's quick takes!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Theme Thursday: Text

I saw this sign while hiking in the woods close to Mount Hood, in Oregon.  I have no idea how it got there, or why the word "Watermelon" was abbreviated.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


May those who died on 9/11, and those who gave their lives to save others rest in peace.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Some Random Photos and a Coincidence

Charles' parents came through town on a cruise last Saturday.  This year, they are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, so while they were here (for seven hours), Charles took the opportunity to bless their marriage and witness their renewal of their wedding vows.

Charles blessed their wedding rings.

The weekend before, we went to a garage sale and I found this vintage lunch box and Thermos.  Of course, the minute I got it home, I broke the zipper on the lunch box.  I was thinking I could use it for a craft tote, for my crocheting and (soon to be) knitting projects.  I am currently crocheting granny squares for an afghan.  It has been so long since I did a big project (other than a hat or a scarf).  I am a little nervous about it!

I saw the above project on Pinterest, and we had some pieces of wood that were just the right size.  I mod podged paper on the board, attached the pipe clamp with a screw (actually, Charles did, because I am too short to be able to put any pressure on the screw with the screw gun, unless I stood on a chair, which seemed like an accident waiting to happen), covered a binder clip with the same paper as the board, hammered in a little nail, and VOILA! a toothbrush and toothpaste holder that matches our bathroom!

And now, the coincidence:  Last night, Charles and I were scheduled to work at the gallery and a woman came in and said that she had been told that an iconographer showed his work there.  I turned and pointed to Charles and said: "There he is!".  She was delighted to meet him and said that she is also an iconographer.  She is from New Orleans and it turned out that she knows and has studied with a friend and student of Charles'.   She was thrilled to see Charles' work, and shared some photos of her icons, which Charles praised.  She said that she hoped to come back and study with Charles.  The world of iconographers is small indeed! 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Prayer For Peace In Syria and the Middle East

The icon Charles just finished for the World Day of Prayer.
The inscription says: "Queen of Peace" in English and Arabic

God of Compassion,
Hear the cries of the people of Syria,
bring healing to those suffering from the violence,
bring comfort to those mourning the dead,
strengthen Syria's neighbors in their care and 
welcome for refugees,
convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms,
and protect those committed to peace.

God of Hope,
inspire leaders to choose peace over violence
and to seek reconciliation with enemies
Inflame the Universal Church with compassion
for the people of Syria,
and give us hope for a future of peace built on justice 
for all

We ask this through Jesus Christ, 
Prince of Peace and Light of the World.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Walk To Nugget Falls

Yesterday my walking buddy Linda and I walked out to Nugget Falls.  It is (or used to be, anyway) at the face of Mendenhall Glacier.  The Glacier has receded so much in the past 35 years that it appears shrunken.  When I arrived in Juneau 35 years ago, the falls were still covered by ice (thank you, climate change).  You can see in the photo below how the ice used to be higher and wider.  It made me sad to see it.

When we arrived, we saw a lot of visitors, both local and tourists.  Folks were taking pictures of the icebergs (large pieces of ice) and growlers (small pieces of ice) in Mendenhall Lake.

The Falls are a fun spot to walk to - with an easy, flat trail that was recently renovated.  It took about a half an hour to arrive at the falls, which are magnificent.

Your humble blogger!
The Falls are huge and impressive.  Look how the people look like little ants next to it.  The spray from the Falls is so refreshing.  A friend said yesterday that she hikes out to get a dose of negative ions from the spray.  Maybe that is why is is so exhilarating to stand close to them.

An iceberg
We had a wonderful time, and did our hiking just in the nick of time, because the forecast is for heavy rain, flood warnings and high winds.  We woke up this morning to rain sheeted windows.  Mendenhall Lake is sure to be flooding today.  It is a good day to sit inside and read by the woodstove.  Fall is here, after a wonderful summer!

Someone built a cairn from the rocks nearby.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Oh, Savior, Save Us

Here is a link to Charles' latest blog post, with a prayer for peace in Syria.  Please pray for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Pope Francis has called for a worldwide day of prayer and fasting on September 7, so that peace might prevail in that shattered country.

Loaves and Fishes

Monday, September 2, 2013

I Get Misty

Yesterday, Charles and I attended the last Mass of the season at the Shrine of St. Therese.  Afterwards, there was a celebration to thank the workers who donated their time and effort to renovate the Shrine Lodge.

As we were walking to the car, Charles called my attention to the fog that was hanging over the mountains and water in the distance.

These photos were not taken in a black and white setting!

Last night the cruise ships were blowing their fog horns as they departed the harbor.   It is such a mournful sound, but so lovely. 

This morning, again, Charles told me to "come outside and look at the fog" - so I grabbed my camera and walked down to the Douglas Boat Harbor.

Another beautiful morning in Douglas!