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, March 31, 2013

Christ Is Risen! Glorify Him!

From The Illuminated Easter Proclamation by Charles Rohrbacher

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling down death by death!
And upon those in the tomb
Bestowing life!

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.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Clap Your Hands, All Peoples (7 Quick Takes)!


It has been a quiet week here in Douglas.  Jeanie left after a 10 day stay with us, which involved drinking a LOT of coffee (make mine decaf) and even more heart to heart conversations, laughs and, of course, more coffee.  I miss her so much.


Of course, Jeanie not being here anymore, I am not distracted from seeing that my house is still a mess.  So the big goal for today is to deeply and completely clean at least one room.  I think it should be the bathroom, which is the PIT OF DESPAIR.


This week started out very cold and windy, followed by snow (big, fluffy flakes), followed by cold and clear, but not windy.  It actually is pleasant outside, which means I should go for a walk after I take care of the bathroom.  I hesitate to even type the letters W-A-L-K because Frida and Beans are psychic and know when I am even in the pre-contemplation stage of taking a walk.


You might have noticed that I have not put any pictures in this post yet.  This is mostly because I have LOST MY CAMERA!  The last time I remember using it was at our friend LouAnn's birthday party, where I took some great pictures of her little house (that I was going to post, so you could all see how charming her house is).  She looked, and it is not there.  So please pray to St. Anthony that I find it soon. 


Another reason that I haven't put any photos on this post yet (even though I can take nice pictures with my phone) is because I am saving the best for the last.

Wait for it...


Wait for it...


Here is Charles newest piece - a commission for a local family.  A couple of years ago, the Juneau Symphony had a fund raiser, for which they asked local artists to paint (old, unusable) musical instruments for auction. Charles painted a violin, which was hugely popular and raised quite a bit of money for the Symphony.  One of the attendees (who was out-bid at the auction) commissioned this piece:

The Latin text reads: 

Blessed is the man who walks not in the way of the wicked.
Psalm 1

 Clap your hands, all peoples! 
Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared, 
a great King over all the earth.
Psalm 47

Isn't it lovely?

(I am linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary!)


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Pins

I came to Pinterest later than everyone else, I think.  But I have made up for lost time!

I love to go to Pinterest and browse.  I usually find a recipe or two and I always find a pretty picture to repin, or a DIY idea, or a craft project to try, or a cleaning or organizing tip.  Here are some of my favorites.

Recipes (I've pinned 68!)

Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread

I made this for dessert on Christmas and it was delicious!  Rich and dense and so gingery.  With fresh whipped cream, it was the perfect Christmas dessert.

Crafts (I've pinned 19!)

Fabric Easter Eggs!
I snagged this from Claudia at Mockingbird Hill Cottage (thanks Claudia!).  I haven't tried it yet, but it looks easy and the eggs are so pretty!

Do It Yourself (I've pinned three!)

how to make mason jar soap container.    Now need one for dish soap and hand soap next to the kitchen sink.
Icing On The Cake
I made one of these for my kitchen and I love it!

This is an amazing floor cleaner!

Organization (I've pinned four!)

Garage Shelving. This would be amazing!
I want to build these for our storage unit!

Pretty Things (I've pinned 11!)

Amethyst bottle collection
Isn't this GORGEOUS?

Photos I Have Taken (I've pinned seven!)

Forget-Me-Not Shed
Vashon Island, Washington
(copyright Paula Rohrbacher)
I love that I can share my own photos on Pinterest!

New Jerusalem Workshop (I've pinned three!)

St. George
"St. George"  Icon written by Deacon Charles Rohrbacher (copyright, New Jerusalem Workshop)
Original handwritten icon by Charles Rohrbacher
I like being able to share Charles' work!

There is so much to look at and do on Pinterest!  I hope you've enjoyed some of my favorites.  Now if I could only figure out how to put a Pinterest button on my blog, I would be perfectly happy!  Some of you know how to do this - can you help me out?!?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Here is an interesting article about St. Patrick, and about Catholic Relief Services' efforts to stop human trafficking.  Please read it, and if you are so moved, make a donation to CRS!

And, here is a beautiful setting of "St. Patrick's Breastplate", as a reminder that today is not just about green beer and leprechauns!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Why, Yes, I Am A Catholic! How Did You Guess? 7 QT

I guess my blog has been Catholic-heavy the last few days, what with the Chrism Mass, the Conclave and the election of Pope Francis.

I walked out of my bedroom this morning after getting dressed, and my friend Jeanie (who is visiting us, but leaving Saturday) said:  "You're Catholic?!?  I never would have known!"

What do you think her first clue was?  The icons in the background?  The photos of Pope John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI?  Whatever could have led her to believe that I'm Catholic?


It's been a fun couple of weeks with Jeanie in town, although she has been freezing in our SE Alaska weather, having acclimated to Eastern Washington for the last two years.  The sun is shining, but it is windy and the high is about 29 degrees.  We have been spending many hours drinking coffee at the Rookery (I love their logo - see the rook in the middle?).


Miguel is in Anchorage, doing research for his history/anthropology project on the Pius X boarding school in Skagway, and he will be presenting his research at the Alaska Anthropological Association conference there tomorrow (fingers crossed and candles lit for a successful presentation)!


Frida ate the zipper off of my favorite fleece vest, and my fleece jacket.  This brings the total up to 9 zippers she has destroyed.  I have to bite the bullet and learn to put in zippers (and remind myself and the rest of my family to hang up clothing with zippers).  Good thing she is cute (see #1).


We had a small avalanche above the high school the other day.  It was in the same place that a major avalanche happened in 1962, in the Behrends Avenue Path.

Here is a video of the recent avalanche, which was a tiny snowflake compared to the 1962 avalanche:

Video courtesy of Brian Wallace.


My house is a mess.  When the sun shines, I can see the dust, the dog hair, and the smudges on the windows.   Does this mean I am in a frenzy of cleaning?  Or that I want it to cloud up and rain?  Nope.  It just means that my house is a mess.

I can't figure out how to escape the Facebook conversation box to end this post, so I will end it before QT#7.  I am linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary

I went to lunch with Charles the other day, to Olivia's de Mexico and he took this picture of me:

I posted it on Facebook, with the caption: "Channeling my inner bandolera!"  This prompted the following conversation:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Theme Thursday: Green

I consulted with Cari at Clan Donaldson, who said that I can use an old green picture, so here it is, one of my favorite places to walk...

The Flume Boardwalk Trail, Juneau, Alaska

Check out Theme Thursday at Clan Donaldson!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Come Holy Spirit!

O God,
our eternal shepherd, 
who guides your people with a father's care,
grant to your Church a Pope acceptable to you
in holiness of life,
one entirely consecrated to the service of your people. 
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Chrism Mass, And Watching Charles the Deacon

One of my favorite liturgies of the year is the Chrism Mass, or Mass of the Oils.  Once a year, the Bishop blesses the holy oils (Chrism, the Oil of the Sick, and the Oil of Catechumens) all the priests of the diocese come to the Cathedral to renew their commitment to the people of God, and to take the newly blessed oils back to their parishes.  The oils will be used to anoint the sick, to anoint those who are coming into the Church and those who will be baptized, confirmed, or ordained.  Chrism is also used to anoint new altars, churches and icons.

Seeing all the priests of the diocese standing in the Cathedral always brings a lump to my throat.  We only have ten priests serving in the Diocese of Juneau.  We have two Oblates of Mary Immaculate who are loaned to our diocese (Fr. Jim Blaney and Fr. Pat Casey), one retired (Fr. Peter Gorges), one Congolese priest who was incardinated into our diocese (Fr. Jean-Paulin Lockulu Engbanda) and six who were ordained for the Diocese of Juneau (Fr. Scott Settimo, Fr. Thomas Weise, Fr. Edmund Penisten, Fr. Perry Kenaston, Fr. Steve Gallagher, and Fr. Pat Travers).  The six who are our diocesan priests have all been ordained since I came to Juneau, and I have attended all but one of their ordinations.

Of course, one of my favorite things about this Mass, besides seeing all of our priests together, is watching Charles assist the Bishop.  The first time I saw Charles in his vestments (his stole and dalmatic), I was overwhelmed with emotion.

The bishop and his priests and deacons (missing from the picture are Fr. Perry and Fr. Pat Travers), including Miguel (at the far left), who was serving.
Charles, proclaiming the Gospel.
Charles presents the Oil of the Sick to the Bishop to be blessed.
The Eucharistic Prayer, with the unblessed oils and balsam, which gives the Chrism its distinctive fragrance.
It is so beautiful to watch my husband serve at Mass and also to watch him exercise his diaconal ministry of charity, which he does when he serves as chaplain at the hospital, when he does spiritual direction, when he visits the sick in their homes, and when he stops at the grocery store to counsel someone in the frozen food aisle.  I once saw him sit with a weeping drunk in a hotel lobby in Anchorage, taking all the time the man needed, and waving off the hovering hotel staff who were attempting to throw the man out.  The poor man was overcome with guilt and fear for his son with whom he had a distant and troubled relationship, and who was in Iraq in harm's way.   He sobbed as he poured his heart out.  Charles reassured him, urged him to contact his son, blessed him, calmed him and sent him on his way.  The man, who thought Charles was a priest, even though Charles corrected him, kept saying, "Thank you, Father!  Thank you, thank you!"

I love watching Charles the Deacon.  I love seeing him living out his vocation and I am proud to have him for my husband.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

I Was Nominated For A Liebster Award

Liebster Award for Blogs

No, I didn't know what it was either, before I was nominated.  The Liebster Award originated from a German blogger who wanted to recognize her fellow bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.  Liebster means "dearest" in German.

I was kindly nominated by Allison (thanks Allison!), whose blog, Rambling Follower is just wonderful and such fun to read.  The rules are that nominees must nominate four fellow bloggers with fewer than 200 followers, and answer questions posed by the nominator.  The bloggers I am nominating, because they are fun, inspirational, hilarious, beautiful and/or amazing are:

Bonnie at A Knotted Life, Beth at Beth Handley: Art and Life, Cari at Clan Donaldson and Sherri at Little House In Paradise.  And these are the questions I asked them:

  1. What is your favorite way to relax?
  2. What is your favorite season?
  3. Who is your favorite visual artist?
  4. Who is  your favorite writer?
  5. What is your favorite Scripture passage?
  6. Do you live where you live by choice or by circumstance?
  7. What do you most want to be remembered for?
  8. What is your greatest accomplishment up until now (besides your children)?
  9. What is your favorite food?
  10. Why do you blog?

Here are the questions Allison asked me, with the answers:

1. What delights you most about your life right now?
At this very moment, the sun is shining through the window, illuminating and warming my house!

2. What about your adult life is a surprise in terms of what you imagined as a child your adult life would be like?
I never thought I would live in Alaska - I thought I would never move far from home (Oregon)!

3. Where did you grow up and how far is it from where you live now?
I grew up in Portland, Oregon (see #2).  It is over a 1000 miles away.

4. What did you like best about being a child?
I loved playing with my friend Nancy, overnights with my friend Lee Ann, and reading.

5. What do you like about being a grown up?
That I can be myself!

6. What do you think the value of old age is? 
Not being dead!  No, seriously, aging brings perspective.

7. What do you like to do with your hands in terms of crafts, cooking etc?
Crocheting, cooking, making icon shrines.

8. Do you like to write letters or postcards? 
Neither - I prefer email.  I love getting snail mail though!

9.  If you were coming to a potluck at my house, what would you bring? 
Either a big green salad or enchiladas.

10. Does your family read your blog? Why or why not? 
My sister Mary does, my other siblings don't.  My mother-and sisters-in-law do!  Charles does, my kids sometimes do.

11.  If you could pick one adjective that you'd like people to associate with you, what would it be?

Now, everybody go read Allison's, Bonnie's Beth's, Cari's and Sherri's blogs!