Saturday, January 28, 2012

Another Goodbye

I appreciate my Air Force upbringing for lots of reasons but also because it prepared me well for all the comings and goings in my life. I've said before that living here reminds me of being a military kid because Unalaska can be such a transient community. Of course, there are people who have lived here for years and years, but there's also a pretty large group of individuals who stay for a few years and then move on. I can't even keep track of all the people I've met over the past 8 years who are no longer here! Today brought another goodbye when my friend Donna left after about four years on the island. Some of us had a little farewell gathering last night with dinner and fun at Amelia's. Above, Kelly, Becky and Donna.

Donna and Kris-Ann

I first met Donna when she came to town to work as a Behavioral Health Clinician at the IFHS Clinic. I was still working in the same sort of position at the Oonalaska Wellness Center. We coordinated services and shared the on-call responsibilities with the other clinicians in town and got to know each other over lunches and phone calls and meetings. Eventually, she came to work with us at OWC but soon after that, I left for the TV/radio station. Still, we kept in touch, participated in many of the same activities in town, and hung out when we could. We traveled and worked together for the year-long Healthy Native Communities Fellowship, where we bonded further over many funny, irritating, and overwhelming experiences. Thank goodness she was there or I probably would have quit. :)

Here we are at the airport, delayed, of course!

I was complaining about my double chin in the previous photo, which brought on lots of laughing and silly posing.

Donna is heading to Ninilchik, where she will start a new Behavioral Health Program. I know she will do a fabulous job! She'll be living a couple of hours from Anchorage so we will be able to see her if we have more than an overnight there. Our friends Anne and Jeanette have just returned to Anchorage, and our friend Paul is there, too. So it will be like old home week next time we go "to town."
Farewell, Unalaska!
Safe travels, Donna! We'll miss you but will see you again!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oh, July, where art thou?

My non-Alaska car was iced and snowed into our parking area last week so Rich was driving me to work and picking me up at the end of the day. We kept noticing this view on the way home between 5:3o and 6. One day after I was back to driving myself, Rich went out to take some photos. What a gorgeous sunset over the water!

The Unangan culture teaches us not to speak ill of the weather so I am trying to keep a smile on my face. Still, it seems very cold this winter. The snow is lovely if I don't have to go out in it so I've been a little bit into hibernation mode and I am not much of an Alaska gal at times like these. Many of my friends are very outdoorsy and don't even mind the cold but I haven't quite made it that far. No, I don't bundle up nearly as much as I used to, I can drive our stick shift truck under just about any conditions, and I'm pretty good at scraping the windshield. But I can't say I am enjoying it! :)

Still, there's lots going on, as always. Besides work, I'm doing my nonviolence studies, I've started practicing piano again after buying a DVD instruction set that I really like, and I just signed up to teach an ESL class starting next week. I'm looking forward to it, though I thought it would be held in the evening and I just found out it's from 7-9 AM on T-Th. You know I am *not* a morning person! I hesitated for a moment and then decided, "I can do this! It will be good for me." Right?!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Winter Doldrums

We've had cold, wind, rain, sleet, snow and ice for the last couple of weeks. I have hardly left the house except to go to my part-time job in the afternoon, when the sun has already come up and I don't have to negotiate the steep iced-over steps and the icy parking lot in the dark. We did catch a break in the ice and wind one day and took a little drive.

This is a cool old WWII building. It would be perfect for our commune, but I hear it's condemned.

Crab pots, eagles and the Holy Ascension Russian Orthodox Cathedral.

January 11th was my youngest daughter Susan's birthday. Here she is with her husband, Corey, when I saw them last September. I can hardly believe my baby is now 29! Where have the years gone? Happy belated birthday to my girl. We love you and miss you!

Tonight my thoughtful husband surprised me with pot pies for dinner. You might wonder what is so special about pot pies, besides the very important fact that they're homemade. The truth is that I have many food peccadillos, not the best situation for the wife of a chef, or for the chef (maybe especially for the chef). What a treat for me to have a delicious pot pie with lots of veggies that I WILL eat and none of the ones I can't stand. No onions, no rubbery little square carrots, no canned-tasting peas. We were laughing about how I must have had to maneuver those little frozen pot pies as a kid--I'd eat all of the crust, pick out the chicken and potatoes, and whatever juice I could get that was not tainted by those nasty carrots, and leave the rest. I probably got in trouble for not cleaning my plate.

And it's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This quote is from the '60s but I think it is just as relevant now, maybe more so. "We must rapidly begin the shift from a 'thing' oriented society to a 'person' oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered." This makes me think so much of the income inequality of our country, the rich only becoming richer while the poor continue to struggle for dignity and a living wage and the middle class see their jobs and security slipping away. Corporations are deemed "people" and control every aspect of our society. I wonder what Dr. King would have to say today.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The view from our window

We've been enjoying these cute grey-crowned rosy finches as they winter in our yard. They are really fat! The cats have been watching and chattering away--they would love a bite.

Photos by Rich

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Ajax and Kali hope you have a very happy 2012! It's cold and snowy outside so they are snuggling on a throw on the couch. I don't blame them a bit!

While my hubby's been working, I've had a quiet and peaceful three day weekend. Till we went to the grocery store for our Monday Senior Discount shopping tonight, I hadn't left the house since Friday. I didn't have anything major to do, the snow was piled up, covering the outside steps coming up the hill, and the house was nice and warm. Why go out? I took this opportunity to try to get myself organized for the new year. I still have a few things to do but I think I am off to a good start. Of course, it's only January 2.

I'm not really making resolutions but I've come across a couple of things I want to do this year. I've long been an admirer of Colman McCarthy and his Center for Teaching Peace in DC. Years ago, he offered a correspondence course which required an application essay, after which you'd read a series of articles on the history of nonviolence, peacemakers, social justice, etc. and send in papers summarizing your thoughts about the readings. I worked on an application but never got around to submitting it. For some reason, I was thinking about the course the other night and decided to look online to see if it still existed. Yes, it does, and it's actually available on the web as a self study--no more application and no more essays, but the readings are all there, along with some questions for processing the info. There's an 8 week course and a 16 week university course. So one of the things I am going to do this year is take the 16 week course for my own benefit.

The other site I visited, thanks to a mention on the 49 Writers blog, is called 750words. It's a pretty cool writing site, especially for those of us who don't have much discipline. Basically, you sign up and write 750 words (or more) each day. You can get a reminder email each day at a time you specify, and you receive little reward badges for your accomplishments (750 words, writing several days in a row, writing every day for a month, and so on). It also tracks things like how fast you type, how many times you get distracted, what words you use most often, what your mood appears to be, and so on. Some of it you can take with a grain of salt but it's kinda fun. (I've done my two days' worth in January--woohoo!) Instead of a blog, it's private--more like a journal. It's designed to help "get the cobwebs out" by writing about anything you want, supposedly freeing your brain to then work on what you really want to write. I don't fancy myself a real writer but I thought it might be enjoyable to write about "whatever" without editing, thinking about who's going to read it, or trying to make it fit into certain parameters. And, who knows, maybe I will come up with some ideas that will make it onto the blog, which I feel could use a little zip (since we're talking about getting organized and beginning a new year...)

What do you want to do in 2012?