Journal Posts

May 19, 2012

Quiet day. I’m destressing from the month of April’s scare and all the medical tests that all turned out to be nothing wrong with me physically. Have begun to job hunt in earnest. My daughter, Marina, called tonight to let me know her Memorial Day plans. She called last week and said she’d be having family over for a cook out, but Joe’s still working in Soldatna. So, she’s going down to Soldatna to be with her husband, instead.

 

May 28, 2912

Memorial Day:

I’m reminded that my Dad was in WWII. Harry Schermeyer already had a family and a profession when he joined the Navy. He was an pilot and a aircraft mechanic.Dad, actually, spent the war in Kansas City instructing the mechanics who worked on the aircraft carriers. He has this story about only being on an aircraft carrier once. Dad and another Navy pilot took off from Kansas City to Miami, Flordia one morning. They had dinner with the crew on the carrier. Dad was up all night. All of his time was spent looking over the equiptment available and using a tape measure to map out the space that mechanics had to work in. Then Dad and the other pilot flew back to Kansas City the next morning.

The other family story is: Uncle, Herman, my Mom’s brother, hitched-hiked to Canada when he was only sixteen. My uncle could already fly an airplane. He enlisted in Canada. Apparently, my uncle, being a strapping farm boy, looked older than his actual age. He ended up in the Royal Air Force, flying in the Battle of Britain and was one of the 10% of the fighter pilots who survived WWII in England. By the time I was born, everyone called my Uncle Herman , Ace. I was an adult before I had any idea my uncle’s name was Herman and the reason why everyone called him Ace.

Today: Cameron and I took off early and went to a morning movie. We saw “Men in Black 3”, I’m not a fan of “blow ’em up, shoot ’em up” movies, but this one is very, far-fetched Sci-Fi. Actually, I laughed out loud and number of times. After the movie, we went grocery shopping. The two of us had planned to go to a Community Memorial Day picnic, but when we finished shopping, Cameron said he was not feeling well at all and just wanted to go home. By that time, I had missed lunch and decided to just stay home myself. We live on the opposite side of town from the picnic. I figured by the time I got to the picnic, found a place to park, I’d have to find food immediately. I thought that it’s a holiday – time to de-stress, not add extra stress. So, I stayed home.

 

June 2, 2012

This Satruday morning started out as usual. My alarm went off at 6AM, took a shower, gathered up my things and left the house before 6:45AM. I got down to the Side Street Espresso cafe’, where my weekly writing group has been meeting for over three years.  Getting out the driver’s door of my car, I locked the door and promptly locked myself totally out of my car, without my computer, coffee card , and wallet with my money.

George, one of the cafe’ owners, lent me their phone, since mine was locked in the car. Carmeon was not awake, and , of couse, did not answer the phone. He’s hard of hearing. A woman, named Jody, who comes to the cafe from Wasilla and chats with the writers sometimes,  came in for coffee. Jody offered to run me home, to get Cameron’s set of car keys. When I got to the house, I rang the bell and repeatedly pounded on the door until I worked up a sweat. All that noise and pounding did not wake up Cameron. Jody and I went back to the cafe’. Every fifteen minutes, using Mel Green’s cell phone, I called home.

Finally, Cameron answered the phone. He had a story to tell. The police came knocking on the door, that’s what woke him up. The police said someone had called them, and reported a disturbance at our residence. Cameron let the police in, because they asked if they could look around. He told them he’d been asleep and that I had left before 7AM. Cameron was bewildered because he had not heard me ringing the doorbell and poundung on the door.

Jody took me back to the Side Street cafe’. Then she took off to go shopping at the Famer’s Market down on Third Avenue. Thanking Jody profusely, I exited her vehicle, got my gear out of my car, and was finally able to get my coffee, breakfast, and involved in my writing.   There are a number of things that I am working on – a personal diary, titled, “Something To Think About” and a story, “My Life Story” are only a few writing pieces that are in process.

 

June 6, 2012

Today is an anniversary and a birthday. On this day in 1956, I stepped off an airplane in Anchorage, Alaska. In those days, there were steps rolled up to the airplane and one stepped out into the outside, not inside a tube extending into a terminal. The second that I took that step out of the plane, a blooming voice, inside my head, said, “ThIs is your home!” It’s was a voice that I’d heard before, but that’s another story….

The birthday is my daughter, Marina’s. She was born on the anniversary of my arrival in Alaska. I attempted to call her seveal times around dinner time, hoping that I could catch her in case her husband, Joe, was taking her out to dinner. To compound the circumstances, I was the Out North theater here in Anchorage, about to see a documentary film called, “On There Shoulders We Stand”, that was starting at 7PM. Fortunately, I was able to connect with my daughter and talk to her for fifteen minutes. The film was excellent. if you get a chance go see it. It will give you a lot to think about. Eventually, it will be televised on PBS – the Public Broadcasting Station.

This film is a history project. The film consists of interviews with older members of the gay and lesbian community in Los Angeles, who were political activists. These activists opposed the oppressive ordinaces and extremely homophobic chief of police in that city in the 1950′ and 60’s. Many of these activists are dead. There are a few elderly people who recall what they themselves did, and the actions of those who have passed.

I like to think of myself as an elder. I’ve been a member of the GLBT community since the 1970’s. I been active in a lot of things that have transpired in this community – co-facilitor for Higher Ground Consciousness Raising groups, Alask Women’s Bookstore volunteer, on the board of directors of The 15% (now RAW), co-producer for the Alaska Women’s Coffeehouse for three years, co-producer of the the Gay Pride Picnic for four years, co-facilitator of a Transgender Support Group for 3 1/2 years, Gay & Lesbian Hellpline volunteer & GLBT Community Center volunteer, and one of the three people, with Mel Green and Shelby Carpenter, that spearhead the committee that launched LGBT Discrimination Survey in January, 2012.

It has occurred to me that we need our own GLBT history project. Our older members are aging and beginning to die off. One has a sense of continuity, when a person knows there is a history and they are not, and have not been, alone in their struggles.

After the film, Lisa Jamison went out a notice on Facebook asking if there were any people who were willing to work on a local gay and lesbian history project. I sent her an email that I wanted to asisst with the project. It seemed like quite a number of people responded that they were willing to help and had past history information to contribute. To date, I’ve not heard anything back from Lisa. So, I’m not sure what’s going to happen concerning the project, at this point.

I do have a family of blood. Two of my daughters, who are married, live in Wasilla. There are adult grandchildren and young great-grandchildren in the extended family. My daughter, Joan, who is a nurse at Providence Hospital, calls me her mentor. Marina, another daughter, calls me frequently, to catch up on the news and for support. I like to think that they stand on my shoulders. Over the years, I’ve made it a point, not only to be of service to my own blood family, but to my extended family in the GLBT community.

 

June 9, 2012

Today, started out as a beautiful sunny day. Cameron and I got up early, packed up and were out to door before 10AM. We went to the grocey store to get soda pop, bottled water and cash. We were headed for the Gay Pride parade and picnic and wanted to get a parking place close to the action. Cameron has severe arthritis and needs a knee replacement. The recent local, political fight included “sexual orientation” in the civil right ordinance, in the recent mayor’s municipal election, galvanized not only the GLBT community, but also their famlies, friends and allies, including a large contengency of Christians for Equality.

The Gay Pride parade started out with Dyke on Bikes, lead by Carol Ramsey and Ann Lazenby. The parade included a number of new groups – Librarians for Equality, Christains for Equality – St. Mary’s Epospical, St. John’s Luthern, the Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and Metropolitan Community Church, the employees of Credit Union 1 bank, Gay and Lesbian Helpline volunteers, the last Frontier Drag Kings, and Kristara and her Hawaiian Court.

Other marching groups included Identity, Inc., The Imperial Court of All Alaska( the drag queens, who were among the first gay rights activists) ,and the 4A’s – the Alaska Aids Assistance Association. The parade marshall this year, was Trevor Shores. There were many more who’s names I didn’t catch in my notes.

The parade was running late, ending at the picnic grounds. As a result, there was no lull before the entertainment started on the stage at the picnic. It looked like there was a thousand people or more at the picnic. It was hard to get through the crush of people to get anywhere near the stage, but I got a good spot in the second row with a clear view of the stage.

Cameron and I set up our chairs and cooler. Then he went off to check in at the Veteren’s Administration Medical Benefits booth. Cameron had made some flyers for the Transgender Support Group at the VA clinic, and he’d promised to “help” man the booth. When Cam got there, the only person “manning” the booth was Dr. Camilla Madden. The booth was so busy, Cameeron spent all most all of his time there, leaving me on my own.

At 1PM, I went to the GrrilzList Alaska booth for a meeting of the writers for the Bent Alaska blog. The editor is one of my best friends, Mel Green. I’ve pledged myself to write some articles on the history of the Anchorage Gay Community for Mel for the website.

After the meeting, I socialized, meeting one of my Facebook friends, whom I had never, actually, met in person –Tina Schaecher and her five month old, darling daughter, Amethyst. Tina, pushing her baby’s stroller, ran in the Breast Cancer Run for Women that went on before the parade. Tina is one of the owners of one of the hottest alternative culture magazine, SaFire. We had a lovely chat together. Amethyst “talked” and flirted her way into my heart, of course.

I saw Heidi Marlow at a distance, but wasn’t able to connect with her and say, “Hi”. Heidi asked to be a Facebook friend after Mel Green published some of my poetry on Bent Alaska during National Poetry Month. I ran into and got a big hug from my old hiking buddy, Judith Frank, who retired from the State of Alaska four years ago and moved to Washington state. She was back in Alaska for a visit. It was wonderful to get to see Judith. She’s one of the people of my heart.

Another long-time friend of my heart is Maxine Doogan. In 1990, I was injured in an automoble accident and couldn’t drive for a while. My friend, Valerie Vinzant had a friend of hers, who had come to Alaska looking for a job – Maxine Doogan. Maxine was sleeping on Valerie sofa. Maxine had gotten a night job as an accountant, but did not have a car, and there was no bus service at that hour.

Maxine became my room-mate. She went to work at midnight. When she got off work in the mornings, Maxine drove me to the doctor and to my physical therapy appointments, before she went to sleep for the day. She did my laundry, cooked and shopped for me when I could not, physically, do it for myself. Maxine drove my car to work at night. About the time I recovered enough to drive, Maxine had enough money to buy her own car.

Maxine was an easy going, fun and very helpful room-mate and we are still happy friends. One of Ms.Doogan’s relatives died a few years ago, leaving her a a large house full of expensive antiques and art. The same relative left Maxine a barrel of money to go with the property. Maxine spends her time as a liberal, political activist for woman sex workers in Washington DC, but comes back to Alaska to enjoy the cooler summer weather.

I got hugs, greetings and “catch-up on the news” with a number of long-time aquaintances and friends. Plus, there was some good entertainment from the some great muscians, including a former room-mate of Cameron’s and mine, Maureen Suttman.

Marueen decided to take a crack at first learning to play guitar and song write when she roomed with us. We encouraged her to play and sing her original songs in public. It was pretty tough for Maureen to play the first time on stage. She was shaking pretty badly, but she did it, did it well and was a hit. Maureen reminds me a lot of Bob Dylan in her musical style.

Our former next door neighbor, Danny Templeton and his band, were the last act on the stage. The band started off with “Proud Mary”. A man in a motorized wheel chair, who appeared to have cerebral palsy, wheeled out in front of the stage and did a “wheelchair’ dance to the rock and roll music. He was so energized and in tune with the beat, he was a joy to watch. Third gig in for the band, it started to rain. The band was covered by a pavilion, but Cameron and I were getting wet. So, we packed up our gear and went to our car. We could still hear the band. So, we sat in the car, with the windows rolled down, listening to the music.

Cameron and I are both very fair skinned. Kid’s Banana Boat – 50+ Sunblock, let us be out in the sun and not end the day with sunburns. Both of us enjoyed the parade and picnic enormously. It was a great, fun day!

 

June 11, 2012

Cameron and I went to the Century theater to see “Snow White and the Huntsmen” at 1:30PM today. Kristian Stewart is a good actress as the heroic princess. It’s good to see a young woman as a fighter, fighting back and not a resigned victim. Of course, this film is a fantasy and there had to be dwarvies,fairies, elves and the great while elk/deer -sacred animal of the land, instead of a unicorn, that had to give Snow White its blessing, or seal of approval to make the princess’s quest as legitimate.

It turns out that the huntsmen started out as a drunkard, who was easily duped by the evil queen – Charlez Theron. The huntsmen seems to quickly see the hunted princess as a innocent worthy of protection, rather than a job to do for the people in power. Surprisingly, it was the huntsmen’s kiss that revives the poisoned-by-the-apple princess, and not Snow White’s childhood companion, the Duke William. Snow White and the huntsmen do not get together, which leaves the plot open for a sequal – another movie.

There was actually a story with a plot, lots of action. The film included some “blow ’em up, shoot ’em up” for the testosterone members of the audience. The movie was kind of a “chick fick and a guy flick” all rolled into one movie. Cameron said he, actually, like it. Plus, he stayed awake during the entire film. He’s a former night worker. Turn the lights down and Cameron can go to sleep sitting upright in a chair. Too much blowing up and shooting up bores me, and I didn’t get bored during the film. Actually, I like the film.

 

June 14, 2012

My daughter, Marina, called me tonight. Her aunt Lynda Natale died. Lynda was her father’s, Kenneth George Soule, younger sister. She was married to Frank Natale for forthy-six years. Lynda and Frank had two children Cristy and Rocko – a daughter and son. Kenneth Soule had three sisters, Carol, the oldest, Lynda, the middle sister and Gayle, the youngest. Ken was the oldest and the only male.

Marina was fairly close to her aunt Lynda. When Marina called, she was crying and obviously upset .Her aunt wrote Marina at Christmas time saying that she, Lynda, had been diagnosed with colon cancer. Marina siad she responded somewhat flipantly telling Lynda that she would get better very soon. Of course, that didn’t happen.

Since Marina called me, my other daughter, Joan, contacted me on Facebook to tell me of Lynda’s death. She was upset, too! Then my grandaughter, Kelli Barkov, made another Facebook contact and did an R.I.P. concerning her great-aunt’s death.

My former sister-in-law was always cordial to me, but we were never very close. She lived in Cortland, New York. I’ve always lived in Alaska. Lynda and Frank did come to Vancouver, Washington for my son’s, Patrick Soule, wedding. Patrick, Marina and Joan’s Dad died of pancratic cancer in 1986. Ken was only 49 years old. We’d been married twenty-five years. Lynda was a very nice person and I am sorry that she died so young at the age of 67.

 

June 15, 2012

Of my Facebook friends, John Aronno, a man married to a lovely woman named Heather, both of whom are liberal political bloggers, put up a quote on Facebook today. (Heather has her own prize winning, satalite radio show.)  John’s post says, “If you can’t say vagina, you shouldn’t try to legislate it!”  John, Heather and I believe that the Republicans have launched a legislative “War on Women.”  My response is that my vagina is just doing fine today. My question is: How is your vagina today?

 

June 16, 2012

The writing group that I go to on Saturday was group of only one today – me. It sure was hard writing by myself. I look forward to the interchanges between more than one person. Later in the afternoon, a non-writer, but sometimes person who comes in to talk to the writers, named John, did come by and struke up a conversation. John asked me what I was doing. I told him my daughter, Marina, recently got intersted in the family genealogy. I don’t have a geneology program, but I was attempting to construct one on what I could remember. It’s tough to put in all the line-up  people together without a proper genealogy program.

This genealogy occupies one of the last pages my life story. I’m only up to my first marriage in my life’s progesson, which means, that the story is no where near being finished. I did put together, psycologically, a huge insight, in hindsight, that I’d never realized previously. For some reason, working on my life story is very intense. I get, physically, very tired after working on it a couple of hours.

Working on the genealogy, I have talked to my Mother recently. Mom could not remember when her parents were born or their birth dates, but she did recall her paternal grandparents. They died when Mom was a child, but she remembered their names and where her grandfather worked. Only Mother, who is the oldest child in her family and her youngest sister are still alive. Aunt Carol is only five years older than I am.

Continuing my chat with John, I discovered that he is leaving Anchorage, Alaska on July 27, flying to Indonesia, and getting on a sailboat with seven other people. They are taking the boat to South Africa, a four months trip. Yes, there is a possibility of meeting pirates.

John’s passport is about to expire. He doesn’t have a car. He has to renew his passport this week, in order to have a new one before he leaves on his trip.  Another friend of John’s came in the coffee shop, during this part of the conversation, and offered to give John a ride to the post office this week to apply for the new passport.

 

June 17, 2012

Father’s Day:

The Anchorage Daily Newspaper front page, this morning, began with an article by Julia O’Malley, “Deployment creates a new kind of family”. The article was about military wives coming together to help each other coping with the absence of their husbands and fathers of their children. Section E, the “Life and Arts” section, started out with “Alaskans their dads”, which consistred of pictures of various Dad’s with at least one child. Another article was titlesd, “The ultimate luxury – a dad”. This last article was about how many single parent families there are. All the articles brought tears to my eyes. I pride myself on not being an overly emotional person.

During one of the wars this country has been involved in, my Mother was one of those military wives. there wasn’t SKYPE to keep in contact. Mom took me and went back to live on her parent’s farm. As a toddler, my grandfather, George Wilbers, became my Papa. My whole childhood and into early adulthood, my grandpa and I loved and adored each other. When my Dad returned from the war, I didn’t know who he was. Mother said Daddy was heart-broken. Apparently, his wife and baby girl had been the loves-of-his-life, and a big reason why Daddy wanted to make it back home.

I didn’t grow up in a single parent home. My Dad came home from work every night. Harry Schuermeyer loved his wife, his kids and was immensely proud of his family. I was so proud of my parents – Daddy was smart, dashing and handsome and my Mother couldn’t have been more beautiful and loving, inside and out. I had the luxury of having a Dad. He died before he was sixty-six – too young.  Sometimes, I miss him terribly, like today!

In some ways, I couldn’t be a luckier person. When Daddy unexpectedly died, there was nothing unsaid between us. But, there could have been so much more. He didn’t live to see all his grandchildren. Mother is still living. It’s precious beyond words to still have my Mother. Both of us miss Dad. So, at this moment, I don’t have the “luxury” of having a Dad here with me. I do have the memory of a Daddy who loved me. I’m lucky and I do have pictures of Dad and me to remind me.

 

June 18, 2012

Cameron and I went out to lunch with my daughter, Joan Pennington, and grandaughter, Makayla. Joan treated everyone to lunch at the Lucky Wishbone. Cam and I had cheeseburgers, Makayla had the small soup and salad, and Joan had the resturant’s famous, fried chicken and french fries. Maykayla is only nine years old, but she ordered the healthiest meal. I have a lot of food allergies, but I don’t have allergic reactions to the food at the Lucky Wishbone, which is why I like to eat there.

We all had a turn talking, catching up on the news. Joan is a nurse in the ER at Providence Hospital. Last week a woman, poured gasoline on her unconscious boyfriend and set him on fire. The man died. Then the girlfriend went to the hospital and confessed the crime to my daughter, Joan. According to the law, Joan had to report the crime to the police. My daughter said she called her supervisor, union rep. and the police to make sure she did everything properly, or Joan could have lost her job, if she “made a wrong step” in the process. Now, Joan will have to testify at the grand jury hearing.

Makayla was equally as talkative. She is going to Girl Scout camp from July 10th to the 15th. Her tenth birthday is July 25th. Makayla’s mother, Amanda, gave Makayla her own iPod, which she uses to play games on. Makayla’s best friend is Jaden. Jaden’s mother is getting remarried July 27th in Las Vegas. My grandaughter’s brother, Nathanial, has to go to summer school. While he excels in mathematics, Nate is behind his grade in his reading, language and spelling abilities.

We left the resturant after exchanging hugs and kisses all around. Cameron had DVD’s and book that needed to back to the Loussac library. So, we stopped and returned them. Afterwards, the two of us went over to the Century movie theater, but Cameron had left the house without his wallet. He had free passes to the movies. I didn’t have enough cash, which required us to make a dash back home to get the movie tickets. There was enough time to run home, get the passes and get back to the Century before the film started.

The movie,we saw was “Prometheus”, which is supposed to be the “back story” to the popular “Alien” movies with Sigorney Weaver. I didn’t think this film was as good a “cliff-hanger” as the previous Alien movies. To my way of thinking, Prometheus was a “blow ’em up, shoot ’em up, car chase” guy loving film.

One of most horrific sucession of scenes occured when the female archeologist was told she was three months pregnant. In great pain, this woman ran to the surgery unit, had the robot hands perform an abortion, with too little anethestic, before the monster rippped itself out of her body. Every Rebublican politican, who wants to bann raped military, service women or any other woman for that matter,  from having their insurance paying for an abortion, should watch this section of this film.

One of my Facebook friends, Christopher Constant, thought that this film exhibited a better moral compass than the earlier “Alien” films. I can agree with him on those points, but these dilemnas were over shadowed by all the explosions, races, crashes, screaming and killings. I find these effects annoying and boring, and if they hadn’t been so noisy, I’d have fallen asleep.

 

June 19, 2012

Every Tuesday, I volunteer my time working at AWA – the Alaska Workers Association. I answer the the phone, make phone calls, use the computer, file, prepare mail-outs and do a lot of paperwork. The membership section is series of cards that are not on the computer, basically in order for that information not be corrupted or lost by a computer glitch or virus.

AWA is a not a non-profit organization. It is a member benefit program, for 67 cent a month, for the members only. Everyone is an unpaid volunteer, including the director, committee heads and CPA, who takes care of the financials. The benefits include a supplimental food and good, used clothing distribution for children and adults and a number of other programs.

Food bags include, bread, eggs, milk, meat, cereal, fresh fruit and vegetables, packaged food and staples like rice, beans, floor, salt and sugar.  Distribution is every other week, but people can walk in the door and and walk out the door with emergency food supplies. At Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, benefit members get a frozen turkey or ham, (some times both), real potatoes, salad greens and all the other fixings for a real holiday meal for their family size.

In the fall, there is a drive to collect good winter jackets, snow boots, hats, scarves and gloves for children – infants through teenagers. Hundreds of kids get winter gear. There is a “closet” for good looking business clothing and shoes for job interviews, and personal care products – like bath soap, deoderant, shaving cream, razors, toothpaste, toothbrushes, lotion and a variety of make up for women. All personal care items are new, in the box, not previously used items.

There is another new toy and electric device collection for Christmas gifts for children -toddlers to teenagers – for the members families. The children are our guests at an all afternoon, holiday party before Christmas with food, games and a visit from Santa. The parents are invited into another room in the same building, where the Christmas gifts are given to the parents, who spirit them home or volunteers deliver the gifts to their homes, while the kids are at the holiday party.

AWA is a good place to work. I’m glad I can asisst to help out a number of people. People, who work hard, but don’t have enough fro themselves or for their children. Since it is a member benefit program, the members work together to assist those who have less than they do. Members can give their time, give of themselves, to make the programs work, if they don’t have money for donations. I’m getting to the point in my life where family and friends, give me things and gifts I neither want nor need. So, I donate them to AWA.

 

June 20, 2012

Today, I want to say something about AWA. All the workers are volunteers. Some of the workers are contants – a person who comes in to work – the same days and same times very week. Since AWA operates on volunteers, if the person is sober and will follow work directions, no one is turned away. Most of AWA’s consistant, during business hours  workers are retired. But not all the workers are good dealing with customers or other workers.

One such person is a woman named Margarite. She is in her seventies. Margarite is very slender and is prone to wearing shirts and pants in neon colors of yellow or green. Her clothes are so snug one can see the “granny panty” lines. Marageite’s hair is a very short, curly, dyed deep black, that doesn’t look at all natural.

Everyday, this past year for lunch, Margarite ate four packages of processed Quaker instant oatmeal. It’s quite a proceedure. First everyone has to get to the breakroom before Margarite, if they want to heat something, because it seems to take a long time to heat enough water for all that oatmeal. While, she is heating half the water, Margarite snaks on bread pudding. The she removes the first batch of water, puts in the second water container, pours the hot water into half the oatmeal, mixes it up, adds soy milk and regular table sugar, and begins to eat. By then, the other volunteers have heated and eaten their lunch, and are just sitting around talking. Margarite is so focused on eating, you can not engage her in any conversation.

Margarite can be polite, asking “how was your weekend” or “time off”. When you ask her how her weekend was, she launches into who picked her up, because she doesn’t drive. It’s usually some family member, her father, sister or a woman friend.. Then it’s about what Catholic Church they went to, what the sermon was about, and where they went for lunch after church. Her best friends are a laundry list of active duty priests or retired nuns.

The AWA Director doesn’t like Margarite to interact with walk in customers. Many of our members are Alaska Natives, Hispanic or Phillipino. Their first lanugage was not English. It is sometimes difficult to understand their accented speech. Margarite has no patience in attempting to understand the client. She will keep telling them she doesn’t understand them, appears quite agitated and even be rude.

Margarite is quite rigid. She will only use a manual typewriter and not the computers. Her  jobs are typing up the paper cards and doing the daily mail out.  She is a stickler following how thing are done and not flexible in allowing other workers to do their work in their own way.

I was a witness when a young male worker was left in charge of the office, while the director was home with the flu. Because Alexander didn’t do a job like the director did it, Margarite threatened to slap Alexander. Alexander had gotten the job done correctly his own way.

Alexander said nothing in defense of himself. I had to say something. So, I spoke up and said, “Margarite that is an inappropriate way to talk to Alexander!” Later, Alexander told he that didn’t say anyhting to Margarite because she had a rigid, black or white mind set. She could not perceive of there being more than one way to do a job, or do a process.

I told Alexander that I didn’t think it was ever a good idea not to intervene when someone threatened phycial violence. It could esculate to actual violence. The fact that Margarite was of an age and rigid didn’t excuse her.

Don’t get me wrong, I do like Margarite. She and I get along just fine. If I’m doing a task, I do it Margarite’s way. When clients come in the door, I get up and assist them. Margarite doesn’t like that part of the job. I don’t use the manual typewriter and will “help” Margarite with the mail-out, not do the mail-out by myself, which I can do. Margarite is quite a character.

 

June 21, 2012

Summer Solstice

A couple of days ago on the reality show, “Brisol Palin’s – Life’s a Tripp”, Brisol was verbally assailed in a club by several people who called her mother, Sarah Palin, a “whore” and other unsavory names. The reason for the verbal barage concerned Sarah Palin, as a fundametalist Christian, being an opponent against “gay marriage”. Bristol was hurt, almost to the point of hesteria, and enraged.

What Brisol got was an ugly dose of discrimation because of what she is. Being a white, fundamentalist Christian is an eleitist, privilaged life postition. Only they have no clue that this position is eletist. They think that it is their right, due and naturally superior position because they are right, having God Almighty on their side.

Fundamentalist Christians don’t “get it” that they are discriminating and attempting to oppress a class/group of people – the Gay, Lesbian, Bissexual and Transgender community. They have no concept of the hurt and harm they are heaping on innocent people. The majority of the GLBT population are tax paying, law biding, productive human beings, not peodiphiles and criminals. Bristol got a “bad taste” of some reverse discrimination, I think, by some gay men. I’m sorry it was such a harsh encounter for her, anad don’t wish this experience on anyone.The thing is, I doubt if Bristol “gets it” that any kind of discrimination is intensely hurtful, damaging and ugly.

This morning a twenty-one year old, out Lesbian, Mya Dale, was found dead, in Anchorage, Alaska. I don’t know the circumstances regarding Mya’s death, and I’m hoping that she did not not have a hand in ending her own life.  Maybe, she had a hidden depression, emotional disorder or unknown health problem. At this point, we don’t know what may have happened. Suddenly for the GLBT community, Ms. Dale collapsed and died.

Ms. Dale is African-American. Mya was “out” to her Mother, who was wonderfully supportive. Ms. Dale was “out’ in th GLBT community, socially active, and a communtiy volunteer. She was the recipient of the 2011 Young Adult Recognition Award for her contributions to the GLBT community. Mya was one of the faces for the “This Is My Identity” public ads for the One Anchorage campaign supporting Prop5. Ms. Dale was active in The Family Club at UAA.

My theory is that the constant negativity of racial and/or homophobic discrimination can be accumulative. If for a moment, a person, actually, feels the overwhelming weight of discrimation, it is not just debilitating, it can kill. Mya Dale was a young woman. It is hard for young people to know that nothing lasts forever, that it changes. I’m older. It’s a condition that I know exists, and will happen. I didn’t know Ms. Dale, but I am very sorry that she is no longer living among us – another good woman is gone.

 

June 23, 2012

Saturday is my writing group day. The day started early because I woke up at 5AM. The alarm was set to go off at 6AM. So, I elected to read for an hour. Apparently, this is the day the downtown businesses decided to celebrate the Solstice. Between fifth and third avenues the side streets were blocked off for a polithera of tented booths selling their wares in the streets.

Fortunately, I got downtown before 7AM, and was able to get a parking place within a block of the Side Street Espresso cafe’. My computer and all my gear are heavy. It’s not pleasent carrying it for blocks. The tourists, in large groups, with matching t-shirts, hats and goody bags, were marching down the streets together like robots. I’ve never seen that before and I’ve seen a lot of tourists!

People came out in droves. You can always tell the locals. If the sun is shining, they are out in shorts, tank-top and flip flops. Hords were carrying backpacks, fanny packs and all out camping gear stapped to their backs. Women were clutching their purses or a baby strapped to their chest in a “snuggie”. Parents were pushing strollers. Others were hanging on to  a kid’s hand, who was scrambling in double or triple time in order to keep up with the parent.

It seemed like everyone had their own bags of purchases. Somewhere, out of sight of the cafe’, a band was playing. Most of the time, I could only hear the base music thumping, which got to be kind of irritating.

A steady stream of people were in and out of the cafe’ getting coffee or cold drinks. Inside the cafe, there was a constant low murmur of conversation. Some of those murmurings were not in English. Shrill voices of children could be heard attempting to decide what they wanted to drink.

Again, I worked on my life’s story for a couple of hours and the family geneology. Another continuing writing project carries the title of “Something to Think About.” I wrote a series of Haiku about flowers and two other poems about “Summer” and the “Solstice”.

Mel Green came in with her house guest, Grace, from Portland, Oregon. Grace is a social worker, who works with schizophrenics. She came to Anchorage to look at a local residential facility using less medication and more theraputic techniques in treating schizophrenics. This method is still not the same as the program in north western Finland that is so successful.

Grace is Jewish and after sundown on Fridays observes the no cooking or using any mechanical vehicles rules of her faith. Mel and Grace walked from Mel’s apartment off of Fireweed to downtown. Grace left Mel at the cafe’ to write, and continued her walk around to view the downtown sights. John came by and sat at the table with Mel and I for a while. He wasn’t talking with us today. Stephen Gingrich was picking up Mel at 3PM to go out to UAA for a memorial service for Mya Dale at 3:30PM.

When I left the cafe’, I went to Carrs on Gamble to get milk, bananas, ice cream and powdered sugar. Today is Cameron’s birthday. He wanted a chocolate cake with my chocolate butter cream frosting. After I got home, I frosted the cake. Then sat down, in front of a fan, drank a cold soda, and took a nap. I didn’t cook dinner. Cameron wants me to make a pot roast with mashed potatoes and gravy tomorrow for Sunday dinner.

 

June 27, 2012

Back in October, I went on Kickstarter and invested some money in a woman artist, Janet Bruesselbach, in an ambious portrait painting project. Kickstarter is an online program that gives people the opportunity to fund individual projects, at various levels for certain “rewards” for their money. My rewards were an online portrait painting session, an online video copy of the sitting, a color printout of my portrait, two tickets to the galley showing of the portraits and the show’s catalogue with my portrait included in it. The actual portrait was beyond my budget at two hundred and fifty dollars more.

Janet was offering an online portrait sitting on various live view sites – Google Hangout, SKYPE, iChat, or cChat. Other people, that had or were going to have their portrait painted, could join in and watch the setting as well. I sat in on other sitting sessions in New York, Maryland, California, England and Austraila and got to chat with the painter and the person who was sitting for their portrait. When it was my turn, two men, in different locations from New York  “sat in”.

My sitting took three hours and was relatively painless. I sat in a comfortable chair. Most of the time Buddy, my cat, kept jumping into my lap wanting attention. In Janet’s studio, her cats made appearences, jumping up on the table, where she had her paints and brushes, in view of her computer screen. One of the men “sitting in” had a cat on lap. Turns out we were all “cat people”. The second man sitting in said his cat was asleep at his feet. I’m sorry don’t remember these two men’s names. We all had a pleasent three hours chatting while Ms. Bruesselbach painted my picture.

One of the problems with a “project”, it can be difficult to factor in all the expenses. Apparently, Janet didn’t figure in enough for living expenses for six months, all the costs for the “live sitting” computer programs, the costs of printing tickets, invitations, a color catalogue and renting the gallery space for the teleportraiture show. She came back and asked people to contribute more funds. Unfortuately, I was not in a place to contribute more money for the project. She did secure extra funding and she completed the project.

I sat for my portrait in January, got a colored printout of my portrait and a video copy of my sitting. Last month, I got my tickets and invitation. Ms. Bruesselbach sent an email that she was sending out the catalogue a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday, Janet, sent an email asking if I had received my catalogue. I email back that I’d not receive it.

Today, the postman delivered my catalogue. Inside under the title and her name, Janet wrote in her own hand, “To Barbara, who I hope to be someday.” It was very touching, bringing tears to my eyes. Who would have thought that I would have made that kind of impression on the artist though a portrait setting and other “business” emails? It felt like she “got me” somehow, and appreciated the person that she saw. How often can a person make that kind of impression on another?

Then, I was utterly flabbergasted.  In the same package, was my framed, original, 8×10 inch, painted portrait!  How incredibly generous of Janet Bruesselbach. It is a wonder how others see you. Thank you, Janet!

This day marks a tragic family birthday. It is the birthday of my grandson, Kenneth John Alcantra. He would Have beeen twenty-six years old. A decade ago, when Kenny was sixteen, his best friend shoot and killed him. Shane, had been Ken’s friend since they were both five years old and in kindergarten. Shane parents lived in the Mat-Su Valley. Their one “claim-to-fame” were the fact that they smoked huge quanities of marajuna.

Kennth was involved in high school sports – hockey, football and wrestling. He was subject to drug testing and didn’t use. Shane had dropped out of school. The day Shane shot and killed Kenny, Shane was drug tested hours after the shooting.  He had so much THZ in his system, the drug tester said that most people would have been in a drug coma. Shane’s parents allowed him to keep loaded guns in his bedroom. When the police checked his room, they found three loaded rifles and two loaded handguns. It is against the law for a juvenile under the age of eighteen to have loaded guns in their possession.

At first,  we all thought the shooting had to be an accident. Shane claimed that the gun discharged when he handed it to Ken to look at. A year later, the State of Alaska came back and charged Shane with man slaughter. After lab testing the gun, they deternined the gun would not accidently discharge. The trigger had to be pulled.

Shane was convicted of man slaughter. At the time, the sentence for that crime, in Alaska, was only three to five years. Shane was given five years. Later, the sentence for man slaughter was changed to seven to ten years in prison, but the new sentence could not be applied to Shane. He has served his sentrnce and is now out of jail.

But today was the anniversary of Kennth John Alcantra’s birthday. His family still remembers him as an extraordinary bright, affectionate and talented young man. Kenny was not only good at sports. He was going to be a mathematician. Ken played guitar, composed his own original songs, and was involved in a number of community service projects. He would have been an outstanding, productive, contributing citizen.

Shane is a dope smoking, non-productive person, who think the world owes him something. He may think that he paid his dues, but owes us something he can not hope to replace – Kenneth John Alcantra.

April, May and June Have been extraordinary months! Now, if finding a paying job could be just that easy – that would be the icing on the cake.

July 14, 2012

Anne Frokjer, a woman that I’ve known since the 1980’s, died of cancer ths last week. I received a massage through Facebook from her bother, Andy. We reconnected last year on Facebook, Anne has been livng in California. When Anne lived in Alaska, I considered her a friend. Anne, often, did not have a car, and I gave her rides.Anne seemed to have a number of personal problems, the most scarey was a multple personality disorder. She was having trouble with self-medicatng, substance abuse, too.

While in Alaska, Anne seemed to be able to get a handle on her sobriety. She left the state to go to California for a residential program dealing with her multiple personality disorder. I was concerned about the program, because they insisted that Anne wear dresses, make up and be more feminie. Anne was more of a tomboy, than a femme’ girl. Forcing a person into a sterotype can be very harmful to a person’s mental health, and Anne’s was already damaged severly. She did seem to get better. So, maybe it worked for her. I never knew for sure.

It has only been a couple of months since Anne revealed, on Facebook, that she had cancer. She said she was getting chemo anad radiation treatments. Then I didn’t hear anythng for several weeks. When I emailed and asked how she as doing, she wrote back that she’d had a “bad patch”. Anne revealed that hospice was coming into help with her care because her mother was worn out taking care of her. When I asked specifically if she was dyng, I got an answer back that she was much better. Anne was going outsde for walks, again.

My daughter, Joan, is a nurse, who has often worked oncology. Joan tells me the stories of patients rallyiing, getting out of bed and appearing to be going into remission, only to “take care of busness”, then lay down and died without a warning. I wondered if Anne was truely getting better, or having her last rally. It was her last rally.

Anne and I had some good times together as friends. She had a wicked sense of humor, and could send me into belly laughs. Sometimes, I almost choked to death, after one of Anne’s cracks, during inappropriate socal times.We always had such fun together.

One year,Anne and were both single on New Year’s Eve, and we went to the dance stag. That night I ran into Mary Seibert, she was with a cute guy in a tuxedo. Mary told me that Cameron was just her room-mate. They had both come stag, too. I thought Cameron was cute, but I didnt see him dancing. So, I asked him to dance. He started hangng around, because I wasn’t interested in dating. My friend, Linda Sierkowitz and my daughter, Laura, finally talked me into going out with Cameron. We’ve been together almost 18 years now.

I had been really glad to reconnect with Anne just on Facebook. It was sad when I found out she had cancer. Anne’s younger than I am. People younger than I am, should not be dying. I found a poem, in one of my notebooks, that I wrote about Anne on April 11, 1992. I put it up on her Facebook page. Her funeral is this weekend. I won’t be able to attend, but I wish I could. Good-bye, Anne, until we met, again!

 

July 19, 2012

June was a very rainy month in Alaska. July had started out with some nice days, but it is raining again today. Wednesday, I was able to sit out in the shade in the cooling breeze and write poetry all afternoon, even though it was hot in the sun.

My grandson, Joe,  is out of prison, on an ankle monitor, living with his parents. He has a job. We are all hoping that he makes it this time. Joe has been in and out of jail for the last ten years. My son-in-law, Joe’s father didn’t believe in counseling after the death of Joe’s brother. Joe has been in jail due to DUIs,road rage, and drug possession.

As a social worker for over ten years, I’ve seen a number of young men become so accustomed to prison that they develop a “jail house mentality. It means that they become so accustomed and familiar to the rules and rigidity of a prison life, that they uncomfortable in another living situation. Jail becomes their way of life.

Joe is an intelligent and not a violent person. He is accustomed to hard work, and has skills in carpentry and operating heavy equiptment. My grandson could live a full productive life, if he can just find a way to stay out of jail. Joe may be too accustomed to using alcohol and drugs to deal with his frustrations and emotional pain. Unfortunately, I can’t live his life for him. No one can. We’re praying that he “makes it” this time.

July 26, 2012

Beautiful sunny day in Anchorage, Alaska. Sunny days have been rare here this summer. It has been raining a lot. The rain has kept it cool, and made it comfortable for sleeping. Last week there was one sunny day, and a couple of half day sunshime. I actually sat outside in the shade, in a comfortable breeze and wrote poetry all afternoon.

The coldest summer, in Alaska, that I experienced was the summer after the Alaska Earthquake in 1964. There were only three days of sunshine. Little kids played outside in their winter jackets most of the summer. Those three days the sun shone were so warm the same little kids took off all their clothes and were running around naked outside.

Personally, I don’t like too many days of contineous sunshine. It ends up being too hot to sleep at night. I like to be able to sleep at night. Intermittent days of rain, keep the temperature cooler, nights more comfortable, the dust down,the  landscape greener and the local farm, food crops bumper.

July 27, 2012

More lovely sunshine today in Anchorage, Alaska. It’s heating up. I just hope it’s cool enough to sleep tonight. I’ve had a social event on my calander for three months – a birthday party, potluck and sing-a-long for Lucy Frey. Lucy is celebratng her 80th birthday. Ms. Frey retired and went back to live in her where-she-was-raised home state fifteen years ago. She has come back to visit several times since then. The actual party is not until Friday, August 3rd. Cameron kept insisting it was tonight.

Lucy loves my deviled eggs. I made up a batch and went over to the address, and surprised the party’s coming hostess by being a week early. Susan was very gracious feeding us baked, fresh salmon, and garden greens. We supplied the devil eggs, adding to the menu. The three of us set a a table out in Susan’s English style, front garden, had a lovely dinner together and socal visit. The yard is shaded by a number of tall trees. A soft breeze was blowing, and the summer flowers were in bloom, making it a perfect place to sit outside eating alfresco.

After eating dinner, Susan picked up a pickaxe, insisting that we stay and chat wth her while hacking up the lawn sod in order to replant some flowers that her daughter, Emily, had brought home. Susan said she found gardening to be boring without company to distract her. So, Cameron and I obliged by continuing the conversations. Susan replanted wild Iris bulbs and a tall Bleeding-Heart, which needed to be staked to keep upright.

It was a little embaressing to show up on the wrong day. Susan said she was delighted to have some of my deviled eggs and company to finally get the flowers replanted. Plus, she added that she could look forward to more devled eggs next weekend, the actual day of the party. So, I’m gong to have to make up another batch of deviled eggs for next weekend. I don’t want to disappont Susan or Lucy.

July 28, 2012

It was too hot to sleep comfortably last night.  I didn’t get a good stretch of sleep unitl after 8AM this morning. Cameron was going to drop me downtown on G. St., at the Side Street Espresso Cafe’ for my weekly writing group. The Downtown Business Association was blocking of the streets downtown for a street fair, to co-ordinated with the annual Air Show on Elmendorf Aif Force Base today. My bedside alarm went off at 6AM. I did get up, but knew that I was in no shape to attempt to spend the day writing without sleep.

Before I went to sleep this morning, I closed my bedroom windows, hopefully, to muffle the roar of the military jets flying stunts and wing formations over my neighborhood. I’m close to downtown and the Air Force Base. Getiing that space of sleep, I wasn’t up again until 1:30PM. Wakng up, I was ravenously hungry, and just grabbed leftovers out of the refirgerator, including the deviled eggs.

Buddy de Rascal, our Bombay cat, is in the habit of joining me for an extensive ear and neck scratch, first thing, when I’m up.While I was eatng, he jumped  into my lap. The next thing I know Buddy was helping himself to some yellow egg yolk. Buddy, usually,  will not dane to eat people food in any way shape or form.  I waited to see the cat’s reaction, because the eggs are loaded and dusted with cayanne pepper, but he kept coming back for more – the little devil.

Later, I left the house to go to Roy’s Health Foods store for natural suppliments to assist me in a good nights’s sleep. I got coupon, in the mail, for a $9.99 haircut at Great Clips, and dropped in for a haircut. For some reason, we did not get a mornng newspaper. I stopped at the grocery store for a paper and a few odds and ends, while  was there.It clouded over this afternoon and is threatening to rain. I hope so. I like it cooler, so I can sleep at night.

 

July 31, 2012

Yesterday, Monday, Cameron and  went to see “The Watch”. The newspaper review gave it three stars. I don’t know who’s doing the movie ratings, but this film was horrible. The flm was a rehash of one of the “Outer Limits” TV programs. Only the “new” film was an icky, tired themed – hunting aliens, pedantric, shot ’em up. blow ’em up, juvenile, unfunny to women, guy movie. So, why did we go to this movie? We had two move passes. The movie ratings used to be reliable. Must be historically uneduated, video games – brain washed, brain dead, young people doing the ratngs now. Plus, Hollywood seems to be putting out worse and worse, crappy themed, badly acted films.

Today, I worked at AWA- the Alaska Worker’s Association. Even though the front and back doors were open, the sun coming in the front windows turned the place into an oven. t was like attemptng to work in a sauna. When i stepped out side there was a cross breeze, but it was blowing in the wrong directions to give us any relief.

When I got home, it was cooler. Fortunately, both my bedroom windows were open. My room was a refreshng oasis. I laid down on the bed, and fell asleep with a cool breeze blowng over me. At 7PM, I woke up, stumbling out of my room looking for food. Bless him, Cameron had baked a pizza, when he got hungry. It was cold, but I just zapped it in the microwave, heating it up. At least I didn’t really have to make dinner tonight.

 

August 1, 2012

Buddy de Rascal, our cat got his only fourth car ride in his two and a half years. This time it was to the Vets for a rabies and distemper shots and to get his claws clipped. As a junior, Buddy is a big kitty – 14 1/2 pounds, but not fat, according to the Vet. He was a rescue cat, and supposed to be a full blood Bombay. Buddy is a black, short haired cat with gold eyes, looking exactly like the pictures of of the pure bloods. Cameron said that Buddy meowed a couple of times, in the cat carrier, enroute to Vets, but was very well behaved in the Vet’s office.

The cat rescue person, from whom we got Buddy, had named him Thor. After living with him for a while, we decded that the name Thor did not fit his personality. Secondly, we surmised that he had been abused, probably by a man. At first, Buddy was very afraid of Cameron, and would not aproach him.  Buddy would always back away from his food, if anyone entered the kitchen where his food dishes were. Cameron started being the only one to feed Buddy. Now, Buddy does not back away from Cameron. They are buds.

The Bombay quickly warmed to me. He loves interactve play with me. When we first got him and even today, Buddy will jump up on my ottoman and turn over belly up, his signal, for a kitty tummy rub, and a play period. Cameron and I bought kitty toys, which Buddy loves.. One day, Cameron got out his laser pointer and started giving Buddy a laser light chase which the cat loves to this day. Mainly, the laser lght play was to wear out Buddy in order for the cat to sleep at night instead of durng the day. We like to sleep at night.

Buddy is not an outdoor cat. We live on the second floor. Our home does have a large balcony with a wide ledge around it. Buddy jumps off and on the ledge, walks around it and even naps on it outside in the fresh air. We don’t have  screen door. So, any flyng bug is a wild goose chase, leaping and hopping exercise. He’s never caught one, but had a good time chasing them.

Cameron came into our relationship with a cat, HisNIbs. Unfortuately, I was allergic. it took ten years before I was desensitized enough to pick up HisNibs and not break out in hives. When this kitty was twenty years old, his kidneys failed and Cameron had HisNibs put to sleep. After a year and a half, Cameron started looking online for a cat with a different protein like a Russian Blue, a Bombay, and other breeds to whom I  might not be allergic.

One day, he got a message from a woman in Wasilla, Alaska. She rescued abused dogs and cats. Her husband was in the military, and was being rotated out of Alaska. They could not take all the animals with them. We drive to Wasilla. The woman put Thor/Buddy in my lap and I did not break out in hives. So, The cat came home wth us.

Buddy was only ten months old then, had been neutered and had all hs shots. Buddy was not declawed. All of the living room furniture are swathed in sticky tape – bottoms, ends and arms. There are two scratchng posts for Buddy to groom his claws. Only on the edge of my easy chair got shreded, by young Buddy. I did not think to tape it until I saw it was already damaged. It’s got sticky tape on it now, to prevent further damage.

One of my favorite times is when I get up in the morning. I like to get the morning newspaper, sit down and quietly read. Buddy jumps up on the wide arm of my easy chair, head butts me, and lays down on the padded arm.  I scratch his neck, chest, ears and head while he purrs. While I read the paper. Buddy, usually, goes back to sleep. It’s our time together, and I love hearing and feeling him purr. I enjoy having Buddy in my life. He has stolen my heart away – the little rascal.

 

August 4, 2012

Friday: August 3, 2012  – Celebratng Lucy Frey’s 80th Birthday

My friend, Susan Nimen hosted a potluck and sing-a-long at her home to celebrate Lucy’s birthday. Actually, she was 80 on August 1st. The party took place in Susan’s tree surrounded backyard. After days of rain, Friday the sun came out. Over fifteen years ago, Lucy, who lived in Anchorage, Alaska, at the time, opened her home to community women for a potluck, shared evening dinner and a sing-a-long. Women brought guitars, violins, flutes, precussion instruments, and sheet music. The music got put in a number of books that we had to share. It was so good to come together, again!

Ms. Frey is an interesting woman. She work aas a teacher for the Anchorage School District for over 20 years and retired from the school district. Then she worked of the Pearl S. Buck Foundations, placing mixed blood, Amer-Asian children with American families. Lucy adopted a girl named Makayla, whom she raised.

At one point, Lucy placed a girl named Ruby with a local family. When Lucy went back to go an in home evaluation, she discovered the famly was using Ruby, who was junor high age, as an unpaid servant, and she was not getting to go to school.  Lucy didn’t have a placement for Ruby, but had an extra bedroom. So, Ruby went home with Lucy. When Lucy found another family for Ruby, Ruby did not want to go to that family. She told Lucy that she wanted to be Lucy’s daughter. Lucy adopted Ruby and raised her, putting her through college.Resigning from the Pearl S. Buck Foundation, Lucy pursued a successful real estate carrer. Then Lucy decided to return to the state where she was raised, Mossouri. Lucy sold real estate for a while in that state, too.

Before Lucy left the state, the women performed a croning ceremony for Lucy. Her beloved, daughter, Ruby, joned us. We sang together, as community of women, “You are our Mother, our Sister, our Daughter, our Teacher, our Lover and Crone of the Goddess!”

Lucy was very active in the feminist movement in Alaska, starting in the nineteen seventies into the eighties.She wrote her Ph.D deseration on the Feminist Movement’s Progression in Alaska. She, Dorothy Jones, and several other women began publishing the “Alaska Women Speak”, a feminist quarterly still published today.

Lucy was iinstrumental in bringing one of the writers of the Conscience Rrising Handbook, Harriet Perles to Alaska for workshop that I attended about 1976. Lucy was responsible for bringng feminist therapists, Dorothy Jones Connie Wolfe, Sylvia Conde, Ann Neveldine and Rose Beck – to Alaska for the women’s community. They practiced therapy on a sliding scale fee to accommadate women with lower incomes. Many women got clean and sober under their guidance.

Lucy is aging. Eighty is an age. We are all aging. Last year n 2011, Lucy had hip replacement surgery. The hip still gives her pain. Her eyesight appears to be failng. I hope I get to see her again, before she is gone.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

For the past three years, Saturday from 7AM to 3PM, my location is the Side Street Espresso on G. St. between 4th and 5th Avenue. My mornng starts with a half cafinated and half decafe latte, two eggs and a two chunky slices of whole wheat toast with butter, while I read the morning Anchorage Daly News for the first hour. At 8AM,  get out my laptop and begin writing. For the first year and a half, I was finishng up a bachelor of applied science in business, concentrating on finishng all my writing assignments, including a required, fifty page, research paper.

Since then I ‘ve written a ton of poetry, several short stories, a continuing journal and a number of essays. Presently, I am working on my life story. As of today, that piece has over sixty thousand, seven hundred words. I keep remembering more “stuff” as I go along. At the moment, this journal, alone, has more than eleven thousand words.

For my life’s story, I starting writing a cronological event history. Then I realized that I didn’t really put myself in it. There was nothng of what I thought, felt or what I learned throughout those times. So, I’m “going back in” and filling in those details.  In the process I’ve made a number of connections, learned lessons that had not occurred to me previously, and how a number of those events have defined me, as I am now.

It’s another learning experience. They just never stop.

 

August 5, 2012

A couple of week ago on one of my Side Street Espresso Saturdays, a woman travel writer, Juliet Eilperin of the Washngton Post interviewed the owners, George Gee and Deb Seaton, and my writng companion, Mel Green and and I. The cafe does not have wifi, but one can plug in their laptop to the electricity, and not drain the battery.

Ms. Eilperin’s article come out in the Washngton Post in the travel section today, Sunday, August 5, 2012. The title is “Vacationing in Alaska, with two toddlers in tow”. Mel Green and I are not named, but Juliet wrote, “…while poets and politcal activists stop to refuel and write without modern day distractons.” The only two patrons Ms. Eilpern interviewed were Mel and I. We are both poets and political activists and we are at the Side Street Espresso almost every Saturday to enjoy our coffee and to spend hours of uninterruped writing.

Sometimes, people that we know show up and stop to visit, like Linda Kellen Biegel, Arlene Lidbergh-Jasper, Barb Siefert, Jo Bennett., and for the last year, a man whom I only know as John. He was a psychatrist at API. He left July 27th for Indonesia to sail from there to South Africa on a yacht with seven other crew. We do occassionly stop to chat to tourists who are visiting. This year there have been quite a few people from Australa. Surprisingly, we are often the ones approached, rather than addressing the tourists first. Two Danish men stopped for a chat, and couples from Tennessee,Texas and Idaho. Mel and I are always welcoming and cordial. Afterall, the tourists contribute greatly to the states economy. We pay no state tax here.

Mel visited friends in Australia, Christmas and New Year’s holiday 2011-2012. She loved the country. Her friends still live there. Mel wants to go back for another visit when she can afford it. Austraila has always been on my list of places that I’ve wanted to visit.

 

August 6, 2012

The Tradgy of the Sikh Shootings

A former friend of mine Julianne Neymark, had Sikh friends. She wanted to invite them to dinner, but her stove-top and oven were not working reliablely. She asked me if she could come to my home, do the cooking, and entertaining at my place. Julianne, quickly added, “You’re invited, too.” Hey, if she was cooking, I was in – a free meal that I didn’t have to fix!

The Sikhs that Julanne invited were vegetarians, and did not eat dairy products.  I can eat vegetarian. The arriving guests all wore white – tunics, trousers and turbins. The men were handsome and the women lovely. They were warm, unfailingly polite and gracious, answering all my (I’m sure) stupid questons about their history, traditions and religious faith. It was a wonderful, and educational evening for me, with great food and company!

Previous to this evening, I had seen a couple of white clad, bearded, turbined men in Anchorage, but had never met or spoken to one. In my home, I talked to both men and women. They lit up the atmosphere in my home, as I have experienced with few individual persons, much less a whole group at once. Even though it was dark outside and we ate by candlelight, it was if my home was filled with light. Sikhs are good people.

I have never attended a langar, nor attended the local Sikh place of worship. I have done some reading about their beliefs. I agree with some. There are some with which I do not agree. People are allowed to chose ther religious beliefs. I can respect their choices. I’d like my choices respected, too. It is very difficult for me to comprehend that anyone would want to do Sikhs harm. I am sad and heavy-hearted by this attack and murder of innocent people.

August 11, 2012

Big family get-together today. My car is having problems and needs some repairs that I can’t afford now. So, I asked my friend, Jeannene, if I could borrow her car to drive to Wasilla, Alaska to the home of my daughter, Marina, and her husband, Joe Alcantra.

What a gathering it was! /we got together because my youngest daughter, Laura, was in town with her husband, and their so and  my grandson, Caje.The three of them came to Alaska for Sean’s brother, Dave’s wedding. He married a lovely woman by the name of Manuella. She has a five year old daughter named, Aud. The three of them came to the family get together with Laura, Sean and Caje. I have not sen Caje since he was three years old. Caje is 6’3″, nineteen years old and going into his second year of college.

I was not sure of what kind of reception that I would receive from Sean and Caje. They are fundamentalist Christians and have refused to visit with me in the past, because they do not “approve” of me. My daughter, Laura, Sean’s wife, doesn’t shut me out, nor does her daughter, and my grand-daughter, Cassandra. I am an extremely liberal Democrat, and not a Christian. The irony is that I got my university degree in fall of 2010 from Wayland Baptist University.

The reason I completed my degree at Wayland was that I could afford the tuition, books and fees. I had to read the Bible. The Old Testament had thrilling stories. In the New Testament, I liked what Jesus said. As history, It was interesting. I can’t see why people froth so much at the mouth about. Torturing, killing, pillaging, being prejudice, and imposing their beliefs on non-Christians is a not so good aftermath of Christian theology. If they loved God with their whole heart, whole soul and mind, and loved their neighbor as themselves, why would they be mean and nasty to other people?

Anyway, my daughter, Marina, and her husband, Joe Alcantra, hosted the family gathering. Joe made potato salad and manned the grill, cooking the hamburgers and hot dogs.Marina fixed plates of cracker and cheese, had bowls of chips and dips, and made a wonderful, home made  ruhbarb pie. There son, my grandson, Joe Jr. was at home and helped out setting up.

Everyone bought food. My daughter, Joan Penning, made zuchini fritters with cucumber sauce and brought a gallon of mixed citrus punch for the kids. She and her husband, Mike, brought their grandchildren, Makayla and Nathaniel. Their son, Issac Pennington came with his fiance, Willow and their son, Randy, who is eleven months old.

My grand-daughter, Kelli Barkov, and her husband Nick, brought the newest, grandchild, five month old, Olivia. Kelli is Marina and Joe’s daughter. Olivia is their first grandchild, and they are overjoyed and totally ga-ga over Olivia.

My sister, Marcia, and her husband, Walter, drove down to the gathering from Big lake. Walter was diagnosed with Cancer over three years ago. He had surgery and chemo and is still alive. Marcia and Walter have been on a low-carb food plan. Marcia had lost 27 pounds in two months. Walter went on the same plan a month ago. He has lost 17 pounds. His blood sugar level has gone for 340 to 160 in one month. Marcia said she had lab work done last week. Her blood sugar level is under 140 and her  colesteral levels are all well within the normal range.

I’m going to buy the low-carb cookbook Marcia is using for the plan. Cameron keeps gaining weight. He needs to lose weight for his knee replacement surgery. When i went to Lucy Frey’s Birthday Party on August 3rd. someone took a picture of me and posted on Facebook. I look as fat as a pig. Ugh! Marcia said her nutritionist said that anyone over 40 and 40 pounds overweight is a diabetic, even if their blood sugar too high.

I got to sit with my daughters, Joan, Laura and Marina and “catch-up-on-the-news”, hold little, sweet Olivia, eat some great food and pie. My sister, Marcia gave me excellent new information on a low-carb food plan. It was good to see Walter still alive and up walking around. I hadn’t seen my daughter, Laura for three years, and it was good to see her again. Sean and Caje were very nice to me, talked to me and didn’t say anything unpleasant. Jeanene was so nice to loan me her car for me to get to Wasilla.

I took deviled eggs to the party. Marina piled leftovers on me before I left. I came home with more food than I took. I was socializing from  12:20PM to 7:20PM. Then driving fifty miles each way, over one hundred miles round trip, stopping to fill up the gas tank, and having to drop off and go pick up my car was all very wearing and tiring. But I’m glad I was there to see everyone.

August 31, 2012

The Day of the Blue Moon – a 2nd Full Moon in the same month

I have always felt close to the Moon. My Mother had her Tarot cards read and she was told that I would be born under a lucky star, and I’ve always considered the moon to have a play in that process. For this particular “blue moon”, a number of not so good things have happened to me.

First on Saturday, August 19th, I got very ill with diarhha. My stomach and intestines are still not back to normal. Secondly, I got called for a job interview for Xerox with Joan Winkler on Wednesday, August 22nd, at 1835 S. Bragaw, Anchorage, Alaska, Sute 200. I googled the location. It was difficult to find, but when I  got there it was a one story Allstate Insurance office with only one agent n the office named Lisa, who had no idea what I was talking about.

Third, On August 28th, I went to my volunteer job at the Alaska Workers Association. I left my car locked with the driver’s window cracked less than a quarter inch. When I got off work at 1:30PM, someone had stolen my purse out of my car. I went to my bank immediately and shut my debit card down, went home and cancelled all my credit cards. The next mornng a man knocked on my door, he had found my wallet on the street downtown. The wallet still had my driver’s license, my medicare card, supplimental insurance card, my new coffee punch card, AARP, Costco and Sam’d Club cards. The money was gone, and my debt card and credt cards. Fortunaately, I had shut down my bank debit card and all my credt cards. so, the only got about $20 dollars.

My stress level was off the charts for a few days. I can’t believe I couldn’t find the location of the job interview. I did call an attempted to reschedule, but I got an email that the company thought that it had enough candidates for the position. Cameron and I ate the same thing. He didn’t get sick, but I had a horrible time. I hope the “glitches” are over with, and things go well from now on.

September 11, 2012

The ten year anniversary of the bombing of the World Trade Center

It’s been years since the bombing. The US has been at war for ten years with the Taliban,and hunted down and executed Osama Bin Ladin. I’m not sure what we, as a country, have accomplished. This war has cost our country billions of dollars. It’s profited the industries that have kept the war machine going, but the American middle has suffered greatly.

We do have a number of returnng service men with head injures that may be turning ther brains to mush. Most  of those servicemen, have varyng degrees of PTSD, overhelming the resources of the VA, resulting in very inadquate mental health care avaliable for men and women who desperately need it. Inadquate care is complicated by service personal attempting to self medicate and being dishonorably discharged.

Other men have had to have massive physical repair. Many service men and women, have lost limbs. Some have even had to have facial transplants. The cost of war has always been high. In my mind, the cost of war, with modern weaponry, is too high for the people who survive. But, that’s my opinion.

On a lighter note, since August 10th, on my Facebook page, I’ve been selectng a picture, from a “share” site and writing a Haiku or Tanka. Haiku and Tanka are Japanese form poems using syllybles per lines instead of indIvdual words counts. I’m attempting to rhyme lines, use similies, alliteration or onamatpoeia to enhance the poems. I’ve begun captioning the work as “A PICTURE AND A POEM” this past week. This is my effort to write a poem a day for a year. This is somethng I did in 2005, and have been wanting to do again.

September 16, 2012

Continuted with my “A PICTURE AND A POEM” series on my Facebook page every day this past week. Sometimes I wrote two poems. Saturday, I resumed writing on “My Life Story”. Over the week, I have transcribed older writings, mostly poetry, on to the computer out of my notebooks. I found the poetry that I wrote in 2005, when I was writing a poem a day for a whole year that I had misplaced. I’ve been doing the same thng this year – writing a poem a day.

On the more practical level, I got fitted for a pair of Z-Coil shoes with cork orthotics. The shoe feel good, but I’ve got muscle aches on odd places in my body. Mary at the Z-Coil store warned me this would happen, but to keep wearing the shoes. My daughter, Joan, who is a ER nurse told me that the Z-Coil shoes take 50% of the pressure off your knees and back. Joan said wears the shoes to work at the hospital. I did not know that she had a pair of the shoes.

November 29, 2012

Life’s been busy, I’m working part-time six days a week, job hunting for a full-time position two days a week, and I’m doing NaNoWriMo – writing 50,000 words for the month of November, writing a poem a day on my Facebook page titled “A PICTURE AND A POEM”, and going to a writer’s group on Saturday from 7AM to 3PM, wrote a short story for the Writer’s Digest magazine contest, sent in an application for Alaska Housing’s lottery to chose 2,500 more people for subsidized low income housing. I’m planning to go up to Wasilla to my daughter, Marina’s home for Thanksgiving on Thursday, got a turkey given to me, which I’ll probably cook this weekend on Sunday.  So, I’m up to my ears, so to speak…. I will post more on this site at a later date.

January 10, 2013

I haven’t been posting here. October, I became the Volunteer Coordinator for the Alaska Workers Association, I work part time from 9AM to 1:30PM, Monday through Friday, and 3:30PM to 6PM on Saturday. I won a slot in the Alaska Housing Lottery. I receive and offical letter from them with the number 633. It will be 9 to 18 months before I can get housing.

In November, I did NANoWriMo, writing 50,000 words in the month of November, and have given them a donation to continue running the program. I did meet that goal, writing 50,094 words by the deadline. Writing ” A PICTURE AND A POEM”  on my Facebook page has continued. I started over with number one on January first. My goal is to write another 365 poems for the year of 2013.

During November, as part of NaNoWriMo, I wrote a character study of a woman that i knew back in the 1980’s. Writer Digest had a short story contest with a limit of 1.500 words. I turned the character scetch into a short story of 1,300 plus words, and mailed it in by the November 15th deadline.

I plan to “do” NaNoWriMo, again, this coming November, and write another 50,000 words. Writing “A PICTURE ANDA POEM” a day for my Facebook page just from August was over 13,000 words. I did write a poem a day in 2012, and a considerable body of other work….

Presently, I’m only working part time at what should be a full time job. I’m hoping I can began working full time by March 2013. Cameron is having knee replacement surgery the first of Feburary. After he has had physical therapy and can drive a car, again, I’m planning to work full time. the agency needs it.

Today, our toilet clogged nothing will go “down” it. I called the property managment office at 9AM this morning. Cameron called them at Noon. I called an asked for “Terry” in the office. before 5PM. She found the plummer for me and made the arrangements. I’m waiting for the plummer. He called and said that he would be here by 7PM. The stench form the toliet is getting worse….

February 11, 2013

The plummer showed up after 7PM, and unplugged the toilet. Still working at the Alaska Workers Association. Barbara Sarantitis is gone on vacation to visit her family and work at another low income worker’s facility. Andrea is her replacement, who speciality is fund raising medicial benefits for low income workers on Long Island in New York.

I’ve not felt well for the past few days, and have stayed home since Saturday. I’ve been taking vitamins, and extra vitamin C. but somehow it has not made me feel as good as I’d like to feel. I’ve been making sure that I eat plenty of vegetables,real fruit, get enough rest, and I’ve been exercising more. Not sure what else I can do to booster my immune system further.

March 16, 2013

Teh acting operations director at AWA, Andrea Barnett has been working with low income workers for thrity seven years. The office celebrated her 57th birthday on Wednesday, March 13th. Tom Murry brought and brought in a chocolate cake. Frankie Lillie and Jean Deckker and her two kids, brought in ballons, decorations, with matching paper plates. Volunteers scheduled, at other times, showed up for the celebration – Katie Tice, Heather, Tafa Samue, Tasi, and her two children, Miguel, his wife and two kids, Julie and her two girls, and Ted Polanco.

Andrea Barnett was a lovely, low-key person, who was a pleasure to work with. I told her that before she left. Andrea said she appreciated my stability of coming to work, on time, and reliably every day for my six days a week. Andrea said that I was, fast, efficent, and put out volumes of work on my shift.

Barbara Sarantitis was a maniac, and was alienating volunteers prior to her leaving on her trip. Ted, Julie and I had volunteers telling us that they were never coming back, because of the way Sarantitis treated them. The two that spoke to me were not specific as to what occured between them and the operations manager.

Andrea Barnett did not alienate volunteers. She was always very nice to people. If they didn’t do something right, she’s just say, “What you did was okay, but let me show you how we need this done” Then, she would quietly teach the volunteer how to do it the way we needed.

Barbara Sarantitius seems to be in a much more postive frame of mind since, she’s returned from her trip. I hope we can keep the momentum among the volunteers with her return. We have several women who have trained to assist with our phoning requirements – Frankie Lillie, Cathy Boney and Lillian Koenig. Frankie and Dee Kenendy have been phoning from home when they can’t come into the office.

In additon, Heather can type, on the typewriter, the “phone runner” lists for us, other than just spending all her time filing. Heather was beginning to train on the phones. I had her doing the statistical record keeping that is a precursor to actually making the phone calls and keeping the records while you are on the phone. She was a great help setting up the Rondy Bake Sale table and getting the attention of dog race viewers for our table for the sale of coffee, hot chocolate, muffins, brownies, cookies and cup cakes. The organization made $326 dollars from donations.

The clothing distribution had enough volunteers to load, unload and set up the clothing at the 1st American Baptist Church at 1200 E. 27th Ave. Set up started at 9AM in the storage building next to the office, then proceeded to the church where the clothes had to be put out and displayed. Volunteers assisted the customers looking for clothing. They signed up 10 new members and handled 26 benefit requests for clothing, and picked up some “dues money”. The agency is still looking for a place to do a clothing distribution on a regular basis. I said I’d ask Phyllis at the GLBT Center if that space was available, since they don’t open until 3PM, Monday through Friday.

Things are still not going well with the handling of the finances on Cameron’s part, at home. I’ve set it up that I can immediately take his portion of therent and utilities out of his check and pay them. He spent $74 dollars at PetCo and $54 dollars of his $300, grocery money, on clothes and cat toys which indicates to me something is very wrong with his thinking when it comes to handling his money. He doesn’t have enough grocery money for milk, bread and bananas that he always wants to last to when his check comes in. I’m not going to give him any of my money. Cameron will just have to do without. Maybe that will wake him up to what he’s doing to himself. He can’t depend on me for money.

After wasting $10,000 of my savings, and never telling me what he spent it on, not paying the rent and utilities for two months, leaving us two days from being evicted from our apartment, my car was paid for and I was able to get a loan using the car as collateral.

Forgiving the Unforgivable, a book, by a Beverly, an Alaskan clinical social worker.

May 23, 2013

I’ve been job hunting since last April, putting in two to four job applications a week. I usually get at least two job interviews a month, but I still don’t have a paying job. I really need to make about $400 extra a month. I really love my volunteer job and want to continue working there, but that job pays no money. It’s a job where I really think that I’m helping people, and that makes it very satisfying.

Cameron has not been able to get a surgery date for his knee replacement. He has been dogging the VA to set a surgery date. He’s had to submit his paperwork twice now, The VA “lost” the first se, or it disappeared. Cam’s had all his dental work done.

We’ve had some financial expenses like the hefty car insurance. We need a new cat box for Buddy, and this month we have to get a bag of Buddy the cat’s expensive kibble. It’s $30 a bag! It’s the only thing kitty can eat and not barf back up again. We have to carefully budget to afford our lifestyle, such as it is on two combined fixed incomes….

I’m still going to the writer’s group on Saturday. I have a new laptop, that I got on sale at QVC. It’s another HP Pavilion laptop. Its got more programs and apps than I can ever use. I, also, have a 1TB external hard drive that I put all my writing on from my previous HP laptop. I can continue to add and edit my previous work. I’m still putting “A PICTURE AND A POEM” everyday on my Facebook page. Of course, some days the poems are better than others.

July 14, 2013

I work six days a week. DVR has set me up with an employment specialist, Lindsey. She seems like she’s nice and knows her business. Cameron’s surgery has been scheduled by the VA for July 22nd. AWA’s operations manager fully expects to only see me when she sees me….until Cameron’s on his feet again. I’d like to go to AWA’s 13th Anniversary dinner on July 28th, but I don’t know if I can make it. It depends on how Cameron’s doing. I’m kind of hoping that he’s still in the hospital. He was with the other knee replacement.

I have a number of relatives in the State of Alaska. None of them said that they were coming anywhere close to Anchorage, but they are all going to be at my sister’s home in Big Lake tomorrow, Monday, July 15th. They want me to come up to Big Lake. I’m planning to go, but I really don’t want to take Cameron. So, I haven’t told him about it. I’ll need to go to the store and pick up some chips and dip, or pickles, etc. to take up with me. They are doing hot dogs and salads at 1PM. I need to get their house number. Marina left me directions, but no house number. I’ll call her in the morning.

November 15, 2014

I’ve not written anything in this site for over a year. I quit writing a poem a day on my Facebook page, in August this year, after writing a poem a day for two years! I’m working on a short story. Writing a poem and writing a short story do not seem to be compatible t this time. I am single and starting to consider dating, again. I had a date tonight, but the other person called and cancelled yesterday, which is kind of disappointing. the other factor was I was starting to get very nervous about going on a date. I’m really rusty and very out of practice when it comes to dating. I’ve never like dating very much anyway. I’d much rather hang out with friends that I love and trust.

 

 

 

 

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