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This is our last Saturday in Alaska for this summer. We come up here each year and soak up the cool temperatures mixed with days of sunshine and rain showers, good friends, fresh fish caught in the cold Alaskan seas and rivers and lakes. The days are long; it truly is the land of the midnight sun. Today we drove down the New Seward Highway to Girdwood and had lunch at Jack Sprat. Before returning home to grill steaks for dinner, we went shopping at Nordstrom in downtown Anchorage--a most enjoyable way to end a really great day. Amen.
Our time here is drawing to an end very, very soon. I hate leaving Alaska when it is still Summer. It is as difficult to think of it as leaving the Last Frontier that we have come to love so much and think of as home as it is to think of our departure as our time to return to the heat and humidity of Oklahoma (where we have lived since 2001 and for five years during the 1980's.) We still oftentimes have eight weeks of high temperatures to endure when we get back. But Winters are easier to take!
Knowing today would be a long one of packing and doing the last minuter things before boarding on the plane at midnight this evening for the long journey home, we slept-in this morning which was wonderful. There were last minute errands to do and one last book group/pot luck supper to attend. Our book group--seven women--sat on the deck and enjoyed the flowers and backyard of a friend's house in midtown Anchorage, across the street from where we lived for 10 years. We discussed "The Girl With No Shadow," ate wonderful salads, luscious moist chocolate cake.
This was a very long day indeed. It helps a great deal to take a red eye flight back home if one is fortunate enough to have little time between connecting flights because it is still day time when you arrive. The most difficult part is the restless feeling in the cramped seat on the plane while traveling all night long. The body is screaming, "Oh, puh-leeeez! I want to be vertical! I want to lie down! I want to be comfortable!" Traveling to Alaska, try leaving around 6:00 A.M.. That gets you there in the afternoon.
It was 100 degrees when we landed at the Tulsa International Airport yesterday. We had lost three hours and gained 30 degrees. Early this morning, my son and I went to the high school to get his class schedule and then grocery shopped for much needed items since no one had been home since July 10. My husband had left that day for China and then he met us in Anchorage on July 31. We all returned to Oklahoma the same day but on two different flights. Our house had flooded on July 3. Even the photos couldn't prepare me.
God comes as light when we need hope and reassurance the most. Messiah has come, He has risen and He continues to come to us daily, not only through communion's bread and wine, scripture and holy baptism, but through the love of those who recognize His love for all. I believe God’s love is so big it is incomprehensible. We catch glimpses of this love when we allow Him to love us and to love the unlovable through us, pray for those we’d rather not pray for and forgive ourselves as He first forgave us. That’s grace.
God can take it on the chin when we are angry with Him. He's a Big Guy, a loving Dad who knows His children will get angry. He hurts along with us; does not expect us to be super human. Angry with God? Tell Him. A pastor was once thrown into a depression when he was ill with hepatitis. He slept all day and wrote angry letters to God at night. Yes! Wrote angry letters to his loving God. It takes someone of great faith, I think, to trust that God is there to listen to our anger and frustrations.
Sister Helen Prejean, author of "Dead Man Walking," said: “A story happens when an ordinary person is placed in an extraordinary situation OR when an extraordinary person is placed in an ordinary situation.” I think of Jesus as God made touchable. He was human bringing the Divine to earth to meet face to face with people; God in ordinary situations. To trust is to risk; to risk is to trust. The opposite of faith is certainty. Trusting God, one gives up certainty that things will go smoothly. By letting go of certainty, God can accomplish His wishes without our interference.
stench of vermin on golden retrievers hunting at 11:00 p.m. in the backyard on our mountain. back in the house with an undecipherable, room-filling smell. the possibilities are endless; probably armadillo! city mouse calls country mouse and asks, in a fevered pitch, what to do. three step procedure is suggested: while wearing rubber gloves, pour listerine (in their mouths and hold shut for a few seconds;) pour peroxide on their fur; rinse with apple cider vinegar (my idea.) better . . .but they’re staying outside all day. strongly scented candles burn in the house. hunting season has arrived.
"Opens Today in New York and Los Angeles!" And who are we then, may I ask seriously, those 48 other states, those states who are woefully placed between the two mighty coasts that stage Broadway shows and the glamorous Hollywood cinema? Red states and blue states alike, we are merely anonymous. We are a multitude of faceless pieces of a puzzle and we are snapped together, comprising the rest of the continent, all who do not, cannot, may not, are not allowed to have the newest of the new on opening day and opening night. Who are we? Chopped liver.
"Liberated"* To Children of Both Sexes: I desire for you to be Liberated from thinking . . . "it's a man's world" and "clothes make the man or woman.” Liberated from inane magazines screaming you must be a beautiful (whose idea?), single digit dress size image of their models, and BLOND. Liberated . . . from the corset of low self-esteem that holds in your spirit; from the words can't, should and shouldn't ; from compromising your values in exchange for seductive temptations of popularity, money, position; from the false notion you must always be the best. Liberated . . . to do what you truly enjoy. * Released; freed
Today my "baby" began his first day of his senior year in high school. When our oldest child began her senior year, it went by practically unnoticed. She loved school and was focused on attending Colorado School of Mines the following year. Our second daughter did not travel the traditional public education route. By the time she was a senior, she was enrolled in an online school, doing well and living in a different state. For some reason, with the last child entering this phase, i am weepy when i think of him going off to college in one year.
I, Mom, was the one who over-slept on the second day of our son's senior year in high school today. The sun shone brightly in the bedroom and I looked at the clock: 6:57 A.M.. Darn! I had intended to get up at 6:00 but then set the clock radio incorrectly. Our son had intended to arise at 7:00 so he was not running late when I called to him upstairs. I am exhausted this evening. I only worked at the church office, visited folks in the hospital, attended yoga class and then cooked supper.
First Friday means so many things to different folks depending on where they live. In Anchorage, Alaska, it means the First Friday of EACH MONTH when there are art gallery walks downtown where tourists and locals walk from gallery to gallery, sip wine, talk art, and catch up with each other. Today, albeit the second Friday of August, is the first Friday of our son's senior year. His senior year is looming large in our lives. Well . . . it's looming large in mine. Knowing my son well, I know when he comes home he won't crack a book until sunday evening.
While baking bran muffins late yesterday afternoon, I was pleasantly reminded of earlier days when my children were younger. Each Friday afternoon when they returned from school, we would all sit down in our kitchen and enjoy baked goods I'd purchased that day at one of several bakeries in Anchorage. We'd have what we affectionately called "high tea." It was a relaxing (albeit high calorie) way to begin the weekend. The girls really enjoyed it and so did I. Our son was usually less than pleased with his special giant cookie I'd bought for him. Things seemed much simpler then.
Sunday morning in northeastern OK. I am staying home to recharge my batteries today until we go sailing. Seems i've done that a lot lately on Sunday mornings. Don't get me wrong; I enjoy attending church. I like the sermons, the music and contact with people. I'm a Lutheran with Presbyterian tendencies. I currently attend a large Presbyterian church smack in the middle of the Bible Belt where we live. Sometimes I feel like a fish out of water in the mid-west as I started out a yankee and then moved to the left coast when eight. Oh, yeah.
My mom turned 90 years old today. She's of the generation that doesn't like to reveal their age. She's of the generation that believes ones age is no one else's business and, as Mary Kay Ashe (spelling?) used to say, "If a woman reveals her age, she'll reveal anything," or something to that effect. A few days ago I ordered flowers, a beautiful bouquet, for the occasion and I still haven't heard whether or not they were delivered. Happy birthday, Mom! I spent the afternoon in Independence, KS after calling my mother. My good friend and I enjoyed the rain!
The flowers in their full glory were delivered to my mom yesterday, indeed, for her 90th birthday. She called last night. Today it is raining. Last night we had a lallapalooza of a storm. It sounded like a tornado was swirling around our house. My husband was sawing logs. Our two Golden Retrievers were, too. I just snuggled under the covers, delighted in the sights and sounds of thunder, lightning, rain and high winds, then clicked my heels and wished I were in Alaska. Just two days ago, it was HOT sailing on Keystone Lake on a lemon drop Sunday.
And today is my mother-in-law's birthday; it's a busy month. I had flowers sent to her, too, and made sure they included some gladiolas because they are her favorite flower. Pink and white, a lovely bouquet. It rained all morning. I had lots of calls to make regarding our house. It still looks like a war zone after the flood that happened in July. I also had plans to drive south of Tulsa to a place where I could begin a search for salvaged interior doors. The torrential rains stopped my friend and I dead in our tracks.
Another fantastical mid-west storm looms in the distance, ready to crash down upon us at any minute. There is nothing like the five pointed star that comprises these storms: First, streaks of lightning which can last for hours that flash and pop across the sky in a multitude of colors followed by the thunder that growls like a dog. Next, the rain and the wind and oftentimes hail. The morning is growing darker and darker as I write this. The dogs will stay in the house today--out of the elements--while I am at my little volunteer job.
Do you know what a Mitzvah is? It's a Yiddish word that means "good deed." People don't usually do good deeds to make themselves feel better but it oftentimes winds up working that way. Today I drove to Tulsa to pick up two sick kitties at one of the PetSmart stores and returned them to the Washington County S.P.C.A. from whence they came. It's part of the animal adoption program and volunteers are called upon to take cats to PetSmart for adoption--usually not the other way around. God bless Boris and Patrick and find them homes.
Today--a most unusual Oklahoma day! It was lovely! It was like early, early Fall when the remnants of late Summer's warmth can still be felt but the bristling hotsy totsy fire of late August is absent. There was a breeze. Windows and doors were left open. Air conditioning was turned off. THAT is the most remarkable detail of all. One feels relief to see summer coming to an end in the humid, suffocating mid-west, unlike in the far north when the last days of summer bring feelings of regret and a shudder as folks hunker down for winter.
And today began just as yesterday did--cool and refreshing. By 7:00 A.M. it was only 57 degrees outside. We opened wide the doors and windows and turned off the a/c. It's usually not until October that we can do that. This morning I was happy to leave the house for church; I hadn't attended since sometime in July. My batteries have been recharged and I was ready to listen, commune and worship. I called my mom and sister. I attended a 50th b. day party for the choir director. Today is just not a writing day.
Thought I'd write this morning while there is a cool breeze creating music with my wind chimes, trees are shimmering in the morning sun, sounds of little girls playing next door dance over the fence and my day is still slow-paced. Soon it will switch gears and flip into a harried and hectic stream of hurried activities. That's why I need to stop and take yoga classes once or twice a week. Yoga creates the space for me to breathe in and breathe out. Sadly, NPR reported today that only 17% of Oklahoma high school graduates graduate from college.
Seems to me that a flood in real life means one hasn't been paying attention--one hasn't been keeping up with the day to day, the month to month, the year to year maintenance. What then, does a flood symbolize in a dream? Does a flood in a dream mean that the dreamer has not been paying attention to something in his/her life? Hasn't been taking care? Hasn't been maintaining? And what about smoke? What if you dream of someone smoking but in real life, he doesn't (or didn't) smoke? Could it symbolize self-inflicted harm he brought on?
Today I was hotter than chicken schmaltz simmering on a stove. From the time I left the coffee/sandwich/health food place where I had met a friend for lunch until the time I returned home and could not wait to get into our swimming pool to cool off, I was hot, hot, hot--not the good kind! I have a love/hate relationship with Oklahoma and I will share that with anyone while looking straight in their eyes. I love Fall's crisp chilly air and Spring's wild storms. I hate Summer's sizzling, sticky, humid heat and Winter's damp cold.
I have a bit of a confession to make. It's no biggie; just little. Maybe rather than a confession, it's more like a little truth revealed. Anyone who knows me for more than 20 minutes knows I love to shop. Okay, I know the economy is in the toilet. I know the best thing to do with any money we might have right now that is leftover after the bills have been paid is best saved rather than spent. THAT'S a no-brainer. But . . . there's that thrill of the find. The find beats out the hunt by a long shot.
Last night my husband and I watched a dvd called "Lakawanna Blues." Let me just say it is beyond Academy Award worthy. It takes a lot for me to cry over a movie but tears were streaming down my cheeks during this one. To say the acting is powerful is an understatement. The soundtrack carries the story with music that is both lively and soul searching. One of my best friends was born in Lakawanna and raised in Buffalo, N.Y.. We often joke that we are twins separated at birth. Our dads were firefighters. We're both from N.Y..
Lights! Camera! Action! I've been asked to be an extra in an indie film called "The Death of Kevin Frye." It promises to be a learning experience. The two scenes being shot today take place in a church and I'll be praying for the air conditioning to be pumped up and going strong. It's still August in Oklahoma. I've packed an ice chest with ice in it for my emergency ice cubes down my shirt and my dress; there are two scenes so there are two outfits to wear. This trick is handy when anyone is experiencing hot flashes, too!
Buzz and electricity filled the location where we shot the three scenes yesterday . Strangers mingled like old friends. No one had a "star" attitude. We were all united by a love for storytelling and the cinema. Some are writers, others are accountants or teachers. One young man is a doctor; one woman an interior designer. The finished product premiers in January. This could happen, too: the parts where the extras are to appear could all wind up on the cutting room floor reminding us it's not the final destination that is the driving force behind creative endeavors--it's the journey.
Gentlemen, start your engines and let the games begin! Five men just entered my house to begin the arduous task of putting my house back together again after the most unfortunate flood of July 3. It will be a learning process for me. I am praying for strength and a sense of humor to see me through it and to gladly accept learning patience. My first "batch" comes to an end today; I looked upon it as a challenge and can honestly say I met it. The thermometer in my backyard reads 50 degrees; I am happy. To be continued . . .
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