Monday Musings…31 August 2015

This weekend has been quite eventful, weatherwise! From the Pacific Northwest, to Hawai’i and the Gulf states; from the Bahamas, to the ‘Greater Antilles’ and the ‘West Indies’ …it has been windy, wet, wild and deadly. We didn’t lose power here on the coast, but some of the cities near Puget Sound did.

President Obama is in my home state of Alaska on a 3-day trip, and this part of it makes my heart sing – he plans to restore the name of Mount Denali. From Al-Jazeera:

President Barack Obama will change the name of North America’s tallest mountain peak from Mount McKinley to Denali, the White House said Sunday, bestowing the traditional Alaska Native name on the eve of a historic presidential visit to Alaska.

By renaming the peak Denali, an Athabascan word meaning “the high one,” Obama is wading into a sensitive and decades-old conflict between residents of Alaska and Ohio. Alaskans have informally called the 20,320-foot mountain Denali for years, but the federal government recognizes its name evoking the 25th president, William McKinley, who was born in Ohio and assassinated early in his second term.

“With our own sense of reverence for this place, we are officially renaming the mountain Denali in recognition of the traditions of Alaska Natives and the strong support of the people of Alaska,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

The announcement came as Obama prepared to depart early Monday on a three-day visit to Alaska, becoming the first sitting president to travel north of the Arctic Circle. As part of his visit, Obama is attempting to show solidarity with Alaska Natives, and planned to hold a round-table session with a group of Alaska Natives just after arriving Monday in Anchorage.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who had pushed legislation for years to change the name, said Alaskans were “honored” to recognize the mountain as Denali — a change in tone for the Alaska Republican, who had spoken out against Obama’s energy policies in anticipation of his visit to her state.

I was born in the state of Washington, where I currently reside, but I consider myself an Alaskan. My family moved there when I was 3 years of age, and my schooling and formative years were spent there – I moved to the “lower 48” in my 20s. So many memories, though – good, bad, ugly and indifferent. I met my first husband there. My son was born there. I’ve “driven” the Alaska Marine Highway. We’ve been through Yukon Territory, driving along the Al-Can (Alaska / Canada) Highway. Moose and mosquitoes, wolves and bear, salmon and sea lions. Living on a boat. Deer carcass hanging in a smokehouse…fresh venison on the table. Totem poles. Dancing and singing in a longhouse.

I know that climate change exists. The Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau looked vastly changed in July of 2012, horribly shrunken and dirty-looking compared to its gleaming splendor when I first saw it on a trip with the Girl Scouts in August of 1978. Back then, it was huge…the cold air that blew from it was amazing to feel. Massive, icy edifice. There were no chunks of it floating in the waters nearby, then. The pictures I took of it in 2012 clearly show how much recession has occurred…and that saddens me.

I’ll close with the song that always played on the radio during the midnight sign-off – “Alaska’s Flag,” the state song. Here are the lyrics, if you want to sing along.


Eight stars of gold on a field of blue – Alaska’s flag, may it mean to you
The blue of the sea, the evening sky – the mountain lakes and the flow’rs nearby
The gold of the early sourdough’s dream – the precious gold of the hills and streams
The gleam of the stars in the northern sky – The Bear, The Dipper, and shining high
The great North Star with its steady light, o’er land and sea a beacon bright
Alaska’s Flag to Alaskans dear…the symbol flag of the Last Frontier.


No Rest For the Wicked or the Weary!!!

I’m back, and I’m still alive – but this will be a short post, LOL

Aaaahhhh…we returned home last night at 9:00 p.m. and slept until 9:30 this morning. In a couple of hours we will be travelling again, but by our preferred mode – the bike – and are headed to the Seattle area to attend a family member’s wedding. We will probably return on Sunday evening, but if we are too crapped-out we will come back on Monday. Either way, we literally have only been home for one week out of the past three months! Gawds…I hope we don’t have any other surprises happen during August, because I just want to relax…I’ve been keeping up on my writings at least, but there are still some major topics that I’ve been wanting to tackle. I’m glad I was able to keep up with the world news while back in the wilds of Alaska – there is some form of internet and cable service, so I didn’t completely feel that I’d returned to the Dark Ages! Man…I was heavily reminded of the reasons I left that gawdsforsaken, backwater, inbred-loving state…I missed the wildlife, but the shrunken Mendenhall Glacier filled me with sorrow and dismay – it wasn’t the same mighty sheet of ice I recall from my childhood. So massive, it looked like you could reach out and touch its frigid face…the chill winds blowing off of it were so much stronger back then.

It was good to see my son finally smiling – that sunny beam glowing on his face, not the thundercloud that shadowed his forehead for the past three weeks. He has some small hopes, but had to face some harsh facts as well…but, he is a fighter and will bounce back – he has my heart, my soul, and my iron will! He will make it if he remembers the advice we gave him before we left…

Anyway, it’s time to have a meal before setting out on the road…I’ll return in a few days, dear readers, and will have many topics to post when I get back! I’m looking forward to writing…and writing…and writing…then posting! Talk at ya soon…

Good song, here…

John Denver: “Calypso”

Waxing Nostalgic…

Writing about Trayvon Martin’s murder has been very difficult.  I am almost finished and will post it soon, but I have to step away every now and then to take a deep breath and clear my head, especially since it seems that there is a new report of yet another unarmed, innocent, non-white person being gunned down in cold blood.  It’s like there’s something in the air, or the water, and people are being infected with an ultra-sick pathology that I find shocking…

At any rate, I started thinking back to my childhood and upbringing.  A lot of times, I can only think of the bad things that occurred, because there were so many…numerous, countless things.  Things I’d shoved to the rear corners of my mind and secured under lock and key.  I was a fearful child at times – worrying about who might be around whatever corner, waiting to ambush me and do who-knows-what.  I still found some ounce of internal strength and intestinal fortitude buried deep inside me, and finally began to outgrow the fear and timidity when I turned 12.  Learning to fight and defend myself, and not feel powerless any longer, helped me survive and get away – anger, hate, and rage replaced fear and trepidation.  Meeting my kin has completed me in so many ways – I can’t begin to describe it yet.  Digressing, for the umpteenth time…

I spent my formative years in Alaska – my parents moved there when I was 3 and bounced around a bit until finally settling in Wrangell, a small island-based town in the Southeastern Panhandle, the Alexander Archipelago.  The picture below shows the community as it appeared circa 1969; we moved there in 1975 so it wasn’t much different even then, since small, isolated, island-locked towns aren’t known for quick changes!  Small towns, in general, are fairly bass-ackwards for the most part; in Alaska, a common saying is “Set your clock back one hour (if you’d moved there from the West coast), but set your calendar back 50 years!” – it’s still the same to this day.  I was last there when my son graduated from high school, back in 2008, and it was the same as far as people’s attitudes went.  Seeing Mendenhall Glacier again made me weep for two reasons: I was overwhelmed with joy to see it, but saddened at how diminished it was – I’d last seen it in 1978.  But nnnnnnnnooooooooo….there’s just NO SUCH THING as ‘global warming / human-induced climate change’, right?!?  Fucking morons…

Digressing again!  Mini-quakes were a regular occurrence, and the climate can best be described as a ‘temperate rain forest’…does it ever rain up there!  Half of my Alaskan residency has been spent on boats – I have my ‘sea-legs’, LOL – and roaming the woods with my brothers was always a lot of fun.  For some reason, I began thinking about the first crush on a boy I ever had…not sure why, so feel free to quit reading if this subject bores you, ROFL…

Wrangell Harbor – Wrangell, AK

Now, when you have siblings of the opposite gender, one of many benefits is their friends – especially if they were cute!  I noticed one boy in particular, mainly because his parents were friends with ours, so he and his younger brother were around us on a regular basis – his name was Svend; his younger brother was Leif.  His mom was so nice and would give me books all of the time: the Serendipity series, the Frog & Toad books, Riki-Tiki-Tavi, and the Tales of Mr. Pengachoosa were among my favorites.  She also gave us the Tintin and Asterix series (I much preferred Asterix), as well as graphic-novel versions of classics such as the Last of the Mohicans, the Swiss Family Robinson, and Lorna Doone, among others.  The boys left with their mom after their parents separated; their father had an affair with some other woman and moved in with her, so it was understandable that they would go.  I was disappointed to say the least…Svend was definitely my first major crush.

Quite the good-looking one, as I recall: brown hair, long and shaggy in the 70s style; green (or were they hazel?) eyes, and a smattering of freckles on his nose…and a smile from heaven.  He was a couple of years older than me – I think I was 7 when we all met and 14 when they moved away.

I recall many satisfying, “heavy-petting” sessions in the fort in the woods behind the house in Wrangell…he signed my yearbook before he left; I was a sophomore – he wrote: “You are a very weird person and you look like Grace Jones.”  I laughed at him and thanked him for the compliment!  He was a Dungeons & Dragons geek too, so he was one to talk, LMAO

The ‘cup monster’…ROFLMAO!!  Ah, yes…fond memories…heheheheheh…

I hope he and his brother are doing well.  I haven’t thought of them in ages…I used to have a Classmates account, but I didn’t find the people I was looking for: Svend and Leif, Einar and his brother Michael, Erika, the Stewarts, Junko and Noriko, and Sumi.  My good acquaintances from long ago…it would be nice to know how they are doing these days.

Here are three songs that make me think of those past, happy times…enjoy.

John Cougar Mellencamp: “Cherry Bomb

Opus: “Live is Life

The Dream Academy: “Life In a Northern Town

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