The Calm Before the Summer

It’s hard to believe it’s already mid-April.

In Alaska, we went from 20-something degrees to 50-something almost overnight, and I couldn’t be happier. There’s still enough darkness at night to fall asleep, and enough warmth put my winter boots and coats away. As I write this, I’m sitting in a sunny atrium at the local university, watching college students walking around outside in their shorts.

No one appreciates springtime more than sun-starved Alaskans!

A few bears have awoken early and been seen in the city, and the moose are getting ready to calve. It’s a time to stay alert while enjoying a stroll in the beautiful outdoors.

I’m also gearing up for a busy summer. In the spirit of transitioning to retirement, I’ll be working at Holland America/Princess Cruise lines on the weekend in addition to my job in probation. If I like it, I may continue the work fulltime seasonally beginning in summer 2021 no matter where I live in the winters. If I don’t, I’ll finish the season and likely have great stories to write about. Plus I’ll make minimum wage and work with a crew that are even older than I am, so I’ll feel like a kid again. A real win/win.

So in the interim, I’m trying to get stuff done around the house. And I’m writing a little more, sending work to my editor, and appreciating this period of quiet.

I was invited to participate in both National Library Week and Crime Victims Rights Week, and can I tell you how much fun I had at both?


It never ceases to amaze me how many non-monetary benefits being an author has. I continue to meet lovely and inspiring people at events I speak at. And did I mention there’s free food? I ate some unidentified appetizers last night and a chocolate cake that was life-changing. And people I’ve never met email me, telling me their stories and how mine intersected with theirs. I once had a man write after his relationship ended to say he’d considered taking his son from the child’s mother to bypass government red-tape and to retaliate for their parting, but decided against it after reading the long-term impact on my own daughters.

That was a wonderful note to receive.

And I’ve written an essay on the challenge of letting adult kids live their own lives called Conscious Unhovering. It’s early draft won a contest an netted me $100! (Nothing to sneeze at for a freelancer today). Stay tuned to my author Facebook to see which blog or magazine publishes it!

Thank you for your support and for staying in touch here with me.

Truly yours,










The Beauty of Barrow

I’ve dreaded this trip to Barrow.

A month ago, I volunteered to work here. This is completely my doing.

2012-05-21 20.22.50

But in the interim weeks, I’ve been barraged by memories of my last trip. The tales of recent suicides. The scarcity of trees and greenery. The abundance of intoxicated people walking around in this dry town. The $4.00 apple.

And then I read a couple of current articles in the paper about Barrow. About the nice district attorney I’d worked with who was murdered a few months ago in a domestic violence incident. And the skyrocketing amount of violent crime like rapes and domestic violence, fueled by insane amounts of bootlegged alcohol and drugs.

Seriously? What was I thinking?

Last night, I couldn’t fall asleep until after midnight, and when I finally drifted off, I had a nightmare about bedbugs biting me over and over again.

I didn’t unwind my curls until I took my seat on the plane and buckled up for the long flight.

Then I sat behind an Alaska Native youth who’d just finished high school, and was on his way home after his graduation trip in Hawaii. His sweet smile could melt the thick ice. He had a red baseball cap, red tennis shoes, and a ukulele that he played for the passengers’ enjoyment.

Other passengers asked him questions:


  • What does whale blubber taste like?
  • What will you do for fun later?
  • When was the last time you saw polar bears?

  • “A great texture, and tastier than steak.”
  • “Today, I’ll get on my three -wheeler and hunt geese.”
  • “The weekend we got a whale. They come in to share.”

2012-05-21 20.23.31
He didn’t say too much, but he represented well. And then there was Anne Morrow Lindberg, the fabulous writer who detailed her trip to Barrow in 1931 in her first book North to the Orient. In Barrow, met a family who proudly displayed a tomato plant, acknowledging the plant would never grow in Barrow since there wasn’t enough sun and the tomato was rooted mostly in sand, “but the leaves grow and we can smell it.  Even the smell of growing vegetables is good to us,” she explained at the time.

It’s all perspective.

I’m grateful to be back in Barrow. To be back to old friends and gorgeous sites and the possibility of polar bears, but mostly to be among people who know the value of looking at the glass half-full.

What are you grateful for lately?