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Yes, you can have a happy Memorial Day!

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Despite tweets from our president, you are allowed to have a happy Memorial Day.  You do not have to go to a cemetery, although you can bring chrysanthemums there if you like, as the French do. You can host a barbeque or spend the day in the garden as people like myself, (a bit older and female) do in Alaska. This is the first “legal” day for planting gardens in Anchorage.

You do not have to attend a military event or you can wear red, white and blue then cry when taps is played. I think most people cry when they hear taps whether or not they have lost someone in a war. There are so many ways to remember the dead, why limit ourselves to only one ritual. Vive la difference.

My cousin and her son spent time last week cleaning off our family gravestones. Thank you Suzanne and Luka.  Have you ever noticed that granite gets stained green and mossy with age? Apparently this stuff is as difficult to remove as age spots are. The old slate stones from the 1600’s have held up well  and make good rubbings, this tidbit from growing up near a cemetery established in 1640. No one puts a skull with wings on their gravestone anymore, unless they were a Hell’s Angel. There are fewer poems and more photographs, kind of like the ones you see on birthday cakes.    My mother’s family were in the funeral business so I can’t help but see cemeteries as a bit of a marketing scheme.  I also recognize that the shortness of life, strong beliefs in the afterlife and lack of the internet where people live forever made them important spaces not just for grieving but for the practice of duty and respect.

I prefer cremation, (I almost spelled it “creamation” like making myself into an ash smoothie or milk shake). I would like to be scattered in the Atlantic Ocean then people might remember me occasionally if they chose while they frolicked in the waves. But I do not expect too much, I don’t have children and my family of origin so far has done pretty well calling me for my birthday so this life probably is as good as it gets.

My mother died one Memorial Day weekend so my tradition has been to do things she taught me or would have enjoyed seeing me do.  Of course I baked brownies and spent time outside rollerblading. My mother was an active woman who broke her ribs skateboarding down Norwood Ave while we were all in school.  She loved ice skating and she was an avid roller skater in her youth.

I don’t believe you have to be a saint or a hero to be remembered on Memorial Day. My father died before I got to know him so I have included a photo of my mother and one of my father, both as children in this post. Who can know their parent as a child? That is a mystery and yet we can guess from stories and hope that when they leave this earth some of their childhood joys and wishes are fulfilled.


What were these kids thinking? At some time I bet they both thought about chocolate cake and getting out of school early.  This is the only picture I have of my father with hair and the only photo of my mother wearing a dress that is not fashionably fitted. It may have been passed down from her older sister Muriel!


Memorial Day is about memory and imagination mingled with grief and barbequed ribs. The dead remind us to live and enjoy what they have left us. We pass on their stories with grace today instead of focusing completely on ourselves. But if you are focused on yourself or binge watching a favorite show, it’s a free country. Enjoy!



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I have made a pilgrimage. Dressed in my finest, I survey the dome, not with head bowed but with the curiosity of a flyer mapping out an approach. Today is the day. There is but one cloud in the sky and that has passed by while I prepare myself for circumnavigation.

This cloud laughs as it looks back at the dome, admiring the copper glow which has been increased by its moist passing. The cloud acknowledges my turn. I will leave my mark as my ancestors have done and as my descendants will continue to do. As long as mankind erects monuments to their Gods, I will defile them.

They do not know of God. I am God. I give you now a familiar mocking cry and my droppings.



photo fromMorguefile62433e9022

Writing prompt challenge from



What is today, anyway?

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If the First Star Trek movie with Chris Pine is free on Amazon Prime, I must  be old.  I  recall an evening when I wounded myself trying to open a can of baked beans too quickly in order not to miss William Shatner intone, “Space the final frontier…”  I drenched a towel with blood for what is known as a half of an hour before proceeding to sick bay.  This was so long ago that I had no health insurance and yet I was somehow able to pay the bill at the ER.  Oh, that’s right, I wasn’t living in my future, in Alaska where doing this would require a second job.

I believe in the idea of a Stardate calendar. There is no day or night. If there is, it’s often much shorter or longer than those of my previous experience on the planet Earth. The 24 hour clock is very useful to some people but in Alaska it is skewed enough that I feel like I am on another planet. Consider that it is 10:15 pm, the birds are very loud. They are probably mating, like the newly minted royal couple. There is a party across the street and since there is no snow and just the bare suggestion of a future leaf on the trees, the echo of human celebration is significant. They are celebrating someone or something other than royalty. It goes without saying that although it has been cloudy and cool for the month of May, it has not been dark.

Within this strange world, plants and people become cranky. My lawn grows overnight, yet planting a vegetable outdoors before Memorial Day is surely folly.  I stay up late streaming films starring people younger than me all the while falling in love with them as if time does not exist. With little sleep, I cried while showing Roman Holiday at the Skilled Nursing facility where I work, if you can call that work. I enjoy myself far too much to be paid for what I do. When I am around older people I don’t feel as much loss because we are, many of us, so lucky to still be alive. When my stardate  expires I’m sure that no one will remember today but I will have lived it and that is enough.

This day, my day, a man at a bus stop called my pants “phantasmagorical.”  This day, I went to bed at 6 pm and felt empathy with the people I serve who say they can not possibly get out of bed even to see the sun, eat cotton candy or pet a rabbit.  I did get out of bed though because I know that my mind and my body are not in sync.

The Universe is expanding and I am too young to contract because I am privileged to be alive at this time period of human existence. Teenagers died yesterday. I have my theories why this happened but a thousand years from now these theories will be considered quaint.  The death of American teenagers may not even be a blip in a life in crisis today or tomorrow on the other side of the planet. As humans we are able to function in a chaotic galaxy by focusing on what we need and what we can change. Energy spent outside of that is extraordinary.  An example of this would be the Choctaw nation who in 1847 sent a donation of $170 to Ireland to help relieve the suffering of the Irish during the Great Potato Famine.  This is something that should live forever in memory, longer than a school shooting or a royal wedding. Here is a photo of the Kindred Spirits sculpture which commemorates that gift in Midleton, East Cork where my grandmother went to school.


Read more about this here:



This blog serves as something like a ship’s log. My journey  is a strange one where many of the adventures come from the inside or from the mundane details of life on the edge of  the far north.  I admit that my life is not as beautiful as the wedding of the decade or as tragic as the mass murder of the day but I am a soul who seeks to know themselves and that is enough. I try to give small gifts from my chest of riches and do not expect a monument, not even a “like” for a post, at least this is what I strive for, some humility, and peace in speaking my mind even if the only one who benefits from it is me.  Just for today, whatever that may be. Kirk out.



Socially responsible ways to dispose of leftover Valentine’s Day Candy



Donate to a starving male figure skater.

Send to the NRA, with congratulations for latest success story in their struggle to preserve the Right to Bear Arms.

Save for science fair project on the future of the U.S. coal industry. Remind judges that lumps of sugar are more dangerous to our health than lumps of coal.

Bring to Border Wall testing site to see if candy can be thrown over wall prototypes. This will be especially appreciated if the candy is made with cannabutter.

Mail off melted bits to 23 and Me to trace artisanal lineage then repatriate candy to its ancestral homeland.

While streaming calming music of the rainforest, place candies in lukewarm water and slowly heat until the skins of the candies are scalded off. Turn up music if the sound of chocolate screaming becomes too disturbing. Distill into a mug and top with mini marshmallows.

Contact Health Dept. who will dispatch Haz-Mat team to deliver items to sole resident of your area who is not on Keto diet.

Deliver to White House so our President can throw bon-bons at citizens the next time he visits Puerto Rico.

Address them to your Senator or Congressman with love from a member of the opposing party.

Pack with emergency supplies for next viewing of State of The Union Address.



Thanks for reading. I had to take a break from blogging. Now I need to return so that I can laugh again.

Me and Bark McGee – my invisible dog

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It was a good day for a dog walk and a good place to be walking an invisible dog. “Spenard”  was where I was told I belonged when I landed in a Mountainview hostel in 1997. I have lived in a duplex apartment on the Valley of the Moon edge of Spenard for twelve years with a spinning carousel of roommates, some of whom move up and down and some of whom are of the more staid chariot types.  We have all mourned not being able to have a dog in our house. We have hidden guest dogs from our landlord at times but have always been found out when the need to find a tree became clear. And so I adopted Bark McGee, an albino, six foot long, 6 inch tall dachhund.

I would like to thank #MimeSpenard for the opportunity to show Bark the light of day. He has been a housedog, licking up cheap pork grease, spilled granola and discarded body parts, (mostly hair and fingernails), for too long.  I felt it important to dress well when taking a dog like Bark on a big adventure. We are both long so I opted for stripes. I cut open one of those tubular striped cotton blend scarves and slid him in clipping out holes for his legs and found some complementary striped apparel for myself. I applied some face paint to make myself look even paler to match his complexion and also to prevent more age spots. Note to self: Next time bring the face paint to the hairline so I don’t get an oval of sunburn framing said face.

Here I am.


One of my friends noted, “You look like a young Florence Henderson.”  That was enough to make me decide to take Bark out next week as well. Without makeup I am usually  compared to the late, great James Cromwell, otherwise known as the farmer in Babe.


Here is  Bark.



bark (2)

Here are some of our adventures.

It was Sunday and hot. The first people I saw, barely, as I was not wearing my glasses, were calling to us from across the street.

” Archie! Archie”, they called.  A guy biked over and asked if I was Archie. I shook my head and he explained that Archie was a really tall Native friend of his who was going to be a mime. He patted Bark.

His friends yelled over, “I told you that wasn’t Archie.”

The gentleman on the bike asked me again. I sort of mimed that I had the curves of a woman but then realized that Archie could just as easily have these. The biker’s pals on the bench patted Bark when we greeted them and we walked on.  This was the first time that I noticed that Spenard has virtually no trees.  The only thing that saves Spenard from being Muldoon is that it curves around quite a bit in remembrance of its farming past. Although once I saw a youngster wearing a “Straight out of Muldoon” tee shirt and realized that Muldoon would not be as forgiving a place to walk an invisible dog.

I walked past the windows of the Northern Lights mall and saw some joyous toddlers running towards me.  Then one stopped and screamed, one of those long, loud screams like they pay you to do in the movies. The father shook his head and tried to explain the concept of an invisible dog to him. This did not help. I scooted by.

We ambled past the Spenard Road House and took in the very nonchalant crowd who barely looked up from their cell phones to greet us.  I took this as an existential warning. Never check or post to social media when in public. Photo taking is okay but remember you are not a movie star, no one really cares about your changing hair or what you ate as much as you do. Enough said.

We had the most fun meeting bicyclists and other dogs. Bark, like any high spirited pup, lunges at fast moving objects and living things. I had to restrain him unless we got permission to meet and greet. The bicyclists are very thankful that you have restrained your animal and the dogs, of course are delighted to check out the smells of another collared creature.

Next stop was The Bike Shop where the helpful staff aided me in purchasing some grips without me so much as opening my mouth.  We decided to follow the detour linking Northern Lights to Benson since that part of Spenard was unearthed. I remembered that I needed some Linseed oil so we stopped in at Blaines. What a wonderful source of artistic inspiration for Spenard.  I have visited many times but have never caught the café open, even the drinks looked inspiring. I  have yet to save my money for the water based oil paints so linseed oil it is.

It was indeed getting hot so we crossed over Benson to the pawn shop and took in the air conditioning and fine selection of inexpensive dvds. There was a nice keyboard for $59 but I did not bring a credit card. That was probably all for the best. A mom kept encouraging her daughter to come over and greet  Bark but she was having nothing of it. That’s okay, Bark is not too sensitive. He embodies the ideal of giving without expecting to receive and taking nothing personally. One has to be like that when one is an extra long invisible hot dog.

Up ahead, in front of a lonely parking lot, I spied an entrepreneur selling lemonade. I could hardly restrain my measured mime footfalls.  I believe I was her first customer and she took my speechlessness in stride. Real thirst trumps miming beverages and so I marched on until coming upon another speechless soul who appeared to need a beverage as well. This Spenardian was beautiful beyond belief but with ethereal nature which may be the result of hunger and addiction. She had take out food and sat on a shaded curb to eat. It was then I noticed the nature of the takeout, from the universal street side distributer. I backtracked for more lemonade to help her digest her feast. It was gratefully received and I moved on.

We next took a trip to the wild side by stopping in at Dankorage where we were most graciously carded. They had a great card game called “Drunk, Stoned or Stupid” that I will have to return to buy. It’s the first pot shop I’ve been in which actually had edibles in stock but once again I was lucky not to have a credit card handy.

On our way home we stopped in at Anchorage House of Hobbies where we were kindly directed to the upstairs where there were even more fascinating items for sale. The children downstairs were more interested in mechanicals then dogs so with some effort we negotiated the stairs and fell in love once more with Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots.

Last stop of the day was a yard sale where the proprietor insisted I wait while he got his camera which was somewhere in the house. Meanwhile the proprietress insisted that I was going to charge him for taking a photo because “That’s how mimes make a living.” I begged to disagree and had her take a photo of me with my camera instead. Meanwhile a boy in diapers tumbled out of another garage to greet Bark. He approached, Bark approached, he retreated, Bark retreated. Finally I had to pick up Bark and exchange licks to convince him that Bark was really sweet.

Me  and Bark at the sale.

me and bark

Please ignore the shadow. The sun does not know how to deal with invisible dogs.

Our last real Spenardian encounter was back at the bus bench where our previous bicycled acquaintance pulled up and asked if I wanted to share his edibles. I politely declined fearing that their might be sexual strings attached but mimed an empty stomach instead.

On a high note as it were, we travelled home via Westchester Lagoon where one little girl demanded that Bark sit, beg and rollover and Bark got to interact with many of his canine kind who are not very judgemental.

I learned on my trip that it would be fun to do this again with other owners of invisible dogs. Maybe we could go to the new dog park at Arctic & 30th! Despite the lack of trees, Spenard is beautiful because of its people, the beautiful sky and the lovely intersection of art and commerce.  I hope that folks realize that even on a Sunday where backhoes and blockades sit upon the upturned earth like steel conquerors that Spenard  still lives. Come and visit. Bring your imaginary guide dog who will free you from the fear of being a stranger in a strange land. Come with me next Sunday for another adventure. Meet at Hillcrest and Spenard at 12 noon or at the dog park on Arctic and 30th at 12:45.




Do I live to make people laugh and is that sad?

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I just got back from vacation with a not to be named relative who fears their identity will be kidnapped and held for ransom baked in kitty litter. We were in Waikiki which is beautiful even if though it is full of human beings. Many of those humans were also on vacation which means they were having fun or supposed to be doing so.


Come in thin, leave Fluffier! That’s the Aloha spirit.

My not so distant relative was appalled at my habit of cavorting in the elevator. The hotel was about 80 percent full of visitors from Japan. They would innocently pile in on their way to or from the free breakfast not expecting a six foot tall lady in a pink hat to pretend to shrink in size as the floors went down or grow as they rose. They did not expect dancing or bird calls but these were included gratis. Some people chuckled or danced a bit if there was any room. Most people looked down. That just made me want to roll around on the floor. I kept thinking “Snakes on a Plane!”, “Clowns in an Elevator.” Clowning is a universal language best practiced when a language barrier is present.  It is important to communicate to people that they are in the elevator with a crazy person and should exit promptly.

Today, I’m back in Anchorage and  saw this gentleman out painting.


Which would you prefer? A clown in the elevator or a mime painting your business?

I was not really motivated to go on a bike ride but I’m glad I did. Riding against the wind, passing baby geese and tourists covered in similar fleece I was excited to see the meter which counts the bikes that pass Westchester Lagoon log my passage. I biked around the triangle turnaround to see if the number had increased and found two other folks trying to figure it out. They observed that kids on bikes had not triggered the counter although I had, so it was not emotional age which was a problem.  We finally decided that it was magic. Then something set off a flight of about 60 gulls and I cried “The Birds, The Birds!’ as I leapt on my bike and set off screaming.

I like having the power to create something out of nothing. I especially enjoy creating a moment,( some relatives might call it a scene), that will make a great future story.  My look alike relative is not always averse to this idea. For instance, they were not familiar with the idea of “Aloha Friday” where people in Hawaii wear their Aloha gear to work, a reminder of the laid back welcome of Island culture and the coming of the weekend.

We both jumped into and out of the above mentioned hotel elevator and onto  the streets of Waikiki yelling, “Happy Aloha Friday!” to everyone we saw.  This cleared quite a path in front of us. We are tall, loud and very white.  We sounded drunk. I don’t think anyone said a word back to us but we made ourselves laugh. Yelling “Aloha” is like screaming “I love you”, probably not the most common approach.

I have very few silly photos of Hawaii only because I don’t like taking pictures as much as I used to with my old brownie camera. Here is a photo of a mask from The Honolulu Museum of Art which I feel is a fine resemblance of me.


My doppelganger pointed out that my nose seems to be growing longer. I parried that my face was just receding, like the glaciers. My appetite for humor is still healthy and I find still find beauty in strange places. This is a great quality to build as age demands we let go of conventional understandings of life and love.  Here is one of my favorite photos of our trip. This is the look I am going for as I get older. I don’t think it’s a sad bicycle or a funny one but it’s different and it wants attention. That’s not so bad.

bike1 (2).png


Some dubious accomplishments since we last spoke

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My 40th high school reunion is approaching at the speed of a Presidential error in judgement. I have compiled a list of recent accomplishments to remind myself, and everyone else, that I am not a failure. I am the best. I am the greatest.

Just today, no lie, I won the pie eating contest at work! At 57 years old you might think I would have been outclassed by the many young folks competing but I have a very large mouth and really like vanilla pudding.  Never choose the chocolate pie, the flavor is too distracting. I was a bit distracted myself when the judge noted that my boss was pulling ahead. I then decided that breathing was not that important to me.

Also a few weeks ago I completed a theatrical performance where I had to shoot someone in the head on stage. Previously I have drugged children or cut them down with a wooden sword but this was my first time pulling a trigger. In real life, I am a notorious peacenik who  left a very lucrative employment situation at a military installation because I made myself sick. It is more difficult in real life to swallow one’s morals than it is on stage.

I am not a fan of guns and was the only one in the production to actually drop mine on the floor in rehearsal. But I managed to pull off this role because I was not myself, but a character. Even though  people call me a “character” there is a slight difference between being a character actor and a character. I am what they call a “double threat” when it comes to theatre. I would be a “triple threat” if I could dance without resembling a praying mantis doing an Irish jig.

Other grand accomplishments – I have now sung  “At the Cross, At the Cross, Where I first saw the light and the burdens of my heart rolled away…” more times than I have heard the song “We are the World” played on the radio. My previous record for singing the same song over and over would be  “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” which I sang twice a day for a whole summer. Before that I believe I sang the role of Miss Mazeppa in “The Strippers song” from Gypsy nightly for a couple of summers in my backyard.

Last year I managed to get into an elevator wearing stilts.  This year I became addicted to the show “Victorian Slum House.” It is still a bit cold for stilts in Alaska but never too cold to watch people eating eels and trotters or trying to sleep in the doss house.

Oh I also slid into a telephone pole this winter in the company van, ripping off the handle to the wheelchair lift, effectively stranding a number of disabled people. Luckily, I have very nice co-workers who coordinated a rescue and mending of the handle. Did I mention that I did not have to take a drug test after this accident but did have to take a drug test after I got run over by a wheelchair?  I think this has to do with the idea of workman’s comp but still, what a waste of a drug test.

I tried frozen Russian cream cheese bars this year. Yummy! I have managed to avoid all flavors of Oreo cookies over the last few decades even though there are more of them springing up each month.

Mostly I am proud of having kept my sense of humor and my appetite, at least on most days.  Now time to break into my prize for winning the pie eating contest – a banana cream pie!


This is what a winner looks like! Note the use of hairnet and plastic garbage bag vest. Napkin is placed in lap. Mouth appears to be full but plate is decidedly empty.